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Thursday, March 11, 2010

My journey through Anime

Chiyo-Chan from Azumanga Daioh

It was an interesting albeit unexpected day for me during my Twitterland™ discussions for the day. I usually get up, check what the current stuff is and go back to finding stuff for my crazy Japanese obstacle course show "Sasuke" obsession since the new tournament is coming on TBS (Japan) in 2 weeks. I spent most of my time on the RamblingRican blog more than this one .. as evident by my lack of blogs here lately. Either way I saw a post by BaileyChadwick who is/was a member of a cool Anime show appropriately enough called "AnimeTV". I found them a few years ago on my Comcast On Demand (of all places) (Season one is still on Youtube). The show catered to my biggest and longest running passion.. Anime. They review anime titles of all genres, had different segments of current stuff in otakuland™ and even introduced me to new things I didn't even know existed.


I noticed this year that Anime TV was back and even sponsored (Revision3 website). Although I'm still iffy on some of the new people in it (call me old fashioned I just get used to certain people and it takes a while for me to warm up to new people - sorry CristinaVee) I was still enjoying the new season. Either way I saw Bailey post that there was a new Anime TV episode.. and I almost choked when I saw what title they were going to review.. I had a distinct jump the shark moment and was going "well damn.. there goes another show that is veering off the path".. I watched a few minutes and was just so furious that I was wasting my life on it.. I shut it off. Then I waited a moment and remembered what one of the guys said in the beginning of the show where he was doing this basically as a case study to shut the kids up.. so I put it back on (right where I left off.. I wasn't that stupid) and I got to the talking points segment. Then I was a bit relieved.. Still, I did post to the AnimeTV twitter feed thinking no one really reads them and I got a response almost immediately! I was shocked (happy but still shocked). What followed was a small and pleasant exchange that lead to me writing this blog. If ya'll already know me from RamblingRican.. it's almost damn near impossible for me to make a point without going into a long discussion trying to explain wtf I'm trying to say. I have to quantify my reasons based on my experience since I know it weighs heavily on what and how I react to things of this nature.


A lot of my frustration is based on how I grew up. I'm friggin 37 years old and I started with Anime since literally the day I was born. I have 2 older sisters that introduced me to Anime with reruns of Marine Boy, Astroboy, Speed Racer and the coup de grace of all anime and the reason I'm such a geek today.. the "omg I have to watch" .. Star Blazers (yes.. I'm totally fangirling about that new movie coming out later this year in live action.. it looks.. intense baby INTENSE!!). I remember hauling ass home trying to make it in time for Star Blazers.. because there are only 210 days left Starforce! Hurry and save planet Earth! THAT was my soap opera while my other friends wasted life on General Hospital.. ugh.. They can have Luke and Laura.. I got Star Blazers!

Star Blazers (2nd Season - Comet Empire with Trelaina)

From there I went into the subculture world of "Japanimation" (as it was called back in the day) and even paid good money for 10th generation underground VHS copies of bad animes just because the US market was too stupid to actually produce real copies of it. (Lord knows I watched ALL of DragonBall in reaaaaaaally bad quality.. but we LOVED IT folks.. we LOVED it!).. yes yes.. uphill.. both ways.. in a blizzard.. I got it. When the USA finally got their heads out of their rear ends and finally supported anime I happily plunked my money down even if the dub was super bad.. Finally after my college years REAL anime broke through .. despite Pokemon.. shudder.. and DVD's had BOTH tracks (Japanese and English) and I was able to watch unedited versions in any format I wanted. 90% of my entire DVD collection is anime. (mostly shojo but I digress..) Trust me.. my friends can attest to that.. I even QUOTE them Lucky Star... LOL Even with streaming in the internet I began to realize the sheer magnitude of the amount of titles of Anime that is out there. Some great ones.. some OMG-that's-horrible ones and some that I have to wait until someone reviews because I know nothing about.


This is where AnimeTV came in. It was a low budget but well conceived indie show with kids younger than me but no less passionate about Anime and all things in that nature (videogames, cons, etc) and even as a throw-in had a host that was actually a real USA voice actor in Johnny Yong Bosch who this generation knows as the English voice of Ichigo in Bleach while I still remember him as Vash the Stampede from Trigun... sorry.. digressing again.. I personally felt (well my husband too since he's a geek like I am) that it was a show that we can get into. I don't always agree with the reviews but that wasn't the point. It was a fresh look at titles from Japan that either were not so new or maybe even overlooked and treated it with a reverence and respect that is not given (or should be given) to American cartoons. It was a round table.. er.. sectional discussion as someone would doing movie critiques (like I did in film school back in the 1990's). Each with their own varying tastes, likes and dislikes and at the end they said their recommendation for each title shown. This year it's a bit more off the cuff but the essence of the original show still remains. Heck.. I'm renting Genshiken from Netflix simply because I appreciated their review!!

Genma Saotome from Ranma 1/2

So when I saw this week's show I was horrified and thought "oh no .. here they go destroying a good thing just to please the new fanboys". Personally Anime for me will always be a Japanese produced or at least conceived show. I grew up watching American cartoons as well and I have a name for them. Cartoons. Nothing wrong with it but it's not Anime. Anime has a sophistication and a totally different way of reaching to the audience than their American counterparts. - it JUST happened to be animated. Given a lower budget (since making live action anything is a hell of a lot more expensive to produce in Japan) they still say a story that's rich enough for movies in a style that's easier to digest by way of animation. Heck there are stuff that I question can even be made into live action these days. As opposed to American cartoons that are geared directly to a style simply because it's animated! In the USA they stunt the story because the audience is limited simply because most adults won't bother watching an animated film thinking it's for kids. Maybe Up being nominated in the best Movie category in the friggin' Academy Awards alongside live action will change their minds after this.. though I won't hold my breath.. so was Beauty and the Beast.. sorry.. digressing.. Anyway back to cartoons.. wait.. there are some exceptions like Avatar: The Last Airbender but for the most part I stick what made me like Anime - the fact that it's not the typical American story. I'm fine with new things. Heck I'm Puerto Rican and grew up in a very different culture even though I was born and raised in the USA. That has always been the allure for me in (Japanese) Anime. Given that I've grown up with it for the past 37 years and have distinctly put each version of animated stories in my mind "this is an American Cartoon" and "this is Anime" each giving them their own space and respect each genre. It's different and I like different :)


Which leads me to the main complaint why I was so frustrated with the catering that happened in this weeks episode. I applaud things like Avatar: The Last Airbender for keeping the style of Anime but I don't distinctly look for something distinctly Non-Japanese simply because I can't understand it in it's native form.. or "gasp" because I can't immediately pronounce the title (actually I can since I pronounce it with my Spanish voice :p ) like some of the kids in THIS generation. Similar to the arguments I get a LOT by this generation when it comes to Sasuke/Ninja Warrior.. Kids these days.. having grown UP with Anime have a laziness when it comes to new things. Some people won't watch Sasuke because they can't understand it.. but rather would watch the horridly edited and bastardized version of it in Ninja Warrior simply because it's "in English". Branch out folks.. at least you have subtitles these days.. heck.. most are dubbed for your laziness! (shaking my cane in the air) Back in my day I paid 40 bucks for a half hour episode that I can barely see because the quality was so bad!!


While I may be considered snobbish for wanting to see things in Japanese simply because it's produced better that doesn't mean that I'd literally go out of my way to avoid something simply because I can't understand it. Plenty of Anime these days have far better voice actors than their original counterparts from back in the 1970's and 1980's.. trust me.. I had to sit through them because it was all I had. I'm not too lazy to see a brand new title with no English dubbing but actually fan-subbed if it was recommended to me. I'd gone through manga online that was fansubbed and even sat through full episodes in complete Japanese only and STILL enjoyed it. In fact when something new comes out (thanks Netflix.. I abuse you daily!!) I watch it in English (especially if it's in instant watch) and if it's too grating I change it to Japanese.. but if it's a great story I don't care what language it is or where it came from. Whether it was Korean, Vietnamese.. heck.. Russian.. If it's a good story and well produced.. I'd watch it!


By now for those who know me and have read the small snippets here and there that I write about in terms of anime and all things geeky as I call it.. (my condolences to my friends who have to endure my "check out this clip since this reminds me of this" whenever I have a conversation with them online... ) I have a very distinct and even small list of anime that I'd watch anyway. I don't dismiss stuff off the cuff.. unless it's so bloody that I will be wanting to wretch every 10 seconds.. (although I distinctly like Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (not the original THAT was too bloody) and even Berserk. I won't be caught dead watching Ninja Scroll but I adore the Series!. The same could be said for Ghost in the Shell: Stand alone complex!) So it's shows like AnimeTV that help me sift through the sheer glut of titles out there and know which ones to stay away from. THIS is what I'm hoping stays the same. I don't want them to turn into a show that panders to the region-phobia crowds that are borderline anti-Japan or even anti-change lazy crowd that exists in this generation to permeate into a show that's specifically geared to Japan and Japan Animation and Japan Otaku subculture. That's.. the whole point of the show. So while I don't mind the occasional American production there's no reason to change the format of the show just to accommodate those afraid of Japanese Anime (Anime IS Japanese so I agree.. it's redundant to even say that).

The girls from Lucky Star

It was nice for whoever it was that braved sending me a tweet to know what my opinion was. I was happy to see that people DO read them and genuinely want to know what is on our minds. I was even encouraged to get on the forums. (Yeah.. me.. on forums.. LOL) For those who know me from the Sasuke Maniac Forums I spend more time slapping kids down for idiotic responses LOL So putting me in a group that's half my age and less educated about a subject would be like sending a wolf in a hen house.. I'll take the high road and write this and spare the kids the maniacal tendencies of this RamblingRican :D

Kona-chan from Lucky Star

Edited: I just had to add this:


"Duty Calls" ©xkcd

9 comments:

Mr. Mike said...

Star Blazers! I loved that show as a kid, though my adult memory has retained very little about it. If I remember right, there was this embattled battleship in space (as pictured in your post) and the front was a big cannon which was a big deal to fire. And the ship captain had a hat. Don't remember much else and think I have other memories confused with Robotech (which one had a girl named Minmei and a pilot that successfully flew back to his ship and then died after landing?) but yeah, Star Blazers was awesome. Nice post, you obviously are well versed in the subject of anime!

Arsenette said...

Yep StarBlazers was a resurrected ship turned into a space cruiser (remember Yamato was the world's largest battleship that went down in the battle of Midway) and a ragtag team (sorry wrong reference to gallactica.. LOL) went to Iscandar to pick up some device that some space chick with long hair (Starsha) said would help the Earth before the bombs that were being sent from Gamilon (Green dudes with that sound effect that is still stuck in my head in the background every single time they were in Gamilon..). At the end of each episode they'd have a countdown as to how many days the Earth left before it was unsavable :p

Robotech was a disaster LOL Some company smashed together 3 different anime.. and rewrote a brand new script and that's what was aired in the USA dubbed. Minmei was a singer wannabe pop idol that kept singing that she had a boyfriend as a pilot.. LOL after that it gets blurry because the other anime takes over and I found that part boring.. LOL!!!

Then there's Voltron and Battle of the Planets that so many people confuse.. ships.. transforming.. blazing swords.. cat faces.. everyone turning 5 people into ships.. LOL oh man there's my childhood.. LOL!!!

Mr. Mike said...

Battle of the Planets, if it's the show I'm thinking of I really liked that one too. Isn't that the one with the flying bird people who were called G Force? They'd change into costume by hitting their watch and making a circular motion with their arm while yelling "G-Force!" That show was awesome.

Voltron I was OK with when it was like five machines stacking into one but when it took like 50 ships to make a Voltron I thought "OK, someone just wants to make money selling 50 toys to build a Voltron".

That reminds me of another anime that I saw only once, it was called Star Vengers with these three ships that turned into three different giant robots depending on what order they combined in. that show was cool!

Arsenette said...

Yep! G-Force that was it. I remember seeing more of Battle of the Planets rather than G-Force (dunno how.. it was such a long time ago).. I think at this point I started to understand that the shows being sent here had different names. This is of course well before the internet.. but I was a geek and I did research on stuff I liked.. LOL Something I still do to this day.. a bit obsessive I guess.. /blush

I used to yell "STOCK FOOTAGE" with Voltron a lot.. I figured once he got the flaming sword out it was all over... if they got interrupted it was a catastrophic failure.. LOL I was so cynical :p

freedownloadfont said...

I also love Anime ^^!
especially Doraemon
and Crayon Sinchan 0_0

Jeannie said...

Hi Elsie! I just saw the post you left at my blog today. I am so sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I have to change some setting because I didn't get anyone's messages. :(

I just wanted to say sorry, say hello, and to wish you a happy early birthday.

Arsenette said...

No worries :) I put comment moderation as well and I get a little iffy with messages as well! Thanks for the well wishes :) Hope all is well :)

Lena said...

I LOVE Lucky Star!

Arsenette said...

Teheheehe I marathon that show every so often. It's so quotable!