I can’t believe that it’s been 12 months since I started this blog. I decided to start writing after I had the suggestion of a friend that it would be an activity that would be fun, boost my writing skills, and work on self-expression. I wasn’t really sure how long I’d be writing for and if I’d take to the activity, but after a year, I’m still here!
Category Archives: Reflections
Experiments With Deinterlacing PAL Anime DVDs For Linux
I imagine that this topic is probably a bit technical and oddly specific for most of my readers, but I was frustrated at the lack of information available on the topic when I faced the issue, so I’m attempting to document my problems and findings. I do try and write and subjects which interest me and I enjoy, so I thought that I’d share what I found out in the hopes that perhaps there may be someone else who may be able to stumble across the information when they need it.
I recently decided that I’d like to watch some of my older anime DVDs on my computer (notably Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), a personal favourite of mine), and I discovered that the visuals were unwatchable owing to the fact that they were in an interlaced format.
I was not Maid for Dragons
I make no secret of the fact on my blog that two of my favourite genres of anime are slice-of-life and comedy, and I tend to like them even better when I get the two together. Everyday occurrences with a dash of humour sprinkled in seems like a surefire way of getting me to enjoy an anime. Except for when they’re not. Continue reading
Romance, Love, and Understanding
Happy Valentines Day to all my lovely readers! It’s technically not Valentines day in Australia still, but it is Valentines Day somewhere, and I think that counts! I thought I’d take this opportunity to speak about relationships in my favourite romantic* anime, I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying.
*All the romantic anime I like are romantic comedies which are heavy on the comedy. These probably barely count, but I’m not a romantic by any stretch of the imagination. Continue reading
I Like Shorts
If you’ve hung around this blog for any length of time, you have probably figured out that I enjoy short-form anime, or anime shorts, or sometimes I just call them shorts. While I’ve seen some people create additional categories, I’d consider an anime short to be any show which has an episode runtime noticeably less than the regular 20-25 minute runtime of regular series. This can be anything from under 2 minutes up to about 15 minutes.
Anime shorts are a relatively new thing to become available to English-speaking anime viewers. Back when anime was either fan-subbed or received a DVD release some time after it had finished airing in Japan, the focus was mainly on things which a wide number of viewers would be interested in. Most shorts tend to be a bit niche and quirky, and often don’t have the overarching plot and impressive 2D visuals which draw many people to anime, so they rarely got any attention. With the increase of legal online anime streaming, English subtitled shorts are far more readily available. I think this is a great thing! Continue reading
Why I stopped scoring shows, and why I decided to start again
Outside of the realms of scoring a test, where there are predetermined correct or incorrect answers, or criterion to grade a piece of work, scoring can be a veritable minefield. There seems to be a lot of different opinions on how we should value or compare a piece of work to other similar pieces of work, whether this is books, films, games, or anime.
Fall 2016 Reflections
This is the conclusion of my first anime season as a blogger, and the seasonal anime thing has been kind of fun! I’ve wound up watching quite a few more airing shows than I expected. This will be just some brief thoughts on them. I’ve done, and linked to, a full review of the shows which are finished, though a few things I’m watching are ongoing. As a way to get some insight into what stood out in a series for me, I’m offering dumb awards to each show.
I ended up watching
This is the show which I really like and I know a lot of other people really aren’t into it. Trying to break down the reasons behind this has proven to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m sure there’s an interesting blog post in there somewhere! It’s wacky, colourful, and has great remixes of Classical music. This show is going to be ongoing into next season.
Award: Best Gyoza
I ended up not feeling super keen on Flip Flappers overall owing to the series trying to cram 13 episodes of plot into 3 episodes, and lacing the rest with mostly unanswered vague questions and symbolism. I’m a pretty straightforward person in some ways and if Flip Flappers was a straightforward magical girl story with monsters of the week and lessons about the power of friendship combined with the stunning world-building and animation, I would perhaps have warmed to it a lot more. I think that it’s still a good series in many ways, but it wasn’t super enjoyable for me.
Award: Flip Flap! (The ED is really good)
Izetta the Last Witch (Shuumatsu No Izetta)
Watching anime original shows is always a risk, and Izetta had a really interesting concept but struggled to deliver a strong story. The world of alternate WWII was built up with some lovely touches, but it wasn’t followed through with storytelling to match. I didn’t hate watching it, but if the series was complete and I knew more about it, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.
Award: Most indefensible castle*
*Neuschwanstein has very much become the poster child of fantasy castles, but in terms of defense, it’s truly terrible. Castles were traditionally built in order to have a strong place to defend the owners, and all of the necessary defensible features are totally missing. Small windows, moats, thick walls, these are all there for a reason in the traditional castle. The history of the real Neuschwanstein castle is rather interesting, but I can’t buy that a small European country would have continuously have experienced such peace and prosperity they didn’t have to worry about defending their country’s leaders for hundreds of years.
Kiitaro’s Yokai Picture Diary
I watched this on a whim just after it had finished airing. It’s not an amazing series but it was still a fun watch and there were plenty of interesting snippets about youkai. I’m always keen to learn more about Japanese myth and culture, and learning via fiction is one of my great passions. Folktales from Japan actually keeps calling my name but I don’t know if I can commit to over 200 episodes of an ongoing series.
Award: Most informative about Japanese culture
This is the show I’ve been blogging about each week. It turns out the people in the blog community who have been the most interested in my posts are people with cycling blogs or who have an existing interest in cycling. As someone who is interested in both cycling and slice-of-life, it’s been a very charming show. If you are not interested in cycling, I’m not sure that the show has much to offer you, except learning more about cycling so that you can become interested in cycling. Owing to production issues, the last two episodes will be released in February this year so I can’t review the series yet (I plan to write about these and some overall thoughts on the series after they’re available)
Award: Most beautiful bikes
Miss Bernard Said (Bernard-jou Iwaku)
As an avid reader, I found the humour in here to be relatable, and I also discovered some possible interesting future reads. The jokes are mainly about reading culture and there’s not too much referential humour about books, so it should be accessible without being a hardened bookworm.
Award: Most books (always a good thing)
Monster Hunter Stories – Ride On!
This is very much a typical kids’ shounen show. With an announced 48 episode length, it’s been a very easy-going pace, and while it’s pretty much the epitome of average or competent, my inner child is happily along for the ride. I rather wish the game that it is based on would receive a release for the European market (I’d actually import it and attempt playing it in Japanese except that the 3DS is region-locked and I really don’t need 2 of them), what with it being my dream of ‘Monster Hunter but cuter’.
Award: Tastiest doughnuts
Ninja Girl and Samurai Master (Nobunaga No Shinobi)
Japan loves their Sengoku (Warring States) era shows. I’m not as familiar with the history of this area as I would like to be, but this is comedy shorts, so despite not understanding all the references, I’ve still been having fun! This show is going to be ongoing into next season.
Award: Most Nobunaga
Scorching Ping Pong Girls (Shakunetsu Takyuu Musume)
I picked this up as a recommendation from a friend and it’s official; I think I may like sports anime. Or at least sports anime with cute girls. I have to start somewhere right? The thing which makes this series stand out is the use of high-paced electronic music during the ping pong matches in contrast to the more easy-going tones outside of matches.
Award: Surprisingly good soundtrack
I would perhaps like to watch these later
Crane Game Galaxy
I watched Crane Game Girls and so I’m keen to see the sequel, but as I know this sort of comedy short will take a bit less than an hour to watch the whole series, I figured I may as well do it all in one go. I’m hoping for more comedy and more intriguingly minimal animation (I’m not saying that Crane Game Girls was arty by any means but I found it oddly fascinating how they did so much visual storytelling with such basic animation).
For some reason, WordPress seems determined to turn this title into a web address. It seems like people who liked Working also liked this and it brought enough unique things to the table that it could be fun to watch on its own, and not feel like too much of the same thing. I plan to check it out at some point.
Fune wo Amu (The Great Crossing)
Making a dictionary to me is a super interesting topic (what does this tell you about me?), and the few people I’ve heard speaking about the series say that the human interaction between the characters is fairly realistic which is what I like in a drama series. I’d definitely like to see this when I’m in the mood for something a bit slower paced.
That pretty much wraps up the Fall 2016 season for me. There were things I watched which I loved, things which caught me by surprise, and things which disappointed, but overall, I’m quite happy with the things I’ve picked. I’m hoping that Winter 2017 will prove to be just as enjoyable.
New Year’s Blog Aspirations
Happy new year readers! While it’s still just another day, a year’s end and new beginning is a great chance to be a bit retrospective and also set some goals. I’m going to use this post to mention some anime or blog-related things I’m hoping to attempt this year. Continue reading
Best of 2016 Awards
It seems like the end of the year has come upon us before we know it, and it’s a chance for me to look back on the year that we’ve had and see what stood out to me! I’m also going to use this spot as an opportunity to mention things which were exceptional that were not anime. It’s also worth noting that I will on occasion distinguish between favourite and best. A favourite thing is the thing which I personally enjoyed the most. Obviously for me to enjoy it, it may have some technical merit, but something can be a favourite while I recognise its flaws or lack of general appeal. A best thing is one which I think is strong on all technical levels, and I liked it, but it may not have felt as personally enjoyable as a favourite. For something to qualify for an award, I have to have completed it for the first time this year. It doesn’t have to be new in general unless specified, I feel that limiting myself to only new things means that I miss out on shining light on older things and it’s not as though only new things are good, it just has to have been new for me. Also, when it comes to some of the non-anime categories, it would be unusual for me to actually partake of something released in the last 12 months. Continue reading
12 Days of Anime: Day 9 – The Beauty of a Bicycle
Long Riders is a show that I will freely admit has problems (most prominently, scheduling problems). The one thing though which has consistently impressed me throughout the show is just how good the bikes look! The creators have modelled the bicycles on existing models and put a great deal of care into all of the details of a bike. A bike is a pretty complicated piece of equipment with a lot of parts and accessories and so I’m truly impressed with their appearance.
One moment where I think the beauty of a road bike really shines is where Ami takes her bike into Alpaca Cycle for a service.
Look at these lovely gears, don’t you want to just reach out and touch them! Only don’t touch the gears on a bike for no reason, your hands will end up really greasy.
I think anime can really shine in casting light on a hobby or area of interest. The carefully crafted bicycles make bikes look really appealing!