I'm Back! – Week Long Unplanned Break Finally Over

Well, the week off from work that I had from last week was planned, but I wasn’t really planning on taking such a break off from the blog (and anime in general) for the week as well.

In any case, I’m (more) back than I was last week, so I’ll try to start chipping away at what I’m sure is a significant episode review backlog at this point.  I know I missed the podcast last weekend, and there is a chance I may miss it this weekend since I’m not really sure when I’ll work on it.  The problem is that I’m going to be gone next weekend too, so doing one next weekend if iffy as well.  I may end up just putting one up next Thursday or something (or at least record it Thursday and post it Saturday) just to get one up.

As for an Otakon podcast, it’s getting a little late for that, and considering how things turned out, I’m not sure if I have enough stuff to really do one – at least one that is informative at all.

Starting next week is my 2nd of 3 semesters for my master’s final project, so that may also make me cut back on how much I post and how much I blog in the fall, but I’ll try to do my best.

In any case, if you’re wondering where i went after Otakon, basically I’ve been vegitating and watching the Olympics for the past week, but I should be crawling back now.

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Otakon Update

Sorry for not writing in so long.  Apparently I did something to my foot Friday evening, because it started aching Saturday morning and just got worse though the day before I had to throw in the towel after the Kadokawa panel and leave.  I hoped that it would get better overnight, but alas, it still hurts like a bitch, so I don’t know whether I’ll even be able to head over to the BCC at all today, which is a shame.

If you didn’t hear elsewhere, Bandai announced the .hack//G.U. trilogy at their Bandai Surprise panel last night which I had been planning on attending.

In theory there should be a lot of stuff goingon at the ADV panel and I really want to go see it. *curses at foot*

Back after a long day 1

And today was the seemingly boring day on the schedule.  Nevertheless, I’m beat.  The JAM Project concert especially seemed to doom me, both because I had to walk two blocks uphill, and then around another block in line, but the concert itself was exhausing, even if I was sitting down most of the time (and I loved how the press people, who were sitting right behind me, were going as crazy as everyone else).

I’ll reassess my schedule tomorrow morning, but I am just axe everything before the Bandai panel just so I can get as much rest as possible.  No podcasts come out tonight…I’m too tired.  Pray that I’m not this beat tomorrow or else I might just end up making one digest Otakon podcast on Sunday.

There does not appear to have been any new license announcements today.  I already knew that Funimation and Media Blasters didn’t have any, but I didn’t know if any of the smaller companies might have had any (though I think only one or two had panels yesterday).  Saturday may be big as both Bandai and Kadokawa have panels, with Kadokawa’s specifically called “Kadokawa announcements” I think.  Of course, they announced 6 new licenses at AX, so I doubt they’ll be announcing more, but they may be announcing who is going to produce and distibute those titles.  We’ll have to see if Bandai has anything new to say.

In any case, I better go to sleep before I completely collapse.

A Wireless Signal!

Yay!  Though, within California Tortilla, not the BCC, and this looks like a free one too.  So it looks like my $20 for a week of wireless access is an epic fail.  Oh well, I wanted to try it anyway.  The only wireless I could get inside the BCC was a BCC wireless one – and I’m guessing that’s the one that would cost Otakon, like, $150 per IP, so no.

If I ever would use it at any other time, I would get a phone with web or a wireless service through a cellular company for my computer.  However, since I would probably use it like…once a year, it’s not really worth it.  My cell phone’s text message thing is getting a workout, though.

In any case, I was booted from Funimation since there weren’t any chairs left, so I chilled outside for half an hour and came back to stand in line for Media Blasters.  I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll probably make sure I have nothing for at least a half hour before any industry panel now.

Also took my first trip through the dealers room and bought the Scrapped Princess Collection for $40 (yay!) and Air Volumes 1-3 for a total of $70 (borderline).  I was looking at getting all the Kurau DVDs, but I would have had to plop down $130 for that where I looked, and that was a bit much for me.  Maybe I’ll try to see if one of the other dealers has it for less.

And oh yeah, an actual nugget of news: Kurau: Phantom Memory has been discontinued.  I hadn’t actually seen that mentioned anywhere, but the people at the ADV distrubtor table confirmed that, so yeah, ADV even lost thought (or at least discontinued it) as well.

In any case, the TBA movie ended up being something I didn’t recognize, so probably once I’m done eating, I’ll head up to the arena.

Final Pre-Otakon Update and Thoughts

Holy cow that Pregreg line was long.  When I got there, the line was out the door, wrapped all the way down the side of the convention center down Howard Street, wrapped behind the back to Sharp Street (the road that runs under the 3rd and 4th floor of the BCC), and maybe a quarter down that road.

However, it looks like I got there at the right time, though, because about a half hour later (after I had already gotten in the BCC) it decided to rain like heck…and the line was still wrapped all the way down the Howard Street side of the BCC.

Like I said on twitter, I saw a Lucky Star badge and a Code Geass badge, along with the Fullmetal Alchemist badge that I got.  I’m not even sure what the rest were.  Last year they had a thing with all the badges on it up halfway through the line, so you could look at them before you get to the booth, but they didn’t when I went through, so I didn’t get a good chance to see all of the badges.

As for the schedule, it still looks the same as it was online.  There is still a big ol’ TBA in the HD hall between 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM as well as Panel 1 between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, both on Monday.  I have to think that they are either really big shows to not even tell us what they are the day before, or they really have no clue what they’re going to show there (and really, I’m sure they could come up with something).

Now, here is my as definite-as-it-gets schedule over the next 3 days.  As always, there may be changes that throw a wrench into all of this:

Friday

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM: El Hazard 1-4 (Video 3)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Chiko, The Phantom Chief (aka The Daughter of Twenty Faces) 1-2 (Hall D)
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Tsubasa Season 2 1-4 (Hall D)
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Funimation Q&A (Panel 2)
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Media Blasters Q&A (Panel 2)
4:00 PM – 10:30 PM: ????

OK, yes, I know, having a huge question mark after 4 is kind of problematic.  Here is the issue.

4-5PM doesn’t have much that sounds interesting other than maybe the Kappei Yamaguchi panel.  I may use this to either get early dinner or go to the dealers room.

Then we run into an area where there are several things I want to watch, but other TBAs which I don’t want to just write off.  From 5-7PM, there is The Place Promised in Our Early Days, from 6-8:30PM there is the Death Note live action movie, from 6-7PM there is a TBD panel, there is the JAM Project concert from 7:30-10:30 PM, and there is the TBA HD movie from 8:30-10:30PM.

I’m guessing that the TBD panel probably won’t be something huge enough for me to want to go to, but who knows.  The movie, however, is something else.  If it’s, say, Evangelion 1.0, then I definitely want to go see it.  The problem is that, if I decide to go to Death Note instead of JAM Project, and the TBA ends up sucking, there is pretty much nothing else to do.  So, if the TBA sucks, I’ll probably go to the JAM Project concert, and if it rocks, I’ll probably go to Death Note and see whatever the TBA movie is.

If I go see Death Note, I can’t watch Place Promised, so I’ll probably take that hour either eating or wandering the dealers room.

whew.  On to…

Saturday

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: ???
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Bang Zoom Q&A (Panel 2)
11:00AM – 12:00 PM: Bandai (Panel 2)
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Kadokawa USA (Panel 2)
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: The Girl Who Leapt Thorugh Time (HD)
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM: Fansubber and Industry Discussion (Panel 4)
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: ???
9:00 PM – 10:30 PM: Bandai Surprise (Panel 2)

OK, the first question mark I may just skip and come in at 10 AM, especially if I’m wiped after the first day.  The gap between 12PM and 2PM is food and dealers room.  It’s not missing because I don’t know what to do, it’s missing just cause I’m doing other stuff.

The final question – 7PM to 9PM – it looks like I can either spend it doing dinner, or going and seeing Lucky Star 5-8 and The Third 1-4.  Already seen both, but they might be cool to hit again.

Sunday

9:00 AM – 10:45 AM: Maetal Legend (Video 2)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: State of the Industry (Panel 4)
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: ???
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: ADV (Panel 2)
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Closing Ceremonies (Panel 4)
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Con Feedback (Panel 4)

The 12-1PM question looks like an obvious food break to me, but there are a couple of things I may try to hit.

Last year’s schedule ended up mutating quite a bit, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this years did too some.

In Baltimore Once Again

Well, not exactly in Baltimore.  More like a few miles to the south, but you know what I mean: I have arrived at my hotel for my 2nd year of Otakon.  Luckily this time I got hear before rush hour traffic, so the bad traffic wasn’t horrendous traffic like it was last year.

It once again rained so hard that I had to pull off for a bout 15 to 20 minutes this year, as it did last year, but this time I had built in enough leway that I still had plenty of time.  In a couple hours I’ll head down to the BCC to pick up my badge.

I’m interested to see what they have on the badges this year.  Last year I didn’t see anything that really interested me, so I just picked up Raxephon (of course, I had only been watching anime for about 2 years (vs. the 3 years now) so I have quite a few more shows under my belt this time.  I suggested that they should have a “Nice Boat” badge this year on the Otakon forums, but we’ll see if they will.

I’ll see if I can get some cosplay pictures too while I’m down there.

Myself; Yourself – Anime Review

The Essentials

Name: Myself; Yourself
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Episodes: 13
Released: October 2, 2007 – December 25, 2007
Based On: Myself; Yourself dating sim by Yeti
Director: Yasuhiro Kuroda
Produced By: Dogakobo
US Distribution By: N/A

Major Japanese Cast

Sana Hidaka: Shinnosuke Tachibana
Nanaka Yatsushiro: Ami Koshimizu
Syūsuke Wakatsuki: Takehito Koyasu
Syuri Wakatsuki: Yukari Tamura
Aoi Oribe: Tomoko Kaneda
Asami Hoshino: Mai Nakahara
Hinako Mochida: Ayumi Murata
Yuzuki Fujimura: Megumi Toyoguchi

Major English Cast

N/A

Scores

Animation: 7/10 (x 4 = 28 pts)
Story: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Music: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 9/10 (x 2 = 18 pts)
English Dubs: N/A
Gut Score: 8/10 (x 5 = 40 pts)

Total: 150/190 (78.9%)

Review

Myself; Yourself is about a boy, Sana, who returns to his hometown after being away for 5 years to attend high school. Before he left, Sana was friends with Nanaka, who was a gifted piano player and whom Sana liked, Syusuke and Syuri, who are twins, and Aoi, his cousin. When he returns, he finds that many things have stayed the same with his old friends, but that many other things are different, especially in regards to Nanaka.

Myself; Yourself somewhat suffers from a split personality, and on multiple fronts.

First off, while some parts of the story were well written and executed very well, other parts of the story just seemed to be stuck in for the sake of being stuck in, and story arcs had a tendency to end with plot twists, which is nice as it keeps one on your toes and doesn’t make thing predictable, but having so many twists creates the tendency to have each twist outdo the last, causing them to become increasingly over the top. Also, more plot holes than I would have liked were left open in the end.

Second, while the animation is, generally, OK, the character designs are, to put it simply, bad. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what’s wrong, but I just didn’t like them.

The one part of the series which I think helps left it up more than others is the depth of the characters and their interaction with each other. While the behavior of a couple characters was kind of annoying (Aoi in particular), most of the main characters behaved in a way which made the series better.

Ultimate, I think this series is generally worth watching, as it has a uniqueness which separates it from other shows like it. However, I think Myself; Yourself is a bit of a hit-or-miss show.

First Watched: October – December 2007
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes

Otakon

Unless you’re visiting this blog for the first time in a while, you are probably aware that I’m going to Otakon this upcoming weekend.  As a result, there are several things I should note:

1) I have signed up for week-long wireless access to a wireless provider in Baltimore who at least says they have a router right across the street from the Convention Center.  I hope to be able to post updates to my blog whenever I get a free chance, but I’ll only know how good the connectivity is once I get there.  I will be able to post updates in the evening when I’m back at my hotel.

2) My back-up posting method is by twitter via text message.  If you haven’t noticed by now (largely because it makes my page load take longer), I have the two most recent twitter messages on my sidebar.  I’ll only have this during Otakon, so don’t worry about the slower page loads being anything permanent.  Any hot updates I’ll post there unless I miraculously have a wireless internet connection inside the panel rooms.

3) Don’t expect any episode reviews while I’m there.  I hardly have the time to do what I’m already doing, much less time to do that.  I’ll catch up when I get back.

4) I’ll try to get audio of some of the bigger panels that I attend, though that will depend on the quality of audo I can get.  It’s rather hit or miss.  If you don’t see any audio clips posted, you know why.

5) I’ll try to get a lot more pictures this time.  I was surprised by how few pictures I took last year.  Moar. I want Moar Pictures!

Oh yeah, and even though I may not hand out any, I ordered these cool Moo mini-cards for my blog.  They’re not exactly 100% kosher since the back side has images from various anime shows (with apologies to the people who made those shows), but it’s not exactly like I’m getting rich off this blog.

In any case, I’ll be heading out in the next hour or so, and I’ll make sure to post once I get into Baltimore!

Anime DVD and Manga Releases for August 5 – 11

I almost forgot to post this before I left.

Anime DVDs

August 5, 2008
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – Volume 1
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – Volume 2
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion – Part 1 (Vols. 1 – 2)
Godannar – Box Set
Gokusen – Box Set
Gurren Lagann – Volume 2 (sub)
Kodocha – Box Set 1
Kodocha – Box Set 2
Simoun – Volume 5 (sub)
Zegapain – Volume 6

Manga

August 5, 2008
Baby & Me – Volume 9
Bleach: Collector’s Edition – Volume 1 (hardcover)
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo – Volume 1
B.O.D.Y. – Volume 2
Boys Be… – Volume 17
Brave Story – Volume 5
Dark Metro – Volume 2
D.Gray-man – Volume 10
Dragon Ball: BIG Edition – Volume 2
Dragon Drive – Volume 9
Dragon Sister! – Volume 2
Eyeshield 21 – Volume 21
Fairy Cube – Volume 2
Genju No Seiza – Volume 7
Grenadier – Volume 7
Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time- – Volume 2
Hell Girl – Volume 3
Hoshin Engi – Volume 8
Initial D – Volume 31
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Volume 11
Kaze Hikaru – Volume 10
King of Thorn – Volume 5
Kitchen Princess – Volume 7
Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation – Volume 6
Platinum Garden – Volume 7
Rosario + Vampire – Volume 2
Short-Tempered Melancholic and Other Stories
Sugar Princess – Volume 1
Tail of the Moon – Volume 12

August 6, 2008
King of Cards – Volume 5
Two Flowers for the Dragon – Volume 2

Kamisama Kazoku – Anime Review

The Essentials

Name: Kamisama Kazoku, God’s Family
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Episodes: 13
Released: May 18, 2006 – August 10, 2006
Based On: Kamisama Kazoku light novels by Yoshikazu Kuwashima
Director: Kimitoshi Chioka
Produced By: Toei Animation
US Distribution By: N/A

Major Japanese Cast

Tenko: Ami Koshimizu
Samatarou Kamiyama: Daisuke Kishio
Kumiko Komori: Ai Maeda
Osamu Kamiyama: Masashi Ebara
Venus Kamiyama: Nanaho Katsuragi
Misa Kamiyama: Yumi Touma
Meme Kamiyama: Akemi Kanda
Shinichi Kirishima: Hiroaki Miura
Suguru: Yasuhiro Takato
Fumiko: Mariko Kouda
Ai Tachibana: Mamiko Noto
Lulu: Ryou Hirohashi
Lulu (child): Tomoko Kaneda

Major English Cast

N/A

Scores

Animation: 6/10 (x 4 = 24 pts)
Story: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Music: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 8/10 (x 2 = 16 pts)
English Dubs: N/A
Gut Score: 7/10 (x 5 = 35 pts)

Total: 143/190 (75.3%)

Review

Kamisama Kazoku is a story about Samatarou, the son of God, and his guardian angel Tenko. Samatarou is currently living on earth in order to train to know what it’s like to live along with humans so that he may become a better god when he grows up.

Samatarou and Tenko are childhood friends, but are rather confused about how they feel about each other. Their feelings are tested and prodded as the pair have to work through several situations, such as a girl arriving in their class whom Samatarou falls for, as well a mysterious girl who shows up on their doorstep who grows several years in age every day.

Kamisama Kazoku is a reasonably good comedy, which is able to keep up a pretty good pace of new material to keep the story fresh. One issue I had with the story, however, is that it’s one of those shows which establishes the central “problem” right off, and then the problem just spins it’s wheels through 2 or 3 story arcs until it’s suddenly resolved at the end. I guess there may be sort of a feeling that the events of one story arc lead into another, but it isn’t necessarily obvious.

The biggest minus to this series – unless the fansubs were just made from bad raws – was the animation, which I thought was generally sub-par for a series released in 2006. The music was good, however.

If you’re looking for a different type of series (how many series deal’s with god’s family?) which has some laughs, but don’t really care if your anime has some flaws, then you may very well like Kamisama Kazoku.

First Watched: July 2008
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes