Mamoru Hosoda Month: Introduction

A stubborn and impulsive teenager jumps into the air, rewinding time to fix her mistakes. A family gathers around a computer, desperate to fight an AI hell-bent on destroying the internet. A young mother moves to the countryside to raise her halfbreed children shortly after her lover dies in a tragic accident. A recently-orphaned boy runs away and learns martial arts from a humanoid bear. Time-travel. Virtual worlds. Motherhood. Adolescence and manhood.

Welcome to the world of Mamoru Hosoda.


Bookwalker Manga Sampler

Bookwalker is one of the few digital manga sites of recent years that could be considered a success.  It started merely as a digital spinoff for Kadokawa with only a barely localized site and a handful of titles to its name.  These days they've got partnerships with Viz, Seven Seas, Yen Press, and other notable manga publishers and their digital manga offerings represent one of the biggest and most diverse selections to be found.  While digging around in their library, I found a trio of food-themed manga that practically begged to be examined for our most literal Manga Sampler yet.

Bookwalker Manga Sampler: Ekiben Hitoritabi, Shiawase Restaurant & Seiwa High School Bento Club!


"And the Oscar Goes to...Anime?"

With the Autumn season around the corner, I figured that now was the best time to discuss the Oscars. You might think I’m crazy to mention something that doesn’t occur until the end of February, but this is the beginning of the biopic/Oscar drama cycle anyway. Besides, anything to be heard before I’m drowned out by the whiners!

There’s a lot to unpack with the Oscars. On one hand, there’s the horse betting, or picking a movie and getting mad when it, yet again, loses to something “inferior”. I find that tedious and subjective, something I doubt most people understand, so I won’t discuss it. Then there’s the racial politics, which is a little more interesting, but-again-I’ll avoid that because it’s complicated. Finally, there’s the issue of whether or not there even needs to be an award ceremony, especially given the first two points I mentioned. Once again, however, I’ll be avoiding that.

I’d like to, instead, focus on something that’s been bothering me for a while now. It’s not really about the Oscars, but rather how it’s perceived by certain groups in the film community. More specifically, how it’s perceived by the anime community. I’m sure some of you know where I’m going with this, but it’s worth re-stressing: whether or not an anime film deserves Best Animated Feature simply because it’s an anime film. The short answer is, “No, so stop asking.” But since it requires elaboration, especially whenever a Studio Ghibli film gets nominated, that’s exactly what I’ll do.


Otaku Queer: Milly Ashford

I find that anime and its surrounding mediums and cultures are really interested in queer people in interesting ways. Japan's particular brand of sexual repression has resulted in some strange and varied examples of queer character in their pop-fiction, and a lot of those characters helped me figure out a lot about myself and others. However, they're almost always loaded with problems in how they're represented, or the text is afraid to actually state their sexuality or gender identity outright. So, for this series, Otaku Queer, I'll be looking at different queer or queer coded characters in Japanese media (I will try to avoid headcanon stuff too often) and seeing what is done right and wrong in how they're represented.

To start off, I decided to look at a character from one of my favorite anime that happens to share my own sexuality, bisexuality. We begin with a look at Code Geass' Milly Ashford.


The FUNimation Alchemist Debacle Take III: Project Henry Goto

What in the ever-loving-


A while back, I wrote about Aniplex of America yanking the Fullmetal Alchemist IP. I, fortunately, managed to secure a BD copy of Fullmetal Alchemist before it went permanently out of print, but for the longest time it’s bothered me that something so inherently linked with FUNimation Entertainment has received such terrible treatment. It didn’t make sense: Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood were FUNimation’s biggest money-makers outside of Dragon Ball Z. They were the reason so many people became anime fans in the West. They were what came to mind immediately when you thought of great Shonen outside of The Big Three. Why yank what was making big bucks?

Apparently, Henry Goto, the president of Aniplex of America, has finally given us the answer. Recently, an article on Anime Herald cropped-up containing snippets of an interview between staff writer Seth Burn and Goto on the current state of Aniplex. The details are…interesting, but there’s one part that rubs me, as well as many other people, the wrong way: Aniplex of America’s pricing models. To quote Goto directly:
“I don’t want to devalue the content.”


The Sailor Saga

Let’s talk “feminism”.

Assuming you haven’t decided to ignore this piece because of that sentence, I should note that feminism, like racism and Zionism, is one of the most frequently-maligned and least-understood “isms” out there. Feminists are shafted for being "greedy" and "dominating" by dude-bros who fear the desire for equality amongst the sexes will “ruin all that’s pure in this world”, when this isn’t the case at all. Feminists really want women to treated respectfully, yet this resistance has led to many straw-man representations in media. Feminists are so frequently written as jerks that need to be humbled by men that the few instances where they’re treated with respect is refreshing.


Smut That Doesn't Suck: Hikari Ochi-Tekina

What is smut? It's a slang term for erotic works, yes, but what does that entail? When this series started, Megan and I stuck pretty closely to some of the more basic ideas of smut. Mainly, that there was sex or lewd stuff in there. But the thing about human sexuality is that it keeps finding new ways to make us aroused in the strangest ways possible, just for the fun of it. To prove this, I'll have to expose you to a work I found on Pixiv cal-hey! You get back here! I promise this isn't horrifying. Seriously. I'm up front when thing will be scarring pits of madness. This particular little story is titled “Hikari Ochi-Tekina”, or roughly translated to “Falling to Light.”


Jonathan's 20 Worst Anime: 10-1

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk to you again
Because a vision softly creeping

Play time over, time to look at the ten worst fucking shows I have ever seen in my life so far. Holy shit who thought this garbage was okay. And I'm sorry GATE and Mahouka are not here I have not seen enough of them but yes they are the worst goddamn things.


Grave of the Fireflies: Aching Allegory, or Sappy Slog-Fest?

Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 anime film from Isao Takahata. The 1st of his 5 films under the Studio Ghibli banner, and the 5th of his films in general, it’s often considered one of the greatest anti-war movies ever made. It holds a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.5/10 on IMDb. In spite of this, I remain divided on it. Why is that?

When I began my “What Works/What Doesn’t Work” series with Howl’s Moving Castle, I had this film in the back of my mind. I’ve been meaning to write about Grave of the Fireflies for Infinite Rainy Day for a long time, yet never had the right format. Now that it’s been long enough, I figured I’d finally try. Here goes.

As with my previous two pieces, there’ll be heavy spoilers. You’ve been warned.


Seasonal Reviews: Summer 2016 Pt.2

We are now at the halfway point of the season, so it's time for a check-up on our premiers and see what's worth looking at, now that we have a better idea of what these shows actually are. We got a lot of gems and crap to go over, and the staff is free to drop up to four full shows because we all have shit to do and halfway into the season is a good point to make a judgement call.

Apologies for lack of second opinions, many of us were very busy. With the intro out of the way, here's the halfway report for the Summer 2016 season.