Honey and Clover: Why not?

July 5, 2006

honey-clover.jpgOkay, I give up. I’ll follow Honey & Clover. Because everyone β™₯ it, so there must be a damn good reason to watch it.Β 

I watched episode 1 a while back, and it left me bewildered. OK, there’s this bunch of art students. They live in this crappy hostel. And then there’s Morita-senpai, where everyone is apparently afraid/amazed/awed by. He comes and goes, and disappears for days. When he returns, he has a bucket load of money.

My sis theorises that he’s a secret agent. I kinda like the idea. But apparently Honey & Clover is not that kind of show. In fact, I’m really not sure what kind of anime it is. Some has called it “slice of life”. Thing is, I’ve not really fared well with slice of life anime. Ok, so I only watched one slice of life anime, which is Windy Tales. And boy did that bore me to tears.

So, why am I watching? Not just because it has the “oh gosh it’s so popular” factor but because of Morita-senpai. That weird guy is adorable. And I want to know if he’s a secret agent. πŸ˜€


Scary yaoi fangirls

June 29, 2006

jazzy.jpgI’ve recently come across this new species. They’re called: Scary yaoi girls.

Maybe it’s because I’m not an American anime fan, but I’ve never in my life encountered this otaku fan species. From reading bloggers and lurking around fanforums, the general consensus is that these yaoi fangirls are worse than irritating. Some come close to calling them abominable.

As this post on Tainted Blog says in her rant, I Hate Fangirls, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part I of II:

So stop writing your fanfics slashing every male character known to man together, stop acting like Gravitation is the pinnacle of genius (and if you honestly think this, then you are either lobotomized, under the influence of heroin, or a fucking retard), and sit down and shut the fuck up because you’re making all of the more subdued and discreet fans look like jackasses.

And from travels around the animeblogosphere, this species have the tendency to:

  • Look longingly at actual gay guys and follow them around
  • Slash every known canonical character (do not, for the love of God, tell me how much you love Roy heart Ed! Don’t touch my Roy!)
  • Think you’re a homophobe if you don’t like yaoi
  • Think you’re a loser if you don’t like yaoi
  • Talk really loudly about yaoi and make sure you know that they are yaoi fans.

Wow, this makes me very reluctant to admit that I read yaoi. The fact that I’m not of ideal size would probably lump me in the “fat yaoi fangirl” category which would really suck.

So I read yaoi? Big deal. I read Monster and Black Cat too. In fact, I wouldn’t even really categorise myself as solely a yaoi fan because I read a wide variety of manga; the bookstore person where I buy my manga from even know what I’d like: deep, dark, and gloomy stuff. πŸ˜›

Yeah, yeah, I do find yaoi fascinating. But most of the time I find it quite stupid. πŸ˜‰ I mean, hello? What’s with this constant “I like you,” remarks in the genre? And you love the guy after a night in the sack? Sure. I find it funny. But I enjoy it for what it is: Fantasy.

Slash fanfics? I hate it. I vehemently cannot read them. I suppose scary yaoi fangirls would start sending me hatemail when I say that. πŸ˜›

And no, I honestly don’t think Gravitation is the pinnacle of genius. I think the art sucks big time, but I find the relationship between Yuki and Souichi funny – touching even at some points. (Btw, there’s nothing pron-ish about Gravitation, honestly, but that’s just me.)

Fake is another widely-praised shonen-ai series, which I don’t understand why to be honest. Art was awful in my opinion and the little kids that tag around Ryo? I want to murder them. Bloody annoying creatures. And Ryo is way too much of a tease. Of course it does wonders to the Unresolved Sexual Tension. But it’s not all bad. You do want to see them hit it off. (cough cough)

The fangirls I’ve met in my country are rather … normal ones. Sure they love anime and stuff, but you wouldn’t guess it if they sat next to you. The ones I’ve met are successful career women while some are quiet, studious students (in Malaysia, smart people are generally more popular in school, not “losers”).

Or maybe us Asians are just generally more subdued. πŸ˜‰

You know, I generally hold this principle: You can act however you want to celebrate your love for whatever fandom you’re in. However, when you tell me how I should love my fandom and the way I show my love of it is inadequate and on a loser scale? Stay away.

So I think this is the main reason why people dislike rabid fans of any genre be it yaoi, anime whatever: you just get this general impression that they think you suck because you don’t like the same things they do or do the same things they do to express their love for the genre.

This really makes me think twice about attending an anime convention in America. (Maybe British anime fans are less crazy.) I even cheekily suggested to my friend that we attend yaoi-con, but after reading about scary yaoi girls, maybe I should run.

They’d probably drive me ballistic.


Don’t bring your manga to Canada!

June 20, 2006

mangaread.jpgGee, and I thought that my country was strict. This blogger had her manga looked through by Canadian customs officers and ..

As soon as I declared that I had some of the japanese inspired comic books called manga, a Custom’s officer said, “That’s the stuff from Japan; there is some really obscene and filthy stuff.”

No, I pointed out, these was printed in America and very mainstream. As more and more officers were called in, the six manga books I had were examined in detail. They were looking, they told me, for pornographic, obscene and adult material. “The age rating is on the back of each book.” (each manga book has ratings like 13+ or 15+ – mine were 13+).

I was informed that I could have put different covers on or done anything else I could to get the pornography in and that if I spoke anymore, the books would be seized. So I stood there and watched my previously new books get examined page by page, thumbed through and pressed open because it was assumed if I read manga, that I was a sex offender.

That sounds like a joke doesn’t it. Except the exact same phrase “That stuff from Japan…” was used two weeks earlier on my last trip through Customs and my manga examined for the same reason; because Japanese manga is “really filthy stuff.” The reason I was so heavily raided this time, I found out afterward, was one of the manga titles had the word “boy” in the title, which “alerted” them to pedophile materials. Huh? Can someone please go get my next issue of the romance manga Tokyo Boys and Girls from the US? I’m too scared.

Gee. This is as good as the time when a Malaysian daily claimed that all anime was h3ntai. πŸ˜‰ (Read this blog entry: Anime is pron)

t was a big hoo-haa in my country and thank goodness a few other newspapers quickly corrected that newspaper. Not that they'd admit that they did wrong. πŸ˜‰ To them, it was justified. Hmm.

So, much misconception about the terms "anime" and "manga" still exists. Ask any book supplier in Malaysia and they'll tell you the problems they have with bringing some manga over. Many are confiscated – and I'm not talking yaoi stuff. Some are regular shojo and shonen titles. Someone told me that Saikano was on the "banned" list for one of the bookstores because it had love-making scenes.

I remember the time when my good friend brought some yoai manga from Singapore across the border to Malaysia. She was worried that she'd be arrested. (Incidently, in Singapore, you have to produce your passport/ID if you want to buy yaoi! Look ma, I'm buying pron!) I laughed it off then, thinking that it's such a joke, but with the post above, now I am starting to worry. -_-" And the manga that she got was more shonen-ai-ish than anything else. It's definitely not in the "hotness" realm like Embracing Love.

And that's why I live on scanlations. In my country, where sodomy is a crime, yaoi is just banned.

Ah, thank your lucky stars if you live in America, people! You guys not only have anime conventions and the like, you get to buy manga without fear!


Spring anime that passed the test

June 8, 2006

"My" test that is. Earlier, I made a little prediction on what anime I'd dig and those that I am so-so about. Curiously, one of those that I'm so-so about became one my favourites. Here is my list of favourite anime from Spring 2006. And the no.1 winner is:

ouran.jpg

1. Ouran High School Host Club

For being the anime that consistently makes me laugh each time I watch it. This show has been such a delight – the quality of the animation is superb, and I so love the work by Tamaki's seiyuu, Mamoru Miyano. Without him, I don't think I'd like the show much! And a big thumbs up for each time Haruhi mutters, "Those rich bastards." Another big plus point – it's fansubbed really quickly.

It's not difficult to see why Ouran has won the hearts of many. Haruhi is such a cool, unflappable heroine while Tamaki is such … a ditz. And we love Tamaki as the ditz .. πŸ˜‰ Though, since I read the manga as well, he will reveal a suprisingly angsty side to his personality. Can't wait to see Haruhi's reaction to all that!

Yes I am a Haruhi x Tamaki shipper.

2. Saiunkoku Monogatari

Now, why isn't this no.1? Minus points because it's subbed really slowly. Sniff. But the bishies and the intriguing and rather romantic dynamics between Ryuuki and Shuurei and the complicated plot (believe me, things will really get complicated with SPOILER!! this old guy who is actually a young guy but not really a guy but …. you'll see).

3. Tokko

A lot of people said it sucked, but I kinda like it. I have read the manga … and I don't really mind the fillers, really. I'm kinda sad that it's going to end at 13 episodes, however. Maybe I just like shows where there are dudes and dudettes in leather jackets slicing open zombies.

4. Black Lagoon

I love the whole "salaryman becomes pirate" deal. The animation is superb, and viewing it each week has become a sort of guilty pleasure. πŸ˜‰ It's like watching A-Team, anime style. Or something like that. And Revi kicks ass.

I wish there's a no.5, but I haven't had time to watch much anime. πŸ˜› Utawaremono and Jyu Oh Sei I'm downloading, but I've not really watched yet. I don't like the whole harem thing going on with Utawaremono (I think that's how it's spelt) – call me uptight, but I dislike harem shows with a vengence. Jyu Oh Sei I want to watch when the entire series is done. It's a kind of show that you have to watch in one sitting on account for the major angst. I hate to be left hanging after a harrowing ending for one episode. And man, why do I smell a tragic ending for this one? No, don't tell me if you know the ending. πŸ˜‰
Shows that I'd rather not touch. At all: Nana. But why???! Okay, I don't know, but shojo has always irked me. πŸ˜‰ I don't have much patience with the whole "Does he love me? But I'm not sure I love him but maybe he loves her" deal. I'm the type of person who'd shove the undecided guy and girl together, push them in a room, lock the door and throw away the key and yell: "Okay, have sex now!"

I like the art and animation, but if I were to watch it I'd rather watch it with the entire show already in a box set so I won't be driven mad by the weekly pussyfooting by the characters and then the long wait before we see the resolution of it.


Introducing, Anime Nano!

June 8, 2006

In my country, there's an ad for a sweet called Nano-Nano, and the song for the song is infectious. It goes like this: "Nano-nano-nano-nano nano…" Ok, I really can't illustrate it very well without music.

That's the song that played in my head when I heard about Anime Nano, brought to you by Basugasubakuhatsu Anime Blog! Hung, as we Malaysians say it, "Your blog name very hard to rememberlah!" πŸ˜‰

But yes, I was excited when I saw that a new aggregator popped up and was one of the first to sign up. πŸ™‚ I wanted to join blogsuki but was daunted by the "must be six months old" rule. πŸ˜›

I felt like I didn't really have a chance with Anime Nano, but I tried anyway. I got in! Yipee!

Unfortunately, I can't seem to upload my picture. (Scratches head) How weird.

I chose this nifty Roy Mustang pix as my user pic:

roymustangclip.jpg

Can you tell that I'm a little infatuated with the Colonel?

Ever since I joined Anime Nano, my hits have gone up. πŸ˜‰ Very happy – and I got, like, six comments for my last post! Yay!

The long story short – thanks for creating Anime Nano, Hung. πŸ™‚


Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid OVA

May 27, 2006

fmp1.jpgfmp1b.jpg

If you want a reason to watch this OVA, I'll give you a few: Wanna watch Sagara Sousuke completely loose his iron-clad cool? Wanna see Tessa half-naked? Wanna see Sagara see Tessa half-naked? Ok, nuff reasons already.
fmp2.jpgfmp3.jpgfmp4.jpgfmp4b.jpgfmpex.jpgfmp6.jpgfmp5.jpgfmp7.jpg

It's really nice to see the Full Metal Panic team again – without Kaname Chidori though. ;P To be honest, when I heard that the OVA was going to be about Tessa, I was so dissapointed. I so wanted to see Kaname and Sousuke again at their usual antics. Who cares about Tessa?? (And Tessa fans throw rotten tomatoes at me.)

But this OVA is so funny, I forgot my former grudge. Basically the story is this: Tessa wakes up drunk one night and catches our favourite Sergeant totally off guard. Why? Because Sousuke doesn't know what to do with a Tessa that is clad only in a shirt and undies and who is all for rubbing herself all over him. 
This has got to be my favourite scene in the OVA. I know, it's cruel, but I enjoyed seeing Sousuke sweat buckets and stammer like a jumping mexcan bean and with his voice almost at a falsetto! Man, priceless!

While trying to find out what happened to her – how did she get drunk?? – Tessa tastes Kalinin's cooking, stumbles upon Kurz Weber who is in a big fight that has something to do with a couple of fighting pigs. This all ends with a confession to Sousuke that produces hilarious results. Are you dense, Sousuke?? Apparently, yes. πŸ˜‰

This OVA is like Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu only instead of setting it in school, we have the whole comedy thing in the Danaan. Watching this OVA had me yearning yet again for more Full Metal Panic. Sob. I hope they have a fourth season. I so want to see it. Snifffff …

If you want a nice sypnopsis of the entire episode, visit Random Curiosity.


Kiba (Wolf’s Rain) = Tamaki (Ouran High School Host Club)

May 23, 2006

ouran2.jpgkibawolf.jpg

Kiba (right) wonders when he can have Tamaki for dinner.

My best friend and I usually make it a point to find out the seiyuu behind the anime characters. We’re just almost always left in awe by the talent and versatility of the voice actors.

When we first saw Ouran High School Host Club, we checked out who played Tamaki and nearly fell over when we realised that it was Mamoru Miyano and he voiced Kiba in Wolf’s Rain!

You see, Kiba = angsty, moody bishie (well, he’s actually a wolf, but who cares?)

And Tamaki? He’s the total opposite. Vain, silly, ditzy, flake – insert other adjectives if you like, but he’s certainly not moody or angsty! If Kiba met Tamaki in real life, he’d eat Tamaki for dinner just to shut him up!

I just enjoy how Miyano voice Tamaki. It’s just perfect – there are moments when Kiba does sneak through; those rare moments when Tamaki is either angry or serious (like 0.001% of the time) and it just sends chills of nostalgia down my spine.

Ignore me, I’m just being fangirlish. πŸ˜›


Fullmetal Alchemist: Bluebird

May 22, 2006

I fell in love with the opening sequence of this very rare game immediately. The song by Ayumi Hamasaki, "Moments", has a lot to do with it, but what clinched it for me is Edward Elric in a uniform. πŸ™‚ And Roy. πŸ˜› Oh God, I'm such a sucker for Roy. Then there's Pride – not the King Bradley one from the anime. This is an "alternate reality" Pride. In the manga, he remains hidden, I believe.

In this game's version, Pride – well at least according to my friend – was made from Edward! It's an alternate ending of the game, so if Ed dies, you get Pride. Ooooooh.

Darn, too bad the game is no longer in production. But it's made by fans, and it's extremely rare and everything. Ah, at least we have the opening sequence on youtube. πŸ˜›


Boys’ Love, anybody?

May 13, 2006

kweep1.jpg

I love Ouran High School Host Club because the comedy is so on. Compared to the manga, it's actually funnier – and this is a rare case where the anime is actually better than the manga. (The manga tends to take the fun out of the humour a little by overexplaining the humour.)

One element of Ouran that I have to get used to is the "twincest" between the Hitaiichin twins. In case you straightaway rate the anime as an R-rated show, rest assured that for the twins, it's just an act to pull in the girls that they (cough) "service". And nothing goes beyond a teary-eyed look and embrace. πŸ˜›

But like the character Haruhi, I really don't understand the appeal of having twins showing, er, romantic love towards each other. Its still ick to me, but I laugh anyway when the Hitaiichins do their thing because, in case anybody doesn't know it already, Ouran makes fun of the whole boys' love genre to the max.

The twins represent the brotherxbrother "genre" that appears in yaoi sometimes, while Mori and Huny represent the whole "shota" deal. Shota – and I'm probably oversimplifying it – is where the seme – the dominant guy – is this massively huge guy and the uke, (the submissive guy) is shorter, more effeminate and here's the rub – they often look like children. Eventhough it's almost always stated in the story that they're 18.

It's hilarious how Ouran tapped into the shota genre with Mori and Huny. Huny looks like a six-year-old, but he's actually 18. Apparently the author jokingly said (in the manga) that since Huny's birthday is on Feb 29, he grows only once every leap year. That could explain it! ;D

I personally just hate the shota genre. It's just too unrealistic and it reminds me too much of paedophilia. Sorry to shoto lovers – no offence, yah? But with Huny and Mori, it's all played out so … subtly … I can handle that. πŸ™‚

This post is sparked off by a post at Sama Zama: Boys' Love: Yo-go or No-go? where he asked whether you'd stop watching if Haruhi never turned out to be a girl. To be honest … I will. Not because it's too shonen-ai as a result, but because where's the fun of it?

Because Haruhi is a girl, we see Tamaki's antics, we see his jealous streak and hopeless attempts at trying to win her – that's why Ouran is so hilarious!

And about Boys' Love – yaoi and shonen-ai and all that. To be honest, when I first heard about it, I was like, Oh my God, are you serious??

It's not that I dislike gays etc. It's just that I find it absolutely weird that girls will be into this. I am a girl, and I am so not into seeing two guys making out.

Well, at least, was. hehe.

My best friend is really into yaoi and shonen-ai. Her favourite series is Gravitation, followed by Fake. I used to tease her so much about it, but seeing that she's fed up with me making assumptions about the genre, I decided to do my little investigation.

What I found out there was … yikes. πŸ˜‰ I disliked shota-slanted yaoi immediately, didn't like gakuen settings and didn't like how 60% of the time one guy is drawn as a massive hulk while the other is frail and girly. My main complaint about these yaoi is that it is so unoriginal, silly and unrealistic. (That's why I don't really like the shonen-ai aspect of Yami No Matsuei either … it doesn't seem very realistic at all.)

Then I found Takanaga Hinako's Tyrant who fall in love or Koisuru Boukun and I was smitten. (DramaQueen has licensed it, and to my utter relief, is naming it The Tyrant falls in love. I've been dying to insert the "s" after "fall" for ages.)

Both of the guys are drawn in a realistic fashion (meaning, they don't look like underdeveloped 18-year-olds, and both behave in a realistic fashion – no weepy ukes here! The weepy one is the seme, hehe.). Then it's absolutely hilarious as well! I thought – well, if yaoi can be like this, I don't mind.

I understand why girls dig yaoi now. As a girl, I find it romantic that guys can be so 'emotionally open' to each other. Some girls say it's because they can see two bishie guys having 'fun'. But I also understand it as a fulfilment of a girls' desire to see their guys as sensitive and emotionally open as the men they see in yaoi. And oh yeah, that they're sexy, desireable and all that as well. πŸ˜›
Well, so far no yaoi out there has topped Tyrant, and I don't expect any to. Perhaps my taste is just far too narrow (or fussy and spoiled, as my friend says) for me to enjoy the yaoi genre properly, so I'll call myself a "dabbler" more than anything else.


My Spring 2006 anime list

April 7, 2006

With my limited bandwidth, and with Streamyx being as sucky as it is, I have to severely limit my choices. Sigh! Here's what I'll definitely watch:

tokko.jpgTokko
Supernatural, psychological, mystery horror show! I'm in! It helps massively that the hero is cute and has a tortured past. πŸ˜‰ So basically this guy's parents were ripped to shreds by some supernatural bad dude and he joins The Special Mobile Investigation Force to avenge his parents' deaths. It's only at 13 episodes, but hopefully it is a fulfilling 13 episodes.

juoh.jpgJu Oh Sei
Looks very interesting. However, I don't see any fansubbers picking it yet. (Please do, sob!) There's this planet called Chimera where criminals reside. A pair of twins raised in a privilieged background is sent there thanks to a nefarious plot against their father. They have to be "beasts" to survive. It looks very interesting. Wish someone would pick it though.
I'm still watching Fate/Stay Night and Blood+, so my list of downloads is quite packed!

Vaguely curious about:

umi.jpgUtawarerumono
I'm going to have such a fun time remembering this title. A amnesiac man awakens in a strange land wearing a mask that he can't remove from his face. He tries to discover who he is and how he ended up this way. Yeah, I seem to have a thing for men with tortured pasts. The only downside is the loli-looking girls. I really hate loli.

ouran.jpgOuran Host Club
The manga is apparently very popular. It's what one anime blogger I read call "reverse harem" anime. Imagine – six super rich guys in an elite private school have a club where they act as social escorts to the rich gals. So, one hapless nerd knocks over a priceless vase and the six make him work it off at their club. The said nerd, however, is a gal.

ray.jpgRay the Animation
If memory serves me right, it's about a girl who can cure people through rays emitted from her eyes. Saw the manga, wonder whether it's any good. Will probably try it out anyway.

xxxHolic
Only because it's so popular I just have to see what the fuss is all about. Since it's by CLAMP I suppose it will be good. But I don't really like the art much.

Black Lagoon
Internation spy is captured, betrayed by the company he works for. Very little info about it right now, though it seems that it will be fansubbed.

You can find the complete list of spring 2006 anime at Spring 2006 – test wiki.