Melancholies and Demons

By bluemist on May 21st, 2009

The Melancholy Code

angelanddemon
Welcome to the sequel.

haruhinati
Our church is at war. We are under attack from an old enemy… the trolls at KyoAni. They have struck us from within and threatening us all with destruction from their new god Haruhi. For years, Haruhiists have been trying to understand so many aspects of our Haruhiism, including the creation of the second season. And yet they have not found the answer.

haruhination
But I tell you folks, the path is alive! In just a few hours the truth shall be revealed. The wheels have been in motion for a long time. Our victory has been inevitable. Never before has it been as obvious as it is at this moment! But this victory has cost every one of us. And it has cost us deeply. Our comrades have been brain asploded for weeks leading up to this day. And so I step back from this battle with great humility.

This series was big to me. I was actually in Japan back in summer of 2006. The anime just ended its television run, but the virus had just begun to spread. In my actual first visit to the otaku land of Akihabara, I thought it was Haruhi land. You know it’s big when massive posters, DVD promotion materials, cosplay, and tons of merchandise related to the series are being shown at literally every corner. Of course, being a newbie, I only would be able to skim the surface, meaning the streets and major shops. Who knows what goodness lurks inside those hidden otaku and doujin shops that I didn’t dare venture into back then. And being total failure for not taking any pictures, this text would be the only account that I would leave you. I enjoyed it, the immersion. Even if I don’t have money to purchase anything, I would just idle around and window shop.

Three years later though, it isn’t as big to me anymore. What’s the problem? Do I need a rewatch of the original series? I read forums and such, they are still hyped about this thing. And their anticipation seems to be building at a climax since the reveal of the 8th episode to be the FINAL(or is it?) nail in the coffin about the so-called “second coming”. In my case though, I just follow the clues never really digging deeper into it. I don’t mind seeing more of the SOS-dan gang, but I don’t mind “not” seeing them either. Oh, maybe I’m a bit saturated of them because of the many animemes that feature them. I consider Haruhi to be a major prime mover of the modern doujin era, and as a rabid consumer of all things parody and MAD I literally see some sort of Haruhi everytime I watch those videos. In Hollywood terms, maybe this series became my Star Wars or Back to the Future. I don’t remember much details about those movies, but I frequently refer to them because they were some of my favorites. And I would tend to laugh everytime some or article or post would refer to quotes from those movies (ex. 1.21 JIGAWATTS!).

Maybe that’s the point. Haruhi, to me, became a meme. A franchise that would forever be embedded in my entertainment consciousness whether I like it or not. This is in essence a good thing, because whenever something gets elevated to meme status, it means that it’s now a legend to me. Call it “silent hype”. I won’t shout loudly about my Haruhi fandom, but something inside of me is greatly wanting the second season to happen. Well, it “will” happen eventually. We just don’t know if it’s this Thursday late-night, after the 14-episode rerun of the anime, or some other date far far away. This massive trolling by Kadokawa and Kyoto Animation, while seen by some fans as demonic and cruel, is actually a unique way of advertising. The oncoming sh*tstorm will certainly be interesting. I will update this post for the results, but I’m sure you’ll be faster than me, because I’m sleeping tonight. I don’t care when it comes, but when it “does” come, I will watch it. Enjoy the hype, people.

Update: Didn’t sleep. So I found this:
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TV5 Animega – Episode 1: The Emerging Tiger

By bluemist on May 20th, 2009

http://www.tv5.com.ph/showsmain_anime.html

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In the last episode of my Animax-Asia series, we see Animax-Asia make TV history. This time, one of our own Philippine TV channels is about to make its own TV history too. It’s an exciting time to be an anime fan!

Well, admittedly I don’t follow Filipino dubs of anime anymore, so it’s not as exciting to me. However, I certainly appreciate its existence, because I used to watch them regularly. Today, there are a lot of people who are still not into DVDs and fansubs, heck I think some don’t even have cable TV. That is why when progress is made at the local TV front, I had to be there up close. I used to be fairly active in a number of Philippine-based anime forums some years ago. Ah those were the days. We’d nitpick every cut being made in the anime, be it for censorship reasons or just to insert more ads into the timeslot. We’d bash and praise bad and good voice acting, compare the Filipino dubs to the original, and try to see how the translations fared during the conversion.

While I have graduated from watching dubs on local TV and on cable, I still follow a bit of the local scene to see how anime is being treated. As I had said in the Animax-Asia article, choice is good. What’s quite amusing is how fast they catch up to me today. Animes that are being licensed and acquired by our local TV companies are getting newer and newer. There used to be a couple of years gap between an anime’s airing in Japan and its airing in the Philippines. That gap is slowly shrinking. I am seeing acquirations left and right of anime which are fairly recent. Now, much like Animax-Asia, there is a new tiger in town… TV5.

Since the new management change, the channel has revived its anime primetime block. This will be the first time in 5 or so years that anime can be seen on evening, because the other major channels have trashed this idea in favor of more lucrative markets like gameshows, the usual teleseryes and more meh reality series. TV5 goes a step further, with its anime selection seemingly and surprisingly relevant to the very discerning anime fan. Maybe their staff are anime fans too, probably knowing about the fansub and internet world and also what’s critically acclaimed and popular in anime. In any case, they know their stuff. They do decent dubs, they never cut anything badly, and they show full openings and endings. Also, they are pushing the bar in turnaround time. Currently they are airing Code Geass R2. How about that? Within half a year, the anime is here. I don’t know anything about the television business, but they must have a decent amount of budget dedicated to anime licensing, localization and promotion. I heard that TV5 has partnerships abroad, and so maybe there’s the source of their finances. What’s amazing here is that they see the potential of anime in primetime. They know that someone is bound to stick to their channel during the anime slot while the other big two channels are showing crappy soap operas. For better entertainment, watch anime instead.

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Now they are pushing further. Remember Toradora? It just ended in Japan this spring. Guess what… they’re airing it NOW. But wait, there’s more! Remember Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? THEY’RE GONNA AIR IT TOO! WEEKLY! Alright, this is not the “same week in Japan” treatment in Animax-Asia, but they are merely 7 episodes behind. This is TV history by any respects, the very first near-simulcast broadcast of any anime in the Philippines. The fastest acquired anime, and it’s no sloppy anime either. This is freaking Fullmetal Alchemist. I’d give up Naruto and Bleach for this thing (then again, I’ve already given them up long ago)! Suddenly the tables have not only turned, but tumbled over. I now regard TV5 as the new local TV anime authority.

They aren’t even in this business for a year yet! They just showed anime after anime since August of 2008 as if they were insane. One of their very first lineups was Shakugan No Shana, and I was fashionably late in discovering about it. I didn’t care much about the anime, except that I exclaimed that this is good news. Some months later, I saw more anime being acquired, and I started to take notice. The rest is history. Everytime I see something new in TV5, I always get surprised. From classics like Ranma 1/2, mild hits like Special A, DNAngel, and Ragnarok to REALLY good stuff like Azumanga Daioh, Code Geass, and Cowboy Bebop, this is really a powerhouse lineup that trumps even the 24-hour anime cable channel selections.

I really hope they’re generating profit with this, because I’d hate to see a major stumble in their awesome run. At this point, I don’t care if they start showing reruns of their old anime licenses. The selection is vibrant anyway. In any case, I’ll be following the progress of this channel’s anime block from now on. I do admit, I don’t watch dubbed anime regularly anymore, and so I am not their audience. With this post I’m merely spreading the word. If you live in a cave like me sometimes, and you still like your anime served in Filipino dub, please tune in to TV5 every primetime evenings to see what you’re missing.

Update:
tv5haruhi
I FACEPALM IN A POSITIVE WAY.

Another big arsenal. Regardless of whether you like Haruhi or not, you know it’s big.

Hitohira

By bluemist on May 17th, 2009

Hitohira
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Once in a while these things pop up, a slice-of-life anime gem that most of us may have skipped in favor of other more hyped series running in the same season. Hitohira had absolutely nothing going for it. High-school setting about a drama club, zzzzz. Didn’t hook me up that much from the get-go. But what I was about to experience is something special. It may not have the greatest story in the world, but it is a story well told, by very lovable and relatable characters.
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Naritai Jibun

By bluemist on May 7th, 2009

amu4
Sorry, this is not so much about Shugo Chara, as I have been backlogging that series since the first few episodes of Doki disappointed me. Well okay, let’s just say I can relate with Amu-chan in some things, especially the fact that she has some sort of multiple personality issues. When I left the story in the first season, she was conflicted with that fact that she has multiple “would-be selves” represented by 4 or 5 of the Shugo Charas. In due time, I’m about the enter the same phase.
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bluemist anime blog pirated edition 7 release candidate

By bluemist on May 5th, 2009

bluemist anime blog pirated edition
Read my old article first. Interestingly, I have more things to add today, since the situations have changed a bit dramatically in under that couple of years.

Back in late 2007, the concept of licensed internet video streaming of TV shows and movies was at its infancy, but now it is going mature. The solution to the internet piracy problem is here. Well, almost. A sizable amount of shows, even anime, are being legally streamed in a very wide variety of sites. Moreover for the anime side, the concept of being left out with the latest stuff in Japan is coming to an end, as more new anime are being simulcast to the world through internet and even cable television. Sometimes it’s even faster than fansubs, and you wonder why fansubs are needed anymore. It’s really a good time to enjoy anime and other entertainment while staying legit.

However…

We are still at a transitional phase in this war against yarrr. There are still certain aspects of piracy that still leaves it in a gray area, at least in my point of view. You see, I’m not from the United States, and so most 90% of all that legal, streaming or downloadable internet content is unaccessable to me. Why? Regional restrictions. You know what I think about it? It’s a load of crap. Take for instance Crunchyroll. Good service yes. But even if I subscribe to their standard anime membership, my anime selection is still limited according to my region. Let me say it again in another way. Despite me having to pay the same darn amount as anyone in the United States, I still can’t watch the same anime as them. In fact, I can only watch… 10% of what they can. WHY?

It makes no sense for me in so many levels, but there can be a lot of technical terms in worldwide copyright licensing mumbojumbo blah blah that can explain to me why I can’t have the same anime fix as other people around the world. Well you know what? That doesn’t matter to an entertainment consumer like me. Other people will either say “well you can’t do anything about it, third-class citizen of the world” or “well there’s always the torrents”. Either of those still seems unfair. Think about it.

It’s not like it’s only the United States’ fault or anything. While their worldwide trade policies are too stagnant to compare to the advances in technology nowadays, their kind of setup is still the economic standard of the world. And we are at fault too. I read an article recently about book tariffs. Our country put a high customs import tax on a certain popular novel series which I would only name as ’emo vampires’. Imagine that, putting a high price on a mere book for personal or government profit. Crab mentality which almost hampers the flow of information. Same way with licensing. If some show is from Japan, we need to import it to make it legally available here, but we have to pay the price.

I proudly announce that I finally bought the To Heart DVD set. Awesome yeah. To Heart is one of my favorite anime series ever. But with buying that DVD set comes along realizing the painful reality of the current trade policies of the world. That DVD set cost me 40$, which is the same price an anime fan from the US can get it. But me, being in a third-world country, with my third-world income, cost me an “additional” 40$ to ship the thing… AND a horrible 40$ more for the customs tax. RAAAAAAGE!

What can I do? This is the only way to go legit. Sure, I can finding relatives in US and Canada who’ll get it for me cheaper, but that’s an added hassle. All-in-all, with globalization slowly becoming real, these old crappy policies must change. Too bad that they won’t because everyone’s too busy with the recession and all to worry about a problem that only affects a few people like me. But that in itself is a problem. You know why we’re having a recession? Because old habits die hard. We are either too weak or too lazy to change things. That’s another whole issue that I already explained in that older article, so let’s stick back to the new idea. While having more entertainment legally available to the internet is good and all, we are still being dragged down by the old policies of the old industries. Especially the ones outside those holy lands. Simply put, if one wonders why I stick to gray-area piracy for some particular entertainment I want to listen to or watch, I’d say because it’s not available in my region. Sure, label me a pirate, but I have tried everything in my power to go legit. I have failed in some parts, but thankfully I did succeed in others. That 10% available anime. That To Heart DVD set. I told you my money will eventually go to your pockets.