This blog just barely reached its 4th year of existence!
Thank you for the 1.9 million hits so far. Yup, it kinda never reached the usual 500k hits per year trend that I was having, but considering my even lower-key status this past year it is as expected. Thank you for the comments, no matter how few. It just means that there’s someone who really reads and cares to react to my stuff. No matter how big the anime blogging world has become, I’m thankful enough that people still enter this little place. I hope that my little voice still spreads the fandom love all these years.
Moving forward, I realize that I need to do a lot of things. One is the blog layout is kinda old, and I need to improve the navigation. Apologies also to the people still not included in my Blogroll, hopefully I can update that too. I also need a little updating of articles here and there. The old posts still get hit after all. Lastly… BLOG MOAR! I really hope this upcoming 5th year will be a fruitful one. I look forward to enjoying more with you, my fellow bloggers and readers. Thank you again!
See, I have this little collective in this blog called the Summer of Bishoujo project, a series of posts about the eroge/bishoujo genre. Lately though, my interest in this side of fandom is in a bit of a decline, and so I may have to focus on a different thing this time.
Over the years I have really written a sizable amount of content for that genre. In this blog, readers have always known me as one of the guys who like bishoujo games. But there is an entirely other side of me that I want to express, and that is… the shoujo genre.
Surprised? I have written enough of categorized, stereotyped, and multiple hair-colored girls. It may be high time for me to write about more real, sweet, cute, cool, spicy, and romantic sides of femininity. I’m not a girl though (but when did it matter anyway?) Shoujo is IMO the best. Ever. Nothing can match its power in expressing the female spirit. So many characters, unique, lovable, and strong. So many stories, magical, romantic, and endearing. I have been entertained by shoujo anime and manga time and time again, and this may be one genre that I can never get tired of.
Problem is… how do I start? In the bishoujo side I really built up a foundation over the years, posting, cross-posting, and referencing even my older posts. With shoujo I really have to start from scratch. I think I have written only a few anime reviews. Also, my memory’s getting old, and with it the knowledge of all those shoujo manga and anime I have followed over the years are just fading away. I really hope that this is not the case, because I really have LOTS to talk about in this genre.
Those were really the days. I was a shoujo fan before I was a bishoujo fan, this was and is essentially my beloved genre. From IRC downloading of fan scans to buying Fruits Basket manga. Watching Karekano in VHS. Shamefully discovering Cardcaptor Sakura because of Cardcaptors (that horrible US adaptation). Crying over Full Moon wo Sagashite. Kodomo no Omocha, nuff said. Everything Hana Yori Dango from manga to jdorama (even taiwanese [not korean yet]). Reading all things Yoshizumi Wataru from Marmalade Boy to Ultra Maniac. All those mahou shoujo anime from Ojamajo Doremi to Pretty Cure. Enjoying the symphony of Nodame Cantabile. Zipping through Skip Beat in just 2 days. Wondering what Honey and Clover is all about (haven’t watched it). Eagerly awaiting the next fated NANA chapter. AND MORE CARDCAPTOR SAKURA! I want to express, write about, and enjoy these with you.
And so, as I attempt to draw a new circle, a new collective of content related to the shoujo genre, I hope you guys and gals can stick around as usual. I’ll be the same lazy old blogger (almost 4 years now), but yet exposing another one of my high interests. This is not to say that I’ve abandoned the bishoujo circle. I just want to include this new one. This should be a spot-on way to drive me to WRITE MOAR PLZ.
As a final note, this blog’s hidden tagline in WordPress had always been:
“where shoujo and bishoujo meet”
I think I displayed the tagline in a couple of early blog layouts. I had never lived up to that vision. I hope it will finally all come together starting from here.
Megurine Luka – Double Lariat
This song kinda inspired me to write this, as it kinda signifies moving on to a different or bigger direction in life.
Let me start the ball rolling again, even if it’s late. The key to restarting a blog is to start talking. I’m fairly noisy over on my Twitter, so I hope it could translate into something here.
I’m trying to shift focus this time. Because honestly, the bishoujo side of things isn’t up to snuff lately. Sure, Clannad is still as good as ever… but do you remember AIR?
I don’t think even KyoAni topped their own previous creation. AIR was arguably the greatest-looking TV anime ever made, and I think (hope) many would agree. It had the stuff you’ll jizz your pants with even if you only have a 720p rip of the not-even-true-1080p Blu-ray version. But it’s not only about visuals, the story (though compressed) had a perfect pace episode-after-episode. The music was completely based on the game (and therefore faithful to the original), and the overall package is just superb. The legend of KyoAni didn’t start in Haruhi IMO, it started with this one.
Aside from the yearly almost-consistent quality bishoujo anime from Kyoto Animation (AIR, Kanon, Clannad), the quality of the “side-dishes” (I may be harsh) of this genre has somewhat degraded over the years. Well, it is a relatively recent category (it just exploded in 2003) so I’d give it more breathing space. Who knows, it may have some kind of influence that we aniblogger gaijin may not notice. Ever wonder if it (Shuffle overexposure) ever made an impact when Densha Otoko aired? Hey, those may be picture cameos, but with 20% of Japan watching that show, someone must have noticed. Right? Right? If Densha Otoko started some maid cafe boom, did it start some buying-eroge boom?
I used to make a yearly poll of the best bishoujo game/visual novel/eroge-based anime over at AnimeSuki Forums. This year, I’m not so sure if anyone’s interested. I myself have praised nothing but Clannad, and I expect the overflooding of votes for that anime since I don’t think anything else matters this year. Kimikiss was IMO great, but not for everyone. Da Capo II was really great, it was faithful to the game, but only in the latter half did it commit to its promise.
After those two anime… er… I had to check anime lists to see what else aired during the year. H2O? Anything good about that? How about Koihime Musou (wasn’t it an ero anime too?) How about Akaneiro and Chaos:Head? I think the reportedly decent ones this year are true tears (but that’s not based on the game) and ef (haven’t watched yet because I’m lame).
So that’s my bishoujo catchup. Up next… hopefully… the shoujo catchup.
If you are an old reader of my blog, you would certainly notice that I do inject a lot more terms in Japanese today. I understand that this is indeed a bastardization of both languages, English and Japanese, but sometimes I can’t help it. How do you translate “tsundere” in English anyway? It’s hard to provide banter on new trends in anime without adhering to those new trends themselves.
This recent documentary about how bad anime fansubs are nowadays also was a bit of an eye-opener for me. Clearly the guy who made it has raised some spot-on points, although I would argue that he’s a bit barking at the wrong tree. Fansubs are NOT professional subtitling jobs! Hence the “fan” in fansubs right? Well he did mention that old fansubs are better, and I have no qualms about that. He’s right too, many old fansubs are on par with professional subtitles. The problem is, in this modern age of information overload, the term “fansub”, and maybe even “fan” itself, will have changed.
dim the lights in your room
until your vision goes dark
let me tell you a story
how the angel drowned my spark
i went to a faraway land
filled with gold and milk and honey
in search of my life’s vices
wasting more of time and money
not knowing of their words and culture
i strive to understand
wanting to be like them
i try to comprehend
but they will always treat me different
they could never perceive me whole
i am left alone to feed
the hunger of my soul
until one day when she arrived
upon the heavens above
a fallen angel at my feet
to hold, to move, to love
but i not know the ways of love
as she smiles at a blank face
i cower my head down to hide
the isles of hidden disgrace
i am not a man worthy of gifts
yet she is wrapped in silk
in front of me a shining star
that sparkles the skin of milk
words were exchanged and understood
unlike the land of vices
i slowly detached myself from greed
and followed her advises
i became prepared to flee
and i was prepared to fly
leaving the innocence of my journey
beyond this sinful land’s sky
but the angel was nowhere in sight
and she never came back again
the life she led me, full of hope
only to falter in the end
i never knew what the meaning
why she was but never will
how temporary an entity is such
the angel never stood still
i then left this wretched land
and went back to before i wandered
i now asked myself who i am
but my question was never answered
and then i realized the whole truth
what the angel took away
my sight, my words, and my innocence
without my spark, i was astray
whatever i had i can never bring back
and so i could only move on
i walk to the next faraway land
in search of the hope beyond
and so my journey goes on
as i make another mark
i will never ever forget
how the angel drowned my spark