Archive for News

Return of the ‘Nac (Once Again)

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017


Hello, Everyone!

The Anime Almanac was doing very well for itself seven years ago. I had a great following on Twitter that kept growing and growing. I was also receiving boxes from FUNimation and manga publishers every week filled with the latest releases to review on the site. But the part that meant the most to me was attending anime conventions with press credentials. With those credentials, I was given the opportunity to sit down with artists, actors, musicians, and industry folks and tell their stories to my audience. I had a blast doing it.

But we were also deep into the recession at that time, and while I had laughed it off in the first couple of years, could see in 2010 that things were not going so well with my day job. The fear and pressure of losing my job weighed heavily on me, and it prevented me from writing. Convention reports and reviews kept piling on my “To Do” list, but never getting done. I had entire interviews with guests recorded on my iPhone that never saw one word written about them.

And then it came crashing down at the start of 2011. I was laid off from my job and forced to look for something new. I was afraid of the blog becoming an issue with potential employers, so I had taken it down completely. I had to email my PR contacts in the industry to ask them to please stop sending the review copies.

The Anime Almanac was closed.

So what has happened since then?

To -san or not to -san?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The Twitterverse was buzzing today over the news that MX Media, the team behind a lot of the translations that appear on the Crunchyroll simulcasts, was going to stop including Japanese honorifics from their English translations. The announcement caused rage with some fans, and a number even threatened to quit Crunchyroll because of it.

Was this announcement really all that Earth shattering?  Just how important is it to include honorifics in subtitles?

While we simply use “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in English as a sign of respect in very particular situations, the Japanese utilize honorifics almost every time a name is uttered. The suffix you use to address another person often depends on your familiarness with the individual and / or their relation to you in the “pecking order” of society.

Ever since Mr. Miyagi called his pupil Daniel-san in that 1984 Rocky Jr. film, mainstream America has had just a small understanding of the Japanese honorific, if only for the novelty of it all. But anime fans have had much more exposure to the concept through their viewing. After many examples of what characters are called -san, -chan, -kun, or -sensei, they often pick up a very good understanding what situation calls for what suffix.

So after the American fans have learned this fundamental concept of a completely foreign language, they feel more educated and more cultured in the ways of the Japanese. And by MX Media now saying that they’re not going to bother explicitly writing it in their translations, the fans feel like they’re missing out on the authentic experience of watching anime.

But when it comes down to it, how important are the damn honorifics to anime anyway?

Well, I actually consider it to be very important.


The Daily Almanac: Obligatory Summer Wars Review

Monday, March 15th, 2010

So after a huge mix-up  regarding my coverage of the NYICFF this year, I was finally able to catch a screening of the highly anticipated new film from Mamoru Hosoda, Summer Wars, last weekend. Well, pretty much everyone and  their mother has seen the film and have written a review of it, and for the most part, the film has been unanimously praised by everyone.

However, I wasn’t quite as wooed over by the film as everyone else was, and when I tweeted this out, I got some peeps asking me to do a review on it. Well, I wasn’t really planning on doing this, so here’s my brief review of Summer Wars using as little spoilers as possible.

Summer Wars is a good movie, it might even be a great movie. But is it as amazing as the hype makes it out to be?

Far from it.


The Daily Almanac: Protecting the Virtual Children!

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Man, the loli wars just keep on coming. Maybe I need to rename this column “Today in Lolicon” from now on. That’s pretty much all the news that’s worth talking about this week.

Today’s big news is over a proposed bill in Tokyo to ban “virtual” child pornography. The new law would ban the sexual or sexually provocative drawings of children who appear to be under the age of 18 regardless of actual age described in the story. The bill will be voted in committee on the 19th, then it would move up to assembly on the 30th. If it passes assembly, the law will go into effect this October.

This would normally be the point in the post when I would joke about “saving the virtual children” and maybe even providing a quote from a fictional loli girl in order to mock the ridiculousness of this law, but GodLen has already done that. So I’ll just take this one seriously this time.


The Daily Almanac: Dance in the Censorship Bund

Monday, March 8th, 2010

So the big bombshell that was dropped last Friday when FUNimation began its simulcast of Dance in the Vampire Bund was that the American distributor would be censoring scenes in both the online streaming version and DVD release. Although they would not specify what was being cut out, the scenes were obviously centered around the story’s main character, a female vampire in the body of a little child, and her knack for walking around topless with only a black thong on.

[…] after viewing the unedited as well as the Japanese broadcast edit of the series “Dance in the Vampire Bund,” we have determined the series contains controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences.

With this in mind and with approval of the licensor, we will edit select scenes from the series in streaming and home entertainment release. These are scenes which are inappropriate for U.S. viewing and are not essential to the storyline.

And the whole internet went ape over this.

“How dare they censor our anime!”

“What’s the big deal? The manga was far worse!”

“What about artistic expression?”

“What about freedom of speech?”

“I’m going to boycott this release and any other series FUNimation releases from now on!”

“At first they went for the lolicon, and I said nothing…”

Well, now let me say something.

I have been quite vocal on this blog through out the years against the idea of censorship. In fact, the second post I ever wrote for the Anime Almanac was a long rant in 2005 against VIZ Media for censoring one panel in the comic series I”s. On top of this, I have been a strong advocate against the criminalization of lolicon images in America, since I feel that no work of fiction should be made illegal no matter how vile or disgusting it might be.

But despite this type of background and years of advocating against such things, when this huge news came to light last Friday, I immediately understood why FUNimation had started doing this kind of censorship on their products.

And in fact, I completely support them in doing it.

So why is that? Why do I feel that FUNi censoring images in 2010 is justified while VIZ censoring manga in 2005 was complete bullshit? Am I just being biased towards the one company and not the other?

No, it’s because of the Handley case, people. The Handley case changed everything.


The Daily Almanac: I’m Your Slave

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

DearS is a comic in which an alien race of big breasted women (and some pretty boys as well) crash into Earth. Along with highly exposing space costumes, the women wear dog collars around there neck. The collar is symbolic of the fact that their only purpose in their alien life is to find a “master” of the opposite sex and faithful serve under them as a “slave.”

Strawberry 100% is a grade school soap opera where a girl accidentally flashes her strawberry patterned panties at teenage boy when she trips over him. She runs away completely embarrassed,  so the boy never gets her name or a good look at her face. But he becomes completely enthralled with the bizarre episode, so he goes on a quest to find the girl with the strawberry panties.

Chu-Bra is the story of a 7th grade girl who is obsessed with women’s lingerie and forms an “Underwear Appreciation Club” with a group of her classmates. Because of this premise, the comic is constantly showcasing its female characters in their underwear, and often in very sexual position as well.

And finally, Kodomo no Jikan is the story of an elementary grade school girl who shamelessly flaunts her sexuality to her male teacher in order to tease him and get him in trouble. Because of it’s portrayal of a little girl in such a way, it has arguably become the most controversial manga title in the past decade, and was even banned in America by Seven Seas publishing.

What do all of these comics have in common?

They were all done by female manga artists.

That’s right, the most offensive, perverted, fanservice-laden, otaku-pandering, female-degrading manga of the past few years have been penned by female manga artists themselves.

How about that, ladies?


The Daily Almanac: It’s Not Stealing, it’s Called Homage!

Monday, March 1st, 2010

So as I wrote in my post last Friday, the internet has been going nuts for the past few day over the alleged plagiarism of Nick Simmons, son of rock band KISS’s Gene Simmons, over some panels he apparently lifted from the manga Bleach. Deb Aoki of Manga provides a lengthy recap of all the debates going on surrounding the act and just how bad it is compered to the digital piracy of manga online.

You’re not going to find me quoted anywhere in that recap. I didn’t participate in any of the online discussions or debates for one reason:

I don’t think that this act of “plagiarism” is really that big of a problem.

Isn’t manga an industry filled with copycats already? Why are we suddenly singling out Simmons here for imitating art he saw in a comic he obviously enjoys?

Manga artists are constantly ripping off each others styles and ideas, and that’s just a normal part of the business. Look at the massive dojinshi subculture built around amateur artist selling knock-off versions of their favorite comic series. Originality is something that you rarely see in this medium.

Sure, Simmons was probably cutting it a little too close with copying over so much of the panel like that, but I felt that he made more than enough changes to make it “his own.” That’s why I completely stand by Simmons as he made his public statement today calling his work an homage to Bleach. That is exactly what it is, an homage.

And let’s not forget that Bleach artist Tite Kubo seemed to be completely dismissive of the issue as he tweets (translation by Ms. Aoki), “I’m more interested in the fact that Gene Simmons’ son is a manga-ka than whether he’s plagiarizing me or not.”

After all, what’s really the big deal? Copying is just the manga way of doing it.


The Daily Almanac: My Favorite Magma

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Well, we got hit with another snowstorm in Jersey which has kept me indoor for the past two days, and I got hit with a major cold today that has kept me in bed during that time. So today’s post is going to be brief and hilarious.

The Twitterverse has been all abuzz the past day over the alleged plagiarism of Nick Simmons, son of rock band KISS’s Gene Simmons, over a panel he apparently lifted from the manga Bleach.

That’s a story I’ll save for another day, but for now, lets talk about something funny. In response to the accusations a Facebook page, someone posing as Simmons went on an ignorant rant denying he watched anime nor ever “read a Japanese comic book or ‘magma‘.”

Thus gave birth to the My Favorite Magma meme on Twitter last night. All of the best anime and manga titles… just a little bit off. This would probably be the titles your grandmother would say if someone asked her what anime shows you were into.

You can see the entire list with the #MyFavoriteMagma hashtag, but below are my personal favorite magma titles.

Enjoy the list and have a good weekend, peeps! I hope many of you are able to make it to the NYICFF tonight and tomorrow. (^_^)


The Daily Almanac: It is Time of Closing a Library.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Jon over at JanaiBlog pointed me to this visual novel app for the Apple iPhone last night, My Neighbor Girl (iTunes link: full version and free trial version) . It’s such a simple and stupid game, but I ended up playing all night. Even though I’m still in the middle of playing the latest Ace Attorney game from Capcom, I opted to play the amateurish My Neighbor Girl instead.

I think what really drew me to the iPhone app was the fact that the Japanese programmers actually tried to translate it into English themselves. Not only did they put together a grammatically incorrect and awkward sounding script, but they actually had their Japanese voice actress attempt to read it out loud!

Now all things considered, the Japanese girl’s English is not all that bad. One might assume that she’s probably the top of her class when it comes to foreign language. But still, she sounds very uncomfortable as she struggles to pronounce the English words through her thick Japanese accent. And she gets no help from the script she’s reading from because, as you can see from the screen cap above, it becomes complete nonsense at moments.

At first I was appalled by all the Engrish and switched over to the Japanese audio and text, but then I decided to give it a second chance. And she eventually won me over. There was something kind of cute about the way she was struggling with her English. Kinda moé, in a way.

So if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, give this one a shot. See if its poor translation wins you over as well.


The Daily Almanac: NYICFF Anime Preview

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The New York International Children’s Film Festival begins this weekend, and we have a fantastic line up set for this year. The NYICFF has played host to many American anime premieres in the past, including 5cm per Second in 2008 (read my review here) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2007.

Unfortunately, the festival was severely lacking any anime last year, but they more than make up for it this year three highly anticipated debut films. I’ll hopefully have my reviews up for all three titles in the next two weeks, but for now, let’s check what the NYICFF has to offer in this year’s anime preview:

Summer Wars

NYICFF 2010 opens with the scintillating new feature from emerging anime star Mamoru Hosoda, a film whose “dazzling fluency of motion and untethered brilliance of invention makes the usual fantasy anime look childish and dull.” – The Japan Times. Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job – passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake. This “intriguingly intelligent” cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour-de-force, with the amazing world of Oz as the highlight. Like the Internet as conceived by pop artist Takashi Murakami, Oz is a hallucinatory pixel parade of cool avatar designs, kung fu jackrabbits, toothy bears, and a bursting rainbow of colors.

Summer Wars will be showing Friday, February 26 at 6:00 pm (Sold Out) and Saturday, March 13 at 11:00 am (still available). Mr. Hosoda will be in attendance for the Friday showing.