Hey everyone, I participated in Deadlight’s podcast again. This time about crappy Fall series that we initially liked, Studio Gonzo and their new film, a video game adaptation, Bayonetta. Listen here!
It took me ages to catch back up on this one. I originally intended to drop it, but then I heard strange positive words about it. Now that I’ve caught up to episode 20, I have to say: whoa. What happened?
The series originally struck me as this decent mecha show that was doomed to not stand out due to characters who were way too busy exhibiting their own quirks. For its first half, it was there, I guess: surprisingly charming, but nothing special, and then its second half came. And it was a bit weird, but it actually managed to improve in every single way. Even the animation.
Seriously, most series have gorgeous first episodes and then settle for this average animation quality afterwards. The cg battles of Majestic Prince have had some really good production values! Not to mention that the fights are all really well directed and intense.
But what really struck me was that I was completely proven wrong about the characters. Episode 19 in particular: oh my god what happened there. I mean, when the kid left on this dangerous mission saying stuff like “when I get back, I’ll tell you my crush on you”, he was obviously setting his own death flag here. But the way it happened. That actually made me teary-eyed.
The character development in this series actually turned out to be really good. It made me really think of how I originally labelled these characters too cartoonish, choosing it over Valvrave, which at the beginning seemed to have more solid characters, and yet the complete opposite turned out to be true. What Majestic Prince actually did was take these quirks and develop them. You have the guy who always wants to be a hero: he still does, but he showed much more stuff about his character, plus throughout these episodes we got to see different sides of what it means to be a hero. The ditzy girl? She’s still ditzy, but she actually got to see the upsides and downsides of being ditzy, she both got in trouble and the spotlight, sometimes thanks to this ditziness, others due to complete other reasons. That’s good storytelling! Compare that to Valvrave, which never really did anything remotely similar to these subtle characterizations and just went for shock value.
The question is: how do you recognize this as early as possible? I mean, there were hints right in the first episode that the charactrs were more than just their quirks, but they were very subtle, and could be very easily confused with a series that just had bad characters. I think that the thing with having quirky characters is that you need to balance things out: you need to know the difference between using these quirks for sympathy, and just using them to be obnoxious. Being creative helps. Having a straight man who is an actual straight man helps too: someone with an actual brain. Good chemistry will also be a hint: see if the characters work well together.
And most importantly: Are these characters one-trick ponies?
Also, did episode 20 just hint at what I thought it hinted at?
Hey everyone, we’re back with another podcast. This time it’s about a director (Seiji Kishi), a writer (Mari Okada) and an animation studio (Bones). It’s about an hour length in total, and in it are Deadlights, Juno, Slashe (Nihon Review) and Mr. Flawfinder (Standing On My Neck). Enjoy, for those of you who are interested.
I really want to apologize for the lack of updates. I’m currently trying to catch up on Uchoten Kazoku’s episodes. I should have an episode review of them ready tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to talk about what it means to be blogging, and the moment that every single blogger dreads: the lack of updates. This is a very personal entry, but I hope that it helps both myself and others who are in similar situations. For those of you with a tl;dr mindset: I have no intention to quit blogging; I still really like tihs blog, and nothing about that has changed.
In my nearly eight years of blogging, I have seen a lot of blogs coming and going. In general, the short-lived blogs quit because the author loses interest: it’s a nice little experiment, but either a loss of enthusiasm for anime itself, or the inability to just blog regularly is usually the reason for these blogs to close down. For the longer-lived blogs, the reason usually is that people grow out of anime; they change and the priorities in their lives. I’ve also seen a handful who come back after a hiatus of a few years, but that usually just ends with a few posts.
As for me, I still identify as a blogger. It’s true that we just had the worst Spring Season in the past ten years, and a pretty abysmal Winter Season as well, but I really noticed that that didn’t diminish my love for anime. There were plenty of series that still captured me, ranging from Aku no Hana, Shingeki no Kyojin to From the New World and Chihayafuru. And the current Summer Season is really showing that Anime is far from dead. Series like Uchoten Kazoku, Tamayura, the new Rozen Maiden: I already love them and I really want to cover them.
So yeah, the problem is where to find the time to blog everything. I’ve said before that I’ve been very busy, both with my full time job, and that I’ve got a much bigger social life than what I used to have now. I always was a bit vague on what that actually meant, so let me elaborate a bit on my schedule.
I actually just started my new job last week. It’s a job of 36 hours per week. Mondays through thursday I work eight hours, and on fridays I work half a day. On fridays and during weekends, I usually have some sort of appointment with some friends of mine, or attend some public events that I know that people with similar mindsets attend as well. On weekdays I’m usually at home around 6pm, and done with dinner around 7pm, ideally.
The thing is, that it’s not like I don’t have the time to blog anymore. I know for a fact that if I use my time well, even with all my appointments, I can blog 12 shows per week and even have time for a movie. It’s also not like I don’t have the energy for it. I know from experience that I can get energized while watching a good episode. This season is full of those series! The problem is that I spend way too much of my time on the internet, browsing pointless videos that serve no point whatsoever. I’d say about 20% of it is useful: checking mail, keeping up with friends, that kind of stuff. However most of it is just random goofing off; spending way too much time on facebook, or watching stupid Let’s plays on youtube.
Let me get on a bit of a tangent here, because I also dabbled in a bunch of western games during the past half year. This is sortof relevant to this post, because I noticed that playing these games only increased my laziness in the long run. The thing is though, that gaming nowadays sucks for me. And it’s not like I picked bad ones. I’m talking about games like Minecraft, Civilization, the Binding of Isaac. Games that sound good and full of depth on paper, and I used to be a fan of civilization in the past, but every single one of them gets bogged down by repetition. Minecraft had me mining the same rock for hours after each other. Civilization starts off interesting, until you have to do the same tasks over and over again and games take waaaay too long, and the Binding of Isaac also isn’t really random once you realize that all you’re doing is running through a bunch of rooms and shooting things. It’s also a problem that I’m not good at gaming, so it takes me even longer than the people
Another example of this: platformers. I recently played Rayman Legends, after being a big fan of the first two Rayman series. But there too, the levels just kept looking way too much like each other and halfway through the level designers just give up and start to recycle previous levels. This is the same repetition I see at all kinds of other platform games: everything is just way too similar after playing a bunch of levels. There is way too much repetition and way too little creativity. Even Skyrim got tedious after killing the umpth zombie.
NB: as a honorable mention, these are western games that I do consider to be good:
– Portal: It’s short, witty and keeps you interested; the hype is very annoying, but this is what games should aim to be. And I mean the philosophy of variation, not just literally paste Glados in every game. That totally misses the point.
– Temple of Elemental Evil: a western RPG, half broken without a fan-made patch and a bare-bones story. However, what I loved is what you could completely customize your own set of characters and most importantly: you are encouraged to make these characters flawed and incredibly diverse, making it ridiculously fun to do all sorts of creative things with them, and watch them grow. The only downside: the more characters you have in your party, the less experience you get, the more you need to grind. Grinding is evil!
– Beyond Good and Evil: short game, divided into four arcs. Every arc is different and focuses on a different element of gameplay and has a different atmosphere.
Anyway, repetition. It can be incredibly evil. It can trap you in this routine that you can’t escape from. The more you get used to it, the more you keep looking for options that offer easy kinds of repetition. However, there are enough examples of good repetition. This is the type of repetition that is fulfilling. Think about getting out of bed at the same time each day, doing exercises on a regular basis, spending time on your hobby (in my case blogging). The annoying part is that the evil repetition easily has power over your will and motivation to focus on the good repetition, and once you lose that focus on the good repetition, getting back is impossible unless you put in effort.
You can’t just say “I’m going to do better”. That won’t work, you’ll usually succumb to the evil repetitions usually within seconds. You need to completely change your mindset, and actually DO it, not just talk about it. Acknowledging the problem doesn’t work, while wasting time on the internet I see way too many people just joke about it, without offering any practical hints of how to get over it (9gag is by far the worst offender of this, and everyone should actively block that evil website).
So I was wondering what you guys do in order to get out of a slump? For me, I noticed that with other parts of my life, the concept of fear or impending doom was a good motivator, and at this point in my life I have learned how to turn fear into positive emotions. I haven’t learned how to create it and make use of that, though. Go ahead and share some of your experiences.
Hey everyone, the next few days I will be gone on a holiday to England, including London where I’ve managed to make an appointment to meet up with a few readers and Salisbury, where I’m going to try and get into Stonehenge, although that turned out to be quite annoying to take care of if you don’t have a credit card….
Anyway, I’ll be back later. Take care, everyone.
If you’re interested, go ahead and give it a listen.
I’m currently planning this last minute holiday in which I plan to visit England, and I’m thinking of going to London around July 20th or something. Are any of you in the neighbourhood around that time and would you like to meet up?
Also, there seems to be an anime convention going on around that time. Is that one worth it?
Go give it a listen if you’re interested.
Hell yeah! Seven years already. A lot has changed over the past year, most notably for my personal life being much more active so that I lost a lot of time that I normally had to keep up to date with everything. The past year has definitely been a year of experimentation for me, and I’m definitely not planning to quit anytime soon despite having a few backlog issues. In any case, every year I celebrate this with a few statistics. I’m not doing funny search terms this year unfortunately, simply because of how much time it takes to compile them and make them good (seriously, this involved looking through tens of thousands of different search terms, spotting the odd ones amongst them…!)
In the past seven years, I have written 5361 posts, spread over 268 categories. A total number of 47525 comments have been submitted to this site, and that doesn’t even count the shoutbox. That one has 33355 comments already (in less than a year!!). Here is a list of the top commenters for the shoutbox (yes, I can get to my database with this site, so I can gather more useful statistics):
#20: Sei – 311
#19: Jak – 323
#18: Anonymous – 346
#17: imredjimmy – 381
#16: Raggers – 413
#15: kero – 444
#14: TheUltimateReaper – 502
#13: Ninja – 537
#12: Airies – 705
#11: psgels – 874
#10: dango – 877
#9: Juno – 1112
#8: Kaiserin Emma – 1295
#7: Jalapeno Bagel – 1331
#6: Anca – 1382
#5: Armpit – 1439
#4: wicked – 1895
#3: AidanAK47 – 1906
#2: Bunny – 2949
#1: Kaiser Eoghan – 7580
I’m just amazed at how much Kaiser/in Emma/Eoghan has been able to produce for the past year, especially considering how long his comments usually are. In any case, here is the list of the people who left the most comments on this site. And yes, this goes all the way back to the beginning of this site:
#35: reverse – 167
#34: Perrin4869 – 167
#33: senerikfred – 170
#32: Windspirit – 173
#31: Westlo – 173
#30: WatcherZero – 174
#29: Tan-Tan – 179
#28: chounokoe – 182
#27: PL – 183
#26: Wyrdwad – 186
#25: Joojoobees – 189
#24: DmonHiro – 193
#23: Hogart – 211
#22: AKI – 214
#21: c160 – 225
#20: totoum – 229
#19: Anca – 232
#18: m – 239
#17: Anon – 241
#16: Kero – 248
#15: Frost – 254
#14: chris – 261
#13: Alec – 271
#12: windy – 273
#11: Scruffy – 276
#10: Machi – 291
#9: Denizen – 328
#8: Puran – 329
#7: kim – 338
#6: AidanAK47 – 353
#5: Firechick – 360
#4: wicked – 384
#3: Solaris – 531
#2: MeOW – 647
#1: psgels – 2522
This was also the first time I looked at these numbers, and I must say: thank you all for leaving so many comments. I had no idea how many of you provided so much feedback until I actually saw this. Anyway, as for viewer statistics: in total this site has gotten 17294328 page views (that’s 17 million), and 9723537 unique visits. Yes, we’ve nearly reached the 10 million. I unfortunately cannot do a list with the most accessed posts since google analytics screwed up since changing sites, however here is a list of the most common search terms (aside from variations of ‘psgels’ and ‘star crossed’.
#30: kekkaishi review
#29: black lagoon review
#28: overdrive anime
#27: best anime 2007
#26: ergo proxy
#25: top ten anime
#23: xxxholic rou
#21: heroic age review
#20: casshern sins review
#19: clannad after story review
#18: bakumatsu kikansetsu irohanihoheto
#17: baccano review
#16: angel beats review
#15: kaze no stigma (this is one from way back; I once wrote a really bad first impression of it and it somehow landed high on Google; it kept haunting me for the next year afterwards)
#14: mahou shoujotai
#13: seirei no moribito
#12: toward the terra
#11: clannad review
#10: blassreiter review
#9: eden of the east review
#8: dennou coil
#7: school days review
#6: mouryou no hako (I love how people were actually looking for this one; it’s still generating traffic, although not as much as a few years ago)
#5: saiunkoku monogatari
#4: aoi bungaku (I did not expect this one to generate so much traffic as it did)
#3: top 10 anime
#2: that anime blog (I still like how people basically come here looking for the wrong blog)
#1: darker than black review
Hey everyone, there are just four blogs left in the Aniblog Tourney. This match is going to be special, because for the first time in all of the matches that Star Crossed has participated in, things actually might become a close call. Metanorn has been sweeping away all of its opponents, and it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Be sure to check it out, before voting, here: