Spring 2009 Roundup 1: Hayate no Gotoku!!, Natsu no Arashi!, K-ON

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Looking at the twit- and blogosphere these days, it looks like I’m late to this new season party. But let’s get started with a few things, shall we? Today, I’ll be profiling the second season of Hayate no Gotoku, the new SHAFT/Shinbo Natsu no Arashi, and the talk of the town K-ON.

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The cancer that is killing Bleach

Why do we suffer?

While K-ON devours the souls of the moe crowd and Full Metal Alchemist helps people remember a time before the present economic crisis, Bleach heads into yet another season of shounen mass appeal. Though I previously had some thoughts about how Bleach is better in terms of depth and execution than the vast majority of shounen shows, the fact remains that it is increasingly bound by the limitations of its genre. Significant problems with power level escalation and a need to maintain already-introduced characters bog down the story. In the manga, this has already led to some ridiculousness – replacing character speech with random song lyrics has no real effect on the intelligibility of the action, which demonstrates just how worthless the dialogue has become.

Bleach 213 is an extended parody of sentai shows that lasts the entire episode. This is a serious problem, as even at the end of the episode, they opt for the clichéd “To Be Continued . . . ” closing rather than ending the farce. In other words, the B-string crew of Bleach will now get an entire season to themselves, and quite likely, they will be parodying sentai tropes all the way through.

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Darker than Black: Anime Noir – Decompresed Review

Falling stars were inauspicious

Darker than Black begins with a placid and yet inauspicious scene.  A girl stands before a majestic night sky, as stars fall down.  The quiet piano notes that accompany it hint of the beauty, wonder, and terror to come.  We are then thrown, as is so often the case, in media res.  A man evades his pursuers.  His desperation is evident in the speed with which he hurtles down narrow walkways and leaps across rooftop gaps.

Immediately something is amiss, even if we can’t put our finger on it.  Why would a man hunted by the police run in the same direction that police cars were traveling?  Even if he was confident in his ability to escape capture by drawing upon his contract, why would he reveal this power to them?  He doesn’t seem to thrill in fights or thumbing his nose; his demeanor remains serious throughout.  In this manner, Darker than Black builds up many puzzles over the course of its story, lending to the mystery of the series. Continue reading

Arthur Kirkland hates lolis

Images that depict underage girls and boys are about to be banned in the UK.

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First, some context (quotes from experiencefestival.com:)

“The United States Supreme Court decided in 2002, and affirmed in 2004, that previous American prohibition of simulated child pornography under the Child Pornography Prevention Act was unconstitutional.”  The main issue was that there was no harm to any actual children, and the court found that viewing of this material had no causative link to harming children.  True, someone sexually attracted to children would enjoy this kind of pornography, but the converse was not true: someone who enjoyed it would not necessarily harm, or have any feelings for, real children.

“UK law has dealt with simulated images quite differently since 1994, when the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act introduced the legal definition of an ‘indecent pseudo-photograph of a child,’ which is prohibited as if it were a true photograph.”  This act was originally interpreted to apply only to photorealistic images; drawings that were clearly not based on any real children were permitted.

Now, however, things may be changing.
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Dragonball Evolution: Over 9000

A note from the author: This was the 2009 April Fools’ column for Anime Diet.  While many of the facts mentioned in here are true, mixed in with them are many wildly erroneous citations.  The concept was that as a positive review of Dragonball Evolution, it would be naturally viewed with disbelief by the international otaku community. However, this was not the case for many readers.

Anime Diet first brought you news of the Dragonball live-action adaptation months ago. Thanks to the liberal application of sake, reporter moritheil was able to sneak an early look at the film, not due to open in American theaters until April 10.

Dragonball Evolution.

Dragonball Evolution is the story of the young warrior Son Goku, who races against time and the vengeful King Piccolo to collect a set of seven magical orbs that will grant their wielder a power level in excess of nine thousands.  Side-effects of this ultimate power include the ability to induce repetitive dialogue and spontaneous destruction of sensitive scientific equipment – a seemingly random quirk which becomes surprisingly relevant in the movie’s original plot.

The very name of Dragonball Evolution has become a hissing and a byword.  Critics all over the globe and within this very publication have decried the affair as a stain on the careers of James Marsters, who plays Piccolo, and Chow-Yun Fat, who plays the turtle sage sans shell. But contrary to all expectations, the film thrilled this reporter with its nuanced approach to characterization and unexpected hints of social awareness.

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International Saimoe 2009 – Round 5

So, like all otaku, I did my duty.  I climbed Mount Kunlun to pay homage to Haruhi and vote in the International Saimoe League 2009 Aquamarine Period — Round 5 elections. I am a blogger of Anime Diet, moritheil, making an obvious reference.

International Saimoe League 2009: Draw upon the power of your moe to breathe in space!

While this isn’t the original Saimoe we all love to gripe about, ISML is vastly simplified.  This directly benefits the participants in that it does not feel like working a second job.  The staff have also gone to extra lengths to be inclusive of international crowds and their submissions – some might argue too inclusive.  See this for Touhou-related drama.

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