Good news for Singaporean anime lovers.

From the Zel on the MAL news team

Odex’s court order forcing Pacific Internet to give names of people who have downloaded anime illegally has failed. Judge Ernest Lau ruled that
Judge Ernest Lau said:
Only copyright owners – that is, the studios that made the anime – or an ‘exclusive licensee’ for the anime being downloaded, can take legal action under the Singapore Copyright Act.

Odex is a sub-licensee and had letters from rights owners authorising it to take action on their behalf, but the firm was neither a copyright owner or an ‘exclusive licensee’.

An exclusive licensee has the sole right to distribute a product in a certain market.

By the sounds of it, Odex does not have the right to sue downloaders

Source: The Straits Times

ADV to Sell Geneon Products.

From ICv2

August 24, 2007

ICv2 has learned that ADV will take over sales, marketing, and distribution functions for all Geneon titles effective October 1st. Geneon will continue to license and produce anime content for the North American market;

The extensive Geneon catalogue will continue to be available through ADV, making a formidable combined title roster from the two companies.

Geneon rids itself of a sales, marketing, and distribution function that is servicing much lower volume than it did in the days when Geneon was distributing Viz (Pokemon) and Bandai titles. ADV gains the economies of scale of servicing larger volume on a similar expense base.

Anime Diet Radio Episode 10 – The Big Date

Hey, it looks like this weekly release schedule (audio column-podcast-audio column) is actually starting to work! This is the last podcast we recorded a couple of weeks ago (as opposed to nearly a month ago). We have a lot of fun discussing, as far as anime goes, Code-E, Mononoke, and laughing at English phrases from the Moetan workbook. News items include Thai police officers forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands and a bunch of international cosplayers partying with the Foreign Ministry of Japan.

We wrap up with a Roundtable discussion about otaku dating: how to get a date, and what it has to do with the horrid relational skills of Makoto in School Days! Here we have to give a shout out and reference to otaku dating posts by Riuva and Marmot (sorry I definitely butchered your name the first time, and possibly every other time)! If it sounds like we’re making fun of the posts, we’re not. At least not too much. :) It was just great discussion fodder and there’s actually some valuable advice in both. Seriously, we love y’all and appreciate it.

Anyways, it’s been another fun episode. Look forward to another audio column from one of us next week!

Show Notes

  • OP: “Guns & Roses” by Paradise Lunch (OP to Baccano!)
  • ED: “Stardust Tears” by ACKO (ED to Top wo Nerae 2!)
  • Riuva’s post about dating is here. I wasn’t kidding about the post number! (http://www.riuva.com/?p=666)
  • Marmot’s response to that post and her own tips are here. (http://tinyurl.com/3xou6n)
  • The BBC story about Thai police and Hello Kitty is here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6932801.stm)
  • A picture of the Vice Foreign Minister and the cosplayers is at this site. (http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/flash/KFullFlash20070801053_p.html)

My tribute to a character in Claymore after ep. 21.

Once she was just a friend;
Now a worthy comrade.
Once she was steadfastly strong;
Now brutally slain.
Disregarding rank and class,
She followed me onward.
Not caring for common principles,
She protected me from harm.
I now weep, for she is gone.
I could not do a thing, and she is no more.
I only pray that she rests at the side,
Of the one and only comfort,
That a noble warrior deserves.
May her soul rest well,
And may her spirit live to guide me,
As I trudge forth,
Through endless paths,
Endless days of agony,
And go on without you, my friend.
May you rest well.
Your journey is at an end.
But I shall celebrate our time together
On this land,
With a strong drink that will not make me forget,
But to remind me,
How you were like a tonic to a hurting soul,
And a comfort,
To a journey-wearied mind.
Let not a thousand warriors stop their wailing,
Let not a hundred noble men stop their cries.
For one of the bravest soldiers,
Has been slain and left us.
Only
Her tales shall remain in our malnourished hearts.

[EDIT: Thank you so much, Mitsuishi Kotono sama, for doing a great job playing Jean - ジーンを演じるすばらしい仕事をするために、三石琴乃様、そんなにありがとう.]

The Vault 03: Mahoromatic (S1) 1-5

mahoromatic.jpg

Explanation of the Vault series

Originally published on December 31, 2001. I have, of course, seen the rest of the series as well as season 2 by now. But this is a look at what I was hoping for.

Heh, I just managed to snag episodes 1-5 of the new Gainax TV anime series, Mahoromatic. I wanted to see what the crack animation studio, the makers of some of my most beloved anime ( Evangelion first and foremost, as well as Karekano and the recent FLCL), were up to this time. This show is directed by Hiroyuki Yamaga, a veteran and founder of Gainax studios we haven’t heard from since he directed their very first feature, The Wings of Honneamise.

Briefly, this show is about Mahoro, a battle android who has only a short time left on her lifespan. To extend her life, she goes out of battle mode (she has been fighting aliens) and instead applies to be a maid for Suguru, a junior high school boy who is an orphan (his father was killed in the alien wars and his mother also passed away). They go through wacky adventures together, at least so far. You never know about Gainax and how they end their shows, though Hideaki Anno isn’t in charge this time. :)

Speaking of Anno, the iconoclastic director of Eva and once the head creative honch at Gainax has decided to return to the anime industry (YAY!). He directed the opening sequence of Mahoromatic, and it shows. His love of trains, seen in Eva, Kare Kano, and various other shows he’s directed, is again evident in the beginning of the sequence. There is also one very telling shot which is quoted from the outstanding second half of Evangelion, which I take as a big hint about where this show is going. There are also very fluid flight sequences very akin to his early years as a key animator for SDF Macross and the Daicon IV short–so it looks like he’s gone back to his roots. Yay Anno! Let’s get another anime going, shall we?

The show itself: the budget is obviously not as high as that of their last production, the OAV FLCL, but it’s more than acceptable. This is a very cute show! Mahoro is very sweet and kind, very motherly, perfect for a lonely young orphan like Suguru. Suguru is shy and unsure of himself, but he’s no Shinji (not yet anyway) . . . in the very first episode he stands up for himself. The voice actors and actresses do a charming job of conveying their emotions, and while the story is really not all that original, it is executed well. Note: there is a LOT of fan service in this show–suffice to say that after a long hiatus since the second half of Evangelion, the “Gainax Bounce” is back. I thought it was a bit overdone in spots, especially with the disturbing 25 year old female teacher.

This is especially disappointing since there actually does appear to be a serious subtext to this show, even in these early episodes where it’s relatively light and happy. One scene dealing with Suguru’s late father is handled very well, and it is becoming clear that one theme present in the grim Evangelion–the longing for parental care, especially for that of Mother–might be a big theme in this show too. The more I think about it, the more Mahoro seems to be a mother substitute for Suguru. There is also a military conspiracy plot brewing in the background, which I expect will be played up in later episodes. Certainly all is not as it seems, and it doesn’t look like this show will be sweet forever; at the end of every episode, a stark black screen with white kanji informs us: “Time until Mahoro shuts down: xxx days.” How poignant and disturbing after such a light, happy episode. Video Girl Ai was another show that used a similar idea to great emotional effect.

This is the studio that gave us such great catharthic anime like Evangelion and Kare Kano, and I am prepared for some emotional trauma down the line. It may not necessarily be as brutal as it was in the hands of Anno’s Evangelion but if it can match the emotional intensity, then Mahoromatic may end up being yet another Gainax show that starts as fluff and ends up being valuable. Perhaps a show about an android maid with a lot of fan service can join the ranks of a show about kids piloting giant mecha in being about much more than it seems.

I look forward to finishing this series on fansub, and perhaps purchasing it when it is released in the US.

Rating so far: 3.5/5


Michael is on hiatus for the remainder of August. The Vault series resurrects entries from his personal blog about anime, written from 2002-2006. Entries will appear in the series every other day.

Gunslinger Girl Season 2.

Taken from Anime News Network

Gunslinger Girl’s Second Season Officially Announced
The October issue (on sale August 21) of Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh has officially announced that a second season of the Gunslinger Girl anime series will be produced. The Japanese magazine runs Yu Aida’s original manga about cybernetically enhanced girl assassins that inspired the anime. The production company Marvelous Entertainment had revealed that a sequel was in the works in its 2006-2007 financial report on May 30, but the company then edited the report to remove the Gunslinger Girl reference in early June. Source: Ultimatum

El Cazador 21 – You know, they could’ve used more episodes like this one!

snapshot20070823211939.jpgcute-kid.jpgkill-little-girl.jpg

nicely-animated-flowers.jpglilio-is-smarter.jpgOops!

OK, so this show doesn’t have a lot of gun fights despite showing so many of it in the OP and ED sequences. Also, there are a lot of fillers in which the only thing I see are Nadie’s incompetence and some silliness that just seem out of place to me. But remember back a few episodes ago I kind of raised my score for one episode of this show? Well, here’s another episode that will get more praises from me.

Finally, the council gets impatient (about time), and the Chairwoman orders Jody to go on a mission personally. The mission is to snipe Nadie, and then bring Elis back.

Jody smartly assessed the reason why the Chairwoman asks her to go on the mission personally. Off she goes to kill Nadie.

However, here’s where the seemingly pointless-as-usual minor plot comes (this is starting to feel like these side quests in Final Fantasy series).

Nadie and Elis are tricked by this bald old dude who gets them to trying to catch a vulture for him. Once again, they’re idiots. I mean, both of them can just drive away but they don’t. I thought they were trying to catch some food! But wait, there’s a reason for their stupidity this time, playing this “catch the vulture” game.

friend-or-no-friend.jpgwhat.jpgblond-again.jpg

ready.jpgchisai-no-fan-service.jpgThe idiot dance

However, what this “game” serves is to tell me that Elis wants to be free, which is not exactly new. What the game ends up doing is inspiring Jody to be free of the organization.

What I don’t quite like about this “game” is that it occupied most of the episode in order to unfold that one revelation.

One thing we learn aside from the game is that LA actually doesn’t kill anybody this time around (gasp)! And he bought flowers from a probably poor young flower girl! What the…?

Well, I guess he’s an Otaku (obsessed with Elis and not Anime) at heart. No Otaku wants to hurt women (see Nadeshico for Otaku’s attitude on women). XD

In any case, Ricardo and Lilio show up (gee, what a shocking surprise). Doug talks about freedom, and Jody makes the important decision about her path.

It all sounds so simple but this episode unfold the drama rather nicely, it’s just it took some time to get there. So,

freedom.jpgshoot-them.jpgkind-look-like-madlax.jpg

understands.jpggoodbye-and-thanks.jpgwalks-into-the-sunset.jpg

84% recommended for your daily anime diet. Even just for one episode.

Mononoke 1-4 – The lovechild of Mushishi and Gankutsuo on acid peddled by an old Japanese medicine vendor.

Mononoke-Title

Mononoke is a slightly more bizarre version of Mushishi based on traditional Japanese stories and with Gankutsuou-like visuals. We follow a mysterious character known only as the Medicine Seller around as he travels around feudal Japan uncovering tortured ghosts and putting them to rest. Each story plays out very much as a detective mystery, with the Medicine Seller searching for a ghost’s (Ayakashi) “Form, Truth, and Regret” in order to defeat it. Most of each episode is given over to how the ghost died, why it continues to kill, and how to appease it. While the “twist” is slightly obvious from the initial setup of each story, it’s still interesting watching the Medicine Seller work through the riddle and draw out the sad tale within.

Freaky 1

Freaky 2

The visual style is superbly executed, with bright, garish, varied colors everywhere. Seeing as these are traditional Japanese ghost stories, there are some very freaky visuals: faceless geisha, deformed ghost children, or gruesome dead skeleton animals. The character design is a bit odd, eccentric in appearance, and at times I was reminded of Aeon Flux. Scenes look like illustrations from a children’s book or a colorful ukiyo-e print. They may have been going for the latter effect, as all the images have a rough paper texture to them. As much as it’s the same illustration technique from Gankutsuo, it’s thoroughly unique.

CardsKabuki Framing

There are four episodes out to the series so far, two stories altogether. Each story is framed as a Kabuki play. The traditional Okawa drum is heard occasionally, scenes are often opened or ended with a wooden screen displaying the name of the story, and the Medicine Seller’s recaps sound convincingly like something one might hear coming back to their seat at the end of intermission.

Medicine SellerFlower

Mononoke combines aspects of two series I love, Mushishi and Gankutsuo, and traditional Japanese folk stories, however it doesn’t quite sit right with me. The horror facet of it is not frightening (certainly nowhere near something like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni or Shigurui) but combined with the riotous colors and the bizarre character designs, the tone of the show is a bit frenetic. With its story I cannot help but compare Mononoke to Mushishi and the seductive quality of its subtle, languorous storytelling that felt like stepping into a heady dream. On the whole Mononoke is a well-made series, one of the better ones out this season, but I’ll follow it casually and see if I warm up to its odd tone.

Ringtone from Mikuru’s song.

Let us say it together Mi…mi…mi…Mikuru beeeeaamu!

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