Tag Archives: bleach

Porno Graffitti, Live at Anime Expo 2013

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Prominent J-Rock band Porno Graffitti performed their many anime songs and others live at Anime Expo 2013 this year. Both Monsieur LaMoe and Shizuka were on hand to cover it, with Shizuka taking photos along the way. These are their joint impressions of the show.

LaMoe: So when the concert started–yes, that’s right, I’ve heard this song before, their debut piece, “Apollo.” That completely blew me away. I heard this song more than a decade ago, but it still sounds so vivid and fresh! It made me nostalgic, that speedy and powerful that I still remember so well. It’s amazing how Akihito projects his voice! I’d never heard him sing live until now, and it was incredible. He’s close to 40 years old, but still jumping and running around during the entire show. Such admirable stamina! Listening to the live performance is so much better than listening via iTunes with earbuds on.

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Later they played “Saudade,” which is a song that has a Latin feel to it. The word “saudade” is the fundamental feeling behind bossa nova music, the music pioneered by Antonio Carlos Jobim. But “Saudade” did not sound like bossa nova at all, but more like Santana-like Latin music with a very J-pop sound. They told us during their press conference that the word fit their song, so the mood was still recognizable.

And then there were the recognizable anime songs, especially from Great Teacher Onizuka and Bleach, that made the crowd go wild. Yes, when I first heard “Hitori no Yoru” (the GTO opening song), instead of “Lonely, lonely,” I heard, “loli, loli.” So, I thought it was about a lolicon song, just like The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” Yup, Mr. Onizuka is a lolicon! “Loli loli, I want to see you~♪” Darn! But turned out that was only my soramimi (“mishearing” literally “empty ears (空耳)”). But seeing the crowd dancing to a lolicon song would’ve been so hilarious.

And that Fullmetal Alchemist opening, “Melissa,” oh, such nostalgia. Yup, this anime was from a decade ago! Reminds me… Ah, so good. Yeah, listening to the anime songs live felt so great after all.

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Shizuka: Porno Graffitti delivered an incredible performance for their fans, keeping the energy high within the crowd, as they got the audience to sing along in “Century Lovers” and swing towels (which had been thrown into to the crowd) like cowboys swinging lassos during “Mugen.” But I wasn’t just impressed by Porno Graffitti’s ability to keep the crowd excited – I was equally impressed by their dedication to the music, as the lead singer of Porno Graffitti took out and played a real harmonica during “Winding Road!”

And then, “Melissa” played. My (and probably most fans’) most anticipated song, it was so much better performed live that all I could do was bask in the music. The audience’s response to this song after it was over was so strong that Porno Graffitti played this as their last song in an unexpected triple encore!

It was a give and take relationship between Porno Graffitti and the audience. With Porno Graffitti giving such an energizing performance, the audience gave an incredible show of support through their towel-swinging, “porno-porno” cheering, and frenzied hand-waving back to Porno Graffitti. I’m sure they weren’t ready for rabid American fans, as Porno Graffitti had to tell the audience to quiet down so their voices could be heard at the end of the concert… so they could announce that they would be back!

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LaMoe: Between the encores everyone was screaming, “Porno, porno, porno!” That sounded really weird, but refreshing. It’s something just lost in translation in Japanese. The word porneia (πορνεία) originally meant “fornication” or “sexual immorality” in Greek. Yes, as a rock band, that’s the name it should be. The term”rock’n roll” also meant “fornication.” So, it’s a music for fornication. They provide the kind of music that gets everyone horny. Yes, sexual burst, an outlet for the daily repression of capitalism!

Set List

  1. Apollo (Debut song)
  2. Koyoi, Tsuki ga Miezutomo (Bleach 3rd movie ending song)
  3. Matataku Hoshi no Shita de (Magi 2nd opening song)
  4. Hitori no Yoru (Great Teacher Onizuka 2nd opening song)
  5. Anima Rossa (Bleach 11th opening song)
  6. Saudade
  7. Winding Road (Ayakashi Ayashi ending song)
  8. Ai ga Yobu Hou e
  9. Century Lovers
  10. Mugen
  11. Melissa (Fullmetal Alchemist opening song)
  12. Haneuma Rider
  13. Music Hour

Encore:

  1. Agehachou
  2. Dilemma
  3. Melissa

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Masakazu Morita (Ichigo, “Bleach”) Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket

Masakazu Morita (Ichigo, “Bleach”) Interview – AX 2010 Press Junket from Anime Diet on Vimeo.

Here’s our extended interview with Masakazu Morita, the voice of Ichigo Kurosaki from “Bleach.” Find out which girl from the show he likes best, how learning martial arts helps him act, and what his most memorable scene was!

Plus…see a bonus video with a special message from Ichigo.

Anime Diet Radio Episode 48 – Plagiarize This!

All your artwork are belong to us --Tite Kubo

Full disclosure: Anime Diet Radio was inspired first by the format of the old Anime Nano Podcast…but we can’t say we did what Nick Simmons did to Bleach! Our podcast, unlike his comic, is an homage (pronounced oh-MAHJ) and a tribute of that fine podcast from 2006. That, of course, is one of the topics of the news on this 48th episode of Anime Diet Radio, along with the usual news items about a possible island full of eromanga and a Korean man who just can’t get enough of his dakimakura.

The Roundtable is a little different this time around; due to technical and scheduling conflicts, it’s instead an excerpt of a fruitful conversation between Ray and Mike about the upcoming spring season. The full conversation is also available as a bonus xtra, downloadable on the website–includes all the awkward pauses and scroll wheel sounds you never usually hear on our productions! It’s a raw look at the kind of talks that gave birth to this podcast all those years ago.

You probably noticed that the podcasts have been coming out at about a monthly clip in the middle of the month. That’s on purpose–expect new episodes around this time every month from now on. We are striving to be, as they say, regular in these releases. Yell loudly if we’re late!

Show Order

  • (00:00) – Introduction
  • (03:33) – News 1: A Korean man and his Fate pillow
  • (11:50) – News 2: Eromanga Island is Real
  • (20:37) – News 3: Nick Simmons’ Big Rip Off
  • (30:19) – Mailbag
  • (44:10) – Roundtable: Next Season
  • (55:10) – Conclusion

Show Notes

  • –OP: “Meiya Kadenrou (冥夜花伝廊)” by Minami Kuribayashi (from Katanagatari)
  • –ED: “Refulgence” by Shoujobyo (from Katanagatari)
  • –The story about the Korean man and his Fate pillow was reported in multiple sources. Here’s one from Metro UK, which names the lucky groom as one Lee Jin-gyu [http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/816601-man-marries-pillow]. Sankaku Complex has more pictures (NSFW) [http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2010/03/05/korean-otaku-marries-fate-testarossa-dakimakura/].
  • –This, of course, recalls previous ADR episodes about the guy who married a Love Plus character [http://animediet.net/podcasts/anime-diet-radio-episode-45-the-late-makenai-holiday-show], and our epic episode about the petition to marry 2d women [http://animediet.net/podcasts/anime-diet-radio-episode-28-love-and-marriage]. See also our article which first broke the Love Plus marriage story and predicted it would become an ADR item.
  • –Eromanga Island is real! At least according to the news at Pink Tentacle [http://pinktentacle.com/2010/02/eromanga-island-has-disappeared/], which supplies a map to prove it.
  • –The Nick Simmons scandal has been widely reported from many sources. See some comparison shots on a lengthy Livejournal page [http://community.livejournal.com/bleachness/446299.html]. ANN has Simmons’ statement [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-03-01/incarnate-simmons-addresses-alleged-bleach-copying] and an explanatory story [http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-02-25/nick-simmons-incarnate-halted-over-alleged-bleach-plagiarism]. Our own moritheil also reported on it on our site [http://animediet.net/commentary/great-artists-steal], to much comment.
  • –The game site that is doing a contest to propose a Western-friendly romance game is Gamasutra. Here’s their challenge [http://gamecareerguide.com/features/831/game_design_challenge_.php], whose results will be posted on Tuesday.
  • –Ray and I used Borderline Hikkikomori’s [http://cjblackwing.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/spring-2010-season-preview/] and THAT Anime Blog’s [http://www.thatanimeblog.com/index.php/2010/03/t-h-a-t-spring-2010-anime-preview/] spring season previews for our discussion. Props to y’all.

Great Artists Steal

Good artists copy; great artists steal.

– Attributed to Pablo Picasso

What is the difference between copying something and stealing it?  To copy is to mimic, to ape, at all steps being cognizant of the fact that the thing you are copying is not your own.  To steal is to take something and make it your own.  Therein lies the fundamental difference in attitude between the technically competent and the great: an artist who merely copies without making a work his own has not imparted his own style and has not truly produced something worthy of being called art.  He is a failure as an artist.  A great artist, no matter how much he may superficially use the styles of others, leaves his own mark on things.

Continue reading Great Artists Steal

Helen ESP – What disability?

There are great works of literature on disability. Rather than focusing only on the helplessness of disabled individuals, they turn into affirmations of life. These works serve as important reminders that it is doing what you can that counts, not lamenting what you can’t do.

Helen ESP, on the other hand, takes ignoring one’s disabilities so literally that it is difficult to say the main character is really handicapped. The title character, Helen, is a blind-deaf-mute ripoff of Helen Keller who uses ESP to sense her surroundings and telepathically hold long conversations with her guide dog about subjects as diverse as spirituality, the human condition, and physics. One might give author Kigitsu Katsuhisa credit for the bizarre novelty of reducing a disability to a fashion statement, except that in American comics Daredevil has already done the “disabled superhero” concept for decades, with a titular character that uses “sonar” to “see.”

Way to show isolation, there.
A manifest failure to empathize with the isolation of blind-deaf-mutes.

Continue reading Helen ESP – What disability?

Beginner Anime

Two major categories have sprung up in anime discourse. There are referential anime such as Yakitate Japan and Lucky Star, and there are anime which are designed to be watched with no prior knowledge of anime, such as Bleach and Naruto. In keeping with the concept that otaku culture is like a language to be learned, I will refer to the former as “advanced” anime and the latter as “beginner” anime.

Obviously this is a simplification. These categories are not pure and exclusive. Many essentially non-referential shows, such as Full Metal Panic, still have the occasional reference. Heavily referential shows such as Genshiken or Dai Mahou Touge can still be watched without getting all the references. Overall, however, there is an increasing creep of metatextual issues into the actual body of anime that air each season.

Is this good or bad?

Continue reading Beginner Anime

A N00b Reads Bleach: Volume 1

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Recently, with the help of a Borders gift card, I acquired volumes 1-21 of the Bleach manga in a big box set! I’m not a total stranger to the franchise–I watched the first season of the anime a few years ago–but I am new to the manga, and I’ve decided to embark on a blogging journey and write a few things about each volume I read. Much of the story will be familiar at first, as I cover the ground from the anime’s first season, but I’m looking forward to the parts of the story that are new to me.

So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on Bleach, volume 1.

Continue reading A N00b Reads Bleach: Volume 1

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.

Continue reading The cancer that is killing Bleach

Alien Nine: Utter Alienation

To steal a line from Spike Spiegel, there are three things I hate: crying kids, incompetence, and strange, unidentifiable fluids. So tell me, why has Alien Nine gathered them all in one place?

Don't kill him! We need him to pay the dry cleaner's bill!

The show begins well. The character designs are cute. The utter mismatch between the main character and the job she is selected for is comical. It’s also nice to see a refreshing change from the usual paradigm of “magical girl revels in it;” the reasons behind Yuri’s ambivalence are very clear and plausible. She’s a middle school student and simply not cut out for any sort of conflict, even when equipped with a deus ex machina.

Continue reading Alien Nine: Utter Alienation

Comic Con: Tite Kubo (Bleach) Panel Liveblog

No video or photos were allowed. I guess this is the way Japanese guests are usually handled–it’s like AX. Starting in about 5 minutes.

1:15 PM – Kubo has entered the stage in sunglasses. Looks like a pop star or something.

1:16 PM – Kubo presented with an award from Comic Con Int’l. From the cheers I can tell the audience just got much younger than from the preceding Transformers panel.

1:19 PM – 10 kids from Japan are here, Shounen Jump essay winners. Also, we will be getting limited edition posters as we leave.

1:20 PM – “I am very glad to see you all, thank you very much” –Kubo

1:22 PM – Kubo thinks this is “immensely huge” compared to Japanese events. First impressions of being in America: he had to get his passport for this. Strong sunlight makes everything colorful here.

1:25 PM – Has Kubo done any drawing in his time here? (He has to produce 19 pages a week, after all.) He actually worked ahead of time so he could home here. Not a procrastinator (unlike me).

1:26 PM – Footage of his workspace. World exclusive. There are desks for his assistants as well, a big screen TV. Pictures of his chairs and metal suitcase he bought to come ovr here. A miniature TV just as decoration. A rare Bleach watch. Oddly enough, Bobobobo in some background art; he had asked a sketch/autograph exchange. The man has a vast CD collection, too (1200-1300 on a shelf; others stacked up). Picture of a kitchen, which is clean because they never cook!

1:32 PM – Upstairs: Kubo’s actual work area. Footage of him working with a ton of markers next to him. He’s coloring. HIs work chair was chosen based on design and he drew Aizen’s chair like it. Handing manuscripts and fan letters to his editor.

1:35 PM – Video portion over. Now questions from audience.

1:35 PMWhat inspired him to become a manga artist? Decided when he was in elementary school. He became interested in architecture and design after he had already become a manga artist.

1:37 PM Inspriation for Bleach: inspired by the image of Soul Reapers in kimonos. Wanted to draw something no one had seen before.

1:38 PM – Kubo puts character, not plot, first.

1:39 PM – What inspired him to put Spanish/Mexican culture in Bleach? Nothing intentional with the character Chad. However, he just sensed he had a Mexican heritage. Someone in audience shouts “Viva La Raza!”

1:40 PMWhere does he come up with the opening drawings? He puts characters in clothes he can’t get.

1:40 PMAdvice for aspiring manga artists: Seems stumped…”believe in your talent.” Do something you yourself must enjoy; otherwise it’s dishonest to charge someone for your story.

1:42 PMHow did Quincy and its name come about (JEREMY’S QUESTION!): “I created Uryu to be Ichigo’s rival character, so, for that, I put him in white clothing.” He uses arrows because it’s long range, and it will be difficult for Ichigo to fight him. The Quincys’ name is from his five point star; in Japan this is a symbol. If you call every archer a “Quincy Archer” it sounds like a person’s name, so he liked it.

1:45 PMHow do you draw action scenes? Plays rock music in his head as he draws it. He pauses the action and try to swing around in 3D mentally to find the best angle.

1:46 PMWhen did he realize he had such a big fanbase in the US? Yesterday!

1:47 PM – Pancha Diaz, Viz editor asks: What part of the process does he enjoy the most? When thinking of the story, if it’s something he’s been waiting to do for a while, he enjoys it very much. Usually has a scene rundown of things to draw in his head. Connecting scenes are a bit harder. Inking is also enjoyable for him.

1:49 PM – Pancha Diaz again: How long between drawing and publication? Between 2-3 weeks. Diaz, by contrast notes, has to do 6 months in advance.

1:50 PMWill there be an Isshin backstory? Yes! He knew from the start he was a Soul Reaper.

1:51 PM – Three minutes left. Is the Kon doll inspired by something from his childhood? Wanted to create something fake looking, where you put random things together–like a sewing line in the middle of the face. Backstory: a father bought a cheap stuffed animal for his child, and the child threw it away because it was ugly–that’s why he is on the street.

1:54 PMIdea for Hell Butterflies: Looked up in a dictionary for word that goes well with “Soul Reaper.” It is a kind of butterfly that is another name for a real butterfly species. Prefers to fly in the dark, and it fits well with the Soul Reapers. End of panel.