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Dee Animated moving…

October 14, 2008

So I thought I had all this time to do two blogs at the same time. Delusions of grandeur. 😉 Anyways, the posts here won’t be dying by any means, just moving over to Visual Crack. So there won’t be any new entries following this one and all the posts you liked finding here will just be moving over to the Visual Crack site.

But not to worry, Dee Animated will not be decommissioned until all the posts have been moved appropriately. I’m hoping comments might transfer over too, but if not, sorry if yours got deleted and feel free to repost of course. See you on Visual Crack.

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*Naruto Back on Netflix

September 23, 2008

I know this has been a major concern of those who’ve been wanting to watch Naruto and use their favorite movie rental program to do it.

Well, good news.

Naruto is back on Netflix with 32 discs available to rent.  If they’re sticking to 4 episodes a disc, then up to episode 128 is available.  I think these are still the English only dubs (Japanese is always better) but when comparing both there could be a worse dub as far as voices go.  I think the only problem with this dub is some lines which work all right in Japanese sound pretty much stupid in English.

So if the show is putting you off in English, get on the net and find yourself a Japanese version and see if that isn’t vast improvement for you.  If you like the show in English, Netflix can accomodate.  Hooray to having Naruto back, nonetheless!

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*Ajikan! One Reason to Love J-Rock

September 2, 2008

For most of us in the English-speaking world, our first introduction to J-Rock/Pop is via anime opening and closing songs. Occasionally you might stumble across a few artists other ways (found Shiina Ringo and Gackt via youtube, and Ellegarden and Bump of Chicken thanks to a Pillows tribute album), but I’m not ashamed, nor should we be, to say we found an artist because of anime. (I think FLCL is enough said).

I plan to review my other favorite J-Rock/Pop artists in the future–some being mentioned above–but lately I’ve had nothing short of a rabbid infatuation with Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Ajikan or AFKG for short, depending on which language you speak). My first introduction to Ajikan was with Naruto and Haruka Kanata, the second opening song. I had it in my anime list on my iPod and liked the song, but thought nothing much more of the band. At the time I was more obsessed with the Pillows and Bump of Chicken (well, still am).

After hearing the full version of Haruka Kanata some time later, I fell in love with the style and vocals and needed more Ajikan. (I was also looking for more Orange Range at the time, Ajikan won out–not that I don’t still love Orange Range). Ajikan is a bit well-known in the anime world, currently for After Dark, the seventh opening for Bleach. Ajikan’s music can also be found on other anime, such as Fullmetal Alchemist, the fourth opening Rewrite, the theme song for Tekkon Kinkreet Aru Machi no Gunjou, and of course as mentioned Naruto.

But don’t think anime is all they’re good for.

The albums I’ve been listening to currently (as I like to take a few at a time) are:
Feedback File
Kimi Tsunagi Five M
Sol-Fa

Feedback File (2006) is probably my favorite of the list. It’s a mix of studio and live–the live portions being what really sold me on this album–though a great album overall. My favorite song on this album and current Ajikan favorite overall has to be Re:Re: I’ve heard it live and studio, and I have to say, get it live, it’s loads better. Sometimes you’ll get artists who sound good studio, but terrible live, this is definitely not the case with Ajikan. Often you’ll find they’re better live.

From Kimi Tsunagi Five M (2003) and Sol-Fa (2004) I’m loving the songs No Name and Yoru no Mukou. But it’s not like those are the only good ones. Ajikan just makes your listening time fun (and the commute by car or train less annoying).

Something else I admire about Ajikan is the fabulous album art. They recently did the Nano-Mugen festival album compilation art (and you can easily tell it was their art). And by the way, if you’re in Japan, you may want to check out the Nano-Mugen festivals in the future if you haven’t been going. This year (July) they had Third Eye Blind, Stereophonics, our boys Ajikan, Ellegarden, Phantom Planet and Art-School to name a few. This year it was held at Yokohama Arena.

So Ajikan comes highly, highly recommended. If I were going to name American bands to compare, I’d have to say Weezer meets Jimmy Eat World meets Stone Temple Pilots with a little bit of A Perfect Circle thrown in. I’d probably put it one or two notches above the Pillows in a “hard rock” scale, so not head banging, but not super light either.

And if anyone knows where you can get some sweet Ajikan shirts, bags, etc., please post a comment and leave a trail. I’m frequenting ebay, but none too successful as of late.

HOW TO LISTEN:
Pandora has one album. iTunes has got none. Amazon and ebay are probably your best bets album-wise, and there are a few of the songs around the net available to preview streaming. Friends from/in Japan are helpful as well, but however you do it, give this band a go. It will be worth it.

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Dee-lightfully yours…

August 27, 2008

In lieu of pondering doing a Bleach review like my Naruto one, or wondering which new anime series to watch (currently I’m re-watching Samurai Champloo), I didn’t want to leave the blog entry-less until I figured out what to do review-wise.

So… I decided to personalize, just a bit.

Yes, this will probably get the least read statistics when I’m looking over the blog, but no matter. We’ve always got to start somewhere.

Anyways, I’m currently reading the Maha Go Go Go manga [Japanese comics, and BTW, pronounced MAN (with the A like in mama) – GA (same thing as before with the A). If I hear one more person call it meingaa (like kanga)…..], which has done nothing to help with the wait for the Speed Racer DVD release. I suppose I could watch the old series again. (Well, the manga and the soundtrack. Good soundtrack, by the way.)

I’ve also tried to take up knitting. Yeah, I know, sounds totally dorky, but after I saw this Wonder Woman sweater, well, I imagined the possibilities. This is obviously something incredibly advanced, so I’m working on a beanie. Knitting is fun and it does look cool rather quickly, however the biggest problem I have with it is the time it takes. It makes me wonder how we as the world survived before textile factories…

I’m also in the midst of finishing off Doctor Who: Series 2. It took me a lot longer than I had thought to warm up to David Tennant. It’s not that I don’t like him as an actor, it’s that I found myself wishing for the Eccleston days. There may be a part of me that always misses that Doctor, but Tennant has solidified himself as far as I’m concerned. I’m hooked.

And believe it or not, yours truly is stressing over an upcoming kung fu test. My master is from Taiwan, so he doesn’t subscribe to any kind of belt system. We have three levels: teacher, disciple, and master. (I often explain it as starting off as a padawan, then jedi, jedi knight, and jedi master.) So I’m looking to leave my padawan status and become a jedi–teacher. The toughest thing right now isn’t necessarily the forms but the other parts, like holding the horse stance for two minutes and other proof of flexibility and strength requirements. *sigh* It makes me wish I’d done this as a kid, it’d be easier now. 😉

Lastly I want to recommend a website, I mean, since this is a blog about animation stuffs. This is my manga avatar I designed at Faceyourmanga.com. Contrary to what it says on the front, you don’t have to pay anything to get at least an avatar appropriate sized copy of your avatar. (And if you’ve got skills with Illustrator, getting a hi-rez version should be no problem). Head on over and see what you come up with.

So, that’s what’s happening currently in Dee world. (And only a few weeks to go for Speed Racer DVD, Avatar Book 3 DVD, and Pushing Daisies Season One DVD).

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*Fox sues WB over Watchmen?

August 21, 2008

This is super lame, Fox. Seriously, are you really that pathetic now that you have to resort to this?

Twentieth Century Fox is trying to stop Warner Bros. from releasing the Watchmen. In a lawsuit, Fox says it acquired the motion pictures rights to the graphic novel in the ’80s, and when it gave up some of those rights in 1991, it held onto the right to distribute the movie.

Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles agreed with Fox’s claim and said there is enough evidence to keep the lawsuit moving forward. As a result the film’s March 16 release is on hold until the two sides or a judge settles the dispute. Fox has announced that instead of seeking a share of the sure-fire hit, it is intent on stopping the movie from being released.

The complaint states that when Fox teamed up with producer Larry Gordon in 1991 to develop a Watchmen movie, the rights were transferred to them and so was due payment if the film was ever made. Things didn’t work out in developing the movie so Fox and Gordon went their separate ways. In 2006, Gordon made a deal with Warner Bros. to make Watchmen and Fox is saying they never got paid.

Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen, has finished shooting the movie with stars Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino and Billy Crudup, and is continuing post production. Watchmen is based on the groundbreaking graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Well, at least they didn’t try and bring it to suit in January 2009, but STILL. I’m sure some of you are thinking, boycott Fox, but what’s that honestly going to do? What might get the right kind of attention would be sending smiley faces to Fox executives. (Because, yeah, you can quit watching 24 and the Sarah Conner Chronicles, but you’re not hurting Fox you’re hurting the producers, actors, and writers of those shows).

Anyways, thought I’d share the lame story.

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*Dilbert The Animated Series: Dull and Disappointing

August 18, 2008

I’ve had this series buried somewhere in the Netflix queue (it’s a problem for folks like me who find the 500 DVDs in your queue limit annoying) and when it appeared on the instaview list, I gave it a look. Now, let it be known that I LOVE the Dilbert comic strip. It’s probably the first one I look for in the “funnies,” and too realistic at times. 😉

I’m an avid fan of The Office and Office Space so you’d think I’d be all over this series. Well, I watched the first episode of the season… It was, well, forgettable. Still, I’m willing to give shows a fair chance. I looked over the episode descriptions and picked another that sounded amusing, still a C- at best.

The voice acting is spot on for the pointy-haired boss–at least I found it believable–Dogbert as well, but everyone else just seemed moderate. The writing was also just moderate (meaning not puke-faced terrible, but not great either). Larry Charles of Seinfeld fame was the head writer, so you’d think he’d have comedy down, but perhaps it was the direction or voice acting that dragged the series down.

There are, of course, Dilbert otakus who love the show and perhaps you’ll be one of them. But if you’re more like me, a when-I-see-a-newspaper, etc. reader, you’ll probably want to pass. For the most part, the funny comes from more bathroom and sexual humor than actual wit or clever writing. A couple of things were amusing, but this show doesn’t even hold a match stick let alone a spark to Family Guy, Simpsons, Futurama, or King of the Hill. Let’s just stick to the comic strip.

Comic Strip: A+
Series: C-

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*Death Note does Anti-Hero right

August 12, 2008

Mac of Visual Crack was the first to introduce me to Death Note, but really only in manga form. I read the first volume in English and decided the anime series was worth a look. Netflix sent me the first disc and I was hooked.

Death Note is the story of a kid stumbling upon a strange Death Note (as the Japanese word for notebook is noto or “note” basically. So when you hear the word “note” just substitute “notebook” in your mind). The notebook has the power to kill simply by writing the name of the victim in the book while picturing him/her. Believing the world is too corrupt, the kid takes it upon himself to rid the world of criminals–and anyone who gets in his way.

THE CHARACTERS:

Light Yagami
A 17 yr old, attractive, things come to me too easily, high school student who soon goes to college to study law and basically become a cop like his father. He stumbles upon the Death Note and becomes the owner and the anti-hero protagonist of the story. He is also referred to as “Kira” (a japanese version of the word killer) by the police.

L
A world famous detective no one has ever seen before the “Kira” case. L is odd, smart, and a sweet-aholic. (And no, he isn’t sucking his thumb, he’s pressing it against his bottom lip, a habit when he’s thinking hard). L’s my favorite character of the series. I think the chibi version of him in plushies and what not are chou kawaii!

Shinigami: Ryuk and Rem
A shinigami is like a grim reaper, literally translated as “death god.” I’ve also seen it translated as “soul reaper” (see Bleach). In the series they are the owners of the death notes, and Ryuk in particular likes leaving them lying around for unsuspecting humans to pick up. Ryuk probably comes second in my favorite character of the series. I like his “whatevs” attitude.

Misa Amane
Hey, what’s anime without an annoying character? Very much typical teenage Japanese girl–well, that and a pop star–Misa has a super mega crush on Light and wants to help him in anyway she can. One of those self-sacrificing girls, but in a pathetic way. She’s probably my least favorite, but she makes for some interesting moments between the three of them (L, Light and Misa).

Mello, Near, etc.
There are quite a few other players that impact the story significantly, mostly being Mello and Near, but also Light’s dad and members of the police team to catch Kira. I can’t say I really cared for Mello or Near, though Near I like more, since he’s kind of like a little brother version of L. (If you think an L obsession is weird, watch the series and tell me if you feel differently! I dare you!)

ANIME SERIES & EPISODE GUIDE:

Well, this is really more of a warning. It’s interesting how like the villain the movie Seven, you almost find yourself agreeing with Light. It’s also kind of disorienting to have the main character really be the bad guy in a sense (I’m trying not to spoil too much here).

Since the show isn’t hardly as long as Naruto, nor Bleach, this guide will be short. Without posting spoilers, once again, you should know you’ll likely be addicted to the show like crack until about episode 25. Some major plot changes are implemented, and in my opinion, the anime becomes less good–at least I didn’t care. In fact, I was affected so much by the change I had zero motivation to keep going with the anime and it took me a couple of weeks to get myself to finish it off.

Episodes 26 and on (up to 37) do contain interesting plot points and are worthwhile if you’ve enjoyed the series thusfar. There is also a bittersweet ending to the series, in a Shakespearian way, so the end was worthwhile for me, but it’s ANIME, 9 times out of 10 it isn’t going to end the way you’d want. 😉

So is it worth it? Yes. You’ll love it, well, if anime is your thing.

Anime series: A

LIVE-ACTION MOVIES:

Sometimes you wonder how a live-action movie will translate from manga, but if it works for Nodame Cantabile it’s gotta work for others, right? (*wink*) In this case I think it added to the Death Note universe. A warning to the animation fans… They will deviate from the manga and the series, but I think a lot of the deviations work.

Ryuk and Light argue over the philosophical issues of the Death Note. ;)

Ryuk and Light argue over the philosophical issues of the Death Note.

When we join Light in the first movie he’s already discovered the Death Note and is off-handedly discussing it with his girlfriend (aka he’s talking about Kira and his opinion of Kira without actually connecting the dots). And yeah, GIRLFRIEND. For the movies (since let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no, no, no, no way you can put EVERYTHING everybody wants, let alone yourself into a two-hour movie, especially with a series with enough material to make 37 episodes. 1/2 hr x 37 = 18.5 hours of material which equals at least 9 movies worth of time. Keep this in mind when you’re hating on Harry Potters or Twilight or other book adaptations.) …as I was saying, for the movies, his having a girlfriend worked. There just wasn’t enough time to develop the characters as well as the series did, even with two, and the girlfriend factor helped Light arc quickly.

L reveals he's the real brains behind the Truman Show.

L reveals he's the real brains behind the Truman Show.

But don’t get the movies wrong, for the most part they stick to the plot. My only qualm with the movies was the seemingly lack of time spent on developing L and a non-existent friendship between L and Light we got to see in the series. (I’m an L fan, ya know). However, the actor who plays L (Ken’ichi Matsuyama) I thought did a fabulous job. He had a lot of the mannerisms down and I thought was a little more interesting than Light.

The actor who played Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara), did a good job, but there was just something lacking. I think I prefer the voice acting job (Miyano Mamoru) did as opposed to Tatsuya’s performance, but it works for the movie.

L refuses the DoCoMo promotion.

L refuses the DoCoMo promotion.

I prefer the ending of the story in the movies to the anime series, simply because I kept expecting something like what happened in the movies to happen in the anime series. But if we’re talking overall Death Note, then I’d like a mix of the movies and the series. It’s interesting the trend even Hollywood is taking to making anime into live-action. (I just am opposed to Keanu playing Spike Spiegel is all).

Obviously it works, since Death Note was wildly successful in Japan ($28 mil for the first movie $53 mil for the second–tix sales) and will make some good money for Viz here.

Movie: A- (mostly for lack of development for L)

HOW TO SEE DEATH NOTE:

The anime series you can catch it in English (*puke*) on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network for the uniformed) in the early morning hours. It’s posted on the net with good fansubs. Or you can do it the Netflix way (which is the way I started) with your choice of English or subs–they have 6 discs available. I did Netflix + the internet.

The movies they recently screened at select theaters back in May across America, and you’ll be able to pick up the first movie on September 16th at Amazon or the like. I got both on ebay, Hong Kong versions. I’ve heard the dub is no good, so stick with subs.

There’s also a new spin-off movie called L: Change the World which came out in February which I have yet to see, but if it’s got L I’m all about it. Once I see it I’ll let you know.

MANGA:

I think the full series is available in English. It’s good, but yeah, it’s basically the book version of the anime. Still, I’ve been reading it in my spare time and find it worthwhile.