Anime basics-post #1 (Background illustration)

After considering several alternatives, I decide to use this daunting title anyways, since it is a real eye-catcher. I would like to make clear however that despite the title, this article is not meant to be “educational”. Rather than trying to define and “teach” the basics of anime, it is more a personal account of what I consider to be the key elements of modern Japanese animes that viewers should be aware of. My goal for this article is to help readers better enjoy watching anime by picking out the “shiny little things” commonly present in most titles.

In this first post, I shall discuss a critical element and point of interest in anime: Background illustration (背景 haikei).

First of all, I want you to consider the scene below from the legendary Hayao Miyazaki’s (宮崎駿)classic Spirited Away 千と千尋の神隠し):

The famous "train on water" from Spirited Away (Spirited Away)

I believe a fair amount of us (including myself) were drawn into the world of anime by watching Spirited Away- if not the train scene specifically. Continue reading

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765’s Second Try: The IDOLM@STER (2011)

(warning: sarcasm is detected in the article below, fans beware)

“Are you ready? I am ready…” (from op song Ready!!) Ready to jump the fray of entertainment business and make a bunch of girls with interesting characters (yes, interesting is the meticulously chosen word) into super idols that’ll feed you tens of millions of yen per event? If your answer is yes, congrats, please watch The IDOLM@STER and be done with the idea, NOW.

The currently airing (at EP8) The IDOLM@STER anime is the newest addition to the multi-product franchise started with a 2005 game by Namco. The game received huge popularity and branched out everywhere, even Ace Combat 6 (also produced and published by Namco) featured special Im@s paint schemes for fighter jets, which is an idea so awesome it is one step away from total nuts. The awesomeness doesn’t stop here though. When Namco’s “game inspired” anime Idolm@ster Xenoglossia came out it redefined the meaning of poor product management. It doesn’t take an MBA to see what’s wrong here: you simply do not suddenly throw teenage girl idols originally designed to be everyday people into cockpit of an over-the-top robot fighting machine and protect Tokyo, not if you aren’t making Sakura Wars, anyways. In conclusion, fans alienated, seiyuus (voice actors) quit, brand value lost. So does the newest venture on air, The IDOLM@STER, live up to the tradition of the original game?

The building that homes 765 Production (2nd floor only) gives us an image definition for upstart company

Having never played the game on which the story is based, I personally find the anime acceptable. Continue reading

Expecting Reiko: Natsume Yuujinchou Season 3 (夏目友人帳参)

Currently at episode 8, the third season of Natsume Yuujinchou (referred to as NatsuYuu) inherits essentially everything from the previous two: nature-filled countryside scenery, casually paced story, short-lived (and usually half-hearted) suspense and the ever so plushy Nyanko sensei. And there are few elements added in case you wonder. I am quite sure that it is impossible for NatsuYuu 3 to impress everyone, so what is the source of its extraordinary popularity, as shown by the ranking at NEC BIGLOBE’s アニメワン, a major PC/mobile anime broadcast service provider in Japan? (#1 as of August 27, 2011)

You are constantly reminded of the reason why Nyanko sensei is your fav character

Fan audiences of NatsuYuu often refer to the series as “healing”. Continue reading