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Tidearticle

A Certain Scientific Railgun: A Tale of Which True City

The denizens of Academy City are espers, people capable of manifesting psychic abilities. These abilities range from heat to spacial to electron manipulation. Society in this city is organized through so-called "Levels." From 1 to 5, and kind of like grades, these "Level" designations are awarded to espers by officials based on how proficient they are in manifesting their abilities. According to the official line, 1 represents the most basic proficiency, and 5 represents the most advanced. People are accorded higher stipends and privileges based on how highly they are graded on this "Level" system. As is constantly and proudly touted by the system’s administrators, "Level" mobility can be achieved if people invest enough effort.

Mikoto "Railgun" Misaka has managed to ascend to Level 5 through what she believes was her own determination. Ruiko Saten, on the other hand, has remained stuck at Level 0, no matter how hard she’s believed she’s tried.

Outside the system, however, are those "Level 0" anomalies who are technically able, but effectivly unable to manifest their powers. From this, A Certain Magical Railgun explores the ego-bruising effects of socioeconomic inequality and stratification (disguised and, as such, justified as meritocracy) through the phenomenon of what I call "Class ‘Level’ Conflict."

  • A good article. Out of interest, how does the second season compare to the first? I liked S1 (despite a handful of issues) but wasn't sure how close S2 would be in quality. – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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  • I would say S2, as a whole, and the SisterS arc in particular, is an upgrade. It really demonstrates how exploitative the system happens to be, for Saten in the past as well as Misaka in this case. Misaka goes through the psychological grinder in this season. – ZeroReq011 4 years ago
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  • If Saten gets some focus then that's a good thing. I ahvea review for season one coming on my site in a few weeks and I state that I thought that Saten felt like a far more important character than I expected. Further growth for Misaka is no bad thing either. – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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  • Saten gets a bit shortchanged, but Misaka's development more than makes up for it, in my opinion. – ZeroReq011 4 years ago
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Tidearticle

Shin Sekai Yori and the Broken Dream of Perfection

Is there a difference between utopia and dystopia? The two concepts have gained tremendous popularity over the past century as a key thematic element in the both written and filmed mediums. However, both models seem to be much closer connected than one would initially think. On one hand, utopia requires a significant amount of sacrifice on both the humane and societal fronts in order to retain an apparent form of cohesion. While on the other hand, dystopias a noted for the lack of humanity and freedoms in order to keep society in line. We must ask ourselves, do the ends justify the means, or they even matter at all when we differentiate the two?

In Shin Sekai Yori we are presented with the community of Kamisu 66 which may at first seem to be the idyllic version of a utopia, but the sacrifices required to retain the community’s cohesion strips us of any such notions. A culture of fear, restricted access to knowledge and brutal slavery all tarnish the notions that Kamisu 66 is the utopia that it first appears to be. Instead, we witness that the sacrifices required to keep the appearances of a utopian dream far outweigh the ends of such a vision.

In the end, the case of Shin Sekai Yori demonstrates that the line between utopia and dystopia is blurred to the point where to differentiate the two becomes a matter of perspective. And that ultimately, the utopian dream is simply unachievable due to simple human nature and all the needs it entails.

  • An interesting read. I must confess, I often think that whether a world is dystopian or utopian depends on the perspective of the characters. For the oppressed, dystopia fits, but if there are ruling classes, they may view it as utopian from their position. – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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  • Do you mean "the utopian dream is simply unachievable" as something that is impossible to create a unanimous consensus on from all possible perspectives? – ZeroReq011 4 years ago
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  • In a nutshell, yes. I simply attempt to argue that the means by which a theoretical utopia are achieved work against the ends of the project. Or in other words, the sacrifices required to achieve a form of social/economic/cultural cohesion that we would label utopia are actually counterproductive towards the intended goals. With this being the case, what necessarily differentiates a utopia from a dystopia? Not much, it really comes down to which side of the fence you find yourself. – CheesyJ 4 years ago
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Tidereview

Anime Review: Persona 4 - The Animation

The phrase ‘anime adaption of a video game’ has had a checkered past. Given how loved Persona 4 is, there was every possibility that the anime would fail to live up to the hype at all, if for no other reason than that comparisons between media will by nature split fans. Thankfully, the series was run by AIC ASTA who brought us the phenomenal Ah! My Goddess and classic Tenchi Universe series. The pressure of this pedigree appears to have pushed the team into making something far better than it could realistically have been expected to be.

The large but colourful and well-rounded cast ensure that the story is never without suitable foils to play off, and in turn the animation has a certain slickness to it that lends itself to this type of tale and shines in particular in the well-paced action scenes. For the most part, the series presents itself as a serious (and more than a little dark) action series, but throws in some comedy at suitable times to lighten the mood. In fact, for a short period, the series jumps into comedy overdrive and focuses on this side of the story for a few episodes before leaping headlong back into the main story.

Of course, the series does have one lingering problem. The lead character is more than a little bland. In the games, he is a silent character and is no doubt designed as such to help the player immerse themselves in the world. Here though, he struggles to stand out against his far more interesting colleagues and, without the interactive element, this remains a constant throughout the 26 episodes. Don’t let that put you off though! The overall quality of the show ensure that this is a thoroughly enjoyable adaption and more than worthy of the Persona 4 name!

Rating: 5/5

  • I have really been wonder what the Persona 4 anime series is like ever since playing the game and this read gave me a nice push as it gave me a general feel for it without giving too much away. Well done! ^_^ – Kevin Mohammed 4 years ago
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  • Thank you Kevin. I try not to give away too much in the way of spoilers :) – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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Tidereview

Guilty Crown Review

Upon release, Guilty Crown quickly became one of the most controversial anime to exist amongst the fandom and still withstands a considerable amount of backlash to this day. Part of it has to do with the huge amount of hype surrounding the talent behind it. Part of it has to do with it airing on the noitamina timeslot back when it was well-respected. A lot of it has to do with its incredibly cliche writing, lackluster/stupid characters, and awkward plot turns combined with a self-serious tone that never once acknowledges its stupidity.

And yet, most people watched it. Most people laughed at it. Why? Because there was something about stupidity taken this seriously that really compelled us. And over time, this reviewer has come to appreciate Guilty Crown on its own terms whilst understanding that it’s less a bad anime and more a well-made show that wasn’t what fans wanted at the time. It’s fast-paced, all the important characters are developed well enough, the technicals are consistently good for the most part, and most of all, it’s a show that seeks to offend on purpose. Guilty Crown is an anime that seeks to challenge the fanbase without losing its identity as a genre piece, not unlike Metal Gear Solid 2. And whilst it’s not a perfect one, shaping your viewpoint in that direction allows Guilty Crown to stand on its own as a solid satire piece in a medium full of weak entries.

Rating: 4/5

  • It was interesting to see the "fanbases ruining everything" point in the full article. I often try to avoid things for a while if I hear too many people harp on about it, as I find that overhype prevents me from giving it a fair crack.How far does the show go in trying to offend? – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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  • I have to agree with your take on the series. I wasn't a total fan of the plot when the series was airing, but with hindsight the story was actually more effective than what I initially thought. I was probably too distracted by the audio/visual aspect of the series which still stands with me as being one of the best series I have seen in that regard. – CheesyJ 4 years ago
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Tidelist

Top 100 Anime Movies of All Time

What is the best of the best and where are the best of the rest? Right here. One hundred entries plus a list of honorable mentions, this a list of anime movies to enjoy for all occasions.

10. Barefoot Gen
9. Summer Days with Coo
8. Spirited Away
7. Princess Mononoke
6. Only Yesterday
5. Perfect Blue
4. Wolf Children
3. A letter to Momo
2. Time of Eve
1. Colorful

The final ten are not the only titles worth your time. Every movie on this list is a must see for any anime fan. From musical intrigue to epic space operas this list of classics will provide endless hours and options of entertainment. There are a variety of titles that may not even be known at all but still deserve to be known. This is a list guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment for those willing to seek these movies out. From personal viewing experience numbers 93: Escaflowne: A girl in Gaea, 89: Redline, 72: The place promised in our early days and 71: Origin: spirits of the past, are worth checking out at least once. Possessing a blend of emotional depth and exciting action these films are worth checking out and are a new breed from the dime a dozen anime that are widely available. It is needless to say that the additions from Studio Ghibli that do make their way to the list are worth a look. A brief glance at this list will definitely do any anime fan a huge service.

  • That's A Good List You Got There :) – ymkilskh 4 years ago
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  • Great list, will definitely check some of these out! – Emily Deibler 4 years ago
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  • I'm always looking for some awesome new anime movies from various directors to check out. The latest film I watched was Psychic School Wars which was definitely interesting. I like forward to checking some of these out for myself! – Kevin Mohammed 4 years ago
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  • Watched Time of Eve as the ONA series it originally aired in. Need to watch the movie version to see how the pacing is affected and which to recommend to all the people that should have seen it by now but haven't.Great to see it so high up! – JekoJeko 4 years ago
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  • I can't wait to watch to all of them. – KittenBob17747 4 years ago
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  • Solid list. I love that everything is linked for more info. Great job. – CheesyJ 4 years ago
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  • Excellent list! Excited to check out some of these. Sword of the Stranger is one of my personal favourites and I was delighted to see it on the list. – andreacr 4 years ago
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Tidereview

Anime Review: Our Home's Fox Deity

Our Home’s Fox Deity, also known as Wagaya No Oinari-Sama, is a genre-bent anime based on a series of light novels by Jin Shibamura. The plot is fairly standard (a family is plagued by youkai and so release the family guardian spirit to protect themselves, but said spirit has to find a way to fit in with modern society), but don’t let that fool you. While far from perfect, Our Home’s Fox Deity goes out of its way to differentiate itself from other shows with similar set ups.

Combining elements of shōnen action, a small degree of harem-esque set-up, a smidgen of horror (including some beautifully done werewolf transformations later in the series) and boasting a fair few slice of life tendencies, it’s no wonder that the show is commonly described as not knowing what it wants to be. Rather than come across as directionless however, the genre-bending pays off thanks to a decent cast that includes a nice variety of spirits: the title fox deity Kuu switches between male, female and fox form throughout the series (it’s been locked up so long that it doesn’t remember what gender it was) and works as a fine lead. Meanwhile, Ebisu (the god of commerce) throws out some wonderful comedic moments and Daigoro the fox child is absolutely adorable. The humans, while less interesting, are not without their charms either. Misaki Sakura, the potential love interest of the elder brother in the plagued family, is an absolute hoot when she lets her paranoid mind run away with her.

On the downside, the lack of pulling in one sure fire direction will no doubt be harder to stomach for some viewers, and it is undeniable that some characters have been given far less depth than others. In truth though, these are minor issues. The show may not be to everyones tastes as a complete package, but it can safely say that it has a little something for most. It’s simple, uncomplicated fun.

Plus, any show that has two bath house episodes and avoids devolving into a mass of fan service gags (one is a ghost story and the other a comedy mystery) has got to be worth a look-in!

Rating: 4/5

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    Tidereview

    Why One-Punch Man is a must see?

    One-Punch Man is the type of manga/anime that could bring in all types of anime lovers since Dragon Ball. It has humor, insanely awesome fighting sequences and the animation is top notch. The voice acting is exactly like how you would imagine the bald headed protagonist to sound like and the music is exactly how you would imagine the music would be in a superhero and a fighting anime. The manga is also a must read because some of the art is better seen in a manga than in an anime. For example the meteor scene is so believable that you would feel that the meteor is actually gonna fall on you.

    The humor is funny as hell. It will actually make you laugh out loud. Even though the protagonist is overpowered, you wouldn’t feel that the fights are one sided. Saitama, who’s the protagonist is an interesting character to witness. His design is simple, whereas the environment around him is complex and beautifully drawn. His simple character design is truly magnificent. The villains are funny and freaking strong as well. Some are suggestive but they can pass. No sexual content, which is a first in thi skind of genre. Overall, it is a must see anime and everyone must see this

    Rating: 9/10

    • I agree. I had heard of One Punch Man back when it was just a manga. I didn't give it a shot. However, after hearing good things regarding the anime, I watched it. I clearly was wrong not to have given the series a chance before. – Jiraiyan 5 years ago
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    • I guess I most curious to see how they manage to make amazing fight scenes with a character who ends a fight in just one punch haha. Seems like they'd be short and anticlimactic. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • Tatijana the fights are really good. One of the main reasons to see the show is for the fights. Give it a try. U wont regret it – exavenger 5 years ago
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    • I can't wait for the localization effort. – Fenrir013 5 years ago
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    • Wow, I keep hearing good things about One-Punch Man. I may need to check it out! – Emily Deibler 4 years ago
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    • I actually thought OPM had some deficiencies here and there, but I agree that it was an overall solid series. I'm also eager to see if/when/how it will be localized. – CheesyJ 4 years ago
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    • Don't forget the webcomic! Even with the very rough sketchbook-like art, it manages to convey so much character-based humor that it doesn't matter, and the anime is incredibly faithful to it. Both are amazingly fun. – Null 4 years ago
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    Tidearticle

    Kino's Journey Episode 2: Lives of Strangers

    What’s the life of a rabbit weighed against the life of a human? Most people would probably say it’s not much; that a human life is obviously much more important than a rabbit’s. But when Kino encounters three strangers caught in a snowstorm and on the brink of starvation, she has trouble justifying stealing one creature’s life to feed another. As soon as she stumbles upon the situation, she is forced to be responsible for one set of lives or another.

    In episode 2 of Kino’s Journey, our protagonist continues to struggle the hardships of being a free agent, condemned to make decisions and be responsible for their outcomes. But when she doesn’t owe malice or debt to either the rabbit or the men, what right does she have to make such a decision? And is she responsible when her decision leads to the deaths of both parties? We have an obligation to our own wellbeing, Kino suggests, which justifies hunting for one’s own food. And it seems that same obligation can be bought by others, as, after the men give Kino an expensive ring, she has much less trouble hunting for their food.

    The choice of a rabbit life as the stakes in this episode helps maintain the steady somber pace that characterizes Kino’s Journey. There doesn’t have to be tension or climax to Kino’s choice like there would if she was killing a person, so the episode can carry on and develop the significance of Kino’s decisions after the fact.

    Certain dub changes indicate both production confusion, and a difference in vision between the original Japanese writers, and English adapters, but nothing significant. The episode also delves a bit further into Kino’s character, and Hermes’ purpose as an object.

    • I think given the circumstances, it could definitely be viewed that Kino made the wrong decision. If human life > rabbit life. And let's pretend things didn't work out for Kino, those men would have gone on taking the lives of a LOT more humans. So Kino actually risked the lives of the 3 rabbits, her own life, and the victims that those three men would have taken for the duration of their lives. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    Tidearticle

    Kino's Journey Episode 1: Purpose, Communication, and Robots

    In the first episode of the anime series Kino’s Journey, the protagonist and self-defined traveler Kino, and her sentient motorcycle Hermes, visit The Land of Visible Pain. In this country the people have given themselves the ability to know the thoughts of others near them, hoping that true understanding would be the way to end all conflict and misery. However, in an unexpected yet probably should have been totally expected twist, it turns out that people don’t always think positive things about one another. A rude comment you would usually keep to yourself is now unavoidably known to everybody around you. One person’s pain is felt by everyone nearby. And even something as small as having different tastes in music can be enough to end once happy relationships.

    By the time Kino arrives the land looks deserted. Robots manage the dense city area, while all the people have spread out across the countryside, staying in their own homes and far enough away from each other that they can’t read any thoughts but their own. Almost on a stroke of luck, on her way out of the country, Kino runs in to one man who is willing to tell her what happened.

    This first episode is obviously about communication, and the struggles formal spoken and written languages have conveying pure thought, motivation, and emotion. But, while the mind reading thing turned out to be a bust, it does offer some way people can communicate these things. Body language; the little details of facial expressions, and the way we visually present ourselves. This is shown at the end of the episode when Kino’s smile to the lonely man expresses more than she could in words, but also more subtly in the introduction of the lonely man, when he goes from Stubbleface McStoppedcaring, to clean shaven before sitting down to talk with Kino.

    The early scenes deal with equality, identity, and purpose, both self-defined and externally imposed. The second act uses the country’s advanced robots to brilliantly manage pacing in a show that doesn’t stop for conflict. And the opening conveys an existential sense of freedom that characterizes the entire show.

    Episode one of Kino’s Journey is brilliant.

    • I still haven't seen this show but this tide definitely makes me want to. Very interesting idea for an anime episode. – Jordan 5 years ago
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    • Definitely sounds like something I'd like to add to my watch list. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • Cool article idea. The idea of Artificial Intelligence is a significant part of western media today. You could identify links between the episode's topic and other key films, TV shows etc. – Thomas Munday 5 years ago
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    • I would also add about how this episode really comments on the nature of relationships, and how the intimate ones are matters not only of sameness and closeness, but accommodation and compromise. Intimacy existences in spaces not only because of, but in spite of as well. Similar to how having friends doesn't preclude you from keeping some secrets from them. – ZeroReq011 4 years ago
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    Tidelist

    Japanese Horror: What to Watch Next

    After watching Ring and The Grudge, some horror fans can be at a loss of where to go next. Here is an eclectic mix of J-Horror for you to try out next.

    Audition, 1999, Dir. Takashi Miike
    A lonely widower holds an audition in order to find a girlfriend. Unfortunately for him, the woman he selects has some dark secrets that destroy their relationship and even his life.

    Battle Royale, 2000, Dir. Kinji Fukasaku
    A class of delinquents is stranded on an island, forced to kill each other over the next three days. If there isn’t one person left at the end of those three days, everyone dies. Hell breaks loose, with friendships and rivalries being taken to whole new levels.

    Dark Water, 2002, Dir. Hideo Nakata
    A recently divorced mother moves into a run-down apartment building with her daughter. The constant presence of a mysterious handbag, dripping water, and strange appearances of a dead girl threaten the mother’s sanity.

    Hausu, 1977, Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi
    Six girls travel to one of their aunt’s house for vacation. But after decades of living alone, is the aunt still the same woman she was?

    Ichi the Killer, 2001, Dir. Takashi Miike
    Depraved hitman Kakihara is out for revenge when his gang’s boss is taken out by a mysterious assassin. What follows is a blend of dark humor and disturbingly graphic imagery.

    • I'm not sure if you would call Battle Royale a horror, but it did have its gruesome moments. I can't believe I was able to watch that on my own! – YsabelGo 5 years ago
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    • I thought I left a comment but maybe it didn't go through. If you're talking about great horrors and you include Hausu and Onibaba, I feel there is a need for Jigoku and Kwaiden. Otherwise, solid list of the Japanese horror notables. – Connor 5 years ago
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    • I've never experienced Japanese horror. It sounds interesting! – trapgrandma 5 years ago
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    • I'm afraid of scary things. They didn't actually used to bother me. I can pinpoint the EXACT movie that ended my scary movie watching. The Ring hahaha. Never been the same. I had to have my parents remove my TV from my room so I could sleep. So I'm sorry to say, that even though a lot of these sound super interesting, I'm going to stick to the ones clearly marked as "more suspense than horror." Haha. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • Great list! I'll be sure to check these out. – Emily Deibler 4 years ago
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    • Japanese are the best at horror! – crolins 4 years ago
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    • Japanese are the best at horror! – crolins 4 years ago
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    • You always gotta love a brilliant Japanese horror! – Kevin Mohammed 4 years ago
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    • Good article! I'll check it out. – lolreconlol 4 years ago
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    • Japanese has made many famous horrors like Ju-On. I don't think Battle Royale is the horror for real but it is an exceptional piece to define the human ugliness. – moonyuet 4 years ago
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    • Great list: I especially enjoyed Uzumaki! – Barselaar 4 years ago
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    Tidearticle

    Anime Needs Re-Releases

    Anime releases in the West are contained. In the first seven years or so after production, a typical show will see a handful of DVD releases. The exact number depends on popularity. Then it quickly goes out of print with little to no chance of a revival. While this isn’t a problem, in terms of longevity, for newer anime that enjoy all the preservation opportunities the internet has to offer, many older shows and manga are on the verge of being lost. Even massively influential items, like the works of Go Nagai, have long been out of print, and there are not enough second hand copies to support the growing fandom in the West.

    The reasons these works don’t often get re-released are understandable. Licensing deals can be complicated, and anime fans generally have much more interest in the latest simulcasts than in the old genre builders. But at a time when so many commentators and industry insiders are predicting the death of anime, fans should be most concerned about this art form’s past. After all, while anime’s future may be unsteady, we know anime’s history is dying. In order to protect that history, we need to let studios know we care about it.

    • Hey, I know you! I think I've been following you on Wordpress for a decent amount of time. Very informative post! I like your writing style. – Dominic Sceski 5 years ago
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    • I do wonder if the anime industry in the West could take a leaf out of Universal's book. They have a psuedo-POD service for DVDs where they allow people to order titles that are technically out of print but have them produced to order (I think it was the Universal Vault series). I discovered it when ordering Flight of Dragons for my partner. If anime-based companies offered a similar system, that would be a great way for them to continue to make use of old licenses. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • What comes to mind is the End of Evangelion film. It's sad that there are all these great anime that new fans will never get to see. I heard that the Mobile Suit Gundam film trilogy is getting re-released in the US early next year, but there's no word of this happening in Australia where I am. I think US companies do try to re-release product when it is in demand or if they think it can be marketed successfully. Like you wrote LangsEnd, there are many reasons why it can't or doesn't happen. – Jordan 5 years ago
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    • I don't really think single disc releases are still a thing. I know half-seasons are occasionally, but single discs aren't economically viable. Anyways to address your questions, when it comes to licensing, re-licensing old stuff can be hard because, since most anime are made with a production committee of several companies, its hard to know who holds the rights.Even if Funimation, for example, could get their hands on it, odds are it wouldn't sell. Older anime doesn't sell because the portion of the anime market that cares is relatively small. Discotek only manages to do this by keeping their release numbers and number of copies down, making sure that each copy is sold. Even when releasing old stuff though, Discotek only makes sure bets. Castle of Cagliostro? Robot Carnival? Yeah those are going to sell. The 80s Devilman OVA? Probably not.A fundamental part of why the majority of anime fans don't care is because, on average, people are only into anime for 3-5 years, at least hard-core. While they're in it, they're too busy watching all the new stuff to go back. Especially these days when they're is so much stuff coming out. So yeah, that's what I "know" based on little industry things I've absorbed during research. – jwiderski 5 years ago
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    • I love anime... – GanjaKing420 5 years ago
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    • Way sad. I mean... basically everything I used to watch is considered old now.... I def. need to start watching some newer stuff, but it makes me sad to think that youngins won't get to see the things I enjoyed... – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • I would be so cool if companies could do re-mastered series/movies of old anime. There are a bunch that a lot of people will never hear of, either because they aren't talked about anywhere and they don't look as good as the newer stuff. With this the older anime will gain a wave of new fans experiencing their content for the first time. – LaRose 4 years ago
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    • It is disappointing when companies create new versions of old anime and it doesn't do any justice. Take Sailor Moon for example, that show was gold but it just disappeared after a while. Then it got revived, but just isn't the same as the 1990s version of the cartoon. Great post, Sailor Moon was childhood. – ladycsapp 4 years ago
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    Samurai Flamenco: A roller coaster ride and not in a good way

    Watching Samurai Flamenco is a lot like being on a ride at an amusement park. Unfortunately, it’s type of ride that was assembled in a hurry, wasn’t thought out properly, did have a few moments of entertainment while you were on it, but then when it’s done you realize you didn’t have that much fun and can’t bring yourself to buy the commemorative photograph they try to sell you in the gift shop.

    I really did enjoy this show while watching it but then I take the time and look it over again and it just doesn’t hold up. It has huge plot holes that you can drive Mr. Justice’s stars and striped truck through. Just so you don’t have to watch the anime to get that reference, Mr. Justice is an American hero with the American Flag on the trailer of his truck. It humorous but right after that Samurai Flamenco fights the Ultimate Prime Minister who is powered by his approval rating. Remember this started as a show about a guy who got beat up because he was telling a bunch of kids that they were causing a ruckus and need to be more respectful for others. How did it come to this?

    In the end this show fails as a comedy, fails as an introspective in the hero genre, and just fails overall. Its lucky I had any fun at all while watching it and gave as high a score as I did. Go watch Tiger and Bunny, the more superior anime with heroes in it. Trust me, it’s so much better.

    Rating: 2/5

    • I find it interesting that you say the series doesn't stand up in time when it only finished airing last year. It really can't be that great, then! – Jordan 5 years ago
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    • I.. don't even know what to say about that last picture hahahaha. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • I will admit that Samurai Flamenco is most definitely a wild sort of ride to the point in which a lot of things don't make sense in it, but I will give credit where credit is due and say that there were some amazing sense in the series. I have even been to a panel that called Samurai Flamenco "One of the Greatest Anime You Probably Dropped." One thing that I like is that if you stay on the roller coast long enough it explains more about the randomness that occurs being the work of basically a god that helped make the world in Samurai Flamenco's image and what he desired. – Kmo 4 years ago
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    Husky and Medley: A Yuri Manga Review

    Huskey and Medley is a cute Yuri manga about two girls falling in love with each other. The plot is based on a real 2chan thread. It stands out from many other manga because the events in it feel like they could have(and may have) really taken place. The art work is simple but uncluttered. There is also a nice vocaloid song inspired by this manga, which I have linked in the article. It’s short but neat, it doesn’t extend itself any longer than it needs to before it becomes boring. The conclusion of the story is predictable but satisfying. It has got some content suitable for adult audiences but it’s not porn.

    The protagonist of this story code-named ‘Medley’ gets suggestions from anonymous 2chan users about what to text to her crush, which is quite similar to what is done in the popular Japanese drama Densha Otoko (train man) even though other than that there aren’t many other similarities and ‘Husky and Medley’ feels a lot more realistic than Densha Otoko. When I say ‘realistic’ I don’t mean sad or depressing. It’s actually a pretty light hearted manga that also manages to not treat its characters as jokes, unlike some other manga/anime series. I am looking at you Shimoneta.

    • This sounds quite interesting. While I'm not hugely interested in high school yuri (largely beause most of what I see descends in porn or features a lot of teacher/student pairings), this gives a much nicer slant on it. If it's half as good as Octave, I'll be happy. :) – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • It's really interesting how this manga idea got started on a message board. That makes it even more real feeling. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    Manga that never became an Anime

    Art is subjective, and as such you could theoretically ask 100 people what their favourite song/painting/book/film etc. is and get 100 different answers. Being art forms themselves, the same can be said of anime and manga. One of the things that make them so enjoyable as art forms though, is the way they interact: manga, especially popular manga, is often adapted into an anime, giving fans the opportunity to watch their favourite characters and screen brought to life in full-blown, animated glory.

    Now, several things affect whether a manga is adapted into an anime: a suitably large fan base is a positive, the reputation and connections of the mangaka, merchandising possibilities, current market mood, potential controversies, the pacing of the story arcs … all these things can affect the chances of a series moving from the page to the screen. How each of these things is perceived in relation to the series is then of course affected to different degrees by the subjective view of those in charge of the decisions as to which series get adapted.

    The result of this is that you will likely find at least one manga series that you would absolutely love to see get the anime treatment, but it just doesn’t. But which series fit this for you? Perhaps you wanted a full-on Shōnen assault from the time travellers of Psyren? Maybe Masamune Shirow’s Orion tickles your fancy more than a new Appleseed? Does the realistic Yuri world of Octave appeal or do you prefer your romance to have a gender bent Shōjo feel like W Juliet? With a wealth of series out there, you just know that there’s something in your collection that somehow missed the animation boat.

    • Since there are now a plethora of manga series available, it would seem that many manga series that are even low in popularity now have a chance to make it onto the television and movie screens. The niche genres of the manga medium certainly allow for it (as in the case of more and more manga-based anime adaptations coming out each anime season), where there have been some pretty awful anime adaptations that only tailored to a very, very small audience. – Miguel Douglas 5 years ago
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    • I do wonder if a lot of the poor adaptions of manga are made purely because the animation companies view them as falling into a more commercially viable genre/set of tropes than some others that may be better received. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • Sad for me... because anime is more readily available to me than manga is. So the only time I'd read manga is if I had already seen the anime.. :( – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • Is there a reason the anime is more readily available out of interest? – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    Anime Review: K Project

    K, also known as K Project, is an anime that clearly places some importance on style. Utilising a colour palette that seamlessly mixes the muted colours of Mardock Scramble with the bright tones of modern features like Summer Wars, it succeeds in creating a distinctive look of its own. Thrown in some consistently smooth animation and some well-placed visual effects and you have a series that is remarkably beautiful to watch.

    Of course, when a series places too much focus on style, there is always the risk that the balance will become skewed and any potential substance will be lost. Thankfully, K manages to avoid this pitfall by weaving an interesting story that not only steps into the territory of world building, but also provides some surprisingly well rounded characters. The perfect example of the latter being the catgirl Neko: one look at the end credits and you’d be forgiven for thinking that she’s nothing more than the token cutesy-fanservice-character. As the series progresses however, you learn that she is genuinely quite sweet and that her powers are not entirely what they seem.

    That’s not to say that K is perfect of course. No matter how cool the characters may be, it’s hard to look at them and not see other, better known characters. In all likelihood, you’ll find yourself watching the opening credits and thinking ‘Isn’t that Kanda from D.Gray-Man?’ or ‘Did I just spot Shizuo from Durarara?’ While a lack of originality in character design is a relatively minor gripe, far more umbrage could well be taken with the conclusion of the series. Throughout the show, you find little plot devices and backstories that you just wish were explored a little more than they were, but you let them slide because you expect everything to tie up in a big finale. Unfortunately, what you’re left with is a scenario where some things reach a satisfactory conclusion, but other points are left unsatisfactorily open.

    Now, it’s worth noting that K is not just a single season anime. There are a plethora of light novels and manga out there, a sequel movie has been released and second season is on the way. When you take that into account, it becomes far easier to forgive the series’ failings in ending the story. With that in mind, K becomes something that, while not perfect, is well worth investing your time in.

    Rating: 4/5

    • I decided to give K a try some time ago... For some reason it just didn't work out for me: it was way too stylized and even random at times (I have to be honest I stopped after episode 3). I'm sure it's a decent anime but Neko-girls and metrosexual samurai as well as 'clueless' protagonists is not really my thing. – crispychips 5 years ago
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    • 'Tis a fair comment. It's definitely one of those shows with great potential to be divisive as far as opinions go. That's the joy of anime for me though. If you don't like one show, there'll be another that you will. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • Haha.. I was about to say "catgirl!!! I'm intrigued." Yep... totally would fall for any "fanservice" ploys... – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • It surprised me as a series, I must admit. It has plenty going for it in my eyes. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    Blood Blockade Battlefront Review: Pure Unentertaining Energy

    Blood Blockade Battlefront (also known as Kekkai Sensen) is Bones’ biggest hit in several years, selling over ten thousand DVDs/Blurays on the first volume with a bright future ahead for the remaining ones. With the director of Kyousogiga, the original manga being written by the man who brought us Trigun, and a well-respected studio who has produced some of anime’s biggest hits in the past, it seemed like a dream combination for all the nerds to fanboy over. But whilst the result has achieved a large fanbase thanks to its madcap energy, the actual quality of the show is anything but ideal.

    Including the opinions on this review, the show has achieved a not-so insignificant amount of fan backlash for its decision to focus on style at the expense of substance, its shallow characterization, and the three-month delay between the penultimate episode and its finale due to scheduling/production issues. And despite the show’s visual and technical positives, BBB managed to actively throw away everything that could have made it a good time to the point that it became one of the worst anime the writer managed to finished this year.

    It’s a show that thinks that as long as it looks cool, it doesn’t have to actually try. Well it’s right, given its popularity. But that won’t stop this reviewer from calling it out on its fundamental failures.

    Rating: 3/10

    • I have not seen the show but from thise Tide Review, obviously I am curious to see it. I would like to follow up and measure what the reviewer has evaluated as a film in which style trumps substance while the film manages to be popular. – JeffinAurora 5 years ago
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    • From what you've said about it focussing on style over substance, it sounds like an unfortuantely missed opportunity. That's a shame really. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • Actually did a first impression of this series on YouTube. – Joseph Manduke IV 5 years ago
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    The art of repetition and uniqueness within sameness - Overthinking Endless Eight

    Endless Eight – possibly one of the most controversial phenomenons to have ever come out of anime. Ever since Kyoto Animation in 2009 decided to broadcast eight different versions of the same episode for eight weeks in a row as part of the second season of the widely popular series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a lot of debate has been formed around the subject. Particularly it made a lot of the show’s initial fans angry, and understandably so; not only must it have been frustrating to realize that the brand new season of your beloved show mainly consists of rehashes of one and the same episode, but having to sit through eight weeks of that episode can’t have been a too pleasant experience.

    On top of this, multiple theories have emerged regarding what the point of it all was. Some say that it’s meant for the audience to experience the same frustration as Yuki Nagato – the only character in the show to actually live through the in total 15 532 loops without her memory being reset each time – and thus get a better understanding of her motivations in the later movie The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Others argue that it was just a giant prank that KyoAni felt like doing to the then borderline fanatic Haruhi fanbase.

    Few people though seem to have done a deeper exploration into this arc’s potential artistic merit. In this post, I relate Endless Eight to two different concepts found within two different realms of art. The first concept is within music, and how through the practice of repetition one can achieve a sense of endless now. Here, Danish author and poet Niels Frank’s book Seven seals of silence is mainly used as reference, in which he describes how Bach and the minimalist composers use repetition in two different ways and thus achieve different forms of infinity. This is furthermore compared to the works of ambient musician William Basinski, who’s frequent use of tape loops works as a perfect example on this concept.

    The second concept is found in French artist Marcel Duchamp’s art piece The Green Box; a box which he manually reproduced and sold as part of his other piece The Large Glass. By the fact that each copy of this box had slightly different qualities to it and thus was in one way or another unique (much due to them being manually reproduced), Duchamp wanted to highlight the fact that all things that are seemingly the same is divided by a slight variation, and thus he sought finding a therapeutic way of coping with the increasing sameness of modern society. Through this concept, Endless Eight can partly be drawn to the same subject on the mundanity of modern life, but it can also more closely be drawn to the seemingly uneventful slice-of-life-genre that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya embodies.

    • The funny thing is, I didn't pick up on a lot of the differences before taking a day off work and watching all eight back-to-back. It's an itneresting experiement but one where, despite artistic merit, I can understand how fans would feel elt down watching one episode a week. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • Interesting read! I honestly appreciate this new take on the series and the arc in particular. – CheesyJ 4 years ago
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    Vandread: The second Stage: They manage to stick the ending!

    With the first Vandread you saw the possibility of there being a pretty good show that seemed to be confined by the story telling. Luckily the second season was able to look at the mistakes that were made in the first place and improve upon them greatly. The result is an ending that makes the series greater than it deserves to be.

    Picking up after the first season, the crew makes their way back to their home planets while at the same time growing as characters. Which is good because a lack of growth would have been detrimental to the series as a whole.

    The final battle really is the best part of the entire season. As the crew pleads to their planets for aid against the oncoming armada, they soon find help coming from out of the woodwork to be able to preserve their ways of life.

    Only real problem with this series is that they introduce a Super Vandread robot and don’t take the time to use it properly. Good giant robots need to be showcased as much as possible.

    Vandread is a good series overall but it takes a lot to get through the whole time. If your an anime watcher than can’t take a few bland moments in the beginning or in the first season overall then you’ll probably have to forget this one. If you can endure a few rough patches for a great ending then this is the series for you.

    Rating: 4/5

    • Out of itnerest, is this a series that can be watched without a need to have seen season 1, or is it mroe advisable to watch the first season first? – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • Kind of have to take it as a whole to appreciate the ending. That's the problem with the series overall, it basically has a 10 episode beginning where they drag their feet. – ajester 5 years ago
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    "Korragraphy": Choreography Mistakes in The Legend of Korra

    The Legend of Korra, created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, is a spin-off of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Legend of Korra initially aired on Nickelodeon, but by the third season, the show had become listed as an "online only show", due to its online popularity being so much greater than its popularity on television.

    The Legend of Korra, much like its "parent" show, contains lots of action, disputes between characters, and intriguing plot-twists. What is most noteworthy in The Legend of Korra, in comparison to Avatar: The Last Airbender, is the shift in the style of plot/scene-pacing as well as the style of combat that is enacted by the characters.

    This may be a heavily opinion-based post, but I personally find that, in regards to the action-scenes of The Legend of Korra, the "choreography" of the fight-scenes, as well as the order in which the fight-scenes take place, is poorly done in this show. Many epic fight-scenes happen too early in the series, or certain "moves" performed by the characters are done with such ease that the audience grows numb to acts of authentic skill. Thus, whenever a truly impressive "move" is pulled off in a fight-scene, the effect is lessened.

    Questions to be answered in this post:
    Does action-scene "choreography" really matter? Is "fight-scene sequencing" actually important for keeping fans interested? Are fans "numbed" by watching too many epic battles before the battles of ultimate significance take place?

    • I don't know if this article does a good enough job of presenting specifics and explaining WHY the choreography itself in Legend of Korra falls short. This article speaks more to a gap between what certain audience members expect from fight scenes and the way in which the first two seasons did not play into those expectations. For example, when Korra and Amon first square off, an audience member might expect that this is the climax of the season and be disappointed when the fight does not match up to expectations of a climactic fight scene like Aang and Ozai. This scene, however, is NOT the climax of the season: Korra going into the Avatar state is. Meanwhile, Amon is an anticlimactic villain. As it turns out he is just a blood bender and does not deserve the same epic showdown that Ozai did. In short, the choreography is important to an extent but the show focuses more on plot and theme than fighting: a philosophy which is consistent with the show's commitment that violence should be seen as a secondary option. – Cmandra 5 years ago
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    • The original series had a more cinematic "ancient martial arts" feeling but I really enjoyed the way the choreography felt in Korra. It seems to have evolved from ancient martial arts techniques as the original show displayed and becomes more of modern style. This is emphasized in the bending competitions where the bending feels like a boxing or UFC match. Everything about the sequel series is rooted in industrialization which means that the bending also progresses in technique and efficiency. Its truly difficult to argue your point, I'm afraid, as the information might require visual proof. The bending, in the show, does appear seamless even to younger or newer Benders, but if you think about the level that bending education has evolved from the almost primitive feeling of the original show, it mostly explains why the characters have improved in talent. – consciouskyle 5 years ago
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    • I appreciate that Korra had the brute strength that Aang did not. Korra was intentionally this way to break gender stereotypes and give you more varied women. Between Katara, Toph, Lin, Korra, and Asami there are so many different and amazing types of women that the enhanced fighting does not phase me because /that's Korra/. – alexpaulsen 5 years ago
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    • Fight scenes cannot be underestimated in importance. A really great fight scene has an element of surprise. Think back to Monkey Kingdom where the witch uses her hair to sling around the enemies' neck and strangles them with a jerk of her head, or Matrix where Neo flies off. I loved Legend of Korra but am forced to agree with you regarding the fight scenes. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • I didn't notice too significant a drop in fight scene choreography. If you're correct, it might be due to the fact that Korra is set in a technology advanced future where mech-suits do a lot of the fighting. This could even be a comment on the way technology distances us from our past/traditions? Seems a bit heavy handed however – Rayna 4 years ago
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    Prince of Tennis: A Dream Team We Never Had (...yet)

    Among all the sports anime produced by Japan, Prince of Tennis can perhaps be among those on top of it’s league when it comes to fanbase and story development.

    Apart from the awesome tennis techniques it has introduced, characterization is also highly notable. Personalities are unique, making it easier for viewers to relate with any of the ones presented.

    But with all the interesting teams and schools we’ve encountered so far, have you ever thought about what your dream team will look like in case you’re given the chance to pick any of the characters and include them in your own team?

    Selection will be difficult if you only base it on the skills of the individuals, which is where you preference comes in. Is skill your primary criteria for the selection or will the looks also matter. How about leadership and attitude?

    Put yourselves in the shoe of any coach and see who can bring your team on top. Will a group of power players be efficient or will those all-rounders land you a secure spot for the championships. Remember, you are the coach. Your players are your choice.

    So get yourself ready. Trim down your options to the potential ones and get them on board! Here’s a potential team that might just be one of the best out there.

    • As someone who's played sports for years, tennis being one, I rarely put myself in the coach's shoes. Sounds like an interesting way to measure cause and effect. – tamarahwebb 5 years ago
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