Archive for the ‘anime & manga’ Category


or… how I shoulda stop to add anime to my watch list because of the videos Youtube keeps showing me… seriously!

The problem is that even the site I use to keep track of what I have already seen and what I want to watch (anime-planet.com) is starting to give me recommendations accordingly!

So, this year alone I’ve seen some very big and famous (or should I say notorius?) shows, like Attack on Titan (I mean… all the seasons), Tokyo Ghoul (both the first season and √A) and SAO: Alicization (Yeah, I should write about SAO, I know…) but here I am, writing a post with a reference to the title of the lowest rated anime (still 2.5 stars out of 5, but it started at 1.5 after the first episode) I’ve seen this year (so far).

And, I mean, I’ve seen 13 new series this year and I did a complete rewatch of FMP! (including Fumoffu!, TSR and IV) and the first five arcs of SAO (Aincrad, Fairy Dance, Phantom Bullet, Calibur and Mother’s Rosario, just in case, if you’re not familiar with SAO and its storyline).

Point is, I’m in serious need of another EVA, FMP!, Guilty Crown or similar serie… and, even more important, I need the will to see it. The will to stay up late, the will to be taken by hand for a walk and then punched violently by the same director or author which I have trusted at the beginning of the serie (yeah, thanks Anno-sensei, very kind of you…) when my favourite character dies (C’mon, go watch Re:Creators now! I dare you!).

Because let’s face it… Hajimete no Gal is a typical please-watch-me-put-your-brain-in-powersave-we-got-lotta-boobies 10-episodes serie you don’t even bother considering if is worth watching… and how you’ll feel at the end (probably like me, hating Junichi and feeling sympathy for Yukana, but I digress…). But guess what? Sometimes you really need to put your brain in powersave and the two-and-a-half-out-of-five-stars serie Hajimete no Gal will serve the purpose just fine.

Cover of the first volume of the Hajimete no Gal manga

Picture for reference…
[Source: Wikipedia]

This week I’ll probably start watching Code Geass – I decided to finally watch it – but maybe on Friday, or during the weekend. In the meantime, what about that serie with an annoying long title? What was it? Hensuki: Are you willing to fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s a cutie? Those clips I’ve seen on Youtube were funny…



I’ve just finished watching Maison Ikkoku [めぞん一刻] and I really love that anime. It’s not one of my all-time favourites like Full Metal Panic or Neon Genesis Evangelion but nevertheless is, by far, the best romance drama (some would say it’s a comedy, but I digress…) without magic, science fiction or anything outside of the ordinary that I’ve ever seen.

I can’t deny this show is long… veeeeery long… with 96 episodes is the longest anime series I’ve seen so far (Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½ are both in the backlog of things to see, but maybe next year).
Extraordinary long by the today standard of 12 or 24 episodes per serie.

So.…I really love the plot, the characters’ development, I found the two main characters to be enjoyable and relatable (Kyoko-san is such a lovely character, ahhh…) and since I lived (when I was young at least) in an era before cell phones and pervasive wireless high-speed internet access… the era when you had to put coins in a public phone in order to communicate with someone while you where on the street or at a train station or somewhere far from home, I can perfectly relate to a story set in the ’80s because I know first hand how things were going at that time.

… and that’s the problem.

The problem is that this is a show I love, a show most of my friends around the same age as me would enjoy (if they enjoy the genre of course) but it’s a show that is aging (and will continue to age) bad.

Really bad.

It’s not science fiction: I can picture myself watching today Star Trek – The Next Generation (Gundam if talking about anime) because… well… it’s Star Trek (or Gundam).
It’s not a two-hour comedy movie you can enjoy on tv, something like Wilder’s Some like it hot or Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
It’s not a war/action movie (a-la Die Hard or Terminator).

It’s a serie someone born in 2000/2005, a perfect age to relate to the main characters, will probably struggle to watch and even to understand.

And that’s sad, really sad, because it really is a masterpiece, maybe as some said, Rumiko Takahashi’s more mature and best work, but to really appreciate it, more than anything, you have to relate to the characters.

Something I feel will be difficult for the generations to come.



Dynit ( formerly Dynamic Italia ) is a well known name if you’re Italian and you like watching anime. If you’re a fan of “a certain director” [1], then you’ll surely know this name even better: Aim for the TOP! GunBuster, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Evangelion Death & Rebirth, The End of Evangelion, His and Her Circumstances have all been distributed in Italy by Dynit.

Dynit ( in precedenza Dynamic Italia ) è un nome abbastanza noto agli italiani a cui piace guardare anime. Se si è fan di “un certo regista” [1], allora è un nome che si conosce anche meglio: Punta al TOP! GunBuster, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Evangelion Death & Rebirth, The End of Evangelion, Le situazioni di Lui & Lei sono stati tutti distribuiti in Italia da Dynit.

However, high-speed broadband connection actually altered the anime market ( also the manga market, but less ) and a lot of people everyday are downloading or watching in streaming copyright-protected shows instead of buying them.
Of course there are some exceptions, like fansub groups distributing subbed anime in countries were official distribution has not started yet… or never will, for a variety of reasons.

D’altronde, le connessioni a banda larga ad alta velocità hanno cambiato considerevolmente il mercato degli anime ( nonché il mercato dei manga, sebbene di meno ) e un mucchio di gente ogni giorno scarica o guarda in streaming show protetti da copyright invece di acquistarli.
Ovviamente ci sono delle eccezioni, come i gruppi di fansub che distribuiscono anime sottotitolati in quei paesi dove la distribuzione ufficiale non è ancora avvenuta… o mai inizierà, per i motivi più disparati.

When describing myself, I ( sometimes, depending by the enviroment ) say that I’m an ‘EVA-geek’ and that’s actually true. Although not my favourite serie ( but hold a very fair 2nd place after Full Metal Panic! ), I really like Evangelion ( EVA in short ) and is one of the serie some of my friends and I often like to talk about when we meet.
I already bought some EVA-related products, like miniatures and a three manga ( Angelic Days and Campus Apocalypse, currently reading Shinji Ikari Raising Project ) but I didn’t bought any video… until recently. After all, in these days, buying a pricey DVD is not a really smart move. I bought a pair of DVDs this year, but it was an eBay offer at a bargain price.
So, while I’m currently waiting for some of my favourite series to be distributed here in Italy on BD, the New Theatrical Release of Evangelion ( formerly known with its project name “Rebuild of Evangelion” ) has been available for a while.

Uno degli aggettivi che ( talvolta, a seconda del posto in cui mi trovo ) uso per descrivermi è ‘EVA-geek’ ed effettivamente è vero. Sebbene non sia la mia serie preferita ( si posiziona ad un buon secondo posto dopo Full Metal Panic! ), Evangelion ( in breve EVA ) mi piace davvero tanto ed è uno degli argomenti ricorrenti durante le conversazioni con alcuni miei amici quando ci incontriamo.
Ho acquistato alcuni prodotti relativi ad EVA, come miniature e manga ( the Iron Maiden 2nd e Cronache degli angeli caduti, mentre sto leggendo Shinji Ikari Raising Project ), ma non avevo ancora comprato alcun video… fino a poco tempo fa. Dopo tutto, di questi tempi, spendere abbastanza soldi per un DVD non è una cosa molto furba. Ho acquistato un paio di DVD quest’anno, ma era un’offerta su eBay ed il prezzo era veramente basso.
Quindi sebbene sia in attesa che alcune delle mie serie preferite vengano distribuite in BD qui in Italia, la Nuova Versione Cinematografica di Evangelion ( nota in precedenza con il nome di progetto “Rebuild of Evangelion” ) è disponibile da un po’.

Then, after a brand new Sony BD player, the second BD I bought was Evangelion: 1.11 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE.

Quindi, dopo un lettore BD Sony nuovo, il secondo BD acquistato è stato Evangelion: 1.11 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE.

Evangelion: 1.11 - YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE Italian Edition BD case picture

In an usual EVA-way, the movie has two titles, an English one { Evangelion: 1.11 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE } and a Japanese one { ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:序 [ Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Jō ( Evangelion New Theatrical Release: Beginning ) ] }, the first one intended for the export market, the second one for the internal Japanese market.
Three version of the New Theatrical Release, also called New Movie Edition ( NME in short ), exists: 1.0 was the one released in Japanese theatres, 1.01 is a lower quality DVD / BD release made using the film with really minor improvements while 1.11 has been digitally produced and includes also some scenes that aren’t on the first two.
In the US market only 1.01 is available on both DVD and BD, while in Europe / Italy usually 1.11 is available ( or both, go figure why, probably as collectors’ items ).

Come al solito quando si parla di EVA, il film ha due titoli, uno inglese { Evangelion: 1.11 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE } e uno giapponese { ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:序 [ Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Jō ( Evangelion Nuova Versione Cinematografica: Prologo ) ] }, il primo per l’esportazione, il secondo per il mercato interno Giapponese.
Esistono tre versioni della Nuova Versione Cinematografica, chiamata anche New Movie Edition ( in breve NME ): 1.0 è stata quella proiettata nei cinema giapponesi, 1.01 è la versione DVD / BD di “bassa qualità” realizzata usando le pellicole con alcuni piccoli miglioramenti mentre 1.11 è la versione prodotta in digitale e include anche alcune scene non presenti nellle prime due.
Nel mercato USA è disponibile solo 1.01 sia su DVD che su BD, mentre in Europa / Italia è solitamente disponibile 1.11 ( o entrambi, non si sa bene perché, probabilmente per motivi di collezionismo ).

The Italian edition is pretty standard, a single disc for both the movie and the extras.
The booklet is really well done, about three feet long with lot of informations on the story, the characters, the development and other things.

L’edizione italiana è abbastanza standard, un singolo disco contiene sia il film che gli extra.
Il libretto è fatto veramente bene, lungo circa un metro con davvero tante informazioni sulla storia, sui personaggi, sullo sviluppo, ecc.

Picture of the inside of the BD case with the booklet and the disk

Picture of unfolded booklet

The movie is in Full-HD 1080/24p format, with DTS-HD audio in both Italian and Japanese. Two sets of Italian subtitles are available: signs and writings only or signs and dialogues.
The extras are in 1080i format and include mainly trailers and teasers. The two most notable exceptions are Rebuild of Evangelion: Shiro Sagisu Version ( and the parallel Joseph-Maurice Ravel Version ), in which various animation processes are shown, and Explanation of Evangelion: 1.01.
Explanation of Evangelion: 1.01 actually is the entire Evangelion: 1.01 movie in 720p format with lot of Italian permanent subtitles with descriptions, explanations and more.

Il film è in formato Full-HD 1080/24p, con audio DTS-HD in italiano e giapponese. Sono disponibili due set di sottotitoli in italiano: solo cartelli e scritte, oppure cartelli e dialoghi.
Gli extra sono in formato 1080i e includono principalmente trailer e teaser. Le due eccezioni degne di nota sono Rebuild of Evangelion: Shiro Sagisu Version ( e l’analoga Joseph-Maurice Ravel Version ), nella quale vengono mostrate varie sequenze di creazione delle animazioni, ed Explanation of Evangelion: 1.01.
Explanation of Evangelion: 1.01 è effettivamente l’intero film Evangelion: 1.01 in formato 720p con un numero impressionante di sottotitoli permanenti con descrizioni avanzate, spiegazioni e altro ancora.

With the increased interactivity of DVDs at the end of the last century and the increased capacity of today’s BDs, the world of animation can surely deliver to the viewer a lot of other extra contents other than the mere movie, or the serie’s episodes.
Considering that, although being a simple single disc release, it’s well done and it’s really worth buying it.

Con l’aumento di interattività dei DVD alla fine del secolo scorso e l’incremento di capacità dei BD di oggi, il mondo dell’animazione è decisamente in grado di fornire allo spettatore una gran quantità di contenuti extra invece del mero film o dei semplici episodi di una serie.
Alla luce di ciò, sebbene sia un’edizione a disco singolo, è realizzata bene ed è un valido acquisto.

1 – Seriously, you didn’t catch? | Davvero non l’avete capito?

Bye



Area 88, an anime I didn’t knew nothing about until a month ago. This wouldn’t be a bad thing on its own, but it actually is because Area 88 is an anime ( and a manga ) strongly related to aviation: how could I have missed it?

As the title suggests, there are two anime series: the first one is a serie of three OVA released in the mid ’80s, the second one is a TV serie of 12 episodes that aired in 2004. Both have more or less the same plot because they are both based on the manga with the same title.

As there are no real spoilers here, you can continue reading without fear.

Because I like to see things in order, I watched the OVA serie first, followed by the the TV serie less than two weeks after. Always because I like to do things in order, I’ll start talking about the aviation part of the show.
If you know a little about aviation and air forces, then there is no problem; if you know a lot, there there could be some problems; if you are an aviation enthusiast since 1989 then there would be some more problems.

Nevertheless, the show will be really enjoyable anyway.

Even if some errors are less noticeable than others, like the F-15 / Tornado -style pylons on the F-8 “Crusader” ( you do remember about “Crusader”‘s pylons and hardpoints, don’t you? ) or a drop tank mounted under an F-14A “Tomcat” centerline “Sparrow“‘s mountpoint, seeing aircraft like the F-4 “Phantom II” flying without the RIO or the F-14A used as a ground attack aircraft during the Vietnam conflict could bring some worries to the viewer.

Dogfights are the standard even if there are some ( at least one ) long range actions using the “Sparrow” SARH AAMs.

The main character, Shin Kazama [ 風間真 ], is probably able to shot down a “Flanker” flying a Sopwith “Camel” with three bullets ( one of which is defective ), even if sometimes he screw things. A lot.

While the TV serie is almost always action-oriented, the OVA, even if shorter, focuses more on what Shin feels and what happens back in Japan. The story development is better depicted in the OVA than in the TV serie. I’m curious to see what happens in the manga though.

The animation is of course really different and the aircrafts of the TV serie seem to come straight from Initial-D, and they move in the same way, that is, with the same handling as cars. When flying I mean.
Visual effects are of course better on the TV serie and some details can’t be depicted on the OVA’s hand-drawed aircrafts. I think they’re on par even if for different reasons.

More or less the same characters are present in both shows, the most notable exceptions are two mercenary pilot, Kim ( that is absent in the OVA but came from the manga ) and Kitori ( a brand new character for the TV serie, and currently my favourite character ).

Both shows are fun and I suggest everyone to watch both, starting with the OVA as I’ve done.
I prefer the OVA over the TV serie because it’s shorter and the story is IMHO better developed both around the main character and his background.

Bye



Just a few words on both the shows. DieBuster ■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■ ■■ ■■■■ to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gainax, Gurren Lagann was released in 2007.

SPOILER FREE

Gurren Lagann is funny. Really. The soundtrack is cool even if the OSTs of GunBuster or EVA are on another level, but there are some tracks that are worth listening to them. The plot is… well, sorta same Gainax plot from “it’s all fun and games” that lead to “mankind is gonna die”. The plot is simple, not too complicated and, compared to other Gainax’s productions, funny. Really.

DieBuster ■■ ■ ■■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■ GunBuster ■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■ ■■■■■■■■■ ■■ ■■■ Gainax ■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■ ■■ “Nadia: the secret of Fuzzy”■ ■■ ■■■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■ ■■ ■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■ ■■■■■■

So probably the last three minutes ■■ ■■■■■■■■■ ■■■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■ ■■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■ ■■ ■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■ ■■■ ■■■■■■■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■ ■■■ ■■ ■■■■ ■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■■■■■ in the last episode. And that’s it. Period.

Bye

* If you see a lot of ■, don’t worry. The article was actually written this way.



I’ve seen several animes during the last months and I wrote nothing for any of them, but being a fan of Hideaki Anno’s animes, particularly Nadia and EVA, means I cannot keep from spending at least some words about his works.

So yesterday I finally decided to watch トップをねらえ! ( Toppu o Nerae! ) [ Aim for the Top! GunBuster ].

I’m not gonna write something you can easily find in less than 30 seconds googling for “GunBuster” and keep in mind that I’m gonna talk about more or less deeply about the plot, so:

IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SHOW, STOP READING RIGHT NOW.

That said, lets talk about GunBuster using the point of view of an otaku who has seen both Nadia and EVA ( and possibly even the episodes of Kare Kano directed by Anno ).

As usual, loneliness and lack of self confidence are two of the most important topics in Anno’s works and GunBuster’s not an exception, in fact the main character Noriko could be a good “prototype” of EVA’s Shinji. She believe she could never do what others ( especially Coach Ota ) ask her to do, she is hated by her schoolmates and other pilots because they think she has been choosen only because she is the only daughter of the admiral killed in the first battle with the aliens, she sometimes disobey orders and she also feel remorse for her partner’s death ( like Shinji in EVA during the Unit-03 activation incident, even if in a different way ) in the third episode.
By a certain point of view, the story of Noriko is the opposite of Shinji’s one. Shinji is a lonely guy with the need to open himself to the others that will, hopefully, end up living like a normal guy, while Noriko will end up being lonely because of the various WARP speed travels that will make her friends on Earth to grow old and possibly die while her relative time flows only for some months.

Jung could also be seen as the “prototype” of Asuka ( even if the shade of red of her hair is more similar to that of Miss Grandis in Nadia, but by the way… ). She is strong willed, German ( even if she pilot a soviet unit, but in 1988 Germany was still divided ), she believe of being the best machine pilot in the universe and is gealous of Noriko, at least at the beginning, while at the end she will become her partner with the GunBuster and will even try to go with her and Kazumi inside the black hole bomb near the the end of the last episode, that is equal to committing suicide and die with her friends.
In the end she will be alone anyway because of the time lapse between the moment the black hole bomb detonates and when Noriko and Kazumi will came back to the Earth.

Coach Ota is a character with some aspects that will be present in Nadia and EVA in the characters of Nemo and Gendo respectively. A part of his attitude emerges for example when he try to motivate Noriko to do her best or when he try to explain her, even in an hard way, what happens during real combat operations. Another part of his attitude could be seen at the beginning of the show, for instance when he’s looking at Noriko in difficulty during a duel ( a thing that remember me the first battle of the Unit-01 in EVA ) without doing anything.

GunBuster is one of the few examples of science-fiction serie, with FTL-capable space ships, that considers relativistic time dilatation effects. This is an element that has an heavy impact on the plot. Just mention the fact that in the fifth episode Noriko will graduate at 17 years while, on Earth, she actually is 27 and one of her best friend back in school, Kimiko, already has a daughter. In the last episode Kazumi that has been on Earth for about 10 years is now 30 while Noriko is about 18.

A lot of elements could be seen in the show that will find a place in the following series, from clothes to control rooms and including the end credits of the last episode ( scrolling horizontally rather than vertically, an idea Anno will “recycle” later in Evangelion – Death ). The last episode is purposely in b/w 4:3 letterbox format with only the very last scene in colours ( the real purpose is unknown, but any Anno fan knows he loves to make this sort of things and, the most important thing, the overall result is really good! ), with the last battle that is not “animated”. During the last battle only drawings are shown ( more or less like in the episode 26 of EVA ).

The original concept of GunBuster was to realize a 25 episodes-long serie as could be noticed by listening to the second soundtrack CD, which in fact contains a serie of audio-trailers created for the purpose.
Of course Gainax + Anno fans are accustomed to budget cuts ( EVA ), episodes’ number replanning ( Nadia ), change of ideas ( Kare Kano ) and similar thing, in fact, considering that the show’s anything but simple, some events and facts have little to no time to be exposed as they should be ( like “why those space monster are attacking humans?“, “why machines are piloted by young girls wearing a swimsuit?” and other questions of sort ).

Personally, I didn’t believe that a six episode anime would have impressed me that much. Anno did it again, less than with EVA but certainly more than with Nadia. The plot, the drawings and the excellent soundtrack really worked well. If there’s something that I don’t like of the show is the “super-robot” GunBuster: I’m not a big fan of that sort of anime, I prefers mecha like those from the Full Metal Panic universe than the various Mazinger or Jeeg, but considering the type of otaku Anno was at that time I can say I don’t care too much.

Before someone ask if there is an happy ending, I’ll answer in the same exact way I’m aswering this question during these days:
“Yes, there’s an happy ending, and is one of the saddest happy ending I’ve ever seen in my life“.

My advice’s to watch it, it’s worth spending three hours of your time. Really.

Bye