Rainy day filler post – New summer shows and planned acquisitions

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I’d be in a better mood right now if this had happened to me.

I got caught in a sudden downpour on my way home from work today. The rain was coming down so strongly a stiff wind would have rendered my umbrella completely useless. In the end, there was only a weak breeze and I managed to survive the experience with nothing worse than a sodden sleeve and a dripping bag.

Nothing big to report this week; still, I felt like doing a quick write-up before turning in for the night.

NEW SUMMER SHOWS

We’re now in the second (third?) week of the summer season and the shows have been coming out in full force. It’s still pretty quiet on the sub front, though: Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho is done downloading and I have Sky Girls on queue, but the only other major title I’ve seen with a subbed first-episode release is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (as of 10 July). As expected, Random Curiosity are among the first out of the gate with detailed write-ups and screencaps of several new shows.

Here’s a list of the first-episode reviews they’ve posted so far (as of 10 July), arranged in order of publication date:
School Days
Doujin Work
Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho
Sky Girls
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Zero no Tsukaima ~Futatsuki no Kishi~
Moetan

I haven’t seen anything that would lead to a major overhaul of my original summer rankings, although I’ve decided to give Sky Girls a shot after all. I’m also thinking of casting my net a little wider this season than before – time permitting – so I’ll probably give as many as ten shows a three-episode opportunity to impress me before I settle down on the five or so that I intend to follow all the way through.

PLANNED ACQUISITIONS

I got my modest fiscal year-end bonus the other day, and with no rent/ clothing/food/utilities/housekeeping/other expenses to worry about (thanks, mum and dad!) I’m now playing around with the implications of my newfound excess liquidity. I’ve already earmarked about a third of the total amount as an addition to my Japan Excursion Fund – which, as the name suggests, can’t be drawn upon until I start making arrangements for my first trip there – and some of the rest will have to go to the obligatory dinner at some posh-nosh restaurant for the family (lesson learned: never blab about a bonus/raise/ promotion to people who are in a position to hound you into a corner and demand a free meal). As for the remainder, I’ve got my eye on a fresh batch of Region 1 DVDs: the third volume of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, of course, but also the Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu complete collection and possibly a Miyazaki film. Something else caught my fancy a couple of days ago, but I won’t talk about that here – not until I get it, at any rate, and there’s no guarantee of that happening even with the second chance I’ve been given. (That’s a hint right there, and here’s another unhelpfully vague hint: Some people have just gotten theirs, and by all accounts they’re quite pleased.)

Speaking of Miyazaki, I actually need some advice on that one. I’ve never been a Ghibli fan – their character designs, for one, are really off-putting – but the famous director is an acknowledged master of his craft and I think it’s about time I gave his films a try. I’d appreciate recommendations for one film that can be described as representative of his entire body of work, preferably covering everything from art direction to storytelling as well as the all-important character design factor. (Yes, the way people look in anime counts for a lot in my book.) Or forget what I wrote and just give me the title of your favourite Miyazaki piece. In any case, something with a high rewatch value – I’m investing in a DVD, after all – and a high entertainment value; nothing too sophisticated. I’ll do my own homework on this one, of course, so make your recommendations without fear of vengeful and righteous smiting on my part; in the end, the choice is all mine, and like it or loathe it I’ll have no-one else to blame.

Okay, no time to proofread this; I’ll edit it tomorrow. G’night.

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6 Responses

  1. Aha~ I was in my house when it rained~

  2. Personally I’m a fair fan of Ghibli works, When I went ot Japan I visited the Ghibli museum and boy it was awesome. all the art work were amazing. I think it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, for me Ghibli stuff is amazing but I’m probably not as huge a fan as some friends, one of which has all the dvds for every movie they produced 😀

    Never the less, I lvoe their detailed art work especially the backgrounds, and their story telling is interesting enough. Character design wise I’d say it’s not that flashy, as u said, but the characters themselves are in general interesting and powerful.

    My favourites would include some of the old Ghibli stuff like Kiki’s Delivery Service, the first I ever watch of Ghibli films and still love it. Porco Rosso and Castle in the Sky also my favourites.

    I know many like My neighbor totoro (I think their first works) and princess Mononoke.

  3. @Zeroblade: Perhaps you can lend me your roof the next time it rains. I’ll mount it on a stick and carry it around with me wherever I go. ^_^

    By the way, I’m using the wallpaper from your “Downtime” post. I haven’t seen “Air” but it looks really nice.

    @Jan: Thanks! I’ll look into those titles and see if any of them will interest me. I’ve seen pictures of the Ghibli Museum on the ‘net, and I must say that even for a non-fan like me it seems like a place worth visiting.

  4. Nausicaa. Hands down.

    Miyazaki’s works have an imaginative, environmental message, coupled with a new-age flair to them unlike anything I have ever seen before. Much much separated from Shinkai’s work. I’m not a fan of Ghibli nor of Miyazaki, but I had the opportunity to view Nausicaa while taking a Japanese Lit course during my study abroad in Osaka. Mind you, I had seen My Neighbor Totoro & Mononoke-hime way before this. I wasn’t terribly put off by them, but they were not movies I would buy other than to show my wide range of anime genre…or for my non-existent children. I actually didn’t like Mononoke-hime much, despite all its rave reviews when it hit the states.

    Nausicaa struck me in such a powerful manner in terms of visual production, but mostly in storytelling and characters. I have seen a lot of series, but this production goes back to before the majority of the ones I’ve seen, and still managed to floor me with superb plot/character development, endearing characters that made you feel, and an ending that was totally impossible, yet didn’t matter AT ALL because of the world and the prominent moral values that Miyazaki had woven together. I was stunned, and could only be even more amazed to find out from my professor that it had not ended there in the manga.

    Kiki’s Delivery Service is another production that I have not seen, but generally know enough of the plot to recommend it as well.

    I’m going to take a guess at that item you were being so secretive about: iPhone?

  5. @storymode: Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve read some good things about Nausicaa and your review pretty much seals the deal. I think I’ll order it together with the fourth volume of Haruhi, although to save on postage I’ll probably poke around in a few specialty stores around here first (just to see if I can get a LEGAL copy locally).

    As for the “secret item” – You’d be right, my friend, if the iPhone were already available here. I’ve been aching for one ever since Steve Jobs delivered his ridiculous “An iPod! A phone!” speech, so it’s currently somewhere close to the top of my “Future Acquisitions” list. Right now I have my eye on something that should be available within a month or so, at a fraction of the price.

    (Incidentally, did you get one yourself? I’d appreciate comments on its performance and whatnot – it’s a pretty big investment, after all, and I’m planning to get the highest-end model available when it hits the shelves here.)

  6. Glad that I could assist in your decision-making of a quality production. I write anime reviews when I have the spark to do so, and the spark just hit me in regards to Nausicaa.

    As for the iPhone, I can only say that I’ve held one and tinkered around with the GUI while viewing a webpage on it. Unfortunately, your best bet is to read up on how so many others have experienced it, as I’m not planning on getting one. I’m still working on getting myself a Mac laptop, and having another plaything to distract me is not what I need even though it’s about 1/3 less than a MacBook Pro.

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