ANN marked the recent conclusion of Comic-Con International 2007 with the publication of a complete list of the new anime and manga licences that were announced during the four-day event. Although two manga titles and a not-so-new anime property caught my eye (write-ups below), there was nothing particularly exciting this time around.
I breathed a sigh of relief. My battered wallet can take it easy – for now.
This 24-episode series – based on Umino Chika’s manga of the same name – was originally broadcast in 2005, with a 12-episode second season following in 2006. As I recall, it was something of a hit both inside and outside Japan. Bloggers gave it excellent reviews all around and viewers pushed it up to the uppermost rungs of the ANN ratings ladder. Even now, nearly a year after the second season ended, it’s still ranked in the top twenty.
So why didn’t I pick this up back then?
Two words: character design. I do apologise if you’re annoyed by the frequency with which this tends to pop up in my posts (like a bad mushroom), but I can’t stress enough the importance I place on this key area of anime production. In an unpublished draft post about Nodame Cantabile, I explained why:
No matter how beautifully written the story or how wonderfully acted the roles are, in the end I’d have to actually look at the characters week after week after week. It’s easy enough to tune out a weak score or to let a couple of badly written lines slide, but try shutting out a nauseatingly shoujofied face or a horribly drawn nose (*cough* Escaflowne *cough*) – especially if said face and said nose are on the head of a major character who’s present in virtually every scene.
In the case of Hachimitsu to Clover, I had a serious problem with the character Hanamoto Hagumi (“Hagu”). The other characters were borderline cases at worst and quite nicely drawn at best, but I just couldn’t get over the feeling that there was something, now how shall I put it . . . oddly repulsive about little Hagu’s porcelain-doll head.
Nevertheless, after reading some reviews and articles about the series I decided that it would be a worthy addition to my anime video archive. I’m now planning to acquire the North American DVDs when they become available, although I’ll probably wait about a month or so after the initial release date. That should give a good number of purchasers enough time to let me know what they think (via product reviews and ratings) before I make up my mind.
Of course, if you’ve already seen the series I’d welcome your thoughts.
If this is simply an English translation of the “official book” that was published in Japan nearly three years ago, I could be in for a bit of disappointment, at least if the customer ratings (of which there are only two) are anything to go by. Of course, I won’t write it off until I actually see it for myself – and let’s face it, I’m a sucker for all things Genshiken so I’ll probably end up buying it anyway when it hits the shelves next summer.
Del Rey announced that the fan book “is packed with information about both the characters of Genshiken itself, and about the anime and manga they follow within the story”. I’m not particularly interested in the character profiles, but I’m definitely looking forward to using the book as a guide to the scores of anime and manga references scattered throughout the series. Although I understood a lot of those references, many of them went flying way over my head the first time. Whether the book will help clear things up or turn out to be just another useless shelf-stuffer remains to be seen.
I’ve now come across three translations of the title 時をかける少女 (Toki o Kakeru Shoujo): The Little Girl Who Conquered Time, used in Wikipedia for the original novel and the 1983 live-action film adaptation; The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, used in Wikipedia and elsewhere for the 2006 animated film; and now A Girl Who Runs Through Time. The latter two are more literally accurate, and between them I’d vote for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as the “standard” translation (if only because I’ve gotten used to it already). At any rate, applying different titles to the movie and the manga may actually serve a useful purpose here, because unless I’m mistaken (and that may well be the case since my information’s still a little sketchy) the two of them tell very different stories.
The two-volume manga picked up by CMX is described as an “adaptation” of the 1965/66 novel that started the whole franchise. It’s also different from the movie tie-in manga that was written as a prelude to the 2006 animated film, which is in turn derived from the original novel but is not a movie version of it. In fact, the film (as described in Wikipedia) is “is set as a continuation of the book in the same setting some twenty years later”. More I can’t say if I’d like to avoid spoilers, but interested readers are advised to consult Wikipedia for further information (and as I wrote in my review of 29 July, I strongly recommend watching the animated film).
My interest in the manga stems from having seen the 2006 movie. I haven’t read the original novel, so the manga (which is based off it) gives me an opportunity to learn more about past events that are only hinted at in the film.