Anime

Oh, sure, I'll play along...


Anime-themed motivational-poster contest over at Riuva. Why not?

Dignity

I went to all the trouble of doing this in Illustrator before I discovered that Despair.com has an online generator. No biggie.

涼宮ハルヒの商標問題


From reviews and pictures, I’ve become interested in the recent anime series whose title translates fairly well as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Recently, I’ve seen some comments from fans lamenting the fact that it hasn’t been licensed yet, despite its obvious popularity. Indeed, when I was in the Seattle Kinokuniya recently, there was a display table covered with Haruhi novels and tie-ins.

While watching a few good AMVs, I realized they’ve got a serious problem, and it may not be possible to license the series in the US in its present form. Why not? Because Playboy’s lawyers have no sense of humor.

Haruhi-sama, first-rate bunny girl

That’s not just any bunny-girl costume, it’s the Playboy Bunny costume, and it’s covered by a registered trademark in the US. I looked it up, and Playboy still has active marks covering the bow-tie bunny girl; they’ve never stopped using it for promotions, and with their recent activity in Vegas, it’s becoming more visible again. And, yes, they care about things as minor as short animations produced for a con, and one of the US Dirty Pair comics was retouched to put Kei and Yuri into generic cocktail-waitress outfits.

Forget the mech, send me the pilot...


Of course, to truly pilot this mech, she should be wearing a sailor suit…

Mai-HiME manga note


It doesn’t appear that the Mai-HiME manga has been licensed for the US market yet, despite the expected popularity of the anime. Pity, really, because I’m curious how the usual hack translators would deal with the last page of the first volume. A Strange Cute Girl (one of many) has just entered Our Hero’s dorm room, stripped off her panties, and pushed him to the ground. The volume ends with a full-page panel of her straddling him, speaking the line:

鍵穴開けて下さい

Our Hero seems more shocked than excited by this statement, but it’s understandable, since he’s still discovering just how peculiar his new school (and its girls) are. Unfortunately for him, I’ve seen enough spoilers from the (very different…) anime to know that neither shock nor excitement is the right response to a bold invitation from this girl. “Fleeing in terror with his manhood protected by a sturdy shield” just about covers it.

My other response to this scene was “hey, I just read that, and only had to stop and think about one of the kanji” (鍵, which I haven’t gotten to in my writing practice yet; I know the word, and they provided furigana that made it clear). Okay, the others are extremely common, basic kanji, but the point is that I was reading rather than deciphering.

More for the pile...


Today I did my part to keep the Cha-Cha Maru afloat. No, I didn’t send Robert a box of Chachamaru cookies, or a case of Chachamaru for kitchen. I just ordered a few more anime DVDs to add to The Great Unwatched Pile on my coffee table, which I hope to make at least a small dent in soon.

  • Ah! My Goddess TV, discs 4 & 5 (good stuff).
  • My-HiME, discs 1 & 2 (fluff! super-powered schoolgirls with mecha!).
  • Kaleido Star New Wings, discs 2 & 3 (if it's even half as good as season 1, it's worth every penny).
  • Girls Bravo, discs 5 & 6 (well-drawn plot-free fluff).
  • Tenjho Tenge, discs 5 & 6 (hot girls, big fights, trainwreck of a plot)
  • Maburaho, discs 6 & 7 (yes, I know Yuna turns into a nagging bitch; I always liked Kuriko better anyway, even though the phony-widow landlady is the real prize).
  • Daphne in the Brilliant Blue, disc 7 (wins the award for "most obvious use of fan-service to hide the inept scattering of plot crumbs", but Maia's adventures are fun, and the series has inspired two of my Bad Haiku: "pointy chin, nice ass, / someday there will come a plot; / meanwhile, that must chafe." and 「その服に寒いよね。でも、お尻いい。」
  • DearS, disc 4 (they had to do some plot surgery to the manga to tell a complete story, and they left a lot of threads dangling for a second season that will never come, but I really like it, and you can never go wrong with dancing chibi in the credits).
  • Burst Angel, discs 5 & 6 (pretty drawings, poorly-integrated CGI, trainwreck of a story).
  • Crest of the Stars, box set (recommended by some guy I trust).
  • Stratos 4, box set (likewise).
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, manga volume 3 (nekomimi gothloli vampire, what's not to like?)
  • Hyper Police, manga volume 6 (I always thought the anime deserved a second season...).
  • Haibane Renmei, original soundtrack (I can never manage to get that song out of my head, so it might as well be on my iPod).

I think I’m way overdue for twin posts on music and manga, especially since I just finished region-converting my dozenth Hello!Project DVD. The latest one is the concert video Folk Songs 3, which not only has the usual cute jpop idol girls, but an older male vocalist whose work I’ve acquired an interest in recently, Gen Takayama.

And I’m still trying to relocate the reference in one of my books to the original Cha Cha Maru. I’m sure the ship in Plastic Little played some part in the naming of the robot girl in Negima, but the name 茶々丸 goes back at least to the Ashikaga period. Tea cookies, kitchen cleansers, pet hunter ships, and robot girls are an odd group to be tied together by a name, and I just want to know how it got started.

[ah, there he is! I knew I’d run across a Chachamaru in the Ashikaga period. Turns out he was even in the Ashikaga family, and a rather ruthless fellow. I doubt there’s anyone named after him.]

[…and another Chachamaru reference in anime: apparently it’s the name of a bar in Maison Ikkoku]

I, I, I!


Later, I’ll be making a major revision of my translation of the Dirty Pair theme song Russian Roulette, but there’s something I want to get in writing before I forget it.

When I started going through the lyrics, I felt very strongly that the omitted pronouns should be “I”. Discussing it last night with my teacher, we disagreed on a few of them, but I still believed that I was right.

While working out this morning, I realized why: the singer is speaking for Kei and Yuri; she’s a woman pursuing a man romantically, but the life she leads forces her to describe the chase in terms of a secret agent hunting an enemy. Everything in the song is about her; her life, her risk, her heart, expressed to him the only way she knows how.

He’s the listener, addressed directly – “anata” – but never the subject.

How to make anime dubs sound better


Force your audience to listen to these video game dubs first…

Adventures in anime licensing


Anime News Network is reporting that Green Green has finally been licensed for US distribution. This is an ecchi fanservice comedy from mid-2003, in which the creators compensated for their inability to show hardcore sex by cranking up the wackiness and perversion. Based on a dating-sim game, of course.

From what I’ve seen, it’s well-drawn, with some decent voice actors and a catchy OP song, but when your comic antics include “male supporting character raped by bear” and “female supporting character kidnapped and molested by pack of monkeys” (both mostly off-camera, thankfully), it’s understandable that it wasn’t at the top of the list for licensing.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”