Rant

Japanese PS4 date photo
Japanese PS4 date

What do you think of the PS4's Japanese release date?


I'm worried
Sep 10
// Hiroko Yamamura
While I am excited to get my hands on the PS4 this November, I can't help but be really saddened by the news of a February release date for Japan. Basically, it boils down to no big games Japanese games being released in the ...

Feature: Reverse Importation is the name of the game

Mar 21 // Jeff Chuang
The story goes way back--back to the 1990s, when Hollywood and various home electronics producers were contemplating a thing called the DVD. As you know, DVDs are region locked--meaning that for DVD players and DVDs sold in different countries, they would be assigned a region code, and DVD players can only play discs with the same region codes. Japan happens to be region 2, and North America being region 1. This means the anime American companies printed that were licensed from Japan could have a different region code. This also means there's an "on the table" way to prevent "reverse importation" of DVDs from America to Japan outright, regardless the fact that DVD region coding was easy to break (and outright outlawed in places like Australia), and often can be done with just a Google search. Fast forward to the latter part of the last decade, when HD-DVD (remember that?) yielded to the Blu-ray Disc. At any rate, HD-DVD did not support region coding, and while Blu-ray did, it put Japan in the same region code as US and Canada. This means that American licensees can no longer just say "we'll encode our cheaper releases with a different region code."  This means now that savvy Japanese otaku can browse their favorite shady shop in Akihabara (or just Amazon Japan) and buy popular shows like Infinite Stratos or Spice & Wolf on Blu-ray, from Sentai Filmworks or FUNimation, for a fraction of what it costs to own the Japanese-based releases from Media Factory or Pony Canyon. (All 6 Infinite Stratos LE Blu-ray releases total to 45990 yen, or about $480; the Japanese Spice & Wolf Blu-ray box is 37800 yen for both seasons, or about $400.) Moreover, it's legal to sell the North American releases in Japan since Japan also subscribes to their own form of the first-sale doctrine. The publishers don't bless it, but that's why we call it the grey market. There's a good chance you probably already know this if you got this far, and maybe you know what I'm getting at: Legalizing the reverse import market has negative consequences for the "licensee" market. This is a big reason why Sentai and FUNimation don't release Blu-rays of all the new show they license. This is why sometimes NISA releases their Blu-rays with "locked" subtitles that you can't disable in the menu. This is why the Persona 4 anime Blu-ray was dub-only for the US release. This is probably why Aniplex USA's Nisemonogatari doesn't come with the commentary tracks (while Bakemonogatari did). And I can go on. At the same time, these worries seem trivial when what's at stake from the Supreme Court decision, internationally, is much more drastic and far-fetching. This may mean that US book publishers are more likely to stop selling cheap text books in developing nations, thus raising the cost of education or lower the quality of education overseas. The first-sale doctrine also applies to patents as a common principle, so this decision may also impact the sale of patented drugs in 3rd world countries if that means these expensive drugs make it back in the American grey market, where they are no longer sold at the near-margin prices as intended for these poor nations. And as you may imagine, some of these efforts for companies to price-discriminate based on geography or national lines are out of their good will. The overall situation is, as usual, quite complex.   Of course, while there may be little you or I can do about this, maybe it's good for the powers that may be--Congress or WIPO or whoever--to talk and come up with the right kind of laws to govern these kinds of situations. Meanwhile I'm just going to continue to enjoy the realization of when it comes to anime, America is a bit like a "third-world" or "developing nation" in terms of what's available. It makes me feel closer to my non-American friends on the internet, and the situation they have to face, fighting for licensing scraps off the table. For the truly curious, there is a lot written about this Supreme Court case than I cover here. A good starting point regarding the actual details and the legal ramifications of this Supreme Court case, check out SCOTUSBlog.
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Supreme Court chimes in, makes things complicated
[Some interesting legal decisions have just come down the pipe that could affect the time-honored pastime of importing cool stuff from overseas. Jeff brings us his analysis. Read about it below, and see some more coverage fro...

Promoted: Breaking down Sasami-san@ganbaranai's symbolism

Jan 14 // Jeff Chuang
Shintoism. Even if you’re not a huge fan of country-life anime Kamichu, you probably might still know that Japan’s cultural baseline for spirituality is Shinto. Rather trying to explain what that is, the main thing to understand that one of its core beliefs is animism, where everything that exist has a spirit or essence (often colloquially called "god"). That’s partly why there’s all this anime and manga with little ghosts walking around as if they’re your pals. (By the way, do watch Kamichu, it makes understanding all this a lot easier. Plus it's great.) The three sisters, from largest to smallest, are Tama (jewel), Kagami (mirror), and Tsurugi (sword). They are named after the “Imperial Regalia of Japan” and it’s probably better to note that the virtues represented by their respective namesakes reflect their characteristics, than what it really means via the Shinto myths. Tama is benevolence; Kagami is wisdom; and Tsurugi is valor. Of course, it would be best to know both the lore and the significance, but it’s not necessary to know who gets slain by blah blah-no-Tsurugi blah how blah given to blah blah hung up what blah blah blah; not yet at least. The eldest sister Tsurugi also used a sword when she went into battle with the chocolate, but you already know this? Maybe the one thing to know is that the bearers of the sacred regalia are Amaterasu’s descendants. Amaterasu is the sun goddess in Japanese culture, so she’s super-important. Sasami Tsukuyomi and Kamiomi Tsukuyomi (the lead pair) are obviously also divine-referenced in some way. The OP includes a bit where Sasami and her brother are in traditional priest-y garbs (also there was another awkward looking couple), and that’s a huge clue. The kanji for Kamiomi (Onii-chan henceforth) indicates that he, in some way, is some kind of priest, a minister actually, an intermediary before gods. This is important but I’ll get back to it later. Their family name indicate they are probably divine in some way–it is the name of the moon god, Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto. You might want to know this because Tsukuyomi married his sister, Amaterasu. Chocolate. There was a lot of chocolate, wasn’t there? I think that’s kind of the point. If we allow ourselves to ignore episodes 2+ and the source material for just a minute, it is fair to say that Sasami-san episode 1 turns Japan’s obsession with the rituals of its modern Valentine’s Day into a thing that it fights via its imperial regalia. What? How? Let’s do this baby step by step. First, I trust you know what St. Valentine’s Day is. We are westerners right? But what you may or may not know (if you do skip to the next paragraph) is White Day, and how that turned a catholic tradition into a commercial holiday in Japan. White Day is a tradition started by savvy businesspeople to encourage people to buy and gift chocolate. In some ways that has also transformed Valentine’s Day into mostly just a commercial venture in spirit. If you understand all this, you might assume Sasami-san doesn’t celebrate White Day. That’s because, welp, Sasami-san is a god of sorts in this show. (Although she probably does celebrate it.) And she is probably not just some minor god (not all gods are created equal). Onii-chan’s friends at school are harder to figure out, but they are in a way her agents, her gift to mankind. Her deity can even explain her Onii-chan Survellience Tool. What I don’t know is which god she really is. Not that it matters. Gods survey the world, naturally. Unfortunately it’s not quite clear if she has god powers at this point. What happened when Sasami’s computer got overloaded by chocolate? This is up to interpretation, because it's where the anime got SHAFT'd. It is now visually interpretive; a visual figure of speech. One interpretation is that this is when gods get hosed by human intervention. Remember the first river god in Spirited Away (you really should watch Spirited Away if you don't know what I'm talking about), that took a nasty bath? I think it’s suppose to be the thematic point of the episode–Sasami got confused because of earthly customs–customs Onii-chan isn’t aware of. When he is, he is all up in chocolate, and I guess that is when the entertainment begins in episode 1. It says something about Onii-chan that I’m sure some of you might have already figured it out–think about the dance he was doing. Why did the chocolate turn into a dragon? The answer can be gleamed from watching Spirited Away, again. I’m not sure why it’s a dragon–it could be something else, but I guess they were going with the river motif with liquid cocoa, and rivers traditionally are represented by dragon gods. So that’s why there’s a dragon. Or maybe it has to do with Sasami’s godhood? Why was there a chocolate coated statue of naked Sasami? Shinbo. But it’s also clever symbolism. Why did guns and missile launchers come out of Kagami? Beats me. Why don’t you ask about why Tsurug’s got a sword? We know that one. That whole action set piece, I’m just going to chalk it up to a visual interpretation of how Japan’s traditional deities fight against invasion of some new crap. New being consumerism? I don’t know. The three sisters are embodiment of the regalia, not actually a piece of rock, a mirror or a rusted piece of metal (as interesting as that may be). They could be spirits themselves for what it is worth. Why does Onii-chan cover his face this whole time? I’m guessing it’s because he is not suppose to show his face. Actually this is a huge guess, but if we stick to Shinto, there aren’t too many occasions why people wear veils, and I’m guessing Onii-chan is no bride-to-be. The other mechanic left is that the faces of gods (the deity kind, not the earth spirit kind) are not to be seen by man. Remember about the point I want to get back to earlier? It explains why Onii-chan is covering his face the entire time, if he is the priest unto Sasami-san’s existence. It definitely partly explain why he dotes on her and serves her in a way a priest-servant does. Alternatively, Onii-chan could be Tsukuyomi (and that means Sasami is Amaterasu). Well, that would make a lot of sense–in that case Onii-chan having problems with chocolate might lead to also the chocolate madness, since he would have god-powers. In that case Onii-chan covers his face to indicate Amaterasu banishing Tsukuyomi (thus creating day and night in the Shinto creation myth). One can play around with the ideas here and come up with some other options; the above are just two examples. But that’s really just the building blocks under the paved road of incest, romance, comedy, anime/game references, otaku entertainment, postmodernism and “what is this I don’t even.” I just hope people realize there’s something under all of that and it does hold up. Yea, we are engaged with Sasami’s feelings, both as a hikkikomori and as a girl giving chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Well, personally I engaged with her Amazon.co.jp shopping jokes the most, but that’s just me. Enjoy this show how you like. Hate it how you like. But engage it for what it is–a Shintoist reboot of the 21st century life. Someone on the internet wrote that if Sasami-san@ganbaranai were to continue with the religious knocks like it did in episode one, it would rival Evangelion in terms of religious symbolism. I dared not to doubt that claim. TL;DR: Sasami is god, Onii-chan is her servant-subject and/or god, the three sisters represent traditional virtues, and Valentine Day is a commercial corruption of Japan’s culture. All of the above are just my notes to try to make sense of it. It’s most likely not correct/inaccurate, but hopefully it is close enough to help you do your own sleuthing. [Sasami-san@ganbaranai airs on The Anime Network]
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When life gives you SHAFT, make SHAFT-AID
[Did you find Sasami-san@ganbaranai as confusing as I did? Well, don't drop or bash it just yet, because Jeff's got an expert breakdown of the first episode's deep-rooted symbolism. It's an enlightening read straight fro...


5 reasons why Rio Rainbow Gate is the Best Anime of 201 1

Jan 02 // OxKing
more eventful than Hourou Musuko(whatever that even means), and people said that was the best one of the year! what fucking babies! watching a anime show about babies wahhhhhh!!! hahaha  chihayafuru? more like geez, I wanna furu all over the place with vomit!! how about a game of fuckin poker with electronic lazers beams and that fucking techno song from Tron. THATS HOW CARD GAMES SHOULD BE PLAYED!    Cmon, if a stupid place like ANN or even this site got a hands onto this show it wouldn't be at least HALF as cool as it is now, I must say without complaining. TRUTH: if no one heard of it, no one knows how cool it is, thus making you Mayor McCool. Easy as that: Bing-Bang-Boom, Columbine Style...  Well, pfffft! 'Nuff Said!........    come on, little girls?!? people like a show about little girls more han this? how about a REAL LADY? will that make you more excited than girls? Hell yea it would, and if it doesn't , then YOU ARE SICK! YOU NEED TO STOP TOUCHING BUTTS AND REPORT YOUR CRIME TO HUMANITY, FUCKER! Welp, that looks like it'll do it! I think I made my case, now its your move you idiots to try and prove me wrong why! Go ahead! Find me on Twitter! 
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[New Year's is a time of reflection, when one should take a look back and think about life, love, and, most importantly, the Japanese cartoons we've watched. To that end, we've gone and picked our favorite series of the year,...

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A swing and a miss...


Oct 27
// Dale North
Japan and all things Japanese are so "cool" that it hurts. It hurts so bad that I want you to kill me. Kill me like I'd want you to when I hear someone say uh-KEE-rah one more time. Or kill me like you'd kill me whe...

Japanator Discusses: Dai Sato rants on the state of anime

Jul 30 // Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino: Sato seems to be decrying, among other things, what he perceives as a dearth of creativity in the anime industry. He criticizes companies placing priority into characters rather than narratives. Though he doesn't openly say it or name names, the moe trend is almost certainly one of the sources of his frustration. Moe characters and moe anime, who generally exist to imbue an "atmosphere" (hence the term "kuuki-kei"), rarely have a strong plot. Is that happening? If it hasn't started yet, will moe eventually be a detriment to anime as a whole? Has the growth of moe endangered the future of plot-driven shows?Jeff Chuang: It's happening, for sure. But I think it is a generational shift. When I hear about anime old-timers talk about their VHS days or about their LD collection, I wonder if they understand how people 10 or 20 years younger than them are watching anime. Time has moved on, and so have the things that are popular today versus 10 years ago.I think it's important to note what Sato is truly saying--he isn't decrying kuuki-kei anime, because I believe he thinks anyone should be free to enjoy it. I think Sato himself may enjoy it. I read it more along the lines of what Tomino was saying last year, about how game makers should do something positive and constructive with their works. Sato is saying more or less the same thing about anime, and how it has lost that subversive, counter-cultural aspect. Instead of pumping out generic titles day in and day out, I think he wants writers to come up with more challenging, socially-relevant shows.Josh: True, looking at some seasons it's hard not to agree that more relevant shows are needed, but one wonders if that hasn't always been the case.Dire as it may sound, I can't personally think of a huge amount of properties expressly designed "to have a message" that sold especially well. There are of course a few great exceptions in every "generation", but to be perfectly cynical about it, the term "starving artist" has always had a basis in reality. "Subversive" and "counter-culture", (i.e. strongly auteuristic) works are almost naturally in the minority.There's also the issue of perspective. The properties he shows frustration over (namely Eureka Seven and Ergo Proxy) are ones he helped work on personally. That they didn't sell as well as he had has perhaps convinced him that the things he prioritizes are not the ones people are interested in, irrespective of the state of the industry as a whole. In a word: there could be an element of *ahem* "butthurt" in his rationale.That aside, another interesting point he raised was the issue of outsourcing. There was an almost conspiracy-theory vibe about it when he seemed to assert that Japanese studios were purposefully denying their outsourcing studios the creative skills necessary to to craft great stories, out of some kind of nationalist "protectionism".Jeff: Outsourcing is something that happens all across First-World industries today. But I think what Sato is saying has some merit. It's easy to buy that the Japanese animation industry itself neglect to treat its foreign workers right because they can't even pay Japan's domestic animators much better. Not that is what Sato was saying exactly... But when was the last time we spotted a Korean name in a manga or an anime, as a part of the core creative team (for example: direct, storyboard, write, compose, design)? Does Kunihiko Ryo count? Peter Chung? I guess there were a few, but only a few, considering how much inbetween work goes to Korea. I'm with you about Sato's fustration over the lack of popularity, Josh. I think it's easy to think the way Sato and some moe-bashers do when there were something like 5-10 times more anime being produced in the late '00s as there were in the late '90s. Invariably a lot of that was trashy adaptation cash-outs. I hope that fact doesn't stop Sato (or anyone) from keeping up the good work, though.Mike LeChevallier: I'm juggling my feelings on this. Part of me believes as if Sato is just talking out of his ass; trying to stir up controversy for the hell of it. When you look at the overall scope of what he is implying, there's not a whole lot of shimmering value to what he is ranting about. Sure, there are countless shows out there that are rehashes of things that have been done before, but there are also ones that are unarguably done better than their forefathers. Sato complains that people are going for simplistic, brainless essentially devoid-of-plot shows like K-On!.  This is true. What he fails to recognize is that the show has to be doing something right for so many folks to be into it. What Sato also doesn't note is that his work has influenced many forthcoming creators of anime. So, maybe the kids didn't eat up Ergo Proxy. So what? He's not retiring because of it. He's not butt-poor. Suck it up. Sato himself resides within the top tier of storywriters--the dude has been around the block. Without Cowboy Bebop, where would we be? Honestly. Answer me that.Sato's statement that anime is a "super establishment system where nothing can be changed" or ushered into a new era is just plain inconsistent with the times. Things do shift, and rather constantly. Look at the work of Gainax, for example. Sure, they bite off themselves in nearly everything they produce...but you can't argue against the continuing originality that is present within their projects. The anime artists can do what they want. Period. The Hand of the Man need not silence them, as anime and all its counterparts, whether Sato wishes to look closely enough to acknowledge it, are popular. They are fresh. They are now, and will be until the sun freezes over.Bob Muir: I'm slightly disappointed in the way Sato formed his argument, because only referencing his own work extremely undermines his case. And yet, as I was reading it, I can't help but strongly agree with his stance on what's happening to story in anime. I believe he is finding fault not with kuuki-kei anime, since it is a producer's right to make something that will sell, but with the fans for shifting their desires over to shows like that. K-ON isn't necessarily doing something right, it's it's just existing in a marketplace that has shifted expectations towards shows like that. This is incredibly disheartening, as I originally was drawn to anime as a child due to the fact that it was telling interesting stories in ways that American cartoons wouldn't even dream of attempting (beyond a few).As a society, we have been attracted to stories since the days of cavemen. The art of storytelling evolved, but our desire to "find out what happens" has kept us interested. Putting a focus on strong characterization can be part of that, and I would never turn that down. But crafting the product based entirely on characters, with no regard for proper storytelling? It boggles the mind where that could have came from. Even American cartoons never attempted something like that. And yet, we have a wave of kuuki-kei anime which people will actually defend by saying things like "it's really about the characters, the plot's not important." (Even I made this claim once in regards to .hack//SIGN.)What! The plot is always important! Since when did our standards drop so far that we are willing to accept the mere prescence of well-developed characters in a world as a sufficient substitute for a plot? The fact that the work of Sato (and others like him) isn't more popular is incredibly concerning to me.As for the issue of whether outsourcing is an issue, I'll admit that it's strange to not see more collaboration with Korean creative-types, especially since they've brought some interesting artistic ideas to the table with manhwa. At the same time, I don't think fans are helping the situation much. I can't think of the last time I heard of someone reading a manhwa, and I've subconsciously avoided it as well. Maybe we have been trained to believe that anything similar to manga that isn't right-to-left isn't "authentic" enough? Either way, the only major collaboration I can think of in recent years is Ragnarok: The Animation, and that was a loose adaptation of the online game's atmosphere, not the original manhwa's story. Brad Rice: I understand where Sato is coming from with his argument that anime itself is becoming less Japanese. A majority of the work is being done by overseas studios, with the above-the-line talent (director, writer, seiyuu) being the main focus here in Japan. A situation like this creates a slipshod and incomplete product, because everyone isn't necessarily on the same page, and there isn't a communal environment that nurtures new talent.We've seen complaints in the JANICA debates that there isn't any new blood coming into the animation industry, and this trend is really what's caused it. It's harder for people to get in on the ground level and join in this business. If companies started bringing back jobs to the Japanese animation industry, then I think we'd see a flourish of more creative and substantial works because of all the talent working together on these projects.If you notice, we've been seeing some really stellar stuff come out of college students as of recent, haven't we? That's the same sort of creative environment that needs to exist in these studios, which I really think isn't there anymore.Hey, haven't I heard this argument before? Something about "stop outsourcing jobs overseas..."Josh: I have to wonder, what exactly does Sato mean when he claims that anime "will die out in a few decades"? Surely he can't mean that people will stop making animated works altogether? And even if Japan were deliberately withholding assistance on the creative side of the production, foreign workers will (eventually) make use of their own homegrown talent, augmented by the skills they gain doing all that grunt stuff. Just look back a few decades to when Japan itself was the subject of scrutiny as an outsourcing haven for backend work that Americans and Europeans needed done.To echo some of what Jeff said at the beginning, it seems like a generational shift of sorts. And if that's true, and anime is becoming less "Japanese" as the true, "globalized" roots of its production become more apparent and China and Korea rise to prominence, what does that mean for the foreign consumer? Will Japanator eventually need to grow "Koreator" and "Chinator" spinoffs? Brad: To respond to your first point, Josh, I think Sato highlights the increasingly diminishing core that buys anime. It's at about 550,000 people, if I recall correctly, that will buy a title with force. So, if shows don't pander to that demographic, then they'll be a commercial flop. So, if that base continues to shrink (which it only naturally would), then anime as it is currently going could easily die out. Really, there just needs to be a shock to the system that produces works that draw in all these other people who don't watch the moe stuff, or who didn't normally watch anime at all. Honestly, I don't see why they couldn't increase their core base by 10x if they tried. [And that's just what we think! Tell us what you have to say in the comments! Is the doom-and-gloom warranted? -Josh]
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Hello, and welcome to the first installment of Japanator Discusses, a roundtable-style feature that we resort to when a topic - and the thoughts and commentary inspired by it - is too big for any one editor to monopolize.Toda...

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Rant: Don't insult us. We CAN understand hostess bars


Mar 27
// Josh Tolentino
A few days ago a feature was posted on 1up detailing the Yakuza series' troubled history in the west. Reading it (I recommend you do) will no doubt leave you with the impression that Sega found itself frustrated and confused ...
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The dilemma of Twilight: The Graphic Novel


Mar 23
// Karen Mead
You'll notice that there is no "Recommends" anywhere in the title of this post; in a strange way, Yen Press has done me a tremendous service. As reported elsewhere, the lettering in Twilight: The Graphic Novel is ve...
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Chu-Bra!! review raises questions about fanservice


Mar 04
// Karen Mead
Over on Anime News Network, Carlo Santos posted a review of the first five episodes of Chu-Bra!!. While his overall opinion of the show sways much further towards the negative end of the spectrum than mine, I do agree with mu...
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Do manga magazines have to be disposable?


Feb 26
// Karen Mead
You've all heard it:"Manga is first printed in magazines- anthologies printed on cheap paper that will soon yellow and degrade. People throw away the magazines, and instead buy the published books for posterity." Th...
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The Otaku Dilemma: Manga or Anime?


Dec 11
// Karen Mead
Once upon a time, I used to buy a VHS of anime with my babysitting money and then watch it forty times, because it could be months before I could buy another one. While I hate to say anything that might make it sound like I c...
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A Certain Scientific Railgun: More range, please


Dec 06
// Karen Mead
I like A Certain Scientific Railgun; it's been a really interesting take on the "kids with superpowers" idea thus far. The writers consistently come up with clever ways for Mikoto and Kuroko to use their powers, so ...

Why Haruhi Suzumiya should be over

Nov 06 // Karen Mead
 I'm not typically a fan of love stories for one reason: Most love stories suck.  I mean, I used to think love stories kind of sucked, then I actually fell in love and finally had a clue what the hell I was talking about, and I realized that I had underestimated the level of suckage at work there by several orders of magnitude.I may be explaining this wrong; it may not be a question of quality, but the fact that a lot of things that are called love stories, really, really are not.  Too many self-proclaimed love stories don't actually engage the concept of love at all.  Very often it's just two people, who happen to be really attractive, deciding that they like each other somewhat more than they like all of the other really attractive people in the general vicinity.  They may have something superficial in common, or something non-superficial in common that is never explored on anything but the most superficial level ("I'm afraid of being alone." "Me too." "Hold me.")Haruhi and Kyon are united by boredom, and boredom isn't superficial because, if you get too bored, you tend to find yourself thinking a lot. They're both disappointed in the thoroughly non-magical, humdrum condition of the world.  Kyon accepts it, if with reservations; his whole character exudes a kind of graceful sense of defeat. Haruhi refuses to accept it, meaning that she has to start reshaping the world, go insane, or do a little of both.  Most people can't reshape the world quite as effectively as Haruhi, but that's probably for the best.For Kyon, Haruhi herself becomes the solution to boredom. No matter how intelligent or how perceptive he is (and he is), he'll never quite figure her out. Not even touching all of that Haruhi-might-be-God stuff, he's as baffled by Haruhi at times as he would be by the arrival of an alien spacecraft, complete with futuristic ray guns and bio-mechanical parts.  She's his UFO (Undeniable Female Other).Haruhi tries to fight boredom head-on, but she never quite succeeds. She thinks that only the existence of supernatural elements could possibly interest her; since the world seems to bore her, she makes the mistake of thinking that she needs something outside of the world to interest her.  Like many people,  she fails to realize that there are some things in this plain ole', meat-and-potatoes world that she hasn't experienced yet, and they are game-changers; they will leave no dendrite untouched when they  systematically blow your mind.  Sometimes, people give up on the world before they've given the world a chance to bring it's A-game.In the moment when Kyon confesses that he likes it when she wears a ponytail, Haruhi unconsciously realizes something: that more than she cares about the existence of spacemen and time travelers, she cares about whether or not this guy- this frustratingly logical guy who regards everything with a cool detachment and never loses his sense of self- would ever lose himself in her. That Kyon, who never participates directly, but provides the wryest of commentary on the participation of everyone else, would fess up to what his personal turn-on was.  When he kisses her, the new world that Haruhi was creating evaporates because it's redundant now; because when the person you love loves you back, it's a new world just for you.The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has basically taken the position that Evangelion held for years as THE show that everyone talks about.  Both deal with a kind of personal apocalypse, only in my view, Haruhi deals with it in a more mature way.  While Evangelion was left unfinished, in the sense of being literally unfinished- in the sense that they literally didn't finish painting the cels- Haruhi is finished perfectly.  We shouldn't be able to go back to the world before episode 14 (or 6, or 35, whatever the fuck it is), because it's a new world for them now. You can say things remain the same because they haven't acknowledged how they feel, even to themselves, but I think that's belied by Haruhi's ponytail the next day; both because she wanted him to see it, and because of his smile when he does. Now, I'm not completely naive. I know that the anime made lots of money, therefore it got a second season, etc. That's life-- Kyoto Animation has plenty of bills to pay, I imagine. But it's not at all surprising to me, as it seems to have been for a lot of fans, that half of the second season was basically wasted on a pointless, masturbatory exercise. When you communicate one of the greater truths about life in one season, what is there left to do?  The story shows us that, rather than long for a world that will never exist, with the right person we can create our own fascinating, baffling, exasperating, exhilarating world, customized just for us. And in MY world, this show is over.
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You don't hear a whole lot of requests for Casablanca 2.It's just not something people ask for. People aren't on pins and needles to find out what else Rick can hide from the authorities in Sam's piano. No one cares about I...

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Rant: The Guardian takes a huge unprovoked dump on the Japanese music scene


Oct 14
// Zac Bentz
Welcome to the UK, where our world view has not changed since 1995. Or maybe 1985.At least that's the feeling you might get upon reading a recent post in the tritely titled "Turning Japanese" column over on The Guar...
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Anime inbetweeners get paid less due to Photoshop color fill tool


Oct 02
// Jeff Chuang
The helpful Ko Ransom translated one of the more interesting industry blog posts from Osamu Yamazaki, a veteran animator and animation director. Around May this past Spring, you might have recalled an industry-wide symposium ...
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Japanese eroge can do wonders for the game industry


Aug 29
// Josh Tolentino
[Editor's Note: If you're a regular visitor to Japanator, you probably to know more about Japanese eroge than the average person. The following article was originally posted on the Destructoid community blogs, and is as such ...
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News from the Eroge front: Arrests and apologies


Jun 26
// Josh Tolentino
The inquisition continues. As the eroge landscape slides further into the dark ages, new developments may threaten to accelerate the process. One of the most disturbing incidents so far involves a police raid on Tachibana Sho...
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Despair, for long skirts are the new hotness


Jun 22
// Josh Tolentino
Those looking to catch the upskirt view of a Japanese schoolgirl may be suprised to find themseleves brought low - real low - as the ever-mercurial landscape of schoolgirl fashion trends toward longer skirts. All over, the ro...
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Eden of the East: Top 5 interesting observations about Eden of the East so far


Apr 22
// John Martone
Eden of the East coverage:Monday: Top 5 reasons to watch Eden of the East todayTuesday: Hypno-dong(renamed from Hypno-penis)Wednesday: Top 5 interesting observations about Eden of the East so farFriday: Live Blog of Episode 3...
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Rant: Dragon Ball Evolution for the Dragon Ball fan


Apr 21
// God Len
Dragon Ball Evolution, the time of our inevitable duel has arrived. We have hearing about this movie in some form for about seven plus years. Back then, when they first announced that this film was really going down, I was so...
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Rant: Why so serious?


Jan 15
// God Len
Back in the day one of the aspects I loved about anime was how even comedy shows would have a hint of drama in them, which helped the audience member get that much closer to the characters. I knew I would never see someone li...
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Rant: Stop with the 'F' bombs already!


Dec 30
// God Len
You know what grinds my gears? When fansubbers constantly use swears in fansubs, or simply drops one every now and then. Nothing takes me out of the moment more than when someone like Goku drops an ‘F’ bomb instea...
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Live-action Anime 2: Anime Harder (A chilling prediction!)


Oct 28
// God Len
Yes, another anime has stepped up to join the aristocratic crowd of live-action anime adoptions, and its name is Ninja Scroll. The live-action anime club has been around for awhile, but right now we seem to be in an age of a ...
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JapanaTen: The top ten things anime cons should never ever lose


Jul 31
// Aoi
Ye Olde Otakone is coming up fast, and as we scurry around on our hamster wheels, trying like hell to make sure we all end up in approximately the same place(s) and time(s) August 8-10, it occurs to me that I'm...
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Anime/Manga companies: Why do you announce your products at conventions?


Jul 29
// Dale North
It kills me every time. I'm running down a hallway, breathless, dodging cosplayers and their unnecessarily massive props. I spin to the left to avoid a impromptu photo session. I dart to the right to get a quick eyeful of tha...
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Rant: God in the wired, Serial Experiments Lain


Jun 10
// John Martone
We live in a digital age, and Lain is our goddess of the social recluse. For those unfamiliar with Serial Experiments Lain, the show follows the social development of 14 year old Japanese school girl Lain Iwakura. While it is...
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Rant: Animation is the best medium for television


May 23
// God Len
Most of you are like me and know what it feels to be an outcast, for sitting down after a hard day at work and turning on the television for an episode of anime. People judge you at this point, because they know that animatio...
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Rant: Speed Racer makes me want to go fast.


May 16
// John Martone
"The actors are lost amidst the orgy of pixels writhing around like the special effects equivalent of a bukkake film"This was a rotten tomato that amused me greatly. Of course we are discussing the Wachowski brother...

An open love letter to Golgo 13

May 14 // God Len
Ok, let’s start with the basics. Golgo 13 is an assassin who does jobs for people who can afford him. He’s not soulless though, and won’t go slaughtering a bunch of orphans for a few bucks; no he’s a professional. To the untrained eye, some would say that Golgo 13 is Japan’s version of James Bond; but in reality James Bond has nothing on him.For one the name Golgo 13 is derived from Golgotha, the place where Jesus Christ was crucified. According to our historians here at Japanator, this means that Golgo 13 has the power to kill a god; James Bond can’t do that. Golgo 13 is so ridiculously ridiculous that it makes me even blush. Here is a guy who never changes his facial expression no matter what goes down around him. He shoots a baddie in the head, same expression; he nails a girl in the head, same expression. He delivers no cheesy one-liners after a kill, like, "Mercy? I'm afraid that my condition has left me COLD to your pleas of mercy."When the police find him with the murder weapon, he doesn’t care. When the bad guys pull their weapons on him, he doesn’t care. It’s as if he knows he is in a manga and can not die, so why must he be afraid? He’s just that good! Like Bond, Golgo 13 does like to saver the sweet, sweet flesh of a woman once in a while. Though unlike Bond, the women come to him without any kind of smooth talk, or well, any kind of talking whatsoever. They just lie in bed and wait for his arrival. And after that he just walks away, sometimes naked, and always holding his gun for the next kill. Golgo 13 is the pinnacle of manliness, well just under Kamina, but only by a hair. So if GAR perfection is your thing, give Golgo 13 a shot. It might not have the best animation, or the prettiest graphics, but it is the only show this season to show full frontal nudity!
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Today, I am doing a public service announcement for those of you who haven’t watched the new anime series Golgo 13 this season, or for those of you who “don’t understand it.” I have a confession for al...

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One year ago today...


Feb 19
// Zac Bentz
It's hard for me to believe, but one year ago today I was sweating my ass off, worrying about my very first post for Japanator. Turns out my new friend Eugene the Happy Fun-Time Ulcer wasn't totally created in vain, because t...

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