It's been about three years since I first started writing for the site. I can remember being in Japan when I received an email from Brad, telling me that my application for an associate editor position was successful. Not that there was much I could do for the site while I was pre-occupied with spending all of my savings, but a few weeks later I made my debut. If I remember right, it was the announcement that we'd be getting another season of Hidamari Sketch, which is certainly not a bad way to make an entrance.
Japanator has changed so much since that first post. We moved from a janky-but-functional site to a super swish one, complete with our own mascot in the background. We saw productivity, comments and visitors increase. We saw talented editors come and go. It was tough work. Tough, enjoyable work.
(Assuming we exclude some of the terribleexamples of fanfiction that I wrote, which would be better described as mentally draining.)
Of course, you've probably already figured out why I'm writing this. Today marks my departure from Japanator.
I've been very fortunate to write for many different publications over the past few years, but I can say without hesitation that it was the work I did at Japanator that helped me out the most. It's pretty crazy where you can get with a few writing examples, and when you work for a fun site like this, you end up with a rather sizeable collection of them.
So why the departure? It's something I'd decided on quite a while ago, so of course it'd land with some rather impeccable timing! It's mainly to allow me to spread my wings a little and try something new, while also cutting down just a little to accommodate for a few things back home. If you somehow enjoyed my writing over the years, you can follow me on the Twitters to see where I end up next. I'm really not going too far, all things considered!
Everyone, you have my utmost thanks for the past three years. It's been a fantastic experience and an absolute pleasure to write for you. Japanator isn't going anywhere though, so please continue to support the talented writers on staff :)
Back when Aoi Bungaku was announced I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the concept. A handful of famous manga artists collaborating to create adaptations of six famous Japanese novels sounded like a winning combination to me. The anime finally began airing this season with a promised twelve episodes to look forward to. With the fourth episode shown just a few days ago the first novel, No Longer Human, has been completed and I’ll tell you now, Madhouse does not disappoint.
Aoi Bungaku (Blue Literature) Original Works by: Osamu Dazai, Natsume Souseki, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Ango Sakaguchi Studio: Madhouse Original Release Date: October 10th 2009
No Longer Human is the story of Yozo Oba, a man who believes he is a failure as a human and is constantly trying to prove himself. He is the son of a wealthy congressman, a man with an overbearing presence and importance. Growing up fearing his own father, Yozo rebels by practicing art, something his father always forbid him doing. Caught breaking the law, he lands himself in trouble with the police and ultimately becomes a fugitive. During the commotion he meets a young lady who shares the same views as him, constantly believing that she is a failure and nothing of a human. No Longer Human follows Yozo and the repercussions that this simple meeting cause. Suffice to say, this is the second bestselling novel in Japan for a very good reason. The story is there, it provides an impact, and best of all it hits hard.
The artwork is graphically stunning with illustrator Takeshi Obata of Death Note and Bakuman fame providing the visuals for the four episode tale. As a big fan of his work, he provided a huge draw in picking up Aoi Bungaku in the first place and I’m glad to see I’m not at all let down. Settings and scenery is fitting with the time period and it adapts to fit the mood perfectly. Gloomy streets full of drunkards to hallucinations are drawn well with no signs of rushing, something that an unfortunate amount of new anime suffer with.
Fans who have watched Death Note will immediately pick out the similarities, especially when comparing Yozo Oba with Light Yagami. They are shockingly similar in appearance, which seems to work both for and against it. The design suits Oba particularly well, yet in scenes where he is losing himself or, as seen in the fourth episode, he gains a pen and begins extravagantly writing, it tends to knock the mood on the head.
Both Obata and Madhouse have created a stunning work with No Longer Human and I have every bit of confidence that the next five novels will be just as incredible. I highly recommend you pick this series up, though No Longer Human specifically is a very psychological and deep novel, so viewers expecting lots of action may want to look elsewhere. With Takeshi Konomi (Prince of Tennis) and Tite Kubo (Bleach) in line to illustrate the next novels, Aoi Bungaku has a lot more to offer. Providing the anime does well in Japan, it will certainly be interesting to see if it spawns any re-envisioning of other popular novels. We can only wait and see!
This was written for the Japanator intern application, but alas I was way too late in submitting it. Probably a good thing in the long run with university and all, but I'll be ready next time!
The main issue us otaku from the United Kingdom have is that there are very few conventions in the first place. We hear tales of the Comic-Con and the Otakon, but unless we travel we can never really experience anything like that. Or so I thought...
If we are going into technicalities then my first convention was actually the Leipzig Game Conference back in 2008. Sure it was primarily a game convention, but the sheer number of cosplayers attending a non-anime orientated convention was staggering. Getting off the tram to arrive at the main building was interesting as it seemed we were being escorted by the Akatsuki rejects. Not that I was complaining of course, in face some of them were actually pretty good so I'm being a tad harsh. Anyway we got some hands on experience of Ultimate Ninja Storm and Broken Bond before they were released, so it was a pretty enjoyable experience. Still, myself and friends still longed to attend one back in the UK, and finally in May this year we did!
The convention at hand was the London MCM Expo, what I had assumed was a relatively unknown event. If I'm being honest we really didn't know what to expect. We started to twig onto how big this thing was before we even got there however, almost dying on the train ride there (I live in a town called Basingstoke, a good hour from London) because a Sasuke and Sakura pair were doing their hair and promptly gassed out the train car in the process. After the long train ride and walk there, we were treated to this:
Jaws dropped at the sight of the sheer amount of cosplayers at the venue. We had heard previously that the last MCM Expo had actually set the world record for most amount of cosplayers in one area at the same time, but none of us expected this! The halls were packed to the brim, meaning we waited half an hour in a queue to get a goodie bag (which incidentally was pretty awesome, free Hellboy figure and Slayers DVD). The dealers room was pretty sweet too, so we got to see many weird and wonderful items. I personally spent all my money on manga, but I was ever so curious about the Miku breast mouse mat thing someone was selling (you know those mouse mats with the squidgy wrist thing on them? That, but boobs). The only regret I have is that we didn't book tickets to see the cosplay masquerade, but that was because nobody told us to do it. Sad times, but there is always next year!
Highlights definitely have to be the Death Note cosplayer, the 'Alien' woman (you can't see it here but she had a facehugger on her back too) and a C.C. cosplayer so good I did indeed consider kidnapping her. In actual fact I recently went to Alcon, a small convention in a university in Leicester but found it rather dull for my liking. I think the MCM Expo set some high standards! I definitely recommend it to any other Brits and any of you people across the pond wanting to spend a weekend!
And if you are interested you can view all my photos of this years MCM here.
So, as the title says, I have been internet-less for a while. Why do you care? Stick with me, this is pretty animoo-relevant. So I just got hold of the Andrew W.K. Gundam album, and my god is it awesome. So I wondered, what would it be like if the English dub didn't get that glorified AMV opening, and instead got his version of Fly, Gundam?
Well it was just a short while ago that Brad posted about the community blogs, encouraging us to become literary geniuses if only on Japanator. One thing got me thinking though, and it was a small comment he made.
"...how Endless Eight screwed you over"
This is the thing, I raved and ranted like most people when I saw the episode count slip past four. I knew as well as everyone at that point that we would most likely be stuck with another four, yet why was it that I watched each and every episode? Sure, the art and dialogue were slightly different, but there had to be another reason. I figure it's not because I wanted to waste some time and click on that little plus arrow over at Myanimelist, but for a superior and elusive reason.
Endless Eight must be an animated masterpiece.
"How did you work that one out?" I can hear you saying. Well, stop talking to your computer screen you lonely person and I'll tell you. I believe that the primary reason for enjoying this lies with empathizing with Yuki. Remember that the very last iteration of the SOS Brigades endless summer was the 15,532nd time that she experienced it. We already know that there was very little variety in the events of their summer, unless of course she gets a kick out of guessing Haruhi's seeming endless supply of swimsuits, or taste in ice cream. You have to get into her head here. Sure, she is an alien, she's not built the way that we are. You've seen that episode of Red Dwarf right? The one where Krytons android replacement arrives, but after so long in space on it's own it eventually flips and starts attacking everyone? It can happen to anyone!
Now lets get down to business. Saying each episode of Endless Eight is twenty minutes long, that is a grand total of two hours and forty minutes of endless-ness, with a whopping eight iterations of the same events if you also count the conclusion. Now lets see what Yuki went through. She went through the summer 15,532 times, each day obviously 24 hours long. Oh, and another thing. Yuki went through 15,532 summers, not days. According to wiki, summer vacation in Japan is a month long, though I'm sure Kyon mentions that they only have two weeks left, so lets go with that.
595.7 years 217,448 days 5,218,752 hours 313,125,120 minutes 18,787,507,200 seconds
Your 160 minutes doesn't look so long now does it? Considering the backlash and threats that were posted all over the internet with the airing of Endless Eight, I believe that the producers have done a fantastic job with creating a mindset similar to what Yuki may have been feeling, within a fraction of the time she went through. Though this is arguably not the intended reason why Endless Eight spanned eight episodes, it makes a satisfactory simulation of the events, does it not?
Now this is not the only reason I have for claiming that Endless Eight deserves more credit than it already has. Lets take a look into the mindset of the other three affected by the endless summer; Kyon, Mikuru and Koizumi. Cast your eyes on the first episode. Everything proceeds as normal, as at this point we are unaware of what is in store for us. The same applies for Kyon, he is yet to realize that something is happening with his summer. Now fast forward to episode seven, Kyon is experiencing so much deja vu that he sees things before they happen, even completing their phrases inside his head along with them. With the exception of Kyons dialogue, everyone else's remained more or less unchanged. So Kyon can remember these things, big deal. The point I'm trying to make here is that we are watching this for the seventh time, and for the majority of us we remember what is coming up too. You can tell which event will come up next. You can almost recite Haruhi's speech with her new found friends at the swimming pool. You know that Kyon will always pull over Yuki for no explicable reason. Christ, EVERYONE learned that 'denwa' means phone! Again, be it intentional or unintentional, you are experiencing similar effects to those in the SOS Brigade. I will be honest here, this is the one and only time I can positively say that I have felt like I was in the anime, that I can understand what the characters are going through, and how satisfied I was with Kyon finishing his homework. Games and films are commended for making their work immersive, so why is Endless Eight shunned for doing so?
It is because Endless Eight is a masterpiece, you just don't know it yet.