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Those who have been following all the hubbub around Fate/Zero recently know that the last episode aired last week and set the stage for the climatic second season which starts in April 2012. Type-Moon lunatics such as myself, and standard every-folk alike have been able to appreciate a truly beautiful work of art from ufotable, Aniplex, Notes, and Nitro+, and those who paid a little more attention to the show more than just the shiny lights and big noses, may have been able to see a little glimmer of hope in what is otherwise a gloomy and dark anime industry.

This is why Fate/Zero is important to anime.


Part 1 - Potential
Fate/Zero, like many anime these days, ultimately hails from the eroge world, specifically Fate/stay night by Type-Moon. Of course, the actual original source material was the Fate/zero novels, but it just goes to show how interconnected the genres of visual novels, novels, anime, and manga ultimately are. If one makes a ripple, all of them feel the waves. Fate/stay night has been a franchise that has ultimately dipped its finger in all the pies even video games, with marginal success. (Fate/Tiger Colosseum Upper stands as one of my favorite PSP games) so it's an excellent example of just how far a franchise can go and bring in profit, even if it's already been almost eight years since the initial game came out.

There are some titles that just stand the test of time. Cowboy Bebop, Gundam, Macross, Akira, these titles will be watched by our children and our children's children, and still wow them like they did us, but Fate/stay night is a niche franchise that still brings home the yen. It's a testament to what a truly solid and complex story with interesting characters and top-notch storytelling can do.


Part 2 - Storytelling
Speaking of the storytelling, Fate/Zero broke the mold of big-shot anime franchises in that there's actually very little fan-service to speak of, and the parts that could be constituted as "fan-service" are just that, service for the FANS. The Rin episode was not in the original novels, it was added in by ufotable as something for the fans. Only people who have seen Rin Tohsaka taking on Caster or Berserker in Fate/stay night can really appreciate what that episode meant, and what the franchise means as a whole. As sad as it is for me to say, Gen Urobachi is probably a better storywriter than Kinoko Nasu because the characters he wrote are well rounded with a lot of charm, even the psychopath Ryuunosuke and Caster, behind all their COOL and O Holy Virgin! bring excellent points to the table that ring clear the elements that create good villains.

Those being that they need a good reason to explain the bad things they do. It's a common rule in storytelling that your antagonist shouldn't think of themselves as being the antagonist, and while Caster and Ryuunosuke do realize they are doing bad things, they are able to justify it in terms that make sense to the average viewer.

But I'm getting off-base. Fate/Zero marked one show that had massive profitability, truly exemplary writing, without falling into the standard cliches that many studios still rely on to get easy sales. It's an example of what beauty anime can still have today.


Part 3 - Animation
Ufotable is renowned for being one of the best animation studios in business today for stunning visuals, fluid animation, chilling settings and backdrops, and exciting visual effects. Coming fresh off the heels of Kara no Kyoukai, they jumped into Fate/Zero to show exactly what cinema quality animation could look like in a episodic format. Those who know, are able to tell where they shaved corners, but these sparse moments are often clouded in very minute details, with the finer details such as character design, backgrounds, accents and highlights of the characters themselves, still very much so alive and well.

There's so much action and motion in Fate/Zero it's impossible to keep the animators going full blast all the time, so it's expected they would need to cut corners, but every moment that mattered in the first season, had an expert's touch and grace that brought the characters on screen to life. From the scene where Gilgamesh hurled his Gate of Babylon at Berserker, to the scene where Kotomine taught a valuable lesson in Chinese martial arts to Irisviel, every second had fans on the edge of their seats to the point that I actually found it a disadvantage for myself, because I already knew what was going to happen.


Part 4 - That whole streaming thing
Fate/Zero aired on television in Japan, but also on niconico in a plethora of languages. I shouldn't have to write an article on what this means. Accessibility is the name of the game here, coupled with marketing and merchandising, will yield Fate/Zero as a profitable project in of itself. Much like with Haruhi, the amount of merchandise you're going to see for Fate/Zero is going to be staggering, hell, the blu-ray box already costs a pretty penny and I know I'm not the only one who has it on a preorder. With fans able to watch for free, in multiple languages, the exposure is leaps and bounds above what other series' pull in, and the fanbase is much larger. All that means in the long run, is dollar dollar bill y'all.


Part 5 - But what does it all mean?
Fate/Zero ultimately, is important for two main reasons. It shows that anime can be more than just cute or likeable characters catering to the moe fanbase, or whiny kids with the ability to pull stuff out of people's chests, but complaining all the time because their role model is Shinji Ikari. It shows that anime can still be adult; it can still be gritty and mature and capture a fan for the whole ride.

Fate/Zero stands out as an experiment that paid out in full, when the second season airs, you can bet yourself that I'll be eagerly awaiting it with a smile and a hop in my step, because it's a breath of fresh air in the stagnant world of anime today.
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Some people can go out on the town Saturday night, some people can see a movie, some people can even cuddle up with their significant others and all that stuff, sure, some people can do that...but I'm not those people.

This, is a hikkikomori weekend.

----

It's not late if it's in by Monday morning.

Sorry for the lateness of this post folks, this week has been a major strain. As some of you might know by now, I have recently allowed another person into my hikkikomori cavern in the form of a roommate. I might have ranted about it before, but I honestly can't be sure nor remember nor care to clarify.

I think I've found the root of my problem with him though, and it comes from a lingering little problem that I have with alot of people I know.

Ambition.

Obviously, as a hikkikomori, I have to bite my tongue when I talk about things like ambition. While it's true I don't exactly get out as often as I would like, let it be said I understand that one cannot do this forever, being a hikkikomori is often not self-sustainable, as I've discussed in the past.

I have goals, dreams, ambitions, and ultimately, a future. What I can't stand though are people who lack even so much as a vision of what they intend to do outside of maybe a week from now.

It's absolutely vexing.

I love dreamers. Visionaries. People with ambitions and hopes that they cherish and dedicate their lives to. Even if you're life's passion is the eradication of all intelligent life, or the enslavement of all mankind, if you're dedicated to it strongly enough, then I respect you.

So tell me, readers. What are your goals, dreams, hopes, ambitions, wishes, fantasies, and destinies. What do you want to do with your life?

-Kageryu








Some people can go out on the town Saturday night, some people can see a movie, some people can even cuddle up with their significant others and all that stuff, sure, some people can do that...but I'm not those people.

This, is a hikkikomori weekend.

----

So, it's Valentine's Day, actually it's Monday, but whatever right?

First and foremost, I am not someone who really gives a shit about romance. It's a great thing and if you have it all the best to you and your significant other, but I myself, insig-fuckin'-nificant.

I also don't do that whole Single's Awareness bullshit either, that's just tooting to the same horn in a different key so fuck all that jazz too.

I personally saw this as Sunday. A day for relaxation and the Daytona 500. No, I didn't watch it, I don't like Nascar, but it was Sunday right? Whatever.

I may seem a little ancy, and I do apologize, but all day today I hear "I'm ronery ;_;" or "I wuv my wuver :3" or shit like that, and it's frankly fucking annoying.

Shit, isn't love supposed to be eternal? Why set aside one single God damned day for it, if you wait till Valentine's day to tell your lover how much you love them then you're a fucking tool and fuck you.

Make sure your love knows you love them the same no matter what day it is, that's what love and devotion really is, anything less is fucking cheap and you should be forced to live a life full of despair and hardship.

Yes, I am single.

-Kageryu








Some people can go out on the town Saturday night, some people can see a movie, some people can even cuddle up with their significant others and all that stuff, sure, some people can do that...but I'm not those people.

This, is a hikkikomori weekend.

----

Welcome to this week's special Superbowl Edition of A Hikkikomori Weekend. Of course, I'm not a big sports person myself, so there will be no discussion of football from me, at the very least.

So, this week marks the week I order all the new parts for my new computer, I can't wait. If anything has struck me like it has since my return, it's been the lack of my own personal computer. Which made me think, we hikkikomori live a life almost entirely dependant on computers, hell, even more so, we depend on the internet most of all.

Now, I'm aware that extreme cases such as myself are obviously more dependant that others, and that some of you can easily press that power button and go outside, but there are some of that can best define our lives by a five by five, possibly ten by ten depending on how much space your computer setup takes, space of our domicile that we spend a majority of time in.

I personally use about 15% of my room, the other 85% belonging to my roommate whom I'm about to install a boundary wall between, just because I've also found that as a hikkikomori, I am at my wits end to the lack of privacy that comes without having your own personal computer to whittle away your life at.

It's actually weird, I have a bunch of friends that all live under the same room, and just having a roommate has taught me I -cannot- live with other people.

That brings me to this week's question. How important is your private space? Are you comfortable with a group of people around you at all times? Or do you need your own four walls and empty space? Make your voice heard in the comments.

Yours,
-Kageryu








Some people can go out on the town Saturday night, some people can see a movie, some people can even cuddle up with their significant others and all that stuff, sure, some people can do that...but I'm not those people.

This, is a hikkikomori weekend.

----

I'm too nice, I really am. In these kinds of times, you rarely can afford to take in people who are hard on times, but I can't help but open my doors to others in need.

So blame them with yet again, another week without a true hikkikomori weekend.

I'll try to get a better post going next week once things have settled down.

In the mean time, join me in screaming "FUCK MY LIFE!"

-Kageryu








Some people can go out on the town Saturday night, some people can see a movie, some people can even cuddle up with their significant others and all that stuff, sure, some people can do that...but I'm not those people.

This, is a hikkikomori weekend.

----

Today, let's talk about direction in life. What we want to do, our dreams, our visions, our goals, and our all around hopes and desires.

I for one, have despite my constant attempts to stray from this path, have gone through many career choices in my ripe age of 20. I've been in the military. I've been a writer. A comic book artist. A teacher. An animator. And a computer technician.

Obviously, none of them have panned out for me, yet, but I'm still reserving the possibility of falling back on them, as they were all quite enjoyable in their own right. (Except the military pathway, not doing that again.)

But I'm also still open to many different paths I could take. Clothing designer, director, actor, singer, all kinds of paths exist if one is willing to shoot for them. These things, are of course, also things I enjoy.

I always feel like I'm too old to now be deciding what I want to do, but then I realize I'm still not old enough to even drink, however the pressure is still there.

Getting ahead of myself, possibly. Rather, actually. Obviously I'm getting ahead of myself.

But in this world, the youth are always pressured and expected to be responsible, excusing the double standard of constantly babying the youth, but that's a facet of American society that I will avoid for right now. (I understand that some readers hail from areas outside of the US, so I'll try to avoid being closeminded with impressions based on blindsighted impressions based on my own backward country's politics and social views.

I'm still getting off topic, aren't I.

Then again, this topic is rather boring. So let's drop it. Address your own goals in life in the comments if you wish, or not, whatever works for you. (As you can tell I am particularly uninspired this week, I do apologize.)

Let's talk about this season of anime, particularly, my impressions of a few series that caught my attention.

Honestly, I thought Sora no Woto would be my passion this season as I'm a sucker for moeblob shows, but it's actually not.

Honestly, I'm only consciously looking forward to three shows, Sora no Woto, Baka to Test to Shokanju, and Omamori Himari, and to be perfectly honest, Baka to Test to Shokanju and Omamori Himari have me more hooked than Sora no Woto. Not sure why, but hey, that's just how it goes.

Sora no Woto is fine, but the mold that has been placed with shows like K-ON! has automatically made me, yes, even me, get a little tired of it.

It's kind of sad really because I really do enjoy these kinds of shows.

Moving on, Omamori Himari is turning out to be a little interesting, but the last episode has made it appear to fit it's standard genre mold a little too well, I hope that it keeps my interest to the end.

Finally, there's Baka to Test to Shokanju.

First of all, this series is completely fucking hilarious, beyond funny, it's down right crap my pants funny. The drama that comes with certain fansub groups and their adaptations of the script for context aside, the show is completely amazing. Not to mention that the animation is also quite well done, and consistent. Of course it's only 3 episodes in, but hey, so far so good right? I can only hope that it continues like that.

Ehem, I think I've run my course this week, I do apologize readers as I know you can't help but slam F5 as fast as possible each week (Yeah right, haha) but next week let's try to have a more fruitful conversation.

-Kageryu