It's alive!

Greetings all,

I still don’t have my PhD, I’ve started a new job and just moved house…but I felt a sudden desire to review video games and so I’m bringing the blog back. I’ll be focussing more on games than anime this time around, because anime reviewing becoming a chore was one of the reasons I let this place go. Post on Fragile Dreams coming soon.

Delving further into animated fantasy: sci-fi twists, Scrapped Princess and a whole load of ranting about Utawarerumono

chibi-karura-blog.pngOn Monday, I looked at the state of classic fantasy in anime, and although it would have been enough to end it there and conclude that it was generally in a sorry state, I knew there was something more I had to write about- namely, fantasy with a sci-fi twist (like you couldn’t guess that from the title). To that end, I have decided to delve deeper into series- Scrapped Princess, which I enjoyed and Utawarerumono, which I could have enjoyed if not for its many flaws. Continue reading “Delving further into animated fantasy: sci-fi twists, Scrapped Princess and a whole load of ranting about Utawarerumono”

Should classic fantasy have ended with Lodoss War?

chibi-karura-blog.pngWriters from all over the world have made a stable income employing the “classic fantasy” formula in all sorts of media- be they novels, games or even anime, the story of a young boy and his sword banding together with a bunch of eclectic allies to defeat the Lord of Darkness has been used over and over again. Unfortunately, what was entertaining and enjoyable in the old days becomes more clichéd and worn in modern times, and so it is that the classical fantasy has suffered in particular. Exploring the entire genre would take a whole series of blog posts, so in order to keep things relevant, I’ll be covering only anime’s contribution to classic fantasy tales. Continue reading “Should classic fantasy have ended with Lodoss War?”

Faithful adaptations: the good and bad


This picture has nothing to do with the article, but people seem to expect random eroge CGs when reading editorials.

For a while now, there have been several editorial titles sitting on my computer, but the effort needed to actually write such pieces has always seemed to be just beyond my grasp. In an attempt to clear out the backlog of ideas so that I can feel less guilty about not blogging quite as much, however, I have decided to forge ahead and just write the damn things.

Continue reading “Faithful adaptations: the good and bad”

Parody Anime: When does it work and when does it fail?

Although anime comedy is created with Japanese viewers in mind, it has to be admitted that even though us foreigners may not get all the references without recourse to liner notes or onscreen pop-ups, we can still derive entertainment from it. Perhaps the most difficult to wade into, however, are not those series which simply seek to make light of a single genre, but those which pack in as many jokes, cultural references and rip-offs as they can feasibly manage within the space of a twenty-five minute episode. From this rather select group of series, I will be looking at the four that I am most familiar with (interestingly, all of them are licensed by ADV in the US) in an attempt to determine what factors the success or failure of this ‘crazy’ genre depends on. Continue reading “Parody Anime: When does it work and when does it fail?”

Can anime surpass its source material? Part two: video game based series

A while ago, I wrote about anime that managed to surpass its original manga, and I promised to follow that piece up with a second article discussing anime based on video games. As always, it took a little longer than anticipated to actually write the article in question, but now the time has finally come to discuss whether any good can come of adapting games into animated series. That being said, I will be approaching this piece a little differently from the first article, by considering the success or failure of this practice by genre rather than by just picking out the series that managed to surpass their original versions. Continue reading “Can anime surpass its source material? Part two: video game based series”

Can anime surpass its source material? Part One: manga-based series

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I have a habit of unfavourably comparing anime series to the original manga- it’s not something I do to be provocative or controversial, merely a statement of my opinion. As my manga experience has increased, I have continually found that the majority of manga-based anime series simply do not live up to the original, regardless of which version I was exposed to first.

From some viewpoints, this may seem a little strange- surely black and white pictures squeezed onto an A5 page cannot compared to something that has colour, movement and sound? Admittedly, this is often case for action series; trying to follow a battle via static images is often a futile cause, but most other genres seem to lose something in the transition from page to screen. Continue reading “Can anime surpass its source material? Part One: manga-based series”

Second Seasons: Second Rate? Part Two: Remakes, Spin-Offs and Alternate Universes

Those with the ability to recall trivial and largely useless information may recall that some time ago, I wrote an article about second seasons that directly followed on from the first, and whether they were always destined to be inferior to their predecessors. The conclusion seemed to be that, actually, despite the stigma attached to them, there was a fairly even distribution of both good and bad second seasons. Nonetheless, at the time, I promised to cover spin-offs and remakes in a separate article to see how they compared, and now, at long last, that time has come. Continue reading “Second Seasons: Second Rate? Part Two: Remakes, Spin-Offs and Alternate Universes”

Second Seasons: Second Rate? Part One: Picking up where you left off

If you like something, it seems only natural to want more of it- anime included. After all, if it comes down to a choice between more episodes about your favourite characters and settings, or watching something new and unproven, the former may well sound infinitely preferable. Unfortunately, the saying “too much of a good thing” exists for a reason; not every franchise can weather the demands of supplying additional content, resulting in worn out, recycled scenarios, tiresome, unimaginative filler, or an attempt to be different that destroys the very heart of what made it good in the first place. Continue reading “Second Seasons: Second Rate? Part One: Picking up where you left off”