Monday, July 25, 2011

G-Maru Edition

Oh Eros!
What would you do if a strange artificial being from the future arrived at your door, and told you that they were your greatest fan? Or that in the future you are a literary genius? How about if they also told you instead of becoming a famous shojo mangaka, that you became a renown Ero Manga author?

Well, such is the premise of G-Maru Edition.

Still a high school student, Aruto Kaburagi dreams of becoming a famous shojo mangaka, and have her work serialized. Of course her dreams and road to fame are long and tiring, and though she spends a great deal of time pushing for time to draw, and submit, her world makes sense.

That is until G-Maru arrives from the future to bask in the glory of his all-time favorite author.

G-Maru is a robot from a future where people have cast off their human coils and taken up living in robotic bodies, and the future Japan is a society that has outlawed most all forms of erotic literature, making G-Maru's addiction to Aruto's works a collection of ills.

Upon arriving in the past, and meeting Aruto, G-Maru learns two terrible truths: Aruto is a girl, and Aruto has no intention of ever writing or drawing hentai.

Troubled that the future is in danger, G-Maru unleashes a barrage of tricks, devices and aides to assist Aruto on her path to becoming the greatest hentai mangaka ever.

The series was created by Mizuki Kawashita(Lilim Kiss, Ane Doki, Boku no Idol and Akane-chan Overdrive) and features a nice blend of humor and sight gags, while still managing to maintain an even balance of fan-service and story.

Some in series gags even reference the R-18 rating enforcement and G-Maru's future devices usually stop short of true erotica and are often force-censored at his dismay.

For the most of the first volume of the manga, nothing really happens to get us off the ground save for Aruto's manuscript accidentally being taken to a Ero Publisher by G-Maru, and the introduction of Aruto's classmate Tamazawa who is revealed to have a deep desire to become a fellow mangaka, and draw Yuri romance.

In the final chapter, Aurto manages to score an assistant gig for a writer that happens to be an ero mangaka, and desperate for the work she accepts and learns some practicality and hands on labor of making a manga and making its deadline.

G-Maru Edition has some laggy moments for the first few chapters, and then sort of settles into a comfort zone that hints at several chapters and volumes of hit and miss successes by both Aruto and G-Maru.

There isn't a lot to recommend about this series, unless one is interested in a humorous look at the ero manga industry from a beginner standpoint, and while the fan-service is a little racy at times, it isn't enough to actually cause great amounts of nosebleeds, so using this series as a palm-pilot is probably out.

I can pretty much only recommend this to those that just want to read a good funny and mildly perverse comic.

Granted it has some depth at times, and future volumes may delve deeper; for right now it's a 50/50 for the fans. Nothing about it really sings, and nothing about it really shines.

For a great example of Mizuki Kawashita's other works, I'd definitely recommend Akane-chan Overdrive. It show cases some very good humor, and makes serious points at the same time, while offering a little genderbending angst.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fairies Have Tails?

Fairy Tail
By now, almost no fan of anime or manga hasn't heard the name somewhere at some point, or may have even seen the show, watched a clip, or experienced a few pages of the comic. For those of you that haven't, then you probably need to go ahead and smack your own forehead for me in an epic face-palming of super-galactic proportions. Then read on.

Fairy Tail began its life in 2006 by Hiro Mashima and since its initial publication the popularity has steadily grown. In 2009 Fairy Tail premiered in Japan as an anime series co-produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelite, and it seems as if the rest is history in the making.

Del-Rey had licensed the manga in North America, but the license was ended at the 12th volume; though now Kodansha USA Publishing has rescued the rights and has continued its release with the 14th volume scheduled for this month.

So what exactly is Fairy Tail about?

It's a series about Lucy Heartfilia, a 17 year old Celestial Spirit Mage that runs away from home with the dream of joining the magical guild Fairy Tail, and encounters one of its members--Natsu Dragneel--on his quest to find his foster parent and dragon named, Igneel.

Sure it sounds mundane, but I assure you the first episode is so loaded with action and humor and adventurous good stuff, that you hardly know where to rest your eyes from time to time.

It doesn't take long for Lucy to become a member of Fairy Tail, and eventually as a member begin taking on jobs.

Now the Mage Lore of the world of Fairy Tail is pretty deep, and there is a lot that I just don't have the time to go into, but to hit the high-points, I can say that magic is pretty much everywhere in the world.

It can be used in a number of ways, and by a lot of people. The most renown and respected are of course those that are members of a guild, and perform services for a fee. Much like bounty hunters, or mercenaries, and the jobs are so varying that it almost seems as if they skirt the law from time to time.

The complexity of the plot doesn't begin to manifest itself right away, and those that watch it for the first few episodes may not really see a connection between where the last episode left off, and the new one begins. But that's okay, don't get your anime panties up in a bunch, it's just a show, and not a matter for you to throw yourself on the floor and act like a child because you had some misconceived notions about what you thought it was going to be.

I am somewhat late to the party on this show, but not that late, as I have been keeping a close eye on it since its production was announced. Of course, now that the fan-base is firmly divided over that stupid idiotic "Anime VS Manga Vs Filler" bull-shit, I feel compelled to pick a side and make fun of the others. And wouldn't you know it, I sided with the anime to spite the manga flipping bastards.

I'm funny that way. Whenever someone screams "FILLER BAD!", I scream "GIVE ME MORE!" just to piss them off, and that makes me feel good. Because I enjoy what they cannot. It's like being able to eat kryptonite, and watching as they wither and melt. Good times, good times.

Anyway, like I was saying, the show has been airing on Crunchyroll for those that want to watch the latest episodes legally, and not dodge the law for their torrents, and just this year at some convention panel, the brains at FUNimation Entertainment announced their acquisition of the first 48 episodes of the series, that will probably see a dub and a release long after anyone gives a shit anymore, because they can't seem to keep up with all the titles that they've gorged their stomachs on!

The most disturbing thing about the acquisition, is the 48 episode thing. I know that most of the time, the Japanese license holders will not just hand over the whole shebang to a company--lest it fail miserably in the USA and the license go into limbo--but what the hell is with that?

I hate seeing half-assed work, and FUNimation has a notorious habit of dropping shows mid-stride at almost every turn, and let's not forget the delays, delays DELAYS!

It's to the point, I'd rather order the imports and just watch them raw than dick around waiting on FUNimation to record it, and distribute it.

But that's a rant for another time.

For right now, you can watch Fairy Tail on Hulu, and Crunchyroll. I'd suggest the FUNi portal, but their servers suck ass, and unless you have a Cray Supercomputer to decipher and process their site's weird-ass scripting, then you'll be waiting on the pages to load for a few days.

Good series, great cast of interesting characters... and I will slap the hell out of anyone that says it's a rip-off of One Piece... I hate that show, and hate you for making me mentioning its unholy name!

Until the next review, I'm gonna rub myself down with lotion and sit in the dark watching Galaxy Angel.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Your New Stuff!

She's Back!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... oh man has that line gotten old. But not our love of the adorable blue squishy-haired cutie invader Ika Musume!

Announced in February (why in the hell do I get these memos so late?) in Weekly Shounen Champion, Ika Musume's second season has been green lit, and by the power of Merlin's Beard, we all want more!

I didn't jizz my pants when heard this news... I inked them! THEN I jizzed them!

With any luck we could--please don't quote me on that--get the second season as early as winter 2012, and my fingers and tentacles are crossed.

Those bastards at ANN reported that, Voice actress Rie Tanaka (Chizuru Aizawa) expressed surprise when a Twitter user congratulated her about the second season on Monday: "Huh? Where did you get that info?"

Also on the menu for this month is the next installment of those golden yellow boxes of goodness. I speak of course about Volume 6 of the Dragon Ball Z Dragon Boxes

You know you want this!!
My only real damage with the boxes is the lazy assed way that FUNimation Entertainment has been releasing them. I mean seriously people, if you postponed anything else any more, we'd be worrying about your financial future. Seems to me that the late great ADV did that, right before they announced a massive door shutting contest.

Anyway, enough about the dead, I'm too excited about the living. And DragonBox 6 is something that I have been waiting on for a long time now. All I have to do is convince my fiance that it would make a better investment than Harry Potter, and I'm all good.

For those of you that have been sharing rock dwelling space with Patrick Star, or are too busy pleasuring yourself with DBZ Kai, then let me let you in on what exactly we are all on about.

Yadda yadda, FUNimation screwed up almost all of their releases of DBZ, fans revolted. FUNimation releases fixed versions, more voice changes, the fans revolted. FUNimation makes the legendary orange(nothing rhymes with that!) brick boxes, and the fans revolted.

In short the fans have been revolting for years, disgusting as well, but revolting none-the-less.

In an attempt to save what little face FUNimation had left some genius at the helm of their acquisitions (ignore the angry screams from Sophie McNutt) was able to sweet talk Japan into forking over the boxes for American recreation.

These are not re-prints, these are replicas, and not exactly spot on with the originals, since the Japanese ones were in two massive sets, not 7.

Anyway, enough about that... I can tell your little nerdy eye balls are already tired from thinking about stuff beyond masturbation to your anime girls, so I'll move to something more stimulating.

Dude Looks Like A Lady!
It's called Mayo Chiki, and no it's not about mayonnaise or delicious sandwiches. It's about a butler, that is actually a girl. Hilarity, blah, blah, some fan service, and most likely those funny awkward moments we love in a good genderbent anime.

I'll be following this one, because well, I'm funny like that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's In It For You?

When we first started out watching anime and reading manga, we each did so from a purely entertainment aspect. Meaning that we each wanted to be entertained, and we wanted to be a part of a style of entertainment that surpassed many boundaries of what we were accustomed to watching and reading.

For the first time, we could see action on a more realistic and non-exaggerated level; we could get more mature oriented dialogue, and the sultry drawn vixens of the medium were all too eager to expose themselves a little for our viewing pleasure.

Lately, we've grown beyond the base need for pure entertainment, the thrill of a hardy laugh, or an edge-of-our-seat adventure. It seems we've become hyper-critical of the very thing that once very simply gave us enjoyment, and now we have our expectations set so high, that only the best masterpieces of our times will satisfy us any longer.

How did we get to this point?

Simply put, we've developed into greedy fans that don't know that our stomachs are already to the point of bursting. We have expectations of the industry, of the creators, and of the distributors, and we will not be denied our satisfaction.

Partially to blame is the instant gratification that on-line downloading and viewing and streaming has enabled for us. The free crap that major distributors put on their sites, in the hopes that we will watch from them, and not from someone else. And the momentum of the miniature rushes we get, when we thrill over with the afterglow of being part of a massive sub-cultural footnote to a society that can thrive better without our entertainment, than with it.

What do we really watch anime for? Why do we really read manga? Is it because we want to have a good time, or because we want to be better than someone else that doesn't?

Think about it like this.

If you were an appreciator of fine art, and you enjoyed looking at paintings in a gallery; do you enjoy the art because it's pretty, entertaining, or thought provoking? Or because you know everything there is to know about the artist that painted it?

If I were to ask a fan of anime about Gonzo studios, there is a good chance they would know of whom I speak. They might could even tell me a few names of the people that work there, and they could give me a grocery-list of titles that the studio has produced or co-produced in Japan.

But how does actually knowing that information make the anime series better or worse? How do these facts turn a show from passing the grade to full-bodied glory?

In all honesty, it doesn't really. All this does is give us a self-perceived edge over the rest of the fandom, and helps us not look foolish in front of the other nerds.

The bottom line is this.

If we are watching an anime, or reading a manga just because it's made by a certain person, directed by a certain person, starring a certain person, written by a specific person, then we are limiting our own vast view of the entertainment spectrum, and have bound our own hands, and set some sort of imaginary line that eventually no one will be able to reach.

I'll be so happy when the nit-pickers have run out of reasons to watch anime and read manga anymore; because maybe then, I'll have a shot at watching and reading in peace and quiet and with my own form of satisfaction.