Running in the 90’s~

Which Initial D fan doesn’t remember this uber futuristic song which talks about the Internet and speed? It’s always been a staple on my playlist along with M.O.V.E’s other memorable Eurobeat tracks.

The reason as to why I chose to use this track to represent my post today is that it exudes a feeling of nostalgia. I’m often overcome by this melancholic feeling to return to the days of the good old anime of the 80’s and 90’s. Even the early 2000’s at times. So many things draw me to the memory of the anime from that era. Of course one of them is that 90s anime is what I grew up watching and what started my entire love-story with Japan and it’s vibrant culture.

Back when Animax wasn’t airing on Indian Television (pre – 2004), viewers were exposed to anime without any differentiation as such. Mowgli was a childhood must-watch, along with Speed Racer, Ninja Robots, Akira, Curious Play, You’re Under Arrest and Ninku which aired on channels like DD (sort of like India’s NHK), AXN and Cartoon Network. If not the others, most 90’s kids remember Mowgli which was molded to suit Indian audiences even changing the theme song to a memorable one sung by Gulzaar.

Hail 2004 and all I remember is being stuck to the sofa in front of the telly watching brilliantly different animation series that drew me in (and kept me there till today). Saiyuki, eX-Driver, Arjuna, Cyborg 009, Inuyasha, Slam Dunk and Flame of Recca .. I could really go on and list the entire schedule. What made Animax different was that even though it dubbed it’s shows to English, it preserved more of the Japanese element than the Hindi dubs we were used to earlier. A distinction between ‘Animax’ shows and ‘Cartoon Network’ shows was made clear.

Of course, I still never knew what really made it different (apart from the level of awesomeness). Once I figured how to exploit the Internet better (post the death of Dial-up), I dived into the world of Anime, Manga and all the things surrounding it. This just pushed me into the initial Otaku phase and now a more mature (if I may say so myself) observer of anime, deviating into the Japanese culture and way of life which interests me the most.

In tribute to my nostalgia and memory, I’ve been rewatching and re – reading some of the anime and manga which I started off with. I’ll put up their reviews sometime soon!

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Tokyo Ghoul and Visible Self Constructs.

*Warning- Images may be spoilers*
Being weirdly busy and unproductive at the same time, I found out about Tokyo Ghoul and its increasing popularity through one of my stalking sessions on Instagram and Twitter. Everyone was going ballistic over Kaneki absolutely everywhere. So I started watching the series completely unaware of the gore and blood that awaited me. I’m not really a gore fan, although sometimes I do find this inexplicable pleasure in watching series that challenge my sense of tolerance. Only sometimes.

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Tokyo Ghoul did not disappoint. On the surface, it may seem like one of those typical anime horror series which drag on till they come to this climax which has everything from random story-twists to mass murders involving limb-ripping, eyeball-gouging, blood-splattering scenes (not to forget, excessively creepy SFX). However, this series proves to be different, with the second season (Tokyo Ghoul √A) already ongoing, it has a wide range of characters with enough backstories to keep you hooked on to it.

Not to forget Kaneki Ken. I agree that fandoms are like blackholes because they have this inviolable pulling power. Fandoms give rise to symbols and references which only those active in that particular fandom will understand – a sort of elite order of people sneering away at those who don’t “get the reference”. Almost like T.S. Eliot. He was, to be honest, the King of References. The pure obsession of Kaneki fans is what drew me to watch the series, and I was very nearly drawn in.

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Although his character development is rather literal and takes place at the fag end of the first season, it is palpable – a definite and visible character change. Though it may not be particularly pleasing to those who prefer subtle character developments which are relatively more realistic, Kaneki’s character development is vivid and easy to grasp. He remains true to his ethics and principles after he turns into a ghoul and only changes dynamically after being tortured physically.

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Questions on the construction of the Self in Tokyo Ghoul can be answered easily if we observe Kaneki. He speaks out what he thinks – of what he wants to be and what he wants others to be. His idealistic world view is broken after the (rather heart stopping) torture and is externalized in his very appearance. His physical appearance reflects his internal monologue and thought process. Colours are used to symbolize the development he goes through. From black to white – the inversion of colours depicts the inversion of his character. The use of the mask and eye-patch is also ingenious and metaphorical. The visual medium is used to its best potential when it externalizes thought processes. That’s what makes understanding the concepts running through the anime easier. The radical change we see in Kaneki’s appearance drives home the fact that his world view has shifted, albeit preserving a few emotions he had prior to this change.

I’ve only just begun the second season, and I’m looking forward to Kaneki’s development even more!

Free! – An objective review.

I marathoned KyoAni’s much hyped Free! the other day and thought I’d take the pains to write an objective review on it considering the fact that I’m a Fujoshi and I loved Free. Free! (2)  This anime was blown up due to the attention it received from its tantalizing trailer, fanarts and shipping along with spinoff stories came up months before the anime even released. That clearly pointed to very high expectations from the potential viewers of this anime. KyoAni’s fans knew for sure that visually, the anime would be beautiful- as it later proved to be. For a short synopsis, the Iwatobi High School which lacked a Swimming club was soon given one due to the enthusiasm of a few students who swam for their school clubs back in middle school. Nagisa, Haruka, Makoto and eventually – Rei, who was dragged in from the track and field club, constitute the Iwatobi Swim Club, with Gou as the manager. All of them being men with girly names and endowed with beautiful muscles and fitting various anime stereotypes. They go on to struggle with their pasts and fears and finally participate in the competition they worked so hard for. Apart from the Iwatobi club members is another main character, a standard Tsundere shipped with Haruka- Rin. His difficult personality and past with the Iwatobi club members provides most meat to the storyline.Free! (6) Visually appealing and entertaining along with great stretching and swimming sequences, Free! fails to disappoint those who weren’t expecting anything brain-tingling or intellectual. It’s NOT a shonen sports anime, so obviously there are no detailed explanations of swim strokes and strategies and zero technicalities, which makes it very appealing and approachable to a sports n00b who still wants some on-screen action. The storyline though, is a very replaceable one, it’s almost like the characters could be placed in any situation/background and they would create the same effect. There is a focus on relations between characters and emotions that come into play. It would have been hard to sympathize with Makoto’s past had it not been for the fact that..well, he’s Makoto. Nagisa does nothing but annoy everyone, and Haru’s overly quiet demeanour makes one wonder why he was made a protagonist. On the positive side, Rei’s embarrassingly earnest personality is quite refreshing. Some wacky aspects like the seiyuu having fun during an episode preview and the ridiculous BG dancers wearing gas masks in the ED sequence are things I appreciated. Random atrocities make an otherwise dull series worth watching.

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Free! on the whole provides a good character set and theme which can be played around with by fans. The anime itself wasn’t something that stood out in my personal (and very objective) opinion. If you’re bored on a hot summer day, craving for aesthetically appealing men then this anime is the answer to that. I suppose if I had followed it as it was airing in Japan, I would have enjoyed it more- a weekly dose of fun.

GITS Arise: Border 1 Ghost Pain

Production IG has come out with another great OVA series, this time a brand new version of the Ghost in The Shell series we all are so familiar with. The first OVA is around 45 minutes long. Getting straight down to the review, I would say that it was hard adjusting to the radically different character designs and an OST with a different soul albeit on the same lines. Even the seiyuu are different this time around.Image

Motoko is younger and er.. fully covered most of the time for a change. Blue hair pitching out the previous purple. Her personality is very different as well- younger and rasher.Image

The younger Aramaki and Batou made me giggle a bit. The newly introduced characters are not so powerful as they cannot match up to the character depth that the standard characters have, but they manage to run the plot forward. Kurutsu was one such character who failed in GITS quality fanservice. Motoko makes it seem so classy all the time. >__< My favourite Tachikoma aren’t here yet.. there are Logikoma this time around.Image

The action sequences are well done and smooth. I did a simulwatch with a few other people and we all agreed on that point. Well balanced twirls and mid air moves by Motoko and nice counter moves by the attackers.

Ghost Pain mainly deals with Motoko investigating a murder case with a bunch of other people believing her to be the suspect prior to the birth of Public Security Section 9. Aramaki is the man in the car scouting around as usual. I’m surprised and glad that I enjoyed the OVA even with all the major changes they brought in. The overall feel of the series has not being ruined and you would feel nostalgic even as you watch this version of GITS. So go ahead and watch, without preconceptions.

Game of Thrones

The new season’s going to be out SOON!!! 😀 *runs and jumps around* 31 March come fast you!  O(≧▽≦)O

 

All those who haven’t started watching GoT yet, shame on you. The scenes and locations are simply breathtaking, the actors are charismatic and perfect for the roles they play. Young Aria is by far my favourite character of all. She sure kicks some! And no questions about Tyrion Lanister.

The plot of the first season is split into 3 main paths- One being the classic who-takes-the-throne question, the other follows Danaerys on her quest to cross the narrow sea and the other path focuses on The Wall and the utter creepiness beyond it.

Finally got to the end of the busiest year in my life so far. I’ve never been out so much and stayed away from anime for so long either. Catching up with anime takes me a little more effort than usual now, but turns out to be more valuable T_T How I long to get back to the days when I watched anime and read manga all day long with no important commitments. Natsukashii na~~ (个_个)

Got back to watching Natsume Yuujinchou after nearly a year. Such a sweet and straightforward series it is! I’m pretty biased towards the Ayakashi and Mononoke/Youkai theme though. It’s just so interesting…

Natsume Yuujinchou brings out the sentimental aspect of the whole theme so beautifully. For those wanting to try out new anime which are out of the box although not too far out of it should go for this one. Every season gets done pretty fast, chiisai to amai~

 

The new season of Chihayafuru also does not disappoint. Going on to continue neatly where season 1 left off. Taichi still gets all of us kyaa~-ing and blushing.

☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆TnK OP theme snapshot

Dragging out is my race with Jidaigeki and Taiga Drama. I recently finished Gou and loved the hell out of that visually appealing tragedy and started on the older Shinsengumi!! and the latest Taira no Kiyomori. I have a really bad print of Shinsengumi!! which cuts down the fun I have watching it, but it’s balanced out because of the great acting. TnK however, is sloooow. SO slow. Typical of the Heian period ( ̄ー ̄) but the visuals are drool worthy. The OP theme video can be replayed over and over again just to treat your eyes. They use a sort of HDR effect to the series making it look ethereal and dreamy. GO WATCH!

63 NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen – Live Streaming sites!

Source: http://veeeeecky.tumblr.com/post/39294862906/streaming-sites-for-the-63rd-nhk-kouhaku-uta-gassen

http://misakolove.tumblr.com/post/39291290235

63rd Kōhaku Uta Gassen

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It’s been one year already!? It’s that time of the year again, when most people party and others sit at home and watch the Japanese New year 😛
The 63rd Kohaku Uta Gassen is finally here!! This year’s theme is “Meet with Song”. The hosts will be actress Horikita Maki and Arashi.
Surprisingly, my personal favourite: Sachiko Kobayashi isn’t on the list. I loved her showstopper outfits, they beat Lady Gaga down 100%.

The hosts this year.

You can watch the 63rd NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen Live through Keyhole TV. (Feel free to ask me how to get about it). I’ll update the post for Livestream accounts if they pop up!

Remember it starts at 7:15 PM JST.

The lineups were released back in November, but here’s a quick look again:
Red Team (Female)

aiko (11)
Ayaka (6)
Ikimonogakari (5)
Ishikawa Sayuri (35)
AKB48 (5)
SKE48 (1)
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (1)
Koizai Kaori (16)
Koda Kumi (8)
Godai Natsuko (19)
Sakamoto Fuyumi (24)
Tendo Yoshimi (17)
Nakashima Mika (9)
Nishino Kana (3)
Perfume (5)
Hamasaki Ayumi (14)
Fuji Ayako (18)
Princess Princess (1)
Mizuki Nana (4)
Mizumori Kaori (10)
Momoiro Clover Z (1)
YUI (1)
YUKI (1)
Yuki Saori (13)
Wada Akiko (36)

White Team (Male)

Arashi (4)
Itsuki Hiroshi (42)
HY (2)
EXILE (8)
NYC (4)
Kanjani 8 (1)
Kitajima Saburo (49)
Go Hiromi (25)
Golden Bomber (1)
Kobukuro (7)
Saito Kazuyoshi (1)
Sandaime J Soul Brothers (1)
SMAP (20)
Tachi Hiroshi (2)
TOKIO (19)
Tokunaga Hideaki (7)
AAA (3)
Naoto Inti Raymi (1)
Hikawa Kiyoshi (13)
FUNKY MONKEY BABYS (4)
Fukuyama Masaharu (5)
Hosokawa Takashi (36)
Porno Graffitti (11)
Miwa Akihiro (1)
Mori Shinichi (45)

The official song list:

RED TEAM

aiko – “Kuchibiru”
Ayaka – “Hajimari no Toki”
Ikimonogakari – “Kaze ga Fuiteiru”
Ishikawa Sayuri – “Amagi Goe”
AKB48 – “AKB48 Kohaku 2012 SP Dai 2-sho”
SKE48 – “Pareo wa Emerald”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – “Kohaku 2012 Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Medley”
Koizai Kaori – “Sake no Yado”
Koda Kumi – “Go to the top”
Godai Natsuko – “Koi Zange”
Sakamoto Fuyumi – “Yozakura Oshichi”
Tendo Yoshimi – “Soran Matsuri Bushi”
Nakashima Mika – “Hatsukoi”
Nishino Kana – “GO FOR IT!!”
Perfume – “Spring of Life”
Hamasaki Ayumi – “2012 A SPECIAL Medley”
Fuji Ayako – “Wasurenai”
Princess Princess – “Diamonds”
Mizuki Nana – “BRIGHT STREAM”
Mizumori Kaori – “Hitori Nagaragawa”
Momoiro Clover Z – “Momoiro Kohaku Da Z!!”
YUI – “Good-bye days”
YUKI – “Prism”
Yuki Saori – “Yoake no Scat”
Wada Akiko – “Ai, Todokimasuka”

WHITE TEAM

Arashi – “New Year’s Eve Medley 2012″
Itsuki Hiroshi – “Yoake no Blues”
HY – “Ichiban Chikaku ni”
EXILE – “Rising Sun”
NYC – “NYC Kohaku Medley”
Kanjani 8 – “Hatsu Kohaku!! Zenryoku Zenshin Jya Jya Jya Jya-n!”
Kitajima Saburo – “Fusetsu Nagare Tabi”
Go Hiromi – “Dangerer☆”
Golden Bomber – “Memeshikute”
Kobukuro – “Kami Hikouki”
Saito Kazuyoshi – “Yasashiku Naritai”
Sandaime J Soul Brothers – “Hanabi”
SMAP – “SMAP 2012′ SP”
Tachi Hiroshi – “Arashi wo Yobu Otoko”
TOKIO – “KIBOU”
Tokunaga Hideaki – “Ue wo Muite Arukou”
AAA – “777 ~We can sing a song!~”
Naoto Inti Raymi – “Brave”
Hikawa Kiyoshi – “Sakura”
FUNKY MONKEY BABYS – “Sayonara Janai”
Fukuyama Masaharu – “Beautiful life”
Hosokawa Takashi – “Naniwabushi Dayo Jinsei wa”
Porno Graffitti – “Kageboushi”
Miwa Akihiro – “Yoitomake no Uta”
Mori Shinichi – “Fuyu no Riviera”

Courtesy: TokyoHive and NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen Official Website

Image Courtesy: arashi-bangumi.livejournal.com and TokyoHive

Arang and the Magistrate

Finally!! A new post! It’s been months since I blogged at all.

One month of free time let me catch up with some anime and dorama ~__~ Feels so nice 🙂
Finished watching Arang and the Magistrate and I must say I liked it.

The storyline is pretty simple; Fiesty Arang (Shin Min Ah) is a ghost in the Joseon era, who scares the magistrates of a village to death every time, she comes across Kim Eun Oh (Lee Jun Ki), who becomes the new magistrate of the town and sets out to find her murderer while Eun Oh searches for his mother.

I loved how they incorporate a sort of horror into this historical rom-com effortlessly. Although the discovery of Arang’s past and Eun Oh’s creepy attachment to his mother struck me as odd. Considering the fact that he hardly stayed with his mother at all, Eun Oh’s feelings toward his mother are a tad too excessive. It does get hard to ignore after a while as that very fact takes up the center stage of the whole series. Then again, the acting in this drama is really good. Lee Jun Ki and Shin Min Ah go really well together *cheering* The shaman – Bang Wool Ri (Hwang Bo Ra) provides super cute comedic relief as well.

Absolutely recommended from my side~ Happy Watching!

Another

Blood and gore aren’t really my cups of tea. But after watching Higurashi and Blood C, I was prepped up well enough to try out Another.

The storyline follows two protagonists – Misaki Mei and Sakakibara Koichi who attend Yomiyama North Middle School. They have the misfortune to end up in the most creepy class of the century, class 3-3. Koichi being a transfer student has no idea about the “rules” of the class, one of which includes treating Mei as non-existent, and tries befriending her. This reveals a chain of events which had been triggered before Koichi transferred into class 3-3. These “events” specifically refer to gruesome deaths of the people closely related to class 3-3.

Koichi and Mei set out to uncover the truth behind the curse of “death” and try to find a way to stop it mid way.

Somehow the gruesome freak accident deaths in Another didn’t creep me out so much. I probably got used to scenes like that after watching Higurashi (which, by the way, is quite a few levels above Another in many aspects). The shock and suspense factor in Another is hammered down to nothing as they reveal the curse and its history a little prematurely. Even though it just lasts 12 episodes, I suppose the shocker should have been saved up for the end.

The story turned a bit bland at the end, as Koichi didn’t undergo any character progression and the last couple of episodes comprised of a saved up gore fest reminiscent of Blood C.

If you do have plenty of time on your hands and haven’t caught up with Another yet, you can safely give it a try. But there are lots of other more deserving series out there~