Archive for August, 2007

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AMV Obsession

     As of late, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with AMV’s online.  This has led me to ponder the appeal of these video gems.  AMV stands for Anime Music Video. They’re the latest entry into a long entertaining history of combining music with film clips that stretches back to the time of silent films.  Most all of us have been raised on MTV and it’s surreal world of three minute miniature movies set to our favorite music.  I think that’s one reason for the rise in AMV’s.  It could also be that the AMV is well suited to our attention spans.  Or it could simply be the wonderful combination of video with music.  I don’t know really.  I simply know that I’m becoming hooked! AMV’s are just a great way to enjoy all the anime characters that we know and love!

      AMV’s are generally made by fans for fans without any official permission.  These amateur masterpieces are made with video editing software and some of the results are quite professional looking.  They generally combine carefully edited anime video clips with music of all kinds.  Some use still images in a slide show format such as scanned images from manga.  The style, the music and the final results are as varied as the anime fanbase out there.  Many are award winning.  Contests for AMV’s can be found online and at most conventions these days.  But be forewarned.  The competition is fierce!

     These two posts by 2xKnight over at AnimeFansOnline really jump-started my latest AMV obsession.  So please check out what he has to say about Naruto AMV’s  and AMV’s in general (including one of my personal favorites Understanding Rukia!).

           So look around online.  Check out YouTube or your favorite video website.  There are a plethora of AMV’s out there.  Here are some of my current favorites…

Best of You
A curious mix of anime and classic MTV video!

Bleach:300th Squad
A wickedly delightful mix of movies and anime!

Naruto-What I’ve Done
A professional looking Naruto AMV!

One Piece AMV – Sail On
A fast-paced thrill ride with amazing editing set in the One Piece Universe!

Prince of Tennis – I’ll Be There For You
Prince of Tennis meets Friends! Does it get any better!

I wish I were a lesbian
A funny & sexy combo of comedy and anime!

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Posted by rinda on Aug 27th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Manga,Movies,Music,TV | Comments (0)

Disappearing Acts

Sorry that I’ve been MIA for a few days. Between work, preparing for the upcoming convention DragonCon and some personal writing that I’ve been doing…well, I’ve just been a bit distracted! I promise to back on my posting bandwagon very soon! Thanks for your patience!

Posted by rinda on Aug 26th 2007 | Filed in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

What is Anime? Part Seven

     For my last installment in the What is Anime series, I want to recommend at least a minor exploration of manga to all anime fans. To the newbies, manga (pronounced mahng-gah) is a Japanese graphic novel or basically a Japanese comic book. Manga and anime are closely inter-related. Most anime started as manga. The majority that didn’t, have since been made into manga. Anime is moving images, manga is the equivalent in still drawings.

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket manga has broken into the top 25 of USA Today’s Bestseller list several times.

     Many mangas follow the same storyline as their anime counterparts. While others, take different story arcs. Often, reading the manga of a favorite anime will provide a deeper level of story telling than the anime may allow due to time restraints and other reasons. Sometimes the art will look a bit different than the anime. Whether it’s better or worse comes done to personal preference. But manga fans are just as rabid as anime fans. And usually those lines of fandom criss-cross. The two mediums are very closely related.

     In Japan, like anime, manga is a huge business. According to Wikipedia,

“In economic terms, weekly sales of comics in Japan exceed the entire annual output of the American comic industry”

Naruto
Naruto’s adventures continue in anime, in manga paperbacks and Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine!

You will find manga in books and magazines. They are generally geared towards boys (shonen) or girls (shojo). Nowadays, manga is much more accessible in the US. You can find growing sections devoted to it at most bookstores. There are numerous English magazines that include monthly mangas alongside anime information. A few of my favorites include…

  • Newtype USA -The English version of Japan’s Newtype Magazine.  It’s carried previews of such well known manga as Chrono Crusade, Full Metal Panic! and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
  • Otaku USA – It’s a new magazine (only two issues so far!) that’s similar to Newtype with an American Flare.  It focuses more on America’s Otaku community than Japan’s.  The latest issue has previews of Key to the Kingdom and Vampire Hunter D.
  • Shonen Jump – The birthplace of such wonderful animes as Bleach, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Rurouni Henshin, Yu Yu Hakusho and the list goes on!
  • Shojo Beat – The female counterpart to Shonen Jump.  It’s carried such favorites as Honey and Clover, Nana and Vampire Knight

You can even get manga downloaded to your cell phone!  It’s a growing trend in Japan that’s starting to spread over here.
 
      So as you explore the world of anime, leave a little room for manga.  You may find a new passion within it’s many brightly illustrated covers!

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Posted by rinda on Aug 20th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Books,Manga | Comments (1)

What is Anime? Part Six

     My sixth entry into what is anime will focus on the anime fan community.  Exploring anime can make a fan of you.  But once you become a fan, what then?  Who do you share your excitement and questions with?  Who do you turn to for advice on what to watch next?  Where can you go as a fan and feel like you belong?  The fan community can be the answer to all those questions and more. It used to be that local anime clubs and conventions were a fan’s only options to connect with other fans.  These days, thanks to the Internet, international fans of all kinds can unite in cyberspace.  There are forums, clubs, websites galore out there.  They can provide the anime newbie with direction and advice.  They can provide a home with others who understand your love of anime.  They can also lash out with their own opinions, so be wary.  Explore and discover but keep an open mind.

      Local anime clubs remain one of the gold standards for anime fan community.  There’s a reason for that.  It allows anime fans to connect at a local level.  Weekly or monthly meetings, with screenings of animes, can create close bonds.  But finding an anime club nearby can be tricky.  The Anime Web Turnpike is a great place to start.  They have links to international as well as American fan clubs, not to mention a host of other information for the anime fan.  Meetup.com is another good place to check online for a club near you. Unfortunately, there isn’t always an anime club located near you.  Maybe you’d like to start one up yourself?  There are several resources online to help you that as well.  Ehow.com has some great advice to help you.  ADVFilms and Operation Anime can help fledgling clubs by providing information on new releases and freebies! 

      Conventions are another great place to meet other fans as well as discover what’s new in the industry.  I recommend checking the Anime Convention Nexus for conventions near you.  Conventions can be a lot of fun.  There’s such a festive air about them.  And if you can’t find an anime convention near you, keep a lookout for scifi/fantasy conventions.  These days, conventions rarely limit themselves to a single genre.  The fanbases overlap so much, they’re forced to cater to a wider audience. You’ll find a an anime room and various panels devoted to anime at most larger conventions.  Cosplay, as well, is becoming more and more mainstream.

      Another resource for the anime fan exploring the fan community is the wide-variety of anime forums and websites available on the Internet.  There are so many out there.  And their numbers grow everyday.  My advice is to use your favorite search engine to look around a bit.  Most are devoted to specific types of anime, though you can find some general anime types if you look. 
 
      It’s hard to know what’s the best fit for you until you explore a bit.  It can really be worth the effort though.  Being able to share your love of anime with others who understand is a wonderful experience.  So expand your horizons!  Go for it!

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Posted by rinda on Aug 18th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Fantasy,Manga,Movies,SciFi,TV | Comments (1)

What is Anime? Part Five

     In part five of my continuing series on what is anime, I’d like to touch on the effects that Japanese anime can have on it’s fans. Anime itself can be quite entertaining. It’s just fun to watch! Regardless of which style is your personal favorite, it will slowly but surely expose you to new aspects of Japanese culture. Learning to love anime will undoubtedly stir one’s curiosity about Japan and it’s people. The lifestyle, the language, the history…anime can open it all up. Try watching InuYasha and not wondering about feudal Japan! The wonderful samurai animes like Ninja Scroll and Samurai Champloo have the same effect! They draw you into the history of Japan.

Ninja Scroll
Try watching Ninja Scroll and not wondering about feudal Japan!

     Exploring anime will also expose you to the amazing costumes so common in most animes. They can be anything from the standard Japanese school uniforms and traditional kimonos to the fantastical extremes of the futuristic animes like Ghost In the Shell and Final Fantasy. The fans fascination with such clothing has led to an entire sub-culture of fans who attempt to recreate the fashions of their favorite anime characters in reality. This is cosplay.  Cosplay is, quite simply, the practice of dressing up as your favorite anime, manga, game or film character. Usually it’s for a convention or other such genre event. The detail and skill demonstrated by some of the fans is absolutely amazing! And it’s fun. You get to masquerade as beloved characters, take on their personas for a little while and share in the fun.


Cosplay is for everyone!

Vash the Stampede
Vash the Stampede–Wanted Dead or Alive!

     Lastly, delving into anime, you’ll discover the merchandising that seems to go hand in hand with all entertainment these days. Anime is no exception. Though, personally, I think the products connect with anime are a lot more fun than your standard fare! The toys and models are like the animes themselves, amazing, colorful and unexpected!  The fashion spawned by anime can be as simple as a t-shirt declaring your favorite show or perhaps a bag, my personal favorite! You’ll find something cool for nearly every popular anime out there!

     One final thing I’d like to mention…the snacks! Oh, the joy of discovering anime snacks!! I’ve alredy talked about these delicious goodies before on my post Snack Attack and I’m sure I will again. So I just wanted to mention that as you get more into anime, you’ll find yourself longing to try some of the snacks and exotic foods that are so common among all anime. My advice is go for it! The Japanese palate is very different from the American so you’ll be trying things that simply aren’t our standard fare! You can try to resist but the food is everywhere in anime!

Onegai Teacher Pocky
Mizuho Kazami–the siren of Pocky!

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Posted by rinda on Aug 16th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Fantasy,Food,Manga,Movies,Sims,TV | Comments (3)

What is Anime? Part Four

      Today my continuing post on anime will discuss where you can find your anime. Finding quality anime can be a problem faced by everyone from the seasoned otaku to the anime newbie. Collecting anime is an expensive hobby. Lack of licensing in the US can be frustrating. Downloading fansubs is compounded by legal issues. Despite these obstacles, access to Japanese anime is better these days than it ever was. There are many sources to choose from. So let’s explore a few of them.

     American fans can find a varied assortment of anime in the comfort of their own homes via their televisions. Anime Network is a cable and satellite channel devoted to anime. It’s available in both a standard channel and VOD (video on demand). Cartoon Network is a cable channel that incorporates anime along with more standard cartoon fare. It’s offerings run the gamut from anime geared towards children like Pokemon to more adult, and often more violent, shows like Bleach. SciFi Channel recently stepped into the anime playground with it’s new Monday night programming called Ani-Mondays, offering some classic animes and movies. You can even find anime alongside Saturday morning cartoons with shows like Teen Titans.

      While some fans prefer to own and collect their favorite anime, it is possible to rent titles. Sometimes you can find a good selection at your local library or video store. This is especially true of the anime movies, like Akira or all the great films by Hayao Miyazaki. Granted the titles available are generally limited locally, depending on where you live. You can increase your selection incredibly if you’re willing to expand your video rental to online video stores like NetFlix or Blockbuster. Both sites have a large selection of anime movies, series and OVA’s. Another source of online anime rental can be some of your favorite online merchants. Many actually rent anime, as well as sell it. For example, AnimeNation rents anime DVD’s through RentAnime.com. Also, Anime Takeout provides anime DVD rental as well as manga rental.

     Now for most hardcore Otaku, the selection and dubbing of cable TV just doesn’t cut it. And rental is good but they want to own it! There are numerous sources for buying anime. Local comics and collectible stores often carry anime merchandise and popular titles. Some will even special order whatever you want. There are also countless online merchants out there selling both licensed anime and imports of anime available only in Japan. Some of my personal favorites are AnimeNation, JList and AnimeCastle.

     Another option is for building your own personal anime collection are fansubs. Fansubs (short for fan-subtitled) are downloadable files of episodes and movies that you can watch on your computer or burn to disc to view at another time. With anime, these are Japanese versions that have been translated and subtitled by fans. These are made by fans for fans. They are not designed for sale by bootleggers. To discourage this, most will contain subtitles warning, “This is a free fansub: not for sale, rent, or EBay.” Titles available are usually those only licensed in Japan. Most fansub sites follow an unwritten code that says once an anime has been licensed in this country, distribution should stop. Despite this, fansubs are technically illegal. This is a complicated and lengthy discussion for another day. If you’re interested, my advice is investigate more on your own.

     Another grey area of anime viewing is streaming video. There are numerous sites available online to view episodes as well as anime movies. The same legal issues apply to most of these streaming videos. But if you’re interested, YouTube is great place to look for anime. Another good site is Anime Fever, which has both anime and manga online.

     Lastly, another source of anime is local anime clubs and conventions. Many anime clubs collect anime. They make it available to members as well as sponsoring anime nights with special viewings. Conventions, both anime and scifi/fantasy, oriented are great places to find anime as well as merchandise. Finding either a club or convention is fairly easy with the internet! Additionally, a great thing about both these options, is that they allow you to meet and mingle with other fans.

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Posted by rinda on Aug 15th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Manga,Movies,SciFi,TV | Comments (1)

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