Friday, April 30, 2010

Anime companies are a bunch of whiners (I’m looking at you Bang! Zoom)

 <- People complaining about piracy make this kitty sad

In response to THIS article

There, I said it. A good deal of anime companies that are going out of business are whiners that like to complain towards deaf ears that only pretend to care. Oh yeah, sine this was regarded at a hot button issue at my last anime club meeting, I suppose I should run my twist on it.

Bang! Zoom’s big argument is that nobody is buying their DVD’s. They attempt to guilt trip fans into purchasing, but the pirates that they are trying to stomp have a much better deal: The same show, but free!

While it is true that what the pirates are doing is illegal, the risk factor is so negligible that nobody really cares. Not to mention, when a pirate gets caught, all that happens is that they get a cease and desist, they stop, and go about their merry lives. What does this do to stop piracy? NOTHING! Why would anybody choose to buy overpriced DVD’s over the negligible risk of stealing the anime in the first place? People will whine about how piracy is wrong, then go right back to their torrent hub and pirate some more.

Moaning and complaining isn’t going to stop piracy people! What will stop piracy is outsmarting the pirates, or more interestingly, hiring them. As I previously mentioned, it is entirely possible for anime companies to distribute anime for decent prices (or for free even) and still turn a profit. They do it just like with TV and with blockbuster, they just put commercials on internet streams, and release them for free, knowing commercials will pay for the cost that the anime took to produce. Studios like Funimation and Viz Media are already on this, and those studios aren’t in danger of going underwater. So what’s Bang! Zoom’s problem? They don’t get with the times!

That’s why I say the big solution to anime piracy is not to pout and moan about how the industry is dying, but to actually go to legal sites that give you anime for free and watch it there! Give them their deserved pageviews! Show them that we anime fans are willing to use legal channels to watch our favorite shows, and that we’re just too broke to buy overpriced DVDs. The industry cannot stay in its current position, the time for evolution is now!

Hence, the ONLY way to stop piracy is to put out a product that competes with what the pirates put out, which fortunately, is what Funimation and Viz do. For if pirates do the job of spreading entertainment BETTER than the people whose very jobs are on the line, why are they being paid? This is the very reason that Bang! Zoom is going under. The pirates are consistently outdoing them, while all they do is complain about stealing and tell people to buy overpriced DVD’s

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Dude, you're paying too much for anime

Why does my girlfriend enjoy crossdressing so much?

 <-Edward Elric. He's prettier than most girls

Previous Letter: Why won't my boyfriend stop looking at hentai?  

Dear BryAnime,

Me and my girlfriend are going to anime expo this year right? So, I suggested that we cosplay together, since this would be our first expo. I had this great idea, right? I told her it would be awesome if I went as Link and she went as Zelda. Great idea right? Something we could both do, and it would look great at the dance. Unfortunately, there’s a small catch. She wants to do a couple’s cosplay and go to the dance, but she wants me to go as Roy Mustang, while she goes as… Edward Elric, both from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Now then, I have no problems cosplaying Roy, but I don’t see why she has to dress up as a guy to go to the dance with me. I suggested that she dress up as Hawkeye or Winry, but she absolutely INSISTS that she dresses up like Edward Elric cuz “he’s SOOOO dreamy.” The real problem is that she wants to take pictures like this! My friends are never going to let me get away with this. All of my friends on myspace will see pictures like this and make fun of me for it,

I’m confused on what to do man, because when I saw her costume I had a bigger problem. She looked kind of cute in it! I don’t know what to think man, am I gay? Should I be worried about this? Should I even bother cosplaying at this rate? I don’t know what to do man. Is there any way to get her to dress like a chick? I’m starting to get uncomfortable.

A confused boyfriend

Dear Confused boyfriend

Well, honestly you don’t have much to complain about. You got a girl that’s willing to cosplay, and from what I’ve seen, that’s a rare thing. The problem here is you actually. We all know that Edward Elric is prettier than most girls, and you should be perfectly happy knowing that your dating somebody who is prettier than the rest of people at the dance, despite not being dressed as a girl. Why should it be a problem that you find her attractive while she’s pretending to be a dude? Who cares what your friends on Myspace say about it? I feel like posting on your myspace now. I’m sorry to say it, but at the rate your going, you’ll end up taking yaoi pictures, and wind up being on the bottom.


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Next Letter: Being in a harem anime sucks (if you're not the lead)

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

ATTACK on Digg


Alright ladies and gentleman, I’ve noticed a major problem in the Internet community that needs to be addressed. There is no official section for anime news on the website DIGG

Digg is a news network run entirely by nerds with attention deficit disorder. Obviously, this is a target that cannot be ignored by either me or other anime reporters on the internet. Fortunately, I believe if we all band together, we can establish a strong anime loving community on this cornerstone of the internet

To this I propose, fellow anime fans, we create a community there, increasing our grip over the internet to increase, causing anime to become more recognizable to mainstream America. I, however, am unable to do this alone. Only with a united front can we gather the attention of this media giant. Hence, you must find me on Digg, and ally with me in an attempt to create a stronghold there. Upon doing this, we will create a strong community that shares articles among each other, strengthening the anime community on Digg, and as a whole. By doing this, not only will I get stronger, there will be a greater chance of anime news making it to the front page of Digg, increasing awareness of Anime in the United States.

What’s in it for you? By creating a stronger community on Digg, YOU can be a part of the attempt to making anime more mainstream. By doing this, you benefit the industry as a whole, ensuring that the artists who sit in their press conferences complaining about piracy get the money they deserve! Making anime more mainstream paves the path for anime on more television blocks.

Finally, I say that a united front between all anime fans will allow for other anime fans to have a great place to hear the latest news on conventions, major changes in the industry, and whatever else the Digg community deems important. However, my fellow anime fans, if we are not ingrained into the very essence of Digg, how is it possible for us to influence the course of news flow on Digg ?
To this I say, fellow anime fans, Otaku, Weeaboos, and whatever else you may call yourselves, we must ATTACK!

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Green Lantern: Brother’s Keeper

Well, my library had another Green Lantern book. I love Green Lantern, so why not read more, right? Well, this one wasn’t very interestingly apparently.

This issue starts off with a big commentary about how it contains a plot arc revolving around Green Lantern Kyle Rayner’s work apprentice being attacked by bigots who hate him for being homosexual. Apparently, the pair of issues presented here caused quite a stir among the gay community, and paralleled a real life attack. Unfortunately, I’m a little late on the band wagon, so I was not quite as exited as the rest of the authors when they wrote it.

Anyway, after the author’s hyping this up in the prologue, it starts with a story about… A mind controller causing havoc in the middle of the city and possessing a couple of Lanterns? This has nothing to do with the commentary in the beginning! After Brainwave gets bored, he runs off and laughs at everybody, because he has more important things to do. He Doesn’t do anything for the rest of the book, even though he beat the stuffing out of Earth’s Green Lanterns and ran off laughing at them because he was bored.

Anyhoo, the rest of the book is about the assault of Kyle Rayner’s apprentice. While Kyle and his green girlfriend (Captain Kirk would be proud) Jade are out of town seeing Kyle’s mom and going to his high school reunion (an amusing string of events by the way.) After this, Jade receives a phone call telling her that Kyle’s assistant, Terry Berg, has been nearly beaten to death. Apparently he was caught kissing his boyfriend outside of a dance hall, and some jerks decided to beat him up over it. Kyle gets pissed off and beats the stuffing out of them, hunts them down, and they all go to jail. Not surprising, since your average street thug doesn’t stand a chance and against a FREAKING GREEN LANTERN!

Anyway, the rest of the issue is spent by Kyle sulking over how he wasn’t able to protect his friend, him getting pissed off, and leaving Earth with Jade for a while. Plot doesn’t have many twists in it, and doesn’t seem very epic for a Green Lantern story. Also, it’s kind of preachy. In the end there’s some more commentary about the backlash the story received. I’d enjoy the message it portrayed a bit more if the story was more interesting. Genreally though, the story’s main hook was that it was more controversial a few years ago. Didn’t excite me nearly as much as another Green Lantern book I found at the library….

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Anime in Focus RETRO EDITION: Astro Boy (1963) episode 1


For this anime segment, we are going back in time to the 1960’s, back before the advent of color and people caring about the quality of animation. Watching stuff like this is entertaining in its own way, as we can see just how far the industry has advanced in the 50 or so years that people have been creating animation. Also, the plot is deliciously dated.

This episode starts IN THE YEAR 2000!, when people have advanced so much that they let little kids drive cars. Unsurprisingly somebody dies.

However, that boys father decides that he must replace his dead son. Fortunately, that man is in charge of the institute of SCIENCE (I’m not kidding) where he decides in a conference that the next 6 months will be dedicated to building a robot to replace his son. Nobody has any objections to this despite him saying that all the companies’ resources will be going to an obviously personal project. Aren’t 60’s kid’s show plots just awesome?

For some reason the institute of SCIENCE manages to complete this super robot in a matter of months. The creator of the robot names him… ASTRO BOY, hence giving the show its title. Astro boy manages to be a sentient robot, despite later being revealed to operate on 12 volts of power. But that’s fine, because he’s filled with SCIENCE. The scientist is very pleased with his project, and adopts it as his son.

Astro boy has super strength, and learns at an incredible rate, and doesn’t need to eat on top of it. However, his father is massively disappointed when he realizes that his robot isn’t growing (GEE, I wonder why?) Disappointed by his “son’s” lack of growth, he decides to put him on the 1960’s equivalent to Craigslist, and sells him to the highest bidder. This causes him to wind up fighting other robots in a circus attraction. This leads him to him meeting other robots at this circus, and causing rallies for robot rights. Also, he learns to fly spontaneously in there for some reason.

This show is sort of entertaining to watch with a group of friends, based around just how silly some of the concepts presented are. Also, it is an important part in anime history. Furthermore, you get to see a time period when anime was inspired by Disney, before today, where it has established its own customs and art styles. On another note, the dub manages to be so bad it’s good, (well, actually the voices aren’t too bad) in the sense that a lot of the dialogue is shoehorned in to fit the character’s lip movements. Might be worth renting on Netflix, if you want to have a sixties cheese night with your friends (it’s what my local anime club was doing)

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(some other retro stuff)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obtaining Anime Cheap and Legal Part II

BryAnime missed another great source of legal, free anime. Hulu. Series I've found FMA: Brotherhood, a few seasons of Bleach, and the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on there. I have also found Samurai Champloo's entire run. Inuyasha has a total of 167 episodes posted. It also appears they have some amount of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. Death Note, as well. For those who love the subbed version, I have good news. All the anime I've found on Hulu is subbed, not dubbed. Their selection is somewhat more limited than Netflix, though. Still, it's worth checking them out to see if they offer what you're looking for. You'll get a faster return than through Netflix. All their shows can be run at 480p, which isn't bad for a streamed video. Netflix does run adds during the show, but these are all 30 seconds or less, so it's completely worth it. Sub quality is better than most fansubs, and you're still going to be supporting the people who make the shows.

Adult Swim's website will also offer a few episodes of a number of animes at a time, so it's worth checking them out, too.

Most of the anime companies have heard the cries of their fans, and have taken advantage of video streaming websites to get their shows into the public's hands for free. Everybody can win!

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Anime in Focus: Fate Stay Night Episode 3

 <-Saber proves the time honored fact that chicks in platemail are sexy


After Shiro almost got killed last time, we get to see how he’s doing. He’s know in the room with this incredibly attractive blonde girl named Saber, who is apparently going to serve as his well… servant in the upcoming holy grail wars. After explaining some legal jargon to him, she then engages in combat with Lancer wielding an invisible sword. Apparently these things don’t come with stuff already equipped.

Saber unsurprisingly manages to ward off Lancer, but Lancer gets off a critical shot on her using his signature move, Gae Bolg. Looks like this is going to be one of those animes where they reference various mythologies lightly, but not put too much thought into it. Just tell the researcher inside of you to put a sock in it, and then keep watching.

Well, after nearly getting killed by lancer, Saber then goes on to fight Archer for some reason. Shiro manages to negotiate terms for peace between all the combating parties however, leaving him, Rin, and Saber to discuss terms. Rin, realizing that Shiro knows next to nothing about this whole Holy Grail war business, takes him to see her father, an ancient wizard.

Rin’s father manages to explain a bit more about the Holy Grail war, so the audience and Shiro get a better idea on what’s going on. Apparantly the big war is a big fight between servants and masters, in order to obtain the holy grail, which grants one wish to whoever grabs it, as long as they are worthy. Shiro decides to go for it, in order to prevent the grail from falling into the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, we learn about the realationship that servants and masters have. A servant cannot be killed, while a master is much weaker than a servant. However, if a master is killed, the servant gets banished from the material plane. Hence, they have a general need for each other. After a long exposition, Rin, Saber, and Shiro run into that little girl again, this time accompanied by a 10 foot tall guy with a club


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anime in Focus: Working!! Episode 1

I realize that there has been a lack of popping fresh anime around here, so I decided to fix that. Hence, I ventured out to watch what a few guys on several anime forums were talking about, Working!!

Working!! Is the story of a local family restaurant named Wagnaria. The schenanigans begin when the chef decides that it is time to hire on more employees, and tells the people who work there to go out into the world and find new employees. This leads Poplar, one of the more enthusiastic (and shorter) waiters to find Sota Takanashi, who thinks she’s a lost 12 year old.

Eventually, Poplar convinces Sota to work for her restaurant, despite not knowing anything about him. This leads to introducing the rest of the restaurant employees, such as the moderately psychotic assistant manager, the creepy chef, and the girl who is carrying around a sword for some reason. This rest of the episode is dedicated to showing how the restaurant runs and operates….

In this we learn that Poplar is really cute and tries her best, but isn’t very good at menial tasks. The assistant manager Kyoko, is not afraid to tell a whiny customer how she feels about them. The Chef manages to be antisocial and creepy, like a lot of chef’s I’ve met in reality (no, seriously.)

The show has nice pacing, and manages to get some giggles, and some ROFLs. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for a slice of life/comedy that doesn’t take too much commitment out of you.

Like Awakawa Under the bridge, this anime kind of doesn't exist anywhere  Hence, I would feel bad if I did not give credit to GOOD ANIME.NET

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Coming soon: Episode 2!

Blood + Volume 1 (manga)

 <-See that wicked ass sword? Only comes out like twice

To start, I haven’t watched the anime. All I did was pick this one up in the local library (occasionally has nice stuff.) This book didn’t really grab me very much. I really think it was all over the place.

We start out with this being the story about a girl who has amnesia living with her adoptive parents. She has problems with the fact that she does not remember anything of her life for the past year, and serves as a central point to her character for the first part.

This leads to the main character, Sayu to having a great deal of emotional stress, particularly when dealing with people who have a larger set of memories. Her adoptive family, however, still loves her nonetheless…

Anyways, more interestingly, some Vampire who looks like he’s about thirteen is looking for Sayu. Also, some mysterious guy who plays a cello appear to have known her from before she came down with amnesia.

Anyway, about halfway in we learn about the main plot. Sayu is apparently the only person capable of killing Chiropterans, weird blood sucking thingies. Interestingly, this is because they take damage from coming into contact with her blood for some reason.

Anyway, I think the book suffers severe pacing issues. Based on people who’ve read the other books in the series, the author apparently has a story to tell, but it really isn’t moving very fast. Also, I think it spends too much time on the mundane details of Sayu’s life. I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather see giant monsters get slain and ancient evil conspiracies than the day to day life of a person when they AREN’T slaying monsters. Alas, a good portion of the book is dedicated to Saya’s school/family life, which frankly, isn’t as interesting as the monster plot.

I dunno, first volume went too slowly and was kind of watered down, so I’m not going to actively hunt the second. I’ll review it if my library gets it though.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Artist Profile: HakuBaikou

Previous Artist: Joker’s Bri

This Week's Featured artist is: Hakubaikou

Alright, since none of the LOCAL artists have stepped up in an attempt to grab some fame, I have decided this week to do a tribute to an artist that was recommended to me. Instead, this week I'm doing a person MUCH bigger than me.

Unfortunately, HakuBaikou died in a car accident and won’t be producing any new artworks. Sad, I know.

During life, she was a pionieer in the fanart community, running a successful website, and hosting several contests

Anyway, I’m here to discuss what she painted, not turn this into a crying post.

HakuBaikou painted a lot of realistic stuff, such as alternate character interpretations, landscapes, and a lot of pictures of ancient Japan (remember back when Japan was cool?)

However, she is not limited to ancient Japan, as illustrated here…

This picture shows a more western style fantasy

Oh yeah, I know a person who will skewer me alive if I don’t feature any Rurouni Kenshin pictures…

I like this one because it’s kinda creepy. Would NOT want that to be the first thing I see when I wake up…

I like this one because it makes Saitou look like a badass WHILE wearing his Shinsengumi uniform. I thought the thing looked pretty silly during the actual show, so Haku makes a major improvement.

This one caught my eye mainly because of the Matt Groening Kenshin. I LOVE it when people take a series and redraw it in Matt Groening fashion.

Anyway, leaving the Rurouni Kenshin stuff, she did some art representing some other series too…

I really like this shot of Wolverine. I don’t know why. It looks better than the pictures Marvel uses in their official books.

How to end this one…. I KNOW!

Steam punk hello kitty is coming to get you!

I really like a lot of the work she did, particularly because I enjoy seeing alternate styles applied to classical characters. Now then, I hope next weeks challenger manages to be just as exiting, hehehe

Want your art featured on my website? Just send me an email containing your deviant art page, photobucket, imageshack, or whatever source you prefer me to discuss to, and if I like it, I’ll do a feature on you!

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NEXT ARTIST: Egg Finger!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Obtaining anime for good Prices (legally)

You don’t always have to resort to piracy

Piracy is a prevalent force in the anime series, ensuring that the people who make anime get shorted on a great deal of the money they should be getting. Unfortunately, getting anime on the internet is insanely easy to do illegally, and telling people to pay for the outrageous prices on DVD’s is about as effective as telling teenagers to abstain from sex.

Fortunately, there are a lot of cheap and effective ways to obtain anime while still ensuring that the creators and translators get credit for their efforts. Here’s some that I’ve checked up on:

NETFLIX: GREAT option for anime fans, and movie fans in general. This costs 8.99 per month, and lets you rent one DVD at a time via mail. Another lovely feature is their video streaming service, available on a PC, XBOX360, PS3, or even on Wii. I’m sure you have a PC available to you though. The most important thing is they have a MASSIVE selection of anime to watch, from older stuff, to the latest releases. Even better,, they mail things out quickly, and receive them just as fast, ensuring that you get your anime fix as soon as possible,

YOUTUBE RENTALS: In an era where Red Boxes are killing off even the once mighty Blockbuster, Youtube decides they want their share of the bounty. Using Google checkout, you can legally buy episodes of Anime for about $.99 per episode. It should be noted that Funimation is also here, selling dubbed episodes (subbed episodes are free on their site) Selection has increased a great deal since the original rollout of the feature. It’s like a Red Box, but for anime titles.

FUNIMATION: These guys are just awesome. If illegal torrents and video streaming is piracy, these guys must be the privateers of the internet. In a world where translating a TV show and throwing it on the internet is running rampant, these guys, instead of complaining about the pirates, they instead translate the show, and release it with subtitles on their website, and make you watch commercials. Other than the commercials, it’s free. They still make money from the ad space. Clearly Funimation believes that fighting fire with fire is more effective than fighting fire with paperwork. Check out their site for free anime (good ones too.)

AMAZON: Hey, it’s those guys that sponsor me! Well, I put them on this site for a reason. If you want an old anime, these guys are very likely to have it for dirt cheap, since they are run by people on the internet trying to offload things they don’t want anymore. Fortunately maximum shipping price is 3.99 on DVD’s (even box sets) so chances are that won’t hurt you too badly. Also, beware of bootlegs. If you know how to spot them, you’ll be fine. Remember, if somebody sells you a bootleg, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to get your money back.

EBAY: Great place for new stuff, I don’t even know how some of these guys keep their prices. Trust me, I checked. Auctions allow you to fight another person, possibly netting you a better price than what a store will give you. More scammers here than Amazon, and a LOT more bootlegs. If you’re patient, and crafty, you may be able to get some great deals here.

DISCOUNT STORES: Sometimes you just want a DVD that is easy to show your friends. That, is where these guys come in. stores like Big Lots and Dollar General sometimes manage to get their hands on some nice DVD’s ranging from 3-6$. While this may thicken up your DVD shelf at home, this comes with two problems. 1.) Anime at Big Lots is uncommon. 2.) When you do find it there, there is no guarantee that you will find something useful. You might only find volume 5 out of 7 for a certain series. Unpredictable, but sometimes you get lucky shopping around these places.

Fortunately for the industry, NetFlix and Youtube ensure that they will be capable of obtaining a decent cash flow from NetFlix and Youtube. After stuff gets old, the rest of the world will find a great place to sell it.

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Related Stuff
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Anime in Focus: Coyote Ragtime Show Episode 1

Edit: This show's first two episodes are available freely AND legally on funimations website HERE

I ran into this show in the most uncanny way. I was sitting in an anime club meeting, thinking of a pick-up line to use on the girl behind me, when a mysterious girl came in. She talked to some people, then came to me and handed me this DVD box set. She told me that we needed to watch this. Feeling that this might be a pivotal event, I decided to inform the rest of the club of this event, and we decided to watch this show.

Looking at this show, it appears to have something to do with girls in maid outfits wielding machine guns. It also makes frequent homages to Cowboy Bebop. If you aren’t sold yet, go away.

For those of you who are looking for a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you’re in luck.

The first episode starts off with Private Investigator Angelica Burns researching a top security prison (On a planet filled with sand worms no less) in order to do research on an infamous man who often goes by the nickname “Mister.”

Unfortunately for her, she was just a pawn in Mister’s escape plan from the prison, as he was using her to distract security… while he pulls out a FREAKING ROCKET LAUNCHER. Little explanation is given as to how he got his hands on a rocket launcher in a top security prison, but it’s awesome.

During his escape attempt, a criminal guild decides to send in their top hit force, the Marciano’s 12 sisters, an elite team of killer robots wearing maid outfits. Little reasoning is given as to why they are wearing maid outfits, but I’d given up at this point. FREAKING MAID OUTIFTS MAN!

Fortunately, this show manages to stay on the awesome side of the awesome-stupid boundary. I’m actually pretty exited to see what happens.


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