Project Haruhi
28Mar/117

Bakacast – Sparking!!

Posted by Dustin

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This week on Bakacast, we try something new for our opening segment and talk about what we've been playing and/or watching during the past week. Which means that I finally get to talk about video games on my anime podcast. Glorious freedom!

Anyway, Madoka didn't air and Gosick wasn't subbed in time, so we took the opportunity to catch up with Break Blade, fall asleep during Nichijou and discuss a K-On! doujin (yes, really). In other news, the Fractale hate train keeps rolling, the Star Driver love party returns and we give our advice for how you--YES, YOU!--can be Internet-famous podcasters (DISCLAIMER: May not actually make you Internet-famous).

We cover:

  • 2:27 - What we've been watching/playing
  • 15:27 - FUNimation backpedals
  • 21:22 - Deconstructing K-On!
  • 29:18 - Nichijou #0
  • 35:25 - Break Blade #4
  • 43:12 - Level E #11
  • 47:43 - Fractale #9
  • 53:07 - Wandering Son #9
  • 59:01 - Star Driver #23
  • 1:07:01 - Suite PreCure #6
  • 1:11:06 - Macross Frontier #17 & #18
  • 1:20:12 - Listener questions
25Mar/1134

Deconstructing K-ON! – The Takotsuboya Doujin Trilogy

Posted by Jon

 

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

-Kurt Vonnegut

The super-saccharine moeblob slice-of-life genre received a lot of attention, both positive and negative, during the run of K-ON!. This show is the archetypal example of that genre, easily outclassing any of KyoAni's previous works in popularity. However, despite its immense celebrity and polarizing effect on the anime fandom, I have yet to see K-ON! receive a proper deconstruction. With Madoka making literary analysis of old genres cool again, as well as the recent announcement of a "K-ON! in college" manga, I feel like this is the perfect time for moe as a genre to be scorched and refined in the crucible of deconstruction.

Alas, the only media I've come across that comes close to accomplishing this is the infamous Takotsuboya K-ON! doujin trilogy. From a storytelling perspective, these doujins could not be considered good. They contain the requisite awkwardly-placed sex scenes and out-of-place pervertedness that is characteristic of doujins, making suspension of disbelief impossible. But they also contain several ingenious, even brilliant insights into how the HTT girls would fit into the real world. Many of these insights are gleaned from the author's experience as a failed mangaka who repeatedly tried anything and everything to get his work published.

Dusty and Glen believe that these doujins treated the girls too harshly, replacing the fluffy, idealistic world of the show with an equally brutal and vindictive antithesis. I, on the other hand, think any good deconstruction has to put its characters through hell, in order to scour away their veneer and reveal their true quality. But I want your opinion, friend reader. In order to spare you the ordeal of reading this admittedly substandard doujin, I will describe the fate of each character below. You tell me whether you think it represents an accurate character interpretation, or an overly grim attempt by the author to soil these much-beloved moeblobs.

More after the break.

7Mar/1121

For Better or Worse? Two New K-ON! Manga Announced

Posted by Jon

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the upcoming issue of Manga Time Kirara will announce two new K-ON! spinoff manga, both of which will premiere next month. As far as we know, these two manga share the K-ON! title, but cover different subject matter . The first, which begins on April 9th in Manga Time Kirara, will focus on the continuing adventures of Ritsu, Mio, Yui and Mugi as they go to college. The second, which begins on April 28th in sister magazine Manga Time Kirara Carat, will follow the light music club at Sakuragaoka Girls' High School, now manned by Azusa, Ui and Jun.

And thus, the inevitable slow decline of the K-ON! franchise begins. They won't stop milking this cow until its dry, utterly dehydrated and comatose.

I've seen it happen dozens (if not hundreds) of times before. At first, K-ON! was a fun but vapid slice-of-life series, an enjoyable diversion that kept us amused with short skirts and pop music. Sadly, as the manga stretched on and the anime plowed through its second season, creative bankruptcy began to set in. The jokes got stale. The plots became repetitious. Even the much-vaunted music lost its luster. K-ON! was winding down, and everybody knew it.

More after the break.

3Mar/115

Bakacast – Tragic Piano Accident

Posted by Dustin

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Yes, I know this Bakacast is a week late. I'd try to excuse it by saying I have a magazine internship, but if I'm being honest with myself then the real problem is playing too much Dragon Age: Origins. So, uh...my bad.

Anyway, we introduce yet another show into our review lineup this week: Suite PreCure. I haven't watched it yet, so for now it'll just be Jon, Glen and Thomas discussing it. But rest assured, I'll catch up eventually.

In other news, Bakacast finally has an official e-mail address! Since Feedburner is telling me we have over 100 subscribers (wow), I figured it was about time we joined the rest of the big-boy podcasts and get an inbox where you can send comments and questions for us to read on the air. So if you'd like to chime in, send an e-mail to bakacast(at)projectharuhi(dot)net.

We cover:

28Jan/1126

WHY DEAR GOD WHY

Posted by Jon

14Dec/102

Minako Kotobuki’s Sharp Galapagos Ad

Posted by Shamisen

With "Irony," the opening theme from OreImo, playing in the background. Minako Kotobuki, (Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-ON!) introduces us to the new Sharp Galapagos, a media tablet, that according to the video can be used anywhere to do just about anything. The tablet went on sale in Japan on Friday.

In this video she gives us her feedback on the device. It looks like she's having a great time too. Now a lot of us don't understand Japanese, but with Minako as the sales representative, I do believe the Galapagos will be a smashing hit. I wonder if there's an English version?

Filed under: K-ON!, News 2 Comments
8Oct/1014

I’m Not Sure What to Expect From a K-ON!!! Film

Posted by Shamisen

Editorial Comment

The final K-ON!! episode announced that a film will be produced. I can't say I'm surprised, but I am somewhat disappointed. Do we really need this?

KyoAni has done it again: they gave us a repetitive and boring second season that didn't live up to the first, just like Haruhi, and then tried to win back our favor with a film announcement. Bah! Why waste our time and money with a subpar TV anime season when KyoAni can give us better material on the big screen? MERCHANDISE is the answer. It's all for one and one-thousand yen for a Mio doll.

Is this the future of anime? Do the studios care about nothing but merchandise and ticket sales? Substance, story and plotline don't matter anymore? I certainly hope not... but given what I've seen lately, it's hard to be optimistic.

I've said on the podcast that K-ON! had all the material to do a third season, provided it focused on the light music club and its new members. Will this film be about Yui and company, or the new band under Azusa's tutelage? Will the girls finally realize their dream of playing at Budokan, or just sit around drinking tea? If this just winds up being more of the same pointless filler we got for much of the second season, they just shouldn't bother making this film at all.

Here's to the K-ON!!! movie. I hope you live up to the hype.

15Sep/104

Need More K-ON! Music? Try These Seiyuu Solos!

Posted by Shamisen

With the second season of K-ON!! in the can, many of us are already starved for more peppy after-school music.  Aki Toyosaki, who is the voice artist of the character Yui Hirasawa, has released two singles over the past year, which is old news. However, Minako Kotobuki who plays Tsumugi is releasing a solo of her own. This I find rather surprising. Since I don't think Minako's done a solo, in the series that is, it will be interesting to hear what she sounds like without the other four members of H.T.T.  The links listed below the photos will take you to CD Japan where you can hear forty-five second previews of the songs that Aki and Minako are releasing.

More after the break.

12Sep/105

Yen Plus adds K-ON! and Yotsuba&!

Posted by Jon

Yotsuba doesn't like being upstaged.

The launch of Yen Press' online magazine Yen Plus went unnoticed by most otaku, mainly because the titles it included were exclusively Korean manhwa instead of manga. However, this month's issue remedies that by adding two very well-known manga titles to the roster; the ever-popular slice-of-life series K-ON! and Kiyohiko Azuma's beloved Yotsuba&!. But are these two manga really worth the subscription price?

Well, I decided to check out this month's issue for myself. After hassling with the Yen Plus online reader's annoying lag for a bit, I jumped straight to the first chapter of K-ON!. I must say, I find the manga to be much better than the anime, if only because they ditched the psuedo-character development and focused purely on the personality-driven gags, especially those involving Yui. The 4-koma manga essentially distills the plot, cutting out all the fluff and making for a much more lighthearted and enjoyable experience. As for Yotsuba&!, it remains one of the best manga of this decade. If you've never heard of it, this excellent article explains exactly why it's so awesome. Frankly, I think the inclusion of Yotsuba&! chapters alone makes this magazine well worth the price of subscription.

At only $2.99 a month, subscribing to Yen Plus is a good way for even the poorest manga enthusiasts to support the series and artists they love. With two great new titles, I definitely think it's worth your time and money. One Manga may be gone, but the phenomenon of online manga has a bright future.

Filed under: K-ON!, Manga, News 5 Comments
1Sep/107

Review: K-ON!! 21

Posted by Guest

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Last week's episode of K-ON!! had a rather solemn tone, making viewers teary-eyed as the HTT girls finished their final festival together. With this in mind, the next episode could have had any tone imaginable. It could have kept the serious, dramatic feel of the school festival, or shifted back to the lighthearted but ultimately pointless moe fluff that made this show so infamous.

Sad to say, they decided to go with the latter. It reminds me of a previous annoying filler episode a few weeks back. However, this episode was far more entertaining than that disaster, with the jokes being good and the interactions spot on. Of course, since I'm an evil hater critic who loathes all things good and pure, I still had some problems with it. My main complaint is that the episode doesn't bring anything new or interesting to the table... just more predictable moeblobbery that fails to surprise anyone. With only five episodes remaining, can they really afford to be wasting time with this kind of filler?

Read more after the break.