Ouran High School Host Club and Adventures in J-Drama

Oh dear.

Even within a community as tight and niche as the anime fandom, there are certain subcategories of Japanophilia that cause even the average otaku to raise an eyebrow or two. Dolfie collecting is one, as well as having a soft spot for body pillows or yaoi; but the single most alienating fandom for many is the J-drama one. Often associated with tearjerker plots and a strong focus on handsome young men with abs, it is understandable that J-dramas are often categorized under ‘guilty pleasure’, even by fans. The main reason why I have never ventured into the realm of Japanese live-action, however, is that it’s not animated. One of the main reasons why I love anime is the fact that animation thrives on spikey blue hair, fluffy mascot characters and over-the-top humoristic quirks. The elements that make anime unique often have to do with the animation, which is why I never thought that being an anime fan would automatically make me a fan of any sort of televised entertainment from the land of the rising sun. Continue reading

God’s Memo Pad and the Joys of Licensed Theme Tunes

For these last few months, some people asked me what had happened to Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend. To that surprisingly large part of the anime fandom, I have one message: you are reading it right now. The name Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend has lived its best days. My anime watching and blogging is not limited to the weekend anymore, nor do I want to waste my time making more flashy logos and title cards. I’ve chosen to focus on my writing instead. Besides, I’ve grown tired of the admittedly arrogant practice of sticking my own name into the name of my blog. I’d much rather go with something original. If even Liam Gallagher does have a big enough ego to name his new band Liam Gallagher and the Inspiral Nuns, neither should I. Now do not act as if you don’t know who Liam Gallagher is. He sang the best anime OP of all time.

Of all time!

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Aquagaze’s Summer Anime Guide, Part Two

Why random Mawaru Penguidrum art? Do I hear anyone complaining? No. Good.

The Summer Guide turned out a bit long, so I had to split the thing up in two parts. Here’s Part Two, where the fun really starts! We cover the two new noitaminA shows, Kami-sama No Memo-chou and Mawaru Penguindrum. As usual, since my opinion isn’t worth all that much, I get four more people to nuance it a bit.

Are you ready guys? Put your guns on!

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Aquagaze’s Summer Anime Guide, Part One

It's summer, so let's stay inside all day and watch some anime!

The summer season is often associated with subpar anime, one-cour stuffing made by lesser studios, but this summer season is one hell of an exception. I found at least 8 shows I’m interested in and of course, I’m obliged to share my thoughts. However, because my opinion isn’t worth jack, I got some of my friends with higher standards to nuance it a bit.

Find out after the break!

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Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend: The Emo Album

Don’t be distracted by the A-Channel header, Steins;Gate is the best comedy of the season. Ignoring the question of whether or not this is intentional, the larger-than-life antics of Okarin and his colleagues easily outshine the actual comedies of the season with scientific glee. Steins;Gate skips through its mind-bending plot with a huge grin on its face, supported by exceptional voice acting and a cast of characters to whom overacting and overreacting is as natural as breathing air.

Despite the fact that it’s intrinsically a sci-fi thriller, the Takanashi-esque snark-offs between Okarin and the naturally adorable, albeit suspiciously noseless, Kurisu stole most of the spotlights this episode, while Mayushii and Daru continue pouring some of their own charm into Steins;Gate’s delicious cocktail. Even Ruka actually being a guy keeps being funny thanks to the variable presentation. Steins;Gate does not seem to suffer from the fact that there is a discomforting number of characters that are, as of yet, completely irrelevant to the plot –yes, you, Feyris Nyanyan- but this may change in the near future, for better or worse.

More after the break.

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Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend: Second Episode Syndrome

The second episode of a new anime seems, in many cases, to be the hardest. Similar to how hotshot artists need to justify their often critically-acclaimed debut with a sophomore effort, it’s here that the writers must prove that the first episode was not a lucky shot and that the obligatory plot elements introduced in the first episode are actually leading up to a compelling story. Usually it’s the second episode that finalizes the main characterisation of the protagonists; if the first episode didn’t make entirely clear who the heck we’re dealing with here, episode 2 sure will.

On the other hand, episode 2 is also charged with the duty of explaining every single plot point and introducing characters that didn’t make it into the first one, because actual characterisation and plot progress is often strictly off-limits in most first episodes. This is however not a bad thing. No one wants to watch a pilot episode that does nothing but shove bits of info and characters down your throat, hoping you’ll still remember all the names and lingo the following week.

It’s here however that a problem comes in: most writers and directors don’t seem to realize that the rules that apply to first episodes also apply to every other episode. Because of this, a lot of second episodes turn into infodump hells, doing the exact same thing the first episode tried not to.

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Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend: Rock, Paper, Scissors

Hello there, fellow denizens of the intertubes, and welcome to the first Project Haruhi-housed installment of Aquagaze’s Anime Weekend! This column started of as a personal weekly blog of mine published on Japanator, where I’d talk about that week’s currently airing anime. Gradually, the blogs became bigger and more ambitious, quickly developing from mere summaries and moving into the inexplicable territory of ‘A bunch of random stuff related to currently airing anime’: videos, parodies, songs, original write-ups, short fan-fics, etc. In its one year of existence, AAW has seen it all, and I am glad I have been given the opportunity to shamelessly copypasta whatever my mind farts out onto here.

The spring season  started off last week and despite the rather odd schedule, I’ve seen a lot of great stuff already. No wonder I can’t wait until we get to see the shows that have yet to air.

Anyways, A Channel has been scrapped of the list for today already – if you want my first impressions on that, go straight here – and that leaves us with the charming slice-of-life of Hanasaku Iroha, the mind-screwy sci-fi of Steins;Gate and the colorful comedy of Nichijou. More after the break!

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