Anime

Idol Time PriPara Episode 2: Can Ya Dig It?

[Ohys-Raws] Idol Time PriPara - 02 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_02.14_[2017.04.11_14.30.39]

Is there any song that can better capture the essence of PriPara besides Make it!? Sure, everyone has their own favorite PriPara song and even I have a few I prefer over it but have any of them reached the iconic level that Make it! has established within the series? Like I mentioned in my thoughts for Idol Time episode one, it is the kind of song that can get any PriPara fan up from their seat. Even when it comes to i☆Ris discography, Make it! has kind of become the default association.

I had some reservations when it came to this episode but they all melted away when Laala Manaka got on the stage and busted out a new remix version of Make it!. It’s the perfect solution, really. Feeling happy? Play Make it!. Feeling sad? Play Make it!. Feeling worried about the direction an episode is heading? Play Make it! and blast it at full volume because nothing else matters now.

Bringing back Make it! but as a remixed version is a good example of a reboot taking something from its predecessor and turning it into its own thing. As to where that leaves the rest of this episode . . .

[Ohys-Raws] Idol Time PriPara - 02 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_05.21_[2017.04.11_14.32.26]

Continue reading “Idol Time PriPara Episode 2: Can Ya Dig It?”

Anime

Idol Time PriPara Episode 1: Hickory Dickory Dock, the Idol Ran Up the Clock

[I have very little knowledge of the Japanese language beyond a few words here and there and am experiencing Idol Time raw and at the moment unsubbed. That said, if I waited until subs magically appeared for anything PriPara related I may never get a consistent schedule. A lot of my thoughts are informed not just by watching the episode but by thoughts other English speakers more experienced in Japanese than me have shared. So, if anything’s incorrect here, that’s why.]

[Ohys-Raws] Idol Time PriPara - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_03.07_[2017.04.04_11.22.47].png

Watching the things you love come to an end is hard. As it turns out watching the thing you love perform a soft reboot into something new yet familiar is even harder. I’m going to try to leave my PriPara baggage at the door when watching Idol Time but considering we’re still in the same universe here some comparisons are to be expected.

Continue reading “Idol Time PriPara Episode 1: Hickory Dickory Dock, the Idol Ran Up the Clock”

Rambles

Race, Media, and the Elephant in my Room

The following is a stream of consciousness written from ten to eleven-thirty pm at a time when i was close to exhaustion and mostly wallowing in uncomfortable emotions. I wrote this to get some stuff out of my head that’s been following me around like a storm cloud for the past several years. Other than a brief SPaG run through it has not been edited. I’m posting it here because getting everything out was cathartic and I think putting it up for others to read will also help me in some ways. 

For some reason, I’ve found myself randomly reflecting on my racial identity and representation in media and how that’s played into my own self esteem issues that have persisted throughout my life. I can’t personally say that I’ve faced many outside obstacles though I also can’t say with total confidence that I won’t eventually run into problems like that. No, for much of my life, my issue has been an internal one brought on mostly by my family situation.

Growing up I have lived with my white mother and my white grandmother. My relationship with my Mexican father has gone through many stages but I can say without doubt that we’re currently what one would refer to as estranged. That’s not to say I haven’t been without contact with the Mexican half of my family. Throughout most of elementary school I spent my afternoons with my cousins who are also mixed race. For many years, I celebrated Christmas Eve with my paternal grandparents and everyone on that side of the family until the point where I no longer felt comfortable being there. Barring the occasional family gathering where both halves of my family mingle, I don’t keep much in contact with that side anymore.

Labels have also made things difficult. Calling myself Mexican-American has always made me feel weird for reasons I still don’t think I’ve held a good grasp on. But then calling myself simply Caucasian or Mexican/Hispanic wouldn’t feel right either. By officially declaring myself one or the other I’d feel bad that I were ignoring some other part of me just to make things easier on myself or for others benefit. Even if I never felt fully connected with my Mexican roots does that mean I have the right to pretend that part doesn’t exist? Would labeling myself Mexican mean erasing the white mother who raised me for my whole life?

My experiences in life have led to me not liking labels very much. I don’t want to be half/half of something. I don’t want to be hyphenated or boxed into one thing or the other. I certainly don’t want to ignore one half of myself just so I can feel whole as a person but at the same time I feel I have much farther to go when it comes to accepting my racial identity.

And this is where representation in media comes in.

Everyone wants to be able to turn on a TV, read a book, or watch a movie and see themselves as a protagonist or an otherwise major character. I watch Disney Channel from time to time and get commercials for the cartoon Elena of Avalor. Elena is advertised as Disney’s first Latina princess and as much pride as it is to see this happen it’s also bittersweet. Where was this princess when I was growing up, when seeing such a character would have helped me so much?

One might look at representation in media in regards to children and think: “What does it really matter? Do kids really notice or care when there’s no one on TV who looks like them?” There are statistics one can look up that prove that yes there are kids who notice when they’re not represented in the media they consume. However, I honestly can tell you that I didn’t really think much of that when I was child.

I think I knew on some level that there was something missing. I would sit in the family room of my Aunt’s house and Dora the Explorer would be on which is about the only thing I had at the time that would be considered representation. Still, I wouldn’t feel connected to Dora like I might have connected with someone of mixed race. I couldn’t look at Dora and say, “Hey, this girl has a white mom and a Mexican dad just like I do. Isn’t that great?”

How did I really first notice on a conscious level that my childhood was missing the media representation I secretly craved all along? It wasn’t until just a few years ago when the animated Disney movie Big Hero 6 arrived.

For those who don’t know, Big Hero 6 struck up a small controversy when it came to its racebending of characters. Rather than the all Japanese cast of its source material the BH6 movie chose to go a bit more varied in the races of its characters and set up its world as a fusion of Tokyo, Japan and San Francisco, California. This resulted in a main character who was Half-White, Half-Japanese played by an actor of the same.

I can see why people are upset with this change. An animated movie by a one of the biggest animation studios in the world starring a fully Japanese cast? That would have been the biggest fucking opportunity in a world where Japanese characters are getting whitewashed all the time in American adaptions of their source materials. Hell, there’s a major action movie coming this spring that’s gotten a lot of heat for doing just that. I perfectly understand the way people feel about this and I don’t want to begrudge anyone for those feelings.

Yet, at the same time, I’m kind of glad. Just the experience of having a main character be mixed race, even if it wasn’t the perfect match to mine, was an eye-opening moment for me. Here’s what I’d been missing in my life even if I didn’t know it. The opportunity to see someone of established mixed race lead a movie in my preferred medium of entertainment is what I could have used in my life, a validation that wouldn’t have fixed everything but would have helped immensely.

I’m older now and at a point where rather than wait for media that looks like me to arrive perfectly packaged in my lap I want to create it myself and fill it with people who mirror me and others similar to me. I want to create something where a little girl can look at it and say, “Yes, that is me. That is someone who looks like me, who has two parents of different races like me, and isn’t it great that I’m seeing this now when it could make a difference and not years later when I’m still struggling to come to terms with every thing that I am?”

One of the characters I’m working on the moment is in many ways a mirror of me but the fact that she’s of mixed race isn’t a Big Deal. It’s a lot like a dream for me, a world where race doesn’t matter and isn’t made into a Big Deal. She’s White and she’s Mexican but it doesn’t really make a difference story wise but then she’s set in a world where superheros and supervillains are like 9 to 5 jobs so really why would it matter?

Coming to terms with my racial identity means confronting and defeating demons I’m not yet ready to face. I’m not sure I’ll ever truly defeat the beast that has followed me though all my life causing me to doubt every aspect of my life. Hell, my issues with race is just one of the many problems that faze me and not even the biggest issue that keeps me from properly living my life as free as I one day hope to.

There is one thing I know for certain. Even if its too late for me, somewhere is the person like me wondering where she can see herself in the media she consumes. And one day, maybe I can be the one holding the mirror letting her know just where to find exactly that.

Anime

Winter 2017 Anime: I Make No Promises

A new year and a new anime season. What better time to start a blog? cough cough Sorry, there’s something in my throat. Where was I? Oh, right.

So my picks for Fall 2016 ended up steering a little too far into the dark and angsty direction. Of course, considering my two picks were Magical Girl Death Match and World War II Guest Starring Witches maybe I should have seen it coming.

This time I’m swinging the pendulum the other way and crossing my fingers for something lighter. Usually, I stick to two anime per season that most grab my attention but I decided I’m going to push it a bit further and pick three. And those three are:

Gabriel DropOut
PV

Angels are among us and apparently they come in Cute Anime Girl form. Famous angel Gabriel has come to Earth but thanks to the pleasures of Otaku life is outright failing at it. She’s joined by other biblical-themed moe’s (what the hell is the plural of moe anyway?) as she navigates school life. What can I say? The girls look cute and I’m always up for some Doga Kobo animation.

BanG Dream!
PV

Ever since 2014 featured the double debut of Wake Up, Girls! and PriPara I’ve had an interest in idol anime. None since have quite grabbed me in the way those two have but it doesn’t stop me from continuing to try. Much like WUG, the lines between real and fictional are blurred here as BanG Dream is based off a fictional band portrayed by seiyuus acting in character. I’m hoping to find an idol anime here that will draw me in with both story and music but I’ll settle for at least having a good time.

Masamune-kun’s Revenge
PV

I always try to go a little bit out of my comfort zone from time to time when it comes to anime so here’s a pick outside of the Cute Girls Doing Cute Things circle. Het Romance? Check. Male Protagonist? Check. Possible Harem on the horizon? Check. Still starring Cute Girls? Check. Wait, I think I just took a jet ride over to my other comfort zone. Well, at least it’s different from the other two.

What’s on the Backlog?

Last season I decided to start making a small dent in my 200+ Plan to Watch list on MAL by watching the first two seasons of Nanoha. It went well, so I decided to try again. My choice this time is Tokyo Mew Mew. It first came to my attention from the infamous 4Kids block and while something about the show grabbed me from day one I was never able to keep up very well with Saturday morning cartoons. Now, after even reading the manga two years back, I plan to finally plow my way through the 52 episode magical girl anime.

As usual, I’ll be continuing my travels with PriPara S3 and Aikatsu Stars!. Speaking of PriPara, Doki seems to be finally making some progress on their fansub so with any luck I’ll be able to finish season two by the time season four starts!

Will I be blogging about any of these? I’ll certainly try but I know better than to make promises to myself.

Anime

First Impressions- Summer 2016

Time to crack open the new anime season and the first of hopefully many more blog posts to come. To start, I’ll be writing up my thoughts on each premiere episode. This post will be updated with each new show as I work my way through.

[Doki] New Game! - 01 (1280x720 h264 AAC) [43C77D3E].mkv_snapshot_03.43_[2016.07.04_23.36.13]

New Game!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! The first episode of my most anticipated anime this season is finally here. Okay, I have to admit that my confidence wavered a little with that second PV (ah, my old nemesis, boob jiggle physics) but all my fears faded away after seeing everything in full. It’s always such a joy to see a manga you like animated and this was no different.

Everything is done all so seamlessly you wouldn’t have expected this to be 4-koma adaption. The first three chapters were all in tact here with a few minor additions like the standard “Introduce Every Character Even If They Weren’t In That Specific Chapter” move. And those voices! The VA work has to be my favorite part of the whole thing. Every voice actor felt pitch perfect in their roles. A huge bravo to the casting director for this one. The animation is as solid as I’ve come to expect from DogoKobo (yes, even the dreaded boob jiggle is a bit impressive) and such fun to watch.

Overall, I was very, very pleased.

[HorribleSubs] Bananya - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.54_[2016.07.09_13.33.10]

Bananya

At the length of 3 minutes, there isn’t much to say about this one. The cute factor is there, as expected, but that’s about all that shows up here.

[HorribleSubs] Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.01_[2016.07.09_13.47.43]

Fudanshi

This first episode opens up with out main character struggling to buy BL manga which is a nice starting point but is followed up with some disappointing “No-Homo” bits. The art here has a resemblance of BL manga, an interesting touch. Whether or not I’ll keep up with this one depends on how the next two episodes are handled.

[HorribleSubs] Regalia - The Three Sacred Stars - 01v2 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.28_[2016.07.10_16.53.51]

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars

You got moe in my mecha anime! You got mecha in my moe anime! Okay, so I’m not entirely clear on what I just watched but I am sure that I liked it. The serious action mixed with its moe-flaired character design brings to mind Nanoha, a favorite of mine. This first episode focuses on two sisters (though, as mentioned, not by blood), our main duo for the series, but this episode hints at other couplings for future episodes.

[HorribleSubs] Ange Vierge - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.19_[2016.07.10_17.34.16]

Ange Vierge

Fanservice! Exposition! Censorship! If you find one of these three frustrating, this might be the kind of anime you skip. I’ve grown a thicker skin against all three of these but I’ll be damned if that light beam censorship isn’t mighty annoying. Yeesh. Aside from that, the action is serviceable while the packed cast of characters currently contains no stand-outs.

Uncategorized

an introduction

After many months of saying to myself, “I’m going to start a blog” I have decided it is finally time to actually start a blog. My writing output has fallen drastically in the past year and the best way to get back on track is to begin with something that would require me to keep to a schedule and encourage a healthy appetite for words. And so, I brushed the dust off this wordpress blog I made ages ago.

As to what I’ll blog about I’ve decided for now to keep it simple and stick to one subject while I get my gears back to grinding. To that end, I’m going with what encourages me the most these days: anime.

There are many places on the web that write about anime but that’s beside the point. I’m not looking to stand out from the crowd here. The goal is simply to write. Later down the line, I may choose to add another topic but for now I’ll keep with the one.

And now, a quick rundown: Online I go under dm21 (or dmich21 depending on account stipulations) and will continue to do so here as well. I’ve been enjoying various anime over the course of my life but it wasn’t until 2011 when I discovered Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha that I began to follow anime seriously. In Summer 2013 I watched my first bunch of simulcasted anime and have continued to do so ever since. I prefer to watch shows with a majority female cast but am willing to go outside my comfort zone from time to time.

Well, I suppose that will be it for now. Check out my profile on MAL here and my Twitter here.