AX 2017 Day 1: Flipping Your Wig

July 2nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

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Although I was really tired after the long, arduous travel day, I did have one last thought before I drifted off to sleep: if I hit up some of the Day ¼ venues after midnight, could I have gotten in, as it is the ‘next day’? Too sleepy to find out. However, the real next day, I just could not get back to sleep, so I got up early. I explored the hotel to see that they had a bewildering variety of restaurants and snack shops, but I decided against that. I headed out instead to eat elsewhere.

It was an overcast day, but we are in LA. In my neck of the woods, a day like that is cold and cruel; here, it’s merely neutral, but I could get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I wanted to get down early to check out the JW Marriott, as the AX is using it as an off-venue location for the larger showings and panels. I managed to take in a viewing of “Astro Boy”. This is the original anime that I saw when I was a wee sprout back in 1964, so it has been over half a century since I saw it last. And my original thoughts then were still valid now: it is a bad show all the way around. (more…)

AX 2017 Day 0: Days of Future Passed

July 2nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

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I approach this convention with a great deal of trepidation, as it hasn’t been as smooth as I had hoped for. There was the near-fiasco with the hotel room and the eventual demise of the press pass (it seems I didn’t meet the standards, but they were vague as to what part of it I missed). Then we had the pre-trip prep and that is always chaotic, even though I took three days to pack my bags. It’s not the big stuff (like clothing), but the small stuff (like all your medicines and a bar of soap) that cause the sweats.

And you cannot forget The Trip itself. Now, considering where I am, it isn’t that harsh. OK, driving down Highway 5 may not be the finest experience to encounter (especially when a heat wave and Coalinga merge. Oh, for those who do not know, Coalinga is basically the biggest cow patty in the world. You will smell it long before you see it and it is a misery for both nose and spirit), but some folks are flying in from all over the world and a 12-hour flight is far worse than a 5-hour drive (the wife is a maniac on this). (more…)

Pre-Report #3: “Food” For Thought

June 15th, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Every step in this odyssey is one that tests your mettle. Can you work the quest and not get felled on Level 3? How bad is that Boss Battle? Do you have enough weapons and potions to resist and persist? So, you have the tickets, you have the room, you have some way of getting down there. So far, so good. Now comes a more difficult aspect of it: food.

Yes, where you are located in the downtown area of Lost Angles, you have three major options.

You can take in those ‘modest’ food chains like Chipotle, Starbucks, Subway or any of the local shops that cater to the crowds that descend upon the Convention Center. They even have people driving around in food trucks and those smaller fry-it-right-there approaches. Seriously, there is something street theater about seeing someone grilling up sausages with all the condiments that go with it at the corner of W Pico Blvd and S Figueroa St. That is sometimes more entertaining than a discussion of yaoi manga.

Or………. (more…)

Pre-Report #2b: Running Out of “Room”

May 22nd, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night, gripped by some nameless fear that has you jerking awake, flecked with sweat and short of breath? You have no idea what just went down, but it was Six Degrees of Unpleasantness? Yeah, that was me with getting the hotel accommodations. Except it felt like the 10th Level of Hell and it was a lot of my own doing.

I had initially slogged on getting the room when they opened up on February 15th, as I thought my travel agent friend could cut me a better deal. He could not. He called my on Friday night (that would have been the 17th) to say that inexpensive rooms were miles away and of questionable quality and locations. The hotels I did want were more than my mortgage payment for a month! (more…)

Don’t Pull on my “Tail”

May 14th, 2017 in Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu. by

Although this is kind of a ‘girls who save the world’, it was very hard to take this show seriously, even when it became ‘serious’. “Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!” (“Ore, Tsuintēru ni Narimasu”, “I Will Become a Twintail”.) also takes gender-bending to another level.

We are at Yōgetsu Private Academy. Sōji Mitsuka is an ordinary high school boy who has an obsession for twintail hair. That is when you split the hair, so you have it flaring off to the side, as we see up there, although it can trail in the back as well. At the opening ceremony, he is enraptured with the numerous twintails about him, especially Erina Shindō, who is the student body president and has a magnificent pair…of twintales. (more…)

Open Your Golden “Gate”

May 11th, 2017 in GATE by

This was an intriguing series, but the terseness of the first season means that there will be a second season (at the very least) to try and settle the problems that were both brought up and complicated in this show. This is “Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri “ (“Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place”), although it just seems to be called “Gate”. It is either current times or a slightly distant future (like 2020 or something along those lines. Still no hoverboards). It is a wonderful afternoon in the Ginza Area and Yōji Itami (guy up there) is enjoying his day off. You see, he is a JSDF soldier, but he is also a hopeless otaku and is making his way to his favorite store for the latest and greatest in manga and anime.

Suddenly, a massive portal shows up, and I don’t mean like a pulsating spiral of pure evil, but a real archway. It almost looks Roman in construction and design and size. Look, it spans the street and is, maybe two stories tall, perhaps taller. Then, all of these nasty monsters start pouring out and attack the citizenry. Itami is ticked off, as he had places to go to, but now, he is pressed into service to help protect people and drive back the threat. Well, despite being monsters, these guys come off as mediaeval, with spears and arrows and swords, so they are no match for modern weaponry and are quickly dispatched (those that aren’t captured). (more…)

Pre-Report #2a: “Room” to Spare

April 21st, 2017 in Anime Expo 2017 by

As much fun as it is to go to the Anime Expo®, you still need a place at the end of the day to store your swag and get a hot shower and maybe even cop some Zs. I mean, you can’t live on Starbucks and Red Bull for four plus days (well, you can try, but you could die). So, you have to think about accommodations.

One the plus side, the convention is of such a size and import that they can negotiate room deals with a variety of hotels in the area. On the down side, it may still be a bit costly to go.

As of the present date, there are seventeen hotels tethered into this Good Neighbor Program. The two closest ones to the Convention Center, the Ritz-Carlton and the J W Marriot (a mere 1/10 mile away) START at $224 a night. Yes, I know, if you get a bunch of pals to come together and are willing to bunk up, you can drive your personal cost down, but that means having to sleep with people who have differing diurnal/nocturnal schedules and what if you get a person who takes two hour showers and gobbles up all the hot water and clean towels? That’s the kind of guy you smother in their sleep and drop down the elevator shaft. (more…)

“Red” Herring

March 23rd, 2017 in Akagami no Shirayuki-hime by

Do not let the title of this show fool or throw you. Snow White with the Red Hair” (“Akagami no Shirayukihime”) only has the lead character share the name (and not really that); beyond this vague reference, she is her own woman. Shirayuki is a normal citizen of the kingdom of Tanbarun. Well, if you consider an herbalist ‘normal’; it is a rather rarified vocation. She has another unique feature: her red hair…which we already mentioned. When the first prince of Tanbarun, Raji Shenazard, orders her to become his concubine, rather than agreeing to this, she cuts her hair and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen Wistalia and his two aides, Mitsuhide Lowen and Kiki Seiran (but obviously does not know this when they first meet). (more…)

Short Short Pull Series X – “Story” Time

February 15th, 2017 in Monogatari by

I did not know that this was part of a larger grouping of stories, referred to as the “Monogatari” (“Story”) series. I came in on Series #9 “Hanamonogatari” with a concurrent viewing of #11 “Owarimonogatari” (review on that later. Maybe). It’s just that they are very annoying both in presentation and content.

If I had watched them from the beginning, a lot of what transpires in this one would potentially make better sense, but it suffers the same problem as “Mekakucity Actors” or parts of “Penguin Drum”. But I get ahead of myself. The plot contends itself with Suruga Kanbaru (left), as she begins her third year in high school. She deals with her left hand that had been turned monstrous through the use of her mother’s monkey paw charm. After hearing rumors from Ougi Oshino of a Devil that can solve one’s problems, Suruga sets out to find this person. She secretly fears that this person is her. However, she soon discovers that the Devil is her former basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi (right). (more…)

Wanna Hear a “Dirty Joke”?

February 8th, 2017 in Shimoneta by

Another of those off the hook shows, the capaciously titled “Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist” (“Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai) also really takes the concept of an alternate universe to…uh…an alternate universe. In future Japan (in trying to puzzle together the timeline, it could be, like, 2056), the Morality Police have cracked down on any and all things prurient and immoral, so no hentai, no ecchi, no eroge games, not even certain words are allowed in this squeaky clean and spiritually pure society.

Everyone wears a ‘morality collar’ (for wont of a better term), which is called a Peace Maker, that analyzes every spoken word for any action that could break the law. A new high-school student named Tanukichi Okuma (Mr. Shocked back there to the right) enters the country’s leading elite “public morals school” to reunite with his crush and student council President, Anna Nishikinomiya (Ms. Distraught Blue Eyes). However, Tanukichi quickly finds himself entwined with the perverted terrorist “Tundra Blue” when she kidnaps and forces him to join her organization, “SOX,” in creating and spreading pornographic material across the city. (more…)