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Shelf Life - Do You Believe in Magica


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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1733
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:00 am Reply with quote
rabrek wrote:
Has anyone read the first book before seeing the anime? My appreciation of the book was diminished by the inevitable comparisons, and I'd be very interested in an evaluation from someone who opened the book "unspoiled".

I did actually and I really enjoyed both. There were times when I felt like the pacing was better in the novel but the extra characterization in the anime was also quite welcomed. There were a few times when I felt like the anime was dragging a bit and I got annoyed at one or two of Balsa's flashbacks since they contradict some important points in the second novel (not enough to prevent a second series but it would make it awkward at points), also thought they took too long to reveal just what had possessed Chagum since that's known from the start of the novel, but it was a very good adaption. Rather sad that only two of the novels have been released here, apparently they didn't make enough to justify releasing the rest but it sounds like the company is open to the idea of future releases.
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
Posts: 3467
Location: Back stateside
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:12 am Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:
I... could be wrong... but I think the series mentioned was this Mononoke:

anime#7890

I want to see that get licensed so bad...

Anyway, as usual the reviews interested me less than some of Erin's other talk. I think I definitely need to find this book you're reading, though if the author truly says the grand arc is gone, surely today's column disproved that. The best anime, shows like Moribito, still invest in the arc (even if they could stand to be a few episodes shorter for pacing purposes) rather than the database. They may not do as well in the short run financially, but in the long run they won't be forgotten and the generic series will.

Also, as I re-read the awesomeness that is Hellboy and B.R.P.D. and think back on Guillermo Del Toro's movies, I can't help but wonder if in America we have our own database. Otherwise why would a series that ought to be about Lovecraftian creatures trying to bring about the annihilation of earth with only a few brave souls able to stop it get saddled with a crappy love story instead? Listen, Del Toro: HELLBOY DOES NOT HAVE A LOVE INTEREST! The only reason I can think that he got one is that superheroes are "supposed" to have love interests. Every damn movie so far has had them, so they had to twist the original series to get one in. Sure, the movies aren't bad, but as a result they're not really Hellboy. And that pisses me off.

/rant
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Generic #757858



Joined: 03 Nov 2008
Posts: 1354
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:26 am Reply with quote
vashfanatic wrote:
Also, as I re-read the awesomeness that is Hellboy and B.R.P.D. and think back on Guillermo Del Toro's movies, I can't help but wonder if in America we have our own database. Otherwise why would a series that ought to be about Lovecraftian creatures trying to bring about the annihilation of earth with only a few brave souls able to stop it get saddled with a crappy love story instead? Listen, Del Toro: HELLBOY DOES NOT HAVE A LOVE INTEREST! The only reason I can think that he got one is that superheroes are "supposed" to have love interests. Every damn movie so far has had them, so they had to twist the original series to get one in. Sure, the movies aren't bad, but as a result they're not really Hellboy. And that pisses me off.

/rant


IIRC, Mignola himself was pretty heavily involved in the production of the movies and personally approved everything. So Del Toro's not the only one to blame for that stupid subplot
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vashfanatic



Joined: 16 Jun 2005
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Location: Back stateside
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:32 am Reply with quote
Generic #757858 wrote:
IIRC, Mignola himself was pretty heavily involved in the production of the movies and personally approved everything. So Del Toro's not the only one to blame for that stupid subplot

Oh, I know, but I imagine he approved it because he was told it was necessary to get the movie to sell. Maybe this wasn't even Del Toro's idea, maybe some stupid movie executive decided they had to do this and told them to do it. And maybe the stupid executive was right, since I swear, we do have a database on superheroes and what their stories are "supposed" to have. Which includes a love interest. Even when the hero in question as about as close to asexual as you can get (he forms really close friendships, but so far nothing truly romantic). And man, what did you do to Liz?? She should be all badass fire girl, not whiny romantic interest! GAH!!!

Laughing All right, off this topic. My point is just this: databases are everywhere, I don't think it's an anime-exclusive deal. The best stuff defies the database, or elevates the elements to a higher level.
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Weiss_Yohji



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 115
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:39 am Reply with quote
I bought the Moribito box set when it first came out, and had that same gripe with the way Media Blasters packaged it. Just how the hell intelligent do you have to be to get packaging right?

(As AVGN) WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
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Blood-
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:47 am Reply with quote
Erin wrote:

Quote:
I have not quite finished reading Otaku; Japan's Database Animals, but it very effectively sheds some light on Rental Magica. Azuma explains that the “grand narrative” behind anime series is gone, and the shows are now constructed with a series of elements drawn from an “otaku database.” The elements can be character traits, like “shrine maidens” or even plot elements like “a mysterious incurable disease.” These are more than tropes like on TVtropes.com. TV tropes seem to occur unintentionally on the part of the their creators, but otaku-appeal TV shows are created from the database up.


That sounds like a really interesting book and you can see its theory in action with a lot of newer series, especially comedic ones. The characters and situations in those shows really are plug'n'play. There are shows that still do the grand narrative thing, like Ergo Proxy, Gilgamesh or Welcome to the NHK, but they are few and far between.
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Moonsaber



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 267
Location: USA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:14 am Reply with quote
Shenl742 wrote:
Moonsaber wrote:
Shenl742 wrote:
I suppose I'm in the minority for thinking that Moribito actually surpasses Mononoke.


I'm curious. In what ways does Moriboto surpass Mononoke Hime? Granted, Moriboto has more room to succeed as a television series, meaning more time, but a shorter format of a film allows greater attention to detail.


To me, Moribito manages to express a lot of the same themes without feeling like an environmentalist guilt-trip.

I also kind of dug Moribito's overall feelings of altruism, despite it being a "low-fantasy" series. I felt that Mononoke put a lot of emphasise on how humans are flawed and are pretty much constantly struggling to fight their inner demons. While Moribito just pretty much went up and said, "Yeah, humans are flawed, but they can still totally kick ass. At the end of the day, humans are really, really awesome".

But that's just what took from them


So, essentially, you took away a better feeling from Moriboto than from Mononoke. It's a very subjective opinion, but hey.. aren't they all? Thanks for that insight. Personally, I find Mononoke a very exiting masterpiece of film, but it isn't good about happy feelings.. and pretty bloody too. I have not seen Moriboto past the first episode so I really can't compare honestly, but I have a feeling that I would weigh in on the classic movie over a TV series, but I don't know for certain.
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CCSYueh



Joined: 03 Jul 2004
Posts: 2707
Location: San Diego, CA
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Generic #757858 wrote:
IIRC, Mignola himself was pretty heavily involved in the production of the movies and personally approved everything. So Del Toro's not the only one to blame for that stupid subplot


That's NOT what I heard at Comic-Con last year from Mignola's own mouth.
He said on the first film Del Toro was calling all the time to see if the characters would do this or that, but round 2 was very much Del Toro. He also said the movie is the movie & not his character so any changes the director made didn't phase him so long as the check cleared.
He also had the same idea about the other authors using his universe--their characters are their characters & he doesn't care.
Saw the True Blood author at CCI this year & she said the same-the tv show is the tv show-as long as the checks clear...

Wasn't the robot-maker the one with Takasugi? Damn, who cared about the old dude? Koyasu was awesome. Takasugi is such a psychoboy-right up there with Dilandau. I really don't like the ninjagirl-the near-sighted thing gets old fast. Katsura & the Shinsengumi are fun.
I want Mononoke. It's a rather obscure title so there really would be no reason to compare the 2(Moribito). I'm not a big fan of Princess Mononoke-like Spirited Away more.
But the only reason I bought the 2nd set of Rental Magica was the Cat-guy who also looks like Gin which is one of the "looks" I like. The rest of the plot is pretty predictable.
I am going to have to order that Moribito...I can always go top Fry's & get a box of 4-dvd cases (don't think they have 8-dvd cases)
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Ranma824



Joined: 17 Feb 2005
Posts: 456
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:27 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
Erin wrote:

Quote:
I have not quite finished reading Otaku; Japan's Database Animals, but it very effectively sheds some light on Rental Magica. Azuma explains that the “grand narrative” behind anime series is gone, and the shows are now constructed with a series of elements drawn from an “otaku database.” The elements can be character traits, like “shrine maidens” or even plot elements like “a mysterious incurable disease.” These are more than tropes like on TVtropes.com. TV tropes seem to occur unintentionally on the part of the their creators, but otaku-appeal TV shows are created from the database up.


That sounds like a really interesting book and you can see its theory in action with a lot of newer series, especially comedic ones. The characters and situations in those shows really are plug'n'play. There are shows that still do the grand narrative thing, like Ergo Proxy, Gilgamesh or Welcome to the NHK, but they are few and far between.


Eh... I don't see anything wrong with taking proven elements and making a show people enjoy. The "Grand Narrative" nowadays seems to be put on too high a pedestal, IMO.

I mean, it's not like anime is the only medium that has this "affliction". Listen to the constant whining from movie or novel buffs out there. Alot of what Azuma is saying can easily carry over to other mediums.

The way I see it; if people want to make a show that has elements I'm interested in to begin with, then more awesomeness will be coming my way. Smile
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AnnoyedWabbit



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 44
Location: Santa Clara
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:36 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Moribito is almost perfect. It could've used a better villain and more time in the spirit world, but those are my only complaints.


Moribito is probably my favorite anime aeries, and one of the things that I love about it is that it doesn't have a big cackling evil badguy. It pulls off a great story with a morally ambiguous antagonist. I find that kind of story waaay more interesting than "good guys vs. the Great Evil." [/i]
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Raebo101



Joined: 17 Mar 2010
Posts: 748
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:50 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Balsa often sounds stiff, like Cindy Robinson is playing Major Kusanagi - which was appropriate for a cyborg but seems odd here.


Cindy Robinson? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Mary Elizabeth McGlynn play Major Kusanagi? Neutral
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Blood-
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
Posts: 21203
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:54 pm Reply with quote
Ranma824 wrote:
Blood- wrote:
Erin wrote:

Quote:
I have not quite finished reading Otaku; Japan's Database Animals, but it very effectively sheds some light on Rental Magica. Azuma explains that the “grand narrative” behind anime series is gone, and the shows are now constructed with a series of elements drawn from an “otaku database.” The elements can be character traits, like “shrine maidens” or even plot elements like “a mysterious incurable disease.” These are more than tropes like on TVtropes.com. TV tropes seem to occur unintentionally on the part of the their creators, but otaku-appeal TV shows are created from the database up.


That sounds like a really interesting book and you can see its theory in action with a lot of newer series, especially comedic ones. The characters and situations in those shows really are plug'n'play. There are shows that still do the grand narrative thing, like Ergo Proxy, Gilgamesh or Welcome to the NHK, but they are few and far between.


Eh... I don't see anything wrong with taking proven elements and making a show people enjoy. The "Grand Narrative" nowadays seems to be put on too high a pedestal, IMO.

I mean, it's not like anime is the only medium that has this "affliction". Listen to the constant whining from movie or novel buffs out there. Alot of what Azuma is saying can easily carry over to other mediums.

The way I see it; if people want to make a show that has elements I'm interested in to begin with, then more awesomeness will be coming my way. Smile


Oh, I don't have a big problem with the database animal thing. I watched Asobi ni Ikuyo: Bombshells from the Sky over the course of the summer and quite enjoyed it: including how the creators deliberately played with animal database conventions to good effect. For me, it's all about balance and I would like to see more "Grand Narrative" stuff simply because there is so little of it now.
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Princess_Irene
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 2159
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:58 pm Reply with quote
rabrek wrote:
Has anyone read the first book before seeing the anime? My appreciation of the book was diminished by the inevitable comparisons, and I'd be very interested in an evaluation from someone who opened the book "unspoiled".


I did, and to be honest, I couldn't get into the anime after the novels. Now this could be because I am a Raging Bibliophile and nearly always like the book better (notable exceptions being "Soul Eater," "Hana Yori Dango," and Stardust), but I found the anime narrowed the scope of the setting too much. For example, in the books I got more of a central Asian feel from the culture, but the anime seemed to set it firmly in fantasy Japan. I also found Balsa easier to relate to on paper, less aloof and unfathomable. In any event, I'm hoping for an English release of novel 3.

erin wrote:
Part One concludes a story arc with some stand-alone episodes thrown in. The set concludes with an over-the-top schmaltzy Christmas episode. (Two words: ghost orphans.)


Umm...not the part one I just finished. Perhaps you only watched it Broadcast Order? Nothing wrong with that, but that isn't the conclusion of Chronological Order, which might be worth a mention. Smile
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agila61



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 3213
Location: NE Ohio
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:27 pm Reply with quote
What a coincidence, I'm watching my copy of the stackpack now ... saw the first episode of the four episode sampler at Crunchy (no stars, so all four are free ad-stream), and the recommendation at okazu, I got the stackpack. It fits fine in a 10-dvd flipbox: the art doesn't go to the edge, but its fine, and the eight DVD's fit on the four flips.
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Ghstmtrx



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 178
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I love Rental Magica. I really do it is a great anime. But it is so true that it is forgettable. Which is a shame because I like it so much and it is very enjoyable. It just never crosses my mind at all. Too bad. I am still hoping we might see Yen Press pick up the novel and manga. Maybe another season of the anime too. Not that I would remember it Sad
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