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Adult Swim brings back Toonami for one night on April Fools

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 3, 2012 by Griff

http://www.japanator.com/toonami-returned-if-only-for-april-fool-s-day-22735.phtml

I don’t normally cover news on this blog (with rare exceptions) but I read this story and just had to post my thoughts on it

ok so for a long time now (maybe since the beginning? I’m not sure) Adult Swim has made it a tradition to have April Fools pranks, some of these I’ve witnessed myself (like when they added fart sound effects to their shows) and some of them I’ve only heard about (like their repeated airings of The Room), but this year they brought back Toonami, for one night only, they brought back T.O.M and played nothing but anime, not just episodes from series that they previously played on Adult Swim, but mostly shows they played on Toonami! talk about a blast from the past…

reading that story absolutely warmed the cockles of my heart, seriously I almost teared up, tragically I missed it myself, I just totally forgot about  Adult Swim and their April Fools, I wish I had remembered, but no matter, just the fact that they did this is beyond awesome

Adult Swim used to be my bread and butter for anime back in the day, I didn’t watch every anime they played, but I did watch a good majority, I remember every Saturday night I would take a break from the video games and sit down for the anime, I never missed an episode, even when I was on vacation I would make sure to still watch it, even once on a trip to Universal Studios in 2007 late at night, after a long day of theme parking I was sleepy as hell, but I made damn sure to stay up to watch my Adult Swim anime (even though I was so tired I didn’t remember much of it the next day)

and man, they played some great stuff over the years, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex, Paranoia Agent, Samurai Champloo, Case Closed,  s-CRY-ed (ok that one was a bit lame, but still watchable), Bleach, Eureka 7, Blood +, Death Note and it was also where I first saw both the Read or Die OVA and Neon Genesis Evangelion for crying out loud! and that’s just the anime that I actually watched, there’s even more series that they played that I didn’t watch

but then….things changed, in 2008 I started watching Code Geass on there, but they kept messing with it’s time slot, eventually putting new episodes ridiculously late at night and in frustration I stopped watching, plus that was when Bleach entered it’s first filler arc and I had to bail on that too, so for the first time in years I was no longer there every Saturday night, it’s not that they haven’t seen played interesting anime, but once you fall out of certain grooves it’s hard to get back in

afterwards was when they started playing significantly less anime on Adult Swim, anime used to be half of Adult Swim’s appeal, I mean they used to play a TON of it and they used play it on the weekdays too, but all that changed, it pretty much became an afterthought, constricted to just a handful of series only on Saturday nights, in it’s place came constant reruns of Family Guy and King of The Hill (not that reruns haven’t been on Adult Swim since the beginning, but still, do you really have to play so much Family Guy?)

I think a big part of what contributed to anime on Adult Swim’s downfall was not only what was going on in the industry itself at the time, but also Adult Swim’s stubborn insistence on only playing action oriented shows (with very rare exceptions, like Super Milk Chan), for example I think they missed a HUGE opportunity by never playing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on there while it was still a hot property, people did ask them about it, but they’re response was always “it’s not an action show”, but “action anime” kind of dried up there for the most part, it’s not really where the industry has gone for the last couple of years, it seems like they did later realize their mistake and tried giving comedy anime a chance, but their choice of series was……Crayon Shin Chan? really? another problem was it seemed like they (perhaps understandably given censorship) strayed away from any anime that had any amount of fanservice (aka T&A) in it at all, hence why shows that otherwise would have fit like a glove, shows like Mai Hime or Burst Angel, never made it onto Adult Swim due to the fact that they featured sexy ladies

so it seems like at the end of the day Adult Swim read the writing on the wall, that anime’s day in the sun in America was coming to a close and decided to make it an afterthought and put their focus on the comedy shows, I can’t say it was a bad business decision really, but still….

but then they go and pull this stunt and all I can say is “Adult Swim you magnificent bastards!”, this really seems like Adult Swim is intentionally sending out the message “we haven’t totally forgotten or given up on anime guys, we still love you”,  after a few years now of me just basically assuming anime was all but dead on Adult Swim, it’s great to see some signs of life…

ok now technically this all related to Toonami, not Adult Swim and Toonami is what I credit as really getting me into anime (like a lot of anime fans my age), Pokemon may have been the precursor, but it was anime on Toonami like Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Big O, Outlaw Star and Tenchi Muyo that really got the ball rolling

sadly Toonami ended in 2008, a year after I stopped watching it (the last show I watched on there was Naruto, I stopped because I gradually learned that Naruto sucks, filler or no filler, sorry Naruto fans) and this is “testing the waters” for a possible Toonami resurrection, not necessarily that they’re going to show more anime on Adult Swim, but still, it’s Cartoon Network, it’s all the same umbrella, it just really warms my heart to see Adult Swim do this

now, would I actually watch a resurrected Toonami? welllllllll that’s hard to say, it really depends on what they play (and what they would play I have no idea, other than Naruto again maybe?), but at 22 years old I can’t say I have a whole lot of interest in watching heavily edited anime intercut with commercials for toys and breakfast cereals, as much nostalgia as I do have for Toonami, I’d be much more interested in Adult Swim taking a more serious approach to anime again, that I would tune in for I guess, but either way, it’s just cool to see Adult Swim throw anime a freakin’ bone, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it

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Griff gets nostalgic, Media Play

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Griff

I’d like to try my hand at writing a different kind of post on here besides just reviews, my generation is really big on nostalgia, I mean huge, sometimes I wonder if everyone goes through that at around the age my generation is, I don’t know, but I do know that pretty much everyone my age fosters a healthy relationship with their inner child, for some people their childhood seems to entirely define their adulthood, people like Roger Barr of the website I-Mockery for example, the prevalent theory as to why that is is because we as a country are going through some pretty rough times, I think that’s a big reason why…

so I’d like to write some autobiographical posts about random memories that I have, but first a bit of background on me, I am a 22 year old white male

today’s post though is not about my childhood, but my teenage years, they weren’t that great (but who’s is?), but that was due to more real family problems than typical teenage angst, maybe I’ll talk about that at a later date, but point is I went through some hard times back then, but I made my own happiness, today post is about one of the best, maybe even the best, memories of my teenage years

does anybody here remember Vera Lynn the store Media Play? it was a big box store that contained music, books, movies, video games, electronics and even musical instruments I think

sounds like Best Buy right? well there was one thing that set it apart and made it literally Heaven on Earth for me, anime, lots of and lots of anime, literally more anime than I’ve ever seen in a store before or since

sure, you see a couple of anime dvds at Best Buy or whatever, but evidently Media Play had actually struck a deal with several anime companies and dedicated an entire section of the store to the stuff, not just dvds, but manga, toys, T-shirts, CDs, it was madness, utter madness

but wait, there’s more! see they held a special thing every other Friday I think  called “anime nights” which was basically a mini convention, I’ve never been to an anime convention in my whole life (although I’ve always wanted to) and this was the closest thing I’ve been to ever going to one, it was fantastic, a decent amount of people would show up, even a few would cosplay, this was the first time actually meeting not only fellow people who shared my interest in anime, but just meeting fellow nerds in general

so thus begins my personal story of Media Play, ok journey back in time with me to the year 2005, I was looking for dvds of R.O.D The TV, I can’t remember how exactly it happened, but somehow I had stumbled upon the Media Play store in Savannah Georgia, about an hour away from me (that’s a picture of the actual store above) and I was floored, not only did they have dvds of R.O.D The TV, but as previously mentioned they had more anime than I had ever seen in my life, I was stunned

while there I think I got a flyer that advertised the anime nights and when they were, so you better believe I showed up

I can’t remember how many of them exactly I went to, I don’t think it was many though, but I visited the store itself many times that year, I couldn’t get enough, I mean when I say it was Heaven on Earth for me I’m pretty much speaking literally, I bought my first ever volume of manga there, I bought a couple of video games there, I could have almost lived in there

and the anime nights were so much fun, there was everyone there from teenage girls to 30 something guys with long hair and beards (you know the type,  guys that have been nerds since the 70’s or so, I call them the “Elder Nerds”), I mentioned cosplay and there wasn’t a whole lot, but I do remember a little girl dressed as *this character* from Inuyasha (never watched that one, so sorry I don’t know the name)

but here’s where tragedy strikes *cue sad dramatic music* it just seems like something that great was just not destined to last, at the very start of 2006 Media Play closed for good, the entire company went kaput, I remember when I heard I was in disbelief, I wanted to cry…

sound melodramatic? where here’s the thing, the very last anime night I went to….I met a girl, Pamela was her name, I worked up the courage to talk to her and we hit it off, I mean we both shared the same interests, we were the same age and she came off as shy like me, I’m not gonna say she was drop dead gorgeous or anything, but she was cute…

I never saw her again, if only I had asked for her phone number,  I could have, but I was shy, I didn’t want to “rush things”, I thought I would see her again at the next anime night, little did I know there would be no next anime night, that was literally the last one

I went to store one last time during the going out of business sale, I had hoped to see her again, but no…and to this day I still have never really had a “girlfriend” and I’ve been on a grand total of one date, pathetic aren’t I? what can I say, I’m a nerd

why does life do things like that to you? it’s like something out of a movie or a song, I mean what a cruel, bizarre coincidence

sometimes I feel like my life since 2005 has just been one long dream, I’ve been stuck in a rut ever since, not knowing where to go, what to do next (cue Pink Floyd’s Time), sometimes I wish I would wake up and it’s 2005 again, sometimes I wish I lived in a kinder alternate dimension, one where Media Play never closed, one where Geneon and ADV never went out of business, one where anime’s popularity grew and grew instead of going back underground again, I wish, I wish, I wish…

the Media Play building remained there for a few more years, complete with the sign, a sad reminder of what had been lost, until eventually it was torn down and replaced by….wait for it….a fucking Publix grocery store, my least favorite store on Earth…

sometimes life gives you a very clear, concise Fuck You.

My-HiME

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 13, 2010 by Griff

My-HiME is an anime that does not have the most creative of premises out there, school girls with super powers fight monsters, sound familiar?

the exact premise is a 16 year old girl named Mai and her bro Takumi are on their way to prestigious private school Fuka Academy (that likes to make it’s female students wear really short skirts) when a fight breaks out on their ferry between two similar aged girls with strange powers, next thing Mai knows she’s flying around and summoning a cool dragon

what really sets My-HiME apart though is it’s sharp animation and great character designs (this is Sunrise after all) this is my first time watching this series, but I felt like I already knew some of the characters pretty well after seeing them a lot over the years

I like the humor in the show as well, one early episode involves a creature that’s going around and stealing the girl’s underwear, that’s always fun, stealing underwear I mean *clears throat*

anyway the English dub is pretty good, not a masterpiece like R.O.D The TV by any means but it gets the job done (although one character has an obviously fake southern accent), all the actors and actresses are a bit on the obscure side which is actually a bit refreshing because you don’t hear the same actors you hear in so many English dubs, I noticed that they’re also all from the glorious Great White North, no Bob & Doug McKenzie accents though

that about wraps it up, there’s not a whole lot to say about this one, but it’s a really fun series that’s well worth watching if you’re in the mood for some girls kicking ass

Serial Experiments Lain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 28, 2010 by Griff

boy, Serial Experiments Lain is a weird one

I saw this way back in 2003 on Tech TV when they first started showing anime (it might have been the first series they showed) and as you can imagine being only 13 at the time this anime weirded me out big time, I barely understood what was going on

however after finally watching it as an adult (tee hee) do I understand it better now? well I understand a little better, but not really

anyway the show starts off relatively simply, Lain is a school girl who’s very weird and withdrawn and one of her classmates commits suicide, then everyone at her school receives an Email from the dead girl which prompts Lain to get a computer of her own and try to talk with this girl, she succeeds and this dead girl tells her that “Lain, there is a God” and thus begins Lain’s weird Odyssey to find out the truth

creepy premise huh? it sounds though like it could just turn into a generic J-Horror type deal, but instead Serial Experiments Lain goes for a very David Lynch style, that is to say really, really surreal

it’s also set in a strange near future world that in some ways is surprisingly retro, here computers are known as “Navis” and the internet is known as “The Wired”, however it’s not simply the internet, it’s more like some bizarre evolved version of the internet or something, one that you would hope has moved on past things like rickrolling

the show captures pretty well just how well weird the internet can sometimes be and is filled with memorable creepy moments and atmosphere

it really makes you realize that this is an anime that would have trouble being made today, I can’t think of any anime that’s come out in the last few years that’s as philosophical and unconventional

however that said I don’t the series is all that great, don’t get me wrong I appreciate it for what it is, but very little is explained, it all amounts to a bunch of vague random stuff that’s fascinating, but just being vague does not instantly equal brilliance in my opinion

but man, that opening song sure is great

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Griff

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is a criminally underrated series that I have no idea why it’s not better known

it has a pretty big pedigree, it’s made by studio Gainax and seems like a spiritual successor to FLCL, it contains similar themes of growing up and a similar zany sense of humor and style, it was even referenced in Gurren Lagaan (which I have not seen yet mind you), the evil robot in episode 3 for example looks exactly like some of the robots in Gurren Lagann

yet it seems pretty forgotten, which is a shame because this is one of the funniest animes I’ve ever seen, I first watched over 5 years ago when they played it on G4-Tech TV (as it was known then)

the show is set in Osaka and follows two kids named Sasshi and Arumi, Sasshi is a nerd who wears a cowboy hat strapped to his back and Arumi is a girl with tanned skin, pig tails and a simple white dress

they’re families run stores in a “shopping arcade” that unfortunately is about to be tore down, Sasshi’s family place has already been torn down, but Arumi’s grandpa is resisting it and wants to keep his French restaurant open

one day though a fatass cat gets on top of a small pelican statue that used to be one of four animal statures placed at different parts of the arcade, but is now the only one

grandpa tries to knock the cat off, but in the process falls and hurts himself and smash the pelican stature, next thing they know our heroes Sasshi and Arumi find themselves transported to strange worlds, what’s going on?

the series is mostly episodic but has episodes that continue the main story

the worlds Sasshi and Arumi all seem to based on things that Sasshi likes (everything from sci fi, to kung fu movies, to dating games) and parody the genres pretty hilariously, the sci fi episode in particular is a masterpiece, it’s amazing how crazy and fast paced it is, but also how funny it is, I love the 2001 parody

by far though my favorite episode would be the Hollywood episode, it contains about a million American movie references and is funny as hell, it’s hilarious to see these western movies parodied by an anime

by the way, did I mention that almost al of the characters speak with southern accents? yes in the English dub to adapt the Osaka accents they give them the American equivalents which are southern accents, it seems quite weird at first but you quickly realize that voices fit them perfectly

so why is not better known? it’s hilarious, has great characters designs and comes from studio Gainax , I really don’t know, but if you haven’t seen it it’s not too hard to find and is worth buying

intro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by Griff

greetings and welcome to my humble blog, a blog is something I’ve contemplated doing for a while now and I figure I’ll write an introduction explaining what I’m all about

a word of caution though, I’m not big on exact punctuation and whatnot, I’m more of a casual writer, so if you’re a grammar Nazi and that sort of stuff irritates you to no end, well I say read it anyway and lighten up

anyway I’m a big anime fan, or at least I used to be, but over the past couple of years my anime watching has seriously waned, to the point where these days the most I do is read a few manga series

a brief note about my history with anime, I wish I had some interesting and unique tale about how I got into anime, but instead I’m simply a member of the Pokemon and Toonami generation, I started watching Pokemon in early 1999 and Dragon Ball Z in 1998

I watched those shows religiously and also watched a few other shows on Toonami like Tenchi Muyo, Outlaw Star and even a little Sailor Moon

then in 2001 two things happened, one was Adult Swim started and two was my parents got the movie channels

I still remember the night Adult Swim premiered well and I remember seeing Cowboy Bebop for the first time, needless to say it blew me away

the Starz movie channels played some anime, mostly anime movies which where I saw movies like Metropolis and Akira for the first time, but a channel called Encore Action would played a few tv series and OVAs, one of the first non-kid friendly anime I ever saw was Gun Smith Cats, I’ll never forget seeing that scene with Minnie May in lingerie and the camera focusing on her ass, needless to say as a 12 year boy I found this very interesting (I also remember being fascinated by that shot of that woman’s cleavage in the first episode of Cowboy Bebop)

so then I started to watch Adult Swim and I saw a ton of series there, I also saw a few anime series on Tech TV (remember that channel?) and later G4-Tech TV (now just G4 and no longer showing any anime), so that’s my story

anyhoo I used to watch Adult Swim religiously, but in 2008 when they started playing Code Geass they changed the time it aired to something like 5:00 AM, which was a little too late for me and I haven’t watched Adult Swim regularly (save for The Venture Brothers) since and I’ve still never seen Code Geass in it’s entirety

and my God, there’s countless series that have come out over the past few years and were wildly popular on the internet that I haven’t seen, over the past 4 years the only anime that has come out and was a huge success that I’ve seen is Lucky Star, Darker Than Black and Death Note, I haven’t even seen The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya yet, can you believe that? pathetic isn’t it?

so I figure it’s time for an anime revolution, it’s time that I reignite the flame of my anime passion like an old couple trying to reinvigorate their sex life (errr maybe not the best metaphor), it’s marathon time boys and girls! an anime marathon is something I’ve been planing for longer than I like to admit (did I mention I’m a terrible procrastinator?), but now is the time

here’s what I’m gonna do, I’ve got a list of series, some old, some more recent, some really popular and some a bit more obscure that I’m gonna watch, I’m gonna watch them through a variety of ways, some anime I already own on dvd, some I’m gonna rent the dvds from Netflix and some I’m gonna watch on Hulu

there’s some series that I’m gonna re-watch and some series I’m seeing for the first time

a word of warning though, I’m not gonna devote my time exclusively to anime, I’m still gonna play video games and whatnot so don’t expect daily reviews or even weekly reviews, but I’ll try to watch them as fast as I can get the reviews up as quickly as I can, I also expect this to be a pretty long journey

so there you have it, I hope you enjoy this blog and one man’s decent into animadness, after my anime marathon is over I may continue the blog with movie reviews, video game reviews and whatnot, we’ll see