Blog Archive

Monday, March 19, 2018

Vinland Saga anime green-lit:

This was one of the series on my wishlist.  I'm glad Japan has finally seen the light, this was a story worth animating.  It isn't enough to remove Vinland Saga from my wishlist though.  The manga is super long, so a single season of anime will barely cover anything.  There will need to be many more season announcements before there's enough Vinland Saga in the world.

March Madness has lived up to its billing, with plenty of upsets and only two 1 seeds left in the sweet sixteen.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

16 seed just beat a 1 seed:

And I wasn't there to see it.  I had already gone to sleep.  History just passed me by.  *Sigh*  Congratulations to UMBC for the first time ever historic victory of a 16 seed over a 1 seed.  After 135 losses in a row, stretching all the way back to 1985 when 16 seeds were first implemented, here we are.

Once in a lifetime opportunity and I slept through it.

Meanwhile, the newest kira kira precure movie is out in 1080p with proper subtitles by [anon], so go ahead and grab it while it's hot.  It's not a good movie, but whatcha gonna do.  Precure hasn't been any good in ages.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

200 is a good number:

By using a clever trick, I managed to reduce the number of eminent composers/performers in my good music hall of fame from 201 to 200.  I took a song that was sung by multiple singers, Haruka Tomatsu, Ai Kayano and Saori Hayami, and ascribed credit for the song to Haruka Tomatsu instead of Saori Hayami, who I'd previously given the credit.

Just like that, Haruka moved up to being responsible for three good songs, while Saori moved down to only performing one, and one shot wonders aren't listed in my eminent composers/performers list.

So without removing a single song from my music hall of fame, I reduced the number of composers/performers down one, to a nice even round number of 200.

I now have 200 eminent composers in my music hall of fame, 200 top ranking anime and 200 must-see movies.  200 is a good number.  It's possible to remember and recognize the 200 best of something, but it's impossible to care about the 201st best at anything.  It's like, really, 201st?  Who cares?

So I believe I'll put a ceiling on the number of movies worthy of recognition, and the number of composers/performers worthy of recognition, at 200, just like I already have for my anime.  If another composer/performer pops up with two good songs, I'll now decide whether to include them or not by comparing the quality of their songs with the other two song competitors, and throw out the weakest link.  In this way I can indefinitely keep the list at just the 200 most eminent no matter how much music I like.

If a good movie airs, I can make room for it by kicking out a previously ranked movie, and always only have to pay my respects to the 200 best movies ever made.  People don't have enough mind space for numbers beyond that, and 'must-see', 'must-hear,' 'must-read,' etc, requires a small enough pool that it's physically possible to actually see, hear and read it all within a human lifespan.  Making my halls of fame ever more elite and exclusive is not a bad thing, it just means my recommendations will carry that much more weight.

Someday I hope to find enough talented voice actors that their list also tops off at 200, but that's still a long ways off.  My anime voices hall of fame only currently has 122 members.

Just as 200 anime series can produce 9,305 episodes of must-see content, I'm not restricting the number of songs in my music list, just the important-to-remember names of the composers.  Authors can write as many books as they like, I'm just restricting the names of the authors you have to remember to 100.  And so on.  The goal is nice round numbers in all my halls of fame.

Speaking of my anime hall of fame, I changed the rankings up again, but only the series ranked 100 or above were affected.  I decided Death March hadn't really done much during its first season, which is likely to be its only season.  The meandering type story with its plethora of girls never actually got anywhere, so it isn't worthy of #110.  I bumped it back down to #140.  Meanwhile Ryuuou no Oshigoto! has had all sorts of exciting and dramatic moments, hilarious upsets of expectations and moving speeches full of wisdom and heart.  It took Death March's place as winter's standout hit, at #106 in my rankings.

Other series also shifted around.  I decided Planetarian's anime offers little value added compared to the visual novel, which people should really just go read instead, so I bumped it down to #189.  Hunter x Hunter moved up to #131 because my annoyance with the stupid make-a-wish and atomic bomb deus ex machinas is slowly receding in comparison to all the good things the series did before then.

To see all the changes, just check out my top anime rankings permapost which has all the exhaustive details:

Texas is doing very well at the dance, with 7 teams in the round of 64.  I have plenty of teams to cheer for this March Madness, so inevitably one of them has got to win.  March Madness truly begins in just one hour.  Finally, finally, the long wait concludes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2018 is in trouble:

I have seven hobby halls of fame in my permaposts:  Anime, Manga, Music, Video Games, Visual Novels, TV/Movies and Books.  In 2017 lots of good stuff happened in all seven categories, but what about 2018?

All the great anime we were promised for 2018, Index, SAO and Fairy Tail, still haven't been scheduled to actually air at any point this year.  With Dragon Ball Super ending, 2018 has zero star power left.  As things stand 2017 > 2018 in anime.

I just discussed how bad the manga scene is in 2018, with scanlators basically not scanlating anything.  2017 manga > 2018 manga.

I have added hundreds of great new songs into my music list in 2018, but I added thousands of great songs in 2017, so it's just no contest.  2017 > 2018.

In video games DW9 and SO5 are 2018's champions, but that's still a weaker lineup than Uta 3 and Tales of Berseria.  2017 > 2018.

For visual novels all 2018 gets is Imouto Paradise 2, which is nothing compared to Little Busters!, Majikoi S, Majikoi A, Da Capo III, etc, etc, etc.  2017 > 2018.

TV/Movies for 2018 features a lot of great sporting contests, but fewer exciting movies and tv shows.  Now that the marvel and dc tv shows aren't worth watching, and with no Game of Thrones this year, I think I have to go with 2017 > 2018 yet again.

As for books, I had a great time reading the Red Wheel and 200 Years Together by Solzenitsyn.  Rokka no Yuusha was also great.  But again it doesn't compare to the enormous number of good books I read in 2017, which included Sword Art Online, Ero Manga Sensei and Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.  2017 > 2018.

It's only March, so maybe all of this will turn around.  It's too soon to declare 2018 a total loss.  But here's the problem, not only has nothing really good happened so far in 2018, nothing is slated or scheduled to happen either.  I can't rely on any important anime to come out any time this year, because nothing has been scheduled to happen.

I have no reason to believe manga translations will suddenly spike upwards, it's more likely that they'll actually continue to decrease.

There are no important video games scheduled to release this year.  No important visual novels are scheduled for translation, either.  Dracu Riot and Tenshin Ranman, maybe, but there's no way they're as good as Da Capo III and Majikoi S/A even if they do come out.

There are no important movies slated for release in 2018.  Some Marvel movies might be good, but I doubt they'll be any better than Captain America: Civil War, much less Logan.

There are no important soundtracks coming out that might bolster my music list.

It's not just that 1/4 of 2018 is inferior to all of 2017, you would expect that to be the case.  I'm saying that the 1/4 of 2018 that has actually happened plus everything that's scheduled to come out in 2018 is inferior to what actually happened in 2017.  Unless something really surprising comes out, that isn't scheduled to appear, 2018 has no chance.

It's the exact reverse of all my predictions, that said 2018 would be way more fun than 2017.  All my expectations have been betrayed.  And mostly it's because these three damn anime series, SAO, Index and Fairy Tail, simply aren't happening.  They promised me they would happen but they aren't happening.  Lots of series have already announced they'll be airing this summer or this fall, but SAO, Fairy Tail and Index aren't on those lists.  They just have vague promises of '2018' or 'coming soon.'  Those promises are worth toilet paper.  I've seen series scheduled to 'come out soon' for 10 years and never actually come out -- like Savannah Game, or Girls' Work.  If you aren't scheduled for a specific season, you aren't really scheduled.  Even when you are scheduled for a specific season, like Full Metal Panic was, it can just be delayed until next year, like they did with Full Metal Panic.  It was supposed to come out in the Fall of 2017, but now it's supposedly finally coming out in the spring of 2018.  That's six months later than promised.

So if Index promises to come out in the fall of 2018, that means nothing.  It could actually take until the spring of 2019 before the first episode actually airs.  And right now we don't even have that tenuous promise.  We have absolutely no indication that anything will actually happen at all.

If Fairy Tail, Index, or SAO really were coming out in 2018, why wouldn't they have already announced that it would be airing this summer or fall?  Why the vague lack of specifics?  It already can't possibly happen this spring, that lineup has already been finalized and is only weeks away from airing.  So it has to be this summer or this fall.  So which is it?  If they can't specify such a simple question, doesn't that mean that the series just aren't ready?  It's not that they're strategically keeping it secret for some dumbass reason, they just don't have the product.  That's the only sensible explanation.  They have no product so that's why they can't announce anything.

And even if they do all come out in the nick of time in the fall of 2018, that's still weaksauce.  Because all of these series are multi-cour, so if they had come out earlier we would have gotten twice as many episodes of the show or more than if they come out in the fall.  12 episodes in the fall isn't as good as 52 episodes of Fairy Tail, which would have been possible if they had started this winter.  A fall 2018 release is already too late.  It's a pale shadow of what we could have been enjoying this year, by then most of the benefits already spill over into 2019.  It's a bait and switch at that point.

If Index, SAO and Fairy Tail aren't at least scheduled for this summer then 2018 is totally screwed.  It won't surpass 2017 in a single aspect.  And time is ticking out for such a scheduling to happen.  The summer season is only three and a half months away.

2018's loss is 2019's gain, so maybe 2019 will be a great year in anime.  But that doesn't help 2018 any.  It's just gloom and doom from here on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dragon Ball Super Ending in two episodes:

Dragon Ball is almost over.  This makes sense, given that the current arc is nearing its climactic conclusion.  But it does leave a giant gaping void in the quality of anime moving forward.  This has been a mainstay franchise since the 1980's.

As a pitiful bone they're throwing us fans, a movie is slated to continue the story in late December, which we'll of course get to watch in 2019 (or 2020?).  But one movie does not replace a weekly television series.

Things are developing in a bad direction, I'm sad to say.  One Piece is a shell of its former self, partially because the anime has to be so slow to not outpace the manga, but partially because the manga isn't as good as it used to be either.  Pretty Cure is running on empty and has been for years.  Bolt is no replacement for Naruto.  Fairy Tail still hasn't resumed.  Bleach ended ages ago.  Even Hunter x Hunter is over.  There are no weekly, long-running shows that are delivering any product anymore.  Dragon Ball Super was the best we had left, and now it's going away.

There used to be lots of good weekly shows, like Inuyasha and Major, all airing together.  Index/Railgun was virtually a weekly show, as was Bakuman, Da Capo, Hayate and Prince of Tennis.  Hikaru no Go, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho -- this used to be the norm.  Not just one eternal show would be airing, but five or ten series you could always count on all aired together.

With Dragon Ball Super's exit, there's four long-running series still kicking, but all four are problematic.  Bolt is virtually filler, as is Fate/Last Encore.  One Piece is slowed to a crawl, and Pretty Cure is uninspired, recycled content that was all done better years ago.  Dragon Ball was the only series you could really get excited about, whether it was this year or last year.

The 'eternal' series of today are not the equivalents of the 'eternal' series of yesteryear, even when they're named exactly the same (ala One Piece or Pretty Cure).  Sort of like how FF XV is nothing like FF V.

If you're a truly good series, it only takes a few years to reach the top of my rankings, Cross Game is rated #16 and only took two years to make.  Which means if there were any great anime being made we would know about it.  There aren't any budding heroes about to take the spotlight that can replace Dragon Ball.  Not even close.  The highest ranking new anime franchise that was made after 2012 is Hibike! Euphonium in 2015 at #43.  After that comes 2014's Shirobako at #48 and Yuuki Yuuna at #49.  The best anime from 2013 is Vividred at #53, the best from 2016 is Hai to Gensou at #63 and the best from 2017 is Eromanga at #82.

This is a bad trendline.  In fact it's two bad trendlines.  The old, good, reliable series are dying out, and no new, good, reliable series are emerging to replace them.  Which means eventually nothing good will be coming out.  It's a lot like the manga trendlines I've been complaining about for years now, only now it's infected anime too.

Maybe this was the perfect place to end Dragon Ball.  Maybe there really shouldn't be any more Dragon Ball and this is a good thing.  I will never question Akira Toriyama's decision making process.  But the trendline is bigger than just Dragon Ball.  Everything is going away and nothing is coming our way.  2017 was the worst year in anime since the modern era, but without Dragon Ball, 2018 could end up even worse.  But at least 2018 had some Dragon Ball.  What about 2019?  Is it going to be even worse?  Or 2020, when we won't even have the movie to look forward to?  What is going to become of anime?

Monday, March 12, 2018

More Beethoven:

I noticed I was missing portions of some of Beethoven's symphonies and patched the holes, adding over an hour of new Beethoven music to my hall of fame.  Now all 9 symphonies are properly completely represented in my music hall of fame.

The new total is 4459 songs, still 10.1 days in length.  Valkyria Chronicles 4 is coming out soon, but based on the previous entries it isn't going to change things much even when it does come out, so Beethoven was actually the bigger improvement.

I guessed that the Kokoro Toshokan anime faithfully and fully adapted the entire manga, based on the fact that the manga is only three volumes in length, and therefore removed it from my anime wishlist.  That put GATE back in, at least for now.

I've completed all the unique content in DW9, but am still missing tons of cut-scenes.  So frustrating.  I have to win with every single character to experience the full game.  I could just watch the cut-scenes on youtube but that would be cheating.  I have to unlock them all properly.

March Madness starts tomorrow, but the games are between nobodies until the 15th.  I'll just watch the NIT instead until then.

Eromanga Sensei volume 7 was in fact translated in full for a long time now.  I took the last translated part as just a chapter break when actually that was the last line in the book.  People should go ahead and start reading volume 7, there's nothing left to wait for.  Of course, now the long wait for volume 8 begins. . .

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri's promised 2018 anime is in fact a movie, so we won't see it until 2019.  That's a bummer.  A lot of new anime is moving into theatrical productions instead of tv shows, I guess because it makes more money, but it sucks for people who live outside of Japan.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

25 to 33:

The situation with manga right now is so despair inducing.  Twenty five good manga have released a new translated chapter since the start of 2018, 33 haven't (even though there's more left to their stories that needs to be translated).  So the majority of manga is either on hiatus, behind a paywall, or has just been completely abandoned.

Of those 25 series that are still being supported, only two of them are weekly releases -- One Piece and Hunter x Hunter, both of whom are prone to hiatuses.  Twelve are regularly translated monthly series, and the remaining 11 only come out once in a blue moon.

Berserk is one of those monthly series that's currently being released but is generally on hiatus, and Railgun Astral Buddy is just a short spinoff manga and hardly even counts.  When you take into account all the various caveats, there's effectually 12 monthly series getting translated and that's it.

I've been saying how few good series are being made in Japan these days, but that number is still infinitely higher than the amount we can actually read in America.  At twelve monthly series, the hobby of manga entails maybe ten minutes every three days.  That's the trickle we've been reduced down to.  Meanwhile with 12 weekly series, anime is producing 6 hours of television a week, or 50 minutes of fun a day.  So that's 15 times as entertaining as manga has become just on a straight time basis.  When you take into account the fact that anime is a better medium than manga to begin with. . .

Dynasty Warriors 9 has entertained me for 160 hours.  The Shu storyline was the best DW has ever done, more comprehensive and explanatory than any previous franchise entry.  You get to play Shu all the way into the final chapter, just as far as you can play Jin, for the very first time.  How long would it take for manga to catch up with just this one video game?

8 years.  Dynasty Warriors 9, on its own, is worth 8 years worth of the entire hobby of manga coming out at its present rate.

Now, arguments can be made that video games are notorious time sinks and the quality density of a manga is higher than a video game's, etc.  But still.  This is ridiculous.  What happens when I play Star Ocean 5 as well as DW9?  The difference between video games and manga is only going to expand from here.

Scanlators need to step up their game and start releasing more chapters from these missing 33 series.  Zettai Karen Children used to be translated every week, why can't they keep up with its monthly schedule anymore?  Nanoha Vivid is already complete, there's nothing stopping a fansub group from just releasing the whole series all at once in a row.  It seems like scanlation groups have lost interest in manga even faster than Japanese writers have stopped writing new good ones.  The dropoff is like a cliff since even last year.

Anime has been on a downswing recently, but its fortunes will pick back up once SAO, Index and Fairy Tail resume.  There's no such remedy for manga.  If scanlators continue to tune out like they have so far in 2018, never mind the wellspring in Japan running dry, manga as a hobby will be effectively over.