Blog Archive

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rurouni Kenshin Resumes:

Rurouni Kenshin's new Hokkaido arc began today, after 18 years of dormancy.  Very like Dragon Ball Super resuming what was thought to be a finished Dragon Ball series.  The art isn't as good as the original, which is sad, but it's not like it's actually bad or anything.  The first chapter was drowning in nostalgia fanboyism, but that's excusable given how long it's been and how popular the original was.  It will probably become more serious and original starting from the second chapter.  I'll keep my expectations moderate.

We're seeing quite the trend here.  Dragon Ball Super, Bolt, Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card Hen, and now Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido.  Popular series just don't want to go away.  If the product is still high quality, I have no complaints.

Meanwhile, I cut two more remixes from my good music hall of fame.  Epilogue: Saikai is just an instrumental version of 1000 Words from FF X-2, and Somewhere in the World is a remix of Golbez, Clad in Black from FF4.

Somewhere in the World isn't note for note an exact replica of Golbez, but it shares enough similarities that you can't get Golbez out of your head the whole time it's playing.  This uneasy feeling, this cognitive dissonance, of the song partially but not fully overlapping with a much better song, makes what would be a positive experience in isolation a negative one instead.

After all these cuts I felt it was time to restock on my good music supply.  The best prospect for new good music comes from my #1 composer of all time (at least in terms of quantity), Motoi Sakuraba.  While he wasn't composing for Tales or Star Ocean, he was composing for another franchise called Valkyrie Profile.  I've read comments online that his Valkyrie music was his greatest work, which if true would be saying something, because a lot of his Tales music is incredibly good.  I've got the music downloaded, but it will take some time to properly judge it.

Nobuo Uematsu's music outside of Final Fantasy has proven itself to be worth hearing, so Motoi Sakuraba's non-Tales music should fare the same.  I expect favorable results.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Congratulations to One Piece on their 700th episode:

Today featured One Piece episode 805, so why is today important?  Because when you take out the filler, it's actually episode 700.  700 eps of canon content, the first great series to ever reach this vaunted benchmark in length.

It's because One Piece is so crazily long that it manages to secure its 3rd place ranking.  This length isn't ending any time soon, either.  Expect One Piece 800 or even 1,000 to roll along eventually.

Pretty Cure will soon reach episode 700 itself, but Pretty Cure is not a continuous story.  It resets every year or two with a whole new cast, plot and setting.  One Piece, by virtue of its epic single continuity, surpasses Pretty Cure.

The Whole Cake Island arc is better than the previous Zou arc.  I feared the worst when this arc began but it actually turned out pretty well in the end.  Oda still has it.  I look forward to the day this story starts resolving issues instead of introducing more complications for the cast, but that could still be ten years away so I'm not going to get my hopes up.

One Piece will double in quality if it ever actually reaches its ending.  Because my rankings are prophetic, that 'double bonus' is already embedded in its current 3rd place status.  But actually getting to see the ending will be a delectable treat, it's one of the reasons I look forward to the rest of my life.

A more interesting question is how much better will One Piece get between now and the ending?  Will the fight with Kaidoh be interesting?  What about Blackbeard?  The Marines?  The revolutionary army?  Most of the Shichibukai are friends with Luffy now, but Kuma is supposedly a soulless agent of the Marines now and absurdly strong.  How will they deal with him?  Or the new guy Edward Weevil, when will he show up?  What about the new admiral, Ryokugyo?

Putting aside all the battle aspects of the manga, will something interesting happen in terms of character development for the crew?  We still don't know Zoro's past before he joined the dojo.  Is that ever going to be explored?  Will Usopp finally stop being a coward?  Will Sanji find a woman who appreciates him?  Will he find All Blue?  Will Nico Robin ever learn the dark history and read the Rio Poneglyph?  Will Nami ever make her map of the sea?  Will Luffy become the Pirate King?

What is the secret behind Crocodile's past?

700 episodes and there's still more questions than answers. . .

Friday, September 15, 2017

Good Music 7.0:

My good music permapost has been improved yet again.  The names of many songs have been shortened and simplified, a remix was found and eliminated, artists posing as multiple names (Go Shiina and Masaru Shiina, for instance) have been solidified into their single true form, capitalization was standardized, and so on.  Lots of minor clerical improvements.

But the biggest change was all about overcoming the custom in Japan of putting peoples' last names first, and first names last.  Since this is America and we speak English, my good music post had to go through all the artist names and set them right again -- first names first, last names last.

This cleared up a lot of confusion.  Sometimes artists had their first names first, and other times their last names last, and it was thought they were even different people.  Just by putting everyone's names in their proper order, I discovered three new composers who were responsible for at least two good songs on my hall of fame list that had previously been thought to be minor figures with only one song to their name.  Now their names are properly memorialized in the beginning section when before they were lost to the winds of time.

Other artists were discovered to be responsible for 13 good songs instead of 9, and so on.  All sorts of problems were due to these names being out of order, and all these problems are now solved.

The remix was bizarrely difficult to discover.  Oujo no Yuuwaku is a song from Final Fantasy 1, but it's actually a complete ripoff of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Op20. - Sc. 10, which is already on my list.  The flash of inspiration it took for me to check out Swan Lake and see if the songs matched was unearthly.  This is actually a good thing.  If I'm discovering even difficult and hidden remixes like these, there must not be many more blatant and obvious ones left.

Sarah Brightman's song 'Jesu, Joy of Men's Desiring' was actually composed by Bach, so I gave credit for that one to Bach instead of Brightman.  The poor guy only has 3 songs in my hall of fame so he needs all the credit he can get.

For a lot of classical music songs, previously the artist was listed as the people playing the song, instead of the actual composer who did the important work of making the song.  That's been fixed, and now the artist properly refers to the composer.  Another vital change from 6.0.

The new total is 4228 songs and 197 eminent composers.  But as you can see these number are ever changing.

Meanwhile, the Card Captor Sakura ova setting up the Clear Card Hen for next year came out, and it was really good.  (Better than the entire 2nd season of Tales of Zestiria the X, just to put things in perspective).  This is the 28th great anime franchise to release something in 2017.  The 29th will be SAO's Ordinal Scale movie, set to release later this month.  Let's hope the fall season pitches in to raise that number some more before year's end.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Terra Battle 2 & Xenoblade 2 Release Dates:

Terra Battle 2 comes out September 21st.  Xenoblade Chronicles 2 comes out December 1st.  Presumably, their soundtracks will appear online shortly after their release dates, but then again it might take months before that happens.  In any case, the day approaches when my good music hall of fame can receive some needed reinforcements.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ranma 1/2 Finally out in Blu-ray:

It only took 30 years, but Ranma 1/2 has finally come out in blu-ray, subtitled, in English, in entirety.

Viz media is releasing the final missing blu-ray set, the collection of oav's and movies, September 17th, 2017.  Just five days from now.

While most series aren't worth purchasing in blu-ray, this may be the exception to the rule.  This is the only high quality series (23rd best ever) from the 20th century.  There simply is no high definition alternative to this blu-ray set.  If you try to watch these oav's and movies any other way, you're going to be stuck at 480p or worse.

Then consider that these oav's and movies were drawn and animated much more beautifully and fluidly than the tv series, so having a blu-ray version would be a much bigger upgrade than any other portion of the series, and 480p seems even less reasonable.  The 2nd movie especially features the female cast in bikinis practically the whole movie long.  Are you really going to be satisfied with non-1080p bikinis?

This is the single biggest image quality upgrade to any anime you'll ever see.  If there's any show that ever deserved a blu-ray purchase, it would be this box set.  It would have to be the absolute #1 priority.

On the other hand, now that Ranma is finally receiving a subtitled blu-ray release, pirates might just finally upload the product and then you can get it for free, so buying it on day one might not be a good idea.  One way or the other, though, this is a must-have product.  A blu-ray release of Ranma 1/2 has been on my eagerly awaited releases list for something like five years now.  I can now finally take that wish off my list, because it's no longer a wish now but reality.  Oh, happy days!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another manga bites the dust:

Today we learn that Nanoha Vivid's manga is also coming to an end this October.  That doesn't mean much to English speakers -- we're still on volume 10 whereas the series is ending with volume 20, so to us the series is still just at its midpoint and there's plenty more to come -- but it does mean a lot for the manga industry.  Yet another of the top series in the manga world is coming to an end.  On the bright side it will be replaced with Nanoha Reflection, but I doubt that series will be remotely as long or good as Vivid, so it doesn't mean much.  What Nanoha really needs is more Force.  Maybe that will come after Reflection?

In any case, Vivid is the heart and soul of the Nanoha manga world, all the other spinoffs aren't remotely as important.  Even though the manga will technically continue, really this is it.  The 17th best manga in the world has come to an end in this dreadful, fateful year of 2017, just like the 1st and the 11th best.

Utawarerumono 3 has been fun so far.  I don't like its timing mechanic during fights because I can never get it right, but most of the time it doesn't even come up.  Usually it's just great art, good music, great voice acting and a great story.  I'm finally on my way to seeing the ending of a series that started decades ago.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Yuka Iguchi:

The latest addition to my great voices hall of fame is Yuka Iguchi.  She's a famous seiyuu who's played tons of characters in many of my favorite shows, so what took so long?  As admirably as she performed, there was never a Gate moment like Rina Hidaka's, where she just put everything on the line and really tugged at my emotions.  But eventually an accumulation of inoffensive performances adds up to something just as reputable.  I see Yuka Iguchi everywhere, to the point that I remember her name better than many of the seiyuu already on my list.  If I'm going to remember her name anyway, I may as well have her actually memorialized like all the others.

Yuka Iguchi is also a tremendously good singer (like many voice actors).  She's already honored in my good music hall of fame, so it makes little sense to keep avoiding her on my seiyuu list.

Just how many famous roles has Yuka performed?  How about Index from Index, Mea Kurosaki from To Love Ru Darkness, Norie Okazaki from Tamayura, Yu Sonoda from Sakura Trick, Tsukihi Araragi from Bakemonogatari, Maho Misawa from Ro-Kyu-Bu!, Maria Takayama from Haganai, etc, etc, etc.

My favorite performance by Yuka Iguchi is Chelia Blendy from Fairy Tail, Wendy's sky godslayer friend, but that's just because everything Fairy Tail related is perfect.

This marks my 78th female seiyuu and 122nd overall to enter my voices hall of fame.

Previously my Good Music permapost only called out by name composers/singers who had 8+ songs in my hall of fame, (73 people in all), but I felt too many quality people were being left out like that, like for instance ClariS, FLOW, Do as Infinity, or Angela.  So I extended the credits I gave by name all the way down to anyone who was responsible for 2+ songs in my good music hall of fame.  This allowed Yuka Iguchi to get on the list alongside 193 others, for a grand total of 194 honorees.

I have no regrets.  Yusuke Honma, for instance, is only responsible for 2 songs on my list, but I consider him to be one of the best composers around.  If I didn't extend my list all the way down to 2, no one would have ever noticed him or known how much respect I have for him.  More information is always better.

Someday I might extend my list all the way down to people responsible for just one song, but there's reason to believe that one song is just a fluke, so for now I've opted to leave them out.

All in all my halls of fame are looking at 193 anime, 99 manga, 194 composers/singers, 50 video game franchises, 197 movies, 10 tv shows, 50 visual novel companies, 100 authors, and 122 seiyuu all receiving special honors.  There's a lot of overlap between these honorees, but let's just ignore that fact for now and add it all up -- 1015 entries in all.

That's a tremendous amount of talent out there in the world.  If you want to know what real enrichment, what real vibrancy means, it's these 1015 honorees in my halls of fame.  They're all the enrichment we'll ever need.