Time to fill that anime-podcast-shaped hole in your life by joining us in conversation with fearless leader of Anime Limited, czar of Scotland Loves Anime and all-round top bloke Andrew Partridge. Nakama Britannica XII: Interviewcast! Andrew Partridge Edition iTunes iVailable … Continue reading
Recently recovered from the wilds of darkest Edinburgh, it’s…
In a special bonus episode, we forgo social pleasantries such as research and preparation to bring you the low-down on SLA Edinburgh – a report so fresh, it was partially recorded in the Filmhouse bar! Sadly this lead to me not saying much in the first part, as I was convinced the middle-aged hard-man at the next table was about to tell us to shut up, but never mind. Stagger on.
01.45 Tokyo Marble Chocolate and Phoenix Wright. Contains no actual confectionary, nor objectionable content.
07.55 From Up On Poppy Hill and Mass Effect. Goro rides again, Production I.G. Lose their paragons.
15.35 After School Midnighters. SCIENCE!
23.45 Berserk and Berserk II: Berserk Harder. “I like swords!”
38.20 Nerawareta Gakuen. We attend a world premiere! Sadly, the world is not impressed.
55.40 The Anime Mirai Project. Juju the Weightless Spider Girl Who Pretended Not to See Buuta.
65.06 Wolf Children Ame and Yuki. In which I find out what the word “nadir” actually means.
83.46 Closing – Aria (Susumu Hirasawa)
So, a ninja, a vampire and an immortal Scotsman walk into a bar in…
00.00 – Intro – Yakitori (Yoko Kanno)
02.44 – “Journey to the West”: 1993-2007 – Jubei (Kaoru Wada)
In the concluding part of our retrospective, we tie some monofilament wire round the hilt of our katana to discuss Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and Highlander: Search for Vengeance. When asked about the possibility of a sequel to Search for Vengeance, Kawajiri replied “No, there can be only one”.
Followed by: “Sandmantas Rest Area” (Marco D’Ambrosio)
1.22.07 – Closing – Forces (Susumu Hirasawa)
Thanks once again to daichi383 for his work on the edit.
iTunes link available shortly.
The second episode of the Nakama Britannica podcast is now available. Team member VivisQueen introduces the topic:
In episode two of the Nakama Britannica podcast, we discuss Satoshi Kon. People might be wondering, in light of his recent death, and the subsequent slew of media covering him, whether we have anything new to say about the life and works of a much-missed anime director. The answer is ‘No, but we have a bloody good title to go with it!’
Well, okay, we tried to be a little innovative by coming at it from an angle others might not have considered. Even if he is much-celebrated and much-missed, his works are known for being damn unusual. The question arises, has Satoshi Kon got anything to offer the ‘average’ anime fan, that is, the person who is normally satisfied with their little girls and giant robots? Hopefully we convince you that the answer is ‘yes’.
Including a Gothic Lolita fashion show, Japanese drumming, tea ceremony and origami. Although, rather amusingly, half way through the weekend the origami table was high-jacked by the cosplay kids as they made ‘Free Hugs’ signs. Talking of free huggers, I ran into a distressed L who had a ‘Please don’t give me free hugs sign.’ She was forced to make the sign as L received one too many unwanted hugs last year. Watch out kids, the resistance has started…
In terms of cosplay, Kuroshitsuji was surprisingly popular, with many teenage boys and girls donning up as demonic butlers. The usual armies of Bleach and Naruto fans were there along with some surprising outfits: Ronald McDonald, J-rockers Versailles and steam punk military cadets with vintage oversized goggles. Many people queued up to have their picture taken with a massive Hello Kitty and some even (posed?) as if they were being eaten by a giant yellow Pacman. Every expo has their own celebrities, the Ghost Busters crew and Scrubs guys were back. But you will never believe who had his own posse. This guy here:
Meanwhile in the Manga Alley I had a chat with an artist on the most popular drawing requests of the day. I discovered that yaoi-ness wasn’t confined to the realm of manga. Many fangirls (and boys) had requested he draw pictures of yaoi Spiderman and X-men. Somehow this shouldn’t surprise me but it did. Alongside professional artists rested doujinshi artists, peddling their home made wares, but it was nice to see a mix of both manga and American comics side by side. A new attraction at expo was the Rock Band stall, where kids tried out karaoke. I heard that decidedly annoying Blur song, you know, the one that goes, “I got my head done, when I was young…” and turned around to see L behind the microphone. It was priceless.
I spotted a pair of worn out convention goers who were new to this whole expo madness. I probably should have directed them to the first aid area but instead I took them to the nearest stall and bought them chocolate. “What’s this?” they asked. “Pocky. Eat it. It’s the only way you will get through expo.”
Outside in the forecourt were cosplay outfits of every shape and description, ranging from Neo from the Matrix to Hei from Darker Than Black. Although computer game cosplays are nothing new, it was the first time I had ever seen Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. (I knew those hours wasted playing computer games would come in handy one day.) I then watched him disappear into a cardboard box! Speaking of all things magical, this year’s masquerade included a routine with Edward Elric performing magic tricks, pulling this impossibly long rod out of a box. Expect it to already be on You Tube, go on, I dare you, go check it out! Another surprise hit was watching Bleach cosplayers performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance, it’s just way more funnier when non-Haruhi kids pull off this routine. That wraps up expo (or so I thought.) It wasn’t until I got home and checked my photo’s did I get an unexpected surprise. The seemingly innocent Ouran Host Club girls (or boys, depending on how you look at it) had a ‘Will yaoi for commoner food’ sign. Kids, really, whatever next…
Even manga and anime fans get credit crunched. I learnt this the hard way. Anyone who has watched the anime classic, Genshiken, will know the dilemma faced by an otaku when he walkes into a clothes shop, reluctantly, being forced to buy new clothes. I mean, seriously, being an anime and manga fan costs a heck of a lot of cash and a new cashmere sweater cannot… or should I say… will not win against the new volume of Fruits Basket. It’s an unwritten rule known by all manga fans. Okay, that’s a lie, but there should be one! This got me thinking about the peculiar realities about fan culture and how someone can go unknowingly from simply liking something to becoming a hardcore fan. So I compiled a light hearted list of the things that made me realise how I went from being a simple fan to an all out manga fangirl:
Strategically stacking your manga books on your book shelf to fit as many books as possible
It’s the kind of conversation you can only have with another manga fan. In the early days when I was new to the manga fandom, I went into a children’s book shop where the sales assistant was stacking manga. I asked for his recommendations and we ended up in a rather amusing conversation about Tokyo Mew Mew which went something like this: “How can you not like Tokyo Mew Mew? It’s so cute!”, “That’s the problem, it’s too cute.” “What do you mean it’s too cute?”, “……”
I lost that battle, but we then went on to talk about what to do when you have too many books and he suggested how to position books to get as many possible on a shelf. It was such a bizarre conversation, I even laughed at him at one point, but when I left the bookshop he gave me a knowing smile, he just knew what was going to happen. Six months later I was surrounded by books and even though I had mocked him at the time, he had the kindness to help me even before I knew I would later have a manga storage problem.
Spending less on clothes to buy more manga…
I wasn’t even aware I was doing this until I watched Genshiken. Man, was that an eye opener! There’s another version of this that I’m embarrassed to admit. When I saw an expensive jumper, I automatically started calculating, “How many volumes of manga could I get instead?” Boys and girls don’t laugh, I’m sure this has happened to you. And if it hasn’t, just you wait, the next time you step into Gap, you will experience some manga arithmetic’s. No anime or manga fan is immune.
…But when you do buy clothes, it’s all things a manga character would wear
A friend dragged me out shopping a while back to look at clothes. Look being the key word here. Every so often I would see an item and go, “That’s what Yuki or Kyo would wear.” My friend, bless her patience, would smile and chuckle at me, she’s used to my manga-centric observations. But as I learnt to my peril, it soon gets addictive, from Kino’s military jacket to Yuki’s Chinese style shirts, I woke up one morning to discover manga characters had suddenly invaded my wardrobe.
All your music is in Japanese
When people ask me who my favourite band is, I’m quite tempted to lie, to say some English or European band. Before I got into anime, my music taste was very alternative. Fast forward a couple of years later and let’s just say it’s even more obscure. I was used to people saying “Who?” when I name dropped my favourite bands, now that still happens but with even more blank expressions. Go on, let’s play name the celebrities below:
Keep making an excuse to eat Japanese food
I’m really, really, bad at this. Whenever I say, “Let’s go to restaurant,” my friends have now figured out what I really mean is, “Let’s go to a Japanese restaurant.” I blame those spinning carousel things, I could spend hours watching those plates go round and round.
Manga speech bubbles
By far, the most funniest moments have been when I’m having a conversation with someone and an imaginary manga speech bubble pops up beside their heads. The lady who ran the cake shop at the now closed Oriental City always looked at me with weird expressions when I walked in asking for random cakes I had read about in my manga comics. I still have yet to find warm bean jam cakes but my hunt continues.
This perhaps was the key give away that I am way into my manga. Two and a half years ago I walked into my hairdressers clutching the dvd cover to Last Exile and requested an anime haircut. This was perhaps the moment that set me on the road to becoming a manga fangirl. My hairdresser played along, as she had never had such a request before and since then I have had countless manga haircuts, everyone from Yuki, Akito, Kino, Light, Ritsuka and Yoite. If I ever walked in and asked for a normal haircut, she would be surprised, but with so many interesting hairstyles, I don’t think that will happen any time soon.
When people think of Japanese stereotypes, samurais and ninjas must be the most disseminated ones in pop culture. Ninjas were spies and assassins, warriors said to possess the powers of ninjutsu, the ninja techniques, and the image of the ninja dressed all in black is a powerful one.
Samurais in their full armour are also a very powerful image. But for aesthetic reasons, they usually appear in their kimonos in anime and manga.
There are no famous ninjas worth talking about, after all a known ninja is a ninja who blew his cover. But the same can’t be said for samurais. Many of them survived in history and legend and I dare say it’s impossible to like anime without meeting a character inspired by a samurai or even a romanticized version of one. Continue reading
Sometimes you can just watch too much anime even if you don’t watch that much. The amount of new series being released can be overwhelming to the point where you just have to step back for a while because you can’t tell if a series is good or if a series is bad anymore, it just exists. Time for a holiday away from anime for a while.
Albeit that when I had the epiphany, I didn’t actually intend it to be in anyway sequential, I realise now that one of the notes I most wanted to convey in my last article (that anime characters are strangely diverse, likeable and unique), must inevitably occupy the same territory as those at the heart of this one.
I’ve often worried, especially while watching one of my friends get overly excited about anime conventions and cosplaying Naruto characters, whether the people who passionately and proudly bring characters to life today – creating AMVs, drawing fanart and generally giving their favourites creative treatment – might not be doing the same for another series in a few years time. Essentially, whether my friend might be garbed in the clothes of the next big shounen series, and forget all about Naruto, or at least the emotional fancies that she currently lives jubilantly in.