effex: Gratuitous Momo/Inu icon (Gratuitous Momo/Inu icon)
Hey, I'm in a thing!

I've been very quietly involved with the Fandomspotting broadcast (all [personal profile] zanzando's fault) and yesterday was my first turn on an episode. It's about 'the best anime/manga you're [the english speaking fandom] not reading/watching' and it's full of great panelists (including Melinda from MangaBookshelf) and also me. You should check it out!

We were joking before the broadcast that it felt like exams, with the nerves and the prep and the copious notes. And I did... okay, I guess? I completely, completely flubbed my bit on Hayate x Blade, but everything else went well enough.

Fortunately, I have my Hayate x Blade Guide to Idiots post to fall back on - if you're interested in a hilarious, action packed, girl filled, explicitly queer manga of amazing, you should go read it.

Random observations on the broadcasting experience. )
effex: Gratuitous Usopp icon (Gratuitous Usopp icon)
* I'm going to be on the Fandomspotting livecast this week! We're going to be talking about The Best Manga/Anime You’ve Never Heard Of, it'll be fab. I'll try not to talk about Hayate x Blade the entire time.

* I am writing and drawing at an agonizingly slow pace, which is better than no pace I guess. It feels like my creativity's all blocked up, sucks sucks sucks bleh woe.

* My parents came to visit for Thanksgiving! We did a lot of walking around, a lot of eating, and a lot of reading quietly in their hotel room. My family parties hard.

That's... it, I guess? I really need to get back in the talking to people no really updating habit, this is ridiculous. I know I've got at least one overly long webcomics post in me.

Huh, apparently my paid Dreamwidth account expired? Dammit - on one hand, money. On the other, icons.

Memory Lane

Jul. 3rd, 2012 07:11 pm
effex: Gratuitous Duo/Wufei icon (Gratuitous Duo/Wufei icon)
I'm putting my money on [personal profile] copperbadge's latest post spawning a wave of fannish reminesance - it's certainly got me trying to pinpoint my transition from 'geek' to 'fannish geek'.

My first con was Anime Expo 2000 when I was 15, but I'm pretty sure I was reading fic before that. I must have started just after discovering manga/anime, which lead to buying Japanese language manga which lead to fan translations* which led to the great wide Internet. I got the second issue of Animerica Extra when it hit the stands, that was pretty close to the start, so we'll call it 1998. 14 years. Half my life.

God, who here remembers Animerica Extra? And the fight over flipped manga? And getting tapes through the fansub underground? Oh man, and YYH DJs in English, that site changed my life. And Talya Firedancer and White Cat and Bishonenink and Ruaki**. And sex scenes being called lemons. And memorizing the different Gundam Wing pairings (1x2 vs 2x1, 3x4, and my beloved rarepair 2x5). And the RanmaxRyoga archive.

I'm trying to remember when I started transitioning to media fandom - some time in collage, I think. Probably with Harry Potter, there were a lot of anime fans writing for it. Or maybe Sleeps With Coyote's stuff? She was branching out around that time.

The two people I've followed the longest, at least 9 years*** continuously, are [personal profile] copperbadge and [tumblr.com profile] chirart. That's... amazing. Surreal, but amazing.

*ahaha, which I used to print out and keep in massive binders, so I could have them in one hand and the manga in the other. The days before scanslations were dark days.

**who I sent my ~first ever fanfic~ when she running a Pokemon archive. I am intensely grateful she turned me down.

***shit, [personal profile] nepenthe, isn't that about when we met? Late 2003/2004? 9 years of epic friendship.

effex: default (Default)
I decided to treat myself a bit last night and head up to Near River North to catch dinner and a movie. Timing issues aside (I misjudged travel/eating times and ended up wandering around for an hour and a half), it was awesome. I had tonkatsu ramen at Ginza which I have been craving, ugh, real ramen <3, and then headed to the AMC to see The Secret World of Arrietty.

Arrietty's the latest Studio Ghibli film, based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers. I loved that series as a kid and I love Studio Ghibli, it seemed like a winning combo. And it was, for the most part!

The good: the film is gorgeous. Ghibli scenery porn at it's finest, full of lush plant life, stunning vistas, intricate detailing... and the cinematography and pacing were perfect. The music was also A+. The story was quiet and low key, nothing earth-shaking, but lovely and well told.

The okay: the US/English-language voice cast was good but not stellar. I'm an unapologetic sub/original language snob, though, so your mileage may vary. The ending was a little bittersweet for my tastes (if fitting and practical).

The bad: The US dub Anglicizes everyone's names, which I don't think Disney has done before? Shō becomes Shawn, Sadako becomes Jessica, etc. It was particularly jarring because the film is very obviously set in Japan (Wikipedia says Koganei, Tokyo) unlike, say, Kiki's Delivery Service or Howl's Moving Castle. There was no reason for it and it makes me want to punch something. Also, there's a character who's less 'civilized' than the Clock family - he lives outside, wears furs and face paint, and speaks in broken English. His skin is, of course, significantly darker then the other characters. Fail, Ghibli. Fail.

I've tracked down a subbed version of the film, so we'll see how that changes things (random aside: do you know how much more sense Spirited Away and Howl's make subbed? Lots!).
effex: default (Happy Yorozuya Family)
I watched episodes 1 and 2 of Gintama at some point in my Mouretsu Pirates marathon. It was funny and I liked the characters and holy shit, was this scifi? How had I missed this was scifi? I made a note to watch more.

Then [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga linked me to a primer and an episode guide, because she knows an easy mark when she sees one. The primer says the first two episodes suck in comparison to the rest of the series, which I thought was strange - they were pretty good for a shonen show. So I watched another episode. And another, and - look, CrunchyRoll automatically loads the next episode, okay? If you're watching from the couch you have to get up to it stop and why do that when you could watch more Gintama instead?

Turns out the first two episodes do suck in comparison.

Gintama is magical. It's stupid and funny and gross and heartwarming and clever and meta and I love it to pieces. It's shot up as one of my favorite things and there are 200 more episodes to go (and counting!), can we maintain this kind of momentum?

There is no answer, only picspam. OR Why you should watch this show! )

Gintama's not perfect - there are lots of ladies, but it doesn't pass the Bechdel test very often (though it's been getting better!). There's stalking played as a running gag. There's a kinky character that's played for laughs. There's an episode about trans* and genderqueer people that aims for a positive portrayal and gets about 80% there (trans*/genderqueer people are strong and to be respected, but they can't be attractive). There are no PoC who aren't Japanese (yet. I've seen screencaps with black characters from later episodes, so I'll report back). And in practical terms, you'll miss a lot if you're not familiar with Japanese history and pop-culture.

But on the whole, it's an excellent show. All of the characters are fantastic, the women get to be cool/gross/violent as often as the men, everyone gets character development. There's just enough drama to keep the comedy from getting stale and the drama is really good. It's meta as hell. It pokes fun at its genre. It constantly breaks the fourth wall. It has a canon high school AU. It has amazing voice acting. It has an infinite amount of heart (and dick jokes).

In conclusion:

Whew. Now that's out of the way, I can start spamming you with episode reactions.

effex: The path that rocks (The path that rocks)
Dad: How're you doing?
Me: Fine. Frustrated. Still haven't heard back from that job, which probably means I didn't get it.
Dad: Or that they're still making a decision.
Me: Yeah, I guess. How about you, how're you doing?
Dad: I'm fine, but I'm supposed to be fine. You're the one who should be torn up by anxiety and angst.
Me: Yeah?
Dad: Yes. You're an artist, right? Tortured artist. Anxiety and angst is the way to go.
Me: I guess I'll dig down deep, see what I can pull out.
Dad: Good.

And that's why my dad is the best.

Meanwhile! I've been reading [personal profile] kaigou's posts on Mouretsu Pirates and then Okazu posted about it and then I got decent internet and, well. It was time to check things out.

Short version: Mouretsu Pirates is amazing and you should watch it.

Slightly longer version: Girls! Smart, clever, competent girls! And women! Awesome, badass women! Non-trope-y characterizations! Space pirates! Actual science, like what you'd get in medium-hard scifi! Which makes sense, seeing as the author of the original light novel is a Seiun Award winner. Mother-daughter bonding over firearms! Multiple femslash pairings! The Bechdel test being passed all over the place! No panty shots! SPACE PIRATES.

I'm on episode 6 out of the 8 episodes currently aired and it keeps getting better. It's on CrunchyRoll for free, for folks who can access it, or you can get the torrents here.

I've also started watching Gintama, thanks to [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga, and it is also amazing.

effex: The path that rocks (The path that rocks)
You guys you guys you guys. Shinichiro Watanabe's directing a new show. Shinichiro Watanabe as in Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo's Shinichiro Watanabe. And Yoko Kanno's doing the music. And it's about music, and jazz, and coming of age in 1960's Japan, and also looks super gay. Like legit canon gay.

It's called Sakamichi no Apollon / Kids on the Slope and you can watch the trailer here. It starts in April, yesssssss.
effex: Third most awesome (Third most awesome)
I started watching Princess Tutu after wrapping up The Twelve Kingdoms (which said a lot of things I needed to hear) and oh. I just watched episode 13 and I've got three big thoughts:

1) this show is as amazing as I've always been told it is

2) I'm ecstatic that there's another 13 episodes (a beautiful climax and only half-way through!)

3) I ship Ahiru/Mythos/Fakir like burning. The Prince/Tutu is lovely and mythic, but in the 'real' world I want all three ridiculous kids to have each other. Maybe even Ahiru/Mythos/Fakir + Ahiru/Rue, but I really want Rue to break free and find a story all her own.

I've got a ton of work to do, so I'll have to wait and reward myself with the second half when I've finished. Tragic and effective.
effex: Crazy badass lesbians (Crazy badass lesbians)
Volume one of Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V are out! You can buy 'em from a local indie bookstore via Indiebound (US) or at the Book Depository (International, free shipping, priced the same as Amazon). Wooooooo!

And while we're talking about awesome manga, volume 1 of Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) is out and volume 2 is on preorder. I picked up volume 1 at Comic Con and it's gorgeous.
effex: Out of ideas (Out of ideas)
* I've finished Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servant, James Baldwin's Notes of a Native Son, and am halfway through Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Reviews of the first two will be along when my brain starts working again (I've been trying to write them since Thursday and have nothing but a blank, mocking GoogleDoc to show for it).

* I've also finished Season 2 of Parks and Recreation, which means I have no more excuses about starting my [community profile] scifi_fest fic (Parks and Rec IN SPAAAACE), and I'm caught up with Sanctuary (I still love this stupid show), Tiger & Bunny, and Blue Exorcist. The last couple episodes of S2 of Fringe and S1 of The Wire are waiting for me on my harddrive, but I've got a weird mental block about finishing both.

* Tiger & Bunny makes me sad - it's not a bad show but it's failed pretty hard in a couple of places and generally isn't living up to its potential. What happened to the show the first few episodes promised me?

* Blue Exorcist, on the other hand, is exactly the ridiculous shonen candy fest it introduced itself as. I adore it (and Rin - I love Rin so much).


In Other News: Richard Dawkins is a privileged ass. I mean, he's been a privileged ass for a long time, but the skeptic community has finally noticed. Sort of. No one seems to be pointing out his rampant Islamophobia ('a man known for defending women against religious oppression' my ass, holy shit) and the general tone is apologetic (not just on Bad Astronomy, either).

In related Other News: I've cut PZ Myers' Pharyngula from my blogroll in response to, yes, rampant Islamophobia. This brings the number of atheist/skeptic blogs I read down to zero - good job, western atheist blogosphere.

(I keep asking this, but) Anyone know if a half-way decent atheist/skeptic blog has popped up in the last couple of months? There's a major void here.
effex: Working now (Working now)
* We had Storms last night, including several tornadoes on the ground and hail everywhere, but the damage was relatively light. Made for an intense evening, though.

* I finished watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It was amazing - up until the end I was explaining it (mostly to my roommates) as a show about the cost of miracles, but that's almost completely incorrect.

* Relatedly, my shiny new Utena boxset arrived! I'm torn between starting on it, watching Princess Tutu for the first time, or rewatching Static Shock. Or all three, I suppose.

* Booked my flight to ComicCon! [personal profile] nepenthe and I are going to rock San Diego. Plus it'll be nice to almost-home again.

* Roommate D got a kitten. Her name is Sassafras and she's adorable.

* My parent's are fostering a mom-dog and her litter of 11 (11) puppies, which brings them up to 12 babies with another on the way. Babies! Babies everywhere!

* [community profile] scifi_fest has 4 days left for prompts. If you're thinking about participating (and you can leave prompts without needing to signup for fanworks later), now's a good time. Also! If you know of a community where I could promote the fest, please let me know.

effex: Crazy badass lesbians (Crazy badass lesbians)
I just finished episode 10 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (I'm trying to savor it) and, damn. Damn.

I just, this show. It's stunning.

And Homura is the best girlfriend ever.

effex: Super hero behavior (Super hero behavior)
Finally watched episode 7 of Tiger & Bunny (which you should watch, even if you're not into anime or superheroes) and holy shit, we're getting plot on top of the shiny punching? JOY.

Also, while Kotetsu/Bunny Batman Barnaby is understandably the fandom OTP, what I really want is Nathan/Keith. Or Nathan/Antonio. Whatever gets Nathan laid, basically, especially if the other guy is the totally smitten pursuer.

Seriously, this man deserves it.

effex: I'm the Doctor (I'm the Doctor)
Things I'm reading:

I'm still working on my To-Read pile - I finished Charitable Getting, but the review wants to be either one sentence ('I love this book but it's really, really white') or a multi-page academic analysis, so I'm sitting on it until it settles. I'm currently on A Princess of Roumania.

I've also recently finished the first volumes of Chew, The Invisibles, iZombie, and Persepolis, along with American Born Chinese, Skim, and The Vesuvius Club. Yay, comics!

I may or may not have bought another three books at Half Price over the weekend.

Things I'm Watching:

Fringe! Roommate D is a big fan and watching season 3 with her has finally convinced me to go back and watch season 1 (Abrams has burned me before). I'm on episode 14 and it's fantastic. All of the love for this bizarre little gem of a show <3.

Doctor Who, obviously. The new season has been awesome and creepy and awesome and creepy so far, I'm so glad my show is back on my TV.

Tiger & Bunny, which is an anime about a reality TV show about superheroes. It's like someone made a list of my favorite things and checked them off one by one - reluctant partners with homoerotic subtext, a diverse cast, explicitly queer characters, well rounded women, wacky hijinks, commentary on the media, celebrity, and the shaping of identity, and general ridiculousness.

It's not perfect - it's barely passed the bechdel test, dispute having four women in the main cast, and I'm still waiting to see if Fire Emblem (a queer black man) will allowed to be more than 'the flamboyant gay one'. There's hints that he's 'the one who owns his own company and sponsors himself and can do whatever the fuck he wants, including being flamboyantly gay and a respected superhero' and I hope they continue in that direction.

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - there's a fun story here, buried under the stupid tropes and sexual assault, and I enjoy the look inside the manga industry. Unfortunately it's... buried under stupid tropes and sexual assault. I'm kind of rewriting it in my head while I watch, we'll see how long I can keep it up.

I'm way behind on Community, Wandering Son and Sanctuary, woe.

Three Weeks for Dreamwidth:

I want to do something but I don't have any ideas. If there's anything you've ever wanted me to talk about - food, books, movies, Dallas, college, miniature horses, art, religion, whales, doujinshi, music, queerness, whatever - let me know!

SciFi Fest

The resource post for [community profile] scifi_fest went up yesterday, chock full of science blogs, articles about space battles and examples of science fiction in fanfic. Only 10 days until prompting starts, I am excite.
effex: TV has the fun (TV has the fun)
A couple of links:

* Al Jazeera's 'Disaster in Japan' live blog for March 15th (previous days linked in the post)

* On Good.is: Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan: How to Help

* Nuclear energy 101: Inside the "black box" of power plants. Also, Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation.

* Al Jazeera's spotlight on Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, and Algeria.


There's more - sweet baby bunnies, there's more - but I'm not in a good headspace for going over it right now. Let's talk about TV instead.

I've been faithfully watching Wandering Son (Hourou Musuko) since Crunchy Roll started airing it and folks, let me tell you, this show is amazing. Amazing. You should click on that link and watch it (it's free!).

Wandering Son's a lovely, slow, slice of life story about trans kids in Japan - growing up, struggling with identity, and love, and family, and friendship, and puberty. It's gorgeous, beautifully animated and acted and full of sympathetic characters and, just [flails].

Let's move on to something I can talk about coherently, shall we? My roommate D and I spent Saturday afternoon burning through both seasons of The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers and, well. Never have I seen that much Awesome and that much Fail packed into the same space.

The basics: LXD (for short) is a webseries that runs on Hulu. It's about dancers! There's a nominal plot, but mostly it's about showing off the work of some incredible artists.

The awesome: The vast majority of the characters are people of color - something like 13 out of 19 of the reoccuring characters (in the first season). Ditto for the background dancers (though I didn't go back and count, heh). Every single one of them is a fucking amazing dancer. We've got b-boying, we've got ballet, tricking, krumping, hip-hop, roboting, popping, tap... all integrated into the environment and the (again, nominal) plot. There's no special effect or wire work, everything's shot on location, the cinematography is beautiful. Also, there is Harry Shum, Jr.

The fail: The show is really, really, really bad with woman. Only 3 of the aforementioned repeating characters are female, only two of them are dancers (there are more in the background, but not many). All three are love interests/plot devices and, ugh. In the 7th episode of season 1 (S1Ep7), one of them literally has control of her body stolen by a dude in a sequence that should come with a trigger warning. The only all-female dance routine (S2Ep5) is all about how women seduce and kill men, good times. There's also some messed up race stuff (especially the Eaters in S2Ep3 - black demons, really?) and ablism (the psychiatric hospital scenes, especially in S2Ep8). There's also a weird weaponization of dance/art that I'm iffy about.

The neutral: The writing is terrible - they basically threw a bunch of Cool Stuff (chi chakra Ra! Secret organizations! Boarding schools! The occult! Love triangles! Etc!) at a wall to see what would stick. The end of season 2 is so hilariously bad it comes out into awesome. The acting's not great either, but most of these guys are dancers, not actors.

So. If you want to watch a bunch of amazing, often adorable and/or attractive dudes dance and can ignore the fail (and the plot), LXD's worth a look. If nothing else, you should catch Harry Shum, Jr's intro chapter (he shows up at 1:08, dancing starts at 2:20):

Why is there no fanfic for this, fandom? I am disappoint.

effex: Gratuitous Usopp icon (Gratuitous Usopp icon)
Is not here! It is thisaway in the shiny new [community profile] readathon comm.

I've had a couple people tell me 'oh shit, was that today?' - if this has happened to you, let me know. We can push things back a week if we need to.

So we're not completely One Piece-less over here:

effex: Gratuitous Usopp icon (Gratuitous Usopp icon)
Oh snap, almost forgot - I'm planning to start The Radical One Piece Read-a-thon* (volumes 1-3) next Wednesday at 3pm, same as the HikaGo reread. Because I am a creature of habit. A flexible creature of habit - let me know if that time slot doesn't work for you and we'll figure out a better one.


* I gotta amuse myself somehow.
effex: Gratuitous Usopp icon (Gratuitous Usopp icon)
I thinking about hosting a One Piece manga reread like the one I did for Hikaru no Go - is anyone here interested in joining in (if you've never heard of One Piece or only know it as 'that manga with the pirates and the funky art' you should know: it's awesome)? It's currently at 60 volumes so it'd be a long haul (I'm thinking of doing 3+ volumes a week so it doesn't take a year), but fun.

Another option: I read the series myself and do a reaction post every five volumes, with people reading along if they want. Thoughts?
effex: Gratuitous Momo/Inu icon (Gratuitous Momo/Inu icon)

I'm giving away two of the Hayate X Blade Omnibus 1, which collects volumes 1-3 of the Hayate X Blade manga. Because Hayate X Blade is my favorite and I want more people to read it and I want Seven Seas to continue releasing the series.

So comment here and in five-ish hours (9pm US Central) I will draw names out of a hat and notify the two lucky recipients. Anyone can comment - I'll be buying from Better World Books for US winners and The Book Depository for international winners, hurray for free shipping :D - just make sure to use OpenID or sign your name if you don't have a DW account.

Let me know if you have any questions!

EDIT: the giveaway has ended - congrats to [personal profile] the_future_modernes and [personal profile] waywren!
effex: default (Where we've been)

~Volume 23 of Hikaru no Go~

Chapters 184-189 (+ Extra Chapters 1 & 2)

That's the end, folks, we made it! NOW IT'S TIME TO PARTY!

What did you think of the ending? Of the series as a whole? What were your favorite moments and characters? Do you official art, screencaps, fanart? Post 'em! Same for fanfic, fanvids, meta, and squee! Share the links, share the love, party down <3


effex: default (Default)


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