Over at Anime Fringe
, probably the best attempt to do an anime review site in a "monthly" online magazine format since EX
stopped updating their site several years back, there is what appears to be the first installment of a regular column by Maria Lin, "Anime Debunked"
, which seems like it will be a column dedicated to taking whatever the current "sacred cow" is among online anime fans and decimating it until the all that remains is a pile of ground beef, which will hopefully be reconstituted into tasty Big Macs. Did any of what I just said make sense? No, it's just that I love Big Macs and couldn't resist the temptation to work it into an awkward metaphor.
This month's target? Fullmetal Alchemist
Although it's lengthy, there's not much I can excerpt without spoiling the show for Canadians who still haven't seen it (and won't see it any time soon
), but this paragraph, as far as I can tell, won't ruin anything.
"Fullmetal Alchemist switches its point of view quite often, and the reason it does so is very amateur indeed. From Mustang to Scar to Winry, in order to garner some sympathy for its characters, the show has to give us a little aside about their pasts. "Yes, we know Mustang just sits on his butt and does nothing, but look at this, he killed a lot of people before, regrets it, and now he wants to be fuehrer. Do you like him now?" Nowhere is this more obvious than when for a single episode, we are put in Lust's shoes and dragged around as she contemplates love and life. The only reason that episode is there is to garner sympathy for another underdeveloped character, and maybe to get us to let out a sigh when she dies. The copious use of flashbacks is a similar construct made to inform the viewer about something that the writers don't know how to put into the story itself."
Predictably, (some) FMA
fans are getting very wanky
, thinking the mere existence of a dissenting opinion will turn away potential fans.
And, in this case, they're perfectly correct... now that I've seen most of the final few episodes of the show, I'm still not getting what all the fuss is about. It's a show that seems pretty decent for what it is, but I still don't get what's so "ZOMG!!!1111 AMAZING!" about it. It just doesn't seem as deep and mind-blowing as some people make it out to be. It could just be that I'm seeing all the plot twists without having seen the 40 odd episodes before that that would probably make the twists seem a lot more interesting if I had a better command of previously established or assumed details about the character's pasts that the twists contradict, but now this one article shall serve as the solid bedrock for my lukewarm opinion of the show for the rest of time eternal.
Links to other reviews or opinion pieces which serve as the solid bedrock from which I derive the opinions about a show and which I consider to be the final word on said show:Neon Genesis EvangelionLove HinaSpirited AwayWedding PeachMao-ChanSaint SeiyaAngel SanctuaryEikenHappy LessonPopotanSister PrincessSpirited Away
(again, heh heh)
And, finally, the all-time best negative anime review I've ever read, David Smith's Love Hina review in IGN
UPDATES: MY JOB SITUATION AND THE JAPANESE POWERPUFF GIRLS ANIME...
I was told by the food store that, if they wanted me for a second interview, they’d call by Monday, so, on Monday... THE PHONE RANG!
A lot of times.
Mostly my brothers and sister.
No calls to me from the food store or anything, though. :(
Well, they said they’d keep my name on file if they needed anyone else.
Anyway, still needing a job, I went to the Employment Canada Job Bank
, which I scour
everytime I feel guilty about being 30, living at home, and “mooching”
feverishly everyday, and guess who’s hiring?
Well, I’m not going to say as I don’t want to put my chances at landing a job there in jeopardy, but it’s a certain international furniture store chain, mainly dealing in utilitarian but stylish modular furniture you assemble yourself, where I can *catalogue* the many reasons I like that particular store, from the Swedish language bottles of Heinz ketchup and translations of Stephen King novels on the shelves in a certain annual publication to the abundance of Futura font. It’s also a store chain that features prominently in my dream anime I want to create someday, Swedish Defense Force SUPER TROUPER
, which would be a vague parody of mecha shows like Gundam
about a secretive international military organization called "International Keep Earth Alright", that has hidden bases located on the outskirts of the urban areas of most major cities in the world (where the land is cheaper), below certain large-surface furniture stores. And the yellow-shirted troops have to assemble their own mecha units, with that J-shaped screwdriver thingy, from parts contained in large, flat containers. And the mecha units have cool Swedish names that sound similar to English words but not quite, like Patrull
and the aquatic Valross
units. (And in situations like on Macross
where they need giant robots and music to save the day, they’ll call upon their British allies, the Humanoid Mechanical Vanguard, whose international bases are located under large music shops.) Yeah, I’ve put waaaaayyyyyyy too much thought into this series which would be a licensing nightmare.
The downside to working at that store would be that one of the positions they’re seeking to fill starts at 5:30 a.m., and I’m not an early-riser (I’d probably just sleep in the afternoon) and I’m not sure how good the overnight bus service is in this city, considering I’d probably have to change buses.
I’m also applying to the Nepean location of a certain famous Canadian donut-and-coffee chain (no prizes for guessing which one) and a mall location of a place that sells replacement ink for printer cartridges, both within very easy walking distance of my house.
Well, it’s been almost a week since the news first hit the web and Craig McCracken still hasn’t crawled out of the woodwork to say "April Fool’s!," so, as absurd (but not in a bad way) as the announcement, at the Tokyo Anime Fair
, of a Japanese Powerpuff Girls Z cartoon
sounds, with the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I pretty much have come to the conclusion that this is not a hoax.
In the unlikely event that this is a hoax after all, it’s a very, very elaborate and expensive one as clips of the show have already surfaced on the Internet, on this Japanese Powerpuff Girls fansite
: a rather lengthy clip of the Powerpuff Girls in action
and the Powerpuff Girls’ transformation sequence
(which looks tailor-made for showing on Cartoon Network, as it’s G-rated, not the PG-13 translucent shimmering nude transformations of Sailor Moon
or the all-out creepy nude transformation sequence of Pretty Sammy
/Magical Project S
As far as mahou shoujo
(magical girl) anime goes, the animation quality of Powerpuff Girls Z
looks above-average, with plenty of motion and a relatively few number of "static shots". You can tell they’re putting that CN investment money to good use. (I’d imagine that the Powerpuff Girls Z
anime will also be an “anchor” show for the Japanese national version of Cartoon Network, mainly known in Japan for the regular Powerpuff Girls
cartoon and Tom %26 Jerry
Also, there has already been some dream cast lists
out there on the Internet, listing popular dub actors like Sherry Lynn, Melissa Fahn, and Rachel Hirschfield to play Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, but I think they’d be crazy not to use Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, and Elizabeth Daily (a.k.a. "E.G. Daily"), i.e. those actresses who voice the characters already.
I gotta admit, though, the pedigree of the Japanese crew, from Toei and Aniplex, is impressive: director Hiroyuki Kakudou (from Yu-Gi-Oh
and Digimon Adventures
), producers Hideo Katsumata (Fullmetal Alchemist
), Hiromi Seki (Magical Doremi
, which is coming to American television this fall), along with Cartoon Network’s Sam Register, and character designer Miho Shimogasa (a "key animator: from Sailor Moon
and character designer for Cutie Honey F
and Ultra Maniac
). Momoko Akatsutsumi voices Blossom, Miyako Goutokuji voices Bubbles, and Kaoru Matsubara voices Buttercup.
Some of the above information I got from this page, which has translated information from a Japanese Powerpuff Girls site
courtesy of Megan Yeager.Arxane has also written about it.
Though it's not directly related to the announcement, I would also be remiss not to mention "Bleedman's Powerpuff Girls "doujinshi"
(fan comic) that feature anime-ized versions of the Powerpuff Girls themselves (though they look different from the actual anime versions) as well as alternate versions of characters from several popular Cartoon Network shows (and a couple of Nickelodeon shows) including Samurai Jack as a phys ed teacher, a taller, "darker" version of Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory
, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Invader Zim and others. I might have missed some of the characters, references, and in-jokes since some of these cartoons were never shown on television in Canada.
Also, this comic seems to have been produced in English, presumably by an English-speaking North American, so the word balloons are horizontal and the panels read, thankfully, left-to-right. If I'm reading a translated manga, I prefer that it be presented "unflipped", with the panels reading right-to-left, as I prefer looking at art the way it was drawn and not a mirror image of it, but the right-to-left panel orientation in comics created primarily for an English-speaking audience is just pretentious. And, unlike too many Japanese Powepuff Girls
doujins, there's nothing disturbing, creepy, abhorrent, or downright "wrong" about it.
After I go to the anime club, I like to eat a combo meal of some sort at a popular fast-food restaurant franchise. I'm seeming to alternate between McDonald's and Wendy's, as sometimes I want a Big Mac and sometimes I'd rather have a delectable Wendy's Spicy Chicken burger (which I have to get at Wendy's since there's no KFC open in central Ottawa at that time of evening).
Last night I was in a Big Mac mood, so I went to one of the two McDonald's that I'm aware of that's within easy walking distance of the University of Ottawa, the one on Rideau Street, across the street from the Rideau Centre. I probably would have gone to the smaller location with the more intimate atmosphere on Elgin, but I wanted to browse a little at the Chapters bookstore first. Damn, it was soaking last night, though one-third of the journey was in the enclosed Rideau Centre, which they keep open in the evening for hours after the stores close to allow easy access to the Rideau Centre Famous Players cinema from Rideau street on one side and the major bus stop on the other side, as the streets that should, theoretically, enable one to navigate around the outside of the Rideau Centre, from one side to the other, are a lot more complicated than they ought to be. (By the way, assuming that you have an easily concealable videocamera and you won't be a nusiance to anyone else passing through the shopping centre, you and several of your friends can recreate many key scenes from Romero's original Dawn of the Dead
in the Rideau Centre after the stores closed but while the mall is open. Like that one shot of the four of them on the upper level in front of JC Penney's, looking down at the remaining zombies on the ground floor, when Peter says the "When there's no more room in Hell" line. Have your "actors" stand in front of Sears on the top mall level just in front of the huge opening, and film them from the stairs.)
I went to Chapters, which is open until 11 p.m. on Saturdays, but they didn't have the latest volume, volume 8, of Mihona Fuuji's Gals!
manga in French (though they did have volume 6 of the Patlabor
manga, but I didn't get it as I don't have volumes 4 or 5 yet). However, it turns out that they were having a weekend 20% off special on children's and teen books, so I bit the bullet and picked up a cheap paperback copy of the Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism
, which I've been curious about but which the Ottawa Public Library doesn't have a single copy of, for just $8.
Anyway, I go a couple of doors down to the Rideau Street McDonald's, and this is a McDonald's I have been to several times as a resident (and I have memories dating back to my teenage years of going to that particular McDonald's the many times I visited Ottawa), but, lately, there's been something slightly amiss about this McDonald's.
First of all, every time I go in there, and keep in mind that it's pretty much always late evening, there are always two rather burly private security guards there. This isn't weird in and of itself. This McDonald's is rather close to the bars and nightclubs of the Byward Market, and I doubt the local McDonald's franchise owner would go to the expense of hiring two rent-a-cops if they weren't needed. I guess I just haven't been there when they get their more drunk and rowdy visitors. The McDonald's on Sainte Catherine's across the street from Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal sometimes has one security guard, depending on the time of day.
So I get to the counter, and order my Big Mac trio, and I get it within two minutes or so, no incident. Like usual, even though I'm eating in the restaurant, they put my food in a bag instead of on a tray. Why? That's another weird thing. Because this particular McDonald's doesn't seem to have trays, or, if they do, they don't use them in the evening. Maybe that has something to do with the security problem they seem to be guarding against? I don't know, but it's very strange.
So I try to take my food to the table, as I have to drop it off to be able to get the straws, napkins, and ketchup, which is a little inconvenient. However, I can't get directly to the main dining area because the two fricking security guys are having a little chat with each other and they're completely blocking the way. It's absolutely nothing security related, they're just chatting with one anohter since nothing bad was happening in the restaurant. So, due to their lack of intangibility, I had to walk around the divider and use the entrance to the dining area that was near the main doors to Rideau street. Damnit, if they're just going to stand there and chat, there is another dining area that is off-limits at night, and there is a huge dead-zone between the counter with the napkins and condiments and the closed-off dining area that they can stand in and chat to their heart's content, getting in the way of no one.
I get to the condiment area... I get my straws, and I get my napkins, and I get the little paper cup that you pump the ketchup into, and I go to the pump, and... it's empty! Not only is it empty, but the clear tube that goes from the main cylinder of the pump to the nozzle looks as though it has been sucked dry, with no traces of red ketchup. I go to the other pump, and it's the exact same deal. So I go to the counter to ask for the little packets of ketchup, and they're completely out.
What the hell kind of operation are they running here? It's the main McDonald's in the central area of the city of Ottawa, and it's a large-ish McDonald's, and they didn't have enough ketchup for a Saturday night? So I had to suffer the humiliation of eating my french fries completely dry... I mean, don't get me wrong, their fries are still as addictive as crack to me without the Heinz, but it was like the Spaghetti Incident
era Guns N' Roses without Izzy Stradlin, you're losing that one small element that makes the whole production so much better.
Mental note to self: go to the McDonald's on Elgin from now on. Or at least fill out one of those little Customer Satisfaction cards that Hank Hill fills out every time he eats at any fast food place. And try and end an article like this with a punchline of some sort next time.