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So people who follow my Twitter may recall I’ve been working on some moe anthropomorphisms of R1 anime distribution companies. Yesterday, crazy things happened, things that should only stay in the doujinshi that is the collective otaku consciousness, and @Funimation, @aniplexUSA, @Crunchyroll and @VizMedia started talking to each other on Twitter like moe anthropomorphisms. It’s become a pretty big Thing and apparently there are talks of someone making an otome game, so that’s been pretty cool.
I’ve been having fun making my own versions– it was fun as a creative challenge– but I still like to create things that are juuust a little different from everything else, and I don’t like feeling too unoriginal. Now that R1-tan are going mainstream (I’m such a hipster), I’m going to halt my progress on these. However, I put a lot of thought into these moe anthropomorphisms over the last few months, and I’d like to commit them to paper, so I’m writing up most of my mental outlines for the characters I had planned.
The name I use for them is R1s or R1-tan. If this were a comic or an anime, the name would be R1! ~Region One~. There are many companies out there, but these are the ones I had developed pretty solid images for. They basically work in offices and sell anime all day, occasionlly meeting up afterwards for drinks or partying at cons. Deceased characters have a halo. There’s a gakuen AU of R1! where there’s a school for the anime characters and a school for the manga characters, both in the same town. All the human names are meant to kind of sound like the company name, if that wasn’t obvious. Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions!
MIT Anime maintains a list of appearances and references of MIT in anime, and apparently a lot of mangaka and anime writers, like any other Asian parents, really want to send their kids to MIT.
It might be because I don’t really pay as much attention to schools that aren’t my alma mater, but it does seem that there are fewer references to other American colleges in anime or manga– but there still are some. I know I’ve probably missed just about a TON of references, so let me know if you’ve found some as well! Here are some of the ones I caught:
Subjective Best Things: Part 2
Late in publishing this, so I’ll skip the intro and just get back to ranting about things I like~
A friend of mine once observed that when we’re asked to identify their favorite anime, a lot of us have this slight pause– we’ll open our mouth to answer, think for a moment, and then answer with something that’s a little classier than the first series that popped into our minds. My go-to answers for this question (I no longer need to pause) are always Death Note and Monster, but… if I was being ~honest with myself~ it’d really just be Detective Conan, or whatever trashy shoujo manga I’ve been really into lately…
I therefore don’t find lists of the “best anime of 2012″ very productive because “best” really doesn’t mean anything, and people on the Internets get way too angry talking about how much other people’s tastes suck. (Can’t we all just get along?) Just replacing this with “favorite” isn’t that helpful either– there’s still a difference between stuff I like and stuff I’d recommend. I think I’d like to temporarily use the phrase “subjective best”– that’s still pretty useless, but perhaps it’s a good way to say “if you have tastes that are similar to mine– and you might, because friends often have at least some similar tastes– then you might think these shows are good (?) and I won’t feel too bad about saying they are; I still wouldn’t presume to say they’re the best by any objective standard of quality because that’s too difficult to define.” Maybe I’m overthinking things and this sort of explanation is completely unnecessary.
So with that semantics crap out of the way, more of my year in review: overall favorites and “subjective bests” of 2012!
So 2012. A lot of stuff happened in it for me and, well, kind of for anime, I guess. I’m of the opinion that we had one of the strongest seasons in a long time this year. Online streaming continued to grow stronger. Shonen Jump Alpha finally brought manga’s business model into the 21st century. It’s a good time to be alive, or something.
So here’s my very personal year in review, mostly for my own notes and references, but I figured I’d like to share. Originally this was one blog post, but it became so horribly text-wally that I broke it up into three parts. This one’s mostly an overall summary.
During my undergrad years, as part of MIT Anime’s quest to provide a more social environment, the exec board agreed that it would be A Good Thing to focus on making showing intermissions more interactive– with social games. One of my friends and I are kind of huge nerds for Dominion, Donald X. Vaccarino’s famous deck-building card game, so we created something of an anime-themed Dominion half expansion!
The cards themselves changed quite a bit after some testing, but this is the near-final product. The set predates Hinterlands and Dark Ages, which explains why there are a few similarities (Time Machine in particular is a bit like Hinterlands’ Scheme). Generally, we tried to use somewhat general concepts instead of particular characters, mostly from anime that somewhat casual fans (e.g. typical congoers) would recognize. In most cases, we came up with the actual name of the card first and then attached a mechanic, although there are some exceptions– Mecha, Iron Town, Student Council to name a few.
Anyway, I’ve posted each of the cards we created, as well the backs and base cards needed to play. We printed ours black and white, on yellow cardstock, since it was the easiest. If you print your own set and play, please let me know! I’d love to hear more thoughts on the designs. (more…)
Detective Conan is probably my favorite manga of all time; certainly many series are objectively better, and there are tons of times that I’ve been more excited about a newer series for a short burst of time, but Conan’s the only series that has held my interest continuously for a decade.
Unfortunately for me, Detective Conan is a very difficult series to proselytize. The characters and readers are young*, the setup for a lot of mysteries is rather contrived (for some reason someone always dies whenever Conan goes camping/tags along for some award ceremony characters/eats at a restaurant), and there’s a LOT of filler– unlike even Naruto or Bleach, where there’s “too much filler,” Detective Conan is actually predominantly filler. I always make the joke that there’s one major plot development per year in Detective Conan, and that’s actually pretty true. The manga has been running for 17 years with (at the time of this writing) 800+ chapters, so it’s certainly understandable why it’s kind of a daunting series.
I think this is all a crying shame because the plot of Conan, whenever it shows up, is actually pretty intense and thrilling. There aren’t many other kids’ shows with such high-stakes showdowns against crime syndicates and terrorists (and really, there aren’t many other kids’ shows with as much blood and death). The characters, including (especially?) the minor ones are generally very distinct and likeable, and the romances– some of them heartrending– develop believably, even if it takes decades. There’s a reason that the anime’s television viewership demographic consistently ranges 8-40– certainly it’s written for and enjoyed by children, but its appeal is far broader than most kids/shounen manga.
Since I’m trying to get more people to read Conan, I’ve compiled a short, fairly spoiler-free reading guide for the first 200 chapters, with more to come. I know it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to read all 800+ chapters of this manga just for the promise of awesome but sparse plot, so I’ve included information about which chapters are actually important, along with some short notes. (more…)