Archive for May, 2011

It’s been a long 9 months. We’ve walked through the U.S. Roaring Twenties in the universe of Baccano and through mysterious dream worlds within Yumekui Merry. We’ve seen the stories of espers in Cencoroll, of warriors and friends in Black Rock Shooter, of archivists in Pale Cocoon, of world leaders in Reform Without Wasted Draws, and of star-crossed lovers in Voices of a Distant Star. All of these we have screened in the school year of 2010-2011; no doubt we have accomplished much compared to last year, and we will continue to accomplish much more next year as well. So here is our final screening of the year.

This week, on Wednesday in room E260, we will be screening Half-Broken Music Box (more commonly known as Kowarekake no Orgel), a slice-of-life drama about an unmotivated man whose life is changed when he meets an amnesiac android. It is a doujin OVA, or an anime that is not produced by a professional studio. However despite this, the staff involved are all professional directors and voice actors, and unless one Googles it or something it is impossible to tell that Half-Broken Music Box is a doujin production. For one, the animation is definitely on par with and even better than most anime out there.

Half-Broken Music Box is chosen to be screened last because we wish to show something that is quiet, sentimental, and yet powerful before we leave for the summer. Not coincidentally (i.e. just as planned), the anime takes place during the summer; it is my hope that everyone will experience as fun a summer as the main characters Keiichiro and Flower do in this heart-warming little OVA.

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Oh man, did the bulletins mention this today?

This week, on Tuesday in room E260, we will be screening Voices of a Distant Star, a sci-fi romance title about two lovers who have to rely on email to communicate across a vast expanse of space. It is directed by Makoto Shinkai, the famous director who is often hailed as the second coming of Hayao Miyazaki. In fact, Shinkai is not only the director, but also the producer of Voices and the sole animator. Guys hardcore for sure.

I came across Voices, I think, soon after watching 5 Centimeters Per Second. Shinkai’s name was already pretty well-known by that time, and I heard that supposedly his Voices of a Distant Star is must-watch classic. I held off on it until I finished The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which impressed me so much that I finally gave Voices a try.

Voices, like Pale Cocoon, is no light watch. In return however, it offers a plethora of symbolism and excellent, touching drama in the two’s struggle to reach each other’s hearts across the vastness of space. While the character animation is not particularly stellar, the great music, composed by Shinkai’s BFF Tenmon, contributes greatly in beautifully portraying the star-crossed lovers’ conflicts.

A classic that indeed should be given a watch.

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All teachers have a meeting on Wednesday at lunch, plus there is the Renaissance Assembly on Thursday, so we are moving the screening of our fifth OVA to 5/24, Tuesday.

But what exactly is the fifth OVA you ask? Stay tuned in the bulletin and this blog to find out.

(If you see on Monday’s bulletin that we will be screening on Wednesday, that’s a mistake. Again, we are screening on Tuesday)

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With the beginning of Week 4, our end-of-the-year OVA screenings are now half over. This also means we only have roughly 4 more weeks until summer break starts. \o/

The OVA of this week is Reform Without Wasted Draws (also known as Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku or The Legend of Koizumi), a satirical comedy anime in which world leaders solve diplomatic issues through over-the-top mahjong battles. Based on the first two arcs of the manga, the OVA is a compilation of three short episodes that combine to a total of roughly 26 minutes.

If it’s one thing this Mudazumo OVA pulled off well, it’s timing. Not specifically timing within the story per se, but the timing with which it chose to get itself animated. You see, there are lots of OVAs that are released each season, and there are lots more people who simply don’t have the time to watch them all. But Mudazumo is smart. It took the opportunity to announce its anime in August 2009, when half the anime community (including me) was already crazy over a different mahjong-related anime known as Saki.

But Mudazumo wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it doesn’t have merits of its own. For one thing, Mudazumo is hilarious. It has that type of ridiculous comedy that is actually funny to watch, and its jokes regarding world leaders are very clean and harmless. Another good part about Mudazumo is that it requires almost no knowledge of mahjong itself whatsoever. In fact, if you know mahjong, you’d probably only laugh at the sheer absurdity of how it’s being played.

For a fun and relaxing afternoon this Wednesday, come to room E260 at lunch to watch Mudazumo.

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Apparently, I really do have the memory span of a goldfish (and no, I don’t remember the 3-second thing is already mythbusted). Sorry for the late post once again!

This week on Wednesday in room E260, we will be screening Pale Cocoon, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime set in a future in which humanity has already forgotten its recorded history, having relocated to the moon decades prior because the Earth must be cleaned. It follows the story of Ura, a man who works in the Excavation Department trying to recover lost history even though his co-workers have already one by one given up.

I stumbled upon this particular OVA after I first watched Time of Eve, which is produced by the same studio, Studio Rikka. Time of Eve is an awesome ONA and movie (you should totally watch it, by the way), so when I learned about Pale Cocoon during forum discussions, my curiosity kicked in and I decided to give it a spin (I am a sucker for sci-fi).

In the art/animation department, Studio Rikka does not disappoint. Pale Cocoon features some very polished and pretty CGI backgrounds, and while the characters themselves are also partly animated with CGI, they remain very “anime-like” and not at all jarring to look at. Pale Cocoon does not have alot of action, comedy, nor romance, but it does deal in subtle and original ways with ideas of environmentalism, the path of mankind, and the role of history. It is a sci-fi through and through, and while I don’t think it’ll be everyone’s cup of tea, I encourage you guys to try it out.

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Yay, I’m not late this time!

This week we are screening Black Rock Shooter, a fantasy/drama anime about two girls who become friends in one world, but are mortal enemies on a seperate mysterious world. It is roughly 50 minutes long, so we will be screening it in two parts, the first on Wednesday and the second on Thursday.

For those of you who have been watching anime for a while now or have been following anime culture, most likely you’ve heard of Black Rock Shooter. In fact, I’d bet its popularity approaches that of Vocaloid and Touhou, the other two of the doujin Big Three. Its legend began in the 12th century (I mean 2008), when supercell released a song/PV that featured Black Rock Shooter, an original character designed by artist huke. The concept turned out to be wildly popular, spawning many versions and expansions in different media, and the rest is history.

One of these media is an anime OVA, and this is what we will be screening. It is animated by studio Ordet, better known as Yutaka Yamamoto‘s Studio. At least Yamamoto’s studio knows how to pick voice actors, getting Kana Hanazawa for Kuroi Mato and Miyuki Sawashiro for Yomi. It’s worth it just for them! /fanboy

So yeah, be sure to come watch!

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