Anime World Order Show # 29 – Better Late Than Never

Better late than never, I guess. Daryl reviews the horror anime Requiem From the Darkness, Clarissa reminisces on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya now that it’s ended, and Gerald talks about his favorite anime of all time, Gall Force.

Introduction (0:00 – 25:10)
Gerald starts things off by making a joke about how “Ichi” is pronounced the same as “itchy” that’s so subtle he didn’t even know he was doing it. In the emails department, Patrick M. writes in to tell us all about the other Osamu Tezuka that was mentioned back in the Shadow Skill segment of Show # 26, the Popcorn Samurai likens Gerald to Eagle from The Muppets, Area 88 mega-fan Cloudy-Sky likens Gerald to Butthead and Stephen Hawking while expressing approval over Daryl’s review of Area 88 back in Show # 4 (by the way, it’s out on DVD now!), and we explain the reason why we haven’t reviewed too many television series to date. Plus Keith over at Teleport City reveals an even grimmer secret about MD Geist that we neglected to reveal in our recent review. Since there’s really no news this week, we close things off by mentioning that Intersound Inc, where the Harmony Gold/Streamline Pictures releases were dubbed, is going out of business and is selling off all their equipment. This leads into a brief discussion on anime dubs.

Promo: Fast Karate for the Gentleman (25:10 – 26:14)
Dave and Joel’s gaming and anime podcast is one of Daryl’s favorites, and it’s not just because they frequently talk about how awesome Daryl is. It’s because they provide him with jokes to steal. If you’re going to Otakon, stop by the Artist’s Alley and check them out!

Overlooked: Requiem From the Darkness (26:14 – 46:40)
In an attempt to be more contemporary, Daryl talks about this 13-episode horror-themed anime series released by Geneon about a year or two ago which absolutely nobody cared about except for about three of us over in ADTRW. He was planning to show a clip of it at Anime Festival Orlando, but ran out of panel time. Laugh to yourselves as a guy who knows nothing about art or visual aesthetics tries feebly to describe a show whose primary characteristic is the fact that it looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before! Sample screenshots are posted below.

Screenshots don’t adequately reflect the effect that the CG and camerawork has on the show, but there’s quite a bit of that too. After this segment had finished recording, Gerald mentioned how he thought the style of this show was just too confusing to follow what was happening. He should have mentioned it while the recorder was on!

Review: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (46:40 – 1:05:11)
Clarissa trumps all of us in attempting to review something recent for a change by tackling what was the most popular anime series in Japan last season. We weren’t sure whether to bother with it since everywhere you go there’s people who won’t shut up about this series, but apparently people want to hear our thoughts. This one was pretty tough to review, since roughly 15 minutes were excised from this segment for the sake of removing spoilers.

Promo: Popcorn Samurai (1:05:11 – 1:06:39)
Here’s a brand-new podcast that just started up which is all about samurai movies! In the first episode, he talks about Seven Samurai and starts off the first part of what will be an extensive piece dedicated to the Zatoichi films. Hmm, now that we’ve got a podcast all about chambara, I wonder if there’s anything out there dedicated entirely to 70s Shaw Brothers kung fu pictures? Could this be a job for Jules Carrozza aka “Kojiro Abe”?! Note to self: get the Celestial remastered version of Heroes of the East.

Review: Gall Force (1:06:39 – 1:25:25)
Gerald reviews what is his favorite anime ever, the OAV series Gall Force. Despite being OAVs, Gall Force is not his favorite OAV series–Gunbuster is–and by his own admission, Gall Force is not the best anime ever made. This also ended up being a really long segment: for time constraints, all instances of screaming about how awesome laser beams that fire out in one direction then change direction are have been removed. That alone probably took up ten minutes.

  • Gerald’s personal and never updated page on Gall Force (It’ll happen one day)

Closing (1:25:25 – 1:30:05)
It’s 1:30 AM as I write this, and the gist of the matter is that we were all occupied with getting ready for our panels at Anime Festival Orlando this weekend. I had 24 hours to compile, capture, then author a DVD containing two hours of assorted video clips. Did I mention I didn’t actually know how to not suck at authoring DVDs? It took me 3 days to put together a DVD that ended up being about 30 minutes. It’s not the DVD layouts and menus that’ll kill you, it’s encoding/converting everything over to MPEG-2. Gerald and Clarissa had similar obligations, and on top of that both of them are experiencing grievous computer hardware troubles.

So basically, that’s why Show # 29 was late. Actually, this is all a lie; all of the segments were complete days ago with the exception of the Gall Force review and the closing. Anyway, next time on AWO, it’s one of two things. Either we’re fast-tracking our Anime Festival Orlando coverage–probably no TRUTH report this time around since Daryl ended up becoming part of it–or we’re reviewing the things we mentioned in the show. Daryl’s going to be talking about another Geneon series which nobody bought, New Getter Robo. People clearly mistakenly thought it was about robots when it is really about KARATE. Another fine offering from Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa. In stark contrast to that, Clarissa’s going to review the manga Antique Bakery, and Gerald’s going to review the limited edition box set of Patlabor the Movie 2, which is one of our favorite films.

69 thoughts on “Anime World Order Show # 29 – Better Late Than Never

  1. A little more information on Kyokoku Natsuhiko. His real name is Oe Katsuhiko, and he has been writing for a little over ten years now (the first book was apparently published in 1994). In addition to being a writer (all horror based), he is literally a yokai (spirit) expert. He seems to be well respected in the Japanese horror/folklore communities and has done commentary for other Japanese horror movies on DVD. There have been several live action adaptations of his work. The few pieces of artwork I’ve seen of his are similar to that in the anime. You are right, Daryl, each book is of his books are over 1000 pages long. I believe the only ones that deal with the Mataichi group are the last two books (2001 and 2004). From my understanding, it is still ongoing.

    Kosetsu Hyaku Monogatari was a big budget work from what I could tell. The main actors are all highly regarded with a lot of experience. One of the script writers did the screen plays for the Ringu, the other brought us the scripts of Cowboy Bebop and Kino’s Journey. The woman who did the opening and closing themes has been consistently voted the best Japanese jazz singer by the international jazz community.

    From what I can tell, the series did horribly in Japan (there seems to be more western fans of this show). The broadcaster really doesn’t have a history of much anime at all, so that may have been part of the problem. Since horror in Japan is almost strictly live action, horror buffs may not have bothered. Most of those outside of Japan that were/are interested in this anime tend to be more fans of Japanese culture than just anime.

    Sadly, I think this series just suffers from bad timing. The fact that a lot of anime now have to fall into the “otaku/moe culture” means that it’s hard to market and make anime for a different audience. Meanwhile, here in the U.S. anime isn’t seen as marketable or profit making as it was before, which makes it harder for stuff to be shown on television.

    Something tells me that the name change was all Geneon. When I asked someone to come watch it with me, the first question was “Is there 100 episodes?” I figure they changed the name to avoid confusion.

    There is a new anime coming out in Japan in a few days which looks looks similar in style called Kemonozume Sakaba/Kemonojime. It’s done by the same guy who did Cat Soup. There is another anime that was released this year called Ayakashi Japanese Horror Classic which is only 11 episodes and seems to be a collection of different short stories. The group that subbed it even has linear notes you can download from the site. I haven’t checked the show out yet.

    As far as The Melancholy of Suzumiya (another show I need to watch), from my understanding the episodes were shown out of order from the book. If you want to watch the episodes in order here is a list:

    1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I (episode #2)
    2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II (episode #3)
    3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya III (episode #5)
    4. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya IV (episode #10)
    5. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya V (episode #13)
    6. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya VI (episode #14)
    7. The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya (episode #4)
    8. Mysterique Sign (episode #7)
    9. Remote Island Syndrome (part 1) (episode #6)
    10. Remote Island Syndrome (part 2) (episode #8)
    11. Mikuru Asahina’s Adventure (episode #1)
    12. Live A Live (episode #12)
    13. The Day of Sagittarius (episode #11)
    14. Someday in the Rain (episode #9)

    The reason why they were changed was because the ending wouldn’t have packed a good punch in the amount of episodes they were allocated.

    There is also an anime called Ray The Animation based on the manga, both of which take place in the Black Jack universe. The anime is only 13 episodes long and hasn’t really gotten any attention. I’m interesting in what Clarissa thinks about it and whether it’s any good.

    Thanks for the links on Belle and Sebastian. They were being shown here in the U.S. around the time I was born (late 84), so I completely missed out on it. I’m going to wait until all of it is uploaded.

  2. Can I ask why this is? Is it because of the “taming of the shrew” kind of thing?

    That’s sort of it. It’s one of those things that doesn’t necessarily bother me so much as an individual case but as part of the larger pattern of how female characters in Japanese media are treated/approached. When it’s happening next to the mass of terrible annoying female characters that can’t do anything and exist only as extensions of men, I guess an ending like Haruhi’s–look, all she really needed was Kyon!–tweaks me a bit more. Should I take it as a matter of these two specific characters relating to one another, or is it yet another message that “all she really needed was a man?”

    However, looking back at the chronological order for the episodes and seeing Haruhi’s behavior and her relationship with Kyon after what we see as the ending, I think it’s really not so bad as all that. But with the order they choose, putting that as the closer, it kind of leans heavier that way.

    And heck, the ‘ending’ was certainly epic and gorgeous in a way that I loved. Maybe cliche, but I loved Kyon’s communication with Itsuki and Nagato there. Also, the animation sequences of the Blue Giants are *fantastic.*

    I really should have talked more about the animation. It really is excellent, the show looks wonderful.

    (And yes, the Haruhi dance is great.)

  3. There is also an anime called Ray The Animation based on the manga, both of which take place in the Black Jack universe.

    Haha, actually I haven’t watched this at all. I kind of went “ooh, Black Jack” but then it seemed like he was only a brief cameo so I passed it over.

    But I think that’s a good idea for a watch and review while I try to figure out a way to possibly tackle Black Jack for this podcast (without doing silly things like spending an entire hour just babbling about Dr. Kiriko). I’ll snag the episodes and give it a shot.

  4. You’re right — you should pick up the remastered “Heroes of the East.”

    But really, “Buddha’s Palm” is where the madness dwells. The villain in it has a leg that extends out a hundred feet, and foor grows to gigantic size when he kicks people. Plus, the hero can shoot swastika beams.

  5. Should I take it as a matter of these two specific characters relating to one another, or is it yet another message that “all she really needed was a man?”

    This might just be the time and place I’m approaching it from. But when reading comments about the show on forums like ADTRW, it seems that Kyon is a big favourite amongst people there (mostly young males). And this isn’t because he’s strong or clever or badass or anything, it’s because he’s so normal. At times cowardly, perverted, deceptive, but not overly spineless like so many characters masquerading as the “everyman” are.

    And it might be rather arbitrary but I think it’s neat that Haruhi, who is most bored by anything that could be considered normal, falls for the most down to earth guy out there. I don’t think the normality of Kyon means that any guy would’ve been acceptable, as she regards men as a species as being on the level of vegetables. I guess it’s paradoxical in that Kyon is special for being so plain. The last episode kind of tackles this when Kyon questions whether he is actually normal, and the answer from one of his friends seems to be that he isn’t. Because of his association with Haruhi and company.

    But yeah, I can probably see your point and this would be the only anime series I would defend against charges of all the women being playthings for the men. And even then, not to the death.

  6. On the “ending” of Haruhi (**possible spoilers**):

    If you watch the series in what I guess we are calling “chronological” order, the climax of the romantic story comes towards the end of the first half of the series (as mentioned, episode 6 of 14). Delaying Kyon’s “confession” to the end, seems to maintain the the sexual tension over the course of the series. The chronological final episode shows Haruhi in total control of the relationship.

    BTW, episode “00” maps out the entire storyline in a metaphorical way, with all of the characters jumbled (“He, no, in this scene it would be me…”). There is also a lot of dialog that is in that episode that gets used at some point in the series.

    I have a hard time believing that the anime at least wasn’t written specifically for the order it was broadcast in. If the anime producers altered the order from the book, they did it in a very clever way; there was far more involved than shuffling the order of the episodes around.

    In my opinion, the “broadcast” order doesn’t make or break the experience of watching the show, although it does guarantee a higher rate of WTF? moments (especially broadcast episode 4), but it DOES add to the “replay value” of the show. The show is different the second time around, because you have the background information.

    Cheers, all.

  7. Clarissa explains:
    However, looking back at the chronological order for the episodes and seeing Haruhi’s behavior and her relationship with Kyon after what we see as the ending, I think it’s really not so bad as all that. But with the order they choose, putting that as the closer, it kind of leans heavier that way.

    That’s how I felt about it as well. Watching the series in chronological order, the second arc after the first six episodes ame off more like filler to me, or more of something along the lines of “Hey, we’ve already established the characters long enough, let’s go have fun with ’em!” So you have episodes where they’re doing things like playing baseball, or solving a mystery on an island, to making a movie and performing a concert and so forth.

    And heck, the ‘ending’ was certainly epic and gorgeous in a way that I loved. Maybe cliche, but I loved Kyon’s communication with Itsuki and Nagato there. Also, the animation sequences of the Blue Giants are *fantastic.*

    It was a cool ending I thought too. If this had been more an OAV of just those 6 episodes, it would’ve worked out effectively I thought (back when OAVs were still big business).

    I really should have talked more about the animation. It really is excellent, the show looks wonderful.

    It’s got some fine points for that.

  8. Bob Savage said…
    In my opinion, the “broadcast” order doesn’t make or break the experience of watching the show, although it does guarantee a higher rate of WTF? moments (especially broadcast episode 4),

    It was one of those that threw me in for a loop. We just find out what Nagato was in the 3rd episode, now it’s a baseball game out of nowhere before we get back to where we left off in the 5th episode.

    but it DOES add to the “replay value” of the show. The show is different the second time around, because you have the background information.

    Cheers, all.

    I felt that way about this as well, once you watch watch it all the way through, it’s no biggie. Now I’m having some high hopes of it getting licensed soon (seems like it’s up ADV’s alley if they don’t screw it up).

  9. Oh if you didnt know, AnimePulse did a review of Odin. I dont like to say bad things about podcasts but, the review was bad, just bad. They didnt really rip the film apart either. There were ALOT of “um”s. All they did was TRY to tell you what the film was about. I dont reccomend you listen to the review. Just listen to AWO’s review, because it had alot more background info, and just more info in general, and at least AWO ripped it apart.

  10. Chris Sobieniak said:

    We just find out what Nagato was in the 3rd episode, now it’s a baseball game out of nowhere

    AND there is a guy who we have never been introduced to, who is now a regular member of the team! I had to laugh watching that.

  11. Bob Savage said…
    AND there is a guy who we have never been introduced to, who is now a regular member of the team! I had to laugh watching that.
    This whole show was presented in “Confus-O-Vision”! 🙂

  12. This is kind of separate from comments on this show, but still (I hope) relevant. What podcast was it that was supposed to record the Kazuo Koike panel at Comicon?

  13. As far as Haruhi goes, it’s kind of depressing to know that the Region 2 dvds have chosen to follow chronological order rather than the tv broadcast order, meaning that’s what we’ll also get when it’s inevitably licensed.

    Even more depressing is that we’ll also be hit with the standard whining and outrage from the ‘enlightened’ fans at such places as Animeondvd or ANN at how horrible [company] is for changing the order of the episodes from what they’re used to, regardless of the fact it’s the way the creators seem to want it.

    Reading ANNs review of My-Hime made me want to kill myself for similar reasons.

  14. Funny I’m not that bitchy to see Haruhi in chronological order on DVD, but I can see where people would get the wrong idea and go on a rampage on it via webforums for months.

  15. Hey guys, just thought you’d like to know youre number four on iTune AUS for Anime podcasts.Looking forward to show #30 – Katie

  16. Regarding the style of Requiem from the Darkness: isn’t it lame that they would put so much work into the geography and then animate the charcaters traditionally? The characters seem out of place in the landscapes. Even though their outlandish designs mirror the enviornment they don’t seem to be a part of it; they appear transposed. Stuff just seems not to fit together.

  17. I’m not sure what you mean when you say they animate the characters in Requiem From the Darkness “traditionally” as opposed to the backgrounds since it seemed to my blind to art self as though the same approach was taken to both. Sure, there is like, one instance where the townspeople are rendered as 3D CG, but the backgrounds are for the most part 2D drawings just as the characters are. There’s a few instances where CG is used for circular panning shots/zooming or to depict trees, streamers, or water, but it’s not like the Metropolis movie where the backgrounds are fully 3D CG and the characters are entirely 2D cel-animated. Most everyone I know dislikes the Metropolis movie and/or thinks that the art juxtaposition is too off-putting. These people clearly hate America and our freedom.

    Of the few people that have seen Requiem From the Darkness, many seem to have “I can’t figure out what it is I’m seeing on the screen” as a complaint. Clearly, they’re just not geniuses like me, but let’s face it: who is? Why, just now I took a Testriffic IQ test that said I was the coolest cat on the block, and if anything’s ironclad reliable in this world, it’s online multiple choice tests created for people’s Livejournals.

    I’m going to try and release a little bonus content by the end of the day today to make up for the delay between episodes. It won’t be an episode proper since it’s mainly going to be our interviews with Nobuteru Yuuki and Christine Auten which we just conducted at Otakon along with whatever other random things I can find to pad out time. Then after we release the next actual episode featuring the anime incarnation of myself, three guys who know karate and pilot robots, and three guys that are queer bakers who not only DON’T know karate but don’t pilot robots, the next thing is to get a bunch of these con reports done in order to justify our having press access to these things.

  18. The failure of Requiem From the Darkness, at least in North America seems to raise the question of whether anime marketing is equipped to handle releases of different genres. Maybe Requiem could have become a moderate success if you went after cult cinema fans, but you’re not going to sell it to the buyers of Kannazuki no Miko and with the volume of anime being released, you can’t expect it to be discovered on its own like Serial Experiments Lain was back when that was released.

    In general, for the more non-standard titles, I think the North American companies need to work harder to generate buzz. Going back to Fantastic Children, that’s a series you have to work to convince the buyer to invest in. Takashi Nakamura’s work looks European and different from most anime. That’s a turn-off. The earlier episodes aren’t solidly convincing either.

    In a lot of cases, these distributors just don’t seem to be sharp about creating buzz. Even as simple as crediting trailers. Who’s seen a good anime trailer recently? ADV was real good in the late 90’s, when they used to make questionable OAVs seem thrilling. Now, not so much.

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