Impressions: Toradora!, Index, Druaga, Tytania and Glass Fleet

While I think of something more interesting to say, I thought I’d share some thoughts on what I’ve been watching. Really I’m sad Fall and Winter seasons are over. Now I’ve got to find more new stuff to watch.

It’s depressing. Anyways…

Toradora!: Okay everyone else is on this bandwagon, so I ought to hook my leg over and get on in. I like this show. Really, I didn’t even have to warm up to it. It had me at its slightly vague and still somewhat confusing opening dialogue (I’m still not entirely sure what they were getting to with that, unless they were trying to say “LOVE.” Perhaps, I’m just over thinking it.) But really, I liked the characters. I liked the back stories. I wish they didn’t make Ami so cryptic and I wish the same thing about Minorin, but I’ll take what I can get.

Even the somewhat abrupt shift in Ryuugi’s character didn’t bug me. The harem bit did kind of bother me. I mean, really? Does he really need all THREE girls to be in love with him? Can’t he just fall for Taiga and be done with it? But beyond the minor gripe, I thought it was a good show.

Toaru Majistu no Index: Occasionally, I stumble across a show that really surprises me. Index is that kind of show.

Now, I’m not going to kid anyone. This is a shounen fighting show. There are fights in it. A lot of fights in it. In fact, there’s a major battle about every second or third episode. All of that said, the main character doesn’t really have super powers. Well okay, he has one superpower (his right hand can negate other superpowers, if he touches the effect.) This is not much of a superpower though and it doesn’t get any better. He doesn’t suddenly start shooting beams out of his hands or go into POWER LEVEL 9000 mode. No, he has to touch whatever it is and sometimes this proves a lot harder than what you might think. (Strangely enough there seems to be this theme of “luck” running through the show which I haven’t quite pinned down.)

The other thing I like about it is a pretty major twist about halfway through the series and it doesn’t try to sugar coat it. Arguably it does soft peddle it a bit, but not to the point where I got angry at it for getting my hopes up.

(And it even has lesbians.)

Tower of Druaga – Sword of URUK – : Yes, I like this show. Yes, I know it’s a David Eddings-style, brain-candy fantasy. Yes, I know every self-respecting anime fan dropped this show a long time ago. To be honest though, I still think it’s a decent show. It is the grilled cheese and tomato soup of anime. It doesn’t shoot for the moon in this second season, and I don’t really miss the self-referential humor too much. (Although I did miss it a little bit.) That’s all I have to say about that.

Tytania : This show needs a second season. I still haven’t watched the last four episodes and I know it needs a second season. Now I’m a fan of this show because I like court politics and I like Fan’s “the devil may care” attitude. Yeah, this is another one I don’t have much more to say about.

Glass Fleet: I really want to like this show. It has court politics, it has space battles, it has people trying to pretend they’re something that they aren’t. Really, it has some brilliant scenes and some remarkable episodes.

It’s just that it feels like it was put together by people who didn’t know what they were doing. The series will build a whole lot of tension up and then kill it with a flashback episode, or it will completely change it’s course, or it will have its main character be completely unwilling to participate in the action. It couldn’t decide whether it was going to be a character study or if it was going to be an epic. And while it’s possible for a series to be both, Glass Fleet doesn’t completely succeed at being either.

If you ever wondered what became of me

So it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here.

It’s because I got a job. I am an honest-to-goodness reporter.

Yes, that means I packed up all of my stuff and drove across the country. It was an interesting experience. Maybe not one I would repeat any time soon, but it was an experience.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with the site (I’m probably going to talk to my editor about it.) But if you want to reach me, you can email iniksbane@gmail.com.

Anyways, I don’t have much else to say.

This is the new site

Hey this is the new site. Tell me what you think.

A New Site?

So after three months of blogger, I think I’m about to cave in. I set up a wordpress blog over at searchofno9.wordpress.com. I’m wondering what you all think. And does anyone know how easy it is to move a RSS feed over there?

Seviakis vs. Smith : My opinion

(Okay, this is the hardest part, which is why I’ve been putting it off.)

Introduction

I know calling Mr. Smith wrong is a harsh way to put it. In all honesty, I feel for the guy. He’s putting out a product that he thinks is worth selling and people are just coming along and taking it, putting it on the Internet and thumbing their nose at the whole capitalist ideal.

And in a large part, I do want people to buy anime. I do want people to support the industry. But on the other hand, the capatialist paradigm is changing or rather has changed. Gone are the halycon days when a few brick and mortars controlled a very local market and you had to go to them to get your stuff. That was obilitarated when Amazon and eBay proved to be workable business models. Long past is the times when you had to have a physical medium to enjoy copyrighted material. That disappeared with mp3s and the rise of Napster. And quickly disappearing are the days when even ISPs can control the flow of intellectual property through their lines. That vanished when Comcast couldn’t close down BitTorrent. (Granted from the sound of it, it might have been more of a case of truth in advertising then anything else.)

So while I feel bad for Mr. Smith on a personal level, I have to say that he needs to wake up and smell the 21st century and the new brand of capitalism. A capitalism that isn’t controlled by a few brick and mortars in a very local area. A capitalism that is controlled by the consumer.

And downloading intellectual property without paying for it has become a consumer choice.

Why I think Seviakis’s argument is right.

To be honest, perhaps tj_han is correct, and I’m merely mimicing someone else’s opinion, but I have worked in retail a long time. And if there is any one rule in retail it’s: The customer might not always be right, but they’re still the customer.

And in the end, the job of the retailer and the businessman is to meet the customers need. Never has this become more important than in the world of intellectual property, which unlike furniture or shoes or drugs, is not an actual physical item. You can’t force customers to come buy from you. You have to offer them either exceptional customer service or a really cheap price.

Seviakis’s argument acknowledges this. That it doesn’t matter why people are downloading. And while he does indulge into proving that it is hurting the industry, he also points out that trying to guilt people into buying isn’t going to work. Essentially the industry has to wake up and deal with the fact that they’re not meeting their consumers needs.

And the consumers are taking it for themselves.

(Again, I could spend and entire post talking about whether this is good or bad, but hopefully I’ve argued that it’s a non-point.)

So if the industry wants to compete with fansubs, it has to do exactely that. Compete with fansubs. It has to offer the same service that fansubs do. If they don’t then they’ll continue to lose money to them.

To be fair, I’m not entirely sure I did his argument justice, but that’s what I took away from it. And it’s Mr. Smith’s argument that scares me far more.

Why I think Arthur Smith’s argument is wrong.

Like I’ve said before, I feel bad for the guy. I will give the man credit. He did start off by saying that the industry is evaluating different options to provide anime quicker to the market. But… and this is a big but… I have a serious problem with the tone of his response. His first two points were much like the beginning of Seviakis’s letter. He’s simply trying to prove that fansubs are indeed hurting the industry. Now I could spend all day poking holes in his numbers, but I don’t think it’s necessary. What is necessary is to point out why he’s doing it.

He wants us, ‘the fans’ , to be concerned about the industry. My initial opinion about his tone hasn’t changed. The first section of his letter is a plea for people to worry, to give money, it’s a pity party told in four part harmony. It’s a call to give and give and give some more because you’re local neighborhood anime company needs your support. It’s not the words of a business man, it’s the words of a beggar. Essentially he’s turned the anime industry from a business into a charity. Where we “should” give money, rather than “want” to give money.

What disturbs me the most is his third point, where he says why they can’t do what Seviakis suggested. Now I do have to give him credit, he does say that he’s going to “work to shorten this length of time” but the problem is that he has to make it much quicker than six months. Granted, I’ve gotten less angry about this as I’ve read it, but it still seems, like a question of , “Oh we’ll try.” rather than “Yes, I’m going to do that.”

And that’s what I want to hear from Smith. I want to know that he’s doing everything he can to save his business. I want to know that I’m not wasting my support on an industry that isn’t working to support itself.

Because otherwise, why should I waste my time.

A little diversion

Normally I don’t talk to much about AMVs, mostly because a majority of them look like what they are – amatuer music videos. But occasionally, I come across one that’s good. This isn’t mine. The song is by Jonathon Coulton and it’s from a series I’m going to buy now called Legend of the Black Heaven.

In the middle of a crisis

So really I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted when I started to write this blog. To be truthful, it all started at two o’clock one morning when I thought, “Oh hey, I should start writing an anime blog.”

And I just jumped in, feet first without clue one about what I was getting into. I figured after a month, I would get tired of it and wander off to do something different. Especially after I’d signed up for AnimeNano and wasn’t getting on there. And I’d signed up from the anime blogger antenna and didn’t get on there.

But all of that changed in the middle of November when I got on the AnimeNano antenna. There’s something about seeing more than 100 people visit your site, and even if they aren’t reading your crap, they are at least setting foot on your dominion.

But I’m still not sure where I want to go. Now I certainly haven’t run out of topics to talk about. I have an idea for a post about classifications and whether they’re helpful or not. I’ve got a pretty detailed idea for a post on fansubs, blogs and the marketplace of ideas. Not to mention there’s at least a few more classics I could pick apart.

In the end, I really want to know what other people think. What is it that made you click on this link to begin with? What type of stuff do you want to see? I mean I need to be in the business of bringing in readers rather than distancing them. And I feel that I haven’t done that as well as I could.

So… anyways. Please leave a comment or e-mail iniksbane@gmail.com