Correlation Between Modern Manga Writing and Short-Episode-Count Anime

Anime adaptations of manga are nothing new. Checking upcoming anime every season, there’s always an interest in discussing what manga is deserving of an adaptation. That said, while interests in different subgenres continue to crop up among modern anime, episode counts are continuing to drop. Long gone are the days when 50-100+ episode anime was the norm. Now more than ever, anime episode count is dwindling, and it’s been affecting manga-ka in an unexpected way, having them take different approaches when it comes to writing their stories in hopes of nabbing that sought-after anime adaptation.

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Gabe Finally Watches: Nana

Nana tells the story of two 20-year-olds named Nana that have a chance encounter on a train to Tokyo—probably the most American-style setup for a josei I’ve ever seen. And the Western influence doesn’t stop there. From the apartment the two end up sharing, to the burger/bar the girlier Nana frequents, nearly everything about the series makes a point of distancing itself as far from your typical Japanese dramas as possible.
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Tiffany’s “I Just Wanna Dance” Mini Album Review

You know when you check out an artist’s album because their single was good, only to realize the rest of the album sounds nothing like the single? That’s what Tiffany’s debut album I Just Wanna Dance is, except in this case the bulk of the songs are far better than the titular song.

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#Pick #A #Side–Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War is a thematically confused mess of a movie.

Ok, maybe that was coming off a bit harsh. As many gripes as I had with the movie, the things it did well were enjoyable. Newcomers Spider-Man and Black Panther felt comfortably familiar to the series and were able to be of oddly large amount of use to the movie’s plot. The big superhero fight the title alludes to was stupid yet gratifying to watch (seeing Spider-Man piggyback off War Machine was just one of its many highlights). And on the whole it made me excited for the future of Marvel’s movies rather than anxious over the burnout that you’d expect come thirteen of these movies over the course of 8 years.

That said, there was plenty wrong with Civil War, too.

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Digimon Tri Episodes 1-4: Twittered

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I think we all know the lyric should be “ON MY LOVE.”

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3 Things I Liked in the Live-Action Attack on Titan Movie

Was the live-action Attack on Titan movie bad? No. Would I watch the live-action Attack on Titan movie again? No.

(insert "they wasted all their budget on trailer-specific scenes" joke here
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s three movie-only details that were pretty enjoyable: Read more of this post

Gabe finally Watches: Michiko and Hatchin

So Toonami recently started airing Michiko and Hatchin, which I’ve used as an excuse to finally watch the series in its entirety myself.

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A Response to People that Don’t Like Cards Against Humanity

I woke up this morning surprised to find my twitter feed slowly but surely spreading this article speaking in-depth about how people actually go as far as despise the game of Cards Against Humanity.

To reply by simply saying “it’s just a game” would be irresponsible and avoiding the problems brought up by the people that well… have a problem with the game.

Cards Against Humanity isn’t an ice-breaker to play with people you don’t know. At least that’s not how I’ve ever played it. You play it amongst friends you know well and play your cards keeping in mind who the judge for the current round is. Yes, you are pandering to what that particular person finds funny (in an ironic way or not), but in that regard it’s more than a “shut your brain off and go” game. It does in fact require some sense of strategy by not just thinking “what’s the best LOL TEH RANDUMB” thing or most racially/sexually/tumblr-enraging thing. You play your cards based on the person currently judging.

And for people that have created their actual grown-up livelihood around comedy, I can see why that would upset them. The entire idea of pandering is never seen in a positive light. People love to hate shows like Big Bang Theory because it tries too hard to pander for an audience without the TLC required for said audience to actually *like* what’s being attempted to be shoved down their throats. But that’s pandering to a broad audience. Let me reiterate: Cards Against Humanity is something to be played amongst a small circle of friends that are fully aware of just how ridiculous the concept is. It’s the difference between telling a silly one-liner to a friend and taking that said one-liner and attempting to get a publishing deal based solely around it.

But wait, what about all the offensive choices you’re given and clearly encouraged to play? Choices mocking certain races or religions or sexual-orientations or disabilities, etc. etc.

Again, this has to do with the certain group of people you’re playing with. As a Filipino twenty-something, my small circle of friends are of similar backgrounds and during the handful of times we get together to play Cards Against Humanity, the inappropriateness of the game is all in good fun. None of us are actually involved in things like casual racism or the like–it’s simply the nature of the game. The “jokes” played during each round are laughed at not due to how genuine they are, but because of how downright ridiculous they’ve become within the small timespan of each round.

That is not to say that there doesn’t exist a breed of people that partake in said game, partake in a round and laugh at the cards played in a serious “I’m laughing at the subjects being mocked rather than the ludicrousness of the situation” manner. These people are idiots with too few brain cells to look past the face value of something and realize a different level of humor is at play. Said people will always exist regardless of whether or not Cards Against Humanity was ever made. The existence of Cards Against Humanity does not “breed” insufferable-ness. Rather, it better categorizes what kind of person you are based on just what exactly it is you’re laughing at.

So is Cards Against Humanity hurtful? It can be. So can kitchen knives. But for the most part, people just use those to cut fruit. Only the true whackadoos actually use it in an intentionally hurtful manner and yet for some reason those are the people that we like to focus on and create this entirely different image on the product at hand because of such.

Spoiler-Free Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

As ultimately forgettable as the first Amazing Spider-Man movie was, I do appreciate the fact that it stuck closely to certain aspects of the main Spidey universe. Peter Parker tinkering away in his basement working on things besides flashy spider-themed spandex, mechanical web-shooters, Gwen Stacy in all her thigh-high-wardrobey-goodness (I actually don’t know how canon that is, but it does fit her character at least aesthetically)… Sure it had its problems, but as a whole, it was inoffensive and certainly wasn’t a disaster.

My opinion remains with its sequel.

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Gabe Finally Watches: Genshiken

It’s strange to be able to refer to college in the past-tense. It’s even stranger to compare your college experience with those told in works of fiction only to see how painfully inaccurate they were to your dull, dull existence as an undergrad. Thankfully, Genshiken has my back when it comes to the ordinary (yet entertaining!) college life.

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Genshiken (shorthand for “Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai” or “The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture”) tells the story of an anime/manga/gaming college club and the people that inhabit said club’s clubroom. Actual scenes of the characters attending classes, studying, etc are few and far between, as the series’ main focus is on what the characters do in their spare time. As such, a lot of time is spent bumming around in Genshiken: playing retro videogames on an old 4:3 TV, having rambling conversations referencing last week’s anime episodes and in general just trying to forget that by the end of your academic career, you’re expected to nab a job and join the rest of the working world. That said, the series resonates with me to a painful degree.

You would think that the idea of nerdy college students spending their days bumming around making nerd references may get old fast, but the series keeps things fresh by constantly switching focus to different characters. Initially, you are introduced to college freshman Sasahara, who comes off as a rather plain guy that joins Genshiken on a whim. But as the series progresses, it begins to focus on other club members, like Madarame—poster-boy for anime fanboy, and Kasukabe—a complete non-nerd, who puts up with the club’s nonsense since her boyfriend Kohsaka is a regular member.

It is in this combination of newbie fan, fanboy, and non-fan that Genshiken begins to show its true colors as a thesis on what truly defines one as an “otaku.” And while the series may come off as meandering at times, if you are able to relate to any of the characters, then it’s well worth the watch.

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The series continues to roll with this concept in its subsequent OVA episodes, where a fourth type of fan is introduced in new freshman Ogiue—the closet fan. While the OVAs only total at three episodes, they do add something fresh to the table in its new character as well as continue to flesh out old ones—particularly Madarame and Kasukabe, who have become something of a foil to each other.

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It is in its second full season (Genshiken 2) that the series begins to take a somewhat different approach to its formula. While storytelling remains consistent with the past season and OVA, visual representations of the characters’ conversations have become noticeably more… explicit. Before this season, characters referencing sex (either in real life or in the games/anime they consume) would mainly keep the details to themselves. This season, however, seems to take full advantage of the clearly higher quality animation it’s been granted by showing in full glory the gritty and borderline not-safe-for-work perverted thoughts running through some of the characters’ heads. Fanservice in general begins to crop up more frequently with this season, resulting in some of the more out-there episodes.

Nonetheless, the series continues to deliver, not only repeating the same formula it’s started with, but applying it in slowly changing situations, as each of the characters begin to grow, ultimately ending in some of the upperclassmen graduating.

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One of the bigger factors that kept me watching the series with each new season was its clear passing of time. For those not in the know, Japanese colleges typically last for three years. That said, it seems like the series as a whole grants just the right amount of time for viewers to be fully acquainted to the characters before they graduate and are given significantly less screen time. Even as I finished up the first season, I still wasn’t able to remember each character’s name. But by the end of the second season, character names were remembered just in time for me to get sad when they left.

Genshiken Second Season (which is technically closer to a third season) introduces a new batch of freshmen. The club is now primarily female, and as such, club conversations have slowly become fujoshi-oriented. Speaking as a guy, it was jarring but interesting to see this sudden shift. Technically, the conversations were still nerdy, but it was geared more towards this different subculture that I’m just completely unfamiliar with. Talks about couplings, and who would be the proper “on top” partner… it’s all just so foreign to me. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note just how the club changed in mood due to a sudden shift in gender ratio.

On top of the blitz of new characters/secondary characters coming to the forefront is Madarame—former chairman of Genshiken and recent graduate. Having taken on a job nearby campus, Madarame has taken on the role of the strange uncle that stops by the club room perhaps more often than he should. Knowing this, he begins to feel melancholic, not really seeing any progress in his life at all. As his personal story begins to unfold this season, we as the viewers are given a new dimension to the series. Build up emotions and character interactions from past seasons all begin to pay off this time around, which is especially amazing considering how episodic the series felt like until this point. While each season of Genshiken can be enjoyed as its own separate entity, Genshiken Second Season is definitely made with the long-time fans in mind.

And while the latest season has ended with Second Season, the source material manga is still ongoing, continuing to balance current otaku “funny because it’s true” jokes while fleshing out the series’ well-established characters.

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