GQ 4Memories - Article #6 - The Ever-Shifting Toonami

This forum is for the general discussion of Anime.

GQ 4Memories - Article #6 - The Ever-Shifting Toonami

Postby GloryQuestor » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:50 am

Article #1 is below.
Jump to Article #2
Jump to Article #3
Jump to Article #4
Jump to Article #5
Jump to Article #6
--------------------------------------------------------------

Hi, everyone. Since someone decided I should probably be a bit more proactive in reaching out to you, I thought now would be a good time to start up a brand new daily (and sometimes bi-daily) (when I think of something to talk about) article series for anime called 4Memories. This series will be about anime, anime companies, or just waxing some general nostalgia. If you like what you read, especially in the inaugural weekend, please let me know in the comments below. Enjoy the article. :)

--------------------------------------------------------------

Article #1: The Fall of 4Kids

So, why should I start with 4Kids Entertainment? Because today, at 12Noon EDT, The CW 4Kids officially went off the air and will be replaced by Saban's Vortexx next Saturday. This effectively is the end of 4Kids Entertainment, a company that really got me started with anime and put me into the general fandom of anime.

Reading over their licenses, it's no surprise the amount of what we consider "classic anime" on there. Everyone would probably agree about the first 4Kids show that they probably have seen, especially if you were watching KidsWB in the '90s and early 2000s, was Pokémon. Between that and the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, 4Kids already established a hardcore audience of kids and even 20- and 30-somethings who fell into anime just from these two shows alone. Adding to that is the broadcast licensing for other known favorites like Back To The Future: The Animated Series, Biker Mice From Mars, Mew Mew Power, One Piece, Shaman King, the 2000's version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and eventually Dragonball Z Kai. Even though they edited down shows through localization, they still were able to retain the original charm of the productions they handled and prompted many of us to check out the uncut versions from Japan, leading many into realizing that the uncut subtitled versions ended up being even better.

Even though 4Kids has been eventually sued out of existence, it will be up to the combined effort of Saban and Konami's 4K Holdings to pick up the broadcast torch and keep it burning. Like them or hate them, it can't be denied that 4Kids Entertainment started the fire, and Japanese anime both classic and new will remain alive and well thanks to it.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Next article: Survival of The Phoenix
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.

Re: GQ's 4Memories - Article #2: Survival of the Phoenix

Postby GloryQuestor » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:07 pm

Article #2: Survival of the Phoenix

After years of being dumped unceremoniously by Cartoon Network, the new Adult Swim-run Toonami block is back and still going through the classics. I couldn't be happier by what choices they made, and once again this brings back a lot of memories.

Back in the 90's and 2000s, when Adult Swim Saturdays used to be all about anime, I stayed up every night for it. I was glad to be as young as I was to do that, since Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and Mobile Suit Gundam became my all-time favorite shows out of that block. After the anime was all done, at 2AM in the morning, they would play the "Sunrise" block (no, not the company) featuring Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series back-to-back. There's just something about staying up late, watching these great animated shows that you like while at the same time being completely zoned out. It's a feeling as nostalgic as Saturday Morning Cartoons -- you just can't sleep until you've seen what you wanted to see.

When they moved Toonami into Saturdays, the programming changed up a bit, but still held some value. Ruroni Kenshin would end up being my new weekend favorite, but the one series I really got hooked onto because of it's Cartoon Network airing was .hack//SIGN. There was really nothing like it before -- an in-depth examination of the human soul in a Massively-Multiplayer Online setting? Brilliant writing and character development, along with some really great story-driven gaming experiences, kept me glued to the box every Saturday. Compared with the anime it was paired up with (the rather bleh-dubbed and uninteresting Knights of the Zodiac), it was a ray of sunshine in what was a declining schedule of anime offerings.

Unfortunately, when Toonami bit the dust and Adult Swim took over as its own network, a lot of the Japanese anime offerings on the CN channel were shuttled around to crazy times, like weekdays at midnight. Obviously, this was not a very good time slot, which pretty much led to the pushing-out of a lot of anime from the network. Without a defined focus or block structure, staying up very late on Saturday nights became less enjoyable than it had. It got to the point where Adult Swim's original programming just started to take over everything, on every day. It culminated in dark times for those wanting to see anime on television, with those who could turning to the Internet to find what they were missing.

Then, out of nowhere, Toonami was back on the air April 1st on Adult Swim. Sorry to say that I missed it that Sunday, but from what I read after the fact, it was one epic night that brought hope back to those of us who were patiently waiting. Then a Twitter post showed up asking if fans wanted Toonami back for good. The fans (myself included) responded overwhelmingly for its return, and Adult Swim didn't hesitate in rebranding their Saturday anime block. The first time seeing T.O.M. back in his chair was like welcoming back an old friend that we thought was gone forever.

Now at 13 weeks later, it's still as fresh as it was when it all began. Deadman Wonderland had one playthrough before it's departure, while we also say goodbye to the very old standby favorite Cowboy Bebop. In their place is Samurai 7, a great sci-fi reinterpretation of the Akira Kurosawa classic, and old Toonami classic Eureka Seven.

Here's hoping that this phoenix doesn't die again, because then it would truly spell a dark time for anime on television.

Now If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to Bleach. ;)
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.

Re: GQ's 4Memories - Article #3: Stories of Reflection

Postby GloryQuestor » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:04 am

Article #3: Stories of Reflection: Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&!

Okay, time for a review/reflection moment, and what better subject for such than Kiyohiko Azuma? He's been illustrating and designing characters since the early '90s and writing/drawing his own manga works since 1997, but only these two works have ever stood out for him. It took him a while to find his niche, but he's now pretty comfortable writing in it.

How many here knew that Yotsuba&! is getting close to it's 10th anniversary? It certainly didn't feel like it's been that many years since it's been printed, but we're still being entertained by the young four-tailed little girl so many years later. Heck, it didn't seem all that long ago that Azumanga Daioh came out, even though the four-panel comics were started as early as 1999. Wow, time's really moving these days.

The adaptation of Azumanga Daioh had it better than most anime adaptations, in that the production started on the tail end of Azuma finishing up the comic. When you look back at it now, the comic style tends to come through with every sub-episode, each one a little over 4 minutes. It was an interesting way to handle the series, and the results made the anime version feel a lot larger than it actually was. Nothing felt too rushed, and the ending even had a few nice closing bits to it.

At it's core, Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&! are examples of how one looks back on life and remembers what it was like to be young once, and that's the intention of it. While a lot of slice-of-life school dramas exist out there, Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&! add quite a bit of psychology to the mix by pairing up various types of personalities into a nice medium. Getting older, I also see such reflections in the persons around me and appreciating every moment as it occurs, since these are the days in which I'm still younger but going to be heading into middle age soon enough. Much like Azuma does in his works, I do look back at childhood and wonder where the time has gone. I'll probably blink, and enter my 40s wondering again where all the time went.

As a final thought on this, everyone continues to wonder when Yotsuba&! will eventually be animated, but when reading through the manga, you get the sense that some of the wonder that Azuma puts into the pages might end up lost in translation. It's been a long time since it started, but all we've seen is fan animatics. Is Azuma holding out, or are the companies just thinking that Yotsuba&! wouldn't fit the current generation of Japanese anime offerings? We may never know why, but still, "Yotsuba&! the Animation"? I know I can't wait to see it happen. :)
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.

Re: Article #4 - Return to the Mysterious Play

Postby GloryQuestor » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:44 pm

Article #4 - Return to the Mysterious Play

As some may know (and others may suspect), I have a really big anime video library. So, you might see me digging into and reviewing/commenting on anime more than a few times.

So, I dove into the library recently and watched Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play almost the way through for the 2nd time since getting it years ago. I watched it during Tekkoshocon at one point (in Japanese) and thought that the story was interesting enough to get the series. It was a long while of waiting for it, but one RightStuf Geneon sale and an FYE sale later, I got my hands on the whole thing.

I decided to watch the dub version, as it's one of the dubs that I can really sit through and enjoy, for the most part. I felt that the dub was handled really well, with everyone involved performing to their A-game. Of note is Bridget Hoffman, who does a great job as Miaka. Episode 6 was especially nice, where her dual personalities came out and her voice changes quite drastically. Even with that, lately the more default whinny tone in her voice-overs really grates on my ears. Also bringing the best is Wendee Lee as Miaka's best friend Yui, who is... well, Wendee Lee. While I applaud her for her dynamic range between Yui at the beginning and the more vengeful Yui at the end, she still just doesn't give this role much variety from her others.

The clear star of this dub is David Hayter, who gives Tamahome a great personality. For those who mostly know him as the voice of Solid Snake, while you do hear a bit of that in his voice, he generally keeps Tamahome's voice really light and comical--a real change from many of the other roles he's done. I was pretty disappointed when he did not show up in the same role in the Eikoden OVA, but considering that Eikoden was a seriousness overload compared to the more light-hearted original, I could see why he wouldn't want the role.

While I find the story really solid for the most part, and the balance between serious story and comic relief being very good (along with Miaka's bubbliness and David Hayter's Aladdin-ish attitude), the animation has many obvious tricks and looks extremely dated--the jitter doesn't really help much, either. While I would agree that the manga story is better (at least, what I've read of it), the anime has a lot of great entertainment value, and that's where the heart of the production lies. It has its own charming feel to it and the story really doesn't pull any punches.

The follow-up OVA series enhances the original story very well, but the Eikoden chapter felt more like a last gasp than a fitting end to the series. With Miaka out of the picture for the most part and a predictably sullen, more serious Tamahome leading the pack, it's no wonder that the series really faltered. Eventually, I hope that someone out there will pick up and animate the more interesting Fushigi Yûgi Genbu Kaiden, which could be even more possible since Media Blasters "rescued" the license and re-introduced it in June of this year.

There's still a lot more to this Mysterious Play, and in time, we'll probably see it.

Here's a few interesting nitpicks I saw or thought about:

- In Episode 8, there is quite the big goof. When Miaka and Tamahome meet again in the dark forest, Tamahome holds up a torch to bring more light to the scene. In the very next scene, his arms are at his sides, with no sign of the torch he was holding.
- There's quite a few parallels between Bridget Hoffman as Miaka in this and as Atoli in .hack//G.U. The dream sequence in the 2nd game, in particular, reminded me strongly of the dream in the first episode of this anime. Homage?
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.

Re: GQ 4Memories - Article #5 - Lost in the Vortexx

Postby GloryQuestor » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:28 am

Article #5 - Lost in the Vortexx

I just finished watching CW's Vortexx for today (sans the 11am Yu-Gi-Oh / Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal repeat duo, but I've seen them already, so no real loss right now), and I have to say that I'm less than impressed by the line-up they put together. I'll go over the shows one by one, so you can get the impression I received watching Vortexx for the first time and comparing it to CW 4Kids:

First thing before we start, I'll quickly summarize the "MC" for the commercial breaks. IMHO, they really scraped the bottom of the barrel for the announcer's writing. The joke at the Dragonball Z Kai break was stand-out atrocious: With the animatic of Goku walking away from Frieza, the MC goes, "We'll be 'back' to DragonBall Z Kai ... see, see what I did there?" Yeesh. Just dump this guy and go back to the simple "Dragonball Z Kai will return", okay?

- 7AM, Cubix & Rescue Heroes

tbh, I didn't mind this hour all that much. I always thought these were good young kid shows and was glad they were able to keep Cubix around.

- 8AM, Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy

Hmm... I haven't seen this one before, neither the Power Rangers version nor the original Sentai show. Still, looks like a promising show for an action-based block. One thing, though -- since when did Saban get their hands on Starship Troopers armor? :P

As of October 2012, this is currently the timeslot for Sonic X -- see update section below

- 8:30AM, Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal

A nice time for a new show, but why does the dub keep making me facepalm? In any event, starting off the 2nd season with the "World Duel Championships" sounds awful familiar, doesn't it? Just replace Heartland with Kaiba and the "WDC" with the Battle City Tournament, and you've got a complete remake of a season they did before. Will this one be better than Battle City, though? Only time will tell.

In October 2012, this was the timeslot for Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy. As of March 2013, this is currently the timeslot for Bolts & Blip -- see update section below

- 9AM, Iron Man: Armored Adventures

Not a bad show to start the duo of comic superheroes, although I've heard from others that it does get worse as it goes. Still, for a kids block, it will probably do the job well.

As of September 2013, this is currently the timeslot for Spectacular Spider-Man -- see update section below

- 9:30AM, Justice League Unlimited

Being a fan of the DCAU, I was glad to see this show pop up on the schedule. I still have yet to see the entirety of the first season, but I have the excellent second season on DVD, so I can already tell you this is the one to really watch asides from Dragonball Z Kai. Oh, and it also has a couple of episodes featuring the conclusion of one of my favorite DCAU superheroes, Batman Beyond.

- 10:00AM, WWE Saturday Morning Slam

Or, what I like to call "Cleaning Time". Seriously, I'm not a big enough fan of wrestling to watch this, so I spent the whole time (and probably will spend the same half-hour in the future) cleaning things and not really paying much attention. For what it is, though, if you are interested in wrestling, it's not a bad short segment.

As of September 2013, this is currently the timeslot for DragonBall Z Kai -- see update section below

- 10:30AM, Dragon Ball Z Kai

This is the climax of the entire block, featuring the second season. Even though it is edited for kids television (boo), it still has enough left over to really keep the show as action-packed as ever. I can't wait to see this one through.

As of September 2013, this is currently the timeslot for B-Daman Crossfire -- see update section below

- 11AM: Yu-Gi-Oh! Classic

If you didn't catch this one ever before, now's a good time to. They restarted at the fourth season, which was the virtual world story arc. I thought this one had some memorable opponents and duels, but compared with the first three seasons, it's a passable arc that still entertains the viewer.

- 11:30AM: Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal

Seems like this might either be repeats from the first season or a replay of the previous week's episode. We'll see next week which one it is. (See update section below)

So, in the end, my opinion of this new block is that half the programming is pretty strong, while the other half might end up tuning out a lot of people. Also of note is the absence of Sonic X, which did have quite a few fans who are probably now disappointed it's not back with the new block. Even so, with new eps of Zexal and DBZ Kai to look forward to, I think the block will attract a lot of Japanese anime fans who can't get their fix online -- or just want to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons like they've always done. ;)

UPDATE: Since early October 2012, they added in a new show to the Vortexx line-up by popular demand: reruns of Sonic X are now in the 8AM slot, with Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy moving up to 8:30am. Overall, a nice change since Sonic X is a really good show IMHO and having two Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexals was really getting a bit too redundant. Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal has its all-new episodes on at 11:30AM now, but so far, I haven't been impressed with the 2nd season -- it's been a rehash of the original's Battle City with cheesy gimmick trainers. They really need to dump the gimmicks and get back on track with story, or Zexal's gong to bite the dust over here sooner. :(

UPDATE 2: Since September 2013, they radically shifted everything around. After a repeat first-season run of Transformers Prime, they stabilized into the current selection of Sonic X: Metarex Saga, Bolts & Blip (which is okay, but has lately become my new "cleaning time"), and B-Daman Crossfire (which so far I like for it's good setup, variety of games, and character development ideas). They dumped WWE (which will not be missed, especially since it was being edited for young ages), Iron Man Adventures (which will be missed), and Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy (which I miss a little bit).
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.

GQ 4Memories - Article #6 - The Ever-Shifting Toonami

Postby GloryQuestor » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:01 pm

Article #6: The Ever-Shifting Toonami

The new Saturday night Toonami has been living up to its name for a long while, as a storm of Japanese cartoons. Since the last article (#2 above), there has been quite a few changes, mostly for the good. Here's a summary of the more recent changes:

- First off, saying goodbye to Casshern Sins after a full run of 24 episodes. I have to say, I was entranced by this one. Since starting to watch it, I found and watched Tatsunoko's original 1973 Shinzou Ningen Casshan, which has always made me wonder if Casshern Sins is a mere reboot/remake or could have been a possible continuation with Casshern converted to Braiking Boss' side? It's sad that they won't rerun it at least once, but it had a good run and was one of two newer anime (the aforementioned Deadman Wonderland being the other) that hooked in people like me into watching Toonami again. For those that did miss episodes of it, you can watch it fully subbed (and only partly dubbed) on Hulu.

- Next, adding in Sym-Biotic Titan and Thundercats (2011) to the mix. The latter, I could understand, since it was co-produced by both American and Japanese companies and animators, not to mention that it's a highly-underrated series that needs an audience -- one that Toonami provides. The former, however, I wasn't entirely sure about. Either they are giving Sym-Biotic Titan another go (which wouldn't surprise anyone, since it's a show that was created in 2010 by Genndy Tartakovsky and was cancelled for a rather odd reason) or they are waiting on yet another license to fall into place. In any case, glad to see them as part of the line-up.

- This weekend's Toonami used the daylight savings time shift to add in what is now the next returnee to the Toonami family: InuYasha. Glad to see an old friend back, and that it's being started from the very beginning of the story. Also, for those who haven't yet seen it, Hulu still has InuYasha: The Final Act available for viewing (with Viz Media finally releasing the disc versions). I highly recommend it, if only because this ending is really something special and a real gift for the InuYasha fans who stuck it out to the very end.

- Finally, the latest mixing-up of the schedule has a small switch for next weekend (November 10th) : Eureka Seven now at 2:30am EST with Thundercats moving into 1:30am EST, and InuYasha taking over where Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was. I'm not sure if I really want to stay up to 2:30am to watch the rest of Eureka Seven, but since I haven't seen Thundercats either, this will be a good chance for me to watch it now.

Being able to stay up until 3am or 4am on the weekends for the old Adult Swim/Toonami programming so many years ago was fun. Now I can barely stay up past 2am. Makes me wish I were 10 years younger again. :(
( :| Serious Business Studios :| )
Website Administrator, AnimeMusicVideos.Org
Pittsburgh Japanese Culture Society Events - AMV Department Head
Anime Weekend Atlanta - Video Art Track Department Supervisor
Another Anime Convention - Fan-Works Theater Staff
ImageImage
User avatar
GloryQuestor
Moderation Hero
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Cane Ridge, TN
Status: Moved to a new town, looking around.


Return to General Anime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests