Monday, October 27, 2008

Kanji of the week - Kaze,

Only 1 week in and I'm already late!

Kanji of the week is ...

Kaze (fu)


This is one of my favorite kanji to write. It feels good, but the stroke order can be a little arduous. The japanese draw boxes in a way that is not very intuitive to western writers. But once you get the hang of it it isn't so bad.

This word can also carry the meaning of elegance, manner, style and scenery. How interesting. Somehow, it works.

Kaze @ - page with further information about this Kanji.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ouran High School DVD 1 Release!

Ouran High School Host Club

Studio: Bones
Genre: comedy, drama, romance, slice of life

Ouran High School. An institution of extravagance and prestige where learning is secondary to luxury.

Bookish Haruhi can't afford to slack, being on a scholarship and out of place among the moneyed. No matter… The Host Club is now open! A group of handsome boys dedicated to selling their charms to their bored female classmates, Haruhi is suddenly in debt to the club after breakingan expensive vase in their lair. The only way to pay for the damage? Haruhi will work as a Host! The only problem? Haruhi is a she! Between the wildly inflated ego of the expert escorts and the potential calamities of constant cross dressing, Haruhi's freshman year looks like it will be one to remember. - description from DVD cover

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received my pre-ordered Ouron High School Host Club DVD release a week early! A charming comedy with a touch of parody, this show is an absolute delight to watch. While never taking itself too seriously, it leaves no stone unturned in serving up common anime themes and characters in all their ridiculous glory. The Host Club itself is made up of beautiful bishie boys, each a prime example of a specific type, so there is something here for everyone to love. Tamaki as the charming, if clumsy, prince-type, or if you like, Honey-sempai as the super cute lolli-shota with his sidekick Mori a tough-guy type. I'm not a big fan of Yaoi but the parody of too-close-for-comfort Hitachiin twins is absolutely hilarious. These boys are the Host club, dedicated to serving the rich young women in their school. Fulfilling their desire for a handsome young man who will do anything to make them happy. Needless to say, they could all use a good reality check, and that comes in the form of the newest member of the Host Club, Haruhi Fujioka. Being a "commoner" in the midst of this group of priviledged youth leads to some funny situations and the running gag on the upper classes inability to understand the feelings of the working class adds to the humor and pathos of the storyline.

Visually the anime is very well drawn. The color palette is lovely. Soft pinks, blues, reds and purples along with the requisite uber-romantic falling cherry blossoms allows the animation to sparkle and shine, and creates an atmosphere of fantasy romance and beauty. The character designs are also very pleasing and expressive.

The english dub for this anime is excellent. Many BONES Studio alumni are reunited in this cast. Caitlin Glass, who we previously loved as Winry in FMA, plays the main character of Haruhi. Her voice is deep enough to be believably mistaken for a young teenage boy but her girlish glee still shines through, particularly when teasing or laughing at Tamaki. Tamaki is played by anime convention superstar Vic Mignona who does his usual stellar work with this over-the-top character. The only complaint I have is about the opening and closing songs, they were dubbed with english voices, and while the lyrics are well translated the voices are not so great. The opening number hits a few sour notes in it's attempt to imitate the j-pop buoyancy of the original song, and the closing number suffers from an unfortunate echo effect that is very distracting.

BONES studio has given us another wonderful title in Ouran High School Host Club. The studio that gave us Cowboy Bebop, Full-Metal Alchemist and Kurau Phantom Memory treads sparkling, crisp, cool waters here. The only disappointment being we have no word yet as to when the second dvd release will be. We look forward to it and hope beyond hope that BONES will consider making a season two.

My Final grade:

Animation: A
Story: A
Voice: A- (only because they gave my favorite VA a small part - Travis Willingham rules!)

Total: A

Friday, October 17, 2008

Makoto Shinkai

I have a new favorite director. Ok, actually I never had an OLD favorite director, but that's beside the point. I have absolutely fallen in love with the art this man produces.

Anime as art form. We won't even get into the arguments "for" or "against" that one. Besides, I'm pretty sure where I stand on that subject.

But back to Mr. Shinkai. His works have a truly transcendent beauty. The backgrounds and scenery are breathtaking and a sight to behold. What I find interesting about his anime is that it is not particularly story-driven. Yes there is a story, don't get me wrong. But the purpose of the anime is not so much to tell you a story, as it is to arouse specific emotions. The viewer is subtly immersed in certain moods, or feelings through atmosphere, music, and visuals. The narrative is not propelled through speech but by feeling. It is wholly about feelings.

To describe one of his anime ... lets say 5 centimeters per second words like melancholy, loneliness, hope, youth and love come to my mind much more readily than plot points. When you think back on the movie your mind presents you with images, not necessarily with words or actions. The depth of emotion and atmosphere conveyed is truly remarkable and I'm so impressed. The only annoyance is my inability to accurately write what I mean here. I feel like I'm just not doing it justice.

That being said. I'm going to post one of his short anime . It is just plain lovely and sweet. It is titled: She and her cat. It doesn't have the weight that his movies do, but it's pretty darn adorable all the same.

I am also posting a trailer to the movie 5 centimeters per second which will give you a good impression of how lovely his artwork is.

Curse YouTube for it's awful resolution. Watch and enjoy.

Kanji of the Week - Hime

Love of anime often turns into love for Japanese culture and language. Many otaku have a desire to learn more about Japan and Japanese. With that in mind...

Here we go with our first Kanji of the week. Each week I will be posting a new word with the Kanji symbol to match. I will be choosing words that have some application to the world of anime, for some of you these will probably be pretty basic, but let's all learn together! Otaku rejoice!

Here is a word that we hear often in anime...



My-Hime - anime series
Bara-hime - character in Saiunkoku Monogatari
Mononoke Hime - Japanese romanization word for the movie Princess Mononoke
Kaguya-Hime - Japanese folk tale of the Bamboo Princess - Considered by many to be the oldest Japanese folk tale in existence.

Enjoy your new word. Click on the links for more information about anime and cultural examples using this Kanji.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Ok, I admit to the title being a bit obscure, but forgive me, it's my first real "blog". I'm a veteran livejournaler but for some reason LJ smacks more of a social networking site, than an actual blogging site. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong blog-o-spherians.

Onna - the japanese word for woman
Anime - japanese animation

Being a woman, and fan of anime I am going to use this blog to express thoughts, opinions and feelings about the fandom, anime news, and reviews, as well as Japanese culture and language.

Will it be interesting ... informative ... exciting?!?!?

I can't make any promises about that, but I do promise to attempt to convey one womans approach to and love for the world of anime.

Thanks for reading!