Saturday, April 19, 2014

Should all (or any) anime series have dubs?

This is a topic taken on by Jim Gogal on the site Otaku Drive Time. Jim is the former president of Tekkoshocon, which I went to for 6 years before ending that streak this year. Obviously Jim, and for that matter, mostly anyone, knows more about the anime industry than I do. I find out what I do from various panels at cons, and sometimes from discussions on message boards and Facebook - but I really don't know all that much by comparison to most people. I mainly just consume.

Anyway, Jim argues in the post that all anime series do not need dubs, and I think very few people would argue that. I'm too dense to come up with an obscure anime title, because every single anime series I watch is a popular one of some sort. But many of the obscure titles do not need dubs, mainly because it costs so much to dub stuff. (Jim makes the case on a series called "Welcome to the NHK," which he says should not have a dub; incidentally, it's a series I've been interested in seeing just because of its name, as I did some research on Japanese media for a college class.)

I of course am a pro-dub guy all the way. I prefer dubbing in almost every single situation possible. The only time I've really complained about a dub was, when in Bleach's Captain Amagai arc, Lurichiyo's distinct way of talking was eliminated, and that changed her character immensely. The two main reasons I like dubs are quite simple: I speak English, and I like to multitask. If you've joined me for a liveblog here before, you obviously know that.

But I see why not all series should have dubs, as if it costs too much to dub, it just shouldn't be made. But on the other hand, you could make the other argument - why dub any anime at all? After all, if they're expensive to dub, and the purists watch the original language anyway (legally or illegally), why even try to appease the dub fans?

In this case, Jim actually may be preaching to the choir. I have a lot of con-going acquaintances who are subs-only. I don't know many others like myself who really like the dub voice actors. So really, it's not all that hard to agree with what he said.

So I'm going to try to purse out what types of anime series should be dubbed, and how so.
  • Big-name stuff: absolutely. I heard people arguing that "everyone had already seen Attack on Titan, so why does it need a dub?" Well, I haven't! This elitist attitude that the only true anime fans are those who see the episode as it airs in Japan - come on now. Even if Attack on Titan hadn't been picked up by Toonami, I think it deserved a dub. Unfortunately, the main character will be voiced by Bryce Papenbrook, the same guy who has voiced 2 recent main characters on Toonami - and has not brought much to the table in either case.
  • Fringe stuff: no. There are a bunch of obscure titles that I don't even know about, which shouldn't end up with dubs.
  • Cult-classic stuff: see, this is where I'd like to see more dubs. A couple years ago, there was this series called "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute" or "Oreimo" for short. It was somewhat popular on the Internet. Yet despite a lot of hype, that series never received a dub. I would have liked to have seen that series in dubbed form.

    The one I compare to that is this "Free!" anime. I have no interest in watching it, but boy, lots of others do! That's one that I think would be very deserving of a dub.
Obviously I agree with most of Jim's points, though I remain staunchly in favor of dubs any time I can get them. I don't exactly agree with who he believes are good voice actors (the overrated Steve Blum being one of them), but that's for a different post on a different day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gurren Lagann 4: The Hunger Games

Gurren Lagann episode 4 review

Two themes of this episode: hunger, and training. Beyond the tomfoolery of this episode is the addition of a bunch of minor characters who visit the Gurren Lagann gang. At the end, one of them promises that "they'll meet again" - not sure whether to believe her or not. I'm leaning towards yes.

The apparent superpower that Kamina and Seemoan receive is from the little hamster thing that came along with Seemoan, who gives up his tail for the two to eat. And by eating that poor hamster's tail, they get the necessary power to win.

Not the most enthralling episode, by any means.

Character of the episode: Kamina

Episode rating (out of four stars): *½

Monday, April 14, 2014

2014 Anime Bracket - One Shining Moment

The Anime Bracket isn't finished quite yet! If you've ever watched the NCAA men's basketball national championship game, you may know that following the trophy presentation, CBS plays a montage of highlights to the song "One Shining Moment," which is an annual tradition since the late 80's. In the true spirit of March Madness, but without a whole team of video editors like CBS Sports has, I have compiled my own version of "One Shining Moment" with video of all 65 characters from the 2014 Anime Bracket. The song was written by David Barrett, and the particular version I have chosen is my favorite, with vocals by the late, great Teddy Pendergrass. This is probably the best AMV I've ever made, too. Enjoy.

Congratulations again Homura Akemi!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gurren Lagann 3: Get Back, Yoko

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episode 3 review

Wow, this series really is something.

It's one thing to be considered "feel-good." You know, like the Bleach "humor" filler episodes or whatever. But this is something else right now.

Kamina's bravado, which turns his character into a completely unique one that really can't be matched, makes every battle fun to watch and removes the sting from knowing that he's going to win. I actually want him to win. Combine that with the charming Yoko and the growing Seemoan, and you've suddenly got a good pack of characters to root for.

Why am I not spelling out every single thing that happened in this episode? For one thing, I'm the last anime fan in the world to have seen this show. The other reason is that I only really want to do that if I'm going to pick apart what's wrong with it. If I'm enjoying it, why analyze it to death?

Character of the episode: Yoko

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***½

Blue Exorcist 7: Shiemi-hime

Blue Exorcist episode 7 review

(Note: this is not last night's episode, but last week's episode, as I fell behind.)

Rin and Shiemi. Ichigo and Orihime. Those two characters are completely embodied in each other. You should be noticing the parallels between those characters by now; if not, you need to go back and drink some Bleach.

Shiemi and Kamiki are the stars of this episode - Shiemi in her desperate attempt to make friends and be useful, while Kamiki plays the role of the bratty Suzuka/Asuka-like character. Kamiki accepts Shiemi as her "friend," if by "friend" you mean "maidservant." Shiemi willingly accepts the role, while Rin steams and boils over her humility.

Quite obviously by now it's clear that Christine Marie Cabanos has nailed down the "shy/cute/moe" role that Stephanie Sheh used to own. Also Bryce Papenbrook is really starting to sound like Ichigo and Johnny Yong Bosch. I'm happy that there's a new generation of English dub voice actors, though I'm sure they realize how they're being pigeonholed.

(If you were to pigeonhole me as a blogger, I'd be the guy with no girlfriend who lives in his mother's basement who writes all snark. And you'd be right. Speaking of snark, RIP Television Without Pity, which was/is one of the main influences on my blogging.)

I fully enjoyed this episode in nearly every facet of it. My only complaint is that they rushed a couple storylines that could have been drawn out more. Since Kamiki was defeated, it figures she's going to lighten up, though I hope she stays the same. And Shiemi got a bunch of confidence, which I'd prefer to not happen overnight. Still, these two girls carried this episode to being a very enjoyable one.

Character of the episode: Shiemi

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***½

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No cons so far

Time for an April update on things related to the blog.

  • The Anime Bracket is over for another year, but Homura's face is now permanently stapled to the banner of the blog a second time. Thanks to everyone who participated and paid attention this year, and hopefully I'll be able to do some more dynamic things with it next year.
  • I haven't been to a single con thus far in 2014, the first time that has been the case since I wasn't even into anime in 2007. The renamed, under new management "Tekko" held its twelfth version this year, and due to no money, I could not participate - I had been to 6 straight Tekkos. They apparently had a lot of growth this year which was very surprising to me - Tekkoshocon was stagnant for nearly 5 years straight. What caused the explosion, I have no idea. I'm not going to even try speculating, because that will get me into trouble.
  • My last con having been back in November, I really hope that I'll be able to obtain enough money in order to go to Colossalcon. If that fizzles out, there's a possibility I could end up going to zero cons this year.
  • I hope to get back to watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann & Blue Exorcist sometime soon.
  • I've made a few cosmetic changes to the blog after doing some experimenting.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Anime Bracket - Championship

Did I say "Monday night"? How about Tuesday morning instead? It's the championship for the 2014 Anime Bracket!

(This is going to be short; I am not feeling all that well, and I've already decided the winner.)

Homura Akemi vs. Rei Ayanami

Tale of the tape:

Past championships: Rei 1, Homura 1

Past Final Fours: Rei 3, Homura 1

Record in past tournament games coming in: Rei 27-4, Homura 11-0

Past meetings: Homura 1-0 vs. Rei (won 2013 championship game)

This is it. A rematch between two girls who have already won this tournament, and both are looking to join Asuka as two-time champions.

Rei of course is an iconic anime character who has been popular for years. She has merchandise that could fill malls. Yet I haven't seen any Evangelion lately - one thing that hurts her. Even so, I like her so much that I've advanced her this far in the tournament.

Homura was in some sense the heroine of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the TV series. When the series was taken to the big screen, she was made into the villain, of sorts. It was a way of ruining her character, of perhaps making me no longer like her as much.

This is my Rebellion.

2014 Anime Bracket Champion: Homura Akemi!!!

Congratulations, Homura, on repeating as champion, and joining Asuka as the only 2-time champion of this tournament. You'll get your face on the blog's banner a second time. Rei, sorry, as you come up short in the championship game for the 3rd straight year. Thanks to everyone for participating in the bracket contest, and hope to see you again next year!