Soul Eater Not! 4-7: screenshots

The very first draft of this post was called “soul eater not again.” Now people tell me I don’t have a sense of humor, but that headline made me smile. It’s Soul Eater Not! combined with Not Again!

…that was much funnier at 2 AM with my brain running on caffeine.

Getting to the point now, I have once again (3.5 years after my Soul Eater Not! 1-3: notes and screenshots post) collected a small array of screenshots while watching Soul Eater Not! Continue reading

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Doai Underground Trainstation

I enjoy anime which teach me something. For example, fairly recently there have been several cooking anime. I loved learning about traditional Japanese cuisine in Sushi and Beyond or foods from all around the world in Shokugeki no Souma. Nevertheless as a future civil engineer I appreciate architectural trivia the most.

For me the most memorable detail from the “cute girls climbing mountains” anime, Yama no Susume, wasn’t any of the natural wonders they visited, but the Doai underground station where the girls get off the train when climbing Mount Tanigawa. Unlike most viewers I already knew of the station having seen it in a yet another anime I’ll also be drawing information from today. Tetsuko no Tabi is about a train enthusiast and a hard-to-impress mangaka traveling around Japan visiting interesting railway stations and making a manga about it. One day I might write about some of the other amazing stations they visit, but today I want to tell you about the Doai station.

Yama no Susume 2 episode 21

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Vodyanoy in The Ancient Magus’ Bride

This post is about the traditional vodyanoy, a creature from Slavic folklore. It was inspired by the mention of it in 魔法使いの嫁 [まほうつかいのよめ, mahoutsukai no yome, The Ancient Magus’ Bride].

Angelica’s familiar, Hugo, is supposed to be a vodyanoy. In his case, that pretty much means a water spirit. But the traditional ones aren’t like that.

водяно́й, вадзянік, водяник, wodnik, vodník, vodnik, vodanoj, podvodni mož, водењак, Вутăш

先ず [まず, mazu, first of all] they are no fairies. They’re regular human-sized humanoids. In East-Slavic cultures he’s…

a naked old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, and long hair, with his body covered in algae and muck, usually covered in black fish scales. He has webbed paws instead of hands, a fish’s tail, and eyes that burn like red-hot coals. He usually rides along his river on a half-sunk log, making loud splashes.

 

In Slovenia and Czech and Slovak Republics, he looks almost like a regular man. Except for the fact that his skin, hair and beard are green and he lives underwater. They often have gills, webbed hands and feet, and they are wet, dripping water from their coattails. They are not universally good or evil, just like humans. But they collect drowned (accidentally or with their “help”) souls and keep them in pretty cups underwater.

In Josef Lada’s (the author of the vodník on the right) fairytales, vodníci go to the village pub to drink with humans and even have children, who in turn go to school with human children. On the picture, a vodník is sitting on a willow over his fishpond, sewing himself a pair of shoes for walking underwater and on dry land.

君の名は。|Your Name

Makoto Shinkai’s sixth movie came out! It premiered on July 3, 2016 at Anime Expo and came out on Blu-ray on July 26, 2017. Yes, that was over three months ago.

I do realize I’m rather late to the party, but let’s get started anyway. As always, this review is meant for readers who have already seen the film.

Based on Shinkai’s novel of the same name published a month before the film’s premiere, Your Name tells the story of a high school girl in rural Japan and a high school boy in Tokyo who swap bodies.

The film achieved the second-largest gross for a domestic film in Japan, behind Spirited Away, and the fourth-largest ever, behind (Spirited Away,) Titanic and Frozen.

The light novels are available in English. (Alas, I haven’t been able to get my grubby hands on them. Reason: お金 [おかね, okane, money].) The one called simply your name. supposedly tells the exact same story as the movie. It might offer some additional insight, that didn’t fit in the film, but basically it’s the same thing. The second LN, your name. Another Side:Earthbound, is a side story.

Another by-product of the film is the soundtrack. It is amazing. I mean, I’m pretty amusical, but these tunes are so memorable, I can recognize them, which is saying a lot. (If you’ve been wondering why I usually don’t review the music in anime, this is my reason – I just don’t find them interesting at all.)

Besides the noteworthy music, I have to share another impression it left on me. I cried. As in hot, wet tears. It’s so touching! Even the second time.

One last thing before I delve into my screenshot-heavy review. If you have watched it, do watch it again. And again. This movie has a high rewatch value. You’ll see so many dots connecting from the first seconds until the finale.

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Yuri Kuma Arashi and M. C. Escher

In episode 7 of ユリ熊嵐 [ユリくまあらし, Yuri Kuma Arashi, Lily Bear Storm], you may have noticed this pretty pattern on the glass.

yurikumaarashi7

The negative space between the 鳥 [とり, tori, birds] morphs into 百合 [ゆり, yuri, lilies]. It’s a beautiful transformation. Now, the team behind ユリ熊嵐 is very creative, but here I think it’s a reference. After all the anime is chock-full of references.

MC-Escher-Sky-and-Water-I-1938

This is a woodcut by M. C. Escher from 1938, where the white space between geese morphs into fish. It definitely looks similar, doesn’t it?

M. C. Escher did a large number of these “transformation prints.” To see some more visit the website of the M. C. Escher Foundation and M. C. Escher Company.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

This is a review of the three episode OVA, that aired Sep 10, 2016 to Sep 9, 2017. I’ve been told it takes place at a different time than the currently airing series (although MyAnimeList calls the OVA a prequel to the series), so there should be no spoilers. Of course there will be spoilers for the OVA.

先ず [まず, mazu, firstly] I want to look at the title 魔法使いの嫁 – Mahoutsukai no Yome. 魔法使い [まほうつかい, mahoutsukai] literally means magic user. So anything from charmer, conjurer and enchanter, through mage and magus to sorcerer and wizard is a valid translation. The only objection I have to the translation is that if it’s once translated as “the ancient magus,” then it shouldn’t be translated differently in other cases.

So, where did this anime come from? It’s adapted from a manga. It was originally serialized in 月刊コミックブレイド [げっかんコミックブレイド, Gekkan Komikku Bureido, Monthly Comic Blade], a 少年 [しょうねん, shounen, aimed at young males] magazine owned by Mag Garden from November 2014 to September 2014, when the magazine was replaced by 月刊コミックガーデン [げっかんコミックガーデン, Gekkan Komikku Gaaden, Monthly Comic Garden]. It has been published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment – the eighth volume is scheduled for next year. The manga seems to be ongoing though. Continue reading

Why Is Girls’ Love Called Yuri?

When talking about lesbian relationships in anime and manga, we often use the word yuri. (When talking about homosexual relationships between men, we use yaoi.) What does it mean originally and how did it come to be used as a synonym for girls’ love?

The word 百合 literally means lily, as in the white flower. I know there are lilies of countless colors (we have some orange ones in our garden), but the 百 in 百合 means white and the original Madonna lily is white.

from episode 2 of Blend S

Now, regarding the second part of the question, how it came to be used as a synonym for girls’ love. In the seventies in Japan, there was a magazine for the gay male community, called 薔薇族. If you’re into yaoi, you might know that there is a genre called 薔薇, which refers to gay manga made (usually) by and for gay men. (To be contrasted to yaoi, which is usually drawn by and for straight women.) Anyway, in 1976, Bungaku Itō, editor of 薔薇族, used the term 百合族 in reference to female readers in the title of a column of letters called 百合族の部屋. The column didn’t last long and appeared just sporadically, but since it was geared towards lesbians, that name stuck. So gay men were the roses, while lesbians became the lilies.

Take this explanation with a grain of salt though. Who knows, maybe this wasn’t the first instance of lilies used as a synonym for girls’ love. Maybe it came from so many main characters in yuri manga being called 百合 or 百合子. (I wonder how that idea would have blossomed without the magazine popularization.) Mr. Itō is still alive (85 years old this past spring), but I doubt he remembers where the name came from.

from episode 2 of Yuri Kuma Arashi

Teekyuu 9

I have already written about Teekyuu 7 (in Backlog: Week 2) and Teekyuu 3 Specials (in Backlog: Week 1).

[…]two-minute episodes of WTF, as per usual with Teekyuu.

Those 54 characters sum it up very well. The series is supposedly about a high school tennis club, so one would expect tennis practice, tournaments et cetera. Instead in the first episode of this season we follow the alien, Tomarin, around for a day. It starts off innocent with house chores and √6, but fast melts into various gambling practices. This is not a kids’ anime.

In episode 101 Yuri goes around reporting on other clubs. Among them is the Light Music Club. I think you can spot the reference.

Other episodes include Nasuno’s birthday party, an idol episode (a very twisted one) and more.

There is not much of a plot line. Teekyuu is a very character driven anime. There are four main characters. Marimo (blue hair with a lama pin) is sophomore, who does all kinds of crazy things, like eating underwear. Or running to school with it on her head. Aforementioned Yuri is the normal one and 突っ込み to Marimo’s (and Kanae’s) ボケ. She’s also the only one who knows how to play tennis. Kanae (pink hair) does crazy things as well, but, compared to Marimo, her antics are of a different level. She makes supernatural things happen—Yuri grows a beard for example. Last but not least, Nasuno is a rich お嬢様. She solves just about anything with money.

They’re a peculiar bunch.

I always rate Teekyuu 4/10, but I keep watching it. When a show is this short, it’s easy to rationalize watching even if it is this stupid. I would say people watch it for the WTF factor.

Breaking the fourth wall is pretty normal in Teekyuu.

Oden in Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara

Are you watching this season’s Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara? It’s a short (3-minute) anime about a wife, who works as an office lady, and her stay-at-home husband, a former bartender, who makes drinks for her. She loves alcohol — it helps her unwind and just be herself. My husband and I recommend it to (almost) everyone. Streaming on Crunchyroll!

In the first episode he serves her oden with her drink.

Ketsuekigata-kun

Ketsuekigata-kun (A Simple Thinking About Blood Type in English) is an anime about four friends, each of whom is a different blood type. So there is Type A, Type B, Type AB and Type O. Or A型さん, B型さん, AB型さん and O型さん.

New Year’s shrine visit — the boys

Then, in the second season if I recall correctly, their four female counterparts were added. Or A型ちゃん, B型ちゃん, AB型ちゃん and O型ちゃん.

Valentine’s Day planning — the girls

The idea behind the anime comes from the common belief (common in Japan and Korea, at least) that a person’s personality, temperament, and compatibility with others is given by their blood type. Which is why Japanese and Korean celebrities’, seiyuu’s or characters’ biographical sketches usually include information about their blood type. In effect, this series’ characters act according to their blood types and it creates a pretty good dynamic. (If you’re interested, Korean Wiki Project has a nice chart with the types’ personalities, temperaments and compatibilities.)

The anime itself originates from a Korean yonkoma (I swear I will write that yonkoma article.) by art teacher Park Dong-sun. Every episode follows one skit, so circa one yonkoma. The episodes are only two minutes long (including the ending), so the four seasons now available will only take 96 minutes to watch.

My opinion? I suppose the anime is a pretty nice way to fill your three-episodes-per-day quota…to be serious, I would probably relate to it better if I were Korean or Japanese. Without the background it’s just a group of friends acting differently in different situations. When the lights go out, at a mixer, among their own blood types (close families for example), et cetera.

I’m type B by the way.
Let me know what blood type you are and if you have watched this, please.