Adhering to Conventions: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for July 2019

It doesn’t happen every year, but this July is going to see Anime Expo and Otakon. If you’re into anime cons, this is a double-edged sword. As I get older, I’m worried I might not have the energy for both.

Many thanks to my sponsors on Patreon and ko-fi.

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Highlights from June:

I’m Bad at Understanding Rhythm, but the Manga “Wondance” is Changing That

More love for an interesting manga, especially what it taught me personally.

Dark-skinned Precure: The Importance of Cure Soleil

The significance of Star Twinkle Precure‘s Mexican heroine.

Banjo-Kazooie, Dragon Quest, and the Precariousness of Nostalgia

Looking at how Smash Bros. as a “history of video games” can run up against its role as a vehicle for personal nostalgia.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 17 puts the S in Soprano.

Patreon-Sponsored

The Pros and Cons of $20 Anime Figures

What do you think of these symbols of budget anime merchandise?

Closing

I have two panels at Otakon this year, and I hope you’ll be able to make them. I’ll make another post closer to Otakon so that it’s fresher in people’s memories, but make sure to mark “Star-Crossed Alien Lovers…in Robots” and “Genshiken and Beyond: The Works of Kio Shimoku” on your Otakon schedules!

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Crossovers on the Brain: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for June 2019

E3 is next week, and I’ve been trying to finish Super Robot Wars T so I can devote my full attention to whatever Smash Bros. Ultimate shenanigans Nintendo has waiting for us. I wonder if I can get really into a third ridiculous crossover franchise and go straight over the edge.

Before, I get into Ogiue Maniax highlights from the past month, I’d like to thank my supporters on Patreon and ko-fi.

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

 

My favorite posts from May:

Spoilers Matter

My counter-argument against the idea that obsession with spoiler warnings hurts more than helps

“Very East-Coast Avengers.” War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas

A look at Marvel Comics’s new All-Asian team, and what it could mean.

Growing Step by Step: Run with the Wind

My review of a really great anime that gives some really important life lessons that I hope people take to heart.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 16 continues the Chorus Appreciation Society’s excursion to another school.

Patreon-Sponsored

The Healing of Heisei Anime

A retrospective of sorts on anime of the Heisei period, which ended recently with former Emperor Akihito’s abdication.

Closing

You know what’s an expansive crossing over of many major players? That’s right, the Mueller Report.

Sure is worth reading, if I do say so myself.

Thank You for Your Love: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for May 2019

The new season is well under way, but I’m still trying to catch up on giving my thoughts about the last season! There’s always a price to pay in terms of trying to keep up with the season, but I prefer the slow and steady approach. Many thanks to my supporters on Patreon and ko-fi for letting me take my time as I have.

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

I mentioned last month that I was traveling to Asia, and now that I’ve come back, it’s lit a fire under me to improve my fluency in Chinese. Ogiue Maniax will still ultimately be about anime and manga, but my continued learning and renewed exposure to Chinese culture (including comics and music) might bleed into my posts every so often. I might also write a thing or two that more directly addresses some elements of intersection between Japanese and Chinese pop culture, but I have no concrete plans as of yet.

Now then, my favorite posts from April:

Hip Hop Manga: “Change!” and “Wondance”

A visual comparison between two different hip hop-themed titles

Why Emma in “The Promised Neverland” is a Fantastic Character

One of the best Shonen Jump manga currently running features one of the best protagonists.

The Confession: “The World God Only Knows” Five-Year Retrospective

As the saying goes, “Your tears are delicious.”

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 15 steps outside the confines of Hashimoto Technical High School. it’s a fun chapter rich with characterization and surprises.

Patreon-Sponsored

Infinite Potential: Aikatsu Friends! Kagayaki no Jewel

Idols in Spaaaaace…!

Closing

May 5 is not only Cinco de Mayo, it’s also the “birthday” of May, the best character in Guilty Gear. All hail our anchor-wielding overlord!

Infinite Potential: Aikatsu Friends! Kagayaki no Jewel

I’m unsure of what kids’ marketing research took place, but I doubt it’s a coincidence that both Precure and Aikatsu!—two major girls’ anime franchises—somehow both ended up on a space theme this year. But while Star Twinkle Precure is kind of expected given how every season has a gimmick or three, it’s much more surprising that Aikatsu Friends! Kagayaki no Jewel would establish the concept of “Space Idol Activities” in its own universe. Fitting, perhaps, but surprising nevertheless.

There’s a certain level of absurdity that permeates Aikatsu! as a whole—more than enough to make “Aikatsu in space” not seem like such a bizarre direction. In fact, I think it’s what has allowed the franchise to stand the test of time as a work of art and media, independent of the arcade game it’s based on. Aikatsu Friends! Kagayaki no Jewel leans into that, whether it’s maintaining old traditions (e.g. scaling cliffs) or trying something new. So when the first episode begins with an astronaut entering the stratosphere, the main reaction from me is “sure.” In a way, it feels more fitting than something like, Yu-Gi-Oh!, which now has a history of highlighting card games in different settings—in ancient Egypt, in school, on motorcycles, in space, and so on.

The new season also takes place in a new semester where the Aine and friends are now in the high school division, and I always enjoy seeing the signs of progress that come with such transitions. In this case, it’s seeing the underclassmen pale in terms of aerobic an anaerobic training alike, as well as…idols in spaaaaace.

My only wish is that they push this concept as far as it can go. Why limit it to space-esque idol performances? Why not have an idol school aboard a shuttle? Why not have zero-g dancing? Please take this to the absolute limit, Aikatsu!

P.S. Did you know the best Aikatsu! characters introduce themselves by parachute? It’s true.

This post was sponsored by Johnny Trovato. If you’d like to request a topic for Ogiue Maniax (or support it in general), check out the Patreon.

Downtown: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for April 2019

By the time you read this, I’ll be traveling in Asia! It’s a fun trip that I hope to maybe write about in the coming month.

In the meantime, I want to express my thanks to my Patreon sponsors for their continued support!

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

My favorite posts from March:

Rokudou no Onna-tachi: When Krillin Wins

An updated look at the best harem delinquent underdog manga around.

Oh My God, Becky, Look at His Hands: Teasobi

The author of Mogusa-san has a most scandalous manga!

Star Twinkle Precure’s Excellently Personal Transformations

Magical girl shows love their transformation sequences, and the new Precure does them brilliantly

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 14 revolves around the challenge of deciding on a song to perform.

Patreon-Sponsored

“Tales of Eternia: The Animation” and the Adapting of RPGs

How does this early 2000s game-to-anime work handle the transition?

Closing

How do you feel about the new Wednesday-Sunday schedule? Has it thrown any of you off, or are you enjoying the change? Let me know in the comments!

“Tales of Eternia: The Animation” and the Adapting of RPGs

I was asked via Patreon to look at the Tales RPG series, which I have very little experience with. Given time constraints, I decided to focus my energy on an anime version, knowing full well that such adaptations often do not fully capture what makes the source material appealing. With that in mind, I chose to go in blind on the earliest Tales anime: Tales of Eternia.

My immediate feeling from the first couple of episodes was that the core cast is a fun and likable bunch, and that they stood out above all else. My favorite is Farah Oersted, the martial arts tomboy with an oddly familiar an appropriate voice—turns out she shares a voice with Videl from the Dragon Ball franchise. The show at times felt beholden to its RPG origins, especially during fight scenes, which is not helped by the roughness of the early-2000s digital animation.

But as I kept watching, I wondered just how much ground they were covering from the original Tales of Eternia. Halfway in, it seemed more like they were on their very first missions, when you’re still kind of learning the ropes. By the time a major plot twist comes in, it feels strangely paced—like either the story was moving too slow for something like this, or it had been skipping over too much. At this point, I decided to look at just how this anime maps onto the game.

The answer is that it doesn’t—at least not exactly. The central characters are more or less the same, except drawn in an early-2000s anime style as opposed to the softer designs of the game (or its squat sprites), but the story of the Tales of Eternia anime does not take place anywhere in the actual RPG. Suddenly, it made sense, and the feeling I was getting from the anime version was all too familiar: the Tales of Eternia anime is basically a filler arc.

The challenge of adapting an RPG is tricky because there’s not necessarily enough time to cover everything, so I can see why they took this approach. Shoving the game’s story into 13 episodes probably wouldn’t have done it justice, so going for a wholly original story is an interesting solution. However, the reason it feels so much like filler is because it straddles the line a little too much. The anime tries not to touch the main story so there are no real stakes, but it also seems to assume that this somewhere into it, so the anime isn’t terribly free to take liberties. All that remains is the charm of the characters.

Yuuki Rinrin: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for March 2019

Ten years ago in late February, I went on my first date with the woman who would become my wife. For those who don’t know, we actually met in part thanks to Ogiue Maniax, so the blog is truly special to me in more ways than one.

In that respect, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how this blog is a comfortable space for me where I can more or less write about whatever I wait. I’m feeling especially grateful to my Patreon sponsors. Not much is demanded of me from you guys, so you have my deepest thanks.

General:

Johnny Trovato

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

At the same time, I do wonder if I’m not doing enough for my patrons, or if I’m getting complacent. Perhaps I should shake things up a bit, but I’m not exactly sure how. I’m entertaining the idea of restructuring my Patreon rewards, and I’m open to suggestions. I guess I want to do a little more giving.

My favorite posts from February:

Never Give Up: Hugtto! Precure

Precure + Sato Junichi? It’s as good as that sounds.

The Real Captain Planet: Brave Fighter of Legend Da Garn

A look at 1992’s entry in Sunrise and Takara’s Brave anime franchise.

What Lies Behind the Wobbling Debate in Smash Bros. Melee?

Delving into what makes the Ice Climbers’ infinite such a contested topic.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 13 is the end of the beginning for the Chorus Club (or should I say “Chorus Appreciation Society?”).

Patreon-Sponsored

Winter 2019 Anime Impressions

These shows are Ogiue Maniax-approved! …For the time being, at least.

Closing

This is unrelated to the state of the blog, but some big robot news:

First, Super Robot Wars T comes out this month! You damn well better believe I’m gonna be rocking the Rayearth girls.

Second, did you know that they’re making a Soul of Chogokin for Vehicle Voltron??? I don’t know if I’ll get it, but I do know I’ll be watching every video review of it I can find.