We’ve been gone for a while now, haven’t we? Between work, school, trying to collect payment for work, videogames, moving, travelling to Japan, videogames, and general depression, Colony Drop’s output has come to a complete halt for the past year or so. I think we were supposed to print a fanzine or something, too? Well, it might take us a bit to get back in the swing of things, to summon up the proper bile to confront the state of Japanese cartoons for children and nerds in 2013. So, let’s warm up by discussing My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute.
Oh, don’t give me that look.
Hey, idiots, why don’t you watch short anime? I mean, really, what are we all doing here giving cartoons three-episode tests, or suffering in the long term with long series that may or may not deliver, or dealing with done-on-the-fly series that are perpetually subject to implode in their final moments if a deadline looms or a model kit doesn’t sell enough? And what the hell are we doing watching Sword Art Online?
Once again, Colony Drop (well, one of us, anyway) will be presenting/moderating/crashing a buncha panels at southern California’s realest anime con, Anime Los Angeles. We’ll also be running round II of our Most Dangerous video room, Not Kids’ Stuff, so please drop by.
Here’s the schedule as it stands now:
The Other Ghibli - Friday, 3 - 4 PM
Directed By… The Art of ADR - Friday, 4:30 - 6 PM
Not Kids’ Stuff II - Saturday, 12:45 AM (18+)
Anime Fandom Before the Internet - Saturday, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - 10 Years and Counting - Saturday, 3 - 4:30 PM
The Legacy of Satoshi Kon - Saturday, 9:45 - 10:45 PM
1.) The price of the fanzine has been dropped and we’re now offering the PDF for free, either via MagCloud’s website or their iPad app. We managed to sell a lot more issues than we ever expected to, so thanks for your support.
2.) Comments are currently disabled because of some behind-the-scenes difficulties. They’ll be fixed by the next time we post something interesting.
3.) The next fanzine should be out very soon. It’ll be bigger, badder and in full color.
(This article will contain spoilers for Lupin III: The Woman Named Fujiko Mine.)
The best scene by far in Lupin III: The Woman Named Fujiko Mine (hereafter Fujiko) is the opening sequence. In 90 seconds, Fujiko Mine (voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro) makes a bold, irrational spoken-word statement of intent over ominous strings and a series of surreal images of the nude Fujiko. It’s about her nihilism, her sense of mystery, the strange compulsions that drive her. The sequence leaves no doubt that this is definitely one of those artsy things.
So do the credits. Sayo Yamamoto (Michiko e Hatchin) directs, Takeshi Koike (Redline) does character design and animation direction, Dai Sato and Mari Okada are among the writers, and some of the industry’s finest animated it. (See Anipages for commentary and a thorough rundown of who does what where in a continuing series on Fujiko.) The art is decidedly in tribute to original creator Monkey Punch, and in contrast to most Lupin anime this is definitely an R-rated effort.
But is this the kind of artsy production that has a genuinely interesting angle on the least defined of a classic set of characters… or are the creators just pretentiously spinning their wheels? Unfortunately, it winds up decisively in the latter camp. The most potentially exciting anime TV series of a strong season manages to disappoint as much as it entertains, by copping out on its own mission statement.
When Tokyopop CEO and demagogue Stu Levy announced the cessation of U.S. publishing operations in 2011 some saw the event as the beginning of a slow decline for manga in America. The cancellation of print editions for both Viz Media’s Shonen Jump (2012) and Yen Press’ Yen Plus (2010) in favor of online-only distribution seemed like additional guideposts pointing towards the same destination: a shrunken, anemic American manga scene.
The reality has, so far, turned out to be somewhat different. As of the spring of 2012 the contractions in the industry have happened and continue, but many publishing bastions hold fast, more people continue to discover the different facets of manga and established niches have developed, niches in which the cleverest and most dedicated publishers can, most of the time, carve out a loyal existence. Still, many an English-speaking manga fan in 2012 is asking the same question English-speaking fans were asking in 1992, or 2002 for that matter:
Just how much are we missing out on?
Sometimes, it really feels like Satoshi Urushihara’s designs were everywhere in the 1990s. Looking back, they weren’t, because his production history only shows a handful of titles that exhibit his distinctive look, but he still seemed to contribute an awful lot to that 90s “look” as we all remember it. Plastic Little, a 1994 OAV he directed with Kinji Yoshimoto may be his most famous — and it’s complete smut. Boring, yet incredibly well-produced smut.