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I want to do the rest of the characters, but it’s already too late.
You know that opening narration in Gundam? The one about how people are born into the world, live life, then die? Well, Mistakes of Youth was born into the world on November 7th, 2006, lived life for four years, and on today, January 1st, 2011, has now died. And yes, I done killed it with my own hands! But don’t get me wrong: I didn’t kill this blog out of malice, revenge, or any of the usual reasons why one kills something. What I’m doing right now is putting this blog out of its misery. So put on some background music, and let me tell you why!
I never really went too much into my personal life here, as it’s honestly of little interest to anyone. But since events in my personal life strongly affected the various directions that this blog took, I feel I should probably let you, the reader, in on what was going on with me between the end of 2006 up until now.
As most of you probably know, the better part of this blog (and my webcomic, for that matter) was written while I was in college. Like most other people, college was a big time of change for me, and I went through many different changes in college. My high school life was, erm, less than enjoyable, so upon entering college I was pretty socially withdrawn. I had hopped to make friends and have a good time, but most of my socializing was done on the internet. Before I knew it, my friends only existed on the internet, and I had no friends in real life. At least in high school I had friends who I spoke to on a daily basis, but for the first two years of college I was all alone.
I wasn’t Tatsuhiro Satou bad–I went to school, got good grades, and went out often; but I was alone, and my mindset grew more and more insular. The results of this insular, geeky mindset shine brilliantly in the posts throughout a lot of this blog, manifesting in articles extolling the virtues of young girls, and cheap bids to get attention by backing controversial viewpoints with a lot of vigor and arrogance. Half-way through junior year, I found myself in Japan. For the first time in a long while, I had to interact with a lot of people on a regular basis, and I gradually came out of my shell. But at the same time, culture shock hit me in a weird way. A way that resulted in posts such as this.
Upon returning to the States, I went out some more, and made some friends. All the insanity that had built up in me had died down, and I managed become less of a jerkoff. This change in attitude resulted in me wanting to do more thoughtful opinion pieces and analysis on this blog–what I’ve wanted to do from the very beginning–and while I managed to get some out, it was kind of tough. I was too used to being either a Negative Nancy or a creep, so that kind of stuff didn’t really come naturally. Furthermore, considering the history of this blog, I doubt many people took such posts too seriously. And I doubt the existing readership cared. So, in an attempt to put all this baggage behind me, I am closing down the Mistakes of Youth blog.
But, don’t fret–I intend to start fresh with a new blog: Analog Housou!
Analog Housou will be a blog completely dedicated to being a blog. What that means is, there won’t be things like comic updates or art site updates clogging up the feed. Those will still be posted on this blog, but will eventually get their own separate blogs. Analog Housou will be a more general “Japan” blog, but considering that I’m going to be writing it, anime will be the main focus. To help me out, I’ve asked some other people if they’d be interested in writing for it, so there’ll a good bit of varied content depending on how things work out. I will probably find my posts on this new blog completely embarrassing after about a year or so as well, but hopefully because they’re poorly written, and not because I’m completely disgusted with the kind of person I was when I wrote them.
To close this off, I just want to thank all of the readers who’ve stumbled upon this site across the past four years. I also want to thank all the friends I’ve made over these past four years for putting up with my bullshit. I know I’ve been an annoying pain in the ass, and I hope for your continued support.
I liked the party last year, so I figure I’d do it again. It’s easy to do, and I like drawing people in formal wear. I don’t know who puts on this spectacular Christmas party–which is apparently too good to have Christmas decorations up, save for gigantic pine trees outside–or why they invite the people they do, but it must be a blast.
See you all later, and Happy Holidays.
I’ve been putting off writing about Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru for a while because I wasn’t quite sure what to say about it. It’s been kind of a slow year for SHAFT, honestly–between putting out the lackluster Dance in the Vampire Bund anime, two rather unadventurous seasons of Arakawa Under The Bridge, and going silent for a whole season, not much about SHAFTXSHINBO’s output was really exciting me in 2010. We did finally get a spectacular resolution to Bakemonogatari, as well as one of the best seasons of Hidamari Sketch, so it wasn’t a complete loss. SoreMachi is now a week from finishing, so in an attempt to make a mid-series post before it’s too late, I figure I’ll get a paragraph or two about it down now while I’m feelin’ good.
First off, SoreMachi quite obviously owes more to Shinbo’s older works than it does to most of what he’s worked on over the past five years. Rather than give the show an unorthodox and minimalistic visual motif, SHAFT very clearly has some degree of money behind this show, and instead opts for something that more or less moves and looks like normal anime. But to keep things spicy, interspersed between otherwise normal shots are a bunch of interesting attempts at mimicking the effects of using a variety of different lenses. There are also a lot of Shinbo’s signature low angle and high angle shots, as well a number of far away shots. These techniques, as well as others that he’s used in the past, are then mixed with all of the tricks SHAFT has come up with over the years, and the result is something that’s pretty neat looking. Episodes aren’t consistently visually interesting, but there’s always an attempt to do something neat each episode. The use of over-the-top visual techniques–such as simulated tracking shots, tilts, and fish-eye lenses–matched with very simplistic shooting typically match the rhythm of the show’s humor, and on the whole the show’s penchant for subtle visual weirdness keeps things from looking boring, and that’s all that really matters, right?
Along with the unique approach to stroyboarding, SoreMachi also has a keen sense of atmosphere. The small Japanese suburb the characters inhabit is portrayed in a very matter-of-fact manner, free of the bright, over saturated colors that make most anime look too cartoony. Little details, such as signage, labels on various household items, wallpaper patterns and wall paintings also help to give the backgrounds personality. Strong use of dark, near geometric shadows help to carve out 3D space in a simple but visually arresting way, and soft orange lighting helps to make SEASIDE: COFFEE AND LUNCH look constantly chilled out. This approach to lighting and scenery is quite nostalgic, and reminds me of the small town in Saitama I lived in for nearly half a year.
What threw me off about this show at first was its humor–it didn’t really click with me. After a couple of episodes I came to like it, but even 11 weeks in I still find it somewhat inconsistent. The characters are all unique and charming, and I don’t have too much issue with the style of humor. I just feel as if the show’s hit to miss ratio isn’t as high as most SHAFT comedies like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Pani Poni Dash, and the funny parts of Tsukuyomi -MOON PHASE-. Maybe they need to drop more pans on people’s heads, or something. The main thing I take issue with is how too many of the jokes just fall back on the usual manzai routine, with Hotori being the boke, and everyone else being the tsukkomi. It works some of the time, but it doesn’t always click.
SoreMachi’s at its best when it just does something strange or hilariously over-the-top. The mysterious vending machine episode is incredibly amusing, and the ping-pong match between Tatsuno and Haribara had me rolling on the floor. Some of the best parts of the show aren’t comedic at all, and instead heartwarming. My favorite part of the show is probably when Hotori and Sanada take a day off of school. The way that episode is both directed and written kind of makes me pine for the youth I never experienced. It’s quite a nice episode. Similarly, Takeru’s day out with his female classmate is cute, as well as Takeru and Hotori’s nighttime stroll around town. Episodes such as these, where the characters share experiences and interact, are nice to watch and easily relatable.
On the other side of the coin, the show also excels at being supernatural and interstellar. The mysterious rainbow colored snack story has the same charm as the vending machine story, and its punchline redefines the show’s standard of strangeness. It then tops itself again by introducing aliens into the equation just because it wants to. On a more quiet note, the episode that focuses around the cafe manager’s dead husband wandering around town as a ghost is both amusing and touching. These elements of the show work because they’re just thrown at you with no warning, and no sense of foreshadowing. They just happen because they’re supposed to happen. The show assumes such things happening is a normality, so it doesn’t try to draw attention to them by dropping obvious hints, and that’s what makes them surprising, interesting, and quite special.
Despite being a little hit and miss, SoreMachi is pretty neat show. The manga it’s based on clearly has the balls to do cool things every now and again, and the anime’s presentation of it restores my faith in SHAFT and Shinbo a little bit. I’m glad that Shinbo’s starting to remember what made his stuff interesting in the first place, and is making attempts to revisit it. It gives me hopes for Madoka Majica, which’ll certainly be a site to see.
Someone I know has a theory that a friend of mine is the inspiration for Tina. While this is not true, this time his words are the punchline for this comic. I find it amusing that in a culture in which all manner of otherwise innocent characters are raped in the minds of horny young men, a concept of certain characters being off-limits amuses me. Certainly, that doesn’t stop people from drawing Cardcaptor Sakura’s Sakura being raped by faceless men, and there’s already a slew of pictures depicting Ika Musume’s naked semen covered body; but there are people out there with standards. I think it’s a little funny to bring that kind of sentiment into a comic such as this, where generally nothing is sacred. Not super funny, but a little funny. I wasn’t shooting to high with this one.
Speaking of high, saying SoreMachi has a “huge” budget is kind of misleading. It has a huge budget for a SHAFT show, and as a result more or less moves like normal anime.
That’ll be all for this week. Let’s see if I can throw together a Christmas-themed comic by the 25th…
Maybe I’m the only one? I don’t know, I haven’t read an anime forum in a while. But I can’t be the only one who thinks Kirino really likes her brother. I mean, she’s so tsundere for him at every turn! How can she not like him? But yeah, it rubs me the wrong way, because you know, honestly? She’s not that cute. Also, the degree to which she acts like a real little sister actually makes the whole affair rather creepy. But it’s still a pretty good show all said, so I’m not complaining. I will however complain about the artwork in this comic, as it turned out quite bad. I was liking where it was going initially, but things went a bit pear shaped. I suppose it can’t be helped.
There won’t be a delay with next week’s comic because… I’ve already finished it! How about that?
Gosh, with me being such a NEET, why isn’t this site being updated more? Yeesh!
It’s the weekend of New York Comic Con, and I’m at the bar with some friends after having my mind blown away by the Haruhi movie. Our conversation shifts between the topics of Japan, women, Pizzicato Five, and eventually–of course–towards anime. More specifically, we begin talking about the then fresh-off-the-presses Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. As the conversation progresses, one of my friends asserts that the show is actually not that funny, and in fact quite poorly written. While I realize this person’s idea of funny is quite different from mine, I also noticed that I don’t actually laugh that often while watching Panty & Stocking. Anime can do funnies for me real easy–just have some dumb Doraemon reference pass through your protagonist’s lips, a pan drop on your vampire’s head, or have your drama queen teacher scream out in despair. But no, near as I can tell Panty and Stocking doesn’t even go out of its way to make jokes all that often. That said, it’s quite entertaining. Panty and Stocking isn’t a comedy–it’s just a good time. But instead of dancing to catchy Pizzicato Five tunes, Panty and Stocking are getting down to some hot electronic beats.
I don’t really want to use the phrase “shock value”, but that is more or less this show’s modus operandi. With each 15-minute episode, it tries to top its previous hand with something even more outrageous. They may not hit that mark every time, but no matter what, the show is never boring. One of the show’s main hands is simply its profanity, and I’m not just talking about when Panty busts out a “FATHERFUCKER” or a “FUCK YOU, SON OF A BITCH,” I’m talking about just how sexual the show is willing to get. This isn’t to say that anime as a medium is some pure virginal maiden, but in something like To-Love-RU, Rito will accidentally fall into Lala’s breasts, or the girls’ clothes will inadvertently come off. Even in more racy shows like Kanokon, there’s some kind of twisted air of innocence. However, Panty & Stocking asserts its dirty self with attitude.
On the topic of virginal maidens, there aren’t any in this show! Panty’s main gimmick is that she’ll sleep with anything that moves, while otaku-favorite Stocking has dildos lying around her room, and has also slept around with a few different men. In fact, everyone in this TV show is some kind of sexual deviant. Like I mentioned before, Panty’s a slut, Stocking is a masochist who enjoys being tied up and tortured, and black, afro-wearing priest Garterbelt likes little boys. Heck, the one innocent in the show–the audience stand in “geek boy” character, Brief–jerks off to images of Panty on what one assumes is a regular basis. I mean, it’s suggested on screen once, but once is enough, right? Aside from the sexual stuff, there’s a ton of base toilet humor as well. The entire first episode revolves around the sisters fighting a giant poop monster, and characters just up and vomit when something disgusts them. There’s no allusion of innocence or lack of responsibility in Panty & Stocking: It’s just dirty, and it revels in it.
The other hand the show likes to play is flexing its American pop culture muscles. 9 of 10 times, each episode’s title card will be a not-at-all-subtle reference to some well known American property. Episodes have titles such as, “Sex In The Daten City,” “High School Nudical,” and “Pulp Addiction.” While the episodes themselves may not be the parodies that their titles suggest, there’s still a strong influence of American pop culture. A lot of the episodes are takes on common American television and film tropes, and characters such as Ren and Stempy and Johnny Bravo will make pretty obvious cameo appearances. One of the best cameos was by an impressive caricature of Tom Cruise, who just happened to be going off like a mad man on a TV show. The few times that the series does make good on the reference in the title card, we get masterpieces of animation like “Transwhoremers.”
Every now and then the show will surprise us with something completely different. Kobayashi Osamu does an episode that is absurdly realistic and ugly, and is otherwise a complete detour from the normal formula aside from one scene. Another episode stretches out to full TV-length, half of which is just one ridiculous fight scene. The most recent surprise was in episode 9’s b-part, where the show managed to pull off a somewhat poignant love story.
What brings this all together into one complete attitudinal package is how the show looks, feels and sounds. If you haven’t already assessed from promotional artwork for the series, everything is drawn in this 1990s Cartoon Network Cartoon Cartoon style. This childish-looking and straightforward visual style is the perfect icing on this sordid cake, and only shoves things in your face even harder. Between these cartoony characters extolling the virtues of sex and cake, the show will sometimes shift into a more realistic, traditional anime style. This is often times for a quick bit of fanservice, but once again, it’s not “oops, I fell into your boobs!” fanservice, it’s Panty and Stocking pole dancing, or stripping for a game of roulette. They’re dirty girls!
The show’s direction is generally very fast and loose, which complements the simplistic visual style well. This style of direction combined with the simple character designs allows for some economic corner cutting here and there, so while animation quality may vary, the pace never really lets up. The entire show is set to a variety of pulsating electronic beats, and all the vocal songs are done in English.
So, what I’m trying to say by simply recapping the show and recounting what other people have probably already said more eloquently, is that this show is fun because it takes a lot of chances, has a lot of energy, and simply doesn’t care about offending people. Is it funny? Sometimes, I guess. But it’s always fun, and never boring. What this show does is completely different from anything that’s come out over the past 10 years, and even if you don’t like it, it’s worth watching an episode or two just to see what it’s all about. And as you can see, it’s about a lot of things.
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I don’t really know what compelled me to do this. I may do something similar for the other characters if I have time.
In retrospect, I probably should have drawn a subtle stain over all of the girls’ crotches, but alas, it is now too late. This comic was meant to come out a week after the last one, but some things happened, and I only managed to get around to drawing it a little while ago. Seems the news of the Strike Witches movie didn’t make much of a splash anyway, so it’s not like this comic being super out of date is really a big thing. This is another one that I did completely from start-to-finish on the computer, and looking at it now, I’m not unhappy with it. The part I like the best is Rets’ face obscured in shadow, as he’s folding his dakimakura, whist wearing an evil-looking black turtleneck.
Anyway, with school completed and my internship over with, while I’m looking for employment, I figure I’ll use some of my free time to revamp the site. There’s gonna be some big changes in the near future, so look out! For one, expect a new blog to surface soon-ish. That is, once I get around to designing it.
By the way, I started a Formspring account, so feel free to shoot me whatever questions you have! See y’all later!