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Like Anime? Try My Little Pony

12 Jul

With Bronycon wrapping up a week or so ago, it seems that bronies and My Little Pony are entering the nation’s consciousness like never before, with tons of news articles and other coverage about both the event and the fandom making the rounds. There’s even a documentary being made by John de Lancie (Star Trek’s Q) and Michael Brockhoff about the brony fandom, and why a show originally intended for girls has taken such a hold on an unlikely demographic.

While some people have reacted with suspicion and downright cruelty to adults (specifically adult men) who like the show, as an anime fan, I don’t find it strange that people of any age or gender would be drawn to a show that is cute or innocent. In fact, I think those are two huge draws of many animated shows, the moe genre of anime in particular. In the case of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, it has wonderful characters, quality animation, and great storytelling: the recipe for any good show, never mind the intended age group. Continue reading

A Guide to Popular Japanese Literature (and Authors) You Can Find in English

5 Jul

True to my word, I’ve been devouring Japanese literature at a steady pace since getting my feet wet with Digital Geisha last month.

Having the opportunity to read translated works of Japanese fiction and non-fiction has not only been a real treat for me as a book nerd, but has also given me the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture and society in a way I hadn’t been able to previously.

While this is by no means a comprehensive guide to all of the wonderful Japanese books you can find in English, it is a good starting place if you are just diving in like me, as these books are some of the more popular Japanese books translated into English, and should therefore be easier for you to find. Continue reading

Should Some Stories Only Be Told In Manga or Comics?

28 Jun
マンガ Manga madness 

Image Courtesy of Ari Helminen on Flickr.

I’ve found myself wondering lately about the difference in storytelling to be found in manga verses light novels. You will sometimes see popular manga series have light novels released that are either a re-enactment of the manga’s events, or a side story (gaiden). But it always makes me wonder: is it possible to portray characters in the same way in a light novel as they appear in the manga?

I wonder in particular about manga that has a lot of action, or does a lot of its storytelling via illustration instead of words or dialogue. Is it possible to retain the same feeling of the characters or the story when translating manga to a more ‘traditional’ form of storytelling?

The same goes for anime. For example: I just finished the awesomeness that is the Baccano! anime not too long ago, and decided to do a little digging for the light novels the anime was based on. I got a few pages into the light novel before having to put it aside (for now at least) because the portrayal of the characters in the light novel seemed so different from how they were portrayed in the anime. (This is, of course, only my opinion.)

So I guess my question is this: are some stories best told in a certain kind of format? If you had asked me 3 years ago I would have said no, and that a good story would still be just as good in any format. Continue reading

Geeky Printable Father’s Day Card Inspired by Melvin!

14 Jun

Are you a geek? Is your dad a geek? If so, they’ll get a kick out of this geeky Father’s day card I made for you awesome folks, inspired by none other than Melvin himself. Continue reading

A Documentary on All Things Studio Ghibli: Ghibli – The Miyazaki Temple

7 Jun

Image Courtesy of Carter McKendry (Seiya235) on Flickr.

Like many of you, I adore Studio Ghibli films. My first Ghibli film was Howl’s Moving Castle when I first became interested in anime, and I have been a huge Ghibli fan ever since.

Given this adoration of Ghibli films and my near-obsession with documentaries, I don’t know how I managed to overlook the fact that these two wonderful things had been combined for the past four years. Honestly, I never thought to look. Given Ghibli’s reputation for being a little media shy, I wasn’t sure if they would agree to a documentary, much less one that was intended for audiences outside of Japan, but after seeing the name “Ghibli” pop up on one of my favorite documentary sites, I was happy to discover that I was wrong.

Made in 2005 (before Ponyo and The Secret World Of Arrietty made their debut), Ghibli – The Miyazaki Temple is a documentary by French filmmaker Yves Montmayeur that examines all things Ghibli, offering a peek into the minds behind the famous Ghibli films and a look at the people and places that have inspired them. Continue reading

Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: A Review

31 May

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert on Japanese literature. While I’ve read Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and a fair amount of traditional Japanese literature and folklore, I have yet to immerse myself in the wonderful world of contemporary Japanese literature.

Instead of jumping right in and gorging on as many modern Japanese novels as I could find, I decided to ease into things by reading Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: The Best 21st Century Short Stories from Japan, a collection of short stories by some of Japan’s most respected authors.

I can honestly say that my mind has been blown.

The stories are whimsical. Uniquely written. In many cases, downright disturbing. The stories stick with you, gnawing at your psyche as you try to figure out their meaning, the hidden symbolism. You begin to dance circles around your own thoughts, wondering if the characters of these stories have somehow invaded your brain.

Because if there is any common thread between the stories in this collection, it is the fact that many of the protagonists and supporting characters struggle against themselves and battle against what can only be described as mental imbalances. Some of the stories leave you wondering if what you read was the true account of events, or something created in the mind of the character. Continue reading


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