They’re bringing the red cat ghost franchise here too

Youkai Watch has been stirring Japan for some time now, and I’ve been trying to keep my big yapper shut about it, but screw it. Jibanyan has been able to beat Pikachu in many fields for now, and the question is whether or not Game Freaks will tackle this challenger head on, or will they allow Pokémon franchise to grow old. The thing is, Pokémon was a great children’s franchise. Not so much anymore, where it’s a franchise modern parents remember from their childhood, or still follow strongly. The games have essentially stayed the same and the cartoon has more or less stagnated in many ways for some time already. Fans will of course argue that Natures and other little things have changed the game, but those barely make an impact to the now true and tested catch, train, get four attack slots and six monsters.

I’ll be frank; if Pokémon will not reinvent itself as a franchise this decade, it’ll end up in a sad state.

As I mentioned, Youkai watch has been successful in Japan. Immensely so. Youkai Watch 2 surpassed five million copies sold in Japan. Jibanyan has even replaced Pikachu’s central throne in the Next Generation World Hobby Fair. It’s safe to say that Youkai Watch has gained a strong position as one of the new main children’s franchises in Japan. A franchise that has not changed with the times in almost twenty years nor has reinvented itself at any point will have a hard time to stand against something new. New is not necessarily better, but when new challenges the old this hard (and topping it), the old is doing something wrong.

With Youkai Watch slated for Western release, the question that everybody asks if it can challenge Pokémon outside their native soil. After all, both of them have some Japanese culture in them, Youkai Watch is the one hard-rooted to the culture from the get go. In order for West to accept Youkai Watch in the same way Pokémon was, the localisation work needs to be spot on.

The otaku culture in West hates dubs, generally speaking. I’m not sure whether or not this is due to the stupidly purist nature at large, or because people simply regard Japanese better for their ears. Sure, there are differences in the quality of the dubbing, yet the arguments are from universal.

Dubbing is not destroying the original product or anything similar. Dubbing is expensive, costing about $10 000 per episode for a Saturday morning cartoon. Dubbing a movie can be even more expensive, and with each failed take the time ticks, spending more money. As such, dubbing historically has been done to series and movies that have been regarded high quality enough to get such treatment. Dubbing was and is still done to show respect towards the body of work, not the opposite. Dubbing also ensures that the largest possible audience will have an easy access to the product. While reading the subtitles has been in the local culture for a long time, this does not apply to other cultures.

The original Godzilla movie is an example where localisation did not only dub the product, but went their way to give it an extra localisation in form of Raymond Burr’s inclusion. This allowed wider spreading of the movie, but also lowered the bar for people to see the movie. The localised Godzilla movie is not a lesser product in any sense from the original Japanese production, but it is different enough to say that it is its own entity and a worthwhile entry. Unlike with some later dubs, it had both proper budget and approach to make justice to the film. Later in the line with Godzilla movies, budgets were cut and quality became a lesser concern. It wasn’t until later that purists and extreme fans began to regard the localised Godzilla as a lesser product, a thing that nobody though at the time, not even Toho. History has been rewritten by fans in this regard, and it is only rather recently that even the fandom has began to accept the localised version with the high regard it deserves.

Youkai Watch will be a show I will follow relatively closely in the beginning, because it requires similar approach as with the original Godzilla. The franchise is getting ready to be pushed by all fronts; Nintendo publishes the game, Hasbro manages the toys and Viz will push out the cartoon and comics. Whoever is/are in charge of the core translation have rather large responsibility to bring in a good translation. Not necessarily accurate to the word, but something that will go well with the Western audience. Youkai Watch is facing an uphill battle already, and doing a half-assed localisation will only yield lacklustre success.

I have peculiar history with Pokémon myself. Cyber Solider Porygon was aired in Japan on December 16th, 1997. The same day the news broke out about the epileptic seizures it caused, and I remember watching the news that day and seeing the footage. I’m not sure why this caught to my mind then, but about two years later sometime in 1999 I recall reading a magazine in a hospital about the incident and how the series would be coming to local television. Pokémon began to be pushed in the local market around the same, games actually hitting the shelves and so on. I find it weird to get interested in a series because a news piece on television stuck to my head.

After Pokémon hit the television and games became widespread, I too got swept by the mania and for a good reason. Pokémon was a big damn hit with long lasting effect, and proved to be a franchise that impacted the cultural mind. Pokémon was sort of last of its kind, a game that wasn’t a hit with the hardcore gamers and stayed in the Red Ocean. One thing that the series is being constantly criticised of is its unwillingness to change any of the core mechanics or implement all the changes from preceding games to the new ones. For example, the Generation 3 lacked the Day-Night cycle introduced in Generation 2. Then again, Game Freak’s staff is barely able to optimise Pokémon games for the 3D on the 3DS for stable framerate, a thing multiple third parties are able to do just fine.

I want to see Youkai Watch become a successful franchise in the West, to become a new Pokémon to in Pokémon’s place. Much like how I have grown too complacent with the shit I write, so has Game Freak and Nintendo become too complacent with Pokémon as a whole. I can’t fault them really, as the franchise has been able to bring in stable revenues. Digimon has been regarded as the only strong contender against the Yellow mouse machine, but even then Digimon has been mismanaged to large extend, and actually the Digimon movie is an example where the source material was not treated with respect during the localisation. I’m sure Youkai Watch was a surprise to Nintendo, even if it is a game that ensured software sales for their system. This may be a good enough reason for Game Freak and Nintendo to sit back and do their stuff and allow Youkai Watch to become the top dog, but then we can always ask if that is enough from them. Companies should want to keep their top dogs where they belong. It’s easy to do so when there’s no competition, but whenever a challenger appears, one should be willing to tackle this challenger to the fullest extent of their abilities.

In other news, Discotek Media has licensed Giant Gorg.

Children really don’t know Batman, but they know LEGO Batman.

There a thing I wanted to leave as its own entry from the kids. That is comic books. Without a doubt these children do read comics, but not super hero comics. It’s all about Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck, both which have the superior local and European content. They know these Disney characters very closely and understand that every story is its own thing and that the long stories are divided into multiple parts. I love this concept so much. By having multiple shorter stories before a longer story that can take few weeks to finish is an excellent way to have any occasional reader enjoying the content while offering subscribers to enjoy these longer stories whenever the magazine arrive. When I was a wee lad myself, we had Donal Duck coming for multiple years under a subscription, and you could very well see at what point the quality of the stories went down. They were still fun, but coming from people who read Carl Barks in their childhood, and then Don Rosa later on, some of the modern stories feel a bit hollow.

That’s of course a personal opinion, and as much I absolutely love Rosa’s detailing and keeping up with Carl Barks, there are those who dislike them for the exact same reason. Romano Scarpa should be a name any comic book enthusiast knows and I personally consider my childhood’s de facto Disney illustrator. Manuel Gonzales was chosen to be Floyd Gottfredson’s follower in Mickey Mouse comics, but I have to say I was never into the Mouse all that much. Honourable mention goes to Daan Jippes, who is an excellent stylistic imitator, who still has a strong stories. Daniel Branca is a name that I tend to forget a lot when it comes to Duck comics, but dammit if the man’s work isn’t great. There are numerous other names, and the local Donald Duck has listed all the names most recognised names from the 50 plus years the magazine has been published in Finland.

Oh yeah, super hero comics. Children don’t read them.

During the last fifteen years, and more actually, when I discuss Marvel or DC characters with children, they do not recognize their current comics to any extension. This may sound weird, but the majority of them are known by their TV and movie appearances. Whenever I ask about e.g. Batman, I end up discussing about the Tim Burton Batman movie. Later the discussion has seen some hues of Nolan’s Batman, but it is the Burton Batman that is still up there in the public mind. You also have Batman: The Animated Series there, which older teenagers and older remember fondly to the extent to regard it as their favourite Batman incarnation. Can’t fault them for that.

Marvel comics see much more publicity here, mainly because X-Men and Spider-Man magazines have been running here for somewhat long time. Nevertheless, most people have never bought or touched them and much like with DC, know these characters from the screen. 20 something know the movies somewhat well and I have noticed that the Marvel movies are the first contact with some of the characters.

But nowadays you barely have DC or Marvel cartoons on TV. You have Arrow and the Flash representing the higher calibre of live-action production from the DC side, but the few good animation series seem to get cancelled after a season or two. Batman the Animated series ran for 85 episodes. The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold saw 65 episodes. Beware the Batman has 26. Often it felt that we were getting a new Batman show right after the next ended for no apparent reason. Green Lantern had a pretty damn good animation series with only 26 episodes.

Can you fault anyone knowing comic book characters from these, when the comics themselves go unread?

Josh Hadley once said that Warner Brothers treats their comic production as an idea company. They are letting DC to do whatever they want with them to a large extent, but keep the creators in a tight leash with contracts. The work these authors do, the characters and stories they write and illustrate, often than not belong to the company they work for. This is how it should be, but the editors and other people in charge just don’t seem to handle the characters properly. Sure, there has been occasional contracts that screw the original authors completely sideways, but in general you have to remember the core rule; you work for the company, they own your work. If you want to own them for yourself, you work for yourself.

Anyway, do you know where these children know Hulk, Iron Man, Batman and other characters? From LEGO sets and games. Same goes for Star Wars to a large extend, now that we’re talking about LEGO. It’s no wonder such sources are now the first touch with the children, seeing the how the comics are anything but child friendly. They’re filled with gross violence and death with characters that don’t even resemble their iconic versions anymore. Then you have the constant crossing storylines, going everywhere with everything with everybody. A friend of mine wanted to read some Marvel Ultimate comics, dropped after seeing how messed up the storylines began to go just after few issues.

It raises a question on brand recognition, when the comics themselves are the secondary products nowadays. DC’s New52 didn’t help to make any significant impact and Marvel’s upcoming reboot is already convoluted as all hell. Depending on what sort of type comic the reboot will be, Marvel has now a chance to reorganise themselves back to being a company that produces comics for the whole company and not just for the 40 years old comic readers. That is not, and has never been, very lucrative market, but somehow both DC and Marvel have been able to stay afloat with their limited target market. Then again, Disney has been raking in some seriously big money with the Marvel movies, so perhaps the comic companies are doomed to stay as idea factories. Companies producing these niche comics have to realise that the comics used to be something that as enjoyed at a very large scale, but nowadays that seems to apply only to the movies based on these comics.

I am genuinely worried where the super hero comics are going. If they are becoming more and more convoluted and pushing the general public away from- no, they already have been pushed away with comics mostly sold in comic book stores in US and UK. Both DC and Marvel need to reclaim their larger comic audience and begin to produce comics that parents could allow their children to read. There is room for comics of all kinds, for every sort of reader. However, it would take money to realize larger scale production and publication, money that the current comic trends don’t bring.

Music of the Month; Basara + rant

It’s a late music of the month, so let’s get on with it already. Turn the bass up.

Ar Tonelico games are weird, but the music hits just the right spot with me.

It’s been surprisingly unforgiving weekend. The plans to write a larger, more elaborate entry got destroyed with turn of events that caused me to work twice as much as I usually do. It’s linked to the project post I made earlier in the week, but we can come back to that subject when we reach another deca-post.

Seems like the books I was to scan have now been lost in mail, or my friend hasn’t even sent the books. Either way, it’s a loss to those who were expecting these. Anyways, I’ve turned my head towards scanning some chapters of a more unknown series; Gekisatsu! Uchuuken.

You used to have awesome stuff with LPs. No, not Let's Plays,  Long Play Records
You used to have awesome stuff with LPs. No, not Let’s Plays, Long Play Records. This is actually a large poster

What is Gekisatsu! Uchuuken, I hear you asking. It’s comic by Hurricane Ryu, the man who later went on to be Heisei Godzilla movies suitactor. You may know him better as King Ghidorah, among others. The comic serialised in Comic Lemon People from its second issue on in 1982 and had somewhat humble beginning. Gekisatsu! Uchuuken, or just Uchuuken among friends, follows the kung-fu girl Lien Yun. Her adventures start from street brawls and escalate all the way to full blown city destroying fights against all the largest giant monster icons. The series is absolutely balls to the walls insane, using SM as its main sexploitation device and adding almost every character from the Japanese sci-fi pop culture at the time to the extent you had Lien donning a power armour that looks mistakenly similar to Macross’ Valkyrie’s FAST pack. The comic had a collected release, which is stupendously expensive and yet I’m looking for gain them. I’m sure those would have higher quality than the early Comic Lemon People issues. What made Uchuuken popular among readers, at least according to small snippets I’ve see on Pixiv and elsewhere, was the rough, high speed action combined with absolutely bombastic tokusatsu parodying from chapter to chapter. The series style improved slightly as it went on, but it does have a level of amateurish vibe to it, which will put a lot of people off. Especially when it’s 80’s stuff. That shit’s ancient in the eyes of young ones nowadays!

To fight a combination of giant monsters, you need a giant combiner of things that fight giant monsters. And Enterprise
To fight a combination of giant monsters, you need a giant combiner of things that fight giant monsters. And Enterprise

Here’s the kicker thou; Gekisatsu! Uchuuken was supposed to get a TV animation adaptation. It’s absolutely insane to think how this would have been done. It would’ve been toned down in content in order to attract younger audience, meaning removal of the sexploitation element and crafting more a family friendly approach. Still, the few paintings we have still show monsters getting slashed apart and a man standing on a machine armed with tentacles, so some of the origins would’ve been there. The adaptation might’ve been good for the series, in the end. While the comic is quite practically Reference the Comic due to its copyright infringing portrayals, the TV-series would’ve taken all these out and concentrated on the core characters and elaborated more on Lien herself, perhaps creating far more wholesome entity.

There was a record published before or after the project folded, which contains a sort of prototype to the opening music the series would have. Sadly, the instruments are very rudimentary and do no justice to the possibility the song has. The songstress carries the whole deal, really. You can listen to it on Youtube. Be sure to read the description. The rest of the LP has some similarly rudimentary tracks, but also radio drama. These radio drama bits are there to introduce the characters to us, and I admit I’m biased, but I liked what I heard. I’m intending to record the rest of the LP when I get my hands on a higher grade player, but in the meanwhile I can at least share some selected scans.

01_Front_300dpi

Seeing they even released a record and had announced the series, I have theorised that there may exist some sort of short video. At least few minute snippet how it could look. Japanese economy experienced a boom from 1986 to 1991, after which everything just fell down. The 90’s and 00’s are know as the Lost Decades due to this. Uchuuken’s series would have been done just a tad too early. It’s no surprise that OVA’s based on Comic Lemon People series were produced afterwards; Iczer-1, Zeorymer and Cream Lemon. It wasn’t until late 80’s a TV-series based on Comic Lemon People came to be in form of Lemon Angel. Too bad it was just a series of short music videos that carried a set of separated character and their racy slice-of-life adventures. If you want to see them out of some interest, I’m sure Youtube can help you with that as well.

Now for the bits not everybody like. You may want to ready a translation side to software for few upcoming links.

There’s some things I want to get out. #GamerGate has been seen some shit going on with it, and locally we’ve finally seen some news of it. Somewhat actual news, not just clickbait blog posts from people going with the narrative the press is making. Yet, the news we’ve seen do go with the narrative. That’s surprising, as I’ve though the local media and people would’ve taken more objective view and balance the issue’s sides, both from the journalists’ and customers’. However, this has not happened and I guess now that we’ve got the official statement from IDGA-Finland and Neogames Finland that they stand against any sort of harassment against game developers and gamers. This is great, because #GamerGate does support that exact same stance. However, the news is more or less baffling due to the fact that it calls #GamerGate out on the death threats and harassment it has directed towards game developers and gamers.

This is interesting because this is the first time I see anyone telling the movement is harassing gamers as well. I’m not sure what it tells about IDGA-Finland’s statement or the level of journalism the author of this article practices. The normal namedrops are made, and it saddens me that it is apparent that no actual research on the subject has made.

But wait! There’s a game researcher who states that the movement does not represent all the gamers out there. This second article has more balanced narrative, the little there is. The movement is still blamed on all the harassment that has been going on and has emphasize on the developers while ignoring the whole journalism side. It’s apparent that the writer has basically written what has been told to her, which makes a man sad.

It’s understandable, if you look at the movement from a distance. Because the movement is against a media, it is completely expected for the media to strike back and have that unbalanced view on the events. However, when you do have something like YLE, the Finnish equivalent of BBC, not making any research to their news, it seriously causes some amazement. On one hand this is treated as an American event, but that would mean that the journalists at YLE have even better option to do some journalistic research and see whether or not the allegations on either side are valid. I’ve had some good discussions about the movement and its goals, but most people seem to go into the press’ narrative more. Then again, often this narrative is shoddily built, but same minded people often buy to a narrative they want to see fit to their world view.

For this reason alone, I would recommend any #GamerGate supporter to keep yourself outside the comfort bubble and see the countering arguments and keep an objective view. The same should apply to everybody, really.

Capricious Orange Road and The Eternity You Wished For

Kimagure Orange Road (KOR) is one of those shows that are defining classics across the genres. It’s one of the most popular romantic comedy comics from the 1980’s that most older animation fans know about, but the younger audience most likely has missed it. KOR’s influence is still seen in Japanese romance comedies, but let’s take a look at how many parallels it has with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Now I’m basing the introduction to KOR on the animated version, as the comic hasn’t been released in the West in English… yet. There have been promises about that thou. And oh yeah, spoiler alarm for all who have not yet seen KOR.


Damnit the 80’s had gorgeous TV-animation

The story of Kimagure Orange Road starts as our main character Kyousoke Kasuga is walking hundred steps stairs in his new home town. There Kyousuke sees a red hat flying low in the sky, grabbed by the wind. He proceeds to make a bold jump and catches the hat. The hat belongs to Madoka Ayukawa, a girl of his age. The two banter slightly over how many steps the stairs had, and the two seem to enjoy the newfound company. Madoka gifts the hat to Kyousuke as a present, and walks away. Of course, Kyousuke can’t get her out of his mind.

However, Kyousuke isn’t the most normal person. Actually, his mother and her family hold supernatural powers known as the Power. What the Power does varies between the family members. For example, Kyousuke can teleport whereas his cousin can’t. Naturally, Kyousuke and his younger twin sisters are forbidden from using the Power in public, as it would lead into series of difficult situations.

The following day is their first school day, where he happens to meet Hikaru Hiyama, a tough talking rapscallion who is two years older than her friend Madoka. She makes fun of a punk who gave her lift to school, and the punk swears revenge. She doesn’t seem to care for him, Kyousuke or his sisters, and she merely passes them.

Later that day Kyousuke and the twins witness a fight, where Madoka is beating up pun

. Hikaru’s also there, and Kyousuke just watches about, not believing that this is the same kind person who he had met previously. It’s the same punk that Hikaru made into clown of earlier, and now he has his gang in the mess. Still, Madoka kicks all of their asses, and just as she’s about to light a cigarette Kyousuke steps in to stop her by popping her cigarette with the Power and destroys it by hand, telling her straight that if she smokes at a young age, she won’t be able to have healthy babies. He gets slapped silly and Madoka refuses to acknowledge she ever met a guy like him.

The day after the incident Kyousuke reflects on his situation and about his powers. He could use them to win a basketball game, or he could’ve had influenced Madoka’s fight. Yet, he acknowledges that showing off with his powers to Madoka is kind of a real life cheat code and he doesn’t want to use it. As he is reflecting alone in the gym and bouncing a ball, Kyousuke musters up atiny bit of his powers as a test and throws the ball to the other side, and the balls slips right through the net. What he doesn’t know is that Hikaru had sneaked into the gym’s storage room to smoke and saw him do the throw. She’s completely astonished; her opinion on Kyousuke on that moment changes from generic creeper to pretty awesome guy whose also pretty damn cute. In other words, she falls in love that instant.

Later on Kyousuke bumps in Hikaru while chasing his two new friends down the hall, and there she gives him thepetname Darling. Naturally Kyousuke gets in trouble for doing so (laying on girls in the middle of school’s hallway is rarely a good idea) and it is Madoka who gets him out from the teacher’s lounge after some tough talk of her own to the teachers. It looks like she is a sweet girl after all, and stays with him for some time in the school premise. However, Hikaru is a girl who really knows what she wants, and manages to appoint herself as Kyousuke’s girlfriend and acts all lovey-dovey towards her, much to Kyousuke’s own dismay and to certain extent, Madoka’s as well.

And so, our love triangle is ready.

The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru
The three friends; Kyousuke, Madoka and Hikaru

The parallels with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien are clear at this point; we have a main character falling in love with someone, and not taking real steps toward bringing his feelings out. Ultimately, he ends up dating his interest’s friend.

I’m quite sure that âge has taken this love triangle setup from Kimagure Orange Road almost directly, but without realizing it. They’re fanboys after all, if all those references to games, mecha series and more in KGNE and Muv-Luv didn’t tip you off. It’s not the most uncommon setup ever used, but it saw a large spike in popularity in TV and comics after KOR had started. While KOR keeps the love triangle all the way to the end, KGNE does break it with Haruka’s accident. Of course, it returns when she wakes up.

The main characters of both series, Takayuki and Kyousuke, share very few common elements outside of being somewhat oblivious about their situation and what to do. Takayuki even more so, but then again very few teenage boys do during their first relationship. However, Madoka and Hayase do share a lot of similarities. Both of them act though while hiding something within, and in the end they both are very lovable girls who have fallen in love. While Hayase’s toughness is mostly playful, Madoka is a straight punk beater with her own reputation. She’s sort of a legendary ring leader. Perhaps we can compare that to Hayase’s swimming career to an extent. Nevertheless, there’s some visual similarities as well, like the long hair. In personality the two do put their best friend before themselves, which kinda is the reason things never go anywhere at first, but it takes two to tango. In love triangle it’s hard when the third one has nabbed your man. Madoka especially remembers her giving up on certain memento for Hikaru’s sake. This kind of mindset of It’s OK, I’m close enough to him this way kinda sucks, and I know it first hand.

The comparison between Haruka and Hikaru might seem weird to some, but ultimately they both have a similar starting point. Where Hikaru just falls into mad love within two days after meeting the Kyousuke, Haruka has clearly watched over Takayuki for some time through Hayase’s interaction with him. The two do what they need to do to get their man, and I’m afraid Haruka’s the bitchier of the two, as she clearly acknowledges Hayase’s and Takayuki’s feelings before stepping inbetween them. Hikaru has no idea of the feelings of Kyousuke and Madoka, but as the series continues she clearly realizes that Madoka is not only her best friend, but also her rival in love. The sad thing is, I’m sure she realized at one point that she has no chance to win over his heart. Nevertheless, the two have their sides switched, where Haruka mostly keeps her stronger side hidden while being all girly, and Hikaru does the opposite at first.

Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend
Hikaru, a hard bitch and a caring girlfriend

There’s also the sister character. While archetypical, Akane does wish to see Takayuki end up with her sister, and Kyousuke’s more motherly little sister would want to see him end up with Hikaru. True, we can argue if this comparison is valid as Akane is Haruka’s sister, but my counterargument would be that Takayuki always saw Akane as a little sister to himself and nothing more.

The side characters are more unique to both of the stories, but a comparison between the café Abcb Master and the Doctor Kouzuki Motoko can be drawn. Both of these characters stand in the sidelines watching the main character’s life and decision while giving drops of information here and there, and supporting the main character when needed. Both of them fill the same role, and I have to say that certain warm element comefrom both of them, as they can be stern when needed. They’re not really the archetypical big brother/sister character either, as they live separate from the main character and generally work around the mainframe of the setting while directly affecting it. Not really the most common big brother/sister trope out there.

Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork
Seriously, these artbooks have some gorgeous artwork

Then there’s the sex. Kimagure Orange Road dances around this subject quite well without directlyaddressing it any more than you’d expect a romantic comedy to. However, the two films that create a third alternate ending address this matter more directly and with heavy emphasize on the meaning of it to lovers. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien gives a bit more raw image of it mostly because of the VN standards with sex, thou in KGNE’s case it’s clearly about connecting one to another on all levels to ensure closeness. The characters in KGNE are not the most balanced ones, whereas in KOR they have not gone through anything that would make them go all mental with alcohol. I got to give praise to Touru Furuya on his voice acting in the end of the second movie, where Kyousuke tearfully opens his whole soul to Madoka. It’s a beautiful scene, that I won’t forget in a long, long time.

All this fetches something from the back of my mind; is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien a classic? The answer would be no, it’s not. This is because of its VN roots, and while it did affect series that came after and coined the popular tsundere term, KGNE has not become a similar classic as Kimagure Orange Road. The animation is infamous within the hobbyists, and it divides opinions quite a lot. While the story itself is somewhat timeless and can be applied to almostevery era with slight changes, it will never be able to stand on the same ground as KOR. I hate to say, but VN is not really a good form to release high calibre stories, unless somebody manages to lift it into an actually legitimate storytelling form in the eyes of the general populace. It’s put there, but if it had been a comic or a TV-series first, then it would have become more known and more popular. Not by much, but enough to allow me to call it a classic.

Kimagure Orange Road is a must-see classic. Its influence over Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is wider than the few bullet points I’ve brought up, but this kind of similar points can be pinpointed in various other stories as well. KOR didn’t just influence elements of these romance comedies, but also their way to tell it and what to emphasize. Sadly, nowadays the genre’s pretty much dead, replaced by perverted comedies that have some love thrown into them. Mysterious Girlfriend X has influence of KOR written in it, but it as well dances in the sidelines of the new generation of fanservice comedies.KOR wasn’t a hit just with the core animation fan audience, but in the general Japanese public as well. It was like lighting, and it’s cancellation was partly due to the declining sales of the comics, and the upcoming economic crash Japan had in the change of 80’s to 90’s. Still, it got published few times around, and the cut ending got expanded later on in the collected versions.

Kimagure Orange Road’s TV-series and films were released in English in 2001 by now bankrupted ADV. Sadly, these DVDs are rather high prices nowadays and are not remastered. If you want to see the series, I recommend getting the Japanese remastered DVD. In Katsucon 18 it was announced that Kimagure Orange Road has been licensed for English translation by Hivelinx, thou only for digital distribution via NTT Solmare. To my knowledge various European countries like France and Spain have had their own releases, so you might want to do some digging.

Unlike most 80’s stuff, Kimagure Orange Road is a significant piece of influence. Simply by watching it you can notice the numerous allegories made towards it in other works, and how it pioneered a certain genre to a better direction, and also expanded the readership (and the market) by large amount, captivating readers’ and viewers’ hearts for years and years to come.

And you know what’s pretty awesome? The original artist for the comic was influences by none other than YouTube: Uncle Go himself.

Madoka_075

I cried today (Goddamn what a terrible title)

Today I finally read Mega Man GigaMix 2, the second book in the GigaMix series and fifth of Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man comic.

The following synopsis has spoilers and is intentionally blocky and wooden. I do not have the skill to represent the events in their full scale.

The book opens with with a dark scene in space where GigaMix’s Mega Man 3 took place, on Asteroid Alpha. The asteroid gets shattered to pieces by something white, and something strong. This giant repeats words about destruction of evil and proceed towards Dr. Wily’s hidden island, and literally decimates everything that stands there. Shade Man knocks Wily out so that Shadow Man can take wounded doctor away while he distracts the white robot.
Shadow Man brings Wily to Dr. Light & co. Roll takes care of the wounded Wily and takes him off just as the white giant arrives, instigating battle against Mega Man as he protects evil. After a battle never witnessed in Classic Mega Man lore, the white robot is defeated… only so that the Stardroids, the most dangerous foes in the series, are released from within the white giant.

At this point I staggered. I had to wipe a tear drop off my book. The writing is brilliant, scenes are beautiful and pace is perfect. This is standard Ariga Mega Man, but why did it strike so hard? This is, by far, the best Mega Man story I’ve ever read. It takes CAPCOM’s lazy stories from the games and turns them into a completely different entity altogether. The white giant naturally is Duo in his original form. Using Duo as a prison for evil, ie. Stardoids is something seems simple trick, but in all reality, nobody had thought it before. The battles against Stardroids are completely one sided; out heroes, that is quite literally all the robots in the whole world, are nothing against of the Stardoids. Ariga uses thus far unseen robots from Mega Man 6 here to show them defending their own nations, as well as fan designed robots in massive double spread page, where near hundred robots are going against Terra, the leader of the Stardroids.
All hope is lost. Light doesn’t want his children to fight and suffer any more, but here we see why Wily is his rival: Dr. Wily beats some sense into Light with verbal abuse in order to remind him why these robots where built in the first place. It shows both of their nature and relationship between them. It’s not that Dr. Wily is megalomaniac scientist with wants to conquer the world, he is a megalomaniac scientist who wants to conquer the world on his own skills against the only person in the world who can match him. If he isn’t there, Dr. Wily has no reason to exist; his insane dreams are nothing more than competition, a twisted form of Light’s own dream of peaceful coexistence of humans and robots.

This still doesn’t answer why I began to cry. A great story can make dwelling emotions into a raging storm. This time it wasn’t the story or the art, superb they may be. It was the love towards Mega Man, care towards the story and the characters, the inspirational will that seeps through the pages. It’s all about what Mega Man games are at their finest. It’s all about how Hitoshi Ariga himself sees in Mega Man, alongside with thousands of other people.

It’s love that has been lost in the people who have control over Mega Man. By reading this I realized that Mega Man GigaMix will be the last time when I will have in my hands something that is genuine Mega Man. When GigaMix 3 is released, it will end an era to me. That the is the day when I am cut from all that is to come regarding Mega Man. The series is no more alive and is merely a shell what it used to be. There is only a handful of people who know how to treat the characters let alone the games; Keiji Inafune, Hitoshi Ariga and Iwamoto Yoshiro, and few other individuals. Sadly, none of them work at Inti Creates.

I should feel empty, but I feel content in this matter. I will still have everything that has been made and I can play the games as long as I live and the equipments allow me to. Whether or not the future will provide a new real Mega Man product, be it game, comics or toys, I’ll be there. I wish all the best for the franchise, but I see no future in it as it stands now.

This realization, that something I deeply have loved is now lost because of corporate bullshit, finally hit me.