Quick Update on Broadcast Schedules

Japan clearly has much more pressing concerns in the wake of the horrific earthquake and tsunami that it suffered, but I just want to provide a quick overview on what’s happening with each of the shows broadcast-wise. As you can probably imagine, most shows are being postponed for a week, some of which go back to last Friday. For most stations, the tentative plan is to resume broadcasts the next week, but don’t be surprised if some are delayed longer. It’s very likely the April 1st start of the new season will get pushed out as a result (and understandably so).

* Information is care of syoboi and official websites.

…more after the break.

An Interview with Yamamoto Yutaka

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun published an interesting article (translated) just over a week ago on an interview with Ordet studio founder and director Yamamoto Yutata, whom most people are probably aware is behind the original series FRACTALE airing this season. In the interview, he talks about the declining state of the anime industry and how business practices have driven down wages and hampered creativity, which Wall Street Journal also looked into over a year ago. While outsourcing to China and South Korea is nothing new, Yamamoto makes an eye-opening point about how it’s not necessarily for cost reasons, but because they’re short-staffed in Japan due to lack of interest.

Given the dire working conditions and dismal pay of animators, I can’t say I’m surprised when I can easily picture young bright-eyed individuals with visions of a lucrative career in anime get disillusioned once they actually get into the industry. The benefits, even if it’s simply personal gratification in seeing one’s work come to life, can only take most people so far and hardly offset the corporate politics that surely go on. There’s no denying that the anime medium has fallen into the trap of recycling character stereotypes and rehashing similar premises in slightly different settings, which may retain most of its current audience but clearly doesn’t reach out to new ones. Recently, there’s also been a growing trend towards using the “moe” aspect, which Yamamoto admits being guilty of. However, as someone who’s seen a fair share of corporate politics and business practices that don’t encourage creativity, I get the feeling that the problem lies more in the people who get the final say in what goes into an anime, as they’re often afraid of breaking outside of their comfort zone and trying something new.

Director Yamamoto Yutaka posing with a FRACTALE poster. A Black Rock Shooter one can be seen behind.

* More after the break…

Thank You For Your Continued Support!

Since taking over Random Curiosity, various generous individuals have e-mailed me asking if they could show some financial support for the site. While I had thanked them for their kind gesture at the time, I was intent on keeping the blog self-sustainable as a fan site, regardless of how much my double-edged personal standards made it feel like a second job. What’s more, it just wasn’t in my “style” to accept donations even in light of some trying times when I was forced to change web hosting earlier this month. However, I admit the thought of just dropping all the extra work that goes into maintaining the site and looking forward to days of an abundance of free-time did cross my mind at one point. I found myself working tirelessly for four days straight exploring options to configuring software to get things back up, and ran into one problem after another both in setting up the new server and in real life, and seriously started questioning why I’m working as hard as I am — almost always at the expense of sleep.

* More after the jump…

Random Musings – Changing Web Hosting

  • As I’m sure all our regular readers are aware of by now, the site’s been down since Wednesday afternoon. I’ve had a bunch of people contact me about it already by e-mail and on my MAL page and had no ETA on when I would get things back up. Well after working on the issue for the better part of the past three days, I’m happy to announce that Random Curiosity is back up and ready to go.
  • Long story short, my web host suddenly pulled the plug on me with no warning, forcing me to find an a new provider. With the help of Mentar from Eclipse, I was able to get things up and running much quicker than I was anticipating, so a big thank you goes out to him for helping RC out both past and present. If you’re seeing this post, it means the updated DNS records have already propagated to your machine and you’re already on the new server.
  • Migrating the site over and re-uploading all the content took the longest time, but I ran into a few hiccups with the server-side configuration and had to spend long hours sorting them out as well. Aside from the time lost blogging-wise and significantly more expensive cost, I think the downtime and money invested is worth it in the long-run. Gone are the days of sharing CPU and only having ~700MB RAM, as the site now resides on a dedicated server with an Intel i7 920 quad core, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and dual 1TB drives in RAID-1. What that should translate to is a much faster loading site and possibly even a Random Curiosity forum in the future.
  • In terms of the blogging backlog, I asked the other writers to continue working on posts offline, so there has been some progress even while the site’s been down. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for myself since I’ve been working endlessly to get the server back up, so it’ll take me a while to get through my shows. Regardless, you can probably expect a huge influx of posts in the upcoming days. Personally, I’m a bit drained from working on all this server stuff, so I won’t be posting anything until tomorrow. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
  • Thanks For Reading! 60 Million Visits and Counting!

    It felt like a milestone of sorts, so I just want to stop and take a moment to thank all our readers for checking back regularly and making this site what it is today. Founded by Omni back in November 2004, Random Curiosity has grown tremendously over the years and now has over 4,140 posts, 173,000 comments, 60 million visits, and 120 million page views since its inception. Timely posts, regular updates, and fairly objective views make up the direction that took site to where it is now, but none of that would have mattered if you the readers didn’t keep coming back to hear what we have to say about the latest anime.

    It wasn’t too long ago that Omni announced his retirement from blogging and I decided to pick things up where he left off under the new domain, randomc.net; however, our readership has grown significantly since then (~25%) so I’d like to thank all the new people who have either stumbled across the site or heard about it from a friend and made it one of their regular stops on the Internet. It might be a bit intimidating at first, but I encourage you all to join in on the discussions and share your own thoughts and impressions on anything and everything anime related. I promise I’ll do whatever is in my power to keep the trolls at bay. 🙂 It’s my hope that this will become a more inviting place for anime fans old and new, where anyone can easily relate to the impressions written here. If you have friends who are into anime but haven’t heard of the site, please do tell them, because just like you and all our other readers, we’re fans of anime first and foremost and just want to talk about it with people who have similar interests.

    Once again, thank you all for reading and getting accustomed to things under my wing. Hopefully the changeover from dedicated summaries to more in-depth impressions wasn’t too alienating at first. I’ve enjoyed blogging a lot more ever since I started focusing on talking about anime and their plot lines rather than simply summing it up, so that’s a change in writing style that I’d like to continue improving on in an attempt to make episodic blogging a more interesting and worthwhile read. I’ll still have lots of high definition screen captures of course, for those who just can’t get enough of them. I probably won’t have another milestone post until 70 million visitors, but we may just see that before the end of the year at this rate — just in time for the site’s sixth anniversary.

    * Yuri and Otonashi are snacking on some Pizza Hut pizza for those wondering. The full-size image can be seen here.

    Quick Update: Feeling Under the Weather

    For anyone wondering where my posts have been in the past few days, I was busy attending and helping out with two of my friends’ wedding on Saturday and somehow started feeling sick the day after. It wasn’t due to a hangover or anything, as I only had a few and was a designated driver for the night (after party and all). Instead, I’ve been bedridden feeling feverish for the past two days and had to call in sick for work. I tried to get some blogging in but the focus simply isn’t there. I already have a fairly big backlog after a mere three days (i.e. five shows), so I’ll have to figure out some way to catch up on that when I actually feel better. I may simply opt for short 200-300 word posts rather than my usual 700-1000 ones lately. We’ll see. I can’t think straight right now. I was actually hoping to get some more PV posts out too, but those will have to wait.

    Angel Beats! OP – Complication (Durarara!! OP2 Parody)

    [flv:Angel_Beats_Durarara_OP2_Parody.mp4 550 310]

    What do you get when you combine one of the hottest shows of the season with one of the coolest themes and most distinct opening sequences? The best of both worlds in this exceptionally well-done MAD movie for Angel Beats inspired by Durarara‘s stylistic touches and featuring ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D’s “Complication”. With both of these awesome series coming to an end in the next couple of days, now seemed like the perfect time to post about this. If you haven’t seen this yet, you might be surprised how talented (i.e. hardcore) some Japanese fans are. As a bonus, this video even helps you get Angel Beats’ character names straight if you had any difficulty doing to. Of course, it’s even COOLER if you do a side by side comparison with the original and sync them up, for which I’ve provided the option to do so below. Now how badass is that?

    Show Side by Side Comparison ▼

    Hanazawawawa!! (Durarara!! ED1 Parody)

    [flv:Hanazawawawa.mp4 480 360]

    Nico Nico Douga users never fail to impress by creating amazing fan-made videos. There’s been a sort of a craze going on at Japan’s popular video sharing site in recent months over creating seiyuu-based parody videos of Durarara‘s first ending sequence, featuring “Trust Me” by Matsushita Yuuya. It’s likely due to how the sequence itself is fairly straightforward with a vertical scrolling of characters, but when you see it with an interesting assortment that are all played by one seiyuu of the Durarara series, it’s still pretty cool to see.

    Some are particularly well done, but I find this “Hanazawawawa” one featuring Sonohara Anri‘s seiyuu — the always moe Hanazawa Kana — to be one of the nicer ones. It’s Hanazawa Kana all the time here and I love how this version lists credits for each of the characters to make it look like an ending sequence as well, all played by Kana of course. Some characters that most people will recognize in addition to Anri are Tenshi from Angel Beats, Nadeko from Bakemonogatari, Suou from Darker than BLACK, Zange-chan from Kannagi, and Kobato from Kobato. For a full-list of the characters in the order they appear, see below. Enjoy!

    Show Full Cast List ▼

    Gundam 00: A wakening of the Trailblazer – Movie Trailers

    [flv:Gundam_00_Movie_Trailer_2.mp4 550 310]

    I haven’t been keeping close tabs on the Gundam 00 follow-up movie that’s slated to premiere in theaters this September, but a new trailer for it was released earlier this week. For those wondering, the story takes place two years after the events of the second season (2314 A.D.) and appears to focus on a new pure Innovator named Descartes Shaman (Katsuji Ryou), who pulls Celestial Being back into action again. While continuing to showcase some of the new Gundams and how Setsuna’s new 00 seems to be equipped with Fangs, this latest trailer also features UVERworld’s theme song, “CHANGE”. There are some bigger questions raised by an earlier trailer though (see below), which shows Tieria back in bodily form and Nena Trinity (or at least Kugimiya Rie) back in some capacity as well. Also, yes, it looks like Feldt cut her hair. Nooo~!

    … See the other trailer after the jump.

    Super Street Fighter IV Anime

    [flv:Super_Street_Fighter_IV_ODA_Trailer.mp4 550 310]

    With the impending worldwide release of Super Street Fighter IV this upcoming week, I thought I’d take a moment to make mention of the ODA that is going to coincide with it. As some of you may already be aware, last year’s release of Street Fighter IV on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 included the Street Fighter IV: Aratanaru Kizuna (a.k.a. The Ties That Bind Us) 65-minute ODA by Studio 4°C with their collector’s editions. As the owner of a copy of the Blu-ray version that came with the PS3 CE, I was thinking about covering it at the time but never got around to it. Aratanaru Kizuna was fairly lackluster from a production standpoint, even though I enjoyed how it introduced newcomers to the franchise such as Seth, C.Viper, and the story involving the S.I.N organization. This time will be different however, as the Super Street Fighter IV has piqued my interest enough to talk about it now and eventually cover it here on Random Curiosity.

    …More after the jump, including an English version of the trailer.