Friday, February 19, 2010

Adachi Manga, Spring Training and Apathy

So over the past few months I've glutted myself on a lot of Adachi manga, I've read all of:
Cross Game - just ended a few days ago

They were pretty much all excellent and I highly recommend them all if I had to rank them I don't think I could. I would say that H2 had better baseball than Cross Game (and a lot more of it) but that the relationships were less compelling than Cross Game. Rough and Katsu I view as being very similar, both excellent but probably not as deep as Cross Game. So I guess I could rank them in a way, Cross Game is my favorite, H2 has the best sports 'action' and I can't choose between Rough and Katsu.

Somehow I still haven't read Touch, maybe it's because the drawing is the most dated of any Adachi work I've read but I don't think so. I think it's that it's been hinted to me that there is a big tragedy in it and I don't feel like reading however many chapters there are of Touch (many many) with that hanging over me. Also I'm not sure I like the idea of brothers fighting over the same girl.

On to real baseball, spring training is upon us (thank god) and as a Tiger's fan it's been a very weird off season. I was crushed initially by the loss of Polonco and Granderson, which I had since gotten over. But then all this crap came out abut the Tiger's possibly signing Johnny Damon, how many ways can I say NO DO NOT WANT. We go from probably have the most upstanding admirable outfielder in the league (Curtis Granderson) to a player who bragged in his own book about how he had sex with 9 different women while his wife was giving birth to twins! (Damon) Plus Damon's career is in the decline, he won't be able to hit home runs in Comerica Park and I think Ryan Raburn could be an All Star if he was allowed to play every day. Needless to say I want the season to start.

And on to apathy. I've been unable reciently to really get into any anime series. Sure I'm still following Cross Game and I just picked up Nodame Cantabile: Final Chapter but I don't really see that as picking up a show as much as continuing one of my old favorites. I've stalled on Kimi ni Todoke, both the anime and the manga. This I am somewhat disappointed in, there are several chapters of the manga I have yet to read and ditto with episodes of anime. This makes me sad because I think the series has such promise and started so well, but it quickly reached the stage where I just wanted to yell at the screen "God damn it you both clearly like eachother someone just say it and get it over with!" I also stalled on Erin which also disappointed me because it was just getting tired and drawn out, I think they spent much too much time with her taking care of Beastlords and it just got boring. I dropped Letter Bee for pretty obvious reasons and haven't found anything else that seems remotely interesting.While I don't have much time for anime (read: 5 engineering classes) when I do want to watch something I find myself much more likely to load up an old episode of Natsume Yuujinchou or Nodame than I am to find something new. And now that I'm pretty much out of Adachi with the exception of 3 gatsu no lion (which someone needs to get scanlating faster now) and Oofuri I haven't found any manga I particually like either. I think my standards are just too high now, traditional animes which I used to enjoy just don't do it for my anymore, I need a Honey & Clover, a Cross Game, a Natsume or I'm just not happy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Me the Animation Snob

Hello my name is Tim and I'm an animation snob. For some reason I have a lot of trouble watching old anime and reading old manga. I've tried several times with Touch and Maison Ikkoku and I can never get more than an episode or two in. I know it's keeping me away from good anime but I just can't help it. Hell if I hadn't started Patlabor until today I probably wouldn't have made it though it, even mid to late 90s stuff can be hard. When I first started watching Cross Game I wasn't happy with the animation, didn't like the simple characters, I've since gotten used to it and enjoy them very much but as a result it's spoiled Touch for me, I want touch to look like Cross Game and it doesn't, I watched H2 and that was really hard to watch too. I've tried the manga too but even that doesn't seem to work. I guess I'll just have to try hard to get into them to the point where I forget about the age. Feel free to let me have it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Honey & Clover changed my life

I first watched Honey in Clover in the summer of 2006, at the time I was probably mildly depressed and nursing an unrequited love for a girl I didn't have the courage to ask out. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go to college, was stressed over admissions and didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life. While watching Honey & Clover I & II (II started airing pretty much exactly when I finished 1, lucky me), I found myself associated with Takemoto more than I have with any character ever. I just found his story to be so compelling and his feelings on so many things to be so close to my own. But I saw Takemoto more as the person I wanted to be than as the person who I was, he seemed so much stronger to me than I was. I wanted to find the self-confidence and happiness that he found following his bike ride. It sounds cliche but it truly inspired me. It caused me to take more risks which really paid off. I asked my crush out and amazingly enough she agreed to date me, the 2 years we spent together were probably two of the best of my life, certainly the summer of 2007 was the best period of my life thus far. Takemoto also inspired me to start biking, which I now love and continue to do to this day. Whenever I feel depressed I always know there are two things that can cheer me up, Episodes 21-24 of Honey & Clover (Takemoto's Journey) and episodes 23-25 of BECK, Koyuki's performance at Greatful sound.

Thoughts on the world series thus far.

1. Charlie Manuel is an idiot. Putting Pedro back out there in the 7th inning of game 2, Not pulling Hamels earlier in game 3, not pitching Cliff Lee on short rest against CC, Putting Brad Lidge in with the game on the line in game 4, pulling Shane Victorino in game 5. All really bonehead moves IMO. The most glaring of which is putting Brad Lidge into the game, yes I know he's your closer but his ERA was over 7 this year, 7! He blew 11 saves! 11! Why would you ever do that? Also not pitching Cliff Lee against CC was another giant mistake, sure pitching every 4 days over the course of a season isn't the best of ideas, but when the season is on the line and you've got several months of rest afterwords, why wouldn't you do it?

2. The slumps of Ryan Howard and Mark Texiera, somehow this always seems to happen in the post season, the big sluggers you expect to carry the team go silent. Now Howard's slump is more recent (confined to the WS) while Texieras has been going on all post season.

3. I really want the Phillies to win, I don't really care all that much but I have a lot more friends who are Phillies fans than I do who are Yankees fans. Plus fuck the Yankees.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anime Top Ten (Updated!)

Taking another cue from Theowne I've decided to do a top ten to get things rolling. I consider anime and manga to be essentially the same medium so if a manga continues beyond an anime the manga section will be included in judgement.

As I said in my first post Honey & Clover is my favorite anime ever. The combination of storyline, realism, great characters and production quality has yet to be matched in my opinion and its possible it never will be. I was completely taken in by this series and even though it's been more than three years since I first watched it I still think about it almost daily. It has also become the stick by which I measure all other series. I can honestly say that this anime changed my life but I won't go into too much detail as I'll probably make a dedicated Honey & Clover post later.

2. Cross Game (currently airing)

Cross Game is the best thing anime/manga-wise to happen to me in a while. It combines two of my favorite things: Baseball and romance. And it doesn't just combine them, it combines them masterfully. If H&C is a 10 in my book, Cross Game is a close 9.9 and in many ways it is a much more enjoyable series than H&C but it hasn't had the same impact on me the way H&C did so it can never surpass it. When I first started it I didn't like the art style but it has completely grown on me. I was unable to control myself and after 3 or 4 episodes of the anime went forward and read up to the present on the manga. This was probably last April or May, and let me tell you it's been a frustrating summer (and fall). Waiting for chapters not only sucks, but it sucks even more than waiting for anime episodes because you get less and Adachi likes to take long breaks (like his current one). Regardless I love the combination of slice of life, sports and romance. The subtleties of this series are almost without bound and it is by far the best manga I have read. The pacing is wonderful, the characters deep and likable, the plot feels infinitely believable even though it is pretty much impossible. It is hard to describe exactly how much and why I love this series but I do. I just hope Adachi doesn't screw up the ending, because if he does I don't know what I'd do.

3. BECK:Mongolian Chop Squad

Beck is one of my favorite series because it is so enjoyable. I think the thing I love about it the most are the characters, especially Koyuki. He's just so endearing and I can relate to his sorta lame beginnings, but I'll never be as cool as him because I have no musical talent. The KoyukixMaho pairing is also one of my favorites, its a tough decision for me between KoyukixMaho and KouxAoba from Cross Game and I'm not willing to make a decision. And of course the music can not be understated, it is enjoyable and fun, certainly a lot better that most JPop, especially when they bring in things like the Beetles. This is probably one of my favorite shows to rewatch, especially the last few episodes at Grateful Sound, few things get me more amped up than seeing Koyuki sing 'I've got a feeling'.

4.Ookiku Furikabutte

Oofuri is possibly the most addicting and painful anime I've ever watched. Addicting because almost every episode is a cliffhanger and I need to know what happens next NOW. Painful because I watched ever episode as it was fansubbed. Second semester of my freshman year of college I would visit Central Anime's site multiple times a day to check on the status of the next episode. When they finally came out I would watch them download, which would always take forever because there would only be one seed because I was one of the first to download. It was unfortunate, but oh so worth it. I love Oofuri, I love the games, I love the underdog aspect, I love Tajima (no homo) and I love the earnestness of the series. Once again the characters are compelling, believable and realistic. And while pretty much everything Shiga-sensei said was total bull Oofuri really expanded my knowledge about baseball, especially small ball. I've found this great as it deepened my love for the game and I can apply the knowledge when I watch actual baseball.

5.Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume Yuujinchou is another series that I really only discovered this summer. I had downloaded a few episodes when it first aired but I never made it though the first episode and was turned off by the supernatural aspects of the series. Boy am I glad I came back to it. First off the Seiyuu for Natsume is also the seiyuu for Takemoto. Great start. Plus Natsume really reminds me of Takemoto, he has the same characteristics which are probably why I really love both. To me honestly all the plotlines were secondary to watching Natsume, I love characters and Natsume is one of the best. I get very attached to my characters, and always wish for good things to happen to them even if it would destroy the show, because without angst and conflict the shows wouldn't exist but this was one of the best examples of that. All I wanted throughout the series were for good things to happen to Natsume, and slowly they did as he ended up pretty happy.

6.Kare Kano

Kare Kano is a classic in my eyes because it defined a generation of romance anime following it. It is the standard in terms of how school life manga and anime are judged, and in my opinion there is no better in this specific genre. Now you might say 'Hey douchebag you just rated both Cross Game and BECK higher' well I say to you 'Hey Jerkoff they aren't the same genre' I can count on one hand the number of school scenes there are in Cross Game and BECK is a music anime. The Kare Kano anime does everything right for the first half, and I pretend the second half never even existed. Then the manga picks up where the anime left off and is massively enjoyable and quite touching in my opinion. I liked the ending even though it has been ripped off a number of times (*cough* SUZUKA *cough**cough*) and I especially liked how the focus of the series was mainly on watching the couple's relationship develop instead of indecisiveness, angst and stupid misunderstandings.


Planetes is what most science fiction should be: believable. I can pretty much see everything that happened in Planetes playing out in real life eventually. For me it was a fascinating look into what the future holds. But thats not really why I love it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a sucker for good characters. Tanabe and Hachi are two great characters and a great couple, which when I started the series I would never have predicted that I would say. At first I absolutely hated Tanabe, I hated her naivete, her penchant for doing stupid things and getting into awkward situations, did I mention her really really annoying naivete? But it gets better, much much better. I found the whole series facinating but the one moment that stands out for me is when Kalim realizes that you can't see country borders from space and that the earth is one large community. However I realize that this is incredibly idealistic but it was touching none the less.

8.Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile was a very fun series from my point of view, it wasn't the deepest story, it didn't have the best characters, it didn't have the best plot. But the combination of good music (made me listen to classical again), well placed comedy and likable characters made it very enjoyable. I really wished that they had developed the relationship between Chiaki and Nodame more but it was a great series none the less.

9.Initial D

I love Initial D because I love cars. Or do I love cars because I love Initial D? Initial D certainly jumpstarted my love for cars in high school, which eventually might become my profession, so it certainly influnced me. Once again, Initial D isn't going to win any awards for plot, characters or depth but it's on my list because it's enjoyable to watch/read. It does win two other awards though: Worst Dub ever, which I'm really glad about because it was probably the turning point in me switching from Dubs to subs and Worst ratio of manga chapters to anime episodes; 63 episodes and a movie take up more than 400 manga chapters! I guess this is the result of having a manga chapter which because it's all shots of cars driving can take up less than 20 seconds of airtime.


Patlabor will always hold a special place in my heart because it's the first 'real' anime I ever watched and really opened my world up in terms of anime. Sure I had watched Pokemon, DBZ and Toonami as a kid but Patlabor was the real starting point. I saw one of the Patlabor movies on a cable channel and wanted to see more, so I found them on netflix and convinced my parents to get a subscription. This opened the floodgates for me and anime, which eventually led me to Animesuki, fansubs and right here. Patlabor is a great show, especially for a mecha show. It's probably the most realistic mecha show I've seen in demonstrating how mechas would probably be used if they were ever made. But calling it a mecha show is doing it a disservice, Patlabor is a great example of premium slice of life and helped define the genre. The characters were great and while I always hoped for more of relationship to develop between Noa and Asuma and the final 'battle' was a little weak in my opinion it doesn't detract from an otherwise great show.

Apologies to Aishiteru ze Baby, 5cm per second, Last Exile, Clannad:AS, Black Lagoon, Overdrive and Kurenai. You all just missed, better luck next year.

Comments appreciated!

The First Post: An introduction

Hello my name is Tim and welcome to my blog, The Empty Refrigerator. First a little about myself. I am a 20 year old Mechanical Engineering Junior at the University of Pennsylvania which is in Philadelphia. I am originally from a suburb of Detroit MI which is where my sports loyalties lie. I am single (unfortunately), a member of a fraternity and a member of my school's Formula SAE race car team.

This blog will mainly focus on anime, manga and my opinions about them. I would very much like to emulate Theowne's blog which I very much enjoy reading. However unlike Theowne's blog I don't think I will be as fair and level headed, I am prone to rants and strong opinions so please bear with me. I also will likely travel outside the realm of anime every now and then, probably into my own life when I feel confused/emo, so once again please bear with me.

The title of my blog is a reference to my favorite anime Honey & Clover and my favorite character Takemoto-kun. There has been no anime/manga/book/movie etc that has resonated with me more strongly, and I very much associated with Takemoto. I find myself often battling the sound of emptiness like Takemoto did and I hope this blog will be another tool I can use to avoid hearing that sound.

So enjoy and please comment, I love reading and responding to comments.