Anime Contemplation Carefully considering the world of Anime, episode by episode.

19May/120

Yotsuba&! Volume 3

Yotsuba&! Volume 3 Cover

Yotsuba is so enjoyable that i'm getting through them rather quickly for a change. A sudden increase in spare time may also be a factor...

The humour is definitely in full swing now after a bit of an iffy start in volume 1, although I can forsee some recurring jokes (for example, Jumbo's romance issues) becoming tiring if they go on much longer, but I can't tell if they will yet. My favourite chapter from this volume is a toss up between Yotsuba & Flowers and Yotsuba & Obon. In Yotsuba & Flowers I loved the way Yotsuba suddenly jumped on to the bus after learning it didn't cost her anything, and poor Fuka desperately trying to keep up on her bicycle. In Yotsuba & Obon however, I found the concept of Yotsuba the Flower Cupid hilarious, especially considering her outfit and her usual way of interacting with people.

And with that, on to volume 4!

Yotsuba Volume 3 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316073905.

19May/120

Yotsuba&! Volume 2

Yotsuba&! Volume 2 Cover

I'm currently re-reading the Yotsuba&! series, which gives me the perfect opportunity for me to write about it. I originally wrote about volume 1 when reading it for the first time, but I never got around to writing about any of the subsequent volumes.

Volume 2 continues in the same fashion as volume 1, but with less character introduction since this has already been acheived. Like volume 1, the artwork isn't stunning but is perfectly sufficent for what it's trying to illustrate. One of my complaints about volume 1 was that while it's humour was good, there was nothing that made me laugh out loud. This was not the case with volume 2 which had several things which caused an outburst of laughter.

My favourite chapter from volume 2 has to be Yotsuba & Vengeance. Seeing her run around with a water pistol imitating action films was far too funny!

Onwards to volume 3!

Yotsuba&! Volume 2 is available from Amazon. ISBN 9780316073899.

29May/110

MCM Expo May 2011

Since i'm right in the middle of an exam period at the moment, I could only spare a day to head to the first MCM Expo of this year. Previously, i've been able to go for the entire weekend which is great since i'm able to spend a fair amount of time shopping, enjoying the various cosplays and meeting with friends. Trying to pack all of that into one day made for an extremely busy day! While i've been to expo before, this is the first time i'm actually writing about it so this post will also have some general introduction about expo itself.

Travelling to Expo via public transport is always an enjoyable experience, as you gradually get closer the number of cosplayers increases. It's always amusing to see the reactions of the general public to them and it definitely helps confirm that you're travelling in the right direction!

On arrival, the first thing I did was to collect my wristband so I could actually get in to the expo hall. Inevitably, this resulted in the queue. I even had to queue to queue to get my wristband, but it was very fast moving and within 15 minutes I was in the expo hall. I really pity those that pay for entry on the day - that queue takes hours.

At 12, there was an industry panel, hosted by Manga UK, MVM, Anime on Demand and someone from Anime News Network. At the panel, the distributors announced new licences, admittedly not much that interested me, and answered questions from the audience. Anime on Demand contributed well to the discussion, talking about how their service can be used by the other distributors to gain an insight into the relative popularity of certain shows, which gives them a higher change of being released on DVD/Bluray here. They also revealed interesting information on how the recent Tohoku Earthquake is actually helping them - since the two production plants for HD tapes have been damaged a lot of studios are finally switching to digital processing which speeds up the transfer to the companies here in the UK. I'm glad I attended this panel and will certainly keep a look out for it at future expos.

One of the main features at expo though is the sellers, there are quite a wide range of things on sale including figures, manga, anime, character goods and even doujinshi (both safe and unsafe!). This is a great opportunity for me to pick up some cheap things, but also to get a proper look at certain items. Buying a figure online is pretty risky since you don't quite know if the picture truly represents the final product and the high risks of fakes. Having said that however, I did see a few fake figures on sale and steered well clear of those sellers - be careful regardless!

In the end, I spent just over £100 on things, including;

£100 worth of goodies

Yotsuba&! volumes 6-9

I really need to get around to writing about volumes 2 to 5, it's a thoroughly enjoyable manga.

Newtype May 2011

I had trouble obtaining this from my usual source because it had sold out and couldn't find it for sale anywhere. I was extremely glad to find it for sale at expo, especially since it contains an extra feature on Nanoha: The Movie First and Dog Days, there's also a small preview of the next Nanoha movie. It also contained a large double sided Madoka poster - Madoka and Homura on one side and information about Madoka as a whole on the other side. This issue looks like it's going to be an interesting read for me.

The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku CD

The disappearance is perhaps one of my favourite Miku songs (along with Everwhite) and a few of the other tracks looked interesting so I picked this up for £12. There was also a CD from her live concert but by that time I had already spent too much and needed to limit my funds for an emergency!

Nanoha Nendroids

Nanoha Nendroids

These where pretty cheap (£5-6) and look pretty cute. I ended up buying Fate (normal clothes), Arf and Nanoha (normal clothes with Raising Heart). I was tempted by a few other figures, but the cost can be very off-putting.

These are the first nendroids (or mini figures) that i've got that have required assembly. I was really careful while putting them together for fear of accidentally breaking them. It was a bit hard to get Fate's legs into the base, and Arf's arms kept falling off when I put the cape on before I adjust them!

Blurays from Manga UK

Manga UK have a stall with their blurays and DVDs at very cheap prices (even cheaper than places such as Amazon!). I suspect that they get more money per sale than via a normal shop too so this is a fantastic way to support the distributor, but it could be alternatively viewed that this makes anime seem less popular since there are less sales in shops and they'll be more inclined not to sell anime since it doesn't sell? Either way, I couldn't pass up this opportunity to grab some stuff cheaply. Other retailers also have stands (such as MVM and Beez) but they had nothing on offer that I particularly wanted (Well, I was tempted by the new Region 2 release of Lucky Star which includes the OVA for £20, but I already own the R1 DVDs, which cost me £70 in the first place).

One small problem however is that I don't own anything that can play bluray disks! A quick trip to eBuyer has resolved this however and I should have a bluray drive for my computer shortly.

Origin:Spirits of the Past

While not an outstanding film (other than the intro, which is fantastic and certainly does the bluray justice) I still enjoy watching it. At £5 for the bluray, I couldn't say no. However, for some reason the actual disk hadn't been clipped into the case and came inside a small bag instead, not sure why.

Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Combi Pack

I really like both of these films and already own them on DVD. Having seen the bluray versions though, these are two films which really do justify the enhanced detail. I'm glad to finally own them on bluray and £17 for both isn't too bad considering the DVD of Summer Wars cost just over £12 itself.

Eden of the East

This is something i've been meaning to watch for a while, the premise of the series sounds very interesting. £20 for 11 episodes on bluray is pretty fantastic value.

 

All in all, I had a really enjoyable day (although due to train problems I had a bit of a nightmare getting home, finally arriving at 2:30AM...). It was a shame that I couldn't go on Sunday too but this October I should be able to go for all 3 days - it'll be interesting to see what it's like on the Friday which is much quieter.

26Nov/100

Yotsuba&! Volume 1

Yotsuba&! Volume 1 Cover

This was recommended to me by a friend who thought I might enjoy the humour in it. Since it wasn't too expensive, I decided to go ahead and buy it. Yotsuba follows a small girl who goes by the same name who has just moved to a new town with her Dad. Overall, the humour was pretty good and kept me entertained but there where no scenes that made me laugh out loud like I was expecting. I suspect that either the humour value was over-hyped to me or the person who recommended it to me was taking the series as a whole in to account rather than just volume 1, perhaps the next volume will improve?

Yotsuba's artwork is fairly standard and suits the style of the manga perfectly - I wasn't expecting hugely detailed drawings for a comedy manga after all. However, some sections are quite detailed, for example the view of the city from the shrine. It's good to see that the artist has done detailed artwork where appropriate.

At 224 pages, Yotsuba is quite long for a manga and hence represents pretty good value for money. Despite the humour not completely living up to my expectations I have already ordered Volume 2. Volume 1 was plenty enough to keep me entertained and who knows, Volume 2 might be even better!

Yotsuba Volume 1 is available from Amazon, ISBN 0316073873