What are your thoughts on fansubbing and scanlations?

anime, manga

So it was kind of hinted at in my last post, What is Goblin Cave? But I am currently doing some research into the history of fansubbing and scanlation in the anime and manga community, more specifically the yaoi and boys love side of things and I decided to ask people for their opinion over on Twitter and so far have been getting some interesting feedback.

So I want to know anime and manga blogosphere what are your thoughts on this subject?

The Titan’s Bride Anime Trailer

anime, yaoi

Well this is an interesting development that has me both curious and a little worried. To those who do not know The Titan’s Bride is a popular yaoi isekai web manga posted on Coolmic which is a very similar site to Lezhin comics only with Japanese created content instead of Korean and for the last few months The Titan’s Bride has gained quite the cult following behind it.

So why am I worried by this amazingly animated trailer for a popular yaoi manga? Well it has mostly to do with the fact that at the end of the trailer they clearly state this is going to be a T.V anime series. Now I have nothing against boys love stories getting television anime series, my worry for this comes with the fact that The Titan’s Bride is a pretty hardcore yaoi title. There is a lot of yaoi fun times with at times dubious consent behind them and well if this is going to be aired on Japanese television even at in a late night block, well this is going to be anime that will be very heavily censored. I just hope that if this is the case that with the DVD / Blu Ray release of this anime we will get an uncensored version of the show.

The Case Files of Jeweler Richard – Anime Review

anime, Anime Review

Every so often an anime comes out that many in the community upon its airing look over because it just does not grab a large audience only for people to, later on, sit down and watch the series and realize what a gem of a series they have stumbled upon. The Case Files of Jeweler Richard is an anime from the 2020 winter season that a lot of anime fans have slept on and to them, I say you are missing out on a true hidden gem of the season.

Maybe it was the slow start that put people off or the fact that this is not your typical mystery anime. You will not find the kind of high stakes battles you see in other mystery series or supernatural elements. Some might have been turned off from the series because on first appearance one might think this is a boys love anime, and though many of the elements found within a boys love series can be found within the series it lacks one of the most important aspects that would make it one. Though a special kind of love does grow between the two main characters throughout the series it is a love born of deep friendship between the two and never falls completely into the realm of romantic love.

So what is the anime about exactly? It tells the story of Seigi Nakata a naive but very kind which at times can be to his own detriment and a chance encounter with a beautiful foreigner by the name of Richard who on that faithful night is being attacked by a group of drunks. Seeing himself as someone with a strong sense of justice, Seigi can not just walk by and helps the beautiful stranger. This begins a journey of friendship between both of them that revolves around Richard’s job as a jeweler at his shop Jewelry Estranger and Seigi gaining part-time employment working for Richard as an assistant. Through his job, Seigi learns about the fascinating and dangerous world of gemstones both rare and common and the people who own them. He also learns the lesson of cruelty that can come from kindness and this lesson helps Seigi grow as a person and in learning this lesson he also learns more about the mysterious Richard and why the man hates his own beauty.

This anime will cause a roller coaster of emotions, whether it is from one of the individual mysteries of an episode hitting close to your heart or the overarching mystery of the series that is Richard himself. It is a slow and steady ride that will surprise you in many of the subject matters in dives into including societal prejudices of many different kinds and a powerful lesson in not only finding one’s place in the world but then learning to fight for that place you want to keep.

Interspecies Reviewers – More Than Just Ecchi

anime

Interspecies Reviewers is a fantasy anime about adventurers visiting brothels with different species of humanoid creatures and reviewing their time at the establishment and the girls they spend time with. What more can be said about Interspecies Reviewers that has not already been said? This series has after all been one of the most discussed anime this year within anime communities. From Funimation pulling its simaldub because by episode three they realize ‘oh dear, this series goes against our guidelines for content’ to the series not only being pulled from every legal streaming site (for once I am happy I have access to Animelab here in Australia cause we got to keep it!) and the show being pulled from broadcast in Japan. There is one subject about the show I have not seen discussed which I would like to write about here in this blog post. Interspecies Reviewers is the first sex positive ecchi anime I have ever seen and that is something really important worth talking about.

But what do I mean about sex positive ecchi? By that I mean this is the first anime I have seen that has a completely positive attitude towards a healthy sex life while exploring many aspects of sexual discussion and education and the best part all the characters in this anime are consenting adults! This is a really important factor that has not been brought up in any of the discussions for this show. Now being a yaoi fan I know my genre of choice is not perfect in this aspect and a lot of ecchi series are even worse than the average yaoi anime. I myself don’t find any hilarity in the groping and sexual harassment of underage characters being played up as comedy. It’s one aspect that turns me off a lot of popular ecchi and harem anime.

The trope of the young anime girl getting ‘accidentally’ groped or falling in such a way that she ‘accidentally’ exposes herself is a running joke within ecchi I really dislike. Yes, there is a character in this series that the characters does get harassed by one of the main cast and there are also moments when they make lewd comments towards her and disrespect her, but these moments are balanced out with said female character stepping in and telling the other characters that it is not OK to treat her like some sex object and she punishes them for doing so.

Don’t worry he won’t get away with inappropriate comments towards this bar maid.

What I love most about this series though is the characters frank and open discussions about all things sex. From sexuality and gender (one of the main characters is even intersex!) to fetishes and the pleasure of your partner during the act. Some of my favourite moments from the show actually come after the ending credits of each episode where they show some of the working girls hanging around after work just chilling with each other and swapping stories. I really wish we had more ecchi series like this one in the future, hell I would absolutely love to see a yaoi anime or manga with such a positive sex message behind it.

If you have given this series a miss because of all the controversy around it or because you think it will just be like every other ecchi anime out there trying to push the limits of what can be shown in anime and have an open mind you owe it to yourself to check this series out if you can.

Also Eliza is best girl!

A Response to Senator Stirling Griff and his Argument Against Anime

anime

It’s a well known story around the anime community at this point, but being an Australian and an anime fan I would not only like to comment on this recent story but also give a response to Stirling Griff, even though I doubt he would read this.

On Wednesday the 26th of February South Australian Senator Stirling Griff put forward a motion in parliament to banned anime in Australia that shows ‘child exploitation material’, with mention of two animes in his argument. These two anime we Goblin Slayer and Eromanga Sensei. Also can I just say he also mentioned of all series Sword Art Online is his argument and I would be lying if I said upon hearing this I did not chuckle to myself and roll my eyes.

Someone please save the children…. from bad anime

One of the biggest arguments Senator Stirling Griff used in his argument was that the depiction of ‘child abuse’ in these anime are used by pedophiles to groom potential victims. Anything can be used as a grooming material for a pedophile, from anything you can search on Pornhub to normalize the idea of sex to the intended child to images of children in clothing catalogs and any form of artwork depicting artistic nudity even the pieces you could find in any museum around Australia. So if we were to go by the senators logic these pieces of media need to be banned as well.

He mentions his disgust of incest themes in Eromanga Sensei, but I have to wonder, did he have the same level of disgust when these same themes were explored in Game of Thrones? Or when they came up and were explored in certain episodes of say Law and Order SVU? Law and Order has several episodes that discuss child exploitation, abuse, child prostitution and rape, so does this make this show a bad influence on the public? We better ban these shows too then.

Now I know how that sounds, the anime fan is petty that their media of choice is in trouble so we better ban other stuff to make us feel better, well I will say right now that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that once we start banning one source of media because it has material you don’t like well it’s a slippery slope that could see the following banned in the future as well and I will openly state I am a not a fan of everything listed below, but that does not mean I do not wish it to be banned.

  • Law and Order SVU – For depictions of child abuse and child exploitation in various episodes even though it is clearly stated in every case on this show that the acts that have happened are illegal
  • Game of Thrones – I know there is incest in this one, I don’t know about other stuff because I have barely watched this show because I am not a fan, but just because I do not like it does not mean I don’t think other people should not be allowed to watch it
  • Rick and Morty – There is an ep where the child/teenager character Morty is clearly having sex so this must be child exploitation material
  • South Park – It’s a show about characters who are clearly children being exposed to on occasions sexual situations
  • The X-Files – Season 4 Episode 2 titled Home has a plot that revolves around an incestuous family
  • A Clockwork Orange – Depicts teenagers raping a victim and laughing about it
  • Lolita – It’s about a pedophile justifying his love of young girls
  • Family Guy – A comedic relief character named Herbert the pervert, the running joke with him is that he is a pedophile who goes after young boys
  • American Horror Story – storylines depicting Incest

If I felt like being a smart ass in this argument I could also mention The Holy Bible, but I won’t because then this post will turn in an argument about religion I really don’t want to get into but from the above list you can see my point I hope.

I also have to ask the following. In the last decade there have been countless Royal Commissions into historical child abuse and rape cases in government and church run institutions that proved that children were being abused. Did any of these bring up evidence of anime and manga being used to groom children? It was brought up several times that this media is used to groom but not once were examples shown of this happening. I’m not going to sit here and write that it does not happen because I have not seen evidence either way, but because of this I will also not state either as fact.

You are going to go after fictional depictions of abuse when there are still real children, real victims of abuse out there screaming for help? Wanting an investigation into their cases, but instead of giving time to these victims our government is instead spending money and time on the corrupting nature of anime. I’m not sorry in saying this Mr Senator but I think your priorities when it comes to child protection are in the wrong place entirely.

I have to wonder with all the ‘disturbing anime and manga’ brought up in the senators argument, I wonder how he would react to a masterpiece like Berserk?

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2020 – DISAPPOINTING Start…

anime

I swear this is why I try not to get hyped for new anime, all too often what I end up being hyped for ends up either mediocre or a complete and utter disappointment. The original anime adaptation of the light novel series is one of my all time favourite fantasy anime! So yeah I unintentionally hyped myself up for this anime and I was just so disappointed with the opening episode. It’s just so generic, not to mention it kind of gives away the answer to one of the shows mysteries in the first five minutes.

Spoilers ahead.

The over arching mystery of the true relationship between Childman and Azalie was one of the more fascinating plot threads of the original series and to show him there the night of he transformation just takes away a bit of that mystery. Then there is the design of the dragon she transforms into. In the original anime series Bloody August had a really cool design for a dragon, but in this remake it looks so generic it could be from any isekai anime from the last year.

I know I am comparing this opening episode to the original series but this is because that series had a really strong opening episode that fed you enough information about the world the anime took place in while keeping enough a mystery to make you want to come back and find out more. I did not get this feeling from the opening episode of this adaptation. I really hope this one get’s better otherwise it will be the first series I drop this year.

The Case Files of Jeweler Richard – First Impression

anime

It has been so long since I wrote a first impression because the truth is I have not kept up with currently airing anime since the release of Banana Fish back in 2018, this is not because nothing has caught my interest, but more my interest was pulled elsewhere for a while. I will confess I watched very little new anime last year, mostly because I became completely immersed in the Gotham fandom. But I decided to check out what was currently airing and without any prior knowledge of the source material I decided to check out The Case Files of Jeweler Richard for the simple fact I found the character design for Richard just beyond stunning.

It was Richard’s pretty face that caught my attention for this anime, yes I am still a sucker for a good bishie boy anime. Sadly so many pretty boy anime are very lacking in plot, not to say that all of them are bad. Sanrio Boys is a very under rated pretty boy anime in my opinion. Luckily the first ep of The Case Files of Jeweler Richard does not lack in the plot department and does an amazing job at introducing the viewer to the two main characters of the series.

The episode opens with introducing us to Seigi a bright and upstanding collage student who while on his way home saves the mysterious Richard who is being attacked by a group of drunks and after introductions the story of the episode opens into a mystery involving Seigi’s grandmother and a mysterious ring. I don’t want to go into any other details on the ep because it is a fascinating mystery to watch unfold within the episode and I look forward to seeing where the story of these two continues. I must confess I was somewhat hoping that maybe this was a boys love series because there is already some cute chemistry between the two main characters, but it’s not.

That just means I will just have to ship them because they are kind of adorable!

I will be keeping my eye on this anime this season, it feels like it could turn out to a real hidden gem and I don’t need Richard to appraise it to know that one.

Kimera – Boys Love Classic Review

anime

If you like B Horror movies and boys love, then the perfect boys love OVA for you this Halloween. Kimera is a very under rated boys love classic in my opinion and a lot of that has to do with the fact that they took out the boys love element of the story with the English dub! I will go into this part of the anime further later in this post.

I really do consider this anime a hidden gem, even if some do not. At one point an anime Youtuber mentioning that they fell asleep watching the anime only to wake up and be traumatized by what they saw… but believe me there is a lot worse out there to be traumatized by in anime. Now Euphoria… that was a traumatizing watch for me personally, but I am getting off topic.

When a mysterious meteor plummets to earth on night it is revealed that it no ordinary meteor, it is a space ship holding three ancient aliens. They are neither friend nor for to the human race, in fact one of them upon escaping the ship kills a passing human. Another of the creatures is taken by the government to experiment upon and the third wants to destroy the one the government has taken.

While being transferred to the government facility the captured alien comes in contact with a ordinary human, who feels an instant connection to the beautiful creature and upon finding the creature again at the lab he makes it his mission to save Kimera from those who wish to harm them, even if doing so might mean the extinction of his own race.

Also the mysterious creatures are space vampires, because of course they are. You will not find a deep story here within Kimera, as I stated at the beginning of this review, this is not an anime with a great plot it sounds like a cross between a B Horror movie and one of those trashy vampire romance novel, but you don’t watch those horror movies for the plot. You watch them for the stupid gore scenes that at times can be so bad they make you laugh and those trashy novels can be a fun escape when you just want to shut your brain off.

One big complaint I do have with the OVA is a lot of the really interesting plot points are explained to the viewer in long character monologues and not shown. There are a lot of scenes in the climax of the story that is just characters talking.

Now I am not one to usually bitch about the dub of an anime… with one exception, but when a dub takes away the boys love aspect of the story? Yeah that does not make me a happy fujoshi. To make the anime appeal to a larger audience the company behind the English dub decided to change Kimera’s gender from male to female. That being said though Kimera is referred to as male in the Japanese audio of the OVA, in the manga the OVA is based on the character of Kimera is referred to as a hermaphrodite and not being either gender, so giving the character a defined gender in the anime actually pissed off some of the manga fans. So this was a case of an anime adaptation that has annoyed many fans in many different ways and given the gender politics of the world today I have to wonder if a manga like this would get a more faithful anime adaptation some day.

Kimera – Male, Female or Other can we just all agree at the very least that they are beautiful?

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Dub Vs ReDub

anime

The original Neon Genesis Evangelion is my second all time favourite anime, the first being Serial Experiments Lain. Bet you were expecting a boys love anime? Well my third favourite is Loveless, but I don’t consider that series completely boys love. It is not until my fourth favourite anime that we reach yaoi and that goes to the original Ai no Kusabi anime, but that whole list is for another post.

When it was announced that the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series was coming to Netflix, I was excited because for many western fans in recent decades it has not been the easiest of series to access since the fall of ADV, rest in peace ADV because they did some of my favourite dubs. Then they announced that they were redubbing the series and I was like, ok this might not be a bad thing though I will admit I was a little disappointed I would not get to hear Spike Spencer as Shinji, but still I was looking forward to re-watching the series. Maybe this dub will be more accurate to the original Japanese was my thought. I mean let’s face it most nineties dubs were not well known to be accurate to the source material, so I was still ok with it.

Then I watched it.

And to be completely honest, in my opinion it was not that bad. My only real complaint really was that Shinji sounded more like a teenage girl at the beginning of the series than a teenage boy. Seriously that was my only complaint. All the other voice casting I loved, especially – and I already know this is an unpopular opinion but I liked Stephanie McKeon as Asuka Langley Soryu. Asuka is my least favourite anime character ever, I can not stand her and find her beyond annoying and obnoxious, but at least in this dub I found her voice less, let’s say grating on my ears. No offense Tiffany Grant who was her original English voice actress at all, I just very much preferred Stephanie’s take on the character.

Cue the hate comments from all the Asuka fans, I’m sorry but I really really really can not stand this girl I had a bully in primary school that made my life hell that had a personality almost exact to Asuka.

Then came the biggest accusation that has hit the show, that episode 24 has been ‘straight washed’ and to be honest, as soon as I heard about this ‘controversy’ and started reading articles about it, to be honest I just rolled my eyes at the whole thing. I must confess when I sat down to rewatch this series, before watching any other episode I sat down and watched ep 24, because well Kowaru is my fave character in the series. Now here me out on this one because a lot of people who know me know that one of my all time favourite ships is that of Kaworu Nagisa and Shinji Ikari and I love that moment they share in the bath in this episode.

But to be fair the translation for that scene is kind of right in both versions. There are many different ways to say I love you in Japanese but I’m not very good at explaining things like language differences and such but luckily there is a very awesome video on Youtube that explains the language barrier of this scene.

Does the change in the script take away from this moment between the characters and make the scene less queer? In my opinion no, the relationship between the two characters remains the same through the end of the series and the End of Evangelion movie, the subtext of the scene is still there. Plus if the anime is not ‘queer’ enough for you there is still the countless doujinshi and fanfiction you can read. So your ship is not as validated as you thought it was, so what?

Do I think the Netflix redub is worth watching? As a huge Evangelion fan I have to say yes and I do not see a problem with it being an introduction to the franchise to the new generation of anime fans who have yet to discover this amazing anime classic. Personally I would love to see more re-releases of older anime faves rather than remakes.

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen – Anime Review

anime

Does anyone else remember when a fantasy anime did not also have the tag isakai? Back in the day when must watch fantasy anime were series like Berserk, Slayers, Twelve Kingdoms and there was only the occasional isakai show with shows like Fushigi Yuugi and Escaflowne. There is one fantasy anime from the early 2000s that has everything a good fantasy story needs, swords, sorcery and of course dragons. That series is Sorcerous Stabber Orphan. Now I must confess I was really surprised when I found out not many people remember this anime, especially here in Australia because back when we first got the Adult Swim anime block it was one of the shows on there alongside Cowboy Bebop and Initial D.

From Studio J.C. Staff and released in Japan in the late 90s with the English dub airing on Adult Swim in the early 2000s for western audiences Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a 24 episode fantasy series that had a follow-up season titled Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Revenge which even though it has the darker title is a lot more light-hearted than the first season which is the subject of this review. A lot of fans such of myself of the first season really do not enjoy the second season because of how silly it can get compared to the first.

The first season tells the story of Orphen a former student of the most powerful and prestigious school of dark magic in the land, the Tower of Fang who is on a journey to find the mysterious dragon known as The Bloody August. Alongside his traveling companions Cleao and Majic they search for the dragon who it turns out used to be a beautiful woman that was the only family Orphen has ever known. Orphen wants to save his friend, but the Tower of Fang wants the beast destroyed as it is a blemish on their record. Will Orphen find a way to save his friend or is this journey too much for even him to handle.

The first season’s story draws you in right from the start with the mystery surrounding the Bloody August and though after the opening two episodes the next few episodes are there for world building and to help the audience get acquainted with the cast of characters it is the second half of the series where the story of this series really shines. I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible but if you are a fan of tragic love stories you are really going to enjoy the second half of the series when the drama reaching a heart-wrenching pinnacle that will have you on the edge of your seat with a conclusion to the main story that is a happy ending of sorts that is tragic and beautiful all wrapped into one.

One of the biggest draws of this series is the amazing world building throughout. Yes, the main characters are on a journey in search for the Bloody August but along the way, they meet some pretty cool and scary characters and monsters. All the main cast are pretty cool. Orphen at first comes across as the cliche brooding hero type but as the story moves forward you see growth in him as he learns to let others help him. Majic comes across as such a sweet and almost innocent teenage boy, but then certain incidents happen that make you remember ‘he is a teenage boy’ and the sweet boy turns out to be quite the ladies man throughout the series. Cleao was my least favorite character at the beginning of the series. She starts out as a brash and loud tsundere type character but even she gets some really awesome growth throughout the series. There is also a pair of short brothers who serve as comedic relief for the series named Volkan and Dortin. Volkan’s ego is his own worst enemy and throughout the series, I could not help but feel sorry for his brother Dortin having to put up with his brother’s antics.

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While on the subject of characters within the series there is a side character I think is really worth mentioning. Stephanie is an old traveling buddy of Orphen’s who helps the heroes near the beginning of their journey. She is a very intelligent and beautiful woman and this will count as a small spoiler but at the end of the arc she is introduced in it is revealed by Orphen to his traveling companions that Stephanie used to be a sorcerer named Stephan when they were traveling together. Stephan used their magic to become Stephanie and as such was the first transgender character I ever saw in an anime and I love how nonchalant Orphen treats this fact about his friend, whether they are  Stephan or Stephanie they are still his friend. I do not know about you guys but if this does not count as a positive representation of an LGBTQ+ character in a 90s anime I do not know what does.

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For a 90s anime, I think this series has aged well… as long as you do not watch the sequel. That series did not age as well as the first. I know I am harping on the sequel series a lot in this review but there is a very obvious drop in quality between the first and second series it just really felt very phoned in and the truth is even though I am a fan of the series I have never finished the second season. I find myself wondering if the second season is the reason why people don’t remember how good the first season is, but if I was to go by that logic then that would mean all those Disney sequels destroy the legacy that came before them and that is just not true. It just seems Orphen has become an anime lost to time for a lot of people which is really sad because those who give the first season at least a chance are not usually disappointed.

The series came back on my radar just a couple of months ago due to the announcement of a new adaptation of the light novel that the series this series is based upon. I try really hard not to get overhyped for new shows, especially when they are a new adaptation or long-awaited sequel to an old show, but with this one well. I’m just hoping it won’t be as bad as Orphen Revenge, I mean it can’t be right? (please do not let these be my famous last words for this series I really want the new anime to be good)