Manga Chapter of the Week: Touch Chapter 15 (The Rumors Are Just Rumors)

Recently, I’ve been taking on a major item that’s been on my checklist of must-read manga, Adachi Mitsuru’s Touch.* Though it’s not as popular in the States, it’s widely regarded as a classic in Japan. As usual, the conventional wisdom was dead-on and this classic has been a joy to read, bursting with old-timey summer atmosphere, gradually-blooming romance, and dust-covered baseball. I also noticed that several newer works I’ve read before this draw heavy inspiration from it.** Picking just one chapter from the thirty I’ve blazed through so far was difficult. I ultimately settled on this one because, among other things, it rolls out a musical montage to no music.

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Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shonen/Seinen Round 1): Shonen Manga and Redefining Manliness

This post represents the first of three entries our blog is submitting to the Manga Olympics for Bloggers. Voting begins in a few days on June 16th, so just enjoy the article for now. Or check out our illustrious competition.

Shonen manga, as literally defined, are manga marketed towards young boys. There are several implications of this definition, but I’m going to zero in on one in particular for the moment. Because shonen manga is popular with and being marketed towards younger boys, it must to some degree adhere to their notions of manliness, but still holds a unique opportunity to redefine what they see as cool, manly traits to aspire to. Let’s dive right in and take a look at some of the many shonen manga that subtly teach kids life lessons.

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First Reactions: Arata Kangatari Episode 8

If I were a fantasy villain and my opponent was a Japanese teenager wielding a sword literally destined to conquer all and unite the world, I’d really just give up and retire to a beach to sip pina coladas while I still had assets to leverage into a nice beach house. But professionals have their pride, and they’ve at least got to put on a show before going down in flames. Too, their plan at least involves an equally legendary sword and a man determined to do his job.

Not to say you would guess that was what the episode was about from the first fifteen minutes. Instead, we got the Japan-side episode I’ve been waiting for since the show started. And a double helping of wayward sons getting slapped by their parents.

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Instrumental Anime Openings and Why They’re Analogous to Experimental Anime

Instrumental anime openings are fairly rare. So I decided to take a look at the ones I knew. As usual when I examine a list of more than ten things, a few points jumped out at me. So I thought I’d share.

Short version: Instrumental openings often succeed. Because they try harder. They have to; they’re taking a risk, going against a current that carries lots of proverbial fish. And also because the people who tend to take that risk generally tend to be talented people. But they’re not a guaranteed winner for a show by any means.

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Lists Are Fun to Make: Favorite Anime Episodes by Title

Full Disclosure: I like making lists. This particular list is the result of an afternoon of me sitting down and trying to list all the anime episode titles I remember. This correlates pretty well with my actual favorite anime episodes, because I’ve seen most of them enough times to remember their titles. When making this one, I set myself a limit at 60 and reached it fairly quickly. After making the list, I actually ranked them. So yeah, had a lot of fun with this one.

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Introducing Unnecessary Terminology: Pacing and Energy Level

Arata Kangatari’s 7th episode was delayed this week thanks to a pan-Asian Table Tennis tournament, so I was going to write a post celebrating rapid-fire tennis comedy Teekyu. But a certain phrase kept popping up in that post, so I thought I’d address that first. And really, I’ve tossed around the terms “fast pacing” and “high energy” a whole awful lot over the past couple of months. I think it’s only fair I define both terms, since I’ll be using them a lot in the months to come.

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Anime Movie Slaparound: Wolf Children

Welcome to the latest installment of the column where we, the Animetics crew, trade lowbrow thoughts on stuff we just finished! In this installment, we discuss the 2013 Tokyo Anime Fair Best Animation Winner, Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children, and the many ways it disappointed us.

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For one, it focused far too heavily on this element rather than a more solid core story

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 55

It’s time to welcome back one of the best anime currently airing from a 3-week recap break. This break was entirely forgivable in my book for 3 reasons:

1. The series had not had a recap previously.

2. The move to a new timeslot means there are a lot of people just tuning in who have no clue what’s going on. Recaps serve to fill them in so that they keep watching.

3. Spring 2013 has brough with it pretty crowded Saturdays (Attack on Titan, Muromi-san, Hentai Ouji), so Space Bros’ being on break made it easier to blog those intros.

If it had gone for a fourth week, though, it would’ve started to count for something. It came back not a moment too soon, really.

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Introducing Unnecessary Terminology: The Takeaway and The Moment

Different anime and manga, and really all works of entertainment, have different ways of captivating their audiences. Some of them create mental mementos so strong that they last forever whether you want them to or not, and others leave light footprints that disappear with the first snowfall, but are no less beautiful.

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Let’s Make a List: Explaining my Lack of Excitement Over Sequels to my Favorite Anime

Please Teacher is a show memorable to me for sublime use of natural scenery and subtle characterization overcoming a really dumb plot. It’s also one of my all-time 50 favorite anime. So this show ostensibly has a sequel or some other big franchise project (if I were a betting man, I’d put most of my funds on “anime movie version”) on the way for its tenth anniversary. This is notwithstanding Ano Natsu de Matteru, the spiritual successor it got last January.

Am I excited about this news? Well, slightly. See, I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with my favorite anime getting sequels, and I’d really have to know more than what fictional universe it’s taking place in before I get excited.

Note: Since my tastes are somewhat idiosyncratic, and I’ll be talking mostly about shows I’ve seen and loved, feel free to disagree.

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