Category Archives: News
Hi everyone. I just wanted to make sure you all heard about the new project I’ve started over on my new blog, Approach Phase. If you’re a fan of Madoka Magica or Magic the Gathering–or better yet, both–you’re going to want to check out the first two posts I’ve written about the Magic the Gathering set I’ve designed featuring Madoka Magica. It’s my hope it will be a fun take on Madoka for the anime fans and an exciting exploration of Magic the Gathering through the eyes of someone who is very immersed in Japanese TCGs for the card game fans. Please check it out, subscribe and follow my new twitter account to stay up to date.
As I close in on the two-year anniversary of Ashita no Anime, I’ve decided to split up my content for the sake of keeping things organized into specific audiences who may not appreciate how I’ve just been dumping all of my interests into a single blog. Ashita no Anime should be about anime and while the games I’ve been covering here are anime-inspired, that’s not really the same thing (in Ghostbusters terms, I want to avoid crossing the streams).
As you may have guessed, I’m a prolific card gamer here in Japan and I’m currently playing four different games—Weiss Schwarz, CHAOS, Victory Spark and Precious Memories. The focus of Approach Phase will be Precious Memories, but now that I have a home for talking trading cards in general, I think I’m going to finally start expanding on some other, related projects that I think you’re all going to enjoy.
The process of moving content from Ashita no Anime to this new blog is still a work in progress (a lot of links are still empty) so keep checking back over the course of the week and be sure to update your links so you don’t miss out on any new information. Also be sure to follow my new Twitter feed specifically for TCGs, @approachphase.
I didn’t want to discuss these kinds of topics too often because while Charles over at Beneath the Tangles has made a name for himself as the Christian aniblogger, for the longest time I didn’t want to be the atheist aniblogger because I didn’t want to limit myself on the material I wrote about.
But as I’ve been on a little break-ish sort of period to think about the future of the site, I realized that having a focus on one idea I’m well-versed and passionate about doesn’t preclude me from writing about other stuff. So in what I’m expecting to become something of a new theme, today I’m finally getting around to beginning my analysis of why Madoka is a better savior than Jesus.
I say “beginning” because I started writing and ended up with so much material I filled over six pages in MS Word and I’m still not done (one of my usual review posts only takes up half a page). In order to make the reading and commenting easier for everyone, I’m breaking this piece up into articles I’m going to post once per day. So check back every day this week for more content. Special thanks to Charles and Tommy at Anime Bowl for writing some posts here and here that started this fire under my butt and got me motivated to do something I’ve put off for too long. Read more of this post
Getting access to anime in America through official means hasn’t been cheap or easy. And aside from Saturday night Toonami on Adult Swim, if you want to watch anime on TV you’d need a lot more than the basic cable package. Which is why I’m excited by the prospect of a new way for viewers to get access to anime in America. As part of a venture by VIZ Media, PS3 owners can subscribe to a 24×7 anime channel called Neon Alley. Here’s their promotional video.
This is my breakdown on Neon Alley. For about $7 a month you get access to an all-anime channel. I want to look at exactly what this means. Consider a cable subscription can cost upwards of $60 a month. Then, investing in a 12 episode series on BD can be anywhere from $30 to $60 or WAY more. If you’re as big an anime fan as I am and you’ve got a certain series you may be on the fence about, this is a perfectly reasonable price to get a lot of anime for your dollar.
The next question to ask is, “What anime DO I get to watch?” Well, sure enough you’ll see VIZ licensed / Toonami staples like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and Death Note. Then they have the classics like InuYasha and Berserk. But I’m pleased to see some other impressive titles in their lineup that I think a lot of people may otherwise overlook without access to a service like Neon Alley that lets you sample series that have gone under the radar. Some of my favorites from this list include Blue Exorcist, Lagrange, Vampire Knight and Zetman. And while it’s not been announced to show on Neon Alley just yet, VIZ has licensed Accel World, one of the best anime to come out so far this year.
The one complaint I have is that the current list of shows is action, action / comedy and more action. While that’s fine to get a base started, I worry that it’s going to give anime fans with much broader tastes some hesitation before they jump on board. But all in all, this is a solid idea in my opinion. Anime in America needs these kinds of outlets to grow communities and ease access to lesser-known shows that deserve more attention. So if you want to watch dubbed, uncensored / uncut anime, anytime you want and at a really good price (and you have a PS3) go check out Neon Alley. And if you want to wait, I think this is worth paying attention to future developments because my instincts are telling me this channel may just succeed at doing for anime what Steam has done for video games and Netflix for movies.
Happy birthday Ashita no Anime. On this day one year ago I made my first blog post here at the start of the summer 2011 anime season. Looking back I would have hoped my opinions that often diverge from the mainstream of anime bloggers had generated more controversy and debate. But I also suppose that I’m partially to blame for not publicizing myself and making a bigger presence on other blogs throughout the community. All the same, I didn’t set out to stir up trouble by creating this blog. I think I’ve accomplished my goal of growing my passion for anime by becoming a more analytical, vocal critic and offering a resource for a few who want to have a challenger, small though my voice may be. Thanks to everyone who commented and supported me over the past year.
It recently dawned on me that with the spring 2012 anime season about halfway over, there’s less than two months to go before Ashita no Anime’s first anniversary. I have to say that I’m very pleased with myself for holding to my resolve to become more than just a consumer of anime and expand my passion into writing.
So as this blog turns one year old and after reflecting on my flop and the associated constructive criticism that came from the Aniblog tourney I’ve decided it’s time to seriously start expanding into other areas of discourse besides simple reviews. I’ve done it a few times already with Vocaloid, Kids on the Slope and Katawa Shoujo but I need to keep pushing to see if there’s some unexplored, unclaimed territory that I can take for myself and find my unique niche. Clearly, simply being the counterpoint to majority rule on a lot of anime isn’t enough (as much as I enjoy making my opinion heard).
So as old as this internet tradition is, to mark this milestone I want to address any questions my readers may have. Please ask me anything you’re interesting in hearing me talk about or even personal questions to help you get to know more about me—keeping in mind that this is still an anime blog and I’ll be giving priority to any anime questions that come my way. To give myself a deadline to shoot for I promise to write at least one answer post by May 26. Ask away in the comments section below or if you want to keep out of the spotlight you can send me an email as well.
First, my thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Aniblog Tourney. Your support is greatly appreciated even if I didn’t win my bracket. But during the course of the event I spoke with many fellow bloggers and learned some things that I’m going to use to make the site better.
The first change is going to be my username. Formerly アレクザンダー (the katakana for Alexander) this is certainly too difficult for the average viewer to read and type. I’m now going to go by Marlin-sama, which is a Japanese equivalent of my typical username, “Lord Marlin.” Of course, I won’t mind if anyone wants to call me Alexander or Lord Marlin.
Second, as you can already see, I’m going to try breaking up my text into smaller paragraphs to help organize thoughts for easier reading. Also to help with organization I’m going to be adding more categories to ease searches. I plan to go back through all of my posts and get them all labeled by genre and possibly a few other useful categories.
Lastly, I’m hoping to refocus my motives from simply reviewing EVERYTHING to thinking more about why I like the shows I love. However, I’m going to be keeping Twitter as my primary medium for thinking more broadly about all the anime I watch as I finish each episode. From here I think my first project is going to be giving the Precious Memories section of the site a bit more attention.
Through this I hope to make Ashita no Anime a better blog—as both a tool for myself as the writer and as intellectual discourse for my readership. It’s here that I’m going to start another new addition—asking you the reader for your opinion more directly in order to get you involved. So…what are your thoughts on this new formula? Am I being too ambitious? Or is it a change in the right direction? I’ve been writing for almost a year now and I’ve acquired a modest group of followers, so I’ll ask you; what would you like to see on this blog that has been lacking?
Again, thanks to everyone involved in the Aniblog Tourney and best of luck to all the competitors. I hope we all make the most of this fantastic opportunity.
Hello everyone, especially those of you visiting my site for the first time from the Aniblog Tourney. Welcome to Ashita no Anime—or if you prefer the English equivalent, “Tomorrow’s Anime.” My name is Alexander. I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and properly explain my motivation for writing this blog as well as the goals I hope to accomplish through my work.
I’m currently an English teacher living and working in Japan. I started watching anime seriously in 2003—so I’ve been a fan for nearly 9 years now. I mark that year as my introduction to anime because prior I didn’t really know what anime was. Unlike a lot of anime fans I didn’t grow up with this media so my opinions tend not to be colored by nostalgia and my tastes in anime are incredibly broad (if you care to check out my viewing history on My Anime List you can see that I’m more than willing to watch just about anything). I was president of my university’s anime club for 2 years and I graduated with a technical communication degree. This gives me some professional legitimacy for being a writer and a critic because I have received training in this kind of background (for those of you who actually care about that sort of thing, because I’ll be the first to admit that writing is more about practice than any amount of education).
Now then…why did I start writing this blog? Well, to make a long story short it’s because I couldn’t find another aniblogger who shared my tastes and opinions on anime. I found myself disagreeing constantly with the opinions and legitimizations of other critics and so I decided that it was time to throw my hat into the ring and stand up for underrepresented fans like me. I aspire to a higher standard than lowering myself to degrading anyone else with personal attacks or insinuating that my opinions are the only valid ones. Really, I think the majority of media review can be summed up as personal taste. There’s more than one correct answer and dissenting opinions are always welcome as long as they can be supported. It’s also a part of my goal to promote conversation and for that it’s important to have someone at the table who has a genuine views contrary to mainstream for the purpose of creating intellectual debate.
I continue to write this blog for many reasons, but my main motivation is because it’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed writing and sharing my ideas with others. Despite the fact that I primarily only do reviews on this site, I’ve been able to connect with some great people who—even if we vehemently disagree with each other—understand and appreciate our mutual differences. My other primary goal is to provide a place where people can read short and concise reviews of anime of all genres without getting dragged into a long editorial that takes too much time; bogging itself down with too many graphics or padded language. As a small side project I’m currently working on providing some resources to fans who can’t read Japanese for the Precious Memories trading card game, but so far I’ve limited that portion of the site to the Madoka Magica setlist translations.
If you’ve made it to the end of my unusually long-winded spiel thanks for your patience and interest in Ashita no Anime. I’d love to hear your opinions and advice for how to make my work better. If you like what you see and want to support my objectives be sure to subscribe both to this blog site as well as my twitter account and be sure to vote for me in the Aniblog tourney. Lastly, I’d like to give a shoutout to my biggest supporter, TWWK. Go check out his blog and give him some votes in the next round of the tournament. Thanks and have a great day!
I’ve become so inspired by the recent Madoka☆Magica expansion for the Japanese trading card game, Precious Memories that I’ve decided to expand the scope of Ashita no Anime and start translating cards. It’s my hope to add more titles in the future besides just Madoka.
I ask anyone who might be reading to link back to my Precious Memories section and help me get this information out to the people who will need it most because I’ve searched all over the internet and I’m confident this is the first English language website that is providing translations for full sets of cards from Precious Memories. For the time being, please enjoy the new additions to the site.
Having watched all the releases and ongoing shows for summer 2011, here’s my recommendations in order from most recommended to least recommended (or “best to worst” if you prefer I be direct). Summer 2011 is a pretty average season in my opinion. There’s nothing much that stands out but nothing terribly offensive, either. But it is summer, so I think it’s understandable we’re not seeing any blockbusters. For now, this will be my last word on many of these anime until they conclude in 10 more weeks. Until then, please keep checking back as I begin to write my reviews of last season’s anime. You can stay up to date with my new posts as they get released by following me on my Twitter account. I’ll continue to move into the past reviewing anime with the eventual goal of having at least one post about every anime I’ve watched over the past eight years.
1. Kamisama no Memochou – colorful (J.C. Staff)
2. No. 6 – atmospheric (Bones)
3. Dantalian no Shoka – dramatic (Gainax)
4. Mayo Chiki! – best comedy of summer 2011
5. Blue Exorcist – awesome action
6. Hanasaku Iroha – mellow drama…melodrama?
7. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée – interesting development
8. Blood-C – fine action (CLAMP)
9. Kamisama Dolls – interesting concept
10. Yuru Yuri – moe comedy
11. Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi – romance
12. Ro-Kyu-Bu! – sports loli
13. The iDOLM@STER – variety
14. Usagi Drop – unsure (not bad)
15. Uta no Prince-sama – underdeveloped
16. Mawaru Penguindrum – confusing
17. R-15 – misplaced ecchi
18. Nekogami Yaoyorozu – simple
19. Sacred Seven – bland (Sunrise)
20. Manyuu Hikenchou – borderline hentai
21. Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise – boring