< Piro >
Sunday - January 23, 2005
It's almost a standing joke about how fond i am of snowy days. Given the amount of snow we've had in the past few months, you'd assume i was doing quite peachy. Actually, i have been enjoying the snow in those somber in-between moments when i can let my mind wander and drift with the stuff. All the other times, I grumble just as much as everyone else does about it. Like when i tried to dig out the car this morning.
We got a ton of snow last night, enough to convince me it was a good day to stay home, do some straightening up around the apartment, work on some writing, and maybe even watch some anime. Hey, it's saturday, i'm allowed.
While i haven't been watching as much anime as i'd like in the past few years (it's not unusual for me to watch 10 minutes of something, finish it a week or so later). Why? Well, for seraphim and i tend to put in pretty long hours and when we get time to break away from things, we usually watch stuff together, which usually isn't anime. Still, i squeeze what i can in, especially if i'm obsessed with a show. When i watch something, its usually not out of boredom, but more out of obsessive need.
It's kinda sad, but i tend to keep tabs on what playing by reading various anime blogs. Actually, these are great resources if you aren't familiar with them (my faves include momotato daioh, nowhere anime blog, Matthew's anime blog, JASCII, We are mizuho!, Cinnamon Ass, Hontou Ni Taihen desu... there are lots of good ones (Visit the links sections on some of these sites for others.) They can help you not only keep tabs on what's new, but can give you some insight into which shows are worth looking into.
In recent years there have been only a few shows that i've really watched obsessively. One was Haibane Renmei (which still stands as one of my all time favorite series) and another was Kanon... right now, i'm waiting patiently for episodes of AIR to, uh, air (on tv in japan, that is :P)
Even as an obsessive keyfan (a 'keyfan' is someone who is obsessed with the games produced by Key), my understanding of the stories and scenarios in the game "Air" is fractured and incomplete. I never did make it all the way thru the game, and i haven't talked at length about it with any of my friends who have played it (and understand it -- my japanese is so poor that playing these games is an exercise in frustration that i really haven't had the time for since starting MT) I don't know how the series will end, or what will happen. this is refreshing, actually.
Normally when i'm looking forward to an anime i am obsessing over, i'll find out as much as possible about it beforehand (real easy to do if the anime is based on a game) Because of that, i think I won't touch on the story here (you will find much better synopsis's on the web pages listed above) but i will comment on what else i really like about the series so far -- how well it captures the mood of the artwork and atmosphere of the original game.
Now, i enjoyed the Kanon anime immensely. What i didn't like about it (aside from the natural problems that arise when you try to mesh five separate storylines and make the protagonist look like a womanizing jerk, and then you let poor Nayuki... ah, nevermind. I'm digressing.) is that the anime felt quite different than the game. Not drastically, but different enough to be slightly jarring. For instance, the music was different, new, and i felt gave it a different flavor. Not a bad one (i own all the TV anime soundtracks for it) , just... different. The signature OP song for Kanon was missing! Come on, "Last Regrets" has to be one of the best damn songs ever (well, it is! There's only one i might like better, but i'll get to that later :P) and while you could find the melody in the background music, it all just felt... different. Visually, the character designs were slightly odd, too (especially in the face) but hey, if you look at old school Key character designs, they are an acquired taste and can at times look very, uh, odd.
Anyways, one of the best features of the AIR anime is that not only does the music from the game follow into the anime, but so does much of the visual style.
The music from this game is some of my favorite game music ever. Before they released the 2 disk Air Original Soundtrack, i used to just listen to the "orange" disk of the game itself. The first track was a data track, but everything after that you could listen to on your CD player :) 鳥の詩 ("tori no uta" -- a bird's song) was, and still is, one of my favorite songs. It (just like "Last Regrets") is by the disgustingly talented group I've who have cost me lots of money in CDs over the years (the most recent one was IVE05 Lament, which i picked up in the Sendai Animate. :P) If you listen to their stuff you'll recognize that they did some of the tunage for Onegai Teacher too. Anyways, i was very happy to see the game music utilized in the anime. AIR is very much a mood piece, and the music is part of what sets that mood.
The other wonderful thing (at least so far) are the visuals. While there are always going to be obvious differences between the still rendered images from a game and an anime, great efforts are made to pull some of that flavor in. The most notable achievement is the way eyes are rendered. Key has a particular way of rendering eyes, and it comes off very well in the anime. The backgrounds are beautiful, and the sense of place is very well done. I think the voice acting is spot on so far too. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the production values do not slack off as the series progresses. I'm hopeful because once the TV series is done, there will be an AIR movie too...
All in all, i am very happy with the anime version of AIR. I just wish they had taken this approach with Kanon.
f you are sitting here wondering if this might possibly at all have anything to do with Megatokyo, you just have go back a few strips. Almost back to the beginning. There you'll find this strip. Note what game Tsubasa and Piro are talking about. ^_^ the game AIR was just coming out when Megatokyo started. Ever wonder who Misuzu-chan is? this is her:
(yes, and that links back to to the official Air page. Yes, i am a pathetic fanboy :P)
Writing this rant, with all the URLs and stuff, was a lot easier than it would have been a few months ago, working the way i used to write these things (in a simple text editor). This is thanks to a rather nice blogging tool called Ecto that i not only use to post my boring fredart blogs, but i am now using to construct my megatokyo rants as well. While Ecto doesn't directly interface with the MT backend, it does allow me to type this stuff out in a nice environment that is very friendly to sticking URLs in the appropriate places. All i do is copy/paste stuff into my rant entry on the MT backend, and poof, works fine.
The real amusing thing though was finding that the guy who wrote the darn thing not only reads Megatokyo, but reads my Fredart blog as well. Small world, i say. Nice program Adriaan. :)