Monday, October 31, 2011

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Truly Horrible Anime

There are a lot of anime titles that are available on the ever-growing canvas of digital distribution, and with it, there are many great and beloved titles to be had: Castle of Cagliostro, Last Exile, Code Geass, Now and Then, Here and There, Princess Tutu, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, NANA, TIGER & BUNNY, FLCL, Welcome to the NHK!, Durarara!!, Gankutsuou, Hikaru no Go, noitaminA's Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime) and House of Five Leaves, The Beast Player Erin, STEINS;GATE, Oscar-winner La Maison en Petits Cubes, Gurren Lagann--I could literally go on, and on, and on listing the sheer amount of good works out there. But like in any entertainment genre and medium, not everything made available is necessarily a good one, much less passable. However the means they got there--by "package deal" via a distributor bundling its streaming rights with better works, producers trying to recoup any costs on failure they financed, or because someone had, and maybe still does, think it is still good--there are titles available at your leisure for free or low-cost (legally, of course) that are, to be blunt, not very good. At all.

:anime: First Impression:: Fate/Zero Ep. 4

<--To Fate/Zero, Ep. 3 | To Fate/Zero, Ep. 5-->

Fate/Zero, Ep. 4 - "Spearhead"
[Nico Nico Douga] [Crunchyroll]

"When seeing these trailers, I have to remind myself, 'Fate/Zero is a TV series, not a film…'"

That is what I said on Twitter when I first saw a batch of trailers on Fate/Zero's site. I knew ufotable was capable of very high animation quality following Kara no Kyoukai (even Ninja Nonsense looked pretty good), but I knew better than to expect theatrical-level animation for a television series. Well, at least I though I did…

Thursday, October 27, 2011

:anime: First Impression:: Fate/Zero Ep. 3

<--To Fate/Zero, Ep. 2 | To Fate/Zero, Ep. 4-->

Fate/Zero, Ep. 3 - "Fuyuki City"
[Nico Nico Douga] [Crunchyroll]

If the last episode's theme was "Getting to Know You", then this week's was "Getting to Know You II: Not Everything is As What It Seems…". While Tokiomi ruminates over his grandiose future plans with the similarly-aspiring Archer/Gilgamesh (suave, devious, megalomaniac-style, with wineglass in hand), Kirei meets up with his Church counterpart (the "judge" presiding over the Holy Grail War) to take refuge following the death of his Servant--or so it seemed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

:anime: First Impression:: Fate/Zero Ep. 2

<--To Fate/Zero, Ep. 1 | To Fate/Zero, Ep. 3-->

Fate/Zero, Ep. 2 - "The Fake First Shot"
[Nico Nico Douga] [Crunchyroll]

We get to know a bit more about the summoned beings in Fate/Zero's second episode, which yielded some facts I was suspecting beforehand, one being that the Servants are actually real-life (or based on real-life) figures from history (Warning: link contains some spoilers). The episode's beginning illustrates this with a humorous reflection by King Iskander ("Rider", who is based on the Arabic account of Alexander the Great), who expresses amazement at the diminutive size of the land he spent his life trying to conquer when shown the area on a world map. The idea of historical figures being used as magical pawns is a neat, awe-inspiring deal, but it is when his Master, Waver, brings up the matter of the Holy Grail that another, more important aspect is highlighted: the "Servants" aren't entirely subservient.

Monday, October 17, 2011

:anime: FUNimation x Niconico = Funico + (Potential) Greatness

Friday night's news of a partnership between North American distributor FUNimation and Niconico, the N. American version of ubiquitous Japanese streaming/video networking site Nico Nico Douga, is perhaps the biggest news in the region's anime industry in the last few years. With the new venture, dubbed "Funico", both will seek out major licenses together, with Niconico providing the streaming and FUNimation handling the disc and download-to-own (DTO) distribution. What makes this such a major deal is that you have the two biggest juggernauts in their respective fields joining forces in such a way that it compliments each other so handsomely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

:anime: First Impression:: Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Ep. 1

If you think this looks confusing, just watch the show…

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Ep. 1 - "Those Lined Up Before the Horizon"
[The Anime Network] [Crunchyroll]

To fully describe or decipher what Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere is all about or what is going on in its first episode is, quite seriously, an act in futility. "Futile" in the sense that trying to wad through the streams of clunky exposition and its even clunkier premise is perhaps not worth the enduring headache you'll experience attempting such a feat.

Friday, October 07, 2011

:anime: First Impression:: Fate/Zero Ep. 1

To Fate/Zero, Ep. 2-->

Fate/Zero, Ep. 1 - "Summoning of the Heroes"
[Nico Nico Douga] [Crunchyroll]

Fate/Zero, the prequel to TYPE-MOON's popular Fate/stay night visual novel and anime series, quickly became one of the most anticipated series of the year when it was announced. One of the biggest reasons for that was the involvement of Gen Urobuchi, who penned the novel the anime is based on and as well as one of the biggest hits in years, January's Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Its screenplay was its strongest and most lauded aspect and it helped propel Urobuchi's name, already a knowledgeable one among otaku as game maker Nitroplus' chief writer, to the upper echelons of the anime world, despite having only done a handful of such titles previously (Phantom (OVA/TV), Blassreiter).

For Fate/Zero, he is only supervising the script (mistaken prior for doing the actual screenplay adaptation, which was one of the driving forces behind the show's hype), but it was not the only thing that had fans antsy for its debut, as ufotable, fresh from their star-making film adaptation of TYPE-MOON's Kara no Kyoukai - the Garden of Sinners, was handling the animation production and Yuki Kajiura, who composed the scores to both Kara no Kyoukai (her best work to-date, IMO) and Madoka Magica, would be lending her talents to the series, as well. There was also the aspect of it telling the backstory to the famed Fate series that provided its high-profile status, alone, though thankfully for this neophyte, the first episode of Fate/Zero was not too hard to follow.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

HardDoor, Now Serving:: Open-Facebook Sandwiches!!

Should go well with Cream of Twitter… Mmm… ;)

It was one year ago yesterday that HardDoor unveiled its new, revamped layout. One of the biggest additions to it was the introduction of a widget that displayed the blog's Twitter there, which made its own debut a few months before as an early anniversary present to it. What I never mentioned at the time was that I also considered starting a Facebook page at the same time, too. What stopped me, though, was that I never really got the point of FB--even more so than my preconceived notions of Twitter, which I initially poked fun at for some of its banality, but also managed to see--and ultimately affirm--the usefulness in it. In FB, I kind of "got" it, but never really "got" it.

In spite of that, I have always kept the door open. And with many anime companies having FB pages that they links to on Twitter, I have got a little more accustomed to it. I've seen it implemented in different ways elsewhere, too (who hasn't at this point?), and since I still had a desire to start a page for HD, I figured what better day to start one than on October 4th, 2011?

Some may have already noticed the widgets on the side of the blog, which I place before even announcing the page here (thus spoiling the surprise). So far, I'm finding more use out of FB than I thought I would, though I don't plan on disclosing every little detail of my digital life (which they seemingly want you do). I do, though, plan on using it to post blog status updates and also as a "mini-diary" sort of thing…or something, since I'm still in the midst of figuring out what to really do with it. The URL is sort of temporary, since FB won't grant you a real one until the page gains 25 fans (*fingers crossed*), but for now, I hope you will enjoy it and watch me find meaning to its existence!


Facebook: HardDoor