Monday, April 30, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: noitaminA Titles

© 2005 FUJI CREATIVE CORPORATION (Source: From noitaminA English Site (top image - older version))

As this April marks the first anniversary of HardDoor's noitaminA previews, I thought it was only appropriate to dedicate this month's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick to the noitaminA titles currently available online! You just might be surprised by which titles have been a part of the block, so let's cut to the chase and get right to it! [All of the series are available for free, BTW…]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2012 Special:: noitaminA (Spring, Summer)

Hard to believe that it has been a year already since I started doing seasonal previews for Fuji TV's venerable noitaminA anime block. What started off as a one-shot special preview for what looked to be an outstanding spring-summer lineup last April, has turned into perhaps the most popular feature on HardDoor, with that preview and the most recent being the second and third most-read posts here. More or less, it has become something of a regular feature on HD, but that is more of a testament to the continuing allure that is noitaminA's programming. Its pedigree has yielded a deserved amount of attention and anticipation with its varied, challenging (in more ways than one), and often high-caliber quality of work. Even when a recent work, for instance, in GUILTY CROWN turned out to be a rare disappointment for the block, there were still surprises to be found in the sleeper Black Rock Shooter and Thermae Romae.

This year's tandem of spring and summer offerings seems to have brought everything full-circle from a year ago with another very strong selection: one from [C] - CONTROL's Kenji Nakamura, another a returning fan-favorite, one representing a step-up for a studio accustomed to mostly assistance work and fluff pieces, and one particular title being the highly anticipated return and reunion of a famed director and composer duo. So, once again, let's take a look at what lies ahead for noitaminA!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 7

<--To Nisemonogatari, Ep. 6

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 7 - "Karen Bee, Part 7"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

Sorry for such a long wait. With the importance and amount of notable information in this episode, I got away from the brief summarizations and fell back into a more full review (I slimmed it down since then, but there was too much good info to simply gloss over). That and a number of other factors have led to this coming as late as it has. --HD

Everything comes to a head in Nisemonogatari's Karen Bee arc, and so, straight from last time…

--On Shinobu's tip, Koyomi finally finds Karen, resting in a park. Given her condition, he wants her to go back home, but she is still too angry about Kaiki. As Koyomi won't listen to her, she decides to let off steam by fighting him instead. They engage in an all-out brawl, albeit a one-sided one where karate master Karen pummels Koyomi, who is reluctant to use his vampiric powers or Shinobu's help against her. The fist fighting soon turns into a war of words, as Karen tries to vindicate herself and the Fire Sisters' operations, but Koyomi wants to hear nothing of it. He points out the hollowness in their duty to "justice" and reasserts that they are not "heroes" but "fakes" and children playing a game. Karen, still in belief that that they are doing nothing wrong by helping others,  is hurt by his criticism, but in an embrace is told by Koyomi that despite everything, he is still proud of her and Tsukihi and wants her to leave it to their big brother to fix…

Sunday, April 01, 2012

*HD EXCLUSIVE!!* Coverage of Top-Secret Boxing Event NOW LIVE!!

Much of March was a pretty quiet one for HardDoor, but there was a good reason for it. Earlier in the month, I received a special press pass to provide coverage for a then-upcoming special boxing event. The fight card looked promising and it was an all-expenses-paid trip to boot, so I decided to take the promoters up on their word for it.

Being your usual tight-lipped Japanese company, there were a number of controls and embargoes set in place to avoid leaks, so they made me and a number of other bloggers and journalists ride in a darkened limo and then a shuttered plane to an undisclosed location. From there, we were led directly from the plane and through a tunnel leading to the rather-swanky hotel we would all be staying at (and weren't allowed to leave from). The arena was housed in the same construction as the hotel and the event was only a day away, so even with no wi-fi and cellular coverage, it wasn't too bad. Can't argue with free breakfast…

The next day came and with it, Fight Night had finally arrived. The arena was filled to the brim with spectators, somehow, likely from a raffle or lottery under the same restrictions (Which, as I understood from an official, was done so that the special could air in Japan first before being shown worldwide a week later. Go figure.) The lights dimmed, the entrances were made, and with it, the first bout of the evening kicked off: