So many good things happened today for me. The most important good thing, however (make it excellent), was that I was able to download Honey and Clover II – 04 after a long wait. First of all, I’ve learned how to play Pugna (the Oblivion in DotA) more or less masterfully, and he’s arguably among the more difficult heroes to control. I was contented with myself back then. (more…)

Whereas in tj han’s blog the Bible is Last Exile, in my blog, the Qur’an is Honey and Clover. If you don’t like it I’m going to declare jihad on you, and I’m much more austere than tj han is (in case you didn’t get it, this was a joke). As you may have noticed, I’m probably going to wax lyrical about H&C for most of the time, but that’s not why I mentioned it in this post. I’ve mentioned why I like H&C in my other posts, but to stress a point, the biggest reasons as to why I really love it is because of its grit and humanistic realism. Stressed also in my other posts (H&C was spattered around in a commentary supposedly about [insert anime here]) is the fact that unrequited love exists in this series. How many romance series have you watched where the main leads don’t end up happily? There’s only quite a few of them. How about a romance series where you know someone’s going to end up alone? To date, only Honey and Clover is the only anime where you know that someone will be alone by the end of the series because there are more girls than guys, and despite the fact that they all are close friends, they also are the same competitors for the love of a guy or a girl inside that circle. (more…)

After watching the seventh episode of Kamisama Kazoku and singing to the tone of the OP and the ED, I quickly followed up with watching a dubbed episode of Hikaru no Go. It just reminded me that no matter how good the material or the show is, dubbing it really removes a lot from the show as compared to its original (or subbed) form. Sai’s voice wasn’t as forceful in the dub as it was in the sub, and Akari’s voice was annoying at times. Because the anime, however, is just a really good one, I once again felt that thirst for more episodes (despite having watched all 75 episodes along with its specials) despite the fact that it was dubbed. It was a good thing that they didn’t put alternative OP and ED music, because I’d be really irked by then. It just reminded me of other good anime that I forgot to take notice of because of H&C.

The episode, by the way, was ripped by [LA], a group that also ripped the first episode of MAR. I was pretty lucky that I was able to download the episode of HnG using the torrent, because it had dwindling seeds and few to no leechers at all. I guess a lot of the serious anime community (those who take anime fandom and otakudom seriously, anyway) really don’t want to view dubbed episodes.

Nothing beats the original, they say. I guess it also applies to anime. It was only now that I was really able to put the sub vs. dub argument to the test, and now, I really can understand the position of those who prefer the sub.

Kings have their hashish; hippies have their weed. I have my anime, and you, the blog-reader, probably have your anime too. Just like hashish and weed have different varieties, we all have our choice, our cocktails of anime as well.

What’s different, however, from hashish or weed, or even cigarettes, is that anime is not damaging to your physical self (some bloggers at #animenano, however, beg to differ), and oftentimes, when one watches good anime, one improves his understanding and depth perception of the human world, because the characterization in anime are anthropomorphic projects and reflections of humanity and human nature itself.

It’s an addiction, if not only something viewed during free time, that could compare with reading books to deepen one’s knowledge and wisdom. Just as reading books improves a lot about a person (except perhaps his sociability, but the same goes with anime), anime, when chosen carefully and viewed moderately (excessively), will probably sharpen and congeal our often inconstant and immelmanning view of humanity, to something akin to a scalpel. This scalpel of insight, then, will slowly extirpate all remnants of idiocy from the anime-viewer and book-reader (unless one still reads the Hardy Boys or watches anime like Gundoh Musashi or Naikaku Kenryoku Hanzai Kyosei Torishimarikan Zaizen Jotaro).

Although tragedy and masterpiece often occur together, sadness is only a small price to pay to deepen one’s view of the world after watching different instances of it in different illusionary worlds. This is the same when watching excellent anime like Honey and Clover or reading a book like Crime and Punishment, or The Master and Margarita, as wintermoon mentioned. The only problem is, one needs to expend a lot of energy when reading, so let’s all just watch anime and have fun with its nuances. 😀

I talked to somebody who loved Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu so much that he hasn’t watched anything else after watching ShnY. He said that everything else just loses its luster when compared to an anime like that. Of course, being your resident Haruhi Suzumiya devil’s advocate, I disagree with him. I do, however, know of the feeling and totally understand it. And of course, you know of the anime I’m talking about: Honey and Clover. (more…)

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The countdown trailer used in old movies appears in the very first scene, and Pino’s eyes blink by the end of it. Pino is seemingly surrounded by disused and destroyed toys, and the mood that the environment evokes is reminiscent to that arcade game, CarnEvil. It twists a supposedly happy, playful place into something austere and downright scary, as if a place surrounded by phantoms of the past. Pino asks herself where she was, and this seems to be the cue for two cartoon-y characters to appear out of the trash of circus materials. These two welcome her to a place called ‘Smile (?).’ I can’t seem to describe these characters in terms of simple words, because they are out of this world. They are neither the Mickey Mouse or the Donald Duck of anime, as one doesn’t even know what animals they are. (more…)

Compared to the animation and the plot, the music seems to be inconsequential in watching an anime. I realized, however, how big a ‘little thing’ music is when I viewed the final scene of the final episode of the first season of Honey and Clover with the subtle playing of Waltz compared with the exact same scene but without the music in the first episode of the second season. I was moved to tears for most of the time whenever I heard the love ballad of Waltz playing as Takemoto finally discovered himself and what he was looking for. Somehow, without that love ballad, it simply became just another scene. That’s what I noticed with most good shows. They have great music. Honey and Clover isn’t excellent simply because it has an excellent plot and good animation – it also has very wonderful music. The combination of music from Suga Shikao, Suneo Hair and SPITZ often works for the enhancement of a scene, or a cascade of scenes. How Mayama forcefully and desperately took Rika to a cup of coffee in the rain just to show how much he loves her was certainly made better with the fast pace of Yoru wo Kakeru. (It was very fitting, too – the lyrics were a perfect fit with the scene.) To add another, more recent scene, take for example the call scene between Nomiya and Yamada near the midpoint of the third episode of H&C’s second season. Without the melancholic yet positive tone of Suga Shikao‘s Koko no Iru Koto, I doubt it would have pulled that scene off. The music that plaintively plays in the background simply reflects the sheer loneliness of two characters reaching for unrequited loves. Even now, thinking about it, it was (and still is) extremely jarring. (more…)