Deja Vuesday – New Anime Is Always A Good Thing…

…Unless you have no time to watch them! Hey everyone it’s the Andy-San here.

In this week’s Deja Vuesday, we turn the clock back two years. Before I moved back in with my parents. Here is the post New Anime Is Always A Good Thing…:

I got back from my parent’s house not too long ago. We went out to the Mongolian Grill to eat with my aunt, uncle, and cousin (she’s really into anime and definitely knows her stuff). Even my stepdad went, and although I was really against it at first, I figured even he can’t stay mad at me forever and went anyway. We talked about my job situation and although he was mad that I don’t have a job, he didn’t make a big fuss about it. I was really thinking about eating Chinese for dinner before they called, but I’m glad that I didn’t go before they called or it wouldn’t have been as good, but I regret eating 2 Triple Cheeseburgers from McDonald’s 2 hours before. Damn, now I’m gonna have to really work my fat arse out tomorrow! After dinner, we watched the Lakefest fireworks which were loads better than the 4th of July fireworks and they brought me back shortly after that.

To avoid confusion, the relatives I’m talking about came from Michigan and are not the ones that I was living with at the time.

Yeah, I’m on good terms with all of my family ever since I moved out so no complaints there. Not really much else to say for this paragraph.

In other news, I’m working on some scales that Travis taught me the other day and they’re totally killing my hand. He showed me his new Marshall TSL head and JCM-900 cabinet and his secondary Les Paul Standard fitted with an EMG ZW set as well as his new basement setup that’s a lot neater and better organized than before. He said that he was gonna buy a Gibson SG that’s at the music store so I can’t wait to see and hear it!

Man, I haven’t talked to Travis in ages! He’s moved out on his own since that post and I have no clue if he’s got another band going yet or if they fell apart already.

I’m still saving up for a Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 in Whale Blue as well as a Peavey Vypyr 75 watt combo amp. As of now, I have 9.7% of the money for the PRS or 21.5% for the Vypyr. I would prefer to get the guitar first since the electric I have now doesn’t sound very good. I want to upgrade it, but I feel that getting a new guitar is more urgent than that or a new amp simply because once I have the guitar, the other stuff will be a breeze to save up for.

I’ve been watching some new anime to check out and I like what I’ve got so far. I’ve watched Umisho and Doujin-Work, which are really new in Japan. Umisho is a sports romantic-comedy about the adventures of a high school swim team. It’s very funny and I like all of the characters, but the stand-out character is the captain. Think Gai-Sensai in swimming gear. Doujin-Work is about a girl who wants to become a doujinshi author in order to make money. Basically, it’s like Comic Party but with a female lead. Doujin-Work’s not bad, but I prefer Umisho over it.

Well, I’m gonna go take a bath and watch some moAr anime. Peace!

Andy-San

Right now, I’m rewatching Umisho actually. What a coincidence!! Also, I’m watching Chi’s Sweet Home and I recently finished up Gakuen Alice and Big Windup!

Well guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed the look back. Now, it’s time to look forward!!

TheAndySan

Anime Review – K-ON!


TheAndySan – K-ON! Review

Intro

Have you ever wondered what strange shapes Guitar Hero and Rock Band based their controllers around? Do you have an interest in making music, or just watching other people make music? How about a love for all things moe? Well, then I have an anime for you to watch; K-ON!.

Summary

K-On! is about four (later on five) Japanese high school girls who join their school’s light music club (light music in Japan meaning contemporary or pop music) to try to save it from being abolished. However, Yui Hirasawa, the lead guitarist, has no experience playing musical instruments or reading sheet music in the beginning, but is blessed with perfect pitch. Eventually, she becomes a competant guitar player and background singer. The rest of the club helps her to buy a Gibson Les Paul, and they perform at the school festival twice, despite the fact that they drink tea and eat sweets most of the time and practice very little when together.

Character Overview

Sakuragaoka High School’s light music club consists of:

Sawako “Sawa-chan” Yamanaka – the polite advisor who used to be in the light music club as part of a heavy metal band called Death Devil. When with the light music club, she’s rebellious, lazy, and has a panche for making the girls cosplay.

Yui Hirasawa – the clumsy but obliviously talented lead guitar player as well as backing singer. She had no previous musical experience before joining the club (except for playing castanets in elementary school), but managed to become suitable to the band’s style of music shortly after joining.

Ritsu “Ricchan” Tainaka – the energetic drummer who’s also the club’s official leader. She was the one who wanted to join the light music club and managed to convince everyone else to join, sometimes using underhanded tactics to do so.

Mio Akiyama – the reluctantly popular bassist, lead vocalist, and main songwriter as well as the only leftie of the group. She’s usually shy and responsible, but tends to freak out when it comes to scary stuff.

Tsumugi “Mugi-chan” Kotobuki – the wealthy and gentle keyboardist who has been playing piano since she was four and has won several competitions. Her father is the president of a large but unknown company that seems to own the music store where Yui got her guitar and a maid cafe where all of the club’s sweets come from.

Azusa “Azu-nyan” Nakano – the younger rhythm guitarist who joins the group a year after it was saved by the original four members. She’s much more technically proficient than Yui and takes practicing seriously, but learns to loosen up as she is with the club.

Story: 5/10

Being in the slice-of-life genre, which is one of my favorite genres, as well as having a severe case of the moe, the story for K-ON! can get downright muddled at times. It’s not that it’s random ala Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star; there is a storyline in each episode, but the focus likes to shift a lot. This sounds interesting in theory, but doesn’t quite pan out in practice.

Now, I’m by no means an anime snob. I absolutely detest elitist attitudes towards anything in life. When it comes to anime, I don’t really care if I’m watching something critically acclaimed like Cowboy Bebop or severely panned like Green Green, as long as I enjoy what I’m watching.

The amount of in-show fan-service has also been modestly and smartly placed, despite the zillions…and zillions…of mostly suggestive fan art of Mio and Azusa creeping around the Interwebz.

I give it a 5/10 for an at-times jerky ride of a storyline with smart fan-service placement.

Animation: 6/10 & Music: 8/10

Anime critics be damned, I thought the animation quality was mostly good! However, the instruments, especially Yui’s poor Les Paul named Gitah, seemed to be on the wrong side of the budget cuts. Her guitar’s appearance ranges from very well drawn to a blobby mess, with seemingly no good middle ground.

Since K-ON! revolves around music, it’s only natural that the music be nicely done. The club’s signature tune, Fuwa Fuwa Time, which translates to Light and Fluffy Time, reminds me a lot of Party Hard by Andrew W.K., but lighter and fluffier haha! The song I like the most from the soundtrack is a slow bluesy number called Hold On Your Love. It’s a very moving 2 minutes of music.

I give the animation a 6/10 for sometimes butchering Gitah and the music an 8/10 for a well put-together soundtrack.

Characters: 7/10

The one thing that bugged the crap outta me when watching this series is that I sometimes visually confused Yui and Ritsu. Yes, they have slightly different hair color. And yes, Ritsu’s hair is pulled back while Yui’s hangs down. However, it’s their hair length and texture as well as their closely matched hair color that mix me up sometimes.

Looks aside, although each girl has their own personality unique among the group, I feel that they don’t evolve much as characters as the show progresses. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since this is only a 13-episode series, which should see another 13 episodes considering the immense popularity of the series.

I’ll give ’em a 7/10 since they’re unique among themselves, but still have a ways to go to develop their characters.

Enjoyment: 8/10

Although the recession has put the kibosh on producing as many anime series as before, of the recent anime that I’ve been watching, K-ON! is only seconded by Toradora!. Would I watch it again? Sure. In fact, I’m rewatching the series this week to gain a better prospective on the characters after I know what’s going to be going down in the series.

As I said before, K-ON! should be getting a second season since it was especially weIl-received by moe-hungry fans looking to whet their appetites while waiting for Season 2 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which was finally released near the end of K-ON!’s first season, after three years of impatient waiting and broken promises aka marketing strategies. But that’s another story altogether…

I give them an 8/10 for a fun, light-hearted musical romp through Moeville.

Overall: 6.8/10

K-ON! took a beating in its overall rating mostly because of its oddly structured storylines, occasionally awful instrument illustration, and little to no character development. Despite these shortcomings, it was quite an enjoyable anime to watch. Its immense online popularity also makes it relatively easy to talk about amongst other otaku without having to explain what the series is about.

I would suggest that the next season focus on drawing the instruments clearly on a consistent basis and give the characters some backstory to help us the audience gain a better prospective of them.

I give K-ON! an overall rating of 6.8/10.

TheAndySan

I Need Help Donating!

I really want to cap this year off doing something great! I thought about donating some of my old toys and stuff to charity, but these days, even kids in B.F.E. have at least a 4G iPod along with some Hannah Montana and Rock Band. I’m sure some kids would enjoy playing with my old toys, but I feel like I need to really do something to get me out of karma debt.

Doing Good Things For Others: A Personal Backstory

-When I was in college, I’d almost always rush forward and open the door for others. Nowadays, I notice that I slow down so that other people open the door for me.

-I never donated anything except for my old clothes to our local Goodwill clones.

-Whenever I would go to the BMV, I have never donated $1 to help blind kids.

-I was taught to tresure what I have. On one hand, my things last longer because I take good care of them. On the other hand, I was inadvertedly taught not to share. Whether it was my toys or my feelings, I usually kept them to myself and felt very uncomfortable when someone else had them.

Building Back My Karma, One Good Idea At A Time

I don’t want to end up like my parents. They have to work themselves to the bone in order to just get by. I know that if I really want to succeed, I need to be surrounded by like-minded and supportive peers. Despite going into a depression because I felt unable to control my life, I was beginning to do some good things for others in college.

For one, I helped start the campus’ first anime club, Genshiken UU. Although my best friend Eriopolis did everything in getting the club off the ground, I feel that I contributed a decent amount to the club as well. I designed the logo that’s still in use today. Although it may sound presumptuous for me to say this, but I think that I helped kickstart the idea of an anime club.

I showed Eriopolis the anime Genshiken, which is about an anime club of the same name and their various hijinx. I definitely recommend watching it if you’re into the slice-of-life genre or are really into anime. The casual fan might not be able to connect with it as much as a diehard anime lover.

After watching the series, I said to Eriopolis, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we did that? It would be so awesome to start an anime club on campus!” He said that he was thinking about doing it before, but I feel that watching Genshiken helped pull the trigger and made the idea a reality.

Get To The Point Already!

As I said before, I want to do something really good this year, but I need your help. I put up an Amazon wishlist (which I’ll better organize later) and I want to donate at least half of the musical instruments, as voted by you, to Little Kids Rock. The list is a work-in-progress and I’ll be adding less expensive items to it so you don’t have to worry about not having enough money to buy an instrument. You can also donate money via Paypal by clicking on the orange Donate button. Please be sure to put in the comment “Little Kids Rock Donation”.

If you guys have any comments, concerns, and/or suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

TheAndySan

Help Me Get (And Give) Something For My Birthday & Christmas!!

Impulsive Buying Leads To Giving

Today, I decided to do something impulsive: I bid on an Epiphone SG Junior P90 guitar with a hard shell case on eBay. She’s a real beaut.

The problem is that it may not have been the smartest thing to do financially speaking. Since I don’t have any large (as in $150 a week) sources of income at the moment, it’s bad for me in the long run. To recoup, I’ve put some of my other things on eBay like a spare NES system that I had, my Magic The Gathering blue/black faerie deck, Beavis & Butt-Head – The Mike Judge Collection: Vol. 1, and my old 15 GB iPod that my mom gave me a long time ago. Check out my profile for pictures and more details.

How To Help Out This Holiday Season

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve added an Amazon Wish List to my sidebar. I thought that I’d get in the hoiday spirit a bit early and give my parents (and everyone else out there in Cyber Land) some ideas. If any of you want to buy me something for either my birthday (December 7th) or Christmas, please feel free to do so via the Wish List or by donating via Paypal by clicking on the orange Donate button below every post. Remember, every dollar counts! I’ll be continually adding to the list so if you see something that’s in your price range (I kinda went crazy with some items, hehe), go for it.

I don’t expect to get everything on my Wish List, but in the event I do (or mostly everything), I’ll give away some of the items online through some kind of contest. I’m thinking something like a comment contest.

So help me in making 2008 200gr8! Okay, I know I stole that line from somewhere…

TheAndySan

I Was Made To Hit In Japan!!1

Evenin’, it’s the Andy-San again relaxin’ at my parents’ home

Everyone should be here around 7 in the morning tomorrow so yeah, I want to hear about what they did in Florida this past week. From what I could make out from my conversations with my mom and bro, they stayed in the condo that we were in when we went to Disneyworld (well, not the same exact condo, but in the same condo area, whatever you wanna call it), went to Daytona Beach, and visited the Orlando Guitar Center.

This week’s been fun, despite not doing anything with my friends since they have a play that they’re involved it (Ben’s in it and Eric’s filming it), but hey, they have their own lives and I can’t be selfish with their time. I mostly stayed at the house when I wasn’t working and went out occasionally, usually to Wal-Mart or the gas station or something like that. It was fun to get away from the noise of where I live. Although I’m grateful to my cousin for letting me stay at his house free of charge, I’m getting the urge to go elsewhere. It could be due to living with other people, the berserk dog (she loves me, but she’s very annoying), or just that sense of “it’s time to move out on your own” that’s compelling me to move out.

However, I cannot do that just yet. If my parents agree to cosign loans to pay off my debt to UU and loans to get me into UU, then I can finish college and fulfill one of my life’s dreams: to visit and teach English in Japan. Although I probably won’t teach for an especially long time, it will help me learn Japanese culture and in turn, learn more about myself. It may seem like an unlucrative dream, but as with all matters of the heart, it just feels like the right thing to do. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I feel like I’ve come a long way since I graduated high school in 2004 (going on 4 years!!!!). I feel that I’ve substantially grown as a person, and I’ve learned from the mistakes of my parents and my own mistakes. I realize that if I continue to sit idly by and not apply myself to anything, then I’ll end up like my aunt and dad; eternally stuck in a prison of self-doubt without the key of self-discipline to open the door of opportunity and escape. The lesson became painfully clear when I was suspended both times from UU, and after picking up the pieces of myself, I vowed to hang in there if I would ever be able to go back no matter how rough things got. Also, I know what is expected of me and I plan on living up to those expectations. Of course, this will all amount to nothing if I’m not given the chance to go back to UU and prove myself. In seeking the wisdom of people who’ve been in a situation similar to mine, I’ve learned that I shouldn’t worry about failure because it’s a natural part of learning. Think of it this way: if you had given up trying to walk because you’d been falling on your butt everytime, then you’d be carted around in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. No offense to those who really can’t walk, but I’m positive that even they will sympathize when I say that it would be pathetic for someone who’s perfectly capable of walking to just give up because he fell on his butt a couple times. So if you think you haven’t a shred of self-discipline, just stand up and walk.

Wow, I really went off on a tangent there, didn’t I? Oh, I forgot to mention in that big, scary paragraph that if I can go back to UU that I want to minor in English. When the top English professor on campus recommends this, it’s a sure sign to follow through. Like I said before, my plans after I graduate college is to teach English in Japan. After that, well, it’s for me to discover for myself. Whether it’s in music, computers, teaching, or something completely different, I’m sure I’ll find myself when I live in Japan.

In other news, I’ve been practicing scales and sometimes modes this week and I’m doing pretty good if I do say so myself. I’ve also been debating on what amp half-stack to buy when I get the money to do so. I could buy a Marshall MG100HDFX full stack for around $850. Even though the half-stack, which goes for around $599, is Musician’s Friend’s best selling amp period, it’s a solid-state amp which is a big strike against it. The Peavey Valveking half-stack goes for the price of $899 (I couldn’t find it as a full-stack). It’s an all-tube amp, which means that it’ll have a much better and louder sound (usually). The only drawbacks I could see are the lack of a full-stack option (which could be remedied by buying another Valveking cabinet) and the channel switch is sold separatly (I think the Marshall’s the same way, but I dunno). As with any amp, I won’t know for certain if I should buy it until I try it out for myself.

Well, I should get ready for bed. Good-night everyone!

Andy-San

New Anime Is Always A Good Thing…

…Unless you have no time to watch them! Hey everyone it’s the Andy-San here.

I got back from my parent’s house not too long ago. We went out to the Mongolian Grill to eat with my aunt, uncle, and cousin (she’s really into anime and definitely knows her stuff). Even my stepdad went, and although I was really against it at first, I figured even he can’t stay mad at me forever and went anyway. We talked about my job situation and although he was mad that I don’t have a job, he didn’t make a big fuss about it. I was really thinking about eating Chinese for dinner before they called, but I’m glad that I didn’t go before they called or it wouldn’t have been as good, but I regret eating 2 Triple Cheeseburgers from McDonald’s 2 hours before. Damn, now I’m gonna have to really work my fat arse out tomorrow! After dinner, we watched the Lakefest fireworks which were loads better than the 4th of July fireworks and they brought me back shortly after that.

In other news, I’m working on some scales that Travis taught me the other day and they’re totally killing my hand. He showed me his new Marshall TSL head and JCM-900 cabinet and his secondary Les Paul Standard fitted with an EMG ZW set as well as his new basement setup that’s a lot neater and better organized than before. He said that he was gonna buy a Gibson SG that’s at the music store so I can’t wait to see and hear it!

I’ve been watching some new anime to check out and I like what I’ve got so far. I’ve watched Umisho and Doujin-Work, which are really new in Japan. Umisho is a sports romantic-comedy about the adventures of a high school swim team. It’s very funny and I like all of the characters, but the stand-out character is the captain. Think Gai-Sensai in swimming gear. Doujin-Work is about a girl who wants to become a doujinshi author in order to make money. Basically, it’s like Comic Party but with a female lead. Doujin-Work’s not bad, but I prefer Umisho over it.

Well, I’m gonna go take a bath and watch some moAr anime. Peace!

Andy-San