Watching Gurren Lagann invariably leaves me in a contemplative mood; so, I wasn’t surprised when my recent rewatch of it ended with me reflecting on the quiet heroism that my grandfather (on my mother’s side) displayed throughout his life, which includes fighting in World War II. I decided to be a bit selfish and write something for this blog about him so others can read how incredible he was. I chose today to this so I could also remind people to thank a vet for the sacrifices that they have made.
My grandfather was a man of little words and he didn’t like talking about his experiences in WWII or his earlier life so I’ve only heard parts of the story of his life from other family members over many different times and have had to put them together. It goes something like this.
It’s been almost five years since I’ve last seen the anime blogosphere go so completely head-over-heals for an anime like what’s currently happening for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. That last time was for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya and it pole vaulted everything from it’s voice actors to it’s animation studio into instant super-stardom. This time it’s the well-known combination of the Shaft animation studio and it’s super-director Akiyuki Shinbou. Which is a bit surprising, given the prolific nature of Shaft/Shinbou; there isn’t that blank slate to work their magic on which KyoAni had with Haruhi.
And much like Haruhi, the PM3 fascination is well warranted; even for this long time Shaft/Shinbou fan, I was astonished how quickly this anime become special. The logical next step for a blogger would to blog about it but did I really want to be the 89th person that pointed how just how creepy Kyubey is or how dark and twisted this world is or how Shinbou was deconstructing the magical girl genre. The answer probably should have been yes since the alternative – coming up with something slightly more unique – took more work.
I eventually thought of something and all I needed was to call on the power of graphing and Gurren Lagann and an idea that’s been bouncing around in my brain for awhile.
I was not planning on taking this long to finish this part of my top 10 anime but as I tried to write something for each anime, I found it increasingly difficult to do so. Some of the anime on this part I could write thousands of words about and still not get everything said I want to say about them which made writing only a paragraph or two about them extremely challenging. I finally finished, though, and present the second half of my top 10 anime of all-time now.
Subtitled: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Naval Air Force by Saburo Sakai with Martin Caidin and Fred Saito
Every kid growing up seems to think they’re either extremely special, extremely plain, or extremely weird; I fell into the weird category. Almost from the moment I learned to read I sought books normally reserved for “adults”. By sixth grade that meant Tom Clancy novels like The Hunt for Red October, The Cardinal of the Kremlin and military history books. My focus eventually shifted onto greener pastures and I never picked up another book in either genre until just recently.
I had this book sitting around on my one bookcase for many months; it was a hand-me-down from my Dad, he thought I might be interested since I watch a fair amount of anime and am interested in learning more about the country and culture. I was slightly interested but this wasn’t the type of book I read anymore so I just let it sit there. Coming off a multi-day party at my sister’s house with people coming in from all over the state and featured lots of D&D, barbecuing, and fireworks over the Memorial Day weekend; I needed something to unwind on that didn’t require much effort and I decided now was as good as time as any to give Samurai! a chance.
When I finished reading Samurai!, I mentally kicked myself for not picking this up sooner and since I figure there’s probably at least a few people out there that would really enjoy this book as well, here’s my review.
Stan Lee has been responsible for a bevy of awesome superheroes and growing up I watched and liked the cartoon adaptations of his X-Men and Spiderman franchises. So, the fact that this anime is based on a comic that Stan Lee started serializing in the Japanese manga magazine Monthly Shounen Gangan was enough to make me interested and then I heard that Bones was doing the adaptation. This made it even more interesting to me because they’re one of the top animation studios in terms of quality animation and they are well acquainted with making an action anime series with Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood being but the latest example. Did this fusion of trans-pacific talent yield a shining new hero, as I hope, or will Heroman turn out to be just a Loserman?
With the timing of Al Gore and the intelligence of Joe Biden, the recent rant by Bang Zoom’s President about the impending death of anime is so sad, it’s hilarious. If it was a well-written piece I might feel like I needed to write a rebuttal but it wasn’t, not by a long shot, which leads one to ask – “Why are you bringing up Mr. Sherman’s rambling rant?” Well, I’d answer, there are some things I wanted to mention related to issue at hand and this is as good of a time as any.