Wed, 13 August 2008
Oh, Future Anime Magazine, of thee I blog, What piece of trash is this that hovers before my eye. What crap on yonder rooftop gleams? Could it be Future Anime Magazine? Yes, it is, quite so.
Let me just start with a simple imperative sentence. Do not buy this magazine. I will explain why shortly.
First, its pedigree. It is published by Future, US, Inc. If you dont know, Future is also the publisher of such castrated magazines as Nintendo Power, Playstation: The Official Magazine, and the Official Xbox Magazine. All these magazines are barely disguised, if not completely naked, mouthpieces of three huge and bloated companies. Yet all the writers of these magazines say how impartial they are and how their respective companies can't tell them what to like or not to like. That is, until they fire them for being too critical and they find themselves on the street. So you always have to take their coverage and reviews with a grain of salt. Kinda like a presidential news conference.
Then there's the editor's note in the opening pages of the magazine where Gary Steinman bitches at anime and manga fans. Bitching about what, you ask? Over the fact that anime and manga fans are no longer buying anime and manga. Instead, they are downloading anime and reading manga in the bookstore aisles. The mistake that Gary makes is that he never qualifies that SOME fans are doing this. Not all. He also probably doesn't realize the failure of both industries to keep their fanbase as they get older. Theoretically, as fans of manga and anime get older, they should be getting better jobs and be able to spend more money on books and dvds. If they kept their fanbase, both mediums should be EXPANDING, not CONTRACTING. I think a lot of kids now that are otaku will leave it behind when they go to college and start families. It's more like a cool fad. There's a difference between passionate, fleeting love for these artforms and passionate, longterm love. Unfortunately, I think the former describes the current state of these markets. I guess before I get any more pretentious I should shut my blog. But sometimes I worry if anime or manga will still be around in 10 years. Hey, I guess I might not be either!
Anyway, if you're not familiar with Gary, he used to be Editor-In-Chief of Newtype (which has since folded to be replaced by the already folded PIQ), which was a ventriliquist's dummy for ADV (which could be folding, and whose manga line might be folded....so many foldeds, like a blanket of failure.....) and who is the executive editor for the aforementioned lackey Playstation Magazine. So do you see how this magazine might have some issues?
Ok, now for the insides, the primal guts, the meat in the tamale of this magazine. First of all, the entire anime section of the magazine, except for the Gurren Lagann cover story, are written by one person, Lesley Smith. Well, I wouldn't say written, I would say summarized. The anime stories are almost identical to the format that Newtype used, with big anime photos, a tiny blurb summary, and then a more fleshed out summary with very little if any critical response to the show in question. Just like Newtype, this magazine never finds a series it doesn't like. The fact that the entire section of the magazine is written by one person flagrantly throws the fact that this is going to be boring and one dimensional flatly into your face. Even the Gurren Lagann cover story is written by David Smith, who I strongly suspect is Lesley's husband. Maybe Lesley used Shadow Clone Jutsu to write all these articles?
Then there's a summer manga guide, written by.........Guess who?.....David and Lesley Smith! Surprise!
It also includes 12 "sizzling posters". Now if two page posters are your cup of tea, more power to you. But I don't really want to put up posters with a fold and staple holes in them....owww, they're hot!
Once you've gotten past the pyrotechnic display of the posters, you get to the game section, which was such a ripoff, it almost made me lose my cookies. Why? Well, all the games are supposed to be anime related, even though some aren't. They're conveniently renamed "anime-inspired", which means they "look" animeish, but aren't based on any anime properties. So, anyway, they "ask" the editors of Playstation: The Official Magazine to give them their favorite picks. First up, what the hell is wrong with the Wii and the XBOX 360? You could've found plenty of real anime games from all three systems instead of Gary being lazy and relying on his own POM staff. What makes the reviews of the games even more insulting is the fact that they are almost all lifted word for word from the original Playstation Magazine reviews. Some paragraphs or wording has been changed, but very little. They even use the some screenshots, although they not so cleverly reorient and resize the pictures.
So in the end, what do I think of this magazine. Is it worth $9.99? Let's just put it this way, if this magazine was thrown on a koala bear, it would turn into a raging bloodthirsty beast. It is a blatant attempt by Future to cash in on a market that doesn't need any more pretenders to be cluttering up shelf space. In fact, you should use the $9.99 you would spend on this litter basket refuse to buy the manga volume that Gary scolded you in his opening statement. In fact, every issue of this magazine that sells does an equivalent exchange for a volume of manga so Gary is just contributing to the problem
My Grade: F
Tue, 12 August 2008
Anime DVD review of the first disc of the Season 1 box set of Maria Watches Over Us, Episodes 1-3. Published by Right Stuf. Directed by Yukihiro Matsushita.
Yumi Fukuzawa is a first year at the prestigious Lillian Girls' Academy, known for its piousness, elegance, and impeccable uniforms. The school is ruled by the Yamiyuri Council which has installed a system to keep student discipline from being a problem. Under the Souer system, older girls pick a younger classman to be their petite souer, or little sister. In practice, the older girl is supposed to look after the younger like she really is a sister by blood. Soon after her arrival at the school, Yumi encounters one of the members of the Yamiyuri Council, Sachiko Ogasawara, little realizing how entwined their lives are to become. It seems Sachiko, the star of the school, wants to make Yumi her petite souer. While Yumi is in awe of Sachiko (maybe even smitten with her), she refuses her because she is afraid Sachiko has ulterior motives.
My Grade: B+