Monday, July 31, 2006

I spent a lot of time at the Comic-Con watching anime. In the east wing of the convention centre, on the second floor, there was a row of movie theatres set up showing anime television series episodes all day long. They're never shown in any particular sequence, and there were never any two episodes of one series shown together, although there were several episodes of Piano shown throughout the Con. I'm not sure why--I saw one episode and found it to be an agonisingly banal teen melodrama. Some of the character designs were pretty, reminding me of Ah! My Goddess (I'm pretty sure it's the same guy doing the designs), though the main character's improbable hair-cut is distracting and awkwardly animated.

The best stuff I saw was related to Rumiko Takahashi. The first day of the Con, I was there very early, and managed to be the only one in the theatre where Maison Ikkoku was rolling. I would've caught the whole episode, except Convention Security was making everyone take a strange detour to get to the theatres Thursday morning for reasons no-one was ever able to explain. But I've read the entire manga series, so I was able to jump right into an episode about Godai and Mitaka trying to have a fight, but having their efforts thwarted by a nosy cop. Getting my hands on the anime has proved difficult and it was nice to finally see a regular episode (I'd seen one OAV episode) and find it was a good and faithful adaptation.

I saw an episode of another elusive Takahashi series on Friday; Rumiko Takahashi Theatre, a series based on a number of the woman's short stories. It was an episode called "The House of Garbage", which was a great story about a young family whose house is mysteriously taken for a garbage dump. Although I mostly hate children, it was rather refreshing to see anime centred on a couple with kids, instead of yet another focused on teenagers.

Before that, I sat through a fascinatingly awful episode of a series called Dan Doh, the titular character being a very young golf caddie whose strange wisdom about the course has brought success for Japan's champion. The characters somewhat resemble Dragon Ball Z people, with their spiky hair and trapezoidal eyes, and they regard the game with the same, er, intensity. It was really strange to see a series that took golf so seriously, while still relying on ridiculous plot contrivances to create tension--in the episode I saw, Dan Doh was not there to help his master because, having been up all night preparing for the match, he was found fast asleep the next morning, and it was deemed rude to awaken him for the actual match.

I also sat through a few terrible Magic Princess-style shows whose titles I didn't bother to notice. I saw a decent series called Risky Safety, a rather funny series called Leave it to Piyoko, and, when Tim was with me on Saturday, we both decided to walk out on an excruciatingly dull series called Nanka 6/17.

Good or bad, though, it was nice to see this year that everything was in Japanese with subtitles.

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