Naruto Abridged - Now on Blip, Ad-Free

In preparation for Episode 27's release on Monday - I have uploaded all of the previous 26 episodes onto Blip - ad-free. All the episodes are in one place for you to catch up on or remind yourself of the series you thought was once gone. I shall explain why it's been so sporadic lately.

Over the last year, things have been pretty hectic for both me and vegeta3986. We've had a pretty wacked-up real life to deal with in terms of work and changing circumstance. Sadly it meant that our time to get together was limited and that it turn made thinking about working on episodes, let alone the movie, very impractical. Sure, we could get on with personal projects but collabs were out of reach for the moment.

Fortunately, we've been able to get online more often and have some good times which spawned Episode 27 and hopefully a less sparse release schedule. Episode 28 should be much faster out and written by myself. =D

So yeah, go to http://ntas.blip.tv to catch up on Naruto Abridged and tune in to Vegeta's YouTube channel for Episode 27 and a special video...whose side are you on?

Anifile - Yumekui Merry

One day, Yumeji found out he had the power to look into peoples' dreams. Then he comes across a powerful entity from said dreams which just so happens to resemble a tweenage girl...how convenient.


Feburary Update: Vids Aplenty...

I went to see The King's Speech on Friday and I must say that it was a very good film. It was sensitively portrayed and it kept me engaged throughout the entire run time - not once did I feel bored. I was compelled by the overall presentation and I so hope that Colin Firth gets the Best Actor gong.

Anyways, I've been planning plenty of videos of the next couple of months including the rest of this season of Anifile (Yumekui Merry on 2/28 and GOSICK 3/7 plus two specials the 2 weeks after that) plus a series of videos dedicated to one of my favourite manga-ka, Kia Asamiya. These'll be short videos but should provide a glimpse into why he is one of my influences. This should then lead in to the Spring 2011 lineup. If you know what's coming in this lineup, feel free to suggest shows you want me to cover. I'm aiming to do 6 minimum but may go to 8 depending on my schedule so please be aware of that.

On top of that, I am currently working on the 27th episode of Naruto: The Abridged Series (yes, it's still going) as well as the inital steps of Kampfer 7. The movie for the former is happening, but it's not edited by me like the series is. So yeah, that's the state of play with all my videos/projects. Of course, should I get freelance work this would of course be pushed back. Also, the con around my birthday in my previous post is sadly gonna have to wait to another year - it was gonna be New York Comic Con but other commitments must take precedence I'm afraid.

Final note - I like Bejeweled. That is all.


Anifile: Rio - Rainbow Gate

Time for some pachinko-based anime action with some attractive players and a Pokemon like desire to the very best...like no one ever was.


Froyo Review: Not That Great, I'm A-frae-d

So, yeah this wasn't a frozen yogurt I tried today but one I had on my way to London Anime Con a couple of
weeks ago. Allow me to supply you with my findings!

This has been a place I've heard of so many times and intended to go there on New Year's Eve, walked all the way over there (a mile and a half!) and it was SHUT! So this time I went with no holidays to stop me and no time restrictions. This place is called FRAE and is one of the franchises opening up in London. It has a slick website so I thought it would super duper swanky inside but actually it turned out to be quite homely.

So once I got there, I was greeted to a small seating area inside a somewhat cold space with one other customer having her treat. The guy at the till wasn't there when I got there which wasn't that attentive but hey I'm here for the product not the person.

The portions sizes are quite skewed with a Small (83 cal), Medium (100 cal) and Large (134 cal) so I thought I'd get a large one (heh heh, large one.) with BLACKBERRIES this time round to be different. If you can't tell from the picture, the prices aren't that great to what I've seen at other places. More on the expensive side and froyo is relatively expensive to ice cream but totally worth it.

So the taste test - that's where it fell down. Frozen yogurt for me has to be either smooth and creamy or coarse and tangy (Itsu's offering is the best for the latter). This was smoothish and kinda bland. It didn't have that creamy texture I was looking for and felt let down. I did get a fair lot - a large portion for only 134 calories?! Dayum...but despite the messed up sizes, it really didn't do anything for me and for £5.10 that annoyed me; especially after all the aggravation it took me to get there.

So yeah, I went to Muffinski's today and got my usual fayre - so good! Seriously - Covent Garden, Muffinski's. Go there. Give Frae a try if you're in the area, but stick with a small but this isn't the froyo haunt for me I'm a-FRAE-d. XD


MasaBlog Rebooted!

Greetings, all. Since I've been using the blog more often and you friendly lot are visiting a lot more - I thought I would give it a little spruce-up. The old layout was OK (I'm a fan of gradients!) but the tiling effect really ruined the overall look...plus I've been wanting to make a banner for the longest time. Text up there doesn't seem right at all.

So yeah, the content's the same as before but it should be a lot neater to look at and clearer for you to read. Plus, an interesting little tidbit for you all who read this post - I'm planning to do something special for my 25th birthday on the 15th October...I won't say what it is but I'll give you a clue about what I'm thinking of...it involves a con in America around the time of my birthday. Which one? Take a guess! =D


Anifiles I may have missed

In each season of Anifile, I tend to limit myself to 6-8 anime. If I were to review more, the workload would be excessive especially when I've got freelance work going on as well plus I would get bogged down in one lineup whilst a new one is starting up.

So for those asking about shows I've past over for full reviews, here are some of the other shows from this Winter season; all rated with the CONTINUE or CANCEL measure:

HOUROU MUSUKO - A series concerning Nitori and Takatsuki who feel like they were born in the wrong body and yearn to live life as the opposite sex. This is a very heartfelt tale which we know is destined to be riddled with judgement from different parties. However, it does so in a very tactful and sensitive light, not to mention with stunning visuals that I've not seen in an anime up to now. It certainly captured my interest and I didn't have the heart to poke fun at it in any way. CONTINUE - SOLID. Hugely underrated.

MADOKA MAGICA - I got tons of requests for this show and normally this is something I wouldn't go for. I got burned by Moetan and Milky Holmes to know better. Yet when I peered into the story proper, I was pleasantly surprised. The characters are charming and really care for each other which I want to support them which is paramount in a show like this. Also, the fight scenes are SO TRIPPY!! I mean, Shiki trippy right here, probably even more! My faith has been restored. CONTINUE. Speaking as a non-fan of magical girl shows, this is something to keep an eye on.

CARDFIGHT!! VANGUARD - *Yawn* Another fickle attempt to sell merchandise with a tenative story. If you've seen Yu-Gi-Oh, there's no need to follow this and my interest is very low. Also, the fact that the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh R (panned by most fans) and Duel Masters (poor series) teamed up on this is a sign that this series is doomed to either obscurity or ridicule. CANCEL.

LEVEL E - Simply put, you NEED to see this show. If you've been put off by the amount of highschool harem anime in this season's lineup, this will be a breath of fresh air. The comedy is well executed whilst retaining its integrity superbly. The fact that aliens live amongst humans and the humans don't know it reminds me of the Men in Black movie in how there's an entire infrastructure going on right under our very noses and we have no clue and yet it's so familiar in attitude it's ironically normal. CONTINUE - SOLID. Fun fact: The manga was made in 1995 - WHY THE HELL DID IT TAKE THIS LONG TO GET A SERIES?!

FRACTALE - This was going to be on my list, but Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka bumped it off. I am literally kicking myself as I type this out. Why did I do that? This show has so many intricate plot twists and engaging characters despite the relatively lacklustre first episode. Even then, the interaction in that episode helped me really connect with Phyrne and Nessa which carried me into the next outings. The scenery is breathtakingly gorgeous and a delight for the eyes, especially in 720p! CONTINUE. The slow first episode may put some off, but hang in there - it's worth it!

BEELZEBUB - I heard so much hype for this I gave the first coupla episodes a go and I have to say I was left wanting. Some of the humour for me kind of past me by and it seemed like it was putting a lot of effort into making me laugh...perhaps too much effort? It reminds me of Zatch Bell a little bit as well as Urusei Yatsura in how Baby Beel acts (much like Lum's younger brother, Ten). It's certainly not a bad anime, not at all. It's very well put together and it does have its moments but for me, it wasn't a lingering hit. CONTINUE - TENATIVE

ONII-CHAN NO KOTO... - OK. This series can die in a big fire!! The fact that Nao is so into her brother but then totally denies it but not really is not only inconsistent, it comes off as eye-poppingly arrogant and brattish. The colour palette is far too colourful for the subject matter and even putting the incest factor aside, Nao isn't a looker and shame on her brother Shusuke for not flat out saying "WTF?!" at the first instance...but no, he's into gawping at her in her the nuddy. Offensive, crass and not in the least bit charming. Go watch B Gata H Kei instead - that has some kind of twisted humour whereas THIS has NONE. CANCEL - WITH A PASSION. Onii-chan no Koto: Incest - The Game for all the Family!

I hope that satsifies your curiosity for some of the other series from the winter roundup. Some I regret not giving the full treatment and others I'm glad I didn't have to go near too much. Onii-chan would've been good rage material, but that would've been too obvious. I'll allow you to go rage it at yourself...if you like that sort of thing. In which case, *evil eyes*.

So until next post, catch ya later! v^^


Why I've been so fussy about fanservice

Lots of you have been curious, and in some cases incensed, about why I dislike fanservice so much in anime. Since it's been such a touchy subject for y'all, I thought I'd explain why I bring it up so often and have up to now marked down a show.

After reviewing anime regularly for a year now, I have understood that fanservice is intrinsic to modern anime. My issue with it is when it becomes gratuitious; when its presence is clunkily inserted with no rhyme or reason - it's just there. Why is this? Well, simple. Sex sells. Or more specifically - moe. The tropes that have become commonplace in recent years such as panty shots and rampant jiggles appeal to Japanese audiences and the otaku demographic. Couple this with the moe factor, the shrines/trinkets in otakus' abodes as well as the sheer number of sexually active series out there these days and you're left with little ambiguity as to where the studio's loyalties lie.

Also, remember that we're not the intended audience for anime. It may come over to western shores much quicker than it used to and in some cases at the same time, but the first people that get to see it as Japanese and Japanese tastes and customs must be addressed first and foremost. I have been placing western principles on material that wasn't initially meant for my culture's tastes and sensibilites so I have been overly harsh. However, this doesn't mean that I will forgive animators/writers for using it in places when they have no need to.

When you take what I've said above into account, you can spot when fanservice on the sexual level overstays its welcome more pragmatically. For example, I've just reviewed Freezing after tons of requests. This was most likely to provoke a reaction in me due to the content of the show which is quite sexually charged. Having known this, I stepped back and went into the show understanding that this show is R-rated so some instances of nudity could be overlooked as it's more adult in presentation. Once I did this, I could see when the unnecessary shots (such as random panty shots and lingering shots of the chest) appeared amongst the usual fayre in 16+ shows be they asian, western or otherwise. This review that will be screened in the next month will showcase how Anifile will adapt so you'll get my full opinion of Freezing then - but for now, I think it's good. Much better than I expected albeit brutal in some places.

I hope that explains why I've been so touchy about this trait in anime these days. Bill 156 is seeking to address this, but I'd rather anime clean up its own act without the need of legislation to do it. Freezing is for more mature audiences so its sexual content is less of an issue; what gets me is when shows like Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka resort to it when it's meant for younger teens, but hey this is Japan, not America. In Japan, violence is more controversial than sex whereas in America it's the other way around in terms of media content. This is intriguing since I'm in the middle of all this being British and pretty much desensitised to both sex and violence. XD


A Change of Measure

For those of you that watch Anifile, you know that I take the first episode of a show and go into it in detail and then summarise the next couple of episodes afterwards stating whether things generally move on or not. Then I round it off with a score out of ten. I've come to realise that this may be a little too final for what Anifile is all about. First impressions.

So instead, I propose a new means of evaluation using two simple measures - Continue or Chuck. Of course if I were to say continue or chuck and not explain why, that would be equally final. This measure will be embellished with a reason as to why it deserves the result. More often than not I would rate a show with a 'Continue' and then enhance it further by stating whether it's a solid continue or a wait and see. Only in rare circumstances would I grade a show with 'Chuck'; those would go to shows that show no sign of growth and either degrade or detract the viewer. The only shows I can think of that I've reviewed already that I would say to 'chuck' would be Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka and Asobi ni Ikuyo. The vast majority would get a 'continue' - some with a strong vote of confidence; others with a more hesitant tone.

I like to listen to what you guys have to say and cater the content I produce based on what you find more valuable and rounded. Scores are for more complete things. Measures are more appropriate for what I do - guides for you to base an opinion.

In other news, Otakon is looking more likely for me. Money isn't an issue as I can plan for it now, but what to do around it is still up in the air - I mean, whilst I'm in America, I should go somewhere else as it would be cheaper than two transatlantic trips in quick succession. Where I go remains to be seen. In any case, Otakon is most likely, so here's my list of cons I hope to at least attend this year as of now:-

Dimension Jump XVI (8-10 April) Birmingham
London MCM Expo (May 27-29) ExCeL, London
London Film and Comic Con (July 8-10) Earls Court, London
Otakon 2011 (July 29-31) Baltimore, MD
Ayacon 2011 (August 19-21) Coventry, England
Alcon 2011 (September) Leicester, England
London MCM Expo (October 28-30) ExCeL, London

Oh yeah, I got a copy of Bejeweled 3 from a very generous fan. Thank you so much. ^^ I'll be rocking those jewels later for sure.


Anifile - Infinite Stratos

In a world where women rule the roost, one boy bucks the system and proves himself worthy of fighting alongside them. Obviously, we gotta throw in some highschool, coming-of-age antics but this should be fun!


Hangnails hurt~

Well, the title is a bit of a mis-noma. Granted, I did have a hangnail on my finger last night which woke me up more than once which resulted in me resorting to scissors to ease the pain (to the nail not the finger itself! XD)...but that's now sorted on the most part.

No - the post today concerns me in general. I'm currently in a good place right now in terms of my wellbeing and psychical health - I've never been fitter. Today I did 25 pushups; 25 more than I knew I could do only 3 weeks ago! I am experimental with my food which has introduced me to the wonders of mustard and vanilla syrup (separately of course) as well as other stuff. However, my mind has been pulled back and forth lately in terms of what I'm going through and what I'm going to go through. I'm not depressed or anything - just confused. Why I feel this I can't put my finger on, but it's just - there.

This may not be much of a post but it's something I wanted to put out there to give me some kind of sense of perspective, if you know what I mean.

As for other things, Otakon is coming up in the next few months and I'm seriously considering going. It's something I can do financially which is most unusual but there are a couple of things I need to sort out before I go ahead with it properly but it should be fine. ^^ Most likely it would involve about whether I would go somewhere else like to another con or something to save on two transatlantic trips.

Oh yeah, I talked with vegeta3986 for the first time in a few months and we've decided to press on with episode 27 whilst serstoic works on the movie. =)


Anifile - Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?

A high school student cut down in his prime by a serial killer is brought back to life as the walking undead! Awesome, right? Well, throw in some magical warriors and blood contracts for good measure and we got something eye-raising.