Summer Recommendation: Made in Abyss

I know it is almost halfway through the Fall anime season now, but I only watch anime once they have completed airing. Along with work commitments and time spent on subbing Robomaster, I finally got around to watching some of the better rated summer anime shows and at the top of the list was Made in Abyss. While I had no idea what I was getting into, I heard rave reviews about the show, and also how we should keep on watching till the end instead of dismissing it based on first impressions and the first couple of episodes.

My first impression was that due to the animations style, it was targeted at children. While this is not entirely wrong at the first few episodes, it starts to become darker and more mature midway through. It deals with simple themes of searching for one’s love ones, searching for one’s purpose, losing of memories as well as friendship. Eventually, the series started to delve into darker themes like human experimentation, exploitation and mercy killing. In particular,¬† the last few episodes, with the introduction of Mitty and Nanachi, were particularly impressionable and left a huge impact on me. I was really overwhelmed and consumed with emotions, something that I have not felt in a very long time. In my opinion, the Shinsekai Yori is the only other fantasy anime that has managed to affect me this much in the last couple of years. I remember what struck me the most was how Shinsekai Yori managed to weave mature themes into a seemingly sanitised coming-of-age anime. If you liked Shinsekai Yori, be sure to give Made in Abyss a try. Likewise, if you have watched Made in Abyss and want something similar, I recommend Shinsekai Yori.

Made in Abyss is too short for an anime of this quality. But I expect a continuation in the foreseeable future as the ending did not seem like an ending, but rather a start of a new chapter. In time to come, when the manga has enough material, I expect a second season. When that happens, you can be sure I will be following it weekly.

TL;DR: If you are looking for a fantasy anime that focuses on friendship, bonds and deals with more mature themes that you expect, Made in Abyss is a good candidate.

It was nice while it lasted….

Hello people,

It seems that some other group has decided to pick this up. I am not a person that likes to waste work. As frustrated as I am about how this other group waited for us to release it before they release their own, I am going to take it positively from the point of view of the fans, which is that it got the attention that it deserved.

I guess this has been the story of my fansubbing career. I try to do things to benefit the community, but it always backfires and I get nothing in the end. But I know that what I do is for the good of the community, and I don’t expect anything in return.

I have asked sm2345 to approach this OuttaNowhere group for a joint, but I am unsure if he has done that yet. But for me, it is pretty clear cut, if there is someone else doing it, I am not going to waste my effort doing it. I have better things to do. Some of you might not agree, but I have been doing this unsung job for so many years, so please take my word for it when I mean that it is not worthwhile wasting work. Furthermore, circumstances have also changed compared to a few years ago. Unlike before, I am holding down a full-time job which meant that I had to stay up late over the weekends just to work on episodes 1 and 2. The weekend is the only time I could catch up on some sleep, but I chose to use it to work on this show. This is to show just how much effort I am putting into this. But I also know that fans are pragmatic people just like how the world is. They would just flock to the fastest release and be content with that. As we all know, Oyatsu is painstakingly slow, so I am unwilling to invest so much and get almost nothing in return. Please forgive me for that. In any case, I am happy that the series is getting the attention it deserves.

So long folks!

PS: Sorry sm2345 for bailing out on the team yet again and posting this without your consent. If only you agreed to put out a minimal effort release so that we could be faster, but that was wishful thinking from me anyway. Hopefully you get to continue with this other group. Otherwise, you could just stall it like your other projects. XD

RoboMasters the Animated Series – 01

[Oyatsu] Robomasters The Animated Series – 01 (1280×720 10bit h264 AAC) [A4A6AC62].mkv

Torrent || XDCC

So we have decided to pick this up. I have not done a release post in years, and I cannot remember when was the last time I was in-charge of writing a release post. So pardon me if I am too long winded as I am still slightly rusty from all the years of inactivity.

The reason we are doing this is simple. Because there were no English subtitles for this, and episode 03 has already aired. I figured that if anyone was going to do it, they would have done so. I guess the reason why RoboMasters is not popular is partly due to it being a Chinese-Japanese co-production. However, it is to be noted that the animation is not handled by the Chinese, contrary to what most people think. Rather, it is helmed by an established studio: GONZO, together with Dandelion Animation Studio. The latter is in-charge of all the mecha fight scenes, while the former does the character designs and everything else. I may be wrong, but as far as I am aware, the Chinese is only responsible for the production of the series and nothing more. The series is exclusively streamed at a Chinese streaming website (qq.com) with Chinese dub as well as the original Japanese voice-overs. If you watch the Japanese version, other than the signs and character names in Chinese, you could hardly tell that it is done by Chinese. So do give it a try before you pass judgment.

What is RoboMasters about? It is an anime about a tournament that is actually happening in real life. You could google and actually watch some of the real battles on YouTube. The concept involves college students in teams pitting themselves against other teams from other colleges. where they have to fight with assembled drones and rovers or robots, whatever you call them. The anime talks about the events within a particular college. The main protagonist (Dan Dan) is a freshmen who has a unique drone, but is hesitant about entering the tournament due to some events that has happened in the past, which involves his brother and his team. It is a pretty straight forward anime about coming-of-age, college life and drones? I shall not bore you with my writing. Instead watch it for yourself!

Finally, credit has to be given to the team for pushing out a release within one week upon receipt of my script. This definitely exceeds expectations given our standards in recent years. Hopefully, this continues. I remain optimistic as what we are doing is true fansubbing, just like back in the old days. There is thus real motivation and meaning, which I feel would be vital in getting us through the entire series. It helps that WOWOW has listed only 6 episodes for this, so it would not even be one-cour. Again, a big shoutout to the entire team. The release would not have happened without every single person involved. This cannot be emphasized enough.

Translation: ZeroYuki
TLC: sm2345
Timing: Yogicat
Typesetting, Dialog Styling: iORcHiD
Editing: Lann094
Encoding: Majin3
K-timing: kstng, sm2345
KFX, Songs Styling: kstng
QC: Potla, sm2345

Until then, look forward to our next release, and as sm2345 always ends it: Enjoy the snack!

Spring Recommendation: Tsugumomo

Aside from Natsume Yuujinchou, Tsugumomo is the only other anime I have been following studiously week in and week out. With a new studio Zero-G helming the production, I was unsure what to expect. But with the catchy theme songs, especially the ED, I was immediately hooked to watch more. That is why I believe that having strong theme songs inevitably makes an anime much nicer than it really is sometimes. Music is important, and theme songs are important. Tsugumomo uses a classic approach of having an upbeat OP and a slightly melancholic ED which is a tried and tested formula that works by keeping people watching.

If I were to only say that Tsugumomo was only good for its theme songs, I would be doing it a huge injustice because as you watch, you develop strong attachments to the main characters. 12 episodes is definitely too little for a manga that has been serialising for over 10 years. Surely, there is sufficient material for more, but sometimes, having too many episodes for the sake of it becomes slow and torturous. Watching Tsugumomo, you can tell that this is a carefully written anime that you can hardly spot any unnecessary scenes. The pacing is just impeccable. The anime reminded me a bit of Kaze no Stigma, Shakugan no Shana and even Inuyasha.

Aside from the pacing, what makes Tsugumomo so good is that it has everything in it. It is an action genre with fantastic action scenes, but it also leaves sufficient time for ecchi when it is appropriate without interfering and taking the spotlight away from the story. It has drama at appropriate times for you to develop an attachment to the characters. Finally, it has comedy all around. This is definitely an anime that anybody can watch, regardless of whether you are a particular fan of a certain genre. It is very mainstream, except for the ecchi, and easy to get into it. So if you are looking for a fun anime that has great action and good chemistry between the male and female leads, this is the anime for you.

TL;DR: Tsugumomo is an anime that has very good pacing despite having the tall order of reconciling multiple genres together in action, comedy, ecchi, drama, and finally, it has very good theme songs. Watch it and you will not regret.

Regarding NyaaTorrents

Never thought I would get to see or even say this, but Nyaa is down and most likely gone for good. I am unsure why they did not bother looking for another domain, but I guess what we can all learn from this is the same as you would in any investment strategy: never park all your goods in one basket. If something happens, you can still rely on other baskets. This is called diversification, and turning anime piracy into a monopoly only makes it easier for the authorities to get rid of the root and with it goes everything. Fortunately, Oyatsu has members who were wise enough to foresee this happening, therefore we have Minglong as our primary tracker aside from Nyaa. Till this day, Minglong has never gone down ever, at least not that I have known. Aside from having zero seeds, you could still grab our releases on Minglong, not that I am implying anybody still watches our releases or even know we exist. Alternatively, there are still a few torrent index libraries such as Animetosho and Tokyo Toshokan, the latter, still going strong after so many years.

In any case, even if torrents are dead (due to excessive reliance on Nyaa), the IRC community is strong and will continue to be strong because it is tougher to eliminate releases through the IRC unlike through bittorrent. The IRC community was the old way of getting releases and sort of forces fans to interact with the fansubbers while downloading releases. It does not require seeds unlike torrents, so getting old releases should not be a problem so long as the XDCC bot still hosts the releases. Additionally, it also allows fans to gather at one channel and interact, talking about the anime they like. This community spirit is noticeably on the decline due to the convenience of torrent. Perhaps, without Nyaa, this would encourage more fans to return to the traditional IRC XDCC mode of downloads. But I would be naive to think that because torrents are still well and alive, even if Nyaa is not. Pretty soon, an alternative will come up, and everything will be back to normal.

Fuuka

In the past, I used to be really excited about romance anime, but in recent years, I have become increasingly jaded because most romance anime tend not to have any conclusive endings. So when there is a romance anime, especially when the source material is still ongoing, I am skeptical because I think the purpose of the anime is to promote the source material such as the manga. In the case of Fuuka, I approached it with caution because the manga is still ongoing, and the animation is handled by Diomedea, which in my knowledge, had never handled a romance genre before.

However, after completing the entire anime, I realized I was wrong to be skeptical. Fuuka would be the exemplary example of how I would want a romance anime to go about. The pacing was very well done, given the short number of episodes. While the characters were not really developed, especially the band members, I felt the studio managed to allow viewers to relate to them despite only spending so little time on the band members. Praise has to be given to the studio for the writing. Finally, what is most important is that the anime had a conclusive ending. It deviated from the manga, and can be said to be an original work after a certain episode. Compared to previous adaptations of Seo Kouji sensei’s works, I felt Fuuka is the best followed by Suzuka and finally Kimi no Iru Machi. I guess it is probably because I am older now, I am no longer that impressed by Fuuka, so I may not be giving it more credit than it should. But I can definitely say that if you want a romance anime to watch that reflects a cliche that has not been seen in a long time, Fuuka is one that brings back the formula of a classic love triangle and a school anime back. Who says that cliche anime cannot be good? It can, if it is done right.

TL;DR: Go and watch Fuuka if you are itching to watch a romance school anime that has a conclusive ending and contains a cliche love triangle.

Haven’t you heard?

Spring has one of the strongest line-ups I have seen in recent years. There are many shows that have great potential, but I have not gotten to them yet because I am still stuck with Winter anime, in particular, finishing G-Tekketsu.

But I have heard about Sakamoto and gave it a try. It is now my must watch every week. It is freaking hilarious. You have to take my word for it, because I am such a serious person, not many comedy gets my stamp of approval. But this one really does. Go watch it and it will surely brighten up your sour day.

One Punch Man

Wow, based on someone’s recommendation, I watched One Punch Man. Initially, I thought it was just another one of those over the top shonen anime where it is about protecting your “nakama” and all the shallow nonsense.

I was wrong. It is anything but.

After watching a few more episodes, I realized the series is more than that. It is about Saitama, a plain looking, skinny and bald young man who is literally and actually the strongest person in the world. He has never met an opponent where he cannot defeat with one punch. However, his strength and ease of defeating others make others deem him as cheating compounded with the fact that he looks weak. As such, he saves the humanity and other heroes at crucial moments without getting any credit for it. It is truly the concept of an unsung hero.

We also see the ugly side of humanity with the tussle even within the realm of heroes where they jockey for power and rankings. Additionally, the show also touches on deeper topics underneath its humorous facade. Particularly, the topic of the convenient truth, with human beings, being insecure creatures we are, only choosing to believe in things that we feel would fit our notions of truth. This is ironically, and most of the time, always not the truth.

In all, just shows that we should not judge too early or go into something with preconceived notions. Likewise with interpersonal relations too. We should never have prejudice for it will cloud our judgment.

Autumn

I have been so busy with school now that I am into my final few years. It is really hard to believe that just a few years ago, I was busy spending my life all day on anime and worst, trying to translate it for people who do not give a damn. Actually, that might be slightly unfair to generalize all the fans as people who do not care. I guess the fans these days do not appreciate, but a few years ago, there were fans that actually faithfully waited for fansubs, only to be let down again and again by groups like us. That was when they decided to give up on fansubs altogether. Nostalgic times…

I am not even sure I am posting on the blog these days. I do not think anybody actually cares about what I post, but I was feeling nostalgic and slightly lonely after some dreadful revision for my finals, so I decided to just write out some stuff. Apparently, writing is therapeutic because it helps in introspection and reflection. I also realized that because I have not been writing for a long time, as I no longer fansub now, my command of English is inferior to how it was before. So ironically, while I think fansubbing probably robbed me of the best years of my life, it still benefited me. It improved my English language as well as my Japanese.

Anyway, I have always touted Fall anime season to be where rare gems of good anime can still be found. It seems like the Fall selection has been deteriorating as with all the anime in recent years. But I did watch a few episodes here and there, and if you have followed some of the kinds of anime I have translated in the past, you would be familiar with the kinds of anime I look for. If you still have faith in my selection, I shall offer a few titles that I believe are worth your time watching, if you are finding it tough to decide, given the number of disposable anime these days. Rakudai Kishi is a great show using a classic tsundere. I thought I would never see this kind of anime again because it is deemed as cliche, but I guess like trends, what comes around goes around, and what was in vogue will come back to be in vogue again. Besides tsundere, Rakudai Kishi is directed by Shin Onuma, who usually emphasizes the deeper aspects of anime. So if you are like me, into deeper and emotional stuff, Rakudai is a good anime to watch. Shin Onuma was the director of Ef A Tale of Memories, an anime that still ranks on my all time favorites. It aired back in 2007, almost 8 years ago… Guess I am getting old…. The second recommendation I am going to make is Iron Blooded Orphans. This is one of the better Gundam anime since Gundam 00. What is even better is that you do not have to be a Gundam geek to be able to bask in the hype of this anime. It quite easy to relate to, given that Mari Okada is helming the scripts.

Well, I have said my piece, and it feels good writing after a long time. Here is hoping anime gets better!

TL;DR: Rakudai Kishi and G-Tekketsu are the better few anime this season which I feel are worth watching.