There’s Something Manabi In The Air

2011 September 18

もっとAddendum: They just updated again. Here’s the text:

Details announced!
We’ve decided to release a BD box in perfect HD!
Let’s sing the Seioh Gakuen school song at the Bizan Summit!

This is an event where we’ll be talking more about the decision to release a completely HD Blu-Ray boxset!
Let’s sing the Seioh Gakuen school song at the top of the Bizan summit together with Ai Nonaka!
Maybe there might even be some awesome extras in the Manabi BD box?!
Blu-Ray Disc release details can be found here ->

Don’t worry if you can’t read the details about the BD on that site, because Anime News Network’s got you covered. Very interested to see how the reshot of episode 12 looks like, because I bet it’ll be fantastic.

Addendum to Addendum, 10/6: Blu-Ray announced. In full HD, presumably with all the trimmings of the DVD releases. No release date or price set yet, although I’d bet on “later” and “sounds about right for R2 BD”. Also announced: “Manabi Straight Time” at MachiAsobi vol. 7, featuring Ai Nonaka (Mika Inamori) — I presume it’s a panel — on October 9, for an hour and a half. So that makes it different than the 10/8 mystery screening, which might be a preview of the BD version? Heyyy, I’m game. I guess we should expect ufotable to have all their cards on the table by the end of that panel.

Also, insert Ai-pon fansquealing here. Okay, I’m done, g’night, hehh. ▲

Addendum, 9/20: The MachiAsobi site has since then announced that they’re screening the entire series from 2 to 8 this Saturday 9/24 for 1000 yen per four-episode ticket for a total of 3000 yen (but 2500 yen if you intend on watching ’em all). However, a schedule flyer posted to the Tokushima Prefecture website also tells of something on October 8, for free, plainly labeled “screening”…for one hour. What Manabi-related things can you show for an hour?! THE PLOT THICKENS. ▲

(image credit Gigazine)

Speaking of anime series I like…there’s something going on with Manabi Straight.

Like, something timely. Really timely. Like, posted yesterday while I was asleep, so I didn’t catch it at first.

Like the above picture of a couple of guys setting up advertisement posters for Machi★Asobi vol. 7 — posters of Haruka Amami, Newtype’s Moving Pictures Festival, Manami Amamiya, and Saber.

Of course, I’m trying to get your attention to the one character second from the right who’s not been seen since something like 2008, when the final DVD went on sale. If that was the end of it, I’d imagine ufotable just wants to rip my heart apart by getting my hopes up. Well, let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

ufotable’s got this tradition of having seiyuu do the announcements for the ropeway funitel system at Bizan every time MachiAsobi comes to town. For example, last time, they had Miyuki Sawashiro do the announcements during MachiAsobi vol. 6. Here’s a video of Aki Toyosaki doing the announcements during vol. 4 (thanks, Gigazine).

Two weeks for Manabi. Three days (or a typo) for Fate/Zero. In either case, two weeks for Manabi? Might as well make a megamix of old ufotable productions. Toss in some Coyote Ragtime Show, Dokkoida, FutaAlt…unless you’re doing something with Manabi. Which, you know, might be the case.

Let’s take a look at exhibit number 2. This is a poster advertising what’s getting featured in Machi★Asobi vol. 7. To the right are representative works being featured, of which Manabi is really close to the top of the list. Cool! Obviously ufotable’s doing something like a marathon of the entire series and calling it quits or something, because they wouldn’t actually do what I think they might actually do, right?!

Oh, wait, here’s exhibit number 3.

Yeah, uh…I might opt to hold my breath for this one. Don’t disappoint, ufotable!!


Translation: “Sketchbook Pilgrimage in Fukuoka, Part 1”

2011 September 13
by Spiritsnare

I think I’ve mentioned I love Sketchbook before, so hopefully that needs no introduction. If you need one, consult Wikipedia.

Recently, two members of the Sketchbook cluster on Twitter traveled to Fukuoka with the intent of visiting its suburbs, of which the anime adaptation Sketchbook ~full color’S~ largely draws its scenery from. One of them, doujinshi artist Yuzuneko, posted his notes and photos to his blog; I asked him for permission to translate the post, which he graciously granted (thanks!).

What follows is my (very rough) attempt at translating his post.

A couple of notes:

  • This is, once again, a rough (and sometimes loose) translation.
  • Picture tooltips provide episode numbers and cue points, synced to SpoonSubs’ fansub releases, since that’s probably what most English readers will have access to. For those who actually have the DVDs (good job!!!), if the point is after the opening, you can subtract about seven seconds to get to where you want to be.
  • Picture tooltips that aren’t necessarily linked to a specific episode cue were fabricated by me. Go go HTML 5 standards and WordPress’ insistence on adhering to them. (Well, that’s fine.)

read more…

Pixiv Encyclopedia: Tanabata

2011 July 7
by Spiritsnare

What follows is a loose translation of the pixiv entry on July 7th — the holiday of Tanabata in Japan. I figured I’d see what other characters’ birthdays I could rep other than Tsukasa Hiiragi and Kurihara-senpai (above), triggered by a couple of folks repping Senjougahara (Bakemonogatari‘s stapler heroine) on Twitter.

In any case, here you go.

read more…

In An Ideal World, Part Two

2011 April 1

Remember last year, when Funimation supposedly licensed Manabi Straight and had it up for grabs on RightStuf and I ordered it? Well…

Maybe I — erm, ahem, Funimation should’ve made it a part of the Viridian Collection.

Sunnyvale Golfland’s IIDX Local Expert Courses, April Fool’s Edition

2011 March 31

This post is actually a serious post, mind you. From SVGL’s Resort Anthem cabinet:


  • Mermaid Girl
  • Mendes
  • Dances with Snow Fairies
  • Mei
  • Reunion


  • AA
  • Breaking the Ground
  • Shakunetsu Beach-Side-Bunny
  • Nageki no Ki
  • Sakura Storm


  • Yuuyake ~Fading Day~
  • Perditus†Paradisus
  • Fantasia
  • Daydreamer
  • Passionate Fate


  • Vermillion
  • Golden Palms
  • Tropical April
  • Aegis
  • Albida

I wish I were joking. I’d rather have Yuuyake up in Platinum replacing Mermaid Girl. And Blust of Wind needs to be in there somewhere…also, Ookina Koe De and Kagenui.

Sketchbook Mode and the Sudden Fiery Will to Learn Japanese Faster

2011 February 10

So life happened, and by “life” I mean “a bunch of things”. Well, I guess that’s sorta what life amounts to. I’d also like to think that life would give me a bunch of things to blog about, but either I end up pretty lazy, or I become too busy to the point where, by the time I would’ve posted it, the entry in question wouldn’t be as timely as I’d like it to be. Anyway…happy new year, two months in.

Manabi Mode seems like such a 2010 thing, despite what my Twitter says (“I heard [ufotable producer] Hikaru’s coming to SF for a Kara no Kyoukai event!! MAYBE I SHOULD COME UP TO HIM WITH MANABI STUFF AND HAVE HIM SIGN IT AND TALK ABOUT IT WITH HIM MASSUGU GOOOOOO”). But if you check my Twitter, you’ll notice that I also happen to be tweeting a lot about Sketchbook. As of late, I figured I’d start tagging stuff with #sketchbookmode, to see how long this particular round of obsession lasts.

If you know me well, I have a list of three series that I consider my god-tier-will-rewatch-or-reread-any-time-I-feel-like-it-which-is-often series: Manabi Straight, Sketchbook, and Hidamari Sketch. (As an aside, there are two other anime rated 10 on My Anime List — Azumanga Daioh, which is more of a sentimental rating than anything; and ARIA the Origination.) At any point in time, I will be unusually hype for one of those three series. Right now, it’s Sketchbook. For a moment inbetween all of my Manabi hype last year, it was Hidamari Sketch.

As they say, parting makes the heart grow fonder. The three series are in different positions. Manabi, with its thirteen episodes, OVA, and four tankoubon, is completely done; in the end, there’s nothing truly new I can experience from that series. Hidamari Sketch‘s manga is ongoing (on its fifth volume right now); the anime has three seasons and I wouldn’t be surprised if SHAFT animated a fourth.

Sketchbook, however, is somewhat interesting. The manga is ongoing (the seventh volume hit Japanese bookshelves in early October, and it’s understandably not been licensed for the English market); and the anime, full color’S, is a 2007 thirteen-episode release whose only official English release has been on Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll’s license for the series, as of last June, seems to have expired, and thus everything but the first episode has been taken down. The series covers some three to four volumes of scattered content…most of it resides in the shucchouban – a special volume comprised of comics (with most of the content actually not being 4-panel!) that were published in the spinoff Comic Blade Masamune.

I’ve mentioned before that Sketchbook, to me, is a really great series; in fact, I prefer it over ARIA. I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone why, though. Some people have dubbed me slightly odd, but at the very least, we all recognize that to each his own.

Anyway, as of recent, I’ve somehow ended up following a couple of Japanese Sketchbook fans. They seem pretty passionate about the series. I read their tweets whenever I’m bored and whenever they make a reference, I get it, even if in Japanese…but I can’t respond, nor make appropriate replies/comebacks, because despite my ability to read/recognize Japanese text, I’m not very good at actually forming sentences, and thus not very confident about using it, either.

Also: just last week was protagonist Sora Kajiwara’s birthday. The moment it hit midnight on February 4 in Japan, a good chunk of the Sketchbook cluster cheered as much as they could. Some talked about how glad they were to be Sketchbook fans, and to have met like-minded people. Some posted birthday pictures. Some rewatched an episode or two of the series. Some sent congratulations to @KajiwaraSoraBot. Some admitted that Sora’s birthday was the first time they got really, really hyped up over the birthday of a fictional character. Fun times were had.

Somehow, in addition to my wanting to be a great translator/interpreter/teacher of the Japanese language someday, I now have a very active reason to study Japanese. And now, as of late, I’ve been practicing my Japanese to no one in particular, unless someone replies or mentions me in Japanese. Then, I try my best to form a reply. (As an aside, I love you, love you, LOVE YOU, codefromtokyo; his Japanese dictionary for iOS has come in useful when I can’t come up with words or phrases I need.)

So, long story short: due to the fandom, Sketchbook continues to be relevant for me as I continue my study of Japanese language and culture. And so, from time to time, I’ll be posting a handful of notes here on the usage of Japanese, in an attempt to explain it…and maybe it’ll be useful to other people studying Japanese. And, like I’ve been doing lately on Twitter, the examples are probably gonna be Sketchbook-centric…though I could probably go either which way with that.


    Tales of (In-Jokes from) the Abyss, Part 1

    2010 November 2

    I’ve never finished Tales of the Abyss, despite having attempted to play it three times prior and being intrigued by the story; something just happens to come up and get in the way of me finishing the game, somehow.

    Now, I’m starting a fourth game of Abyss with a pair of friends – namely, mDuo13 and Tsubasa – with the full intention of finishing it before taking on anything else. We’ve already gone through a playthrough of Tales of Graces (that was before Tales of Graces F for the PS3 was announced with that after-story segment — we’re probably gonna play it again!) and it went well, so we figured we’d keep this up with other games.

    So, while Tsubasa’s searching for that one not-used copy of the PS3 version of Eternal Sonata (née Trusty Bell), we decided we’d attempt to play Tales of the Abyss, with our inaugural session last Wednesday. As with Graces before it, we joke around quite a bit while playing, and thus this gives rise to a handful of (often pretty stupid) jokes, of which some of them recur. After the break is a list of what we came up with after our first session; and, of course, spoiler alert for stuff up until the Kaitzur checkpoint.

    read more…

    The Rihoko “Drinking” Game

    2010 October 29
    by Spiritsnare

    So the Rihoko arc has just started in Amagami SS, which means I’m actually compelled to watch it. She’s my favorite character — mostly because, like the protagonist Junichi, I get to comment a lot on how she’s a fatty.

    However, unlike Junichi, I happen to be a fatty, too. Because of that, Rihocchi pretty much became my nakama of the series.

    Of course, I figure her arc is going to have a lot of eating in it. Thus, this post.

    I concocted a little drinking game back when the series first started. It went something along the lines of “Take a shot whenever Morishima-senpai describes Junichi as being yasashii.” If I remember correctly (I don’t have the episode on me for reference), that ended up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 shots for episode one.

    When the next arc started, in my boredom, I started picking on Rihocchi again, and made a drinking game for her. Sorta.

    The Sakurai Rihoko “Drinking” Game

    The main rule: you don’t drink. In lieu of shots are those small snack-size cups of ice cream. You can go for the generic brand pack of cups-that-try-to-masquerade-as-a-parfait-or-something-schmancy-like-that (something like $6 for a dozen cups?), or you can be a bit more upscale and grab the name brand of your choice (around here, Dreyer’s(1) cups were $1 a piece; Häagen-Dazs went for $1.25 each and were smaller). Go to your local supermarket. Depending on which episode(s) you and your friends are going to watch, attempts at this game can range anywhere from 6 to 60 to 600 cups a person. (If you’re going to attempt the entire series — and if you do, please do reply or send me mail(2) with pictures of the aftermath! — I strongly recommend the use of a mini-fridge.)

    There are simply four instances in which you’ll have to chow down:

    • Whenever Rihoko appears, eat a cup.
      A good guideline for “appearance”, especially in her own arc, is sorta like having a combo count in a game — if the show transitions into a new scene and she isn’t there, a new instance of her appearing would trigger a cup.
    • Whenever Rihoko is shown eating something, eat a cup…
      You can either set this trigger to “item”, “course within a meal”, or “meal”.
    • …plus another cup if the item/course/meal in question is fatty enough.
      You get to decide whether it’s fatty or not. Rule of thumb? Everything she eats is fatty.
    • Whenever Junichi implies that Rihoko is a fatty, eat three cups.
      This is also a subjective interpretation. I play by the loosest interpretation — most of the time, if Junichi mentions the words “belly”, “food”, “diet”, etc., etc., in reference to Rihoko, that’s a trigger.

    Like any other drinking game, you can adjust the rules, but abolishing them isn’t any fun(3)! Oh, and of course, make sure you’ve got an empty stomach (even if you’ve got a second one for dessert) – episode 17, by my count, was a 25-cup smorgasbord.

    1. If you live anywhere that’s not in the Pacific time zone of the United States, you probably know them as Edy’s. For the curious, of course, Wikipedia can explain why.
    2. My e-mail address is obtainable via a link in the footer. I don’t actually expect anyone to do this, of course, but I can at least imagine something akin to Kara no Kyoukai’s 5th chapter, with all them strawberry ice cream cups.
    3. If you don’t think this could be amusing at all, you may substitute the word ‘fun’ with ‘fatty’.


    2010 September 23

    So the first episode of Tamayura – Junichi Sato’s (and HAL Film Maker’s) new slice-of-life OVA project – aired on AT-X, as what I figure to be a teaser of sorts. It teases, alright. Having marathoned ARIA the Natural and ARIA the Origination instead of taking it easy on getting through the series out of fear that I’d put it on hold yet again, I might even go so far to say I might’ve been going through SatoJun iyashikei withdrawal. (As an aside, thank you very much, RightStuf — let it be known that I love you guys!)

    For a moment, I went through a bit of a phase: what was I supposed to do to get my fix of fresh iyashikei, having finished ARIA? Well, I guess there’s Kaleido Star, of which the second season boxset sits shelved right next to the first boxset of Someday’s Dreamers — neither of which I’ve actually really gotten my hands into.

    I prefer it, however, when there’s not too much emphasis on competition — as with ARIA or Hidamari Sketch, both of which have some elements of competition that aren’t not shown very often if they’re not lighthearted. Or series where there’s not really anything going on at all, as with Sketchbook. Or, maybe, if it’s got one main conflict that quickly resolves itself, then sets up a huge sign that tells you when to say “AWWWWWW,” as with the Animal Crossing movie.

    Or, I could talk more about Manabi…but if I’m going to talk about Manabi (as iyashikei or otherwise), I’d rather link to people who can describe the experience much better than I can, then link to the one guy aggregating ’em all.

    Anyway, it’s funny how the third point (“nothing really happens a la Sketchbook”) works: when there’s nothing really going on at all, everything mundane suddenly takes center stage, thus making it a top priority to take those things and make them seem more significant than they actually are. That’s probably one of the things that makes Sketchbook one of my favorite shows — I love it when Sora or Hazuki or Kurihara-senpai point out stuff, because they all point out the things I usually don’t pay too much attention to and make them somehow sound interesting…even when at the end of the day, most of the things they point out are truly just plain. (As an aside, I’ve got an alternative hypothesis: the ‘observation’-slash-pun humor in Sketchbook — especially the manga, but certainly present in the anime — is sometimes eerily similar to a handful of my friends’. Like, say, pointers about cheese steak. Cheese steak? That sounds like you’re making a meal out of a frickin’ hunk of cheeseand so on, and so forth.)

    Tamayura feels like a Sketchbook 2.0 to me. It’s slow. There’s not much going on. Fu-chan’s got two missions: to take pretty pictures, and to try and become more extroverted — analogous to Sora wanting to capture her life in drawings and perhaps become a bit more extroverted, herself. It’s the change in media — from sketch to film — that really strikes me. I’m not the best person to ask for a sketch (although I could try), but I share the same sentiment as Fu-chan when it comes to photography. That coupled with her shyness — it isn’t quite as bad as Sora’s, but she’s still pretty shy! — made her character someone I could definitely connect with.

    I can’t wait to watch the completed work — fifteen minutes is simply not enough. On the other hand, like I said, I guess it’s supposed to be a teaser for a reason…

    A Post-Summer Day’s Reminisce

    2010 September 9

    Sometimes, I wander around my computer and find a folder long forgotten — sometimes, it’ll be a program I don’t often use that somehow takes up three gigs worth of hard drive space; or, perhaps it’s a backup folder, long-forgotten for years after the fact. I happened to stumble across one of the latter, and lo and behold it had basically all of my image data from Waffles, my old, dead anime blog. Let’s tackle that first.

    Waffles died in the latter half of 2007 due to a waning interest in actually watching anime compounded with an steadily growing backlog. I figured I’d keep it around for posterity, in case people actually wanted to read my blog.

    And then the server I’d been hosted on — graciously provided by Misu, in exchange for writing for his visual novel news blog, VisualNews — disappeared. Whenever I would try to access it, it would shoot out a short error message: the server had encountered an error. The server continued to error whenever I’d try to visit my site. For all intents and purposes, Waffles and VisualNews were gone.

    Control of the community forums was eventually given to zalas, who took it and made encubed. Waffles was reduced to nothing but whatever the Internet Archive offered as cache.

    And then I made this blog. The first post I made on this blog was a slightly shorter version of this explanation.

    It’s been almost two years since I’ve made this blog (my blog enters its third year of service on October 27). In that span of time, I’ve made 120 posts. That means an average of 60 posts a year, or 5 posts a month, or about one-and-a-quarter a week, which isn’t all too bad if I think of it that way as opposed to my ‘burst’ blogging where I blog furiously for a week and a half before disappearing again. Funny, considering that first post — I said I’d pick up regular blogging again, when it was anything but. That’s something to consider for my 2011 resolution. (And speaking of which, my 2010 resolution doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen!)

    A lot has happened since then. An arguably good indicator is my style of writing — very much improved from my Waffles days, but still slightly recognizable as my own. This post, as with my one prior Waffles repost, will also be a repost of earlier content — something I found in that time capsule of mine.

    Specifically, after the break is the single article I did for VisualNews for gp32’s translation of the short ‘kinetic’ novel A Midsummer Day’s Resonance for visual novel translation summit al|together, unchanged from the original text. I’ve got quite a bit of my clueless, finger-pointing self in there, but I don’t cringe while reading it, unlike my old, slightly embarrassing Waffles posts…Oh, and I hope you’ve played the game, because I’ve got a full breakdown of the plot in the review. read more…