< Piro >
Wednesday - November 27, 2002
(update: information on the blanket and other stuff related to the release of the Megatokyo book can be found here in this FAQ Kei and I put together. More stuff later today.)
Before I get into today's rant and braindump, let me sum up some biz things with a few bullet points:
- Kimiko 'Sad Girl in Snow' blankets are now available in the Megatokyo Thinkgeek store. 60x80 inches of warm, fuzzy, sad girl in snow goodness. Quantities are limited, i don't expect them to last much longer.
- Capture the Bear posters are now available from the store as well.
- Other goods that I had mentioned, like the Ninj4 hoodie, YakPak Flapdoozies w/ embroidered Megatokyo logo, Polo shirts, girls shirts, MegaCoffeeMug, and other stuff coming soon. I'll let you know when they are available.
- Yes, the Megatokyo/Thinkgeek store will be carrying the Megatokyo Volume 1 Graphic Novel when it finally hit the shelves. You can also check your local stores. Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered or inquired locally about them.
- Remeber this image? Well, the first issue of Amerimanga coming out this December will have this illustration of Saeko and Tom as a pull out poster. 'Warmth' itself starts in March, and will be 20 to 25 pages monthly.
- A very quick list of conventions i've confirmed for so far: Ohayocon, Katsukon, Anime Central. I'm working on others as well. I'd like to get to most parts of the country this year if I can. More later.
Ok, thats enough of that. There's enough there to take up a normal piro-rant, but I decided to spare you the prattle. Besides, I wanted to talk about other stuff today.
Things are going pretty good so far. Self employment agrees with me. No draconian rules and limitations on what I can do over the net, the response to the book and other stuff has far exceeded anything I could have hoped for, and oddly enough... I'm less stressed now than I've been in over a year. My old situation was killing me, I think. I've even found a few spare moments here and there to relax. Working on 'warmth' has been a lot of fun, too. The rantimage up there was for a very quickly done sketch and coloring of Eimi-chan for a future Amerimanga cover. My cats actually have roles in 'warmth' - the one in eimi's lap is Hime - who in real life really does have a propensity for gnawing on cabling. The tally of damage so far for her is in excess of $2500 (including my first digitizer, which she chewed the cable right thru). So its appropriate that she's always gnawing on a piece of coax cable in this story. Yum.
It amazes me how much anime i have sitting around here that I have yet to watch. Years ago, before digisubs and other forms of downloading anime was so prevalent on the web, I had a good friend who used to rent tapes from Japan Video and compile that week's worth of anime that was airing on TV in japan. For a while, i was getting 8 to 10 VHS tapes per week. As you can image, this led to serious problems with storing all of it. Two years ago i culled the collection and gave a friend of mine four huge boxes with almost 500 VHS tapes to do with as he pleased. I think they're still going thru it. A lot of it I never did watch. I never did finish watching Gambaristo Shun! Or Nurse Angel Ririka. Oh well.
I didn't give everything away. I still have two bookshelves full of VHS tapes. I kept the stuff i really liked - TV source of Nadesico, Eva, Escaflowne, Saint Tail, Mizuiro Jidai, YAT Anshin, Kero Kero Chime, etc - unsubbed, complete with commercials, glitches, and little weather alerts scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Contrary to popular belief, I am not fluent in Japanese. I can't watch an untranslated show and understand everything. Sure, i can comprehend enough to understand a little here and there, but certainly not enough to understand the storyline.
So why in the world did I watch so much untranslated anime?
It used to be that you would have to wait at least a month for fansubs of a new anime to show up in circulation. Prior to that, if you were eager to follow a new show, you had to sit and watch it in raw Japanese. This led to something most anime fans don't get these days - the gradual understanding and slow absorption of their favorite shows.
If you remember this rant i wrote a while ago, I talked about how sometimes not seeing things clearly can be good for getting an overall understanding of things. The same goes for anime. I honestly feel that one of the reasons people become so passionate about anime is because of the fact that it's not in english. There is an emotional component to all language - by taking away the immediate comprehension of things you get with understanding the language, you are left following just the emotional output of the sounds themselves. I can think of tons of examples where something, if said in english, would make you roll your eyes - but in Japanese, for some reason, it sounds cool, meaningful, and gets thru.
I think that in this age of digisubs and the amazing availability of subtitled and dubbed DVDs, that fans are missing something. I watched the entire season of Escaflowne without having a clue what was going on. In an abstract way, the series hit home very deeply. The same goes for Saint Tail. It's hard to explain - maybe it's a lot like why abstraction in art can effect people the way it does - it bypasses the normal way of looking, or listening, to things.
I suggest an experiment. One of the really nice things about DVDs is that most of them give you the option to not only listen to the original Japanese, but to turn off the subtitles as well. Next time you pick up an anime DVD, turn off the subtitles, listen to it in Japanese first. As with most anime fans, you'll more than likely pick up on quite a bit of the general speech, but rather than being frustrated with not understanding what is going on, just go with the flow. See what you think and feel while watching. Then, a few days later, watch it again with subtitles.
It's been argued that I'm crazy before, and I don't refute it, but I think there can be a lot of value in not understanding everything up front. Faith and wonder, i think, thrive better when you don't have all the answers. Letting your brain fill in the blanks can be, at times, very rewarding.