Monthly Archives: June 2011

Chi (土), Ka (火), Fuu (風), Sui (水), and Kuu (空) in Cowboy Bebop

Ok, so I’m starting to figure out my schedule for this Summer Academy 2011 in Seattle, and it looks like I may be able to blog weekly. I’ve had time to catch up on some anime series, so there’s no issues with my anime backlog thus far. I have yet to finish most of the current anime series (have any of them ended yet as at this time of publication?), so reviews may come soon afterward, mostly likely on the weekends or whenever I have free time. I’ve also added a new page (long overdue, methinks), which lists my anime recommendations for those interested. But enough of myself; here’s an analysis post by yours truly about the appearance of the Japanese classical elements in an old favorite series, Cowboy Bebop. This post was inspired after reading a certain part of hearthesea’s post on the 10th episode of Cowboy Bebop (I know it’s been nearly two weeks since that post, and I must confess that I had started this post soon afterward, but real life interfered and all…).

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Filed under Anime, Cowboy Bebop, Editorials

From a Muted World to a Vibrant Visual Subculture

Well, here’s another post that I’m rather nervous about, since it will be my first true personal post opening up to the Internet. What I’m going to talk about is something personal and vastly different that you guys most likely have not seen or even encountered around the anime-blogging community or the Internet: deafness. If you’ve visited my “About Me” page, then you’ll have learned by now that I have severe-to-profound loss of hearing (Think of a train whistle or an airplane engine. That’s the quietest possible sound that I can hear very softly without my hearing aids.) and that I attend Gallaudet University, the world’s first and only university for the deaf. But that’s irrelevant now; I want to talk to you of how my disability helped me to discover anime.

The quote above says it all about my history with deafness. Way before my true anime fandom began in around 2005, I barely watched much television shows. I couldn’t even relate to what was happening on TV with my new friends in my elementary school, having just been transferred from my previous school. My previous school had a class entirely for deaf students; there were only 6-7 of us out of 200 students in that school. In my new elementary school, I was the only one deaf student out of 500 students. Then, going into middle school, I was still the only deaf student in the school, this time out of 700 students. At that time, more and more people were starting to get into reality TV shows and pop or rap music. To try to connect with my friends, I decided to get onto the bandwagon. The result: I got extremely bored with the reality TV shows quickly enough, and I just couldn’t relate to the lyrics of the most popular songs, which merely sounded like thudding or muffled noise to me with my outdated hearing aids. So, disillusioned by the lack of connection to my friends and their lack of awareness for deafness, I took to the books. I read many kinds of books, non-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, adventure, etc.

Ranma 1/2

Then my cousin introduced me to the manga, Ranma 1/2, when I was visiting family in Taiwan. I got real hooked into this manga, since the art and graphic style appealed to me visually (deaf people, by nature, are much more receptive visually). I started searching for and reading more manga, but soon ran to a dead-end and there, I discovered anime. The local library and bookstores didn’t have much manga, but while searching through the library, I came across an anime VHS which was Ranma 1/2 subbed. I had been searching for the manga, but it was a surprise for me to see that it was animated. I rented it and watched it immediately. It got me thirsting for more of its kind. Going back to the library, I rented Tenchi Muyo!, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cardcaptor Sakura, Macross Frontier, Gundam, and whatever subbed anime I could get my hands on (at least that’s what I barely remember). They were all subtitled old style (yellow simple text), so I voraciously viewed all these shows without fear of being unable to understand the dialogues.

Seto no Hanayome

Finally, in 2005, I experienced my true anime fandom. It was when I first saw an episode of Seto no Hanayome, subbed by Ayako, on Youtube while surfing the Internet. This mermaid comedy got me searching for more, and I then found more fansubs for a variety of anime series, one of which I watched next immediately, Nagasarete Airantou, also subbed by Ayako. The next show I viewed would spark a KyoAni fandom in me, Kanon (2006), subbed by the relatively famous fansubs, Static-Subs & Eclipse. From there on, it all started to gain momentum with more new subbed anime series appearing to me and many nights of marathoning many series, culminating into what you see before yourself today. Of course, along the way I picked up the latest hearing aids, which improved the quality of my hearing, thus allowing me to listen to music more clearly (songs have been hit or miss with me though) and actually start listening to the seiyuus of the anime series (I still don’t care if a series has bad voicing or music; I’ll still watch it provided that there’s subtitles). After getting into the pace of watching still only subbed anime and reading manga, I finally decided to begin my own anime blog, Ephemeral Dreams, to be able to connect to all other anime bloggers and fans alike.

So, that’s my history in a nutshell. Feel free to ask me any questions about my deafness. I don’t mind it at all and it would help to raise awareness for deaf people. You can also always ask me questions any time on my FormSpring account as well anonymously if you’re sensitive about this particular topic.

And as a parting thanks and gift for taking the time to read my entry, here’s another favorite quote of mine pertaining to this post somewhat and I hope you’ll take this to heart as I did:

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

– Mark Twain

This post is part of Nopy’s “My History with Anime” project, so check out this link for more ani-bloggers’ histories!

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Filed under Anime, Personal

IS: Infinite Stratos ~ Is there even a plot?

IS: Infinte Stratos OP

As I’m busy packing up for Seattle, here’s a quick review of a recently concluded anime series that endeared many fans with its characters, IS: Infinite Stratos. Here’s the synopsis:

Japan engineered an armed powered exoskeleton “Infinite Stratos” (IS) and it became the mainstream of weapons. Since only women can operate IS, women dominate the society over men. Orimura Ichika is a 15 year old boy and accidentally touches an IS placed in the IS pilot training school. He is found to be the only man who can operate IS and forced to enter the training school. Ichika’s busy school life surrounded by girls has begun.

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Filed under IS: Infinite Stratos, Reviews

Clannad ~ Springtime Blooming

Hello, everyone! Next review up is for Clannad, another well-known Kyoto Animation series. Note: This does not include Clannad: After Story, which I will follow up on sooner or later.

Okazaki Tomoya is a delinquent who finds life dull and believes he’ll never amount to anything. Along with his friend Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away.

One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning she exclaims “Anpan!” (a popular Japanese food) which catches Tomoya’s attention. He soon discovers the girl’s name is Furukawa Nagisa and that she exclaims things she likes in order to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the encounter off as nothing.

However, Tomoya finds he is noticing Nagisa more and more around school. Eventually he concedes and befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and that her dream is to revive the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, he decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls.

As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realise life isn’t as dull as he once thought.

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Filed under Anime, Clannad, Reviews

Summer 2011 Previews & Impressions!

Hello, after much research and gathering up all the materials, here is my first anime series preview for the Summer of 2011! Now, a brief explanation on my scoring system: they are merely a way of gauging whether I’m interested in watching a particular series. They are NOT a way of determining whether I will blog about them or not. I may occasionally come out with some posts about a single episode or more since that’s my style mixed with editorials. And so, check out the new series and pick your choices!

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Filed under Anime, Seasonal Previews

RIP Kawakami Tomoko

One of my favorite female seiyuu, Kawakami Tomoko, has passed away at the young age of 41 after a long battle with an illness. She was the seiyuu for Kamio Misuzu from Air, Athena Glory from ARIA, Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade, Kurata Sayuri from Kanon, and so much more. She has had a long diversified career in anime and will surely be missed. Rest in peace…

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Filed under Anime, News

Cowboy Bebop ~ A Tragic, Ephemeral Beauty Rarely Seen…

Hello, everyone. Next up for review is an old series famous for its transient themes and having strong artistic directions with those of the beat and jazz movement of the 1930s-1940s and the rock era of the 1950s-1970s in America. It’s the old classic, Cowboy Bebop (1998). Synopsis is as follows:

Enter a world in the distant future, where Bounty Hunters roam the solar system. Spike and Jet, bounty hunting partners, set out on journeys in an ever struggling effort to win bounty rewards to survive. While traveling, they meet up with other very unique people. Could Faye, the beautiful and ridiculously poor gambler, Edward, the computer genius, and Ein, the engineered smart dog be good additions to the group?

Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, & Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV

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Filed under Anime, Cowboy Bebop, Reviews