Advent Children: Complete

A re-release of Advent Children, hereby known as "Advent Children: Complete" is due to hit stores in DVD and Blue-ray formats. Apparently, part of the new trailer shows new or changed scenes. More details to come...


"Training Wheels"

I have already discussed my views on the infamous "sub vs. dub" controversy. I came across an Animenation's "Ask John" entry that supplements my stance (see my June 6, 2006 blog entry).

Here's John's answer:

The debate over dubbing anime is the oldest and most intensely argued topic in American fandom. Every anime fan has an opinion on the subject, and most anime fans, including myself, have voiced their opinion at least once. But there are new fans entering the anime community all the time, so there are always new fans who haven't been exposed to the traditional "sub versus dub" debate. I'll do my best to provide an objective, concise explanation.

There are two primary reasons why some anime fans dislike dubbing. Dubbing is considered a compromise of the original art. And many fans don't like the sound of dubbed anime. Many hardcore anime fans prefer to watch anime the way its creators made it. Dubbing involves removing the original dialogue track and replacing it with one created by people who had no involvement with the original production of the anime. Instead of watching and hearing the anime the way its creators produced it to be seen and heard, viewers watching a dub experience an altered version that does not have the same audible nuances that the original version had. Furthermore, dubbed dialogue is forced to condense or alter the original dialogue, sometimes diverging from the original Japanese script in order to match the character's lip movements. In practical terms, a dub will never be as faithful to the original script as a good subtitle translation.
viewers used to Japanese language anime may find that dubbed anime sounds stilted, unnatural, or unbelievable. An anime character's voice should sound like an integral, natural part of the character, not like an actor performing a role. Many viewers simply find that original Japanese voices fit the characters on screen more believably than English voices.

Viewers who enjoy or prefer dubs often enjoy the convenience of not having to navigate a foreign language and subtitles, and also argue that dialogue in the viewer's native language makes the viewing experience more immersive. Proponents of dubbing also argue that spoken dialogue in the viewer's native language creates the comfortable viewing experience that original creators desire for their audiences.

Presuming that the original purpose of dubbing is to make foreign film more accessible and marketable to a mainstream audience, proponents of original language claim that dubbing is a form of "training wheels," that should serve to gradually transition viewers into watching unaltered, authentic foreign film. Staunch defenders of dubbing accuse proponents of original language of being imperial and elitist. The invention of DVD technology that allows a single video to have selectable dialogue tracks hasn't mellowed the argument because the debate is rooted in principle. Fans of dubbing prefer the convenience of native language dialogue, and enjoy the accessibility of dubbed anime. The improving skill of dub voice actors may enable a dubbed work to have the same impact as the original while being more convenient to watch. Countless subtitle fans argue that dubbing is an unnecessary corruption of the artistic integrity of foreign film; an alteration imposed upon an artwork for the sake of making the art more profitable internationally. For the hardcore proponent of artistic integrity, the quality of a dub is irrelevant because the fundmental principle of dubbing is a corruption of the original artwork.

To view this entry, check out: http://animenation.net/news/askjohn.php?id=1403. I still stand firmly against dubs, but sadly have little hope that things will change drastically, especially with the growing number of American viewers.


Death by Ink

The ratings are going through the roof for PS2's "Okami." The graphics are awesome and unique in that it mimics traditional japanese scrollwork. The setup of the game, including the movie sequences, makes you feel as though you actually are reading the story from a scroll. You also get to try your hand on some brush work...you get to draw bridges, constellations, and the Sun, among other things. Brush strokes even put the finishing blow to your enemies.

You play the reincarnated wolf now named Amaterasu. If you know a little bit of japanese folklore, then this name should be quite familar to you. An evil monster the wolf vanquished a 100 years ago has been brought back to life and is reaking havoc. It's up to Amaterasu and his annoying buddy, a bug, to revive the world and bring peace once more.

If you like mythology, heroes, gods, and legends, then this is the game for you. The only way to truly capture the essence of the game is to experience it, so pick up "Okami" immediately.


Let's Cook!

A fun and cute, interactive game for the Nintendo DS, "Cooking Mama" takes real recipes and puts your cooking skills to the test. As you continue to play, you unlock more recipes. You are scored on how well you prepare the food. This is quite entertaining, but you may eventually get tired of playing it after trying each recipe a couple of times. This game is appropriately priced and worth every penny.


Rule of Rose

Released recently for the PS2, "Rule of Rose" is not your typical horror game. I've read several reviews that suggest that it'll surpass the caliber of the "Resident Evil" and "Silent Hill" series, but in different ways. The game takes advantage of PS2's capabilities with crisp graphics and sound quality. Unlike "Resident Evil," "Silent Hill," and other horror games, the soundtrack is less grungy and metallic. It focuses on the sounds of violins producing an eerie atmosphere reflecting the disturbing and dark behavior of these children.

The game starts as Jennifer, a young child, is dropped of at an orphange, following the death of her parents. She witnesses strange and distrubing behavior reiterating the fact we are dealing with children and a child's perspective. After exploring the orphanage, we awake in an airship and gradually learn of the aristocrat club and of our past. Joining up with a dog she rescues early in the game, they search for an escape while maintaining the rules of the club.

The storyline of "Rule of Rose" is exceptional, while the gameplay may be questionable. While the soundtrack has great tracks individually, it borders on annoying as one track is set on repeat throughout the game. Storage bins are scattered throughout the airship and because Jennifer can only hold so much, it's important to remember to empty your inventory frequently. Rated M, "Rule of Rose" is probaby not for everyone. Personally speaking, "Silent Hill" and "Resident Evil" are still the beasts of horror games and are in a league of their own, and "Rule of Rose" can't touch them. Instead, I think "Rule of Rose" is its own kind of game that may cater only to select gamers. Depending on your preferences, this game may or may not be for you, though I recommend playing the game for at least 5 or 6 hours before making your decision.


Rebuild of Evangelion

News of a new Evangelion movie has been confirmed. You might assume that I would be jumping up and down, but this girl is a bit uneasy. Let me explain.

Gainax is set to produce a series of FOUR new EVA motion pictures. These movies will be an alternate re-telling of the television series. In summation, they seek to dumb down the series to be more accessible and comprehensible to average viewers and those not familiar with the original series. I love Evangelion and would not change one single frame. The story and characters are compelling and the thought that the story will actually change bothers me. I would love it if it were something new, rather than a revision. I could simply not watch these new movies, but their mere existence ensures that I will be watching it.

They say, "More comprehensible...to average viewers...and those who aren't familiar." I say, this series is deep and is not meant for the "average" viewer. I don't mean to seclude others from watching this masterpiece, but some things are meant to be the way they were originally.

I won't say anything further until I've actually seen them. I wish I could say that if it's more Evangelion, bring it on. I don't want the essence of EVA to be jeopardized. Evangelion, to me, represents the culmination of anime and I pray that it won't crumble.

The first movie is set to be released next summer in Japan. Full details will be available in the upcoming October 2006 issue of Newtype Japan.