Anime Primer, Anime Suggestion Trail, Manga, Manga Monday

Manga Monday: EXCLUSIVE interview with Kit Windsor of Foxy and Wolfy: CHAOS

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Libraries, Intrigue, Foxgirls in wheelchairs, Lolita style and secret societies!   That’s the at-a-glance description of Foxy and Wolfy: Chaos, a manga-style indie comic conceived and written by Kitsune Windsor.  The creator of Foxy and Wolfy took some time to talk with Anime Binge about some of the more unique aspects of the shoujou comic, as well as some anime inspirations and recommendations of his own.

[NOTE: MILD UNMARKED SPOILERS AHOY]

 

Kitsune Windsor:  I’m Kit Windsor, nice to meet you!

Anime Binge: Let’s talk about “Foxy and Wolfy” first.  It struck me as REALLY interesting that one of the two main characters (Wolfy/Amaya) was born in Iran… can we talk about it just a little?

Kit W.:   Sure, there are a few reasons why.  One is that my prom date and friend was from Iran and experienced some of the life and everything.  Also being LGBT is very dangerous, so [I] modeled Amaya Bellerose after my friend, a strong Iranian lady.

I made Amaya come from Iran to show that they have great people.

AB:  That’s really great!  I love that the main couple are completely devoted to each other.

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Kit W.: It plays a big part later on, the spiritual bonds

AB:  That makes sense. Actually, you have a lot of different characters with cultural ties, and two of the three main characters are wheelchair bound. It plays very naturally in the comic. How did it come about?

Kit W.: I myself have muscular dystrophy and use a wheelchair daily. Misaki represents doing your best with what you have and enjoying life.

Roza is severely disabled, but lives happily. She flirts, is smart and just a human being…

Both parts of me.  They’re meant to show disabled as just people

AB:  They really add texture – and having them both there as a part of the main trio doesn’t put all the pressure on one character to be “the girl in the wheelchair”. They’re both equally unique in their own ways.

Are there any big things happening at F & W Central?

Kit W.: Currently making book 0 to better explain our world and it will be ready Valentine’s day [2017]. Then updating book 1 and will be ready by June. Then Kickstarter for book 3 late May.

We want top quality.

AB: Ah! Prequels are a great addition to a series.

Kit W.: New style is amazing.

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AB: Actually, I’m going to take a second to gush a little bit. The black and white art is beautiful, but the coloring to the books so far has been really lush and amazing. Why did you (and your team members) make a decision to include a colorist with the launch? Has it been worth it?

Kit W.: Color versions are for Kickstarters and Gofundme only, we have a new colorist as the original was too busy. She’s an awesome lady.

Some prefer our b/w.

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AB: I can completely understand – most Manga is exclusively in B&W, so it makes sense.

Let’s talk a little about inspiration. Foxgirls, Kitsune, and spirit stories are sprinkled throughout Japanese folklore – do you have a story or an anime that you feel influenced your team?

Kit W.: F/W has deep inspiration from Sailor Moon, D. Gray Man and Madoka. To smaller degree Inuyasha and Fairy Tail.

Also, I love Ghibli.

AB:  Ghibli is SO cool.  I can see Sailor Moon, for sure.  I’m a little surprised to hear D. Gray Man, though.

Kit W.:  See, Alan walker wanted peace so bad.  Everyone else didn’t.  Misaki started her group for peace; they pay dearly for their unpopular views one day.

AB:  It sounds like it’s going to be intense.

Kit W.:  It will, we have a lot planned.

AB: The lush visuals and rich illustrations reminded me of Trinity Blood – are there any “vintage” shows that you’d recommend? Classics worth introducing to new would-be anime fans?

Basically, what is your “Anime Primer”?

Kit W.:  Record of Lodoss War is vintage, I really enjoyed Trinity Blood.  Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star, Shinsekai Yori, Ranma ½, Escaflowne, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away.

And Berserk.

AB:  Cowboy Bebop and Trigun were two of my first ones.

Kit W.:  My first one was odd.

AB:  Which one was it?

Kit W.:  Nuku Nuku and Ninja Scroll, as a kid.   Ninja Scroll was a bit rough.

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AB:  I’ll bet!  Mine was so odd I had to look it up to see if it actually existed or not – AND if they qualified as anime. (Spoiler alert: They did – Superbook and Flying House.)

Kit W.:  I like obscure.

AB:  Obscure can be fun.

Let’s say someone has read ALL of Foxy and Wolfy.  What would you send them to go watch while the team works on your next book?

Kit W.:  Shinsekai Yori, Madoka, Aijin, Inuyasha, Ranma, D. Gray – All of it.  F/W is about differences and racism.

AB:  It’s hard to keep a cast diverse but easy to keep them all the same.  I really appreciate that you are willing to tackle those questions with your characters.

So, last question: When I first contacted you, I was curious about a few things.  One was how your team got in touch with each other – are you a remote team, were you buddies in real life – how did it come about?

Kit W.: Actually, I started hiring concept artists and slowly built a team.  The [B&W] current artist asked to join.

AB:  Kit, thank you again so much for taking the time to chat with me!

Kit W.:  Thanks for taking interest.

 

 

 

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Anime Primer, The Binge

Robotics; Notes – The Anime to Watch When You’re Frustrated with Pokemon Go

The world is afire with exclamations about Pokémon Go this weekend.  Similar to the real-world platform of Ingress, Pokémon Go superimposes Pokémon for your catching pleasure with the help of an app-based system.

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(Credit: Mediacraft *)

While Kotaku appears less-than-impressed with the launch (laggy early gameplay doesn’t give the best impression to hardcore gamers), adults and kids alike in the US have been throwing imaginary pokeballs at the adorable monsters they have come to love from over 15 years of games, TV shows, and other general merchandising.  Let’s face it, they outstripped or outlasted Pogs, Tamogotchi, Digimon, and Furbies thanks to their immense following and world-wide connection.

Sharing in the spiritual connection between AI and tablet/phone games to their users is the IRUO interface in Robotics; Notes.

Granted, Kaito Yashio does the standard “superimposion” of silly things like cat ears on his friend (and by all rights co-main character) Akiho, which has been pretty standard since Instagram filters hit the scene.

As the series is set “Ten Seconds into the Future” – 2019, to be exact – there is a secondary interface which allows a more immersive, Ingress-esque experience that leads to a world away from the “Big Robot” experience you have come to expect from DVD covers like this:

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To use his tablet to pick up sensors, Kaito has to move his camera over the area around him, which is fed information about the surrounding area. (For example – when his camera picked up that a whale washed up on a beach, it appears to provide a public service warning, etc.)

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(Credit: Funimation)

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the story focuses on both homage and deconstruction of the “Big Robot” genre, but I absolutely recommend a watch or re-watch for anyone over the age of 16 who has gotten a foot cramp after wandering over hill and dale for Pokémon without getting better at the aim of their pokeballs.  Or because the server failed again.  Either one, really.

(SPOILER WARNING:: There is an on-screen death, hence the high-age warning.  Younger watchers may be advised, but the rating is closer to PG-13 for the rest of the series.)

 

HAVE FUN, AND GO GO GUNVARREL!!!

(*- Original source not tagged/found – will update if found)

By the way, have you had any success catching anything? Comments below!

 

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Anime Primer, The Binge, Uncategorized

The Binge: Fullmetal Alchemist & FMA: Brotherhood

I started collecting the Manga for Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) around 2004.  At some point, I had to make a choice: keep collecting, or look into other series.

That’s not too far removed from the decision that the team at Studio Bones had to make when it came to choosing a gecko ending for the 2003 version of FMA as an anime.  So it’s somewhat confusing to watch the first, and then watch the second – there are a few arcs that you can’t watch for the first time twice.

You can, but the shock is missing.

Luckily, the 2009 anime (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – FMA:B) glazes over the parts that it expects you to know.  ALMOST.

There are a few story arcs that are worth a watch in the 2003 series first.

The 2009 anime completely eliminates the Youswell arc. It’s worth a watch, as one of the characters from the 2003 arc shows up in FMA:B.  When he finally meets up with Edward, Ed has a “For me, it was Tuesday” moment. (As did most of the newcomers to the story, I’ve no doubt.)  They resort to a clip show to explain what happened, but it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment.

There is more attention paid to the state alchemist exam and a major plot point that is gently touched on in the 2009 arc regarding Shou Tucker.  These episodes are ALSO worth a watch in the 2003 anime before going back to the 2009 arc.

The redux of the Cornello arc is arguably smoother in the 2009 arc, and for obvious reasons – quicker.  You miss out on finding out how he’s been manipulating Rose, though. so if you are curious, you CAN watch the Cornello arc in the 2003 anime as well.

I would argue that there’s no reason NOT to watch the 2009 anime first if you don’t want to hop from series to series.   I had already watched the first series, albeit a while ago.  So I knew what was up with Shou’s arc before it happened, and had a vague (VERY vague) recollection of Youswell.

One last thought:

When the manga ran out of episodes, the 2003 anime lived on, to make a satisfying ending for the direction they were headed in.

And it’s obviously different.  And PERFECT for those who watch through the 2009 anime and are craving more stories from Ed and Al, teenage alchemist misfits.

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(This is Psiren. Have fun guessing which series!)

TL;DR – Both series are worth a watch.  Pick a series to watch the Shou Tucker arc  in – you only get to see it for the “first time” once. Have fun.

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Anime Primer, Manga, Manga Monday

Manga March: Kamikaze Girls

Certain graphic novels are never meant to be series, especially if born from short stories or movies, but really help inform a person’s sense of culture at the time of its’ publishing. 

To really understand the Gothic Lolita genre in a new way, you really have to start with Kamikaze Girls.  If you’re new to Anime, you might not “get” the subculture of Gothic Lolita, but you will be exposed to Gothic Lolita far more than the other subcultures: Lolita, sans Goth.

Now, don’t confuse the look of Lolita with the movie of the same name, they’re meant to be different.  Momoko from Kamikaze Girls would be the first to tell you:  Being a Lolita is a lifestyle choice.

Momoko falls under the “ama-loli” or “Sweet Lolita” genre.  It’s devoid of dark clothing, skulls, black striped socks.  Her frilly clothing are actually her form of independence.  She places high value on manners and appearance, as it gives her a sense of self and ownership.  While this appears on the outside to be superficial, it also gains layers as she has focused her attention on following her “bliss”.

As opposed to being a burden, she finds comfort and meaning in her frilly umbrella and white-laced pastel clothing.  It’s a freedom of expression for her.  While she completely befuddles Ichigo at first, you get to play the role of her companion in the story: and as you read, you come to realize – once you understand Lolita, Gothic Lolita makes so much more sense.

(Kamikaze Girls are two short stories bound together.  The first is PG13 rated, the paired volume is squarely R depending on the reader.  The manga was inspired by a light novel, and there’s a movie by the same name.)

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Anime Primer, Holiday Suggestions, valentines day

Game of Themes: Love in the Age of Robots

As it’s the week of Valentine’s Day, I thought I might add just a few more topics with “Will They or Won’t They” plots with a future-forward setting.

  • Eureka Seven
    • Eureka herself is mysterious, sweet, subdued, and determined.
    • Renton joins Eureka’s friends and falls for her in the lower stratosphere as they both pilot big robots.
      • Hero genre, SciFi Genre
      • Even Funimation boasts “The Greatest Love story ever animated!”
  • Robotics; Notes
    • By the people who brought you “Steins; Gate” comes Robotics; Notes.  You don’t have to watch one to appreciate the other.  Trust me.
    • Deconstruction of the “Big Robot” genre, but in the BEST way possible. Neon Genesis is on one end of the deconstruction scale, Robotics; Notes is on the other.
      • Compare/Contrast with Big Hero Six, Neon Genesis Evangelion
      • Big Robot Genre, Shounen Genre
  • Chobits
    • Indirect sequel to Clamp’s Angelic Layer, focusing on an adorable android and the college student who takes her in.
    • Fanservice heavy at the beginning.
    • Compare themes with Astro Boy; Contrast with Metropolis
      • In a world headed towards self-driving cars, we aren’t TOO far removed from this future, actually.

And if your goal is to avoid romance altogether, just immerse yourself in One Piece.  There aren’t any robots, but they did say that there isn’t any romance officially scheduled in the storyline either, because that’s “just not what they think their audience wants”.  Hey, if the creator says so, it must be true. Perfect!

You can also watch Pacific Rim and Voltron if you’re looking for non-romantic robot stories, but you aren’t restricting yourself to Anime. (We’ll talk about where both franchises got their inspiration from some other time.)

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Anime Primer, Anime Suggestion Trail

Anime Suggestion Trail: February

For February’s Anime Primer, stories of relationships and fantasy collide.

  • Romeo x Juliet
    • Perfect for binge-watching over February.
    • Science Fantasy update of the Shakespearian classic.
    • A treat for English majors and Theatre lovers who are just discovering anime
  • Kamisama Kiss
    • A young schoolgirl finds a world of responsibility suddenly on her shoulders when she is given godhood by a runaway Kami.  Hijinks ensue.
    • Suitable for compare/contrast with InuYasha
    • Additional genre: Shojou anime
  • Tenchi Muyo
    • Tenchi, a young man tending to his family’s shrine, finds his life turned upside down by the appearance of alien space travelers.
    • Start with the movies, in order.
    • Additional genres: “Harem” anime, Science Fiction
      • Think “The Bachelor” without anyone ever getting kicked out, with younger characters
      • Additional challenge: Find a drinking game for harem anime.
  • Fruits Basket
    • Follows the adventures of a high schooler who takes up residence with a family of young men who all symbolize characters of the Chinese Zodiac when they are hugged by a woman.
    • Rare “Reverse Harem” anime – One girl, lots of guys!

Done with fantasy and just want a pure feelgood, heart-thumping, saccharine romance?

  • The romance:
    • Whisper of the Heart
      • A good, old-fashioned, “This is how we met” love story
      • Violins and libraries.  Watch with “Nice to Sweet You” chocolates.
  • The fantasy:
    • The Cat Returns
      • The sudden return of The Baron from “Whisper of the Heart”. (In case you are charmed by his presence in the above movie.)
      • Compare/contrast with The Velveteen Rabbit.

(Most of the above are fairly Hetero-Normative romances, but I’ll try to cover Yaoi and Yuri romances in a later update.  If you’re highly interested in those genres, I would recommend Revolutionary Girl Utena, after checking out Sailor Moon.)

Happy Valentine’s Day for those who celebrate, and Happy Nirvana day for those who don’t!

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Anime Primer, Anime Suggestion Trail

Anime suggestion trail: January

For January, the Beginner’s guide to anime.  Like Casablanca, they are the classics of the genre; the titles that everybody recommends, or future series borrow from.

  • Astro Boy
    • B&W
    • As classic as it gets. If you are looking for tropes of the kindly man/the bad guy, look for the shape of their noses.
    • 1960’s Science Fiction, Like Buck Rogers and Asimov in its Retro-futurism.
  • Speed Racer
    • One of the first series imported to American audiences with a Japanese translator.
    • The main cast of characters per episode is fairly small, focusing on Speed Racer/Go Mifune and his close family.  Shenanigans ensue.
    • Hero Genre. Shonen Genre. Tournament Genre.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • Codified the consistent tropes of magical girl costumes with the help of the source material by CLAMP
    • The series was edited for “American Audiences” by Nelvana, but there is a full subtitled version with full episodes in their original format out there.
    • Magical Girl Genre. Shoujou Genre in its original format.
  • Sailor Moon
    • A normal high school girl is bestowed powers and fights for justice.  She is… Sailor Moon!
    • If there is a magical costume change transformation sequence, you can thank Sailor Moon.
    • Recently re-done as Sailor Moon Crystal, which changes some of the story lines and has a mild animation upgrade. (Mixed reviews, as with any re-done series).
    • Magical Girl Genre. Shoujou Genre.
  • Cowboy Bebop
    • If you’re a fan of bounty hunters, you might like this series.
    • If you’re a fan of amazing music, you might like this series.
    • If you’re a fan of episodic storylines, you might like this series.
    • Action genre – Noir / Western. Space genre.
  • Trigun
    • Less episodic/planet-hopping than Cowboy Bebop.
    • The psychological developing of the main character is echoed in multiple characters in other, later series.
    • Action genre – Western. Wasteland genre. Space Genre
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
    • In a world that is a treat to the eyes, Nausicaa walks with mountainesque critters with a desire to save the wilderness around her.
    • If the tree spirits neither move you with your cuteness or frighten you with their adorableness, then you are not suspending your disbelief enough.
    • A feature film by Studio Ghibli.  Listen for Patrick Stewart’s cameo if watching the English Dub.
    • Space Genre.  Fantasy genre.

Extra Credit:

  • Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z (Series: Long, but classic)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Movie: Ghibli)
  • AMV: Tainted Doughnuts
    • Spiritual Predecessor of the “Rise of the Brave Tangled Frozen Dragons” AMVs
    • A crossover of Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. (It CAN be successfully watched without spoiling your enjoyment of both, if you don’t mind saying “Hey, I’ve seen that clip before”.)
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