Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sustain the Industry Video! First Vid EVER!

Okay, now that midterms are over (hurrah!) I'm back to hopefully entertain you here at Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover! I'll post several things to make up for the long drought but up first is my first forray into YouTube land!

Yes, I decided to make a Sustain the Industry video like I talked about before and try to get in on Robert's special deal before it was too late. I actually planned to do this a while back but, well, midterms, studying, activities and general malaise kept me from getting to it.

Better late than never, yes?

I'd love to hear your comments about this video. Do you think I did an okay job? What did you like or dislike? Did I go way over the top with Windows Movie Maker?

Well, short post is short. Let me know if you'd like to see more videos on this blog from me.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Kanokon Mess and K-On Dub Update

Hello blog followers, readers and my fellow borderline manic-depressives! Welcome to Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover, where one fools fights in a never ending struggle for truth, justice and the American dub way!

Or something.

Today the net brings up a new wrinkle in the land of English dubbed anime that I want to post about. Media Blasters let loose upon the Twitterverse the news that Kanokon will not be getting it's remaining two singles. This is further characterized as a positive decision. ANN's report here for a bit more detail and hopefully some important updates over time.

My big question of course is: What about the English dub?


There are a number of factors to consider obviously. First, MB was using a budget studio for the work, so that may factor into the ability to complete the English dub. However, the weak economy, depreciating value of the $$$ and of course the reality that MB doesn't have the sales figures of Funimation means that the English dub is in question.

The cost of producing an English dub has been averaged at around $7,500-$10,000 per episode. (Costs obviously can be higher or lower but these are the shorthand figures.) That would mean that it would cost at least an additional $60,000 for finishing Kanokon's English dub if the only episodes dubbed so far are the ones on volume 1. Plus an extra $15,000 for the OVA episodes.

John Sirabella of MB has commented on the ANN forum. This post is especially important and may hold the key to my query about the English dub. (However, it's a tad vague and quite clearly indicates that from here on out, we're probably going to see few if any English dubs from them.)

In fact, that post makes me think MB is going the sub-only boxset route from here on. Oh joy. Maybe they think that will help with this little venture?


Before anyone asks, I don't yet know exactly how this will affect my agreement with Zac/ANN to review Kanokon's further volumes. Hopefully, Zac'll let me hit the box set for them. (Assuming the English dub does continue. Otherwise, my ability to review would be slightly hampered.)

In other news, Bandai has given some more details of the K-On! dub, including that the songs will not get English versions.


To be honest, I was quite interested in the K-On! release before I read that article. Now it's singles (and I'd have to get the LE ones to be satisfied), that's 4 releases that we all know WILL BE DELAYED TOO MANY TIMES! Plus, with the English dub not planning to include English versions of the songs, the dub will hit a personal pet-peeve of mine.

When a character in an anime is singing, the English dub VA should be used for that scene in the English dub. Nothing is being taken away from the likely VERY TALENTED performance of the Japanese VA. Rather, we fans thereby gain a net benefit of +1 to Songs Performed in the series! Not to mention that it is jarring for me as an English dub preferring fan to hear the vocals shift from an English VA to the Japanese for the singing.

Now, I will say this: I can be quite reasonable on this issue. It's not like I'm now saying "screw K-On! I don't want it!"

Do no misunderstand me, I'm still interested in the series. However, now I'll be waiting until all the volumes are out (because I refuse to buy Bandai's delaying tactics as they come out) and I have to tolerate an annoyance.

If I'm lucky, the English VAs will be so close to the Japanese VAs in sound that the switch will be painless. Still, I can't help thinking that Bandai chose the English VAs, several of which can actually sing, solely for the purpose of a publicity stunt for convention concerts. (My opinions on this subject are my own and in no way should be attributed to the VA whose Twitter I just linked to. She is blameless here.)

Well, those are my opinions and rants for the day.

Tune in next time for videos, me asking your opinion on something important and, hopefully, something you'll find funny.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Anime Review: Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan.

Anime Review # 007
Title: Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Release Type: Complete Collection!


Warning, beyond this point I, Richard J., your faithful if ineffectual blog Navigator, cannot advise you to read if blood, angels or twisted and semi-crude humor bother you.

For everyone else, I have a few words about Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan! From the Japanese company MediaWorks and the US company Media Blasters comes this twisted and brutal tale of one boy destined to create an inappropriate paradise on Earth and the violent yet adorable angel sent to deal with him. Based on the original novel by Masaki Okayu, who after watching this show I suspect wanders the streets at night with a bat, Dokuro-chan is a unique anime viewing experience.

The Plot Synopsis:

Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan is a relatively short series dealing the the trials and tribulations of one Sakura Kusakabe. At first, his life seems okay. He chats with classmates, he walks with a girl he returns home to find another cute girl in a sexy state. Seems like a classic harem series and if not for the opening, you'd be forgiven for not expecting the extreme violence that comes next. What follows after a bloody death is a quick resurrection by Dokuro-chan, the murderous yet loving angel! Sakura's life rapidly goes down hill as his classmates begin to treat him like a pariah, get turned into animals or vanish without a trace. Violent and bloody death (then resurrection) becomes the constant in his life. Fortunately for him, he's either a severe masochist or the poster boy for Stockholm syndrome!

The series is a quick watch as each episode is half the length of a normal TV ep. The OVA series is included with the TV series but it's far too short. The focus is on twisted gags, parody, blood, subversion of expectations, angels that bludgeon, a sensitive salaryman, adorable designs and blood. The series is also about extreme violence and a theme song with images of blood, torture and death that will stick in your head for days.

Did I mention the blood?

The Packaging:

Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan had a prior sub-only release from Media Blasters which was also a complete collection. Personally, I think this release has the superior look but let's just look at it on it's own.


First we have a cover featuring Dokuro-chan with her Excaliblog in hand (surprisingly, it's a real weapon) with Sakura behind her and chibis everywhere against a backdrop of blood and darkness.



The back cover features a few choice screen caps, including one of Sakura reduced to chunky salsa and a smiling Dokuro-chan about to dish out some serious pain. A red skull with a halo serves as a creative and effective feature grid. It clearly says we've got an English dub now. And there is blood of course.


The cool skull design (did you know Dokuro-chan's name means "skull" in English?) appears on the disk, perfectly placed to create the look of a cyclops. Blood splatters are there too.

The Reasons It Rocks:

In case you failed to heed my warning and have made it this far despite not being a fan of bloody violence caused by angels, I think it's time I tell you, this series is all about the angelic wrath of the cutest sadist in recent anime history. Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan derives considerable twisted humor from the brutal slayings and magical girl parody resurrection scenes of Sakura. Over-the-top blood and violence is a key part of what makes this show so much fun to watch. The sheer insanity and Sakura's reactions, ranging from irritated at having his head pulped to genuine moments of fear, make it all somehow funny.

The big improvement over Media Blasters's previous collected release is obviously the English dub. It features a cast your ear will probably recognize but I'm just going to talk about the two leads. Really, with a show this short and so much of the humor being based on Sakura and Dokuro-chan's interactions, you MUST like these performances to enjoy the series properly.

Fortunately, veteran VAs Johnny Yong Bosch portrays Sakura Kusakabe and Wendee Lee tackles Dokuro-chan with surprising perfection. Honestly, I never expected to hear Dokuro-chan's "Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi!" successfully translated into English!

Johnny Yong Bosch's take on Sakura is a departure from his numerous badass roles like Ichigo in Bleach or Zero in Code Geass. He doesn't even sound like Koizumi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The voice he does for Sakura is somewhere in between and it's quite fitting and in line with the Japanese performance. It gives off a vibe of frightened child.

Then there's Wendee Lee's take on Dokuro-chan which convinces me that she can play anything. Honestly, she actually kinda creeped me out at times. She manages to capture Dokuro-chan's loving yet sadistic nature perfectly. The scene where she's trying to get Sakura to give her back her halo was just eerie thanks to her disturbingly perfect take on Dokuro-chan. Honestly, I think this might be some of her best work in terms of characterization.

Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan features a warped world filled with odd characters and events that are so twisted, zany and out there that you will either love it or hate it. If you've ever found yourself complaining about anime being too repetitive or maybe you're just in the mood for something that proves that ANIME IS NOT FOR CHILDREN, then this is the series to watch. There just aren't many comedies that successfully use violence and gore but this series does it flawlessly.

Now for a counter analysis.

The Reasons It Sucks:

Make no mistake, Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan is not a series for anyone who can't stand the sight of blood or is bothered by wanton acts of violence and cruelty. Frankly, there are times where if you take a moment and actually think about the events in a serious way, you'll get the chills. Dokuro-chan is an angel but she's rather closer to Lucifer than the typical ones you see in fiction.

Which leads me to another concern. Personally, I have strong religious views but I don't allow things that aren't intended to be taken seriously bother me at all. However, I could understand someone being potentially offended by the portrayal of angels and the idea of God sending assassins after people and such. Sure, it's all done for the sake of humor and to add to the insanity of the setting but I feel it should be mentioned here.

The last weakness is that the series is short and depending on your tastes in humor, might not have much re-watchability. Really, this is a love it or leave it series in my opinion. If you don't like the type of humor Bludgenoning Angel Dokuro-chan

Graded It For You:

If you like the kind of humor and madness Dokuro-chan has to offer, you will enjoy it intensely. If you like cute girls and don't mind blood and gore, you'll probably like it a lot. If you are remotely bothered by blood, violence or an angel that bludgenons, I think you should stay clear! Overall, I think this grade is most appropriate. . .


Here are the usual suspect retailers where you can order it: Robert's Anime Corner Store (remember, post a vid and get a $25 merchandise credit but only if you do it before the end of October!), The Right Stuf, and Best Buy are carrying it.

Pipiru piru piru pipiru pi!

Er, I mean bye-ni!