That said, this journal exists because of my current obsessions. (Someday down the road I might shake my head and wonder how I could ever become interested in these "obsessions" in the first place, but I wouldn't worry about that now.)
I grew up watching tokusatsu, so I suppose that is the reason I like this type of shows (masked hero(es) saving the day). But, sadly, I've lost touched with toku along the way (schools, moving, etc.) A few years ago, I was looking for some anime on DVD (because of better quality than VHS), and I stumbled on a site fansubbing Kamen Rider Agito (in English) on DVDs. On a whim, I ordered the DVD set. While I believe I did enjoy watching Agito then, I don't know if I still like it now. Anyhow, I began to look for more Kamen Rider shows, and somehow found Kamen Rider 555 (the current show then) fansubbed at TV-Nihon. So I downloaded all and watched it. I did enjoy it at the time too, although less than Agito.
A few weeks later, I found the first DVD set of Ultraman Tiga on the shelve at an electronic store, so I snatched it up. I had mostly forgotten about the Ultras and curious to see how the shows evolved over time. I really loved Tiga and cursed the fact that the last set would be released near the end of the year (the wait was too intolerable that I picked up the rest of the series (unsubbed on VCD) along with most of other ultra series on eBay).
Anyhow, Tsuburaya made a new ultraman series (the first since Ultraman Cosmos) in the fall so while I impatiently waited for the last Tiga subtitled DVD set, I found a place to download raws of episodes 1 and 2 of Ultraman Nexus (the new ultraman). I fell in love with this series and followed it faithfully weeks after weeks. I was so obsessed that I bought all 10 Japanese DVDs and modded my DVD player to play them. And I am so glad that TV-Nihon is subbing this series since my understanding of Japanese is very limited.
With the end of Nexus, I began watching Ultraman Max because the usual place I downloaded from had it, but I gave up after episode five or so (I've since picked it up again around the beginning of this year and finished the series, but I still love Nexus much more). I could go on and on about Ultraman Nexus, but suffice to say I watched each episode of Nexus no less than five or six times (it is the only show I could say that about, I didn't even watch Tiga this much).
Maybe it is a little unhealthy to watch one show as much as I watched Nexus, so I tried to find some other show to watch. I've since watched Sekai Ninja Jiraiya episodes 1-10 (it is a toku show made by Toei (of the Kamen Rider franchise) aired somewhere in the late 1980's and classified as a Metal Hero, although I don't think he is one). While I was waiting for more episodes of Jiraiya, I looked around at TV-Nihon site. From various message boards, I kept seeing about this show called "Garo" and that it was supposedly good. Now I had no idea what Garo was about (I don't read spoilers or any related threads on the show), but I read (probably in some discussion related to Nexus) that Nagi's actress from Nexus was in it as a guest star so I decided to check it out.
I felt a little sad after watching 20 episodes of Garo in two days. I should have watched it since it first came out. I love almost everything about it. Bad acting from the main actress? Maybe in the first few episodes, but I have grown to like her character. Obnoxious rival knight? Well, he got a big chip on his shoulder so I cut him some slack. CGI, robot-like main hero? I just knew he was set up for a big change, and I wasn't disappointed. The fight scenes look really well-done (of course I know they use stunts and wire works (I'm not very good at spotting this type of thing -- I only saw the wire in one episode), but they look good to me).
Prince of Tennis Musicals
I was so impressed with the main actor for Garo (for the record, I love those seemingly emotionless characters with the heart of gold), I looked up more of his works (I have never done that for any of other actors from any toku series, not even Ultraman Nexus). This led me first to the Prince of Tennis musicals, and while there I found out that the Ultraman Max guy was from the musicals also. I liked what I've seen (Dream Live First - it is the only one available with subtitles, thanks to Arienai), but since I've never read Prince of Tennis manga, nor watched the anime, I don't fully appreciate the nuance among the characters. Random note, the Shinji Ibu character (in the musicals anyway) doesn't seem so much different from Garo's Kouga (or is it the other way around?)
Next, I watched School Rumble anime, and fell in love. I never really think I would like it (romantic school comedy is just not really my thing), but the humor is played at the right level. I've since read the manga (from Del Rey). Karasuma is a little weird but he is my favorite character (maybe I'm a little biased, considering who did his voice, but I still think I would have liked this character nevertheless if I only read the manga). I took some quiz (something about which School Rumble character are you?) and I got Yakumo (I don't think I'm that much similar to her, but she's probably the closest because I'm just so unlike anyone else in School Rumble universe). I'm so happy School Rumble season two is out now, considering how much I loved season one.
Sugar Sugar Rune
After School Rumble, I decided to check out Sugar Sugar Rune (solely because Pierre's voice = Karasuma's voice). Now, I like magical girl shows (I used to watch Creamy Mami, Magical Emi and recently Fancy Lala), but this show just didn't leave me with good first impression. The art style was not what I expect from this type of show (I expected something cuter). For some reason Chocolat's voice bothered me. And the girls are not the good little angels who save the world, rather, they have a rather self-serving goals of collecting hearts from humans (it's not fatal, a heart is only an emotion that a human has an unlimited supply of, at least in Sugar Sugar Rune universe). For the record, I don't have anything against self-serving goals in magical girls anime (I liked Hime-chan's Ribbon although Hime-chan spent most of the time using magic for herself), but Sugar Sugar Rune didn't seem to have anything else appealing going for it. The show mascots are so not cute and generally unhelpful (one is lazy and most of the time useless, the other one is manipulative and almost malicious). Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all is I really couldn't like Pierre (a big letdown since I really looked forward to his character). It is clear from the beginning that Pierre is evil (no spoilers here, it is in the opening animations of the anime), and while I don't necessary have anything against a villainous character, I suppose I just dislike manipulative characters. That said, I still gave this show a chance and watched up until episode 6 subbed (thanks (again) to Arienai). However, even though I have downloaded most of the raws from here I just couldn't make myself watch them, so I put this series aside for a while.
A few weeks later I saw the Sugar Sugar Rune manga Volume 1 and 2 (from Del Rey) at a bookstore so I bought them, to see if I would have liked the manga better but I just didn't have a chance to read them. A few days ago, I finally read both volumes of the manga and I was a bit sorry. It seems I've read a ton of anime spoilers that I would rather not read (although the opening animations of the anime hinted at them too). Somehow, I found Chocolat and Vanilla in the manga worse characters than their anime counterparts (Chocolat seemed nicer and Vanilla not such a wuss in anime, but maybe I'm just grasping at straw).
Since the manga left me with mixed feelings (big things happening but mostly disappointing characterization) I decided to watch Sugar Sugar Rune anime again. I like it better this time around, although it does have episodes after episodes of fillers that seems to go on forever until we get to the interesting manga plotlines. I've grown used to the artwork and Chocolat's voice. I also find the timelines from the time the viewers are introduced to the two witches to the turning point in the story work a bit better in the anime since the characters are allowed to grow little by little and viewers get to know them (now if only those fillers are more related to the main plot). Still don't have a favorite character but I don't dislike them as much as I used to. (However, I sincerely hope that Waffle doesn't come back later.)
So if I find Sugar Sugar Rune characters only so so why do I base my first icon on them? Well, I just thought the pic is rather cute. =) And yes, I hope these two do end up together.
Well, thank you if you read my ramblings. I have something else I'm interested in too but they are not really related to this chain of events, so I'm leaving them for later (maybe ::laugh::)