Inquiring Minds Want To Know #33: What do you think of live action adaptations of anime?

Thanks to everyone who responded to the question drive but if you didn’t get a question in, remember you can still fill in the survey at the end of the post or use the link in the sidebar to send me a question. This week we get a very timely question and I really enjoyed going back and thinking about some of the live action adaptations I’ve watched since becoming a blogger.

Question: What do you think of live action (dramas or movies) adaptions of anime? Any favourites? from Rise

Netflix Live Action Bleach

I’m going to be perfectly honest here, live action adaptations of anime have an incredibly patchy history and a fairly well deserved reputation for being less than stellar. The Dragonball Evolution isn’t just a poor adaptation of the source material, its just a terrible movie to have to endure watching.

Still, that isn’t every adaptation. Okay, the Full Metal Alchemist adaptation wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible.Ghost in the Shell worked well enough for me but that’s probably because I’m not a fan of the anime in the first place and just took it as a generic sci-fi kind of movie and it succeeded at that. Death Note angered me at first and then I detached my expectations from the anime and realised that as a cheap horror movie it could work just fine so got over it, but none of these have really stuck.

DeathNote5

That actually leaves me with two live action adaptations I really enjoyed just because they were really enjoyable and not because I looked for some positives amongst a mess of an adaptation.

The first is Erased the series. I really enjoyed seeing this story brought to life and feel they did a great job of it. I know the live action is based more off the anime so most of the changes between the anime and the live action are more because the anime veered off course, but I actually feel from a plot point of view the live action is stronger. I still really love the anime but I prefer the ending as presented in the live action series.

Erased2

The second is one that just came out and that is Bleach. Given how incredibly on the fence I was about the idea of a Bleach movie and the fact that I went in really expecting to be severely disappointed, this movie actually put my concerns to rest and delivered what is a fairly decent movie in its own right and probably the best kind of adaptations I could have hoped for. It remains true enough to the feel of the anime that what I loved about the franchise is recognisable but it makes sufficient changes to sit relatively comfortable as a movie. It really is just good fun and one I definitely recommend.

Bleach Netflix Live Action

Thanks for the question this week and I’d love to know what my readers think and what some of your favourite live action adaptations of anime are (or if you hate them). Please leave me a comment and remember if you have a question for me you can simply complete the survey below.


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Karandi James

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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #32 – Favourite English Dubs?

And this week we have another question from Naru. Reminder, you can use the link in the sidebar or click here to go to the survey if you have a question for Karandi.

Question: What are some of your favourite English dubs? from Naru

Steins;Gate2

This one was actually a really easy question to answer because there aren’t many anime where I would actually say I like the English dub (of course I don’t watch a lot of dubbed anime so that limits the options). Of the anime I do watch dubbed my favourite is probably Steins;Gate. This isn’t just because the characters talk so often and quickly that the subs can sometimes take up a fair chunk of the screen, but they’ve just done a great job of really injecting personality into each and every performance and the English cast are absolutely great to listen to.

Another anime I really like the dubbed version of is Ghost Hunt. That’s probably because the dubbed was the only version I had access to originally and by the time I saw it subbed I was already used to the voices and translations in the dubbed version and I ended up kind of disliking the subs.

Though one anime where I just enjoy the English because I do, is Darker Than Black. This makes it an anime I regularly introduce non-anime fans to because I’ll happily watch it in English. I think it is Kate Oxley who does the English voice of Kirihara and she does an absolutely amazing job.

GHunt1

Those are my picks for dubbed anime that I quite like but I’d love to know what some of your favourite English dubs are so please share in the comments below. And remember, if you have a question for me click here.


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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #31 – Terrible Anime That You Like?

Reminder, you can use the link in the sidebar or click here to go to the survey if you have a question for Karandi.

Question: What are some of your favourite anime that you know are terrible? from Naru

King's Game Episode 3

I think I’m pretty honest about the fact that I have a very weird preference for bad horror stories (regardless of whether they are anime or not). As such, anime like King’s Game, which is objectively terrible no matter which attribute you choose to look at (music, characters, plot, pacing), I actually find really enjoyable even as I will happily criticise them.

Then again, I’m a huge Sailor Moon fan from the original series with its original dub and I think if I’m honest there’s a lot that could easily be criticised about that series as well. I have no intention of doing so because Sailor Moon is awesome and I will love it forever, but I don’t know that it would actually hold up under any kind of critical analysis given it has a repetitive episodic plot structure for most of the first season, characters who literally get power ups just because they need them, and relies on a power of friendship ending to defeat the bad guy. Yeah, not exactly compelling writing and yet despite all of that it works.

Finally, I’d have to throw Inu x Boku SS in this list. I just finished a rewatch of it (as it is one of my go to shows when I’m awake in the middle of the night and can’t sleep – two or three episodes later I usually manage to crash again). For all that I like Ririchiyo as the main character, the story is really not good and there’s some fairly questionable characterisation for most of the cast if you think about it (the whole show works better if you switch your brain off and just let it roll over you).

Ultimately, I watch anime for fun so even if a story isn’t particularly good, or even if some element of the anime isn’t well done, provided I’m still enjoying myself I’ll happily watch. Horror anime, few and far between though they are, almost always tick the box for enjoyment even if they aren’t good. Supernatural anime have to be particularly bad before I’ll drop them. And I’ll try most isekai anime even though the majority end up being decidedly average. Bad isn’t as much an issue for me as feeling unengaged by the subject matter.

King's Game Episode 11

I am now going to turn this over to my readers and ask you for some of your favourite terrible anime. However, this is the last question in my backlog so if you have a question you would like answered in the inquiring minds series, please use the link in the sidebar or click here to go to the survey. Looking forward to the next round of questions.


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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #30 – Thoughts on anime influencers?

Reminder, you can use the link in the sidebar or click here to go to the survey if you have a question for Karandi.

Question: I wanted to ask your thoughts about anime influencers in the community. I’m certain some are good people, but do you think the status sometimes impairs their vision? From ShirayukiX

Food Wars6

To be perfectly honest, this question stumped me. For one, even though there were a handful of names I might have thought of when thinking of influencers in the community, I don’t follow any of them. Most of them are on YouTube and while I’ve seen bits and pieces of videos or even a whole video that’s been shared on a blog, I don’t spend a great deal of time on YouTube for the simple fact that I tend to enjoy reading more than viewing (weird but true). More importantly, I’m just not that concerned with whether I agree with someone’s opinion or not. People who I enjoy reading or watching I’ll watch or read whether or not I agree with them and then I’ll happily go about finding and watching the anime I was interested in.

So I turned to Twitter and asked my followers who they thought the ‘influencers’ in the community were (and thanks to everyone who threw some names my way). Some fairly common names like Gigguk, Digibro and Mother’s Basement floated to the surface but what really surprised me was how indifferent most people were or unaware of who the ‘influencers’ actually were. Perhaps that is just because my sample is fairly small, but by and large people were more questioning whether a name they put in the list was actually an influncer than confident about it. I kind of drew back from the thread altogether once someone threw my name into the ring because I just don’t see myself as being anywhere near big enough for that (but then again, no one can agree on how big you need to be to be considered an influencer so what do I know).

Having determined that no one really knows who the influencers even are I did some research, watched some videos, read some posts, from the names that did come out of the discussion and ultimately, I don’t think I can answer the question. I certainly found content from most of the big names that I disagreed with, but that doesn’t mean the person in question has impaired vision so much as they have a different view on the situation.  And without watching or reading significantly more material from any single one of these names, it seems really unfair to make a judgement about their overall perspective from the small sample I did look at.

Therefore, I’ll look at my own experience as a blogger and point out that I do not think it is possible to remain unaware that you are writing for an audience once you reach a certain point. When someone tells me they will pass on an anime I just pulled apart I wonder if maybe I was harsh or biased and just sent someone away from something they may have enjoyed, or someone tells me they will definitely check something out I start running through all the flaws in the show in my head that I didn’t mention in my review and wonder if maybe I should have.

But while I am aware that I have an audience, I don’t let that change my view. I like what I like and I dislike what I dislike. I try to read my posts before they publish to ensure that even if I hated something I’ve been fair to any points of merit that are worth noting. I try to balance praise with some of the more negative points when I’m writing a rave. But ultimately, I’m expressing an opinion, explaining my reasons, and leaving it to my readers to make up their minds. Which is what I would hope most people would do.

Food

So, I haven’t really answered the question and I don’t think I can, but I think this question has raised quite a few other questions that I’d like to turn over to my audience.

01. What does it take to actually be an ‘influencer’ in the ani-blogging community?

02. What impact do influencers actually have on viewership, if any?

03. Who is an influencer that you follow or like and why?

04. Who is an influencer that you you don’t like and why?


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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #29 – What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves?

Okay, I’ve changed where I’m running the survey momentarily just to try a different service and see which one is more manageable. For now, if you want to ask me a question there’s a link in the sidebar or you go straight to the survey. The old link will still work and I’ll still check there for questions. I’m just trying something a bit different because some people were having trouble with the other survey.

Question: What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves? From anon.

Sword Art Online Episode 1

I’ve never made any attempt to hide the fact that I am an SAO fan. I’ve seriously been considering a rewatch and reviewing it episode by episode (much as I have started with Yuri on Ice, but for this one I didn’t have the blog or streaming services when it first came out). While I will happily admit to many flaws in Sword Art Online, and the increasingly diminishing returns of further arcs, the Aincrad Arc remains one of my very favourite narratives to watch.

Clear purpose, evolving characters (go on, tell me Kirito doesn’t develop as a character in this first arc, I can already hear the screams), fantastic action, skipping over the grinding and just cutting to the points that make a pivotal difference to either the characters or the quest… A real sense of danger as their actions and choices matter and one mistake could be their last… The soundtrack… Okay, fan-girling big time.

What I like most about the first arc of SAO is it is accessible. I have many friends who aren’t super into anime but they don’t mind games or action so Sword Art Online is an easy sell to get them to try an anime. I’ve only had one person out of perhaps ten who have watched it with me end up not enjoying it. Most of the others have not only binged watched the whole arc but have then asked me what other anime I would recommend.

Why does it get so much hate? Well apparently it is popular to hate on SAO. Apparently it gives you credit as a ‘real’ fan or someone who watches ‘real anime’. Again, I’m not going to proclaim it a perfect work of art and I’m pretty critical of every arc after the first myself. But statements like it is the ‘worst anime ever’, a ‘steaming pile of…’, or that Kirito is a ‘Gary Stu’ who never changes just make me wonder if the person watched the show in the first place or just someone else’s review of it and whether they’ve watched all that much anime.

It isn’t that I don’t think people should criticise Sword Art Online. I just wish the criticisms were grounded on actual observation rather than just going with the flow of hyperbole that anything connected to Sword Art Online must be some fanboy’s delusions of grandeur on crack. I do not understand how people can say Kirito doesn’t change. Watch episode 1 again. Skip forward to episode 10. Do you see the difference? If not, try again, and this time actually pay attention to his attitude to himself and others. That development occurs, incrementally over the first arc.

Admittedly, that’s where it plateaus and part of the trouble with Sword Art Online is the concept is really a one arc story. Everything that came after that is just forcing more problems on characters who’ve already had their drama play out and the characters aren’t really getting anywhere after that point nor is the sense of danger or excitement still present.

So yes, easy question to answer though I suspect I might get some more interesting comments than normal on this one.

That said, it isn’t though Sword Art Online is alone in being the flavour of the month to hate on. Diabolik Lovers finds itself targeted quite regularly, and I’ll be honest and admit I’ll happily tear that to pieces any day of the week. Fans of it probably aren’t thrilled by the negativity, though I think vampire sexual and emotional abuse is probably a little harder to justify than what might be classified a slightly bland power fantasy. Just my opinion.

Sword Art Online - Episode 4

Alright, over to you. Do you think Sword Art Online gets more criticism than it deserves? Is there another series that you feel is needlessly bashed around by critics just because it is cool to do so? Just remember, play nice.


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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #28 – How do you find a balance?

If you have a question be sure to ask it here. Previous questions that have been answered can be found here.

Question: How do you balance your job and hobbies? What’s your routine? From Lita Kino.

maid

Let’s be real, there is no such thing as work/life balance in the modern world. Work hours are insane for those who are lucky enough to have secure employment, meanwhile others are unable to get a foothold in the market. And yet, instead of reducing stress and workloads by actually hiring more workers and sharing the load, employers keep tightening their numbers and push more and more work onto people not secure enough in their job to actually say ‘no’.

I actually really love my job but in 2017 was hitting 55 – 65 hours a week at work regularly and a firm life resolution in 2018 was cutting that back regardless of what it cost or how guilty I felt leaving at the end of the day. While I still tend to do an average 50 – 55 hours a week I haven’t hit 65 yet this year and so am feeling a bit better about things (though my job list at work is looking pretty tragic and there are some things I’ve just openly dropped off my list and decided it isn’t worth the effort of following through).

So finding a balance is more or less impossible given the hours work eats up. That said, I firmly believe that you will make the time for things that are important to you. You can’t find time. There are 24 hours in a day, divide them as you will. While most of us have limited control over working hours, how we use the rest of our day is entirely in our hands. And for me, I’d rather spend my time on anime and writing my blog then sitting on the side of a football field, going to the pub or the club, or many of the other ‘entertainments’ available in my very small town.

Essentially that means if I’m not at work, asleep, or doing housework, I’m probably going to be doing something related to anime, movies, games, or reading. Because that’s what I love to do. For sure there are other social interactions that do occur, but if I get to choose, I’ll probably be typing away at my computer or watching something on TV.

As to a routine, it should be fairly well known that I don’t really sleep much (an ongoing habit of mine). Again, 2017 was a terrible year with my average sleep dropping to barely four hours most nights, but I’ve clawed back to five hours for now. However, that means I wake up really early and so I usually spend an hour or two on the computer before work reading blog posts and replying to comments. I don’t tend to watch much anime in the morning, saving that for evenings, but I try to touch base with new posts from followers and follow up on any emails or messages. Then my actual alarm goes off and I have to get ready and go to work (one of these days I’ll sleep long enough to hear my alarm from my bed and wonder why I left it next to my computer).

After work I try to do another quick visit of blog posts, though I tend to comment less and like more on posts I read after work due to usually being brain tired, and then I catch up on the anime of the day and draft reviews.

Weekends, outside of exercise and cleaning, tend to involve a lot of watching and writing and reading though I have no real set routine on weekends. I just kind of do what I feel like doing and then wonder where my day went. That’s of course when I haven’t brought work home with me, then I usually promise myself that when I finish task A, I can watch an episode of this show or this one, and that usually keeps me working.

maid5

This one is probably a great question for readers. How do you balance your job and your hobbies?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #27 – What would your anime series be about?

If you have a question be sure to ask it here. Previous questions that have been answered can be found here.

Question: If you had to chance to create your own anime series, what would it be about? From Scott

Hero52c

I kind of touched on this when I answered Curiously Dead Cat’s question about what anime I would like to see made, though this is different in that this isn’t something I would hope other people would make but something I’d like to make myself. It might seem like a minor difference and yet it is a massive one. Amazingly, the things I enjoy reading and watching aren’t all that similar to the things I enjoy creating and so I think if I had the chance to create my own series (and any ability at all to do so) my answer to this question would end up being considerably different.

Firstly, I’d have a really small cast. Like two or three characters of any note and while there might be other characters involved they likely wouldn’t ever be named or of any interest. They’d exist simply to move the plot along and for some sort of credibility. And the reason for having such a small cast would be because I’d really like to focus just on these characters and their interactions, reactions and motivations without feeling cluttered or that they needed to conform to some type in order not to step on another character’s toes. De-cluttering would be a fairly big part of my decision making and while for some viewers that might make the story end up feeling empty, for me that is about the only way to get to any depth with what remains.

But what would the story be about?

I think the female protagonist would be lost (both literally and metaphorically) and the over-arching theme would be finding a path and overcoming obstacles (again, literal and metaphoric). While there would be a male deuteragonist, they wouldn’t necessarily be a love interest and more just someone to balance the story and offer an alternative point of view or solution. As to a villain, I think the tedium of the everyday and just dealing with life would be sufficient obstacles for the main character to overcome without actually having anyone actively standing in their path.

Honestly though, I kind of doubt such a story would be overly popular but right now it is kind of what I’m in the mood to write and I was hoping to get back into fiction writing this year. It’s been awhile since I’ve really written anything and now that I’ve responded to this question I’d kind of like to maybe try my hand at a story or two. Though, writing a story and thinking about how it would play as an anime are two fairly different things.

Thanks for such a great question.

Cells2a

Definitely interested to hear what the readers have to say about this one. What would your anime series be about?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #26 – How Do You Come Up With Content?

If you have a question be sure to ask it here. Previous questions that have been answered can be found here.

Question: How do you come up with content to post to your blog? I’m always stumped and have no creativity. From Rebel

Sailor2

To be honest, I’m not a very creative person. While there are some writers and content creators that can go with the flow and just wait until inspiration strikes them and get going, that approach doesn’t work for me at all. I’m very much about having a plan and a clear focus as to what I am going to do. When inspiration does strike, I’m not above reworking the plan to fit in an impromptu post, but for the most part everything is worked out well in advance.

With the majority of my weekly posts being episode reviews, the only weeks where there isn’t a clear guide are the first two or three weeks of the season where I’m still trying shows and working out a schedule. However, once week three comes around, I’ll have a note book page with the list of shows I’m following and when their review should be scheduled. This works around the already established posts such as my weekly round up posts, series reviews, and other posts that I do each week.

About the only two posts I actually need to get creative with are the Top 5 posts and the Feature of the week. And I will admit, I sometimes really struggle with these but I’m usually a few weeks ahead in terms of scheduling (though not at the moment because right now I’ve used up my supply of scheduled posts to get me through the last few months when I haven’t been feeling so well). I do have quite a list of potential feature ideas and top 5 ideas that I add to whenever something catches my eye or grabs my attention and when I’m really stumped I go back to these lists, cross out ideas I’ve used, modify something if it doesn’t seem right, and eventually pick something from the list to write, but that’s more a last resort when I’m done staring at the white screen of death without an idea.

I think for me having a schedule and a regular cycle of posts is kind of essential. If I just opened the blog today and tried to think of a post idea, I’d probably not end up producing anything. But because I know that on Sunday I have to have a weekly round up post and at least two episode reviews, and by week three of the season I’ll know what those reviews are going to be on, it makes writing much easier because I have something clear to produce.

I get that this system won’t work for everyone and some people hate schedules as they go to write what they’ve planned and then realise they don’t want to, but for me it is what enables me to post regularly and always having something to write about.

sailor_moon_s_episode_125_sailor_saturn_and_sailor_moon

What about the readers? How do you come up with content ideas?


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Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #25

A reminder, that if you would like to be involved, just answer the very simple survey here and I’ll consider your question for inclusion in this series of posts. You don’t have to answer the second question but if you leave your name and link I will link to your blog when I respond.

Question: How long does it take you to write reviews? Do you plan the content and/or structure ahead, or do you just “let it flow”?  From TSOG

light-yagami-kira-god-of-the-new-world-30314021-701-386

This question I need to split into two parts because episode reviews and whole series reviews are two different things.

Episode Reviews:

My episode reviews are incredibly reactionary. They are relatively short and mostly end up being drafted within twenty minutes of my first watch through the episode. However, as I do not post the same day – usually, the current My Hero Academia series is my shortest turn around yet – I have given myself time.

And in that time I rewrite, rephrase, remove rants, remove unnecessary details, sometimes go and rewatch the episode, and basically make sure the review says what I want it to say.

However, the let it flow approach is probably the most apt. Despite all the editing and rewrites, I tend to stay relatively true to the initial reactionary writings unless it is actually completely incomprehensible. But I find that is the best way to capture the true mood or spirit of the episode.

Series Reviews:

This is a whole other ball game and again split into two parts. Series reviews that I am writing immediately after a season has ended are much easier as I have all my notes and episode reviews to rely on as well as a myriad of screen caps to look back through. I usually write these reviews about a week after the final episode airs and then schedule it out whenever my next blank space in my review line up is (so could be several weeks later). These reviews are pretty straight forward and mostly I just let them flow.

There are times when I get stuck. Yuri on Ice was such a time and then I fell back on a plus/minus format because I couldn’t write a review. It just kept becoming this gushy love letter and a fan-girl squeal fest.

Still, these reviews are simply approached by noting the main points I came back to time and again while episode reviewing, figuring out what my main point is and whether I enjoyed watching the show or not, and ensuring that I’m being fair to the show because sometimes I don’t like things just because I don’t like them and there’s actually nothing wrong with the show itself (Tsuki ga Kirei). Same for sometimes when I like something just because I do and there’s nothing particularly good about the show (King’s Game).

Being fair doesn’t mean I don’t express my opinion, I just try to balance it with evidence and I do look for positives that other people might find in the anime even if I didn’t enjoy it as well as looking at the obvious flaws of something I quite enjoyed.

Reviews of older anime are usually even more planned out. I’m usually not in a position to fully rewatch these, though sometimes I plan a rewatch so I can review a particular title. These reviews are usually very planned out and I spend time reading through the episode synopses, reminding myself of key scenes, considering the character points I want to raise, and trying to figure out how much I can say before I just cross into blatant spoiler territory.

As to how long it takes to write a review… that entirely depends. Initial drafting of a 500 word review (give or take) usually only takes about ten minutes as long as I have a plan and have thought about what I’m going to say, no comment about how long that process might take sometimes. But then there are a lot of rewrites with full series reviews. Generally speaking, I’ll rewrite it two or three times in its entirety and certain sections may end up with up to five rewrites before I feel it is reasonable.

I’m just going to be thankful that I type fast so as long as I have a solid idea in mind, writing it out doesn’t take too long. It is getting the ideas together and then making sure I’m happy with how I’ve expressed it that takes all the time.

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I’d love to know from the rest of the community – what is your approach to reviews?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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