Inquiring Minds Want to Know #14

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Yay, for an anime focused question that I can sink my teeth into. That said, I’m happy for you to throw any question my way. As always if you have a question feel free to fill in the survey below and I’ll add it to the list.

I’d like your thoughts on Vampire Hunter D and its sequel.

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To be honest, I’ve only seen the original Vampire Hunter D once, a fair while ago, and my memory of it is pretty hazy. I do remember it being interesting but fairly dated looking and I really didn’t like the sound design. Also, I saw Vampire Hunter D after I’d already seen Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust and I really loved that movie.

That said, a lot of what I liked about Bloodlust was actually present in the original so it is kind of weird that I loved Bloodlust and have watched it quite a number of times but never gone back for a rewatch of the original. On that note at some point I should actually write a proper review of it.

One thing I found interesting about the franchise is that it is technically set in a post apocalyptic future rather than in the past, which allows for artistic licence when it comes to the weapons, vehicles and all manner of items because they aren’t having to stay true to a particular period. A movie like Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman tried to push things with a Q like developer who came up with various weapons but they still had to operate within a known time period. Vampire Hunter D is not so encumbered by reality and allowed to really spread its wings.

D is an interesting enough protagonist though his stoic nature makes it a bit hard to get to know him. Speaking most about Bloodlust, I loved Left Hand, the parasite that just babbles more or less incessantly, until D clutches the reign of his mechanical horse more or less gagging him. That this character plays a fairly vital role detecting and eating magic at various points and offering, mostly unsolicited, advice, he helps to humanise D and more importantly keeps things flowing along.

There’s no denying though that even Bloodlust has not aged well looking like something from the 90’s despite its 2000 release date. That doesn’t take away from some great atmosphere, some cool action sequences, and a fairly sweeping narrative that is well worth the ride, but it does make it difficult to justify over more recent films given as cool as Vampire Hunter D is, there’s nothing that makes this a must watch, unless like me you will watch pretty much anything with vampires in it, in which case, definitely check it out.

The other issue I have, as I have with so many anime films, is it all just feels rushed. There are a lot of characters who get practically no development because they show up to serve their plot point and then we are swept on to the next set-piece. When we get to the tragic finale and characters are dropping like flies it is very difficult to care about the fates of so many of them because they just never got enough screen time to make you care. Also, a story this epic really did deserve a significantly longer run time to flesh it out but instead just kept packing things in to its less than two hours and hoped the audience would just go along for the ride despite all of the glorious sequences being built on a very fragile foundation with a lot of gaps.

So, that’s my thoughts on Vampire Hunter D and its sequel but I’d love to know what my readers think of these films so leave a comment, and remember if you have a question be sure to fill in the survey below.

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Karandi James
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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #13

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

And we’re back with inquiring minds and I’ve got a fun question to answer today (and a couple more that I didn’t get to before my holiday for the next couple of weeks). As always, if you have a question for me, feel free to complete the survey here or at the bottom of the post.

Do you refresh older posts and if so do you set aside regular time to do so?

Lynn Sheridan

This is such a great question and whether to refresh older posts is one lots of bloggers have to ask themselves as their blogs get older and they start looking back at some of those older posts and realise they’ve changed their minds, they’ve changed their writing style or format, or they just plain hate what they used to write. Also, a lot of advice sites about blogs tell you that you should update older content and not just have stuff sitting stagnant in the background of your site unseen and unread.

Personally I have a couple of different answers to this as I’ve been changing my approach around over the last twelve months (mostly my third year of blogging as prior to that updating old stuff didn’t seem that urgent given nothing was all that old).

For a little bit I was reposting some of my old anime series reviews. Things like Shiki that were reviewed in my first few months of blogging that had practically no views, used various layouts I’ve since retired on my blog, and basically just needed more exposure. However, my original approach was to actually duplicate post and make a new post with a heading explaining it was a repost with some updates.

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The problem I found with this approach is that some people had originally commented on the first review and their comments were essentially lost back with the first post, plus when searching my site for a review it was now unclear which review to read of the same series.

Plus, it meant the only posts getting any kind of update were full series reviews and I write a lot of other content.

Yuri on Ice Episode 7 - Victor puts Yuri to bed.

I actually stumbled upon my current approach while trying to figure out how to use my twitter account more effectively and following a few steps in a guide I found just to see what happened. My regular followers may have noticed that in November last year I suddenly started having five tweets spread throughout the day promoting content on the site. These were tweets that were pre-scheduled and were to ensure that regardless of timezone something was coming out on my feed fairly regularly. And the experiment continued more or less until my trip in April and you may have noticed my twitter is currently a lot quieter just at the moment (but so are my views, amazingly this actually works at boosting exposure).

However, in the process of setting that up, I realised I didn’t really want the tweets to all be about the same content, and content coming out was already automatically announced on twitter, so I started looking at older posts that either had gotten a lot of attention or had been over-looked at the time of posting to promote on twitter. The standard approach was to pick a month and go through the archives and look at the posts and how they’d gone and what content was there that might still be relevant or interesting, or that I didn’t just want to keep hidden.

Yagami Light Death Note

But, there’s no point trying to repromote a post that is still using an old signature or isn’t linking to newer content and then just reading some of my old posts made me wince. So before I schedule the tweet for a post, I revamp it. Sometimes it is just a formatting tweak, sometimes entire sections get rewritten. And then, once I’m reasonably happy, I promote the link to it.

As to a regular time, I was spending about two hours on either Sunday or Saturday selecting the older posts that I was going to promote next and then I’d chip away at editing them in small moments in between newer posts and the like throughout the week before setting them for promotion in the next week or so. It wasn’t an exact schedule as such but it was just something else to work on as part of growing the blog and so I made sure I gave it a little bit of my time each day.

That said, I’d love to know what other bloggers are doing in terms of refreshing older posts so please share your tips and strategies below.

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #12

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Right, I’m not entirely sure I understand the question this week but we’re going to give it a great effort and see if we can answer it. As always, if you have a question for me, feel free to complete the survey here or at the bottom of the post.

What is the most important thing to make Anime and why?

Mr Cat
Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 5

Okay, as I said in the introduction, I’m not 100% certain I understand this question. For instance is it asking what is most important to make an anime watchable or interesting or it actually asking about the technical side of making anime. If it is the latter, I’m out of luck because I’m pretty much clueless as to the specifics of what goes on behind the scenes to make an anime happen (okay, I get the usual writing, story-boarding, production process but nothing beyond the fairly generic).

So, I’m just going to assume it is the former and look at what makes an anime work because I’ve probably got a better chance of getting to a sensible answer with that one. Better chance. Not a guarantee.

Now, I’ve always said on my blog that I primarily watch anime, and engage in most of the forms of entertainment that I dabble in (books, movies, video games) for the story lines. For me, that’s what will make or break something. Whether the story fits together neatly, whether it builds to an interesting climax, whether it moves me emotionally. I’m aware that some people aren’t so concerned about whether something has a strong narrative and are happy just watching characters interact or comedy skits, and that works for them, but for me what makes an anime truly great and memorable, is when the story really sticks with me and the journey the characters have gone on really connects.

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However, ultimately I think an anime just needs to succeed at being what it wants to be. If it wants to be a slice of life, than it should be and not try to sneak some plot elements in and push for character development that doesn’t fit. Mostly because people looking for a story probably won’t be happy and people wanting a blissful slice of life won’t appreciate the intrusion of these other elements (unless they are well integrated and balanced). Same with comedy or harem or any genre. Whether I like it or not, I appreciate a show that manages to be exactly what it sets out to be and doesn’t try to pretend to be something it isn’t. Using the tropes and standards from a given genre and using them well usually results in something highly entertaining, at least for fans of the genre, and for everyone else, they probably weren’t going to get on board regardless.

Meiji Tokyo Renka is probably a great example of this. It isn’t doing anything new, visually it isn’t amazing, the music is pretty great though and some of the characters have been really charming, but Meiji Tokyo Renka isn’t trying to break new ground. It is just being this cute reverse-harem with a bit of time travel thrown in, and while there are some fun plot elements afoot, for the most part it hasn’t really stepped outside of its genre box (though the camel showing up was still a bit on the weird side). The anime works, it is entertaining, and ultimately while it won’t get a lot of attention in a season full of more impressive or dramatic works or amongst works that had a lot of pre-season hype, it is a fairly functional anime and one that most people wouldn’t be too upset about stumbling across in their quest to find something new to watch (it won’t work for everyone but nor will it horrifically offend).

That probably didn’t answer the question you intended and I’m sorry but I tried.

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #11

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

This one is an interesting question as a reviewer and one that made me think about the shows I’ve covered and reviewed and shows I’ve chosen not to. Remember, if you have a question for me you can complete the simple survey here or at the end of the post.

Is there a series that you would actively chose not to review? As in you just didn’t have enough thoughts about it, or you didn’t feel inclined to write about it even if you enjoyed it?

From Anon

There’s a couple of reasons I’ve chosen in the past not to review particular anime series. The first, and most important one, is that I don’t want to review content on my blog that I haven’t watched through an official channel or by purchasing the DVD. Which actually means a large number of anime I watched a decade ago, I can’t review until I manage to track down a legal stream or DVD of because back then downloading and file sharing were about the only ways I could access large amounts of anime content (that and YouTube).

Banana Fish Episode 17 - Ash and Eiji.

These days I pretty much don’t watch shows unless they are streaming on a service I’m subscribed to and that lets me watch most things I want (or at least more than enough). However, for those following my blog at the end of last year, it would have been obvious I was watching Banana Fish and really quite enjoying it. Alas, I wouldn’t review it episodically, and even though I’d love to do a full series review, that’s just going to have to wait until I can actually buy it given it is only streaming legally on a service I don’t have. Trust me, as soon as I get real access to it, I’ll be reviewing.

Banana Fish Episode 9 - Eiji realises that Shorter betrayed Ash

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As for other anime I haven’t reviewed, mostly anything I watch week to week I will write a full season review of once it is done airing. Sometimes this takes a bit longer to get around to but if I stuck with something for a season there was usually enough to talk about to make it worth my while. Though I will admit some anime have ended up with fairly short reviews when I’ve not really had a great deal to talk about.

This season, I made the choice not to review How Clumsy Are You, Miss Ueno? after episode 1. While that post got a lot of views and I did watch episode 2, I realised fairly quickly the show was not to my tastes at all and I’d mostly be rehashing the same criticisms over and over again and so I chose instead to simply cut it from the final watch list. A lot of cute girl shows and slice of life shows meet the same fate, mostly because episodically I usually just don’t have much to say about them that isn’t repetitive.

Still, I try to cover a fairly large range of anime and mostly if I’ve managed to sit through something there’s something to say about it. Mostly. I really enjoy writing up my thoughts on the shows I’ve watched because I rarely have someone in my real life who is watching the same show, or even if they are they usually aren’t up to the most recent episode, so I love putting my thoughts out there and bouncing ideas and theories off others in the community about where something it going. I think for the most part I’ll happily cover most anime just to have that conversation which just adds so much fun to the viewing experience.

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Karandi James
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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #10

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Well this question kind of comes about in response to a previous one. Hopefully you enjoy it and share your thoughts on it in the comments below. And a always, if you have something to ask me you can complete the survey below or by clicking here. I’d love to hear your question.

I’ve been rewatching Yama no Susume over the weekend and then I saw the Inquiring Minds question about OTP’s… And it occurs to me, why do we always talk about romantic partners? Let’s talk about true friends! The pairs or groups that will always be there together and for each other.

Derek

So I guess there are two parts to this question. Firstly why we’re all fixated on romantic partners and shipping characters rather than friendship, and secondly looking at characters that are true friends.

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 2

I’m not really sure why, but maybe it is the whole fairy tale upbringing but the whole romantic falling in love and being with the one you love is kind of a standard of stories. As such, having characters fall in and out of love is kind of fascinating. That and it is always so adorable to watch. I’m just not sure I could see the same discussions about two characters becoming good friends and ‘will they – won’t they’ be friends forever debates raging. Okay, maybe as viewers we all just like speculating about a fictional character’s romantic prospects.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

So while I’m not sure why we are fixated on OTP’s and falling in love, I do know there are some fantastic examples of friendship that come through in anime. Recently, Run With The Wind has done an excellent job bringing ten guys together and making them feel like genuine friends over the course of its series and it has been nothing but pure joy watching them celebrate each other’s successes and supporting those who might be having a harder time.

Still, the pair that immediately came to mind when I read this question was Chito and Yuuri from Girls’ Last Tour. While I have read some posts that ship these two, I found their friendship to be an utterly believable one and one that really helped carry the anime (given these two were largely the only characters in it). Both were charming in their own way but the way their personalities bounced off the other really sold the show.

Girls' Last Tour Episode 7

You could completely believe that Yuuri would do whatever it took to defend Chito and she would work to get them out of any tight spots (even if her own lack of forward planning was what had gotten them into that spot in the first place). Where Chito would hesitate to act, Yuuri would take the plunge, leading to the pair making discoveries that might otherwise have passed them by. On the other hand you could count on Chito to keep Yuuri from diving into too much trouble and have the longer view of how they would survive and bring knowledge into the discussion. While the two might have had their share of disagreements, such as when Yuuri burnt one of Chito’s books, the two never stayed put out for long because they needed the other one.

School Live Episode 7

The other anime that immediately sprang to mind was School Live. For obvious reasons the girls had to rely on one another but I believe their friendship grew and was really genuinely portrayed throughout the anime. Yuki would not be alive without the support and love of those around her and I believe she knows that very well and each girl contributes something that is needed emotionally for their survival as well as their more practical skills.

Hopefully that kind of answers the question and I’d love to know what you all think so throw us a comment and let us all know.

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #9

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A rather intriguing question this week and one I am keen to get into. I’m also excited to know what other people think of this one. As always though, if you have a question you’d like me to tackle please feel free to complete the survey below or follow this link.

If you could reset your memory of two particular anime series — one that you don’t mind forgetting about forever and one that you want to re-watch again without prior knowledge — what would those two series be?

From Mei

Okay, let’s start with the one that I wouldn’t mind forgetting about forever… the thing here is I actually don’t mind having watched most things even if they are bad. That is because it gives me something against which to compare stuff that is only kind of okay and stuff that is actually good. So forgetting something terrible would just make me more critical of stuff that is actually kind of competent.

Still there’s a definite temptation to throw Hand Shakers into this one. I just couldn’t find anything to recommend about that anime and it was an incredible time suck that gave very little back. Diabolik Lovers would be another anime I’d like to just pretend I hadn’t given in to temptation and watched it.

However, anime I’d like to rewatch again without prior knowledge is actually a harder question. There’s quite a few that I’d love to experience again for the first time.

The one that immediately springs to mind is Natsume Yuujinchou. I love that anime and I’ve rewatched the earlier seasons a lot of times and it certainly doesn’t have diminishing returns as that lovely relaxing and calm feeling as well as the general cathartic nature of the anime really hits home each and every time. But the first watch was something special. Watching it was genuinely like experiencing falling in love and while the anime remains amazing after repeated viewings having that initial rush of emotions and that unexpected blossoming love would be amazing to re-experience.

Natsume Yuujinchou

The other anime I’d like to throw in here (though there are plenty of others) would be March Comes in Like a Lion. Meeting Rei for the first time and seeing his growth all over again and how he struggles, moves forward, falls back, is lifted up and helped by the sisters, finds his own feet and moves forward, to continue to struggle… there was just something really incredible about his character journey and while rewatching March Comes In Like a Lion was a great experience, seeing it the first time was almost overwhelming emotionally.

So those are my two picks for the second part of the question. But again, I’d love to know what my readers would choose so be sure to leave us a comment and if you have a question for me it is as simple as completing the survey below.

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know – Send Me Your Questions

Well, we’ve gotten to that time again where the backlog of questions have been answered. If you would like to ask me something and have it answered on my blog, please send me your question by completing the survey. Thanks to the couple of people who sent me through questions last week, I will start writing answers again next week.

Questions can be on any topic, though I am primarily an anime blogger so questions about anime are kind of appreciated.

If you don’t want to do the survey you can DM me on Twitter and just let me know it is a question for Inquiring Minds.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed a question to this blog series. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to answer your questions and hopefully you enjoy reading my responses. Hopefully we’ll have some more questions for next week.

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