Grape-kun Is with Harambe Now

Waifus out for Grape-kun.

Okay, I admit I’d never heard of Grape-kun before yesterday, but all of a sudden, my social media timelines were full of him.

The handy website Know Your Meme breaks down the facts. Grape-kun was an elderly Humboldt penguin in the Tobu Zoo in Japan. For a while, the zoo had placed cardboard cutouts of characters from the manga and anime series Kemono Friends in the pens of various animals as an advertising gimmick. I’ve never seen Kemono Friends, but it is apparently yet another of the innumerable manga/anime about random objects anthropomorphized as little girls; in this case, the random objects are animals. The anime series is on Crunchyroll.

Anyway, the zoo placed an image of a character named Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin, in the pen of Grape-kun. Thereafter, people noticed the penguin frequently staring at the image.

He’s probably wondering what happened to Hululu’s pants.

Naturally, people leapt to conclusions, and Goboiano reported on April 27 with the headline, “Japan Puts Anime in Zoo and Penguin Adopts a Waifu.”

Grape-kun died yesterday, October 12th. The zoo reported that the cut-out of Hululu was with Grape-kun through his final moments.

Four months ago, this comic showed up on the Internet. I’ve been unable to figure out if this is from the manga version of Kemono Friends, or if this is someone’s fan art, but either way, it is now relevant:

Rest in peace, Grape-kun.

‘Sailor Moon S’ Part 2 Released

I hope Uranus is ready for this, because Viz Media has released the second half of the uncensored sub of Sailor Moon S.

I’ve been looking forward to this for months and months. Now, in spite of my busy schedule, I’m planning to spend some quality time with Uranus. I will of course be talking about it here on the blog—because I want to make you feel the way Uranus makes me feel.

There are several ways to approach Uranus, but I’m planning to use iTunes.

I am prepared.

‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ Season 4 Confirmed

Moonkitty recently tweeted the news: the struggling and embattled Sailor Moon Crystal is set to see a fourth season, which will be in the form of a two-part movie.

“The same director” means Chiaki Kon, who did a lot to rescue season 3 from the problems that plagued seasons 1 and 2, by ordering revamped character designs and improving the animation.

Otherwise, I don’t know if this is good news or bad. My opinion of Crystal has been mixed, as you can see here. A two-part movie for the Dream arc, however, might be a good idea. If they’re not working to put out an episode on a bi-weekly basis, they might have the time they need to produce something more polished.

There was confirmation as far back as late January that this was going to happen, but there’s been little other news since then that anything was in the works.

Sailor Moon’s official birthday is June 30th, so that is apparently the reason for the announcement of the fourth season, which took place at a live event as Sailor Moon News explains. I chastise myself for having forgotten such an important date. I’ll send her a “belated birthday” card.

The live event also featured some info about the new stage musical, which is unfortunately irrelevant to us over here as the musicals never make it across the Pacific, not even in a subbed video.

Giant Robot Battle Scheduled for August

In other news, Suidoboshi Heavy Industries and MegaBots, Inc., have finally scheduled their mecha battle for some time in August, as reported in The Nerdist.

In case you didn’t know, both of these companies, the former from Japan and the latter from the USA, built giant robots as hugely expensive toys, the KURATAS and Mark II, respectively. MegaBots challenged Suidoboshi to a giant robot fight quite some time ago. I saw the original MegaBots challenge and Suidoboshi’s somewhat muted acceptance thereof back in 2015, but hadn’t heard anything since.

In the beginning, the Mk. II looked likely to take the KURATAS apart, as it was created to be a hulking beast, whereas the KURATAS was more of a rich kid’s toy. Both companies, however, have apparently upgraded their machines. MegaBots has released video of their new but incomplete Mk. III picking up and tearing apart cars, whereas Suidoboshi has kept its upgrades to the KURATAS a secret.

Both these machines are designed to be piloted, but I hope, for the fight, they set it up so the pilots are not actually inside, since they’re hinting of weapons like chainsaws and drills.

‘Made in Abyss’ Gets TV Anime

This escaped my attention back in January, but the web comic Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi is slated to get a TV anime adaptation, directed by Masayuki Kojima and animated by Kinema Citrus.

I stumbled upon Made in Abyss back in December, when I raved about the artwork.

And though it escaped my attention at the time, it was only a few days later that Crunchyroll reported news of an impending anime adaptation. I take this as further proof that I really live in a solipsistic universe that bends to my will, and you are all figments of my imagination. Bwa ha ha.

I hope Crunchy’s report is indicative of their plans to fish for the rights to stream a sub. At present, Made in Abyss is not legally available in English, though it was originally produced as a web series and can be read online in Japanese. I for one am quite curious about the series because the story sounds charming and the art is gorgeous.

And Tsukushi-sensei’s characters all look so darn huggable.

Sequel to ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ Is Coming … Prepare Yourselves

Featured image: “Cardcaptor Sakura Fanart” by Daikazoku63

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the biggest titles in the magical girl genre. It was the first foray into mahou shoujo manga by the unbelievably prolific four-woman team Clamp, which produced it from 1996 to 2000. Its anime adaptation, which began airing in 1998, is one of the few TV cartoons that can hold up in terms of technical quality more than a decade after its run. The anime adds a great deal to the story; some of it is padding, but a lot of it is real improvement. A sliced, diced, and dubbed version was released in English under the title of Cardcaptors.

For reasons I’ll explain in a post I was working on for today but didn’t get finished, I don’t care much for Cardcaptor Sakura. Nonetheless, I must announce that after all this time, Clamp is adding a third arc to the story, the “Clear Card Arc,” currently underway. The first collected volume appeared in Japan last month. I don’t believe any English translation has appeared as of yet.

An anime adaptation is slated to begin in January of 2018. Plan is to bring back director Morio Asaka and round up much of the original voice cast. The Cardcaptor Sakura anime had very good production values, so bringing back the old-timers rather than getting fresh blood seems to be a good move. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The original story featured its heroine in fourth and fifth grade, gradually powering up as she collects the “Clow Cards,” each of which contains a magic spell. The sequel now has her in middle school.

While many fans are excited, I’m scared. What is Clamp going to do to that poor girl now? She barely escaped all those perverts last time. I’m especially worried about Tomoyo, her obsessive best friend who at first seems to be an innocent little ten-year-old girl until Clamp casually drops the bombshell that she’s a monomaniacal lesbian stalker with a costume fetish and a penchant for voyeurism. Is this going to be the story arc where she hides a camera in Sakura’s bathroom or something?

‘Sailor Moon R’ to U.S. Theaters

This news is a month old, but that’s hot-off-the-press current by my standards. Viz Media is releasing Sailor Moon R: The Movie, the most popular of the Sailor Moon movies, to about three hundred U.S. theaters.

The article at Fuse asks, “Do you remember watching Sailor Moon R: The Movie as a kid?” The answer in my case is no. I was probably in middle or high school then and was not watching cartoons. Although it means my magical girl weeaboo cred is about to take a hit, I’ll admit it: I’ve never seen Sailor Moon R: The Movie. My first time watching any Sailor Moon was in the uncensored re-release, so I’ve never even seen it in the hacked-up and bowdlerized American version. I was no longer a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons nor yet a goony college-age neckbeard when this franchise was making it big.

There’s a list of theaters and showtimes over at Eleven Arts. One of those theaters is … well, not exactly close to me, but close enough to make it worth making the trip in the name of nerdery, so I’m going to do my best to make this happen. Tickets aren’t available yet, but I’ll keep my eye on the prize. I don’t know what the chances are of its selling out before I get mine, but we’ll see if we can make this happen.

I’ll let you know as details develop. In the meanwhile, Anime News Network has an interview with some of the English voice cast.

NaNoWriMo Is This Month!

Featured image: “Magical Girl Tessa” by Primantis.

Just as a reminder, November is National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve ever wanted to write a whole novel in a single month, now is the time. There is an official website, linked above, where you can get pep talks, track your progress, and so forth.

I am reliably informed that if you hit writer’s block during a NaNoWriMo marathon, “just add ninjas” is a good way to get out of it. This is known as Chandler’s Law, formulated by pulp writer Raymond Chandler, who once said, When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”

This technique has worked for me in the past. Jake and the Dynamo is a story very amenable to Chandler’s Law: I am unashamed to admit that I “just added robot dinosaurs from space” because I didn’t know how else to save Jake’s bacon.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that, after the next two chapters are up, I believe Jake and the Dynamo will have hit the 100,000-word mark. Depending on who you ask, 40,000 is your basic novel length.

FUNimation Partners with Crunchyroll

In the world of anime fandom, this is really big news.

hope that it is also good news, but that remains to be seen. I don’t follow the politics of fandom, but I sometimes hear murmurs of discontent with FUNimation. However, I personally have been generally happy with Crunchyroll, the anime streaming service, though I recently let my subscription lapse for economic reasons. A few years ago, Crunchy seemed to be mostly a motley collection of obscure titles and hentai crap, but more recently, I’ve been really impressed as they’ve added more and more classic titles to their catalogue.

In fact, I finally bought my subscription when they picked up a complete set of Cardcaptor Sakura, the inexplicably popular and undeservedly influential magical girl story from CLAMP about an innocent little girl trapped in a world full of perverts. But I’ll talk about that show and why I detest it with a passion at another time. Continue reading “FUNimation Partners with Crunchyroll”