Mixed Feelings About ANN’s Redesign

Yesterday the popular website Anime News Network launched a new layout scheme. The first thing visitors will notice is that what was previously in the left sidebar has been grouped into tabs in the upper right corner. This leaves the top and left parts of the website open for large-space advertisements such as the current and very noticable one for Coyote Ragtime Show. (ADV must have paid a nice sum for that spot.) Also the logo has been remade into a rectangular size and the elf girl (Jadress) who was sitting in the upper left corner has been ditched.
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Nodame Cantabile Vol. 1: “No-DUMMY!”

Reading it on and off for the couple weeks, I finally finished the first volume of Nodame Cantabile today. Just in time for me to pick up the next couple volumes and read them over winter break before the anime begins airing in mid-January. Might have to check out the live-action drama as well…

Anyway, this initial volume started out slow for me (perhaps that was due to the bite-sized portions I took) but then I started to warm to it halfway through, about the time Mine was introduced. A quick re-read assured me that I enjoyed it enough to move on to the next volume, ready to become slightly more cultured in classical music while reading in the same way I picked up things about art from watching Honey & Clover.
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Regarding Spoilers

One of the tenets of keeping peace within any anime club is making sure people who have previously seen the shows being screened do not talk about future plot points and effectively “spoil” the experience for those yet to watch them. Same rule applies for AMVs of shows being screened that use footage from as-of-yet-unseen episodes. The definitions of what is considered “spoiler” material differs from person to person but there seem to be underlying standards in classifying them. Although this type of jerkish behavior occurs in other media like movies or television, I think it’s due to happen more often with anime because different people watch fansubs/DVDs along a seemingly wider spectrum of time.
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Quick AnimeSuki Karaoke Stats and Stuff

I downloaded the entire AnimeSuki Karaoke Contest zip file last night and listened to it last night and this afternoon. Why? Because I’m an idiot! Actually the better reason is that I wanted to hear how everyone else who participated sang and discover songs I hadn’t heard before. What kinda sucks is that I started rating people on a 5-point scale but then realized before submitting my votes that it is actually based on a 10-point range. Ugh, now I have to go back and fix ’em. In short: mostly everybody sang better than I did except for the guy who made a nice mess of “Lonely in Gorgeous” and a couple other groaners. On the other hand, the guy who performed “X” was awesome!
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Tsuruya, Asakura Character Singles Review

It seems that every month brings another Haruhi-related music release and this week it’s the character singles of two prominent supporting characters. In fact, the next singles due to come out in January 24th will feature Kyon’s sister (#6) and Emiri Kimidori (#7). [The seiyuu for those characters are Sayaka Aoki and Yuri Shiratori, respectively.] Now, they’re starting to get deeper into minor character territory since Emiri was only in one episode I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) – the one where they fought the cockroach in the desert, “Mysterique Sign”. Also, I wonder if Kyon’s sister’s album will have “KYON’S SISTER” on the cover or “KYON NO IMOUTO”. Hopefully Aoki-san will use her everyday voice and not her acting voice when singing. Futhermore, there will be a drama CD with Haruhi and the gang that is also coming out on January 24th. Yep, the Haruhi CD single train ain’t stopping any time soon…
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J-Town December 2006: It’s Still There

Yesterday I went with the anime club to visit Japantown and had a pretty good time. The announced departure time was 9 o’clock but that was actually to get people to leave by 9:30. Three cars left from campus and one of them (mine) stopped in Vacaville to pick up someone who was a little late.
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My local Borders imposes manga reading time limit

The Borders bookstore in Davis recently put up the above signs along the shelves of their manga section. Apparently there is now a time limit of 10 minutes for reading manga. I didn’t attempt to test the system but I think it’s a “soft” limit. That is, Borders employees wandering around the store helping people might politely ask you to move along if they continually to see you sitting or standing there reading the same volume. I also didn’t bother to ask whether the 10 minutes starts over each time you pick up a different volume or an overall thing but I think it’s an overall period of time.

The timing of it coincides with the Christmas shopping season and the anticipation of more foot traffic, although I’m sure a number of complaints could have been another factor. Unlikely but still plausible. We’ll see if the signs stay up past January…

I want to know if this is an isolated phenomenon or if it’s happening across the country (or around the world). Has anyone else experienced a similar thing in their local bookstores recently? If so, is it limited to manga or do the advisories apply to the other sections as well?

Detective Conan J-Drama “Prologue Until Goodbye”

I finally got around to watching the Detective Conan oneshot J-drama this past Thanksgiving weekend and it made me realize how exaggerated the anime really is. For example, Mouri Kogoro’s passion was about as over-the-top in the drama as it was in the TV show. The special follows Shinichi’s final case before he gets shrinks into Conan Edogawa.
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The NPCs in Haruhi Have Names?!?

[via akibablog]

Last week, the second volume of H’s magazine was released and within its covers, many of Haruhi’s non-speaking classmates were named albeit in the form of “X-san”. I think the girl in the upper right is Hinata-san but I can’t make out most of the kanji due to the flash and compactness of type. Might have to snag a copy when I visit J-Town this weekend.

It’s nice that these characters were given some personality instead of just being written off as background decoration but I don’t think most people care except for those fans who are very detail-oriented.

Sing Like Nobody’s Listening…Except They Will Be!

This afternoon I submitted my entry into the sixth semi-annual AnimeSuki Karaoke Contest and reminded myself that I’m not that good of a singer. *sigh* I’m my own worst critic.

Anyway, I heard about this contest on Omo’s blog and decided to give it a shot. I don’t think I’m going to win but I had fun trying to find songs that (a) I have the instrumental versions of and (b) have a managable pace I could keep up with. The two tunes I settled on were “Puzzle” from NHK and “Hanabi” from Bleach. After initially planning to do both and submit the better-sounding one (or rather, the one that sucked less), I decided to just go with “Puzzle” and hope for the best.

If YOU would like to submit an entry, you have until November 29th midnight EST and your song should be full-length and come from an anime or game. The entries will be broadcast some time on Dec. 2nd via Shoutcast (check the thread for updates), people will vote on them and winners will be announced on Dec. 9th.

Oh, and if you want to hear my attempt, go ahead but listen at your own risk as you may experience eardrum trauma.