Apr. 27th, 2012 09:42 am
wombat1138: (spot)
Watched a fansub of Shin Kyoto Hen.

That was... heartbreakingly terrible. Not the fansub per se, the OVA itself.

Oh, all of the basic technical elements-- voicework, animation, music-- are very nice. But this thing has no dramatic pacing at all. It would be completely incomprehensible to anyone who isn't already familiar with the series, and sometimes I had trouble following what the heck was going on even though I know what's happening. It's not even a Cliffnotes version of the Kyoto Arc; it's more like a random clips version.

I can't believe this is what they're releasing after such a long gap in the franchise, when you'd think much the current aim would be to bring in new audience members with no previous exposure to the plot or characters.

(Also, Misao's pet pigeon made me scream in terror because Hatoful Boyfriend.)

I think the one thing I'll really enjoy remembering about this is a brief image of a Jizo statue with a red pinwheel and some purple irises in front of it. It was pretty, and a reminder of the first OVA.
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A few live-action set/prop pix.

I don't recall hearing any casting info about Sano or Megumi so far, but man alive, it'll be interesting to see a live-action version of the Kenshin/Sanosuke duel. It's weirdly weird to see the zanbatou scaled down to a more reasonable size, somehow.
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Yup, it's the ADV dub track.

...ADV went under? I had no idea. Though Wikipedia suggests that they're just undergoing strategic self-dismemberment, or something.

--and RightStuf has Utena back in print?! Oh, man. Must control otaku spending spree...

(*And* Kodansha is retranslating the Sailor Moon manga!)
wombat1138: (marker sketch)
Wow. WOW. I haven't even watched this disc yet, but I'm already overwhelmed by unboxing it. (yes I am a pathetic RK fangirl shoot me now) It got here from RightStuf this afternoon.

This appears to be a straight-out port of a Japanese-language disc in that all of the packaging is in Japanese, except for the discreet external addition of a text-only pamphlet that translates the illutrated insert booklet. The booklet is a slim little thing, but it includes concept sketches, character IDs (thankfully *not* including ADV's bogus claim that Okita was Saitou's apprentice-- sheesh), a few production notes, and an interview that actually does explain the bleedy Tomoe scene:

Q: In the storyboards, there's a note to the effect that "Tomoe becomes a horse" (i.e., Tomoe gets her period). I think it's somewhat rare for a woman to be depicted menstruating in animation. What made you decide to depict it?

A: Since "Trust and Betrayal" is a story about a man and a woman shedding blood, I thought it was necessary. It was an essential element of showing Tomoe's conflicted feelings toward Kenshin, and her emotions gradually getting the better of her. Normally, the daughter of a samurai family would never, ever betray her fiance.

Note [screenshot caption]: Tomoe endures abdominal pains in the toilet. In this era, a woman's period was called "the horse".

That's... a new idiom for me. I wonder whether they were also invoking the dreaded "fire horse" symbolism for her-- iirc according to canon, Tomoe was born in a Fire Horse year. The most recent Fire Horse year was 1966, in which there was a huge birthrate drop in Japan because no one wanted to give birth to a Fire Horse, especially a girl-- it's traditionally said there of Fire Horse women that they kill her husbands.

While Kiyosato and Kenshin might not personally agree with that, Tatsumi certainly did.

So I'm guessing that Aniplex may've completely redone the English translation for the subs, and it's possible that they haven't even bothered to license in ADV's dub track.

*jitter jitter*

Waiting for the wombat-consort to get home in case he wants to watch the disc too. Dunno if he will, but may as well ask.

Update, post-viewing: Nice disc is nice :)

Much smaller subtitle font than ADV used. The translation may've used theirs as a starting point, since a lot of the dialogue looks the same as I remember, but there also seem to be some signficant revisions in some scenes.

When loaded into the player, the disc automatically heads right into an all-chapter playthrough with Japanese dialogue and no subtitles. There is a menu, but I didn't see it until after the ending. The only "extra" I saw was a Japanese tv spot (no subtitles) for the first episode.

The credits music for the first two episodes remains the same, though the technicolor paper pinwheel is gone. (I miss the pinwheel.) In the last two episodes, the credits are hard-coded over the footage at the beginning or end, which was initially jarring but packed an unexpected punch for the final display of the voice credits for Kenshin and Tomoe. (It helps if you can recognize the name kanji.) No sign of English-language coding credits, interestingly-- there is an English dub track after all, but I didn't listen to it.

No direct comparisons to the DVD version until I have another chance to find that again and take a look. The Blu-Ray images are beautifully clear, though-- at the beginning just before the bandit attack, the little flowers in the grass freeze-frame into perfectly shaped petals. Kanji in the background are so sharp-edged and readable that I honestly can't remember ever having seen them before-- maybe they were added in? Just before Kenshin first sees Tomoe on the street, there's a "snow" yuki on the wall behind him; later when she's asking him out for a date, the "night" yoi is on his room's lintel over the screen.

...oh, and in the translated interview booklet, the director says that the reason he had Tomoe deliberately cut Kenshin's face is because that's what Watsuki said would happen; when the director finally read the end of that manga arc, his reaction was, "Hey, that's not what you told me on the phone!"


Aug. 1st, 2011 11:27 am
wombat1138: (Default)
Old news from a month back, but I missed it earlier-- finally, confirmation and more details of the Kenshin live-action film(s?) initially rumored last year.

Kaoru's been cast too.
wombat1138: (Default)
The RKDreams forum is glitching again; cut'n'paste storage of non-posting reply.Read more... )
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Note: the reason I consider this a crackpot theory is that however delightful it is to see all of these historical details falling into place around it, I doubt very much that Watsuki or the animators deliberately researched them or even consciously had them in mind. IMHO it's just my own attempt to fill in Kenshin's early background with a personal fanon that makes sense to me. (I don't have a personal religious stake in this; although I was raised vaguely Catholic, I bailed before Confirmation and ended up with the firm conviction that if there is a God, he apparently decided that I would be a better person if I didn't believe in him.)

Over the weekend, I spotted and snapped up an actual physical copy of the Whelan book I'd found through Google a while back, and had mentioned in this earlier entry. It's a translated and annotated compilation of the Bible via Kakure Kirishitan communities on Kyushu, the southernmost major island of Japan.

It's... a very odd document. It was originally seeded near the beginning of the Tokugawa regime by Catholic missionaries from Portugal, sometimes struggling to convey certain words, names, and concepts to their Japanese converts; these converts and their families then passed down the stories by oral tradition over the next few centuries. Whelan spliced about ten different versions together into a single continuous narrative, which is still surprisingly brief and covers only the most major events in the Bible.

The book provided several new Google keywords for me to pursue, leading to this site of independent research about the Kakure Kirishitan traditions. There's a lengthy page of interview transcripts; this section is particularly intriguing. It's about a church that was built by one of those traditional communities after Christianity was decriminalized.Read more... )
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Yeah, still chasing my madder/Himura/etc. crackpot theory as per this earlier entry. This would be a lot easier if I had any grasp of geography :b but at least things seem to be narrowing down a bit. Maybe.

On the guess that Shinta's family might've been hinin-caste hidden Christians, that would probably place them somewhere near Nagasaki, which is in Nagasaki Prefecture on the west of Northern Kyushu. Wikipedia (yeah, I know) currently states in its "akane" article that "[t]he original Hinomaru flag was dyed from using madder from Akane town in Fukuoka Prefecture", although this isn't backed up by the main "Flag of Japan" article-- and so far I'm not seeing any other refs to the *existence* of a so-called "Akane town" in the region. *headdesk* Read more... )

Addenda: some interesting book leads, though I'll have to figure out how to request most of them through interlibrary loan unless I can find affordable copies (except for the Whelan, AddAll can't find anything less than $100)--

Higashibaba Ikou. Christianity in Early Modern Japan: Kirishitan Belief and Practice.

Turnbull, Stephen. >The Kakure Kirishitan of Japan: A Study of Their Development, Beliefs and Rituals to the Present Day

ibid. Japan's Hidden Christians, 1549-1999

Whelan, Christal (translator). The Beginning of Heaven and Earth: The Sacred Book of Japan's Hidden Christians.
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I started on this doujinshi last year when I got a paper copy, but then slacked off; since scans are now available, I figured I might as well finish up.

The title seems to be a pun: it's a pair of kanji in which the first one means "linger, remain behind" etc., and the second one is the same as Kaoru's name (but obviously using a different pronunciation in this context.)

Kaoru's name literally means "fragrance"; there are a number of other kanji with the same meaning which can also be used to write a personal name with the pronunciation "Kaoru". One of these others, in conjunction with the title's first kanji, is part of the standard two-kanji compound ikou: the traces of personal scent left behind by prolonged contact, esp. on clothing or bedstuff, and this concept certainly plays a role in setting up the story.

So far, I can't think of any way to translate the title that directly preserves both aspects, i.e. the abstract concept of fragrance as well as a direct personal reference to Kaoru. "Scent of a Woman", maybe?Read more... )


Jan. 24th, 2009 07:02 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
(Cut for spoilers.)

1.) Finished Okami earlier this week, though I missed several things in the game. Most of it was minor stuff like Stray Beads here and there, but apparently I managed to accidentally skip Read more... ) (As a future trivia reference, 大神 (ゲーム).)

2.) Finally managed to semi-confirm a theory about a minor detail in a Yamaguchirow doujinshi, specifically Read more... )

Meanwhile, making slow progress with the hana-kotoba book, though not in a very organized way. If I'd thought this out more clearly, I would've divided the translations into individual index cards for each entry, instead of just sequentially jotting things down into a notebook; this is especially obvious when considering the long list of flower names transcribed from the table of contents, and then the separate list of add'l info from the book proper. Oh well.
wombat1138: (spot)
Some possible sociological background for Shinta's gravedigging volunteerism and choice of tombstonesticks, excerpted from this discursion on the "untouchable" undercastes of Japan:
Much like day laborers in modern Japan, those who were marginalized ended up doing the “3-D” jobs (dirty, difficult and dangerous) that society needed done but which nobody wanted to do. One such job was the disposing of dead bodies — a particularly “defiling” task. (And in the context of that ancient worldview, there was thus a second level of “3-D” — defiling, demeaning and despised!)

These marginalized [persons] were further categorized into two separate groups that later became known by the very derogatory terms of “hinin” (非人), literally “non-human,” and “eta” (穢多), literally, “defilement abundant.” The first basic distinction to be made was that between the disposal of the carcasses of dead animals and the bodies of dead humans, since the latter involved rituals of mourning and dignified burials. “Kiyome” who specialized in the handling of dead humans were the group from which the “hinin” category developed, while those that dealt with dead animals became the “eta.” Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
Managed to score a copy of the modern-AU sequel-- zoku just means "sequel/continuation". Hoping for it to show up in the mail within the next week or three. Interestingly, one summary describes it as Kiyosato/Tomoe as well as Kenshin/Kaoru, and iirc the initial set of modern-dress sketches (in Sakuragari?) did include versions of the first couple, so that'll be nice to see if they're in there. There is some brief Kiyosato/Tomoe (or in stricter parallelism, Akira/Tomoe) Bakumatsu-era smut in an earlier Yamaguchirow volume (and I think some portions of the non-smut "Violently Happy" series which I haven't seen), but I don't recall which one offhand, and (one would hope) ZKG will show them in a less tragic context.
wombat1138: (Default)
This story takes up most of the doujinshi "Saikai", printed in 2000; there are various short minicomics and other extras scattered around it, but I don't have any plans for those so far. According to the teeny page numbers nearly buried in the spine, "Still More" runs from pages 10-36.

Current progress: done(ish).

(Hmm. Weirdly, I seem to've shifted over to finding hi-res scans *easier* to work with than paper copies, esp. for tracking the aforementioned "refinements"... downloaded a scan set of "Saikai", but for really teeny blobs of kanji, the paper copy is the only way to go, and I really do need the handwriting practice.)

Meanwhile, I've found a scan set for the original "Hama" (Yamaguchirow's first IY/Kagome doujin), but most of the pages are only ~50kb and I may not be able to read them (esp. the handwritten bits). Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
(Yeah, I know, I still haven't gone back to patch up "Ikun", or for that matter several other translation projects that've been left hanging. I have bad followthrough :b )

Finally got to move my computer back upstairs near my reference books. Not sure how well I'll be able to handle this doujinshi, since I only have scans. Also, despite this circle's lovely canonesque artwork, I have to say up front that I'm not very enthusiastic about this project, based on a preliminary flipthrough revealing an unfortunate trope (generally absent from Yamaguchirow) of borderline rape as Kaoru gasps out "It hurts!" during the height of the proceedings. I really, really hate that.

(Addendum: Hm. It may be another defloration story, which mitigates that a bit. But it still bothers me.)

('Nother addendum: Okay, on even closer examination, he is being very careful to keep checking if she's really okay with everything. Very tender dialogue, though (imho) the artwork isn't quite as expressive as Yamaguchirow's wide range of facial expressions from abject slapstick to sweaty passion.)

Does anyone know if the background scenes near the start are taken straight from Watsuki? The original scans were downloaded from here, should interested parties need them.

progress:essentially done; still mopping up some of the background/extras )
wombat1138: (Default)
Sparked by a thread over on RKDreams, whose general inability to display kanji makes this particular discussion unnecessarily difficult. Also, can be an otaku's best friend.

The name of the Aoiya, the Kyoto inn run by the remnants of the Oniwabanshuu, is written 葵屋, as shown by two different placards at the bottom of page 152 in volume 9; like the similar signs in front of the Akabeko and Shirobeko, the original horizontal layout uses the "reversed" right-to-left order that was common before WWII or so. It does not use the same ao kanji as Shinomori Aoshi's name 四乃森 蒼紫, as shown on pp 78 and 80 of the "Profiles" book in modern left-to-right order. snipped for excessive blather )
wombat1138: (Default)
This is the first doujinshi I've bought since last summer-- wow, my copy from eBay got here fast ^_^

Probably won't start the transcription process for a while, but I did some preliminary kanji lookups last night, which reached up through the first natural resting-point in the festivities. (And I was right about the sideways pun with ikou, which refers to the sensuous, lingering trace of someone's personal scent in their clothes or pillow.) I'll be darned, Yamaguchirow's gone back and done another defloration story, though that doesn't explain why Kaoru and Kenshin started the story by waking up nekkid with each other-- it's not a frame-tale flashback, since the dialogue proceeds in a strictly linear fashion from there.

There's an unusual degree of EXTREME CLOSEUPS. Not that that's a bad thing :D and it's balanced at the other end with really lovely facial nuances, although the dramatic pacing sometimes seems a bit off-- certain stages only have a single small panel to represent what should logistically be a more protracted action. And actually, I don't think it's completely clear what *does* happen just before this first intro?intermission. Perhaps subsequent dialogue will clear things up. Or not.
wombat1138: (Default)
Evidently this is the RK from the latest Comiket last month; not much info about it yet except for the pix I've seen in eBay/Yahoo auction listings. Title: 遺薫 , translated by Babelfish as "Leaving behind Kaoru" (eek!)Read more... )
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Possible connection: During the Tokugawa era, it was commonplace for prostitutes to use sticks of incense to track the amount of time a client spent with them; the sticks were calibrated to burn for a set number of minutes.

This still doesn't nec'ly match up with the traditional kneaded baika plum scent that was kneaded into solid lumps and heated over charcoal, rather than being burned. Or pinpoint the social implications of hakubaikou, if it was considered to be sexy without being plastered all over every (or even any) whore in Kyoto.

The same webmaster also has an excerpt from Lafcadio Hearn, to which he's added the footnote "dZuko probably either refers to a dry incense powder called Zuko today which is rubbed on the hands or body for religious ceremonies. It is likely this evolved from the Chinese and Indian 'Incense Waters' (see Bedini - Trail of Time - pg. 26) Incense waters were herbs and powders mixed with water for cleaning and cooling the body."

Will have to track down more about "incense waters".
wombat1138: (Default)
(wrt Tomoe's mirror in RK, again) I thought I'd remembered seeing this somewhere, but wasn't entirely sure until I looked it back up again-- as with their family crests, women of the samurai class passed on their mirrors through matrilineal inheritance, from mother to daughter and thus generally from one patrilineal family to another. A woman could also use a husband's or father's crest, but was not required to do so.Read more... )

Addendum: OMG. Enishi's glasses aren't just a random artistic fillip by Watsuki; they're actually accurate to the place and period. (I don't think that eBay item is going to sell real soon, but I've saved the pic to my own archives for later relinkage.) From the description:
Chinese, mid 19th century, unsigned. The lenses are made of 2 1/16" diameter x 3/32" thick colorless optical quartz, mounted in a decorative cast brass rimless frame with folding ear pieces. [...] The lenses have no correction and were designed to be worn as a fashion accessory. See Chapter 7 in J.W. Rosenthal's "Spectacles and Other Vision Aids" on the Development of Chinese Spectacles.

The cited text is partially available on Google Books here, with more pix.
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From rewatching the first half in the middle of the night.Read more... )


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