Archive for January 6th, 2008

In today’s episode, Marina learns a valuable lesson about being a head of state in a volatile country

Poor Head-of-State-chan. :(

Marina is quite a good character, when I think about it–she’s soft-spoken, and you wonder how on Earth she got to be Princess of Azadistan. She’s one of those people that sticks up for what is right, but, because she’s the head of state, just can’t catch any slack. She totally wouldn’t make it as an actual head of state in the real world, but in Gundam-land she’s an effective character. No matter how hard she tries to bring opposing people together, she just can’t do it–human emotions flare far too easily, and, since she’s so timid, she beats herself up for failing to succeed. It’s the fate of all people who have the ability to see both sides of a conflict, and the futility of the situation that, even if someone who’s clearly reasonable and willing to compromise is in power, peace is a far-fetched option. Of course, that’s why Celestial Being is fighting–to create a one-sided peace that exists solely because if it doesn’t, the Gundams rain destruction down upon you until you stop. As many of the characters have pointed out, it’s a non-solution that’s just as bad as any police state.

Setsuna is still pretty personality-less, although every time he bumps into Marina he seems to get +2 personality. Perhaps he’ll level up before then. Mizushima has already said that the seemingly personality-less Gundam Meisters are going to get fleshed out before the end of the first season. We’ve already started to see a bit of that, but the season’s only halfway through its run.

Next episode looks pretty fun, too. Someone has a different Gundam! Or a fake one. Or something. And then they die. Or something.

Del Rey and the Growing Light Novel Market in America

I’m sure all interested parties have heard that Del Rey, a division of Random House, has licensed a couple of light novels, including the award-winning mystery/fantasy series Zaregoto. I can’t help but think that, as both an anime fan and a novel fan, the growing trend towards licensing light novels is incredibly awesome.

I remember back about three/four years ago when the news first broke than Tokyopop was releasing the Love Hina novel (why on Earth anyone would want to read a novel version of Love Hina is beyond me, you’re missing out on all that Akamatsu Ken fanservice) and thinking “Huh, novels.” Then the Crest of the Stars novel series got licensed, and (since I already knew beforehand that the anime was based on the novels) I was condiserably more interested. And then, just recently, Tokyopop and Seven Seas have both stepped into the fray and licensed a whole chunk of interesting titles like Kino no Tabi and Boogiepop. I haven’t had a chance to even buy many of these, unfortunately, and I probably should, as I really would like to see more novels of this sort translated over into English.

Viz is also breaking into the novel publishing industry–I read their version of Brave Story earlier this year, and it was quite well-done. I picked up Socrates in Love (Sekai no Chushin de Ai o Sakebu) and their re-issue of Dragon Sword & Wind Child yesterday. I’ve always avoided Japanese author released in America as the ones that tend to make it over here are the literary snob types (Murakami Haruki, although I read Sputnik Sweetheart and it was nice, if not particularly spectacular), but Viz has been pulling in more popular fiction from Japan, which I can only see as a plus.

And, now, Del Rey has taken off the gloves and entered the fray, ready to come out swinging. Del Rey’s always been a publisher who had the money to be able to take risks–when you publish powerhouses like Star Wars novels, you can probably afford to pick up weird titles that other publishers turned down, and then act surprised when they turn out hits (*cough*His Majesty’s Dragon*cough*). So, really, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them starting to pitch Zaregoto not only to their manga readers, but also their fiction readers. If they’re successful, we may have a whole new door open up for us in light novels–one wherein both otaku and novel readers can create a new market all by themselves. I’d love to see a strong light novel market in the States, as who doesn’t want a combination of anime and books? Unless, of course, you hate one or the other. You’re weird.


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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January 2008