More of a status update than anything. I've been idily watching Last Exile: Fam of the Silver Wing, the sequel to the original Last Exile series and a pale imitation of the original. The continuity between the two is very thin, running through only a few returning characters from the original show, specifically Alvis, Dio, and Tatiana. The best part of the show for me? The capital ship massive fleet battles are awesome to watch, as well as the Vanship dogfights. I'm also impressed with the heavy use of Russian dialogue for the Glacien nation soldiers in the English dub, and it makes me curious to find out how the Japanese original work handled them. But unfortunately I find the titular protagonist, Sky Pirate Fam, to be utterly insufferably annoying and naive. She falls into a category of annoying character archetype, the naive pacifist, that sometimes crops up in Japanese anime, and they usually ruin or do damage to any show that features them. I understand there's a strong strain of pacifism in the thought of post-war Japanese society, but it's an absolutist view I'm just not able to get behind. Sometimes the characters ideals get buffeted by the "real" world; Other times they win only by clumsy deus ex machina, which is the worst of all. Last Exile: Fam of the Silver Wing is incredibly clumsy and hard to follow in terms of actual plot, or at least I found it thus. I don't understand why the Augusta doesn't have a Regent ruling in her place until she attains the age of majority. That's how monarchies handle succession when a monarch dies before their eldest heir reaches adulthood. It makes no sense for a child to wield such absolute power. True, she is easily manipulated, but again, this makes for crazy divided loyalties. One minute she's unwittingly ordering attrocities, the next the Augusta is following a wayward General helping the rebel Turan princess because she's disgusted by the Federation's destruction of her own nation's best ships and soldiers in the invasion of Glacien, sacrificing them as front-line cannon fodder, mainly to insure the safety of Federation ships of the line from the central government. The politics are all jumbled, Fam is incredibly naive. The Turan princess, Millia, is basically a government in exile unto herself. Her sister retains the throne as a Quisling puppet of the Federation. Fam wants to help Millia, but doesn't want to shed any blood in doing so.
This series is okay, I guess, but it pales in comparion to its original, which had a much more clearer sense of its politics, the struggles, etc. Lavie was, admittedly, a pacifist in her own right, but she eventually just bowed out to let Klaus fight his own battles. I do understand that the second season takes place on a fictional Earth, while the original show was on an alien world. I do understand that Dio and Alvis have escaped to Earth, and apparently Tatiana has done so as well, picking up where her late captain left off and commanding the Silvanus, an obvious allusion to her former ship where she served as a vanship fighter pilot, the Silvana. Apparently Klaus and Lavie did not come to (fictional) Earth, as they are mentioned only in one flashback episode which splices together footage from the original series with Alvis and Dio serving as narrators, remembering. This entire episode was re-dubbed with the current FUNimation cast; there's not one bit of original dialogue used. Micah Solusod takes over from Johnny Yong Bosch in voicing Klaus (good call, as their performances are often very similar). Luci Christian takes over from Kari Walhgren in voicing Lavie, Tia Ballard takes over from Michelle Ruff in voicing Alvis, et. al. I suppose this was done partly for licensing reasons and partly for narrative consistency within the new story, replacing Michelle Ruff for Clarine Harp in voicing Tatiana, for example, and having Greg Ayres reprise Dio's lines instead of the original cast member.
I'm very nearly done with the series on streaming via FUNimation.com, which I watch courtesy of my Roku player. I do look forward to finishing, but I'm in no hurry to pick this one up on physical media yet. It is pretty, but I can wait for a S.A.V.E. edition. The price has come down from its original release, but not far enough for me to bite yet. I'm much more interested in picking up the Eureka Seven re-release and possibly Psychopass. The price on both of these has dropped even more and are very tempting acquisitions. I could watch the rest of Psychopass on streaming, but I like it so much I may want to outright own it, and the price is certainly right.
I did snap up the FUNimation re-release of the original Last Exile series, however. I used to own this series on DVD in separated volumes but sold them all ages ago.
I've also been picking up some recently price-reduced VIZ products that are no longer cutting edge releases in the wake of Neon Alley's radically sucky transformation. Shows like LaGrange and Accel World are surprisingly affordable now. The same cannot be said for the old school Neon Alley's ANIPLEX streaming titles, however, making me eternally grateful I got to watch all of the English dubbed versions of Magi and Fate/Zero via old school PS3 Neon Alley instead of buying them on DVD or Blu-Ray. Those two titles right there made my entire Neon Alley subscription costs worth it in the end. They remain insanely expensive and I'll be giving them a pass on physical media. Which is a shame because I would re-watch Magiagain, having fallen for the character Morgiana, voiced by Christina Vee. Those curves, that mysterious Egyptian eye makeup...Morj was the best.
I also plan to catch up on Fairy Tail one of these days, but I have other priorities at the moment for my anime watch list. I will certainly catch up on it sooner than I will, say, Bleach. I think VIZ has released maybe only one more box set than I currently own. It's not like I'm in any hurry there.
Meanwhile, I'm glad there are lots of new(ish) anime on Netflix, but it's mostly all stuff I've personally already seen or own on physical media myself. At present I'm working my way through only two series, Hero Tales and D Gray Man. They're moderately entertaining shows but kind of bland. They're not bad, they're just not particularly gripping and kind of *yawn* to think about.
I'm also enjoying Blue Exorcist on Toonami. They've finally caught up to and past where I left off when still watching it on old school PS3 Neon Alley. I'm also looking forward to setting my DVR next week to catch the premiere of the English dub of Attack on Titan, which I hope captivates a lot of new English language fans of this new hit series. I have Part 1 of the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack from FUNimation on pre-order.
Also on pre-order for myself, the new English dub of Toradora!which I eagerly anticipate. I also bought vol.6 of the manga to Toradora!which is the only one I've not yet read.
Still anticipating the release of Fred Gallagher's visual novel for Megatokyo but knowing Fred's usual release schedules, I don't expect to see this in my mailbox until Christmas at the earliest, whatever his promises are this week. He's just now getting the omnibus edition of his original manga published, also grossly behind schedule. I threw in support for his Kickstarter and kinda deliberately forgot about it.
Supposedly the Time of Eve movie that was a successful Kickstarter with an English dub will be sold to the general public after the backers get their copies, but so far I've not heard of any actual release dates, etc, yet.
I've also got a lot of manga on rotation from Interlibrary loan, but I don't always get to finish them as quickly as I'd like to. At times I'm forced to return them and re-request them at a later date when I run out of legal renewals.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately.