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Old 2009-08-17, 10:52   Link #141
Vexx
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For those who don't frequent the manga thread for AzuDa.... the author is re-releasing the series with his current style - much of the artwork is new/redone. Same strips, same gags - but with a style more like the current style he uses for Yotsubato. Its more rounded and has lost most of the angularity. He has also gone to a much thinner lighter stroke, not so many dark lines.

My opinion is that sometimes the new style works better and sometimes it doesn't. For example, when we initially meet Sakaki in the manga -- the dark lines really give her supposed glare presence... for me that gets lost in the redraw...

But anyway --> if you have any comments, swing your posts over to the manga thread. http://forums.animesuki.com/showthre...?t=4792&page=5
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Old 2009-08-17, 10:55   Link #142
Da~Mike
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
I've decided to rewatch my favorite shows and share I liked about them on an episode to episode basis. The second on my list is Azumanga Daioh, my favorite anime comedy (the first being Twelve Kindoms). I hope to cover about an episode a day.
That's a pretty detailed review for just the first episode!
Although the first episode of this great series was perhaps weak, I think it depicts the feel of the anime (and general slice of life story line to come) and, from what I remember from all those years ago, really drew people in to continue watching the series. And not because of some shamelessly employed "moe moe kyun" marketing ploy (yes Kyoto Animation and your K-On).

Well, I'll be keeping up with thread for now (and probably re-watch AzuDaioh when I can).

Last edited by Da~Mike; 2009-08-18 at 11:07. Reason: TYPO! ARGH!!
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Old 2009-08-17, 14:43   Link #143
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Originally Posted by andyjay729
Yeah, I kinda think LS was mainly intended as an otaku satire (esp. the anime), while Azumanga was more of a general high school satire.
A satire of a subject or a group is to make fun of it by exaggerating its follies; as such, I don't think that either Lucky Star or Azumanga Daioh intend to satirize its subjects. I don't really want to get too in-depth into Lucky Star, but it's really a big in-joke for otaku, and so it doesn't make fun of them. Azumanga Daioh, on the other hand, is so in love with High School (or more accurately, in love with the idea of High School as a conceptual mindspace) that it would be absurd to think that it's getting mocked.

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Originally Posted by andyjay729
Azumanga doesn't seem THAT old to me, but then I remember it's been 7 years now... Hard to believe. Well, I'd say that gives it something of a timeless appeal. A decade from now, will LS still hold the same appeal?
Lucky Star appeals only to otaku viewers, and so its automatically more constrained than Azumanga Daioh is. Even now, if a new school comedy is released, then it will be compared to Azumanga Daioh unless it bears a striking resemblence to one of: Lucky Star, Hidamari Sketch/Sketchbook Full Colors', School Rumble, or if it is some sort of romantic comedy (which is really in a different genre). Anything else will use Azumanga Daioh as a reference, which just speaks to its longevity.

The four factors that give Azumanga Daioh that longevity is perhaps also the reason why these other shows won't have it. They are: the evocativeness of the characters and situations (which I'll probably touch on in a post on a later episode), the twin struts of comedy and nostalgic mood (which I wrote about above), the accessibility of the humor, and a lack of topicality. Of the last two factors, both have to do with the fact that just about everyone has the potential to get the jokes without needing any special knowledge (aside from the Japanese cultural bits). This in turn increases the potential audience to the entire Japanese family - and by all accounts Azumanga Daioh was very popular when it first aired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx
For those who don't frequent the manga thread for AzuDa.... the author is re-releasing the series with his current style - much of the artwork is new/redone.
It's really too bad that I don't read manga . Still, who knows? Maybe we'll get an animated version of Yotsubato with the same staff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Da~Mike
That's a pretty detailed review for just the first episode!
Although the first episode of this great series was perhaps week, I think it depicts the feel of the anime (and general slice of life story line to come) and, from what I remember from all those years ago, really drew people in to continue watching the series. And not because of some shamelessly employed "moe moe kyun" marketing ploy (yes Kyoto Animation and your K-On).
Heh. I figured that since I already write a lot about shows that I like a fair bit and whatnot, why not write a lot about my favorites? Since I don't have to cover the OP and ED, and some of Azumanga Daioh's salient points, I imagine that the post length for future episodes will go down (although I get the feeling that the ones for Twelve Kingdoms will balloon ).

Oh, by the way, while I wrote that the first episode was on the weak side, I meant that it's weak in relation to the rest of the show. Taken on its own that episode still had more laugh-out-loud moments than any anime I saw in the last year or so. And that's even though I know every single one of the jokes (After all, who can forget Yukari stealing the poor kid's bike, or Sakaki getting bitten by Kamineko, or Osaka's utter failure to "get it together"?).
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Old 2009-08-17, 23:52   Link #144
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LS fans seem to be annoyed by people comparing Azumanga with that show. I think it's practially inevitable (yes, I'm a fan of both), right down to some character archetypes. Would you call Yomi a tsundere? (She's often compared to Kagami...and Tomo to Konata occasionally...) If so, does Azumanga predate mass usage of the term in anime and manga? Yomi certainly isn't as easily embarrassed as Kagami, but she does kinda let her cool and collected facade down a bit at the end,
Spoiler for azumanga daioh, final episode:
. And then when she's reading that brochure for the amusement park, she seems truly happy for one of the few times in the series. Of course we know what happens the next day...

Glad to see there's an Azumanga section at this site. I actually like comparing and contrasting these two "rival" shows, and I've written some crossover fanfiction stories.
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Old 2009-08-18, 00:38   Link #145
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I view L*S as one of the many descendants of AzuDa... I liked them both though I had some real problems with the anime adaptation choices KyoAni made (burying the show in anime-only cultural references, anime-only Lucky*Channel time budget burn, etc). Yes, these were the very things some folks liked -- I refer them to PaniPoniDash, a manga/anime replete in cultural references or even Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (more easter eggs than countable). I was just glad that AzuDa was released long before anime adapters had gone over-board in this kind of stuff.
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Old 2009-08-18, 11:15   Link #146
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Oh, by the way, while I wrote that the first episode was on the weak side, I meant that it's weak in relation to the rest of the show. Taken on its own that episode still had more laugh-out-loud moments than any anime I saw in the last year or so. And that's even though I know every single one of the jokes (After all, who can forget Yukari stealing the poor kid's bike, or Sakaki getting bitten by Kamineko, or Osaka's utter failure to "get it together"?).
Ah, that brings back memories.

What I forgot to mention in my last post was that compared to other anime pilots (or whatever you want to call the first episode), AzuDaioh's got me interested and made me want to watch more.
Lucky Star and Pani Poni Dash (mentioned above) on the other hand, put me off completely after the first episode. I laboured to watch through those shows with a friend who loves those series to bits (and doesn't share my tastes in anime at all it seems).

But yes, just like Vexx said, I'm glad AzuDaioh managed to avoid all the KyoAni crap and was animated by JC staff.
Haven't seen Zetsubou Sensei yet, though said friend above also loves that series, so I have my doubts...
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Old 2009-08-18, 13:22   Link #147
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You pretty much have to love "Where's Waldo?" types of things and perhaps a bit of Monty Python "spot the satire" for PPD & SZS (or the anime adaption of L*S). Both SZS and PPD are stuffed to over-flowing with references to japanese culture (pop and traditional), industry insider gags, fanbase memes, and the like. SZS in particular is satirical to the core - which means you're pretty much lost without some understanding of Japan's cultural subtext.
Both have funny moments that don't *require* such knowledge -- but those fans miss so much you wonder why they're wasting their time.
The manga L*S is much more simply human comedy type stuff -- I'm interested to see how fans of the L*S KyoAni-altered anime are going to receive the manga now that its in translation.

AzuDa is about 90% universal human comedy with a minor bit of Japan subtext (like the stereotypes of Kansai folks or the chronology of the japanese school year). The only problems I encounter when showing it to "newbies" are:
1) the pacing -- most people seem to used to 'bangbangbang' humor rather than the more leisurely humor of George Burns or the Marx Brothers that AzuDa has.
2) the surreal episodes -- those simply leave many people in a 'wtf was that?' mood.
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Old 2009-08-18, 16:10   Link #148
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Azumanga Daioh rewatch - Episode 2: Osaka's Day

I'm going to jump into the Azumanga post first as the Twelve Kingdoms one is running longer than I anticipated.

Main Cast
Mihama Chiyo - a cute 10-year old girl who has been advanced to high school because of her intelligence;
Kasuga Ayumu - a physically weak girl who is a bit slow, a bit clumsy, and who is prone to losing focus; known as "Osaka", her real name is quickly forgotten.
Takino Tomo - the hot-headed attention-seeker of the group; she's usually the one to get everyone else into trouble.
Mizuhara Koyomi - the straight-man of the group; known as "Yomi".
Sakaki - a tall, athletic girl whose shyness and love for cute things belie her appearance; known as "Sakaki-san".
Tanizaki Yukari - the homeroom and English teacher; she's impulsive and selfish.


Plot
Are you kidding me? This show doesn't have any . This whole episode just follows Osaka as she goes through a day at school, and nothing of note actually happens.

Instead, I'll just touch on a few of the prominent gags in the episode. The three that spring to mind are actually meta-gags as they are concepts that encompass entire sketches: Osaka's physical ineptness, the eye-bubble/cockroach incident, and hiccups. These are brilliant in both their simplicity and universality.


Gags
The physical gag is fairly straight-forward. Osaka is uncoordinated and has poor fitness, and so all of the jokes stem from that: she fumbles with soap while washing her hands, she's even slower than the 10-year old Chiyo in a race, and every time she tries to set a volleyball, it smacks her in the face. There's nothing special when these jokes are described, but in action, it comes across as much more funny - as it's the comic timing and the music that deliver the goods.

The eye-bubble gag is a lot more elaborate: during class, Osaka starts to look side-to-side, and bobbing her head. One of her classmates (the seldom-seen Chihiro) asks her what she's doing, and Osaka responds with "Do you know those little bubbles you see out of the corner of your eye? I'm following them." At once, this tells us just about all we need to know about Osaka, and it describes an activity that's easy to relate to. Later during the class, someone screams out, and the class discovers that there's a cockroach in the classroom. There's the standard bit of panic, and then Tomo goes overboard in killing it, but the bit that I notice more is that at the end of it, someone asks, "who screamed to begin with?" The show doesn't directly answer, but the screen cuts to a shot of Sakaki quietly looking out the window. The entire sketch ends with a shot of Osaka still following her eye-bubbles, completely oblivious to all the commotion.

The hiccup gag is just a classic: Osaka is given hot food, and she gets hiccups as a result. The hiccups don't go away, and so the girls use a bunch of different "cures" to try to get rid of it. This gag is so simple that I ended up watching it with someone who doesn't watch anime, and doesn't know either English or Japanese, but with a bit of narration, she still had no trouble getting the humor. The reason is obvious: everyone in the world has had hiccups and we've all tried to get rid of them at one point or another. Thus, it's remarkably easy to step into Osaka's shoes and to empathize with her. And here is one of the true strengths of Azumanga Daioh - not only do we get to enjoy what the characters go through, but their antics in turn are based on our own experiences and so they serve to remind us of our own inanities.

To compare, in the last sketch, Osaka makes a pun (english translation: "grains of truth"), but it doesn't work anywhere nearly as well. It's not because the pun is lame either (the pun was supposed to be lame to begin with); it's because of the lack of familiarity of the original meaning that a non-Japanese speaker brings to the equation. Osaka's later observations on Chiyo's pigtails is better because it doesn't depend on any kind of special knowledge.


Characters
Obviously, the character who stood out the most in this episode is Osaka. What we see is an extension of her character that showed up in the first episode, and the details are as amusing as they are insightful. The way that she focuses in on singular activities to the expense of all else is particularly telling; especially since we find out that this often happens because she's distracted by certain thoughts that don't come to other people. She tries to fit in at times, but she's doomed to failure because of how odd she is. Luckily for her, she has found a group of ready friends who have no problems with that.

We see a little from the other cast members, but the only one to stand out much in this episode was Sakaki. We see two different aspects from her: the cool and athletic girl that everyone else sees, and the girl who likes cute things - which is the way she sees herself. Her reaction to the cockroach is a great glimpse into the latter.


Overview
Episode 2 of Azumanga Daioh is a lot better than I remembered it being. Pretty much all of the elements of the show are present, and the chemistry between the characters is strong sooner than I expected. Already, the girls are starting to find their own niche although, as this was an Osaka-centered episode, there wasn't that much opportunity for them to shine.

As usual, the music for the show is just stellar - the individual pieces aren't much to listen to on their own, but they do a remarkable of accentuating the humor of the jokes and contributing greatly to the comic timings. If the scene of Chiyo and Osaka practicing volleyball had been absent the music (or if it had a less-fitting soundtrack), it probably wouldn't have been funny, but as it is, I can watch it all day.

Azumanga Daioh is a comedy, and comedies are judged primarily by how funny they are. This episode gave me more laugh-out-loud moments (at least 10) than anything other anime I've watched in a long time. This is certainly an episode I can come back to over and over again (admittedly, Azumanga Daioh is one of the most rewatchable anime ever made).
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Old 2009-08-18, 21:12   Link #149
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2) the surreal episodes -- those simply leave many people in a 'wtf was that?' mood.

Well, the surrealism is one of my favorite elements of Azumanga, especially since I'm from a family that loves our Escher, Gaudi, and Miro. Some of it can be a bit spooky, such as Osaka's scenes during the first beach trip episode. Remember how when she turns around it's like she's kinda rotating on a revolving pedestal, not visibly moving her legs (almost Exorcist-style)? And then later on she says some kinda weird things which are punctuated by the sounds of car horns and ambulance sirens, all with her never-changing, open-mouthed smile. When I first saw the anime, I honestly wondered if this is what it's like to be stoned. Just with the easygoing pacing, the kinda washed-out background colors, and eventually that episode that ends with them surrounded by clouds and laughingTAO. Yeah, people say that for a lot of weird anime, but I just had to wonder at times with this one. That's not a put-down, BTW.
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Old 2009-08-18, 21:21   Link #150
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"But yes, just like Vexx said, I'm glad AzuDaioh managed to avoid all the KyoAni crap and was animated by JC staff."

Yeah, and now, unfortunately, JC Staff has mainly moved on to Rie Kugimiya loli tsundere ventures. Hey, I think Rie is quite talented and dedicated, but you'd think she'd want to try something new and avoid rampant typecasting. Also, back in 2002, wasn't KyoAni still basically a contractor for Sunrise?

And correct me if I'm wrong (I just got this from hearsay), but is it true that Azuma-san didn't like Azumanga's anime adaptation (and is that why there won't be a Yotsuba anime)?

But seriously, I would like everyone's opinion. Do you think Yomi is a tsundere?
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Old 2009-08-18, 21:37   Link #151
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The AzuDai anime shines in its vocal cast. Almost every seiyu of the main cast is already a non-rookie when they took the role. Kudos to Matsuoka Yuki. Her Osaka is just weird XD.
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Old 2009-08-18, 22:00   Link #152
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Originally Posted by andyjay729 View Post
And correct me if I'm wrong (I just got this from hearsay), but is it true that Azuma-san didn't like Azumanga's anime adaptation (and is that why there won't be a Yotsuba anime)?

But seriously, I would like everyone's opinion. Do you think Yomi is a tsundere?
I've only heard that he doesn't think anyone can properly handle Yotsubato. Personally, I think he simply wants artistic control that perhaps the studios are loathe to give. I've not heard that he disliked AzuDa as such and if he did, I really can't see why as its probably one of the cleanest manga-to-anime adaptations I've ever seen.

I'm hesitant to label any of the girls.... they subvert the easy archetypes so much it would be misleading. I will say Yomi might trend towards the tsundere region.
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Old 2009-08-18, 22:02   Link #153
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Tension between the creator and the studio: cannot be underestimated, that.
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Old 2009-08-18, 22:14   Link #154
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
You pretty much have to love "Where's Waldo?" types of things and perhaps a bit of Monty Python "spot the satire" for PPD & SZS (or the anime adaption of L*S). Both SZS and PPD are stuffed to over-flowing with references to japanese culture (pop and traditional), industry insider gags, fanbase memes, and the like.
Bonus trivia: Pani Poni Dash exhibits the "Xanth syndrome": a number of the parody/reference bits were drawn from the fans. I have the feeling that that's pretty much where all that blackboard material came from.

One of the reasons that shows like this hold their power by rewarding viewers for their special knowledge. The degree to this can differ greatly though, and I have a great deal of respect where the pay off is lessened, but not by a great degree if the viewer doesn't catch the reference. One good example is the Haruhi "Age of Sagittarius" episode: the reward is greater if you caught the Legend of Galactic Heroes refences, but it's not greatly lessened otherwise. In the case of little or no pay off for not catching the reference, then I feel that it's punishment instead.

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
AzuDa is about 90% universal human comedy with a minor bit of Japan subtext (like the stereotypes of Kansai folks or the chronology of the japanese school year). The only problems I encounter when showing it to "newbies" are:
1) the pacing -- most people seem to used to 'bangbangbang' humor rather than the more leisurely humor of George Burns or the Marx Brothers that AzuDa has.
Exactly. Most of the people who say that they don't find Azumanga Daioh very funny do so because they don't like the comic timings and the use of repetition. For my money though, it's precisely what appeals to me, and I'd trade five solid laughs an episode for any number of zany jokes that only register a smile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
2) the surreal episodes -- those simply leave many people in a 'wtf was that?' mood.
I'm sort of in this category. It only really affected me in the dream episode, but I haven't watched it in years. I wonder if it'll work better this time 'round?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyjay729 View Post
"But yes, just like Vexx said, I'm glad AzuDaioh managed to avoid all the KyoAni crap and was animated by JC staff."

Yeah, and now, unfortunately, JC Staff has mainly moved on to Rie Kugimiya loli tsundere ventures.
JC Staff is a very diverse animation studio, having encompassed everything from Azumanga Daioh and Utena. Even recently, they're currently responsible for the excellent Aoi Hana and the wonderfully fun Taishou Yakyuu Musume. As some posters have said, it's perhaps more useful to track the work of individuals and creative staff teams than to do so on the basis of the animation studio.

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Originally Posted by andyjay729 View Post
And correct me if I'm wrong (I just got this from hearsay), but is it true that Azuma-san didn't like Azumanga's anime adaptation (and is that why there won't be a Yotsuba anime)?
While that rumor has been swirling around for a long time, I don't think that there's a lot of truth to it - there certainly hasn't been any supporting evidence. Azuma himself struck it down last December: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news...s-anime-rumors. A choice quote from the link:
Quote:
People have been asking Azuma about rumors that friction between him and the Azumanga Daioh anime staff is the reason why a Yotsuba&! anime has never been green-lit. Azuma emphatically states that the new rumors are false, and laughs at the notion that there is friction between him and director Hiroshi Nishikiori or voice actress Tomoko "Kane-Tomo" Kaneda (Chiyo). Still, he acknowledges it is not good to have two people competing for control of an anime production.
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Originally Posted by andyjay729 View Post
But seriously, I would like everyone's opinion. Do you think Yomi is a tsundere?
I don't think that it really matters. The term "tsundere"'s purpose is to serve as a shorthand; but Yomi never fit it very well. It's possible to call her a "tsundere", but you'd just end up spending more time defending that label than you would simply describing her character.

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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
The AzuDai anime shines in its vocal cast. Almost every seiyu of the main cast is already a non-rookie when they took the role. Kudos to Matsuoka Yuki. Her Osaka is just weird XD.
Absolutely correct. The quality of the voice acting is something I'll definitely address in a later episode.
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Old 2009-08-18, 22:21   Link #155
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Yeah, a studio has many teams, each with its strengths and faults. It's indeed better to look at the men behind the work than the studio.
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Old 2009-09-02, 17:34   Link #156
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Hey 4Tran, will you be posting any more detailed reviews on AzuDaioh?
That said, I haven't even looked for my AzuDaioh dvds... But I know they're around somewhere...
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Old 2009-09-04, 01:06   Link #157
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Sorry, I've been tied up mainly watching old films (criteria: must be good, and at least 20 years old), so it might be a while before I get back to my rewatch.
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Old 2009-09-04, 01:36   Link #158
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I have never posted in this thread before, but....

Azumanga Daioh will always have a special place in my heart. With one of the best cast of characters I have ever seen, it quickly become one of my all time favorites.

And god knows how much I love the opening!
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Old 2009-09-04, 02:37   Link #159
Vexx
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That lilting flute piece that sounds almost like a sea chanty (maya to ita Kisetsu?) is my default ring tone and has been for years...

Its great when it goes off and someone in the crowd gets that look of recognition...
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Old 2009-09-12, 07:53   Link #160
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Sorry, I've been tied up mainly watching old films (criteria: must be good, and at least 20 years old), so it might be a while before I get back to my rewatch.
No need for apologies mate. I truly understand what you mean by being tied up watching old films etc.
I've got heaps (as the Aussies would say) of dvds, books, games and other things that I simply haven't found the time to go through (despite buying more each year... ).

And yeah, the Azu opener is a tune that has remained in my head... Not because of especially love it... but it's probably an ear worm, or whatever they call tunes that are catchy enough to have you remember them vividly enough to hum/whistle it rather accurately.
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