Monthly Archive for February, 2008

[Ascaloth] True Tears, Episode 8

You know, these True Tears articles aren’t the easiest things to write. For one thing, unlike CLANNAD (TV) whose window of opportunity for viewing opens most conveniently on Fridays, the one for this series tends to open earliest on Monday; for a university student, to say that is an inconvenient timing would be a great understatement. Secondly, unlike CLANNAD (TV) whose frequent comedic moments allow me to cut loose with my own supply of fail gags, the relatively serious approach taken by this series forces me to, in turn, take a relatively serious approach to writing about it; not exactly my strongest point, if I may say so myself.

Therefore, despite the fact that I only publish articles twice a week on average (and somehow managed to be the most regular poster on RIUVA for the past week or so despite that, but I digress), just covering CLANNAD (TV) and  True Tears alone is quite a bit of a stretch for me. I could easily cut my online workload by half just by dropping this series; I know what you are wondering, "why don’t you stop whining and do just that, jackass?"

Well, the answer to that is simple. True Tear‘s amazing story has just been heckuva worth all the trouble so far.

True Tears, Episode 8

Taking off from the previous episode, where Aiko makes her desperate play with her great wet smacker, Shinichiro reacts by finally manning up for once, and delivering the KO line to Aiko. Finally, he does something right for once, even if it took a for-real no-shit smooch for him to finally catch on. Guys who lead girls on are amongst some of the lowest, but thankfully Shinichiro managed to avoid sinking so low.

Unfortunately, it means the game is over for Aiko, just like that. It’s cruel, but it has to be done. Down to Hiromi and Noe now.

Come to think of it, I’ve never really understood the point of Aiko being there in the first place. It has almost been Noe and Hiromi from the very start; Aiko has never had anywhere near the kind of special relationship with Shinichiro that the other two girls had, and even worse, it didn’t seem like she contributed very much to the story, either. Whereas Hiromi has been the source of Shinichiro’s angst, while Noe has been his muse, I have no idea what kind of special significance she has had to Shinichiro apart from being, like he said, osananajimi onee-chan de, Miyokichi no kanojo de. I’m sure lots of Ai-chan fanboys would disagree vehemently with me (on top of gutter-voting this article like they did my previous True Tears ones, but I digress), but that’s just how it is.

Oi, oi!!! Sleeping in the damned chicken coop?! Don’t you know how freakin’ filthy it is in there?! Not to mention that chicken who could poke out your eye at any time…

One down, two to go. Right now, the momentum seems to be shifting towards Noe, what with Shinichiro spending most of his time with her due to Hiromi’s revelation and his devil’s deal with Jun and all. Which leads me to my next point; apologies to Crusader-kun, but I’m on the Hiromi side on this one. Noe just isn’t my type of girl.

I don’t know when I first started to prefer the gentle, soft-spoken type as opposed to the weird hyper-genki type, but it probably goes back at least as far as the Kanon (2006) days; yup, Nayuki shipper here as well. Putting that aside, what has been particularly interesting about True Tears are the factions it has created within the viewership, splitting them into three fanclubs for each girl. What is less amusing, however, is how because of that, numerous opinions all amounting to "oh crud, if any girl other than mine wins, this show sucks" have been floating around. Granted, it’s not exactly a phenomenon limited to this show; it happens in any show with more than one possible romantic interest, even when the show in question had been more about just "which girl wins in the end". But sometimes, when shows like this and CLANNAD (TV) are obviously more than just about mere "harem", it may be a better idea to think about the implications underlying the story rather than keep harping on "she doesn’t deserve the guy, what a wench". For me, it’s similar to the way Crusader thinks; I’m pro-Hiromi, but I wouldn’t begrudge a Noe ending either if it could have been quite meaningful either way it happened.

To be honest, I’m not too sure what I should think of the Nakagami mother these days; I’m still as tempted as ever to dismiss her as a bitch, but on the other hand, nowadays I’ve developed an appreciation of her situation as well. Sure the way she’s been treating Hiromi is not excusable in any sense of the word, but on the other hand, it must not have been easy for her either, having to live every day with a reminder of what could possibly be the infidelity of the Nakagami father. Even if it’s not actually infidelity, another theory is just that she’s possibly insecure about being "second choice" in the Nakagami father’s eyes when compared to Hiromi’s mother; in any case, we’re still not sure what her reason is for being such a bitch to Hiromi, but what I’m pretty sure about is that there is a reason. It may not be a very good one, but most likely there is one.


"Sis-con."

Nice shot, Hiromi-chan!!! ^_^

With that, we’re left in no doubt as to Jun’s real feelings, if there was ever much of it in the first place.

Well yeah, so she did win the basketball bet, but still, surely telling her straight out like that isn’t going to make her too happy, would it? I don’t have to be a girl to understand that, even if Hiromi was probably just asking the question to confirm what she had already deduced….no, you know what, you shouldn’t even have made that deal in the first place. I can’t say I like Jun any more than I did at the start, maybe even less than before. Even if it’s to make sure he doesn’t succumb to his sis-con, there’s just something unethical about screwing around with other people’s emotions to achieve one’s goals.


"You managed to capture Shinichiro’s heart so easily with that innocent face of yours. It’s impressive."

I said earlier that I’m starting to develop an appreciation for Shinichiro’s mother’s undesired situation, and this is part of why that is so. Hiromi proves that she’s no better in the former’s shoes; she’s still human enough to let jealousy control her tongue. It’s pretty scary; are females so easily swayed by this emotion?

And with the discovery of the burned photo of her family urging her to leave the Nakagami household, Hiromi makes her exodus riding pillion on Jun’s motorbike…and just so happens to go right past Shinichiro and Noe. From his reaction, it’s clear that even though he rejected Aiko without a second thought, Shinichiro still has some feelings for Hiromi; what he’s thinking upon seeing her riding into the night with Jun, nobody knows, but I guess it can’t be all that great.

Next Episode Preview


"Oh, shi-. Hiromi, don’t!!!!"

However much of a cliffhanger the last few seconds of the episode might have been, it didn’t compare to this particular scene; everybody’s talking about where Hiromi is stripping off, who she’s stripping off in front of, and what the context of it all was. So what exactly is happening here?! That’s something we wouldn’t know till next week, so stay tuned!

As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s been a lot of talk revolving around "if my girl didn’t win, this show sucks"; it’s something that I should have seen coming, true, but IMO that doesn’t make such opinions any less misguided. However, True Tears is one of those shows that’s about more than just three girls fawning over one guy; frankly, if that was all there really was to this series, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place. There’s just so much more about this show that’s worth talking about, and Shuffle! type fan-boying just kind of cheapens the whole discussion. I can’t stop these guys, but well…

In any case, with Aiko seemingly out of the picture for good, only Noe and Hiromi are left. While the momentum lies with Noe, I can’t help but feel that there are going to be more twists; it’s what this show has been particularly good at delivering after all, and I’ve got the feeling that a Noe-centric twist is just around the corner. However, before that happens if it ever, we have that suggestive Hiromi scene in the preview; what is that all about, and what will that mean in the end?

True Tears is one of the few shows that keeps me wanting more every week, and that’s a pretty great achievement, especially from a studio making its debut. Ascaloth, out.

[LianYL] Singapore’s First Seiyuu Course

It might not be the first voice training course in Singapore, but it certainly is the first voice training course to be advertised as a seiyuu course in Singapore. 77 Star Pte Ltd recently started a seiyuu course which comprises of a 3-month period of numerous one-hour sessions. The course is conducted entirely in English.

According to their site: “The Animation Master Voice Actor Course is not just for aspiring talents in the animation industry, this is also [a] grooming programme for narrators, radio DJs and other related vocations. This programme adopts the ‘step up’ method of instruction that enables students to progress at their own pace. This makes it possible for students to acquire all the necessary skills for becoming a voice actor.”

A bunch of people actually signed up after their advertising at a local cosplay convention and zer0 contacted me to see if I was interested in going down to take a look at what was going on. To be honest, I was really skeptical. Saturdays are great for stoning at home for a good day’s rest and waking up at 12pm wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. However, zer0 suggested for some dim sum after the interview so I obliged. He would, as usual, pay for the dim sum secretly and make me accept his treat by default. It’s probably some student welfare thing he practises.

In any case, we arrived there with windbell, the photographer, acting like seasoned journalists and waited for the course to commence. It wasn’t hard to identify which room the students were in, judging from the weeaboo sentences flying about. Sorry to burst that bubble, but the course is in English, guys. Keep it real.

The teacher, Keith, soon arrived, introduced himself as a singing teacher and gave his students some topics to talk about – A funeral speech, a holiday package sales pitch, a boxing match commentary and an election speech. He later shifted his focus to ‘Diction’ and touched on the various errors in English pronunciation caused by the influence of American English. As the lesson progressed towards the half-hour mark, the students started getting rowdier and noisier. This brought back really bad memories of the time I did relief teaching whereby I ended up yelling at my pupils before they actually sat down quietly in fear. Keith, however, wasn’t exactly affected, to which I wonder how much of his points really got across to the students. It didn’t help that some dick was constantly cracking dirty jokes in a class of mostly girls. Yes, Dick, I am quite sure you “CAME” on your witty comments. Interesting to note that this particular dick actually sounded a lot like Tsubaki from ADD, too bad he isn’t half as mature.

I noted that some students clearly had a certain level of voice training before this course and were happily flouting their skills before everyone; you know, like the kind of students in your class who refuses to shut his gap and eventually incurs the hate from everyone. When ignored, these people start talking to themselves in their weird tones. The session was clearly overtaken by two skilled but weird guys who really weirded me out.

After the class, I had a short interview with Keith and he seems to already know what I was intending to ask.

Keith, awesome singing teacher

He quickly asked if my first question was going to be about the relation between singing and voice acting. I nodded.

He answered, “I am a singing teacher and I train people to have good voices. In this case, I wouldn’t call myself a singing teacher, but more of a voice trainer. What I aim to do is to build firm voice foundations by giving the students various exercises. For example, I gave them some breathing exercises the week before.”

 

When asked about how he manages his enthusiastic students, he said, “I believe that an informal class setting actually promotes the learning experience. Students should speak up more in class, as you should have noticed just now that one of the students could constantly change his voice tone (LianYL: Yeah, I noticed that dude. He irritated me to no end). That is actually good practice. Through various assessments, I also verify the English levels of my students and correct their grammar problems. By the time this Level 1 course is done, I expect them to be as good as the newscasters you see on TV.”

 

“What is the age range of your students?”, I asked.

“They are very young, 16-26. Voices are good to train even in the twenties.”

What I really wanted to verify was the reason for the extreme display of weirdness.

 

“What do you think of the constant interruptions?”

“It is a good sign. Students should grasp every chance to practise their voice acting skills.”

That ended my short interview with Keith, who later revealed to me that he’s the singing teacher of some popular local Chinese singer Kevin Tan. I don’t exactly pay attention to the local scene so I was stunned for a while.

 

I conclude that the course is rather worth the time as I myself learnt quite a bit of stuff from that short 1-hour lesson. Keith is a great teacher and adopts a very open attitude toward his students, not to mention that he is very professional as well. Whether or not you will benefit from his lessons will highly depend on yourself and who you classmates are. However, if you’re looking for a Japanese seiyuu course, you might want to look elsewhere as this class is conducted fully in English.

For interviews with the students and more pictures, you could visit zer0′s and windbell’s site.