This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
L O G O
H E R E
I S S U E
J A N U A R Y
2 0 0 9
HIGHLIGHTS: *ANIME FESTIVAL ASIA 2008! *10TH HONG KONG ANIME, COMICS AND GAMES CONVENTION *AND MUCH MUCH MORE!!
Graphite 2008 was over and done. Find out why you should be a part of this nationwide competition as well!
Cover Art by: Julianna Designed by: Claude
P AG E
C OV E R S TO RY : G R A P H I T E 2 0 0 8 ! I N E V E RY I S S U E
3 4 26 28 WORDS FROM THE EDITOR WORDS FROM OUR PRESIDENT WTF IS GOING ON IN OUR CLUB!? OUR AFFILIATES
F E AT U R E A RT I C L E S
COVER STORY: GRAPHITE 2008 10TH HONG KONG ANIME, COMICS AND GAME CONVENTION 2008
18 19 22 24 SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN NOGIZAKA HARUKA NO HIMITSU BLOOD ALONE PERSONA 4 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
MANGA S O U NDT R AC K
P AG E
Words from the Editor
Greetings! If you are reading this, it means the many sleepless nights of the members of publishing subcommittee compiling this newsletter together has paid off. Happy 2009 everyone! Last year had been a stellar year not only for me but for many other club members as well. Not only had we managed to successfully organize yet another Anime Bazaar, we had managed to push new heights with Graphite by having our prize presentation ceremony held alongside Singapore’s very own Anime Festival Asia 2008. With a second semester in AY08/09 to go, I feel we can look forward to more incredible things from the club such as more awesome gatherings, and a bigger and much more improved Anime Bazaar, and Graphite 2009! Issue #2 of the club newsletter aims to set the foundation right for future issues which may lead to actual print runs. To this end not only have we set out to change the way we organize the newsletter as a whole, we have actually went back to the drawing board and reinvented it! Look closely and you can find small little strips of blue, with a picture and some names and designation beside it. This is actually a new concept we are developing, whereby we merge the club’s media avenues as closely as we can. The pictures used in the blue strips are actual display pictures of the respective members in the club forum itself, and the blue color, whilst seemingly out of place in the predominantly orange and red template of the newsletter, is actually the default theme color of the forum. We even have an entire section dedicated to happenings in the club, including the forums! That is of course, only one of the many changes we have made in this issue. If you are looking at Issue #1 right now you will immediately notice a change in focus, with a clearer structure, and some regular columns established, with a greater focus on the people around us and the events happening locally and internationally. We continue to build on this structure to further improvise this newsletter. In addition, we welcome you to visit us in our forums to provide us with feedback and let us know what you are happy and unhappy with about this issue. We are always willing to listen and work closely with our readers to improve! I personally hope you enjoyed this issue of the club newsletter. Everyone has put in a lot of hard work into it, including people not officially in the club itself, as we have even received contributions from NUS Comics Corner, and we would like to thank each and everyone of them for putting in so much work and making this a success. If you’d like to work with us on our future issues, simply visit us at our forums and post your thoughts there! In the meantime, enjoy the fruits of our labor. Best Regards, Leow Ruishen Deputy Head of Publications Dec ‘08
P AG E
Hi members! It's been almost 5 months since the inaugural issue of the magazine. The Publishing team
Words from the President
has since been busy gathering feedback and some have been incorporated in this second issue of the magazine. Meanwhile, through the semester, various events have taken place since the previous issue, including: 1. Annual bazaar - This was held at the Science foyer from 3-5 Sep 08. 2. Graphite '08 - The feature article for this issue's magazine, the prize presentation and exhibition was held at Anime Festival Asia '08. The winning artworks, together with other selected ones, can be seen on the Graphite '08 deviantart account. Link at the Graphite '08 website! 3. Fortnightly members' gathering - These meetings are held once a fortnight at the Celadon Room at the University Cultural Centre (UCC). Emails will be sent out prior to these gatherings on the theme of the gathering. 4. End-of-Year Chalet - The chalet took place from 9-11 Dec '08 at Changi Village. In addition, some of us left for Kuala Lumpur to attend Comic Fiesta. This was but one of the many unofficial events that are organized on the club forum, so do register for an account and start participating in the forum if you haven't done so! We will continue to keep everyone updated on exciting events and tie-ups via the normal avenues of the website, online club forum, and the emailing list! Here’s wishing everyone a happy and fruitful 2009! Cheers!
Nicholas Ng Your Friendly Neighborhood President Dec '08
P AG E ISSUE 2
Hello, everyone! This academic year, member relations take centre-stage for our events. We’ve organized several fortnightly meetings, eager to bridge the gap between the committee and members. Here, we are on our 2nd newsletter, hoping to give an avenue where anime fans can voice their opinions and participate. We’ve came a long way, from a humble background founded by a few anime enthusiasts, to today, a registered society that is recognizable by many. Here I would like to thank all those who has helped us come thus far, as well as to extend our welcome to our newer members (and readers). Hope you would find our newsletter enjoyable, and look out for our next release! Yours Sincerely,
Loh Xing Yee Joint Vice President Dec ‘08
Hi everyone! Firstly, a very happy new year to everyone! Personally speaking, I'd like to say that I'm proud of the achievements made during this past semester. For example, Graphite '08 was a huge success, and lived up to its reputation as THE premier manga art competition in Singapore. In addition, we also had many fun and memorable events, i.e. the fortnightly members’ gatherings and EOY Chalet, not to mention various other unofficial events! For those who have been missing out on these events, do make sure to participate in the events by our club next time. I assure you that you will not regret it! Lastly, I'm not too sure if many are aware but 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the club's formation! Looking back, the club sure seems to have gone a long way since it's humble beginnings. Do look forward to the 10th anniversary special events/projects and remember to participate actively! Meanwhile, I do hope you'll enjoy reading this edition of the newsletter! Signing off for now, Sim Pei Ying Joint Vice President Dec ‘08 P.S. I might look stoned but in actual fact I just like to observe my surroundings. I'm actually friendly. Looks can be deceiving. =)
P AG E
Cover Story: Graphite 08
Graphite ‘08 was a huge success! Thanks to AFA 08, more people got to know about Graphite. The prize presentation ceremony for Graphite was held on the 1st day of AFA 08. The President of NUS Comics and Animation Society, Nicholas, together with Eddie of Collateral Damage Studios (CDS) hosted the ceremony. During the ceremony, Stanley Lau a.k.a. Artgerm, creative director and key founder of Imaginary Friends Studios (IFS) gave a speech about this year's Graphite. IFS also judged this year's Graphite and sponsored their art books, i.e. Redux, Prime and the newly launched The Pepper Project as prizes. The exhibition area for Graphite certainly attracted a lot of people. Besides displaying the winning artworks, there were also magnificent artworks by CDS, IFS and TKG Comic Circle. While many were browsing, awing and taking pictures of the artworks, others were busy doodling on the Graffiti wall.
A little history about Graphite, NUS Comics and Animation Society first organized Graphite in 2001 as an intra-varsity manga art competition. It turned out to be an unexpected success, and gained an increasing number of participants in the following years. Given the increasing popularity and prestige of Graphite, the competition was extended to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduates in 2004, and subsequently, to the public in 2005. In 2005, a new category, the manga composition format was added. Graphite is now a national competition, and widely acknowledged to be the premier competition in the local semi-professional circuit.
The aim of Graphite is to provide a platform for talented and aspiring individuals to showcase their works, and through the competition, provide a valuable stepping stone for budding artists to gain recognition. There were 4 categories for Graphite ‘08, i.e. Secondary Character Design, Open Traditional Character Design, Open Digital Character Design and Short Story Manga. For the character design categories, participants were required to create an original character based on the theme using either traditional or digital medium depending on the category. As for short story manga, participants were to compose a short manga based on the theme.
P AG E
The theme was “Festival: Colours of Life”. This challenged the participants to create their own festival or make any existing festival interesting. The artworks we received were not disappointing. We received many artworks with very interesting festival created by the participants themselves. To name a few were Poo Festival, Fruit Fest, Starry Night Cat Festival and Sorrow of Necromancy.
Although this year we faced problems in the beginning, with perseverance by the Chairperson, we managed to make in through. Besides having IFS as our judges, TKG Comic Circle was also one of them. This year's winners managed to bag home IFS artbooks, PageOne artbooks, Animax goodies, The Tab Manga software, Liquid City (sponsored by Eddie of CDS) and cash.
Secondary Character Design
2nd Prize Winner Flight Every few unknown years, an event known as “the Flight” will be held where any respectable magician will join in. It is the day magic was celebrated, the idea is to go as high as you can or as high as you dare. Will you pummel to the ground or fly because you believe in magic? Mephis (my character) is riding a stolen horse from some merry-go-round because brooms are so not elegant. So “the Flight” is to celebrate magic.
Artist: Pearlyn Tan
3rd Prize Winner Mikoshi Festival The festival I have chosen to draw is the Mikoshi Festival, which means Portable Shrine Festival. Sometimes Japanese gods get lonely and bored sitting all alone in their shrines. Hence about fifty local neighbourhood residents like to take their local god for a stroll around the neighbourhood in a Portable Shrine. This festival is one of the most colourful and exciting festivals in Japan. It is held twice a year every summer. The most famous Mikoshi festival is called Sanja Festival, held in Tokyo on the third Saturday and Sunday of May.
Artist: Clarisse Chua
P AG E
Open Traditional Character Design
Cover Story: Graphite 08
2nd Prize Winner Bittersweet Sorrow Butterfly The butterfly is usually personified as a person's soul. In this art work, the girl in red is already dead but her soul still wishes to attend a festival for the last time. After her time is finally up, her soul disintegrates into red butterflies.
Artist: Winnie Sugieanto
3rd Prize Winner Festival of Calling Lights Night is supposedly void of colours of life. Yet, we must remember the moon, the stars and the numerous myths that bring colours of life to the Night. Chang E had escaped. She changed her rabbit, Tu-Zi, to her image, fooling everyone that the Mystical Moon Lady still exists. Even so, Chang E forgot to hide Tu-Zi's rabbit ears and shape the new moon to a sphere. Even his hair was the wrong colour - green! Obediently, Tu-Zi still arranged lanterns in his hair and the skies, patiently calling for Chang E's return. Humans were attracted to Tu-Zi's beauty and gathered several lanterns to call him down. Instead, these lanterns fill up the dark skies with their warm light and become stars. Since then, people continued to use lanterns to call loved ones back home while Tu-Zi is still waiting with a silly smile, hoping Chang E will return.
Artist: Oh Chiu Hsia Phoebe
P AG E
3rd Prize Winner “Pageant” A couple breaks away from the parade and slips into shadows. She attracted him first - a dancer in white paper with a magnetic stare. He thought he had her, a fine piece of game, a festival fling. Backing her into an alley, he claimed her by the throat, as a predator clamps down on its prey. He caught her eye with the fire in him. A boy out on the hunt makes interesting game. She deployed her charms, and dangled the temptation, letting his ego ensnare him. Then, deeper into her web she drew him, and with his head hidden in her shoulder and his mind hidden from her intentions, the White Fae wrapped her arms around him and silently subdued him. What a pageant! What a parade!
Artist: Lum En-Ci
Open Digital Character Design
2nd Prize Winner Fruit Fest “The assassin accomplished her mission for the day – the country’s biggest melon as her prey. On this day, her exceptions are made. She sat down to rest and ordered fruit juice and her favourite ice kachang with fruits. Meanwhile, she immersed herself in the bustling atmosphere on the streets. On this day, many exceptions are made.” Fusion. Humanity and sanity. A colourful festival is when all citizens, artistes, assassins, officers and animals celebrate together the country’s finest culture, architecture and cuisine.
Artist: Chan Sok Yin Juliana
P AG E
3rd Prize Winner Ethereal Night
Cover Story: Graphite 08
The elusive Forest Elves appear only during the night, partaking in joyous festivals and admiring the beauty of nature on cloudless nights. Right now, a festival takes place somewhere in the heart of the forest, and the groves are bustling with life. Dryads and Pixies harvest the colours of flowers and fruits of nature, and through their magic, provide illumination of ethereal quality and hues. A young Elven maiden returns to her homeland for the first time in years with nothing but her bag of paintbrushes clutched closely by her side, her gaze dancing along with the flittering Pixies. Art pieces strewn across the vines sway in the wind, exuding life and filling the forest with the brilliance of its colours. Warmed by the gracious welcomes of the Elven folk, the Elven maiden joins the woodland folk to sit atop a tree stump and begins to work her own magic.
Artist: Jeremiah Boon Zheng Hao
3rd Prize Winner Summer Lights A festival within a festival; there will come a time where the fish would be sent out of their home, into the world of humans. They flock to her like an insect to light, hoping for a final touch of warmth before they must brave the cold world outside. She gives her blessing to these children, and hope for their safety while in the care of their destined owners. She pray for a kind soul to take them in and above all, prays for their happiness.
Artist: Victoria Moey
P AG E
Short Story Manga
1st Prize Winner A Festival of the Forgotten Toys that are being forgotten by their master, are kept in the closet or under a box. To overcome their loneliness and abandonment of their master, the forgotten toys set up festivals after festivals in the dream realm to celebrate their birth and forget their sadness. But they can never forget their master, and hope that one day their master will remember them. But at leap year, where miracles and magic occur, these forgotten toys’ wish shall be grated that one time…
Artist: Chow Pei Qi Jacqueline
P AG E
Cover Story: Graphite 08
P AG E
Article By: Sim Pei Ying Joint Vice President, Graphite Head Dec ‘08
P AG E
10th Hong Kong Anime, Comics and Game Convention 2008
The world is definitely bigger, and this convention shows a whole new perspective from conventions that I have been to in Singapore. The ACGHK spans over 5 days from 1st Aug to 5th Aug and packed filled with programmes from 11am to 10pm. Every year, the ACGHK has always attracted the media, huge sponsors (this year’s sponsor is Samsung), stars, mangakas and lots of competitions, and this year, it was no different. I decided to go to the convention on the last day to catch the cosplay finals and of course, to avoid the crowd. It was a sound decision as on the very first day, the news had reported of a public attendance of 100,000 people, causing the crowd to be immobile in the hall…literally. Of course, the news did not dampen my spirits one bit. The ACGHK is held in the HK convention centre in Wanchai, and getting there from my apartment in the New Territories took me 1.5 hours (traffic jam in central…due to the convention? :P). It was already around 12pm when I got there, but the crowd was not as scary as the news anticipated as of yet. Breezing through the ticket counter, Pei Jing and I entered the hall.
Feature: ACGHK 2008!
When we first step foot into the hall, it was a mind-blowing scene. The whole hall was decorated to such an intricate degree that will have any otaku squealing (which was what I did…:P). Massive posters and cardboard signs were very hard to ignore as they tower to the ceiling. Computer, television screens littered the games area and the venue felt much more spacious then that of STCC with the walkway much larger for walking.
Doesn’t the decorations make you say wow??
Online game tryouts …
Wonder how much money went into these decorations….
Not wanting to miss a single store, we started at the first row nearest to the entrance (floor plan provided for your browsing pleasure). The first row provided much merchandises to buy and the first booth was selling Gundam specific merchandises from stationeries to psp/nds skins. Prices were very cheap (a Gundam mini-calendar at HK$38 that has 365 Gundam pictures for every day) and there was a huge variety of merchandises on sale. The other booths on the first row consisted of a stretch of small games stall and the Kubi stall, which is a locally created character.
Pei Jing and Heero…
P AG E
At the far end of the hall is one of the local publishers and merchandisers “天下”. The manga sales have always been the yearly anticipation of the public in the ACGHK and the publishers really tap on the excitement and of course, the public’s wallets. Their booths were decorated to shout, and new books, promotions were advertised strongly. At these booths, fences were lined for orderly entrance to the booth, but due to time constraint, we did not try to enter (cause the line is no joke). For the next few rows downwards, there were even more merchandisers and displays on sale at ridiculously cheap prices (real Bandai gundam models for HK$150 or around SG$30…do your own maths…).
WCG in HK….
The WCG (World Cyber Games) 2008 arrived in HK this year, and it was incorporated into the event together by Samsung. X-box 360 also opened a booth next to the event, allowing the public to try out their Feels like racing… latest releases. The main show was the widescreen LCD car racing game PGR4 (Project Gotham Racing 4), that came fully equipped with a racer cockpit as well. Expectedly, we did not get a chance to try out the new games as there was just too many people crowding in front of the tv screens. Other manga/novel publishing companies crowded the area behind the games section, including “东立” (Tong Li) and “角川州立” (Kadokawa).
The online game market in Hong Kong is very huge, and no doubt that this event provided the stage for massive online gaming advertising. Gameone introduced “Audition” in their booth at the back of the hall, generating a huge crowd watching. Many other local tittles took the advantage of the event and even international ones, like Counter Strike. Transformers was there as well, ‘transforming’ their booth into this massive caravan-look-alike counter, selling, of course, Transformers. The other half of the hall was a little more tranquil, making up of mainly exhibitions by famous local artists, and not only do they have creativity, they have a sense of humour as well (see picture). There was also a ‘temple’ that displayed and sold only Saint Seiya related merchandises. There was also a section in the whole event that wowed me and really showed the spirit of anime in the hearts of the youth in HK (and their business-minds). It was the XZone, where it is an area in which is opened to the public to sell their goods (kinda like booths you see in the conventions), and boy, it has got to be the most cheapest place to get doushinjis, cosplay, loli clothes,..whatever! I bought an Ichigo’s Bankai Katana at HK$150. Ridiculous!! And the Katana was not some reject merchandise, it felt like it was made with solid wood. There was also a very interesting booth that rented out cosplay clothes to the public and allowed them to stroll around in the costume for a time period, and that included makeup as well (can’t remember the cost…but I know it’s very cheap).
Transformers….the front side… Kadokawa and its loooong queue… now we can ‘feel’ the crowd…
P AG E
Many people actually do rent out the costumes, which I think that this could set a good business idea in Singapore, provided that the public in Singapore becomes more welcoming and daring to accept the concept of wearing the costumes.
Feature: ACGHK 2008!
Now, we go straight to the main event, the cosplay contest. There was first a pre-contest at first to choose the best out of the many who participated, and the best ones are chosen to battle out for the whole of the 5 days. Then, the public will cast votes and choose the one they like most over 4 days and it ends with the finals on the 5th day. Well, I can only say they were amazing! Being a cosplayer myself, I was jealous! They were really fantastic. It was too bad the crowd was so huge at the stage that I could not get a good view, but I managed to take pictures of some of them at the exit. The quality of cosplaying in HK is very different from that in Singapore. At the exit lobby, a space is especially allocated to cosplayers to gather and allow the public to take photos. The cosplayers there not only dress intricately, they also bring props and backgrounds (o.O) that bring another level of detail in cosplaying.
One of the cosplay finalist…
There were other events happening during the last 4 days as well, for example, dance competitions, Gundam card game competition, Gundam model competition, Counter Strike online competition. But the one I had missed, and regret missing was the mangaka-signing event. Various mangakas from Taiwan, Local HK artists and even from Japan came to graced the event (eg. Noizi Ito, drawing for “Shakugan no Shana”, was there on the third day) for the first 4 days. It was definitely a great and memorable day for me at the event. I’m definitely returning to HK for next year’s convention. Anyone who are interested may contact me then…:D. For Article By: Cheung Yee Ching Secretary Dec ’08 Model: Ang Pei Jing Treasurer Dec ‘08
P AG E
P AG E
Serial Experiments Lain
A girl commits suicide by jumping off a building. A few minutes later, all her friends start receiving e-mails from her, sent at the time after her death, all with the same, eerie message. Lain, the titular character and an introvert, is intrigued by these suicides. Not too long after, she receives, very unusually, the best computer available on the market. Armed with the aforementioned computer, she surfs the web, trying to uncover the mysteries behind these suicides and the other events around her. In the process, however, she leads a dual life, becoming a socialite online and very, inexplicably, she finds out about a cult group that exists on the web. They worship...Lain. All manners of bizarre things happen as Lain tries to understand the madness that is the world around her, and finally, her own self. The beauty of Serial Experiments Lain is that it truly represents anime as an “THE BEAUTY art form. Not all anime repreOF...LAIN IS sents the potential complexity THAT IT TRULY and abstractness that anime REPRESENTS can produce. As it is based on ANIME AS AN a very simplistic and common ART FORM” science fiction concept, the anime portrays the plot and the milieu so abstractly that you will not immediately guess or be able to understand what is going on. This works perfectly in two ways: you will not immediately understand what is going on, so it adds suspense, and interest, and the second is that the abstract form allows the addition of various details, like references to related material, and images that
Another thing to watch out for is the science and theories in Lain, as it makes extensive use of pseudo-science and hard science. We also see numerous references to actual computer science, socio-biology and philosophy. The series boasts all manners of gadgetry, include improved forms of pocket PCs that double as cell phones, but the beauty of all of Lain's technology is that it will take place not too far in the future, in a nearby present day. When the man in the intro cries out "Present day.... present time !", we realise that, though Lain is science fiction, it is a science fiction of a very near future. Lain, however, has its problems. Though it does have an intriguing plot, it is an irony that one of the main villains, is a man who comes to late in the series.
P AG E
“WHAT I LIKED ABOUT LAIN WAS ITS BREVITY. EVERYTHING IS RESOLVED VERY TIDILY IN JUST THIRTEEN EPISODES.”
Another thing about Lain, and this is an advantage and a disadvantage, is that it's very open to interpretation.
Nonetheless, what I liked about Lain was it's brevity. Everything is resolved very tidily in just thirteen episodes. Of course, it leaves some wanting for more, but, one notices that the best stories are the ones that always leave you wanting for more, even though they have nice logical conclusions. All in all, Lain is beautiful, both as a series and as a character. Nonetheless, Lain is something that won't immediately leave you, provided that you watch and analyse it.
(I recommend it mainly for those who are tired of seeing shounen anime and don't mind seeing something complicated.)
Kyon BlackAdder Dec ‘08
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
Haruka is the perfect girl that everyone adores. The ‘Nuit Etoille’ of her school, she is good at studies, music, traditional arts and even martial arts. She is the heir to a vast amount of fortune and a dear princess in her own right. No flaw or weaknesses you can find in her. She is indeed the epitome of perfection…or is she? And if she does have a flaw, how will you respond to it? Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (The Secret of Haruka Nogizaka) is adapted from the ongoing light novel series of the same title, under the Dengeki Bunko umbrella. With the quick emergence of anime series adapted from Dengeki’s light novels (Shakugan no Shana, Ookami to Koushinryou, Wagaya no Oinari-sama, Toradora, To Aru Majutsu no Index etc.), Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu has finally made it onto the screen with a 12-episode series.
P AG E
Haruka Nogizaka (Mamiko Noto) is the perfect girl in everyone’s eyes and many people in her school have tried to date her but were rejected soundly (which then leads them to form the ‘Imperial Guards’ bodyguard group that protects her). Excelling in almost every field, she is like a flawless diamond. On the other hand, Yuuto Ayase (Wataru Hatano) is an average person who happens to be in the same class as Haruka, but has no particular interest in what is going on in school, let alone idolizing Haruka. Being pestered by his childhood Akiba-kei friend Nobunaga Asakura (Reiko Takagi) everyday is a burden for him, let alone having to bear the grunt and nonsense from his elder sister Ruko (Hitomi Nabatame) and home room teacher Yukari (Miyu Matsuki).
One evening, while helping Nobunaga to return a magazine to the “THROUGHOUT school library, THE SERIES, Yuuto sees Haruka T HE D ISCR IMImoving suspiciously inside the library. She tries to borNATION OF row a certain item but then bumps into Yuuto accidenANIME FANS IS ECHOED FROM tally. Then Yuuto finds out what Haruka has borTIME TO rowed…a copy of the first issue of ‘Innocent Smile’, TIME…” which is a serialized anime magazine of Dojikko Akichan (Clumsy Aki-chan). This could only mean one thing… Haruka Nogizaka is an otaku. Throughout the series, the discrimination of anime fans is echoed from time to time, from Nobunaga to Haruka, and even Yuuto to a certain extent. For people to be mocked at and discriminated against because of their interest in something seems like a mean thing to happen, but that is true in today’s society. For a moment, we pause to examine and reflect on why a passion for a certain hobby can translate into a stigma that is hard to erase. Haruka would reveal that her interest in anime had led to a miserable life during her middle school days. Being the perfect girl in people’s eyes, all it took was the revealing of her hobby to demolish whatever imagery was built on her, and to classify her under a derogatory label created by the selfish minds of people.
P AG E
However, in the light of all this, we see how Yuuto, despite finding out Haruka’s secret, takes on the role of a protector and tries to safeguard her secret as much as possible. The great barrier that separated the two of them before the encounter slowly crumbled apart through subsequent encounters, adventures and family affairs.
This Akiba-kei love comedy series delivers a fair dose of humour, laughter and romance, together with a bit of fanservice and cameo appearances (look out “THIS...SERIES DELIVER for Shana and Dokuro-chan cosplay!), but also examines the seriousness of A FAIR DOSE OF HUthe discrimination against Akiba-kei, or anybody having some connection MOUR , LAU GHT ER AND with anime and manga. We can see how the intolerant mindsets of people R O MAN CE, T O GET HER can override whatever reputation or status a person has, and also the hypoc- W I T H . . . F A N S E R V I C E A N D CAMEO APPEARANCES” risy of people who claim to adore others because of their outward appearance. Haruka, despite her exuberance and cheerful smile in school, is actually putting on a mask. She forces herself to wear it as long as she can bear, but ultimately reveals her true nature to Yuuto – a clumsy crybaby whose drawings could torture the minds of people (and she aspires to be a manga artist too!). On the other hand, Yuuto demonstrates an attitude towards people that is devoid of prejudice, yet understands the feelings of a person and is willing to go all out to protect that person even if it would harm him. His sincerity and frankness finally wins the hearts of people close to Haruka, like Mika (Mai Gotou), Hazuki (Kaori Shimizu), Nanami (Kana Ueda), Shiina (Rina Satou) and also Haruka’s mother, Akiho (Aya Hisakawa). With only 12 episodes though, the anime does not have enough time to cover much of what was written in the novels, and there are certain events and characters that have been omitted or given calefare treatment in the process. Despite these shortcomings, the anime attempts to give a close representation of the novel with some tweaks in the plot changes. One interesting thing is the comparison between the original character design by Shaa and the anime version by Satoshi Ishino. What is striking is the observation that the two designs of Haruka seem to be very different in terms of hairstyle, hair colour and face proportions. It gives the feel that the two Harukas seem to be two different people, such that you are forced to choose one of them initially. Such an impact may differ among people, but it surely had one on the reviewer. The 12 episodes also come with a variety of melodious music soundtrack composed by Takeshi Watanabe (To LoveRu, Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai, Ichigo Mashimaro), though It would have been a really terrific job if he attempted to compose killer piano pieces for Haruka and cement her position as probably the best pianist of her age group in the world (based on the novel and a bit in the anime).
P AG E
With a mix of piano and violin pieces, together with other types of instruments, the soundtrack complements the emotions that are portrayed in certain scenes, especially the ones involving Yuuto and Haruka alone. Some of the soundtrack, sadly, did not make it into the official release of the soundtrack CD. If you have read the light novels before watching the anime, be prepared to accept a simpler version of it, but with the wonderful cast of voices included. If you watched the anime first, hopefully it would inspire you to take up the novels and explore deeper into the wonderful world of Haruka Nogizaka.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is a series of light novels by Yuusaku Igarashi. Art by Shaa. The anime is directed by Nawa Munenori and done by DioMedia (Studio Barcelona).
Kenneth Cheng Nov ‘08
Misaki is an innocent young lady with a love for sweets and amusement parks. She shares an apartment with author and private investigator Kurose Kuroe. In love with him, she offers to cook him meals and help him find missing pets. Oh, and she is a vampire.
As a vampire, Misaki drinks blood regularly (from a cup), is able to survive mortal wounds and cannot be exposed to sunlight. Having being turned into a vampire at a relatively young age, she is stuck with the physical appearance of a young girl. Misaki is endearing in her displays of affection and occasional childish jealousy where her boyfriend Kuroe is concerned. Kuroe also appears fairly fond and protective of her as her guardian. As much as she wants Kuroe’s attentions, Misaki refuses to turn him into her slave even though her vampire abilities allow her to do so.
P AG E
As a newer member of the undead, she is still coming to terms with her own abilities and looks up to an older vampire for guidance. Her vampire mentor, Higure, has the physical appearance of a little boy and few qualms about turning the humans he loves into his slaves. All humans would die eventually, unlike vampires. To Higure, turning his loved ones into slaves grants them partial immortality while keeping them in his power. This allows him companionship to stave off the loneliness that is part of vampire life, something that young Misaki has not yet experienced.
“AN INTERESTING CR O SS BET WEEN A FLUFFY ROMANCE AND A BROODING SUPERNATURAL MYST ER Y...T HIS SER IES D EF IES ATT EMPT S TO PU T IT IN A CLEAR-CUT GENRE.”
A common ability of vampires is hypnosis. This technique allows a vampire temporary control over a human. Higure teaches Misaki its use in volume 1 and Misaki tries it out on Kuroe with unexpected results.
Though human, Kuroe has a unique vampire-type ability – “eyes that see the truth” - after he was wounded by a vampire while trying to rescue his elder sister. As a result, Kuroe is immune to vampire hypnosis and able to “see” past any disguise the undead may put up to escape detection. He often gets called up by his psychic friend, Sainome Sayaka, from police forensics to help with unusual cases. These calls sometimes come at inopportune times (like just before a date) and has on occasion earned Misaki’s ire. Sainome’s psychic ability is being able to “see” the last memories of the deceased. Her relationship with Kuroe is that of good friends and she is not above teasing the pair about their relationship at times.
Beneath her childlike personality, Misaki has a darker side to her which only emerges when she suffers life-threatening injuries. This dark side or “blood line” threatens to overwhelm Misaki’s original personality and Kuroe is warned not to allow it to emerge too often or risk losing the Misaki he knows. An interesting cross between a fluffy romance and a brooding supernatural mystery, this series defies attempts to put it in a clear-cut genre. Still, Misaki is one of the sweetest and most endearing vampires this reviewer has come across in a manga. Kuroe, on the other hand, comes across as being more serious in his role as her guardian and protector. What challenges await Misaki and Kuroe in this unusual partnership between human and vampire?
Umeko NUS Comics Corner Nov ‘08
The NUS Comics and Animation Society would like to thank NUS Comics Corner for their contribution to the reviews segment of the newsletter.
P AG E
Persona 4 Original Soundtrack
When Atlus showed Persona 3 to the world, half the world welcomed it with open arms, whereas the other half rejected its radical changes to Persona’s traditional styles: the part horror mystery, part psychological thriller setting and feel, the character designs and most importantly the music direction. Persona 3’s tracks were in contrast generally upbeat. Even the battle theme was a rap song in disguise remixed for a high tempo battleground. In Persona 4, he composer Shoji Meguro generally kept the style of Persona 3, with some conceptual changes. Indeed, one of the most accurate ways to look at Persona 4’s soundtrack and review it is to compare it with Persona 3’s.
The shift in focus in the general style of the soundtrack is probably most evident in the first track itself, “Pursuing My True Self”, a style harkening back to the late 80s style pop music. And indeed much of the tracks have a similar feel. The battle theme (“Reach Out to the Truth) is still partly rap, and sounds a little silly, but you can even classify it in the alternative genre if you want to, with more of a punk factor showing itself than the previous game. Some of the highlights of the soundtrack however include tracks of a significantly different style than the rest of the OST. Throughout Shoji Meguro’s history composing music for Atlus’ games like Digital Devil Saga and the Persona series, he has tried his hand at many different styles of compositions such as jazz and rock, and this is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Persona 4’s soundtrack, where style diversity is more obvious and immediately detectable. Such tracks stand out from the crowd. One example of such a track is “Belongings”, in the style of Enka, a traditional pop style in Japan. The song is passionately emotional and I personally enjoyed it though I believe some may find the vocals and style a little dated. “I’ll Face Myself” is in Meguro’s more traditional Rock style, and does not fail to impress.
“SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SOUNDT R ACK IN CLU D E T R ACK S O F A SIGNIFICANTLY D IF F ER EN T STYLE THAN THE REST OF THE OST”
P AG E
Perhaps worth mentioning is the reappearance of “Poem for Everyone’s Souls”, a track present in every version of Persona thus far. The Persona 4 soundtrack included its remix, the “Electronica in the Velvet Room”, a disco remix of Poem, which might give one the impression that the Velvet Room just became a disco house! One issue I have with the soundtrack overall is that although the individual tracks are great, they get old really fast, really hard. After going through the entire album once, it feels like I have repeated the songs for an entire evening already. This sort of lowers its replay value a little. Otherwise, Persona 4’s OST should prove a worthwhile addition into any fan’s library. Casual listeners though might want to hear a couple of sample tracks before making a final decision. Reviewed By:
Leow Ruishen Sep ‘08
DISC 1 DISC 2
01 - Pursuing My True Self 02 - A Corner of Memories 03 - Welcome to the limousine 04 - The Poem for Everyone's Souls 05 - New Days 06 - Signs Of Love 07 - Mayonaka TV 08 - Your Affection 09 - Like a dream come true 10 - Who's there? 11 - Reach Out To The Truth -First Battle12 - SMILE 13 - Backside Of The TV 14 - Reasoning 15 - Castle 16 - Borderline of Madness 17 - I'll Face Myself -Battle18 - I'll Face Myself 19 - muscle blues 20 - It's SHOW TIME! 21 - Belongings 22 - Kerorin MAGIC! 23 - Sauna 24 - Awakening 25 - Reach Out To The Truth Total Time:57'05"
01 - Reach Out To The Truth -Inst version02 - specialist 03 - Theater 04 - Heartbeat, Heartbreak 05 - youthful lunch 06 - Game 07 - ZONE TIME 08 - A New World Fool 09 - Mist 10 - Period 11 - Theme of Junes 12 - The Power of the Heart (P4ver.) 13 - The Path is Open (P4ver.) 14 - Reverie 15 - How much? 16 - Secret Base 17 - Heaven 18 - Alone 19 - Reasoning -another version20 - Long Way 21 - Omen 22 - Corridor 23 - The Almighty 24 - The Genesis 25 - I'll Face Myself -another version26 - Never More 27 - Electronica In Velvet Room Total Time:71'32"
P AG E
This is basically a column about the happenings of the club, with a focus on the forum. Be sure to tune in to this section to catch up on the latest hap-
WTF Is Going On In Our Club!?
penings in the club, and don’t forget to visit us at www.nusanime.com!
Moomba Emerging Otaku!
Moomba discusses taking Japanese Language Courses in NUS under School Life!
I'm taking level 2 now. ^^ Are there many people out there taking this (in)famous course? hehe. Anyway, my grouse is that why is it that only year 1 Arts students, starting from this semester, are allowed to S/U language modules! T^T Anyone know who which school/student body to protest to? Hope it's not too late though. Reminds me of the S/U after viewing your results fiasco last year. And this had to happen again. -_-
Whilst dKiwi enjoys Call of Duty: World at War over Steam under Gaming!
dKiwi Raving Otaku!
Looks like Valve's marketing/distro market has screwed up something along the way, but World at War is look set to be Steamed so there really is no reason to rush out to get it from your local game store. There is 4 player co-op (probably building on the popularity of L4D), so I would definitely be delighted if 3 of you guys can buy the game together with me when it finally gets Steamed. P.S. I'm getting Empire: Total War after COD:WaW and my ATI Radeon 4850 as well.
Xak Raving Otaku!
Xak raves about the new Clannad: After Story under Anime!
since i did say i'd link certain pics from it on the forum, i might as well put them in a new thread, since this is probably one of the bigger animes this season...especially since it has the eternal 17-year old and the eternal loli...
P AG E
Nicholas Ng Raving Otaku!
Our President declares alliance with NUS Games Development Group to develop our very own Doujin Games!
I've linked up with the NUS Games Development Group (GDG). They are currently planning to embark on a series of game-making projects, and are looking for dedicated personnel who are able to draw to help them with the concept art and possibly character design. Period will span approximately 3 months, from Jan-Mar. They'll have their first meeting in December (8 Dec possibly), and when the actual project starts all members will be required to meet up at least once a fortnight. In addition, should you be an aspiring gamemaker, and have ideas of your own on the kind of games you want to make, and have the commitment but lack the skills to do so, they are also very willing to show you the ropes. Let me know (via this thread or email) whether anyone is interested. CCA points to be given too.
Our very own Cosplay Brigade is Formed!!
Claude Raving Otaku!
KC Suggested I open something like a Cosplay seminar for you people. I disagree mainly because firstly I dun think I have enough "portfolio" to kind of teach, and secondly I think its better to just share information and form a team by ourselves for other events. For the teaching, I am working closely with SCC to come up with something which can benefit both of us, but I think we have to be patient for that to happen because for now SCC does not have any plans beyond Cosfest09. So I kinda hereby announce our very own NUSCAS Cosplay Brigade! The Cosplay Brigade had one mission: We restore fun in Cosplay, and we bring cosplaying in our club and in Singapore into newer directions and greater heights. So what we'll do is this. As far as possible we try to make our costumes ourselves. This small subclub won't have scheduled activities but instead we plan for an event and then we work towards it, planning our schedules along the way. We're accepting ANY members, but PREFERABLY members from the club itself. But even if you are outside the club, as long as you are keen enough, we'll let you in too. - NO prior experience in cosplaying is needed, though some would be welcome. As long as you have the interest, join us! - NO Deep Pockets needed! Cosplaying isn't about selling your kidney for a costume you'll likely be wearing at most 3 times anyways. We'll show you how you can be as economical as possible and still achieve professional results. It does mean getting your hands dirty, but really when you spend like 3 months making a costume and 1 day cosplaying, shouldn't the fun in making the costume outweigh the fun in the actual cosplaying itself? That's the constitution for now. XD
THERE IS A PLACE FOR EVERYONE IN THE NUS COMICS AND ANIMATIO N SOCIETY FORUMS! SO SIGN UP FOR AN ACCOUNT AND JOIN US TODAY!
P AG E
Our Club Affiliates
Please check www.nusanime.com for Member Benefits! Also, as a member, you get to help out in school events like NUS Anime Bazaar, participate in major events like Cosfest, EOY Cosplay Events and Kaleidoscope and earn CCA points. Members get to join in our Fortnightly Meetings, where we unwind, play some games, and have fun! You’ll also get to buy our artist’s artworks and items at a highly discounted price.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.