The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Tag Archives: Anime news

Miporin no Etymology, and a preview of Girls und Panzer: Das Finale

“My chi is mad focused, yo.” —Tanker, Battlefield 3

This post is a double-feature — with the release of a new Girls und Panzer trailer for Girls und Panzer: Final Chapter, now appearing to be re-designated as Girls und Panzer: Das Finale, there is an opportunity to look at what Das Finale is looking to illustrate, as well as answer a long-standing question about Miho’s nickname, whose derivation and meaning has proven to be quite elusive. It is reasonably well-known that appending -rin to the end of someone’s name has an endearing quality to it, typically used by younger females to make something sound cuter. By this reasoning, Yukari becomes Yukarin, Kaori becomes Kaorin, et cetera. However, in Girls und Panzer, Saori refers to Miho as “Miporin”, and this seems to break the convention somewhat — porins are, after all, beta barrel proteins that cross membranes to act as a channel that molecules can diffuse across. Their large size allows molecules to freely move through them, including water, sugars and amino acids, and as an interesting aside, UC Berkley’s Hiroshi Nikaido is accredited with the discovery of and extensive research into porins, earning him the moniker “Porinologist”. While it might appear possible that Miho’s nickname stems from this unrelated field, the lack of intersection between Girls und Panzer and porin research means that there must be another explanation of how Miho’s nickname came about. As it turns out, the -ho (ほ) in Miho’s name has a rougher sound from a phonetic perspective, and applying the usual conversion, which would yield “Mihorin”, does not convey a sense of endearment. So, a modification using the handakuten (半濁点, lit. “half voicing mark”) is applied: ほ thus becomes ぽ, which in turns yields “Miporin” (みぽりん). As per its name, the handakuten creates a shorter sound that comes across as less harsh and results in a name that sounds more endearing. This is not unique to Miho: Shioho is similarly nicknamed “Shiporin” by Chiyo Shimada, her longtime friend and head of the Shimada School, and there’s a Japanese movie titled Miporin no ekubo (lit. “Miporin’s Dimple”). With this particular question about the origin and meaning behind Miho’s nickname addressed, we turn attention towards Girls und Panzer: Das Finale.

  • The title of this post is a play on words, albeit a very pathetic attempt at creating a clever title requiring some Japanese to pick up: if read from a purely English perspective, it would look very strange. For readers familiar with Japanese, the proper title for this post would be ”みぽりんの語源” (“Miporin no Gogen”, or “The etymology of Miporin”), but I figured that “etymology” is similar enough to “ekubo”, and since Google-Fu consistently turns up Miporin no Ekubo, I figured that I’d go for something in between.

  • Here’s a secret bit of trivia: Miho and Hana are my two most favourite characters from Girls und Panzer. Hana’s inherited the president’s position by the events of Das Finale, and here, a keyboard resembling Apple’s Magic Keyboard 2 can be seen on her desk. I’ve recently upgraded to a 2017 iMac at work to compile and build projects faster, finally allowing me to retire my early-2015 MacBook Pro from active service. The new machine’s been great, but I’m still getting used to the small size of the Magic Keyboard 2.

  • While the tank battles will certainly be a part of the attraction in Das Finale, the movie raised the bar considerably with the inclusion of late WWII-era armour to give Miho’s crew a credible challenge to best. I’ve long noted that strategy is probably a viable alternative to overwhelming technological and numerical superiority – a battle fought on strategy can be even more exciting to watch, and the Anzio OVA demonstrated this point effectively, providing a thrilling match for audiences despite the firepower advantage that Ooarai possesses.

  • The song in the trailer, “Long and Shining Road”, is performed by Miho, Saori, Hana, Mako and Yukari’s voice actors. The opening song is titled “Grand Symphony”; it will be used for the first three episodes will be performed by Sayaka Sasaki, who did the Anglerfish Dance, and Choucho will return in the final three episodes to perform the opening. Music has always been of a high quality in Girls und Panzer, so I look forwards to seeing how things will play out in Das Finale.

  • Besides some footage for Das Finale‘s first act, the latest footage also showcases gameplay from Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match, which is an upcoming game for the PS4. I’m hoping there will be a PC version, since I’ve longed to match wits against the Nishizumi and Shimada styles with my own take on things in a proper Girls und Panzer game and show that Sun Tzu’s approach, combined with my own über-micro, could school both fairly easily. Of course, I’m not sure how likely a PC version is, but if one does not materialise, at least I have additional Battlefield 1 DLC and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to look forwards to.

As the folks driving Girls und Panzer‘s trailers are quite seasoned, the latest trailers betray nothing about what Das Finale will entail. What is known, however, is that Hana, Saori and Yukari have inherited the mantle of being the student council’s President, Secretary and Vice-President, respectively, and that there will be French tanks in the first part. The preview also showcases the new song “Long and Shining” road. With the plate set for December, I imagine that more previews will come out between now and the release date. Moreover, the trailer footage is only for the first part of the six planned movies. The shift from “Final Chapter” to “Das Finale”, however, is quite telling: the Girls und Panzer franchise will conclude Miho’s story, bringing things to a conclusion, and if there will be additional instalments to Girls und Panzer, these will likely take the form of spin-off series. Whether or not these speculations hold any water remains to be seen, and for the present, the largest question on my mind will be the release patterns; these affect how efficiently I can write about them. It is evident that a release pattern similar to Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Washio Sumi Chapter will be very conducive towards timely reviews, whereas a Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow release pattern will be a bit more problemmatic on my end. Regardless of the manner that Girls und Panzer: Das Finale releases in, the conclusion of Das Finale might also mark a pivotal milestone for this blog, as I may gradually step away from writing in order to do other things with my time.

Your Name (Kimi no na wa) Home Release Set for July 26

“Anyways, this is a good movie. I was genuinely moved by the displays of courage and sacrifice in the name of what they felt was right. So Mitsuha and Taki can have their moment, I’ll give them that, because at the end of the day, you win some, and you lose some. And today, they are about to win some, big time! The Blu-Rays are about to come out, and we are about to take them on a test run! Believe! Believe that!” –Kylo Ren on the announcement

Update: The release date of July 26 has been officially announced as of May 10. 

I open with the remark that there has been no official announcement yet: this information is relatively recent, and its authenticity is unverified. Derived from a lower-resolution photograph of a promotional poster that was handed out with some stores accompanying purchases, it seems that Your Name will be available for purchase on July 26, 2017. Continuing with translation of the poster finds that there will be four tiers of the film available for purchase: the basic DVD will cost 3800 yen (46.56 CAD) and the standard edition BD will be 4800 yen (58.81 CAD). The special edition BD will include two bonus disks (likely containing the behind-the-scenes and other materials), plus a special booklet and artwork. This one will retail for 7800 yen (88.21 CAD). Finally, the ultimate collector’s edition BD will go for 12000 yen (147.02 CAD). The ultimate collector’s edition is notably less than the price of Battlefield 1: Ultimate Edition, which costs 165 CAD, and two dollars more than picking up Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 1 Premium Pass separately at current exchange rates: at the top-tier, consumers will get five disks in total (two for the movie, and three for behind-the-scenes features), plus a one-hundred page booklet and all-new visuals. Of note is the fact that there is going to be a 4K version: a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels, such a version of Your Name will look fabulous on screens ranging from 4K monitors to the iPad Pro tablets.

  • Unlike Girls und Panzer Der Film, as I’m no longer a student, I cannot spend a full day writing a larger review: that post took twelve hours over the course of a day to write, and taking a day off work for an anime movie review makes no sense. With this in mind, having seen the movie previously, I’ve got a very good idea of what to write about going into the projected BD release date: I will aim to have the review (likely eclipsing even Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s review and discussion in size) out on the same day that my copy of Your Name arrives.

This news comes five years after I learned of the K-On! Movie‘s release, which was also set to be in July. The three month timeframe between the announcement and actual release is consistent with the K-On! Movie, as well as Girls und Panzer Der Film (which was also announced roughly three months before release) both cases, so while the July 26 release date is presently unconfirmed, I imagine that official news will be appearing quite soon. Further to this, the soundtrack for Your Name released on July 26, 2016, a month before the movie itself premièred in Japanese theatres. Finally, I’ve heard that Your Name‘s theatrical run in Japan drew to a close last week. The sum of these observations point in a direction to support the authenticity of this news; should Your Name indeed be released on July 26, the wait for this movie, however arduous it has been for the past several months, will have been worth something. At the minimum, Your Name will not be as elusive as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3. It will be fantastic to be able to watch Your Name in proper HD on my own screens.

Your Name: Remarks about a future review

“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.” —Mary Pierce

Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no na wa (the English title, Your Name, will be used from here on out) is one of 2016’s biggest anime movies; while its box office numbers are smaller than those of Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film’s sales have reached a total of 11.1 billion yen (roughly 111 million USD), putting it at nearly five times the total box office gross that Girls und Panzer Der Film made. The trailers hinted at a narrative involving exchange of conciousness between a Tokyo high school male student and a high school female student living in rural Japan. Your Name is inspired by the classical Heian work, Torikaebaya Monogatari, where two siblings possessed mannerisms are those of the opposite sex, as well as Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, in which the eponymous characters fall in love with one another after Griffin receives a post card from Sabine that changes his life forever. With a more compelling and immersive narrative than any of his previous films, Shinkai casts Your Name as a powerful story where themes of distance and longing are now interwoven with initiative and resolve. His characters take charge of their situation and are no longer passive observers; they actively make an effort towards altering their circumstances, resulting in a film that is rather more conclusive and satisfying, even if some elements are roughly presented.

  • Kimi no na wa will hitherto be known as Your Name for easier typing. In this short preview review, I utilise screenshots obtained from the trailers, hence their quality, although I’m rather excited to see how sharp screenshots will look in full 1080p. Makoto Shinkai’s films look amazing in full quality, and since The Place Promised In Our Early Days, I’ve aimed to watch his films at the best possible quality to really take in all of the visual elements.

  • Makoto Shinkai’s interior environments are incredibly detailed and give a very lived-in feeling: the trend continues into Your Name, with Taki’s room filled with clutter appropriate for that of a high school student. His iPhone 6 is visible here, and throughout the movie, he uses the LINE app for communications. A Japanese platform for instant messaging and VOIP conversations, I prefer to use Skype only because all of my contacts, save one, use Skype.

  • Mitsuha expresses total frustration at the monotony in her life, shouting out that she wishes to respawn as a “handsome Tokyo boy” with the expectation that life could be more exciting. The movie juxtaposes this with her experiences as Taki, who leads a busy life. On top of being a student, he works part time at an Italian restaurant. On the topic of respawning, I’m still early to be thinking about that sort of thing, but should respawns be real, I’d probably like a chance to live in the Japanese countryside.

  • Notions of conscious transfer and body-swapping remains (thankfully) confined to the realm of fiction for the present: if someone were to swap places with me for a day, the kind of chaos it would cause would be immense. Because such a transfer is impossible, people strongly identify individuals based on their appearance as much as their personalities, so an exchange of any sort would result in an identity crisis of sorts.

  • In Your Name, Makoto Shinkai takes his animation to the next level: where Taki is in Mitsuha’s place, he gropes Mitsuha and results in Mitsuha’s younger sister growing suspicious. Later, during a basketball game, Taki executes a move that Mitusha would unlikely carry out, and the camera angles illustrate that non-rigid physics in Your Name are also well-tended to, standing in contrast with his previous films.

  • One of the elements I will need to consider for the figure captions in the full review is how to refer to the characters while they’re swapped, without resulting in any sort of confusion. The notation will probably resolve itself, and with no known release date for the BDs, I imagine there will be plenty of time to figure out how I will structure said review. The soundtrack, performed by RADWIMPS, is a reasonably enjoyable listen; I found myself enjoying the violin and piano pieces much more than the lyrical performances.

  • The vocal songs interspersed throughout Your Name are a bit different than the sort of music I enjoy, although they do add some impact to the film. I will aim to keep spoilers in this review to an absolute minimum, especially in light of how difficult it will be to access this movie in some places. Intel has been lacking, and besides the fact that Funimation’s licensed Your Name, dates and locations for North American screenings of this movie simply don’t exist.

  • A vast field in the top of a caldera is one of the locales in Your Name. The scale of the landscape is reminiscent of the finis terra of Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, and while Your Name is ostensibly set in the real world, there are enough supernatural elements for the film to be classified as a fantasy, as well. The trailers have done a fantastic job of making it known that body switching is plays a substantial role in Your Name, although the movie itself uses this as one of many elements to deliver a multi-dimensional story.

  • Besides figuring out how to best present a talk on the themes in Your Name, I will also take advantage of the (presently) unknown time between now and the home release to eyeball whether or not the effects of an impact event is reasonably depicted in Your Name. I’m normally quite lax when it comes to accuracy in anime, but because Makoto Shinkai’s visuals are particularly good, I hold higher expectations; if the visuals correspond at least somewhat plausibly with real world observations, I will be satisfied.

  • As with Girls und Panzer Der Film, I will do my best to let readers know when a home release becomes a reality. With this post now done, and the fall season under way, I will tend to the Non Non Biyori Repeat OVA before Brave Witches kicks off.

Your Name is a moving and engaging film that features an optimistic theme; deriving a combination of elements from Five Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below and The Garden of Words, Your Name tells a tale of separation as a smaller component in a much larger series of events. Driven by a desire to reach closure of some sort, Shinkai has his characters sieze the initiative rather than resigning themselves to what could have been in Your Name. The end result is an immensely meaningful conclusion to Your Name, and consequently, it is unsurprising that the film has performed as observed in the box office. At present, no information is available on when the home release is coming out, but I definitely will be doing a full review of the movie once the home release becomes available: like Girls und Panzer Der Film, it will be a larger talk with anywhere from sixty to ninety screenshots. Experience has found that such a post will take anywhere from nine to twelve hours to write, but this time, with the movie’s contents fresh on my mind, I’ll be able to distribute that time over a greater period, meaning that writing such a post will mean less exhaustion on my end.

Reflections Through a Preview of Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” —Seneca

Announced back during the Girls und Panzer Heartful Tank Carnival event back on August 28, Girls und Panzer is set to return with a sequel titled Girls und Panzer: Saishuushou (“Final Chapter”) at some indeterminate point in the future. The trailer has just become available on the ‘net, and over its forty-second run, showcases Ooarai’s students in their winter regalia. A group of Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b) units, essentially remote-controlled armoured mines, can be seen in the trailer’s opening moments, followed by students handing out newspapers carrying what appears to be breaking news. At present, it is known that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be a six-part OVA (not unlike Gundam Unicorn), with the first instalment released to Japanese cinema in December 2017. However, what Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will entail is similarly a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. From a financial perspective, that Girls und Panzer would be getting a sequel is not particularly surprising, although from a narrative perspective, it will be quite intriguing to determine what will await audiences once this sequel does become released.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • These Goliath here are German mobile armoured mines, seen rolling in formation under snowy weather reminiscent of that seen in Tom Clancy’s The Division. Beyond the setting during the winter season and the occurrence of a large news event, the trailer does not tell much more about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, leaving much speculation in its wake.

  • The student handing out the newspaper in this image bears a remarkable similarity to Sore ga Seiyū‘s Futaba Ichinose, minus the purple hair. The trailer has been available at 1080p, and as such, details in the newspapers can be made out. They suggest that the events will take place over the course of a day, leading some to (incorrectly) speculate that this will be an OVA. However, I present the counterargument that trailers do not usually tell the full story, and it is possible that these students are handing out newspapers with information that act as a catalyst for what will occur within Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter. Ergo, a one-day event being shown on a newspaper in a trailer does not sufficiently show that The Final Chapter will consist of a single OVA episode.

  • Ooarai is seen making use of barrage balloons to further broadcast news: barrage balloons were historically used to dissuade enemy attack by holding up cables that could disrupt aircraft operation, although modern aircraft can easily circumvent their function by flying at much greater altitudes than the balloons. Such balloons are not widely used in contemporary militaries, but such balloons have been re-purposed to carry nuclear devices higher into the atmosphere for testing purposes.

  • Whereas an immensely long wait would await audiences if Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter were to take the form of another film, a TV series would allow for superior accessibility, followed by an OVA series. As it stands, I am hoping that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take the form of a  TV series — any wait extending beyond April 5, 2018 would extinguish the English-speaking community’s capacity to watch and review a movie short of flying to Japan.

  • Screenshots of Momo and some other students operating under night lighting conditions immediately surfaced on Twitter following the announcement of Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, and at the time, I noted in my DOOM impressions post that I would refrain from discussing this sequel announcement in detail until more information became available. Nearly four weeks later, a trailer has appeared, and I’ve made substantial headway into DOOM, having just completed Kadingir Sanctum.

  • That “more information” takes the form of a 40-second trailer, and as I’ve got ten screenshots in this here post, down from the original fourteen, suggests a screenshot density of  twenty-one images per minute, making this one of the posts with a large number of screenshots relative to the media length. The red lighting seen here is a common attribute in military settings active under dark: red light has a longer wavelength than other colours and disrupts night vision to a lesser extent. For civilian applications, astronomers also use red flashlights to consult star charts, and some stargazing apps now come with a night vision mode that renders all elements in red.

  • Going into a continuation, I personally was not expecting one to be announced so soon, but upon realising that Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s box office performance was impressive, such a development became much more plausible. That this will be a sequel is interesting, and I am looking forwards to seeing what directions Girls und Panzer will take next, but the prospect of another movie is not one I would enjoy: the wait for Girls und Panzer Der Film was not pleasant, especially on account of the social media reactions of the film’s contents and the knowledge that a chance to see the film for myself would require at minimum a half-year’s wait.

  • Girls und Panzer never explicitly provided a timeline for when its events occur, but using a bit of reasoning, Miho transfers to Ooarai in around March, and most of the events of the TV series and movie occur between April and August and September, respectively. The depiction of snowfall and winter uniforms suggests that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take place in November or later, which is not particularly far away from the events of the movie.

  • Some viewers have suggested that the presence of winter uniforms indicate plans to make Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter a TV series. Winter uniforms alone are an insufficient indicator that there are plans to make The Final Chapter a full TV series: the Locodol OVAs featured new footage in their openings, despite no known plans to create a second season. With that being said, I see no evidence to firmly suggest that the continuation will be a single OVA and as such, I’m hoping that The Final Chapter will be a full-fledged TV series.

  • I was planning on doing a DOOM post now that I’ve crossed the halfway point, and that would have brought my no-anime-post-streak up to a month, but the Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter trailer released earlier today, giving me a non-gaming topic to discuss. With that in mind, the trailer is quite short, and in the absence of further intel, it’s time for me to return to ripping and tearing my way through DOOM. I cannot guarantee that I’ll be on top of Girls und Panzer-releated news as I had been for the film owing to real-world obligations, but I will do my best to blog about information as it becomes available, as well as Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter itself once it does come out.

Going solely from the title, it would appear that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be the conclusion to the Girls und Panzer franchise. After the events of Girls und Panzer Der Film, the ultimate fate of Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team remained indeterminate — they had succeeded in saving their school carrier a second time, but the accomplishment itself disclosed little about what experiences Miho and her classmates would encounter in their future Panzerfahren endeavours. Ergo, a successful continuation would need to address what the significance of Ooarai’s accomplishments are for its students, and as such, Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter would have been ideally be granted a TV series in which to adequately explore developments for Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team. For the first time in living memory, the entire Girls und Panzer community’s perspectives align with mine: a TV series would be a fantastic means of creating such a narrative, and allow Girls und Panzer to utilise time as a means of presenting more strategically-driven Panzerfahren scenes, as opposed to the spectacle in the movie. More is known about Half-Life 3 than about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, for the present. With this in mind, I will be keeping two eyes on developments pertaining to Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter.

Girls und Panzer Der Film Blu-rays set for release on May 27, 2016

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” —Joyce Meyer

I interrupt regular programming to announce that Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s home release (BD and DVD) will be scheduled for May 27, 2016. The complete special edition will retail for 9800 yen (117.41 CAD) and feature 200 minutes of footage: the movie itself is 119 minutes in length, and the bonus edition includes an additional 81 minutes of behind-the-scenes, promotional, opening night and Ooarai Anglerfish Festival 2015 footage. Also included is an eighty-page art booklet, a 20-page correction sheet collection by character designer Isao Sugimoto and a new album with the song “Boko no Uta” song, performed by Miho Nishizumi (Mai Fuchigami) and Alice Kotobuki (Ayana Taketatsu). Additional bonus features include a Bandai Visual+ serial code and a download code for the Girls und Panzer: Sensha-dō Daisakusen! smartphone app. The standard edition BD will cost 7800 yen (95.04 CAD), and the DVD will cost 6800 yen (82.85 CAD). All three variants will include a three-minute OVA following the aftermath of the movie, plus another OVA titled Akiyama Yukari no Sensha Kouza. So, clocking at exactly six months after Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s theatrical release as per predictions, viewers overseas will finally have the opportunity to view the movie for themselves.

  • The last time I was anticipating an anime movie to this extent, it was for the K-On! Movie: its release date was published in April, and I was staring down the MCAT. In an amusing turn of events, I’m facing my Master’s defense later this year, and I remark that the last time Girls und Panzer was airing, I was set to do my Bachelor of Health Science’s defense. For the K-On! Movie, I managed to push out a full review within two days of its release, so this time, I will strive to write the most comprehensive and insightful review of the movie that I can, as quickly as is possible without compromising quality. Regular programming resumes in a few days, after I settle back into things following a research symposium on simulations and VR.

This announcement is most welcome, and in comparison to some other much-anticipated movies in recent memory (namely, the K-On! Movie, which released on BD/DVD seven months after the theatrical release), Girls und Panzer Der Film is moving along at a much more reasonable pace. Girls und Panzer Der Film was a limited theatrical run and as of February 2, 2016, grossed 1.04 billion yen (around 12.5 million CAD) over 718,625 admissions to become the twelfth top-grossing animated movie for 2015 in Japan. To put these numbers in perspective, Spectre has grossed around 1.2 billion CAD internationally, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed 2.7 billion CAD (exchange rates are at the time of writing). With that being said, Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s revenue is still impressive considering that the anime itself is relatively recent. Presently, armed with a concrete release date, all that’s left is to busy oneself: in comparison to the K-On! Movie, time is going to fly for this wait. So, in the spirit of good discussion, is the release date as far off as it may seem for you?