Sometimes it sucks to be Canadian

If you live in Canada and have ever ordered anything from RightStuf, Amazon.com, or any other online retailer, based in the US you’ve likely noticed something: shipping to Canada is expensive. For anyone who hasn’t bothered to look, these are RightStuf’s shipping rates to Canada:

Things aren’t much better at Amazon.com, where it’s $4.99 for the first item, and $2.99 for every additional item. The shipping rates aren’t always a problem though. If I’m ordering a $50 item, I don’t really mind paying $7 for shipping, but if I’m ordering a $5 item it’s kind of irritating to pay more for shipping than the item itself.

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Anime Review: Baccano!

If you watch the first episode of Baccano! and are thoroughly confused by it don’t worry, that’s supposed to happen. The story is presented in a very disjointed way, constantly jumping back and forth between years and locations. It’s all very confusing until you get far enough into the series for things to start actually getting explained. Baccano! really isn’t something you can just stick in your DVD player and let play in the background while you do something else. You’d never be able to understand what was going on as you really need to give it your undivided attention. Luckily Baccano!‘ is such completely wild, crazy, over the top fun that you won’t have any trouble putting in the time to follow it.

One of the things that can make the story hard to follow is the surprisingly large cast of characters for such a short show. With most of these characters playing a major role in the story at one point or another, it’s a necessity that you know who’s who. So many character and organization names get tossed around so frequently that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by them. With a cast as large as this it would be impossible to talk about each one and still keep this review a reasonable length. Every character is interesting in their own way, but I’ll just focus on the ones that I feel really stood out from the rest for one reason or another.

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Anime Fans Give Back To Japan Podcast Marathon Has Ended

Well, it actually ended yesterday at 6 PM EST, I’m just really slow. If you haven’t heard about this, it was a 24 hour podcast marathon that happened over the weekend. Their goal was to raise $25,000 for earthquake relief efforts, and if you look at their site you can see they clearly succeeded. $31,000 is an impressive feat for something that was thrown together by a group of anime fans with about a week notice, and I congratulate them for being able to do so.

With all the voice actors and other industry guests who made an appearance, there were quite a few highlights over the 24 hours. Michelle Ruff mentioned she’ll be voicing Katherine in Atlus’ upcoming puzzle game Catherine. Maile Flanagan got confused about which Naruto movie she recently recorded. Steve Blum phoned in a little late but still made everyone fanboy a little. Daryl Surat’s plot to get people to watch old anime was foiled by terrible Internet service. The One Piece Podcast guys got to interview Luci Christian, the voice of Nami in Funimation’s dub of One Piece, bringing them one step closer to interviewing all of the Straw Hat Pirates.

There was a lot more that went on as 24 hours is quite a lot of time to fill, but this is just what I can recall off the top of my head. I managed to watch about 17 or 18 hours of the podcast, only getting maybe three and half hours of sleep overnight, and missing a few hours because I had other things I had to do on Sunday. I’m not sure whether or not any of it was recorded, though I hope it was as I ended up missing Crispin Freeman’s appearance, which I really wanted to see.

Donations are still open, so if you want to donate you still can. If you need some incentive to do so, every $10 you donate gives you a chance to win one of several prize packs. They’re also planning to do a mini-marathon again next weekend, and more details of that will come out as the week goes on.

A Message from Janai

Many of you who follow this blog are probably wondering what I have been up to lately. Here’s the short answer: Things have changed for me. Simply put, I’ve become less interested in anime and the fandom. I don’t expect my interest to ever die out completely, but I simply don’t have the passion that I once had to write about anime. As a result, Anthony Moores, otherwise known as “Antz”, will be taking over this blog. He has decided not to change the blog name for the time being. So it will still be JanaiBlog despite a distinct lack of Janai. Please give him a warm welcome.

The long answer:

First and foremost, anime has just been less interesting for me lately. I don’t think the quality of the shows coming out lately has decreased, but rather my standards have increased. Also, I’ve become more focused on video games, which I have always enjoyed more than anime. In fact, I just finished playing Mass Effect (which was amazing) and am starting the sequel very soon.

Personal life is also a factor. I need to focus more on work and social life, rather than talk on Twitter all day and blog about the latest controversy. This is also the reason I recently left the Otaku in Review Podcast, now co-hosted by Michael Camacho of The OtakuGamer. If you haven’t listened to this awesome show, you should definitely check it out.

The final factor in all this is the drama. I never realized what I was going into when I started blogging about anime. The amount of drama in the online anime fan community is just unbelievable. So many petty arguments (and I admit, I’m one to talk). I’d rather not be involved in all of that, as it’s just way too time-consuming. Time can be better spent on things other than arguing over whether or not moe is the cancer killing anime.

The time I spent in the anime fan community wasn’t all for naught though. I don’t regret the time I spent talking with fellow anime fans, even if sometimes it made me want to pull my hair out. It was definitely a learning experience. I even made some great new friends in the process, and I especially thank those people.

I don’t know if I’ll ever post on this blog again, but I will still remain on Twitter (@FattyJanai), albeit being much less active than before. You can contact me there.

Anime Fans Give Back To Japan

After the recent earthquake in Japan there have been a range reactions from anime and manga fans, as well as various blogs and sites. Some send their prayers and thoughts, some donate money, some bitch because they can’t torrent their cartoons, and one site whose name isn’t worth mentioning (Sankaku Complex) posted a gallery of knocked over and broken figures. But rather than focus on the negative things cropping up in fandom, or talk about what a blight upon anime fandom Sankaku Complex is, I’d prefer to focus on the positive things.

The hosts of the Unofficial One Piece Podcast have decided to put together a 24 hour marathon podcast to raise donations for relief efforts in Japan, a movement which they’ve named Anime Fans Give Back To Japan. During the 24 hours they’re going to have various guests come on to talk about what’s happening, and they’ll also have information posted about what people can do to help. Some of the guests include Zac Bertschy and Justin Sevakis of Anime News Network’s ANNCast, as well asĀ  J. Michael Tatum, Terri Doty, and Stephen Hoff of the That Anime Show podcast.

For news about the earthquake and information about where to donate you can also check out ANN’s special coverage. Crunchyroll is also accepting donations for relief efforts, and will match all donations made.

For more information about the marathon podcast, you can follow them on Twitter at @OtakusHelpJapan