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Five-Minute Anime: The Wrapup

May 6, 2010

Gotcha! We weren't really turning into Five-Minute Anime forever after all! Didn't see that coming, didja?

...Okay, seriously, it goes without saying that this event went way, way off course. I had the basic idea for it in place right from the start (my forum posts at the time back this up), but each piece of the event proved to take much longer than I expected. Honestly, I wasn't planning to go past a week! I was on a roll (by my standards) with the 5MBSG relaunch event, and I also wanted to do something special for our long-awaited one millionth visit. The April Fool's thing was just a distraction, something silly I was doing to keep that particular site tradition going.

I've explained at my LJ why I didn't just give up after a while. And frankly, as stupid as this whole thing was, I'm still glad I didn't. I would be much more frustrated looking back on Five-Minute Anime as a flop -- the third of its kind in three years -- than I am now, looking back on it as a preposterously overextended but complete event which accomplished everything I wanted it to.

That said, it's still embarrassing. The worst part, I think, is that I've wound up sending a message I never intended. The event as originally envisioned was about poking fun at anime cliches. But by letting it hijack the front page for this long, I've left visitors thinking one of two things. Either I meant it about going anime-only (not such a big deal as I always fool at least one reader, and after a while I added a warning message which left no excuse)... or else I thought anime was just a big joke, worthy of the most extensive mockery.

That's not what I think, of course. Most people my age or older were pretty freaked out by their first encounters with anime -- all those huge eyes and sweatdrops just came across as bad art, and the animation quality was about on par with cartoons 20 years old. I used to call it lazy man's animation. Some people never move beyond that first impression -- the news media and your parents, for example -- and while there is some truth to it, it's not nearly the whole story.

I watch a fair bit of anime (my better judgment would say too much, but what does he know?). What keeps me coming back are the concepts. Japan is a freaky place; anime writers come up with stuff that can blow your mind. I'm not proposing some theory of Japanese exceptionalism here. There's nothing about Fate/stay night or Hell Girl that you can't ever find in Western works. But the fact is, there's nothing written today at all that doesn't borrow or steal from the great literary works of old. What matters is how you use what you borrow -- and anime uses its influences in remarkable ways.

In short, I don't dislike anime, if anybody got that impression. Of course, I don't think it's perfect either. Modern anime lacks some of the old cliches, but it has weird and disturbing new cliches that are all its own. (Look up "moe" sometime... or don't, you'll be happier.) It's a medium like any other, with good that's worth enjoying and bad that's worth mocking.

Which means, of course, that it fits in perfectly at FiveMinute.net.

Back to the event. Right up till the last minute, I was hoping not to hit April 1st again. (Sorry, Wowbagger, I was serious about that.) In the end, I can live with finishing on the first; at least I didn't go past it. What really matters is that this mess is no longer hanging over my head like an albatross of Damocles. Until the damn anime thing was over, it was embarrassing to link to my own site. That's a bad position to be in -- your site has to be something that gives you satisfaction, or you're better off without one. Real life is more than stressful enough.

This was no picnic for readers either, of course. I was asked at one point during the event (ironically, while I was working on the last piece of it) to promise I'd never start another of these big ungodly things with no clear timeline. I understand the feeling, but I don't make promises like that. There's a line between businessman/customer and webmaster/reader relationships, and I've learned that the farther from that line I stay, the better. So I'm not going to set my bow in the sky as a sign of the covenant that never again shall I send a wave of anime to destroy the Earth.

But man, I sure don't plan to.

So! Enough navel-gazing. The real point of this article is to give you a closer look at the content of Five-Minute Anime -- not just because some of the targets were obscure, but because almost everything I posted was working on more levels than advertised.

The Top 10 Signs That You Wish Your Girlfriend Were an Anime Character

This list idea predates the actual event. It had been floating around in my mind since summer '07, which was when I went on the spectacularly poorly-timed anime binge that left me an outright fan as opposed to an occasional checker-out. The references are mostly general, but Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome get direct shoutouts -- no surprise since I got heavily into the Mai franchise during the aforementioned binge.

Since I wrote this list, I've become more aware that wishing your girlfriend were an anime character -- or rather, the reverse -- is a real phenomenon that some otaku take to very disturbing levels. I've alluded to "moe" already, but the worst example in my book is the hug pillow. Seeing those damn things at my comic store makes me want out of the whole geek business.

Five-Minute Sailor Moon

This was a ton of fun to write... but man, did I ever get stalled. I had large parts of the fiver worked out in my head way back in April. But the thing is, although I knew quite a bit about the show, it wasn't from watching it. I'd just picked up a lot of bits and pieces over the years. (I keep my bits and pieces -- photographic memory, baby.)

In the past, I might not have let that stop me. There were several Cheese fivers where I largely winged it. But I don't like to -- and failing to do the due diligence has led me to embarrassment before. (Remember Andromeda's "Ouroboros"? That Earth scene is funny unless you know the Perseid homeworld isn't where they go. A fan at SlipstreamWeb called me on it, or I might not know even now.) So I did a little reading -- episode summaries, manga and whatnot. As I did, the fiver in my head kept picking up more scenes I had to throw in. So that took half of forever, and getting the damn thing written took the other half.

I've discussed the content a bit at my LJ. Here's more.

  • First things first: the narrator! There are a ton of random references to other anime in this fiver, and he's the biggest one. By way of Soul Eater, our narrator is Excalibur. Do you know of his legend? (However, the narrator should still be fun without knowing that.)
  • Sailor Moon's famous English theme may be wildly inaccurate, but there's a little-known secret that makes it brilliant -- it actually has the same tune as the Japanese theme. Now that's localization! I really wish we'd see more of that; unfortunately, the current trend in translating anime is the opposite, to leave as much unchanged as possible for fear of fan backlash. This is quickly becoming a whole post, so I'll probably come back to it on the LJ.
  • Serena trips over Luna in the anime. Excalibur apparently read the manga, where it happens like he says.
  • I mostly stuck with the Westernized names, but I kept "youma" instead of "Negamonster" for the pun potential. Speaking of the names, Serena's real name is pretty silly -- to a Japanese-speaker it's basically "Bunny O'Moon". (Why a bunny? Because she's a ditz, but also because Eastern cultures see a rabbit in the moon, not a man.) So the English is more subtle, Greek mythology aside. The manga translators actually had her nicknamed "Bunny" to preserve the meaning.
  • As you can see, I'm a huge translation/localization wonk. Don't mind me.
  • Needless to say, Zoycite and Malachite were... closer in Japan. Zoycite's flowery death scene (one of the few I watched at the time) was a dead giveaway even for kids, so the rumours spread fast. That was also about the time a little thing called the internet was reaching the general public -- secrets like this one were about to get very hard to keep.
  • TV Tropes is a bit full of itself these days, but I still love it, and there were two shoutouts I couldn't resist making here. The small one is Queen Serenity sealing evil in a can. The big one comes when Darien turns evil and doesn't recognize his name without "Prince" before it. The trope for this sort of thing is Dub Induced Plot Hole, but it's had other names, such as Bad Localization Kills... and My Name Is Prince Darien.
  • "They're close" is a shameless ripoff of the best joke in RENT.
  • Some of those hard-to-catch anime references and other little stuff... Princess Serenity spouts the catchphrase of Mr. Despair. Chibi Moon has future Trunks. (Very similar character premise.) Serena's hair is based on sata andagi. Mina really is a beta version of Sailor Moon, imported from the author's earlier Codename: Sailor V. "Because it's a sailor uniform. QED!" Darien has four guardians to protect his very life. Ginormica can be found in Monsters Vs. Aliens. The Earth is doomed. You guys are really confusing Serena. Super Bowl XLII was this one. Lita's boring.
  • I wasn't able to find out in time whether the "Luna Mind Meld" was in the original Japanese version. Eventually I checked for myself, and she doesn't say it. Pity. I've changed that scene a tad to keep Luna honest -- where she said "original script" before, she just says "script" now, and Serena doesn't realize she means the dub script.
  • Believe it or not, in Japan, it really was just a week between the end of the first season and the start of the second (called Sailor Moon R over there, no new title here). Talk about a short-lived "happily ever after". The English version at least waited three weeks.
  • Speaking of the "second half" of the fiver, you probably noticed it was much shorter. That's because the first season was the only one I knew the plot of, or really cared to -- but I did know about various elements of later seasons, like Chibi-Moon and the Outer Scouts, and wanted to throw them in.
  • The two things I most wish I'd managed to do in this fiver: make fun of the educational "Sailor Says" segments and liken Luna to Angela Lansbury.
Five-Minute Hell Girl

Hell Girl is one of my favourite anime series (three series now). I love it for the same reasons I love The Ring, and unlike the latter, it doesn't resort to cheap scare tactics. Enma Ai has become a mid-level anime icon, helped by the amazing voice of Mamiko Noto. But the show has a definite problem. Everybody likes the premise... and everybody wishes the writers would go farther with it.

Make no mistake, interesting things have happened over the show's three seasons. Secrets have been revealed. But it takes patience to get to them. Up until the last few episodes of each season, the big picture appears slowly, a piece at a time, while the rest of each episode focuses on the "damnation of the week". It's not like the American live-action shows that delight in stringing the audience along; Hell Girl always knows where it's heading, but it considers the anthology-style stories every bit as important and interesting, and it thinks you do too.

I try, really. They're good anthology-style stories. But even to a diehard fan, they get a little formulaic after a while.

That said, I fully recommend Hell Girl. The art and music will blow you away, and those bits and pieces of the larger story are well worth waiting for. The show presents a dark, strange moral outlook. You'll have to figure out the right and wrong for yourself, because Ai sure as hell won't tell you which is which -- she's just doing her job.

So go get the box set. I want it to sell well so we'll get the other two seasons, which are even better.

Other notes:

  • Look, I'm really not a Savage Garden fan. And I especially don't like the song "Affirmation". But it all fit so neatly with Hell Girl's intro that I just had to use it. (And anyway, I can't completely disapprove of a band who have a song that's obviously about Tom and B'Elanna. I kid you not!)
  • There are actually two Death Note jokes here. The obvious one is Light's cameo (alongside Asakawa Reiko, heroine of the original Ring movie). The other is sneaky: I introduce the instructions with the phrase "How to Use", which is how Ryuk started his Death Note instructions. (There are several strange phrases like this in the series. Tsugumi Ohba thinks she knows English better than she really does.)
  • Speaking of the cameo scene, I just chose "Yoko" as a typical Japanese girls' name; I didn't mean anyone specific.
  • Linguistic note: when the Good Guy wonders if he's spelled the Bad Guy's name right, he's got more to worry about than an English-speaker would. The same name might be written with any of the three Japanese alphabets, only two of which are phonetic. If it's a kanji name (and most names are), the possible spellings are almost unlimited. For any common syllable, there are several different kanji that can be read that way. Then you have to throw in the special name-only readings... and the possibility that the person's parents simply chose whatever kanji they wanted for the name, regardless of their usual readings. All this is a moot point, though. The Good Guy is assuming the Hotline to Hell works like Death Notes, which demand the right spelling. In fact, the Hotline is much more flexible and has been known to take requests like "My stalker".
  • For those who haven't been around here long enough, Ren isn't the only one who would like you to fear his creepy eyes.
Five-Minute Mecha Anime

Okay, I'm just gonna say it: Mecha does nothing for me. Nothing at all. I just plain don't see the appeal. That goes for Western versions like Transformers too. It's a character flaw, I know.

If pressed, I think the main reason I'd give is that mechas push my suspension of disbelief just a bit too far. Magic is one thing; no rules of physics have to apply. And I like powered armour at human size, like Iron Man or Samus wears. But giant robots? Nobody with an ounce of sense would model one on the human body. Extreme size is hard enough to manage without handicapping the design team. Even if we grant the unknown materials that would be required to make a mecha support itself, they could be put to use so much better on... almost anything else, really.

This is not to say I can't enjoy mecha shows on occasion -- I just don't enjoy them for the mechas. I liked RahXephon, but its mechas are pure plot device, only there to look cool and force Ayato into his role. Kannazuki no Miko's mechas just give consequences to the character drama. Van in Gun X Sword is cooler out of his Armour than in it; it seems to exist mostly for the novelty value of a mecha in a Western show. But Macross? Gundam? Robotech? All my brothers got into that stuff, but not me.

So naturally, the genre was an obvious target.

Not too much to say about the fiver itself. Pilot 1 represents old-school mecha shows, Pilot 2 the new school that began with Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Pilot 3 the subgenre of "combining" mechas best known from Voltron. All mecha shows have government conspiracies. And yes, I just threw in Godzilla for the hell of it.

This Just In Special Report: Next Generation anime to begin and begin and begin

THIS ARTICLE ENDS! Very few people have found the ending so far; MaverickZer0 was the first to say so in the thread. I won't tell you the final page number, of course, but I'll tell you that it's practically given away in the article itself. I've added a go-to-page button to aid in the search. (And you could always try just paging forward over and over... heh heh...)

This article is a potshot at Season 2 of The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I've gone into the reasons at the forum, so rather than say it all again, I'll copy that post here.

See, the fifth Haruhi light novel has a "Cause and Effect"-type story in it, with two major differences: the number of repetitions is absurdly large although we only see one (our resident AI lifeform Yuki Nagato counts 15,498 iterations), and the solution is really lame.

Now, Kyoto Animation scored the biggest anime hit of the decade with Haruhi's first season, based on the best-selling light novel series. Nothing about Haruhi is unprecedented in anime or sci-fi, but it seems to have come along at just the right moment to get mass appeal. KyoAni played it to the hilt with viral marketing and gimmicks (such as the alluded-to "anachronic" airing order).

That was in '06; since then, the fans have been increasingly desperate for more. And for whatever reason, KyoAni has taken the opportunity to mess with them. First there were a couple of fake-outs about when the second season would start. When it finally did, it was in the middle of a repeat airing of season one. And then... then they really got nasty. They adapted "Endless Eight", the story I just mentioned... eight times. The characters first find out they're in a time loop in the second one, but it still takes them six more to find a solution (meaning they have to find out about the loop six more times, too).

The animation was almost all new each time, so KyoAni wasn't doing this to slack off. Clearly they just really felt like screwing with the audience. Understand, there was no indication of how many times the loop would repeat. Some viewers were pleasantly surprised when the first "Endless Eight" episode ended without the loop being discovered, and figured we'd get one more, maybe two. Nobody expected, when that first one aired, that the whole thing would go on for eight weeks.

I hope KyoAni enjoyed the stunt, because they burned every bit of their credit on it. They must have thought the gimmicks were what made season one great, when in fact a lot of us just put up with that part. They're now back to square one where most anime fans are concerned. Their next Haruhi project will be viewed with great skepticism.

Now as for the article itself...

  • The Endless Eight fiasco undoubtedly can't be pinned on any one person, but as usual in TJIs, I chose a representative anyway. My apologies to Mr. Hatta (and Mr. Huntsberry, whom I chose pretty much at random for Paramount).
  • In case y'all hadn't heard, Brannon Braga really has been working on 24 with Manny Coto. The show ends this season, but he already has a new one in the works, albeit on Fox. He also wrote a pretty cool Iron Man miniseries recently. (You can bet Marvel had at least one guaranteed reader for that. Brannon Braga and Iron Man? Sign me up, man.)
  • Someday I'll stop picking on Marina Sirtis. It'll probably be the same day I let Braga off the hook for dating Jeri Ryan. Or the day she gets a job.
  • Turns out I gave the "recursion of time" line to the wrong character. It's Koizumi who says it, not Nagato. I didn't know this because I only watched the first episode of Endless Eight, and don't really plan to see more. Life is too short. (And stuff is too long.)
  • Studio GAINAX is famous for its insane endings. I'm sure I don't have to explain why Ron Moore would be sympatico with them. Come to think of it, I wonder if Ron has watched Haruhi? It might explain a bit about which machina he got his dei ex.
  • Sunrise, on the other hand, is most famous for the Gundam franchise. But in recent years they've also scored a hit with Mai-HiME and its spinoffs.
Five-Minute Seven of Seven

This is a fairly obscure series, so once again I did some explaining at the forum.

The two most important differences [between the anime and the fiver] are that the Nanas had only one year to live unless they got reunited, and their transformation gave them super-powers. They sometimes used this as an excuse to disguise themselves as the "Nana Rangers" (characters from a Power Rangers-type show they used to watch) and thus be out in public as a group; they couldn't do this otherwise since Nana was trying to keep her duplication a secret.

Other elements of the show appear here only to get dismissed. Nana's copies really did have distinct personalities (except blue, who was the "real" one), they had nicknames to keep each other straight, and they all inherited Nana's crush on a boy in her class.

To be honest, I only got three episodes into Seven of Seven. It's the anime equivalent of a Saturday morning kids' show, so I felt a little old for it. Of course, since it's anime, Nana is a bit... bouncier than you would see in a western cartoon for the grade-school set. Okay, a lot bouncier. And it's based on a manga with even less age-appropriate visuals. So the whole thing makes me cringe a bit. It's part of a general phenomenon I discussed in the first half of this recent LJ post.

Oh, by the way, "nana" is Japanese for 7. That's the joke in the title, and it's the reason "Nana Rangers" isn't quite as ridiculous a coincidence as it sounds.

Of course, the real point of this "fiver" was to be the next step in my grand scheme. First Star Trek insinuated itself into the TJI, and now it was taking over fivers wholesale. This was always my plan for the event. I had hoped to involve other FiveMinute.net standbys and not just the Trek shows, but I had to nix that when the drag set in. (One idea mixed Doctor Who with a particularly weird choice of anime. I'm not saying which because I think I'll still write it.)

Some minutiae about Five-Minute Seven of Seven:

  • I've said this already, but man, did I love writing for the Voyager cast again. I've been reluctant all these years to write the last few VOY fivers because I don't want it to be over, but I'm less bothered by that now -- I can always keep writing stuff like this.
  • My contrarian C/7 tendencies are probably showing here. I'm an old-time J/Cer, but you wouldn't believe how badly the shippers overreacted to "Endgame" at the time. I developed a habit of tweaking them. If you know where to look, it's all over the place in my VVS episodes (and blatantly in the fivers, but I mock everything there).
  • Alas, even though I had an indigo Seven hanging around, I didn't manage to make a joke about Ai Yori Aoshi ("Bluer Than Indigo"). That's another anime I'm fond of, and I particularly like the title, which comes from an old Oriental saying about students surpassing their teachers: "Blue comes from indigo, yet blue is bluer than indigo." There's a multiple pun here, since "ai" can also mean "love" when written with different kanji, and the heroine's name is Aoi. (If you feel like you've read this before at TV Tropes, it's because I wrote that entry.)
  • Small stuff: Neelix seems to be a fan of the Be Sharps. Green is the colour of willpower on the emotional spectrum. The bouncer got in trouble last time.
  • The extra "fivers" at the end are for two anime and a video game, chosen purely for the 7s in their names. You're lucky I stopped there -- I didn't have to. There's still 07-Ghost, Macross 7, Samurai 7...
  • I've long been a hitcounter addict -- I love to see where visitors are getting referred from. Sometimes very odd things show up in that list. This piece, for example, is my first to get linked at a fetish forum. (Link obviously NSFW!) The fetish in question? Identical twins, natch. Ironically, I just posted a much spicier comedy piece which involves twins -- but they're fraternal twins, so it wouldn't do anything for this crowd.

To wrap this up, here's a weird little coincidence. While working on this article, I dropped by the comic store. (My usual place in Ottawa is The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank -- highly recommended for both comics and anime.) And what should turn up in their discount manga section but volume 2 of Seven of Seven? I'd never found the manga of this series in stores before, and suddenly here was a volume for two bucks. I snapped it up -- one doesn't say no to fate.

Then I read it and felt vaguely dirty. Stick to the anime, folks. Grade 9 girls should not do this much fanservice.

The Top 10 Little-Known Anime References in Star Trek

This one's my tribute to the anime in-jokes in TNG. I read about them in Larry Nemecek's ST:TNG Companion, and so should you. Since TNG began in '87, the references they made were necessarily to anime we'd call vintage today, and so this list was a good opportunity to touch on some of the classics in my event. (There may still be an anachronism or two.)

That said, I'm a recent anime fan, so I'm mostly a fan of recent anime. I know most of the shows on this list by reputation or through checking out the manga. The exceptions are Excel Saga (priceless random-comedy show), Evangelion, and Pokemon, of course.

By the way, for anyone who didn't notice, the disclaimer has a Wikipedia link for each item. I figured everyone would get at least one, but probably nobody would get them all. After all, we're not an anime site... whatever unreliable sources like me might say.

Five-Minute The Dirty Pair

Ah, the piece de resistance! As soon as I came up with the blending-into-Trek idea, I knew The Dirty Pair had to come into play.

Of the various anime that Sternbach and the gang made in-jokes about, The Dirty Pair is my favourite. It's a bizarre sci-fi comedy about Kei and Yuri, the Keystone Kops of the future. They work for the WWWA, a sort of space UN, as Trouble Consultants -- special agents who solve tough problems. In bikinis.

Their codename is the Lovely Angels, but nobody calls them that. The massive collateral damage they invariably cause has earned them a different name: the Dirty Pair. Send them to save the crew of a falling space station, and make no mistake, they'll succeed -- but the station will explode, the debris will crush cities, the planet will be knocked off its orbit, and the commander will get kicked in the junk.

Even so, if they get the job done, they must be doing something right, yes? Not exactly. They're not really good at anything. In fact, being about 19 years old, they're usually either having fun with the mission or complaining when they can't. And they put way more energy into bickering with each other than into fighting the bad guys.

So how come the WWWA computer keeps recommending them for missions? Nobody knows. My guess is that it's figured out their real strength: luck. They always seem to have just enough good luck to save the day after their bad luck fans the flames. A Pierson's puppeteer would consider them perfect recruits for a trip to the Ringworld... as long as it wouldn't be needed in one piece again.

Oh, they've also got some kind of big mutant dog-bear-thing. It's called Mughi. It can't talk, but it's probably more competent than Kei and Yuri put together.

So there's your premise. Easy to run with, no? After toying with the idea of using Angel and Spike, I settled on Tucker and Reed -- it was high time for new Enterprise content. I tied it in loosely with my ENT-future TJIs. I had to bring in the Temporal Cold War. And other things snuck in from truly weird directions. The result is what you read.

List time!

  • I don't remember precisely when I came up with Evil Future Guy's "true" identity, but it was definitely after New Year's -- so this time there was at least some benefit to the long wait. You probably now have some idea what I thought of Trek XI; one of these days I'll post more detailed comments in the forum thread like I've been meaning to. In brief, it was a fun movie with brilliant casting, but not since BSG have I been so baffled by a tidal wave of critical and public acclaim.
  • Returning to Kei and Yuri for a moment, "yuri" is Japanese for lily, and it also happens to be a codeword for lesbianism. The term goes back to the 70s, but there's so much Dirty Pair slash out there that you'll sometimes see Yuri herself credited as the source. For male homosexuality, the corresponding term is "yaoi"... so now you know where poor Reed got his codename. (As for Tucker, "Spike" was his nickname on the original casting sheet, but they wisely went with "Trip" instead.)
  • I called the dog Musky because I wanted something that sounded like Mughi. Of course, there is a Moogie in Star Trek -- namely Quark's mother -- but I can't stand that character and there was no meaningful connection anyway. (If you're wondering what the Three Musketeers have to do with anything, look up their names.)
  • The Zero Wing scene was another late addition. I pictured it being harder to recognize, but once I had it all written I realized it was dead obvious. Ah well.
  • Metroid fans will find a lot that's familiar here -- not just the actual Metroid. When I came up with the storyline, I realized it was a lot like Metroid Fusion, so I started to run with that. The captain even steals a couple of lines from Adam, Samus's computerized CO (hence the name Adamson). Conveniently, the human interplanetary government in Metroid actually calls itself the Federation.
  • While writing this, I was replaying my old Pokemon games to warm up for the release of HeartGold, so that series also got some shoutouts. The famous glitch Pokemon Missingno. is one of them. Another is "When Trip's confused, he hammers himself half the time." Besides the obvious TripHammered shoutout, a confused Pokemon has a 50% chance of "hurt[ing] itself in its confusion" each round. (Of course, selection bias makes the odds seem much worse...)
  • I mentioned the source of Adamson's name. Bertram probably sounds like a shot at Robert Beltran, but I actually just picked a name from Wikipedia's Dirty Pair article. Apparently what inspired Haruka Takachiho to write the first Dirty Pair light novel was a joke made by the Australian sf author A. Bertram Chandler on a visit to Japan. (Yep, they had light novels before Haruhi.) Star Trek was another of Takachiho's influences -- a fact which the anime acknowledged now and then.
  • Speaking of Bertram, for no real reason I gave him a bunch of song jokes. He has a Paul Simon line early on, and later he quotes songs by Pink and the world's most awesomely-named band, And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Dead. (Yes, I listen to Pink sometimes. She's really not bad, just misundaztood.)
  • The bit with Mayweather parodies a really cool scene from Naruto where -- what's that? There was no bit with Mayweather? Never mind then.
  • With the TCW involved, I had to make a reference to Five-Minute "Shockwave". See if you can spot it. Other strange reference targets include the DOOM comic, this classic SNL sketch, and one of my new favourite anime, Shakugan no Shana; Reed spouts Shana's catchphrase ("SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!").
  • In the first Dirty Pair episode, Kei and Yuri actually use the "who's prettier" question as a logic bomb against a computer that's killing everybody. (They also want to know the answer, of course, and are annoyed when they don't get one.) The disclaimer is another show reference -- "Love is zero-G" is a line from the end theme. You can check out both themes here.
  • Annnnd finally, Ensign Goosefood is an obscure running joke from 5ME which I stole from Dilbert.

The Dirty Pair remains an active franchise, both in Japan and here. There hasn't been a new anime in a while, but Takachiho is still writing the light novels. Meanwhile, Kei and Yuri can also be found in one of the very few original English manga series. It's not ongoing, but a new volume comes along once in a while. The writer/artist of most of them has been Adam Warren, who also wrote a pretty cool Iron Man miniseries recently. (Hey, didn't I just...?) Warren is heavily into cyberpunk, which is a good fit for the quirky universe of The Dirty Pair. Both anime and manga are well worth checking out.

That about wraps it up for the anime event. Oh, except for the two Easter eggs that nobody's mentioned yet. Each of them has been visited at least once according to the hitcounter, so they're not that hard to find. You can still be the first to post the code words, though. Satisfaction!

So what's next for 5M.net? Well, existence is a good start. To cement our return, I made a new site logo that finally restores VOY and ENT to their rightful place as cornerstones of the site. (We've had the NCC-1701 and Deep Space Nine there for years; I was in a hurry during the fifth anniversary event and asked a friend to whip something up. Been meaning to replace it for ages.)

Our tenth anniversary is next month, and it goes without saying that a celebration will be called for. I'm not gonna reveal anything about that yet, but it'll be good. In the meantime, I've got plenty of guest fivers to dig up. I also want to finally add some of my favourite recent shows to our repertoire. And of course there's still a season and a half of Enterprise I haven't done yet... sometime soon I'll do a poll and see what's most in demand.

I'm not promising anything. As I said, I don't do that online; it's not smart. But 5M.net is a part of my life that I enjoy, and I'm always getting ideas for it. I hope to deliver many of those ideas in the future.

Many more than this year, at least.

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