The Nihon Revue, Episode One

This is what my face looked like when I first inspected my mic quality.

That’s right, kids— The Nihon Review now has a podcast! It’s called The Nihon Revue, and features the ever-so-charming Sorrow-kun and everyone’s least favorite blogger (yours truly) doing what The Nihon Review does best: reviewing anime.

For our pilot episode, we have for you five of last season’s hits. Most of these shows have finished only recently. Here’s the program:

Bakemonogatari: 0:30

Angel Beats!: 5:50

Senkou no Night Raid: 11:05

Working!!: 13:30

Arakawa Under the Bridge: 19:25

Total runtime is 27:40.

We realize that there were a lot of things we could have done better— this podcast is a work in progress. We’re hoping to put one of these out every season for everyone out there. Also, I definitely need a better microphone, but I’m currently abroad, so bear with me on that one. Thanks for supporting us, and enjoy:

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Also, a download link if you so please.

Don’t forget to come join us down at #nhrv @ irc.rizon.net. We always welcome new faces, so drop on by.

16 Responses to “The Nihon Revue, Episode One”

  1. Akira and I recorded this about a week ago, so our comments on the currently airing series are probably a bit outdated. Also, Akira edited the whole thing. This is our first attempt at a podcast, so any feedback is appreciated. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. wow Akira sounds so badass

  3. “I stuttered.” Nice.

    On Bakemonogatari, I don’t know, I thought that was a good ending. It was clear that nothing was going to top 12 as soon as it aired and watching the actual finale, the developments in that episode were absolutely necessary to the question Tsubasa posed to Araragi. It reminded me a lot of Haruhi, where all the strong plot material was at the beginning, but still ended with a nice little life-goes-on ending. No big developments, but character resolution. Also, keep in mind that it will likely get a sequel.

    As for Arakawa, the thing that made the humor tire for me was that Ko was simply not learning. The social commentary and the dramatic moments work very well, but for some reason they are forgotten by the time the next gag gets around. It’s funny for a while but eventually, I wished the guy would just snark rather than give the same brash overreactions he does at the show’s start. The show is still good, though. (I’ve only seen up to 10)

  4. Can’t deny it’s always interesting to notice the difference between how one imagines online individuals or personalities sound like and what is actually the case. Nothing bad about that at all, mind you. On the contrary, I see it as a positive here.

    I like the basic format and the use of clips, although I don’t know if you plan to add something on top of that (a bit of initial banter or expanding the previews at the end, for instance, or how much website integration and interaction is intended). The actual content was fine and made for a good listen.

    Still, if you want a bit of advice…it wouldn’t hurt to not do as much of what seems to be a straight reading at times, particularly when introducing each show. Not really a huge issue or anything, it might simply be a matter of getting used to your chosen podcast style.

  5. I only listened to the Arakawa part, as it’s the only one I’ve seen to completion. I have to take Sorrow-kun’s side on this. The humor worked best when it was incidental to developing the characters. As the characters got more and more fleshed out, the humor started to get pretty random. I also agree that Stella didn’t contribute much to the show. I feel that same way about Maria and that dojikko, whatever her name was. Maria might’ve been ok with more development. The metal guys were ok but annoying.

    As for the format, I thought the back-and-forth discussion was just about perfect. You guys kept the conversation flowing, you gave each other an ideal amount of time to make your points, and you weren’t afraid to disagree with each other. The introductory summary/review is a necessary evil. It’s filler to people who’ve seen the show but necessary for the unfamiliar. It was pretty clear that you were reading it word for word, which isn’t necessarily bad, but a more conversational style would come out better.

    Speaking from personal experience, first-time podcasts always have flaws. The problem is that you’ll never know what the flaws are until you put together the final product and listen to the whole thing. After that you either publish it or do the whole damn thing over. I say it’s better to publish and save your effort for the next episode.

  6. Yah agreeing with what AH said. The straight reading might be nessesary but it could do with being shorter. The problem with straight reading like that is I find myself thinking ‘I could just read this instead of listening to it’.

    As for what you guys actually said, I’d disagree somewhat with what Akira said about Arakawa and the drama not getting finished up. The show was far more about Recruit and him reconciling with his dad, not about the actual romance. The way they did that scene in episode 12 was fantastic and rounded up the story in such a way that it fitted perfectly.

  7. Good first podcast, guys. Plus, like I told Akira, I never knew Akira sounds mature. I’ve always thought he has a geeky type of voice you’d love to strangle, you know :V

    First thing first, about the podcast itself: Love the Baccano jazz opening. It’s just appropriate to catch the listeners’ attention, and I really hope the next podcast has an opening just as groovy or even more interesting. Secondly, the turns taken between Sorrow-kun and Akira is just right. Each person takes enough time to make his point before passing on to the next person, without any sense of abrupt interruption that would really lose the listeners’ attention (like you would experience when listening to a radio program featuring more than 1 DJ).

    Now on to my views on the various titles:

    Bakemonogatari: I skipped this portion because I’m one of those who’ve yet to watch it. Not even a single episode for me.

    Angel Beats: I think the experimental aspect of the show is good and all, but the end-product of Angel Beats is just terrible. It has a number of good things going on: the humor, the graphics, etc. The thing is, many people including myself would remember the anime more when towards the end, so the show ultimately leaves a sour aftertaste. Akira has it spot-on: it’s like the writer walks off halfway through the show, and someone else takes the helm. It has probably the best OP of the year. Probably.

    Senkou no Night Raid: Can’t comment this show either; I’ve yet to watch a single episode.

    Working: This show’s charming. Some characters work for me (e.g. Inami, Takanashi, Poplar, Satou, etc.) but others don’t make enough of an impression for me (Souma, Todoroki, etc). Satou’s my favorite character because he’s admirable and probably the most down-to-earth among the quirky bunch. Not only he’s “the man”, he also played the role of making the bunch quirky itself (i.e. giving that sense of contrast, if anyone have realized). Inami and Takanashi’s relationship is one of the highlights of the show – gotta love how each person is trying very hard to understand each other’s problems – and Poplar’s just adorable. I just feel that Maya (that bespectacled girl on the final episode) deserves to be on the show a lot earlier. Her ironic character could’ve contributed a lot to the show.

    Arakawa Under the Bridge: This show’s apparently strange, right from the onset. However, the show grows on you, particularly the characters. It’s certainly not the visceral, in-your-face kind of show you’d expect from Shinbo himself, but as a comedy, it really works. Plus, the material is somewhat unusual because it deals with an environment where common sense isn’t that common to begin with. A rational person may ask “Why?” about something, and this shows shoves in his face “Why not”. The characters are eccentric, yet there’s chemistry between them that actually makes the humor work. I do expect the romance to escalate towards the end – just like Akira mentioned – but maybe I can expect more of it in the sequel (which I heard there will be). Character-wise, I love the likable sore loser Hoshi, the serious Village Chief and edgy Sister but I find the Metal brothers and P-ko somewhat irritating. I do want to see more of Kou’s assistant Takai more: for a side character, he’s hilarious.

  8. All things considered, that turned out really well for a first podcast. The Siskel and Ebert reviewing style is a solid format, however it was surprisingly difficult to follow the introduction/summary portions. There’s no visual reference to go by, and the whole synopsis can probably be shortened in the future.

    I wonder how you guys feel about adding a third reviewer to the format, or talking about past anime since seasonal reviews can only be done once every 3 months.

  9. Very nice. The interplay between you two was far better than I thought it would be. I agree with most people here in that the synopsis part was a bit too stilted and probably could benefit from a bit of trimming (just do a short synopsis and skip the mini-review part unless there is only one of you like in Night Raid).

    @kadian1364: It’s probably better to leave it at just two people since there is just so much to talk about any anime and we are trying to keep things short and simple. I suppose it’s possible to have a different pair of of commentators for shows SK and Akira don’t get to.

  10. I wants to talks

    WRGggGGHHH I hate this show WRGHhhhh I hate this one to wrghhhh

  11. For a second, I thought I was listening to Jack Nicholson.

    Great podcast guys, looking forward to more.

  12. […] Akira and I have just put together the first episode of our new seasonal podcast, The Nihon Revue, where we review and discuss the recently completed series of last season.  If you haven’t already, you can listen to it here. […]

  13. @gaguri
    Not being used to Californian accents, my first thoughts were “wow, this guy must be a cool dude”.

    @AuroraFlame
    The “sorry, I stuttered” line was completely unintentional. After trying to say Araragi’s name, I suddenly have a new sympathy for Hachikuji.

    @AH
    We were going for approximately a 2min/3min split between monologue introduction/two-way discussion, but the consensus seems to be that 2 minutes is too long. So, in the future, we might lean more towards a 1min/4min split.

    @Baka-Raptor
    Yeah, it’s all a big learning experience for us. There’s definitely a few things we want to tweak, but we’ll be better next time for the experience.

    @Scamp

    ‘I could just read this instead of listening to it’

    That makes sense. I was worried that, if we didn’t make a significant portion of it fairly structured, that we’d go off on irrelevant tangents. I have a natural inclination to do that anyway, as I did twice in this podcast. The feedback seems to suggest that people want to listen to discussion more than they want to listen to a structured monologue. I think I can see why, now.

    @AC
    It doesn’t feel right for me to comment on the chemistry. Akira and I chatted for a while before we started recording… just practising and shooting the breeze. That probably helped us during the actual recording.

    @kadian1364
    Yeah, the lack of a visual side is probably why the monologues felt too lengthy. I’m not sure about adding a third speaker, but I do think there’s an argument for doing more than one of these a season, and with different people talking. It’s worth thinking about, especially seeing as how we only covered five series this time round.

    @Shadowmage
    I think both the synopsis and mini-review can be tightened up. The first person speaking needs to hint at their opinion, IMO, just to set the starting point for where the conversation heads.

    @Tamashii
    Sorry, we ain’t talking about pretentious art house movies made for film-school grads, so I’m not sure there’ll be much for you to contribute. 😛

    @Omisyth
    Akira’s got a pretty bad ass voice, doesn’t he. My voice is pretty goddamn nasal. When I listened back on it, I thought “crap, this is like a yobbo version of Ray Romano.” Glad you liked it.

  14. so ia ctually just listened to the podcast it’s pretty good cus sorrowkun sounds like a terribly hairy austrailian (ive known this for a long time), wich is a great contrast to akira who is the epitome of a bastardized asian, (he SOUNDS REALLY WHITE(). Did you know that Akira speaks excellent Japanese too? Imagine how smart this guy is. If you stood next to him you’d feel smarter. Notice how I’m getting more intelligent just typing about him!

    but i like the soundeffects folks good job. welltimed gunshots and explosions.but it def can use more sound bits to increse the violense. i also thnk a 3rd person would help bcus it makes for dynamic conversation imagine two peopl takling sitting at a table talking heads youknow what i mean? it doesnt work very well but luckily its just audio

  15. Wow, I didn’t expect for our first Podcast to go over so well. Thanks for all your words of encouragement.

    @Gaguri: Thanks, lol

    @AuroraFlame: I was a bit miffed that they didn’t explain the Shinobu thing in detail. She kinda came out of nowhere. As for Arakawa, you’re right. It is a bit unrealistic that he doesn’t become attuned to the antics of Sonchou and Co. after a while.

    @AH:
    Noted on the straight reading. It seems we went a bit too long on the readings, judging from the comments here. We don’t want this podcast to blow up into something huge, so I think we’re just going to keep it small.

    @Baka-Raptor:
    That dojikko (P-Ko?) was absolutely useless. The Metal Guys sucked. I personally like Stella, because she’s a boss, but I respect your preference and see where you’re coming from. Also, regarding your advice about our podcast, I knew that this first podcast wasn’t going to be perfect, but then again, if one keeps on pussing out and waiting for perfection, then nothing ever gets done.

    @Scamp:
    You may be right about the drama in Arakawa, and while I loved the whole bit with his dad, I still wanted to see more Nino.

    @AC:
    Thanks… I’ll take that as a complement? I still think Maya came on at just the right time. Still though. Yamada, man. Yamada. And yes, Takai@Arakawa is flamboyantly hilarious.

    @kadian:
    I too have reservations about adding a third person, and I do think that the podcast can be expanded to more than one per season.

    @Omisynth:
    No way I sound that white D:

    @Sorrow:
    “Your first thought”… so what’d you think after that? >_>

    @Tamashii:
    Riding the Blackout Train is serious business. Glad to see you’re doing it right.

  16. First off, I thought the podcast was a solid effort for a first time thing. I’ll definitely agree with everyone in enjoying the back-and-forth interplay more than the intro, but I can understand wanting a solid base from which to work at the beginning.

    In regards to Bakemonogatari … I, too, was a bit disappointed with the finale, just because it was more a solid conclusion to an arc more than a good ending to a series, but I wonder how disappointed I would have been if it hadn’t taken SHAFT so damn long to get the episodes out in the first place. The episodes weren’t really delivered in an ideal manner, so I wonder how much that contributed to any disappointment people may have felt about the finale.

    Have to say that everyone is getting me curious about Working!! I didn’t watch it last season, mostly because I was at my limit for series last season while still leaving a bit of wiggle room to slowly work at my backlog. Maybe I’ll give that show a watch some time down the road when I’m in the mood for comedy.

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