Despite the Pandemic turning most of the world into shut-ins, I haven’t been able to spend most of this year consistently binging Asian Dramas on Viki. Such is my life sadly. Even so, I did manage to watch almost 30 shows in their entirety over the last year. With a lot of the stuff I have cued and am watching now, it makes the most sense for me to renew my Viki subscription for another year. With the things I am working on in life right now, I know I will be able to make the time for Viki in the coming year. Same with Crunchyroll, which I also plan to renew in a few months.
The majority of Viki’s offerings are from China and South Korea. There is a modest selection from Japan and Taiwan however. Like other streaming services, a lot of it has to do with licensing. If you get either of the premium subscriptions, you get immediate access to shows still airing. The more expensive subscription (Premium+) gives you access to everything the platform has to offer barring regional restrictions. When I start working, I will upgrade to Premium+ for both Viki and Crunchyroll.
Nearly a year after Funimation abruptly ended their partnership with Crunchyroll, Sony (which owns Funimation) has announced they have bought Crunchyroll (owned by WarnerMedia) for almost $2 Billion. The sale has to clear some regulatory hurtles which is expected to so the purchase is effectively a done deal.
The reactions from fans and users of Crunchyroll online has been overwhelmingly negative since the news broke on December 9. As of this writing, Crunchyroll has announced the buyout/merger on their website but no further information is available. Most likely, they don’t know themselves yet. We don’t know if Crunchyroll and Funimation’s streaming services will continue to operate separately or will be merged. We might not know until maybe next month most likely.
The funny thing is the same day as this announcement, I renewed my Crunchyroll Premium for another year. I don’t think those who are currently subscribed will be impacted without at least be offered compensation personally. I remember when Neon Alley being folded into Hulu was first announced, they offered a full or partial refund to premium subscribers if they didn’t want to switch over. I expect something like that to be offered if Crunchyroll is folded into Funimation. Of course, it’s certainly possible they will be allowed to perate separately but all we can really do is wait and see.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to comment on the political controversy surrounding the Live Action Mulan movie. Originally planned for a March theatrical release, the movie was released in July on Disney+ due to the ongoing Pandemic in progress. The movie has become a lightning rod of criticism because Disney thanked government officials in Xinjiang Province where the movie was filmed in the movie’s credits.
Why is that a problem?
It turns out a detention center imfamous for being used to house Muslims for “Re-Education” is located not far from where most of the movie was filmed. Disney explained they chose that region for the movie “after consulting scholars and historians”. The movie used an all-Chinese cast and crew. This can easily be handwaved away as just appeasing the Chinese government and public but some now believe the filming location being so close to the Detention Center may have been why they wanted to keep a lot of details under wraps even from Disney.
It’s not hard to believe Chinese government officials worked with the film crew to help keep Disney from knowing about the Detention Center during filming. I get Disney’s hands were tied mostly due to soured relations between the U.S. and China in recent years but that’s still no excuse. They should’ve realized something was up when they were basically told certain areas were off-limits.
Disney dropped the ball big time and not just over this. Liu Yufei, who plays Mulan in the movie expressed her support for Hong Kong Police last year. Anyone following the news involving China and Hong Kong in recent years knows how volatile things are now. Yufei, who is a Chinese-born American made the remarks on her Weibo Account (Weibo is China’s version of Twitter for those who don’t know). Many perceived her support of the authorities in Hong Kong as support of the sometimes violent crackdowns in Hong Kong by the Chinese government.
Yufei’s comments on Weibo and the Xinjiang Detention Center controversy has led to many wordwide to call for Mulan to be boycotted. Thailand and Taiwan have both banned the movie. Many in China criticized the original 1998 animated version, feeling it was too Westernized and seemed to mock Chinese history in some regards. A lot of the criticsm from within China towards the live version has to do with hand signals and gestures used during the movie’s action scenes lookng too “Ninja-like”. I would point the blame toward whoever from the Chinese government was supposed to oversee the Chinese version of the movie.
For those who don’t know, two versions of the movie were made: The International version and a second version just for Chinese-speaking audiences. Every scene was shot twice, once in English and once in Chinese. This is why the entire cast is Chinese. I do think Disney will be forced to reshoot the International version a third time because of the controversy with the lead role recast. Disney should have redid the whole movie after Yufei’s comments went public last year but I won’t digress further.
I am on the fence about watching the movie myself but I’m leaning toward not seeing it. Mostly because of how poorly recieved it’s been in China more than anything else. I just hope Disney learned from all this or they will be in trouble down the road.
Both versions of the movie is based on a Chinese folk tale called Hua Mulan, which tells the story of a young heroine who disguises herself as a man to take the place of her ailing father to fight in the Imperial Army. The first movie renewed debate in China as to weather or not this really happened. At first it was dismissed as fiction but historical records from the period the folk tale was believed to have come from seems to indicate it’s likely true.
At the time drafts only applied to sons, not daughters as the army was all Male. If the family had no sons, the father or grandfather would be drafted. The consript was given to the family which required one Male from the family to serve in the military. Anyone who tried to defy the draft risked their entire family being punished or killed. Only families that had no Males capable of fighting were excused from the draft. In the case of Mulan’s family, her father was a decorated soldier in his younger days. It’s not clear weather he was in poor health or had an injury but regardles, he accepted the conscript on behalf of the family. Mulan took matters into her own hands when she took off with the conscript and her father’s armor.
While women disguising themselves as men to get military training or fight in the miliary was not uncommon, most who were found out were sent home, executed or raped. Some like Mulan who proved themselves capable and earned the respect of her fellow soldiers were allowed to return home after serving in the military.
The last two episodes were clearly rushed but the ending was still very satisfying. It ended the same way it began prettymuch: Yukihira trying to get Erina to be honest about her feelings to him. There was so much going on in the last two episodes, they should have been split into 2 or 3 episodes each. You have Yukihira beating Saiba to go on and face Erina. We all knew that was the showdown being built towards.
Joichiro being revealed to have mentored Saiba when he was a kid explains a lot of his personal animosity towards Yukihira. Joichiro telling Saiba after the match “I will always be your father as a chef.” was pretty boss. Finding out during the credits Saiba and Erina were actually half-siblings though…that makes certain thoughts go through your head until you realize neither of them knew they were blood related until after the fact and almost off-screen. Their dad basically says “Oh by the way Erina you know that guy who wanted to marry you if he won? He’s actually your older half-brother.” That right there is a whole episode. So was Yukihira traveling abroad for 6 months after losing to Nakiri in the final match. Instead that was skipped entirely to his return for the final moments of the series.
Make no mistake Food Wars was an amazing anime from start to finish. Delays between seasons 4/5, 4/3 and 3/2 did slow momentum but not to the extent the months-long delay two episodes into the final season due to COVID-19 caused. It didn’t take away from the rest of the season though. My only real complaint is how rushed the last two episodes were. They tried to do too much in them and it came out looking sloppy to me.
This Anime’s lead character is a legit Mary Sue yet somehow this Anime makes it work by not making him the focus from start to finish. Instead, the focus is put world building. Somehow, it just works. The ending kinda leaves the door open for a second season but I felt like this was it.
Ahiru no Sora was quite the amazing coming of age anime with a bit of everything. Sure, the ending is unresolved but I think it was the safe way to close things out.
If they decide to make a Season 2, there’s plenty of material to work with now.
Fire Force Season 2 just wrapped up and now the wait is on for Season 3.
Most of Season 2 focused on character development as well as world building. The Season ended with the news all eight Special Fire Force companies as well as the Hajima Company and the Military will coming together to take on a common enemy in the mysterious White Clad and their benefactor, the malevolent Evangelist. Season 3 will presumably delve into their backstory as the stage is set for war between them and the Fire Force.
Season 3 hasn’t been announced yet and likely due to the ongoing Pandemic. All we know is there WILL be one eventually.
Folks should expect the next season for most Anime to be delayed due to COVID-19. Attack of Titan and Dr. Stone’s season premeires were originally supposed to be over the summer but they were pushed back due to the ongoing pandemic. The next season for Rising of The Shield Hero was also supposed to be around this time but it’s been pushed to sometime next year for the same reason.
Attack on Titan’s final season just premiered. I’ll do a recap of the story up to now for the benefit of those who may not have been following Attack on Titan’s story since the first season AND haven’t read the Manga. From how the final season opened, we’re going to be getting a lot of backstory that should tie up a lot of loose ends and explain where the Titans came from.
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