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I guess I should start this article by saying hi to everyone who might
to bore him/herself with reading my shameless anime ramblings, but that
be completely unoriginal, ne? Oh well ^_^ My name is Vallantine A.
I'm better known as Val Sakurazuka or just Val in this wide online anime
I'm the webmistress of two large anime sites, as my TB domain and my CLAMP websites collective can be called, as well as the manager of the . Perhaps you're already seeing a trend up there.
In fact, I'm here to talk about one of my greatest passions along with music
and literature, which is manga and of course, anime. If the question of why
did I happen to put manga first casually crossed your mind while reading the
previous lines, I guess I should clarify that by telling you my personal
to the eternal otaku controversy of which is the best, manga or anime stands
for the first one. Why do I think so? It's mainly because in my opinion,
is the prime source for anime: the original work from which anime flows and
finds its basements, and even though many anime productions adapted from
keep their original traits untouched, one usually feels the need to go check
on its origin just to see the story as it was before being pushed into
But that's just what yours truly believes.
If I've already scared you enough, run away now you're still in time.
Ever since I have memory, anime has been a part of my life. Even as I
Robotech, Akira, Kimba the white lion or even older anime titles I knew
be a very important influence and now, older as I am and with all my
and adolescence spent growing up with anime, I'm able to say my love for the
Japanese culture can be entirely blamed on it.
Everything that has to do with anime or manga catches my interest, even
about series I don't totally like. I just sit in front of my giant TV screen
and enjoy the lines of the drawing, the special effects, wonder about the
the mangakas could have spent drawing each sequence.
It's something like I carry it in my blood. I dream of being a mangaka
Genre Preferences :
Firstly lured by the action-based shounen genre, I now feel myself mostly
to shoujo stories, with their deeper, more psychologically elaborated plots.
The one thing I die about, that for which you'll see me pick up every
totally unknown title to see what is it about is that 21st century wonder
Call me a freak, but my tastes significantly differ from the ones of the
I detest Sailormoon, and you'll have to bond me to a chair to have me watch
Fushigi Yuugi. Usually when it comes to me, the weirdest, less popular a
is, the more I like it. Of course, there are various exceptions but I do
discovering series that may have gone unnoticed to the crowd and which,
surely, I'll love with all my heart once I explore their hidden richness.
I know I'm going to gain many enemies because of this, but there I go: CLAMP
is the ultimate embodiment of graphical perfection. Masami Kurumada a
writer that constantly caresses the depth of shoujo. Minami Ozaki is just a
step away from graphical utopia. Naoko Takeuchi is only an author for the
Chiho Saitoh seemed more like a pink novelist than a mangaka before she got
influenced by CLAMP and wrote Shoujo Kakumei Utena. Masakazu Katsura's style
is too messy and real to catch my eye.
CLAMP in general is what I love the most, and I'm certainly glad to see how
sites dedicated to this absolutely amazing mangaka group are growing around
the net. My favorite general CLAMP sources apart from the so famous CLAMP
official site are my own two hostees, and . They
an overall CLAMP variety of quality sites that surely cover every CLAMP
taste, and must say I'm more than proud to give a home to such great pieces
of html artwork. and Katko's
CLAMP Celebration are also the places to go if you're looking for
If you already feel you hate me after reading my authors' comments just wait
until you read my series pick.
+ Tokyo Babylon
What can I say? Perfection. It's by far the best anime//manga series I've
laid eyes upon and all my otakuhood keeps revolving around it. The depth of
the plot, the mysteries and complex personalities of the three main
together with the mystic aura and Shounen AI touch make it the most
balanced combination. I'm just devoted to the tragic love story. Another
which is fortunately gaining adepts and websites on the net. My current
are and , not because of the information they provide on the
but mainly for the rich character analysis they feature.
Even though our stupidly hetero-restricted, homophobic society disagrees to
find both Kohaku and Hisui male, I think Wish is one of the most tender
AI stories out there. It's so full of sweetness, cuteness and magic and
CLAMP's versatility and how unfair it'd be to label them as just angsty
producers. I certainly hope my own contribution to increasing the number of
Wish sites, is
soon, but for now and 's amazing
make up for the lack of Wish online material.
+ Card Captor Sakura
Hontouni Kawaii. Has everything a mahou shoujo series needs and more.
of the same genre could learn a bit of originality from it. My all-times
Sakura site, even though it's very hard to pick one from the wide range the
Internet offers us, is surely Clow
Quest from everyone's fave independent anime network .
+ Magic Knight Rayearth
It kicks Sailormoon's ass and everyone knows it. The shoujo heroine style
its glory with Hikaru and Umi and the settings and characters are just
A pity the plot lacks a bit of substance, but CLAMP's romantic allure surely
makes it up to the reader. Again, choosing the best sites is a difficult
Guess my preference is for an overall Rayearth view, for Umi and for Fuu-chan. Don't ask me to pick up a site for Hikaru because I
Another interesting Rayearth site which completely differs from the usual
is Margot's ,
a shrine to the male characters in Rayearth that offers a very complete
on those whose personalities are normally left behind their gorgeous
The saddest, weirdest though most romantic cyber punk story ever written.
and Lan themselves justify the whole creation of this series, and Suu's
nature grants it the charm it needs to be irresistible. and are
certainly must-visits for everyone who's looking for Clover eyecandy and
I'm not a very loyal fan of the series, but considering my two all-times
anime//manga characters Subaru Sumeragi and Seishirou Sakurazuka are
in the plot (though not as actively as I'd like) and the fact it's by far
most richly designed series, I must confess I wait eagerly until each Asuka
comes out. ,
an X-timed Subaru site, and Natalie Baan's amazing X/TB fanfic Sakura and
located at are my
two most visited X web locations. I'm still waiting for my top favorite X
Fate is reborn at
Apart from my CLAMP fanaticism, I also enjoy paying a visit to the
The Utena Network, which has lately been
updates but is still as impeccable as a SKU site as it can be, the which is the main source for any yaoi/shounen AI stuff you might
be looking for, and of course my favorite Shounen AI webring out there which
is , of which
I'm proud to say my CLAMP homosexuality issues site, is a member. Three of my favorite anime general news and material
are the , , and the .
As a closure to this oh-so-long article I'd like to replevy the concept
anime collective. Most can call them trendy, but IMHO it's one of the
to keep one's sites together in a directory, and must confess I take special
pleasure in surfing through many of them and discovering what talented
such as the maintainers of ,
, , and a
others may come up with next.
I surely might end up forgetting something, so my final advice is that if
an anime fan, go surf the net and scout for your favorite anime series.
exists, you'll surely find a site or two about it, as we're lucky enough to
be part of a wide, extremely heterogeneous and ever-growing online community
as the anime//manga one is.
Anipike not being responsible for Acts of God or the vaguaries of
this column will appear 'as and when' articles come
in. New articles will
be announced on the "New List" page. (So
original, da yo..^^)