The flower that is most loved by the Japanese people and which symbolizes Japan is the sakura, or cherry blossom.  From the sakura, which blooms and falls only within a week or so, the Japanese sense beauty, as well as transience, melancholy, and perhaps graceful resignation.  And then get back into the serious alcohol consumption with their friends and the other unruly hordes who have congregated to watch them fall.  The sakura petals, too.  But we digress.

The budding of the sakura blossoms also signals that spring has arrived.  And it also signals a time of rebirth.  Yes, it is convention season for the Otaku!

And just as the Samurai of old were reminded of the short yet beautiful life of the sakura blossom by comparing it to their own, likewise, the Otaku are reminded of the short anime series shown in Canada.

Who can forget the short, yet beautiful, series of Samurai Pizza Cats, shorn of four episodes?  Yet those of lesser quality prevail; Dragonball has yet to end...we think...

Or Escaflowne?  Cut of Miyazaki only knows how many episodes (not to mention Goddess of Anime Music Yoko Kanno and Maaya Sakamoto's stunning theme song "Yakusoku wa Iranai") when broadcast on FOX TV, and then cancelled due to poor ratings.  Well, Nelvana should have known what to expect when they targeted it for a younger audience than was originally intended and then mutilated it beyond the recognition of its more knowledgeable fans, and will hopefully learn from its mistakes.  Actually, given the example of "Cardcaptors," they may well be beyond all redemption.  And lest we forget the desecration of Sailor Moon and all the "mon" shows that have been picked up here, most annoyingly Mon Colle Knights (which detracts from the irreverent sense of humour in Akahori Satoru's scriptwriting).  It's almost enough to make one of the Faith want to go out and watch petals fall off of trees instead.

Those who dwell in the Holy Land are not immune to this, either.  The original broadcast of Cowboy Bebop did not have several of the episodes which eventually made it to video.  And, of course, the road to Hell (which, to the First Church, is Vanier) is paved with OVA series which were halted before they had the chance to flourish further.  Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Dragon Half fans.  And Sister Kourin, for one, is particularly upset that, for the current series Galaxy Angel, the mature characters Forte Stollen and Ranpha Framboise's outfits were redesigned to cover up their previously just-visible-enough ample bounties when the second series moved from Animax to TV Tokyo.  For such obviously disgusting compromise, Sister Kourin bestows upon all involved the Curse of the Perpetually Brown Nose.

Remember always that the great Lord Miyazaki Himself once mailed the head of Disney a katana with the words, "NO CUTS" attached to the blade.  We should take this season to learn from His words, and love all that is Anime.  For Anime is life, and without Anime the world would be a much duller place.

Remember that when you attend your next convention.  Remember that at Anime North, or All-Night-Anime.  Remember also that a lot of dealers in the Moneychangers' Temple will sell the same things that stores in the area sell for approximately the same prices, so if you plan to avail yourself of a large amount of your ducats there, it is wise to seek either bargains or items which are otherwise difficult to find, and to resist the temptations of Son May and other pirate organizations.  It is also extremely important to remember to pack clean clothing and personal hygiene products (hint: What is the acronym of the organization that publishes what you're reading right now?) and to use both judiciously every morning, even if you are away from your parental units and they can't make you, nyaah!  For, as we all know, cleanliness is next to Miyazakiness, but Otakufunk is next to justifiable homicide.

In Miyazaki news, those of us who felt burned by The Omnipotent Mouse's poor handling of Mononoke Hime can hope that they do much better with Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), which they have just secured the North American rights to.  One particularly heartening note is that Pixar chief John Lasseter will be working as the creative consultant for the English dub.  Lasseter wrote a liner note for the Ghibli ga Ippai (Full of Ghibli) 1996 LD box set in Japan, so we can be assured that it is in at least one set of hands which honestly care about the work of Our Creator.  It is expected to be released here in mid-summer; let us pray that they get things right this time (and out in time).

Live, love, laugh, loaf and watch more anime, and we shall see you at All Night Anime and Anime North.  Please do not throw things at us (unless they happen to be women's undergarments or wadded-up dollar bills).

BROTHER KOUTOKU, Co-Pope, CEO, Scribe/Translator, Devout Religious Leader and All-Around Good Lad;
and SISTER KOURIN, Co-Pope, Scribe/Proofreader, PR/Webmaster, Testimony, and Spiritual and Conceptual Avatar;
for The First Church of Hayao Miyazaki