Let’s Beat That Dead Horse: Always Debate about Fansubbing

As you get older and if you keep up the good habit of self-reflection and introspection, the various nuggets of wisdom of the world may become crystallized into notions in your mind. It’s not a guarantee but it happens to most, sooner or later. The manifestation of wisdom, to you, might be like a light bulb that finally turned on inside your head. But good luck trying to find words to describe it, or better yet, convince those younger so they too can share in the glow. This difficult task tend to have a low success rate, which is why when we go through this exercise, it make sense to widen your audience. If your success rate is 1%, maybe it helps to involve at least 100 people?

Joke aside, I read ANN Forums so you don’t have to, this week, on Justin’s column on pro-sub versus fan-sub. It’s a good soapbox, but it feels like his concern has mainly to do with people complaining about translations. The resulting thread plays out in expected ways, if civil. To jump to the good stuff:

A handful of pro freelance anime translators participated in the thread too.

There were some demonstrative posts that expressed opinion that were directly rebutted by the OP. Like one guy who complained about “senpai” versus “sempai.” Or the guys who wanted honorifics in their translation even after a few real pro translators disagreed for exactly the opposite reasons. Mostly it was civil and people posted their opinions and questions, with anecdotes here and there. My favorite one has to be the Noragami “name” one; feels like someone can compile a list of stories like that and it would be a fun read.

Initially I was more curious about people’s participation to the ongoing discussion on “sub quality.” I am in no part of it, but sites like this do exist, and has for some time. Because how would nerds be able to tell which file to download, right?

Happy Birthday, Rio-chan!

To break it down some more, this is kind of how I feel about science. The study and research of scientific endeavor, on the whole, is about the pursuit of ignorance. By ignorance I mean in a pure sense, like the opposite of knowledge, if knowledge is a quantity. A thing or concept can only be known, or not known. If you know it, there is nothing about it that would further interest you as someone who persuit knowledge. A scientist is someone who knows stuff and is trying to find out what else we don’t know. This is the pursuit of ignorance. A fool is someone who knows stuff and stops, and doesn’t know what lies beyond what he has. The average fool is just content with that; the worse ones think they know it all, making no effort to make sure that’s actually true.

The thing is the body of human knowledge is huge. No one person knows everything; at best you can only expect that person to know just his or her field of expertise. And often these are people who are professionals, doing groundbreaking research, who’s studied such fields for many years, typically speaking. For someone who is new to a field, it takes a lot of studying existing knowledge to get to the edge of the collective known body of information, the cliff where Human (as a race) ignorance lies on the other side. In other words, to make sure he knows it all. And maybe a cliff is a bad analogy, more like a bridge over the vacuum of the unknown, given how today’s scientific research is driven by all these external factors like public interest, commercial investment, ethics, interests, and whatever, into specific subject matters, not quite as organic as the subjects themselves.

This is also why often we equate learning with research. We all are born ignorant, and we have to learn everything we know, because we were taught it, read it in Wikipedia or something, or found out via empirical experiences. Since it’s impractical to know and learn everything, human minds take what we know and make the best of it. So when you get a bunch of fools who know a few things about Japanese language, anime, and translation, you end up with a bunch of people who are really ignorant, don’t know they are ignorant, and are just doing what their minds think is best with the limited information that they have.

What’s worse, and it applies universally, are the people who don’t even realize they don’t realize they don’t know. Not to mention the larger pool of people who know that they don’t know. Equally bad is that they might not even want to know more or is not interested, even if they do.

What are you suppose to do in this case? Put damn -kuns in your subtitles.

Let’s be clear, I don’t blame them for not knowing; ignorance is an universal condition. The body of information of Japanese language, like any other large and well-studied subject matter, takes years to master and a lot of hard work. It’s not something you would expect the average westerner to have any ideas about. But you should expect the average person to know that they might not know that they might not know, and temper their opinions with that realization. Or maybe they’re just giant babies and would say whatever that makes them feel good with no regards to what that make them look like. I know all too well about that.

And to be fair, that’s just opinion on translations regarding Japanese. They might have opinions on English, because clearly they speak it and that makes them know-it-alls (because clearly 50% of translation skills required is English so that makes them half-experts right LOL). You can see where this is going. Articles like this Answerman column mentioning extrinsic reasons why pro translations are one way or another, and those things often don’t register in the comments of the masses, because they are already self-proclaimed knowers. They may not be experts, but that doesn’t stop anybody these days.

Which is why I think while it is fair that arguments and debates about fansubs is like beating a dead horse, let’s beat it some more. Get that 100 people so maybe one person get a clue, and the next time we beat this horse we will have a 2% chance.

Okay, I haven’t even touched on the arguments on a more self-centered perspective about “being entertained” (which I think is a totally different thing personally) and thus their entertainment consumption should please them and not upset them because “it sound weird when the dub says -kun and the translation doesn’t.” Nor have I addressed bigger picture questions about why we are even trying to do by beating this dead horse. Maybe I get a kick out of it, I don’t know. There are also legitimate complaints about pro sub translation qualities too, but until we lower the volume on the noise I don’t know how much of legit complaints can surface above it. In other words, make beating this dead horse less metaphorically relevant? LOL.

DereSute Week 12: The Passion Compression, Luck

We’re still being tested on.

The event cycles are shorter this second go-around. If we mark the start of the NB event to the start of the Ponkutsu event that marks a cycle. The start of the NB event to the eventual start of the Orasapp event will be the second one, beginning on 11/20.

All the events in this go-around are shorter. As a result I only scored 10 Azuki SRs, when I squeezed out 15 Honoka in the first caravan. That is a bummer but I can live with this.

I did okay in the medley event. I didn’t like it much, but I begrudgingly admit it helped my game by forcing me to play songs too hard or uncomfortable for grinding. I spent more stamina dying than ever. I also spent like 100 jewels on continues. Learning when to quit was important, but thankfully I didn’t have that many opportunities to do so. At the end I was at the cusp of the 50k rank border but I was only aiming for 100k anyway.

I hated it, in retrospect, because it required you to play songs back to back with no ways to adjust system settings. It was only good in that you can burn all your stamina without playing anything, then find a chunk of time to grind out 8 songs in a row a few hours later.

But, how long will the OraSapp event run? This is an inflection point.


Just today I had a discussion on the daily 60 jewels. It’s a no-brainer that the odds of getting a nice card from doing it is better per-jewel than the 2500 pull. But the human mind doesn’t work this way. To break it out:

  • You will always get 1 SR or SSR from a 2500 pull.
  • There’s a roughly 66% chance of getting 2 SR from a 2500 pull.
  • There’s a roughly 66% chance of getting 1 SR from 9x 60 jewel pull.

So the satisfaction is good on 2500 pulls. Yeah, there’s a third chance that you will not go home with more than 1 SR, but that’s less often than not.

FWIW, here’s some more to think about

  • Odds of getting 3 SR or better in a 2500 pull: ~11%
  • Odds of getting 4 SR or better in a 2500 pull: ~3.7%
  • Odds of getting 1 SSR in a 2500 pull: 4.9%
  • Odds of getting 2 SSR in a 2500 pull: ~0.2%

That 11.5% chance of pulling a SR or better everyday for 60 jewels sounds pretty good now doesn’t it. And I think this is why I do the 60 jewel pull–it’s kind of fun, cheap, and you can do it everyday.

I didn’t do it everyday. I didn’t keep track which days I missed or skipped, or the days I double-dipped due to new cards being released (you can pull 2 times on those days, once before and once after patch). Say I did it 80 times since the start. I have just 5 SR from all of it (my luck sucks). That still means I did better with 4800 jewels than if I rolled 2500 jewels twice for 20 pulls–a median case of 4 SRs, accounting for very average luck (close to half the time this is the result). And 5 out of 80 is pretty shoddy luck if my chances are 11.5% of getting something that good or better.

When she goes Mika dayo I just laugh because

Now that the TP hip thrust is for the public, how do you guys feel about it? I think the concensus is that Anzu no Uta is still the hardest song (and I have not yet cleared it on Master!) while TP and Legne are just below that (I cleared those pretty okay actually). Romantic Now is now my favorite song to play, and for 27 stars it’s really easy? I have less problems with it than Let’s Go Happy.

Man, Kirari and Mika voiceover for event announcement. That’s advancement in mobile gaming if anything.


I don’t remember ever giving my 2c on Saekano on the blog, so when I read Evirus I felt a response here is apropos. It is likely the most meta late-night otaku bait in recent memory, after all.

Saekano employs regular meta nods and winks. It also peers past the fourth wall periodically. It does these things successfully, but the show teeters precariously while doing so. In fact, the show is constantly on the verge of disaster but manages to avoid calamity each time.

Isn’t it a mistake to say Saekano employs regular meta nods and winks? Isn’t Saekano, on the whole, an exercise in the meta? When the story is wholly meaningful on its own but yet predicated on the meta, is it still meaningful without taking into account that how baked it is? I guess if you approach this story on different wavelengths, you can arrive at the same conclusion. But if, say, Seitokai no Ichizon was the story of a bunch of people talking both about and being harem otaku narratives while being a harem otaku narrative, is it even meaningful to say Seizon employs nods and winks about meta things? Like how Shirobako is an anime about making anime, would references in Shirobako about making anime (or better yet, reasons why anime are poorly made) worth talking about? I guess neither has to be the case. I suppose it is fair to say that it does such things, but at the same time saying it doesn’t really describe it, or mean very much.

Rather, maybe it is a measurement of how meta it is, I guess. How “yo dawg” is a meme about putting what you like into something you like. Like, visualizing it like a series of “o”s after a “y” in “yooooooooo dawg.” Versus “yo dawg.” Like as if the number of the repeating characters can mean something. There are those of us who read a blog post without really going into that level of a read, and some who do. Or even the same person who does and does not on a whim. I feel the worth of expression about meta regarding Saekano is about the depth, the how deep, that you can go within its inception. That’s the dimension in which Saekano, probably, earns its spot on noitaminA. Well, who am I kidding, given the main attraction of the show comes from its ludicrously well-executed fanservice moments, capping off some competent character narratives that shoots through the heart of a bunch of circus tricks befitting an otaku property getting a second season.

[Insert your imagined impression of me doing the ANIPLEX bumper.]

Maybe this is where Evirus and I agree: I think there’s a certain amount of class that our well-starched potato-kun of Saekano can impact the series. Ethics-kun or whatever she calls him. (And honestly you can’t get more starched than ethics, I’d think. If you want to meta some more in the meta, isn’t Saekano largely about ethics in journalism and video game development?) But maybe that’s it. That our doujinshi-making heroine draws ero and finds BL a little harder to deal with is suppose to do what in this context? Are we still talking about noitaminA? How does Saekano “manages to avoid calamity” mean something beyond the finer digestive elements of a modern consumerist “pig”? Who will go “buhii” when Megumi/Utaha/Eriri/Izumi/Michiru asks you to do so? I mean, it sounds like all the hand-wringing of these sad people who are forced to watch something good. At least the pretense is pretty thin for Evirus.

Happy Birthday Tomoka!

As you can see, Saekano is in the wheelhouse of my wheelhouse, yooooooooo. And I didn’t even mention the fact that this meta-anti-meta duplicity is the crux of Saekano’s success, in that by its meta-fantasy-fulfilment it also achieves per se fantasy fulfilment. How good (or ethical?!) that actually is remains an outstanding question, but I don’t think the popular discourse surrounding Saekano is going to drill through all those layers any time soon.

The Other Twins

Ami and Mami are the two idols who are twins in IDOLM@STER. That is, the one pair we think about when we think about twins in IM@S. But there are a few other ones.

Since Cinderella Girls 2nd live Blu-ray is now a thing, we can talk about Sattun and her fellow indie-idol-cum-seiyuu twin, Matsuda Risae. Matsuda Satsumi plays Syoko, who wore a cool studded jacket (sized to her tiny build, and perhaps idol-like) and screamed in whatever passes as Syoko’s image song, during the live. Before that moment, the Matsuda twins came a long way back during their teen years as underground idols. They’ve also competed in the now-defunct Anison Grand Prix in multiple years, and didn’t get beyond the regional. Sattsun is with Arts Vision. The older of the two, Rissan, can be found in the current edition of A&G Next Breaks Five Star radio, and she’s part of I’m Enterprise.

I think someone is in the middle of writing them up, but here are a couple videos of them.

A Belated Halloween?

If you asked me about twins and IM@S, one of the first, if not the first thing, that comes to my mind is Yukiho. Azumin’s Yukiho, to me, is a separate existence from Yurishii’s Yukiho. I think I treat them as one character, but not emotionally. They’re like twin sisters in that they’re basically the same but different. I was spending a lot of time thinking about this after reading Yurishii’s tweets on it, probably prompted, too, by Matsuki’s passing.

You can read ANN’s take on it (originals archived by Yaraon), but there’s more to that story than what was translated. For one, Yurishii was going through a rough patch during those years, bouncing between agencies and dealing with the death threats. I’m not really familiar with it beyond a cursory research, because back in ’08 I wasn’t super into Yurishii and kept up on what happened to the beleaguered idol seiyuu.

What I do know is Yurishii has turned a corner in recent years, and she’s actively doing live events again. She’s talked more about IM@S and it’s definitely a very relevant way to market herself. For what it’s worth, YukihoPs largely still liked Yurishii’s Yukiho, and it is an unforgettable part of the franchise’s history, not mention the character’s.

[Update: Prnd’s post is now live]

Anthem of the Heart


Aniplex’s Kokosake, or Anthem of the Heart, is a well-put-together youth drama. If anything the most challenging aspect of this movie is that it follows a typical youth drama format. To me, that’s like trying to make sushi, in the sense that you are a Japanese chef. There may not be a super-long and storied tradition to that art but it sure has honed to a katana’s edge in recent times. You are making something that will get compared to well-acclaimed, top quality works.

What’s great about sushi is that if you are a foreigner who loves Japan’s cultural output and have no qualms about raw fish, you probably already love it. In Kokosake’s case I think we weebs will eat it up like sushi. How good is it is no longer the primary ask–perhaps it never was when it comes to western consumption of anime. Well, I think it’s safe to say that Kokosake qualifies as quality at an acceptable level, at least. I will still dream of Jiro after such a meal, so to speak, but this movie makes a good time, that will match its asking price.

In this case, in a Manhattan theater on a sleepy Monday evening, the price was $15 plus whatever Fandango charges. That’s fair. To me, having a chance to hear Tenchan and Inorin do realistic acting in the contrast of borderline-too-much-exposure Uchiyama is sort of worth it already. Way more special than your garden variety rolls-in-a-takeout-box.

Just to memo some key takeaways that I found enjoyable. First, the setting is very spot on for outskirt Saitama prefecture. I happened to spent like an hour or two rolling in a car around Saitama, which is where the movie is set in, while I was out there during IM@S 10th. I can confirm! Second, there was a side character in the show that talks just like the dirty 2.5D idol prpr-ists that I know. And frankly it is an indicator that otaku fandom has wholly switched gears in this way the past 6-7 years.

To go back to the acting, Amamiya Sora’s character is awfully level with just a shade of tsundere. I think this plays too well into her wheelhouse. The result is competent but leaves me desiring more as a seiota, something more exciting. On the flip side Inorin’s character exhibits a wide range of moods and emotional swings that you’ll find it hit many of her prior roles. Kokosake gives her that opportunity to make a memorable performance, but I don’t know if she’s gotten that far. It feels kind of like they put Minase Inori in this movie both for its sake and for her sake. It’s a dynamic role that took someone dynamic like her to pull off. At the same time I don’t really know if there was that one watershed moment where we really got to hear her in a way that leaves Inorin’s mark.

I wonder if this is more a directorial decision, given the movie’s rather lifelike take on character acting. The voice acting, as a result, is somewhat less exaggerated than the usual fare…except the main heroine.

On the production side, there were some interesting cuts featuring not so much dancing, but full-body and choreographed movements of many characters. It looked subdued yet impressive. There was a scene where it felt like they phoned in Inu Curry or something. I really need a credit list to confirm, because I didn’t really pay too much attention during the credit scroll for some reason. There were a bunch of CG/ML seiyuu in there, as you’d expect. I think I heard Shiraishi Ryoko? There was Suwa Ayaka who I was only able to spot from the credit, along with Marietti, at least as far as reading scrolling kanji goes (ie., not very far). There was a piece of the music in the movie that had a choir arrangement of a bunch of seiyuu, and that could be interesting…

As for the Okada x Nagai connection, well, let’s just say there’s nothing that’ll surprise you. There are all these flairs that clearly comes from her, but none of it really stand out unless you are totally in this movie for the meta game (and I was, to a degree). To take one example, the aforemention seiota is probably the blurriest of them all. Another one is the way how the final romantic resolution happens, and and the way things end up. Hope that didn’t spoil things for anyone LOL.

Finally, to go back to the sushi making figure-of-speech, make sure you watch Whisper of the Heart before you watch this movie. SAME STUFF. I don’t know if the people who localized this movie realize this or not, but even the English name now is…a little too close? Close enough for a homage, and at least no more Country Road and more just classic showtunes.