Eventing 2016

[This post will be updated and pinned periodically throughout the year. Last Updated 9/29/2016, minor updates, time to cradle in fetal position for extreme eventing in 2017]

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Protesting of a Drowning Fish

Two songbirds

So the preliminary 2015 numbers for the Anime Industry (of Japan) in English is posted on this ANN report. The full report can be had for 6000y. Hopefully AJA will post its usual English summary soon.

Major gains from streaming and events? YOU DON’T SAY. I mean if you were keeping up with the news at home this past 2 years you would know at least about Amazon and Netflix’s foray into anime streaming, not to mention the stuff out of Asia that most of us probably don’t know as well.

I also just want to note, that on my trip to Taiwan earlier this year I actually ran into some streaming service’s promo for WUG. Looks like Crunchyroll is not the only guys playing the streaming game with WUG promo. In this case the streaming company also sponsored a sweepstake to go to Japan and attend the Taiwan WUG tour. Hey Crunchy guys can you folks hook us up?

On that note, events…just look at my eventing sticky posts for a clue. It’s carved into my mind and body like … what’s the word? Jetlag? A deep tiredness that only comes with combining all-nighters, summer weather in Tokyo, 28 hours in the air and over 12 hours of live events in a weekend? How about 5 Asia trips in 7 months? You get the idea. To me this kind of reporting is well beyond affirmation, or preaching to the choir, but more like “I’m drowning pls send help.”

Can’t wait to see what big fat number 2016 will put up on the Events category LOL.


Naria Girls; Or about Anime

What is anime? This is the kind of semantic game that stopped bothering me. Usually going on to talk about the label and its context, at best, is an exercise in flaunting one’s ignorance, so I have no interest in it on any given day. However I am pretty ignorant to the category of late-night animated features involving improvisational motion-capture and dubbing, as pioneered by this guy.

What I do know is I dearly enjoyed gdgd fairies (esp. season 1), and many of Ishidate’s handiwork. I still didn’t get to Tesabu, but as of this writing I’m within 12 hours of marathoning all of Naria Girls, so I have a slight bone to grind.

On an average internet season of anime, the average anime scoring aggregators are entirely going to malign two things: comedies and animated shorts (although this is not an inclusive list of things the internet do injustice to). Naria Girls is both. I think it’s enlightening to read the reviews on, say, Crunchyroll, and note that about half of them are written by people who have nary a clue. One review kind of turned on its head and the reviewer was too stubborn to backpeddle, and yet too honest to want to correct his or her own mistake. There are two troll reviews. About 7 of them are actually reviews on the merit of the show, and it comes to about a 4-star.

I guess this is a real life example of people not getting it. Which is fine; anime fans in the west don’t get anime, they only get some kind of culturally appropriated regurgitation of what they think anime is.


Sakugabooru Blog

In case you didn’t know, there is a booru where the focus is on Japanese animators and their handicraft in terms of clips from TV (and other) anime. If you want to revisit a scene for the visuals, it’s a good place to start looking. There are no audio in any of the clips though. To foster the community for sakuga fans overseas, they’ve started a blog and started to ask for money to host their booru better.

My problem about sakuga fandom overseas so far is that it celebrates, typically, in a very simple kind of way. It’s literally about the animation, and by that I mean the way images shifts from one frame to the next. There’s also a sense of understanding in contextualizing the careers of various animators, both veterans and neophytes.

But to me that’s not enough. My sense of animation enjoyment extends to not just animation, and specifically, the “sakuga.” Direction, storyboarding and layout, for example, are super-duper important things that I dig even more (arguably). I can understand separating the use of audio (SFX and music) from this fandom but a cohesive narrative has to have all these elements work in harmony, if one can even dare to further a narrative argument about sakuga alone.

I suppose this is kind of the strangeness about sakuga as a fandom vertical, and why it takes some focus-minded fostering. It really is something worthy of study, but also at the same time not really something to put on a pedestal. It is one part of anime that maps well to the Japanese sense of artisan craftsmanship, but it also gets lost inside the reality that it takes a large team to make an anime. And this is all underneath the ever-confusing and ever-prevalent relationship between art and entertainment.

Since I couldn’t find a place on Patreon to voice this, and I pledged a few bucks to Sakugabooru this coming month, I figured it’s worth a shoutout here and I just want to say I pledged because of all the Cinderella Girls translation. For fans of the franchise, the animator relationship between these shows is an added layer of eye-opening relationships and contexts for us to enjoy and understand the source material. It’s not vital but definitely enriching my experience as a viewer of Dereani. It’s always great to see that the key animators from the scenes/cuts you enjoyed are also fans of the material much like we are, so check the below links out:

PS. This passive-aggressive rant is brought to you by my continued indifference to the Mob Psycho 100 sakugablog posts. I enjoyed the anime a lot (one of my favs this season) but I can’t bring myself to read the blog posts on it… It just doesn’t engage me.


Light Novels Are Doomed

emirin360

I found this site off twitter and I am like, what. [Unrelated to top image/link]

I quote:

Light novels are inherently long-winded stories. They’re 300 pages stories with a lot of fluff, mainly character thoughts or just plain descriptions. Most of the time, they go overboard with those. It’s one of the main cons of reading a light novel. After all, if the author can’t fill those 300 pages with enough quality-writing (and you can be assured that most the time, they can’t), reading them becomes tedious.

Novellas kept their descriptions to the bare minimum and allowed much more creativity, even if some recurring quirks from light novels were still present. However, it isn’t as apparent because of the aforementioned problems that can be addressed thanks to the smaller, tighter grasp on the story development.

????????? whattttt

Wikipedia has a slightly less of a hack definition, for your comparison.

They have an “introduction to light novel” section on the site, and at least it doesn’t make me want to pull my hair out.

If these guys owns englishlightnovels.com, this genre is doomed.

I also just want to say one thing: you cannot confuse the word count in Japanese versus English. Just like how 140 characters is a lot in Japanese versus in English in terms of meaning density, a lot of light novels in Japan are in the 100-200 page range as oppose to the ~300 page range as they are translated. And this is to note that given their smaller form factor, they have fewer words per page than “proper” books in Japanese. For the US-published works, at least, they read and feel like most non-light novels, maybe just shorter. English-language novellas are sometimes this long but usually 2/3 of the length as well. This is also why Wikipedia uses word count, like a pro.

More importantly, translating a novel from Japanese to English is basically rewriting the novel. The meaning of the story may be the same but it reads entirely differently, at a different length. This has to be accounted for.

PS. Faust is good fun, go read that.


Kimi no Riajuu

I’m glad Shinkai Makoto’s latest theatrical work grossed 6 billion  yen in just 17 days. That beat not only the estimate commercial distribution outlet, Toho, but the commercial success beyond most’s expectation somewhat validates the movie. Critics like Yamakan and Azuma have already weighed in, among others.

I don’t think it’s a fluke. He was honing on the formula from the very beginning. The real question, I thought, was similar to the one Azuma posited.

kimi-no-na-wa

The cultural trend has been long going that route. If the soccer-bu star can moonlight as an otaku, there’s no stopping it. In a society where animated mascots and cartoons surround its inhabitants daily, where manga is consumed with typically zero stigma attached, you’d think it is normal for animated movies to get such hits. In fact, isn’t this what Studio Ghibli have been doing in the past couple decades? To me that was kind of the line of thought, until I realized who Kimi no Na wa is about: the riajuu.

This movie is fueled by sales of couples going to theaters. This, I think, is what Azuma is on about. To be clear, plenty of romantic stories dotted Studio Ghibli’s output, but those always served mainly as backdrops to epicly for-the-children narratives. The ones where the romance poked its head forward tend to do worse, as they often eyed a more mature audience. Kimi no Na wa is not such a thing. I make the assertion about riajuu only via second-hand observations and some personal observation, so I could be wrong, but that is the vibe and reports I have gotten.

If you’re one of those people who have enjoyed anime because, at times, some story/aspect of a show jumped out at you, and you think it has mainstream appeal because it’s so good, then I think you should cheer for Shinkai and what he’s doing. Otaku media or not, its evolution is contingent on hanging on to these sorts of valuable things about the medium.