Category Archives: English Language Modern Visual Fandom

Re: Impossible Spring 2014

I am still watching new anime, and relatively speaking a lot, just less than I have been. I chalk it up due to work and these con blitzs. In some ways my trip in Feb is still draining me emotionally and man, I need a vacation where I just sit around and relax. Maybe I can just skip AX and take those days for OFA grinding.

Rabbits

Just going to piggy-back on Author’s list. This means also not inserting a table in this post. Uguu tables.

  • Rabbit House – I think it’s amazing that how tire I am typically, I am still trying to catch up to date on this. It is totally to Rabbit House’s credit such as the case. It might seem like a big endorse coming from me, which you will see why as you read through this list, and it probably doesn’t deserve it.
  • Puchimas S2 – I too will batch it later. I did start, and at some point I realized FUNi’s stream is not serving up the new ED for some reason and I’m like :v Screw this nonsense.
  • One Week Friends – Without Author’s baggage, I’m no more likely a friend of this kind of sap. This is all on me though; just not in the mood for this, which I’m sure is a competent production of feels generation.
  • Mangaka & Assistant – Comedy. The pacing could be a lot better, it needs to learn from SYD.
  • Kawaisou – I enjoyed what I’ve seen. But I need to watch beyond one episode…
  • Precure All Stars Selection – I don’t Precure.
  • The World Is Still Beautiful – This is the kind of show I would watch because it is easy, on CR, and is not terrible. The whole shoujo-ness is really embarrassing to see but otherwise it’s okay. Overall probably a wholesome recommendation.
  • Love Live S2 – Yes.
  • Broken Blade – Didn’t watch it the first time, no interest the second time.
  • Chaika – This is like, Scrapped Princess the anime remixed, right? Because it’s just like Scrapped Princess in terms of setup. And written by the same guy. That said the voice cast is pretty fun to watch and the story moves at a good clip. I think I’m one or two behind, and will probably drop, even if it is a nice change of pace given the usual light novel fare that gets animated these days.
  • Jewelpet – Ha, no.
  • Ping Pong – Best anime this season. I will go through the depths of FUNi hell to watch this. Problem is Ping Pong doesn’t excite me.
  • Kanojo ga Flag o Orareta – Not sure if I like this or Azuki Azusa anime more. Maybe needs more Yukarin. Probably will get cut if time runs short due to Acen and Anorth next couple weeks.
  • Escha & Logi – Nope. Speaking of which I have Totori on my Vita now so I’d rather pour the time into that.
  • Seikoku no Dragonar – Haven’t heard anything good about this.
  • Mahouka – Too slow, but intriguing. Unfortunately it puts me to sleep so it’s hard to make it even to the third episode.
  • Date A Live II – Passed on season one so…
  • Mekakucity Actors – I really want to watch this now that I dropped Nisekoi and Monogatari S2 looms like a distant rain cloud. But maybe it’s better for me and Shaft to take a break for a while.
  • Majin Bone – Nope.
  • Nanana – This is like Zvezda, a lot. Too uncanny. Also totally enjoying it right now.
  • Knight of Sidonia – In Netflix hell. Probably will marathon at some point.
  • Brynhildr – Will catch up. I liked the first episode or two I saw, but it’s a little slow. I just know it’s really rewarding LOL.
  • Daimidaler – Right on top of this nonsense.
  • Fairy Tail – Nope.
  • Blade and Soul – Not enough boobs.

There are other entries I am following, like Jojo and Mushishi and Cap’n Earth and Diamond Ace, (and dropped, like all these sports shows that I would at most watch one ep.), but let’s just say I would rather blog less and watch more anime because of the limit on time and energy. I can add that this Spring, I found myself wanting. There isn’t that one anime that’s got all the hype. Ping Pong is the only thing truly remarkable in a sea of the usual stuff, but it isn’t exactly the most hyped sort of thing. Maybe it’s also that I haven’t had the time to watch episode one of everything I wanted to see, so there’s something still out there. I still wouldn’t say this season is particularly bad or whatever, because I think it’s more me than it, so to speak, but I certainly wouldn’t disagree if someone else makes that claim.


Flower of Connectedness

Just going through the thousands of things in my various feeds and ran across this on Pikasha’s blog post:

Hana...hanaga...

At the guest reception at Sakuracon, we saw this adoring Nagahama’s table. He said it’s a hand-made gift from a fan. I hope you realize this, fan person!

Captain 'Murrica has his flower

Chocolates makes a great treat and souvenir in Seattle. I should’ve brought home some.


On Chokaigi 3

This screenshot is taken right after Nanjo announces her next song in the fripside performance: Shooting Star

What’s amazing about Niconico Chokaigi is that it isn’t just “Japanese internet vomited into one place” (Makuhari Messe being the barf bag), even if that in itself is a big deal in a “this is why you can’t have nice things” kind of way that I can write a lot on its own, but that someone overseas can “catch” the vision of it and live it up as if I was there. It is truly a wondrous application of the internet where joy can be spread across the world in real time.

So rather than just watching Chokaigi at home this year, I decided to get a couple friends together and watch it at the guy’s house whose most capable of doing it. This just means good internet setup, a good multimedia set up (he’s got a big TV and easy hook-up to his network), lots of power plugs, what have you. In the end we still needed a few things–more HDMI plugs would be nice, or some way to play R2 DVDs, or a better HTPC solution, but it turned out really well. You can watch the streams you all care about and talk about it, rather than let your English language comments lament in the sea of Nico memes, or make a mess of your twitter time line. Or private chat rooms wherever, which seemed to be the better venue in retrospect.

I thought Chokaigi is possibly the closest thing to an “anime con” in the sense that while it is an industry event, it dips its feet in fan culture much more so than most other industry events. It’s hard to explain or describe this gap and oddly enough we talked about it this weekend. Just what makes an AFA or an AX versus AnimeJapan? It’s hard to explain, I think, maybe because I haven’t been to all of those events, but it’s also the sort of content you promote at those venues. Maybe it’s more a SDCC or NYCC?

At any rate, through the myriad numbers of region-unlocked live streams, we were able to watch a ton of streams on Nico over the weekend and live it up real-time. This means watching that awesome anison concert on Saturday night/Sunday afternoon featuring IVE Special Unit. Takase Kazuya doing backup dancing with Maon for Ray is just amazing. In fact that whole IVE set is amazing. But what’s also amazing is to go on twitter and see the JP feeds I follow respond to the events I watch on the streams, and other non-JPers watching the same.

The number says Chokaigi 3, this year being the third Chokaigi, has about 7.6 million viewers across all its official feeds (and there were a bunch of those), which is just to say that’s only like, two thirds of total Chokaigi streams, if we go by streams not on its schedules as not official.

Anyway, just saying you can live up Chokaigi if the technology is there, the infrastructure is there. I didn’t pay the 2500 yen or whatever for Cho Party, but at that 525y entry price for premium, this is the cheapest way to brighten up a weekend. That and a VPN. And having the image of Mocho eating a Lawson generic pastry in your retina.

Update: Say hello to some Ps that we met earlier in the year:

Ps


On Con, Con Meta, and Meta Cons

Kelts wrote about the “festivities” around AnimeJapan, along with the industry events that happened around the same time. Just excerpting because why not:

And in the two days following AnimeJapan, the second annual Project Anime Tokyo was held in the flashy UDX building in Akihabara. The conference is designed to bring together overseas anime convention organizers with Japanese studios for communication and collaboration. The brainchild of Marc Perez, CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, and Nobuyuki Takahashi, president of Studio Hard Deluxe, the first meeting was held by the SPJA in Los Angeles in 2012 at Anime Expo (AX), the largest anime convention in North America.

“One of the things we want to prove to the industry is that we (anime conventions) can promote them with very little investment,” says Perez. The conference is now a twice-yearly event held in LA and Tokyo alongside AX and AnimeJapan. “We also want convention organizers from around the world to share ideas and best practices. One of our goals is to eventually establish a joint charter, rules and regulations about things like bootlegging and piracy and so on.”

You know Project Anime? The con about cons? People sat in panels about cons and industry and press and what not. I think this might be what a commenter was referring to about SPJA. And the end is still just a matter of signaling and getting people to leverage available resources. Conventions may be an underutilized resource, if indeed they are still growing (and most signs point to yes, at least in America), so then there’s going to be some way where somebody can leverage these resources with Japanese businesses in a manner in which someone (likely in Japan), with all the access and resources available, come up and execute a more unified strategy to bring it to market, to market, to promote, to build and deliver.

Why do I keep saying this LOL.

But I’m not sure if this is something we can (even naively) say is good or not, because now we’re getting to the place where you have to roll up your sleeves and make your spreadsheets and decks sparkle like an idol on stage. And there will be winners and losers in the end of all of this, just a matter of how much, and how many.

Give the full article a read, I think it plays consistent with the overall theme about where fan money is going to overseas, what Japan is (or isn’t) doing about it.

I wonder if the  Anime Anime guy would get something out of Project Anime.

Anzu & co

PS. Studio Hard Deluxe? That sounds like an upgrade to Vertical, Inc.

PPS. Just how effective are cons at actually promoting sales of things? How about brand recognition and awareness? How about building up a fan base? It’s hard to say…


A Down Side to Easy-to-Access Anime

Let’s say, if you went to a typical sit-down restaurant in America and order some food. The waiter provides your table with a basket of bread as per custom at the establishment, and seeing you are very hungry the waiter decides to give you extra bread. Is this appropriate? I would think so, and most people probably wouldn’t even bat an eye.

Let’s say, if you spend a few hundred bucks and bought some late-night anime. The anime provides you with the content you thought you were getting. And seeing that this is the home video BD that you now own after parting a few hundred USDs or whatever currency, it provides some bonus material with extra T&A. Is this appropriate? I would think so, but some people calls this pandering.

Actually, it is pandering. But isn’t this wanted? Wouldn’t it be better to have this than not have this?

Hello again, old flame

This kind of made me think, in an orthogonal way, about the price of anime and the nature of its target audience. I am sort of pro-cheap anime in the sense that it makes access easy. And more access is better for access-starved international audience of anime, it’s hand-in-hand with marketing, as far as major areas of improvement for the state of the “anime industry” overseas. It’s more democratic. But I guess as with many things, there are down sides or unintended negative consequences to that. Well, maybe it’s not a negative consequence, but it’s naturally what happens when the signal-to-noise ratio drops.

There’s a fair amount of academic literature on the effects of internet and mass media and “noise” in terms of how to make the internet useful. I think we can apply the same idea to anime in that anime for the masses should be cheap and easy to reach. But anime for specific, intended small groups should be harder. And it is; in that naturally the marketing dollar isn’t there, fewer people care about it and fewer people talk about it.  But when what represents anime overseas is this small sample, what then? Cool Japan is not about Doreamon or Sanae-san but Evangelion or Pokemon right? I guess Pokemon is mainstream in that sense. But people don’t pass judgment on anime because they are in that niche. Anime is a marketing word, but that is probably a bad thing for the medium/genre in the long run, if you want to capture its diversity. Or rather, if you want to capture what passes for anime in the 21st century. Of course, the problem is also kind of the fact that there aren’t many anime titles that fits the Dragon Ball Z kind of profile in the 21st century; as in there hasn’t been more exceptions to the rule for companies like FUNimation to profit on. And all the anime-cancer sentiments is really built on this kind of mentality.

There’s this zone in oversea criticism that this is missed. It’s like all the people who think about anime in the framework of Mamoru Oshii’s works. Like, com’on. Maybe you’ll be more credible from Hayao Miyazaki’s framework. Can you just stick to Battle of the Planets and Speed Racer? Is this even relevant in the 21st Century beyond as a curiosity? Is Tezuka relevant beyond just his influence? Hasn’t anime changed enough in the last 50 years to, you know, come up with something new?

In other words, are people even watching the right anime? Is it because “anime” is too accessible, too plentiful, that people don’t even know what they really shouldn’t be watching? If the only way to watch anime is pony up some $50 or $100 to catch 1-2 cours of it, you probably would really want to know what it is before putting down the money. It makes people care. A lot more.

It also highlights the problem with marketing of anime overseas. There are little ways to “send signals” about shows as to who should watch what, from the homeland. And it’s full of lost-in-translation perils. If we have to rely on the likes of blogs that do season previews, then we are hopeless. I mean at least back in the days, people just hyped specific shows because they knew it was going to be something interesting as a reflection of Japan’s internal marketing and the buzz from its domestic fanbase. Now we just have people writing about every which thing, and it’s hard to say who knows enough or do enough homework to sift through the 50+ shows every season–if to just not get any one of them wrong, let alone more than a few of them right.

Maybe this is a call to people to watch anime in a way that treats it right–not just as disposable internet butt-wipe, a passing joke. Not every show is shovelware, not every show deserves your attention. But do enough to gain the appreciation for those the anime that you will fall in love with, before it happens. Maybe both you and the shows you watch will be better off as a result.

But I realize, the problem is also the general lack of easy-to-use tools. Which makes me think the Real Problem of Anime(tm) is still marketing. Which is odd/ironic, because most anime are just advertisement for something else. But it also makes sense if you think about it, and do more research. If people gets the right idea from marketing material on the get go, they wouldn’t even bother with a lot of the anime out there. But without the societal attitudes and otaku groups that form naturally to lay down the rules for people to watch whatever it is, what passes for marketing in Japan might not even work as is. Instead, oversea fans gets just piecemeal of all of this and who knows how effective that is.