Eventing 2016

[This post will be updated and pinned periodically throughout the year. Last Updated 9/22/2016, time to cradle in fetal position for extreme eventing in 2017]

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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 aggregator 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.

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.


Substitution Blues

I just want to vent a little. Chalk it up to the jetlag.

Happy Birthday Fuuka!

So the news today, at least the good bit, is that anison singer Faylan has resumed activities. If you’ll recall she took a long break to recover from some persistent illness, ones that reminds me of the condition that eventually took Matsuki Miyu’s life. I don’t know exactly what Faylan has, so this is all baseless conjecture, but as a fan we don’t have the info so it’s going to be natural to worry and think too much.

This naturally hits me a little harder consider what happened to Taneda Risa, who announced yesterday that she is suspending all her professional work in order to fully recover from an unnamed medical condition. It seems that she has been undergoing treatment for it for some time but it showed no improvement, and thus the hiatus. It hits doubly home because she is part of Million Live, which just announced the removal of her character’s role in the upcoming drama CD and anniversary live next March. That’s a long time away. But of course, as with these things, you can’t put someone’s name on something that they may or may not be able to make, so a substitution is necessary. The rumor mill says that Tanechan is dealing with some job-related issue (see: voice-impacting). It’s hard to hear, since she is one of the leading seiyuu of this generation.

I can only wish her the fastest full recovery.

On that note I also wish Aoi Eir also a fastest full recovery. I can’t make a Faylan substitution joke if Eir is out due to health reasons!

Lastly, earlier today Sakurai Tomo has announced her retirement. This is not great news but it is a note worthy of celebration, as she has defined an era of seiyuu idol/singer-ness. Her retiring makes a good milestone, an end of an era so to speak. Nothing wrong with it and I wish her the best in the next chapter of her life.