Eventing 2017

[Last year’s event log here. Last update September 22, added some annotation and Anime NYC]

This is a blog post that will keep track of the nerd events I’m attending in 2017. It will be updated over time to add/delete and update the status of the events I plan to attend or have attended. If you’re going to one of these, feel free to let me know ahead of time.

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On Million Live, New IM@S Game

In response to this, I’ve got almost nothing. Let me quote:

In short, the reason you likely won’t be seeing the Million Live anime anytime soon isn’t due to some odd bias against it, and it definitely isn’t because they’d rather chase the wallets of evil women ruining your cartoons. It’s far more straightforward than that: there’s simply no one around to make it right now. One of the reasons this franchise has consistently had high-profile adaptations, sometimes in spite of messy production schedules, is because it’s been supported by an immensely talented group of creators; even as the key staff is reshuffled, Idolmaster‘s production backbone has stayed the same, and that can only mean good things.

And by good thing he and I mean:

The real reason to wait to be honest, is for Taneda Risa to recover. It is one thing for Theater Days to leave out Kotoha, but you can’t do that with the anime. The industry/technology isn’t there yet! There’s more to say on this matter, in that you can speculate about the A-1 pipeline, the order of Million Live anime and SideM anime, and other things. With Darlifra and SideM close to each other it could mean a lot of things, one is that Million anime won’t be in 2018.

As someone who’s a little invested in Million Live, the point of having an anime really is just so that these guys can now render our favorite characters and idols in the same ludicrous settings that Million Live is known for, at least among the producers who are into the mobile games. So it really is Fukushima’s crew or bust. It’s a bit unfortunate that this segment of the IDOLM@STER franchise is so “narrow” now, but the hope is that when they produce something really good, people will come to appreciate it on the merits, idol trapping aside. It’s as good as GamiP’s confirmation that this cast and crew will be tapped to make the show, whenever it will be.

As for the new IDOLM@STER game on the Bandai HTML5 platform, I’m thinking it’s going to be international. The titles they picked seem to say this to me. That will be the big hope I have on it. And like how IDOLM@STER is a franchise that rides on the first generation of new hardware and platforms, this one will be something that can live or die based on its reception with the players and existing fans. I’m not really holding my breath on it because it does nobody any good, at least without more details anyway. Plus, I’m too busy caring about the existing things I have control over, like how much to spend on Theater Days gacha, or how I’m going to see the 765AS live next January.

PS. One of the best way they could do with Million Live anime is to have episodes in alternates, where one is based on one of the ludicrous events, and the next based on the main continuum. In some ways the 4th PV is paving the groundworks for this delivery style already. The big challenge there is how do you execute these gag concepts into full-length episodes, while not totally upsetting the overall atmosphere of the series. Another benefit of this is that the episodes can get outsourced easier and allow for more freedom in crafting the animation. I guess we’ll see what happens.


Summer 2017 Anime

Just to recap, on the first day of Autumn?

Re:Creators – A lot of this story is fun and enjoyable, but it also kind of rubs me in a wrong way? Hard to explain. But I think Aoki’s direction is quite compelling so I’m sticking with it even if it turns into Aldnoah Zero again. I’m a bit behind on this one. For some reason I skipped the seiyuu/recap episode, and I should go watch that ep because, after all, it’s a fourth wall thing with seiyuu! I am kind of over the whole aspect of this story being a dumb fanfic, so I’m ready to enjoy it, but the story is now a bit slowed down since the first half.

Fate/Apocrypha – Pretty fights but overall dull. Coincidentally this is just how Fate Grand Order is, LOL. (Psst go play Magireco it’s way better in every dimension.) I’m also quite behind here so I’ll need to catch up.

Gamers – Not sure if this is fun because of relationships or because of games. I guess, like New Game, I dig the style. It has a pretty tiresome romantic thing going that eventually sheds the video game thing and just deals with low-esteem introverts and obviously low-esteem extroverts not being extroverted enough. Hoshinomori is great, I dig her a lot, possibly because she’s kind of the third wheel thing. Thematically speaking, Gamers is interesting in that it focuses on the divides between hobby, friendship, and romance, but I feel it’s not really poised to go home on that front.

New Game – It was a little slow going into the second season but it was fun seeing the, uh, employee mobility within this company. The new characters brought the drama but they were slowly growing on me as well. Kind of sad the new ED was not as design-y as the first ED, but ah well. In a way the assets in New Game surpass New Game anime itself…

Knight’s & Magic – Fun little show about the meta driving the present in a way that makes science fiction fun. But it’s trapped in an isekai shell that at least doesn’t get in the way. I hear the anime keeps to the good parts of the books, so there’s also that. I will miss this one, just because the anime packaging is so tight, for the most part.

A Centaur’s Life – To me this show is the winner of this season, it wraps around some of the same issues other shows this seasons dealt with, but in a way that suited my tastes the most. If anything, sometimes it feels like an American sitcom, which is probably not the best thing in this context. I do like how it takes on some plain philosophical questions, not as core, but as extra bonus.

Classroom of the Elite – I feel the draw of Yojitzu, besides fanservice and crazy characters, is the mystery element. The actual educational system and the plot are kind of drab, and frankly the pace of the anime is too slow. If it wanted to make comments on human conditions or Japan’s societal issues, there are better way to do so. Well, in its own way, it is a story about high school kids doing high school kids things, so it can be endearing on those fronts.

In Another World with My Smartphone – It’s Aho Girl or this, I went with this, now I feel kind of bad. At the same time, this is the kind of show you don’t need to check your brain at the door to enjoy, because you need it to understand how bad it is, and derive enjoyment from the badness of this show. And by bad I mean it’s just a poor production. The fluffy, softcore fantasy aspects of the story is enjoyable if you let yourself enjoy it, I guess. Despite having a lot of opportunity to play the smartphone joke up, it refrained from doing so.

Aho Girl – It’s dumb. I enjoy it to a degree but I couldn’t finish it–I wish the dosage is smaller.

Tsuredure Children – The Tsuredure Children are all right. It’s perfect because it’s  just all what’s good about romance anime boiled down and condensed. I feel that really added to the comedic effect of the series.

Sakura Quest – Long trek completed. I enjoyed it a lot, although it was more a slow burn than any great heights or valleys. I think the 2 best parts of the inaka experience are the sceneries and the people, but short of the former because your countryside is boring, then it’s the latter carrying the show. If anything Sakura Quest is stocked full of weirdos and fun people, in a normal folks are never really that normal kind of way. You can see it even in the way Sakura Quest credits itself with the storywriting by its own character.

Tenshi no 3P – Lolicons ahoy. I enjoy the music aspect of this enough. The story is even more soft pitch than Isekai Smartphone, although arguably it has an edge because they do play the lolicon jokes and threaten viewers with loli fanservice. Goes to show that among otaku, lolicons are not even the worst!

Magic Circle Guru Guru – Dragon Quest inspired cartoon is actually great. I am in the middle of it, but will catch up.

Restaurant to Another World – This is one of my top watching of the week, which I follow as soon as the new ep is out (Knight’s & Magic is the other). I dig that opening song. The story is healing and the food is delicious-looking. If there is a minus it’s that for a non-Japanese eater the food selection is kind of keks at times, and you will be teased by this show into wanting to eat what they’re eating.

Princess Principal – This is oddly fun, but I feel this is also a bit too wishfully fancy. I’m quite a few eps behind so hopefully I can catch up.

Welcome to the Ballroom – It’s just OK to me, but the animation is delightful to watch. I guess I’m a little fatigued by the character composition and the way how they are used in the plot. It’s kind of formulaic in that it tries hard to do its own thing, but I don’t want that familiarity it tosses to the viewers as a guide.

My GF is a Gal – This is kind of fun, a simple-minded but honest fanservice anime. It kind of played too close to textbook towards the end, for better (because it avoided being even more misogynist) or for worse (because it got real dumb fast). Towards the end, I’m not sure if it’s just a production thing or they decided to give the larger boobs minds of their own. It got kinda puri puri in terms of physics?

Still in the middle of PriPri Chiichan.

I’m holding onto Made in Abyss for a marathon, hopefully on my trip to Hotch Potch?

PS. That Nora Stray Cat anime short…has a whole episode (#6) where they showed footages of goats grazing, and the voice actresses dub over it. On a related note–that it’s not exactly anime–I’m still watching Agent Hazap, it’s worth it for the intelligence.

PPS. I didn’t mention much that I dropped, other than Aho Girl. I guess the Reflection counts? It’s the kind of show I’d watch 15+ years ago, because it’s kind of intriguing despite the other shortcomings.


WUG 4th Tokyo & Shinso Ongaku Ensoukai #4

I yolo’d to see the Million Live concert at Nakano Sunplaza last weekend, but while in Japan (for ~28 hours) I also caught two other shows, so I just want to talk about them a bit. It’s going to be mostly on the Shinso Ongaku Ensoukai and a little on WUG 4th final stop @ Zepp Tokyo. WUG is kind of a known thing at this point, so I want to focus more on the less known thing.

But let’s start with the WUGchans. During the earlier session May’n dropped by and did One in a Billion, which was nice, but I was still on my way from Haneda Airport at around that time. Maybe I was in the immigration line? Anyway, I had a good gap of time waiting for the early show to finish so I made my way to the Unicorn, while enjoy crowd viewing of Ultra Japan. I guess Porter Robinson was there Sunday? I’ve not been to Odaiba since years ago, so this was nice.

Zepp Tokyo is the right kind of venue for WUG, but tickets were sold out really hard for it unlike their other stops, so there was a sizable markup to see them. Anyway, their set list for the show says all you need to know. It’s arguably their most definitive one. It was my first time hearing the second solo medley live, so that was neat. At the end of the night session Mayuc pretty proudly declared that this is WUG, and it sure was…

The setlist for the night show is on Aniuta, while the afternoon setlist is here. Have to say, it’s quite the gap since Osaka for WUG 2nd, the last time I attended a WUG solo live.

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Animelo Summer Live 2017

Today is September 12, as I write this, and I have finally fully physically recovered from my Anisama trip. And that is not counting some lingering bronchitis-type symptoms that could take up to 2 months to clear up. Sup, I am getting old, is what.

To be fair, going to Japan for 3-4 days and concert it up in the humidity and heat does take a lot out of you. I think the kids who run and mosh with their crazy jumps at the outdoor stage are something. This is not an activity that I can recommend middle-aged Americans who are not in their best physical shapes to do; namely, try not to go all out at idols and spent 6 hours going out some more at various anison and seiyuu singers. Not even counting the in-between time, which invariably means you’ll be walking around a bit, even if lounging back.

That said, Anisama is the Comiket of Japanese eventing, and it’s worse in terms of stamina in a way. My conviction grows stronger now on my second trip that this is both a festival and a trial. This time around the lineup is way more powerful than last year, and they pulled some items off my bucket list, such as You & Me duet between Motsu and Yukarin, and seeing the SOS-dan get back together. I don’t even think I had that latter act on my list because I did not expected it to be possible.

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In Defense of Poor Taste

Isekai Shokudo is the story of the Resturaunt in Another World. I enjoy it a lot but the truth is, the restaurant is a Japanese establishment serving non-traditional (but by all means traditional by popular Japanese culture) Japanese cuisine. By Japanese cuisine I mean it in the “General Tso’s Chicken is American cooking” kind of way–may it be panko-battered fried prawn or a crepe stuffed with fruit–the style of cooking served by Nekoya’s chef is undoubtedly Japanese.

For better or worse, the dishes served in Isekai Shokudo is perfect for foreign tongues. I imagine most westerners will be fine with what’s served at Nekoya up to uh, the natto pasta?

Elves likes natto pasta?

Only Japanese people like natto. I mean this sincerely. It isn’t to say foreigners can’t appreciate its deep and earthy flavors or its unique mouthfeel, but there is a reason why we think sushi and ramen when we think Japanese cooking, and not, say, natto senbei. Or even Japanese-Italian cuisine FWIW.

I had some really good natto senbei on my trip to Oarai earlier this year and while it has an initial smell and taste that triggers a fight-or-flight response, the rest of the experience was surprisingly rewarding and full of umami. But gosh the barrier of entry is pretty high. I’ve had also normal natto, and chopped up natto. I would be lying to say I’m a fan, but I can eat it. But I’m not too far from this guy when considering odd foods. Like, for most Americans (whose tastes I probably have the best grasp), natto is probably as difficult to get into as a magical door that opens once per week in random fantasy locations.

As a culturally foreign guy who loves to eat I find Japanese cooking pretty much both the least exciting and most expert kind of cuisine and philosophy. In a land where good eats is everywhere, sometimes you feel everyone is more or less making iterative improvements on known winners rather than really making something bold, where porting local cooking to faraway towns to tease local tongues count as adventurous. To me selling natto to anyone outside of China, Korean and Japan, maybe, seems way more of an adventure than any Japanese endeavor.

So it is just a better question to ask: What kind of a fantasy is Isekai Shokudo? Is it a fantasy where people can unite over a good meal where needs of the body, mind and spirit are met? A fantasy that a Japanese-equivalent of a diner can suit the taste of its Tolkien-esqe cast? That Japanese cooking alone can achieve this? It’s not a hole I want to dig because I don’t believe it leads to anywhere nice, but I might have to anyway.

I mean, how many degrees removed is Isekai Shokudo from, uh, this? You can shift races and shift cultures, but in the end it’s the same foreign nonsense, same wishfully positive reactions, over the same mundane Japanese food. It is not a rejection of that, yeah, I sure can use a nice pudding ala mode right now, but this is not the healing foodie paradise that a person tainted with multiple cultural perspectives can really enjoy. At least, I can enjoy it until we run into NATTO OVER PASTA EEEEW. It’s not cultural imperialism, it’s just a flight of fancy too much for me, a wake up call, so to speak.