Monthly Archives: October 2012

10 Things about Psycho-Pass

This is more like my impression after 3 episodes than actual facts about Psycho-Pass. Also, this is a little too Letterman for my taste, but that’s how it came out.

10. There was this anti-moe nonsense where one of the key creative people banned the word “moe” in some of their internal production discussions.  Big whoop. Only if by banning the word it makes the show not moe. Truth is, anything with Kana Hanazawa is probably moe. And maybe it doesn’t necessarily involve cute or female characters!

9. noitanimA shop is pushing some Psycho-Pass apparels. You can see this video for some examples. Kana wants you to keep watching.

8. FUNimation is streaming this every Thursday right after it airs. I don’t know why it doesn’t do the same for Robotic;Notes, but this is the Psycho-Pass post. I have been watching the simulcast via an elite account and it is working pretty okay. The player sometimes get finicky under Chrome but it works. I wonder if they throttle free users. If they do, they probably should advertise that!

7. Ling Toshite Shigure OP does not disappoint.


5. The Dominator’s new mode as explained in episode 3 works just like the famous Doom superweapon, the BFG. Note that Tsunemori was standing on the other side of the drone, and the shot didn’t touch her at all because of LOS…

4. Sybril and the Psycho-Pass are two different things, among other things.

3. Momotato kind of likes it…!

2. People possibly walk around naked, under that holographic system of clothing. If the interior decoration is of any hint, maybe Tsunemori is wearing a green suit all the time. I wonder how that applies to makeup.

1. Written by Gen Urobuchi.

PS. Hurricane Sandy left me with a great time tweeting (since I guess I can’t be distracted once internet and power went out) about the howling wind and how I can feel my house move around while I doodled away on my PSP unlocking K-ON content. Oh, hey, I was going to buy Shiny Festa over PSN but I noticed I had only 5330 yen left (MSRP 5380 yen) and not too sure if I wanted to spring another 50 (or 10 I guess) just so I can play it a couple weeks earlier than the copy that is shipping to me. It’s way too much effort for an impulse buy. Oh, right, what’s the word about the hurricane that left me without power (probably for up to 5-7 days)? Walpurgisnacht? Yea that was how it feels–as far as an internet meme that helps you laugh about a real-life problem. Even though it really isn’t bad, and it gives me the opportunity to mess with all this camping gear. But unless I can juice up every day (maybe I could) I doubt I’ll get around blogging much (let alone watching anime), or get more XCOM-seiyuu killed.

The Anime in the Middle of Nowhere

I think it’s too early to close the books on Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere anime series. I sincerely hope it continues on to book 3 and keep on adopting. I’m not too sure if I actively look forward to them, but things feel rather inevitable given how well it is doing on the Japanese domestic home video sales front. I guess this post is a status check.

But rather than criticizing (I think JP pretty much nailed it, even if his hammer might be a little too unforgiving) it for its substantive content, I feel the biggest worry I have for subsequent Horizon adaptation is how it is kind of bringing little that is new to the table. And I don’t mean in terms of having razor blades in oranges or exploiting hooks from British history–I mean it in the adaptative front.

I really enjoyed season 1 in terms of its Jerome Bettis-like attitude towards the finish line and having to bring everything along despite that it just wouldn’t quite gracefully fit. It also kind of fits the nature of Horizon–everyone gets on the bus. It’s a battering ram that truncates what MP3s to what I think you can’t hear, the stuff that might not really be necessary for us to have a good time watching the show. Forget about procedures, explaining why, things making sense making sense, or any other standard operating procedure–we can’t afford the time in 12 episodes, not if one of these “light novels” are a billion pages long.

Well, I can live with the consequences. I’m more concerned about the music, so to speak. When I watched season two play out, it felt like the same cultural tourism again, except this time it is kind of a play on British/European history. I think I’m marginally more familiar with it than Japan’s local history. And to be honest what transpired in season 1 is so twisted and detached from the real world I don’t think familiarity really matters. But it does a little bit in season 2–maybe as a distraction. I think this is kind of the danger with anime tourism in the sense that we get this perception of something that the average Japanese thinks about this thing that is closer to us foreigners than how it appears to them. On one hand it could be pretty interesting, on the other hand, well, let’s just say it was a small issue for me when watching Baccano. And that one was definitely more meticulously researched.

I guess cultural imperialists like Americans just have to learn to live with it. Meanwhile I hope more anime would just put things in their now Neo Venezias, and I suppose Horizon qualifies with its alternative-universe fantasy. Which is why I’ve stuck with it and would stick with it some more.

PS. I had the most glorious XCOM battle this weekend, involving Rk. Aya Hirano and Sq. Kotono Mitsuishi, being ambushed by a nine-pack Muton scouting force. It was fierce and I didn’t know if I could’ve made it out, but thankfully I did–despite having no medkit, no support, and only one assault and one sniper in the task force. Largely thanks to their meat-shielding. Rk. Hirano was particularly courageous, having snuck into the landed UFO from behind and tased the only Muton in reach (considering the odds of hitting it from a “safe” distance was much lower than what the Arc Thrower offered). Those grenades, man, can make quick work of you.

Kick-Heart’s Next Step

Kickstarter project Kick-Heart has been funded. This was pretty much a sealed deal a few days into the project, as projected by Kicktracker and other metrics. Even I guessed it. But what’s next?

I think it is safe to say that there will be people who will follow in this path. At least that is partly why some people signed up, to do the proverbial “save anime” thing. Personally? I think “save anime” is bullshit. It doesn’t really need saving, although there’s always tons of room to improve, especially in terms of studios that crunch out the budget, tough stuff, and not as much with Production IG.

In fact you could say IG is one of the brighter spots in the industry. I think they’re doing good work, developing talents by working with, for example, Yuasa. Kick-Heart, though, reminds me of this labor of love, in terms of how some fans rally to it. I guess that’s fine in the end–people get paid making the stuff the people who paid, like. It is a win-win by the very definition. But what was true for Redline is probably NOT going to be true for Kick-Heart.

I mean, $60 for a 15-minute short? (The $60 tier is the highest pledge tier.) And you don’t even know if you will like it because it isn’t the personal baby of Koike and Maruyama for seven years? It makes me want to talk like the kawaiikochans: MAJIDE? I guess it’s okay if you backed $1 or $5 or something. Sure, I can forgive $15. I don’t even know $30 is a good value or not. I know the $10000 tier is pretty great because they’ll fly you to Japan for a dinner date with Oshii, and I guess some people have boners for Oshii since 1995. That is a long time coming. I mean, again, like I said, it’s about value. I think Kick-Heart Kickstarter does provide value, but it isn’t something so easily deciphered, like most Kickstarter projects. But you know what? Maybe that’s why so many people pledged for a Blu-ray. You can value that easily.

Speaking of Blu-ray, how many people bought Redline again?

I think it’s also worth addressing the notion some have that by not pledging Kick-Heart you are not saving anime or some kind of inverse statement of the same. I think that’s pretty much the feeling anyone has when anyone says anything about “support the industry” in regards to buying some DVD or merch that you don’t want to buy. Get used to it. I personally think it’s kind of bull. I’d rather cut a check for some creator I like than support some wretched scheme that extort money from their customers, although I guess I will do the latter as a compromise given the difficult of the former. (Again, that $10000 tier? Soooo close to what I like to do.) Unless they start handing out badges or plaques to people who actually support the industry, it’s kind of a worthless distinction I think. It’s all just self-gratification, and there isn’t any empirical basis to those claims most of the time.

So, to Kick-Heart, congratulations. I enjoyed all the hard work you’ve put into the Kickstarter, and I look forward to the end product and the road we’ll walk towards that (as backers) even more so. Just don’t startle any more old ladies in the neighborhood. To the rest of the world, let’s milk this Kickstarter for what it’s worth! It’s open season for people with money that want to be spent on great causes!

PS. I got a few more hours in, and the kill count included just one more: Rk. Yuko Gotoh. She really took charge and on her first mission, she wiped out a floater and a thin man, until she was undone when the plaster wall in front of her melted away as a couple stray plasma bolts landed oddly. The last bogey on the same enemy phase then ended her short career. Until then, she survive through poison and a few close matches as she took the initiative to get close and stunned at least one bad guy and pinned the other. Clearly it was very heroic.

Figure Liquidation 2012

This is a pinned/sticky post. It will be updated over time.

[Last update: Oct 11 2013 1800 EST, Sale is basically over~ Nobody got grabbags so uh.]

I’m selling some merch, mostly figures. Click for details!

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Interchangeable Hair, Revisiting iM@S Ranking

It’s about a year since I began the journey through The Idol Master kingdom, where everyone is a producer and Columbia/Bamco makes $ hand over fist. I’m pretty content on the fact that I’ve spent more money on DLCs than on the game, or that I probably spent even more on figures. You wonder why I spend so much on figures? This is kind of why. Speaking of which, I’m working on a figures sale so hopefully I’ll post that stuff soon.

I posted a ranked list last year in my year-end writeups, so you can take a look here.  So what has been the big changes since then? Seiyuu and music. I have to prop my friends for putting up with all this–both for me borrowing their stuff and subjecting them to bad game/anime idol pop. Overall, my opinion of iM@S music is still not overwhelmingly positive. A main driver to DLC purchases was exactly that many of these songs suck, and those that don’t wear out pretty fast, demanding infusion of new blood. I think my tolerance for them has improved over the past year, but it’s still something I listen to only because I want to laugh at it and to learn the voices, not so much because I like it for what it is. It also helps to get the desire to play the game out of my system, without having to spend the time to play it. Well, it’s entertaining either way.

  1. Makoto – It’s not only because Nekopuchi, but I feel that despite her one-dimensionality as a character, Makoto appeals to me the best as an idol. By this point I’ve ran the usual 13-crew through all the iM@S 2 S4U songs that I own and I even think she sounds pretty good most of the time. It’s funny to say this but I think Makoto as a concept exceeds her characterization via the canon. She’s not unlike Miki in some sense.
  2. Miki – Since I’m still no better than any of you. As an aside, I think visually she is appealing largely because of character design reasons. I get the feeling people just do a better job drawing her for one reason or another. This is why I asked Ryu Moto to sketch her over all the other girls. And of course, she is an interesting character, to say the least.
  3. Mami – I think as far as on the strength of characterization, Mami quickly distinguishes herself from not only Ami (who is actually…still not that different than Mami), but every little chibi-runt in the group. I guess she’s an early bloomer or some such, but they manage to portrait her as this girl-becoming-woman state, and that’s very attractive and emotionally appealing.
  4. Takane – From the seiyuu side, I’ve been really digging Yumi Hara, so that helps. I also think that kind of hurt in terms of seeing Takane as someone mysterious. To me, though, she’s probably the #1 singer in the group. I like her more or less the same I guess, as a year ago.
  5. Azusa – Think what you may, but Chiaking is one talented lady. She can struct that body and struct that full-body voice of hers. Pretty sure she’s got the best range in the group, too. The great thing about it is that as a member of iM@S, she plays to her character and she’s all demure-like, which is kind of like her character in terms of that contrast. Anyways, a top-notch seiyuu entertainer crosses over to her character, making Azusa both kind of a fun gag but just fun to watch and listen.
  6. Hibiki – Nuuuuuu. Appealing from the seiyuu side again, she is probably the one thing that makes Hibiki any good. In the anime there’s a lot of interplay between Hibiki and her animal friends, but that’s kind of besides the point overall. I guess she’s one of the lucky ones who got boosted via the anime.
  7. Ritsuko – My opinion of her hasn’t really changed.
  8. Yukiho – The more I approach iM@S from the seiyuu side, I see this interesting bipolar-ness between how these girls put on their acts like idols versus how their characters are suppose to be. I think Yukiho might be the most extreme case to me, even more so than Azusa/Chiaking. But I like the new Yukiho, she’s good at singing even if she’s not all that special (even for seiyuu). At least both are pretty girly.
  9. Iori – Based Kugyuu. No hate, all respect. I definitely liked her a lot more now than last year, probably because she brings…base seiyuu tones to the various tracks. Not to mention I do respect this all-star tsundere player for who she is, and who she plays in this case–a tsundere all-star-to-be.
  10. Haruka – I appreciate Nakamura Eriko a lot more now, and what she brings not only to Haruka, but also to the tonal quality of the average iM@S master track. She really makes a good “main character” in a lot of ways.
  11. Yayoi – The more I see her voice actress, Mayako Nigo, the more I’m impressed by the human spirit of projecting oneself as something else. It’s quite impressive. And to be totally honest, Yayoi can be cute. I just find those moments exceedingly rare.
  12. Chihaya – Lots of respect but the more I look into this character the less I like it, thus the huge drop in the ranking. I think the problem has more to do with her limited vocal range than anything, because I don’t particularly enjoy her vocals (and I don’t think Mingosu is even that good).
  13. Ami – Since I decided to break out Ami and Mami, I really have no place to put her besides towards the end of the list. I guess in terms of character design she is slightly more attractive than Iori but I put her down as I am still unable to really see Ami for who she is and what she has that Mami doesn’t do better. I guess if Mami is the adolescent, Ami is the child. Which, well, if that’s your thing. Musically she sounds almost identical to Mami, too. A note for Asapon: I think she’s probably one of the more charismatic girls on this cast, but it doesn’t come off that way. She harmonizes very well with this crew, almost blends in too well I’d say.
  14. Kotori –She’s only bottom because, well, she isn’t really a true iM@S idol. Except she kind of is! I really enjoy her live show appearances, and what little spotlight she had in the anime. I would actually pay money for a Kotori DLC (FWIW I haven’t yet for any of the Dearly Stars or Miku versions). I probably should rate her higher… But bleh. I guess I do forget her in listing the cast half the time.
Don’t even get me started on Cinderella Girls, because I can’t.

PS. Seiyuu XCOM is in progress. Nothing really special to report besides that Classic mode is a multitude harder than Normal, which is just what I wanted (normal is way too easy). So far 8 excursions in, five slain voice actresses were recorded in the memorial (plus one from the very first mission that I didn’t get to rename). I decided to use female names for all of them, since it’s what rolls off my head the easiest and I didn’t want to use OnoD or Shiraishi Minoru multiple times. The highest ranked in the memorial is Sq. Yumi Hara with 4 kills, meeting her end when a floater rained death from above. On the opposite end, lowly Sumire Uesuka didn’t even take an alien with her when she got gunned down by a lucky crit on the third mission. On Operation Bloody Giant, the only one who got bloody (on the good guys’ side) was Rk. Hisako Kanemoto, while Rk. Aya Hisakawa and Sq. Aki Toyosaki both died in similar ways: inside a cloud of smoke. These damned smoke grenades must be defective. And I wouldn’t be surprised–Cpl. Yuu Asakawa was hurling them after all.