Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tamayura Season 2 Event

The long silence between posts is because I spent all my “free” time drinking at A Button. Until tonight anyway. Game Bar A Button is a pretty legit place to spend your nights if you didn’t have anything better to do than to hang out with a bunch of nerds drinking lemon sours and chuhai. I poked at its whisky selection for some Islay inspiration for mild success. Would hate to buy a bottle of some of them and end up hating it, after all.

Oh, right, I did go to the afternoon session of the Tamayura Season 2 event, nanode. Or whatever the hell they add to the full title of the thing. You can get all the details in moonrunes here, but I’ll just skip to the important part not mentioned via this animeanime translation.

@ Ghibli Museum

Fu-chan will start a photo club–this is partly why SatoJun decided on ~more aggressive~ This is a drastic direction change, possibly. How will it work out?

The Pentax Q is a line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with its own mount. How will the new girl take advantage of this feature?

As someone who hauled around a 35mm e-mount NEX camera all day, I don’t know.


True Tears x Hanasaku Iroha x Tari Tari Festival

It came and went like a brisk sunset at Tokyo Bay.

The PA Works festival, for the uninitiated, is a typical anime event where people involved with the show do a little show and tell, except in this case it’s focused on the music. It’s particularly appropriate since Tari Tari is a story heavily reliant on music.

The show was at Maihama, the JR terminal to Tokyo Disneyland. On a Saturday it was full of normal tourists, but now there’s your usual otaku crowd.

Maihama Ampitheater

I had a great time just chilling outside. Originally I thought goods sales ended at 3pm and I didn’t make it to the venue until twenty past four, so instead I waited outside for my Japan travel buddy who was coming straight from Narita Terminal 2. The weather was too nice to be stuck indoor waiting with a bunch of hot-blooded anime otaku.

I scored a pretty cool wallscroll that they were selling for this specific occasion. It turns out all the goods would go on sale in Akiba until May anyways, so it’s no big deal that I didn’t really spent any time shopping then, and they were still selling it at the venue after the goods sale time.

The event was pretty much an Anisama-class thing for me, except I actually care about all the music since I pretty much adored all three shows to some varying degree. Seeing Riya doing True Tears stuff was definitely one of the biggest highlight, along with seeing Sphere finally in the flesh and hearing the Tari Tari seiyuu doing vocal harmonies.

I don’t really have a tracklist, but basically all the bands play the OP/ED pieces. Nano.ripe in particular played a couple c/w tracks I believe, or maybe they were for other mix-media releases that I don’t recall or know about. I can say for sure my impression for Sphere and Aira Yuuki changed because of this event.

There were a lot of cm segments because of all the bands coming in and out of the stage. I think Nano.ripe set up three times including the encore, so that’s kind of lol-tastic. The bassist for Clammbon is actually an otaku of sorts (and was asked to pick from True Tears after he siad he liked it the most) and it’s always fun to hear the Sphere girls do their usual routines. What’s a bonus is to see Asami Seto goofing up because she was too nervous. That girl is something special. Saori Hayami felt like a much more capable Noto except she trades some presence for singing and dancing abilities.

Aki Toyosaki wore a tall hat. I was exploding.

What is unexpected were the True Tours tie-in as Riya sang a couple of the themes, and Minori Chihaya’s string backup band played a 4-piece medley of the themes from the three anime series. There were flying streamers, camera poses, and a trio between nano.Ripe, Riya and Airi. It’s kind of cool, I guess.

Other notes:

  • Ayahi Takagaki had 4 costume changes. She sang the Aburamushi song.
  • There is one cool t-shirt that the Tari Tari seiyuu all wore.
  • Despite that the concert website advertised only 4 of the 5 Tari Tari seiyuu, Air Daichi not only performed, also existed in the flesh to do Shiokaze no Harmony, which is pretty epic.
  • Ah, yes, the high school choir. The interesting thing is that because this concert is in mid April, the choir is now half made up of different people as seniors from last year’s choir all graduated in March.
  • My seat was on the right side of the stage at the back of the front section (row 9). It’s actually the handicap seats, which is kind of a rip given how much we paid for the seats, but it’s also convenient since it gave us extra space.

It’s a cool show, and I’m glad I was able to see it in person, even if it is something that’ll probably end up on Blu-ray. The night ended with hanging out with a bunch of locals at A-Button. We all recommend the curry. We also hung out way too long.

This blog post is brought to you by jetlag and local draft beers.

Attack on Titan, Giant, Whatever


I watched the first episode of Shingeki no Kyojin. It’s kind of unsettling. And it’s hard to describe why.

I think from a basic level, the show is gorgeously animated. The thick lines is kind of a style thing, and the exaggerated character animation makes me feel like this is a less gimmicky version of Jojo. Of course, this is all just when there isn’t some crazy action sequence going on, in which the show feels like a league beyond the average late-night TV offering. The OP is crazy.

The gore and violence is probably unsettling by default. I didn’t think too much of it because it’s much too cartoony to be taken seriously. I think that’s exactly it–the entire show has this level of theatrics to it that when combined with the deadly serious presentation, somehow it just doesn’t match. The Titans are ridiculously designed, and I mean it in the sense of their facial expressions and movements, not that they’re giant naked people (although that is an enabler). The action choreography, while very cool, is a few levels removed from “real” (in fact it just seems a little too standard “anime”).

I don’t know, it’s kind of like eating a bowl of pho and finding sun-dried tomatoes in it or something. It’s just weird, it doesn’t quite clash, but it doesn’t quite match either. It isn’t  like having cheese with your curry, but it might be like having cheese with your curry for the very first time.

The humanoid Titans in the barbarian kind of sense reminds me of D&D giants. I wonder if that’s where the inspiration is from? I rarely see a visual depiction of giants outside of video games in the savage, barbarian sense, so this is actually kind of cool. Sadly that passing novelty is not going to last beyond a couple episodes, I think.

Aku no Hanananana

All this controversial talk about Aku no Hana has one true casualty: it spoils the surprise. So to share my suffering I will tell you why. And this isn’t a surprise about what the manga is about, which, well, I’ll talk about in a bit. It’s a surprise that will foil both manga fans and new people alike (like me).

After watching the first episode, I think I would be way more creeped out about it if I didn’t know it’s got these no-face rotoscoping, what the awesome post-rock track for an ending was, or that this covers not even the first chapter of the manga. If you went in knowing all this, it somehow detracts from the total experience.

Well, that still stops nobody. The show is not even live on CR for over 12 hours as of this screen cap.

10:38PM Eastern, Apr. 8, 2013

I think the enjoyment of Aku no Hana is going to hinge on really just two things. One, can the powerful manga carry itself over despite an unorthodox, to put it mildly, presentation? Two, do you like Mushishi for what Mushishi is good for?

At the hand of Nagahama, I’m inclined to think we’re in for a real treat. The rest is just a matter of finding something you like, or not caring about not finding something you like because it’s too good to let go. If you read Bakuman at all, you’ll know all about chapter ones for manga. And this episode one is a beautiful illustration where manga and anime fundamentally differ, or how guided viewing versus self-paced viewing fundamentally differ. If stuck on a set of rails, you can do a lot worse than Nagahama.

Most importantly, I understand why this would drive manga interest up, up, up. And at the same time, I totally find it acceptable to be a major turn-off. I thought Mushishi was a major turn-off until I was able to watch it with the right frame of mind. I think exactly the same thing applies to Aku no Hana except in an even worse way.

For the record, the average “hit” show on CR gets 5 stars on its eve, at worst 4.5. The ones that gets dinged usually drops to 4. On the flip side, for an anecdote, I vaguely recall Vividred Operation episode 1 had maybe 100 more views in roughly the same amount of time–but that was on a Sunday.

You know, Mariya Ise plays Nakamura. That is probably going to be a good ride. Hopefully the journeyman seiyuu will pop a good one here.

This is also one of the very, very rare instances that I wish I can read all of the manga before starting the anime. I guess a huge reason why this did not happen is because, man, 9 volumes and still going? Forget about it. Unless you’re some Urasawa masterpiece I don’t think I’m going to go there. Plus, it’s not over, so it is not possible to begin with.


Tsukiyomi Sasami

To ride the Roger Ebert remembrance bandwagon some more, he said: “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you.” Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is the sort of anime that left me confused emotionally but somehow excited intellectually. It’s like, I know this is actually really good, they managed to accomplish something special, but where are the feels?

I think we can agree that Akira’s light novel makes perhaps the most eccentric Shaft x Shinbo TV anime in a long while. Sasami-san is at a point where I think it’s so out there, that Shinbo had to play it straight at times in order to not lose everyone. Maybe it’s just because we don’t have that Shinto foundation, that one overlord vantage point, to make sense of it all. Maybe you can write about how animation direction is inherently western and Shinto is not even a little bit western, so it is a tough hash.

It’s unfortunate, really, because I wish I can recommend this show to people who like delicate and intricate plot concepts and themes that weave non-linearly and form a bigger picture about generational disillusions, about Japan’s youths and how they relate to the previous generation. It’s weird because I know it is really a tour de force of late-night TV anime and what it can do, except it doesn’t feel especially skillful or evocative.

That is, until you start to think about it and putting the pieces together. How do you do a body-swap story? How do you portray different people and personalities inhibiting the same physical body while expressing it, AND trying to disguise it at the same time? And sometimes only externally or internally? It’s a huge challenge but somehow they were able to do it.

And I guess I really need Ebert’s line to give me an out here. The bottom line is that as much as Sasami-san@Ganbarai is dazzling my mind, in the end it is no better than the source material for the typical viewer. Unless you are an anime otaku who would think about how iterative improvement of the late-night media-mix marketing machine can transform any trash light novel into something actually novel, or want a crash course on post-modern Shinto narratives, Sasami-san really needs to work harder to earn an audience. It’s a very special anime, because it engages the mind like few others, but that alone is not enough.

I guess that just means I am not big enough of a “funyaaa” fan (99% sure Hanazawa just phoned it in here) or an Asumiss fan or have a thing for Chiwa Saito voicing a loli-baba. Or maybe I think Aipon’s Tama is too precious to find her exploitative. Give me a hand here, Asa-nee!

Yeah, this show peaked at episode 9. Edogawa Jou didn’t really add anything.

PS… besides the massive fanservice vehicle that she is.