Monthly Archives: May 2013

Internet Scrap Heap, May 6, 2013

Just random thoughts.

John from Ask John finally addresses the hilarious bit in the Wikipedia entry for Risky Safety. AN Entertainment, the short-lived licensing arm of AnimeNation, a fairly sizable Florida-based anime store (online and B&M), licensed Risky & Safety. Later, it licensed Miami Guns. Then, Hare Guu. That would be the three things they’ve licensed. In the Wikipedia article for Risky & Safety, a snarky joke was put in the article (edited in Dec 23, 2011, out in Mar 31, 2012) that you can see here.

How do you even hate on Risky Safety anyway? It’s like kicking a puppy. John’s blog is basically the semi-official mouthpiece of AN so it’s good he addressed it finally.

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Arudoc’s kickstarter to translate Little Witch’s Romanesqe, launched earlier in May, has now been DMCA’d. So LW’s HQ is in Koto, Tokyo? Cool. Anyway, this is actually not as big of a deal as people think it is. It’s just an interesting thing to gnaw on mentally. Slightly less interesting than how ZUN still hesitate to release his games “commercially.”

The comment thread of the original launch post on Arudoc’s blog go through all the key elements. Basically, it’s illegal. And once money is involved, your petty translation project now gets a higher level of scrutiny. People will DMCA you. And I think Kickstarter is way too high profile for illegal fan crap anyway. This is why fair use is kind of a lamer way to say what you do is illegal. Better is to make sure what is legal is legal to begin with [yes yes free culture 4eva blah blah].

I think Arudoc operated with a “if it’s not stopped it’ll go ahead” kind of the mentality, one that makes the Internet the hyper-copyright-infringing machine that it is. Maybe that’s okay, but people will stop you? Anyway, I agree it’s a step in the right direction–just a wrong step in the right direction. He did reach out to various “legit” parties but it seems LW just doesn’t want their game ported for whatever reasons (eg., piracy). Maybe we can analyze their claims in detail (I think it is not ridiculous to consider games that are exported & localized will increase piracy even in its home country) but that’s way too much work. I would give Arudoc more credit if he cited a $ figure that LW might budge. I mean, this is Kickstarter he’s trying to use, he owes us that much. Actually, that’s exactly the “wrong step”: he’s basically trying to use KS as an improved “donation” system and that is just way too half-assed.

Which is to say, donations for piracy is simply way too shady. How can you really bring yourself to do it? I’d buy some xdcc bot owners a beer or something, sure, but money for servers and bandwidth is too much.

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oh also

(psst)

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Yuniko


The Key to Decode Gargantia

Gargantia ep5

I really enjoyed Gargantia episode 5. It’s got fine girls in skimpy bikinis (Hanaharu wau), giant robots, ocean-side BBQ, a light-hearted aero-plane race, a foot chase up a spiral tower, high-vantage landscape shots (complete with water-umbrella-rainbow-all-that-jazz), unconventional use of beyond-high-tech, fine weather, sunshine, relaxing in the shade, girl talk, retro scuba suits, teasing the AI, sauce, party, and this:

[] This episode gets to the heart of Gargantia, and its true meaning as a statement of sociopolitical solidarity with Japan’s young generation of much-maligned NEETs and freeters. Urobuchi has said the show was intended as a statement for these young people about to enter the world.

And frankly, it’s a little too on the nose. It’s not even subtle.

Here’s Ledo, poor guy finding himself uncertain about his life for the first time. He’s been raised in a strict, regimented educational system that prioritizes efficiency and is dedicated to only one thing: passing exams, er, killing space monsters. But in this new world, vaporizing people is looked down upon. He has his Master’s Degree in Space Monster Vaporization and it’s completely unsuited to the needs of the post-wormhole economy.

And on top of the unemployment he’s saddled with massive debt he doesn’t even begin to know how to pay off. Sure he has some neat technological gizmos that allow him to do cool things, but what can he *himself* do? He’s not sure, and it seems that no matter where he looks on the ship, there’s no place for him.

I think it’s not even subtle since the beginning. And for people watching anime this way, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a show that served this up like that roasted hog with an apple in its face. It’s been a while since people are cheeky enough to adopt post-bubble philosophies into their stories–probably in the early-mid 00s.

For the sake of completeness, please read this from our dear Butch, who too had to struggle to make a living and get to the point he is in his own career. I suppose he’s just enjoying the fruit of his labor!

Butch's specialty

Update: Added this quote from ANN’s interview of Kazuya Murata, director.

What do you hope people take away from the experience of watching Gargantia?

For the Japanese audience, I would like “young people who are about to enter society” to take the message, “Don’t worry. Try. You can do it”. For the larger audience in the world, I want them to have the message, “Whatever could happen, we, human beings, will be alright. If we all together open the path, the future will always be ahead of us”.

Looks like they really want to get that message across. That said, Murata is probably a good reason why the show has such a positive vibe.

 


Girls und Pander: Complicating Simplicity

not a naked baby

If opinions are figures, then narratives are molds and 4chan is like, I don’t know, Native or something. ANN would be like Kotobukiya where they are steady and yet erratic. There would be no Good Smile Company.

The recent FREE “Swimming Anime” thing (see these posts for an idea) makes me realize a few things about looking at the story about women and JP home video sales. I think it’s safe to say that if you take 1000 units sold of any given anime, you will find at least one unit purchased by a woman, and one purchased by a man.

The best data to refute people who say women don’t buy anime is to just restate that assertion (and it’s not backed up by any facts, mind you) in the form of “So all 310 thousand people who bought Eva Q have neckbeards that would have made Toren Smith proud?” What I’m trying to say is to appeal to people’s native sense to statistics. One in 310,000 is pretty damn small odds. A hundred in 310,000 is still pretty damn small. But how about a hundred thousand in 310,000? Just how many people who bought Eva Q are of the XX chromosome? I don’t know.

And the truth is, anyone making these kind of assertions don’t know. So we can only guess. And if you guess, you’re really just having fun on the internet playing a guessing game. What I find is that if someone has some ulterior agenda besides playing the armchair anime producer game, their inquiries will vary by a lot. For most, even the bros furthering the “girls don’t buy anime” narrative, they don’t deviate from this mold. Maybe that’s okay. It just means they will be off their game because they want to stick a round peg into their preferred holes shaped like “girls don’t buy anime.” Maybe they can get away with enough strength of persuasion, but there will also be a better rebuttal. And invariably their arguments are not completely wrong, just wrong enough that they should know better.

I think there is more to the numbers than that though. For one, it is very difficult to categorize anime in a way that illustrates what is “made for girls” and what isn’t. Let alone what is made for whoever. Truth is far majority of anime out there have crossover demand. I mean duh, anime that panders to both males and females, on paper, will sell more than anime that panders to only male or females, given equal everything else. This is why I don’t watch Gintama, but lots of girls do. That is also why I don’t watch Gintama, but lots of guys do, too. I mean, what is this? Who buys Fate/Zero? And what is Fate/Zero marketed to? Why are there four seasons of Marimite? Even FREE–it might appease the sakuga otaku if it comes across as top-notch animation. And most sakuga otaku are proably guys. Probably. Does this mean this anime sells to girls? Who knows? Who can know? All we know is that the promo material feels very much like fanservice for girls.

And more importantly, what is anime made for girls? How is that different than anime that is made for girls, but guys can also enjoy? And how is that different than, simply, One Piece, Naruto, or most Jump titles? Does the DVD/BD divide matter? Do clock-shows work on a different framework? How about movies and ONA and OAVs? Can we extrapolate from manga or light novel sales figures and breakdowns?

I think that’s the kind of questions I would like answers for. It is the logical next step.

My own narrative on this is more about how the late-night otaku-targeting anime system is still relatively new (circa 1997) and while there has always been anime made primarily for women as the audience (to the exclusion of men of any age), shows like FREE belong to a newer breed that uses the late-night otaku anime format. It might not be a notable difference to the audience but it’s a notable thing when it comes to the business end, and this is partly where it shows in terms of Kyoto Animation doing it as a new type of committee based on an original concept. Thing is, anime of this kind is a growing scene, and we should expect more titles season after season in the near term. Maybe they’re just trying to head off a new trend.

It still doesn’t explain why I like Tsuritama. Or why I don’t think KyoAni’s original titles have really found any real lift.

On the flip side, if I was a producer for FREE I would probably care less if girls or guys buy the show–as long as people buy the show. The information only helps to focus marketing and pitch any subsequent production. Which is why it would be great if 4chan/a/ decide to post pictures of broken Blu-rays as if their Waifu Animation Studio got impure. And also why, in the end, demographic doesn’t really matter. It’s just one more thing to obfuscate the truth (if such thing exist) as to what will sell. Given Kyoto Animation’s track record, everything they makes will sell pretty okay. Even Nichijou.

Only if  Yamakan can set anime FREE.