Monthly Archives: June 2013

Season Ending Blog Anthology

A chain of short blog posts about their subjects. The last one is a run-on about Moenovel. The rest are about currently-ending or airing anime.

Waiting for a Levia-sama joke

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Anime & Blog & Me

Not so much introspective as yet another yard sale-style meandering of what’s on my mind. You’ve been warned?

Garden of Akizuki Ritsuko

1. Journalism. I’ve been writing for Jtor for a while now. I always kind of regret the amount of output I hand out over there. I feel that there are a lot of things I can write about if I can square off chunks of time and focus on writing it in a way that fits that particular media outlet. Over time I feel that this is not a productive way of looking at things. I think it is true that the average editorial that I post here on this blog will require a lot of reworking. I look at blog posts like this one more like a set of stairs or more like, better put, a car lift or a jack, where I put some ramp under the “narrative” and work hard and push it up so it gets to where my idea actually resides, in a way that forms a bridge of understanding for some unfortunate person reading said unfortunate blog post.

So it’s not a surprise to me to see someone reddit my Sasami blog post because the bridge itself is what I want to express in that particular effort. I wanted to explain the things that explain what the hell was going on. But this is rarely the case. Which is why nobody reads this blog, relatively.

And I think in a lot of ways, this is really where we’re stuck at, since 2008. I joined Jtor because it’s one of the few real “blog” style sites that can make a difference in terms of what I see is out there, what people wanted, and what I wanted. Stuff that goes in between Sankaku Complex and ANN, basically. It’s got people who get what I mean when I talk about blogging. It’s got some readers. It’s got some actual cred, most importantly.

Since then CR News has been probably the closest thing to what I’m looking for. Unfortunately they are basically stuck gleaming off the same 2ch matome pipe that ANN runs off of. It’s too Gawker, not enough bloggery-ness, for my taste. Their coverage is pretty decent although I can nitpick a lot in terms of their editorial qualities. Well, nobody is perfect.

The reality of the situation is highly complicated by the revenue picture. I think an important thing to realize is that to produce quality news-editorial content in a reasonable quantity, at least at the levels I’m talking about, you basically have to full-time hire someone. Probably a few people at least. And we’re talking beyond just administering the platform. Nobody really has this much money. And this is kind of a fundamental problem in the anime space. We’re too hooked on the usual social networks (namely things like forums and 4chan and 2ch and twitter etc) to really let these pro journalism sites grow. At least, the market opp is pretty difficult to outline.

This is partly what I’m talking about at least. It’s like when you write a post, you might expect that a good chunk of your readers are not cold dialing your URLs, but rather they’re referred from established communities and familiar with existing discourses that are subscribed by those communities. That’s the “road” or “surface” level where the jack has to be to establish that sense of engagement.

In some sense I feel this is why ANN is as successful as they are today–they can give that less damn. Their forum is a pretty good example as to why it might be a good idea to keep it that way. To keep writing news like news.

The flip side, of course, is that if you want people to have better experiences, better engagement with your content, you gotta do more. Rely on fansubs to review new content. Talk about japanese fan meta crap. Stir up controversy. What have you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Which is why I call it a jack or a car lift, not an escalator. Because that’s where the hard work is.

You get all that? I’m assuming that is what the word journalism really means. Well, maybe it’s beyond just journalism. More like, how to write about something in a way that engages the reader with the subject matter?

Speaking as a reader, on the other hand, I think a lot of the community are simply way too quick to judge and not open-minded enough to welcome new people. Often we don’t see the long-term value of sites like Sankaku Complex (or Seventh Style, which I just like more by far, for different reasons) or ANN’s forum. And I can go on. There are not enough people who engage these venues with a mind towards improvement and how we as individuals can make these places better. If 4chan can change, anything else can. And I’m not even saying we should aim that high. All I’m saying is that we have to be responsible for our own mess and do something about what you don’t like within the community.

I wonder if anyone can change Colony Drop.

2. Blogging. I think when people talk about blogging they’re talking about the platform. Nobody really seriously think of twitter as “microblogging” (and if you do…please get a life). When people say blogging I think “how the hell can I save allllll my data from Google Reader by Monday” and not, say, Gawker or Facebook or most actual blogs. Well, maybe I think of anime blogs in the way that we have had anime blog tournaments, but that gets down to introspective and existential semantics. The wordpress.com things out there. Blogger. What have you.

I think we, as a people on the internet, have long gone past the point where we’re still hung up on bloggers being something or someone doing what. The average RC post acts both as a thread in a giant interweb forum and as a blog post to remind me what happened in episode 10 of Valvrave without loading up the video. That’s great. Just like the set of numbers in Psgel’s episodic posts that tells you basically all you need to know about what he tries to say every week. Or what image walls that typify your average Metanorn or Kurogane dump, and the comments underneath. It’s all good. They have their audiences and uses.

But is there someone, like, looking at all of this and think to themselves what’s wrong with this picture? How can it be better?

What I see is a bunch of ships in the night. I think there are some great stuff out there, but there’s no good way to connect the people who like A from A and B from B. With Goog Reader dying that’s just another tool to do so going away. Yeah, I’m going to whine a lot about this, because what I used it for, nobody has done a better job reproducing it.

Over the years I found things like the Tournament and twitter being the most useful things to discover blogs. Animenano, surprisingly, is a close second. But I also read that feed and click on things that seems interesting, as a way to discover new writers and their baggage. It makes me wonder how people go about doing the same, their own way. Would be nice to know!


Anime Expo 2013: Agenda Tracker

[Last Update 7/2]

All dates/times/etc are subject to change. All schedules can change. This post probably will change too as I update over time. AX’s posted schedule almost most definitely will change [edit: 6/29 lol yep]. Check the con info desk and twitter/FB for the latest info as usual.

AX’s schedule here (now v2, changelog here. Most notable for Crypton’s panel Sunday 3:30pm and StarChild panel Saturday 10:30pm.) Autograph schedule here.

Scroll down by bold text. I am excluding most things not industry related and even many industry-related things, you have the con schedule for that…right?

from wogura

Sentai Filmworks last AX marched out a female auteur. This year they’ll march out a male one. FB/HP.

  • The Garden of Words English Language Premiere: Saturday, July 6th, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM in Video Room 1
    While Shinkai will introduce his film there, it runs against… AnimeSols, Production IG guests panel, and Crunchyroll. Plus this is Saturday, I ffear the lines.
  • The Garden of Words Green Carpet Reception: Saturday, July 6th 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM in Lounge 21
    Free drinks with Shinkai is great. This runs against Kazuhiko Inoue and the A-1 Pictures panel. There is a 21+ age restriction which is GREAT.
  • The Garden of Words Panel: Sunday, July 7th 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM in LP1
    Cuts into Charity Auction, but probably not a big deal.

Aniplex of America has an array of things, maybe more than last year? What’s good is that they’ve made a page that keeps track, right here. I like that fact, really. Because there’s sure a lot of stuff to keep track of. Notables:

  • Lots of giveaways, but nothing super notable or doesn’t require great luck.
  • Four limited scrolls for sale (might pick up the bake one, it’s p. nice, even if OreImo is more of my jam).
  • Autograph ticket and poster w/ purchase of AoEx DVD/BD
  • …and the AoEx autograph session is 3:15-4:45pm on Saturday at their booth. Including (Takamitsu) Inoue o/c.

The panel that I’m interested in the most is the A-1 Pictures panel, Saturday 4:30-5:30 at LP3. It runs against Kazuhiko Inoue’s focus panel and the Drinks With Shinkai event. I’m meh about AoEX in general but you can catch a screening of the film at AX–or just wait until it gets to driving distance of a town of your choice.

FUNimation… Placeholder.

The top brasses of Max Factory and GSC are coming, flanked by huke and some Gonzo guy who is banding together some small animation companies. Worth a visit for sure. Thursday 6:30 at LP1. Deets in the PR here. It also overlaps with the Shugo Chara concert unfortunately. GSC booth will also have some stuff–huke’s autograph session, special goods like this, plus their usual exclusives. They have finally listed their stuff for sale.

One of the things MangaGamers will go over at their AX panel is the self-published visual novel, World End Economica, from the author of Spice & Wolf. You can actually find out the messed up launch here, indie is gonna indie. I bought the game from DLSite so orz is me. Their panel (18+ required as usual) is on Thursday, 9:30pm to 10:30pm in LP1.

Starmarie has a meet&greet from 3-4pm in the 21Lounge Friday. They’re also in the fashion show. No concert as far as I know however. There may be a Starmarie ninja live? Who knows.

Mirai no Neiro: 2 Panels this year as far as I know, both on Saturday: LP2 at 10 and LP3 at 12 noon. Guests for the vocaloid panels include UtataP, Dixie Flatline, tennen, buzzG, and illustrator WOGURA. Thread here. As an aside, Nihongo de OK is a go, same place, Saturday 5:30.

Little Witch Academia: localization team is partying up with a AX Day-0 screening of Little Witch Academia, on July 6th, 2pm. Go read about it here. It’s not a part of the con. Only 50 lucky entrants can go.

Kick Heart will “premiere” at AX on Friday at 1:30pm in LP1. The short should not take up even half the time allotted so I think there might be a good 30-45 minutes of Q&A with Masaaki Yuasa at the premiere.

NISA finally put out their “Prinny newsletter” for AX on Friday. As usual there will be a game panel, 2:30pm Saturday at LP2, and an anime panel, 2:30pm Thursday at LP2. Speaking of which, Aksys has a panel right before the game panel, Saturday 2pm at LP3. Why you do this AX?

More importantly there are actually a ton of booth autograph sessions for NISA. These may require purchase so check with the booth before lining up. Also, there’s some kind of “photo session only” note under Kazuhiko Inoue and I’m not sure what it means. Okada and Kikuchi have autograph sessions at the same time. Click here for the source.

  • Inoue: Thursday 3-4pm, Friday 2-4pm, Saturday 2-3:30pm.
  • Ito – Friday 10:30-11:30am, Saturday noon-1:30pm, Sunday 1:30-3pm
  • Okada & Kikuchi – Thursday 4:30-5:30pm, Saturday 10:30-11:30am, Saturday 4:30-6pm
  • Sohei Niikawa (yeah…) – Friday 4:30-6pm, Sunday 10:30-12:30pm.

It takes a moment to sink in, but NISA is fronting three really big guests at AX this year. If anything that makes my annual NISA purchase at their booth something I look forward to; without these guests AX would be a utter husk of its former self. Keep bringing over the good people, d00ds.

The latest AX Schedule update also now lists a 12:30am event on Saturday, something like NISA movie premiere or some such. It’s in Video 1, after the StarChild panel also in Video 1, 10:30pm.

JAST has a panel at AX. I’m not sure if they run any other panel at any other con, given a typical year. So this is the place to hear all their new eroge/galge announcements, listed here. They’ll also have other usual and new things, like posters. Friday at 10pm, WS2. It’s an 18+ only panel, natch.

Small-time idol group Starmarie will perform after all. AX has posted their schedule here. Basically an hour before the fashion show, they will perform. The times are Friday at 1pm, and Saturday at 1pm. Both are at the Hybrid Dance/concourse. This is also on top of the meet-and-greet at 3pm in Lounge 21 on Friday, and the meet-and-greet at the Cure booth at 3pm on Saturday.

Others:

  • There’s a panel on streaming in North America that takes place in LP3, 12:30pm on Thursday. Right after that is the FUNi inside the Industry panel. Then it’s ANN, then it’s Sentai’s industry panel. I’m not sure what that FUNi panel is suppose to be, but there’s all kinds of FUNi panels (heh) this AX and until they publish a guide of some sort I have no idea which is what.
  • Wolf Children is screening 4:30pm on Thursday. Great movie. There was a snafu in AX’s schedule and said it was a dub. Nope, it’ll be subbed–Otakon is premiering the dub, for better or worse.
  • If you want to watch Perfume’s live show in London on AX Day 4 (which is a 2-day-late-cast?), you can check it out here. It’s not a part of the con but it’s nearby
  • I hear Toshio Maeda’s 18+ panel might actually be interesting. Anyone knows what it’ll be about? It’s 8 to 9PM on Thursday, LP1.
  • Crunchyroll still gives free t-shirts to premiere subscribers. God bless their souls.
  • Danny Choo has a schedule posted. Kind of amusing. Also he is going full merch this AX.
  • Lastly… FOOD TRUCKS

PS. Food truck breakdown–

7/4/2013 Thursday
1    George’s Greek – I’ve had it. P. okay.
2    Luck Dish– Possibly alternative. Also, what is up with the kancolle link lol
3    India Jones – I’ve had it. P. okay.
4    Tokyo Doggie Style
5    Phantom Truck – Possibly first pick
6    Trailer Park Truck – Possibly alternative
7    Tornado Potato – Will target
8    Kogi – always massive line, but maybe!
9    Piaggo on Wheels
10    Bool BBQ – Possibly first pick
11    Mighty Boba – Pretty okay but probably pass
12    Fluff Ice – If line is not too long

7/5/2013 Friday
1    George’s Greek
2    Luck Dish
3    India Jones
4    Tokyo Doggie Style
5    Phantom Truck
6    Trailer Park Truck
7    Tornado Potato
8    Jogasaki Burrito – Will target
9    Me So Hungry
10    Slap Yo Mama – Liked it last year, will try again?
11    Rancho A Go Go
12    White Rabbit
13    Kogi
14    Piaggo on Wheels
15    Belly Bombz – If they still have any left…
16    Fluff Ice

7/6/2013 Saturday
1    George’s Greek
2    Luck Dish
3    India Jones
4    Tokyo Doggie Style
5    Fresh Fries – Could be good
6    Trailer Park Truck
7    Tornado Potato
8    Me So Hungry
9    Slap Yo Mama
10    Rancho A Go Go
11    White Rabbit
12    Bool BBQ
13    Belly Bombz
14    Boba Truck
15    Del’s Lemonade

In the past there are also trucks on Sunday, but it’s just whoever wants to come back.


About Anison And Context

Kind of like turning a zombie into a zombie game, the anime music-infatuated blogger types are doing a tournament, where various vocal themes, openings and endings battle each other in a popularity contest, only to be separated by strangely nerdy seeding patterns. Well, the whole endeavor is pretty nerdy so whatever goes, I guess.

Did I submit something? Sure did. You have 15 slots, which is pretty good given how I usually have a top 10+ going on, although at this time and this date and this age, the biases will show. Especially the stuff in my car. And I’ll share some of that…later.

What I want to talk about is the role of the meta in music appreciation. I think it boils down to that cultural and artistic expressions have contexts, and listing to anison is really just a form of appreciation of some kinds of expressions within a specific context. No matter if you think of anison as some simple commercialism or museum-quality superflat-astic display pieces, it doesn’t really change the way how context matters probably more than the musical pieces themselves.

Just earlier today [as of this writing] someone said to us that dance makes Love Live songs better. I’m inclined to agree; part of that mix-media franchise’s appeal from the start had to do with the full-motion MVs that came with their first few singles. The song and dance routine appeals a lot better than the songs themselves. And this is kind of the fundamental truths about anime music.

It’s all just tie-ins, aren’t they? And a lot of the fun in listening to it is associated with the thing the music is tied to. Or FUN if you speak with weird articles. It’s like when I hear TANK, I don’t think of a great SF mash-up anime from the late 90s. I think of an over-played, over-used AMV track that sounds about 100 times better live than studio. And What Planet Is This is better.

So it’s kind of simple, if you think about the tourny this way. Basically whichever context has more subscribers, the songs within that context will speak to more people in that way. It’s somewhat different than simply the most popular songs from the most watched shows, because just because an expression is well-understood, that doesn’t mean the expression will resonate well, or is meaningful or appreciated. Just like my previous example, what that song speaks about may vary from person to person, even if it’s a well-understood saying. Just like “Libra me” might be about reason kicking and curbs, but it might also mean the ultimate phallus of masculine expression to someone else.

What can you do about it? Tighten up the context. For example, see these.

And for better or worse, yes, sometimes, that means the girls must dance. To me that’s great, because, well, here’s one of my submissions.

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OreImo Radio Update: The World Is All Sisucon

From Chiba to the World

Your OreImo web radio efforts have paid off in the form of this kinda-heart-warming message from the producer of the show, Shinichiro Kashiwada. The full message can be read on the JP home page for OreImo S2 but here’s the key excerpt:

Every staff and cast member who has been involved in this series has put their hearts and souls into these last 3 episodes of “Oreimo 2,” and we have all been hoping to share these final episodes with as many fans as possible. When we saw so many dedicated fan submissions to the “Oreimo 2 Web Radio Show” from our international fans who watch every week through various streaming services, we knew we had to provide an environment where every fan can watch and experience these final episodes simultaneously.

And yeah, it was written bilingually in English and Japanese. Oh, of course, the bigger news is that OreImo OAV streaming for everyone without the time lag. I don’t know, does this obvious acknowledgment of the episodic bubble, the “watch every week” water cooler-style chatter (except it happens mostly online) in which drives this particular niche fandom, mean something after all?

And of course, last Thursday was when the latest OreImo S2 radio came up and the hosts did mention the large volume of English-language submissions. I think during the foreign mail segment, there was a letter from Singapore who pretty much dissed Ayachi outright (but he did apologize). There was definitely some internet-tard-y guy who referenced Hanazawa as “Hanakana-chan.” It’s kind of funny I GUESS? There was some Californian-tiger dude with an unique greeting. There was a letter from a Canadian sisters doing real talk about the difference between fujoshi and otaku-ko. Finally (or initially?) there’s this pretty much incomprehensible letter that makes no sense? Can TKTT pronounce “Commander Riker?” The world will never know.

Kind of like this simulcast announcement, I think people realize foreign otaku knows their stuff as much as slick Aniplex-types know about the foreign market. At ~5 hours post-tweet, there are about ~1000 RTs for the ep16-18 tweet announcement in Japanese, and about a quarter that for the English version of the same tweet. Does this mean we’re about 1/5? Should I check back in a day? Is it fair to assume our oversea comrades not in Japan would rather RT in Japanese? Does pointless speculations make any sense? But yeah, throw us a bone, even if it’s full of crap like this, we’ll slurp it up gladly.

Regardless, it’s always a good time with Hanazawa and Taketatsu. Hopefully next week they will do more foreign viewer mail! Read more about it here and listen to it here!

PS. We should all submit tongue twisters in English or something. You know.

PPS. Updated count on RT at time of publish is still about the same, 284 to 1180