Monthly Archives: August 2013

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

This is about Vic Mignogna’s ANNCast interview. Probably not the kind of material you’re expecting on this blog huh?

Yumi...go to the link for full size lulz

I think the key takeaway on the interview are two things. For people who are unaware of the Christian culture and the garden variety of non-denominational beliefs on the ground in the US, Vic’s spiel is actually a very professional and clean takeaway. In my own experience exploring where nerd and faith intersect, few has done it so cleanly while taking on any kind of mantle.

For people who are aware of all that basic stuff, Vic’s interview is more indicative of something you can read between the lines. I think this is just a fault of the world’s imperfections, but I believe in the freedom of not to like somebody. Someone’s summed it up better than I can in the ANNCast forum thread:

There are plenty of Christians in the English VA world (not surprising, since the industry is based around Texas), and most of them have a lot of fans and no haters. Many of them are completely open about it, and live their faith even at the conventions by helping with charity events and the like.

It’s almost like there were some other reason people didn’t like him. I wonder what that could be?

I personally have no opinion on Vic. He’s a fine guy and invariably I support his cause, implicitly or not. I don’t think any of this is really special either–perhaps in that given the size of anime/manga stuff in the US, something like this is bound to happen and it’s almost a little surprising that Vic is the only shining beacon of this sort of effort. There ought/should/could be more of it. I certainly prefer this over the street corner preachers at Anime Expo and SDCC. It’s never the message that’s problematic. It’s when the message hits the human. Both ways.

The tragic problem with Vic’s polarizing attitude/attribute is that there are not only a lot of negative rumors surrounding him, probably because there are a good number of people who genuinely don’t like him or otherwise think negatively of him, but also the whole religious angle makes it easy to attack him through his message. People will use his faith as a weakness, as when one wears one’s ideology on his or her sleeves, that is also subject to attack. The issue is compounded because it’s actually quite difficult to get to the bottom of it, as the issue is kind of tangential to his voice acting career and if Vic is doing a good job as someone who uses his soapbox to do what he does (which for the most part is the case), it’s just something that will get no press, because nobody is interested in how Vic lives, his good and bad sides, as it’s probably kind of boring and that runs the danger of giving Vic another soapbox.

In the end, people only care about sensational things, stuff like Sankaku Complex microcontent or when Vic is caught red-handed at doing something obviously non-Christian or whatever. It’s with that perspective that I find this ANNCast is actually really neat. Props to ANN for doing something outside the comfort zone for once (although you can tell they were somewhat unprepared). The snark, though, is questionable at best. I think that is just another kind of “insular barrier” that socializing on the internet invariably create–you only follow and are followed by like-minded people. Vic and the ANNCast guys are clearly not like-minded, despite being in a working relationship. So reporting on Vic’s faith is the sort of journalism that will bring good and bridge different circles of dialogues.

Random Product Ideas

Someone want to kickstart these things, please be my guest.

Hatsune Miku

Pressy Adornments. You may or may not know these headphone plug accessories, like the ones GSC is peddling at Magical Mirai. It’s a thing, basically. You may or may not know about Pressy, a newborn kickstarter that is doing very well–it’s really an Android app that acts like Tasker but has a physical hook with the headphone control button. In layman terms, it’s a new way to tell your smartphone to do specific tasks by pressing a button that is converted from your headphone jack, as physical buttons are more handy than touchscreen buttons in these use cases. Rather selling it as an app, these clever starter-uppers want to sell it as a headphone plug. So a very natural mashup is, well, headphone plug adornments that are also buttons, so you can use it with Pressy’s apps.

Ita-renzu. There’s itasha, there’s itachari, there’s Girls und Panzer and iM@S bicycle wear. There are “ita-cameras” such as that Evangelion Pentax Q10 from a while back. And I’m waiting for that eventual Tamayura Pentax Q10. Because, obvious. What we’re missing is stuff that goes on your zoom lenses, because those are typically the huge ones where there’s at least the space for some cool artwork. It’s kind of unfortunate that the Micro four-thirds format generally yield small lenses because Pentax is definitely into that stuff. Maybe Sigma can crunch some out for the usual Nikon/Canon mounts? Will NEX get some love? [Originally I had a typo in the previous sentence…a GaruPan makeover of your all-purpose … main Cannon zoom lens wwwwww.]

More relevantly, there’s room for converter kits. The issue here is that a lot of lenses don’t have uniform sized areas around the lens where it’s smooth. I guess this isn’t a big deal. Cameras themselves often don’t have much if at all any “empty space” for decorative artwork. It’s a technical challenge for sure.

PS. Speaking of Magical Mirai, it’s no coincidence that Project Diva F is now available in the US and Europe, even if it’s just the digital version from PSN for some people. It’s easy to say it’s time to put money where that mouth is, to point to Vita whiners that whine about lack of the Vita port and tell them that port for PS3 is as obvious as day as a choice. But that doesn’t really escape the reality that despite all the Miku love, it’s a phenomenon where curiosity and loudness take center stage over actual economic impact. Granted this is slowly changing, that while Vocaloids are no longer the most endearing cosplay options at American cons, it’s still a popular one, especially for kids! The net positive of the Vocaloid wave is for people like, well, kz or Dixie Flatline, musicians with actual careers in the making. And on the whole, people who love music.

Bundling Presonus Studio One (Artist version + bonus instruments) with the English Miku software is kind of just that–a product idea that hopefully will lead to something pretty cool for people who love music.

Gamification of Anime Cons

Not exactly inspired by this, but sure.

I’m going to try to keep this focused, but not very deeply. There are a lot of different ways you can come up with relevant achievements, so if you think something is missing, go write your own! Also a lot of these are probably not exclusive for anime cons, even if I’m putting it out there strictly for anime cons only. Also, US bias.

Also, this is probably a poor way to gamify cons.

Makoto Kikuchi


  • My First Con – Attended your first anime con
  • My Little Conventioneer – Attended your first 3+-day anime con
  • Sprinter – Attended at least one con every year since your first for 5 years
  • Keep the Doctors Away – Attended at least one con every year since your first for 10 years
  • Wearing that Loyal Tee – Attended the same anime con every year for at least 20 years.
  • Coast to Coast – Attended a US east coast and US west coast con in the same year
  • Across the Great Plains – Attended a US east coast, US west coast, and US central con.
  • Founding Fathers – Attended AX, Otakon, Katsukon, AnimeFest and A-kon
  • One Score and some years ago – Attended A-Kon, Animagic, Dixie Trek, and Yamatocon.
  • Kamehameha Warrior – Attended Hawaii-con and Senshi-con
  • Well-attended – Attended 6+ anime cons in one calendar year
  • Frequent Flyer – Attended 12+ anime cons in one calendar year
  • A Fan’s View – Attended 24+ anime cons in one calendar year
  • Exposed – Attended Japan Expo (FR)
  • Nerdherder – Attended Comiket
  • The Fair Ace – Attended TAF and ACE
  • A King’s Soldier – Attended Animelo Summer Live
  • Global Conomy – Attended a con on three different continents
  • Around the World – Attended a con on five different continents
  • We Probably Know Your Name – Attended Daicon IV

Con Behavior:

  • It’s a Trap – Spotted grey market or bootleg goods in the dealer’s hall
  • Cross Cutter – Cut a line or otherwise broken line policy at an anime con
  • Memehead – Yelled out a meme
  • Fan Service Provider – Ran a panel at an anime con
  • The Professional – Ran a panel at three different cons in a calendar year.
  • Crowdsourced – Watched an anime screening at a con
  • To the Nerd Prom – Attended an anime con rave or dance event
  • Diggin’ – Gofered at a con
  • Dramacon – Staffed at a con
  • Welcome Home Master – Participated in the Maid Cafe
  • 毎度おおきに – Worked as an exhibit hall vendor
  • Etch ‘n $ketch – Attended a con as an Artist Alley booth
  • Rise and Shine – Got in a line at an anime con by 6am
  • Workday – Waited in line for over 8 hours
  • Black Friday Lite – Waited in line for over 4 hours
  • A Long Line – Waited in line for over 2 hours
  • The Masquerade – Attended an anime con in cosplay
  • Business Attire – Be a part of the Masquerade as a cosplayer or costumer
  • Ticket to Write – Attended an anime con as press
  • SEO CEO – Posted an anime con cosplay gallery on the web
  • 3 Days of Static – Sang at con karaoke
  • Nerd Stage Fright – Performed at an anime con concert
  • Best/Worst Crowd Ever – Attended an anime con concert
  • Two-dimensional Deflowering – Attended a premiere screening at an anime con
  • Beyond Cosplay – Participated in LARP at an anime con
  • Gamer – Participated in the game room at an anime con
  • Maybe a Scrub – Participated in a game tournament at an anime con
  • Barnacle – Spent more than 8 hours in the game room at an anime con
  • The Slowest Con-go Line – Spent more than 2 hours in a registration/pre-registration line
  • Meet & Greet – Attended a guest meet & greet or autograph session at an anime con
  • Imported Labor – Gotten a sketch from a foreign guest at an anime con
  • Acclaimed Meme Visuals – Submitted an AMV at an anime con contest and was accepted
  • Another Meaningless Victory – Won an AMV contest
  • Automatic Mass Viewing – Attended an AMV contest screening
  • Why Watch Stuff at Home? – Attended a DVD/Blu-ray screening of something readily available in the domestic market, at an anime con
  • Contact Sport – Glomped, hugged, high-fived or other physically contacted someone in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise unless you are at a convention, at an anime con
  • Unlimited Sign Works – Held up a sign at an anime con (could be any sign).

You know, I think bingo might be more fun than this.

PS. Happy Birthday, Makoto-san!

Animusic Tourny Musings, Day 31

Actually instead of highlights, this is more like propaganda. And this is one of those cases where I don’t think it’s a big deal–all the songs are winners in my eyes, for these groups. I just would like certain songs to go forward because it would be more fun than if they didn’t.

In fact that has been more often than not the case, where all the songs in a given group feel like they deserve to move on, so the choosing the entries on the basis of personal biases and preferences feels much more permissible. Now that hasn’t been the case all the time, but in general the contest has yielded a crop of very entertaining entries (musically good is a whole different story…).

What I want to see people vote on is READY, from the iDOLM@STER, or The Idol Master, or iM@S, or whatever the hell people like to call it. The song is basically the “main” theme to not just the anime (it’s OP1) but all of the “2nd Vision” project of iM@S. Not that there’s per se a main theme…you get what I’m saying?

This is the TV-size cut from the anime. In the 2011 TV anime itself there are a couple different versions, but most notably the final concert version where it changes into, heh, CHANGE (OP2) in the middle, because we all know CHANGE has the better pre-chorus.

Actually that has been kind of a theme for the Anime Music Tourney, because often times (IMO) inferior songs are not the representative songs from a given IP in the tourney, which both makes me kind of sad that the better representatives are entirely missing, but also not so sad when these slightly-worse samples don’t make it to the next round.

At any rate, READY is first rate, from the stand point of a lot of different contexts. And it’s all about the contexts. Here’s the master version (which shows you a pretty HOP STEP JUMP bridge (Jeff Lawson was on to something wasn’t he; I know it’s from Kita e but still).

The full song and lyrics are available above, with minor errors within margin, I think. I didn’t really check. As you can tell it’s kind of a rallying cry type of song, because that’s the kind of encore/kickoff track you use at a live show. Keeping in spirit and functionality of idol groups, READY is not only fitting anime OP/ED material, it has to work on the stage. That’s a lot more than what I can say than most songs in the Animusic Tourney.

Possibly the definitive live version:

It has to work on stage, it has to work in a game, but it also has to be easy enough to sing to since something like 13 different voice actresses of varying skill levels has to perform it in the recording booth and also on stage. You and I can also perform it at karaoke, since this is that kind of a song. A real theme song for a franchise with big aspirations. Of course, it has to work while waving your glow sticks around, too.

If you prefer Rie Kugimiya, there’s this version…

And then there are these eager cosplayers! In America no less.

Lastly, if you want to learn the calls, this video on Nico can help.

You can vote for READY here. While you’re at it, check out all the other cool songs in the tourney!

PS. So, about that bracket thing…yea, I have a USPS priority mail cardboard full of things. I guess as the contest gets further I might become less busy and thus can hammer out some details.

The Blood of Idiocy

So-san, ep8

This is just a joke–more like, I can’t stay quiet about Uchouten Kazoku for this long. Very minor spoiler to episode 8 ahead (and even so it’s information you know very early on, like episode 1 or 2).

There’s one concern about the show that keeps me quiet–the story and characterization falls too neatly and yet so organically on the defined lines of wabi sabi that every time I try to plot down what I want to say about it I feel like “maybe I should’ve majored in Asian studies or something.” There’s this nagging feeling of inadequacy to try to praise or to criticize Uchouten Kazoku because both I lack the specific tools and I realize these tools are present and beyond my reach. It’s a wholly different feeling of “knowing” than that of “I don’t know that I don’t know,” which is more often the case than not.

Case in point: I really enjoyed episode 8 in terms of the thematic matters, but the moment I try to put that into a framework I want to use something from Adachi and I’m like, dude, this show is basically the superset of Adachi’s dead boy/girlfriend schtick. Except infinitely more filially pious. And then I’m like, dude, “it’s dead people so I might as well start quoting K-dramas.” It’s not exactly modesty; but the feeling isn’t too different from it. It’s a sense of imperfect resignation in light of a beautiful passing of imperfection. Which is like meta-wabi-sabi. Which just leads me to face some palms.

Joking aside, though, let’s talk about PA Works and JP’s statement about how some shows are likable mostly by Asians for a bit. I think the very exact same thing is present for Uchoten Kazoku. It’s calling to our blood. It’s not the way a tanuki always fool around, but more like, this is pressing all those cultural and genetic buttons that (East) Asians have. It’s that sense of beauty from extreme modesty and slight imperfection, like trying to catch a whale by the tail.

But then again the two girls do show up naked here and there, so that’s some universal attraction in Uchouten Kazoku’s favor. It’s times like this where the old tengu’s plea for what gives him excitement in life makes a lot of sense, east or west.