Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Derem@s Anime: Leading Up To

This is just otaku doing what otaku do often, and sometimes best: excessively nitpicking in an irrational way:

They cause some concern: the new anime is no different from the old one.

For starters let’s ignore why he thinks it’s no different from the old one. Let’s talk about rather what exactly is not different. To me Anim@s is a character-driven, series of dramatic set pieces that drives an overall theme forward along. The plot orients around what typically passes for idol industry–development of entertainment talents oriented as musical artists. Will Derem@s be the same? Probably. We’re not going to pilot the Kisaragi here.

But how can it possibly really be all that different? You can’t take the idol out of IM@S–not even out of Puchim@s, which is so far from the Anim@s in terms of outlook and concept. I think Author should just rest assured that there are no Rika or Mika, no Uzuki, Shiburin, or Mio in Anim@s. How can you have same flavors of character stories if the characters are so different?  How can baked turnip taste like leftover turkey?

I’m not sure there is any real reason to assume we’ll get a GBFT, mainly because unlike those two shows Derem@s is just a different concept to begin with. Let’s use the leftover analogy: you might heat up leftover turkey and it could be good, but that would be a half-hearted way to eat after Thanksgiving. Do what my family did: bake a second one. I assure you it will not be at all like leftover. Doubly so when the second turkey is actually a turducken in disguise (well, we actually didn’t). When the work is created with conviction and can stand on its own, I don’t think it’ll be a problem at all. And for the CG anime project to be successful it has to be like that. Take a cue from Bahamut–the two Mobam@s games are wildly successful financially, I don’t see how they can really botch it after getting the production formula down via the various Anim@s projects.

And it seems they are baking a new turkey. They’re putting the limits at 14, which is perfect (if Anim@s is any indication) and will curb concerns about “how do you even do a Cinderella Girls TV anime” issue. The point about taking place in the same world is probably just a way to establish some continuity in character cameo and make collaborations possible (after all 765pro characters are in both Mobam@s games), and not some indication that they are are actual sequels. The fact that they have not said they will be sequels puts it to rest to a degree.

Which goes back to my first assumption: what the heck is the guy thinking that Derem@s is anything like IM@S to begin with? Maybe it’s just a matter of perception. I mean, I suppose it’s not impossible to confuse a pachinko machine with an arcade cabinet.

Shirobako 08 or Why Hibiki Is Bad at Naming Animals

When I saw Iguchi called out the stray white cat in Shirobako 08, I knew now we are in prime Hibiki hour. I’m not saying Shirobako, the TV anime about making TV anime, is making a reference to a video game/anime character. I’m just saying Nyajiro is just a hair better than Nyantaro, because that would be a sin for this anime. Ok, so Nekokichi is still a worse name, but oh well.

She and stray cat

Ema’s ailing problem is her inability to animate a life-like cat in a moe cartoon. Can you imagine the issues people had animating this cat in a life-like moe cartoon? Not saying anyone is moe in Shirobako or anything, but it’s a possibility. I mean, talk about animating a blob on a crumbled sheet of paper. It’s nice that the CG team is on this?

What did you say?

First off, what the hell is gestalt destruction?

If that’s what ails Ema, petting and examining a cat actually can help. Kao-chan-neesan however has a better idea. Or at least, a more tried-and-true therapy method.


It is totally possible to do a deep thematic dive into Shirobako, because it’s grooved like so, you can trace it from one point to the next. Or just enjoy how she freeloaded at Aoi’s the episode prior, eating her can of sea urchin, drinking Aoi’s drinks (from the carton!) and using her expensive shampoo (sure was lewd!). But now she kind of retracts from those hints. Must be a family thing.

Which means maybe it’s time to enjoy some Dost. I don’t know, I like his books but it’s a big commitment.

Seiyuu Nonsense, And Go Vote Already

A taste of a year-in-review post here.

Ibuki Kido

So the annual seiyuu award is going on. Or Seiyu Award because, it’s a proper thing. Awards ceremony is usually first thing next year. In past couple years they have a fully EN-language submission form, and now it even claims to count your vote along with the Japanese ones. I wonder which poor sod will actually try to read who voted whom.

You can access the voting form here. I don’t know about the eligibility requirements for newcomer. I think it’s like, 3 or 4 years?

I’m not going to make a blow-by-blow description/speculation like this person but here’s who I’m voting for:

Best Actor: Junichi Suwabe – Space Dandy. Also (it’s a theme) meeting him this year impressed. He looks just like him (in the yankee/bum sort of way), at least in terms of that feeling. This is only a superficial similarity that I am describing. It also probably had to do with his Dandy cosplay…

Best Actress: Eriko Nakamura – IM@S the movie. It’s rather good, in that you get the concert full-feels version of Nakamura. By all means, Nakamura is an above average seiyuu, perhaps not top seiyuu quality, but definitely someone who has been doing it for a while. What makes her shine is the “seibuta” qualities, least to mention that she is the cover girl for my favorite anime thing this year, but also just a well-rounded good entertainment personality. Seeing her in person was p. cool.

Best Supporting Actor: Hiroshi Tsuchida – Samonji from Argevollen. It’s just a great performance that I enjoyed tremendously.

Best Supporting Actress: Saori Hayami – Hatoko from Inou Battle. Her epic performance from last week’s Inou Battle aside, she always make a strong voice acting case every year. It’s all just a matter of if she can land that role that allows her to showboat her skillz. Also saw her this year, and she never fails to impress.

Best Rookie Actor: Hanae Natsuki – Slain from Aldnoah.Zero. I don’t track male seiyuu as far as voice acting roles go, but she really stood out in the handful of shows I saw him in, for better or worse.

Best Rookie Actress: Ibuki Kido – Kana from IM@S the movie. I would also hat-tip KN33S0XXX for the phat rhymes. She’s new enough right? I think her roles up to this point are all really solid, as far as an actress goes. It’s pretty amazing to see her turn it on, so to speak. It’s by no means Fancy Lala but she changes from a teenage girl into an entertainer like a snap.

Best Song: Juri Takita – Kimi ga Erabu Machi from IM@S the movie. I didn’t think there is an outright winner this year, despite having some really sweet tunes this year soundtrack-wise. I mean, KN33S0XXX. Can I nominate Suwa’s beatbox CD because, LOLs. The usual strong performers like Minorin and Sphere still are very strong, but nothing really outstanding. If I had to rep a song outside of IM@S, then probably Spica from StylipS (really sweet harmony that leverages their singing style), or WUG-chan’s Tachiagare, which is the other masterpiece from Kousaki Satoru this year.

Best Personality: Momo Asakura – TryAngle Harmony (Torahamo). It’s squarely in the idol seiyuu category, but Muray second gens are a fun bunch. It’s probably not going to be her–she’s not all together, so to speak, but there’s something special going on. Other radio shows I check out this year that could be cool includes Hayami Saori no Freestyle and Yumi Hara’s solo radio, Hara Yumi no Maru Maru (HaraMaru) Radio.

PS. If you like a seiyuu, go stuff that ballot box.


I revisited this blog post after some P bros rediscovered it. Are things any different now? Not really. I just realize a key factor between my last write-up and my present feeling–the community detachment. Since I don’t 2ch I have developed my own theory on voice acting. And in reality doing otaku stuff these days, the voice actors and actresses are attached to a list of other extracurricular activities. The Seiyu Awards acknowledge this via the “best song” and “best personality” categories, among other things.

And in that sense, it’s easier to be in the “jitsuryoku camp” (実力派) if you have some distance. If all your attachment to voice acting is from the work they do–chara songs, anime, games–then how can you be not? I don’t know, actually. As I write this, it also comes to mind that my first times seeing certain seiyuu and the impact that had on me. In that sense, distance may be helpful but if you are not inundated by excessive pushing/pandering, you won’t build that reactive “immune system” that Paranda referred to in his post. It’s like you could be allergic to that koebuta fodder, or maybe you can get sick of it after a while.

The realization, thus, is that I am not 90/10 or even 60/40. I am 100/100. It’s easy to see why I can like (and rank) seiyuu based on their performances in voice acting. It’s also easy to see why I lose it with Mocho or would fly to see the WUG-chans if they land in North America. These are not conflicting interests. So it’s easy to see why some might do a 60/40 matrix if you just want to have a “bucket list” or “priority to apply vacation time” or whatever, or why nobody can guess my list. There is no one right way to like a seiyuu. There are multiple ways to like a seiyuu, too.

After all, it’s no different than those seiyuu who can act AND sing AND dance AND have the looks AND have the personality. The world is not fair.

Project Itoh Hype

I let loose a silent cheer when the news of noitaminA’s adaptation of his works came to the fore earlier this year. It wasn’t clear what works the late-night anime segment was going to bring us, so hearing that his biggest two (outside of MGS) works are coming is even more of a cause for cheer. Or maybe it’s the two I’m familiar with?

And seeing the various teaser trailers coming out reminds me that different people have different takes on his works. IIRC Viz’s Harmony came with a little afterwards that mentioned in passing how Itoh spent much of his final years in the hospital. Japan, after all, likes to commit their patients much more so than the west. And that passing familiarity with the feeling inside the hospital walls is a part of his repertoire in expressing whatever he was gunning for.

Invariably, I guess, I made the connection between that and other fictional works where the protagonist(s) end up dying of some fatal diseases or what not. There are a few people can relate to, I hear they’re a little popular. But in a way, what Itoh Project brought us is a much more moderated and mature take. It’s what most of us would write if we were in his shoes. The ending to Genocidal Organ especially was hilarious and appropriate fit to that mentality, even if it might not fit the rest of the book as much. Well, you can decide for yourself.

Guns, needles, whatever. Hype, though, nonetheless.

PS. It confused me for a second but noitaminA is calling these adaptations “Project Itoh” which is a word play on “Itoh Project.” The two novels are written under Itoh Project, as a matter of reference. (Insert just as keikaku TL note.jpg here.)

The Devil in the Details

Chii Sweet Home is the most difficult anime ever

As I was watching ME!ME!ME! last night, I thought about Shirobako. That’s not unusual these days, that every Thursday my mind kicks into Shirobako mode, starting out in the morning as matome blogs and Japanese twitter start to fill in with other viewers who are either anticipating it or have watched it. The day rolls on as the first wave of EN viewers tweet their reactions and responses, following up later in the day with viewers who have normal day jobs and can only watch it after work. I had somewhat of an abnormal day so I wasn’t able to catch up to Ema’s struggles until late.

Looking at ME!ME!ME!, that Animator Expo clip, it is a music video done by a budding animator that worked on a bunch of post-Gainax products–Panty Stocking, Khara’s Eva 3.0, what have you. It struck me in a way that is both poetic and sufficiently cred-hawking that separated the work from what typically passes as sexually aggressive and violent cartoons from Japan. The story might just be about the corruption of moe in how what we hold on as dear memories with our earlier 2Ds have transformed us (as in, a certain otaku subset) into dead people, being force fed of all this sexually gratuitous media over the years. It’s not something you can easily describe and come out as not condemning. It’s kind of like walking around Akiba and being handed tissue papers with scantily clad cartoon girls on the wrapper. It’s kind of like seeing Yaraon showing eroge PR posts in your news feed. It’s like, well, /a/ and 2ch, with a side of Sad Panda.

Poetic, because I found ME!ME!ME! to be a nice illustration of spiritual death. Regardless of its value at cultural criticism, at any rate, the barrage of tittays to the Japanese subcultural consciousness in this section of modern visual media induces some reaction for people who are sensitive to that type of content. And the only reasonable ways to combat it are either to ignore it, or grow indifferent.

That’s just one read. There are many ways to interpret ME!ME!ME!, and I think that’s what makes this particular entry in Animator Expo particularly artful.

But what about Shirobako? I think it comes down to the concept of monozukuri. In the same way, crafters make their art speak through its own being, in that sense that an anime is a sufficently malleable medium that one or one hundred people can come together and create, that there is a body of voices in the work as well an individual voice, in which each design or cut or scene or line of dialog or piece of music come together to express. It might be a pulse-thumping video where a bunch of tits are shooting anti-air weapons at you, or a struggling young adult trying to make it in her dream career. The details say a lot. Like how NunuIguchi took RuruEma’s donut. It’s got so much stuff imbued in that momentary exchange in which leaves us (or at least me) falling behind trying to unpack it. Or rather, in the usual case, food for thought after the weekly dose is over. Will we get a follow up? I hope so.

How hard was it to write and direct, and to animate something like this? I don’t even want to know. Yet it is right here, laid bare in front of us. The spirit of SHIROBAKO is screaming like the all-cap letters in English script it is written in (officially).