Monthly Archives: December 2015

Year in Review 2015: Eventing

I have a post on the events I planned and attended for 2015. You can read it here.

Just to summarize: I have like a couple drafts of 1000 words or more on eventing this year but I feel they all misses the point. But to TL;DR them:

  • Eventing is about making memories, reducing a form of regret. It’s arguably a better use of time and money than what the otaku typically do with time and money.
  • The YOLO aspect of eventing is not the most dangerous thing. This is the “immediate” danger but is not as bad as…
  • The real danger–getting addicted.

More importantly, it’s about having the maturity to correctly prioritize what you do with your time and money (and energy). But that’s like, life fundamentals. It’s not about holding in and not go to events,  it’s not about going to events to overcome your current way of life to step into something better. It’s both ways. Sometimes you should go to some events. Sometimes you shouldn’t. And I guess when you abstract too far you get obvious conclusions here…

As for me? I went enough I think.

Thanks to a certain illustrator-san!

My favorite event in 2015 was the way Lantis Fest Vegas turned out. It doubled with Otakon Vegas. But what was great about that weekend was how a bunch of people (counting the local Liver/casual team it was well over 30 people) were able to hang out pretty much the entire time. It was the ultimate offkai, since it was like 3 days, and we were rooming in 3 suites in the same building. The P team were able to watch IM@S history in the making via nico namas and it was group watching since we were all there. There were the usual Vegas delights. We took pictures of ourselves in front of the Bellagio fountains in weird outfits. Karaoke, booze, cooking, breakfast, party suite, doing calls, you name it. Which is to say that was a great experience of hanging out because we also shared core interests. The actual Lantis Fest itself was also really good, so that completed the other half of the puzzle.

If we want to talk about actual event-events, then it might have to be I’ve Sound 15th anniversary on the strength of its set list and performers. The venue was Tokyo Dome City Hall so even where I was on the 2nd floor the view was good. It was both new and old, dream collabs and “who is this” hour with a bunch of the newer I’ve faces. Still it’s quite overdue on my end.

Third (or second, whatever) would have to be IM@S 10th. It was mind blowing in the off-kai way, in that we had an offkai and the oversea Ps visited Tokyo at around the same time, so we hung out there. It was also mind blowing in terms of scale and what happened. The only knock was the weather–burning hot on day 1, and the rain made buppan kind of miserable. I was also miserable due to physical ailment but that cannot be helped.

Honorable mentions:

  • Anime North Offkai…I still owe a post on this but I have not forgotten you!
  • WUG 2nd Osaka – Great venue and seeing old faces! Osaka is pretty cool.
  • Aisute: Zenzen Aitakatta – The music was just what the doctor ordered
  • Okui Masami Birthday Live – This tripped me way harder than I’ve 15th. I had a nice view of it all too. But the feel is just very different than the other anison lives I’ve been at.
  • AWS events: fhana & Katofuku – Both were great, just short. I’m just glad that I saw fhana live finally, because missing their first solo live while I was in Tokyo would have eat me up way too much as it did all year until then.
  • Trysail Tryangle Harmony public recording (march) – MOCHOOOOOO honto dayooooo let’s kouken MOCHOOOOO

It’s too bad I was so busy this year, I would do a stat post for 10th and ANorth… Maybe…

PS. Does celebrating birthdays at Characro count as events? LOL.

Year-in-review 2015:

Year in Review 2015: Sounding Off


I wanted to talk about Sound! Euphonium, but not exactly. It’s more about the way Kurosawa Tomoyo stole a lot of my attention this year, with her performance in this sharp coming-of-age piece from Kyoto Animation. The animation, story, direction, the handling of the adaptation, art direction and the character/inter-character drama are all very remarkable, and to me, very enjoyable. Even the salt from the oversea yuri community. It’s really symptomatic about their inability to read what’s going on, but in this case it was humorous how it turned out. I guess I am in no place to criticize other otaku for being KY.

The music is something worth talking about. Just a holidays sort of observation, while catching a glimpse of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you see some of America’s top High School marching bands at work. The stuff they play is way more progressive than anything out of the more recital-style stiffness that delights snooty Asians and OST nerds from Eupho. And that’s what we really want.

It’s kind of like how in Your Lie in April we tortured a similar music scene for its drama, although perhaps that has the satisfaction of slamming the sledgehammer through a wall, compared to the fine-slicing of a sharp blade–the bleeding comes only after you’re done with Eupho. I don’t really know which is worth talking about more–the candle that sparks into life or the sparkle that extinguishes.

What I do know is Tanechan really needs to visit America, because when Moyochi did, she stole something precious! I don’t even know what.

For the rest of you, there’s always this ode to Kyoani I guess.

And for what it’s worth…the voice cast in Amagi, then Euphonium…then in Phantom World… I think I like this pattern. How does annoying sidekick fairy Koroazu sound like?

And I didn’t even talk about Tamaki in Love or High Speed…probably because I need to still watch them properly first.

Year-in-review 2015:

Year In Review 2015: Shirobako, Kurobako

I just want to leave this 2014 survey here to anchor the opinion I am about to express.

It’s rare that I can take something I watched in the year before and say “this is the best thing this year” at the end of the year. I am not really a futurist but I am casually familiar with the general concept that has been passed around the past few years, the ones that curious dudes might ask a figure like deGrasse Tyson (or whoever is popular at the time), about what is to come. “An anime about making anime that is actually remarkably good”? I think that was something long due.

Shirobako, to be fair, is not the kind of show that will engage everybody like, say, Parasyte or even Oremonogatari. But it’s the kind of show that at least, deserves critical acclaims. Especially from the people who comes to the show mostly from story/plot/character/theme perspectives. Also, I think the way people rated this show in the aggregate speaks a lot about online anime opinion echo chambers in general.

When people talk about how the people who make a ruckus online but don’t show up in stores, this is the sort of things it reminds me. People wanted mainstream narratives or mature characters (outside of a school context etc) or a non-harem thing, but it has been repeatedly shown that it is not what makes money in a very convincing sort of way. We want our SAOs, collectively speaking. Angsty teenage ninjas will always have a place in the industry’s wallet (and when set to Linkin Park, a place in AMV competitions). The sorts of shows we rep usually speak more about us than the shows themselves, because the anime industry isn’t a crapshoot. It is formulaic. Creators in general know what works, and continues to subsist via providing what the people want. This is, too, a lesson you can take away from watching Shirobako.

It’s important to always preface any Shirobako worshipping with the clear understanding that what was depicted in the anime is an idealized situation, in some sense. We have always make space for Kurobako, or the dark reality of what it means, sometimes, to work in that industry and in that context of being a contractor or employee in that capacity. It is what I think to myself after learning about Turning Girls earlier this year after reading about what Trigger did to produce it. (Oddly enough I don’t think about it when I watch Ninja Slayer…) That kickstarter to fund a dorm for animators. The lifestyle of these animators or people who worked in the front lines, at least from the real life accounts, can be something really scary. I think it’s all just baggage for talk though. What stops animators are just the hours and low average pay.

Did you know there are more scientists alive today than there were scientists ever? I think we have long gone past the point possible where more anime is created in a sliding 5-year window than there was anime that was created up to the start. That had to be around 2002-2006 or so if it had to ever happen. I could dazzle you with the math*, but there are not enough animators to create so much work within a short period of time. If we average 60 TV series a season, that’s about 240 IP a season, not counting the annual theatrical output, net shows, the LWAs of the world, what have you. We’ve been at this for over a decade, guys. Ten years ago was when the industry got asymptotic.

Which is to say, ultimately, the people like me who enjoy (or not enjoy) Shirobako are just people watching some anime. The industry belongs to creators and producers. What we say and do will only matter as much as the impact of these things. Because these things are made by human beings not so different than you or I. The human element behind anime is beyond the armchair quarterbacking practice on this blog, and I love it when we bring the artist back in the art.

I've been Hotel Moonsided

[*] Ball park: ANN Encyclopedia has 3286 TV series in the DB (checked on 12/1/2015 5:35 PM Eastern). Assuming this is complete, and assuming an average 240 IP a year, we’re approaching that point with a 7-year window and would have captured it well within the 2006 line with a 5-year window. There’s some fudging because if we discount ongoing series we’ll have a lower count on average. I tried using MAL’s DB but I can’t get it to give me data in a non-worthless manner. If we expand beyond TV anime it’s going to be more difficult because we won’t know where to draw the line between art projects and real commercial things, or how to treat movies in a franchise. ANN tags it at 7537 but that’s probably much less complete than the TV anime count.

Year-in-review 2015:

Year in Review 2015: Introduction

Thanks, Nekopuchi

The full-blown oversea eventer life marches on. I was able to accomplish one goal this year that I set out last year: Go to fewer anime cons. I missed AX, which sounded like a blast but the grass is always greener, as they say, on the other side of the fence. I feel I was able to get my spending in better order this year, but it’s at a cost. I also traveled to Japan more times this year than ever, at a cost.

Eventing-wise, the highlight this year has to be my July trip that ran through IM@S 10th along with WUG 2nd Osaka. Notching stuff off the bucket list in the Spring was also big. I had a blast more this year doing stuff the “HPT” way too, just generally speaking.

On the anime otaku side, not much has changed besides that having fewer hours in a day/week/month/year for anime, I watched fewer shows. Things like Gatchaman Crowds S2, the rebooted Yatterman, Gangsta., Sidonia S2… I don’t know. I was still able to wrap up Shoukugeki no Soma and keep up on Ace of the Diamond, so it was not for lack of trying or maybe even lack of time…? Anyway, 2015 was a fun year if you watched a lot of anime, because there were a good variety of shows that were pretty well done.

On the negative side, I guess my writing has taken a hit, both here and Jtor. I wish I could have better discipline doing chores and the like, be more efficient, so I have the time. But it all takes a lot of energy and work already takes a lot out of me drive-wise. In fact I think having the drive is more important than anything. If I wanted direly to get something done, I will get it done…

What else is there? Eventing is expensive and I have to cut back next year, and it was fun meeting all the old and new friends and faces, hanging out and what not.

Year-in-review 2015:



The Idolm@ster SideM idol subunit SEM stands for “Science English Mathematics” and supposedly the seiyuu team put on a hell of a show on the live stage. But it gets me thinking–these idols have the image of that futuristic exoticism that comes with these “SEM” notions, but how?

Science? OK I can see that. What’s exotic about English? Okay, maybe from a Japanese point of view there’s something exotic about the West. But Mathematics? What is exotic about mathematics? Maybe it can be kind of esoteric?

SEM also reminds me of another abbreviation, STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or what is commonly known as “curriculum that will lead to gainful employment that actually makes money.” The SEM idols are three ex-high school teachers who taught those 3 subjects, so it triggers the “public education policy” line of thinking and that leads to STEM.

And SEM is kind of like STEM–they are the hard line items in public education in Japan, which focuses on stuff that is going to be more important and relevant like how STEM subjects are.

If the last blog post I titled is any clue, I recently read a couple bio write-ups of Elon Musk who paints himself as a physicist-engineer-entrepreneur who happens to also be a genius and wants to send a million people to Mars. Is that the kind of appeal SideM wants to uh, emulate?

To mix it up, recently I came across a spoiler about the latest Metal Gear Solid (V), which in short, reminded me of Itou Project’s Genocidal Organ. In both cases, language is part of a greater science-fictional plot about killing a lot of people. I’m not sure, but this seems a very novel idea. Which is to say, does English have a place in STEM? I think it absolutely does.

Of course, this isn’t really the case if you are talking about public education in an English-speaking country, but English is the language of science, and not knowing English as a scientist or tech/engineering person is like being a weeaboo who can’t understand Japanese. I can’t imagine someone who is at the top of the game in those subject matters not know enough English to get around. Maybe they don’t speak it (since most of the time it’s reading and writing only) but it is just another kind of barrier, perhaps, that the Japanese feel especially. And I can see how some people would take that idea far enough–to equate English as some kind of symbol of western imperialism, or what comes more recently as American dominance of global culture, in popular or as a world police-type entity.

Well, making SEM seem sexy is all good in my book. Very positive development if you ask me.