Year in Review 2015: N-Lists

Yeah I am late, but such is how it goes… It’s more substantial than a Winter 2016 breakdown anyway.

ponkan...why so good

2015 was a pivotal year for me. It still treated me well in some ways and was memorable for a lot of little things. You’d think otherwise, after falling into Producer fandom so hard and seeing it cumulates in IM@S 10th. But while that was a big deal, it wasn’t something I can internalize so well. Or the fact that I crossed off some bucket-list items. Just like it’s hard to extinguish those burning embers in my heart that drove me in this fandom for nearly 20 years, I’m not sure if any fanning of the flame is going to get it burn any hotter. You know what they say about eventing is a better use of money? I’m not too sure. Just like you can fill your room or house or storage unit with unopened boxes of figures, you can over-exert yourself eventing too. And man was 2015 very exhausting in this way.

One thing I did a lot this year that I haven’t quite so much in prior years was listening to seiyuu audio shows. I call them radio shows because I am an ossan, but that’s kind of what they are. Of course nowadays this stuff is just streamed online and not much of it gets real radio play. Still I listened more in 2015 than ever, I think. Anyway, here are twelve seiyuu radios I ran into a lot this past year. Well, namas and radios and what have you.

  1. Home Run Radio – I don’t actually watch this regularly but I sure talk about it a lot! It combines some of my favorite things and learning about NPB from this point of view is quite nice. Too bad I still don’t get it. When it went to a format change and time slot change I kind of fell off the tracks but I still try…
  2. WUG Raji – I fell off the bandwagon but still manages to try for the monthly nama. I still look back to last summer when they were doing one every weekday, fondly…
  3. Torahamo – Hopefully the new format will give them more chances to kick it up a notch. Attending this public recording was a lot of fun, with all the poking and teasing and seeing Nansu and Tenchan’s facial reactions.
  4. Miliraji – Occasionally listen to this but it’s always fun. I guess it’s double fun when they have a video episode.
  5. Aisute – Still my must-listen of the week. This level of tension is where I am most at home.
  6. Derepa – I occasionally listen to this, it’s quite fun whenever I tune in, and I like their guests and the creative stuff that they do. I guess this is more of a trend leader in seiyuu programs.
  7. Radio Dot-i’s Mochoyama Hanashi – Religious listener of this. Makes me want to eat cup noodles. Too bad it’s only for one cour.
  8. Imas Studio – Still classic but I don’t really listen to it much…
  9. Banpresto 1Kuji – Monthly radio featuring an IM@S seiyuu. Last time around it was Hirorin and now it’s Ruuri…
  10. Arietion – Gosh. But I can’t take too much of this so it’s very sparingly that I engage this content. I probably should watch Ruru’s garden or SS Channel…if I could.
  11. Hanamaru – Changes to bi-weekly format will be interesting to see what happens…
  12. Hackadoll – More a monthly nama but what fun.

Honorable mentions go to Maimai’s seiyuu sharehouse (is this gonna be like a fictional universe setting or what), Hatsuraji, Anige 11 (not even radio yeah), Shimoseka (read it here), Girls’ High (only if someone pushes it at us), Seigura (Suwa) and Seiani (Riccasama) monthlies, Ageage (only if it airs right before Torahamo on A&G…). I also want to link to this and this, one is a casual popularity survey (Wow HRR #2) and one is a voting thing for shows on A&G, Onsen, and Hibiki. Anime Japan in March will probably present the winners with something.

For anime, let’s just cut to the chase? Top 12 anime TV shows.

  1. Shirobako
  2. Euphonium
  3. Cinderella Girls
  4. Non Non Biyori Repeat
  5. Saekano
  6. Osomatsu
  7. Overlord
  8. Charlotte
  9. Etotama
  10. Classroom Crisis
  11. Monster Musume
  12. Food Wars

Honorable mentions: Danmachi, Oreguile, Koufuku G, OPM, Concrete, Diamond no A, Gatchaman, Maria, Cross Ange, Gangsta (maybe?), Death Parade, Blood Blockade Battlefield, Sore ga Seiyuu…

This next one is kind of the overall ranking for me as an IM@S producer. In 2015 I am definitely comfortable enough to shoot beyond the 765Pro idols. I don’t think I can authoritatively include 876 or 315, and my knowhow of 346 is still paltry compared to the entire body of knowledge. Please note that this is who I’d produce (tantou) and not who I like the most. The distinction can be subtle but significant in some cases.

  1. Kikuchi Makoto – At this point it’s about my commitment more so than the state of 765Pro as a franchise, and as a state of MakotoPs in general.
  2. Tokugawa Matsuri – You could say Matsuri is the new hotness but I don’t really know why I picked her out of the rest of Million Stars. Maybe it was just luck. Fate. Fortune. Destiny. It just had to be.
  3. Futami Mami – Meeting Asapon did not help with this LOL.
  4. Moroboshi Kirari – Not meeting Reichama also didn’t help but it’s just the way Kirari “hurts” that scratches an itch maybe.
  5. Shijou Takane – Moon princess stays strong.
  6. Hagiwara Yukiho – A lot of what I like about her has nothing to do with the anime. I guess this is something, after both being insider and outsider, and with some distance of time, that I can say conclusively. Azumin/Yurishii and the charismatic aspects of Yukiho just don’t really show…
  7. Toyokawa Fuka – I don’t know, maybe because the manchild in me wants to tease girls I like, and Fuka is probably one of the better teases in ML.
  8. Okazaki Ritsuko – An idol whose schtick is dear to my heart.
  9. Ganaha Hibiki – Have to hand it to HibikiPs for possibly the best at promoting Hibiki, within 765Pro.
  10. Miyao Miya – She’s the full-on healing-type idol in ML. It’s kind of refreshing, sort of like how Rin is kind of the same-different.
  11. Futaba Anzu – My other half, perhaps. I see myself in Anzu all too well but the way she plays coy about her NEET identity is really covering up a lot of the flaws that could result from this sort of a character.
  12. Akagi Miria – Seeing Moyochi helped. Really a drag that I couldn’t go see her at AX…

I get the feeling as I slowly work through the Deresute commus (there are many, and they are lengthy) this ranking will further change.

12 OP/EDs

Having my butt fallen off the animusic bandwagon in this year means I spent little time drilling down to OPs. Like, yeah, I listened to a few things, and I still listen to all the OP/ED of anime I watch, but I don’t listen to the music by itself so much… Just an unordered list off what’s off the top of my head:

  • Classroom Crisis – Cobalt is just a really nice song. Also I like this anime! Hard to say why…
  • Punch Line OP – I like this level of fanservice. Doesn’t get me as strong as, say, Saekano’s OP, but it’s a lot of fun.
  • Wooser S3 ED – I didn’t mention it on this blog but I did went to see Yun*Chi at Waku-Waku. She’s pretty cool, the whole model/singer aspect is really strong with this one.
  • Shirobako ED2 – ;___;
  • Overlord ED – I approve this Tom-Hack direction
  • Monmusu ED – Kobayuu is great, and her supporting cast works in this case…
  • I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying ED – It’s the stuff you sing in the bath.
  • Seiyuu’s Life ED(s) – I like the cameos, okay? And it is catchy…
  • F ED – More for the animation …
  • Tokyo Ghouls OP – Yeah yeah yeah…
  • Death Parade OP – I like the arrange and direction for the OP.
  • Kekkai Sensen ED – Same. Maybe I’m just weak to dancing.

12 Events….yeah I went to at least 12 events in 2015. Not sure ranking them make sense because I like these events often for very different reasons.

  • Anime North – The. Offkai. Woah. Also Pon is great. Also Nabacchi is also great. Love these people. Loved the exchange rate, too.
  • Lantis Festival Las Vegas – Party suite worked so well I wish we can do this twice a year every year LOL.
  • M@STER OF IDOL WORLD 2015 – I think this is the kind of event that might not be all that when you’re going through it (although there are still a lot of gold nuggets to pick out for both ardent and newtype Ps) but in another 5-10 years it would be a very fond memory.
  • Otakon 2015 – Graceful, fun and forceful are the things of Romi Paku. There rest is kind of same-o but it’s nice to not only see the usual suspects and the familiar sights, but to actually learn more about anime.
  • AWA 2015 – fhana was awesome in person. I think in the near future I have to stalk out their shows better. Although I say this more as someone who’d go to post rock lives because I kind of enjoy swimming in a wall of reverb. Kato*Fuku was also awesome and this is really a god-tier event for fans of those two… Of course it was also fun to hangout with the locals and the Vocaloid guys!
  • Makkun Birthday Live 2015 – It was an interesting show with a lot of bells and whistles, but it was great to finally go to a solo Makkun live. Great doesn’t quite describe it I guess, and it wasn’t as fulfilling as I might have imagined it to be before going. A part of me just want to crawl into a version of me from 2000 and be in a very happy place. Hearing it live gave a different vibe than that.
  • I’ve 15th anniversary – It’s only been 15 years, but the Hokkaido-based music label has put out a major chunk of influential music. Given how EDM is today it’s kind of odd how this outfit is taking kind of a back seat, despite sending some of their top stars into major contracts. I guess this is just a Japan thing. Unlike Makkun’s live, this one really hits the nostalgia spot though.
  • AnimeNext – Mainly because I threw a BBQ and it was a good time hanging out.
  • Aisute Zenzen Aitakatta – It was really good and it’s in person, everything I like about Aisute.
  • TryAngle Harmony Public Recording 3 – It was a lot of fun and the mini live section was a blast. Let’s Kouken!
  • P’s Live 02 – So this is the kind of medley anime events that have sprouted in large quantities since Anisama so many years ago. PonyCan’s version is a lot of fun, but my nosebleed seat was not. It was nice to finally see all these seiyuu though.
  • WUG 2nd tour Osaka – It’s like seeing an idol group in its designed environment.

12 anime moments of 2015. I’m out of ideas man.

  1. Eupho: Hair flip
  2. BBB: Hamburger
  3. Death Parade: Twister
  4. CG: S(mile)ing
  5. Shirobako: episode 23
  6. Hackadoll: Yuppie episode
  7. School live: Episode 1
  8. Osomatsu: Episode 1 (original version)
  9. Rolling Girls: Osaka
  10. CG: Trancing Pulse
  11. Shimoseka: Cookies
  12. Monmusu final one-cut

12 spotlights new tier seiyuu. Let me just keep highlighting the work done over at seiyuuplus and seiyuuri. (7)

  • Ozawa Ari
  • Suwa Ayaka
  • Kurosawa Tomoyo
  • Ueda Reina
  • Hanamori Yumiri
  • Takahashi Rie
  • Ishigami Shizuka
  • Ohashi Ayaka
  • Itou Miku
  • Uchida Aya
  • Fujii Yukiyo
  • Uesaka Sumire

As an aside, I glanced over the Sunshine seiyuus when they were first announced last spring. Now that the full hubbub is in swing, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Still only has my eyes on King because of IM@S, but I think Love Live is in good hands. A cheer (or maybe “buhiii” is better suited) for the next generation.

12 Offkai tips: Or why I can blog about AN Offkai in this longer-than-necessary blog post about 2015. Using a listicle format might be fully justified here. Unfortunately this is not the dirty-laundry type post, just generalized guidelines to events like an offkai, so maybe I still need to write that AN offkai post sometime…

  1. Know who’s coming – and by this I mean not just their identities, but are they able to handle the kind of party you want to throw. Knowing helps you throw the right kind of party so everyone’s gonna have a good time. More specifically, things like what mood you want to set, the kind of food, the kind of prices, drinks, programming, how “pro” you want it, etc. It helps to set limits too.
  2. Have a big idea goal – More importantly, perhaps I should say this is #1, but it is know what you want to do. What do you want to achieve at the offkai? I mean yeah we get together and have a good time, but that is a little too vague. For 2015’s offkai we decided to do one that welcomes the JP Ps and one that give the western Ps, especially those who never gets to go to these things, a taste of what it could be. We also want to kind of baller out there.
  3. Follow a model – The AN offkai is a natural extension of a JP-style offkai but in reality planning it was like planning a wedding. We even got cakes that put wedding cakes to shame. It’s got sound, projection, alcohol, banquet hall, all that jazz. And following a model helps because then you already have most of the offkai planned for you already.
  4. Have a budget – Once you know a rough idea how many people wants to come, you can build a budget. This is the second-most important thing. And knowing your budget you can actually shop around.
  5. Shop around – In this case, I did most of the shopping but I didn’t really had a lot of options because of location reasons, many attendees couldn’t drive to  a better value setup outside the surrounding area. The Toronto locals weren’t really able to help on this either, but in that sense having fewer choices made deciding easier.
  6. It’s good to have plan B’s – It’s always a good principle but following a model simplifies things for contingencies, and it makes things easier for everyone in the first place so stuff tend to run well. But for an offkai featuring a lot of twentysomethings it’s probably to look out for some common issues. I think the anime/manga crowd in general are pretty good about this, but the usual contingency plans are nice to have, such as having backup people doing things in case something emergency happens to you or another key person. People generally that RSVP will show up and pay, but not every will in a large enough group. And who’d crash a Producer offkai anyway LOL.
  7. Make an effort to steadily communicate – Let people know what’s going on, just as a matter of practice. The only catch is to communicate the right things, LOL. Things like the menu or about roughly you need to charge people are things people should have say in, and it’s always to get some opinion from people who represent the consensus. There’s an art to it, of course, and you can overdo it, but you have to do it? And let’s not forget, it’s just as important to listen to people’s feedback, and understand and turn it into constructive next steps.
  8. Have a realistic view – Not everything will be easy, not everything will work out, not every decision will go the way you like. Not everyone will be happy, but it’s about at least providing that opportunity. But I think letting things play out and have good options in scenarios where things are likely turn out in a dissatisfactory way is good. I feel I had to balance this with what we wanted to do many times during the process.
  9. Take it easy – It’s no fun planning something if you’re all stressed out. It’s no fun if you go into a hole budget-wise so other people have a good time. I feel if you are into doing it you are likely to do a better job than doing so begrudgingly. Ask for help if needed be, and I think in a co-op effort like an offkai many will be willing to invest into their party too.
  10. Have local people help – I briefly mentioned this earlier, but a bunch of Americans running an offkai in Canada is a challenge too. It’s not bad at all in the sense that you appreciate how Canada really feels like the 51st state, but it is no substitute to having locals help. We had someone who could rent cheap audio equipment, and that alone saved us a bunch of money and logistical headaches. Locals who can drive and help shuttle things is another thing. Another Canadian helped with the cakes, because it’s just easier. Imagine a foreign exchange fee on that bill…
  11. Have deep pockets – Obviously this is not required but it helps a lot to smooth out not just the transactional realities of collecting money from a lot of people, buying things ahead of time, paying down payments, and numerous other things, but it also reduces stress, LOL. And that leads to the last bit:
  12. Get some help – You can’t really do everything by yourself in the sense that I’m sure some highly coordinated, resourceful and organized people can, but why do all the work? If some tasks are best dealt with by someone else, and that person or persons are happy to do so, wouldn’t it make sense to delegate those tasks? It will be done better. More importantly it goes back to the making an offkai for everyone, and letting others share a stake in our collective happiness. And I think people innately realizes this. It’s a separate issue if people can’t do a good job, but this is where being realistic comes in.

Characters I liked in 2015 – This was kind of hard. Unordered:

  • Maekawa Miku – CG really sold me on her. I already had an eye on her earlier because of her idol persona-as-a-service (PaaS?) aspect.
  • Osomatsu-sans – These are the kind of idiot I enjoy watching. Traditionally this list is female and singular, but I’ll just drop them here.
  • Iguchi (Shirobako) – That down-to-earth-ness is charming.
  • Tomori Nao – Sarcastic Neru is always fun.
  • Otosaka Ayumi – MOCHOOOOOOoooOoOoo. Or as we call her, Imocho.
  • Narugino Mikatan – I had a bond with this anime and she was probably the character I liked most, although I do like the others just as much…
  • Uri-tan – Desu desu is adorbs adorbs
  • Shirohime (Lanmas) – I had so much fun watching her.
  • Hestia – Because she deserves some mention LOL. This goddess was pretty unrealistic but ultimately you can’t help but to feel for her.
  • Miyauchi Renge – In the world of late night anime we still can have something like this in 2016. God bless.
  • Kato Megumi – She really had that “perfect girlfriend” thing going.
  • Utaha Kasumigaoka – Makes me want to retake ethics bar.

In 2015 I don’t think I have a smash hit girl (or anyone for that matter) that I’d list for. (Saekano has gotten the closest with Utaha and Kato, but I feel neither quite hit it all the way.) Instead I will attempt to do a list for Derem@s, because this was the one show that sort of defined 2015 for me (besides Shirobako). This wouldn’t even be a tantou ranking since I’m limiting myself to the anime (would have to weigh up Yukki, Fred, Kanade, Miho, etc etc).

  1. Miku
  2. Kirari
  3. Miria
  4. Rin
  5. Anzu
  6. Mika
  7. Mio
  8. Uzuki
  9. TakeP
  10. Minami
  11. Nana
  12. Natsuki

Special shoutout to Rookie Trainer. I may be a DD for CG, but I think it’s more like I just haven’t picked anyone, so maybe I’m not even a DD. It’s like I know I like Kanade and some of the cute idols a lot, but they don’t resonate with me as well as the more developed characters like Kirari or Miria. OTOH I don’t really find myself attracted to their work as much as I might respect those characters and the idol persona they have. The CG Cool Idols are, really, very cool. And I don’t mean it in the capital-C-Cool sort of way. Guess I just haven’t found the right idol here. Not to mention it probably changes. If I’m taking a snapshot, at some point around CG3rd and now is how much more I’ve grown to like Kanade, which is to say she wasn’t even really on my radar until maybe late 2015 but now a frontrunner for my CG tantou spot.

As time approaches end of March, I figured I need to close this out so here’s a couple bones. Top 12 countries of this blog’s visitors in 2015. Hey, it’s kind of interesting.

  1. US: 34%
  2. Canada: 5.3%
  3. Indonesia: 4.6%
  4. Singapore 4.4%
  5. UK: 4.4%
  6. France: 3.7%
  7. Germany: 3.3%
  8. Brazil 3.1%
  9. Japan 3%
  10. Phillipines 2.5%
  11. Malaysia: 2.3%
  12. Thailand: 2.3%

We drop below 2% after #13 at Russia. It’s only kind of interesting in that other than, say, Japan, most of that list matches more or less with content/language use of this site. It used to not be like this. We may be many years too late to be saying social media killed blogging, but I think what it has taken away is not bloggers, but the kind of conversation you could have, because the demographics have changed.

And finally, let’s close out this sad list of lists with this site’s 12 most visited blog posts in 2015.

  1. Seiyuu Nicknames
  2. Everquest & Log Horizon
  3. LLSIF and Deresute
  4. Chochou’s sort-of-indie single
  5. IM@S SSA report
  6. Spring 2015 first impressions
  7. Deresute week 3
  8. Momoiro Taisen Pairon post back in 2012
  9. Shimoseka 1
  10. Eventing in 2015
  11. Gatchaman Crowds, Positivism, in 2013
  12. Characro IM@S cafe guide – I actually updated this page since their reservation format has been simplified.

It’s sad, because I have other comparable metrics to know how many views some of the ones on the lower tier had, and times like this you wonder why sites like Reddit matters, since it drives so much traffic to other EN sites. Anyway, these meta data is useful as far as, at least, getting a hint on what people are interested in reading.

Year-in-review 2015:

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