Year In Review 2017: Twelve Twelves

Anime industry exists because it’s a miracle.

I’ve been really busy this month, despite the lack of events. But here it goes–trying to scramble something together to introspect a year’s worth of content consumption. Introspection is worthwhile, and a tradition of doing it is a good idea. I don’t know how much of it is entertaining or informative for someone not me, though. Still, here goes.

If I were to do a video version of this post it would kick off with the following:

Twelve memorable/remarkable/interesting? ways to kick off an episode of anime series (unranked):

  • Two-Cars: Good morning Miyakejima!
  • Sukasuka: We’re in for a sad time.
  • 12 Taisen: Let the body hit the floor.
  • Imoutosae: Sister’s milk and eggs.
  • Osomatsu-san S2: Same as usual.
  • SideM 00: I cried.
  • Kemono Friends…..??? Technically 2016 but this show was all the rage in 2017… a bit like YOI.
  • Chaos;Child sure was weird
  • Rakugo S2 – it resumed being great right from the get go.
  • Alice & Zoroku can get surreal
  • Maid Dragon
  • Taylor – Abandon ship…or abandon all hope ye(ry?

Bonus: Hand Shaker: MY EYES AHHH

Twelve memorable/interesting/remarkable episodes:

  • Nora 6 – GOTY
  • Anime-Gataris 11 – Animation breakdown
  • Konohana Kitan 8 – Probably the most mono no aware expression in that “kirafan” style.
  • BBB S2 10 – This is the most succinct expression of Nightow’s appeal to me.
  • GBF 13 – I like DJ okay?
  • Saekano S2 4 – I love the eroticism in this series.
  • Eromanga 13 – Kind of like Anime Gataris but actually entertaining
  • Eromanga 3(?) – Sets the tone for 2017 for this category of anime.
  • Hand Shakers 8 – My eyes are bleeding but man sure is sakuga
  • Bang Dream 3 – It worked for me, okay?
  • Twin Angel Break 9 – RIP tuna duo.
  • Fate Apocrypha 22 – It’s very sakuga but I’m not sure I liked it more than 21. Gorgeous animation is meaningless without form and purpose, I think this is a good comparison point.

Twelve OP/EDs I liked, in no order:

  • Wake Up, May’n! – Surprisingly the one crossover between the two worked out so well, that WUM might even be WUG’s most popular song to date. It’s funny, May’n does add something to WUG that makes it better.
  • Saturday Night Question mixes what I like best about Yanagi Nagi and swap out the singer entirely?
  • SideM OP – One of the pains watching SideM on Crunchyroll was to see the opening animation mosaic’d into dust by the low Q encode, every week. Please enjoy the official upload of it at 1080 here.
  • Alice & Zoroku ED – I need my Itou fix. I guess hearing eufonius @ Konohana Kitan also helps in a different way, but this one is a bit more noteworthy.
  • Sukasuka OP – FWIW I think Tadokoro Azusa’s So What is the best anisong album this year, and this song kind of grounds that whole experience.
  • Centaur ED – Shoutout to Asaka’s new song that kept my eyes on her this year. Occultic;9 was good too!
  • Maid Dragon OP – Gotta do that dance. Also, the PV depicts the story of how fhana came together as a band, if this wasn’t detailed enough. The Kyoani thoroughbred OP is good too, but this is one super rare case where I think the PV is actually better.
  • Eromanga ED – If there was one song that summed up my feelings and moods in 2017, this was it. I was so glad that I was able to see it perform live at least once. But now it’s on TV so you can too.
  • All PriPri Chichan OP/ED – Being a dirty Muray shill aside, I think I like the concept in the show for OP/ED. It’s particularly amusing when the ending dancing matches the singers’ styles. Nansu, Mocho, Haruka and Aki all had a hand in it.
  • ImoutoSae OP – At first this song was really too straightforward, but at the end of the series it’s just crying earnest. Also written by yuxuki waga of fhana.
  • Eccentric Family ED – Really powerful with all those montages of Benten.
  • Koi? de Ai? de Bokun Desu! – Not so much anything about Renai Bokun, but more the WUG aspect of this…and by that I mean the live, the calls, the PV, and the song itself of course.

Bonus: Tenshi no 3P ED.

Ranked 12 events that I attended in 2017. Here’s the list (not counting, I guess, anything on 12/30-31).

  1. Hotch Potch Festival – This was so…good? In a way that I can’t really imagine another series pulling it together in this way. It still blows my mind as I try to rank it. I think it is one of those cases that its goodness is obfuscated in our ability really verbalize it. I think anyone who knows his imas can put it together on their own by looking at the setlist and performers, but it was still mind boggling. It’s like, half of it is unremarkable because the live is built on your everyday eventer pieces, but the product needs its own instruction manual and it’s so freaking great.
  2. Anisama 2017 – This is the Anisama everyone wanted Anisama to be. It’s easily the best Anisama in years, since they went from 2 to 3 days. Only thing that probably topped it was IMAS x LOVELIVE.
  3. Angela Budokan – So high partly because it’s a bucket list item checked (a full solo Angela live) but also this is their grandest live ever. Only possible complaint is that they played fewer anisongs than their more anisong focused live last summer. But, you should get the blu-ray, it comes with both lives and English subtitles!
  4. THE IDOLM@STER Million Live 4th Anniversary – Tezukuri Budokan complete. The wheel begins to spin towards Theater Days. Wrapping up a chapter of my life… Also did not imagine this to be 4th ranked at the time, lol, so low for so much emotional impact!
  5. 765Million TW – It’s Hotch Potch Lite, but also fun because 765pro TWbu is great host.
  6. Megaton Voice – My most YOLO trip did not disappoint. It’s a glorified release event but it was really fun, and seeing South and Corey, LOL.
  7. Anisong World Matsuri @ AX – IMAS IN AMERICA AAAAAHAHHHH. Anisong day and Idol day both were great, and it’s the focal point for North American eventers this year. I’m glad the offkai worked out and people generally enjoyed it. I would love to do it again, now that people know how it works, but AX was a major “problem” I had to work around, so I’m not sure if it’ll happen unless I can figure AX part of the equation out. I can also expand on this some more but this is one way that North American eventers can create some culture together, as we really need more… FWIW, AX doing this is something that had to happen–it made no sense that people wanted to go to AFASG, in my mind, when AX is right here and can/should do even better than AFA completely.
  8. ZAQ acoustic – I know she’s good but dang, she’s good. It’s a blessing that she got to write all these anisong I guess, and we got to hear those songs really given a chance live, even if she doesn’t sing them normally.
  9. AniRevo Summer 2017 feat. Itou Shizuka, Kato Emiri, Ueda Kana, Konishi Katsuyuki – For anime con with seiyuu content this is nigh impossible to top I think. I mean, I guess you can go drink with Shizukasama normally, but man.
  10. AnimeNext 2017 feat. Ueda Reina – Ueshama is wonderful. I can’t say that enough. Such a bundle of joy and she has the natural ability to share her joy with you as well.
  11. Shinso Ongaku Ensou Kai 4 – I was surprised this event was as good as it was.
  12. Sphere Yoyogi 2017 (Sunday) – My last Sphere live for some time I guess, but also my first Sphere one-man.

Bonus: Watching Kawamori dance to Walkure ga Tomaranai HAHAHA.

Note: I went to a lot of great events that didn’t make the cut, like WUG solo and Anisong World Matsuri @ Otakon, but this is my life now with Japanese events in the way. Hell even Anime NYC’s live was great, relatively speaking to what we’ve been getting in America the last 5 years.

Twelve personally interesting eventing moments I witnessed this year:

  • Onegai Shangri-la – Angela’s parody song for Onegai Cinderella for alien magical idol Acchan?
  • Shizukasama talks about top 5 oppai – At Vancouver this summer Shizukasama did her usual thing I guess.
  • The guy who yakkai’d during Sphere Yoyogi and got hit after – it’s not even tiger.
  • You & Me @ Anisama 2017 – Motsu pulled one over us, but it’s great to finally see it in person.
  • Airu 2017 – I missed seeing this in person so it’s a nice treat.
  • Cherry & Danketsu – Crying producer is not just a meme
  • Ueshama in AC (in general) – Such a charming person.
  • 765proML offkai in TW – There were several. The official tour had a dinner with GamiP and others. TWbu did one Saturday at a club and on Sunday at a BBQ place. HPT-types did another one on Sunday that’s more low key with friends.
  • Thank You @ ML4th – When Kotoha showed up it was much tears. Whole weekend was much tears I guess.
  • Having to haul butt from Shinjuku to Haneda to catch a flight while checking typhoon on twitter. Not really an event but such is a thing. Oh it was raining hard too.
  • When Theater Days got announced.
  • Sanpei Yuko at AZ and at P Meet. Couldn’t make it to SideM 2nd though…

Twelve best girls. You get a best girl. You get a best girl. And you get a b(ry. In no order:

  • Kaho – Blend S
  • Chihiro – Imoutosae
  • Manami – A Centaur’s life
  • Benten – Eccentric Family
  • Sakie – Interview with Monster Girls
  • Lily – Netjuu
  • Monkey – 12 Taisen
  • Yukana – My First GF Is a Gal
  • Mamika – Re:Creators
  • Veil – Twin Angels BREAK
  • Hinako – Hinako Note
  • Natsume – Just Because

Special shout out to all the poor sods from Sukasuka.

Twelve shows, ranked, that I liked the most in 2017:

  1. Imoutosae
  2. Eromanga Sensei
  3. Saekano S2
  4. Knights & Magic
  5. Netjuu
  6. Sukasuka
  7. SideM
  8. Sakura Quest
  9. Uchoten S2
  10. Food Wars
  11. Centaur no Nayami
  12. Restaurant to Another World

Honors: Mahoujin Guruguru, Pripri, Pri Pri Chichan, various movies. Maybe BBB, Acca, Just Because, and a few others?

Twelve shows I want to finish watching (if at all):

  • Little Witch Academia – I am excited about this IP but thanks to Netflix I have no motivation to do so. I guess it’s time to find a relative’s Netflix account… You might find this a trend for this list actually.
  • Yukiyuna S2
  • Oratorio
  • Welcome to the Ballroom – I might still finish it, but I doubt.
  • Urara Meirocho
  • Trickster
  • Tiger Mask W
  • Marginal 4
  • ID-0
  • Girls’ Last Tour
  • Anonymous Noise
  • Berserk

12 shows I joke about finishing:

  • School Girls Striker
  • Batoga
  • Clockwork Planet
  • Akiba’s Trip: The Animation
  • Ousama Game
  • LL Sunshine – I did watch that Saint Snow episode.
  • The Reflection – Might still do it…! For Stan Lee…??
  • Shobitch
  • Symphogear
  • Teekyuu – well, what else are you suppose to do with it?
  • UQ Holder – HAHAHA
  • Taylor – RIP

Twelve thoughts from Legend of Galactic Heroes, the 120 or so episodes:

  • Why aren’t western SF like this these days?
  • How timeless does fiction need to be to be a classic?
  • Does it really need a reboot?
  • When is the collab cafe…? Oh not when I’m going to be there…
  • This Reinhardt character is a thought experiment.
  • I see why there are all these diehard fans. But why do they like the imperials…
  • As cool as they are, they actually are just space nazis huh.
  • This high court romance stuff is hilarious.
  • As bad as Trump was/is, I’m not sure I’m ready to join the imperials or the free masons…
  • Oh they’re going to kill that guy in that way huh… and damn it happened…
  • Oh man, I’m feeling this death.
  • Sometimes, life is all about making the best of a situation that you can’t get on top of. Unless you are Walter von Schönkopf, in which you just keep on chopping.

Twelve shows I forgot about in 2017. Some I actually saw in full!

  • Seiren – Watched in full
  • In Another World With My Smartphone – Watched in full
  • Fuka – Watched in full
  • Interviews with Monster Girls – Watched in full
  • Hinalogi – Watched 3 eps
  • Gabriel Dropout – Watched 6 eps
  • Classroom of the Elite – Watched in full
  • Berserk – Watched 3 eps?
  • Atom of the Beginning – Watched 2 eps?
  • Akashic Records – Watched in full
  • Tsugumomo – Watched in full
  • Re:Creators – Watched in full

Last but not least, twelve thoughts about the current condition of anime, of anime industry, of media mix life, of eventing, and all that jazz.

  1. Mobile gaming convergence. TV anime for the longest time was a way to promote other properties, similar to television adaptation using other methods. In the late 90s it kind of got a different shift, merging niche OVA demos with late-night TV sensibilities. Still, manga, novels, and the occasional video game adaptation were the bulk of the original material for anime, plus a steady stream of anime originals. I feel that SNS gaming is emerging from this cultural environment and trying to find a place where all of that fit with it. It varies case by case. Kemono Friends is a good example of something still unique happening. On the other hand these SNS are lot more profitable, albeit much more expensive to produce, and essentially occupies the same functional space at times, as late night anime. It further relegates anime as advertisement (Batoga and SGS are great examples.) I’m coming from a western POV–it takes a while for Americans (at least) to accept manga as a thing, and now light novels have more of a leg than before, but I don’t know if something cutting edge as advanced game design on gacha can be something acceptable. This is that growing rift between source material and media mix output which will slow the export of this kind of media goods.
  2. AX finally grows up? I have never been to AFASG. From what I hear it’s a good time for a lot of the kids who go. But on closer examination I think it’s basically a worse AX, and AX kinda sucks, as a conventioneer’s con. AX, at the same time, is North America’s biggest and most $ exhibition of Japanese pop culture (AFAIK), and a lot potentially rides on it. The last two year’s AWM is a good start, but it needs to get to the same level AFASG is. What I’m driving at is that AX is not some poor man’s non-profit educational convention (ahem, ******) but it can be a legit, mega-eventer’s-event on a global scale–it already is. Why isn’t it as cool as AFASG from a JP guest lineup perspective? I’m not asking for a lot here. I think AWM and the like happens because finally all this stuff is being partly arranged by Japan side themselves. Leaving it to various local cons is too much. In the next years I expect 2017 AX level of OMG every time.
  3. Anime goes meta in 2017. Maybe it’s Shirobako when it ended in 2016, but the anime world had some really, really meta stuff that I loved this year. I guess part of it is also that some late 2000s light novels finally got picked up for adaptation, but this stuff has been around for some time. Re:Creators is a good example–all of this is not new. I remember reading fanfics in the 90s that felt the same way. What I want to know is, without the authenticity and earnestness, will these work find an audience? I loved Eromanga-sensei because it shamelessly reveled in its meta, in part, but at the end of the journey it’s still just mostly fun and games. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s not next level material. More importantly, where will this trend go? In some ways we’ve had this already 15 years ago, and things were kind of obnoxious.
  4. Sakugabooru. It is making a difference. Pay them, if you like, I think it’s a worthwhile cultural investment. Too bad they aren’t a 401(c)3 or some such.
  5. On a similar note, with the whole fallout from the US presidential election 2016 and fake news, anime news/journalism needs and have always needed that boost on this side of the English-speaking Pacific. This was always one of my goals when I first joined Jtor in ’09. Too bad it’s really difficult to do press, any kind, with all the resources at your disposal. It’s not just money and time–it’s expertise, it’s connections, it’s experience, it’s perspective. I think there are a number of hard-workers out there with varying degrees of talent, trying to do something as writers. But that isn’t enough. I hope someone will come along and figure out the math to organize the resources to make it happen. I see something like Sakugabooru as a player in a big game in educating people to at least look at the industry side with the right mind set. It’s the daily battle on correcting notions on “budget” and what not, accurate reporting from translated news, and boots on the ground over there to give us a perspective that’s not too weeb. We’ve turned the corner on treating Japan as exotic oriental click-bait, there’s so much more left to do.
  6. Congrats on the two otaku I know who got married. First there was Paranda. Then there’s Momotato!
  7. State of the IDOLM@STER. In 2017 there are three huge things going on. First, SideM. The focus there is to fully develop and integrate that branch into the main franchise. It was already preordained, so to speak, to have a MOIW live with SideM. I still remember the sunset shot over Seibu Dome during that muggy July afternoon when the speakers were blaring Drive A Live, in 2015. Tsugutsugu will backflip. Well, maybe not. But IDOLM@STER owes it to Jupiter at least, and now there are all these other idols who will help to make it successful. Check out Tim’s blog on SideM for more writing on this. SideM is unique in that, first off, it’s on the surface the otome-branded IDOLM@STER sub-franchise. But in a way it embodies the truth of IDOLM@STER as a concept. In Japan, boy bands have reigned the charts for decades, so to be a real master of idols, dealing with male bands is a requirement, abstractly speaking. When IDOLM@STER 2 introduced Jupiter, it felt natural to me as an outsider, but it shook the game’s core by adding something relatively foreign. Fast forward 4 years and SideM was a thing. Yes, guys are into SideM, because guys who are into IDOLM@STER are into IDOLM@STER, and SideM is nothing less than more IDOLM@STER. I mentioned the Msute stuff here. The second focus is the continuing success of the Cinderella Girls franchise, with Deresute at the fore. The music problem is no longer a problem as idols are getting lots of group songs and many major event-facing idols have more or less two solos. The 5th tour was a success, despite various hangups and challenges. Cinderella Girls is also the face of IDOLM@STER outside of Japan (except Taiwan I guess). This is huge. The third focus is the continuing churn of Million Live, trying to find its feet, both to stand on its own and as successors/helpers. The combined events were great but I’m not sure if it meant anything with the changes being made to the original Million Live game. There are definitely plans for it, we know things are being taken cared of, but Million has its shares of hangups and challenges as well.
  8. IDOLM@STER Stella Stage. The bomb that was Platinum Stars meant that Stella Stage sales tanked. Gacha just doesn’t work in this way, and not to mention we probably reached saturation point some time ago. So far, a week into the game, I am having a blast. The game is now seriously about producing, scheduling your idols, swapping them in and out to min-max scheduling opportunities, experience distribution, and fatigue. This is a proper producing game. But it may be too little, too late? I’m not sure. I’ll probably write it up by itself once I get some time in JP or after my trip.
  9. Stage of Eventing in English-language sphere. I can’t say too much about SEA, or Europe, but eventing culture is becoming real. AX offkai showed that enough people kind of get it, but there is few in terms of leadership in the way that can bring a sense of community via an example. There are things people do and organize online, but they are no substitute to monkey-see-monkey-do. It’s not really possible to teach eventer manner or place-time limit on what to do when anisong is playing on the air and you happen to have some UO in your pocket. There may be culture, but there is no scene. So I guess, it’s time to build a scene? Unfortunately this is where DD-ism, which is something almost required in order to be an oversea eventer, works against you. It is through deep diving into a fandom that you learn all these things, not just taking a little of many. Well, it can work, but generally it means you have to be exposed to what you find in Japan, not in the States. In a way this means if we can’t import the culture or scene, we have to build ours from scratch. And that’s just freaking hard in a big-ass country like the USA.
  10. Gacha. I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem with Gacha. I probably will spend more in 2017 than in 2016, because I went ham in Theater Days. As of this writing, the new gacha mode require actual baller spending to 4-star masterpiece lesson the FES SSRs, and that is just too rich for my blood. I did 13 10ren and got the SSRs, but I’m not about to try to win 7-8 times more on a 2% pull. I guess I can always wait. Oh, the bigger confession is that I have every SSR in the game right now. I don’t always rank, but I have every ranking card too, most are 3*. I am actually missing one card from the game, which is from the 2nd milicolle event because I misread the event end date… And I think I will have to stop this party train pretty soon if I want to balance my budget in 2018.
  11. Eventing in Japan. I really YOLO’d in 2017. I applied for Megaton Voice, I won it, then I was in Japan a few days later and got tickets for 2 more events that paired with Megaton Voice. Then I went to Megaton Voice. That’s just crazy. Three full lives in 26 hours is not that crazy, JP eventer types do that all the time, but not sandwiched between two transpacific flights. With a typhoon on top. Never again? Never say never, but I survived it, with sanity being the main casualty, plus aggravating my existing bronchitis. Well, that was more from the prior trip with me catching whatever Asian bug going around in Anisama. Overall I had a great year and a fun time flying to Japan, may it be early in March and visiting Oarai, or in the summer for Anisama, or for Hotch Potch in the Fall. It felt okay because I went to Taiwan instead of Japan in the late Spring, right? LOL. This have to stop a bit in 2018.
  12. Organizing fan stuff. I learned a lot wrangling things for AX, may it be the call book or the flower stand stuff or the offkai. Also we did do a flower or two in 2017 for various lives. Towards the end I was fatigued, partly due to all the YOLO, added work at the day job, as well as falling sick for a few weeks. It adds up. I think I’m already consigned to being a good guy as much as possible, but it is definitely work that doesn’t quite reward you in typical ways. It still is rewarding, however, so I find it worth while to do. The problem, as I see it, is that it has become “work” in my mind which significantly lowers my personal motivation in moving forward. It’s not to say I won’t do it any more, but I think I can use a break or at least some helping hands.

I just want to conclude by giving a shoutout to all the readers. I hope I have been helpful and informative! Happy New Years if I don’t write again until the next!

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