Umamusume Pretty Derby is a media-mix franchise that has a series of character songs, two anime series (more like seasons 1 and 2), and now a F2P mobile game. Turns out, the game is really great. [The official EN name going by CR is Umamusume, without the space.]
I will just focus on the game and not the meta nor the nitty gritty. Well, I can link to the nitty gritty. Reddit and the Reddit-attached discord server are two places anyone can start (especially in English). It’s not clear which JP game site is the go-to, but the usual suspects are posting about it. There is a lot to the game that is still not yet unearthed, some parts of it we don’t know how it works, etc. Anyways.
RIP Daft Punk? But the Clock of the Cinderella never stops ticking.
The real joke is RIP Daft Punk vinyl prices. Ye gads.
This Past Week
I talked about D4DJ First Mix in general but finally, Waipa talks about his work in the anime! It’s in this week’s D4DJ presents Peaky P-key no SaichoutenMix. Miyu and DJ Wildparty have met from way back, and it’s rare that these DJ gets the backstory spilled out this way. The full thing is available free: here (need VPN or region-bypass plugin for Radiko), or check it out on Spotify, Amazon or Apple podcast.
I was able to catch some of Bloom, the Hololive idol concert thing. Really not that bad, but this is at the same level where I can see how some other groups (namely: well-stocked Chinese companies and vtubers) can do just as good if not better of a job. But it’s evaluating the situation backwards to think that, I think. At some level this is the way a properly postmodern regurgitation would feel like. It’s easy to look at the output and say how it would be written as a SQL statement, but the management and creation of the database is magnitude harder. That said, I am not really familiar or vested in the the characters (and maybe not even the performers) so it really is not that appealing. But then again…this is its own thing that will appeal to certain folks.
Hironobu Kageyama’s birthday was 2/18! More over, check out this video talking about JAM Project 20th anniversary and their new docufilm. For some reason they got Angela’s Atsuko and Masayoshi Oishi as MC–anisong’s biggest shittalkers. Sure is weird. Also this article IN ENGLISH!
Checking out on Zaiko was the eufonius anniversary concert stream and it was pretty chill and got all the hits. A bit short but also pretty spot on. That falsetto sure is something.
On the Mind
I had a lot of good memories surrounding the Crest series–Crest of the Stars, and then the Banner of the Stars. They are a series of SF novels from Hiroyuki Morioka. If you copied the form of LOGH and made it more superficially interesting in line with modern popular SF, this will be what you get kinda. It’s infrastructural, it’s a bit 40k in space, it’s about relationships that otaku will care about. While the anime adaptations have come and went for over 20 years (goddamn it has been that long?) the light novels recently have been rebooted by EN localizers J-Novel Club. In fact they have been retranslated and it has made past volume 3 of Banner, which IIRC was how far the original official EN translation went. Volume 5 just recently came out, with part 1 of volume 6 in prepub.
Sunday nights anime watching has becoming a bit of an experience this season, between Attack on Titan Season 4 and Mushoku Tensei. While I never did the GoT thing on Sundays, I get that same vibe with these two. I just don’t get the “water-cooler” talk for these shows. It’s like you either get smug light novel/manga types or very, very deep and wide pool of plebs like myself enjoying the ride. Unfortunately many don’t watch the shows right as they come out.
Lots of event backlogs this week, despite being more of a light weekend for most. Going to churn through that…maybe catch the 8bitstory BAC show?
Was there supposed to be a Kurocon announcement? LOL.
Coming up in a couple days is the launch of the long-awaited Umamusme mobile game (which will be on iOS, Android, and DMM/PC). Watch the launch live stream?
The big show this weekend is LisAni Live 2021. I probably will try my best to watch it all real time, but we’ll see. Unlike Animax Musix, anyone can watch these, no geo restrictions. Of course, CG and ML are representing so that makes it a no-brainer.
May’n is celebrating her 15th anniversary this year and she is doing 5 monthly concert streams. Saturday is her 2nd one.
The extremely cold temps hitting Texas (cold for Texas) causing power outages affected me also indirectly, because of friends and family out there in the cold. Learning about the details of this is just extremely sad. Say what you will about how authoritarian governments and communism can make countries ineffective internationally because so much energies and overhead spent on dealing with polity, there’s something to be said when unregulated rampant greed dressed as capitalistic policy undermines a nation’s fundamentals. The money it cost to fortify the Texan power grid against cold is a tiny fraction of costs inflicted on blackouts of numerous factories and interruptions of businesses. Worse, almost the exact same thing happened 10 years ago. If the government isn’t willing to fairly referee and revise the rule book for the best net outcome, it is it still even capitalism? This is literally the case of spending a big fortune to make a small one, just backwards. [BTW, that’s a saying I learned from Everquest (any Enchanters…), thanks Log Horizon.]
The scary thing is how a certain philosophy of greed has really taken hold the momentum for change in the US government. It’s one thing for Texas to struggle with this, but the fear is it will merely be a reflection of other crises the country have to deal with in advance, that nothing happens even after those bad events happen.
In a lighter note, Priconne Fest came and went–it’s the first in-person type festival the series has had. Too bad the live concert segment was postponed? Bummer. This past week was pretty crazy for me on PriconneR just because of the EN new level cap, event, and the festivities in JP. Now there’ll be horses on the plateâ€¦ Ugh
Budding sensation of the Hanshin Tigers talks about it in English. Jerry Sands plays the outfield and the fans enjoy this emotional guy on the field (for NPB standards), aside from his raking. Anyways, this NC native kind of made the meme circuit in 2020. Like many hitting prospects of the modern era, they’re kinda, uh, chonk.
Somewhat more on topic, here is the TL for Noriko Hidaka’s Famitsu interview having reaching 40 years in the biz as of 2020. There are 2 parts, and the same person is translating the interview for Kouhei Tanaka also in the same issue (and also 40yrs).
While I’m sitting home, working from home, and eventing from home under this COVID-19 scheme of things, the world keeps on ticking. Just because life may have paused somewhat for me, the world has not. Which is just to say, I feel like this blog could use a change.
I thought about doing a newsletter type format thing for this blog for a while now, and maybe that makes more sense. Of course, to make a proper email newsletter, it’s a different type of syndication. I will probably still post the letters on this site for posterity sake. It is going to have a similar voice.
Nonetheless a newsletter format of journaling seems a bit more appropriate for the things I’m thinking about. It takes a lot of time to germinate ideas worth the while for public posting, and then survive the iterative review I do. It’s not like my unpublished draft count is going down… Only a portion of what I write is gets published in the end, no matter how stream-of-conscious the rambling gets. I don’t have a formal clipboard process but that might change as a result?
In short, below is an example from this week. I’m not committed to a set schedule, but I’ll aim for a weekly schedule. I’ll post them in the emails at least, and probably on the blog too, as I go. You can subscribe to it by entering your email below. At some point those emails will go out, when I figure out how this works anyways. Meanwhile I’ll post them on the site for now.
I have a lot of various feelings about Otakon generally, and it is facing an existential crisis due to COVID-19 shutting down the con and impacting its finances. No surprise–many expected the pandemic rolling into the second year to put some cons six feet under, given the way many cons are run. Naturally my feelings are, uh, mixed.
Let’s mostly put aside the execution of the Otakon fundraiser, but I need to rant a bit about it. A 401c3 US Educational Non-Profit based in Maryland is once again asking for your donations. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all–except that it complicates their business model as Otakon never really had to play the fundraiser game. It ran more like a normal con (for profit or otherwise) but it also did not really keep a lot of money on hand. More over, the burn rate for Otakon, as we now know through direct communication, is something like $250,000 USD per year, even during the pandemic. Those are all key details that were eventually revealed–they could disclose this important data point from the start, and that they half-ass the ask is just a reflection of a bigger problem. Those keeping tabs on Otakon’s historical financial disclosures already have a good ballpark estimate. Knowing how that con is run somewhat, it does not come as a surprise how things are coming to ahead and they need to make the savings withdraw on public sympathy.
Aforementioned bigger problem is the main problem I have with Otakon: It does not feel that the leadership has a clear focus on what to do with the con besides treading water. Maybe that is the result of the rotating committee structure, and every year feels a bit like its own thing. Maybe it’s bending over backwards a bit too much to play that straight and narrow Educational Foundation stuff.
That’s the thing. Anime conventions, from my point of view, are better compared to country clubs. A bunch of people come together, pool their money and resources (time, energy, connections, knowledge, and more) to hold a party so everyone else not running it can participate at whatever level they are comfortable with. Maybe this is walking 18 holes and not playing it. Maybe this is doing a panel on drivers, or selling golf carts, whatever. But the economics of it only works if there is critical mass, and the larger such mass the more expensive event you can put on. If you want big name guests, they are expensive and can only really happen at large cons. There are only so few of these in North America, and so few with enough credentials and networks, and can put that budget into that kind of thing. That’s my point of view anyways. I realize for many others, this is not as big of a deal, but this does roll/trickle down in that Stone Soup allegory that makes any con worth going to–the networking effect of enough draws relevant to your interests and your friends’ interests make the party happen.
As someone who’s actually been to every Otakon (East Coast ones at least) since 1998 I am kind of done with it, in that while over the years I enjoyed this con and many of the things it did, I also see that it isn’t going to really level up its game. Things also have changed a lot since 20+ years ago and it is not like there is a lack of anime cons around here. Actually, there kind of is? But only ones like Otakon’s size and overall organizational quality. It isn’t because we don’t have a scene for it, it’s more because, well, it’s not easy to run a con like that. There are many smaller cons around that do many of the things just as well as Otakon, but Otakon occupies its spot–both in the calendar and in my con spending budget (time and money).
Which is just to say, I already made my donation and I hope the best for them, but as an attendee who is somewhat invested and someone concerned about anime cons, I think replacing Otakon with whatever that will happen in the vacuum of its possible demise is likely not a net negative in the long run. It’s not just me being the usual silver-lining optimist, but I do think this con really can be renovated or something, like the BCC. Too bad COVID is either going to make that even less possible, or kill it outright. Neither is great…