Monthly Archives: March 2021

Omonomono Newsletter, Mar. 29 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-03-29

Just a note–I might be trying out different newsletter services and providers in the coming weeks. I didn’t mention how I switched last week–which was just using my blog’s own hosting instead of MailChimp. That might be better in the end, but deliverability might not be the best, I don’t know. Thanks to Substack this whole sector is now buzzing with 3rd party providers helping hapless writers do IT, so there are more choices now than before especially for non-marketers.

Feel free to ping me if you have any concerns or are not receiving them. The email this week is going to go out on EmailOctopus. Probably will try something different again next week? I don’t know.

This Past Week

It’s not exactly anime, but the best anime this year is now on Netflix worldwide except a few regions that have separate licensing agreement: PUI PUI MOLECAR.

Bannam reorgs its oversea stuff. CR deal gets extra scrutiny. Maybe they’re curious about the new Precure streams? Joke aside I’m not too worried.

On that note, here are the CR Spring licenses, and Funi’s. The usual is happening where some dubs get one and subs get the other.

Sidonia gets game.

Tsukihime Remake gets release date: 8/26. Supposedly this will have only Ciel and Arc routes but loaded with new content so it has about as much content as the original game. The new cast is also listed, along with announcement for a new Melty Blood game. Details in link.

Girl’s Frontline anime gets trailer. These Chinese mobile game anime are really more miss than hit it seems, but maybe this one bucks the trend.

Eva 3+1 still raking it in the news, but now you can reenact SK8 ending sequences using EVA boards.

On the note of obnoxious anime names with music instrumentation, here’s a new challenger.

Roselia films on stream? This is sorta new.

The annual report from the AJA is out, covering the year 2019. It does mention COVID but no numbers from the past year. English summary report is worth noting but a bit more rah-rah-go-industry this time than usual.

There were a bunch of news out of Anime Japan, but most of them are new anime or game tie-in announcements. There were a few stages where the performers sung their new OP/ED live too. Notably Megamiryo… Cosplayer unit doing the songs sure is a thing now! Oh, Netflix is also doing something… but they actually announced a stream to do that at AJ rather at AJ itself. And instead of me delaying this post by recapping AJ news, just read this.

On the Mind

Horses, but the anime. Umamusme Season 2 concluded with a pre-show live stream with a nice cast, and you can catch it on Youtube. The season finale is also magical. It takes home the idea behind transforming horses into people and then telling it like an ESPN 30-for-30 elevates a story with sports, not glorification of cool military gear, problematic political actors, or other things that have a lot of baggage.

Events

Here’s a US-based one: Sakura Matsuri in Washington DC is now virtual. It’s this Saturday from noon to 3pm.

IDOLM@STER Shiny Colors 3rd tour begins this weekend at Nagoya.

D4DJ Merm4id solo show this weekend.

Yui Makino!

Halko Momoi’s show this weekend is viewable online.

Konomi Suzuki’s tour stop this week is viewable as well.

Charming dork Azusa Tadokoro has a one-off online concert this weekend! I am looking forward to this a lot.

Japan Online Fes 2021 Spring starts this week weekend and will run also next weekend. Couple Bandori groups, Sayuri, ReoNa, and a lot more on the artist list.

Personal Note

Short read, but sports–Masahiro Tanaka somewhat confirms what happened last year in Florida, as some feared his family were targeted by racists. I guess it’s not personal, but here’s just to say that even voicing FUD have a chilling and negative impact, and it’s reason enough to make loud statements to push back against that kind of stuff even if people may have a right to voice their fear, doubts and uncertainty. A society without sensible self-restraint is a society without nice things, and I want to live in a society full of nice things.

Long Reads

Go watch Season 2 of Umamusume, then read the real thing. (Where’s part 2? I have no idea.)


Omonomono Newsletter, Mar. 25 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-03-25

This Past Week

Thursday I saw this news going around about Japan’s Coca-Cola pass and I’m like, the US have them too, even if it’s different that it is a loyalty program and not a subscription. Of course, since Kotaku is unfamiliar with both Japanese vending machines and Coca-Cola vending passes, a number of mistakes has been made.

WEP episode 10 has a bunch of sakugabros online working on it. Kind of neat. Also the whole transsexual spectrum thing they did with Momoe is quite nice–really stretches the viewers’ notion of what it means to be trans and the definition and ideas that boxed even trans people’s notion of what being trans is. WEP 11 is also a great twist and I hope the series concludes with both feet on the ground.

This was news actually a bit before the article, but Bushiroad did buy out Frontwing. Nothing unsurprising here if you ask me. VN conglomerates have a lot of great IP and as that sector continues to dry up, it present some opportunities. Bushiroad is commercially opportunistic, but as an IP generator I think they are still a step or two behind the actual giants in the industry. So the match makes sense as Bushi continue to fortify on the male-interest side.

Why English Shiny Colors?? oh right government funding.

Love Live jumps into home console F2P and this is all so vintage 2014 consolem@s for me. Including all the expensive DLCs.

On that note, Shiny Colors announced a new unit over the weekend and released the seiyuu on Tuesday, as it has done the last 2 years. Also a month+ of free rolls plus other 3rd anniversary bonuses. The new “other” character Luca Ikaruga isn’t in the new unit but her CV, an Aoni talent, shares a name with a Stardust talent. Just something to know.

On the Mind

The new Shiny Colors unit–one of the two characters is the sister of Hazuki, the assistant/staff of the production office. This is a weird development but also exciting because you don’t know where this is suppose to go. In old times the assistant herself is the idol (or ex-idol in Kotori’s case) but this is a good development generally. The Nanakusa name also seems to suggest we won’t have more than 7 units?

Horses, work, and Shiny Colors feels right. It’s been a busy week trying to do all that, on top of Priconne (in EN does everyone just get their Kyouka for free or what?) and ARMooo grind in Theater Days.

Also–I’ve been using MailChimp but I want to simplify more for this newsletter thing, so I’m trying a few different things. Hopefully nothing different will happen for the readers and handful subscribers out there.

Events

Chokaigi 2021 lineup kinda listed here. Pivoting into pay-to-view more so now. Scheduled for the last weekend in April.

Anime Japan is this weekend. You have to pay to watch it, but they have an English language stream where streamers will speak in English as they watch the other streams.

Anisong idols A応P final live was today, if you missed it you can timeshift it. It’s on Stagecrowd so oversea-friendly.

Also, i☆Ris member Azuki Shibuya is graduating at this Sunday and you can watch their last 6-people live here.

A bit out of scope but I’m trying to get the code to watch this Non Non Biyori event. You just need to buy the OP single and the code is inside. There’s some Million Live release event this weekend as well that were postponed from last year, now online–too bad they’re limited to Animate lottery winners.

Personal Note

I stayed up to watch both Shiny Colors 2nd live shows last weekend and am still suffering for it. If I get more tired than I do on the weekdays, on the weekend, it just makes the coming week all the rougher. The problem is even if I sleep in (and I did on Saturday), the following day just gets screwed up due to the time lag. The only option is to wake up “early” on Sunday and suck it up, but invariably I sleep too late to make a full recovery Monday. Anyways, this just means I am almost sure that I’m only releasing this post later in the week so I can make up sleep.

Baked oats–anyone into these? I’m not but am curious… Since the corona lockdown I’ve been cooking a lot, as said, so often time I would google up recipes. Naturally now my Android phone’s google feed thing recommends me weird food trends inspired by the attention economy.

On that note, those Sharp high-end rice cookers are now customized for IDOLM@STER and on sale. They are really expensive, 1 liter capacity, IOT…things. I want one lol. It even has auto-stir feature which means you can cook curry or other stew-y things in it without burning the bottom? Not a pressure cooker though.

Long Reads

Ooops, I knew I forgot something.


Umamusume: The Finer Points

The theme song “GIRLS’ LEGEND U” from the game Umamusme Pretty Derby starts with this phrase: やっとみんな会えたね! It translates loosely to “We finally get to see everyone.” Mixed into that is the marching horns and battle cries of the cast in an anthem. It is the banner theme song of the core product in a media-mix property years in the making–partly due to a multi-year delay between the initial release date and the actual release date. It’s really cute that the song tips the hat to the delay. In fact, in a way this song tips a hat to the strange journey of the video game from conception to coming out on our phones, tablets and PCs: Don’t stop until you finish.

But we can farm a lot more out of GIRLS’ LEGEND U than all that. Much more. Woven into the instrumentals are these thematic strings that you can also get a good glimpse in the bridge, as well as different parts of the game as background music. Having the theme song of a thing synchronize musically with the other background pieces of the thing isn’t unusual–it’s rather expected, especially in video games. But also the song itself tells us more up front–really, what I want to write about isn’t the song, but horses.

Umamusme is about horses…girls, of course, but it’s really about horses. Specifically, the legends of horses IRT to horse racing. I would call Umamusme a game about HORSE GIRLS’ LEGEND but the titular song is, instead of HORSE it’s… U for Uma? Umapyoi Densetsu (うまぴょい伝説) is the first theme song for the franchise from 2016 and the title really says more or less the same thing, just more horse than girl.

On paper, the conceit of these alternative character-based franchises (ships, guns, katanas, cities, appliances, etc.) are as database as it gets. You put these things (and animals in our case) in the otaku database machine and create a character story out of it. Bundle a bunch of these and tie it together with a setting and a few themes, and out comes a media franchise.

In that sense, Umamusume is no different. But the big difference that I can see between Umamusume and the garden variety ones out and about, is that Umamusume has been imbued, at least from what I can tell, a spirit that is horse-like. Horses are large, majestic, temperamental and sensitive land mammals. Horses are social, in that they exhibit social behaviors such as pact mentality, dominance, individuality, competitiveness, and others (such as being able to be domesticated). They play and court. It’s easy to translate a particular natural aspect of horses into anime characters, and I see that being a very strong underlying pattern in the Umamusme franchise.

It’s easy to see this in the characterizations of all the horsegirls. It also helps that the “good girl” trope resonate well with the audience–our racing horses all are good horses (and presumably their rights owners wouldn’t allow otherwise). I mean there are so many of them (even just in Japan alone) and the ones that people commemorate enough to put in a video game are already legends themselves. Of course they are good girls. Even if you run into problems like making El Condor Pasa into a she… Doesn’t that break grammar LOL.

Contrast this with, say, things that are based on WWII heroes or weapons of destruction. How do you channel “the military” except only superficially? You can do a lot more when you’re channeling legends about racing horses, it turns out, maybe because it’s not problematic.

And I think this is where Cygames really flexed their muscles. You can directly take what is lovely and endearing about these horses and put them right in the game, down to the way their tails wag or the way their ears twitch. It’s beyond the whole sexual aspect of furry appeal–we are talking about making fiction where you combine the best of what racing horses have to offer with typical otaku tropes. (And including the sex appeal as appropriate, as it never was gone, just not in the fore.)

This to me comes across like all the strings in the instruments throughout the game BGM. Cygames was tasked to make Umamusume a game that conservative Japanese businessmen would gladly sign over their legendary horse brands over to, so I think a certain level of restraint was needed throughout the entire Umamusume experience. The characters (and the cast, FWIW) are still going to do the same rigmarole, the same toe taps and dance routines. Tracen Academy is extremely generic but it does adhere to a classy all-girls school vibe. Symboli Rudolf and Meijiro McQueen can walk down the school yard gracefully, while Vtuber Gold Ship can jump kick the trainer while it happens.

That is the framework that allows things to happen, but what endears us is the individual stories themselves, and how it’s executed. For me, the game taught me the one behind Rice Shower, who was put down during her final race due to injury. It’s sad, sure, but the story in the anime and game makes it a lot more approachable due to the execution and details. The most famous of them all–Haru Urara–only got as popular as she did because of marketing/promotion and production, after all. In a way, Umamusume is the same pitch, but for a lot more horses besides Haru Urara. When these horsegirls channel their named legends, it’s where the magic happens. Even if it’s extremely normal/boring like Special Week, it is still endearing that our mother-loving, Hokkaido born glutton became one of Japan’s best.

Which is all to say, GIRLS’ LEGEND U is a great piece of music, and you can tell by hearing someone playing it on the piano. This is some great composition fit for a sweeping orchestra. Instead we have a bunch of seiyuu grunting calls about winning races. No matter how you cloak it, a good story will shine through–and that’s what Umamusume really is about, putting into character-stories of racing horses, their lives, and their struggles.

PS. There are other finer points to Umamsume Pretty Derby. So far it has largely inherited many of the QOL stuff that I love about Princess Connect! Re:Dive. It being a raising game doesn’t quite translate into how not to make it into the same kind of “menu hell” that JRPGs can be, but I see some small glimpses of hope here as is. It is also kind of time consuming given each raising run takes a good half hour, at least. There are many little touches in the game and in the IP generally that I wish I can highlight but it will make several post at least. Anyways, I’ll end with this video.


Omonomono Newsletter, Mar. 16 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-03-16

This Past Week

Masami Okui had another birthday (I never count these anymore I guess) but it coincides with the release of her latest album. You can find it at the usual places.

In other news about things from my younger days, the last and latest Evangelion movie finally got its day in the sun in Japan. Needless to say it shattered some records, but given it released on a Monday, it’s unorthodox to say the least. It’s weird that out of everything from it, I’m more excited about the vinyl covers for the Hikki theme.

If you want to celebrate rebels as statutes, maybe try this one.

March 11 is a special day in Japan and 2021 marks the 10th year of the Tohoku disaster. Have some coffee holders.

Starlit Season has been pushed back from May to October. Funny thing is literally just before the news came out I went and created a new Steam account to allow for purchasing Japanese games, and preordered it. Such is life.

Vtubers for AirAsia. I flew them once on the way into Indonesia, they are pretty okay for a LCC.

Two Moms!

On the Mind

I didn’t list it in the last news letter, but Suzufes and Nano.ripe (plus Healer Girls) on Nissin were two shows I wanted to watch and forgot about. Guess the archives are still there until later this week.

I stayed up to watch Reina Ueda’s first live. She debuted as an artist back in 2016 and while she has performed a couple times in some special events, this is her first full blown concert. It was short and, uh, thematic I guess, but also very comfortable and enjoyable in ways that you might not experience seiyuu events elsewhere. The archive is until this Saturday (Sunday JST) so I definitely recommend it, assuming navigating eplus is not an issue for you.

I also neglected to mention last update, but the reading drama with a bunch of 81Produce seiyuu was all week last week and I caught one session on Sunday. It’s by the same author as the wifi-hacking one I watched last winter in Japan. This one is about identity fraud.

Kung Fu Tea is an older, American-based Asian drink chain taking after the Taiwanese craze since the 00s. Voila.

Events

We announced Kurocon volume 3 in July!

Kimetsu no Yaiba/Demon Slayers film in US theaters soon?

As for this weekend, it’s even more packed than last week.

Mai Fuchigami has a live Friday!

This coming weekend is IDOLM@STER Shiny Colors 2nd LIVE. It is both a physical event (or two events, both days) and it will be streamed online live. What’s more, the teaser for next week’s announcement stream seem to hint at a new unit. All details here.

Garnidelia also have two shows this weekend!

Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is having a two-day festival this weekend also, and you can even use the EN version of eplus and pia to watch it. Good thing these things have timeshift, eh. Livers might want to also catch the Songs of Tokyo special on Sunday.

Yuri Komagata has a concert on the 20th! Should be a blast!

Machico, our favorite hotdog lady, is doing a show on the 20th as well. Hype!

May’n 15th Montly Concert series continues in March with “Rock” on also the 20th.

Anisong daddy Hironobu Kageyama is doing a solo thing on Nissin Power Plant on the 20th.

On Sunday, you can be a beater online in this SAO event with some anisong singers.

Mikuni Shimokawa has a birthday show on Sunday the 21st.

Last one for this post is Asca acoustic live on Sunday.

Personal Note

It’s horses all day and Priconne JP and EN in the gaps. Not a lot other than trying to find time to catch up on snooze, some piled up work, and thinking I should clean my place and very, very slowly getting to it.

During the quarantine months I cooked a lot more–to be sure, I normally cook my own food. But thanks to not going anywhere I ended up cooking the things I was craving for due to inability of travel. Turns out most of the time I just want to eat tebasaki in japan. I suppose a lot of the things I can half-ass get here. Kit ramens go a long way if you get the right ones. I can get sushi grade fish and cut them on my own. Other noodles dishes aren’t too hard to make either. Karaage isn’t hard, just a bit annoying to deal with the oil. I even made hitsumabushi this week but lacking a lot of the picked vegetables didn’t help. Still came out good I think. A bit of green onion goes a really long way. Or a dab of wasabi.

Long Reads

I have a couple long reads in the back burner but probably off-topic for this article. Instead, check out Chihhi doing an acoustic studio cover of her hit song from 22 years ago. Goddamn 22 years ago is a long time ago but worse, it doesn’t feel that way to me. (On the bright side, 25 years does.)


Omonomono Newsletter, Mar. 9 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-03-09

This Past Week

Haruka Terui got married! She married not an ippanjin, but a professional go player. Parnyasu is a seiyuu in some notable works like Yukiyuna and Momoka from CG, and visited Sakuracon that year that I couldn’t go (like most years). Personally I follow her mostly through SS Channel twitter… But it does make sense that she married a go player.

AX is online again. I don’t keep tabs of all the cancel/postponements here, but it’s worth noting the online ones at least, which I will in the Events section. AX is a big industry event however, so I guess people will continue what they did last year on that end.

Megumi Hayashibara is back on Shaman King remake? Trailer here.

Vtuber Mori’s collab with Priconne is actually pretty okay, once you get beyond the cringe. It is an oddity for sure–officially collaborating with the publisher to create new content based on the product which is owned by the developer who has basically no hands in it? I don’t know, but it can certainly be worse.

This fhana pic

Wake Up Girls 2-year disbandment anniversary!

The Seiyuu awards 2020 happened. I think Kokochan winning the influencers reward is the one we all can agree on. Kotori Koiwai has been on a tear on social media during COVID times and shilling a lot of stuff, working that influencer biz. Her home studio also lets her produce things that otherwise would take a third party, making doing business under COVID protocols easier. Anyways, cheers to Kokochan, Reina and other winners!

On the Mind

Normally this would be a blog post riffing on Evirus, but winter camping is considered self harm for some people! I’m so glad they did the episode about sudden dropping temperatures and that can kill people. Maybe better to leave it as a footnote here.

I wrote another primer on the Umamusume game. Maybe intro level enough when paired with the other helper sites and tools. Then, I wrote a raising guide.

Events

Kurocon replay is this Saturday. Also, remember to change your clock for daylight savings, Americans. The rest of these brought to you by Boglecord. Hint: Sunday is packed.

Wataru Hatano live this weekend on Saturday..

Daoko show on Saturday, which supports overseas with some EN instructions.

Restream of Roselia x RAS from last month this weekend–I hear it was good? This one can be timeshifted until 3/30.

Happy Around on Sunday.

Archive stream of Macross Delta live from January.

Ikimonogatari anniversary stream concert on Sunday.

LiSA acoustic online live restreamed Sunday.

Anisama Nights II stream, which is something from last year. They haven’t really ever shown these Anisama Nights event before by my recollection so it’s actually very curious.

Ueda Reina’s postponed event from last Summer is schedule for Sunday with a live stream.

Personal Note

It’s horses all day and Priconne JP and EN in the gaps. Not a lot other than trying to find time to catch up on snooze, some piled up work, and thinking I should clean my place and very, very slowly getting to it.

During the quarantine months I cooked a lot more–to be sure, I normally cook my own food. But thanks to not going anywhere I ended up cooking the things I was craving for due to inability of travel. Turns out most of the time I just want to eat tebasaki in japan. I suppose a lot of the things I can half-ass get here. Kit ramens go a long way if you get the right ones. I can get sushi grade fish and cut them on my own. Other noodles dishes aren’t too hard to make either. Karaage isn’t hard, just a bit annoying to deal with the oil. I even made hitsumabushi once but lacking a lot of the picked vegetables didn’t help.

Long Reads

Umamusume is a big deal in my head, but it is even bigger in other people’s. Read this article (in JP) if you can.

It’s been sitting on my list of to-watch for 2+ weeks, but Gen Hoshino talks about his subcultural past in Nakamura and Kajita’s YouTube show. And pt2. He is a man of culture is all I can say. Also Wasyagana is a good show too, even if I don’t really watch it.