Monthly Archives: October 2023

IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE Anime and the Meaning of Spoilers

The real qtpie in ep1

I have a lot to say about the Million Live TV anime, as you could imagine. I think the thoughts will not make it as blog entries unless there’s some way to get that angle and tackle just a part of this iceberg piece-wise. And yeah 90% of this opinion is underwater, and all of it is not-so-hot-takes. Maybe part of it is wet, I don’t know, but there ain’t any large boats to ram into.

The main thing I want to address that has more of an expiry-time nature to is the vastly asymmetric distribution of the media content. As you may know, the Million Live TV anime, all 12 episodes, was screened publicly in Japanese movie theaters about 8 weeks before episode 1 aired properly. Some countries also got screenings of the first 4 episodes, before episode 1 aired. Some fans could, and did, watch all of it before other fans watched even 1 of it, just due to regional availability. It has been a hot minute since an anime like this existed for a property that is contemporary, current, and I’m into. In fact since the dawn of speed subbing and simulcasting, it only really happens for theatrical works. But you know, Miyazaki Hayao’s latest film screened in Japan only about 2 months before it screened in the USA, so we’re working with about the same time lag I guess.

What’s bad is not just that now talking to fans in Japan means wading into spoiler territory, but they fundamentally see the series in a different light than those who haven’t seen the anime see the series. Granted, I am more like, I don’t know, waist deep, in spoilers myself as not only I’ve seen eps 1-4 already (I guess it’s a perk of going to Japan multiple times a year), I also am not particularly mindful of reading spoilers.

The worst, however, is that the main point behind screening ML anime in theaters is that they can make some additional revenue from selling theatrical merch tie-ins, aside from actual theatrical run revenue. It’s also market validation. It’s in-game tie-ins for the hardcore players and fans. I get it. I know why they want to do this. But as an oversea fan it sucks because there are entire swaths of my twitter that I can’t really access, LOL–not because I want to dodge spoilers, but because they talk about things I won’t get until I see the show.

Apple Watch?

Anyways, it’s time to put that aside for the next 11 or so weeks and figure out if I can travel to Fukuoka for Million Live 10th Tour Act-3 and still enjoy the show. I will have all the new songs (another thing forced on us while we are info-asymmetric, CD releases) by then, but if my math is right we will only be on episode 4 or 5 at the time. I’ll need to find a local theater showing the rest, like how they’re doing it at Toyosu, showing all 12 episodes right now. (Did I mention the tie-in with ML anime at Toyosu all this time? Another way to part money from the locals I guess.) Isn’t it nice to watch an episodic series and decided you had enough of waiting and just binge the rest in a theater? I digress.

The new units and units songs seems pretty swell as the second batch of them are now previewed on Youtube. I can’t wait to see the rest of this. First batch at this link.

No straps with binocs, a nub mistake

PS. As someone who occasionally have a pair of binocs at concerts, I know how this feels.

PPS. Just some related thoughts on concerts. We all know that formally, ML anime actually was delayed. It probably meant that we are a year late or so, that the end of the series translate into the start of 10th tour. Putting aside that 9th was in January and 10th Act-1 was in April, this would be a natural lead-in. At this point, the ML anime Blu-rays are too late (Volume 1 comes out Jan. 10) for the lottery for Act-4 in late February. I guess they can always put something special in there (I fully am expecting it) but I guess we’ll see.

16-Bit Nostalgia

Just to quickly check: the opening song to Comic Party is also called ????? (Kimi no mama de), the same as Amagami anime OP (second OP to Amagami SS), which is now going to be a bonus track for the fifth volume home-video release for 16-Bit Sensation ~Another Layer~. It’s a new TV anime airing on a streaming service near you.

I am not too sure how to view this. Personally watching the first episode felt not so much a huge nostalgia trip, but witnessing necromancy. It’s triggering memories from not from a past life, but two past lives ago. Looking back, my journey as a person and as a fan in respect to “otaku culture” and contents has definitely, well, gone to places. Maybe another way to say is that I’ve grown old, grown up, grown tired, or just put it all past me to a degree, so much so, that I am even a bit guarded about my nostalgia and just how much of it is worth recalling.

It’s not an exaggeration to say I was really into some of this stuff back then; but we all were. I don’t find that aspect particularly notable, even in 2023, when those of us back then are now, at least, middle-aged men and women. Personally, I was most intrigued by memories of being into I’ve Sounds, which was part and parcel with Kanon and other older Visual Arts titles. I never really was into the games short of Type-Moon’s, maybe… the aesthetics was more what spoke to me, and in some ways the core desires about having some character put into that position, the main girl in the galge, that Konoha somehow stated in ep1. I think there’s an undeniable attractiveness which centers the classic moe idea that just is not really talked about this day and age, which is not about the gap so much or what defines moe itself, but the always-changing ways in which that is brought forward in a fictional depiction.

Which is to say, Type-Moon actually is way too new for 16-bit Sensation. I think while I was still living my first life, as continue to lean on this metaphor, that title came towards the latter part of it. Maybe this is why I don’t hate vampires so much. Which is just to say, I probably have a bigger problem with necromancers, because fundamentally what dead creatures resurrected differ from the same creatures when they were alive. It’s not to say 16-Bit Sensation did this, or aspire to recreate, or anything along those lines, but invariably it’s got to ward off the smells of inauthenticity by suspending our beliefs somehow. It would be a logical thing to do: let old timers nitpick how the anime got it wrong to distract them from the ludicrous time-traveling premise. Certain forms of inauthenticity are features. But we need not to get too bogged down on this; just by actually having graphical assets from Grandpa’s eroge closet in the anime is powerful enough of a dose.

And I think this is also the only sensible way to approach 16-Bit Sensation; the story is about an otaku-joshi illustrator who suddenly traveled back in 1992 so she can make the galge that she dreamed of making. That is pretty wild, by 2023 lingo, and really not at a point where we can take it on after 1 episode.