Category Archives: XCOM Seiyuu Play

Year in Review 2012: Together with That Moe Koe of Yours

This funny picture is f unny

I think a part of me died when I published this post with that title. Anyway, two parts to this post.

1. Like I said, and others have said the same many times, 2012 will be known the year where a ton of notable seiyuu got married. Of course, I only have what I know to go on, so there might have been some other year where more seiyuu got married, but 2012 is the one I do know. These voice talents often do not have the kind of publicity in the old days as they do now, especially since social networking is a great way to promote yourself and more people flock to it as a mean to promote their work. As a result fans (and everyone else on the internet) get a better look at the personal lives of these celebrity-types. Entertainers.

Oh, well, let’s see–

And as a related note:

  • Tsuyoshi Koyama got married on valentine’s day. Mikuni Shimokawa also got married on valentine’s day.
  • ZUN tied to knot, too.

Well, congratulations to all the new couples in 2012 and I hope they stick till death do them apart.

2. I think it probably marks the 2nd or 3rd year that I’ve been posting and toasting over here. It’s probably the third year for this guy, too. Recently I tried to cross post some stuff over at Pinterest, but it’s still just an experiment at the time. I’m not so much on chronological landmarks but I do appreciate all the work, for years(!), a few people put into posting these seiyuu shots on the web in a way that’s easy to access, so cheers to that!

Up next: I feel fine.

PS. That XCOM game is still ongoing, but progress is very slow given that I haven’t touched it in a while…

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The Anime in the Middle of Nowhere

I think it’s too early to close the books on Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere anime series. I sincerely hope it continues on to book 3 and keep on adopting. I’m not too sure if I actively look forward to them, but things feel rather inevitable given how well it is doing on the Japanese domestic home video sales front. I guess this post is a status check.

But rather than criticizing (I think JP pretty much nailed it, even if his hammer might be a little too unforgiving) it for its substantive content, I feel the biggest worry I have for subsequent Horizon adaptation is how it is kind of bringing little that is new to the table. And I don’t mean in terms of having razor blades in oranges or exploiting hooks from British history–I mean it in the adaptative front.

I really enjoyed season 1 in terms of its Jerome Bettis-like attitude towards the finish line and having to bring everything along despite that it just wouldn’t quite gracefully fit. It also kind of fits the nature of Horizon–everyone gets on the bus. It’s a battering ram that truncates what MP3s to what I think you can’t hear, the stuff that might not really be necessary for us to have a good time watching the show. Forget about procedures, explaining why, things making sense making sense, or any other standard operating procedure–we can’t afford the time in 12 episodes, not if one of these “light novels” are a billion pages long.

Well, I can live with the consequences. I’m more concerned about the music, so to speak. When I watched season two play out, it felt like the same cultural tourism again, except this time it is kind of a play on British/European history. I think I’m marginally more familiar with it than Japan’s local history. And to be honest what transpired in season 1 is so twisted and detached from the real world I don’t think familiarity really matters. But it does a little bit in season 2–maybe as a distraction. I think this is kind of the danger with anime tourism in the sense that we get this perception of something that the average Japanese thinks about this thing that is closer to us foreigners than how it appears to them. On one hand it could be pretty interesting, on the other hand, well, let’s just say it was a small issue for me when watching Baccano. And that one was definitely more meticulously researched.

I guess cultural imperialists like Americans just have to learn to live with it. Meanwhile I hope more anime would just put things in their now Neo Venezias, and I suppose Horizon qualifies with its alternative-universe fantasy. Which is why I’ve stuck with it and would stick with it some more.

PS. I had the most glorious XCOM battle this weekend, involving Rk. Aya Hirano and Sq. Kotono Mitsuishi, being ambushed by a nine-pack Muton scouting force. It was fierce and I didn’t know if I could’ve made it out, but thankfully I did–despite having no medkit, no support, and only one assault and one sniper in the task force. Largely thanks to their meat-shielding. Rk. Hirano was particularly courageous, having snuck into the landed UFO from behind and tased the only Muton in reach (considering the odds of hitting it from a “safe” distance was much lower than what the Arc Thrower offered). Those grenades, man, can make quick work of you.

Kick-Heart’s Next Step

Kickstarter project Kick-Heart has been funded. This was pretty much a sealed deal a few days into the project, as projected by Kicktracker and other metrics. Even I guessed it. But what’s next?

I think it is safe to say that there will be people who will follow in this path. At least that is partly why some people signed up, to do the proverbial “save anime” thing. Personally? I think “save anime” is bullshit. It doesn’t really need saving, although there’s always tons of room to improve, especially in terms of studios that crunch out the budget, tough stuff, and not as much with Production IG.

In fact you could say IG is one of the brighter spots in the industry. I think they’re doing good work, developing talents by working with, for example, Yuasa. Kick-Heart, though, reminds me of this labor of love, in terms of how some fans rally to it. I guess that’s fine in the end–people get paid making the stuff the people who paid, like. It is a win-win by the very definition. But what was true for Redline is probably NOT going to be true for Kick-Heart.

I mean, $60 for a 15-minute short? (The $60 tier is the highest pledge tier.) And you don’t even know if you will like it because it isn’t the personal baby of Koike and Maruyama for seven years? It makes me want to talk like the kawaiikochans: MAJIDE? I guess it’s okay if you backed $1 or $5 or something. Sure, I can forgive $15. I don’t even know $30 is a good value or not. I know the $10000 tier is pretty great because they’ll fly you to Japan for a dinner date with Oshii, and I guess some people have boners for Oshii since 1995. That is a long time coming. I mean, again, like I said, it’s about value. I think Kick-Heart Kickstarter does provide value, but it isn’t something so easily deciphered, like most Kickstarter projects. But you know what? Maybe that’s why so many people pledged for a Blu-ray. You can value that easily.

Speaking of Blu-ray, how many people bought Redline again?

I think it’s also worth addressing the notion some have that by not pledging Kick-Heart you are not saving anime or some kind of inverse statement of the same. I think that’s pretty much the feeling anyone has when anyone says anything about “support the industry” in regards to buying some DVD or merch that you don’t want to buy. Get used to it. I personally think it’s kind of bull. I’d rather cut a check for some creator I like than support some wretched scheme that extort money from their customers, although I guess I will do the latter as a compromise given the difficult of the former. (Again, that $10000 tier? Soooo close to what I like to do.) Unless they start handing out badges or plaques to people who actually support the industry, it’s kind of a worthless distinction I think. It’s all just self-gratification, and there isn’t any empirical basis to those claims most of the time.

So, to Kick-Heart, congratulations. I enjoyed all the hard work you’ve put into the Kickstarter, and I look forward to the end product and the road we’ll walk towards that (as backers) even more so. Just don’t startle any more old ladies in the neighborhood. To the rest of the world, let’s milk this Kickstarter for what it’s worth! It’s open season for people with money that want to be spent on great causes!

PS. I got a few more hours in, and the kill count included just one more: Rk. Yuko Gotoh. She really took charge and on her first mission, she wiped out a floater and a thin man, until she was undone when the plaster wall in front of her melted away as a couple stray plasma bolts landed oddly. The last bogey on the same enemy phase then ended her short career. Until then, she survive through poison and a few close matches as she took the initiative to get close and stunned at least one bad guy and pinned the other. Clearly it was very heroic.

Interchangeable Hair, Revisiting iM@S Ranking

It’s about a year since I began the journey through The Idol Master kingdom, where everyone is a producer and Columbia/Bamco makes $ hand over fist. I’m pretty content on the fact that I’ve spent more money on DLCs than on the game, or that I probably spent even more on figures. You wonder why I spend so much on figures? This is kind of why. Speaking of which, I’m working on a figures sale so hopefully I’ll post that stuff soon.

I posted a ranked list last year in my year-end writeups, so you can take a look here.  So what has been the big changes since then? Seiyuu and music. I have to prop my friends for putting up with all this–both for me borrowing their stuff and subjecting them to bad game/anime idol pop. Overall, my opinion of iM@S music is still not overwhelmingly positive. A main driver to DLC purchases was exactly that many of these songs suck, and those that don’t wear out pretty fast, demanding infusion of new blood. I think my tolerance for them has improved over the past year, but it’s still something I listen to only because I want to laugh at it and to learn the voices, not so much because I like it for what it is. It also helps to get the desire to play the game out of my system, without having to spend the time to play it. Well, it’s entertaining either way.

  1. Makoto – It’s not only because Nekopuchi, but I feel that despite her one-dimensionality as a character, Makoto appeals to me the best as an idol. By this point I’ve ran the usual 13-crew through all the iM@S 2 S4U songs that I own and I even think she sounds pretty good most of the time. It’s funny to say this but I think Makoto as a concept exceeds her characterization via the canon. She’s not unlike Miki in some sense.
  2. Miki – Since I’m still no better than any of you. As an aside, I think visually she is appealing largely because of character design reasons. I get the feeling people just do a better job drawing her for one reason or another. This is why I asked Ryu Moto to sketch her over all the other girls. And of course, she is an interesting character, to say the least.
  3. Mami – I think as far as on the strength of characterization, Mami quickly distinguishes herself from not only Ami (who is actually…still not that different than Mami), but every little chibi-runt in the group. I guess she’s an early bloomer or some such, but they manage to portrait her as this girl-becoming-woman state, and that’s very attractive and emotionally appealing.
  4. Takane – From the seiyuu side, I’ve been really digging Yumi Hara, so that helps. I also think that kind of hurt in terms of seeing Takane as someone mysterious. To me, though, she’s probably the #1 singer in the group. I like her more or less the same I guess, as a year ago.
  5. Azusa – Think what you may, but Chiaking is one talented lady. She can struct that body and struct that full-body voice of hers. Pretty sure she’s got the best range in the group, too. The great thing about it is that as a member of iM@S, she plays to her character and she’s all demure-like, which is kind of like her character in terms of that contrast. Anyways, a top-notch seiyuu entertainer crosses over to her character, making Azusa both kind of a fun gag but just fun to watch and listen.
  6. Hibiki – Nuuuuuu. Appealing from the seiyuu side again, she is probably the one thing that makes Hibiki any good. In the anime there’s a lot of interplay between Hibiki and her animal friends, but that’s kind of besides the point overall. I guess she’s one of the lucky ones who got boosted via the anime.
  7. Ritsuko – My opinion of her hasn’t really changed.
  8. Yukiho – The more I approach iM@S from the seiyuu side, I see this interesting bipolar-ness between how these girls put on their acts like idols versus how their characters are suppose to be. I think Yukiho might be the most extreme case to me, even more so than Azusa/Chiaking. But I like the new Yukiho, she’s good at singing even if she’s not all that special (even for seiyuu). At least both are pretty girly.
  9. Iori – Based Kugyuu. No hate, all respect. I definitely liked her a lot more now than last year, probably because she brings…base seiyuu tones to the various tracks. Not to mention I do respect this all-star tsundere player for who she is, and who she plays in this case–a tsundere all-star-to-be.
  10. Haruka – I appreciate Nakamura Eriko a lot more now, and what she brings not only to Haruka, but also to the tonal quality of the average iM@S master track. She really makes a good “main character” in a lot of ways.
  11. Yayoi – The more I see her voice actress, Mayako Nigo, the more I’m impressed by the human spirit of projecting oneself as something else. It’s quite impressive. And to be totally honest, Yayoi can be cute. I just find those moments exceedingly rare.
  12. Chihaya – Lots of respect but the more I look into this character the less I like it, thus the huge drop in the ranking. I think the problem has more to do with her limited vocal range than anything, because I don’t particularly enjoy her vocals (and I don’t think Mingosu is even that good).
  13. Ami – Since I decided to break out Ami and Mami, I really have no place to put her besides towards the end of the list. I guess in terms of character design she is slightly more attractive than Iori but I put her down as I am still unable to really see Ami for who she is and what she has that Mami doesn’t do better. I guess if Mami is the adolescent, Ami is the child. Which, well, if that’s your thing. Musically she sounds almost identical to Mami, too. A note for Asapon: I think she’s probably one of the more charismatic girls on this cast, but it doesn’t come off that way. She harmonizes very well with this crew, almost blends in too well I’d say.
  14. Kotori –She’s only bottom because, well, she isn’t really a true iM@S idol. Except she kind of is! I really enjoy her live show appearances, and what little spotlight she had in the anime. I would actually pay money for a Kotori DLC (FWIW I haven’t yet for any of the Dearly Stars or Miku versions). I probably should rate her higher… But bleh. I guess I do forget her in listing the cast half the time.
Don’t even get me started on Cinderella Girls, because I can’t.

PS. Seiyuu XCOM is in progress. Nothing really special to report besides that Classic mode is a multitude harder than Normal, which is just what I wanted (normal is way too easy). So far 8 excursions in, five slain voice actresses were recorded in the memorial (plus one from the very first mission that I didn’t get to rename). I decided to use female names for all of them, since it’s what rolls off my head the easiest and I didn’t want to use OnoD or Shiraishi Minoru multiple times. The highest ranked in the memorial is Sq. Yumi Hara with 4 kills, meeting her end when a floater rained death from above. On the opposite end, lowly Sumire Uesuka didn’t even take an alien with her when she got gunned down by a lucky crit on the third mission. On Operation Bloody Giant, the only one who got bloody (on the good guys’ side) was Rk. Hisako Kanemoto, while Rk. Aya Hisakawa and Sq. Aki Toyosaki both died in similar ways: inside a cloud of smoke. These damned smoke grenades must be defective. And I wouldn’t be surprised–Cpl. Yuu Asakawa was hurling them after all.

Magi, Little Busters, Zetsuen no Tempest, Jojo

Thanks to killing aliens, tiresome anime cons, and a need for change, I’m probably going to drop the number of anime I’m following below 20 for the first time in a long time. Oh, you can also blame on Sket Dance ending.

There are three shows I’m kind of interested and a little impressed after one episode, and one show I’m actually really impressed. Can you guess which one?

As a total aside, the fact that we have Kyoto Animation fielding (in their usual straight-faced, laces-out way) a production about chuunibyou, it kind of ruins the way I see all the other dime-a-dozen stories with shounen dream-fuel. I mean, when I watched Psycho-Pass, I am just not impressed (at least, no more impressed than hearing Ling Tosite Sigure in an anime). I hate to say it but Ghost in the Shell? That was much better and highly more preferable, and not because of story or concept reasons. I think at core, otaku enjoy cyberpunk over, say, the endless regurgitated, finely-honed art of Japanese murder/crime mysteries. The methodocal and measured cinematography that comes with no rough spots (except spurts of gore I guess) leads me to believe it takes itself too seriously.

Too seriously is, in a nutshell, the bubble of chuunibyou. But I believe most otaku would rather ask “Y SO SRS,” at least ones overseas.

So, yes, this is why I think Zetsuen no Tempest is impressive–because it has that patented Ando pilot-episode juice and Bones-quality production. Remember Xam’d? This is almost that exciting. I have to admit though it kind of helps to be a fan of David Production’s Book of Bantorra, because the way they throw their setting-building babble around (re: bubble of chuunibyou) is almost the same. I think this is why that show hasn’t been so warmly received.

Speaking of David Pro, isn’t Jojo something? I don’t know why I don’t like to admit it, and I don’t, but I really enjoyed Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Phantom Blood). There’s just something really suitably cartoon-y about every David Production work that I really enjoy. And I’m not even a fan of the original material. I suspect this is why I watch so much crap, and have this nagging desire to finish Koichoco and Campione (as low as the odds of that may be). But it’s a lot of fun.

The whole hubbub about Little Busters is tiresome. I get it. I was into Key crap even back in the late 90s. But something is wrong when I’m happy that Kyoto Animation didn’t get to do this, so I wouldn’t have to hear about people wetting their pants about Little Busters both ways. I guess that is definitely more my problem than anyone else’s. Certain the anime looked just fine and hopefully there will be nothing to worry about. Thanks to meeting Tamiyasu at AX, I’m also slightly predisposed to like Rin, so that helps, however much little.

I think I came into Magi predisposed to like it, because, well, it’s the anime adaptation of a manga that adopted the general story to One Thousand and One Nights. How can I dislike it? My very first blue M:TG decks got djinns out the buttholes! I have to like it, right? It also helps that show is, as we know, not so serious. After seeing the first episode, I still kind of like it, but I learned quickly how I can dislike it. Not that I do, but I can see the intersection where the cookie cutter meets the characterization and plot dough. Still, I remain positive…

Conclusion: A large part of my reaction to this season’s offering comes by the way of predisposed expectations and having your opinion influence mine. Not sure if that is good or bad, but I suppose that’s just how the dice roll. But we all know that, right?