Category Archives: Conventions and Concerts

Release the Spyce Preview @ Otakon 2018

I was still working on my Otakuthon post before I went to Otakon, so uh, here’s the timely nugget first.

Otakon 2018 featured two premieres, High Score Girl and Release the Spyce. The latter seemed more feasible schedule-wise so I attended it. That said, I was a couple minutes late so I walked into the opening action set piece.

I wanted to write about it because this show is really up my alley. It’s a fun spy/ninja piece about a bunch of young women who gain superhuman powers after biting on special spice. Spice, as in stuff you put in food, not the drug from Dune. The main character is a 11th grader who stumbled upon the secret organization in her town, Tsukikage, after her 99.99% percentile perception powers let her spot some shadowy figures flying around rooftops one night.

The lead character, Momo, who is voiced by Anzai Yukari, is a “shopping street kid” type character who seemed to lost her father to something. I won’t go too much into it but a truck ton of foreshadowing was laid down during the 2-episode pilot. And yes, it is a 2-episode sort of thing, which is why they showed 2 episodes at the con I assume.

If you have been following the marketing of Spyce over in Japan, which I have in a very casual way, you would know they have had some live stages featuring the voice cast. The main gang of the story is the Tsukikage group of ninjas Momo becomes in association with, and they’re joined in pairs by master-student setups, where the girl each have to train a successor since once they get too old, the spice super power gimmick stops working. This is partly how Spyce features a really solid of current-day voice actresses. Only a handful has been credited online, but after seeing the full credit after ep2 I can say that this is a show that scores well on that front. Well, it’s a Pony Canyon thing I guess.

The other non-spoiler-ish info I can share about the plot, I guess, is that there is an enemy group opposing Tsukikage. And it seems they’re full of female voice overs, too. That seems like the initial main conflict for now.

There are a lot of pieces of the setting that tickled my fancy–the use of curry for example. There are a lot of spice-themed things in Release the Spyce. There are also some actual spy kind of things, like manipulative interpersonal skills and 007-esqe gadgets. There are some solid parkour animation here and there, and the action leans on movement more than clashing of weapons. The 2-part pilot even ended with a car chase. It’s also the feeling you get when you witness the two sides of a pun moving in slow collision in the form of a TV anime. It’s like when galaxies swallow each other up in the course of millennia, despite being an exciting astronomical event. Or maybe a super slow-mo video of a vehicle test crash. I like it when a pun takes on a life of its own I guess.

Momo and her shishou Yuki (CV: Numakura Manami) use a stick of cinnamon-like thing as their power trigger. One of the other girl uses a bay leaf I think. There are a total of 6 active ninjas in Tsukikage as far as episode 2, and each of the student-teacher pair use the same spice, for up to 3 different spices. The media-mix property is already getting a novelization and manga adaptation since earlier this year, so it’s probably written in there.

I’ll leave the big spoiler on twitter. Well, big on impact, very small on substance. Anyways, the series is slated to air in Japan in October. No word on international streaming yet, but I’m guessing whoever typically Pony Canyon works with being the good bet (HiDive?). The full credit roll of the two-part screening was translated into English, so I’m guessing that’s the case.


Anisong World Matsuri 2018: Japan Kawaii Live

Anisong World Matsuri Japan Kawaii Live at Anime Expo 2018 is one of the three AWM shows at Anime Expo this year. It follows from last year’s AWM which stopped at AX, Bilibili Macro Link in Shanghai, and Otakon 2017. This year there is no Otakon stop, and AX gets 3 shows instead of just two.

With July Fourth landing on a Wednesday, JKL somehow gets pushed in to Saturday. Conveniently, Aqours solo AWM show can be put on that Wednesday since the group has to travel back to Japan for the final stop on the Aqours 3rd tour, the same week. Since JKL is going to employ a bunch of seiyuu (i☆Ris and Cinderella Girls), it made sense to have the show on a weekend so the troops can fly back Sunday.

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Anime Expo 2018: Wrap

If I use one word only to describe AX this year, it’s “gucci.” Thanks Sally.

I spent a considerable amount of time standing in front of the Aniplex booth this past weekend, trying to catch glimpses of the three 22/7 members (nanabun no nijuni, or just “nanabun” or “twenty-two seven”). On their scripted stages, the wotas on the floor were busy taking photos and videos of the girls, catching their attentions, and enjoy being fished. The idols (and MC Albert Kao) meanwhile tried to play along and did what they had to. For an idol stage, it was pretty much what you would have expected…if you are an avid reader of Amaki Sally’s tweets. The other two members (Miyase Reina or Reinyan, and Hanakawa Mei or Meimei) are both sort of along for the ride, but also aboard the party boat pulling fishies out of the water. The fisher of men analogy refers to how in Chinese, idols “hook” wota during their stage shows by the means of dance and acting, like a strong dab or a cute smile with eye contact.

It’s like, even Sally knows this stuff, just look at her reactions here.

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Anime Expo 2018: Day -2

I’m still at home and procrastinating on my packing. I fly out Tuesday night to LA. It’s gonna be a fun time at AX, except a part of me just want to stay home and grind UNION for the Nth time. Maybe I can do both, because on schedule, AX 2018 is packed with interesting things I want to see. I want to see SudoP’s panel, and ask him about Hellshake. I want to see Trigger again and rep IDOLM@STER at A-1’s panel. I want to see Tsugutsugu and the other cast members from SAO and GGO. But nope, all those things conflict with anisong events and whatever.

Unlike the usual collection posts, this year I’ll just take it easy. The only AX-sponsored autograph I want to see are the PA Works/Maquia team. (And we’re giving them flowers?) I don’t think I’ll splurge for sketches, although I think there are still prizes in Kentia waiting to be uncovered. There are prime first-hour deals for Premiere badge holders that I can take advantage of, and more in terms of on-the-ground data collection that needs to be done.

But I’m okay with a less engaging AX. JKL featuring Cinderella Girls is enough of a reason to do AX all by itself. Bonus is the party I’m throwing, the Mogra thing Fakku is doing (OMG INOTAC), and just about everything else. Meeting up with friends is also a well-honored reason to con, especially meeting guys coming from Europe. And Japan. And Korea and Taiwan.

Anyways, just dropping some links. Feel free to comment and add more AX related heads’ ups.

PS. There’s this guy who harasses people on twitter (and elsewhere) about Smash Bros. and IDOLM@STER. I bring this up because MoriP will be at AX (as a forward-facing industry member, I’m sure this is not his first rodeo at all) so you can go and ask him to do something about it?

PPS. Hey, Aqours! You are all right, I saw that screening last weekend and it was fun. But your fans need to cut out that crap about overwork LOL.

PPPS. OI COME TO MY PARTY ON WEDNESDAY.


AnimeNEXT 2018: Wrap

I went to AC to hang out with friends, distribute goods, and go attend a con. It was a tad tough because I only landed back in the States the Monday before, so I had to quickly repack and unpack, maybe not in that order. Still, it was a fun time.

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