Category Archives: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio

Nendoroid 10th Live

I went to the anniversary concert for Good Smile Company’s Nendoroid 10th Anniversary. It felt both comfortable as an event for the more casuals among us, but in reality it’s CG 3rd Live Day 3.




[What I went to, What I expected, What I got]

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The Fanservice Frontier, 2013

Aside from my complaints on pretension, there’s a lot of fun going on at Digibro’s blog about Kill la Kill episode 3.


And in some ways, with OreTsuba now on US home video (Funimation, I respect you for at least this) maybe it’s good to revisit what this really means.

The past few years has been a turning point in terms of late-night otaku anime fanservice. On one hand, I think the overall quality has gotten better. It’s like with shows like Ladies x Butler and Kanokon, we’ve kind of scratched all the itch left to be scratch for any demographic whose itching is worth scratching, monetarily and in terms of popularity. 2009 to 2011 was high time to start to pivot, for various reasons, but also this reason.

Did anyone watch Yozakura Quartet Hana no Uta 2? My goodness. And Kill la Kill episode 3 has that…windboobzone thing?

I would take a step back and say that the fanservice in Kill la Kill is authentic and unpretentious in a way that fanservice is just fanservice. But it is kind of annoying in the normal moral high ground sort of way, as if it is saying something that is more worth saying than, say, Arpeggio. [I mean, if this was part of the discourse, I would respect Kill la Kill more. Like how I respect Panty & Stockings slightly more at this point, over Kill la Kill.]

Arpeggio is a good example in this regard because it’s in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Kill la Kill. The 3DCG use looks great when they are stills but terrible when moving in Arpeggio, and in KLK it’s great when things are always moving, and not as much when things stops spazzing. The story in Arpeggio is serious, but the fanservice is baked into the conceit of the story. The story in KLK is a commonly run trope full of hooks for reference bait, but it takes itself very casually. Arpeggio is the fulfillment of this concept, except trading jokes for fanservice (of a different kind). Kill la Kill is a drama vehicle about fanservice (so far).

So in a way, it’s appropriate to talk comparisons between a good anime and a questionable-at-best anime (just ask an Arpeggio manga reader).

And let’s talk about sexy for a second. Take this post for instance. I am not sure how many Bentens will appear in Kill la Kill. Or even the simple, next-door-girl type, Aika Fuwa. But this is one pivot. Short of going all the way home, thematically and in terms of consistency (best example off top of my head would be Yosuga no Sora), fanservice’s native advantage is that it is database-modular, you can pick it up and drop it in, or you could co-opt it wholesale. So YZQ and KLK are on the two opposite sides of this spectrum (although neither is at the ends, I think), while Infinite Stratos is very clearly going for just sexy characters, as an example of the middle ground.

Which is to say, it’s not really about pretenses, because that’s just a method. Pretension is necessary in a story like Kill la Kill, if we want to talk about shame, rape, the Nth reference to Utena-esque uniforms, or whatever. (Every time someone makes a reference to Utena in a blog post about KLK, God kills a kitten.) It’s why Madoka is pretentious or Evangelion is pretentious. Not a big deal, really, but, the story in Kill la Kill has to rely on pretend conceits and presupposed frameworks that can be challenged, like the whole Satsuki thing–the dress, the clansmanship, the class differences, the way her underlings work, the power structure, how she manipulate things to her own ends, and finally, her character construct. In as much as LordGenome (really?) and Kamina’s SOP is kind of a conceit, it’s easy to see the same sort of narrative style in Kill la Kill in which we have to ride the amusement park ride and see the theme fly by before our eyes, along with all the eye candy and Hell Yes moments.

How can an anime that casually drops the rise of Hitler to power not be pretentious? That’s like the Corollary to Godwin’s Law if such a thing was to exist. You know what’s not a pretentious fanservice anime? High School DxD. Infinite Stratos. Probably Yuusibu. Maybe even Freezing. In some ways, also those usual high school hijinks shows like Kyoukai no Kanata and Nagiasu. Why? Because it’s just normal fanservice, served up the way they know best and most appropriate to the work. It’s not some kind of pretend imagery that empowers women or whatever. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but that is pretension by definition. It’s a pivot.

Pivot like a handstand, you know.

PS. Chris B. reviews Funi’s Blu-ray and finally gets it, but is nonetheless marred by his first impression.

PPS. This post is brought to you by the word “pandering” which is the onii-chan of the word “pretentious” because like, give me a break. I would rather talk about moe (which I haven’t in a couple years?) than any of this.

Autumn 2013 Thoughts and Clippings and Thoughts: NYCC Edition

Part 1 and Part 2 are what I’m after.

I am going to be at NYCC for a day, just because there are still too many interesting industry guys. Some notes about that at the bottom. First, anime!

Happy Birthday Hibs!

The surprise hit of the season at one episode has to be NouCome. Confession: of all the shows I rewatched this new season at this point, only NouCome was done just because. I rewatched parts of Kill La Kill to partake in internet arguments. I rewatched Arpeggio to cap. And that’s it. It’s a riot all the way through. I mean, your mileage will definitely vary but it had me at the handstands. It had me with the TV show in a TV show. It had me with the coodere. It had me with the maggot candy. It had me when the girl fell out of the sky and landed with a bridge. It still had me by the time Kohime was talking it up. I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s at least a 9. From what I read it is also just the intro part of the first novel that was in episode 1. Well, don’t take my word for it.

There was a weird problem for Crunchyroll viewers with the audio. I’m not sure if it’s because of a surround sound stage issue or what. Listened to it on stereo, it wasn’t as bad as when I was playing it via the PS3 through my surround sound system.

Arpeggio is surprisingly military action stuff. It’s not a fun time at the tankery field but I like how this is serious in a full-of-holes kind of way. Scratches my Guilty Crown itch I guess? Actually it’s just playing up fanservice in the normal way. As much as I enjoyed Vividred Operations that was too much of a fetish in comparison. In a way, despite the extensive use of computer-generated animation and graphics, it felt normal. Well, there were still quite a bit of 2D stuff put on top. So it isn’t all uncanny.

Unbreakable Machine Doll… Yeah. Not bad but not much of a hook for me. Yaya comes off as a fun and slightly appealing character, and that goes a long way. Especially when she is the type of character that “pushes” it.

Yowapeda is a fun show. I like the main guy but I can’t take the rest of the bikers seriously.

Freezing is Freezing. Ironic bonus points for taking place in Alaska.

NoitaminA left! And VVV!


NYCC 2013 – Generally speaking, this year’s con spells death for NYAF in its entirety. There are still anime-related programming but it’s basically all sponsored material, basically whatever Aniplex, Viz, FUNi or Daisuki is throwing up there. There are actually a cool list of guests from Wikia, featuring some big names. Crypton will be there. Sunrise will be there. Ryu Moto will be there. The usual vendors will be there. Getting a sketch from Ryu Moto/Bkub and GSC’s booth are the two things that excite me at all for NYCC. It’s real sad.

Food: Some local highlights this year include this pretty simple deli near my office on 35th between 7th and 8th. It’s not super special but it’s good stuff for lunch and breakfast. For more special deli stuff, try any of the 9th Ave specialty places. Sergimmo Salumeria is really good, for example. Not a sit-down place though. Well, speaking of Italian, there’s now this to scratch your crazy pizza itch.

If you have a small group and want to go to Ippudo, the Midtown West location is a good choice. But if you have more than 4 in your party then go to one of the larger places, unless you want to wait a while. I haven’t been to Totto in a while, maybe it’s time. Ramen is the one food scene that changed rapidly between last year and this year. So many quality options now.

Anyone up for dinner tonight? LOL.