Category Archives: Aria

Seize the Moment

I want to talk about ARIA and CLANNAD a bit. These two titles form the basis of some kind of similarity, a thread, that connects a mentality and a vision and a group of fans who today identify with the type of works like ARIA and CLANNAD and Yokohama Shopping Log and Haibane Renmei and the like. These past-decade gems have their share of fans, pure and simple, but they weave that staple kuukikei emotional fabric that many other shows followed on.

I think that’s kind of what I took away from reading this interview of fhana. These guys are music nerds, sure, but like their music they themselves are creatively captured by the ideas in which weaves those works together. Now they do the same through their anison-inspired, aural canvas.

The image I feel the most connected to when I listen to fhana is actually an 2010s work, albeit barely: Sora no Woto . Debuted in January of 2010, its bright hillsides, rustic landscapes and Iberian motifs colored not just what we saw on the screen but the inclination of our hearts, that helped those who followed the story to its bittersweet conclusion. It’s that full-blast vocal of towana, the closed voicing, the genre fusion in which typified late-night era anison in which evoked those feelings via fhana’s offering today. Click on the link up there to get a sample of what I mean.

Below, on the flip side, is fhana’s latest music video promoting their new album. I think that’s a good example by itself.

Cultural Exchange: Roman Baths, French Metalwork, Boats and Cars

First of all, I want to share this WSJ article which summarizes a prevalent East Asian attitude about Elitist Japan.

Then, go watch Thermae Romae. It’s an enjoyable show. Not because what is amusing about that show is how it subtly extol exactly that virtue. But what’s even more amusing is the way our time-traveling designer/architect adopts those technologies for his own use.

I mean, it’s almost offensive if you read it too deep.

[Also, when I see Mingosu on stage I always think “FLAT-FACED TRIBE” now. Also #2, inc. iM@S post.]

It makes the cultural exchange in Croisee a little more palatable (rather than boring, I suppose) because now you have at least two cultures of similar status trading things.

As opposed to, say, in Aria, which is more just tourism.

The other day I read an article about how Sony is considering shutting down its battery manufacturing operation within Japan and moving to some other Asian country. That’s how everything in the electronics industry is going these days, as well as many others. But there are still some consumers who cling to that national brand/identity as a synonym as quality. It belies the nature of IP and mass production, at least by today’s standards. Of course, I am not going to disagree to the observed reality that at times, one factory can produce something better than another producing the same SKU, but usually there is some specific reason that can be (and often is) resolved by engineers, managers, and employees, on the road to globalization. I mean don’t Honda and Toyota spend a ton of effort and money to fight this problem?

I think more concretely, and importantly, there’s something to be said that in the end, at the end of the day, at last, we can enjoy Thermae Romae as a fun piece of entertainment. It is just like how I can surely enjoy the tastes of the best French cuisine made in Japan, or the best Japan has to offer, imported from Ohio. Or go to Uniglo and see how everything is made in the same countries that makes clothes for every other brand anyway. This is the truism that props up this whole cultural remix-ism and give people even the slightest reason to give it damn.


Moe is a meaningless term in light of the eternal pursuit of men and women after beauty.

In fact, a fairer look at this whole thing is a response. Praise is merely the reaction of people before the delights of their hearts. Moe is the chain that connects a quiet affixation to a thing, an idea.

But sometimes it’s good to just step outside and gaze at the end of summer. Take yourself out of your present context and dive into what you are watching. It’s like actually being in Venice and floating down a narrow canal, looking up at the sweaty rays of sunshine and the shadow it plays with the aging cityscape. They say it’s romantic, right?

Adoration arises not merely with the tangible. It’s not so much like admiring Akari’s sun-basked presence, but admire what Akari admires (which is …you get it?). Or, more notable, to adore a feeling. To cherish a presence (as we see in Marimite season 3 OAV episode 5). To feel another emotion. It’s moving.

It’s a beautiful thing. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

And sometimes an anime is worthy merely because it achieves this great sense of beauty. That is why Aria is such a lovely show about nothing. That is why cries of “you don’t get it” rings like blapping sheep when fans clash with each deadly round of Saimoe. Resignation to the gaps between individual understanding leaves little to talk about but all the more beautiful when a person manages to cross such straits in appreciation of another’s adoration.

Or at least, that’s the spirit of Saimoe.

Haibane Renmei Alternative

One thing that bugged me about Haibane Renmei is that in the second half of the story, we’re lead to believe that Reki lived a colorful existence during her earlier days. The eventual parting of her friends, mentors, and mentees must have added color to it all. Colors that we don’t see in this grey tale of overcoming depression.

What if? Wouldn’t it be cool if a spin-off based on this charming little idea existed?

Without the squids.

The thought of a story between little punk loner Reki, her better-to-do friend Nemu, and a potential romantic interest who runs a gang? That’s like 3 wholesome American teenage drama archetypes rolled up into one. Add the painter-teacher, and apply liberal gang violence and ghetto culture shock and we have …

Perhaps all the more this exercise taught me that sometimes it’s just better to keep it simple. Subtlety is not an American trait.

Today I read about another alternative: this one involving people rowing boats, and it just happens that Rakka rowed boats in the anime. It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.

Alice's seiyuu-san is...

Sort of a real-life update: been hauling around computing hardware these past few days, so lacking updates due to that. Will probably continue to haul hardware in the next few days…

Of a Dying 2006 Pancake Jamboree

This is the season to bake a cake
With our Queen of all pancakes
Her batter is first-rate
But one thing we all hate:
Skip her jam; your life, it’ll take.

Of the flame of wintry passions
Few hotter is an odd fusion
Of sickeningly cute “moe”
Mixed with a rarer, “moe”
An odd 萌え 燃え confusion?

Makoto, right before the snow
covers her, as if winter knows
that next year,
like every year,
again, memories anew will grow.

But what of tears under half a moon?
Of wishes undying, lovers swoon
to an eternal pledge
and they jump off the edge.
No, I’m not laughing at Black Lagoon.

But of kisses, war and boobs;
Fewer confuses more n00bs
than the trap gallery
on board the flying gallery
of Arctus Prima, the shoujo test tube.

Still there is no understatement
To fandom’s greatest testament
When the morning comes
And your alarm hums
Nayuki’s trademarked statement.

Still, it’s better to sing a song
Even if you get it all wrong
Like a undine
With a karaoke machine
to where the tone-deaf have gone.

If all of that is a pain
Then watch some Soukou no Strain
It’s serious as pie
And full of oppai
It belongs in its own domain.

But of wrecks this year
Perhaps none can possibly compare
To a sequel
With no equal
Because, she sang, life is a canvas.

And with a strong kiss, she landed.
Smitten, like heavy irony, candid
Of Paprika
As Hayashibara
Daughters of moe have commanded!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
When Renton did his flying round
For love
Kind of?
Death rained down all around.

If “pancake” was a code word
In this theater of the absurd
It’ll spoil the story
Of Jesus’ destiny
Savior of many, head of his herd.

Because we go to war over it
And idol singer acts for it
Awesome cameras
For positive otaku karma
Will FLAG as a banner, fit?

This deadly note must stop
But only because to slumber I drop
You can lament
In my comments
It’s a grand criticism swap.