Category Archives: Gundam

Anime NYC 2022: Wrap

It feels weird blogging about Anime NYC while attending its sister con, Anime Frontier in Fort Worth. On the other hand, AF is basically the same setup as ANYC, just much smaller…and has Gundam Aerial HG in stock.

Anime NYC comes back from its Omicron-shaded 2021 edition and is a victim of its timing, yet again. This time it’s still not its fault. Japan opened its doors in mid-October which made booking guests feasible. Record high inflation and strong US demand for entertainment in 2022 means every international act is trying to play here, resulting in a slog of perfomer visa applications. This is partly why fhana and Flow dropped out of A-Kon earlier this year, but this is also why ANYC, despite various tries and attempts (as heard from the grapevine) couldn’t really come through with much. With help from CR, the Mogra DJs made it to the US, including the once-denied-by-visa DJ Wildparty who was supposed to show up at Porter Robinson’s show earlier in October. Rock band [alexandros] was literally announced on Friday of the con with a concert on Sunday, curtesy of Bandai Namco and their huge Gundam push. There’s a video out there of them talking about their visa limbo. It is a very 2022 eventer feel for Americans.

Anime NYC 2022 is a big Gundam con. I would say a good fifth of the programs are related to it including guests, screening, and the Alexandros concert. Bannam brought two huge Gundam displays and a large Gundam Base shop, along with other Bannam stuff. It was so big that it took me a while to find where the Tensura and music stuff were sold. Mixbox had a booth as collaborated with MAL, so I guess that technically is also Bannam? Bannam brought over the producer and director to Hathaway’s Flash. I finally got to tell Murase how I feel about Witch Hunter Robin! Maybe it’s blessing in disguise it wasn’t Reina Ueda at the con. Anyways they had a big presence.

Sort of overshadowed by them are Aniplex, and Toei. It’s hard to overshadow the huge One Piece displays they had at the hall, though. Literally a giant Luffy balloon towered over everything there, with regular cosplay gatherings riding on the hot Film Red stuff that’s going on.

Aniplex did their usual best, and I thoroughly enjoyed their panels, or at least the ones I could go to. Kagura panel was a ton of fun, and you can watch it streamed still. The big Mahoyo displays though…it is a vibe, as they say. I guess I need to dust off my Switch for the holidays.

Being mostly an industry thing, ANYC let the big companies bring their stuff, and it worked out because Bannam, Aniplex and Toei are real deals and I am impressed with what they did. Gundam Base did brisk business all weekend. If you spent $500 there you could get front row Alexandros concert. I’m not sure people realizes the value of this.

Alexandros are bros through and through. Two of them are fluent in English so it helped. It’s my first time seeing them in person but these guys are chart topper rockers (and I guess played in NYC in 2018). Still wild that they came with basically 2 days of notice. We were able to coax an encore out of them so that was good.

For reasons, I actually missed out on most of the Mogra stuff. I hated it, but it can’t be helped. The show was combined with the JP DJ with this LA DJ (she’s Taiwanese?) who played basically half the time. LIO from NIOLION was there with Teddy also, who I was able to see on Sunday.

The last thread from ANYC in terms of programming was the Tensura stuff. The movie just came out in Japan and was right after ANYC. Mindaryn and RON from Stereo Dive Foundation came over to do some music from the movie. In fact, Mindaryn had to fly back on Saturday because she has a movie event literally the day after. The mini-concert at the Tensura panel was fun. RON also did a solo show the Wednesday after ANYC (literally day before Thanksgiving) which was basically the same set plus a bunch of his older stuff. RON has written a lot of anime and game music so his solo work from SDF is kind of just scratching the surface of his catalog but do check it out.

What else is there to say? The con is huge–49K plus unique warm bodies, and it’s only because they weren’t booking the entire Javitz. The lines were a non-issue this year due to the lottery system. That said the lottery system is a bit of a mess, so I hope they clean that up for 2023.

On that note, Flow said at their panel at Anime Frontier that they want to go play in NY, because they only played in NJ and toured NY during their off day (sup Anime Next). Maybe this is a sign.

As for the rest of the con, I actually spent most of the time there, despite working Friday. It was crowded, and the exhibit floor was pretty much buzzing most of the time. Since panels were lottery for a good number of them, I didn’t really try to go. I didn’t even get to see Kawasumi… and the aforementioned miss on Mogra DJ left a bad taste in my mouth because I wanted to see them (and even paid VIP..)…well it’s partly my fault, but everything was announced kind of last minute, including the schedule of when the DJs will play. I think those issues aside, ANYC was actually a good time that renergized me (even if it was at the tail end of a eventing spree). Good time with friends were spent, especially making this ANYC special as covid’s grasp on events continue to weaken.

I gave away a bunch of these Minami Saki photo books. They come with a DVD. Not sure how many people even know her at this con... Why do I have these? Someone gave them to me lol.

PS. Eats… if we take the full time from Friday to Wednesday after SDF’s concert… Went to 3 izakayas and they were all pretty good. The Henn na Hotel in Midtown has a proper izakaya inside of it, just really expensive. We went to 2 other places around Grammercy, one being a staple and another more traditional. We ended up getting “hot pot” which is just meat foudue Japanese style. It’s weird. Other spot has become a bit of my regular place with tebasaki and boozy milkshake made from nigori sake. We had late night dimsum on Wednesday after ramen for pre-show pregame. I mean what else is open at 11:30pm the day before Thanksgiving, am I right?


TV Anime Thoughts: 2020 Autumn

Just freestyling about in and on a particular Autumn afternoon. A lot of shows I won’t mention despite that I am still watching them, and some I don’t watch might get mentioned.

Is this season good? I think so–Corona has done a number to a bunch of shows this year, so even these low-budget-feeling programs like The Boy Who Loves Slimes and Standing on a Million Lives anime with Lantis OP/ED but actually Isekai are surprisingly good Entries. Actually The 1M anime is worth a deeper look. It’s probably the most overflowing-with-kindness take on a pretty deep introspective subject, not to mention it’s one of the weird isekai anime that has a non-isekai slant that isn’t someone logging into an online game. Except it kind of is someone logging into an online game. Anyways, it’s odd and unique. Ever think about the Great Filter? This is getting to that.

Boy Who Loves Slimes, or By The Grace of the Gods, is like a male-centric take on the healing isekai subgenre. Kamihiro is basically a lot messy and clumsy take compared Iguchi Yuka’s little Myne (Main?) from Ascendance of a Bookworm. Koroazu is serviceable here (I guess it is hard to play a child who used to be a worn-out salaryman) but way less spirited than Moroha from the Inuyasha full-blown sequel. I mean this is how you do a proper franchise reboot. I kind of didn’t bother with the original Inuyasha but I am enjoying the Yashahime anime quite a lot. Maybe it helps that there isn’t this Fushigi Yuugi template it tried to walk on. Thinking back it is really hard to like a series when you don’t really care for the two main characters.

The new formula is also breathing life on Major 2nd. Major is one of those popular baseball manga/anime that I would never like despite it being a popular (in Japan anyways) baseball story. Because it is the most hollow, pointless baseball story that manga-fying everything came to represent. Like, you can (and people have) create a manga about just about anything, including various sports and even more mundane or weird stuff. However Major 2nd is not like Major at all in my estimates. It actually respects the sport instead of bending it for the services of its characters.

The other interesting thing about Major 2nd is the whole male-female physical development thing and how puberty is a weird time for athletes trying to compete, to say the least. Like, talk about a topic that isn’t represented much in anime. But this is great. This is the wholesome afterschool TV program that I crave, not that I care particularly about this one item, but the way Major 2nd pivoted completely from its diehard post-reconstruction rhetoric to something people would actually care about in the 21st century is a good study at any rate. In that it actually cares about its authenticity. If you are going to be a story about something extremely real, ie., baseball that everyday kids can play in school, it really helps to also be extremely real in the portrayal. At least, as translated into the medium.

This is also a thematic issue that I’ve seen in recent years. A lot of original TV anime programs fail to capture viewers despite being very interesting. I think two great picks here are Deca-dence and Listeners. But on the flip side you look at (really dumb) serial works turning into anime, they tend to have more of a pull. Major 2nd is good, to something more bling-y like Jujitsun Kaisen, or genre-changing to the likes of Tower of God anime. I think that other Korean cartoon adaptation is the epitome of this–God of Highschool is basically everything nobody cares about but would gladly turn off the brain and watch. It’s like, maybe something to fill the gap between Kengan Ashura adaptations (now that is a fun fighting “anime”).

(For a point of contrast, compare God of Highschool with Akudama Drive (an anime original), man, the difference is clear.)

Is it just that, having the first editorial and publishing go-around culls the silly stories that you’ve seen from top creators? Tomino needed G-reco TV to make the G-reco films, I guess.

There may be some types of works in which we can be easier on. Wandering Witch provides that once-a-year kind of experience, where you can also shut off the brain to enjoy some thought-provoking fable chill-vibes. In this particular case the stories don’t cut as deep as, say, Kino’s, but it is also somewhat positive. It’s like social media is full of luls, but people end up being more glam and positive than they typically are, just because it’s good for engagement. In other words: We live in a society. Indeed those works engage us from that side of life.

The pure-pure fantasy side of life is good this year too. Media-mix projects (original anime works, let’s not forget) like Sigururi and Assault Lily are bringing the heat and excitement, or as much as you can get with a bunch of girls. Sigururi is particularly noteworthy because it reminds me of Garupan without all the problematic stuff you get from, say, another season of Strike Witches.

Well, Road to Berlin is fine. I enjoy it and every girl is great in that show. It’s just a bit tiresome after so many years? Maybe my tastes have evolved since then–between Kancolle, Azure Lane, and the barrage of similar bin of things in this very niche. It’s not like “isekai” where a whole world of themes can be explored…literally. Strike Witches first aired in 2007, that is a long run for a limited set of themes!

(As an aside, the gay formula in all these Bushifam works and others just reminds me of Golden Kamui which resumes this season but it gets even gayer than before. In some sense these shows all follow the same formula? I guess even Aachi & Shimamura.)

Other media-mix original anime works also seemed to hit their stride this season for me. A big, big one is D4DJ First Mix. I should write about this separately. The third Bushi-fam-linked-work in anime for this season is NijiGaku anime, and that one is also turning out way better than its predecessors. On that note, even Ochifuru is a lot of fun and I’m enjoying this collective of personas. Drop Out Idol Fruit Tart is a bit like a wonky 00s show but with updated and modern sensibilities. The cast is interesting too, with the cross section of interesting new seiyuu-idol talents.

If there was a miss among all the big gun media mix shows this season, I would say that is going to be HypMic. But even as it stands, it’s serviceable enough and fun to watch. I guess it helps to explain the characters to people who are not neck deep in that fandom, despite the songs were so hype 18-24 months ago. And yes, it can be really CRINGE. But that isn’t anything we didn’t know going in from the very start.

That and Dai no Daibouken are the two shows that I didn’t expect to enjoy this season, but ended up following them beyond 3. It feels like Cygames really should learn from Dai no Daibouken in terms of how to create a compelling RPG story that is between all the Rage of Bahamut things they made (see above regarding interesting original stories that failed) and The Grand Blues which I support as an anime series purely on the Teekyuu Principle but it is the most extravagant waste of time and resource I’ve seen lately. At least the Cingekis and whatever Bushiroad made can serve on its face. This is utterly worthless for non-players and except eccentrics like myself.

Actually, the problem is pretty clear once you’ve taken a moment to think about it–Granblue and Cygames in general spends way too much time grandstanding on their own junk. Maybe it’s kind of atmospheric, but this is kind of a shell game that isn’t selling to people who were not already buying.

I really enjoyed the One Rooms this season so far. I really miss this particular version of Rietion, and that Tomita Miyu act is quite enticing.

The dogeza anime is amusing enough, once you remember it used to be shittweets and now it’s an anime short. But I think the Joy of Sugita Tomokazu can be better found in Sigururi because they’re their own unit there. I mean, Sigururi E4…

It’s a funny coincidence that we got Iwakakeru anime this season, which just reminds me of this. That said, the rock climbing JK team is compelling because it’s something I don’t know about (competitive bouldering in Japan) and the main girl is interesting. That it is over the top is OK, keeps things fresh I guess, but the other characters seems really oddball and maybe the tone of story has to play into it, which makes it also oddish and over the top.

If thinking about adaptation gets this rant to this point, the one main counterpoint this season is Tonikawa. It is also kind of a cringe show but if the entire original story is a mental gymnastic trick, what does the anime have left to do? That said, I liked the OP a lot (possibly my pick this season while Jujitsu gets the ED) and, well, the source content is solid. If I had a nitpick it would be just Akarin’s version of Tsukasa is not a great fit in my opinion. She does a fine job here, that said.

A fitting way to end this post is thinking about the Maeda Jun anime this season–it isn’t that frequently we get a show of this heritage or caliber. It’s decidedly less grim than Charlotte, but way more compelling already. I think that might be due to the animation and direction being really spot on? The timing works. The characterization works (especially on the supporting cast), that the low-key skit nature of the dialog between characters work. The Day I Became a God is probably both in the running for a late-inning comeback homerun, or forgotten to the test of time like other interesting, well-made, original anime TV series. That in itself is kind of exciting.

If there is a thing about finesse in telling a story via animation, this year showed it to us what it means. It’s hard!


Bandai Namco Festival 2019

It was a thing.

In a bid to stave off jet lag and fatigue, and partly motivated by procrastination, I want to tackle the two-day festival taken place last weekend at Tokyo Dome now rather than later. I tweeted it enough, but in summary:

  • Bannam has a lot of stuff! But IM@s is where it’s at, for this show.
  • All the idols in under one roof is all one.
  • While it was short on the collab department, there were still some great ones.
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Spring 2018 Anime Selections

Here are some impressions, as per usual. On a personal note, I recently signed up for HiDive, and it doesn’t have Apple TV support, which is what I use to watch probably 75% of anime these days. It also doesn’t have Chromecast support, which is what I use to watch ~15% of anime these days (only usually because I’m at a friend’s house or Apple TV is having issues). The two technology platforms are kind of interchangeable, since I use both at home for various things. The rest of the time I watch either on my phone (because I’m on an airplane) or on my PC (because I happen to be in front of it), in that 10% remainder. It also means HiDive is kind of worthless to me right now.

The problem with HiDive is that it doesn’t support how I watch anime most of the time. If it takes less effort to me to XDCC some files and watch it on Apple TV via Plex, than load up the video I want on HiDive, cast my whole phone, then hit play, this competing product is just a waste of my time that happened to cost money. Would it be OK for me to subscribe and not use it? I guess so. For now, the only real way to watch stuff on HiDive, short of inside a browser, is that I can dial up a video on my phone and stream my phone Airplay/Chromecast-like, but this sucks if all you have is your phone, and not a second device to play with in your living room. It is very much a first world problem, but this entire blog is more or less a first-world-issues only site.

That’s not even mentioning all the bugs in the Android app. And how the web version is making the same mistakes that plagued FUNi’s website back when they were solo on the streaming. Anyways.

On a less ranty, but still ranting, note, I picked up the EN version of BanG Dream game, administered out of Singapore. It’s perfectly fine and provides an updated experience than my first run-ins with the original JP version so long ago. They fixed most of the tuning issue with stamina usage and event point system. The more fleshed out exchange system now has some balance with grinding up character training mats. There are more songs you have access to right out of the gate, if just the newer covers alone.

Playing it also reminds me what I didn’t like about the game, which is having to put up with songs you don’t like or don’t want to listen to during multiplayer. This is why I almost never choose Random for song selection, anyway. Oh, and the usual abusers in the game that coast or outright cheat.

Then again, I get why some people instant-disconnect after the song selection screen. I really don’t have to want to put up with one more listen of Shuwarin. I’ve not fallen that far yet but it’s getting close. It would be really great if the game lets you blacklist a few songs!

OK, enough sidebars. Here are the initial offering (which is bound to shrink as the MLB season wears on).

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Iron-Blooded Orphans

You know what makes people cry? Dead children, sure. But also onions.

Spoilers ahoy! Both seasons!

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