Category Archives: Harmony

Ueshama Elevates Dumb Characters


I had a hard time coming up with something short and concise to describe the kind of characters Ueda Reina is particularly good at. Well, maybe not even; it’s more like how do I describe the lead of Bakuon without making slurs regarding people with disabilities. This is more a quick quip about Harmony and Bakuon, so let’s not tread those dangerous waters.

The thought came to me when I watched Harmony the other day. Harmony is Project Itoh’s best novel (and also the most critically regarded one), and because he was one of those writers who’s really taken into the “Tom Clancy style” of storytelling, Itou’s fleshed-out books probably will all work well for the silver screen. Well, it certainly did not disappoint.

Going into the movie I had no particular takes on the seiyuu for the movie, realizing only the lead role played by Sawashiro. Her husky voice probably bleeds into a certain other gun-touting SF anime heroine in the news recently. It’s probably an unavoidable comparison especially for a western audience, but Tuan is a more nuanced character and I think Miyukichi tried to bring that out best she could. She’s gotta be emo enough to ramp up to the climax, after all.

Like Empire of Corpses, there are these somewhat obtuse same-sex ships in Harmony, but it doesn’t really detract from the story in that it helped to slot in the plot device behind Kirie’s obsession for Miach, at least. What really sold the story was Miach. Kirie was a blunt instrument in some sense, perhaps better suited as a dude, now that I think back to her role is in this situation. Still, by being a girl there’s this some tension you can diffuse with their relationship, so the focus could be made more so on the conflicting feelings she has for Miach without having cisgendered romance clouding everything. However, internally constructed, I don’t know if Kirie sold it; the character was conflicted but it wasn’t clear how much the audience had to go on to infer to her inner desires. Miach sort of had to play the onion peeler to get us all the way home, largely through her final scene.

And I really just want to talk about how Ueshama was great as a psychotic world-ender in this role. Short of spoiling the movie let’s just say that this is why I had a hard time coming up a way to group Miach with Bakuon’s Hane (who could be described as a glorified bike sponge). And as a semi-frequent viewer of Hacka Channel it just made sense that Ueda is perfect for these kinds of high tone and low brow roles. If you had a scroll at her anime CV it might give you some insights. If youngin voice actresses of Japan get typecasted at all, Ueshama would be slotted as an oujosama type. In reality she escapes that sort of a thing in general and has already played a wide variety of character types in her short career. Arguably, her role in Harmonie is almost the opposite as her role in Harmony, right?

In this season she voices Hane and Kuromukuro’s Sophie, and those also make a good opposite-pair. The power of this woman who can be cool-cute one moment and old-adorable the other is pretty much already amusing enough on its own. And I don’t really have taken any interests in her via the usual route; purely through her acting and her on-screen charm, I guess.

Of Minimum Spends, Weekenders, Panels and Health Warnings

Just a bunch of random thoughts.


A Korean Liver apparently tried to make UO ramen by pouring UO fluids into instant noodle. What happened was the hot water vaporized the UO fluid, and it causes burns. As you can imagine, bad things happen if you inhaled it. Said Liver went into the ER for this reason, although he was smart enough to evacuate his home when the smells came so he ended up without much damage. As someone who enjoy UO kanpais let me be clear there are some responsible way to do this and please do not play with glowsticks in any other way. I also feel bad for proliferating this practice but I guess it cannot be helped to see…uh, the Darwin Awards apply? I don’t have a link to this because all this is screencaps shared on SNS. Do people even hyperlink anymore? Is this something that cuts into internet’s openness?

The trip to see ML3rd was technically a weekender. I took 4 days off, which is more than a typical weekender (this is like an Anisama weekender) and I spent the extra time to enjoy some company with the guys and to game airline fares (namely, having 3 layovers both ways). There is also much to say to ML3rd Makuhari trip than the two lives themselves. Will I get to it? Will I get to talk about Kawaii Kon? Sigh.

There is some thinking behind Japan’s aging and shrinking population, namely the young people of Japan and the shrinking workforce. There’s some hewing from foreign press or English-language news on this, mainly in terms of the economic, immigration policy or what have you. Enabling more elderly and women into the workforce is likely to have an impact with otaku stuff. Fujo pandering works will likely grow as more women get into the workforce, as there will be more disposable income available over time. The fact that anime and manga (and kakkin mobages) tend to target young people might be a counterbalancing point but this day and age adults enjoy them too (clearly) so I don’t think it’ll be a big deal. In a roundabout way, this also explains why Japanese cartoons target adults more and more, because where are all the kids at?

Speaking of kids, I’m enjoying Haifuri mainly for Mocho and the Trysails. If you drill into the cast for this show, it’s full of seiyuu who do idol works. Three of them are in Deremas, two from Nanasis, two WUGs, and vets like Kobayu…with Asumiss and Kanaechan (I don’t think they’re vets?). This is some serious seibuta material and enjoying it that way actually works. It helps that the story and concept isn’t bad. I’m blogging it at Jtor BTW.

I’m doing a panel at AnimeNext. I’ve gotten the skeleton of it down since early this year but sometime between now and then I have to flesh it out. It’s really about Bandai Namco and their management of IP… Okay it’s about IDOLM@STER but not the characters? Come and see. AnimeNext is in Atlantic City this year and that’s a bit of a pain to get to, but I’ll persevere. As long as they don’t schedule that panel on top of Kouno’s stuff… Excited about Kouno Megumi for sure. ZAQ concert is almost like icing at this point, but it does seal the deal.

Ahhh Chokaigi tomorrow will set my summer in motion. Probably.

Anime-wise I’m still trying to 1-ep everything. Definitely falling behind a bit, and not picking some stuff up. Like I don’t want to rewatch Unicorn but the TV series might get me to finish the OVAs finally. I’m also cleaning house on a few shows from last season. Like Dimension-W…need to marathon it soon.

With Anime North firmly in the front of the windshield, I think planning for it is going smoothly. We were able to book a venue and all in the nick of time, and hopefully the public-facing information for our offkai will be available this week…before whatever happens at Chokaigi derails us. Or whatever AX seems to have up its sleeves.

I saw some dubbed anime in theaters during FUNi’s screening of Empire of Corpses. The film itself is worth a watch. It mixes elements such as steampunk, zombies, and philosophy about animated corpses and souls with a good dose of BL. The sum is not my thing (and honestly I would not approach Empire of Corpses on those terms unless I am a marketing shill) other than the great animation and the philosophy stuff. The dub worked well because the characters and setting are international, with a lot of British and Russian characters. It still robbed me Houko in a funny role and Hanakana being the token female lead. Oh well. In a couple weeks they’ll show Harmony, which is something I am a lot more familiar with.

I am still jetlagged, mainly because work asked me to pull some late shifts since I returned from Japan. It’s not fun but I can live with it. Weekender training has some use after all.

Million Live Believe My Dream! event beckens. I am raking for two. Given how much I’ve spent on this game this month I think that’s the very least I can do.

Project Itoh Hype

I let loose a silent cheer when the news of noitaminA’s adaptation of his works came to the fore earlier this year. It wasn’t clear what works the late-night anime segment was going to bring us, so hearing that his biggest two (outside of MGS) works are coming is even more of a cause for cheer. Or maybe it’s the two I’m familiar with?

And seeing the various teaser trailers coming out reminds me that different people have different takes on his works. IIRC Viz’s Harmony came with a little afterwards that mentioned in passing how Itoh spent much of his final years in the hospital. Japan, after all, likes to commit their patients much more so than the west. And that passing familiarity with the feeling inside the hospital walls is a part of his repertoire in expressing whatever he was gunning for.

Invariably, I guess, I made the connection between that and other fictional works where the protagonist(s) end up dying of some fatal diseases or what not. There are a few people can relate to, I hear they’re a little popular. But in a way, what Itoh Project brought us is a much more moderated and mature take. It’s what most of us would write if we were in his shoes. The ending to Genocidal Organ especially was hilarious and appropriate fit to that mentality, even if it might not fit the rest of the book as much. Well, you can decide for yourself.

Guns, needles, whatever. Hype, though, nonetheless.

PS. It confused me for a second but noitaminA is calling these adaptations “Project Itoh” which is a word play on “Itoh Project.” The two novels are written under Itoh Project, as a matter of reference. (Insert just as keikaku TL note.jpg here.)