Category Archives: Love Live

Case Study: ePlus complaint Open Letter

The a few week ago, some fans for the Love Live franchise decided to publish on twitter a letter complaining and asking for an oversea-friendly streaming option for the recent Nijigaku online live event. Being not really involved in any of this (although vaguely interested in the same event), I was wondering why there was any kind of perceived drama. Well, it seems clear to me why there was drama. See below.

A few thoughts, after reading that post and the twitter replies.

Good fans versus bad fans: In light of the ongoing racial protests in America, I think there is a parallel of dissonance between how illegally distributing and viewing content isn’t a “bad behavior” as compared to selectively applying laws or violence on perceived slights against African Americans but letting White Americans more leeway is also acceptable behavior.

It’s important for people who defend racist positions to justify their point of view, ie., they are still the good guys, despite engaging in an array of conceivably-to-obvious evil conduct or perpetrating questionable-to-toxic ideas in bad faith. The same can be said of all fans of a franchise, in that all fans are good fans, when considered individually. Of course if you ask fans from larger communities, few if any would say “all fans are good fans” is a true statement.

Good intention: I think the letter represent an attempt at customers trying to get some service. It is not unreasonable to ask the question that how will folks overseas, in these English-speaking regions typically serviced by Love Live official channels. A public letter, however, is not how it’s done with a consumer facing situation. If you were an adjacent stakeholder, maybe that would make more sense.

In the end what happened was the oversea-facing marketing folks were notified of this internet trend and an official statement went out to let people know an overseas solution was in the works. Last weekend it worked out (other than the technical difficulty that locked out the first session) and people got their seiyuu idols.

Groomed by attention-seeking platforms: The world doesn’t work like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. As old timer like Kelts would say, and I quote:

What sucks is that the discourse on social media is so coarse. When you go back and read exchanges between diehard anime fans on Usenet and old chatrooms and forums from the mid-2000s, they read like middlebrow literature compared to what you see on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord. So many social media posts are made just to get hits, not to communicate or share ideas, and the most provocative, cruel, or just plain daft stuff gets liked and retweeted a thousand times. 

An ex-friend of mine once told me he was going to market his book entirely on Twitter. I said, well then you’ll get a bunch of responses from people who don’t read a lot of books. But he said he just wanted to sell a lot of copies. He didn’t care about the quality of the people who read them or followed him.

But I guess that’s the state of most things in America right now, politics in particular. Mass appeal is all that matters.

I’ve got nothing to say to that. Well, maybe besides that it isn’t the acid rain’s fault that we can’t have good things. It’s a confluence of factors–people in their 20s and early 30s learned how to talk on the internet not via blogs but via Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr and the like. Maybe even 4chan is better? Forums basically all died and Reddit is really where it is now. But when you have this kind of issue, getting attention seems like an obvious helpline that it all went there. Ultimately that’s kind of just how it is today, but it comes across like that these kids do not care about the things are perceived. It’s always about mobilizing your online mob first and last. It’s part of the tragedy of the commons in which powers the economic engine of the attention economy. Maybe it’s popcorn for some, but it’s pollution in the most basic economic sense.


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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Year in Review 2016: N-listing

I’m putting this out first because the other post can stand by itself, introspection or not. Hey, it’s not March yet.

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Musk-Style Idoling

Bin1 sure loves its crossovers

I side with Elon Musk when he (subtly) complained about the comparison of what SpaceX has accomplished with what Bezos tweeted about landing a (part of a) rocket, back when Blue Origin announced its feat. I think we cannot overstate the difference between landing a big thing that’s in freefall at near zero speed at its apex with landing a big thing that’s traveling at something like Mach 7. Or however fast 16000 kilometers per hour is. And that’s just its lateral velocity.

This is what I feel stands between IM@S and Love Live. They are both about fake idols and are media-mixed IPs with the usual attachments to them. But in rocket speak, IM@S is somewhere between finishing its second stage burn and going to the third, far beyond its Max Q point. Love Live on the other hand is still rocking that main burner. And I suspect the two idol ships are not even going to the same places, taking the same trajectory.

Maybe that’s just how far it takes to go beyond the glittering future.

I think we will want both to do well. And not only these two, but WUG, Aikatsu, Pripara, SB69, whatever you got, right now, floats all boats outside of Japan. Because the west doesn’t get idols. Those who think so somehow understand it only in the context of the infamous AKB and all the drama that name brings. But we have to realize while the 48Gs revolutionized what that concept is in practice, they are not the idol industry nor are they even representative of it outside of the very mainstream. And mainstream Japanese entertainment was never really relevant to the West anyway, speaking on aggregates with broad strokes.

The more people who get LL, and it doesn’t matter if they get into LL or not, the better it is for everyone else. I think East Asia generally gets it; Koreans are a good example of improving on some of that formula, while sticking to what works for them. But it’s also different than the kind of less-glamorous, oddly homely and otaku-friendly version of these things. Still, writing as someone from the USA, it is a change welcomed.

With Love Live’s Tokyo Dome event on the horizon, and how the movie release shattering late-night anime records, I hope this is just the beginning of something more wonderful for everyone, not just livers. And I think while it’s okay to get nervous and jittery about going to LL 6th (RIP if you are attempting), don’t worry. If it was as awesome as IM@S 10th, you will be in for a treat, and it wouldn’t even be that severe to score tickets.

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I have posts to write, but I don’t have that much time. We’ll see. One thing for sure all those “Year in Review” posts will come after Christmas.


Who Do You Hate in Love Live?

I actually like everybody.

cotoli minami

But I understand the role in viewer antagonism. After all love and hate are related emotional responses that require a high amount of engagement. It’s a lot more telling that I am merely “like” and not “love”–a form of affirming indifference. Arisa was my MVP from season one, and at the least I’m glad season two tried hard to develop the group. I mean after all not everyone in μ’s had spoken roles in every episode of the first season, and most of the non-second-years didn’t get their time in the spotlight.

Speaking as an unabashed Maki/Pile oshi-type, though, it’s characters like the moms, ARISE, or even the LLSIF normal students, that really rounds out Love Live as a franchise. It’s little things that helps Love Live gain fans. I really enjoyed Rin’s episode from season two, but I still still finding her largely indistinguishable from Hanayo; it was the episode and the way the story told itself that I loved, not as much everything else. Nico’s whole deal is a good twist on a welcomed trope in season 2, but as you can see I still can only pin it from that point of view, a meta analysis of tropes in a way to draw positives from the widest base. She deserves better, someone who likes her for who she is. “Washi Washi” is probably my favorite meme from the show, so that tells you how opposite I stand apart from Author on the haterade gulping, probably because it’s one of the more risque, and risky, things in the show. For something that goes out on a limb, Love Live takes a very solid, conservative approach to entertainment.

But thanks to that approach, many of the little jokes in Love Live are quite fun, even things that are just simple (if deep) character traits, like Hanayo’s love for rice. Just reading about how the Cotoli-face meme come about tells you just how precisely people mine this idol stuff. It’s a calculated payload with significant thought behind it. Love Live’s math is a little easier to understand from the outside, but it doesn’t make it any more or less appealing for people who enjoy it or find it repulsive, respectively.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I love the same things in IM@S and all those other idol shows. The Haruka-Chihaya ship and Yukiho’s shovel can go a long way to make some funny, and they remains one of the most memorable IM@S things I’ve seen even today. [But that doesn’t go even half the distance to the goal, which is a story that I’ve documented on this blog well enough over the years, I hope.]

So yes, my two sides of a different coin are indifference and like. Love Live is fun and enjoyable, and I’m glad for it and how it engages even more people in a way that as a seiyuu idol fan, I would approve. I feel like this mutually beneficial relationship also is built on equal distrust in that we are engaging at length with media companies selling prepackaged feel-generators, at Japanese prices. At least, that’s sort of my base line approach to all of this. In that simple way, I am grateful for all that Love Live has done via the mobage and through both the fans and Lantis/Bandai/NISA/Bushiroad/whatever. You don’t have to pay a single yen to “enjoy” silly Chinese people kowtowing to dumb signs!