Category Archives: NHK ni Yokoso

Gonzo Is Snarky

That looks awfully familiar.

People knows about fansubs even in Japan. Industry people. I recall once such instance when the ROD TV core creative team was fielding questions @ Anime Central 2004. I believe was Hideyuki Kurata-san who asked the panel audience “how do you know about ROD the TV? It’s not in the US yet.” The answer was not awkard, and IIRC someone in the audience gave a very good, short, snappy summary of the nature of fansubbing. We all nodded to concede its impropriety yet its necessity, even our creators.

The reason I thought about that was watching Gonzo’s Welcome to the NHK, I realized the OP used 3D text that dropped shadows and ran on chroma key for overlaying and underlaying. In the scene where various women walked past the screen it was pretty obvious what was the trick–the uniform colored background probably made it easier. That was the key. “Why the uniform background? Was the text applied after animation”? And as a rule of thumb, it was–that’s how we can get “clean” OP and EDs. “Wow, that’s like something you can pull off in aegisub if you spend enough time doing it.” Click. Wasn’t this something we saw in Shinsen’s Speed Grapher subs? How they managed to string the song lyrics into the slideshow ED with a uniform background color?

Could the two be possibly related? They are both Gonzo shows… I mean, it is probably more likely that whoever was doing the credits just went to town and did a great job “adding” to the opening animation. More importantly it was probably coordinated, as the flat BG was kind of necessary for post-processing. Or it just could be someone trying to “fix up” a poor production? I don’t know.

Put Your Hands to the Skies and Say…

Let's Sing Along!

Or in this case, scream CUZ THEY GOT THE KARAOKE TRACKS!

NHK ni Yokoso anime’s most notable feature for me is its ending song. The opening animation is delightful, too, but it isn’t nearly as entertaining. I suppose they only thing more they could have done is actually draw a baby. (That might be a little too creepy for some of us, though.)

Sometimes it’s just what you need after realizing how much smiliarity you share with the average NEET hikikomori.

Oh, yeah, I need romanji lyrics too! Hook a brother up yo.

[Update +8h]

Momotato = Awesome, and Great.

Love Languages For Lonely Losers

Living from moments of affirmation to the next, challenged by the harsh reality of both that they are rare and they are sometimes colder than what you’d expect, I return to question how I live as a fan, and as a person.

That’s what really pushed a story like Welcome to the NHK to my mind’s fore. The manga takes a much more worldly and humane road. Do people even think about having your parent walking on you while masturbating? Or rather, they probably don’t do so out of a positive force, but out of fear. That’s something I can’t really relate to well, but maybe you can tell me just how often this happens.

But we need not to go there–that’s just funny hijinks which makes Welcome to the NHK an edgy story that may be relevant to our interests. What is definitely relevant to mine is how it talks about the NEET/hikkikomori generation. How luxury provided us with escapism. How while hard work pays off usually, but laziness pays off now always. Or for some people, the journey to find your soul is long and tedious. Idealism battles realism, and unfortunately sometimes one has to die. Or sometimes it is just a sad fact of life: not everyone can make it out there. Rejection is a part of life.

In as far as generally emo people are difficult to confront and communicate with, anime can be a powerful platform to communicate something. Real life caseworkers for hikkikomori patients do rely on some of these common topics like video games and manga to start knocking. Persistence to push them to face the music works sometimes, too. It’s about communication, either by charm or by force.

Originally I was going to talk about love languages, but this thread of thought bridges the divide from literary to the literal. The sad fact is that a large number of Japan’s youths are locked up. It happens for all kinds of reasons which I won’t get into here. Be it a middle school in Hokkoaido or Neo Venezia on the Planet Aqua, there’s a connection. It’s about the uplifting message of humanism.

KOTOKO said so as much when she was asked. No man or woman is an island, and it’s hard overcoming that oppressive lie, that gap between what you think it ought to be and what it really could be. People like her puts that kind of emotion into the work they produce. It’s sympathy, compassion, love.

And just in so many ways love can express itself, we are not going to see what we are not looking for. If your definition of love is narrow, you are going to miss a lot of love speak. If you can’t sympathize, you will have problem understanding a lot of love speak. If you can’t love, then there’s nothing to be said. In as much reality is cruel, it’s important to hold onto some trace of innocence and ideals to keep you living like a person who can speak love.

Waves of Anime Porn Make Way to Foreign Shores

As droves of fans come into realization of anime’s pornographic nature, fundamentalists’ and conservatives’ fears materialize.

An Irrelevant Image
“I never knew,” a desperate mother of three boys, ages 17, 16 and 12 exclaimed. “I thought they were just like any other cartoons on TV, you know, where a cat chases a mouse or maybe some superhero fights crime. I never realized that would make my boys turn into perverted monsters.”

While Omonomono withheld the family’s name at their request, Professor Mark Jones, who teaches Japanese sociology at the Kurel University of Long Island, described this family as something we will see more of as anime becomes even more mainstream in America. “Anime is like a gateway drug. While it is fairly ordinary and it is just like anything else on TV, it decreases your resistance to other two-dimensional forms of pornography. When mixed with pornographic elements, anime porn can be awfully addictive and destructive,” Jones remarked.

“What’s worse,” Jones added, “is that often anime that, at first glance, seems innocent enough, can embed sexually-charged messages in which may increase the tendencies for minors to seek out pornography.”

It is no surprise, as well, that Japanese import of DVDs and, especially anime and anime porn, have been on the rise. According to the Japanese External Trade Organization, the number of Japanese anime DVDs exported to the United States has increased from 1.5 million in 2001 to 12 million in 2005. To make some sense of the numbers, Jack Chabowski, a manager from a US-based anime distributor, noted that one of their top-selling title, Pirate Jazz, sold a net total of 1 million units since its debut in 2003 as of mid 2005. “There must be a lot of horny Japanese people in the US,” he commented. “Anime DVDs imported from Japan are almost always in Japanese only, and you need to know Japanese to understand them.” Chabowski further commented that a Japanese anime DVD “usually cost twice to three times as much as you would pay compared to a domestic release of the same show.”

What’s more, anime fans in the US have long since realized the pornography problem associated with anime, and also “manga”–Japanese comics. Several locales in the US have at one point decided to ban certain anime and manga, because of its outright pornographic content disguised in innocuous “how to draw” books or in shows aimed at teenagers.

“Yeah, it’s all porn, or porn-like material that meant to tease without actually showing anything, so you can catch it on public TV,” commented one experienced fan who goes by the nickname “Crack.” “It’s all porn, really,” Crack continued. “Some of the shows are meant for little kids, so it’s hard to see what’s pornographic about it–but plenty of adults jerk off to those children’s TV shows.”

The fan response is not uniform, that said. Plenty of people insist that anime is no different than any other animated form of storytelling. Many vendors as well chose to limit the goods they sell to non-pornographic materials or not to focus on this explosive new market, not giving way to their bottom line. Others mock in defiance at the possibility of anime porn gaining serious traction in the US.

In today’s society where violent video games get the blame for turning teenagers into suicidal homocidals, what can parents do to watch out for their children? Some parents are in plain paranoia, and they are rightfully fearful–after all, they’re running out of things to blame. Others turn to conspiracy theories. One such person, a Japanese who faces the same problem in his home society, commented that the media cartel in Japan is bent on turning the world into passive sheep, who escapes reality and into the fantasy world, addicted to anime, manga, and pornography. The irony is thick as his writing is currently adopted into an anime TV show in Japan right now.

Welcome to the National Hetare Konspiracy

Gonzo is a great studio, in my book.

A Daria Moment

They know how to take care of business. But it seems that the road they walk is not unlike many other studios like ufotable or even KyoAni and Gainax. TNK, J.C. Staff, and even venerable ones like DEEN, Madhouse, Pierrot or Sunrise don’t escape this fate, as they flutter from one project to another, from one generation of its core creative team to another. It is a conspiracy that no one crosses the lines they have drawn for themselves. No, it has nothing to do with Haruhi from Ouran.

I have a Bone to pick with Welcome to the NHK.

The funny thing about Gonzo is that they actually are well-funded and they pander to a wide variety of international markets including more than just North America and its English-language market segment. Their works are generally fairly solid from a technical perspective. A lot of people don’t feel their work justify the attention they get otherwise because their works are rather unconventional as far as anime goes. They also tend not to pander to the crowd who likes Prince of Tennis or Full Metal Alchemist. I don’t blame them.

Because as anime hits closer and closer to the mainstream, fans of the exploitational anime such as the likes of Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Wicked City, Guyver, and even things like Fist of the North Star will get left out. However because they’re really a factor that has been with the fanbase since its conception, well, in Japan, people periodically goes back and try to nod to them, for better or worse. In as much as we have a TV series for Ninja Scroll, or things like Basilisk, we have things like Gantz and TOKKO.

Welcome to the NHK is like none of those shows. However it carries a flavor, the same snuffy psychedelic flavor that works extremely well with the material it adopts from. If we can say that Welcome to the NHK is categorically dark humor, then we may be in for a real treat…

But that’s the meaty part on the bone. I still dislike how the manga treats its subject matter. Maybe the new delivery will be much more soothing (in other words, appropriately funny, or funnier) to consume about a grim subject matter. Will the anime adaptation offer enough variety of psychedelica in that we can all laugh at our sad selves? So far it has passed the first hurdle–believability. I have high hopes.

The flavor of gonzo is finally appropriate.