Category Archives: Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai

Year in Review 2013: N-List

So, the usual.

kirino new years

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OreImo Radio Update: The World Is All Sisucon

From Chiba to the World

Your OreImo web radio efforts have paid off in the form of this kinda-heart-warming message from the producer of the show, Shinichiro Kashiwada. The full message can be read on the JP home page for OreImo S2 but here’s the key excerpt:

Every staff and cast member who has been involved in this series has put their hearts and souls into these last 3 episodes of “Oreimo 2,” and we have all been hoping to share these final episodes with as many fans as possible. When we saw so many dedicated fan submissions to the “Oreimo 2 Web Radio Show” from our international fans who watch every week through various streaming services, we knew we had to provide an environment where every fan can watch and experience these final episodes simultaneously.

And yeah, it was written bilingually in English and Japanese. Oh, of course, the bigger news is that OreImo OAV streaming for everyone without the time lag. I don’t know, does this obvious acknowledgment of the episodic bubble, the “watch every week” water cooler-style chatter (except it happens mostly online) in which drives this particular niche fandom, mean something after all?

And of course, last Thursday was when the latest OreImo S2 radio came up and the hosts did mention the large volume of English-language submissions. I think during the foreign mail segment, there was a letter from Singapore who pretty much dissed Ayachi outright (but he did apologize). There was definitely some internet-tard-y guy who referenced Hanazawa as “Hanakana-chan.” It’s kind of funny I GUESS? There was some Californian-tiger dude with an unique greeting. There was a letter from a Canadian sisters doing real talk about the difference between fujoshi and otaku-ko. Finally (or initially?) there’s this pretty much incomprehensible letter that makes no sense? Can TKTT pronounce “Commander Riker?” The world will never know.

Kind of like this simulcast announcement, I think people realize foreign otaku knows their stuff as much as slick Aniplex-types know about the foreign market. At ~5 hours post-tweet, there are about ~1000 RTs for the ep16-18 tweet announcement in Japanese, and about a quarter that for the English version of the same tweet. Does this mean we’re about 1/5? Should I check back in a day? Is it fair to assume our oversea comrades not in Japan would rather RT in Japanese? Does pointless speculations make any sense? But yeah, throw us a bone, even if it’s full of crap like this, we’ll slurp it up gladly.

Regardless, it’s always a good time with Hanazawa and Taketatsu. Hopefully next week they will do more foreign viewer mail! Read more about it here and listen to it here!

PS. We should all submit tongue twisters in English or something. You know.

PPS. Updated count on RT at time of publish is still about the same, 284 to 1180


Flood OreImo Web Radio with Your Overflowing Affection

“Otakus of the world, unite!”

DJ KURONEKO is probably a real DJ.

Should I put a [sic] there? I guess not. Anyway, Oreimo season 2 web radio has this corner where they are reading international fan mail. So it’s really neat. What’s even more awesome is how the web radio page got a translation so you can just waltz over and type in nonsense and hit submit. I think it would be great if all the oversea viewers of OreImo got to send their messages to the radio show.

To do it right, I think you also need to try a few things.

  • If you have some Japanese ability, try to write your message in Japanese. It’s okay to use terrible Japanese if you are a legit gaijin, and I think it’s kind of a good thing, as that gives them something to talk about. But it’s also impressive if your written Japanese is top notch.
  • Approach the message like a letter. Write a “Dear Miss Taketatsu and Miss Hanazawa” in there or something. It’s okay to close with “sincerely yours” but it’s probably not as important as the initial bit of the letter. It’s tempting to treat it like an internet blog comment, but this is a radio show still, folks.
  • Include where you are from in the letter. And generally stick to topic.
  • Additionally if you can handle listening to the previous episodes (well, just ep 2 and 3), give it a spin and hear what they say about the segment to give you an idea what to write.

I ended up using machine translated text. Great thing about Google’s web interface is that it has text-to-speech, so I can translate the text and hit playback to at least make sure what I wrote sounds okay, even if I can’t read it.

Most of these tie-in radio shows are pre-recorded, and so is this one. New episodes come out twice a month on alternating Thursdays (Japan time), but it makes me think that they’re recorded at the same time. At least, given episodes 1 and 2. I’m guessing if we submit comments to the show today, it probably won’t show up in the next week’s episode.

I think this is a great way to show that oversea fans can represent. They’re asking for it. Let’s give it to them.

PS. Just want to document this … thing some more.

https://twitter.com/oreimo_anime/status/335005608908582912


Wave of Unbelievably Random Novels Invade Japanese Shores

[Inspired by this intrepid list of insipid plot-generator-type titles. So, here goes nothing.]

Wave of unbelievably random novels invade Japanese shores

Tenth grader Rinko Kobayakawa is just your average, middle-class Japanese high schooler who likes rock music, fashion and walks to school every day. She, like millions of others like her in junior high school and high school in Japan, spent on average dozens of hours a month reading on their commute or spare time between classes.

“I don’t really remember when it started, but I’ve been reading these light novels ever since fourth grade. All of the sudden these new sorts of books are everywhere and I can’t even find a normal book, like that book about vampires that’s so popular a couple years ago.”

Rinko is more avid of a reader than most, and in a month she can read up to 10 of these light novels–pulp novels in a small form factor, made for teens to read on their commute, often featuring mystery, fantasy and romance as subject matters. Although teens of Japan flock to video games and shows on TV as much as their counterparts in other developed nations, Japan has always been a country that treasured its print media, boasting the largest newspaper in circulation and a publishing industry at about 1.8 trillion yen, or over 21 billion US dollars. However, as with other print markets in developed nations, it is slowly giving way to similar things–games, and mostly, the internet.

“This is an emerging market,” said a mid-level executive at a premiere publisher, name withheld to protect his employer’s image at his request. “Over the past three years we have seen nearly three-fold growth in our light novel imprints, and while the growth is slowing it remains highly profitable. Kids will eat this up, and it gives a wide variety of authors a lot of opportunity to publish something interesting.” Compared to the short period when cell-phone published works like keitai-shousetsu was popular, light novel was still, after all, printed on paper. It gave this particular print publisher some comfort in an increasingly uncertain world in print publishing.

Cellphone novels are not the last attempt for Japanese publishers to make way into the digital realm. However unlike other bigger pushes in recent years, or even Amazon’s recent deal to bring the Kindle to Japan, the cellphone novels attained popularity from its young writers and their convention-breaking styles. Usually using a pseudonym, these writers were able to reach the teens and connected to today’s youth trends and styles. Compared to more traditional print published works, which are stiffer and takes a less familiar tone to the reader, these cellphone novels are written with a casual, if entirely informally or with an experimental voice, as they were given more leeway with what they could write. It narrowed the gap between the reader and the writer, and for many teens that was the connection they were looking for in their entertainment.

Light novels, naturally, quickly took to this style and have also seen its popularity rise as a result. “There are all kinds of light novels out there, but some of them I really don’t understand how or why they could ever be published. I mean, I understand a few of these little sister novels are pretty popular, I read one series and it is pretty funny. But these other ones, I don’t know.” Tabata, another 10th grader, is much more skeptical. “Why are these stories are being published? I mean it feels like anybody can write a light novel these days, and some publisher will print it, and worse, someone will always buy it.” Tabata’s concerns are not unfounded; during the years of explosive growth, new titles are in high demand, and the forgiving readership made it possible for a wide variety of mediocre performers to stay on the market.

As with most pulp fiction, the racy and controversial often sell best. How would parents react to this trend of light novels? Governor Shintaro Ishihara of Tokyo Prefecture, a published author himself, proposed a bill in 2010 that pushed the formation of a government panel that deems certain print work to be adult only. The controversial ordinance, prefaced to protect the youth from exactly the seedy and questionable print content in manga and pulp magazines, solicited mixed responses from the public. “I’m not for censorship, but sometimes I wonder if the comic and novels my son buys in the convenient store are really okay for a minor.” Yoshino Kousaka, the mother of a teenage boy and girl, does what she can to support their hobbies and development. “I know my daughter sometimes like to buy some of these very girly, urban fantasy and romance books, but somehow I’m just more worried about my son getting into it. I mean he is at that age, you know? Maybe it would be best to limit those things. Sometimes I read the titles of these books and I really wonder what is going on.”

Mrs. Kousaka’s concerns are not uncommon. Titles such as I Love My Older Brother But as Long as We Have Our Love It’s OK Right?A Sister’s Virgin Lips Are Only for Her Brother!, It’s Not Like I Love My Brother at All!!, Am I Not Allowed to Play Footsies with My Sister?, or Why My Tsuntsun Koakuma Sister Became Dere Before Becoming My Waifu are just a small sample of a much larger pool of today’s light novel offering that may draw a discerning parent’s eyes. It’s with caution that Japanese children, teens and parents approach this new trend of media proliferation in the new decade.

[This post is also called “My Big Brother/Boyfriend Is Also an Idol Producer.” I guess that could be the subtitle.]

[And if you can’t tell this is a fictional work, well, you have bigger things to worry about.]


Random Thoughts: Cold-Call Stalker

I wasted a perfectly good Saturday wormed in front a couple Nico streams for ACE. It’s something I probably have never really done before, although I may have had in different variations over the years. I think one of the strongest thing NND has over Youtube is precisely this sort of live content programming, the sort of stuff that resembles more like sports programming than, say, some pre-produced thing someone uploaded to some video service. NND’s coverage of ACE is actually pretty good once you ignore the fact that half of the content happen in the wee hours of the day for EDT and some of the better stuff is either not streamed or geoblocked.

As much as I casually (or maybe beyond “casually,” I’m not objective enough to tell) follow these new-comer seiyuu scenes, these ACE streams mark the first time I’ve seen some of them live with any prolong period of time. I guess it’s kind of interesting seeing Kayano do her little Menma corner in that interesting getup. Interesting, because I don’t really have another word for it.

It was enjoyable to see Mizuhashi and Shintani pimp the new Hidamari Sketch TV show. Man, I remember Shintani when she was like, 18 years old. Time flies. Mizuhashi was interesting and pro. The Madoka stage was rather uneventful other than seeing your favorite seiyuu on stage. In my case it’s mostly just Nonaka. I really need to dig out more videos of her, she’s like tailor made for my weak points. And I guess that’s the thing: I just don’t spend the time to watch seiyuu videos and the like, so there’s a sense of wonder left when I subject myself to this sort of manufactured marketing drivel.

On the other hand, you kind of have to be all keyed in to that stuff to enjoy, say, the iM@S x YuruYuri x Milky Holmes variety show. I was pretty happy about NND broadcasting that one in their US portal. Also, you can tell iM@S team is just more together, having better chemistry and more experience. Not too surprising given that they’ve been around the longest and have done so much together, even including newcomer Asakura/Yukiho.

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Remember that seiyuu phone call app? Originally it started out with a list of A and B rank seiyuu and you have to pay to get the full “calls.” Now it’s flush with a bunch of C rank (I’m not sure why I’m using these letter grades but I hope it gives you the idea) seiyuu that are free. It’s kind of cool because it’s one way to find out about some interesting voices, like Chiyo Ousaki. Definitely a budding eroge queen!

Is this creepy? At first yeah, even for me. But as I go through the various selections it’s actually kind of fun. Fun in the sense that it’s like you get to hear someone new and check out what they sound like, how they act out a scenario–something I think that is fundamental about being a seiyuu person. This along with that card game where you can pick up seiyuu by voice provide an interesting way for new voice actors to get themselves out there and for seiyuu fans to pick up “relevant entertainment” cheaply. Win-win for marketing and consumers IMO.

Then again, you get people like this. Which is kind of neat but, well, LOL. Anyway, you can read about the list of newbies at Seiyuu+plus’s site.

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Anime Boston, PAX East, and Easter are all happening at the same time! As mentioned earlier I’ll be enjoying (hopefully) the first Momoi concert of my life and it is with slight trepidation that I look forward to how the Momoists handle it. On one hand I hope it’s a lot of fun when fans put so much effort and energy into it, but on the other hand I just want to see the crowd being the way they are–lackadaisical and KY–without getting too worked up by wotagei. As much as the calls are part of the whole thing, it feels kind of too stiff sometimes. But then again, con crowds are typically easy and it’s not like I go to the con for the crowd anyway!

And that brings us to the true topic: obviously, I go to Boston for some fresh and tasty oysters. I think if there’s a staple thing to have in Boston, that is it. All the other seafood-y things are a little bit overrated. I mean I can get a perfectly good lobster roll or a cup of chowder in Manhattan today, why even bother doing it when I’m just 4 hours up north?

I wonder if there’s any good oyster omelette place in Boston.

Itou Kanako, I’m looking forward to that show without any reservations. Thank God.

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Back to ACE, and this time, 4/1. I’m as impacted as anyone else about April Fools. I’m fine with people complaining about it, but I think OreImo season 2 announcement on 4/1 is well-played. When the marketing is this self-aware, I have problems with people faulting that. It’s like they just don’t get it. Well, nobody’s perfect I guess.