Category Archives: Ouran High Host Club

Semi-Live Otakon Blogging Day 0 & 1 – My Fair Lady

This is really a crashing attempt at blogging. I got 5 hours of sleep last night and my sleep time is eating away by me typing this up. Maybe sometime in the next 12 months I’ll be able to get broadband on the go via some kind of cellular-level connection or something like that.

But anyways, just want to hit some key points that isn’t covered in the usual license announcements today. Obviously, Ouran was a big one and this year had a bigger showing of Ouran cosplayers than last year.

All the Mamiko Noto questions we posed got asked, basically. I actually pitched the “what is your favorite” question and the stupid translator dude picked up on it, even when I phrased it carefully and Noto-san didn’t even dodge it!

Actually Noto-san has been very awesome–35 questions in about 60 minutes. There was this Chinese otaku girl who was a huuuuge Marimite fan who covered those questions, and some bi-lingual otaku who pitched the juicer questions and as well as the Sola question. That’s on top of the autographing session, she actually shook my hands with two hands! ZOMG. I’ll spin this out probably tomorrow or Sunday.

There’s more to otakon — this year has the shortest wait time for reg ever, as well as a very interesting selection of cosplays (1 Kamina, 1 Simon, 1 Post ep-12 Simon! Also 1 Touhou’s Sakuya?). The weather was pretty good, compared to the past otakons.

AAA can really dance and sing but I don’t think Otakon is ready for a neophyte boy band. They were a great show but there’s only so much we can take this artifical stuff; half the people at the concert were there for AMV, anyways.

Geneon After Dark: picked the brains of the usual attendees like Jerry and for the first time Kevin Chu. He loves Manabi Straight! There is hope.

Trying to Get Simoun Out of My System, Attempt #2

With the shows I’ve been following coming to an end, a quick review is in order. Maybe it’ll remind me that there’s more to life than the girls onboard Arctus Prima.

If you didn't get it, it has to do with Otome

Simoun vs. Ouran High Host Club

It’s not that I am not afraid of comparing apples with oranges, but it struck me that what is missing in Ouran Host Club is exactly what makes Simoun so good.

I like to criticize Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu on the basis that Kyoani, outside of maybe Air, has generally gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to adding that “feel” to a show. I have a hard time putting it to words, but it can be said that the same effect can be replicated when you cook chicken breasts the wrong way, that they come out tasting like soft chalk. Granted, the effect is nowhere nearly as bad. FMP: TSR was as bad as it gets, and it isn’t that bad at all. Maybe it’s the consistency? Does it lack “soul”?

But I feel that is exactly what makes Ouran Host Club remind me of Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu. Ouran, as visually impressive as it is, fails to reach that visceral-ness Suzumiya Haruhi did. But like Suzumiya Haruhi, Ouran is a very cerebral experience, it is very smart. The characters are both flat and round in order for the gags, both visual and mental, to work, and I think the show did a decent job of that. That’s not to mention my favorite part of the show–the direction. It’s sharp and clever. Even in its weaker moments it doesn’t fail to impress. In some ways it surpasses most anime that I can remember on the technicals, even if it couldn’t hit those “we pour love and money into this episode!” peaks that shorter, TV anime this past year did.

I can foresee that in the near future I’ll come around to enjoy Haruhi again. But for now, this show is the diametric opposite to Simoun: it’s clean, it doesn’t leave you attached, it impresses visually and mentally, but leaving you a little longing inside.

Tsuyokiss vs. Simoun

In some ways Tsuyokiss only reached the first step of what Simoun did, but since it gambled all 13 episodes on that one thing, it came out pretty well when we look at Tsuyokiss on that one thing, and only that one thing. That one thing, well, it is probably best described as a dialogue the anime production people have with the audience. It tries to tease you, it tries to please you. It knows what it has to work with is crap and it doesn’t care even if it is the worse case of original-adaptation-cide ever. It is unapologetic about it, but in a way it expects you to know that much. In the end it delivers on a platter of something that is like a B- high school group project, but since you were a part of the group, you get sentimental over it.

Simoun, on the other hand, has gotten that bit over with when Mamiina broke out with fists and claws. Since it is twice longer than 13 episodes, it can’t afford to do the same either. Their first tour with Wauf was all about it.

Simoun vs. Blood+

Blood+ is a very clean show. The production value shines through. It is intelligent yet it has the pacing of a typical 90s anime that aims to dramatize. The story, in retrospect, is a powerful one. However, most of the power was robbed by its mechanical, one-fight-per-episode formula that is as mediocre as it gets. There is some sense of overall planning and vision, but on the ground it doesn’t please or tease or amuse anyone. It tries too hard being cool the whole way, when it could have gotten a lot farther by shedding the drama and just get things done, and offer up some twists.

On the other hand you can look at it as a sign of respect. Blood+ knows we know what it has up its sleeves, and it’s just a matter of waiting it out. However it feels like all this formalistic pretense just gets in the way of me trying to enjoy Saya’s plea.

Simoun vs. Honey & Clover 2

I hope Mamiina didn’t mistake rats with hamsters.

The concluding 12 episodes of Honey & Clover was rather good, I thought. But the break between episodes 26 and the recapping episode 27 really spoiled things. As here we were, all ready to accept things as it was with how the first 26 episodes ended (and it was a decent way to end something that “doesn’t end” I thought). Yet now there’s real closure.

Of course, by episode 26 you get a good idea how Takemoto is going to take things, and what happens between Rika, Mayama; Yamada, Nomiya; and obviously Hagu… Can’t say I am NOT surprised but somehow how it ended felt right; things ended as it should (save for the little oddness with Hanamoto-sensei that will boggle and mislead a bunch of fools).

But was it all just ending for having an ending’s sake? Is it really just a long-ass ending thing? It would certainly make Honey & Clover one hella unique anime. Not only as a romantic comedy it was rather unconventional, it has the longest ending sequence ever.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni vs. Simoun

Satoshi visits the Spring, only to realize boycotts and local conspiracies murdered Onashia and her relatives over dam construction at the ruins. Add drugs, dogfighting, gruesome torture, and identity crisis. Tempus Spatium makes a guest appearance in the form of Mion’s tatoo.

Higurashi was great up to episode 5. From then on it tries to explain and continue to add more to the wholesome mix of loli horror, but it never quite reaches the same peak. A mostly linear downhill ride, I’d say. Admittedly this genre is fairly NOT my bag of tea but I enjoyed what little there was to enjoy about this show. The OP itself was awesome for setting the mood and all.

Bokura ga Ita vs. Simoun

One makes me feel gay, the other doesn’t? And while I think I would be pretty comfortable watching Bokura ga Ita with other, non-anime people, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with myself watching Bokura ga Ita even if I was by myself. Those times I wish I was watching Ouran High instead. Less yucky, more pretty.

But nonetheless it’s a nice, alternative take to the same genre. I’m just not sure if I can take it…period. It drives me insane.

And let’s not forget. I’d rather have other people walk in on me watching Neviril kissing some other equally “moe-looking” chick than stick-figure Yano and Bokura ga Ita’s simple visuals. It’s that bad. Or it’s that good? I suppose that’s shoujo anime in its bare form.

Simoun vs. Coyote Ragtime Show

I’d be pretty happy if Angelica hooks up with Amuria or Onashia or something. She is a pretty, enlightened, old fashion gal and I think without her the Coyote Ragtime show would be only a shadow of its current self. I enjoyed the show, that said, because it has this die hard feel to it. Too bad objectively the show kind of tanked in some major aspects. I blame it squarely on Katana, Bishop, and Mister themselves. Being such important aspects to the show they are really pretty … lame. Swamp, being the token black guy, at least did his job well enough. Considering we have three (to 4 to 5 if the Coyotes break up) narrative perspectives, at least 2 out of 3 involves something less lame, like the 12 Sisters or Chelsea and Angelica, the show wasn’t too terrible to watch. But as a proof of concept I think it fails terribly. Maybe it would have been better if Bishop and Katana had more going on rather than being sidekicks.

Simoun vs. Aria the Natural

An episode of Aria is like an episode of Simoun once you remove any trace of conflict. The girls do not kiss each other, but they might as well. I think what really makes Aria works is the SD. I hated Aria-prez when Aria first got animated a while back, and now that’s all but a remote memory–it shows just how powerful your brain is in ignoring or filtering out stuff that it really doesn’t like. And that can include those girl-on-girl kisses. It would be just as an irritant as Aria-prez’s incessant whining.

And some might even like that!

Blogging Is Not Safe for Your Reputation

I am kind of recollecting what’s left of me from a weekend of romance, heroics, and reminescense. Twenty-six episodes of Nadesico viewed between Friday night and tonight, inspired by Harold and Kumar‘s demand for satisfaction, would do just that. It wasn’t the tour-de-force I expected, but it was a test of my conviction as someone who spends much of his waking hours thinking and watching and talking about anime.

Somehow my identity has been wrapped around this tapestry of cultural nuiances, humanist worldview, and an idealist’s plea trapped in a realist’s body. The theme of memory; the limitation of human, for both our gain and loss; learning how to love both yourself and those around you; living and seeing that there is more to life than your flesh limitation. Calling each other by our spiritual destinies.

I love ranting about Nadesico. If you can’t tell.


I know a lot of people browse the web when they’re working at a relatively cushy job that lets them, well, browse the web. It’s no big deal if you’re working in an academic lab or something casual, but if you go “squeee” when the blogs on your RSS aggregator link to shady images, don’t complain. Even if you took the care to not read something like HD or the dirty, dirty RIUVA at work, and read sites that are admittedly tame enough, simple looking and don’t follow links to girls in gothloli underpants

But you should feel very good. Why? Because you’re not one of these people. They nail Blood+ well, I think, but somehow the use of visual, verbal description of the content of their dialogue helps to insulate us from subtle uncomfort of the words, and having the pleasure to converse with both of them just like that changes how I look at the situation. In other words, their podcast is just like any other podcast from these kinds of enterprises. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo? Props to Rah^2 for linking me with a sexed up Riku, and making me look up Ajia-do. Maybe I will do a lo-down on Blood+ someday, but hearing what I had to say, said, leaves me unmotivated (and that’s a good thing).

Perhaps, one day, when we can idle like the well-to-do fantasy cast of Ouran High School Host Club, we can probably also learn to live like the Poor Sisters from their stories. So we can paint not only cherubums or make snow rabbits, but to do so in honor of both our failures and successes on a day of atonement like today. For these memories that forged Ruri’s identity; that is why a humanist live. Sadly, that’s not how I live; Omoikane is not one for this world, after all.

Definitely not if one gets executed from making bad puns.

Otakon 2006: An Average Story about a Convention

If words were enough to describe this convention, I wouldn’t need pictures. Even if words were enough, I’d still use pictures because I am lazy.

I was a Harutard

But some words are necessary. Like tags. Could be chronological:
Hot Thursday prereg, drinking, dinner, drinking; hot friday lineup, ticket, sat in line and watch anime, dealers, eat, Nobuteru panel, Madhouse panel, eat alone, concert, karaoke; Saturday ticket, dealers, Kawasumi panel, autograph, karaoke, fate meet, concert, mt meet, Geneon, Hellsing, dinner, art gallery, 4chan, Geneon panel; sunday karaoke, art gallery, hotel crap, karaoke, lunch, karaoke, home.

Or more descriptive:
Haruhi-tard, ETERNAL BLAZE, Hottest. Otakon. Ever., Kawasumi Ayako, Lafiel, Mahoro, Trap-chan, Raptor Jesus, Getsumei Fuuei, MUCC, fatigue, NO U, Free Stuff, Mihata no Moto ni, Pictochat, Geneon, Dan Kim, Futakoi Alternative, Touhou, Ever17, waiting in line, Nobuteru Yuuki, Nakazawa Kazuto, God Bless…

There were the usual amount of cosplaying. Without beating around the bush anymore, you can click on these links at your own risk. Traps, you know. I think the variety this year matches more my expectation from last year than this year.

A good meme from the con to recall is Web 2.0. It’s amusing how much I’ve changed in doing an otakon write-up over the last 9 years. And yet I’ve done it every time save my first Otakon, in a blog form. Instead of AMVs maybe I’ll do a trip down memory lane kind of thing. Some things, despite age, just don’t change time and time again.

Like hitting traffic on the NJ Turnpike.

But there are still stories left to be told of our battle last weekend. Yours and mine. Like how karaoke post MUCC concert means you can’t hear the monitor too well. Or our Canadian friend makes one helluva Trap-chan. Or how 4chan manages to transform time and space and bring anonymity to a convention line. Or how the panels I missed out I wish I could attend, or watch videos of. Or how I asked about Lafiel, and made a fool out of myself at the Kawasumi panel. Or how people should do more Nana Mizuki songs at the karaoke. Or just how much fun we had, or how we wish you were there, too.

I was actually looking for Os on Friday–imagine we were all in the Mad House panel

Perhaps one more notable point to it all is how my friends played into the picture. There was a major blurring between my RL friends, different circles of RL friends, internet friends, and random people. It’s good to know people who know people but knowing so many people can make things difficult. This year marks a good, sharp distinction between people who I consider “con buddies” with “visiting friends” and “groupies.” It’s so important to have all three. Just don’t mix them up in the wrong categories… And keeping the right kind of stories to the right kind of crowd :)

And on that note, I wish you all would show at Otakon next year, because I have high hopes…

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.