Category Archives: Outbreak Company

Autumn 2013 Wrap

Incoming train of thought–

I took a nice vacation at the end of the year (I guess I’m in the middle of it) so I was able to catch up on a lot of stuff. Like Valvrave. I really enjoyed it, more so than I expected at any rate.

I was wondering if CLAMP designed the characters instead of Hirao-face-looking group that we had, maybe VVV would have more legs. As is, it’s actually a very good story but it just didn’t get to flesh out. The plot and the symbolism and themes all make sense and it is a good, liberal (as in liberalism) message that would resonate with kids. But I don’t know, it feels like the right message but it’s probably preaching to the wrong crowd. It could also use another 2 more episodes to flesh the ending out.

This season is tricky because I couldn’t tell that White Album 2 has another episode, I mean, what. Nagiasu really seems like it went off a cliff this week, because there’s another cour after that? Don’t even bring up Samumenco, geesh. I’m still enjoying Magi, and as far as sports anime goes I really like the past few episodes of Ace of the Diamond, explaining some basic sports mechanics sort of things that are not obvious to most people. It also got “good enough” to be talked about, IMO.

Say what you will about Yuushibu and OBC, both shows are great, and I had a good time with both. I think I enjoyed Yuushibu a lot more in that meta context, also it probably wins some award for dragging out a Star Trek joke the longest. OBC was more of the ideal guilty pleasure sort of anime, because the show didn’t really go anywhere with its soft power digs. I mean, it’s not even bush league. It’s not even softball. It’s more like wiffleball. Kind of like that football game they played–you knew they could do so much better but they just went with whatever, lawl. A shame I guess.

I still think it’s incredible that people walk away from Yuushibu episode 1 and think it’s bad animation quality. It’s insane. I suppose this is how some people feel about Kill la Kill when I say it’s actually not really that great. I think what’s good about it is that it is an anime done in a way and in regards to subject matter common to B-tier Japanese live action TV and movies. Now finally we have an anime like this–full with underboobs. I mean, you can’t do that on TV normally. Studio Trigger’s newsletter is great and it basically confirms all this. Also, maybe it’s because I saw Hentai Kamen live action movie this autumn and it kind of makes me feel like Kill la Kill is an inferior version of that. I get the feeling a lot of people watch anime as a medium don’t venture outside of it, so this is all fresh and exciting stuff.

The best anime this season is a tough call. I would give Kill la Kill the most creds as the most stylish, YZQ for the best sakuga feast, Kyousogiga for the most arthouse and best first episode, VVV for the most daring in terms of story, and Arpeggio will win the “It’s not Girls und Panzer but it’s close enough” award. OBC probably has the best meta fanservice and Yuushibu has some…serious fanservice. Best ED is obviously Unbreakable Machine Doll and best OP might actually go to Galilei Donna. Best concept has to go to Samumenco for not only the most meta but also the best written meta that I’ve seen in a while.

I also feel compelled to give Gundam Build Fighters some kind of recognition, so maybe it will win Aila’s biggest buns trophy or something stupid. Too early to call it the best AU Gundam but it’s definitely up there.

That’s kind of how I feel about White Album 2 too. I really enjoyed the series so far but it lacks a few compelling components in terms of plot. It’s too centered on the girls and not enough on the guy. I mean, I guess I don’t want another Golden Time but Haruki is at least interesting enough to get a little more exposition. Speaking of Golden Time, I’m okay only because I did watch Natsuyuki Rendezvous, so I’m build for it. That said gosh yes Koko is a bitch and the whole ghost-in-the-amnesia thing is dumb can we please just slap everyone and hire Linda to cater to more underground parties? I do give it a lot of credit for making every one of its characters a lot of substance and it’s easy to understand them, even the weirder ones like Miss Denpa.

Golden Time is also surprisingly meta too. That Nana-senpai. Even shows like Tokyo Raven is pretty meta, when it’s a run of the mill kind of a battle mystery story. Is it really necessary? Even I think it’s too much, and I’m someone who loves the meta.

I still want to watch more Sekatsuyo, but I can’t get past episode 4. I should just jump to the Chiaking episodes.

Kyoukai no Kanata was a thing. It all makes sense but it didn’t gel, which is too bad. It is the sort of beautiful nothings that we’re used to seeing from Kyoani, which is by all means something we can never run short of. Did I like it? Yes, but I probably won’t watch it again. It’s funny, but when you lay it side by side to something like, say, Noucome, I would take Noucome every time.

Perhaps Noucome is the ultimate guilty pleasure, sorry OBC. If being funny is a sin, Noucome is worthy a Kotaku post about how sinful it is. Too bad they pegged it as just some solid comedy.

But what does that make Log Horizon? It’s not a guilty pleasure, but it is for me–I’m totally watching it to trip on old school MMORPG feels. That, and Yumi Hara going all osaka, which is only appropriate. It’s a good anime as they say; it’s like if Maoyu got a Fate/Zero treatment, except not quite. I mean, that story could totally be built up better. Log Horizon is appropriately less ambitious in the scope and in turn more down to earth, but it’s also somewhat less epic on the face. I guess you can’t have everything. And that is okay when all it is to me is a guilty pleasure.

In a busy season like this I still watched 4+ episodes of Gingitsune, which is solid, 12 episodes of Infinite Stratos, which is disappointing, and all of Walkure Romanze. Man, that horse show is actually quite good in the way that exploitative eroge about fancy and peaceful setting can be, all because it has a freaking koushien in it. I respect it as one respect a well-polished trope. The fanservice episode clever and outside of the box, which is another thing you kind of didn’t expect a show like that to do. Nakamura Eriko-sensei can speak English to me any time.

Viva Torture!


The Better Mary: SAO Versus OBC

This is basically the main reason I have a problem with Sword Art Online: It’s a power-tripping fantasy that betray the reality of a form of escapism: the MMORPG. When you escape the escape it isn’t just meta, it’s just sad. For reference, this season’s Log Horizon plays the game by the rules. That is proper escapism where the Accountant can play her real-life class in this fantasy environment to her advantage, or the Post-doc raid leader can do it like the best of them (disclosure: My long-time WoW raid leader was also a Phd student that turned into a post-doc and then got a real job so he can’t play much anymore). Log Horizon deals with the human elements in a MMORPG; Sword Art Online deals with the human elements in a loser and it works well because he is in a MMORPG. Well, I guess that can be pretty appealing too.

Speaking of which, Outbreak Company is along the lines of Yet Another Light Novel about the really hardcore otaku mindset. Instead being stuck in a MMORPG he is stuck in an actual fantasy world of sword, magic, half-elves and moe dwarf children. OBC’s form of escapism is a little more honest in that he simply wants to live his otaku world in this new world, and the magic of fiction gives him the ability to do so in the form of an excellent Soft Power dig. So instead of fighting monsters or whatever they do in SAO, the protagonists in OBC instead educate children on anime, manga, and video games, usually in the form of either playing/reading/watching them, or talking about these things. This is right up my tiny crack of an alley, but its general appeal has more to do with the way it addresses the physical and emotional needs of the otaku by the way of traditional interpersonal characterization, accessible humor, and, well, cute girls. In other words, put yourself in his shoes, I’m sure you can do a better job; it invites you to do as much.

So to me, both stories derive a lot of entertainment value as self-inserts, although they may not be pure Mary Sue archetypes. Let’s do this Baka-Raptor style.



Just to be fair, this contest is just based on the first 9 episodes of both series.

Round 1: Who is more badass?

Kirito > Shinichi always.

Advantage: SAO

Round 2: Who is clear-headed and acts less like an emotard?

Shinichi easily. At gunpoint, would you rather play a MMORPG or run a culture export company in a hostile environment? I think most people would prefer the former, Shin’s got a harder life.

Advantage: OBC

Round 3: Who has better taste in men/women/things?

Myucel ~= Asuna

Petralka’s ZR ~= most things in SAO

The tie breaker goes against the fact that More Deban is still a problem unsolved, because Lisbeth and Silica are great.

Advantage: OBC

Round 4: meta factor

SAO is an anime about people stuck in a game.

OBC is an anime about an allegory of expanding otaku culture beyond Japan

SAO has fantasy magic and swordplay.

OBC has a lizardman blowing on a NES cartridge.

Advantage: OBC

Round 5: Meme factor

Two years, folks, two years.

Advantage: SAO

Round 6: Gender Equality

Do I even need to go to this? I mean OBC is by no means a progressive feminist take on things, but really?

As a note, a girl in OBC actually said “would you stop talking to my breasts?”

Advantage: OBC

Round 7: Race Equality

Do fairies count? OTOH, racism is an actual issue in OBC. Granted it’s kind of a comedy copout between elves and dwarves. SAO stays clear of it (other than… beaters?) while OBC somewhat bungles it.

Advantage: SAO

Round 8: Who would you rather be?

Honestly? I would rather be neither of them, because in some capacity I am both already–I play MMORPGs and I write about anime/manga/etc in a meta way, for public consumption. Maybe I would rather be Myucel, and learn Japanese or something. Being a socially-shamed, racially-oppressed, half-slave girl is kind of not a desirable thing however.

Advantage: Tie

Score:  3-4

I guess this means someone should license OBC hard and fast.

Reactionary Posting: The Role of Crunchyroll from a Cash Flow Perspective


From this, I read that, and I’m like, LOL seventhstyle. But let’s just address this. It sure is better than the tl;dr I wrote last week about consumerism and conventions that I’ll post later this week.

First, the attitude seven took is simply unreasonable and it misses out on the big picture. I won’t get into it here, feel free to raise it in his tl;dr comment thread though. I will address the numbers.

TL;DR: CR actually pays quite a bit to the Japanese–probably tens of thousands per hit title.

Let’s say you pay $50 a year, that’s how much I pay for CR; during their annual black Friday sale they offer a $50 deal for a year of CR. It’s probably a lowball estimate because there can’t be that many freebie premium members at any given time to balance out the people paying full price, but who knows? It’s a nice round number.

If 200,000 users paying $50 a year or about $12.50 per cour (since IP runs for cours, let’s just say) then this season with 40 shows, each show gets (assuming even Steven distribution, I’ll get into it later) $62500 before CR’s costs. If we use seventh’s number for overhead (which is probably inflated because of various factors) then we’re talking about $7.50 per cour of overhead, or about $5 per subscriber per cour. That’s $25000. The $2.5 cost might be reasonable if we factor in not so much what seven is saying, but all the subsequent delivery costs (Akamai can’t be that cheap, right?), HR overhead, what have you.

Imagine if you’re the committee for Outbreak Company and you get a $25000 check just for streaming on CR. That’s $25000 more than if nobody used CR. I don’t know what kind of pot seven is smoking but that is money left on the table if people only fansubbed. Sure, this also means the production committee has to hire shoulder enthusiasts like this guy to produce the subs, plus other technical overheads. Let’s say they end up with $20000 left after all that work. Five grands for translation/subbing and other technical work is probably a reasonable estimate for 1 cour TV, but I admit this is just a guess along the lines of what I understand how much the Quarkboy-underling-types get paid. Five grand is also not much for a company to pony up to get an extra 20.

If an average 1-cour TV anime cost $2-3M to put together, it has just recouped almost 1% just from CR. That’s amazing. And you can be a part of that without even paying for anything, as this is just the benefits coming from the paying members. Free tier guys get to contribute using ads, and that ~10 million members is a lot of ads served. The expensive kind, video ads.

That’s also assuming people are watching any particular show equally, which is probably not the case. It’s prudent to assume some kind of long-tail situation where more than half of the shows this cour get only a fraction of 1/40th of that 3-month period, on top of all the other traffic paying member pay to view (and needless to say, non-paying members can watch whatever, although I don’t know how views and traffic breaks down). But there’s probably some popular shows that will get all those eyeballs. I mean, the corollary here is that 1-hr delay is the way to go. If CR pays out beyond the MG via their traffic, it pays to be as fast as possible. This is probably also why Daisuki isn’t doing a paid-delay strategy. Nor Hulu, FWIW. At any rate, CR loses money on some shows, probably, but will make it back on the ones that break the MG, and as per the long tail concept, a few shows break the MG by a whole lot. If the cost overhead for CR is low for all the loser shows, then it will be profitable.

Which gets back to what does matter: the minimum guarantee. You can forget all that math from seventh or from what I put down up there because in all these cases, as long as CR is a thing, they have to pay the committees for some kind of minimum guarantee regardless how well a show does. It’s guaranteed income for the committees. I don’t know what the MG is in these cases, but given the math we have it’s probably in the low 10ks per cour. Compared to the known MG for home video licenses, it makes sense. And it makes sense that the two can be bundled since one is a lot lower. The numbers are kind of in line at any rate.

To me, the biggest opportunity here isn’t so much that the committee can recoup maybe the salary of one grunt-level employee per show per cour, but it’s more of a marketing opportunity to test the water, to see how people receive your work oversea, to get some demographics data. It’s also a way to promote the work so people will buy the home video later on. And instead of buying ads, you get paid to do this kind of advertising? What a win-win. This is the stuff that could cost thousands of dollars for a multinational company to do. Instead, CR does it as part of their business.

But, sure, I get ya. Some people (myself included) don’t like ads on streaming internet tee vee. Some people like watching stuff offline. It’s easy to pull files from #news or wherever you go, I know how it works. But I don’t think it’s easier than flicking on my phone and have HD anime in my face < 30 seconds. Here’s my #firstworldnonproblem for you–I’m happy paying CR for the service they provide, because they actually do a pretty good job. Just ask FUNimation. So to take a middle ground, the diplomatic answer from Mamare Touno probably works just as well: don’t sweat it, but when you get rich buy lots of good stuff! Don’t sweat the little thing. It’s just $2.5 a month after all, at worst.

Autumn 2013 Thoughts And Clippings

Part two.


Outbreak Company has, if anything, got the fanservice right. I think that will usually seal the deal for 3 episodes on my books, but it also had to add that Cool Japan jab. Not sure if the show will actually get beyond 3 for me, as I will have to enjoy the antics of the main character first. I think with a little more polish he can be a modern day Kintarou Oe, but at this point he is just an otaku without any restraint. On the fence, I guess.

Sekatsuyo on the other hand is all about screaming Ayachi and that is something to behold. The Asumi x Ayachi combo also makes me “I Can See the Ending” and in this case I kind of do. The production value is worse than expected, which says something–I’m not really expecting anything. I mean, how can you? I guess the least we deserve was seeing quality holds animated and I don’t think Sekatsuyo cleared that bar. It’s a mixed blessing that I am not really a martial arts person so I can’t make it out what’s right or not half the time. The fanservice is pretty okay, but I’m not S enough to fully enjoy it? Maybe?

Kingitsune: Maybe for a little while, let the squidgirl heal you?

Walkure Romanze: Maybe for a little while, iM@S seiyuu aside, because this jousting thing is ridiculous. Also, the CG horse animation is a little mesmerizing; the way they were able to animate the actual joust sequences by taking advantage of digital composition via the armor animation is great.

Magi S2 is Magi, which is okay in my book. I missed this version of Kyari~

White Album 2: I really like it. It’s like Kirakira all over again…except the music already gained significant stock with me from the first series.

Are we ready for another week of new anime? I am.

One more on Kill La Kill, and I think this is a pretty good read–if only to have someone explain why they like and hype the show, the assumptions and concepts that underpins some of the decisions people may make on the show. Unfortunately it’s also one of those cases where before I get to the point he (?) tries to make (maybe more importantly, before I give up paying attention), I already count 2-3 simply wrong statements that he made. It’s like the same perpetually inaccurate things film people hold to regarding Japan and anime for the past 30 years.