Trying a new format to better condense? I say this every time but had I? I guess this is the product review format of event review, because, “producer” is just a “T” short from “product”? It’s just the usual ranting, though.
Million Live, after all the ups and downs, is now entering its 10th year and they decided to have a 4-stop tour, spanning from April this year until February 2024. Act 1 (or the first stop) was at the SSA on the 22nd and 23rd. Act 2 will be at Port Messe Nagoya Exhibition Hall on July 29-30th. Act 3 will be at the West Japan General Exhibition Center in Kitakyushu on November 4-5th. The final act, Act 4, will be at K Arena Yokohama on February 24-25th. K Arena opens for business in September this year so that would be interesting to see. I’ll try to go to another stop, but no promises.
Here’s the crux of Act 1. They wanted to drop “first” to “fourth” with the 37-color promotional material and outfits. They wanted us to remember first, second, third and fourth. But they didn’t do Welcome this entire weekend… It’s a mixed bag as an old-timer. Heart full, eyes clear, mind on fire–just like what 4th did to me.
Simps know where to find the “goods” so instead I’ll dive right in to the meta. For starters, despite all the funny things they may have mentioned in the launch stream, the project is relatively orthodox (can anything vtuber be “orthodox”?) as far as vtuber agencies go. That is, if you’re a corpo and not some mushroom-after-the-rain start-up. Who knew how all the vtuber research for Kurocon would come in handy?
So officially, the IDOLM@STER 3rd Vision Vtuber project has launched. From now (or April 13th) until the first stream on May 2 (Japan time), it’s going to just be a trickle of content from the initial three vtuber trainees (as they refer to themselves as kenkyuusei or kouhousei anyways). A much more nuts-and-bolts Q&A session can be found here. Well, first watch the launch stream if you haven’t yet. And just to note, the va-live content lives on its on YT channel (which you can’t use the beautified link because it’s broken lmao)! I guess the main IM@S YT channel is already very busy…?
The person in charge of the brand is Haruki Katsumata, who has worked on IM@S for over 10 years (seems to be relegated to live content side such as IM@S MR and Million Live concerts). To summarize the Famitsu article:
Superchat may or may not be available? I’m guessing because Bannam has their own platform already and they don’t wanna pay the 30% Google tax, so they need to figure out how to square this with having to exist on YouTube.
You cannot be a big time Vtuber and not have a Youtube presence, and frankly anything less is too jank for Bandai Namco in my opinion. Sorry, Twitch, you wouldn’t want this corpo nonsense on your platform anyway.
The va-liv project was born out of the ‘rona (of course) disruption, especially after the successful Miki Hoshii showroom stunt. Very “wakaru” moment for me.
Of course, va-liv will likely “add” although for the first year it’s just these 3.
I had worried about the “moat” effect of va-liv, but fundamentally this is just yet another vtuber agency so IM@S and these talents will (continue to) collaborate with other vtubers outside of the brand. Well, I guess this wasn’t the aspect I was worried about–more like from a “revenue loss” POV.
I had discussed with others, and of course the interview basically confirms our assumption that eventually voting will be more complicated in the future and involve the fans to “produce stuff.” This is the core business of IM@S after all, and where the revenue is.
On monetization, the spiel from Katsumata is that as with other brands in Vision 3.0, it will become a “360” media mix strategy where different modes of monetization is enabled. With streamers and vtubers, there are new revenues being unlocked through va-liv. Of course, there will be more tie-ins and the like to be announced in the future, such as music and the like.
The loudest and biggest hand wringing from fans in reaction to va-liv announcement is that this is an elimination system, or audition where elimination is possible at the end of the year. The answer from Katsumata is that they want to set a clear goal post or standard to what the content is? It’s not an open-ended engagement. They also want to incorporate this particular element from the various games (arcade, console, Shiny Colors).
The interview also talked to the 3 talents. Now, stuff for the simps:
Impressions of the other two. They only met the day before (the interview was taken right after the launch stream).
Red: She was nervous but the other two seem calm and reliable.
Blue: Manaka seems like a nervous hamster; Letora has a sunny vibe.
Yellow: Both are so cute, Manaka is like cotton candy. Asked if she needed a ride home because I can’t leave her by herself. Cosmo is a cool beauty that I gawk at from top to bottom.
Why do you want to become an idol? What kind of idol do you want to be?
Yellow: I had to choose between getting a job or continue to pursuit music. This is my one last try so I will give it my best. I want to deliver my song to all of Japan and share my heart with them.
Blue: I wanted to be a magical girl and sparkle. Even though I had been working as an entertainer for the longest time among us, it was not going well. I couldn’t give it up, and this project is my last chance. I want to be an idol who sparkles and shines brighter than anyone else.
Red: Once I was a volunteer to read to children. I was so happy that I can do things for them and make them happy. Maybe I have the ability to make other smile, and I would like to make people smile with me. Since as a child I was not forward and timid. I wanted to change, I had to change, and I join in this project in order to have the courage to take the first step forward.
The interviewer then goes “You said “last chance” so why this project, real or virtual?” (Sort of abridged TL):
Yellow: It’s hard to put it into words.
Katsumata: It’s hard to put it into words, but to me that’s how it feels to participate in this project?
Katsumata: I guess it’s hard.
Blue: As said earlier, it’s almost 10 years since I have been in show business. Whether I continue or quit performing as an idol comes down to this project. But that’s just as being an idol, I am not sure what will happen in the future for my career afterwards.
Red: I am as old as Cosmo but we have the opposite situation. I just finished my second year in Tokyo and also 2 years since I started training to be an idol. I am 16 years old now which is a bit late to start becoming an idol, so I have a complex about it. My shyness was a barrier to becoming an idol, so I said to myself “This is my last chance, I’m going to do my best” as a way to push myself. I think I need to push myself to the limit or else I will never be able to do it.
That’s more or less it. My take is basically that this is going to be your average business vtuber content mill, with curve balls thrown in for idol producers now playing in this space. For the first year, at least, we will continue to see these three vtubers trying to justify this project to BN brass. If people accept and come to adopt these three, I think we will see this project grow in various ways. As it stands, we don’t know what elimination really means, but as with the axing of Saisute in the background, we know nothing lasts forever, and even good(?) things can come to an end. Shiny Color builds this eventuality as part of its vibe, so it is easy to see where this comes from for va-liv.
At the same time I think they deserve a lot of the criticism, both in terms of how to communicate better to the fans and from a business point of view, not put in place where they can assuage our concerns. But I think this is likely a standard operating procedure for any company stepping their toes in this pool, and having to “imas” it may be one layer too thick on top. At the same time, they are asking Ps to be the test or incubating audience, so to speak, so I guess we’ll see if it works or not.
Generative, large language model (LLM) systems like Chat GPT or Google Bard are, IMO, experimental systems that creates human-readable text that has some information, which are put together usually via data sets made up of human search activity and web crawling. It’s all still in a relatively early state of maturity so treat this stuff with a grain of salt, at least. I asked Google Bard about slice-of-life anime. Here is a refresher on my take on this bull-crap genre. Anyways, I’ll label my prompts in bold and italics and the answer will immediately follow. FWIW, I am selecting the most amusing draft for all these. There are definitely some differences between the 3 drafts but they are along the same lines every time. Each prompt and answer is delineated by ===.
What are the best slice-of-life anime to watch in 2022
Here are some of the best slice-of-life anime to watch in 2022:
Komi Can’t Communicate is a romantic comedy anime about a high school girl who struggles with social anxiety. It is a very well-written and funny anime with great characters and animation.
Sasaki and Miyano is a romantic comedy anime about a high school boy who falls in love with his male classmate. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
Aharen-san wa Hakarenai is a romantic comedy anime about a high school boy and girl who are both very awkward. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Kotaro Lives Alone is a slice-of-life anime about a four-year-old boy who lives alone in an apartment building. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness is a slice-of-life anime about a high school girl who moves to a rural area to help her grandfather run a traditional Japanese confection shop. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
These are just a few of the many great slice-of-life anime that came out in 2022. With so many great options to choose from, there is sure to be an anime that everyone will enjoy.
What are some other great options?
Here are some other great slice-of-life anime:
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is a comedy anime about a high school student with psychic powers. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Konosuba is a comedy anime about a group of adventurers who are transported to a fantasy world. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Yuru Camp is a slice-of-life anime about a group of high school girls who go camping. It is a very relaxing and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Horimiya is a romantic comedy anime about a high school student who is known as a delinquent and a student who is known as a perfect girl. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
Tonikaku Kawaii is a romantic comedy anime about a high school student who falls in love with a girl who is very shy. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
A Place Further Than the Universe is a slice-of-life anime about a group of high school girls who travel to Antarctica. It is a very heartwarming and inspiring anime with great characters and animation.
My Roommate is a Cat is a slice-of-life anime about a young man who adopts a cat. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Fruits BasketÂ is a slice-of-life anime about a young woman who finds herself living with a family of people who are cursed to turn into animals when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex. It is a very heartwarming and funny anime with great characters and animation.
What are some great kuuki-kei anime?
Kuuki-kei anime are a type of slice-of-life anime that focus on the everyday lives of characters. They are often set in ordinary settings, such as schools, homes, or workplaces. Kuuki-kei anime often have a slow pace and a focus on character development. They can be relaxing and heartwarming, or they can be thought-provoking and introspective.
Here are some great kuuki-kei anime:
Hidamari Sketch is a slice-of-life anime about four girls who live in a boarding house and attend an art school. It is a very relaxing and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Aria is a slice-of-life anime about a group of young women who work as gondoliers on a floating city. It is a very slow-paced and relaxing anime with great characters and animation.
Azumanga Daioh is a slice-of-life anime about a group of high school girls. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Lucky Star is a slice-of-life anime about four high school girls. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Ichigo Mashimaro is a slice-of-life anime about a group of elementary school girls. It is a very funny and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Flying Witch is a slice-of-life anime about a young witch who moves to a small town. It is a very relaxing and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
Non Non Biyori is a slice-of-life anime about a group of high school girls who live in a rural town. It is a very relaxing and heartwarming anime with great characters and animation.
These are just a few of the many great kuuki-kei anime that are available. With so many great options to choose from, there is sure to be an anime that everyone will enjoy.
What is slice-of-life anime?
Slice of life anime is a genre of anime that focuses on the everyday lives of characters. These anime often have a slow pace and a focus on character development. They can be relaxing and heartwarming, or they can be thought-provoking and introspective.
Slice of life anime can be set in any time period or location, but they often take place in the present day. They can also be set in a variety of settings, such as schools, homes, or workplaces.
Some of the most popular slice of life anime include:
K-On! is a slice of life anime about a group of high school girls who form a light music club.
Haikyuu!! is a slice of life anime about a high school boys’ volleyball team.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a slice of life anime about a group of childhood friends who reunite after one of their friends dies.
Clannad is a slice of life anime about a high school boy who meets a girl with a mysterious past.
Violet Evergarden is a slice of life anime about a young woman who becomes an Auto Memory Doll, a person who writes letters for people who cannot write them themselves.
Slice of life anime can be a great way to relax and escape the everyday grind. They can also be a great way to connect with characters and learn about different cultures.
So yeah, it’s definitely a bull-crap category, but sufficed to say, after laying enough cow pies on top of each other, a definitive shape is forming. Say what you will about these models, it is still a machine when garbage goes in, garbage comes out.
In 2023, westerners who enjoy Shinkai can squarely divide into two camps: those who think 5 Centimeters is his best work, and everyone else. At the showing for Suzume at the always-wonderful New York International Children’s Festival 2023, the emcee threw the question out to the audience (or more like a command?) to poll which of his movies are the audience’s favorite. Based on the responses in the crowd, it seemed that way to me in this anecdote. However, it does not explain why time after time, I still come back to his new works and revisit his old ones, as someone in the 5 Centimeters camp.
Really, it’s that even 5 Centimeters, too, is just one brick in a house of Shinkai ideas that are interconnected. Spoilers ahead–for all his works.
As I sit and think about the 100s of links I’m about to repost below, I realize marble, the band we booked for Kurocon vol1, has a little series of shows to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Aoki Ume was announced for their 1/15 show in Tokyo and I could make it if I skipped the other show I ticketed for already. Just sort of a bummer that I couldn’t make it because I really want to see marble in person now.
See you at Million Live 9th? I’m going to Japan again, after this blank of 2 months or so. Although I will only be there for a few days, it would be great to meet up with anyone who I’ve not seen for some time. It’s also nice I can just copypasta (almost) the same paragraph from the last letter lol.
It sure was better than the previous idea I had about opening this letter–on Hitomi Suzuki. I’ll get on with this later.