Category Archives: Seiyuu, Idol, Pop

Is Revue Starlight Idol Anime? Depends on Who You Ask?

If you ask me, there is no such thing as idol anime. OK, maybe there are anime about idols, but that’s not what idols are about.

Idol anime is the new slice-of-life. Which is to say, English language fans can call things however they want, but they are probably wrong when they do.

Basically, it comes in the form of the media-mix IP Love Live, which spawns a bunch of anime, manga, games, music, stage events, whatever. That is par for the course for a lot of the media-mix IPs dating back to the late 90s or 00s. What’s unique about Love Live and its ilk is that they are focused on doing stage shows and live events as a driver for the IP. It becomes a way to reward and reinforce fandom this day and age, it is more engaging to fans (and in ad terms, it drives fans with massively high engagement). Also otaku kids in Japan these days are more about social and networking (and I see that overseas too). Live events themselves also have a lot of pluses in this day and age of seiyuu doing multiple roles besides voice acting, but that’s besides the point.

Invariably most if not all of these “idol” IPs engage its characters primarily, as my non-anime-nerdy friend would say, is like how a professional wrestler (in the WWE and NJPW sense) are like characters performed by the wrestlers, who would have these matches that are dramatic performances and deliver what passes for content to the audience and fans. I don’t know why people think Love Live was the first “idol” thing or the last whatever it was before, but there was definitely some kind of awakening in the west where people “get it.”

The popularity of Love Live and the fact that the IP bills itself as an idol story probably coined the term as such. But the mistake people make is to think Love Live is an “idol” thing. It isn’t. It’s just another media mix story with people who want to be “school idols”–just like how the characters in GaruPan are practitioners of “tankery.” It’s a made up thing that is as close to real idols as just teenage pretty people singing and dancing, trying to make it in some contextually fictional entertainment setting. SIF and Love Live are a work of fiction. But somehow people clang on to this “idol” idea and won’t let it go.

Part of it is obviously that Japanese idols are a real thing, and it is a cultural phenomenon. But I see more and more people who don’t understand the difference between the fiction and the reality. Just like how people apply the term “slice-of-life” to, say, Wake Up, Girls! or something dumb. At least in that verbiage misuse, it’s a made-up-term associated with nothing now being associated with something. “Idol anime” and “idol” generally refer to actual existing things, now being used by ignorant anime nerds to associate with totally different things, regardless of how relevant they are.

You can see this person who complain how calling “Revue Starlight” is misleading people, and it’s obvious. I wouldn’t call Utena or Sakura Taisen an idol anime either, but they are quite similar as Revue Starlight. (Would someone call Girls und Panzer a war anime? Or a tank anime? I guess it’s an anime about tanks, more precisely, an anime about fictional tanks?) But the real injustice here is that it pollutes the discourse on actual Japanese idols, as they are nothing at all like the stories portrayed in Love Live, IDOLM@STER or obviously Revue.

This is also how you get Aqours fans telling their management to not “overwork” the idols. [Which is, by the way, the most sanctimonious, paternal bullshit I’ve ever seen in western seiota fandom, and I’ve been in this fandom since the 90s.] This is not that different than someone who doesn’t know about actual tanks, and thought Tankery exists and a team of 5 people can service 7 tanks in a week, and it’s okay to shoot tank shells at each other???

I don’t know, a lot of this fictional stuff (eg., anime) are only meaningful if you have enough real life experience to contextualize the content. It is real sad if you don’t… It’s like people learning about Japanese idols from anime, when there are tons of real people who are actually in the scene they could read from. It’s fine as a gateway thing but it cannot be your only thing.

PS. I have maybe like 3-4 different draft ideas on this topic in this year alone. It’s really bothering me because while it’s good the Love Live’s popularity is a tide that raises all boats, so to speak, it also brings on a lot of people who are just plainly clueless about idol fandom, culture, and the things those idol IPs try to evoke, and there are not enough school teachers to feed the hungry masses on the Reddits of everywhichwhere. It’s as if only youtubers are their teachers on this stuff, LOL.


Aniuta: One Year After

With the US version of the service launching eminent, here’s what I took away as a casual user of the JP version of the service Aniuta. The short of it is, the library is second. The ease of access and marketing are the top reasons why I pay for it.

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Anisong World Matsuri 2018: Japan Kawaii Live

Anisong World Matsuri Japan Kawaii Live at Anime Expo 2018 is one of the three AWM shows at Anime Expo this year. It follows from last year’s AWM which stopped at AX, Bilibili Macro Link in Shanghai, and Otakon 2017. This year there is no Otakon stop, and AX gets 3 shows instead of just two.

With July Fourth landing on a Wednesday, JKL somehow gets pushed in to Saturday. Conveniently, Aqours solo AWM show can be put on that Wednesday since the group has to travel back to Japan for the final stop on the Aqours 3rd tour, the same week. Since JKL is going to employ a bunch of seiyuu (i☆Ris and Cinderella Girls), it made sense to have the show on a weekend so the troops can fly back Sunday.

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THE IDOLM@STER M@STER SPARKLE Series Review

I’m writing hot takes for all the songs from THE IDOLM@STER (Million Live!) M@STER SPARKLE series! The 8-CD series ended last month when the 8th and final disc shipped. I bought all of them in some form or way, but what I can say is it’s nice to not have to tag the rips since Mora does that for you when you buy it there… I listened to them a lot over the past 8 months or so, via a variety of headphones, IEMs, speakers, car speakers, what have you. I’m writing this post while streaming hires flacs from my phone to my home theater system. Welcome to the 21st century I guess. It’s an incredibly easy way to control the music lol.

General takeaways:

Sparkle is the third solo go around for Million Live, not including the two new members. This time, the OG 13 idols are omitted. There are some themes as follows:

  • More of the same. Some are better polished than before, YMMV.
  • Musical ~DIVERSITY~ in that specific genres or themes are being aped for character reasons – Nao’s and Noriko’s are the obvious examples. But really, guys.
  • Produced by Lantis artist:  Some tracks are pretty much specific Lantis act’s thing. Aside from SasakiP of nano.RIPE, at least. Those who went to see Lisani this year would have an idea what I mean. But there’s also a very fhana track in there.
  • Introductions – Being the first series for Theater Days, some songs do a more obvious job explaining the characters.
  • Playing to live performances. Some songs feels like they can go straight to a live, plug-n-play. Star Trip in particular, when you consider the acoustic guitar part.

The CD series started back in August 23, 2017. We are about 4 months away from its anniversary. So the first couple discs already sound very nostalgic, where as the last couple are still too fresh. My mind is still working on them.

The covers reflects a seasonal or holiday theme correlated to the month of that CD’s release. Check out this youtuber lol. Meanwhile I linked to the CD sample playlist off Youtube in each of the sparkle titles for your easy access.

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Spring 2018 Anime Selections

Here are some impressions, as per usual. On a personal note, I recently signed up for HiDive, and it doesn’t have Apple TV support, which is what I use to watch probably 75% of anime these days. It also doesn’t have Chromecast support, which is what I use to watch ~15% of anime these days (only usually because I’m at a friend’s house or Apple TV is having issues). The two technology platforms are kind of interchangeable, since I use both at home for various things. The rest of the time I watch either on my phone (because I’m on an airplane) or on my PC (because I happen to be in front of it), in that 10% remainder. It also means HiDive is kind of worthless to me right now.

The problem with HiDive is that it doesn’t support how I watch anime most of the time. If it takes less effort to me to XDCC some files and watch it on Apple TV via Plex, than load up the video I want on HiDive, cast my whole phone, then hit play, this competing product is just a waste of my time that happened to cost money. Would it be OK for me to subscribe and not use it? I guess so. For now, the only real way to watch stuff on HiDive, short of inside a browser, is that I can dial up a video on my phone and stream my phone Airplay/Chromecast-like, but this sucks if all you have is your phone, and not a second device to play with in your living room. It is very much a first world problem, but this entire blog is more or less a first-world-issues only site.

That’s not even mentioning all the bugs in the Android app. And how the web version is making the same mistakes that plagued FUNi’s website back when they were solo on the streaming. Anyways.

On a less ranty, but still ranting, note, I picked up the EN version of BanG Dream game, administered out of Singapore. It’s perfectly fine and provides an updated experience than my first run-ins with the original JP version so long ago. They fixed most of the tuning issue with stamina usage and event point system. The more fleshed out exchange system now has some balance with grinding up character training mats. There are more songs you have access to right out of the gate, if just the newer covers alone.

Playing it also reminds me what I didn’t like about the game, which is having to put up with songs you don’t like or don’t want to listen to during multiplayer. This is why I almost never choose Random for song selection, anyway. Oh, and the usual abusers in the game that coast or outright cheat.

Then again, I get why some people instant-disconnect after the song selection screen. I really don’t have to want to put up with one more listen of Shuwarin. I’ve not fallen that far yet but it’s getting close. It would be really great if the game lets you blacklist a few songs!

OK, enough sidebars. Here are the initial offering (which is bound to shrink as the MLB season wears on).

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