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Anime Expo 2019: Wrap

I went to AX and had that very special, only-at-AX experience, then I went home. Unusual for this year, I went to AX from Japan, and invariably flew from Tokyo to LA on a plane with JP industry on it. It also meant I had to pack for Japan and LA before I left, meaning I probably omitted a few things in the process that could be useful (like more WUG stuff for repping it).

Also, my body doesn’t really know which jet lag symptom to apply so I just feel generally fatigued now. It did not help I flew back on a redeye from LAX to EWR but at least I had the faux premium economy [booking a premium economy seat on flights that has the hardware but not selling the software] experience, which is something I cannot complain, even as someone who somehow has airline status.

Nor can I really complain about any of my flights this trip, both to LA and just in general between leaving for Fukuoka and coming home. The funny thing was, I wanted to see what flying is like for the JP industry side, but I ended up getting a bump to business so I really was in a strange, strange place that doesn’t give me any stalking options. The business cabin on that UA 787-9 was the older style which proved to be spacious if not very private, but I can’t complain about that. Oddly it probably served the most expensive meal I had all trip until I blew it open at M-Grill.

As usual AX is about eating, so let me get that out of the way first. We went to a Hakata-style yakiniku place one night (Aqours Earthquake night) and it was great, because after the grilling we also had motsunabe. I don’t mind it after eating it twice in Fukuoka. It is my kind of food.

The M-Grill trip was great too because we got a ton of pineapples, plus the meats were great as usual. Again, the MVPs have to be that, the chicken heart, and the ribeye.

I also had the privilege to attend the “dimsum panel” at a Shanghainese place, as well as some home cooking for homesick Chinese expats who were doing the AX thing without going to AX. Giant vat of slow-cooked chicken soup? It felt more China than any con.

Other than the earthquake, which I won’t go into detail here, the other relevant thing was that Yard House lost power that same evening. Great if you just got brews right before, not so much if you haven’t gotten anything. or had to wait until the power comes back to pay. They had to shut the place down and evac because the grills all had to shut down as there was no ventilation.

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Million Live 6th Tour Fukuoka

Kind of have this live write-up on the back burner because I wrote about it on Twitter fairly extensively. Then I read this tweet.

Like, it’s pretty reasonable, considering my own costs are in the same ballpark. I spent less on housing (shared an airbnb with friend), I spent less on chuusen (like, 14000 or so), I spent less on goods (about 30000 total), less on UOs (one box, 2800 at Yodobashi Hakata), and probably more on uchiage since I went to two (like 8000?). But 9600 on UO is putting that in perspective if you don’t know why your children are starving.

Anyway, I spent like 4000 on a set of binoculars after day 1, which I will thus explain with the rest of this post.

IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE 6th TOUR: UNI-ON ON AIR Fairy Station Fukuoka: Why did I buy binoculars for Fukuoka day 2

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They Stopped Trying to Name Things in 2019

With Spring anime almost over it’s time to look at the Summer cour offerings. So then I learned about Oosuki Mamako and her son, Oosuki Masato, from the light-novel-turn-anime title Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? In Japanese it’s 通常攻撃が全体攻撃で二回攻撃のお母さんは好きですか? I think both names give me the same kind of headache. I should say all 4 names, eh.

This Spring season is featuring two series with interesting names. And let’s be clear, anime with interesting names for characters are not unusual. There are usually at least one per cour. In Bocchi, the characters are all plays on their character archetypes. They go in as far as making them not just jokes themselves but also deep introspective points.

In Joshikausei, the main character is named Futo Momoko. I was going to crown this one winner of lol names category in Year In Review 2019 already.

Well, names of the characters are really important for anyone writing fiction. This is a kinda-universal thing that I learned, from classic British lit to folklore in China to light novel and video games. I don’t think you can put too much emphasis on how things are named, even though at times they aren’t significant either.

The joke names, though, reflects an attitude of these narrative. They are comedies. And we need more comedies in our lives, especially ones based on fiction. It feels mainstream entertainment tend to veer nonfiction for humor and fiction for the serious. Anime feels a strong buckling of this trend. Like, Bocchi deals with some serious issues and is generally a very sincere story, but it’s a comedy.

Sometimes, the name of the character is like the opening animation for the anime. You get it even in the opening animation, even. It’s what you see first about somebody. It help sets the viewer’s or reader’s expectation. And sometimes you really wonder what to expect from a title and characters like those from Okasuki [#お母好き].


Wake Up Girls Songs Tiering

Just because an idol group ended, it doesn’t mean the fandom stops. That’s super true when the idol group really wasn’t an idol group–they are simply assassins, adventurers, and aberrants that were hired to be a party, and that gig is now over. Now they’re back at work simply being assassins, adventurers and aberrants. Also, when the group exploded like a supernova ramping up to the final live, WUG!’s life as a star kind of ended but it made the loudest bang it ever did in its short life. As a result I think it’s worth mulling over some of the music, maybe you might find something.

Personally though, I’ve been listening to a lot of WUG music just the past 12+ months, actually since March 2018. It’s about a year since that tearful day when the Final Tour was announced and the associated disbanding announcement, but forget about that. I’m just trying to write down what I’m thinking after grinding on WUG music for a while. The purpose of this post is largely me just rambling about songs, yes.

(Before I get started, just limiting to WUGchan songs that they have performed. Not including non-WUGchan solos here to keep things manageable.)

Intro tier: Do these only if you specifically want to. Moreover, I’m not listing every WUG song in this list, so you can consider those also in the “don’t do except if you want to” category…just not intro tier. Like you can do HIGAWARI Princess for the idols you love or their solo event solos…that’s fine obviously. Well I’ll call the ones I know out in the list. But I wouldn’t need to tell you that if you know about them.

  • 7 Girls War
  • Tachiagare – This song is quite special to me now, and I imagine that is true for most WUGners too, so when folks casually do this song as a chika idol cover or at anikura I might cringe. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore, but just a PSA: Think twice before doing it. This tier list should help with it. I won’t tell you to stop either if you wanna. Go right ahead, and thank you for showing WUG some love.
  • Kotonoha Aoba
  • One in a Billion – Great song with May’n Tie-in and it’s one of their better-known tie-ins, even if the anime is not the kind that will have hardcore fans. A lot of people heard and loved this song (if sales ranking meant anything). The joke was, as the one WUG (well WUM) song not sold by Avex, it outsold all the other WUG tie-ins at that time. Anyways, people know this song, for whatever the reason.

One step up: Good representative songs, and at least shows you know more than just the OP/ED.

  • Gokujou Smile – This ought to be THE go-to song for people who wanna tribute WUG. It’s their most fun song and the lyrics are pretty amusing. The calls are the best, though. It’s got everything you want. Also see my prior write-ups.
  • Sugao de Kiss Me – This song is actually a ton of fun for anikura (the hipster kind). (Use April Fools version for the non-hipster kind at your own risk.)
  • Suki no Skill – The tie-ins from 2016-2018 were all quite good. People might know this song, and as anikura DJ you can point to them and say “these are otaku that appreciate late night isekai light novel adaptations.”
  • Koi de Ai de Bokun desu – See above, but it’s a dumb manga adaptation that is far less popular for some reason. This is also the secret Yoppi oshi song. In this point in time there might be more Yoppi oshi than fans of Renai Boukun. Sorry Guri.
  • Beyond the Bottom – A powerful song no matter who you are, where you are, and how you feel, and it goes beyond the fandom gates.
  • 16-sai no Agape – I don’t know where this really should go, so here it is. It’s the derpy idol song for girl idol units, but at this point it is salve.
  • Shoujo Koukyoukyoku – This is more “Appreciator tier” (see below) but I think a lot more people know this song from the WUG movies. And it’s really an enchanting song that will forever prime my emotions due to how strongly I now associate it with WUG Final Tour, so I just had to say that.
  • Jera – This is the one cool I-1 song that WUGs would do and people would die if people would look in their old footage.
  • Little Challenger – This is a fun song that really captures that early WUG energy and some pure idol fun. Kind of like 16-sai but more anime.
  • WUG ZOO ZOO

WUG Appreciator tier: The good stuff people find out by farming WUG’s catalog more. And we come to the reason for this post:

  • 7 Senses – It’s a song that is only good because it grew on you, LOL.
  • Chikatetsu Labyrinth – I did not really understand or appreciate this song until WUG Tour Final. It’s a powerful tune with different genres in it, different rhythms, and styles. That brass section gives it a mainstream feel without feeling too forced. The way they ended that in Final part 3 was some really powerful entertainment.
  • Jewelry Wonderland – This song is solid all around. It’s got a melodious progression to it that makes it hard to dislike despite the choice of how some of the instruments that were arranged. It sticks in your mind but doesn’t worm, and overall just very good composition.
  • Polaris – It’s a simple song that makes us cry.
  • outlander rhapsody – After dragons were slain in WUG Final Tour part 2 I think people opened their eyes finally as to how this song could go…
  • SHIFT – Similarly, this song is just very good because it is another showtunes-y and not-very-idol-y track that gives WUGs some range. The routine, song and dance aside, it’s just a well put-together kind of a fair (reminds me a bit of Chikatetsu actually). Really wows. And it sits a bit in languish as a c/w to Suki no Skill. Too new to be picked up and during a time when WUG was struggling a bit.
  • Bokura no Frontier – Great song, great vocals. It’s the overshadowed tie-in among the other hits but it’s probably my favorite in that batch…it’s the most representative MONACA x WAKE UP, GIRLS! song in my mind.
  • Heartline – Putting aside what happened to this song in Sendai for Final Tour, this song is just a charming tune that should get more play. The calls are fun by default, and also for furicopy.
  • Seventeen Crisis – It really pairs well with Platinum Sunrise but this song has the power to bring down the house, just it’s so rarely played up as such. Such a waste.
  • Shirt and Blouse – For OG WUGners.
  • Tight Rope Runway – I am thinking only I appreciate this song LOL. It’s got a more barebones arrangement that makes it kind of EDM-y in that 90s style.

Beyond the borderline: special songs because they were special and not as much because they are good, or just outright no bueno for other reasons. Or other special exceptions.

  • Sayonara no Parade – LOLOLOL
  • Doyoubi no Flight – LOLOL it’s not that bad. But kind of a downer like the other new songs from Final.
  • Kotoba no Kessho – Yeah….downer a bit?
  • Umi soshite shattaa-dori – LOLOLOL
  • Sakurairo Crescendo – Shoutout to Sendai and Airi. What a wonderful little piece she’s got for a solo. Do this only if you really, really mean it.
  • TUNAGO – LOLOLOL
  • Taiyou iwaku moeyo kaosu – Please use the original version unless you want to rep Myu or something LOLOL

Any WUGners out there, want to add anything? Comments are all yours.


Anime Central 2019: Wrap

Oh boy, did Acen blow it up this year with guests. As a typical weekend American anime con, 72 hours did not seem long enough. There were too many things I wanted to see and do. Unavoidably I had to pick and choose, and cut my losses.

For one I did not land until Friday. I had barely any sleep. And Friday was loaded. The weekend would unfurl more sanely, given I stayed at a hotel about a 10-minute uber ride away, that made late partying difficult but sleeping in pretty attractive. Not like I really did that anyways.

As a result of that I did not see any m-flo at all this weeked. The DJ-rapper unit even had an autograph session. I did not do this at all and I feel kind of bad about this in hindsight.

But I felt pretty good about the rest of the con, almost. Seeing Ayappe in person, in this environment, was a lot of fun. I did enjoy a lot about her panels. I enjoyed a lot about her autograph session. I even got a photo op at the end of her last one. I didn’t enjoy so much having to ditch part of one (to get autograph tickets) and part of the other (to get autographs). Thus the almost.

At some point, having so much power guests in this chronologically cramped con is going to blow up that almost into something worse and much bigger. Part of what ails is, some of the lining up and management just is too time consuming, and some of it is inconsistent. Let me try to briefly explain.

In prior years (like 2018) Acen autographs are ticketed, and the tickets are given out twice a day. Morning autographs (1:30p or earlier) are given out the night before (6:30p), and later-PM/evening autographs are given out the morning the day of (11a). The autograph ticketing actually overlapped with the Friday night concert, and some of the ticketing overlapped with the guests own panels. This was kind of hastily fixed by the con a bit last-minute.

The worse thing was the enforcement of ticket-use. There were a lot of tickets given out but somehow people who had tickets still had to camp, because too many tickets were given out for Fri and Sat. This was kind of fixed on Sun, so people who had tickets generally got it. But the over-ticketing was a pain point and a point of confusion. Also, it was retarded that they did not match the number of tickets given out to people allowed to queue. In essence, there was a queue at the autograph area by each autograph table, but for each session there was 1) a standby queue and 2) a standby ticketed queue. This is just really poor planning. Good thing Acen this year got more space in the entertainment hall so Autographing had plenty of space for these extra queues.

The worst thing is how these factors made sure that we had to skip a lot of things to try for autographs. I skipped half of the concert to line up for Maisan’s autograph Friday, although I could have gotten it later just due to how the lines and ticketing shaked out later–not that anyone could really have known ahead of time.

Oh the autograph ticket pickup times were also terrible, plus there was still the Big Squeeze with people trying to line up 30 minutes before.

I think those were not all too bad, especially each issue on its own, but in conjunction that all made this con a bit of a waste time-wise. I could have done a lot more if I just gave up some of it. Actually all Acen had to fix were two things:

  • Distribute tickets earlier in the day and once a day only
  • Distribute the right number of autograph tickets
  • (and maybe let more people line up at first, this “not pressuring the guest” thing is fine but you could have added more in line anyway)

What is the point of ticket distribution if you have to camp both that and the autograph session! Com’on man.

It is kind of telling that 3 weeks after the con, this is still my most memorable thing from Acen. I guess that is also because I do a lot of cons, and this is the important information people want to know for 2020.

What I really want to say to folks about Acen for their first trip to Acen is that Acen, despite being a huge con, is a laid back con where you can chill and still get your avocado toast in. I think this con still is chill at heart, but the overloading of great guests and events made that not so much this year. You can tell how the con tried to deal with it, and it’s not gonna work as a growing pain kind of a thing. But why even go there when we didn’t have to… Well, it probably is great if you didn’t try as hard as I did.

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