Author Archives: omo

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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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Anime Expo 2018: Wrap

If I use one word only to describe AX this year, it’s “gucci.” Thanks Sally.

I spent a considerable amount of time standing in front of the Aniplex booth this past weekend, trying to catch glimpses of the three 22/7 members (nanabun no nijuni, or just “nanabun” or “twenty-two seven”). On their scripted stages, the wotas on the floor were busy taking photos and videos of the girls, catching their attentions, and enjoy being fished. The idols (and MC Albert Kao) meanwhile tried to play along and did what they had to. For an idol stage, it was pretty much what you would have expected…if you are an avid reader of Amaki Sally’s tweets. The other two members (Miyase Reina or Reinyan, and Hanakawa Mei or Meimei) are both sort of along for the ride, but also aboard the party boat pulling fishies out of the water. The fisher of men analogy refers to how in Chinese, idols “hook” wota during their stage shows by the means of dance and acting, like a strong dab or a cute smile with eye contact.

It’s like, even Sally knows this stuff, just look at her reactions here.

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Anime Expo 2018: Day -2

I’m still at home and procrastinating on my packing. I fly out Tuesday night to LA. It’s gonna be a fun time at AX, except a part of me just want to stay home and grind UNION for the Nth time. Maybe I can do both, because on schedule, AX 2018 is packed with interesting things I want to see. I want to see SudoP’s panel, and ask him about Hellshake. I want to see Trigger again and rep IDOLM@STER at A-1’s panel. I want to see Tsugutsugu and the other cast members from SAO and GGO. But nope, all those things conflict with anisong events and whatever.

Unlike the usual collection posts, this year I’ll just take it easy. The only AX-sponsored autograph I want to see are the PA Works/Maquia team. (And we’re giving them flowers?) I don’t think I’ll splurge for sketches, although I think there are still prizes in Kentia waiting to be uncovered. There are prime first-hour deals for Premiere badge holders that I can take advantage of, and more in terms of on-the-ground data collection that needs to be done.

But I’m okay with a less engaging AX. JKL featuring Cinderella Girls is enough of a reason to do AX all by itself. Bonus is the party I’m throwing, the Mogra thing Fakku is doing (OMG INOTAC), and just about everything else. Meeting up with friends is also a well-honored reason to con, especially meeting guys coming from Europe. And Japan. And Korea and Taiwan.

Anyways, just dropping some links. Feel free to comment and add more AX related heads’ ups.

PS. There’s this guy who harasses people on twitter (and elsewhere) about Smash Bros. and IDOLM@STER. I bring this up because MoriP will be at AX (as a forward-facing industry member, I’m sure this is not his first rodeo at all) so you can go and ask him to do something about it?

PPS. Hey, Aqours! You are all right, I saw that screening last weekend and it was fun. But your fans need to cut out that crap about overwork LOL.

PPPS. OI COME TO MY PARTY ON WEDNESDAY.