How to Put a Smile on Someone’s Face; Or, Dicks for Everybody

Do people ever “introspect” other people? I mean, I wonder about what and why I do the things I do, but sometimes I wonder about what motivates other people to do the things they do. For example, why do people pursuit a career in voice acting in Japan? From the various interviews I read, it might be that someone is into acting since their youth or someone finds the entertainment biz a calling, or they are inspired to become the same kind of people who voiced their favorite characters. Maybe they are pivoting from another part of the entertainment business. It’s kind of what made Masumin-sensei penned the titled “Sore Ga Seiyuu” to an extent, I’d like to believe.

The reality is this is just a fun exercise for me to get better at figuring out why I do the things I do, and at some level I think we all can practice more both empathy and critical analysis, even if with partial information this is more for luls rather than any serious analysis. In as much as the pretty and young Japanese voice actresses I follow on twitter put up their selfies or make inside jokes among each other, I wonder what’s really going on. I guess they’re all having some fun, to some degree, and that is well in itself.

The light-hearted take on this is that, when Ibuchan was a wee little girl, did she (or her guardians, perhaps more importantly) imagine that she would be voicing a precocious light novel character (the type she’s been quite adept at playing) and saying “girls like dicks” on TV, in a distant day in the future? I mean, the bigger question that some of us have already made peace with is, why do eroge seiyuu exist? I guess it’s no different than AV idols to some level, but all the world’s difference in another. If there is a demand, there will come a supply I suppose. If this is the ultimate logic flowing, that seems rather mercenary-ish and is very likely underplaying the complex thing that colors human motivations for these kind of life decisions.

But at the same time, I think it’s because when Kido Ibuki did it in Eromanga Sensei episode 2, it was hilarious. It was scandalous (especially/mostly because of this meta dimension) and ultimately a fun approach to get the viewer’s attention to our new character. From a script writing/original novel point of view it made a certain sense (with pros and cons attached) but having it voiced by our “kiyoi” 19-year-old (cute Japanese teen talking about dicks, ladies and gentlemen, even if it was acting) adds that level in which only a multimedia adaptation (namely, an anime) can add, similar to seeing awesome fiction become even more awesome visual SFX in a Hollywood adaptation kind of way.

All of this is to say, it puts a smile on someone’s face. And maybe that’s all Ibuibu wanted to do.

PS. If you enjoyed it, I think you should let her know!

PPS. Good to have a fan blogging it here.

PPPS. My own opinion on the dick thing is that it’s a nice joke in the story to set the tonal swings Megumin brings, but Sagiri remains the heart of the series, in terms of her interactions. Like Oreimo this show is about interactions–namely actions, and reactions. The dicks joke just set a certain bar, and while we’re playing footsies with incest and other icky things, there’s all these fruits that are now suddenly low-hanging-seemingly. Why not? As to Eromanga Sensei, I expect to be fully entertained, because I know it will. The rest is bonus.

PPPPS. I did not forget about Tsugumomo, at least. Maybe I forgot to mention it, LOL, but it’s good contrast.


The Meta Game: 2017 Spring Edition

It’s sort of well-understood that otaku TV anime play to the meta. By this I mean it’s about defining, deconstruction, reconstruction, spins, and swapping of existing/known genres and archetypes. It’s a continuous cycle of creation where frameworks that are successful are reused with modification to create something similar but new. New ideas that work often gets grafted into other existing frameworks for added effect. Things also don’t always work out as intended.

What’s interesting about this season’s meta (like a new expansion of M:TG or Shadowverse, as the comparisons may be) is that there are more attempts at misleading or misdirection by giving off generic vibes than not. Last season I think the biggest “gotcha” was in Fuuka, but the most successful misdirection was Kemono Friends, where the audience were treated to this borderline “so bad it’s good” CG animation as a means to help us engage the right part of our collective consciousness in order to parse the surprisingly sincere and nuanced story. Two seasons ago the well-received buttocks anime, Keijo!!!!!!!!, also has this sort of a play to it where viewers go in expecting one thing, but got something quite different. Even original anime projects like Haifuri played this trick via marketing, and it’s unclear to me if it actually fooled anyone. The oft-panned Mahouiku is sort of the victim of not reading the meta correctly, which was using this baited setup to provide a very traditional story, ultimately kind of disappointing the audience. I think this season we will see a few others play out this way as more shows pick up on the meta.

To clarify and disclaim, by “misdirect” I don’t want to imply that there was some kind of intent behind the process. It may be intended or it may not. There are some cases in which the marketing material or the production style was done to give people contrasting expectations, but some cases are not. I think Kemono Friends is a good example where there isn’t an intent to do quite that. Sure, media mix projects often do employ marketing to manage our expectations and solicit interest to a degree, but I want to highlight the shows in which these things get into the “art” of it, as it were, enough that you want to sideboard your deck against the meta, as the analogy goes.


LOGH Status Check

I just finished episode 82 of the main Legend of Galactic Heroes OVA series, so it’s a good time to do a check point and write down some thoughts. For those of you who don’t know what that episode signifies, it marks the departure of a very important character, and the story takes a turn here in a way. I need the time to let some thoughts sink in a bit, and jot down some stuff before I forget.

The story moves in a smooth chop, and so far the thing I admire and like the most about Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu is how it combines some pretty interesting characters along with a breakneck pace of long, drawn out events that happen in a short narrative period, all to make a few points. Actually, what I like maybe just as much is how funny this story is. Like, at times it made me laugh more often than most Gabriel Dropout episodes.

The humor, at least for me, come and go however. Basically when the story is focused on the Imperials, it gets just kind of dry and it becomes a narrative driven by Reinhard’s charisma and a curiosity regarding to his destiny. When it’s the Alliance’s turn, they talk about everything and it’s quite clear what everything is about, what the attitude the show takes towards the topics it tackles, and the Alliance characters and character writing are just way more funny? There are the occasional colorful Imperial but it doesn’t help that characters like Mittermeyer are all serious, all the time.

Anyways, the story is moving toward the final act and I’ll have more to share after that. I don’t think this show will make my top whatever list or anything, but it’s a very strong, story and plot driven affair that oddly feels politically relevant even today. It shows its age like a good whisky does (even if it’s from El Facil). In some ways, this is one science fiction that is politically prescient, which makes it noteworthy on an entirely different echelon than the usual anime silliness that I rank things with. Any show that can withstand the test of time, IMO the toughest test of them all, will reward you shall you reward it your time.

PS. So it got licensed while I was watching this show? And yeah I’ll be ready for the reboot, actually looking forward to it somewhat now.


On ScarJo’s Ghost in the Shell, And Faithfulness

I think the problem (not in regards to the casting) with the whole Ghost in the Shell thing is summed up by the mentality that brought this kind of content to the fore. In other words, some westerners just can’t let go Oshii’s take that they have seen decades ago, and wanted to appropriate it for a Hollywood version.

The truth is as good as Oshii’s movie was, the idea within the movie are too dated by 2017 standards. They already were well-played in cyberpunk lit when that movie was made. If you wanted a refresh take better suited for this decade/century, Stand Alone Complex is where it is at–some of these ideas need a much more in depth spin to play them out to what they deserve, which is what a TV series can do that a 1-film series cannot. Superficially, neither GITS or the Hollywood business has figured out how to tell that kind of a profound message in a 2-hour window.

Which is to say, I don’t think the GITS movie project is a mistake and should not have been created. It just failed because it could not overcome the main problem of making a movie based on Oshii’s movie, in a similar way that Oshii’s second movie tanked. (In reality it tried to take the opposite approach by making everything simple, but the end result was still not great.) I think what I would prefer in a Hollywood remake of GITS would be a wholly original remake. I would prefer Hollywood figure out the problem in the Oshii movie in the first place. The truth is what GITS fans love about the 1995 film is actually made better in SAC, which is how the rest of Section 9 can add to the Major-and-her-guns show. Instead, importing just the iconic imageries and set pieces from the 1995 film will only please a very narrow band of weebs in 2017, which is why GITS is a notable thing at all anyway.

TL;DR Hollywood should’ve adopted SAC, not the Oshii movie.


Iron-Blooded Orphans

You know what makes people cry? Dead children, sure. But also onions.

Spoilers ahoy! Both seasons!

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