Year in Review 2016: Seiyuu Song Singers

There’s a bit I want to say about seiyuu debuts in 2016. For start, a lot of them did. Nunu and Naobou were remarkable because it has to do with something behind the scenes clicking for them as artists, for them to sign up now, as opposed to 5 years or whenever ago. Do you remember when Pikasha was still Mio from K-ON? It took her a few years and we were wondering why–and now we kind of know. It’s not like Mocho and Nansu’s fated solo careers as Muray artists–these are different. The Nunus out there, hopefully, are more like the Ueshamas of today. It’s kind of like the tumultuous changes with Koshi, one moment King Record’s rising star and today not even with the label? What’s really going on? Actually that could be asked of anison at large. Because, in a sense, what are people looking for in this kind of music? I think you’ll find my biases kind of clear.

In some ways 2015/2016 are definitely turning point years. I guess maybe if fortunes would have it, I’ll get Pirami first album soon-ish?

Here’s a list of seiyuu full length album debuts in 2017, including seiyuu groups, that is at least worth a listen. I already have one album in mind not qualifying but mentioned below anyway. Why do I have this list? I just went to here and looked up the relevant entries under the guy’s solo female seiyuu and group female seiyuu pages. Keeping it to debuted album is a little arbitrary but it narrows how much work I have to do. I guess I’ll just walk it and rec the ones I like and keep a few others in the runner up and others sections.

Machico – Ambitious: This album is possibly one of my favorite pickup for the sake of just listening to junk generic anison in my head. The songs are fun, and what’s more important is that her vocals fit them really well. As you may know, she’s basically resident high pitch, so it’s an acquired taste to begin with. The CD didn’t do so well when it first released back in June, but I think people should give it a try.

Trysail – Sail Canvas: The first barrage from Muray’s second generation is as middle of the road as it get artistically, however it riffs on all the things people actually like about Muray’s SOP. They’re fun, diverse set of tunes that play to the strength of the triad. It’s the kind of music I can loop and drive to.

Ohashi Ayaka – Kidou ~START UP~: If you like the most inoffensive, sweet seiyuu vocal to the most inoffensive sweet anison then this is for you. It’s possibly even more generic than Machico’s but I guess the two do share some similarities on the production end. The strength of the tie-ins are much more there. It’s not a “runner up” only because I often find myself listening to it because it’s got that soothing, “yhelo there checking my brains out atm” quality to it, without being too upbeat. Gotta give credit where due I guess.

Ueda Reina – RefRain: If I were to have any hipster creds I have to include Ueshama’s art project on any kind of list of this nature. I’ll be perfectly honest, it is sort of sophomoric. But the fact that she is given the latitude and good will to produce music like this is worth noting. Is this even sustainable? Both in terms of sales and how long will it take her to make a full album? Who knows and I don’t really care. It’s worth your time (especially since it’s a mini-album).

Runner Ups:

Amamiya Sora – Various BLUES: I like just that one track, which was the C/W to Velvet Rays. The rest of the album kind of roll her occasionally invigoratingly drawn vocals in the same sort of thing over and over again, and she’s just unable to raise them to the next level. Maybe if she wasn’t so hung up on blue it would have been to her advantage…

Hayami Saori – Live Life Laugh: By far my most disappointed 2016 pick. Her voice is there and every pressure wave of it is as gorgeous as it can be, but these songs suck butt. It’s kind of like her Anisama performance with Takagaki Ayahi–great idea on paper but they surely can pick a better way to approach Komm susser, tod??? It’s only “runner ups” because it’s still worth listening to once.

Bonus notes:

Uchida Maaya: Technically PENKI came out December of 2015 but my experience with it is thoroughly 2016. I didn’t like it one lick. Maybe there was one song on it that’s any good (Gimme Revolution?). Drive-In Theater, which is her Jan 2017 mini-album, on the other hand, is way better. And I think it’s sit-up-and-take-notes better. While a part of me still just want her to focus on acting, gravure, and maybe live action, the music stuff could work with the right production.

This also reminds me of Tadokoro Azusa’s 2016 album, which is miles better than her generic seiyuu nonsense of a debut album–It’s My CUE is my pick for fave 2016 seiyuu music. Who knew the switch to rock was all that she needed to sound awesome?

I listened to Pyxis’s First Love 注意報! and it just makes me miss SylipS badly. Not that it’s bad or anything. I mean, it sure wasn’t as bad as Watanabe Yui’s Tokuma debut. Ugh.

Oh, there was this in 2016 wasn’t it…and yeah pass! I’m not really one who can judge with my penchant for lobotomized HoriPro musical treadmills. That reminds me, one of these days I need to poke the Everying album with a 10′ pole or some such.

Year-in-review 2016:


Producer Meeting 2017

I flew last weekend to attend the IDOLM@STER Producer Meeting event. It ran for two days and you can see the official page here for the exacts. This time the main draw is the full cast, even if at first the event seemed to be a part-life, part-talk sort of a deal. Leading up to it for over half a year was the release of IDOLM@STER Platinum Stars, as it was the first lottery round. Since we had plenty of time to prepare we did a flower stand again, and there’s more details about that I’ll post on HPT site sometime later here.

Because this is a talk-and-sing sort of an event I won’t be able to give you a lot of the details on the talk part, since I don’t do Japanese. I can’t even walk the setlist, as you’d expect, so I’ll just keep it pretty brief and add the travelogue stuff too.

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Anti-Immigration Is Anti-Eventer

In the USA, immigration is in the mind. The new President’s administration has all sorts of issues, but this one is a major killer as it affects, and very personally affects, not just those of us who travel overseas to events. I cannot count the number of students studying in the USA who came from abroad, and I love how they culturally enrich this country. More importantly, they make up a good number of the con population who travel for guests, so they are also my siblings-in-arms. It’s these people that make up the largest affected population segment, I think, which the changes to the US visa system affect.

Beyond that, the Trump Administration has hollowed out a lot of top positions in the DHS hierarchy and that will have a slowdown effect in terms of processing of visas and the like, as the new administration sort things out. This means if the Daisuki guys want to run that lovely Anison Matsuri this summer, they better get a jump on the roster so the paperwork can begin, if it hasn’t already started. Anyways it’s hard to speculate the impact on the rank and file process for applying for various vias at this time, let alone for another few months. I have to wonder how this impacts other cons?

When I landed in JFK terminal 7 this past Monday morning, it was below freezing. A handful of worried-looking people were at the international arrivals exit and there was a sign (in English) telling people where to find a lawyer. The newspaper-headlining protest crowds were absent, but it was also Monday morning, and not the weekends anymore. Still, it’s the kind of thing that may dissuade some folks from traveling to USA, even if it’s for an offer to come attend a con, just saying.

I think this sort of governance is so bad that it even hurts those anime-girl-headed turds that harass people on twitter, even if indirectly. It’s unbecoming and unfortunate.


Demichangs

I guess I don’t read too many anime blogs these days but I’m glad someone blogged about Demi-chan’s disability discourse. It’s an easy one to make as people like myself (as in most people educated about literary analysis on some level) would see fantastical characters as some parallel, real-world analogy. He makes the same point I make–it’s easy to take that comparison to the extreme (which is, anything outside the lit mechanism we’re using) and it’s kind of ableist to make these sort of claims. To that end I think it’s much better to just say what the mechanism is–by creating these fantasy characters with unusual daily challenges it lets us appreciate people who are different from us, that the real-life-parallels in some cases may have challenges we’re unaware of or unable to appreciate. It’s racist (as a joke–I guess)? If you think of Demi-chan as a work to express some thematic concerns to the Japanese manga-reading audience then the cultural context would be a lot more black and white for that very homogeneous society (speaking as an American living in a ideologically and racially diverse metropolitan area) known as Japan.

Would we have this discussion if they were X-mens? Let’s not even mention the rarest character of them all–the mid-30s adult harem lead–but that a daily-life take forces the analysis from, say, plain racism, to ableism? That’s a nice trick, one that might make Miyazaki proud.

I do want to talk a bit about the succubus character and the trials she puts up with in order to not let her special powers bother the human people around her. It’s just so charming. It’s a kind of gap moe. It’s a kind of seeing something genuinely new and unusual with familiar material. It’s kind of what Monmusu was missing for me (even if I don’t quite expect that from anything). This is kind of why I watch anime at all, because I can’t imagine anybody in the west would make a story like this in a multimedia format.

OK, back to packing for P-meeting. Hopefully I’ll be able to write up that prompto.


The Yakkai Eventer, or Why It’s Complicated

Here’s my take. It’s probably just tackling a portion of the larger debate about being yakkai, nonetheless we should start somewhere. These are more philosophical and principles about calls and the like, and not so much guidelines or about specific things…

In a nutshell, it’s about cultural differences and personal opinions on unsettled parts of newly developing culture. TL;DR is that do what you want, just don’t make trouble (which usually means do what the locals do).

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