Scanlation Is Out of Control

This is an average-ish use case.

In February, I flew to Indonesia, then Taipei, then Japan, for a 2-week trip. I think I’ve seen more people reading scanlation sites in public in Japan in my 10-ish days there than I have all year in 2018. Probably because I spent some time in places where people do these kind of things (very long train rides, overnight in Haneda). And I’m pretty sure some of these people are 100% Nipponjin, plus the manga they were reading weren’t even scanlated, so I guess the topic isn’t even correct.

Past midnight in Haneda International Terminal

The blueprint for manga out of the ghettos of widespread digital piracy is unclear, but it’s definitely not the first nor the last IP category that has to deal with it. There may not be a blueprint but there are definitely a lot of good ideas and best practices. Well, it’s a problem afar from me since I barely read any manga these days–I’m too busy crying over dead idol groups to read anything. OK, maybe I am still reading some old-ass rant about some science fiction writer who thinks he is a hotshot. By most measures, in 2019, Clarke is about as insightful as the average Youtube commenter. The future will humble all of us, even major Japanese publishers. If that is not the relevant takeaway here then I don’t know what is.


Wake Up Girls Final Sendai and Learning to Love It All the Way to the End

With the last of the Sendai stop in the rear mirror, the seiyuu-idol unit Wake Up, Girls! is only one more live away from disbandment. I’m just trying to grapple with it the best I can as a fan of WUG who has now attended the last few shows in Sendai.

As to how we got here, let’s just say in Japanese popular entertainment, idol groups are common and idols of this variety come and go just like how their next-door-girl charms can be found, well, next door. There are a lot of reasons behind why a media-mix idol project that is about to hit its 6th year in existence would stop, too, despite selling out their largest venue thus far (Saitama Super Arena for their final live). But this is not that post. This post is about me, and WUGchans, damn it.

As a fan who started to follow WUG before the term WUGner became official I think there is something about following the group from cradle to the grave. I still remember reading ANN articles on Yamakan’s search for talent nationwide. I remember how in Jan/Feb 2014, while attending the big IDOLM@STER MOIW 2014 concert and on that trip to Japan, we tried and failed to go see WUGchans at a theater greeting, showcasing the first WUG movie. A friend and I were browsing K-Books and saw a signed poster from WUGchans going for over a man, left the aisle and then came back, and someone had already taken it from the shelf. The tinge of regret from that event lives on even today, even if both of us have gotten several signed goods since.

To be fair I didn’t quite consider myself as a WUGner until later in the year–more like just a typical seibuta who is into voice actresses and eventing. Well, I am always that I suppose. It was not until, at least, Chicago, when I first met the WUGchans at Anime Central 2014, that I consider myself fan enough to call myself one. (But then again, I had to be a fan to even fly to Chicago to see them in the first place.) As I would say now, I went to Acen that year to pick an oshimen. From watching the first TV anime as it was airing in winter of 2014 as well as other footage online, Miyu seemed to be the right fit for me. But having seen them in person then only further confirmed Miyu for me, despite how cute and appealing the others also were. I guess I’m not that big of a seibuta after all.

I still remember first seeing them while waiting to go into the opening ceremony at Acen. We were just chatting in front of the entrance when Hiro, Yamakan and four(?) of the seven walked right in. We waved at them. It was Airi, MayuC, Minami and Yoppi. Actually memory is now sufficiently fuzzy that I don’t remember or am misremembering these details. I still remember MayuC’s expression when I first saw her, though. It’s not too different than what you would expect of a typical Japanese young person walking around, lol, Anime Central, in her first trip to the mainland USA.

[That first Anime Central was quite instructive in a number of ways. One thing that came up repeatedly is different close encounters with these 81Produce seiyuu at various events. I’m sure some of you have heard of the stories coming from Machi Asobi, but we had the same at Anime Central already, plus AX 2017, and elsewhere. It seems like these seiyuu are more next door-y idols in more than just the figurative speech kind of way.]

Fast forward to 2019, things have changed, but only by a bit. MayuC remains the same person that we saw then. She’s like that timid but very brave-minded woman with a wild streak, but also who now has the confidence to show it off. I too have changed: from “I don’t like the WUGchans that much” to “WUGchans ga dai daisuki da!”

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The A5 Kobe Beef of Smiles: Tabehoudai Version ~That You Can WUG To~

Some time last year I got fed up on how Americans don’t do calls and wrote up a set of calls for Gokujou Smile based on the JP calls out there. With WUG Final tour over, I reviewed my old post as a matter of writing up the tour, and decided I have to write a new post to update the material in the old post, for WUG Final SSA.

Basically, it’ll sound like this:

Do you mix to WUG? Only a few songs, like Gokujou Smile. And even then most people do mostly just the fast mix part and not the full mix part, opting to do the Fu-fuu calls with the group instead.

One change from the old post is that people do the urya-oi as per normal course, but that’s not so important in Gokujou Smile. If you know what you’re doing you would already know what you need to do. If you don’t or if you are unsure, just follow the crowd. The 3rd tour video is still a good reference that will get you through the whole song.

I am mostly still romanizing the calls, via here. The calls are in parens and colored in red.  The mixing is in blue, which is entirely optional and do so at your own risk. Actually there are just 2 normal mixes and 3 speed mixes with lead-in calls, and you can pick and choose which you want to do. The normal mixes conflict with the 3 fufuu calls at the end of each lead-in so most people choose to not do them.

Notes:

  • There are some hand motions that can be done during a few parts, like “housoku housoku” in which you make a upward arrow with your hands, and “nandaka chigau” which you can do the “no” hand motion.
  • The calls with a music note in the paren are sing-along responses.
  • There are some timed jumps. People furicopy normally but the main melody has a jump like 2 bars into it and from what I’ve seen recently, MayuC cues the audience for the jump sometimes. You can review the video from 3rd Tour (above) as an example.
  • Fuwa x4 are not clap clap Fuwa x2 but some people do it. Most people do the 4x.
  • The “Fuu?” call is just a fuu with different intonation. In JP it’s denoted with down and up arrows. (フー↓ウッ↑)
  • (starting signal) just means the usual mix starter phrase. I’m not aware of a standard one used in this but there are some standard phrase people do use.
  • I use an asterisk to indicate the start of the speed mix for typography reasons. Just put the paren in the following line into that. I also wrote speed or standard mix where applicable to indicate the tempo only.

===

EGAO! (Fufu!) GOKUJOU! (Fufu!) SUMAIRU! (Fuu!)

(hey x12)

(standard mix on 2nd half) (Starting signal) (TIGER FIRE CYBER FIBER

(Fufu! Fufu! Fuu!)
(DIVER VIBER JAA JAA)

KURAUDO ni kakareta SUKEJUURU (Yay!)
Nandaka samishii shuumatsu wo (Yay!)
Nandemo ii kara umerutte iu no ha chigau (Nandaka chigau~!)

Honto jimi na no futsuu no hi ha (Whoo!)
Douga de neko wo utsushitetari (Whoo!)
Doudesho tamani ha heya no moyou ga he nanka ne

Minna no shashin (sha~ shin~♪) SURAIDO shite mita (‘te~ mita~♪)
SUMAIRU ippai de zenkai de SUMAIRU darake de
SUMAIRU? SUMAIRU?mairu
Waratte shimau (shi~ mauu~♪) genki ni natta yo (natta~ yo~♪)
Akiramenai (TIGER) haru (FIRE) natsu (CYBER) aki (FIBER) fuyu (*) no hi mo 
(* speed mix TIGER FIRE CYBER FIBER DIVER VIBER JAAJAA)

SHINDOI kisetsu wo shiteru kara (Whoo!)
Kawaranu egao wo mederu (Fuwa x4)
NIPPON no egao ga uwagaki suru (Whoo!)
Nanka tsurai toki mo
NIPPON no egao ga kawaiku suru (Whoo!)
Saki koboreru SAKURA iro (Fuwa x4)
SHINDOI kisetsu wo shitte koso no(Whoo!)
Egao(Fufu!) gokujou (Fufu!) SUMAIRU (Fuu!)

(Hey x8)

Tenki ga ii hi ha dekakeyou (Yay!)
Densha ni notte chotto toode shiyou (Yay!)
Denenfuukei suteki na yasai mo toreru (Housoku! housoku!)

Choppiri nigate na mono datte (Fuu?)
Oishii no tabetara suki ni naru (Fuu?)
OIOI ima made shiranaide gomen to omou

Umi ha hiroi (hi~ roi~♪) yama mo sugoi (su~ goi~♪)
MEIDO IN JAPAN ha saikou sa MAI MAI MAI SUTAA
Nandatte umidaseru
Asobi ni kite (kite~ ne~♪) ai ni kite ne (kite~ ne~♪)
Kono hashi (TORA) kara (HI) hashi (JINZO) made (SENI) wo (*) hashi no kuni he
(* speed mix TORA HI JINZO SENI AMA SHINDOU KANSEN)

SHINDOI kisetsu wo shiteru kara (Whoo!)
Kawaranu egao wo miseru (Fuwa x4)
NIPPON no egao ga uwagaki suru (Whoo!)
Nanka tsurai toki mo
NIPPON no egao ga motenashi suru (Whoo!)
Saki koboreru SAKURA iro (Fuwa x4)
SHINDOI kisetsu wo shitte koso no (Whoo!)
Egao (Fufu!) gokujou (Fufu!) SUMAIRU (Fuu!)

(Hey x8)

(Hey x8)

(speed mix CHAPE APE KARA RARA TUSUKE MYOHONTSUSUKE)

DONMAI namida wo shitteru kara
Kawaranu egao wo mederu
DONMAI na egao ga uwagaki suru
Nanka tsurai toki mo
DONMAI na egao ga kawaiku suru (Whoo!)
Saki koboreru SAKURA iro (Fuwa x4)
DONMAI namida wo shitte koso no (Whoo!)
Egao(Fufu!) gokujou (Fufu!) SUMAIRU (Fuu!)

(hey x12)

(standard mix on 2nd half) (Starting signal) (TORA HI JINZO SENI)

(Fufu! Fufu! Fuu!)
(AMA SHINDOU KANSEN)


Adults Should Be Able to Tell Fantasy from Reality

I was reading the ANN Forums on the latest #kickvic topic and it is pretty easy to spot out the one or two posters who takes that Shield Hero narrative. I quote here:

Here is my issue with this whole thing. These rumors have existed for years and there is supposed evidence and testimonies and even his voice colleagues yet he was still getting jobs and invited to cons. 

if there is evidence, charges should be pressed and taken to the police and not to the internet mob. 

and as for the voice colleagues, their words are as good as dirt. The guy is a supposed sexual predator. Yet you still worked with him or never came forward publicly before so either A. They were worried about their careers making them complicit, B. They didn’t care or C. They are lying. 

But like, I think this is the fantasy that almost never happens. Occam’s Razor for one, but also just statistics is stacked against that one White Male Privilege Celebrity.

The Shield Hero story here is precisely that some well-intended man unintentionally crosses line to be accused for some male-privilege violation when in reality it wasn’t even that bad, and is probably forgivable. But this is neither here or there in Vic’s case–there is a clearly established pattern of abuse already. Granted, the facts on the situation is not always clear, and we definitely only know partial information, but the information present is largely condemning (some are questionably condemning), so thus here we are.

But I think given the play on our sense of justice, the internet mob is often and too often the first destination. This is what breeds that “SJW” mentality but also the other “hands that clap back” such as GG and whatever anti or alt groups out there. I think the real perversion of justice however is the wasted energy talking about this, and not realizing there are actual victims and there are actual things people can do to improve the situation, all sorts different things many people can do in very different capacities.

Only if people are mature enough to distinguish fantasy from reality.

[By the way I’m going to Japan later this month, also some family/friends obligation in other countries as well. See you WUG-side. And yes I will try to finish my Year-in-Review post…]


Tone Deaf Hero

[Rather than finishing my year in review, here goes a diversion.]

I too watched the first/preview episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero adaptation. It was a bit compelling but probably slightly more uncomfortable than compelling. The problem I have with it is its narrative voice. It reads(?) like someone is writing a light novel that target incels as the audience. That in itself is not terrible but seeing a show pandering to someone, no matter who, is not a great sign. It is not about the false accusation of rape, but the construction of the characters and motives surrounding it, that marks it poorly for the online lynch mob. (BTW linking Jeko because my post is basically a rebuttal of his and reading that motivated me to write this one.)

This post came to my mind primarily because, well, you can have a dramatic story about a hero who was falsely accused of rape, and not be misogynistic. He is right in that the innocent accused alone doesn’t make it per se misogynistic. So what makes Shield Hero so misogynistic thus far? Shield Hero is misogynistic because it reduces the women in the story to less than human specifically to further its emotional narrative. This is exactly what incels do as a fundamental concept to their cause. Of course, this is just based on one episode and I should overall disclaim that I don’t know what the story is like after this point besides from reading the Wiki entry. Given the quality of the story and the way the events are presented, though, I don’t expect it to be anything good. I certainly could be wrong (well, am I really wrong on SAO)?

So far in the series, things are not so offensive because, well, even the main character is hardly beyond a pile of tropes and I think even Nasu Kinoko wrote more compelling characters in the 90s than this. It is below par for the course for this genre. When you are eyeballing a pile of trash, that pile of trash is a bunch of trash, so even the bad ideas fail to be that terrible. I enjoyed Shield Hero e1’s general production quality (I guess it was technically the preview, so not the actual first episode). The baseline concept is not the worst among all the isekai light novel adaptations I’ve watched in the past couple years. I do like how the different heroes came from different versions of Japan. I even like (based on Wikipedia) how the main character grows to trust his female slaves over time, despite his trust issues with people, and despite that they had to actually utilize slavery as a key story element and not just some side dressing.

The unfortunate thing is, you can tell a story about a guy who suffers through all these common psychological issues without framing it using modern misogyny. Albeit almost as bad, but last year’s How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord similarly tacked this issue in a subplot without too much ick. (Although I was swimming in quite a bit of ick as is at the time.) I guess it is cool and hip and meme-worthy with some folks to tell a story Shield Hero tells. I am not particularly arsed by this because, ultimately, this is a work of fiction (and fantasy at that) and mature viewers (definitely not appropriate to show this kind of thing to children without parental guidance) should be able to realize what it is.

I think the story could be a lot better right off the bat by basing the main character not as a freeloader nerd laughing at bitches in his light novel. That is totally not the right way to start this story. If we want to go heavy with a fake rape accusal, Shield Hero will have to open with some heavier story elements, rather than just giving us the dumb lines he has been saying and the defensive (and borderline hypocritical) attitudes alone. I mean, maybe this indicates the author’s attitude about this particular plot element. It also doesn’t help, even before encountering the rape accusations, the main guy came across like a giant tool to begin with, and his cheerful “hey I’m in an Isekai Light Novel wink-wink-wink” attitude was the only thing that makes me want to root for him. This is also why that whole rape not-trial scene seemed really trite and a giant pander to incel thinking–as literally here’s a guy don’t own up to their tool-ness and blame others for their own failures, even if it may be a natural reaction and he might have a case for it. It’s a simple lesson in narrative storytelling–you are not suppose to be presenting facts of an internet argument to win your viewers’ sympathy. In terms of trustworthiness, our hero has very little one episode in because he has not done anything to earn any, so his plight also will ring hollow in the hearts of the viewers. Worse, it makes you think who would? Someone who was falsely accused of rape too? LOL.

Hopefully all those things I mentioned are just setup for future character development. It should be clear that despite the misogynist elements in this particular light novel turned anime, the core of the story is very, uh, staple, to use a nicer word. There is too much poor execution, so much unoriginality, enough to blunt of any strong message it wants to actually send at this point. I think it’s a lot easier, if you want to talk about misogyny regarding Shield Hero, to run a Bechdel test after the season is over. Truth is anyone who still want to discuss after sticking around probably already have their minds made up.

PS. How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord is a fun, but really bad mary sue sort of a story. It makes SAO S1 look good (aside from the fact that SAO S1 does…look quite good, but that’s not what I mean). And now we have something even more problematic. Dare I predict in another 2 years we will have even worse garbage (and I will probably still watch it….). Or, I can’t believe Death March is the best generic Isekai anime in the past year. Well it does have Suki no Skill…