Stepsister Ex Is Mid Light Novel Culture

My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex, which is also Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano datta, or Tsurekano for short, is exactly what it says it is. It’s a light novel about the main characters becoming step-siblings who were dating just half a year ago. The amusing thing about this series is that the anime adaptation had all the trappings, except not really.

It’s probably a better question as to what do people think of a story like this without first reading it, in anime form? What do they expect? It isn’t exactly surprising to find, 10 episodes or so in, that Tsurekano broached themes like “can you have truly platonic cis male-female friendships” and exploring the limits of intimacy between non-romantically involved couples. Or the more amusing framing that I like to take, which is what is the difference between best friends and lovers? Ever see those obnoxious Jared jewelry ads? But if you asked myself 3 months back, I would not have had guess this outcome from a series titled as such.

What’s really lovely about Tsurekano is how it’s really about two introverted bookworms who approach their romances very much in the same way, and while the same standard tropes are not exactly missing in action, the way they play up is basically exactly the opposite of what you typically see in this type of anime and manga. It captures a lot of the cuteness you imagine that could happen in this sort of setup, and turn it around and make it hostage for the romantic tension, or the lack thereof, the story tries to create.

I guess, it can be boring? There are no sticks to slap, as the term goes. I think the verbal humor can really get hefty, especially having to deal with a J->E translation in process. The female lead in the story goes through this development process from a timid middle schooler into this stereotypical popular honor student type as the characters enter high school and reunited by their parents’ situation. In all, it is almost mundane. The male lead goes through a similar process but they do not really explain his motivations, if anything, it’s the dull, smoldering heat that drives the whole engine. The mundane everyday that cloaks the story is almost is as good of an example of actual light novel culture as practiced by human beings as anything else, given how much both of them live and is surrounded by such things.

I did title this post and called Tsurekano “mid” and that is because this is the ultimate callout for blogs and writers like myself. In a recent episode Tsurekano named dropped I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, which is only too appropriate. Now that’s high light novel culture, the kind of writing that Tsurekano never wants to become, and also never can surpass. But that’s also the whole point. If you are tried of renting girlfriends, tutoring your future wives, or dating influencers, maybe give this a try.

Omonomono Newsletter, August 23 Update

One letter a month is too infrequent for my liking but I’m not putting in the time so I’m not sure I can get any better. What’s a good frequency?

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2022-08-23

See you at Anisama? I’m going to Japan again, after this blank of 2.5 years or so. Although I will only be there for about 4-5 days, it would be great to meet up with anyone who I’ve not seen for some time.

Otherwise, yeah, the usual dog days of summer, work, churning into this season of anime, churning into baseball (grats to Tohoku’s first Koshien winner), and accumulating quality family time.

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Otakon 2022: Wrap

It’s really nice to get back to my “home” convention and run through it as if nothing happened since 2019. I enjoyed the humid Chesapeake Bay summer as much as I ever could enjoy…humidity. Otakon was packed to the gills with things to do in 2022 and things I wanted to do, even if much of it is just hanging out. On top of seeing some old timers that I haven’t since, I would chalk it up as a great time, if too short time all together.

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On Cons, Japan, IDOLM@STER

Rather than the usual newsletter I just want to throw this out there to organize some thoughts and info. It’s also an update on my personal leisure time as whatever they’re called, for however much left that I have spent not on family or work-related things. Or watching anime–I guess I am in the middle of a Made in Abyss marathon.

To segue from that, I’m trying to catch a glimpse of Mariya Ise at Otakon 2022, down at o’ Washington DC. Consider this an open jiao if you catch me. Maybe try me at the “official” off-venue rave? Since Aniparty is there.

Otakon is throwing a big k-pop show on Friday and a music affair on Sunday, with Kaoru Wada back in town with his musician friends like Yuki Hayashi (who was at AnimeNYC last November). There’s also a rock act Saturday. The busy weekend probably got a lot going on that I’m not even aware of. I looked at their Guidebook just now and there is conflict city all Saturday. It is terrible honestly.

I am also trying to figure out how to go to Japan, now that it’s open to some tourists, plus people who can apply and get an entry certificate to get a visa. Everybody needs a visa to go to Japan now, besides people who can “re-entry” and other citizen-types. Yes, it makes going to Japan a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult, if just the fact that going as a tourist means registration and monitoring, plus nobody knows what happens if you actually catch COVID (or rather, besides mandatory quarantine and tour cancellation). For people going to concerts this is a brand new world. It’s possibly also a fleeting situation since you never know if another variant will occur and rewrite the rules like how Omicron did during Delta’s reign last winter.

The answer that I figured out thus far is that you can do a private tour. It’s doable, it isn’t cheap, but it’s feasible. So I’m going to try to do one and see how it is and let you guys know. I can say for sure it’s “not the answer” anyone is looking for already, but it is a solution to some problems one person may have. If you have a lot of money that you want to burn, this may be it if you can also physically endure the “tourist in Japan” part as that’s mandatory. For people who just want to go to a lot of lives and stay nerdy in between concerts, this is not it, because again, you need to do tours. If you want to just hole in your hotel room, this is not it. If you want to enjoy Japan frugally, this is not it. If you want to meet friends, this probably is not it unless your friends are not picky about you being a part of a monitored tour and can adopt to your schedule. Furthermore, I’m not even sure if this is kosher by the terms of the tourist agreement set by the Japanese government. Sort of just going based on what I was told here.

There are a lot of risky “downsides” as well given that the high level of operational standard required for foreign tourists in Japan. It’s got extra chance of tour cancellation and forced quarantine, for example. It’s not really “fun” and really the tourist program Japan put in place is just to save face as a G7 country still practicing its xenophobic isolation policies in the name of COVID prevention.

This is really for people who absolutely need to go to Japan for that One Thing. Like, to segue nicely into the next topic, the next “Master of Idol World” or as the announce has it, a five-brand concert next February at Tokyo Dome. On the bright side it is for sure they will stream it and probably even do theatrical live viewings overseas (in HK/TW/KR). But, yeah, I really want to go. I also really want to go to the Million Live show next January. This is gonna be rough.

So yeah, it is suboptimal, to use a nice word, but such is the state of things. As the latest variant of Omicron rages, cons are back. It’s timely and it’s got various levels of risk, but it is what we got in this post-COVID world.