Archive for September, 2012

Idol age distribution

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Back in the anime continuity 765PRO, Ami and Mami did their middle school homework in the office, while Azusa have already graduated from college. That seemed a little at odds with the narrative of the pipeline. So, AKB0048 comes about, and, according to Evetaku, Makoto is the oldest in the 76th generation at 16, while Nagisa & Chieri are 13. Such spread corresponds to what we generally see in AKB48. For example in Karen Iwata’s 12th Gen, almost everyone was born in 1997, except Tomu Muto, born in 1994. Okay, great realism, I suppose (with the exception of Konata, obv.). Still, I think it would be kind of nice if they had a late bloomer, you know? Perhaps they even do, I’m just not enough into it to read a gazillion of Wiki pages.

UPDATE: Why scan Wikis if Bing or Google can do it? Apparently the oldest member of AKB48 is… guess who… Mariko-sama (currently 24 years old IRL and still on stage with Team A). I should’ve known. Major spoiler: Tsubasa was a member under her name previously, and she’s not a spring chicken. Wotas adore her both in the anime and IRL.

Bake at Crunchy

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

By the way of Brickmuppet comes the news that Crunchyroll started streaming Bakemonogatari. It was in my queue for a while. Cuc put in a good word for it, by e-mail. But it’s SHAFT, and you never know with SHAFT: ef was great, Arashi not so great. Eventually I rejected it for allegedly featuring vampires. Hate vampires. Hate, hate, hate. But you know, Ken prompted me to review Midori no Hibi (great success), and Nazo no Kanojo X (ongoing, umm…) in the past. If he manages to complete this, I may just unretire it.

It would be pretty cool if Bake worked out, because it would re-interest me in the iM@S collaboration.

Shin on DD2 11

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

@Shin:

Dog Days is a better body-swap anime than Kokoro Connect

Granted it’s Shin, but still.

Nobar is on the case, too. Adds a choice quote from The Finest Dweller.

Steven takes a family-friendly angle:

Shinku has trouble running and moving in Yuki’s body (boing boing) and is… tempted to do a bit of examining… but is virtuous.

Dancing Chibis ED

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Apropos J.C.Staff making amends for the awful Kill Me Baby, was there ever a bad anime with dancing chibis ED? Or is that a mark of director’s impeccable taste?

UPDATE: Steven says that Happy Lesson was one.

Tsutomu Mizushima also helmed Dokuro-chan, the vilest anime produced with utmost professionalism.

UPDATE:

Yamakan to soil idol anime

Friday, September 14th, 2012

According to John, we’re officially in the phase of idol anime when every talentless hack rushes in, as Wake Up, Girls! was announced.

I think we’ve seen something like that that in mecha, both in Super Robot and Real Robot. For each of RahXephon and 08th MS Team there’s a bunch of whatever other titles that left dubious or controversial impression. Since nuggets are rare, the genre becomes forever tainted. I know a guy who swears to high heaven from ever watching a “mecha” title, while liking Vandread and Nadesico: the titles that broke through self-censorship before it was fully formed. It may be just the place where idol anime is going with yamakans of the world swelling up the ranks of its creators.

The step after the rush and expansion one is going to be them becoming desperate and turning up the “Nasty” knob, hoping that Madoka pops out. But instead they get School Days.

AKB0048 PV2

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

It felt really weird to watch the PV after the show, but aside from that it was a good reminder about the dog-eat-dog world of idols. Most of the PV focused on real-life AKB subgroup members who were selected to voice AKB0048 characters (as we know, all of them voice understudies, while recognized anime seiyuu voice AKB0048 members). We were shown the announcement ceremony. The chosen ones cover their faces and cry before climbing the stage, then deliver short acceptance speeches. Sawako Hata said how much she wanted to be a seiyuu, Karen Iwata promised to make most out of this chance, and everyone declared their dedication to the cause.

The scene was quite reministent of Tsubasa calling out stand-bys in ep.7, except that the disappointed losers didn’t try to crash the ceremony, but clapped politely instead.

How do we understand it? Did the girls think of AKB0048 as a chance to ditch the life of the 2nd string AKB expendable? I imagine it may be the case of Miss Iwata, stuck on AKB Team 4, or of Sawako Hata from SKE48. But surely a seiyuu career would be a step down for Mayuu Watanabe, wouldn’t it? Come to think of it, they didn’t show her crying tears of happiness when announced.

All in all, it was chilling and mystifying.

UPDATE: The Stage48 Wiki says that Karen Iwata was promoted from Team 4 to Team A in August 2012 (was accepted in Team 4 in March). It makes her a peer to Mayuyu, theoretically. She totally outflanked her competition with that seiyuu move. No wonder they were crying.

The Interrogation Game

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

I am too lazy to play it for real, and I will not tag anyone, but I like the questions that Mr. Moofang posted.

1) How much does art style (not so much production values but the style of the drawings, character designs, background stylistics, even the type of BGM) affect your opinion of a show?

The art style affects my opinions quite a bit, although asymmetrically. I love non-traditional art approaches, when used tastefuly, like in Windy Tales. It adds a lot to an artsy show. But bad art does not detract, usually. The ugly eyes in Ninomiya-kun in Chizumatic’s top rotation is the only example when poor art was decisive.

2) Do you see yourself still watching anime 10 years from now?

Probably yes. I watched anime back in 1975, so why stop now? True, Nanoha made me throw an I-hate-all-anime-now tantrum, but hey…

3) Virtual Idols (think Vocaloid, Idolm@ster): Okay or No way?

In my opinion, iM@S and Vocaloid have basically nothing in common, with the former being a part and parsel of the industry, while Vocaloid thriving on user expression. I regard Vocaloid as a kin of Touhou that way.

That said they both are great for what they are. And iM@S TV rescued me from after-effects of Nanoha. Thank you, Haruka. Your candy was magical.

I should add that I have an utmost faith in the ability of Yamakan to screw up everything, including idol anime (I heard it was slated for 2013 Winter).

4) Do you play visual novels? What do you think of them as a storytelling medium?

Since I do not have easily available Windows PCs, most VNs are not easily accessible to me. I mostly dabbed into VNs at PSP, but was frustrated by, in large part, difficulties with screencapping. Ani-nouto has a category for VNs, that documents completed titles. Behind the scenes, I also tried to gain access to Android-based titles, but that was an abject failure.

In general I like the branchy medium, because it is more malleable to taste. You think the confused teenage sex was boring or vapid in Haganai Portable? No problem, play Rika’s path! However, VNs present challenges to writers, that must be adequately addressed for it to work right. In Toradora Portable, for instance, there were parts where characters refer to events that never occured.

5) Do some characters you like capture you on a guttural level? What kind? Or are you so sophisticated you only like characters for their character writing and multidimensional layers?

Solid writing, attractive personality, and certain depth all work well to deliver an engaging character, but yes: I have a waifu too. Her identity is somewhat of a secret, however.

NovaJinx on the Kokoro Connect scandal

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

According to report at Jinx, the people behind the masterpiece of fapfessions and ballkicking4PTSD thought to take it RL, with predictable result:

The whole thing ended up being covered on the radio shows of Tomokazu Sugita and Asami Imai, and as expected the response of the otaku (and anyone with a shred of human dignity) was an uproar, calling for a boycott of Kokoroco anime BDs and merchandise.

Omo falling in with Ritsuko et al

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Omo (re-)introduces idols for us thus:

The truth is, I am steadily descending that slippery slope into iM@S fandom, and while the ride is enjoyable, I see too much stuff that I’m not entirely comfortable with, producer shipping notwithstanding. Maybe to some extent idol fan culture is always a little toxic. Talking with the AKB-whatever fans I know, at least, that’s a bit of what comes across. That truth gets shared and strengthened by also whatever idol fan culture that is over here in the US.

But just like chemical addictive in an artificially flavored and preserved treat, idols and idol fandom is robust and often fits your fancy, just how you like it. The toxicity is not without benefit. I think Japanese-style idol fandom likes projecting and shipping, which coincidentally goes with the whole “no dating” strategy that industry employs. There are some advantages, especially when the idols themselves can’t do anything, as in the case of animated cartoon characters from video games. The fans can move and groove the idols themselves.

I guess I am not enough of AKB-whatever fan to be offended, and heck, look at what J.P. tweets whenever I broach the subject. Fortunately, the anime was quite wholesome, and the rest I just ignore happily.

Since iM@S does not have actual idols (except seiyuu), it is even further removed from the casting coach. My own view is still the same: they are all tainted and not a good material, except possibly for Haruka and very maybe Yayoi.

Coincidentially, one of AKB0048 understudies has a boyfriend (although since she had to move to a different planet to attend, they are in a perforce long-distance relationship). And then of course Sae and Naota. That anime was really casual and matter-of-fact about all that.

Oh and by the way, notice how the little attempt to add spice to the sterile world of Idolm@ster, the DS girls, was given a cold shoulder in the anime? But redundant Hibiki and Takane are on equal footing?

Finally, there’s no rotation in iM@S. Just like Bart Simpson never has to graduate from the 8th grade, nobody is being “graduated” from 765PRO, ever.

All in all, Omo definitely started with a diet version of idols. And you know what, diet drinks and Gatorade poison me. No allergy rash, but plain poisoning with vomiting. Talk about toxicity.

Going BRW on Joshiraku

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The recent turmoil at GG prompted me to give a good try to Joshiraku raw. The result is an interesting mix of things that are easy and difficult to pick up. The phenomena is somewhat awkward to explain, but here’s a visual example from a single segment.

This frame is easy. Gan-chan wins “Miss Lens Frame” against a cast of noble meganekkos: Tsubasa Hanekawa of Bakemonogatari, Ritsuko Akizuki of Idolm@ster, Nodoka Manabe of K-ON, and Ichika Takatsuki of Ano Natsu. Don’t ask me how Tsubasa qualified for this exclusive list.

This frame is moderate. Kigu wins something of a “Miss Most Cultivated Youth of Tokyo Metropolitan Area”, 東京都(とうきょうと) 青少年(せいしょうねん) 育成(いくせい). Chiyo-chan requires no introduction. Kyon’s Younger Sister next to her is more or less obvious. But the two remaining youths are a mystery. Note that they are not even prodigies – just iconic anime little girls.

This frame is hard, and that is despite the katakana. Teto wins “Miss Young Sunday”, which is impossible to crack without the cultural knowledge. Google provides some fascinating hints. Characters are no easier. I have no idea who they are and what is common among them, and what links them all to Tetora. The leftmost outline reminds of the lead in that A-1 show, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Verbal jokes in Joshiraku cover a similar spectrum of difficulty. The glass-half-full view is that it’s not a completely impenetrable jumble, far from it. Even rudimentary Japanese will carry you to a good enjoyment. And not having to strain reading helps to enjoy how cute girls are by a lot.

QUICKIE: “ヤングサンデー” is a magazine, which features attractive young women in bikini on its cover. That much is obvious. The question is who the characters are and why they belong to the group.

UPDATE: Steven recruits help. Everyone seems to know Last Order, but how about the girl in furit hat? And the energetic older women?

AAAND, that was quick. The missing small girl is from Cooking Idol. The remaining 3 ripe women are Yuki Mochizuki of Tomehane, Mari Oda of Toritsu_Mizusho, and the titular character of Miyuki (the hoodie and blouse were on the cover of issue 1; also, not serialized in Young Sunday).

UPDATE 2012/09/29: As said on Twitter, the title may be supposed to refer 東京都(とうきょうと)青少年(せいしょうねん)の健全(けんぜん)な育成(いくせい)に関する条例. Very likely, I missed that. However, I think the joke shoots itself in the foot: if Kigu and the runner-ups are what the law brings us, then it’s not a bad law, the joke says. It’s like that photograph of a leftist chick with a sign: “Fighting for Peace Is Like Fucking for Virginity”. Everyone immediately noticed that fucking is the only known way to make virginity. Not condoning the awful censorship by Japanese Mayor Bloomberg (why is it always the cities), but heh.