Category Archives: Modern Visual Culture

Administrivia, April 2012

Totally off topic and I almost never do these kinds of posts, but I should just put it out there so people can find this site when the time comes. By that, I mean, I am definitely moving off wordpress.com. “Definitely” because I made a breakthrough in the migration process and so it will most likely cut over soon, with or without all the lost posts.

I understand the wordpress.com login/gravitar nonsense and I don’t like it either, even if it doesn’t really bother me. The main issue as I see it is combating spam. Anyway, it’s not like I get enough comments on my blog for that to be a serious issue. Or is wordpress.com a problem–they’ve been fairly good to me. For those really good at stalking, you know I have been setting up trying to move for a long time now, basically since like, Feb 2011. I’m trying to use the anibrog tourney as a motivation and get the move done before that happens, but there’s no guarantees that it will happen before whenever the May date it is that I’m suppose to compete against Spark Blog or A Product of Wasted Time. Well, I guess we will see how much I drag my feet in terms of deciding how to do it.

This means the best way to follow and keep track of this blog is by using the domain name “omonomono.com” as per usual. Because, like, man, modern technology, why don’t I use it kkthx domain name service.

For those who doesn’t know about the several hundred blog post I lost since, it is a tough lesson but one I am more than ever prepared to practice. And so should you, everyone of you should take backup and data storage/recovery seriously. I mean, it’s a part of you, your identity, your mark on the world, your life, at stake. Joke aside, I’ll probably set up something once everything’s situated, and let you guys know what I find.

For the TL;DR crowd I’ll prep some short message when the time gets closer to moving date. And also as a result you might not see many posts in the coming couple weeks…


Wolves and Koko Puffs

When I was reading about people’s first reactions to Jormungand the animation, some compared it to Spice & Wolf. I didn’t really see the comparison being valid beyond the superficial similarity of having a strong personality of a woman in the context of the intrigue of bartering. But after 3 episodes, I see where the real similarity lies.

Koko is a wolf. In fact she is the wolf that Horo never seems to be, at least after 3 volumes of the novels. It’s how far I’ve read in Spicywolf before giving up.

By wolf I mean, perhaps, the best example of wolf that anime keeps on using: the fable of the Little Red Riding Hood. This is the human wolf–a wolf pretending to be a person in order to achieve the wolf’s wolf-y goals. Which is usually about being a wolf’s survival, or desire to eat somebody, or some such.

An example of the Little Red symbology in play is Jin-Roh. And Jin-Roh is, by all means, the best fictional depiction of what it means to be a wolf, in my humble opinion, in the context of Japanese pop culture. It’s a little more psychologically edgier than the simple “ronin” or lone wolf concept, which is more about the individualism that we Americans associate with our cultural heritage. Indeed, in order to appear wolf-like, these individuals have to exist alongside with normal human beings, and even work with them. It is very hard to act aloof and deceptive if there’s nobody close to you. It’s why the Big Bad Wolf gets to have a conversation with Little Red Riding Hood. The culture of fitting in, as it is in Japan, makes the wolf blend in to his or her environs easier. It’s the wolf’s disguise.

Koko is rather the exception in that regard. She stands out like a sore thumb at a glance. Her manic smile is clearly a sign of something is odd about this one. Some might even consider her moe, which is probably running against the grain in a Black Lagoon-like setting. Koko’s wider-than-usual mouth makes me asks why she has such a wide mouth. The childish and girly exterior betrays the calculating and pragmatic mind it carries. To that extent it is already less of a wolf-in-sheepskin as much as just a wolf (as opposed to Jin-Roh, where the “wolf” is actually a wolf pretending to be a sheep inside a wolf’s skin). She is clearly a wolf among wolves, except this wolf looks like a sheep.

Indeed, Koko, why do you have such a big mouth?

The setup is pretty nice given that we’re seeing the story developing as a relationship between Koko and Jonah. Jonah looks like a wolf, too, but I suppose we’ll get to see if Jonah only looks the look or not. For starters, he might not even rock the look that Koko does.

There’s a lot to like, for me, about Koko and Jormungand the anime. It’s great to see Iwasaki being fun to listen to again. It’s unfortunate that the radio drama cast didn’t carry over again but I’ll live. Koko’s shotacon ships also adds to that wolf-ness, don’t you think? Like, she’s gonna eat him whole? LOL. I think White Fox’s got a solid hit on their hands again.

PS. If you’ve never seen Oshii & Okiura’s masterpiece Jin-Roh, go knock yourself out on Hulu. Or import the re-release Blu-ray!


Spring 2012 TV Anime Impression, Season Preview Style

The need to write this down is greater than ever; just so I don’t keep forgetting about shows that I want to follow up on. Go, exhibitionist memo pad of a blog!

Some things to keep in mind: I ask myself the same three questions for these shows to illustrate some kind of judging-by-cover that I’m applying. There are a lot of shows I think that are good this season but I won’t even like all of them, or even half of them? I don’t know, it’s too early to say. But just because I won’t watch them or I don’t like them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Hopefully the three questions illustrate the idea I’m trying to get across for each shows.

Also somehow this turned out more like a season preview than anything. It makes me wonder how the hell do people do season preview blog posts without just doing mostly an info-dump and looking at who is doing what, or what is the source material. Which, is to say, kind of helpful but kind of different. As much as I think that exercise is at best a pat on the back and at worst outright misleading and harmful, massive props belong to those who do a good and thorough job of it.

Zetman
Quality anime, lots of fun, dark and …American-y? It will have its appeal, but given a tough season it is probably not going to get watched by me.
Is it good? Pretty good.
Can you eat it? Yep!
Will I? 3 eps.

Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
I haven’t finished Michiko e Hacchin yet. Not because it’s bad, but because my interests with the show dwindled to the point, after about the 16th episode, that it became a matter of willpower in order to finish the show. I think I still have 4 or 5 eps left. It’s kind of like, listing to some girl talking about her life, ranting. Except I have no real reason to be interested in what she will say. Maybe it’s a man thing. I think at this point in Fujiko (I think it is best to call it that to avoid confusion), my problem is that if the show is going to focus on Fujiko (the character) the whole time, I’d rather go finish Michiko e Hacchin first. It really is a lot of the same, just wrapped in a different candy shell. There were some really outstanding episodes in Michiko e Hacchin, so hopefully we’ll run into the equivalent in Fujiko sooner rather than later.
Is it good? Absolutely.
Can you eat it? Got milk?
Will I? Totally on the fence on this.

Medaka Box
I might have snoozed in an episode or two. I’m with the consensus when it comes to Toyosaki’s voice. I really don’t care too much but at least the setup is kind of interesting.
Is it good? Nope.
Can you eat it? Lickity-split good.
Will I? If time permits.

Fate/Zero
Yeah, more shining, well-framed, rich-looking pretties. Enjoy your F-15s and and V-MAX.
Is it good? Game of Thrones good, minus the nudity (I always feel the irony while making this comparison).
Can you eat it? Kind of disgusting but yes.
Will I? Every Saturday morning!

Uchuu Kyoudai
This is one of the first series this season that, I think, depends on your engagement with the manga material, can give you an entirely different outlook on the anime. Key word is can. For some people it makes no difference. I’m loving the mainstream-dumbed-down, warm fuzzy feel of this show. Also, Sawashiro again?
Is it good? Pretty decent.
Can you eat it? If you like a face full of hair, but some people like it.
Will I? As a proud ex-owner of several space shuttle toys I have no excuse not to.

Saki – Episode of Side A
More Saki, but with an entirely new cast. I’m not sure at this point because the old cast has pretty good chemistry and when the tourney begin it was a flood of interesting side characters to keep things, well, interesting. We haven’t gotten far enough in Side A to make any real calls.
Is it good? Probably as good as the original, minus tacos.
Can you eat it? Again, minus tacos.
Will I? Probably.

Sankarea
It’s a cute show, the lead chick is appealing. Interesting crossover of different elements. It goes the “utena” way with thematic exploration in the character development context, which I guess can be hit or miss.
Is it good? It’s not that good.
Can you eat it? Yes.
Will I? Maybe for a while.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Besides being the Takane-as-a-ghost template…and Yuuko is just like a few other Yuukos out there. The Oonuma Shin connection makes it more like, wait, isn’t that Arashi? A real oujo-sama has better upbringing than the less-than-proper Yuuko here. How does x translates to “of”?
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Somehow, but it is kind of weird.
Will I? At least for now.

Tsuritama
Nakamura’s most normal anime yet. Anchored by the high school hijinx framework it is also probably the least exciting one, but I think it’s exactly why it’s the most exciting anime this season for me. It’s liquid crack for visually-oriented database animals.
Is it good? As per usual Nakamura.
Can you eat it? You’ve been warned.
Will I? Raw? Sauteed? Simmered? Boiled? Broiled? Baked? Fried? Stir-fried? Deep-fried? Steamed? Nuked? However it takes.

Sakamichi no Apollon
I find this show overrated but when contrasted with Fujiko, I come to appreciate this style a little more. It feels like, hey, this is a shoujo manga taken seriously. Done by a guy who is probably best for his HK Blood Opera-inspired stuff. I noticed that the first two episodes have a huge gap between the way the animation and music interact with each other. The first one was super-stiff, but the second one was like a page from Hachikuro. Nice job I guess.
Is it good? Undoubtedly at this point.
Can you eat it? Yes. Delicious Yoko Kanno is delicious.
Will I? Yep.
Bonus: Just need to figure out how much of this anime is just an ad for various albums.

Polar Bear Cafe
Cute computer bears are pretty amusing but the humor just doesn’t work for me.
Is it good? Worse than Mitsudomoe. And don’t take it the wrong way–I liked Mitsudomoe. As an aside, now that could be the best setup for a Sphere anime.
Can you eat it? Just don’t eat too much.
Will I? Nope.

Kuroko no Basuke
Typical sports manga-turned-anime. Interesting protagonist being the proverbial 6th man. Except he has the figurative power turned literal! Hahaha.
Is it good? I don’t know.
Can you eat it? Maybe.
Will I? Nope.

Acchi Kocchi
Konata-level cuteness. Unfortunate I don’t have a thing for Konata. Or I should say, I kind of like her in the “I kind of like to punch her in the face” kind of way.
Is it good? Below average.
Can you eat it? I guess you can eat candy.
Will I? Probably not. But who knows?

Upotte!
The characters are anthromorphs of assault rifles; I should rather say, they are normal-looking school girls, but somehow they have attributes that relate to the firearm they are named after. And somehow they are students in an escalator school and their grades determined by the biggest ammo they can accommodate. I guess this means nobody graduates from this school. That is also probably the least weird fact to realize from this ridiculous series.
Is it good? Nope.
Can you eat it? Very well! Or as some would say, “Eat lead!”
Will I? Probably as long as there are enough humor elements to keep me laughing. I like the gun talk just enough to realize “Wow, I think I understand, just barely, what they’re saying! I am probably not a gun otaku.” Positive self-affirming stuff.

Kore ga Zombie Desuka? OF THE DEAD
Also a “continuation” from a previous work. Season 1 was a dark horse because it’s an unknown quality, and season 2 still is a dark horse, just by happenstance of who is in the running. I enjoyed the first series so I look forward to the next. Iori Nozomu owns this show pretty hard. Mousou Eu is everywhere.
Is it good? No, but you would be surprised at how good it really is.
Can you eat it? Good question.
Will I? Probably. Although I will most definitely if there’s a Sankarea crossover.
Note: Where’s your simulcast FUNi? Your google fu is entirely missing, to boot.

Queen’s Blade Rebellion
I did and only planned to watch the first episode of the third season of Queen’s Blade to see if anything outrageous happen. Not so much. Although DAT HORSE LOL. And Itoushiz pirates. And the other Sheryl Nome anime of the season.
Is it good? Nope. But it is stable and steady breastservice.
Can you eat it? Yes.
Will I? No.

Nazo no Kanojo X
I read a bunch chapters of this manga back when, it was a very nice hook but it really failed to capitalize on it I think. The manga was still pretty solid, and the anime seems like a straightforward adaptation, something that should be acceptable for most. Get over the drool thing already.
Is it good? It’s not bad, but probably not good.
Can you eat it? Probably not the best question to ask when the show is about drool swapping.
Will I? For now.

Leiji Matsumoto’s Ozma
This retro sand-submariner anime is pretty cool actually. I used to read the manga for this for the setting, like, when I was little. Don’t remember much now. But I do remember the original manga was cooler because paper books can’t talk so the whiny feeling didn’t get in the way.
Is it good? It’s kind of average.
Can you eat it? Not really but YMMV.
Will I? Probably not for now.

Sengoku Collection
It’s a good, solid moe-chara show. I think it’s like the one moe anime every season or two that does something I really like, but nobody watches it.  Also will eventually make a cheap Zombie ADV license down the road, as they tend to be invariably the case. Sencolle episode 3 featured a Mamiko x Nakahara Mai duo performance that took me back to the mid 00s. Man. On the other hand, given the setup, Rumi Ookubo isn’t going to get a lot of lines despite being the main character, isn’t she.
Is it good? I think it’s good enough!
Can you eat it? Like spider-sense-tingling candy.
Will I? As much as I can fit it.

Jormungand
If I were to recommend my RL bros an anime to watch, this would be it. If they want less crazy or less violence, it’ll probably be Apollon or Space Bros. Also, Koko “Lovely” Morishima indeed.
Is it good? Passibly.
Can you eat it? Don’t let the brass shell get in the way.
Will I? Yep.
Note: By process of elimination, this is going to be a Funimation or NISA license isn’t it. And either would make a lot of sense.

Eureka Seven Ao
Okinawa vibe is nice so far. Like any other BONES project of this sort the long haul view is the only one that makes sense, but that isn’t going to stop people from dropping it (or picking it up). It’s a nice visual treat at least. And like any other BONES original project these kids are gonna tour the world right? Ao so Bleu w.
Is it good? Ask me again in half a year.
Can you eat it? Maybe.
Will I? On the fence.

Natsuiro Kiseki
It’s not terrible, but it’s not very good. I think it can be fairly okay, iyashikei-sort-of-thing, but I don’t know if I can recommend people to wait it out, at least not with a straight face. Maybe it will surprise me down the road.
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Kind of reminds me of Hatsukoi Limited, that Saki.
Will I? Yeah, taking the bullet for the team.

Accel World
If .hack//SIGN was like this I would have watched it.  In a way I see this as finally, these video game anime about online video games have reached a point where it doesn’t just intrigue by concept, but also by execution. I don’t know when we got there but I am not complaining. Chunibyou notwithstanding this show is fairly solid, if nothing out of the mold and nothing out of the ordinary.
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Mmm baby back pork ribs.
Will I? Maybe, going to give it 3.

Shining Heart: Shiawase no Pan
The Tony Taka design looks fine except for their faces, which just…translate stiffly for some reason. At least Nishimata’s faces aren’t too weird looking when animated? I’m not really in a position to criticize. The anime feels awfully iyashikei-appealing, which is a good take for something like this. Itou Kanae helps to sooth the pain.
Is it good? Probably the worse Production IG anime in a while.
Can you eat it? OH YEAH BABY
Will I? Probably will give it 3 and drop.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
Nyarlathotep has never been so cute. And you know what, I learned how to spell its name because of this show. Yes, Asumi Kana carries this show, but she didn’t just carry it, she made it hit in America. The source material is also very funny, which helps a lot when it’s faithfully translated in such a way.
Is it good? Nope!
Can you eat it? Ufufufufufufu.
Will I? LET’S NYAA

Random stuff:

Akibaranger – Hahaha, I enjoyed it, but the fact that it is live action kind of bothers me. This is so manga-ish, it might as well be.

Kuromajo-san ga Toru!What happened to these? Anyway, this is actually very fun to watch because of the straight humor it applies. It is also a great example of quality voice acting.

Yurumates 3Dei! – I kind of zoned out on the original series, but this reboot is a little more spirited.

Only Hyouka and AKB0048 left.

PS. I’ve listed 24 shows (not counting the miscellaneous/random stuff), three I dropped on one episode. If I do the 3-ep test for the rest that means in the span of maybe 4 weeks (I actually watched Ozma 1-3 back-to-back when ep3 aired) I would have watched 66 episodes of new anime. Not including the shows I’m following that are not new. It seems like a lot, but I guess that’s just how I roll…

PPS. How many sequels can you see? It’s less than 25%! THAT is why Miyako’s bowl is empty? Color me impressed. But I guess given the 1-2yr lead time, it’s about right that we’re reeling from the sequel-itis flooding from 2010-2011.

PPPS. Tsuritama > Space Bros > Slopes > Fate Zero > Bodacious ~ Jormungand ~ Nyaruko-san > Sket > Sencolle > Fujiko > Natsukise > Saki ~ Medaka ~ E7AO > Korean ~ Sankarea ~ Dusk > Ozma > Kuroko > Upotte ~ GFX > Accel > Zetman > QBS3 > Bread ~ AK > Bearbros > ??? > profit. Actually Akibaranger is pretty funny, and I normally don’t dig tokusatsu stuff. Kuromajo-san is a riot too. Maybe I will supplement the humor shows I’m planning to drop this way.


The Future Is 2.5D

Remembering Anime Boston, I thought about 2.5D. I think the context the term was used in was for Momoi’s Afilia Saga East–she’s a producer for them–a group of Akiba idols associated with the similarly named maid cafe chain. The term came up during a question at Momoi’s fan panel related to the subgenrification [btw, google result of this made-up word makes a good list of wank blogs] of otaku in Japan–I think they would have it way worse than oversea otaku, and they probably are. There are idol otaku and there are anime otaku, very different groups of people who like very different things even when from afar, they are not really that different. Among others.

Thinking about some of the fans I personally know, to put stress on the term fan (I think it best describes most of these people), it really is the case where people are fans of a lot of the same things, but for different reasons. I’m not sure if that is because of the media mix case or what, but this sludge of … things that are attractive do bridge both 2D and 3D fans, otaku, scholars, shopkeepers, other sub-genres, what have you.

I think what is more interesting about 2.5D is that there is a distinct expression for it. Seiyuu. Hatsune Miku. ClariS. AKB0048. All of these things are examples of 2.5D.

To take a big step back, the term 2.5D really comes about when we look at the otaku who likes their 2D–slang for anime/manga/game characters. Those moe figures and hugpillows, that’s a stable expression of 2D. You can shout “ore no yome” for both 2D and 3D characters, but the latter will get you more weird looks than the former, I think. As for 3D, it generally refers to real life persons, or specifically idols for idol otaku–people who like AKB48 or one of the many. They have their own code and things to do, depending on which agency they (idols and fan alike) are slaved to. Of course 3D fandom has been in development for a much longer period than 2D, so it’s a convoluted thing to sort through so I won’t really try to here. It’s when 2D collides with 3D that you get this strange 2.5D effect.

In other words, when 2D wants to do 3D, it’s 2.5D. When 3D tries to be 2D, it’s 2.5D.

Like every other otaku term that’s been around, it’s not exactly easy to define or even pin down. I think 2.5D is most akin to a feeling where there’s some kind of gap that is being broached. It’s probably vaguely related to concepts like “uncanny valley” and “AI” and “meme” and things like that, because undead Tupac is a very apt expression of 2.5D. On the other hand when you have physical manifestation of 2D (hug pillows, figures, etc) or when the 2D slots into a perfectly 3D role (eg., a virtual idol), that’s 2.5D. Actually anime is inherently 2.5D.

The bigger generalization I want to state is that 2D is limited to ideas, where as 3D is manifestation thereof. Most Japanese idols are pretty much just girls who are produced to project some kind of persona, an image. As mentioned before it is no less artificial than Hatsune Miku in a lot of ways, certainly in the ways fans interact with idols. On the other hand when your average Precure kigurumi stage show happens at an amusement park, well, that’s a real-life manifestation of cartoons.

Somehow we are infatuated when this crossover behavior happens. I don’t really know why, but I can make a few guesses. And by we I mean people like myself.

There are many other advantages too. 2.5D naturally lends itself to better marketing. It’s easy to photocopy some ads or post on facebook an idea, and image, a persona; to win fans with your 3D personality require the person being all over the place, or expensive TV broadcasting. Neither replaces the other but you need to leverage both the 2D or 3D along with the 2.5. It’s great to have a manga with a good story and great art and an eye for what makes for great manga material, but it probably will always be more popular if the anime adaptation turned out to be a blockbuster. The examples of 2.5D’s benefits are countless.

The best example, to go back to Tupac, is that ideas live forever, theoretically. Much longer than life + 70 years. Even if the 3D component is six feet under, 2D and 2.5D will live on as long as there’s enough interests in it. That alone almost guarantees that the future is 2.5D. Wait until hologram technology breaks the gates of Hades wide open–big enough for Biggie to join the chorus!


Too Many Good Anime Is the Best Problem

I always give the ol’ 3 episode test when I could, when it’s a new season and we’re met with new anime and new IP to dig through. It’s not easy. For the past 2-3 seasons I’ve had the same problem, which is the problem I see a lot of people having this season: there’s just way too many good shows. Or I should say, I want to watch a lot of new anime this season–I don’t know if they’re really good or not, but I’d like to find out by watching them.

Shows like the new Lupin and Tsuritama are shoo-ins. Space Bros and Apollon are definitive for the medium. Achi Kochi? Nyaruko-san? They’re at risk, despite being quite entertaining. Even otaku straight shooters like Medaka Box is with enough merit to put it above the mediocre line. Resuming Fate Zero and Korean Zombies, and keeping up with Sket Dance, Aquarion and Mouretsu Pirates become difficult, despite being the sort of shows I have a hard itch for. This is not even to mention that I kind of like Upotte, the throwaway anime of the season (that and maybe the new Queen’s Blade–Itou Shizuka as a pirate again! And what’s up with the transparent horse LOL). I tried that Bear Cafe anime, that’s not too horrible but it stands no chance this season. Same with Kuroko’s Basketball–these two shows are things I’d watch in 2010 but not today. Nazo no Kanojo X was a manga that I enjoyed briefly but the retro look in the anime is a great touch. The first installment of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is interesting and curious, much like Sankarea, but will I have time to explore them? Ozma is classic and interesting after 3 episodes, but I really don’t have time for old school with this new school of new anime, not to mention Fujiko has got that itch scratched.  Intriguing and well-executed shows like Sengoku Collection will not fare well at all despite doing all the right things, just because it’s a moe-historic-character sort of deal and it hits my sweet spot with episode 2. Jormungand brings back that Revy feel or Lovely Haruka feel, whichever, and it’s White Fox doing something very cool.

I wish I have the time to entertain Saint Seiya Omega, but how can it stand a chance? That bread making anime? How do I have the time? Piggy Online? It’s rather solid chuunibyou anime. And lastly there’s still Eureka 7 AO, which I guess I should slot it with Saki as a continuity/side story dealie. Oh, there’s NatsuKise (which I’m blogging for jtor) and AKB0048, which, well, I kind of have to watch as well. Oh, there’s also Zetman, which Hulu-fication and strangely familiar setup demands its audience.

I could watch and enjoy almost everything this season. I think only Panda Cafe and Kuroko fails, and even then I’d rather give them 3 episodes. Who doesn’t want to see Stealth Momo play hoops? That’s the thing. If you are the average avid anime viewer following Japanese TV anime (of the late night kind), even if you skip half of the shows this 2012 Spring season, odds are very good that you’ll be dropping actually a show worth watching. I guess it just means it really, really pays to be extremely picky?

Late night TV anime is finally thriving, maybe. It’s been a long journey since Those Who Hunt Elves.

But the risk here is that will these fairly well-produced production meet the unyielding reality that the market is packed with them? Will KyoAni’s Hyouka make a splash? How can studios and productions and committees distinguish themselves economically and in the minds of the fans? In a price war often times it is the consumers that benefit; but I get the feeling there are no winner in this war, only losers and otaku.

Personally, I feel this is pretty exciting. The only thing is I have this weird spiteful feeling for everyone who thinks anime or noitaminA is saved because of Apollon. It is kind of like Redline; I get the feeling that as much as Watanabe loves his jazz music, it just doesn’t feel right for him to adopt a josei/shoujo manga faithfully. I have no doubt it will be great, it will just be kind of weird. On the other hand Nakamura’s Tsuritama is somehow so delightful for me, on so many different levels, that I have no words. So who am I to say?

Of course, I’m waiting for someone to tell me that this season is crappy and there are only like two good shows. Because oversea anime fandom is incredibly distorted like that.


Nyarlathotep And the RPG Sausage Maker

I’m not really a fan and I am not familiar with Lovecraft’s creation, but it seems that Nyarlathotep’s transition into anime/light novel (in the resulting Haiyore! Nyaruko-san property) is via the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. There were no “SAN” points in the novels, I think?

I think the first time I heard about Japanese tabletop RPGs was almost around the time when I first heard of 2ch. Of course, that just means I didn’t find out about something that geeks everywhere have enjoyed since who-knows-when, in Japan, until then. There were, as expected, games that are popular and exported, and games that are domestic. Queen’s Blade is probably the best example out there in terms of an anime based on a tabletop game. Nyaruko-san anime is actually based on the light novel of the same, which I assume got its inspiration from Call of Cthulhu.

The history behind the CoC game, though, is still the game adaptation of the source material. Tabletop RPGs make good use of fantasy material given their wordy and rich world building necessary to field games like this, at least in a way that will sell to the same crowd. A lot of IP can be contextualized and translated into some existing game system and the various RPG systems and frameworks enable role playing, a way for players and fans to interact with the IP.

The amusing thing in Nyarlathotep’s case is that it not only allows for player interaction, but localization. It’s easy to localize a system. I can play New Love Plus because all the moonrunes come at me with a steady, player-regulated pace in a way shared by other games of the same genre. A 3DS is not so different, from one region to another. I have context, I have the help of user interface designs, and I have experience from using or playing other games. If I can play Dominion, I can play Tanto Cuore, or the Nitro+ version of Dominion. But that’s still just another form of lateral translation of experiences. It is still one step further to get to the case of how I relate to Nyaruko-san–someone who plays table top games in general and enjoys anime, versus a specific regurgitation (the anime) of a localized-for-foreign IP (CoC (game and books) Japanese ver.) based on a local IP (CoC game) that was adaptation of another local IP (CoC novel), and the IP itself. I mean, seriously. I haven’t even gone into the Azuma-style of database elements about Nyaruko-san yet. This is all very dicey, in a chopped greens sort of way.

So in my mind, I think of how sausages are made. This is it. This is cultural sausage. The game system provides the proverbial sausage grinder. The anime/database elements is like, the sausage skin. What’s inside will probably drain you of your sanity points. What’s amusing is that Nyaruko-san makes whole sale references to Lovecraft text, starting with the tagline “Crawling Chaos.” This is some special sausage if that much of the original can get through.

PS. When I game, it’s usually a sausage party, get it?

PPS. After writing this post I washed my hands. With soap.

PPPS. (」・ω・)」うー!(/・ω・)/にゃー!


Upotte!! Is Not a Crime

The other day I found that my childhood buddy has finally landed a job of his dream/calling, which is to work as an attorney working on gun ownership related litigation in the state of New Jersey. Just a blurb about gun ownership, it’s something of an American tradition; living in the land of excess you do see people abuse their rights and go overboard with their firearms. On the flip side, for every 10% of bad apples there are probably a bunch more good apples, more victims of circumstances than anything, now having to navigate the varying firearms laws of each individual state, plus the federal one. It can be tough especially if you live in a state that progressively restrict certain weapons that you own (and NJ is one of the more difficult ones); something legal that you bought 10 years ago may be illegal now and you might not even know about it, or can do anything legal to make it un-illegal again. It’s interesting to see how not each instances of grandfathering work as flawlessly as designed, and regardless of your position on the issue of gun ownership, enforcement is always never perfect. That’s why my friend has a job, I guess.

While he doesn’t quite fit the pigeonhole of your average libby gun nut, my attorney friend does have a modest firearm collection that he has probably left in some degree of neglect due to work. He also grew up in the country and the ‘burbs, and is not a city person at all. Well, it’s all good to me because I know he is a responsible and trained individual when it comes to this, to the degree that I know the kind of, uh, misdeeds he has committed that he probably won’t be doing anything dangerous.

That said, would he enjoy Upotte!!? I’m not sure. I’m not much of a gun nut at all (although I do enjoy skeet shooting on occasion) but I find Upotte entirely a riot. I mean, in a postQwaser world, Upotte is light-hearted and fun stuff that is easy to get in to and get the joke. If you’ve never seen Qwaser, this may all be a shock. I’m pretty sure my friend had not, so Upotte might be shocking to him in the “right” way, which is the shock of seeing how boobies now are analogues to barrel protective covering for guns that he know. I mean, there’s little anyone can say about that, and more about emoting the unspeakable, that “mfw,” that jaw-drop.

Upotte is about assault rifles, for the most part. Those weapons are generally heavily restricted in America today. I think that takes the show’s military otaku context up a notch in the sense that most Japanese gun/military otaku don’t own guns, contrary to their American counterparts. But I think no matter if you are Japanese or American or any other nationality, Upotte’s blend of moe and firearm is more of the point, the gag if you will, than any kind of contextual gateway to appreciation of someone’s favorite weapon. I mean, it’s basically what this is all about.

It’s clearly different than, say, when my aforementioned friend and I watch Gun Smith Cats and Riding Bean, he’d point out the sort of things they were using in the show, the stopping power of human muscle on small-caliber arms, what have you. I think it’s hilarious that we’ve come so far. And I can’t imagine anyone taking this seriously. But I think it is precisely why Upotte can be good entertainment!

PS. Ever look at the ads pixiv serves you when you look at Upotte artwork? LOL.


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