Category Archives: Seiyuu, Idol, Pop

Explaining Miku + Corolla

For the uninitiated, Toyota of North America rolled out an ad/campaign for Hatsune Miku, to sell the 2011 Corolla.

So far the collective reaction among fans are like, “what the?” I mean Houkago Pleaides at least is a brand-wide tag-a-long. (CR has a nice write-up on how it sold). But Miku? In a Corolla?

Well, let’s not jump to conclusions. If I was an idol I would be pretty happy to join the ranks of Superbowl MVPs and other American local sports heroes, selling, get this, the third best selling sedan in America. It’s not a trivial thing; far from it. Miku is the face of a multi-billion-dollar business. Ok, she may be just one of many faces, but I mean, the revenue of Toyota dwarfs anything that ever came out of Crypton ever, all together, and then by a multiple. Heck, it’s probably a multiple bigger than all the revenue via Miku’s derivative works–all her doujin and non-doujin CDs, books, DVD, video games, whatever. Heck (again), just the Corolla’s revenue in North America may be all of that already. I’m going to assume that the marketing team behind the world’s largest car company (well, maybe back to second largest by end of 2011 due to the quake) are pairing up with Miku for a reason (at least until proven otherwise). But all I’m saying is, this is like, really serious business.

Of course, it doesn’t mean people’s reactions are unwarranted. I’m inclined to think a part of this has to do with the corporate sponsorship nature of stars and products. The most random people can get paired with the most random thing. Just ask Hideki Matsui. Or the Ex-Governator. Or watch Lost in Translation. But this is Toyota of America, so none of those cross-cultural things are likely to apply.

To share, my initial reaction to Miku’s new ad was not unlike my reaction from the animated ad for the Nissan Sentra SE-R back in 2001(?) where the whole thing looked kind of like a crappy Avatar (the animated series), but more in tune of the famous Honda Civic Del-Sol ad when they got sued by MGM (okay, famous only for copyright junkies). It was also right about when Initial D was the hottest thing. Well, it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.

In other words, this Eastern fusion of vehicle and animation is hardly new. When you have an excitable, down to earth and relatively large customer base (ie., young people), who, unlike their Japanese counterparts, actually needs to drive and can afford cars, well, you’re going to pander.

For a girl who’s graced  random variety news segments in America, Miku is a very nice option. She’s definitely a genuine idol in a lot of ways; there’s name recognition to a degree. She’s exotic, for sure. Bizarre even. Eye-catching and regardless if you know her or not, Toyota’s ad probably is worth a double-take. And to that, I think it’s all Toyota is looking for. Someone young, youthful, perhaps cutting-edge in some subculture, and most importantly, attention-catching. The name recognition is just icing IMO.

Or in this case, the anti-icing. Because I really have no excuse in terms of the execution of the ad. The splash page for the Miku ad campaign, the ad, and all those details…kind of rubs some people the wrong way.

But then again, so did that Nissan ad.

The takeaway, thus, is let’s enjoy it. I like Miku as a concept and largely as an entity as well, it’s her little limelight in America, her ticking 15 minutes of fame getting ever more…famous. It may not amount to much, but Toyota linking up with Miku is probably even more awesome for her than it is for the top auto brand. It’s like getting away with a fat advertising contract and then not make the playoffs next season. Let’s again put it in the right perspective: a lot of new and upcoming bands are excited even when their music makes it in one of these large commercial projects. I was kind of stoked when that one Onitsuka Chihiro ad, or hearing Explosions in certain car ads. Miku’s Toyota gig is basically, yet again, a little pop cultural nod in a land tiled by commercial interests.

Now why they didn’t go with Scion, that’s something to think about. Even with their hard rock tie-in.


Sing for Lelangir, Help Japan, Maybe

So Lelangir has been working with some folks on a vocaloid piece. It’s all more magical and touching when he described it, but the gist is that he is submitting this vocaloid song for charity. The chartiable effort is known as #charity_song, and you can view their site (JP) here. I believe the point is to make these original vocaloid pieces, sell them for monies, and donate the proceeds. I think in the coming weeks there will be some info on that in English on #charity_song’s site.

What we can do to help is not only buy #charity_song’s first album on US iTunes store (Charity Song 404), or any of their Japanese offerings, but also record some voice clips for Lelangir to mix into his piece. You can hear a work-in-progress clip over at his post on this matter, as well as all the information I’m about to parrot now: record what you want, zip it up and toss it on to one of those file locker services like sendspace or megaupload or whatever, and email him a link. You can also just email it as an attachment. He’s looking for people who can speak all sort of stuff, in all sorts of language, I hope you get what he’s going for. [He has stopped taking submissions!]

I’ve done my little line or two, and it may seem kind of weird at first, so here are some probably unnecessary pointers (seriously, how can you screw this up): Figure out what you want to say before hand. What works best are short sentences or phrases. Say it a few times and see if you like the sound of it, record it a few times to see if it comes out right. I used Audacity, but anything that can record and save would probably work. If you have nothing to say, you could just come up with simple things like “doooo your bestttt” or whatever, and it can be in different languages as well. Also, you can submit as many clips as you want, I don’t think it’s a problem as long as you don’t make way too many so it’s logistically difficult to handle. If you want to farm some smart thing to say, twitter tags about Japan’s ordeal is one place to look. Speeches given by people about the topic is another.

Personally, I hope #charity_song would get on the US Amazon music store as well. I’m not a iTunes person and it’s annoying to get around the geoblock for those stores.

[Update] This past weekend #charity_song launched its English-language site, so now you know what’s going on.

[Update #2] Lelangir stopped taking submissions. You can see the final work on Nico here (registration required).

Animelo Summer Live 2010, Finally

Ever since Animelo summer lives switched to the 2-day format, it takes some kind of planned approach to even watch the home video release. All is well, it takes a lot of effort to attend these things, so we homebodies are just getting a small taste!

Over 10 hours of anison artists parading themselves up and down Saitama Super Arena is probably noteworthy, I think, regardless of DVD or BD or Nico stream or actually being there or whatever. So here goes.

First off, this is the first time ever that if you pay the bucks to buy the release, you get all the footage. I don’t get why it took like 5 years for this to happen, because it seems kind of retarded. Yeah, maybe sometimes it just can’t be helped, but it’s money for the taking! Anyways, it’s a great thing, and I hope they can continue this next year.

Overall, I think day 1 is just better than day 2 in terms of average quality of acts, but it feels like day 2 acts probably have the larger fan populations. Since this is anison, I don’t think quality is something I’m going to be too concerned about anyways. And did I just insult everyone just now? Even if it’s not what I intended? Oh well.

As for special duets, I think 2010 is definitely on the weak side, although there were two good ones on day two: Get Wild and Unchain World. Day one was severely lacking, plus when Kurinoko stood in for the opening JamPro song on day one, it feels like we shouldn’t count that. I thought Aki Misato’s performance last year was the one to top, when it comes to JamPro collabs.

I’m going to approach this in a non-chronological order. You can get a better breakdown from elsewhere already, and you can always watch it yourself now that it’s well-distributed…

Minami Kuribayashi – I think lately she’s on a hot streak, but this took place right before that broke out. Pro. Regardless of your opinion on her bust size, she always dresses well. It’s a pretty good constant to have for day one. I think she’ll be fun to watch this summer in Anisama 2011.

Yuuka Nanri – Speaking of well-dressed, she was by far the best dressed singer on day one, if not both days. She’s a complete package: the look, the style, the voice, the type of music, plus seiyuu chops. She was slotted in a good spot during day one, when people are still fresh enough and not overly dazzled by all the acts yet, but warmed-up enough to welcome a pretty tight act. It’s perfect.

Jam Project – Their small set was also a tight act. Group karaoke was a good way to naturally “evolve” from their usual 10-minute-SKILL calls. I suppose “evolution” is a theme they thought up after all, so they follow it? I think the choice is good, too. Gong is awesome when taken slowly. Great way to end day 1.

Yukari Tamura – She’s one of those acts that I can’t take seriously, but when inserted into this omnibus format I think her stuff really shine. That cuteness stood out and I think the crowd calling wasn’t impacted by the fact that not all people are into her stuff. Otagei by and large is easy to follow along, right? Right? And I guess the same thousands of people who packs out her shows were obviously in force on day 2.

And, man, You & Me. LOL. Is that white strip on Motsu’s shirt a racing stripe?

Halko Momoi – Another day-2 act, she also stood out in terms of being weird, or cute, depends on how you look at it. I think there’s definitely some cross-pollination and marketing between her and Yukarin, but it’s the same schtik I guess. She played classics, which is probably suitable for this oft-repeated Animelo attendee. I think it’s good she preceded the weirdest visual act….

Ali Project – I think Arika takes the weirdest title again. It’s both classic and  new. I liked the song choices, and the motif is pretty awesome, much less weird than Ishikawa’s on Day 1, which also had samurai folks with swords, I guess. Historic …aristocrat?  just works better with those okama-types. But being the weirdest visual act I think her role in Anisama has always been the same, probably much like her fans. In other words, when you dress up as some kind of fusion geisha type and then wave at people with your katana, while singing something from Katanagatari, it might work.

Fripside – I think these guys may rank number two for weird, mainly for the magician acts. Yeah, throwing ears at the crowd. Yoshino Nanjou is cute in that outfit. Also makes me wonder if Qwaser will have an attach to Fripside… It would work. All in all it was an odd way to begin Day One.

Chiaki Ishikawa – Another improvement from previous year, her dress makes her looks 10 years younger. It’s like she took cues from Chihhi from last year. But her stuff is all about the composition and vocals, and no amounts of fabric can change that. Solid choices  for an otherwise uneventful year for her. Day 1.

Chihiro Yonekura – Also day 1. She looks much more like her age this year, and she sings the stuff you think of when her name gets mentioned anywhere. But the thing is, you know she can sing, and it’s just a matter of her singing something new, in order to have something new to sing? It’s just something she isn’t doing for whatever reason.

Which makes a lot of sense that she gets paired with Naomi Tamura. As much as seeing Naomi Tamura at Otakon was, I guess. The song is epic anison from the 90s, the only thing better would be a 3-way duet with Atsuko or medley into MKR OP3.

Lia – She’s pretty good contrast to Chihhi in that she’s also being mom-ish now, and her excellent English enunciation is like an UO in a dark room of Engrishness of Day One. But unlike Chihhi, she has new songs! And she sings old ones too. I definitely enjoy Lia a lot partly because recently I’ve been looping some of her older CDs, but she’s just another one of those singers that makes day one stand out more than day two IMO.

Perfect con guest, but probably nesting for the near future.

Elisa – Another day one guest, she is more a gag now than anything. Ok, she is also beautiful and sings pretty okay. So the humor thing is just another charm point to an otherwise competent but uninspiring artist. I wonder how they’ll do those Kaminomi songs this year, if they even do them.

Faylan – I think she single-handedly redeemed the first disc on day two. Last year she was pretty shakey, but showed a lot of promise. This year? She’s spot on and she has a pretty winsome smile. Probably the third most winsome on day two, which is no easy feat.

Nana Mizuki – The difference between the reigning Queen of Anison and her cohorts on Day 2 is less than one may imagine. But the overall impression is pretty awesome and very different, it’s like once everyone turns on their UOs, I get teleported back through time and space to some baseball stadium… But in essence, her act is not a huge leap forward compared to even Ayane’s.

The duet with Makkun is pretty awesome, as one would expect. Makkun’s outfit looks like something out of a K-ON music video, lol. Also, stick play is tricky! Minorin needs to learn a couple moves from them!

As far as duets go, Makkun is probably one of the best duet combo you could have since she’s insta-spot on for harmonization. You can tell this was not the case for Minorin x May’n’s on day two for Sousei no Aquarion, and despite the massive nostalgia value of Northern Lights, it was two good vocalists belting out karaoke; there’s not a lot of skills being played between them.

Minori Chihara – Porcelain-skinned Goddess is still white and smooth. At least she knows to pick the one song I actually like on day 2!

Motsu – Not a real act, but the encore is 100% better with him than without. I like how they play on this on day 2 with the lift intro and all.

Crush Tears – Yu’s best singing is during the encore. That says something. Well, apologies to Elisa, because this is a real gag, right? This is a cute addition to day two, but I think everyone was disappointed that Kobayashi wore pants. At least there was screaming.

Lisa & Marina – They’re suppose to be gags, but they’re both solid hitters in day one’s lineup. I think Lisa just sold a lot of CD that day. Too bad her first solo CD came out right at the same time as the BD/DVD for Anisama! Marina was slightly not what I was expecting, being the first time I saw her perform for reals, but she did good. Kind of like the bassist and guitarist that were with them. I really need to watch that live tour video…

The 3-way collab on Aoi Tada’s piece was great, because they probably all are better than she is?

May’n – So young and so pro! Second most winning smile. I think they gave her more face time this year, and she did a good job holding up the show for day two. Universal Bunny was somehow more interesting this time than the one time I saw it live. Interestingly she didn’t mention her US live when the MC turned international, where as Yukarin used that to talk about her Japan Expo live. Citizenship be damned.

KOTOKO – No longer so young but still pro, and it feels a bit out of place. But man, Kotoko slays. Kind of like hearing FJ last year. Totally a full-room-of-UO kind of performance. Except it’s kind of a cold showing. I don’t know why. Also, she wasn’t in on the encore for some reason, probably had to run!

Masaaki Endou – I was expecting him to go all out more and do something outrageous, but I guess this works for day 2. I think the Jam Pro solo stuff is more filler material, but I guess he and Makkun did have some activity outside the group.

Masami Okui – Well, you know how I feel about her. Which is to say, she is always awesome despite rapidly aging out of this segment, and maybe she should have a real act with the Anisama band, since that’s kind of how it works. Also noted how they even have the rights to show the Koihime Mousou clips during her song, lol.

Ayane – I was impressed, she reminded me of that generic, high-energy Elements Garden type sort of act. It’s nice. The duet was a lot of fun, but nothing really memorable for me, a non-fan of sorts. Good job with the dance choreography. It may feel jaded, but I rather liked her act. In a way it reminds me of Yui Sakakibara’s thing from last year.

Milky Holmes – Fun group, but probably better live than on video. They’re the deers-in-headlights group for day two.

SPHERE – These girls are the deers-in-headlights group for day one. I’m not sure how they feel, but I was happy that they got 3 songs. NowSka is always a pleasant experience. Too bad behind the scenes cut out all their stuff :( On the other hand, Milky Holmes puts these girls to utter shame in terms of their dancing abilities.

Milktub – Nice hat, I like the songs from 2011 more than 2010, so looking forward to that. An unremarkable day two guest, but one on the rise.

The duet, as I mentioned before, was a great choice and matches YUFFY very well. Milktub was just hitting it straight though.

Psychic Lover – Wow, that Shinkenger song is pretty awesome. Too bad I feel sorry for him on video, sweating and exhausted after that! Day 2 jammers gonna jam, I guess.

Angela – I always liked them, and I probably could chart how I feel about them over the years and it would come out like a sine wave. That said, 2010 was a good year for their songs, and it helped that I trucked through the anime attached to them. Aoi Haru is awesome, and it’s actually not as hard to sing as you’d imagine. But doing it at anisama? Priceless. I enjoyed Alternative too, with the weird outfit Atsuko’s got on.

Naozomi Takahashi – I was doing the dishes. It’s not bad though. Good day one choice, because I think the cool dudes were largely on day 2.

Kanako Itou – She still looks freaky, but somehow she looks freaky even among a cast of weirdly-decked-out performers. Thankfully she’s pretty good at singing. Certainly upping the weird quotient for day one. Or is it upping the number of female performers that hunches over and swayed a lot? I think that’s what’s freaky about her more than her outfit or hair. She gets really intense-looking and it’s like o.O

nomico & Masayoshi Minoshima – Bad Apple is bad ass, I think the whole “NND meme” thing is in play. But it sure is interesting to see some internet person sing the thing in the flesh. She’s not bad at it either. Another little perk to make day 1 over day 2… Plus, nomico’s line during the encore was cute.

GOMBAND – Definitely the worst act for day one. Or may be they are the second set of deers-in-headlight for the day? Musically they’re okay I guess, but they feel too much like someone popped out of some cohesive marketing scheme to make a bunch of journeymen do silly stuff.

Granrodeo – Rose-hip Bullet is pretty catchy, but I want my Psychic Lover plz. These guys are not bad, just not my thing. I guess it had to do for day one.

Some final thoughts.

I think Anisama lives are hitting a turning point. The 3 spin-off events–Shanghai and the two Girls Night shows–are clearly where they want to go next in terms of moving things onward and growing the fan base. I think it’s the right direction, but I don’t know if it will be able to overcome some of the obvious logistical and financial difficulties to hoist this ever-larger festival onward to an even larger future. From what I can tell the GN and oversea shows are pretty successful, so at least to the larger market in East Asia and around the Pacific Rim, there’s hope for more cool stuff like this.

But there are other ways for Animelo evolve. It was always a premium stage for new and smaller acts. I think it’s doing that even better this year, among the likes of Faylan, LiSA, and even May’n and others. That’s good. What I want to see even more is the meme-farming that has been happening every year, where somehow, one of Nico’s largest act show up one time a year. I think we can expand that. We can also expand the line-up to have more fresh blood. I think that % is the lowest this year versus prior years.

Also, it needs more seiyuu ensembles. I thought the Zetsubo Sensei act was one of the best things to roll around Animelo since forever, and more of them would be welcomed.

Totally looking forward to Anisama 2011!

Pinpointing Miku’s Success: Free as in They’re not Suing Us!

I read a piece about the troubles Nokia faced as a large tech company that was in essence focused on making commodities; its structural thinking ran contrary to the core impulses that keep tech companies alive and thriving. At least, so said one ex-employee. In some ways this is exactly the key ingredient we talked about in part one of Miku’s interesting perfect storm. However, what we didn’t talk about is how it was made possible in the first place. [You can date this post now, right?]

Understanding this second point I’m trying to illustrate is, in essence, an overview of an aspect of copyright and trademark legal concepts. Or at least that’s how I look at it.

I won’t be the first or last person to make statements about the way we think being shaped by the way certain commercial practices are set up; advertising and branding are two big ways in which we can come to understand modern popular culture and consumer behavior. Branding, specifically, is a powerful thing that people have long since taken advantage of as a way to sell possible crap. Crap, I say, because trademarks is a label you apply on something so you don’t have to verify or experience it on the surface. It saves you the trouble to objectively verify and compare it to your alternatives, or more commonly, it is a value-added factor. In a media-rich environment it saves time and filters signal from noise; brands are convenient.

On a basic level, brands have to be regulated or protected. The first reason behind this is that if you don’t control what gets branded what, people would take advantage of a brand and pass all sorts of things under it, thus diluting it and making it less useful. Part of that concern is also preventing your economic competitors from reaping the fruits of your labor. You see this most excitingly play out in markets like biotech and other consumer markets.

But we’ve moved beyond that today. Not only do brands facilitates transaction, but at times it has become a part of the transaction as well. In marketing identity, brands are the actual products, and what the physical thing you can buy with the brand on it takes a back seat. (Best example: Nobody cared if the iPod benchmarked poorly compared to many of its competitors until in recent years.) In essence, it is the mysterious factor that distinguishes things beyond their objective merits. It is value-added, just like how a sports celebrity may endorse a product, and thereby associating his or her identity to that product in the mind of some people. Mascots are of a similar way.

However, in the end the mascot is still associated with something; a brand is about, like, clothes or food or heavy industrial equipment. This is where I think Miku is the next frontier. For one, she already signifies a sort of genre, when we talk about the music aspect of vocaloid fandom. You’ve got the vocaloid stuff, which is, largely speaking, a musical instrument. So it’s sort of like saying “stringed music” or “percussion music” when we go on about vocaloid music. Miku is kind of the biggest symbol among vocaloids, so maybe we can liken her to “piano” and Megpoid as “harpsichord” and Keito as “accordion” or some such.

“But wait, doesn’t that mean it is no longer meaningful as a brand”? Is it genericide, in trademark speak? I don’t think so. It is something a lot more than that: Miku has transformed into a living identity. You can’t “genericide” Lady Gaga, just like you can’t do so for every single Nat King Cole knockoff that has come our way, or every band that draws from the Beatles or Rolling Stones. I guess suicide is possible though.

Well, that isn’t even possible with a virtual diva. They don’t get into sex scandals nor do they go around shopping their recording contracts to rival recording companies and producers. What are virtual divas? Characters. And furthermore, they are like character copyrights.

The merger of a trademark and a copyright is not exactly a foreign concept. The two can seen as partners in certain lawsuits. But I’m not here to talk about lawsuits, or rather, I’m here to talk about the lack there of. By evoking copyright I am not so much trying to describe what legal protections are afforded Crypton, but the nature of Hatsune Miku as transformed from merely a kanban musume into someone more akin to a character from an actual literary creation, and all of its subsidiary derivatives and the support of its canon.

Well, by canon I mean the attempt to try to draw a circle around the loose federation of what makes up what the collective of all of us think when we think about “Miku Hatsune.” There is a clear fan-generated and fan-acknowledged canon. The leek is officially endorsed. And like Yuu, I have no idea why a tuna goes with Luka [okay I have a vague idea].  This is important because by specifying the mascot in a way that is akin a fictional character, we have a definitive (although may not be as specific as copyright law would like it to be) set of characteristics. In this sense it is akin to saying a Playstation looks and feels like such a way, or how a Volkswagen has to have this symbol here. The difference is that like other character copyrights: Mickey Mouse, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, etc., are more a canvas for fans rather than a list of specifications derived from a tangential narrative that happened to be so-called “canon” because it is the legally permitted work/derivative work of the original creator. So yes, it’s okay if Miku and Mickey play around as super-deformed characters; it’s not okay to pass off an iPhone after being rolled over by a road roller.

The freedom I’m trying to illustrate is the key second point to Miku’s success. It gives fan a certain range of freedom not unlike how Gibson or Fender has no say in the way you smash their guitars during an on-stage trance (let alone what music you may play with these instruments), yet at the same time companies can point at Miku and say, hey, we can use this brand to sell stuff, and people would know what it is. Sort of. Put it from the opposite perspective, it is more like Crypton wouldn’t have to worry about Miku competitors so much (like all those UTAU stuff) since it’s now something with a totally unique identity (even if it’s unique like a generic pop idol). It is like an outpouring of creative hive-mindedness meeting producers with money at the juncture of a legally grey sector. We already mentioned in part 1 that the actual engine to Miku’s (largely financial) success is its participatory culture, and functionally she’s an inexpensive, turn-key solution to some of life’s trickier creative problems. What I’ve covered here is more the overhanging shelter that made it a sensible economic choice even for creators out to exploit the market in a financially significant way.

I mean, somebody has to be able to explain things like this, correctly or not? Who in their right mind would advertise Miku on the streets of Tokyo? That cost money! This is how they can make it back.

JamPro Symphonic Is What Again?

What is this, I don’t even…

Okay, where do I put my money, you social-media-sharing bastards from Japan? No, not just the music, I want the video–that video someone from Lantis obviously leaked on to the internet to promo the CD that’s coming out. Plus, where’s all the solos?

Kirakira, Take 2

I picked up the all-age, physical copy of Kirakira over the con season last year; it isn’t until the holiday break that I had made some real progress on the game. And considering it has been an iOS game since late 2009 and available legit on PC even earlier than that, I’m really behind the ball here. I’ve played a couple hours here and there before then, but the going was slow and while it was interesting it wasn’t very engaging as well. It’s like reading a book; it’s a good way to kill an hour before hitting the sack after a long day.

For a relatively new operation like MangaGamer I think Kirakira is the right kind of title to push. It’s got a layer of meta that will appeal to people who are familiar with rock music. Kind of like Japanese guys in their 30s or 40s? What’s more that layer of meta is appreciated but not necessary to enjoy the game. Like its pretentious namesake and title graphics, it’s about the sort of serious retrospection about a youth you probably have never had, a story pieced together as artifact trying to appear as natural.

I suppose this is why This Is Spinal Tap exists. That said, I enjoyed Kirakira (how do you properly spell it anyways?) pretty much the whole way, although I’m not at 100% yet, still only 70% or so done with the whole game. But once you get one of the proper ending, you probably aren’t missing too much. A large portion of the game was spent in the first chapter, which is almost the same for any route you will take. And the first chapter was probably already enough of a story to be standalone.

On a related note, Carpe Fulgar announces that they steamrolled Recettear over 100,000 (or over 9,000 if you wish) and considering only the best “indie” games move that many units in Japan (albeit at much higher MSRP), I think this is pretty awesome. Look at how much Recettear moved over at one of the more popular Japanese download store: ~1400 units seems actually a good number (for over the course of a year, and that’s a year after it was first released), considering the size of Japanese gamers that do DDL games are pretty niche. But still, I’d be surprised if total Recettear Japanese language version moved over 10,000 units counting event sales, mail order and digital… It’s good news for ECS, who most probably made more money through that than its Japanese market on the title. The rest is hunting the sweet spot on supply and demand…

This is suppose to be a mini-review on Kirakira, so I’ll just end with this (not counting route-specifics):

  1. Mika
  2. Tomo
  3. Sarina
  4. That guy (post-op)
  5. Chie
  6. Yuko (Maybe I’ll play Curtain Call afterwards)
  7. Kirari
  8. Mai & Miyuki
  9. Everybody else, and even Shikako-chan, lols.

Year in Review: N-Listing

My tribute to the 12 days of Christmas blog thing. See M3 for more details. As usual I will do a list of 12 things, each thing being a list of 12 items. Some are counted down, some are counted up, others are unnumbered.

I’m a little late this year, only because of my blog being down. It’s surprisingly annoying that you can’t look back to what you’ve written.

1. Best simulcasts – The true first year of simulcast for the whole duration,  yeah?

  1. OreImo – for breaking street – you can’t get more zero day than negative. And it’s not some kind of boring show nobody watches (sorry TogaInu). Heroman actually gets the record for the earliest leaks, but let’s keep that hush-hush ;)
  2. Kuragehime – For not only being another goal in Funi’s big win in simulcast this year, Hulu actually places the ads during proper ad breaks!
  3. House of Five Leaves – Taking it easy.
  4. Shiki – Taking it less easy.
  5. Tatami Galaxy – Lower only because Funi isn’t streaming the bonus episodes. All four (2-5) are really kinda tied because the Funi x Fuji thing is pretty awesome.
  6. Sora no Woto – Anime no Chikara – flagship title, good stuff, and like Durarara we even got the OAV episodes! Also, nice HQ feed.
  7. Sora no Otoshimono – The seiyuu video CR made Hayamin & company do hands down wins. And also, it’s kind of a show that is prone to spoiling, so the speedy simulcasting is appreciated.
  8. Panty Stocking w/ Garterbelt – So cash. In fact thanks for all the Gainax pickups. Even including Hanamaru Kindergarten.
  9. High School of the Dead – TAN’s “simulcasts” are well timed now, even if it’s horribly managed (like, how the hell do you cancel crap?) and half the time it doesn’t even work for me.
  10. Occult Academy – Anime no Chikara – Fun little show that is retro just right.
  11. Giant Killing – this sort of anime works best for simulcast, that weekly sauce makes those cliffhangers feel just right. Also, World Cup synergy almost.
  12. Basically any show that aired within 24 hours of Japan \o/ Down with “simulcasts” that are a week behind srsly.

2. Anime with CHIKARA, in no particular order. I don’t even know what this means.

  1. Panty Stocking and Garterbelt
  2. Heroman
  3. Qwaser
  4. Yosuga no Sora
  5. Strike Witches 2
  6. Occult Academy
  7. Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
  8. Mai Mai Miracle
  9. Chu-Bra
  10. Sora no Woto
  11. K-ON!!
  12. Star Driver

3. Sex jokes, no order:

  1. Training with Hinako has an Android app?
  2. Yosuga no Sora ED – Sora’s deep throat shot, and that whole joke.
  3. Star Driver – Kissing with glass without glass is just a kiss?
  4. Amagami’s instructor play – because it is actually funny.
  5. Fate /stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – Dolphins.
  6. BakaTest’s Hideyoshi – Going to the bath house, gets own gendered changing room.
  7. Panty & Stocking episode 3b – Probably the one segment that signaled to me that the series worth sticking around for.
  8. Chikyubi (the hamster from Mitsudomoe) – It’s a running joke, all right. It’s got little legs this big!
  9. Seikon no Qwaser – the tsurupettan Song
  10. Shino Amakusa – Seitokai Yakuindomo’s lead character is generally pretty funny once you get caught up with her pace.
  11. B Gata H Kei – The entire show is a sex joke
  12. Koe de Oshigoto – Oh MAKO lol and the entire show is also a sex joke

4. Scenes from 2010 anime that I remember, no order:

  1. Gundam UC episode 1: Floating out into the fiery inferno, Banager’s dad smiles.
  2. Cross Game: The final confession
  3. Seikon no Qwaser: Boob fountain (which one?)
  4. K-ON!!: Lycopene…
  5. Eden of the East: The King of Eden: Walking around @ Angelika Film Center in NY.
  6. Asobi ni Ikuyo: Manami and Aoi’s skinny bike chase
  7. MM!!: Mio’s episode one batter-up maid debut
  8. Panty & Stocking: the car “chase” scene in episode 6
  9. Macross Frontier: Nyan^2 Clips: Northern Cross is… woah damn.
  10. Working!!: NEW ITEM
  11. Yosuga no Sora: He just keeps on going.
  12. Bakatest and Mayoi Neko Overrun: The spats/bloomer feud.

5. Episodes from 2010 that I remember, no order:

  1. Strike Witches 2 6: The rocket episode
  2. Panty & Stocking 13: Bitches, and more bitches, and a pair of legs.
  3. Hidamari Sketch *** 12: Tomato jamboree
  4. Seikon no Qwaser 13: What a recap episode.
  5. Mayoi Neko Overrun 6: The music video episode. Yes, I remember it better than ep 4!
  6. K-ON!! 20: The last school festival. It was such a high.
  7. SoreMachi 12: The day that Hotori died, bye bye Miss American Pie?
  8. OreImo 11: Most of the jokes were pretty solid, which is unusual. Even the dad joke.
  9. Angel Beats 3: Iwasawa was a big impact. Sold me a CD. Heck, Angel Beats 10: Yui-nyan! Sold me a CD too! LOL. Oh what is this with dead music people.
  10. Gundam UC 1: It’s just so pretty.
  11. The World God Only Knows 4: Take me down to minori city where the music’s by Tenmon and the girls are pretty~
  12. Katanagatari 12: Great conclusion for something totally Nisioisin-y.

6. Things that can’t be something else:

  1. My MM can’t be this fanservice-free
  2. My foot fetishism can’t be this pervasive
  3. My little sister’s anime’s title can’t be this verbose
  4. My Love Plus habit can’t be this expensive
  5. My camel militants can’t be this racist
  6. My blog hosting can’t be this cheap
  7. My AsoIku can’t be this furry
  8. My Prime Minister can’t be this good at mahjong
  9. My Azunyan can’t go all the way in Saimoe
  10. My Bisei Tokei apps can’t be iOS only
  11. My Aniki can’t be this hedgehoggy
  12. My Selvaria figure can’t be this expensive

7. AX 2010 moments:

12. Listening to gabber at the Nokia Plaza was surreal. It’s like being in Akiba.
11. Seeing Konishi cosplay Aniki was pretty boss.
10. Kitaeri’s panel, a lot of fun. Plus High Jumper.
9. Clover Brewed Coffee is p. good if you are a junkie like myself. They even have Kona that weekend, if you like Kona (I’m so-so on it).
8. Spotting Kenji Kamiyama scouting terrain. Totally expecting to see LACC/Nokia theater/Staple Center complex in his next work now.
7. Nabeshin being, well, Nabeshin.
6. Manga Gamer guests, plus High Jumper. CooRie and Kuribayashi, huh.
5. Yoko Kanno reprises their MacF/Tanabata routine at May’n and Mamegu’s live. Also it’s as MacF as it can get in America. Damn you Harmony Gold.
4. Alexd’s “luck and chance” sketch GET
3. The “No Photo” sign story
2. Group pic with KitaEri
1. Being in on the joke on Horie as collaborators with Morita and Asakawa.

8. Things I did to celebrate Satoshi Kon’s memories

12. Make a pun.
11. Whine on it on the internet.
10. Buy a copy of New York Times. Ugh buying newspaper ugh.
9. Realizing some (somewhat) famous guy who died actually matters to me.
8. Realizing my autograph from him will skyrocket in value!
7. Looking for copies of his stuff that I don’t have, like that lush LE box for Millennium Actress.
6. Stare longingly at his storyboards.
5. Learn more about the man after he has passed, from others who also knew him.
4. Follow the going-ons of his last words and its ripple, like that Farewell Project thing.
3. Read his final blog post.
2. Rewatch his movies, or at least clips from it.
1. Feel better about it after getting all sad from the news of his passing.

9. Reasons why I can’t pick a favorite character in 2010, no order

  1. Amagami SS sunk my omnibus – I like all the arcs, can’t choose… Alternatively, Amagami SS’s Tsukasa route was totally crap! – It’s Kaori Nazuka’s last shot at 3-peat!
  2. Runner up: Noloty from Bantorra is a great character, except she’s just a side character and doesn’t get much love from the series, in more than one ways.
  3. Way too many sequels – It’s hard to like what you didn’t like the year before.
  4. Way too many Kana Hanazawa roles – They are all kinda alike! And I like too many of them for my own good!
  5. Love Plus: hearing Saori Hayami’s moe voice confuses me with Manaka flags – Manaka is a no-no for me.
  6. Runner up: Teresa from Qwaser just didn’t get enough development to qualify.
  7. Runner up: All of K-ON cast, but I love you equally (which is honestly not that much).
  8. Runner up: Shoko from BakaTest, but she hasn’t had enough time to flesh it out. Also, too many other people’s waifu.
  9. Runner up: All those endless pleasure sticks.
  10. Runner up: Mii from Railgun, but she doesn’t have enough dimensions to her character.
  11. Runner up: Rin Tohsaka, because it’s not like Mii a more refreshing cool take by the same Kana Ueda. Also, dolphins? Really? (Wait is this supposedly in the sex joke category?)
  12. I usually pick my stuff from serious shows, and when the shounen romance pieces this year let me down, I had nowhere to go.

10. 12 OP from this year, no order

  1. K-ON!! OP2 – Mainly because it is probably the best out of all of K-ON’s. S1 OP still is kinda special too… well.
  2. Kuragehime OP – I don’t think much needs to be said.
  3. B Gata H Kei OP – Still a very nicely choreographed and catchy thing
  4. Mayoi Neko Overrun OP – It’s like a mind attack with a strong audio component
  5. SoreMachi OP – As smooth as SHAFT gets.
  6. Arakawa UB OP – Season 2 OP was disappointing compared to season 1’s, but that’s not saying much when it’s this good. Sayo Yamamoto, right?
  7. Angel Beats OP – Lia actually delivers something worthwhile here. Visually moving too.
  8. AsoIku OP – Pretty standard stuff, but I like the song.
  9. World God Only Knows OP – The full version is pretty interesting, but overall it is simple yet sophisticated in the way Eden of the East OP was.
  10. Big Windup S2 OP – I like it for the song. Animation was hauling ballz too!
  11. Dance in the Vampire Bund OP – for the shock in nekkid loli dance and the song is pretty good too!
  12. Star Driver OP – I like it for the use in whiplashing the viewer, but also for seeing something kind of pretentious but also kind of mesmerizing.

11. ED from this year, no order, because I’m out of ideas for lists

  1. Durarara ED1 – Pretty catchy and visually interesting. Kind of reminds me of Persona Trinity Soul ED.
  2. Amagami ED4 – Yukana has this super ero voice power, I cannot resist.
  3. K-ON!! ED2 – Yeah, yeah.
  4. Tatami Galaxy ED – My favorite of the year, easily.
  5. Qwaser ED2 – I like this song more than ED1, but the visuals in ED1 is more cohesive. (Not to be confused with this)
  6. Yosuga no Sora ED (second one) – It’s hilarious and visually exciting.
  7. MM ED – It’s the psychological attack version of Mayoi Neko Overrun OP. Except now with Aso Natsuko.
  8. Hidamari Sketch *** ED – Really like the concept and how the music works with it.
  9. Hanamaru Kindergarten EDsI guess I can just fill this list out with them. I recommend #2 and 7.
  10. K-ON!! ED1 – Cake Fairy is probably one of the best music video on TV in anime.
  11. Bakemonogatari ED (final) – I like this composite version the best for some reason.
  12. Angel Beats ED – It’s actually a nice song. The ED itself is more a joke that is subtle than anything. How about that Aoi Tada…

12. 3D and miscellaneous things I probably should mention, no order

  1. Hiyocchi is good-natured and FUNNY!!!
  2. Cosplay Girl gets you what you think you will get
  3. My random seiyuu soup…and now
  4. It’s totally cool to see that slick WoW addict and his compatriots at Otakon this year. I should pick up Kikuta’s Touhou album, shouldn’t I. Also, they still haven’t give up that CD single they promised back in August. That’s pretty egregious.
  5. Kamiyama’s trip at AnimeNext made that con worth it alone.
  6. K-ON Live BD is a good time, can’t wait for the next one.
  7. Sphere joins Shukufuku no Campanella in 3D TV land. Wasn’t some May’n show also done that way…
  8. First time I did karaoke during a con. In the normal way and not the weird American way. Need to happen more often.
  9. B156 and Dan Kanemitsu’s bone.
  10. Figures are serious business, but when you run a figure panel make sure you get a ton of super rat’s shots and just slideshow them.
  11. Almost done figuring out the illumination “problem” with UOs and renewable glowsticks and battery-powered stuff. I’m going to have to test drive these suckers this year, but so far I’m impressed with the one I have.
  12. minorigate is at an end. Oh God the memories flooding back.

And that’s a wrap folks, see you in 2011!