Design-Driven Results

This is kind of off-topic for this blog, maybe, but it’s probably worth noting a few things. So it goes. These things are about how the choices you make, perhaps seemingly minor, can have a big, big impact in the long run.

There’s this anime blog tournament going on. I think it’s a worthwhile exercise because in order to have a working blog scene, you need to have some required things going on, elements. One of these elements is enough of a reader base that will sufficiently bleed out information beyond purely linking and relying on analytics and trackbacks in order to create the “social networking” effect. For example, if person A writes an interesting blog post about Amazon’s monopsony, and person B has never heard of person A or his blog before, but is interested in the content of A’s blog post, how can B discover A’s blog post? If person B’s daily reading of internet stuff overlaps part of the network in which A’s blog post traverses, such as if B reads a blog post that links to A’s blog, then maybe. Or if B reads person C’s twitter in which C comments on A’s blog post, for another example. You get what I’m saying. But in both of these cases it means some person C has to read person A’s blog, or maybe C is just like B and is not regularly reading a part of A’s blog post’s network, and some person D has to fill in that role. In other words, someone has to act as an intermediary.

This is why in order for a blog to actually achieve some degree of the network effect, it has to:

  • get a lot of readers, and/or
  • get some readers who are heavy-duty cross-posting or networking “nodes”

Invariably a lot of bloggers themselves are heavy-duty readers of other people’s blogs, in order to cull and come up with new things to put in their blogs. They also link out to other people’s writing, as blogs themselves present one way for the network to exist. But I can tell you first hand this is not easy work, and quite frankly I can’t do it because uh…what is commonly described as anime blogging is not something I have a high tolerance for. So when something like AnimeNano or the Aniblog tournament exists, it becomes a way for blogs that very few people read to get read. Someone does the curating for you, as much (in the Aniblog tourney case) or as little (in the anano case) as the case may be. Or in my case, very rarely do I link out to an anime blog! Kind of weird isn’t it.

I think it’s fair criticism to say the Aniblog tournament is an exercise in circle-jerking, as a result of this simple mechanics in play. Fact remains that most people already read blogs they want to read, and blogs with the stronger networks invariably will do better simply because they are better recognized and have more readers. Blogs that have more readers will move on further, since it’s a popularity contest. Meanwhile blogs with few readers are often blogs where the blogger is the most active networker as part of that blog, and s/he will end up being most invested in the Aniblog tourney, adding to the circle-jerkiness. But let’s face it, when you have a blog that makes a big PR move and links to a bunch of other blogs, all it’s doing it simply networking.

In order to min-max this effect I think the Aniblog tourney people should move away from a single elimination format and just have every blog pit against the two or four most-read blogs. I mean, let’s drop the facade. I think psgels would rather want to get it over with using minimal effort by winning against every anime blog out there via a few big polls, where all his readers will get a chance to read the competition and not just on the days where he’s actually pitted against some blog that was tortured long enough to get that far. And in some ways, I think it may benefit everyone the most this way–more readers will find more blogs they might want to read, after all, and it avoids the situation when you involve the blogs with the biggest readership only in matches where the competition are already well-read. The gain is minimal in that latter scenario.

Moving it away from single-elimination will also reduce the appearance of circle-jerkiness. I mean by playing it up like a sai-moe-whatever-thing type game, you are sure to attract the most heavy networkers who are also already bloggers and not a whole lot of people who stand to gain the most from the networking exercise, but just like a sai-moe-whatever-thing type game, it will not interest the wider public unless it engages the most popular sites. Having everyone engaged all the time is for sure a great way to reduce that circle-jerk appearance. Sure, having this sort of fancy elimination format adds the entertainment value of the tournament but really, I guess that is the true cancer that is killing anime blogging. I mean, really, I’d rather read some blog who puts in effort and write something amusing about anime than some meta exercise about popularity of blogs. I think the way the tourney is set up this time is a major step backwards for that reason, by “seeding” better-read blogs and giving them byes.


I do want to talk about Amazon’s monopsony for a minute; please do read this article. I think Japanese publishing is also, like American publishing, ripe for disruption. But who will do it?  Amazon is no doubt in talk with Japan with the entire controversy regarding the DOJ suit over here as the backdrop, with all that nonsense about agency and wholesale and profit sharing, etc. But will they make the same mistake American publishers did with DRM? I cannot imagine a world where Japanese publishers cast away their DRM. It just seems like psychologically impossible. Does this mean the same thing will happen to Japanese publishing? I know Apple had issues making leeway because of their stance on censorship and what not, so it will be a war between walled gardens to see who wins the Japanese market. It is about exciting as seeing a bunch of old men punching each other in the face, except they’re doing it in Scrooge McDuck’s money bin.

As an aside, I think Amazon’s devices may do well in Japan. It’s definitely got a winning formula in the US and Europe. And the price! How can one of the most frugal first-world country in the world say no to that?

Yeah, I like that article because it posits the double-edge of DRM. Loved the irony.


Small plug for Nippon Columbia’s paid-for streaming music service, FaRao. This is almost god-send-y. Only if I can actually use it! Or I should say, only if their app works on my phone without crashing every time I try to create an account. Supposedly a flash-based web UI will be available at some point soon.


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.

Anime Boston 2012: Wrap (TL;DR Version)

Another con, another meeting and parting, and more importantly, another party. I think it’s fun to see AB trying something new in its 10th year. I remember when I first read about Anime Boston 10 years ago, it was close but so far and so not worth the effort. Over time they’ve shaped up and gotten better. Trying new things and sticking to what works seem to be the formula for them.

I wrote a lot for this wrap up, and to facilitate things please just go to the bold points for each heading. The important stuff is towards the latter half of this post, I think, but maybe it’s not!

I could start anywhere but I guess here’s some general con feedback: The panel setup was fine, but I guess there were some issues and that caused certain things to be moved or canceled. I heard Fakku’s panel got interrupted and relocated mid way. That’s unusual. I heard from Mike Toole that there was something going on after the Hynes ejected its ‘contents’ after 2am or whenever, and the cops came to broke things up on the side walk. That’s not unusual. On Saturday, AB felt just as crowded as it did in the past despite PAX East going on at the same time. I’m going to chalk that up to people who didn’t/couldn’t pre-reg for PAX as that show sold out on Saturday well before the con started, where as AB was open for on-site. For more than a few people the decision to go to AB over PAX was made for them in a similar way.

Moving the autograph session to the hotel was nice once you realized that’s what was going on, however they really need to figure out a better way to line people up. It’s kind of annoying and more amusingly how it makes the press easy because the interview rooms were right there. I thought press was run pretty okay this time, definitely a step up from the last time I went LOL.

I think PAX has a huge hit on the “dealer room” crowd–the people who spend huge parts of their time in the dealer’s room. I wasn’t able to make it there on Saturday, but Friday and Sunday it was relatively light. That’s great for me, but probably not great for the vendors. Actually it wasn’t really bad, but Sunday was always kind of tricky when your con operates on Easter weekend. The artist alley was probably not impacted, but I was only there for one time on Friday.

I actually didn’t outright attend any panels besides the GOH ones. I sat in a couple for a short time. Thought the Gothloli fashion show was pretty pimp, very stylish I guess. Saw Chris’s panel for half an hour, but was really just there to see bayoab LOL. I’m glad that FUNimation announced different things at Sakuracon and Anime Boston, and both sides had exciting things (perhaps more so for AB) to say. I’m also glad that FUNi did a cosplay marketing thing for AsoIku at their booth. I thought my picture was pretty okay in the “dude, I didn’t hire these kids” kind of way. It’s less embarrassing than confessing to be a creepy otaku next to Zange-chan, let’s put it that way.

But all you need is a bro to make a good laugh. Houki is platinum mad!

Oh, and there was the iDOLM@STER poster story (Postory?). And I’m probably no less wordy than Nisio Isin about this, so feel free to skip to the next set of bold words. Sunday had the one programming conflict between Kanako Ito’s dealer room giveaway/game and Momoi’s 2nd autogrpah session. I was like, dude, I would go play “guess which song” game (especially since it involved her actual self riffing it on the guitar instead of a recorded thing) so I tried to double dip (partly because I would rather hang with the Momoist when I could) by going to the autograph session as early as I could and immediately run down to the dealer’s room (which while isn’t very far, it’s still quite the distance from the Sheraton 3rd floor to the Hynes). Turned out I got there just in time as they were finishing the guess-the-song game. Kanako Ito’s group ended up handing out 2 of her concert DVDs and a promo wall scroll thing they had hanging in their booth. They also brought a bunch of CD-Rs of the single she recorded for the Tohoku 1-yr song to give out, so those who were there got lucky got it (and got it autographed!).

Back on Saturday, some of the Momoists (these guys) did some impromptu graffiti on this poster pad outside of Kanako’s Q&A session. We hung around doing it and eventually her group walked out and saw us and told us about the Sunday session (btw the one guy who translates for her is pretty great at it). Long story short (w), we were going to get her to autograph that sheet of graffiti. It’s really the start of the whole “oh hey there’s a conflict thing.”

At any rate, “Onii-chan” and the twins wanted to get it signed (they were pretty adorable/effective at least versus the various GoHs) so they snooped out the dealer room to try to get the 411 on the session, effectively reserving a spot at the event. They also later told me about Nippon Columbia booth and showed me where it was. And how there were some awesome iM@S posters just lying on their table. And how some people took them even if it wasn’t clear they were there to be taken. Actually, were they? I probably should have asked about that.

I’m kind of glad I didn’t know what they (people and posters) looked like, or else I might also get platinum mad!

Actually by the time I got there, it was prime time for lunch and all we saw left were the 4 poster hanging on the back drop and a stand-up of Louise, promoting Zero no Tsukaima F (it even had a little voice box where Kugyuu will tell you to buy it or else!). The group decided to split and re-converge for lunch, and in the 20-minute gap when I left the area and returned someone has already lifted that Louise stand-up. How bold! And this is to say, the booth was set up so all there was, it was just a table with the name of the vendor, some posters hung up on the back, and that stand up behind the table. No signs or anything. And of course, nobody around.

Seeing the opportunity I just didn’t want to let it go.

What was amusing is that the dude who lifted Louise took it with him and got lunch at the food court where we were. I think he didn’t own up to that he just 5-fingered it either when it was asked where he got the stand-up. Poor Louise. At least I can take solace that anyone ballsy enough to 5-finger her and take her to lunch (on Easter! in public!) probably at least like her.

Anyway, given how we were pretty much done with the con after lunch, I went back to stake out the Nippon Columbia booth while everyone else went to line up for the closing ceremony. It was actually great–I met two other iM@S fans! Both of them were anxious and excited that they may be able to take home a couple promo posters for the second series. This sounds awfully weird now that I think of it, but it was very interesting to see these tense yet excited fans eyeing the same objects of desires as I do and struggle with, heh, moral issues. Maybe I’m older and more centered (LOLOL) but it’s like a social experiment kind of thing, where you want to see how they behave and which forces of the mind wins over, given different external circumstances.

The first guy I talked to is a excited guy but he had the facial expression of someone who is about to commit a crime for the very first time. Despite him being all nervous and talkative, I actually didn’t talk to him much other than to explain to him why I was there (to wait if the reps return) and why I was doing it (because, well you know). I explained to them how the reps are most likely not going to miss missing a poster and you’re not likely to get into any trouble. But after all, these were definitely “not for the taking” as they were hung up in the display. I also gave him the clear, as an iM@S fan to another, that I’m after the other iM@S poster.

There were 4 posters up, one from yoshiki*lisa’s debut album, the promo poster for CHANGE!!!! [four !’s !], a Zero no Tsukaima CD release promo poster, and the promo poster for iM@S2 prologue CD. [By the way, the iM@S page for Nippon Columbia records is, wow, nice.] In the end, after talking to me, and 3 of the other dealers near the area, he reached up and took the poster for the iM@S2 prologue CD.

That was amusing. Despite the act of taking without consent the dude was a nice guy. And speaking as another fan I can’t fault him. He did as much as he reasonably could in that situation. Short of just giving it up, of course.

It wasn’t long until the honey pot snared another iM@S fan–this guy is a lot more reserved than the first guy, but by that point I was enjoying myself so I talked to him about things. I suppose it’s typical, but this dude only saw the anime and liked it. I fault myself for not asking the most important question: who was your favorite? We ended up talking about the games, or rather, I did–because to me iM@S is just nowhere nearly as fun until you’ve had the chance to produce your idol(s) from start to finish, the ups and downs, the minigames and the random talk sessions, all of that. The anime was great, but it’s so much more. Anyway, me, at an anime con, not talking about iM@S all weekend? That’s tough to do. It’s good to finally do it with some real-life people, since basically nobody I was hanging with was into it. The saying goes, every bone in my body is LADY.

The social experiment side is a slightly different story. I told him we’re now competing the same good, and he agreed that we should decide it somehow. I guess he had to go somewhere and wanted to decide first so he can just leave, so I used that as an advantage and put it off. It helped that I had something to do while I waited (so many tags for my 3DS) and people to talk to (sup lvlln, twins). It was totally divine providence that at around 20 minutes until the closing of the dealers room, the reps showed up. Actually, the main guy is actually a GOH at the con, this Shotaru Kizuka dude. Then we’re like “can we please”? And then we did 2 out of 3 janken to decide who walked away with it. Begging is within the scope of things I permit myself to do, and so is exercising that janken skill from hours of iM@S, AMIRITE. The rest is history. In retrospect I probably would’ve been amused even if I lost. What I probably should have done is talk to the reps and let them know our love for the games, the anime, and hit myself for not carrying more copies of my business card.

It feels good to get that out of my mind.

Accommodations this year was different. Then again, every time I go to AB I stayed somewhere different. The weather was nice, but it was definitely on the chilly side. It’s at the point where you have to pack a jacket, but once you get indoors it’s shorts and t-shirts kind of weather. The advantage of staying in the Sheraton is clear, since it’s attached to the complex. The down side is that you’ll have to grab your coats each time you go out for eats.

Like Sakuracon’s namesake, the historic residential district of Back Bay is laced with cherry blossoms. On Sunday some of them started to shed, and it was beautiful. We stayed at a converted apartment-into-vacation-homes kind of place a couple blocks south of the con center, so we had a suite with a kitchen. I made my own coffee, which was nice and it also marks the first con in a long while that I didn’t have any Starbucks.

I have to say, to me, part of Momoi Halko’s attraction at an American con is seeing the Momoists. This is the sort of thing you can only see at west coast cons, save for the occasional Minori Chihara tour group and the like. It can be fun to see these Japanese fans bring their cheers to the concerts and those long, long autograph/concert lines. What marks Momoists different than any other group of hardcore anison otaku you see oversea is the way they do their wotagei, plus the large number of westerners that make up the group. Being Anime Boston, though, there were no strong outing, and in truth only a few of them were uh, ready to put on a move. But they worked as a team and everyone pitched in something to make the thing work.

Before the con I already knew what was going to happen as a result of already knowing some of them. I psyched myself out a little, but in reality they’re not scary at all. I thought coverman’s light baton collection is something quite special. It’s like a magic item. The group (teams Socal, Japan and Canada) was small but passionate. Armed with free glow sticks and call books, they did what they could to AB’s tough crowd. I think enough of the crowd got into it at the end that the real obstacle was the song arrangement and that the show was just too short to really get things going.

I already stated the quick take in the last AB post I wrote but for sake of completeness, Kanako Ito was just that. Halko Momoi is somewhat more complicated to explain, so I guess I can expand on it a little. I did attend the press session for her so I will spin out the results at the usual place, and in the interest of making this not unbearably long you can just read about it when I get around to writing it up. Just a short blurb for now.

In a nutshell, I’ve heard various things about Momoi. That’s part of being friends with Momoists, but also because she’s been to a lot of different cons. She’s also just been around for a while, over 10 years musically, as a personality, and as a seiyuu, I guess. She’s something like 34 years old this year, and she has been writing and doing all kinds of things. I think as a person with a lot of stories, she’s a treasure. And she does tell her stories when prompted. In that sense she is really the cultural ambassador for Japan, the one who could fly around the world and preach Akiba’s siren songs. It’s the wind beneath her wings.

I spend way too much money on loot again, and this time half of the money spent was on shirts I can’t even wear. What kind of a bogus size is “LL” or “F” anyway, LOL. I guess they could be made into presents and bribes as the time comes. I wonder if I can run a charity auction or something, or donate it to a charity auction. Or whatever, you know. I did end up with something a lot more useful: a Wagnaria plate and soup bowl set. Maybe I will actually use it to drink soup, you never know.

What would really get to my wallet is if say, Benjamin Moore came up with cans of moe paint. I probably should repaint some of my rooms. I could also use some moe lawn seed/fertilizer about now.

The rest of the loot is more or less calculated risks and things I knew I was going to buy going in. I helped someone buy a Kanako Ito CD and got a friendly face to help autograph it. I really appreciate this random act of kindness from a total stranger (even if I suspect this mysterious helper is someone I talk to on a certain internet forum). It’s not uncommon that the freebies that I got at a con are way more meaningful than the things I paid for, and I’m not even talking about the memories I made! Or that hole in the wall that will probably cost me money–that probably does not count as a freebie.

Oh yeah, so I made a hole in the hotel wall, partly because the night before I was jumping up and down to see if I can top coverman’s airtime, but also because I was sleeping uncomfortably on the floor. I tried to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and my legs cramped up on me, causing me to fall. I was able to break my fall using the wall, but well, now there’s a hole there. How much plaster does it cost, I wonder.

Finally, I’d do a shoutout to all my brothers and sisters in arm but srsly, I’m just going to be like, miss someone, and make that person feel and make me feel oddish. So let’s just be said that if I missed ya, I’m sorry for not able to catch you. If I saw ya, it was a good time. If you own me money, you gotta cough it up (gotta pay for that  hole somehow right)! And let me know Tim, I was going to give you some money for your books but I never got around to it, so I’ll get you the next time I see you. Meanwhile you can look at some pictures here. Lots more where those came from, but those are request only~

Anime Boston 2012: Day 2, 3

Besides making a hole in the wall, day 2 went without a hitch. I think this is possibly the lowest energy day 2 I’ve ever had. Probably has to do with skipping lunch for press duties, but I lived.

Day three was equally laid back and presented possibly the biggest schedule conflict at the con when Ito Kanako’s music game conflicted with Momoi’s autograph session. But as fate would have it, I don’t think things would’ve turned out in the same way if I optimized it the right way. I got a couple photos with Momoi between the two days, and that was very neat. She’s like the older sister-imouto type, if you get what I’m saying. Sometimes the wile comes out and it causes giggling. She’s a storyteller, but coming from her it just feels kind of off. Doesn’t quite match that Akiba idol idea. Just like how being an otaku is cause for dissonance in Japan.

Kanako Itou, in some ways, is the total opposite of Momoi. Itou is an easy-going and funny person with funny habits. I’m not sure how to pin-point her besides that she’s a mean singing machine in the way she emotes through music, and happens to be very easy to get along with. It’s kind of tough to do an article on her without getting a good handle, but sometimes that’s just how these acts roll I guess.

And in case you didn’t know, writing up Momoi is like, writing up Akihabara. Mission accomplished for her I guess.

Day three, despite being like, half as long as day two, has all the fun stories. Like how I janken’d someone out of an iM@S poster. I hope he scores some consolation prizes. This year’s AB is pretty chillax, as chilling and relax as Boston plus Momoists can be. It’s that west coast mentality, perhaps. Something to dilute my New York pace. Lowering my engagement a tad and avoiding a lot of conflicts make the con that much more easier to deal with. PAX may have helped. Easter may have helped. Every little thing counted.

And I’m home. Good times. Loot shot. Life resumes. Lots of words left to spill before I can put this one away, yet.

Biblical View of Death Flags

This idea applies not only to anime but also pop media in general. I’m just sort of amused that a modern treatment of this old, old tl;dr is still relatively applicable. I hope you will take this at face value.

A little context: If you’re familiar of the story of Moses and his merry band of Israeli wanderers in the desert, this is the part where ol’ Mo gives them the how-to on war. As in, when the Israeli go to war, they ask themselves some important questions. NLT for flavor and ease of reading:

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’

“Then the officers of the army must address the troops and say, ‘Has anyone here just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, you may go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house. Has anyone here just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, you may go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat the first fruit. Has anyone here just become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? Well, you may go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry her.’

“Then the officers will also say, ‘Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else.’ When the officers have finished speaking to their troops, they will appoint the unit commanders.[“]

See? Even back then they’d know to save your drama for your mama.