Category Archives: Franchises

Young Animators’ Death Games

I googled this

I don’t know if it was a mistake, but I watched Death Billiards and Death Parade episode 1 back to back.

It’s a little bit cathartic in that sometimes a TV series just highlight what’s sad about anime as a narrative format. In the government-grant-funded one-shot, everything is put together in a way that needs no additional explanation. In the TV series so many of the things I liked about the one-shot are missing. In its place is lower-quality animation and slower pacing to suit.

At the same time, I know all of it before I even started watching these two things. I knew the compromises it has to make to stretch a concept 12 times longer. I knew it has to hold some cards back in the hand. But unfortunately many of those things Death Parade is holding back are the things I like about it. The receptionist with an attitude, the dry humor, the funky high speed cuts, the glossier look to life (or after life or whatever)?

Stripping away most of the things I liked from Death Billiards is a good way to show me what lies underneath all of it, and it’s not encouraging. Basically it’s some random unexpected competition that make people express their inner, hidden feelings and ends with a twist as people relive and gain catharsis over their final moments of death. I think that part of the show is solid, but isn’t it just kind of lame without all the trimming?

I don’t know if the strings-attached funds behind Death Billiards mattered, in that some things they could or could not do with Death Parade. Reusing its footage, for example.

The silver lining in all of this is that there will be a lot about Death Parade left to watch that nobody knows about since it has to depart from the initial head-trick of the first episode. At the same time, they can screw it up. I don’t want more Hell Girl. Anything but that please.

PS. Yeah dancing dancing don’t stop that dancing.

Shirobako’s Jet Vehicle

Honest question. I want to know, specifically, why do people connect the concept in Shirobako’s cour-2’s anime-adaptation-in-the-anime with Strike Witches.

And this is just an informal poll, but other than casual twitter searches seems to suggest this. I can make some guesses but I want to know that the observation at least has some merit among my social circles.

More importantly I want to know, perhaps, why not Girls und Panzer. Same director, same conceit, but no name drop? Or maybe I’m just not seeing it? Did Strike Witches blow up the mechamusume genre so much that it’s including the whole military girls conceit as well? Is there something more simple?

Producers Gonna Produce

Some quick observation from Dereani or Anidere or Deremas Anime or CG anime or whatever the hell we’re calling it.

Fuurin and Shiburin

1. The producer is the ultimate head trick given in the adaptation space for these games. If we think of the evolution of harem works since the 80s and 90s and up to today, terms like “self-insert” or “potato-kun” might be the image you are thinking about. However at the same time in works where the focus is on the “girls” or as far as features go, that’s why anyone bothers with such works, you can think of the protagonist male-dude as a shadow or a negative space. That’s where a creative adaptation can really flex its muscles. In recent years these kinds of “harem-esqe” (as while most of these are harem, some aren’t) works started to actually paint in stronger protagonists, especially coming from a light novel heritage/line, because an interesting protagonist is a major draw for any reader, player or viewer; let alone how such a character can give one work some distinguishing merits over its competition in the crowded marketplace.

In Animas, the producer was a literal camera trick in the style of Ocean Waves in episode 1. The producer revealed wasn’t just an introduction to who he is to the idols, but it revealed how Animas was going to approach the adaptation. In that sense the same happened in Deremas Anime. What’s probably key here is that in the first episode we focused on actually three characters’ development: Rin, Uzuki, and Producer. In Animas, only one character got a lot of development: Producer. (Okay, and maybe Haruka.)

In a nutshell, the games are LOL-meta in how it reflects this tendency in the importance of the player in IM@S (games) as it does in the anime. And it seems Deremas Anime is going full throttle in painting in that negative space, versus a more mild treatment we got in the 765Pro P.

2. The net effect of this is that for some parts of the Deremas Anime episode 1 experience, I am reminded of Puchim@s. That is another take on the IM@S concept, after all. In that anime P actually got arrested. It’s also a good example of how important the P character is in IM@S in general, as well as in the adaptations. It’s the rudder to the ship, in a manner of speaking. Which is just saying what I just said.

3. From this point, it only makes sense, given the 346Pro concept, that there will be multiple Producers in Deremas Anime.

  • It wouldn’t be realistic if one huge agency has only one producer, nor is it realistic to expect one producer to manage the countless number of CG idols.
  • Inter-producer dynamics would blow my head off, and I think they’re gunning for this. Ritsuko’s role change in 2nd Vision paved the way for this anyway. It’ll be natural to see it extended in Deremas Anime, which is a social game with multiple players together as a core conceit, and it’s a game where players typically produce a small-small subset of all possible idols.
  • Going with that, it would make sense our Kuzuki-sensei-like P is a newbie along with the other New Generation idols, learning the ropes together.

4. The first episode of any new anime is important, but in IM@S’s case, it’s super-duper important. I’m glad it turned out well.

5. it’s A-1 at their A-game. Details will come later but that is some Kyoto Animation level storyboards LOL. There were not only the signature frame cropping and liberal use of “large aperture” shots, but a fairly cinematic approach to the storyboarding with lots of quick cuts.

6. It’s a lot of idols I recognize and a lot I do not recognize. I can facially ID maybe 80% of them but I only know maybe 30% of their names. I’ve been playing CG for only a couple months after all. I mean, you have to be a hardcore CG P to get everyone, and that’s not exactly the same thing as an IM@S P in general.

7. Yes, Nation Blue, the eventer in me picked it up immediately, and since I was trawling twitter anyway it was nice to see this tweet right around that time.

I’m tempted to go through the episode blow-by-blow but that’s kind of time consuming. More fun if you do it yourself.

Ringing in the New Year

The folklore about the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac is a race. So it seems appropriate that Japan would put up a bunch of idols in a literal race while wearing animal things. Thankfully by “Japan” I only mean “in the game IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE.” That being said the Japanese count these days and old ways slightly differently so I’m not going to get into that nitty gritty for sake of familiarity.


Over the holidays there were a lot of people writing and blogging about interesting things. I’ve been taking my time reading through them (think of it as an elixir for the post-new years blues, I guess). As you might notice there’s been a bunch of anime production type write-ups, with a bunch of animators here and a bunch of seiyuu here. It’s detailing stuff I normally don’t get to read and wish there was more resources like this in English. It’s practical and something I enjoy reading.

So rather than lamenting that nobody is playing ML, here are some notes about the latest Million Live event, or as the game calls it, 招福!アイドル干支マラソン–Good Fortunes! Idol Zodiac Marathon. Can I call it a day now?

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Year In Review 2014: N-Listing

Just trucking along. Happy 2015 guys. Still celebrating Christmas for 12 days right?

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