Author Archives: omo

About omo

I run the site, too.

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.

NEXT LIFE Hibiki

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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Cultural Differences in Sports Anime And Manga

HN Matsuri Tokugawa

Ed from Vertical wrote a blurb about sports anime and manga and it is, in my opinion, the baseline. He covered a few things that are challenges or causes why sports anime/manga just don’t take off in the States.

Viz tried promoting Slam Dunk with the NBA. That didn’t work. They marketed Whistle! with US Soccer before a World Cup. That didn’t work. They partnered with the NFL for Eyeshield. That didn’t work. Were their plans perfect? No. But they sure tried and with some of the biggest brands in sports. Sports anime rarely seems to work in English. So tying in anime fans to their respective manga is almost pointless.

Story-wise most sports anime are high school based. That poses a problem cause the structure is different for sports in Japan vs the US. Sports in the US are league based, so teams play full seasons before a playoff tournament. In Japan high schools are almost entirely tournament only. So where in the US kids train thru playing games; in Japan they train to play games. Also as these works are fiction there is a lack of familiarity with characters and teams. It may be hard for casual readers to understand the rules of certain games if they aren’t already fans of that sport.

I would also say there might be some social resistance as faces and names are not what people see from their heroes in the US.

If you drill down on examples, yeah, Slam Dunk, Eyeshield, etc all have additional factors and issues as far as why nobody gave them a damn outside of Asia, but a fundamental one is the contextual one. Just like sports culture is ingrained in America mainstream consciousness, the same is for Japan. And when Japanese writers create sports stories they rely on those assumptions and cultural norms, which often don’t translate well to the States. High school level sports organization is entirely a different bag than the Japanese one for all the popular sports like baseball, basketball, etc.

I’m thinking these differences  even comes down to what people are looking for in entertainment in terms of narratives involving sports. Why do people read ESPN? SI? Or write Breaking Madden? Or watch 30 for 30? I don’t know, but I feel that’s kind of the mentality that ultimately has to be catered to for Americans to care about sports fiction.

And in order to get over that hurdle, maybe what it takes is either for people to buy in on the context (eg., anime fans who dig characters and the tournament plot), or for people who are in for the giggles and can live without it (eg., Shaolin Soccer). It’s like sports comedies.

It makes me wonder if anime/manga sports comedies actually have a shot at making it in the States. It’s never been done in a serious way, as far as I know. And probably not something like Teekyuu…

I wonder how anime/manga fans would feel about something like Friday Night Lights. Or maybe if someone made a manga adaptation. That’s the kind of issues, I am assuming, that western audiences of “sports” media would enjoy.

At any rate, I think we all need to understand this before going forward. Maybe it doesn’t really mean much; what are hits are hits. I do know that in general I don’t enjoy sports manga mainly for these kinds of reasons. The narratives about real life sports leagues, teams and players are so much better than what Japan’s fictional ones have to offer, partly because the fictional ones are usually about something else entirely different.


Year In Review 2014: N-Listing

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

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