Who Do You Hate in Love Live?

I actually like everybody.

cotoli minami

But I understand the role in viewer antagonism. After all love and hate are related emotional responses that require a high amount of engagement. It’s a lot more telling that I am merely “like” and not “love”–a form of affirming indifference. Arisa was my MVP from season one, and at the least I’m glad season two tried hard to develop the group. I mean after all not everyone in μ’s had spoken roles in every episode of the first season, and most of the non-second-years didn’t get their time in the spotlight.

Speaking as an unabashed Maki/Pile oshi-type, though, it’s characters like the moms, ARISE, or even the LLSIF normal students, that really rounds out Love Live as a franchise. It’s little things that helps Love Live gain fans. I really enjoyed Rin’s episode from season two, but I still still finding her largely indistinguishable from Hanayo; it was the episode and the way the story told itself that I loved, not as much everything else. Nico’s whole deal is a good twist on a welcomed trope in season 2, but as you can see I still can only pin it from that point of view, a meta analysis of tropes in a way to draw positives from the widest base. She deserves better, someone who likes her for who she is. “Washi Washi” is probably my favorite meme from the show, so that tells you how opposite I stand apart from Author on the haterade gulping, probably because it’s one of the more risque, and risky, things in the show. For something that goes out on a limb, Love Live takes a very solid, conservative approach to entertainment.

But thanks to that approach, many of the little jokes in Love Live are quite fun, even things that are just simple (if deep) character traits, like Hanayo’s love for rice. Just reading about how the Cotoli-face meme come about tells you just how precisely people mine this idol stuff. It’s a calculated payload with significant thought behind it. Love Live’s math is a little easier to understand from the outside, but it doesn’t make it any more or less appealing for people who enjoy it or find it repulsive, respectively.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I love the same things in IM@S and all those other idol shows. The Haruka-Chihaya ship and Yukiho’s shovel can go a long way to make some funny, and they remains one of the most memorable IM@S things I’ve seen even today. [But that doesn't go even half the distance to the goal, which is a story that I've documented on this blog well enough over the years, I hope.]

So yes, my two sides of a different coin are indifference and like. Love Live is fun and enjoyable, and I’m glad for it and how it engages even more people in a way that as a seiyuu idol fan, I would approve. I feel like this mutually beneficial relationship also is built on equal distrust in that we are engaging at length with media companies selling prepackaged feel-generators, at Japanese prices. At least, that’s sort of my base line approach to all of this. In that simple way, I am grateful for all that Love Live has done via the mobage and through both the fans and Lantis/Bandai/NISA/Bushiroad/whatever. You don’t have to pay a single yen to “enjoy” silly Chinese people kowtowing to dumb signs!

Las Vegas & Lantis Festival 2015

So this year is Lantis 15th Anniversary and in response they’re doing a series of festivals. These outdoor stages look like a page out of a typical Japanese music festival, gaudy metal frames hoist a platform above a grassy plane where fans stand or sit or jump under the sun (or rain as it has been a couple times). These 2-day festivals in Japan had pretty solid turnouts, and feature a long list of artists that kept the crowd going all day long. It’s not at the point where you have multiple stages (although I don’t see why not), but I think the idea can take a step that way shall they choose in the future.

What’s a little out of the box is that Lantis is also taking it overseas with stops in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, Singapore and Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a big deal because that location is so very different than the other ones. SG, TW, HK and Seoul are pretty solid places that has had big anison lives before. The USA in general, not so much, and definitely not Vegas. The best we’ve done here is a big con that drew a crowd, and that isn’t really going to work as a festival kind of way (other than the fact that cons are a type of festivals). I mean, to spell it out, the LV Lantis Fest will be two days and overlaps with Otakon Vegas (which I presumably is helping them out with the event in some way). Using a similar event as a measuring stick, if “Lantis Fest Protype” in the form of Otakon Music Fest was 3 guests (Jam Pro, Aso Natsuko and Faylan) does the West Coast discount really makes it a better show? How can you stretch it to two days? What kind of a line up can they offer?  It doesn’t matter a whole lot who comes over, as much as how many. You can take a look at the four Lantis Fests in 2014 and get a feeling what lineup they can bring. It’s almost a list of who’s-who of anison in the last 10 years.

Not that it matters, I’m committed to going already. Time to promote some concert I don’t have a stake in except being an anison eventer in the USA. See you there?

Meanwhile I’ll keep the worrying details to myself, LOL.

J-Music Canon

Kotori Otonashi, former idol

Japan Time’s article here, via the last bastion of non-anison that anison familiars can tap into.

Without a canon, Japanese pop won’t blast off

Really? I mean, really?

I think the point is well-made in the article, about there is not much of a canon visible outside of Japan. I don’t necessarily disagree with that exactly. It’s just that with or without canon, J-music can make way into the rest of the world given enough support. The problem is there isn’t much support in terms of music-as-is from the labels and even artists. It’s totally a galapagos syndrome thing. Japanese pop won’t blast off with or without canon because the industry just doesn’t really care about this side of the Pacific.

Canon is something fans and press and critics can debate with each other with. We’re just not at the point where fans can, partly because of the fragmented nature of J-music as a result of lacking that direct support over the years. So to me the complaint about context is a bit putting the cart in front of the horse.

That said, the use case we’re talking about–how does someone begin to explore Japanese music–is big enough of a problem, but organically I think most people would deal with it the same way as with any other scene. Start with the popular stuff, branch out and explore. Access (if you can get around the illegal stuff without issues) is better today than ever before. The notion that this day and age people read books and magazines to discover music is as ludicrous as ever, anyway, so I assume the average teen in the USA has as much problem finding “canon” in English-language scenes as a Japanese teen in Japan. Which is to say, I guess this is why idol music is really big there, huh.

Context, however, is something I really enjoy studying these days, and it’s the greatest enabler. So I can see how not having it is a big issue. But we all had to start fresh somewhere. J-pop is shallow enough and sufficiently per se enjoyable that as a sell to your average, newly cultured middle class of East Asia, it works. Anime is a common sell overseas, too, precisely because of context. So I don’t see canon as context as necessary at first. It’s just when you obtain it, the feels come. This is where I agree with the original article.

Do give j1’s list a read, it’s obviously as debatable as any other list but mine probably overlaps a good deal. [Mainly because mine is comparatively miniscule LOL.]

Argevollen’s Fog Episode

Obscure IM@S reference

When someone asks me for a bad anime, I probably won’t point to Argevollen. It’s not a good anime either, so I’m not sure where precisely it occupies in that continuum between remarkably bad anime and maybe even above average anime. Mediocre? Maybe just average?

Argevollen does provides entertainment with a target audience in mind, and it’s not quite the same core Japanese otaku demographic. Well, I mean, it is, but I think a lot of people enjoy a semi-mature story about this science fictional setting, steeped in the routine fares of war with Battletech-like robots. Speaking of real robots, this is probably the itch it scratches personally. [The show also prominently feature traditional tanks, so take that as you may.]

There is a recent episode where the merry band of protagonists resupply, repair and relax at a countryside village just behind the front lines. Think of a rural Japanese town with 5-story buildings and a shopping street, with the full conveniences of modern Japan. The antagonist faction makes a surprise advance on their village, and the troops hastily evacuates the village while repairing their precious prototype robot, making a last-second retreat across the single bridge connecting the village and the path away from the battle lines. In the first half of the episode, the protagonists visited and enjoyed a hot spring in town; in the second half, the battle in town took advantage of seasonal fog to make the retreat less deadly. It’s hard to explain how these two halves are connected by words alone, so here’s some fog.

Argevollen ep10

Argevollen ep10

It’s times likes this that when an otaku is being pandered to, I don’t really mind. Yeah, unfortunately this is partly because the show is not good, so you have to enjoy what you get, but given how Argevollen is distinctly not a fanservice vehicle of the stereotypical sense, the few scenes of female (and male?) nudity really stand out. What’s more, this sort of humor is baked into the show, not unlike how a rum cake has flavors of rum. How to acquire a taste for such humor is the least of Argevollen’s concerns, should anyone be concerned on how well received these kinds of late-night TV anime would be. I mean, I don’t even know why I appreciate dry, subtle but remarkably silly things like this. Perhaps this is just yet another example of how one can approach a show as it is and enjoy it, despite its lack of redeeming or remarkable qualities.

In Context of Giant Robots: Captain Earth, Aldnoah.Zero

[There are some spoilers for Aldnoah.Zero and Captain Earth.]


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