Archive for the 'otakisme' Category

Review: Akiba Days

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

I’m sure most of the readers of this blog have already been exposed to Akiba Days, the illustrated guide to Akiba featuring the cast of School Days. I didn’t pick it up at first since I figured that knowing about where stores are and which places are interesting was one of those things you could just do on the internet. I was humbled a few weeks later as I got embarrassingly lost trying to find an out of the way maid cafe and the guy I was with whipped out Akiba Days, flipped to the index and found the place in about 15 seconds. I ended up buying a copy later that day, though for full disclosure, half of the reason I bought it was so that I could hit 6000 Toranoana points so I could get some Touhou vinyl figures.

So anyway, Akiba Days is a fairly comprehensive index of all the various stores in Akiba. Each store entry has a short, generally 2-4 sentence entry describing the place, a sentence commenting on the place by someone from School Days, maybe a few pictures, and address/map/hours/phone#. The stores are broken down into 4 categories, Eat, Play, Relax, and Buy, and they’re each broken down into subsections (ie curry, ramen, maids; video games, karaoke, maids; net cafes, massage parlors, maids; pc parts, video games, maid outfits, respectively). There’s also a 15-page map section in the front with an index of all the stores in the back, which is really handy when you’re trying to find stores hidden in the basement of a back street alley software store. There’s also a few small articles and infoboxes spread out through the book, like where the cheapest net cafe to spend the night at is in Akiba (1080jpy for 6 hours!), where to park your car (hah), or good date courses (HAH), though the book gives fairly ridiculous advice on these date courses like “Cure Maid Cafe -> Cos-Cha -> Mailish”.

Of course there’s the issue of stores lasting for an average of like 18 months in Akiba, especially with the mass maid cafe extinction thats going on right now, so I’m hoping for periodical revisions, since this thing is honestly a great guide to have, even if you do fancy yourself as somewhat of an Akiba vet. However, the book has only been out for a little more than 3 months now, so I think it still has quite a bit of time left on its shelf life, and after that it’ll always be a nice reference to have to see what Akiba looked like in its early post-Kato days. I’m not sure if this is much of a must-buy if you’re a School Days fan, since the characters really do seem to be not a whole lot more than semi-bland window dressing, but I’m not terribly familiar with the game’s characters, so for all I know it’s chock full of hilarious School Days jokes. All I noticed was the part where Sekai seems a little too interested in Akiba’s various sword shops. :x Anyway, it’s pretty reasonably priced at a little over 1300 yen, subsidized I’m sure in part by the back cover Toranoana ad, so if you’re planning on doing Tokyo and Akiba this winter or even as late as next Summer, pick a copy up if you can do the Japanese thing and impress all your other gaijin friends with your newly-found encyclopedic knowledge of Akiba!

So yeah, all in all,

Nice Mook.

Review: Shimada Humikane Art Works

Monday, October 27th, 2008

This review is a horrible idea because it will probably brand me as a pedophile for the rest of my life, but I cannot help but love Shimada Humikane. I’ve been following his stuff since early 2004 right before the moe tidal wave broke, and finally with the advent of Strike Witches coming out, he at long last has his own artbook. I have to admit that since I only buy artbooks done by guys that I really love (ABe, Okama, Nihei Tsutomu, basically everything that triples in price a year after it gets released) I am apt to give gushing reviews of basically any artbook I own, but “cool indifference” or “critical distance” are phrases unknown to the brave new blogosphere!

Anyway, the book is fairly evenly split down the middle between Strike Witches-related images and non-SW related stuff, which consists of some licensed works but mostly original works. There aren’t really many new images in here, but there’s an interview and a “how I draw this heavily-armed girl wearing panties” how-to photoshop section to be read if you can decipher moon runes. It’s printed on big ol’ A3 pages and the illustrations all stand up to being both large and professionally printed, shockingly enough. The SW stuff is split between promo art (magazine covers, etc) and other official art (eyecatches, character design sheets, chichikurabe), and the non-SW part of it is either “official fanwork”-ish stuff (Rider?? but her breasts are so large!!) and doujin/hp illusts. Of course, all the artwork for the Mechamusume figure series is found in here, so plenty of girls who are presumably not embarrassed by their not panties for you guys out there into that kind of stuff.

I have some poorly-taken digital camera pictures of the book, which in a perfect world would make you want to go out there and give Humikane-san your money, but 1) anime fans don’t spend money and 2) joke’s on you, this shit sold out in less than half a week! I am assuming that Kadokawa will do another printing, since the companies seem to have slowly realized that creating more supply to meet demand = more money, so when they do, make sure to throw your money at them! akibablog also has better pictures than I do, so make sure to click those too!






Suddenly, I feel obligated to pay the NHK tax

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Further proof of the NHK conspiracy: while flipping through channels last night, I caught the tail end of this show run on public tv about hero songs. HERO SONGS! Since I only saw the end, I missed the earlier parts with lame songs like the Eva op, and instead got to see Masaaki Endoh and Tanaka Kouhei be totally awesome. Endoh sung some parts of Yuusha-oh Tanjo, Kouhei sung some other parts while playing an electric piano, and this dude wearing a lot of black and a funny hat was mouthing along to all the lyrics. In between songs, there’d be comments on the pure-heartedness of hero songs and some discussion on how they have awesome lyrics that would sound really lame if it weren’t for the fact that they’re yelling move names in between verses. Kouhei laid down some high-level music theory and explained how rather than take after the earlier styles of hero songs in “minor keys” he opted to use a “major key” to keep with the totally awesome feel of GGG, and how he wanted to go balls-out so he made the “dodekkai shugoshin/bokura no yuusha-oh” line keep ascending because a true hero/composer can do whatever the hell he wants. Seriously, how does PBS expect to stay afloat when they don’t have JAM PROJECT members on tv singing the Abaranger theme song? Or when they don’t have Tanaka Kouhei confessing that he composed the King Gainer op as a joke, then had to admit defeat to Tomino once he saw the op animation, causing Tomino to just nod and say something along the lines of “Good. Now you know my power.” Now that’s the kind of tv that Viewers Like Me want to see.

c74 observations part the first

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Quick notes before I go lie down and try to tie my hamstrings back together:

*Wonder Festival ruins everything – 75% of the escalators were out of comission, including the ones connecting the upper and lower levels of the east halls, and quite obviously the 1f-4f escalator in the west hall (the one that broke), which all had these 8 foot tall barriers blocking them off, lest someone breaks their leg on an immobile escalator. Thankfully some of the west hall escalators actually worked (main hall to 1f, 4f to main hall) but there were lots of guards yelling at you to leave space between you and the person in front of you. All in all, even worse crowds, and it’s only day one.

*Industry area smells like week-old gym socks, and it’s only day one.

*Japanese women are, in fact, capable of sweating.

*Don’t take friends that are violently allergic to pork to Chinese restaurants, no matter how hungry you may be.

*For some reason, the only way in and out of the East halls were the East-2 door and the East-5 door. I forget, is this normal?

*Maritan’s tagline this time around is very apt: 「この温気、ニオイ。。。ベトナムを思い出すぞ!」 or roughly “This heat, this smell… brings me back to ‘Nam!”

Taking it relatively easy tomorrow – doing the first monorail over from Shimbashi tomorrow, lining up for east hall all because of Ueda Hajime and then running over to west to try to grab things before everything half-decent sells out, hopefully everyone will be in Zun’s line instead of buying things that you can’t buy at every store ever

Smoke is not this color, Japan

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

You’re trying to get me banned from reputable internet forums, aren’t you?

I don’t really know anything about figures, so I can’t say much about this one, but as far as Kino figures go I feel satisfied. Looks like it’s already discontinued, though.

2011 update: I found a slightly better photo in the archives!

c73 day one

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

I set my alarm to go off at 6 in the morning so that I could leave right at about dawn to line up for day 2 (no homo), but despite my mind saying yes, my legs said “no fuck you sit right back down and don’t you dare use me, write a blog post or something.”

So! Yesterday was the first day of c73, the second event of any importance that has occured since I touched down in Narita on the 28th. (the first was eating some great tonkatsu, and the nearly-second was going to see Kara no Kyoukai 1 but falling asleep at 8 instead. Good thing it’s still showing, thanks second-run theaters!) I woke up bright and early at 6 and started the trek over to the Big Sight right at about daybreak on a monstrously leisurely 10 hours of sleep, as observant readers will have noted.

I live fairly close to the big sight, so the trip over took a little over an hour after a conbini stop where I bought some expired negitoro maki. I went over on the Yurikamome/monorail from Shimbashi because I was going late enough for the thing to be running, and it was pleasantly empty. No pushing or shoving, and I even managed to get a seat (!!) without excessive harm to myself or others. A+ would ride again. I hope to in a few hours. After arriving at the con site, I stood in very large line for a very long time. They seemed to line everyone up at the front of the Big Sight today as opposed to next to the bay doors for the east/west halls. Maybe I got there a little too late? Did anyone in the English-speaking world get there at 5 or earlier so that they could clarify? Anyway, I stood fairly miserably in a light drizzle with no entertainment for about 2 and a half, maybe a bit more, hours. Applauding at 10 am when the thing opens and not moving for the next 45 minutes is a morale-killer, let me tell ya.

A timely (for me) aside: why didnt anyone tell me that Japan has mosquitos that are TEN TIMES BIGGER than the ones we have down south? God damn this place is scary.

Anyway, if you’re wondering why I don’t have pictures for you: sooo touriste, next to staring up at skyscrapers and walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk. Actually, I just don’t have a camera yet.

Some highlights of my modest purchases:

  • Getting the second-to-last copy of one of two of Hinketsu Elevator (Ueda Hajime)’s new offerings. The other was sold out by the time I got through the line, despite me beelining straight there once I got inside the Big Sight. That’ll teach me not to run through the halls!
  • A Rozen Maiden/F1 racing crossover. Spoilers: Raikkonen gets Shinku-chan.
  • New offerings by the MercuriusLAB/Iconographica collective, definitely in my top five as far as doujin artists go. For all you American con-goers out there, I will here note that I saw “the white guy from Hen Da Ne,” whose real name is apparently “Andrew.” I will try to remember this in the future, as I hate calling people “HEY.” We talked for a minute or two, then parted ways.
  • Things I didn’t buy out of embarrasment that I now regret: Rip Slyme yaoi. Pretty Cure kigurumi convention reports. Mononoke yaoi. Gatchaman yaoi. R-type fanfiction.

I finished up with most of my shopping at around noon, and instead of aimlessly wandering around the bemani section like I had originally planned, I met up with Chiku, who has no weblog so I cannot link you to his weblog. We ate soggy ten-don and wandered around the west halls and bought nothing. In fact, all he bought was a paper copy of the catalogue, and if he hadn’t done that I could call him a bad consumer of fan products.

We met up with Shingo and a host of others at around 2:30 and talked for a while. We eventually made it over to Akiba and a izakaya in the area and had a jolly old time while knocking back some drinks, the first alcoholic beverages I have ever legally bought and consumed. Actually, I might have been the only one who consumed plural-s-drinks, an astonishing two. I almost ordered a moscow mule for a third, but the thing was winding down and I didn’t want to look like an alcoholic.

While I was in Akiba I picked up ABe’s Gaisokyu for a measly 4800 yen, which considering the quality of the thing I would (although begrudgingly) pay double that price for, along with a second copy of Nazo no Kanojo X because I don’t remember what manga I buy. I also got a Maritan card that says “HAPPY FUCK’IN NEW YEAR.” I will take these words to heart.

On that note, it’s already bright outside and I should start punishing my legs again. So in case I don’t do another update until 2008: HAPPY FUCK’IN NEW YEAR.

The best Lucky Star OP remix

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

It is this.

All the other ones can be found by subscribing to Koike68 on Youtube, but they seriously aren’t as good as that one.

(Although I sort of like the RED FRACTION cover…)

thx mrpeabody

From the ashes…

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

A followup to the previous Moé Burger post: turns out that the owners have already put Maidol Cafe up where the glorious Moé Burger used to stand. I suppose the whole “Maids BUT ALSO IDOLS!” thing might cater slightly better to the Akiba crowd, along with waitresses who actually look like normal maid cafe fare (doing the whole looking cute putting your hands together oh GOSHUJIN-CHAMA pose at that!) instead of the vaguely gendered twentysomethings they had before that could barely murmur a single “goshujinsama.” (Of course, three big Japanese-speaking Americans coming into the store might have caught them unawares, but really…) Maybe I just have a thing for plain looking girls, but I don’t really see any overwhelming reason to go next time I’m over there. I’ll just save my yens and go to Mos Burger or something. Or maybe LittleBSD once I turn 20 and somehow work up the courage to go. How can you say no to some of those faces? MOEEEEE~

Terrible, terrible news

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

It pains me to announce to announce that the much-blogged about Moé Burger has had to shut down operations after a mere seven months. It hurts to think that so few of the intrepid pioneers of the English-speaking anime blogosphere that made the place so famous had a chance to keep them afloat by purchasing their delicious 1000 yen burger sets.

Of course, that’s the way most anime fandom works these days. So it goes.