It has been quite the time since I’ve been able to write one of these. It’s been two whole months and we’re already into a new year! That’s quite the movement. Normally, I’d star this off by plugging my favorite new MV’s for the month, but I’d been in quite the debacle with music lately. So I’m going to try, a little bit to pull away from that. Instead I’m going to attempt to highlight some other video content I stumbled across the past two months.
First up is The RPG Monger, taking a quick stab at talking about the idol world within Japan. He doesn’t do a perfect overview (as he forgot that Onyanko Club led to Morning Musume and AKB48 in their current iterations), but surprisingly it’s a fairly neutral delivery of how/when/why/where Japan’s idol culture developed. As someone who did a fair amount of research about it myself, I’m impressed.
He also gets bonus points for not pegging every idol fan as crazy, and not going ‘Lmao, weird Japan’ in the video. For someone that doesn’t appear to be a major idol fan, nor does he seem to be a hater; I’ll give credit where it’s due. I didn’t learn anything new, but it was an interesting nugget of a video. If you’re curious about idol culture but don’t want to dive headfirst into discord, I highly recommend this video.
Next is a bit of a heavier topic, and admittedly one I’m not too well informed on myself. Which is the idea of ‘traps’ in anime, which as the title clearly states, and how they don’t exist. I’m already rolling my eyes as many mis-informed people raise their pitcher forks screaming ‘SJW! SJW!’.
You’re entitled to think that way. I’m entitled to think you’re wrong and use this to better articulate why I’ve always been uncomfortable with the word ‘trap’. Which may or may not become a whole different post but that’s not here nor there. I won’t say I agree with every point in this video, but the argument is well articulated with multiple examples and explanations.
I personally learned a fair amount from ThePendanticRomantic’s video. For the less informed like myself, it’s a good place to start learning the basic points about what anime/manga fans mean by ‘trap’.
Next is a newer, better section that I am ‘borrowing’ from many other fantastic bloggers; which is featuring articles that other’s have written in the past two months. Previously in my more ‘immature’ way I typically featured people who featured me, by featuring the post that featured my post in my monthly round up. Personally, looking back that was a little selfish of me but you live and learn and write more and better! So, let’s move forward in this new year with an upgrade.
First up I’d love to bring attention to Artemis’s excellant post on “The History of Hentai: The Super Abberviated Version”. It’s a term that seems, in the West, to be connected exclusively to hentai anime/manga yet it’s roots and what it includes in the Japan are completely different.
Homicidols, a blog focused on alt-idol (alternative idol) news, actually scored an interview “Importing the Kawaii Underground”. They interview Derek Vasconi who works with NECRONOMIDOL and created ‘East Meets West Music Fest’ , Haley Marinovich and Melissa Goldberg from Chaotic Harmony who book both alt-idol and Visual Kei acts and Chris Morris from ORIONlive who organizes JRock/ Metal and chika idol events in the UK. It really brings more humanity behind the wonder people who organize these kick ass events for those not in Japan. I’ve got my own opinions about Homicidols content, but this is one spot where they’re on my good side.
Biblonyan then came and discussed a series close to my heart and explored the ‘hidden’ at least for me, reason I enjoyed it so much. In “Kuroko’s Basketball & the Uniquely Understanded Homage to Kabuki Theatre – Anime Review”, they go in depth about firstly how Kuroko goes not only with basketball but with kabuki, and then highlights all the fine details that really make the series. It’s something that without them re-watching and taking the time to write about that I would have never realized for myself!
In a similar topic, but certainly shining a light on something near and dear to my heart, both Scott and Irina tackled live action adaptations of anime/manga. Scott went for a balanced view highlighting the good and bad in anime/manga live action adaptations in “What’s the deal with Live Action Anime Adapations?”. Personally, it was really enlightening to see what a non-drama watcher thought of adaptations, and considered good about them. Similarly, Irina really articulated points that I hadn’t even thought of in her post “Live Action Anime or Nah?”. I consider myself really lucky that there’s fans more rooted in the source material then myself who can have a more object view from an anime/manga fans view. Seeing perspectives beyond my own, especially my own little bubble of ‘I love them all minus the ScarJo Motoko we don’t talk about and most Western adaptations’ is really helpful in being more open minded about why some fans get upset about these announcements.
Something I noticed when originally reading Hana Yori Dango as well as watching the Japanese live action drama, was a majority of the elements while staples to the shojo genre now, did not age well. Articulating the concerns of abuse with Tsukasa and Tsukushi’s relationship, Shojo addressed the important stuff: “What is Love? (On Romanticizing abuse in “Hana Yori Dango” [ANIME]”. I know personally, while a lot of elements made me uncomfortable, I gave a lot of them a pass since it ‘was a different era’ and ‘people didn’t know better’. All that being said, it’s important that even though I would argue ‘Hana Yori Dango’ is probably the most important shojo title as of yet, it’s deeply flawed and with the new reboot a lot of these flaws need to be addressed better.
Crushing on the Moon addressed two things very near and dear to my heart this January. Natsume’s Book of Friends, and Koigitsune, aka the fox child. “The Natsume Project #7: The Little Fox’s Hat”, did not go in the direction I thought it would and that’s probably for the better. I adore that episode. I cry over that episode. I will probably show that episode to my mom because a small fox child just tugs at our hearts because we love foxes. And that’s why I needed to read it. I couldn’t bring myself to articulate a reply because I love that episode and Koigitsune. Crushing on the Moon brought a lot of the more lackluster elements (in their opinion) forward and turned it around to why it fit in the series and some elements didn’t. It was a bit hard to read, but important. That doesn’t mean I suddenly treasure this episode less, but now I can see why other people don’t love it as much as me.
Arthifis who recently switched over to Anime Shelter, wrote about Dororo which is turned out to be my favorite anime of this season. In “Is Dororo Worth Your Time?” they break down the elements of the show that work for them, as well as what doesn’t and deliver a final opinion. Overall, I was beyond excited that other people where watching this series, and enjoying it as much as I am. If you’re on the fence about picking it up, this can provide some good insight without major spoilers.
I’m not sure I’ll have as many thoughts on blogger’s posts as I did this month, but I’m going to do my best and try and leave them more comments and feature them this coming year!
Of course, this leads into my music news for the month. I’ll start with JRock and VKei and then move into Jpop and other genres. Ideally, I’ll have a better lead up to these articles in the future but for now this will do!
Quick shout-out to Bloom Reviews for mentioning that JRock band Sekai no Owari is joining the ranks of Ayumi Hamasaki, Babymetal and even Yoshiki of XJapan in releasing their own comic book! Marvel revealed that the band would be the cast of the series ‘End of the World’! Personally, I haven’t gotten my hands on the issue(s) yet, but I’m always excited to see international and muti-media projects like this!
HAKUEI, the vocalist of the legendary Visual Kei band PENICILLIN, is now the editor-in-chief of club Zy. Club Zy is also a legendary magazine specializing in Visual Kei, and is also the biggest VKei magazine currently in print. He’s a multi-talented man with experience in all the inner workings of the scene, so it’s legacy is in safe hands.
SCANDAL, arguably one of the most prolific girl’s rock bands ever, and certainly in Japan, has created their own private record label. The label is called ‘her’. It was annouced via their instagram and at their Christmas concert. I’m personally super excited to see what music the girl’s produce under this label as well as seeing what other artists might appear in the future!
There’s been some official updates with ex-CLOWD members, and their current whereabouts. It’s endearing to see that they all didn’t completely disappear from the music scene. Now only time will tell who, if anyone I keep track of after this post…
Moving in Jpop, The Japan Times surprised me with a fairly even commentary about IZ*ONE. Love them or hate them, those girls are making fairly big waves in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere. If they can go so far as to ease long standing political tensions? We will have to wait and see.
Also surpising the absolute shit out of me was the fact that Forbes, yes Forbes actually sat down and interviewed Perfume. (I mean, I doubt literally sat down, but who knows) Undoubtably, since the trio made huge waves announcing that they would be at Cochella this year. I was shocked that it wasn’t condescending in the slightest, and while the questions were a little flat for long time fans, were well planned and expressed.
Lastly is Yamamoto Sayaka made huge waves chopping of 30cm (12 inches) of her hair, in her new solo promo pictures. Shedding her image connected with NMB48, she’s planning a tour this year, and she now has her own fanclub. I’m doubtful if I personally, will be able to see her live this tour but excited to see what she has in store for us.
And well, that was a handful of recommendations and a mouthful from me. I’m hoping that I’ll maintain this style, although ideally with maybe a few more pictures in the next one! Until next month!