anime, life

Takako Ohta 35th Anniversary Live

In my last business trip to Tokyo, I couldn’t buy a flight ticket for my schedule. So, I had to take a plane for three days ahead of my original plan. It was a rainy Sunday morning when I got to the Haneda airport. I took on a limousine bus to my hotel, opened my iPhone and launched Twitter out of my habit. At the very moment, my eyes lit upon a tweet of Takako Ohta about her 35th anniversary live concert.

img_6510Takako Ohta is a Japanese voice actress and singer who is famous for Creamy Mami. I can count three animes of my early days that changed my life into an ot… anime mania: Pastel Yumi, Creamy Mami, and Kimagure Orange Road.

I had known about the live several months ago, but I thought that I couldn’t make it, and almost forgot about it. But when I saw the tweet and found that it was the day, I felt it was a kind of destiny. I went to the live house and asked whether the day ticket was available; the answer was they could know at the open time (6pm). After I dropped by the Hinamatsuri exhibition, JoJo exhibition and Ueno gallery, I returned to the site. There are tens of audience were lined up, and I asked for the ticket again. Luckily enough, I could grab a canceled one.

 

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Creamy Mami(魔法の天使クリィミーマミ), which first aired in 1983. I watched in Korea in 1987. The Korean version had different character names and songs. I watched the original version when I was at college and deeply impressed. It was the first magical girl anime series of Studio Pierrot, and it is two years before Jem (1985, I love it also).

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It was an ordinary small basement hall; I guess the capacity was 50-70 persons. I think I could be considered a young in the audience. However, the passion and the mood in the hall was beyond comparison.

I never imagined I could listen ‘パジャマのままで (Staying in My Pajamas)’ or ‘BIN KANルージュ (BIN KAN Rouge)’ live in my life. It was an accident, but the accident was one of my happiest hours this year. To have good memories that I can enjoy with, it is the most valuable thing in my life.

anime, life

Exhibition: Hinamatsuri

Although I have not done the last cour anime wrap-up, (and I’m not sure I can do that…) I can tell one thing. My best pick of the previous cour is “Hinamatsuri.”

And I got to know there is a small exhibition for Hinamatsuri in Harajuku, Tokyo from a Twitter message of TT. (Takako Tanaka, She is the heroine Hina’s character voice, and to tell the truth, her first job was my last game ‘Sid Story’ when she is in the training school. She is always passionate and diligent, and I like her acting very much.)

 

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It is hard to find the entrance.

I was there last week. It was a small space, but you can see many cuts, character designs, continuities, merchandises and so on. Moreover, everything is free to take pictures. I think it is a brilliant move because it will make viral more easily.

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There are some exhibition-limited goods such as the lovely rubber key holders. The host said to me that it was tough to develop and manufacture this product. I also never have seen this kind of product before.

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The exhibition will be until this Thursday (Sep 27th). The place is Harajuku ACG_Labo. It is a little hard to find the entrance because the building has many entrances on both side of roads, but it is a small building, and I bet you can see the right one anyway. If you enter from the wrong side, you should go up the stairs and exit to the opposite side of the road, and then you can find the right door.

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This is the wrong side. If you take the left-side stairs, you can go out to the right side of the road.

MAP: https://goo.gl/maps/TmhDveZPgz22

anime, life

The Summer Triangle (夏の大三角)

Last weekend, I went camping in the Korean DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The camping site is a renovation from a shut-down school, which is just one mile from the border of South/North Korea. Of course, the place is in the area where a civilian cannot enter, but the Korean government and army established a camping site there, and we can use it with prior approval and a process at the military checkpoint.

The facility at the site is excellent, and the recent mood of reconciliation between South/North Korea makes me comfortable there. But the most exciting thing to me was a different one. That day, there was no moon, and the site should be one of the darkest areas in Korea. That means that it is the perfect point of astronomical observation.

And the feature image is my best shot – the Summer Triangle. The Summer Triangle is famous for many anime fans from the ending theme of Bakemonogatari (化物語 / Monster Story) – “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” (君の知らない物語 / The story you don’t know. The three stars – Denev (left in the picture), Altair (right), and Vega (top) – from the start of the TV version of the song form a shape of a triangle in the sky, and this is the Summer Triangle.

The photo is taken by Sony α7R III / Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15mm. The lens is a manual lens, but it was the correct answer because the full-open aperture and the infinite distance is perfect for astronomical photography. Sony α7R was notorious as a Star-Eraser with its too sensitive noise reduction logic, but I think the new α7R III presented a reasonable result.

I always curious about the Summer Triangle after I listened to the song. It is too hard to watch stars in the urban area in these days. But when I see the sky this time, I could say that “That is the Summer Triangle!” It deeply moved me, and it – to be in falling starlight – must be one of my happiest hours.

anime

Personal Anime Wrap-up 2018 C1

Personal Best: Laid-Back Camp (ゆるキャン△)

This is my personal best of this cour. It was a close competition with my runner-up (as always), but one made me smile at the end, and one made me cry. So, I choose the one make me happy at last.

It’s been three years since I started camping (with an accidental purchase of a tent), This anime gives me a new motivation to my camping life; and with a side-effect, I began to buy a lot of new camping gadgets…

This show reminds me of Kei-on, but… it is fun; it does not mean that Kei-on is not fun. While the fun-factor of Kei-on is making us immersed in its warmth, we can feel not only the warmth/comfortability but also the direct fun from the comedy codes in Laid-Back Camp. The comedy plots have a perfect tempo, and the ping-pongs of mentions are excellent.

The opening theme – Shiny Days – is also a perfect match. It makes me hum the song to myself in many times, and it always makes me happy. The only thing I regret is that it would take some time to see the sequel because this first season consumed almost all story of the original works. But I’m sure that we will see it someday while we enjoy the other excellent shows that we don’t know yet.

 

The runner up: A Place Further than the Universe (宇宙よりも遠い場所)

This show is my runner-up, and the one made me cry at the end (and always). The first time I saw the casting, I thought that it should be the most expensive casting of the four female voice actresses in these days. It should be tough to adjust the schedule for them, and it was said that (in a related radio show) they actually recorded independently many times.

I might mention it before that I like the road movie, and especially the road movie of girls with the growth of girls. This one is the perfect match, and it is about Antartic this time; although I thought that it is an SF story when I see the title the first time.

The most considerable part of this show is the characters. The four girls (and… maybe the one more querulent girl) have perfect settings. Each one has her own story, weakness, and strength, and they support each other. They are finding her-selves and the true meaning of the friendship.

It always makes me happy to watch this story in an anime, but the ending is a little… a very little weak to me. I wanted to cry more.

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san (からかい上手の高木さん)

When I watched the first episode, it reminds me of ‘My neighbor Seki (となりの関くん).’ And I got to realize that actually, the production studio is same: SHIN-EI.

It is a warm and comfortable love comedy. And it reminds me of my old school days although the stage is set to nowadays (even there is a smart-phone). However, the tempo is a little monotonous to me; I prefer some up and downs in the comedy works.

The most impressive part was the ending; especially the first ending. There are 7 ending songs that are covered by Rie Takahashi (acts for Takagi-san), and the songs are famous old(?) numbers in Japan. When I listened to the first theme ‘Kimagure Romantic’ (the original song is from Ikimonogakari), it really thrilled me. It was my heavy rotation in these days.

Spoiler alert! They will get married. Because there is a sequel (or a spin-off) original comics: Karakai Jozu no ‘Moto’ Takagi-san.

Overlord 2 (オーバーロード 2)

To tell the truth, it was not so fun to me than the first season. But it should be because I have already read the original works until vol. 10.

It was my pleasure was to see the ‘Evileye’ – my favorite character in the original work. And the voice is Yumiri Hanamori who also performed ‘Nadesico’ – the main heroine of Laid-Back Camp.

The most impressive part was that the ending of the first episode – the acknowledgment about all the effort for the establishment of this second season. I was able to know that it was not a just saying. And we will happily enjoy the next (already announced) third season.

The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! (りゅうおうのおしごと!)

I like (don’t reluctant at least) erotic animes and I also enjoy loli works… but I cannot stand for an erotic-loli one.

Personally, I like the works of Shirou Shiratori, who is the author of the original novel. His novels have a robust erotic code, but the theme is always the real matter. However, this anime show reduced the portion of the shogi (the subject) a lot, and the loli-erotic codes are too emphasized; which makes me uncomfortable.

However, the opening is an excellent one. I think it is the best opening of this cour regarding the traditional anime opening.

anime, game

An After Recording

Last month, I supported casting and recording of an ‘ahureko (after recording in Japanese).’ It is always fun to work with professional voice actresses and actors. 48 voice actresses/actors (including Tomoyo Kurosawa who won the best lead actress of the year) participated in the recording.

Some are very famous ones, and some are my first time to meet. It is my pleasure to see a new face is finding their place. It was three years ago that I had the first chance to participate in an ahureko and many are students at that time. But I could meet two (three in casting) of them who act as regular voice actresses at this event.

Before starting a recording, I usually imagine a voice; expect another character she/he acted before. When I come to meet with ‘the character’ across the wall, it always thrills me. But sometimes I meet with a very unexpected voice, and it is another pleasure of discovering an unknown world. I always appreciate them all for supporting the culture of animes and games that I loved through my life.

anime

Personal Anime Wrap-up 2017 C3/C4

I usually wrap up my impression about animes at the end of each quarter. But in 2017, I couldn’t do that well due to my health condition – although the primary cause must be my laziness. So I’m going to wrap up my report this time. This article is my log about animes of the second half of 2017 (C3, C4) that I’ve watched (not on-aired).

Personal Best:

Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend b (冴えない彼女ヒロインの育てかた b)

http://www.saenai.tv/

This was not my best until two weeks ago, but it comes to my best at the last minute. I’m the fan of the 1st season of this show and ‘Kimiiro Signal (君色シグナル)’ – the OP of the 1st season – is still one of my favorite numbers. But I thought it just as a trite love-comedy and its selling point was just awkward eye-line that lands around the absolute-territory. I should’ve been ashamed to pick this one but this second season got out of my secret closet and became the best.

Why? It touched my inside as a creator. It tells what is to be a creator and what is creating something we really love. We usually create something just for a living, and in many cases, we should consider the return on investment; there is always a moment of ‘enough.’ However, rarely we have a time that we should invest everything we have in something, and that’s the moment we break out of our own cell, achieve something and grow up. The agony and passion of characters were real, and it reminded me of my own days as a creator. This season presented the moment ideally. So, I cannot but choosing this one.

The runner-up:
Princess Principal (プリンセス・プリンシパル)

The imaginary early 20th century of London themed with a magical sense and… spies; it must be my favorite setting. And the studio is ‘Actas’ of ‘Girls und Panzer,’ which should be a certified check that the characters of this show are attractive and have their own personalities. It was my best of this time until I’ve seen ‘Saekano b.’

The organization of episodes is brilliant. The first episode shows its maximum charm of this show: the perfect characters, the team, and twists of the story at the end. From the second episode, it showed the background of each character one by one with unordered episodes; much like the organization of the 1st season of ‘The Melancholy Haruhi Suzumiya.’

But I have a regret that the atmosphere of the show is a little lighter than I expected. I’m not sure about the reason. I think the words and settings are comprehensive and well written. Although the character design is cute, their inside is profound, and there is nothing short in the presentation of this. Maybe it is because the motion of characters is limited; although the directing of battle/action scene is great. Or, it might be the limitation of the TV anime.

I want to suggest you that watch this show in a row: from ep. 1 to 12 without rest. It must be a great journey with adorable characters; I bet it will not disappoint you. I really want to see another season. This show and those girls deserve more than 12 episodes.

 

Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni / 宝石の国)

I didn’t have any information about this show before I started; I had no idea about the original comics. But the casting couldn’t be better. Kurosawa, Tomoyo acts for Phosphophyllite (Phos for short) – the main heroine and the others are all with the AAA voice actresses and an actor of these days.

The first 3 episodes were disappointing. The 3D graphics (yes, this is an almost full 3D animation) looked like out of date. Sometimes, the voice of Phos was floating; it didn’t sound like an anime character’s voice. However, Phos is growing up as the episodes go. Her quivering voice is the hint of her complicated character. The over-simplified 3D graphics make us more immersed in the story, and it enables the fantastic action scenes; the camera movement and the motion of characters in the battle scene are marvelous.

This show is a greedy queen; it doesn’t give up either of characters and storyline. There are tens of various jewel characters who have their own personality (and hardness). With getting an exciting story, I cannot wait for the next season, or I might grab the original comics.

 

Girl’s Last Tour (少女終末旅行)

I always love to watch a road-movie of girls (e.g., The Rolling Girls). It would be hard to imagine the apocalyptic setting of this show if you see those lovely two heroines. Chito and Yuuri are on their journey to survive. Although the environment is desperate (lack of food, water, and fuels), they are not frustrated. But it is not a kind of an iron will. It is compliance and sympathy with the world.

Sympathy is the central theme of this show, and it makes this show great to me. It is different from Kino’s Journey which has only cynical and depreciatory stance to others.

 

Animegataris (アニメガタリズ)

There have been many animes telling about anime (and otaku) itself in these days. I thought that it is just another. The storyline is typical and (frankly) a little annoying. But from episode 11, everything is changing. I believe that if it is the real story the production team wants to tell, it should come earlier (maybe around episode 3 or 4).

Even in those first 10 episodes, it is fun. The humor codes are good overall, and the service scenes of Yui (c.v. Takahashi, Rie) are severe than just great; it might be an antithesis of the rhetorics in anime.

The character design and drawing are great. I could hardly imagine this quality from an unfamiliar studio – WAO World. But it made sense to me when I got to know that it is the studio of ‘Time Travel Girl.’

 

Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter (Wake Up, Girls! 新章)

I love WUG more than Lo… Anyway, there were 2 cancelations, and I don’t like the character design of this season. There were some still to be desired.

However, this season shows the growth of the franchise: it does not rely on funny service scenes anymore. Drawings are stable over the whole season – the age of Tange-san looks… consistent now anyway, and the lives are now 3D (although this is not my preference) and smooth. I can see the growth of characters and the real girls (voice actresses). That’s the reason that I always cannot but supporting them.

 

Himouto! Umaru-chan R (干物妹!うまるちゃん R)

Umaru was the Umaru. I think this season more concentrated on the growth of characters than the comedy part. Depending on only the himouto concept must be difficult. But I don’t have any objection to it. I’m just happy to watch them. Hope Ebina win her love.

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (僕の彼女がマジメ過ぎる処女ビッチな件)

Recently, Yuuki-san (one of my favorite voice actress these days) seems to try an image change. I think it is smart movement because it will expand her coverage a lot. However, it is hard for me to stick with this show. Partly because it is hard to accept her change, but more was just it was not fun. The setting was unique, but characters were a little rhetoric. However, the radio show of this anime on Onsen site is worth for listening. (http://www.onsen.ag/program/majimesugiru/ )