Room 208

Elaborate Burn

Posts from #anime

A quantitative reckoning of Koyomi Araragi’s effectiveness as a protagonist, by ‘Monogatari Series’ arc

So one day I was sitting around, thinking that Monogatari Series seems to have one of the most useless main characters, well, ever. In terms of making his friends’ lives better, at least, even if he is a premier source of banter and horrifying losses of bodily integrity. In fact, Araragi seems to be the source of his friends’ troubles more often than not.

Well, what better way to test this hypothesis than with numbers? We’ll give Araragi one point for every arc where the solution wouldn’t have happened without him, and take one away in each case where the problem et cetera as above. I’ll go in anime order.

Hitagi Crab +1
Araragi introduces Senjougahara to Oshino. Let’s give him some credit.
Mayoi Snail +1
None of the arc would happen without Araragi skulking around the park trying to avoid his family, and Hachikuji finally gets home and stops being so angry. Yes, Araragi isn’t very helpful when it comes to actually finding the place, but let’s not nitpick.
Suruga Monkey –1
Not only would there be no problem in the first place but for Araragi, but his new girlfriend also has to save him from literal disembowelment.
Nadeko Snake +1
You could loosely argue that Nadeko’s infatuation with Araragi is an indirect cause of the conflict, but it’s not essential.
Tsubasa Cat –1
See Suruga Monkey, above, except replace “new girlfriend” with “new vampire shadow familiar.”
Karen Bee
Araragi doesn’t do much here.
Tsukihi Phoenix
Or here!
Tsubasa Family +1
Eh, well, Araragi kind of solves the problem with his sword fuckery.
Tsubasa Tiger –1 +1
Jealousy again, but at least Araragi shuts this one down hard.
Mayoi Jiangshi –1 +1
Fucks up the world, then unfucks it.
Nadeko Medusa –1
Definitely number one on the list of Araragi fuckups.
Shinobu Time –1
Araragi’s basically the sole reason Hachikuji sticks around for so long, and he refuses to let her pass on until the very end. Big minus.
Hitagi End
This arc is just the tail end of Nadeko Medusa. Though it’s tempting, it’s not really fair to penalize Araragi for the same thing twice.
Suruga Devil
No, Araragi’s little pep talk in the middle doesn’t count as essential.
Yotsugi Doll –1
I barely even remember what happens in this arc, but I do know it’s Araragi’s fault.
Ougi Formula
I guess Araragi could have spoken up, but why put that responsibility solely on him?
Sodachi Riddle –1
You were supposed to notice sad Oikura in the corner!
Sodachi Lost
Araragi doesn’t solve the problem. Really, nothing gets solved. This is a pretty tragic, difficult arc.
Shinobu Mail –1 +1
Jealousy yet again! Araragi really knows how to step on some toes, but at least he’s learning how to fix things.
Koyomi Vamp +1
This arc is a pretty clear victory for Araragi. Well, if you ignore Hanekawa getting kidnapped, which he solves, so let’s call that part a wash.
Total –9 +8 = –1

Hm. Uh… well, guess I was right.

The back-end theory

Video games have more than their share of, let’s say, unrealistically well-endowed female characters. The common refrain invoked in defense of these character designs is that the depictions of men as tall, trim, and muscled are no closer to the truth. Usually, the counterargument then proceeds to how the physical traits given to male characters are reasonable in most settings, while those given to females are have no such justification and can only be explained by sexual objectification, and so on.

I’d like to present Keijo!!!!!!!! as a different sort of rebuttal. It takes the “T&A is just the feminine version of buff” line of thought to its logical conclusion, by putting on shounen calling-your-attacks fights that exclusively use those breasts and buttocks. In this world, a woman can launch an opponent dozens of meters in the air with just her butt and the right training. This is, however, clearly not the case in reality. It follows that the aforementioned depictions of men and women are not unrealistic in the same way, at least not in the world we as the viewers live in.

So, yeah, QED or whatever.

Japan Statistics Bureau: Nearly 100% of Anime Voice Actors Without Obviously Accented English Remain Jobless

CHIYODA, Tokyo, Japan — Employment opportunities for anime voice actors with native-sounding English continued to hover near zero in the month of October, according to figures released Friday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Jobs numbers remained stubbornly low in spite of government initiatives targeted at the hiring of competent English speakers, including the addition of characters who “basically screamed for someone with better English than a potato,” according to an anonymous source inside the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

In one prominent failure, the role of Kouki Saiki, a Japanese returnee from an English-speaking country in this season’s WWW.Working!!, ended up going to voice actor Yoshimasa Hosoya, whose English has a distinctly Japanese flavor. “For this to happen when Saiki’s native language was explicitly changed to English, from the Web manga’s original Korean, is nothing short of a complete repudiation of the program. It’s as if no one in the industry cares,” said Kenzou Takamiya, professor of labor studies at Tokyo University.

The Statistics Bureau expects the hiring of VAs who don’t need a katakana reference for English text to remain low in the coming months, especially given the now-likely demise of the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, or TPP. Provisions in the TPP would have lowered barriers to work visas for Japanese Americans seeking voice roles in anime, but the election of the staunchly anti-trade Donald Trump as president of the United States has effectively closed the possibility of the deal’s ratification.

Reaction from English-speaking anime fans has been muted, with some expressing disbelief that voice actors’ Japanglish was ever a concern. “I don’t think I’ve ever noticed,” said 33-year-old Kent Wentworth of Toledo, Ohio. “I mean, it all sounds like Japanese to me. I’m too busy reading the subtitles to really pay attention to their voices anyway.”

Shows I thought were cool in 2015

It’s been too long, but I don’t really have much to say, so let’s have another list like I did two years ago. Maybe this time with some more words.

In approximate order from best to even better.

See you in 2017! You should watch Erased, because unless it totally squibs its ending, it’s going to be on this list then.

Also, I guess I lied about not having much to say.

We learned yesterday that voice actress Miyu Matsuki passed away from pneumonia last week at the age of 38. It’s a bit irresponsible to reduce someone with a résumé like hers down to a single role, but for me she left her greatest mark as the youthful, often-indiscreet homeroom teacher Yoshinoya in Hidamari Sketch. I can’t imagine anyone else bringing the character to life with quite the same irrepressible energy that made such an impression over four seasons and a handful of OVAs.

There’s this weird, conflicted feeling I get whenever I hear that a performer whose work I enjoy has suddenly died. Along with the wish that they hadn’t gone so soon is a little voice in the back of my head that tells me how callous it is to want someone to stay alive solely so they can continue to toil for my entertainment. It goes without saying, but that’s the only way I really knew Matsuki, as a disembodied voice on the other side of a television or computer screen. There’s a world of difference between that and the shock and grief of the people who have actually worked with her.

At the same time, I think Matsuki’s work was, like any other form of artistic performance, in part an expression of who she herself was, and it seems fair to wish that she had more time to do that through her voice acting. One should always be wary of reading too far into any similarities between actors and their characters, but I will note that, like Yoshinoya, Matsuki never wed and had more than enough vitality for someone half her age.

Matsuki’s final post to her blog reads, in part, “When I get over this illness, I’ll get married this time for real!” One of the last roles I heard Matsuki in before she died was Chimo, the cheerful proprietor of a local favorite okonomiyaki restaurant in Tamayura. In the most recent of the current ongoing series of OVAs, Chimo announces that she’s getting engaged. Matsuki is no longer with us to see her wedding.

Rest in peace, Ms. Matsuki. You will be missed.

Whoever wins, we lose
Noragami Aragoto episode 3.
Working!!! (season 3) episode 13.
Disconnected thoughts on the Psycho-Pass film
Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider (Japanese)
I’m pretty sure Ore Monogatari!! is just an excuse for the anim…
The Artistic World of Bakemonogatari
2014 anime, the less-bulleted edition, part 2
2014 anime, the less-bulleted edition, part 1
Lies, damned lies, and statistics, part III. This graph is bas…
There is apparently only one supermarket in SHAFT-land: ef: a t…
I’ve been a little short on things to do this holiday season, s…
Silver linings: 'Psycho-Pass 2'
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki, episode 12. This show has decisively un…
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki, episode 9. I tried some image compositi…
Today in screencaps: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki, episode 7.
Tonari no Seki-kun, episode 24 (the second DVD extra).
Play to the tune of the 1812 Overture. Is the Order a Rabbit?,…
What's the story, Wishbone?
Nisekoi episode 15.
Caffeine has a dark side. Is the Order a Rabbit?, episode 3.
“Madoka: Rebellion” for C programmers
Ah, Manga Time Kirara adaptations, you’re always there for me w…
While we’re on the subject of noitaminA, the block’s been celeb…
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It’s just like one of those old-timey zoetrope films. Silver S…
Download video Anime opening and closing sequences are usuall…
Congratulations, Hachiken. Silver Spoon season 2, episode 5.
@mnxmnkmnd writes: What was SHAFT when Lain came out? I r…
SHAFT ought to apply for a patent or trademark or something on …
Lies, damned lies, and statistics, part II. This graph covers …
From about 16½ minutes into the Steins;Gate film.
@spinor writes: Interesting that From the New World showed …
2013 anime, the
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  • Kiki’s Delivery Service, about an hour and 15 minutes in.
    I watched the first episode of Beyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no …
    FIGURE 8.16: Humans generally exhaust their execution stack muc…
    Serial Experiments Lain Director Ryutaro Nakamura Passes Away
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    It’s clear from even a cursory viewing that a lot of talented p…
    Yuyushiki episode 11. Nobody likes you, background gradient!
    Yuzuko finally had her inevitable psychotic break. She shall be…
    Aiura episode 11, in case you thought Yuyushiki was the only an…
    And so we have a Patema Inverted commercial, with a concrete Ja…
    Yuyushiki GIF Theater, episode 10.
    The Yuyushiki disc releases come with a series of one-minute ex…
    Yuyushiki episode 9. I’ve been desperately trying to avoid tur…
    A different house of leaves
    Let me be blunt – my near-total inability to drop anything, no …
    Yuyushiki episode 7. Dithering is hell.
    Yuyushiki episode 6. I’m not even half done watching it yet.
    Yuyushiki episode 6.
    Oreimo season 2, episode 6. Don’t let him out of those handcuf…
    Poor Yukari, pt. 2, also from Yuyushiki episode 5. Fairly triv…
    Yuyushiki episode 5. Poor Yukari.
    Yuyushiki episode 4. This show is proving to be a veritable go…
    Yasuhiro Yoshiura's Patema Inverted Anime Film to Premiere at Annecy
    Imagine you’re walking down the street, and you run into a larg…
    Also from Yuyushiki episode 3. I did some fiddling with ImageMa…
    From Yuyushiki episode 3. This scene was actually animated on o…
    There’s something to be said for how relaxed Aiura manages to f…
    From the Yuyushiki ACE 2013 preview.
    A sample of proposals for anime SI units
    Incidentally, symbolism.
    After the break: Wishes are dangerous, m’kay? @the-world-i…
    Psycho-Pass as the anti-Madoka, and why an anticlimactic ending…
    Keep it simple, stupid
    Wolf Children is simply breathtaking. I don’t know what to say …
    Shinobu goes horror B-movie. Chihayafuru season 2, episode 8.
    Star Observatory Spots Ultimate Madoka in Space
    [Chihaya’s] a girl who thinks about things in a way that makes …
    Dear A-1 Pictures, Okay, I know you were having fun with From …
    Sasami-san@ganbaranai Episode 1 Conjectures
    Also from Chihayafuru season 2, episode 1.
    Sumire goes on the hunt. Chihayafuru season 2, episode 1.
    Remember when SHAFT was constantly running out of money because…
    Lies, damned lies, and statistics
    Kokoro Connect’s first three arcs, the ones that made up its or…
    For those of you readers who are drinking the weekly anime rele…
    Tsukihi goes Gordon Freeman. Nekomonogatari Black episode 1.
    I have to say that this anime season has had a disappointing tr…
    Ow Ow Rikka-chan (Flash game)
    evangelion-open-source/CHANGELOG
    Fall 2012 anime theme hit list
    My Little Monster episode 6. Poor Natsume…
    Guys, guys, I already have enough trouble keeping Say “I love y…
    Someone give Chuunibyou’s director a raise. (Edit: Also, total…
    Wholly premature judgments on anime quality, fall 2012 edition
    My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun) is an odd beast, if …
    Three reasons Humanity Has Declined deserves your attention: …
    It may have a lot of flowers, but Natsuyuki Rendezvous is not a…
    Psycho-Pass Website Updated
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    Our poor protagonist’s sole confidant performs the ritual dance…
    An anonymous correspondent writes: Neon Genesis Evangelion.…
    @queentakesking-deactivated20121 writes: Serial Experiments…
    An anonymous correspondent writes: Humanity Has Declined …
    @spinor writes: Legend of the Galactic Heroes. STARDATE 2…
    Today on The Road to Faust: Send me the name of an anime series…
    “Miyuki Sawashiro is in everything,” part 76.
    Observations from episode 9 of Humanity Has Declined: …
    At this rate, Miyuki Sawashiro will be in every single show I’m…
    I think this arc just inoculated me against long buildups to ba…
    You had me at “Miyuki Sawashiro plays a sardonic female lead.” …
    A quick reminder of the anime I’m watching this season, in desc…
    And this we call “Bollywood Has Declined.”
    An extra scene that was left out of Crunchyroll’s release of Hu…
    And we have the second straight episode where something that or…
    The first thing we do, let's fire all of marketing
    So I’m watching Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimash…
    Kids on the Slope, briefly: Started out well, hit some rough pa…
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    Like sardines in a crushed tin box
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    Chihayafuru Anime's 2nd Season to Launch
    noitaminA has been on such a roll lately that I’ve been keeping…
    All the Small Things: Cinematography in Sankarea
    Nazuna saves the day once again. Working!! (first season) episo…
    Patema Inverted "Beginning of the Day" 2nd PV
    Really, Hiroki? Working directory in your $PATH? Come on, man.
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    Misaki’s new best friend, from Tsuritama episode 3. I was goin…
    Winter 2012 capsule reviews
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    Sentence first, verdict afterwards
    Ryuuko practices her man-to-man defense. Denpa Onna to Seishun…
    Usagi Drop (i.e. still the best anime of 2011) episode 8.5.
    Minami-ke Confirmed for Fourth Season
    It’s funny how Guilty Crown gets so much better when it forgets…
    Chihayafuru episode 23.
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    Run, Miya, run! Amagami SS+ episode 9. I sincerely apologize t…
    By request of @unyieldingsteel, Mato’s embarrassed sway from si…
    Observations from episode 8 of Nisemonogatari: Senjoug…
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    Sakasama no Patema
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    Tsuritama
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