Aldnoah Zero: ToroKen vs. Hanaho, Round 2!!

Credit: Ono (posted on twitter)
Credit: Ono (posted on twitter). And yes, he’s wearing a ‘Vers jacket’…in the sense that he chose it specifically because it looked like one…

This took place at a talk event (in Ikebukuro, IIRC) on November 15. There was very little new information revealed at the event, just that the dubbing had started for the second season, though apparently Hanae hadn’t heard about it… (^_^;;)

But the fun stuff was fun. They reveal the plot of the “Aldnoah Academy” drama CD (DVD/BD vol. 4) etc, and Hanae and Ono probably set the 90% female audience cheering and swooning with some of their banter in the different talk corners and quizzes. The most amusing one was where they were asked to think of lines that would make the princess happy…

Hanaho (looking up at the sky): Good morning, Seylum. What would you like for breakfast – an omelette roll or scrambled eggs? Let’s have it together.

ToroKen: Princess Asseylum! When will you be returning to Mars? Oh, I see… Well, would you like a bath? Or perhaps dinner? Or would you like…me?*

Hanaho: Not fair!

*This comes from “The three choices for the newly-wed (新婚三択) upon returning home from work.” It’s pretty much a stock, cliched phrase that everyone jokes about nowadays. I’m sure many people have seen or heard variations of it – personally, I think the last time I heard it was on something Macross Frontier-related…AH! yes, it was on the radio show! Bobby ♥♥♥ !!

Chihayafuru Manga: Poem 138

And...continuing where we left off, with the confession...
And…continuing where we left off, with the confession…


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Chihayafuru Manga: Poem 137

And...a new year begins...
And…a new year begins…


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Silver Spoon: Itadakimasu!

At a certain agricultural school in Hokkaido...
At a certain agricultural school in Hokkaido…

Yūgo Hachiken decided to escape from the stressful school and home environment in the city by enrolling at Ōezo Agricultural High School. Unlike his peers who’ll eventually embark upon an agricultural career, he decides to study there only because he believes it’ll be less competitive academically. Unfamiliar with his new surroundings, he tries his best to adapt to the agricultural world he had never thought of living in. (Courtesy of ANN.

Gin-no-Saji_09-01 Gin-no-Saji_09-02
First world concerns…but that’s precisely why we need to consider them…

When I think about the two series of hers that I’ve read/seen, I find myself reflecting on how Arakawa Hiromu’s works deal with really interesting philosophical questions. Fullmetal Alchemist dealt with the value of things—the priceless value of ‘life’ was something that was introduced early on and reinforced throughout the series, but, as the ending of that series showed, working out how much value there is in something, whether something is worth doing, or whether a particular action should be taken or not, is not that simple. To obtain something, sacrifices often have to be made, and what the right choice is can be different for people in different situations. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji) deals with a similarly deep set of philosophical questions, one that most people probably do not consider often enough. Where does the food I eat come from? Have I placed enough value in the lives that have been used to sustain mine? Or in the hands that have brought that food to me? Is it right to be raising animals for food?

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Genshiken Nidaime: the winds of change

NB: Please note that this post is about the anime, not the manga…I will not be mentioning any plot developments that go beyond what the anime covered...
NB: Please note that this post is about the anime, not the manga…I will not be mentioning any plot developments that go beyond what the anime covered…

Back when it first came out, the original Genshiken hooked me almost straight off the bat. That was probably because the first season was of this show about otaku culture was focused almost solely on parts of it that I had little knowledge of, like Comiket and the cosplay culture. Let’s just say it was a learning opportunity, and one that continued with the OVA and the second season too, where I was introduced to some of the intricacies of fujoshi culture and a glimpse of what aspiring manga artists do. Whilst over the top at times, those characters all had traits I recognised in people I knew at the time, people I met at the few conventions I attended, and people I have come to know since then. After that, I didn’t think there would be other parts of the ACG subculture that I hadn’t really heard of, and besides, the Genshiken manga had ended, so surely we’d covered all important bases, right? Read more of this post

The current state of the Arab Spring through the lens of Psycho-Pass

Back in 2012-13, my involvement with the Psycho-Pass fandom on AS was a charged affair. The world and themes (whether actual or alleged) being what they were, the discussion was always going to be controversial. One thing that surprised me, however, was when a fellow poster indicated that I was being rather optimistic that the people could change the system without violence. I tend to think of myself as being rather cynical, or realistic. The impression I have of most people outside my field is that they are optimistic and even romantic about the outcomes of revolutions. Personally, I am not, largely because I work in a field where people are often quite cynical about how governments and countries really work. About how people really work. So whilst I was somewhat sad to find out that Egypt has apparently become “a police state more vigorous than anything we have seen since Nasser,” in no way was I surprised.

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Memories of 2013 part 9: Enemies, opponents and rivals

One thing I really enjoy about following a show closely is the language that it can teach me. The first series I remember fondly for this is Bakemonogatari, which taught me what in the world an “amateur virgin” was. Translating a certain drama CD back in the day also taught me a lot about how love is expressed differently in English and Japanese. Now, as I’m watching more Korean dramas, I’ve also finding the nuances of this particular aspect of human interaction fascinating. But to return to what I found to be the most contentious term this year, Taichi’s “teki” in episode 19 of Chihayafuru 2; whilst the debate over what is the correct interpretation has been really frustrating for me, I’m really glad that all the research I had to do has given me a much better grasp of how ‘enemy’, ‘opponent’ and ‘rival’ are expressed in Japanese. Care to have a gander?



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A second look at Usagi Drop…

One of the most interesting posts I’ve read on Usagi Drop, by errinundra on the ANN forums.


Please don’t click on this unless you already know what happens at the very end of this story.
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Chihayafuru: it’s all in the name…

One thing that seems to have popped up in shipping debates in Chihayafuru, especially after the second season, is how characters address each other. In particular, a few people interested in seeing more Arata x Shinobu bring up the fact that they are on a first name basis in a country where most people are not.


Let me just make a few observations here, starting from outside the world of Chihayafuru.

Whilst it is true, especially in major cities and amongst people who don’t know each other that well, for surnames to be used as the standard way of addressing another, there are a few exceptions. Amongst good school friends (usually of the same sex), it’s quite standard to be on first name basis, but there are certainly a few places where first names are also commonly used between boys and girls. One of these is Okinawa, where people usually took their surnames from localities, which resulted in many people having the same name. For example, there were four Miyazato-senseis at my school one year, so staff and students alike all referred to them and addressed them largely by their first names. As for the student body, we pretty much referred to them all by their first names. Most of the rest of Japan is a lot less ‘friendly’ than Okinawa in this sense, even in what are seemingly quite rural prefectures such as Ehime – I found out when I visited a former student there once – so even then, perhaps first names would be unusual in a place like Fukui.

But let’s look at what actually observe in Chihayafuru then. The scenes we get of interactions amongst Fukui people are quite few and far between, but we definitely see younger people like Arata address elders by their surnames, and older people address and refer to children by their first name. Perhaps Arata’s use of “Shinobu-chan” comes from his grandfather’s way of referring to her (see chapter 65, S2 episode 9). However, amongst friends of the same age group, they largely seemed to be on first name basis:


Chapter 66, S2 episode 9

Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the case back in middle school, when Shouji was crowing about beating Arata to Class A (chapter 22, S1 episode 13). But even more interestingly, whilst Shouji was still calling Arata “Wataya” at that point, Yuu knew him as “Shouji”! And we know that she is interested in Arata…

Even more telling though, in my opinion, is Arata himself as a child. I think most people remember when Arata decided to use Chihaya’s first name, back when he and Taichi were searching for her (chapter 2, S1 episode 2). However, do we remember when Arata first used Taichi’s first name? It wasn’t the snowball scene where he asked Chihaya to call him “Arata”. Rather, it was during the three vs. three karuta match at the Shiranami Society!

chapter 3, S1 episode 3

chapter 3, S1 episode 3

I found the latter example particularly interesting when I realised it a few days ago. In fact, Arata had been calling Taichi “Mashima” just a few moments before, when he’d taken the wrong long-shot card previously. And he didn’t change back after the end of the match: when the three of them decided to try for the team tournament a short while later, Arata observes “There’s no doubt that I’ll win, but Taichi and Chihaya, can either of you do the same?” In other words, Arata was calling Taichi and Chihaya by their first names long before they used his!

So, let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet, shall we? And if anyone could tell me what this aspect of Japanese society is actually like in different places around Japan (recall that in Sakamichi no Apollon / Kids on the Slope, Kaoru, Rit-chan and Sentarou all started addressing each other quite familiarly by the end of the first episode – even though Sentarou didn’t actually use “Kaoru” until much later), I’d be incredibly grateful.

“Three Noguchi Hideyos?”

Sometimes, I really wonder if God is just trying to tell me that I should drop everything and bury myself in learning Japanese, that it’s not too late to do so. This will be a little long-winded, so please bear with me.

As some of my posts here and on LJ demonstrate, I really like listening to episode commentaries of anime that I’ve watched and enjoyed. (It’s not just anime, admittedly, but I really haven’t found the time to sit down and go through all the commentaries of the few movies I pick up either…) But sometimes, I take forever to get through one series, whether because I have too many other things to watch, or because it’s usually not that interesting. But this time, this delay worked very well, as it had me putting off finishing Kimi to Boku until the following scene totally made sense to me.

But I wonder how much this said it's expensive, so...

But I wonder how much this is…you said it’s expensive, so…

Three Noguchi Hideos?

Three Noguchi Hideyos?

It's Three Fukuzawa Yukichis.

It’s Three Fukuzawa Yukichis.



Hands up who knows what that means?

Unless one is very curious – or has studied Japanese for quite a while – I think most people won’t even have heard of either name. Noguchi Hideyo was a Japanese bacteriologist who is now best remembered as the person who discovered the cause of syphilis. Fukuzawa Yukichi may be more familiar: he was the founder of Keio University and the author of “An Encouragement of Learning” – which some people might remember Hanekawa and Araragi discussing in the Bakemonogatari drama CD. Given the context though, I’m sure some people will have guessed correctly what this exchange actually meant. But if not, I hereby present…

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