The Otakusphere: Good romances, bad detectives and realism

Good morning or afternoon or evening or whatever time it may be for everyone out there in Internet-land. It’s Sunday here in my corner of the hinterlands, so it’s time for another trip around The Otakusphere.

I have finally done it. I have achieved my second shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and it has left me feeling a tad under the weather this weekend. Mostly a little light-headed, but nothing worse than seasonal allergies. So if you’re feeling on the fence about it, that has been my experience.

That said, I just wrapped up watching the first season of Honey and Clover again, and it’s still excellent. For a show where little changes by the end of the show, it’s a nice trip through the lives of five young adults.

So I’m going to start today off with my favorite opening from the show, and it’s not the one that involves live-action bicycles.

So let’s go.

I’ve been on something of a romantic comedy kick lately. I watched My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU and Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a fan of that reverse Pygmalion story where the main male character gets reformed.

One of those stories that I came across as I searched out new shows to watch was Komi Can’t Communicate. The Overage Otaku over at Confessions of an Overage Otaku put together an interesting post about the first two volumes of the manga. It highlights one of the problems that I’ve noticed with some of these shows. The most compelling character is often not the main lead.

In Tomozaki, in particular, Hinami is far more interesting than the classmate she is grooming, especially when we get to those last couple of episodes. That is why I hope there is a second season of that show.

I will be disappointed if we don’t see one

Talking about a pair of surprising reviews of potentially problematic shows — Jonah’s Rants took on After the Rain and The Little Anime Blog took on Higehiro.

To be honest, just based on the premises alone, I would probably avoid these shows like they’re rancid stew. But the fact that they seem to avoid the pitfall of having an older character hook up with a much, much younger girl makes me feel better.

To be fair, I probably would be more comfortable if the woman was in her 20s, but with the female lead being in her teens always seems like a red flag. I’m glad to know that in these cases, they don’t seem to be.

Now let’s go from not judging a book by its cover to literally not judging a book by its cover.

For months I have been seeing the cover of Your Turn to Die every time I open up Right Stuf. Beyond featuring manga hot girl, I really couldn’t figure out what it was about. It was one of those cases where I needed something more than just a cover to sell it to me. Well, that is where Al’s Manga Blog comes in. Because she put together a review of Your Turn to Die.

Honestly, I feel like I’m a sucker for most kinds of storylines. But I do like the idea of characters being magically whisked away to a place where their lives are literally on the line with no real explanation, a la Gantz and Danganronpa.

Talking about things I love. Have I ever mentioned how much I like hard-boiled detective stories or just detective stories in general? I’m pretty sure I’ve said that.

Disco Elysium takes everything I love out of those kinds of stories (the characters, setting, and plot) and turns it into a game. The list of games that I’ve finished is relatively short, and Disco Elysium is on that list.

Jon Spencer over at Jon Spencer Reviews put together an unusual review that hones in on one of the more unusual aspects of the game. The fact that you can really shape your character. My first playthrough was as a boring, sad cop, but I’ve thought about playing as a Superstar cop just because it might be fun.

Anyway, it’s good stuff. Go check it out.

Also, I love the art in this game.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m not good at fashion. As with most people who are of above-average height, I’m just glad when I can find clothing that fits and doesn’t make me look like a sausage. Those are my two requirements for clothing.

Like many things I don’t understand, I do find it fascinating. Jessi Silver’s exploration of Gothic Lolita fashion over at Season 1, Episode 1 is no exception. I always thought it had some relationship with Lolita, but, evidently, it doesn’t. I’m always glad to learn something new.

And I understand using clothing as armor. My wife has told me a similar thing as well.

Talking about learning something new. The last place I expected to learn something new was in a post about Space-time Detective Genshi-kun. The screenshots reminded me of Pokemon, so I thought this was a Pokemon show that dealt with Dracula for a second.

I didn’t expect to get a full-on history lesson about Vlad Tepes or the etymology of Dracula. That is what I got over at Anime Madhouse, courtesy of Fiddletwix. Really, go for the weird Pokemon visuals, and stay to learn more about everyone’s favorite warlord.

Let’s keep this learning train going; why don’t we?

Fred over at This is my place has an interesting post about how he added solar power to his home. Personally, solar energy fascinates me because, for the past 10 years, it’s always seemed like it’s on the verge of becoming huge. Something like this service could expand its reach far enough to make that a possibility.

On a side note, did you know that it was Ash’s birthday on Saturday? Yes. Ash from Pokemon has a birthday, and people pay attention to it. Thanks to the Spooky Redhead for pointing that out.

So Moya over at The Moyatorium…

OK. Let’s stop here for a second. The Moratorium is my favorite name for a blog ever. Not just because I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time with actual moratoriums, but because it’s such an excellent play on words. Is Moya in a moratorium? Are Moyatoriums different than moratoriums?

I’m a fan.

Anyway, Moya put together a post about how she constructs posts. Whether they need to be in opposition to a widely held point of view, disagree with yourself or if you can write a post agreeing with a commonly held opinion.

I said this in a comment, but many of my opinion pieces are about how I disagree with a point of view, or at least my take on the point of view. Personally, if I don’t have anything different to say, then I just leave it to other people who have said it better.

Granted, it could just show up on the Otakusphere too.

And if you’re getting stuck for content, Leeks Plays put together this handy list of blog topic ideas. Many of the prompts are gaming-focused, but it wouldn’t take much to turn them into anime-focused posts.

I feel like I’ve mentioned Scott over at Mechanical Anime Reviews for a couple weeks now, but when you’re on a hot streak, you’re on a hot streak. Well, he introduced one of the subjects I’m interested in as far as storytelling. How realistic does realistic need to be?

I have several thoughts about this, but none of them are really developed. First, nothing frustrates me more than when a character breaks with everything they have been doing to suddenly become a different person in service to the plot. In this case, I’m more concerned about consistency than I am about realism.

On the other hand, if a character demonstrates a pathological level of mental illness, and everyone acts like, “Oh. They’re fine,” well, I give up on that story. I’m tired of beating up on Kanon, so I won’t.

For me, it has a lot to do with the expectation created by the story. I expect far more realism from something like Honey and Clover than I do from Back Arrow.

Maybe it’s worth actually writing a post about this.

And almost finally, let’s talk about nice guys. Karandi, over at 100 Word Anime, put together a post about how nice guys can make engaging characters in anime. To be honest, I think they can make interesting characters anywhere.

What I think happens, though, is that it takes more work to make a “nice” guy enjoyable. They aren’t edgy on their face. They don’t generate conflict. Often, they are the plot’s punching bag. A show needs to do more with them, like give them goals and problems and a reason to strive to get better.

Honestly, a well-crafted nice guy character could be more compelling than a boring character.

Finally, I couldn’t close out this week and not mention the news that rocked the Otakusphere. Kentaro Miura, the mangaka of Berserk, died at the age of 54. He worked on Berserk for more than 30 years. While I haven’t followed the manga, it’s been part of my experience with anime fandom for more than two decades.

The impact it had on people is immense. I’ve heard several stories of people who used the manga as a way for them to get through tough times. Here are posts from Ogiue Maniax, KS Blogs and The Blog of a Kami that’s an Otaku.

So that is everything that I have for this week. Just remember everyone to be good, be careful, and learn a lot, not necessarily in that order.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

8 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Good romances, bad detectives and realism

  1. Thanks for the share! Yes, Moya is always in a moratorium, thanks for asking. I’d like to think a moyatorium is a type of moratorium – but what is it? “I don’t know” must be the only acceptable answer to such an identity question.

    And After the Rain is amazing! I’ve only read the manga, but I think you’ll enjoy the story.

  2. Great links and comments as always. I know the feeling about mentioning the same blog over-and-over. I’ve not linked to Irina a couple times because I had just linked to her on a previous post. Although I guess I should just do it and not worry about it!

    The comment about Moya’s blog name actually got me thinking about I never stick to a name, haha. At least that resulted in idea for a post, so thanks!

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