The Otakusphere: Crime dramas, travelogues and what you should be watching

Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are, or whenever you are. It’s Sunday here in my section of the hinterlands, so it’s time again for another trip around The Otakusphere.

This has been a pretty decent week for me. I randomly finished up the second season of Honey and Clover for a second time. I’m probably going to write something longer about the series because I still think it’s an unusual love story or, at the very least, an unusual story about love.

But I have to say that I really like the opening song for this season, so I will share that with you, but before I do, I have to talk about a whole list of openings. K at the Movies recruited me and some others to help with a list of the 100 “worst” anime openings of all time. The video was released this week, and you can find it here.

Go watch it. And give Japanese Tom Waits some justice.

Anyway, here is some music. Let’s get our motors going and go on a cruise around the Otakusphere.

OK. Everyone is telling me what shows people are sleeping on this season. Whether it’s Super Cub, Those Snow White Notes, Odd Taxi or, maybe, 86, everyone believes what show people should be talking about more. Well, I am no different. I think people should be talking about Back Arrow more.

Back Arrow is Goro Taniguchi back to form in a show about yelling your dialogue, believing in yourself and beating the structures that hold you down. The giant robots in this show are literally made up of “conviction” particles. Yes. They are made up of HEART! How could I not love this show?

Anyway, I am not alone in my love for this show. Russell over at Space Kaleidoscope pointed out that the fans of giant robots delivering justice are getting what they want in the form of robot-punching action. He talks about both Back Arrow and SSSS. Dynazenon. The latter is a show that I really want to watch, because I like SSSS. Gridman.

Along with Back Arrow and 86, the other seasonal anime I have been watching has been Odd Taxi. While I’m a little cooler on the most recent episodes, I think the show brings Elmore Leonard energy to anime. If you don’t know who Elmore Leonard is, well, trust me, you most likely have seen something that he has written. He was the original author of Get Shorty and Jackie Brown (originally named Rum Punch.)

While it’s something that has been part of American cinema for a long time, this kind of crime story is not that usual for anime. Yes, there is Durarara!! and Baccano! but I can’t think of too many other shows like those.

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I really enjoyed this write-up about Episode 7 of Odd Taxi by Jessi Silver over at Season 1, Episode 1. I think it gets at some of the show’s themes, especially that all of these characters are not who they initially appear to be.

Talking about things I actually know about, I bought the Spring 2021 manga bundle from Humble Bundle way back at the beginning of the season. The first five volumes of Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagotaro were among the ones in there. So, looking for something fun to read, I started in, and I have to say, it’s a good manga.

It’s not nearly as mean-spirited as I was afraid it would be, and some parts are actually cute and heart-warming.

That said, I haven’t watched the anime yet, but it seems like it follows it reasonably close, at least according to this write-up of Episode 8 from sesameacrylic over at Rabujoi.

Finally, let’s talk about a show I want to watch but haven’t gotten around to — Those Snow White Notes. The Otaku Exhibition had this post that mentioned how the show has inspired an interest in shamisen. What was interesting is that the author mentioned Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinguu, which I did recently finish. So I found myself interested in hunting down videos of people performing rakugo to see what they look like now.

I remember seeing a few posts floating around when Descending Stories was coming out that had videos of modern day rakugo performances, but I haven’t gone and looked for those.

Moving on from talking about seasonal anime to talking about video games.

I will admit that I have a mixed relationship with mobile gaming. Mobile gaming is what I do when I’m listening to books or music and need something else to focus on. I’m certainly not throwing shade at mobile games. They are great, but they are not experiences that require 100 percent of my focus.

But maybe that is changing? I found this post about Apple Arcade from Nonplayer Girl interesting. She really went into the somewhat new future of mobile games. Granted, a lot of the ports of classic games have been on mobile devices for a while. I still think the phone might be the best place to play Final Fantasy 6.

Go check out her take on the state of mobile gaming.

Talking about strange new games, Leeks Plays had a write-up about a new battle royal that brings forest and farm critters into the fray. Right now, Super Animal Royale is available on XBOX and Steam.

If anthropomorphic animals shooting each other in a 2-D battlefield sounds good to you, then go check out the post.

So I don’t talk about Matteo Watzky’s posts over at Animetudes enough. A few months back, he set out on a series about famed animator Yoshinori Kanada. To be honest, I’m still a neophyte when looking at animation, but I am impressed by the amount of work that went into these posts. This one about Shin’ya Ohira is no different.

So on to the pretty pictures portion of this post.

I’ve previously pointed out that I have a weakness for travelogue posts. Well, I’ve got a couple of posts that provide two very different tours of places I’ll never get to visit.

This post from Resurface to Reality brings us to Karatsu, which I gather is featured heavily in the Zombieland Saga series. What I can say is that it’s beautiful. I’ve lived in several parts of the U.S., so I’ve gotten to see various landscapes, but the ones in Japan do have an air of being unusual.

In particular, I really liked the terraced rice fields. Those are really neat.

And in an unusual travelogue, jdrayas takes us to a Manila Internet cafe/ hobby store. It’s interesting to see what is readily available in hobby stores in other parts of the world. I have come across stores that sell models and toys, but never one with cells from anime.

That is unusual.

OK. Back to talking about anime.

I really need to watch more Satoshi Kon films. Every time I hear someone talk about his work, they seem right up my alley. The same is true about Perfect Blue. Ashley over at The Review Heap put together this review of the 1997 Satoshi Kon thriller.

To be honest, his write-up really reminded me of the Richard Linklater adaptation of A Scanner Darkly. Just a weird reality-bending story about people kind of going crazy.

See right up my alley.

Just to throw in another Satoshi Kon review. Takuto’s Anime Cafe put together this video reviewing Kon’s Christmas movie, Tokyo Godfathers. I don’t know if it’s really a Christmas movie, but I know that it gets talked about a lot during Christmastime.

From Satoshi Kon, let’s talk about Wedding Peach.

One of my favorite magical girl and giant robot aficionados, LitaKino, put together this post about the 90s cheesiness that is Wedding Peach. I haven’t delved into mahou shoujo as a genre, so I don’t really have any opinions about it. Other than it looks marvelously silly.

From LitaKino, let’s go to a whole new world and visit Tiger, who has just returned from a hiatus. Hi Tiger!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried any of the new brand of isekai. It just rings too much of empty wish-fulfillment to me. But that isn’t to say other people shouldn’t enjoy it, and Tiger certainly makes a case for what makes good isekai.

Maybe, I should give one of these shows a shot.

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On a more serious note, I want to share this post from BiblioNyan about their struggles with ADHD and reading. I want to share this post in case there is anyone out there that this might help.

On a different note, let’s finish up with a couple of fun posts — one useful and one less so.

In the day of virtual cons, where anyone can attend from the comfort of their own computer, it is nice to see them start to bring musical acts into the fold. Anime Pad provided this announcement about the musical acts coming to Aniplex Online, and there are some relatively big names there. Like people I actually know.

And on to a fun one, we have this list of the top 10 rock-paper-scissors battles in anime from Sae with a K. The best one, of course, comes from Kaiji, which turned Rock Paper and Scissors into a life and death matter. Because, well, Kaiji.

That is all I have for this week. If you can, please check out one of these posts. It would really make my day. You want to make my day, right?

Until next week, remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot, but not necessarily in that order.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

10 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Crime dramas, travelogues and what you should be watching

  1. Hi Iniksbane! Thanks for including my post hehe. Isekai is great, but I do think that there are much better anime out there. So you’re not missing too much.

    I loved that top 10 rock-paper-scissors battle list as well! It’s nice to see posts that reflect how much fun a writer had writing.

    Great stuff as always and thank you for your effort in these.

    1. I might just be biased too. I am scared of new things and I want all of my anime to either feature an interesting love story or giant robots evidently. 🙂

    1. That’s right. It’s time for The Otakusphere to bring a little bit of joy into everyone’s life. And no problem. I was glad to see a post about mobile gaming. Even I overlook it.

  2. Thanks! 🙂

    I think you would enjoy ‘Perfect Blue’ absolutely. Probably most of his work if you haven’t already seen a few?

    ‘Odd Taxi’ sounds ace, I will have to keep an eye out for a release one day!

    1. Really Kon is kind of a blind spot for me. I’ve seen Paranoia Agent, which I loved, but I haven’t seen any of his movies.

      Odd Taxi is really good. I think if you like those crime dramas where you follow multiple characters to an eventual conclusion, then it’s the show for you. Other than Elmore Leonard, it reminds me of Guy Ritchie, only not a comedic.

      1. Ace, I will keep it on the list, sounds very much like something I’d enjoy then 🙂

        Cool! Hope you like them if you get the chance 😀 ‘Paranoia Agent’ is fascinating, I must watch it again soon – I was surprised how much I liked the relay structure too.

    1. No one expects The Otakusphere. I just show up and spread love.

      But really, it’s always neat to see how fandoms and general geekiness exists in other countries. Thanks for sharing.

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