The Otakusphere: Pride, Feelings and APPLE PICKING BEAM!

Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are in the world. By my count, today is Sunday, so it’s time to take another trip around The Otakusphere.

It’s been a pretty good week in my corner of the hinterlands. I’ve been watching Flowers of Evil, which has been on my shelf for about five or six years. And… I like it. I do have to put aside the feeling of dread as I watch Kasuga slowly go kind of crazy. I feel a bit like I’m watching Sid and Nancy.

Anyway, I’m not in love with the openings, but this is a rare case where I really like the disconcerting ending. So I’m going to share that with you as we start up our tour across The Otakusphere.

Be forewarned. I like weird stuff, and this is weird.

OK. Let’s go!

Talking about my strange musical tastes, well, a week ago or so, K posted up the compilation of a joint project where we rated the “Worst Anime OPs of All Time.” Well, I responded with my favorites.

NegativePrimes put up a list of his least favorite openings, and we have a bit of crossover. So if you want to see a different opinion of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi’s OP, that is right here.

I won’t say he’s wrong, just that I disagree with him. And APPLE PICKING BEAM!

So it’s Pride month, and as a hetero man, I don’t really have much to say. So the least I can do is celebrate other people’s attempts to share information and insight.

In particular, I liked this post from Irina. Now she doesn’t claim to be an expert, and she stays clear of value judgments, but I’m interested in how different anime fans’ image of Japan is compared to what the actuality is. Especially when it comes to the amount of yaoi and yuri material that comes out. Although there have been arguments about how yuri is more salacious than it helps portray actual lesbian relationships.

I will leave that to people better able to make those arguments.

Then we have We Be Bloggin’, who is starting to post every single day about LGBTQ+ characters and stories in anime, manga and more. You can read their introductory post right here.

Then in another post, AK over at Everything is Bad for You posted about the visual novel Highway of Blossoms, a yuri story based in America.

I really like road trip movies. I’ve taken enough of them to know that the reality of road trips is not exciting, but I like the idea of getting into a car and just heading in a direction.

That is what Highway of Blossoms is all about, or so it seems. And if you’re like me and bought last year’s itch.io bundle, well, you probably already picked it up. So it’s perhaps worth giving it a shot if you’re so inclined.

But if you’re looking to buy it, well, you might want to give the review a look.

Talking about mileage varying, I have been watching From the New World, along with everyone else from the #anitwitwatches crew.

This analysis from The Overage Otaku caught my eye. While I agree that Saki is a dove and Satoru is a hawk, I’m not sure if it creates enough tension to really drive the story. In fact, I’m not sure I would have thought about it if it wasn’t pointed out.

I’ve

I think most of the tension comes from the narration giving us hints that things will get much worse. So we spend a lot of time waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s my short and not well-developed analysis.

I have a lot of thoughts about that show, and I’m likely going to need to put them into a post. The short version is that From the New World is good, except for when it isn’t.

Yes. That is vaguely ominous — kind of like the show.

I don’t really have a good transition to this next post, so just pretend I said something witty and clever here.

HAHAHAHAHA. See. I’ll even supply my own laugh track.

Lynn Sheridan over at The Otaku Author made an interesting point about anime high school as it applies to Episode 60 of Fruits Basket. He noted that high school is one of the few times in our life where we will have daily social interaction with this many people.

I would add that it’s one of the last times we will have daily social interaction with people we don’t like. So even if you have one or two people in your workplace that you think are annoying, you can likely avoid or ignore them. Maybe in college, you have to interact with them, but you aren’t likely to be thrown together even then.

It was a point that I didn’t bring up in my own post about anime high school from a few weeks back, and I think it’s worth mentioning.

So going from one show with onion chopping ninjas (Lynn’s joke, not mine) to another show about feelings — March Comes in Like a Lion.

I wasn’t as big of a fan of the second season as the show moved away from Rei, but I do think this write-up from Otaku Central about episodes 17 and 18 brings up why I liked the first season so much. It really captures that feeling of playing a game and feeling wholly outmatched.

You just feel like no matter what move you make, it’s only going to lead you closer to your own doom. Just the fear of that has made me never want to play some games ever again. It’s like an existential dread.

Anyway, that was too serious. Let’s talk about kittens.

Yes. Al’s Manga Blog had a review for Wonder Cat Kyuu-Chan. This is the manga you need to chase away those dreaded blues and the feeling that you lack any worth. It is a story about a man who adopts an amazing cat with superpowers, but it is also a cat.

OK. I’m going to take a break here to do a little bit of self-promotion.

This week, I posted the second post of a new series called In Search Of… The idea is that I solicit recommendations from the community of anime to watch. All I ask is you take a little time to fill out this form.

My only warning is that if it’s a long-running series, I’m probably not going to watch 500 episodes of Naruto or One Piece. Anyway, no one wants to hear my opinions about those shows.

Between both rounds, I have about nine recommendations stocked up, but it would be nice to get a couple more in the basket. However, I have a feeling that once I cross a certain threshold, it will become self-sustaining.

Next time, I’m taking on Boogiepop Phantom. So look forward to that.

Anyway, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled Otakusphere.

I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I like video games. I’m not particularly good at video games, but I like them. Soul Calibur is one of those games that I’ve enjoyed ever since I came across a lone arcade cabinet in my college’s bowling alley.

Do colleges even how bowling alleys anymore? That seemed to be a thing when I was going to school, but now that I think about it, it just seems really weird. So, college kids, if you’re still reading this, let me know.

Anyway, Oguie Maniax suggested that Nightmare from Soul Calibur would be an excellent Smash character. And to be honest, if he got added, I might buy that game. Because I want to go back to the stage of history.

Yes, sir. I do indeed.

Now, let’s talk about Ex-Arm. Or better yet, let’s let Anime Hajime talk about the trainwreck that was the computer-animated Ex-Arm. A show filled with character models with dead eyes and stiff animation.

To be honest, I’ve never read a review that is as brutal as this one. Even the series positives pretty much read as series negatives. I know it kind of makes me a bad person, but it’s sort of enjoyable to read someone else’s anger given voice.

I won’t spoil the fun for you.

Scott over at Mechanical Anime Reviews had his own bit of fun this week putting together a list of thought-provoking anime from the last decade. Though, I do wonder where Psycho-Pass is on that list. Didn’t that come out in the previous decade?

Then there’s Kaguya-sama. I mean, is not Love Being War a thought-provoking idea? Really?

Oh, wait.

Well, it is a good show, and The Otaku Exhibition made a really compelling case for watching the show again in English. In particular, he pointed out how the narrator changes. The overly dramatic narrator has been something that has crept into American television more through the telenovela. In particular, I was thinking about Jane The Virgin.

Our narrators tend to be slightly more world-weary. I feel they have been imported from England, which has a history of using the narrator to point out the silliness of the whole situation. Even though Douglas Adams’ narrator is earnest, it also acknowledges the strangeness of the world.

Anyway, it’s an interesting idea and one that I’m probably going to address from the other direction later on.

Going from anime to entertainment that seems to exist on the fringes of anime, let’s talk about v-tubers.

So Planet Jane put together a farewell to Kiryu Coco, a v-tuber who “retired” from Hololive. To be honest, I’m not sure how an artist’s rendering retires, but that is what happened.

V-Tubers are something that I find sort of fascinating, but not in a way that I feel like investing time and effort into. So it’s worth going and checking out this blog post about her, though just so you know what is going on when people bring it up on Twitter.

I really want to share Sailor Otome’s post over at The Pretty Blerd Guardian. I think it hits on something many people have experienced, especially if they’re over 30 and don’t have any kids. There is this weird pressure from other people to urge sometimes complete strangers to also have kids.

I have feelings about these people. I get that having kids is the pro-social thing to do. It’s how the species continues. I get that it game people meaning to their life. But, it’s not for everyone. And pretending that it is, well, that’s just silly.

And here is where we get to the travelogue portion of The Otakusphere. I’m telling you. I love it anytime I get to see the things from anime in real life.

This post from Blubbyweb about Japanese street food let me see all of the food in real life, like takoyaki and okonomiyaki and taiyaki. It’s super neat, so go check it out.

Then Resurface to Reality takes us on a tour of flower parks in Japan. They’re so pretty. Though, flower petals in foodstuff is a little bit much for me. Yes. I know hibiscus is a thing, but it doesn’t look like hibiscus when I eat it.

Finally, Going Batty with Matty takes us to the Horseshoe Crab Museum. I’m so excited that a horseshoe crab museum exits. I always feel like horseshoe crabs are these bizarre alien life forms that we share our planet with.

Let’s wrap up with a few quick hits.

Zoopraxiscope shared a post with the provocative title, “When girls had noses.” I’m not going to share anything more about it. You’ll just have to click on it.

Then Dewbond from Shallow Dives in Anime and Reasons to Anime approach a similar idea from different angles. First, Dewbond is upset because he wished for a second season of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord that would live up to the first season. And he felt like he got a second season ….

Then Reasons to Anime points out manga where the ending ended up either changing the context or not changing the context of the show.

Either way, it’s worth checking them out.

So, here we are. That is all that I have for this week. I hope that you all have a great week. Just remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot, not necessarily in that order.

And if you could give any one of these posts a click, I would be extremely grateful.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Pride, Feelings and APPLE PICKING BEAM!

  1. Thanks for the link! To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about the Pride Month stuff when I reviewed that VN, but I guess it fits the theme well enough. I also liked Apple Picking Beam. All the SZS OPs are great really.

    1. I didn’t think you were, but I thought it fit well. And I wanted to share info about it because I think a lot of people bought that bundle. I know I did and I’ve only played two games in it.

      1. Yeah, since people have it in their bundles anyway, it’s worth a play at least for a bit to see if it’s for them. Not sure if it was in last year’s bundle, but Baba Is You was in this year’s and I’ve been playing it a lot today. That one is a real mind-bender.

      2. I have watched some playthroughs of that game and it’s pretty trippy. I wish you luck.

        The headliners in the bundle from last year really were Overland and Celeste. Probably the other way around there. Night in the Woods was also in the bundle.

        Although looking through it really makes me want to try Cloudpunk.

      3. Thanks! And yeah, I think Celeste got dropped in this year’s last minute as well. I need to play that — I’m really bad at that sort of game but I’ve always heard good things, so it must be worth the effort. Haven’t heard of Cloudpunk but I’ll check that out too.

    1. You’re welcome. Always happy to share these kind of travelogue posts. I find it fascinating to see and hear about other cultures.

    1. I missed the sentence about the late 2010s. Sorry about that. That’s what I get for reading too fast.

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