Review Symphonica: Grand Maestro

Happy Holidays… and Yay! This is a game for a classical music fan, and for people who love Taiko no Tatsujin, Dance Dance Revolution, Project Diva, or any other rhythm type game, should definitely try out this Square Enix product on the iOS market.

Before you purchase the full game of Spymphonica though, people can try the Prologue and 1st two chapters for free.

conducing

You play as upcoming conductor, Takt who leads the struggling Fayhormonica orchestra to overtake the musical town of Einsatz. You get to practice or move to advance your score. So as with other touch games, pretty much getting a good score is how accurate you are with completing the motions.

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The story is pretty short with only three side stores, and 13 chapters, which I played in a short amount of time. As you score higher, meaning being more beloved by audience, the levels get quicker and harder.

As a player you get to see an SD form of the orchestra, or images of the game in these type of photos that would happen as you play through an episode. Chroma.cc is attributed to being the artist company that illustrates Symphonica. There has been a recent update and the ability to add more music to the game play, but sadly no story with those updates. But for the chance to listen to famous classical pieces, and have fun.. is there any other option?

Secret Santa Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun (70%)

railgun
It really isn’t quite this sort of show, actually.

My anime fandom has two touchstones, Evangelion and Honey and Clover, and that should clue you in to the sort of stories that I enjoy. A Certain Scientific Railgun, which was handed to me as part of the Reverse Thieves‘ Secret Santa project, is the sort of title that I would normally avoid. My thought was: it’s about yuri fanservice; it’s more oriented toward action rather than drama; it features the kind of fan pandering that peaked at the time the show aired (2009-2010) that I generally disdain. (Though, looking back at my first impressions at the time, I wasn’t that put off by the first episode. It was more what I heard later that discouraged me from following up.)

Fast forward three years later, and I’m ready to expand my horizons, put aside some old prejudices, and give a different sort of show a chance. Out of the three titles that were suggested to me—the other two were Aquarion EVOL and Sora no Woto, both of which I’d seen and in the latter case wrote about extensively)—I chose the show I was least likely to watch on my own.

So what did I think?

In short: A Certain Scientific Railgun was better than I expected, but I wasn’t expecting much. It’s competently directed in spots, reasonably paced when it’s not indulging in filler (which is often, unfortunately), and has a few decent cliffhangers. The action animation is frequently impressive, befitting its high budget. Aside from some of the milieu/world, however, there is little originality to the plot, and most of the characters fall flat. It is, really, a glossy but ultimately average anime series. It’s the equivalent of a second-tier Hollywood summer blockbuster spinoff; the X-Men Origins: Wolverine of anime.

***

mikoto-pose

There’s actually an old-fashioned action anime story buried beneath the yuri and filler. The best parts of Railgun tell that story, about experiments done on children going out of control with a scientist facing a moral dilemma and the need to atone for her actions—to stop the ultimate baddy from taking over. Shades of Akira and other classic sci-fi anime lurk here, with an almost late 1980s-1990s approach: big robots, thunderbolts and lightning courtesy of our human railgun Mikoto, and highways and trucks being ripped apart and thrown. Not to mention pulsing globules of monstrous flesh forming in the middle of cities. The storytelling approach and the outcome couldn’t be more different, of course, but the homages seem clear. And for someone like myself whose fandom teeth were cut on this sort of show, the feeling was familiar and even occasionally welcome. It was like watching something like Saber Marionette J or Burn Up again; not because the plots or characters are similar, but the feeling was. This is bread and butter type of anime.

Tatsuyuki Nagai, the series director, did the best he could with the material. I was most impressed with the way plot threads and hints, even from supposed filler episodes, made their way into the main story. His talent for managing multiple characters and pacing them evenly also showed, especially when all four leads are out doing different things. In the few moments of introspection given to the characters (particularly Saten, Dr. Kiyama, and Mikoto), we see flashes of the Nagai of Ano Natsu and Toradora. When the characters ruminate on whether Academy City is truly a meritocracy, what it means to be a certain Level, and who gets left out in such a system—the show rises above itself. Dr. Kiyama’s backstory episode, and the way it tied into the final episode, was handled with the sort of deftness and emotional sincerity that I expect from Nagai. It made the otherwise predictable ending feel stronger than it actually was. He even manages to sneak in some of his trademark yearning romance, albeit in compressed form, in the two episode arc about the Big Spider/Skill Out gang.

Quality villain dialogue.
Quality villain dialogue.

The show suffers most when it bows to stale comedic conventions and refuses to let the female leads grow beyond their typecast characters. Kuroko eventually proves her professional competence and dedication, but before that, her yuri slapstick antics only made me laugh a little before becoming simply irritating. Mikoto, the nominal protagonist, is the most straightforward and balanced character, but has few distinctive traits other than her love of cute things, wearing shorts under her skirt, and her powers. She’s likable but bland, and she’s the same at the end as she was in the beginning. (Compare with her doppelganger, Mai of Mai Hime. What does Kuroko see in her?) Saten, apparently a fan favorite, has a few moments given her status as a Level 0—she gets some touches of the Nagai treatment in the unusually quiet coda to the first arc—but not nearly as much as the conflicted and haunted Dr. Kiyama, who steals the show as the most complex and interesting character. (Her “undresstress” quirk seems altogether disconnected from her character.) The de rigeur swimsuit episode attempted to do something different with its shifting settings and relative lack of camera ogling*, but felt oddly paced and disjointed. Perhaps the worst offender was a single episode in which the girls attempt to matchmake their dorm matron: a cliche anime sitcom plot that felt willfully anti-climactic and emotionally unresolved by its end, because the episode has to end in the way it does for it to fit the type.

Nagai has only directed one other series with two cours, Toradora, and Railgun could have been a more propulsive series had it only been one cour. Much of the second half especially could have been cut without doing much damage to the plot, as well as the first few episodes, which did not leave the best impression until the story actually started. This is a plot rather than character-driven series, because the characters are mostly too flat to carry the story without the Big Baddy Threatening the City While Cackling and Overexplaining Her Plans. It’s a plot that we’ve seen many times before too, offering few surprises, but at least it would have been fast paced and the sleek action sequences—anime is a visual medium after all—would provide excitement.

Instead, we have a loosey, sometimes funny, sometimes actiony series. It’s neither more nor less than the sum of it parts; it’s essentially a grab bag of various anime elements that cohere somewhat when the main story is being told. I did enjoy watching Railgun, because it’s undeniably fun at its best. It’s like a lot of anime that way; not everything is a Kaiba or a H&C or Hyouka or, to use a better piece from Nagai’s repertoire, an Ano Natsu. Nor does everything have to be. It wouldn’t be fair for me to dismiss it out of hand, but it wouldn’t be fair for me to put it alongside my favorites either.

Railgun, in other words, is ok.

Rating: 70%—average.

*Granted, the standard for anime when it comes to camera ogling/male gaze is, shall we say, exceptionally low cut. But Nagai’s beach/swimsuit episodes are usually more tame than most and often contribute meaningfully to the story. See Ano Natsu‘s beach arc for one good example.

This post is part of the Reverse TheievesSecret Santa Project, where anibloggers anonymously suggest shows to other anibloggers for review. Tomorrow we’ll find out who suggested this series to me. Railgun is legally available in the United States by streaming on both Funimation and Hulu.

Kimo-ota’s ode to Xmas Eve, featuring Megurine Luka

I dedicate this song to Inaba Himeko (cv: Sawashiro Miyuki), who entirely shocked my otaku world. Inaba Himeko is the heroine from Kokoro Connect, and the first time ever heard that a girl confessed to a guy, “I’ve made you my okazu. (I’ve masturbated to you).” As an otaku, it was the most shocking moment of the year 2012. Okazu is a sexual fantasy for masturbation, or any source like gravure model photos. Yes, sexual stimulant!

Continue reading Kimo-ota’s ode to Xmas Eve, featuring Megurine Luka

Jormungand, Gihren Zabi moment

kokolocoJormungand, this is about Koko’s evil ambition. HCLI is her global logistic company, a conglomerate, with its gigantic financial power, launching satellites to have the command of the air. That’s what Reagan’s Star Wars was. Whoever controls the air dominates the world. Currently it’s Obama since he’s the king of the drone attack. But now Koko’s taken over the control of the air and even CIA couldn’t prevent it.jona1

I thought Koko was a great woman, she was really the genius of business negotiations. But her Jormungand project was a delusion. She was just a trash. Yes, Hitler was the master of political maneuver, probably the most genius in the world history, but what he had in his mind was really crazy. It was evident in Mein Kampf. But nobody took it seriously when he wrote it. It was written when the Nazi party was still a small regional third party, just one of the Bavaria’s extreme fringe groups that only a few crazy right-wingers paid attention to. But Koko didn’t even make public of her crazy idea. Yes, Mein Kampf was what Hitler would do when he acquired the power. Koko didn’t say what she would do when she attained the power. So, basically she kept her Main Kampf in her head for a long time, until her ambition was deemed possible.Gihren_Zabi

“Forceful peace,” or peace by terror, that was Koko’s plan, by crashing all the planes currently flying in the sky, thus stopping all the distributions, thus stopping the international arm deals also, then peace would be attained. That’s just downright crazy. What’s the difference from terrorists? No, for the scale, she is worse than terrorists. She must be the devil that Nostradamus prophesied or Mayan’s 2012. She declared to exterminate a half million people for her vision. Stalin said killing one person is murder but killing millions is heroism.

I don’t know why her private bodyguards followed her, except for Valmet, a yuri soldier. Koko didn’t share her vision with anybody. Without a vision, how can you follow your boss? And she turned out to be the worst psycho. Yes, Hitler’s psycho-pass would be the most clouded, and I think Koko’s too. The scariest thing is when a psycho gets the power. What if nukes fall into the hands of terrorists. Bush took a pre-emptive action before Sadam got nukes, but North Korea already declared to posses nukes. And now Iran is going to. As I came from the only country that experienced nuclear attacks, I never want to see mushroom clouds, and now Koko has the control of all the nukes around the world! From Pax Americana to Pax Cocoa. evil

Well, Koko’s plan is to separate people from military forever. Actually Gen. MacArthur tried that in Japan. Yes, forceful peace. If the Japanese didn’t follow what MacArthur said, they would have been exterminated with nukes, so no choice. The Japanese Constitution Article 9 explicitly bans armament. But realistically, Japanese has military, but it is called “self defense force” to avoid unconstitutionality.

jona3Moreover, Koko’s sexuality is mystery, but hugging Jona and giving him a kiss on the lips in the bathroom! But what was that kiss about? Is she a shōtacon? What is Jona to her? A pet or clown, or fool? Or like Nobunaga had a homo-erotic male secretary, Mori Ranmaru? Catamite? Pederastic friendship? Koko seems to have no interest in adult males. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, she doesn’t have a girlfriend either, but she has a great interest in Jona.jona4

Anyway, Koko was a trash. I was so jealous when Koko kissed Jona, and I thought she would be my okazu for Xmas eve, “Please sexual harass me, Koko-sama! I’m only 14!” like Valmet begging Koko. But now she completely turned me off.  Very different from Lovely Morishima, though the same seiyuu. I rather drink umeshu to Lovely Morishima than to Koko, that’s how I will spend Xmas.

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She was just a crazy lunatic. Koko, or rather kookoo.

Her name is Coco, she is loco, I said oh no!

Round the Sphere

Cherry Blossoms! In Taiwan!

Gokurakutombo would make a great name for a band. Or airplane.

This is refreshing.

The Paper has never watched any Japanese drama but Linda is a fan.

Apparently there was an interview scam involving cosplayers :/

Wait. So much preparation but no New Year’s party?

This is kind of fascinating.

Sam L has been cast for the live action remake of Kite. That’s right. This can not be bad.

Happy Holidays ~

Round the Sphere

vocaloid

In light of recent tragedies, it’s fitting Omo laid down a succinct discourse on the nature of guns and people the day before the Connecticut shooting. I, too, had just watched the last episode of Jormungand and found the cliffhanger dropping a question as old and perplexing as history and human nature. And I love the punch line.

I guess it’s time for me to watch Fist of the North Star. Somewhat related. (Anyone know what’s the one in the middle?)

This is interesting.

Buy something and help support earthquake relief.

World dictators in a new… light.

What do you think of this?

Psycho-Pass: Dead On Arrival?

Seeking The Real

 

A lot of words have already been shared regarding Production IG’s big return to dystopian sci-fi, PSYCHO-PASS, so a part of me felt like there was little else I could truly contribute to the conversation — That is, until a number of things began to collectively gnaw at me over the course of watching it. In the weeks before the first episode aired, and thereby began streaming, much noise was made about this being the return of writer Gen Urobuchi (this time with Blood C movie’s Naoyoshi Shiotani as director). Coupled this along with the team taking on what many (on the internet) had labeled a hardcore cyberpunk cop show. With such a word being so liberally attached, it seemed inevitable that one would have to see just how close the show came to capturing the spirit of such a relic of its time, and a personal favorite place to visit in book form. And while mentioned, I was quite ready to be taken in by the world of the series, it may troublesome that I report that Psycho-Pass is about as cyberpunk as a bowl of noodles, and nowhere near as involving.

 
Set in yet another dank, and hyper-technological future Tokyo, society is now largely governed by an all-knowing form of artificial intelligence known as SIBIL. The supercomputer has gained enough control over the lives of the citizens that it is capable of determining not only the roles in which we play in the world of employment, but it can also monitor the individual psyche, watching over it to the level that it may deem thoughts and behavior dangerous, or at the very least, borderline. The form of law enforcement that ensues is not unlike the world of Minority Report, where the police are tasked with preventing violent crimes before they happen. And the shared method by which all citizens are checked within this system, is by way of their Crime Coefficiency, which is essentially reflected in their Psycho-Pass, a card that is meant to maintain a clean and healthy blue, otherwise placing those in possession in danger of capture by the CID-a police agency that has the unique function of working as handlers for what are known as “Enforcers”. Often former captured violators, and borderline cases, they do the dirty work of what used to be the realm of officers and detectives. In pursuit of new, potentially dangerous perpetrators, the final judgment comes almost DREDD-style, on site by way of the supercomputer networked sidearms of Enforcers known as Dominator. These modular, multi-purpose guns can deem a suspect worthy of numerous types of judgments that range from “apprehend” to “kill” upon target-sight recognition.

 

 

New Apple Prototypes?

 

 

As the show begins, the CID has received a new recruit in the form of Akane Tsunemori, a seemingly ordinary young lady now appointed to the role of Inspector. We are swiftly introduced to her assigned team of Enforcers, ranging in ages and genders, but the quiet, almost sullen Kogami Shinya seems to bear something of a troubled past that haunts and attracts Tsunemori, as she becomes better acquainted with the world of preventative psycho-crime fighting. Her beliefs are constantly put to the test, as the criminals and the program itself come to challenge some of humanity’s most basic attributes & instincts. This is the urban hellscape of Psycho-Pass, and it is in little way of what the internet claims it to be.(And, no. Making backhanded references to Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic, as well as the domestic use of the Eye-Phone and VR gloves, do not a cyberpunk show make.)

 
Something was bothering me from the opening moments of the series, and continued throughout until they finally began hitting me like a tactical strike. After several episodes, I have come to the conclusion that Urobuchi tends to focus more on the emotional immediacy of a situation, rather than the logic of it, which is something of a strange choice considering the world and the story he is attempting to tell. There are patches of dialogue here that reflect something far more akin to fantasy, or atypical anime.

 

 
“I realize you’re strangely connected to him by fate.” – Yeah, this has something closer to fantasy in mind that anything. As non-cyberpunk as it gets, really.

 

 

Even for Production IG, a studio famous for producing dense, yet entertaining hard science fiction, this is something of a steep slip downward, as the contradictions of subject matter and approach are loud enough to render a lot of what occurs within the majority of the series pretty toothless. If Urobuchi is attempting to comment upon contemporary Japan’s seemingly inevitable role in Kurzweil’s Singuarity, then it’s not serving anything but an alarmist’s position, which is de-facto for most mainstream takes on our co-existence with technology. And I guess that’s the central culprit in what doesn’t work. For a proper system like this to function, there has to be the human element that manages matters on higher levels, as opposed to letting SIBIL handle everything. (If this is indeed a point that is intentionally being made, then it is a pretty hamfisted way making a condemnation of our current relationship with technology managing our daily lives.)

 
On to the two large blocks that hinder my personal enjoyment of Psycho-Pass:

 

 
One- The Audience Surrogate Is a Problem

 

 
In stories such as these, the more accessible approach is to create a character that represents a window for us to better understand the world of the story, and empathize with their reactions to it. Tsunemori, while clearly made to appeal to certain demographics, does not work in this universe simply because I cannot reconcile that someone this pure and naive about the system would ever be made Inspector. Early scenes indicate that she is not even familiar with the Dominator system, as well as how to handle Enforcers. When she later asserts that she is far more familiar in spirit to her ragtag bunch of street cops, it only makes SIBIL look incredibly dumb. And while the bespectacled Inspector Ginoza informs her that they are short on work numbers, this in no way excuses the clear lack of understanding of the job and what it entails. Being that the show begins “en media res” amidst an incident with a potentially bloody violent psychopath on stims, one might assume here that the show was rushed into production, and a prologue was omitted from an early draft. Because if Tsunemori herself were initially appointed by SIBIL to work in data analysis, only to be drafted into the streets by way of error, this would make a whole lot more sense. As it stands? Either a bad committee idea, or forced move by an angry writer. Either way, it’s patently absurd.

 

 

Even her design screams “red shirt”.

 

 

Two- Dominator Judgment System(and in turn, SIBIL): Counter-effective

 

 

 
Seriously. A established system that has functioned uncontested for years must be so with good reason, no matter how speculative. Especially when dealing with something as far-reaching and for the public good as law enforcement, this is crucial. So when we leave a green character with a perfectly clean psycho pass like Tsunemori to be able to temper something as overt as Dominator’s judgment system without getting a little distressed, it’s a recipe for creating that which you condemn. It isn’t as if the gun’s use of lethal force is clinical, or even efficient. The damned thing fires, ultimately liquifying the target, leaving human parts in a Jackson Pollack-esque splatter on the floor. Call me silly, but to think that such a mess would have zero effect on your enforcement officials is more than a little questionable.

 

 
And these two elements alone lead to what is famously known as “shaky foundation, shaky roof”. It doesn’t matter how much a writer tries to cover up these elements after the fact, these niggling details fly in the face of what could have been something more than a petty Shock-A-Minute, which would have been fine if it had a lot more fun with the premise.

 

 

 
Since the days of The Terminator, it has long been the cliche of many a screenwriter to take the human element out of an essentially human-borne dilemma, laying blame upon technology for our greater ills. Psycho-Pass does what it can to swing the needle in an opposing direction, but in the end, the real villain is the central network that overlooks an often messy remains of civilization. Touches such as the drones who walk the rainy streets bearing overtly friendly holographic costumes over their rolling trash can chassis throws it back into almost “Cool Japan” criticism, being that nothing can be taken as remotely serious by the metropolitan population without being glossed over with a “kawaii” mask to lighten any altercation in plain sight. The need for denial to be cast writ-large over humanity’s less than desirable sides is a nice touch, but is often undermined again by the more obvious problems inherent in the central plot. If the world of Psycho-Pass is to be one where those who mete out a greater need for harmony, then isn’t it imperative that they understand the system before being brought into a clearly dense & dangerous fold? To be fair, the core theme of the series seems to be that technology is inherently bad, because it is a reflection of us. And while that may seem balanced on the surface, it never feels as though the rainy, bloody streets of Psycho-Pass’ Tokyo is any different from the funhouse of mirrors planet of Puella Magi Madoka Magika. It’s a mix that simply doesn’t work as well here.

 

 
Where Madoka existed in a more flexible, metaphorical universe, Psycho-Pass does not, and thus has less excuses to play fast and loose. It’s no secret that many a film scribe tends to revisit similar themes within their work, often with the best ones exhibiting a certain knowledge about the trappings of each world to make the themes click on a deeper level, It just seems like the team behind this show seems to have a lot less grasp on what they are telling. I say this because I don’t want to feel like dropping this completely on Urobuchi’s lap, although it should most likely do so. With this show, it’s pretty clear where his strengths are, and it isn’t here. While there are many eyebrows-raising moments to be experienced in this series, far too much of it feels like window dressing to cover up a certain lack of depth within the world and narrative. In the end, a lot of the package feels pretty shallow.

 

 

 

In the end, the dystopian nightmare presented here is done do with less a reverence for the type of fiction made famous by names such as Gibson & Stephenson, and more a general lack of trust in our collective ability to manipulate it for greater reasons. It is not so much interested in the science, so much as the morality of living in a globally networked world. It is the antithesis of cyberpunk, it is a didactic dystopian fable punctuated by some frustratingly on-the-nose writing, and a lot of forced logic. When characters who are presented as experts in enforcing the law, one would expect certain hazards to be part of the everyday. But within a world where SIBIL exists, it seems like the very core purpose it is hamstrung on nearly all fronts. For a procedural to function, it’s imperative that these rules are well understood by all parties. Apparently someone forgot to tell the writer..

 

 

 

BTW- Did anyone else squee over the casting of Noriko Hidaka as Dominator? I did.

Round the Sphere

Best of the bestest cosplay ever.

This is so wrong on so many levels. And how did they get those numbers?

I personally prefer the stationary cafe but turtles are cool too.

…most art schools don’t spend enough time teaching aspiring artists what they really need to succeed: how to manage their own business and what it takes to get a job and keep getting work as a professional artist.

Yes yes yes! Great, if long, read on the issues surrounding the manga industry.

This is kind of interesting….

Excellent read on visual kei.

JICC is hosting a nengajo contest.

Wreck-It Ralph, champion for the wretched idiots

Wow, usually I don’t really watch Disney, since it’s a imperialist corporation, Mickey Mouse patent law and all that. But so many friends were talking about it, and they were my anime friends who strongly recommended this film to me, so I decided to give it a try. So, I went to an AMC theater all alone by myself, and when the film started, oh man, I felt America was the greatest country on earth. That visual, my gosh, if Japanese anime is the greatest 2D animation in the world, I think America excels in 3D films. Just the introduction of Disney clip blew me away. It’s the same feeling that Yasujiro Ozu had when he saw Gone With The Wind in Singapore during WWII. He then was convinced that Japan didn’t stand a chance of winning the war against America. Yes, China is rising to the top now, but I think from watching American films, that would be way ahead.

So, at the AMC theatre, I saw a lot of children there, oh yes, Disney films are family oriented, and I saw a handful of little girls too, yes, real lolis! I saw some of them grabbing a hand of her father. Man, he must be a very happy man. I want to have a daughter! And yes, I saw a young man accompanying a little girl. Could he be her cousin, or onii-chan??? He must be a happy man too! I wish I had a sister! Ahh, why wasn’t I surrounded with female relatives that were younger than my age? Lack of sisters and she-cousins, or nieces, that was detrimental to my developmental psychology, which pushed me into a corner and turned me into a kimoi otaku, yes, kimo-ota. So, I have to make up my past life with over-dose of moe. That’s the only way I can make up my paradise lost: seishun (youth).

Ralph and Vanellope.

So, here it is, Wreck-It Ralph. Yes, Ralph is a huge guy plays a bad guy, not sexually attractive, but he helps out Vanellope, a glitch girl, to be in the NASCAR race. Yes, Ralph reminds me of One from The City Of The Lost Children, a French film made by the same director who did Amélie. Yes, One and Ralph are both dumb, but have really a wonderful onii-chan personality. Yes, that’s why City of Lost Children is so awesome, because that film has a loli called Miette, probably the cutest yōjo I’ve ever seen in 3D. Yes, One becomes a onii-chan figure to Miet, helping her get out of the trouble. And she was among the early 20th century proletarian kids, and as a proletarian boy, I feel really close to that loli, Miette. So, I want to be her onii-chan also!

One and Miette.

Oh yes, people with weak intellectual faculty. I myself is a slow learner, but not slow enough to be qualified for learning disability. Yes, it’s really tough. You’re way lower than the average, but not bad enough to be cared and protected as disability. It’s like some county healthcare system. You’re clearly not a middle class, you’re a low wage earner, but your income is not low enough to apply for healthcare. Yes, a handful of these people have a wonderful personality, and they usually do well on job interviews. So, they usually leave a good impression on interviewers, but once they start working, they end up getting fired in the first three days. It’s horrible.

A slow person will understand if you take time to explain and go through step by step. But the business world is like an airplane, it can’t slow down, otherwise it goes stall and at worst a plane crash. That’s what market economy is. I mean capitalism. So, socialism is better for the way lower than average but not at the bottom folks. And that’s why I feel Wreck It Ralph champions them. Yes, Ralph is our hero indeed!

Yes, just like business, girls are just impatient as well, so we do bad on dating. Within next three days, no more phone calls. But too bad Social Security doesn’t have dating disability. I could have applied one. I just wish that girls were more socialistic… Yes, in the business and dating world, even if there are helps from temp agencies and wing men and women, yes, matchmakers in business and dating, we do poorly. And Do It Yourself, you’re on your own, totally individualistic society like America and Japan (post-Koizumi). These make it even tougher.

And that’s what bossa nova is all about. Desafinado (out of tune). That song is about a loser who can’t play guitar and sing well, so he fails to impress any girl with his rustic music skills, but he says to one girl, “Though my song is out of pitch, look at my heart. My heart is in harmony.” Yeah, what counts is the heart, girl! But reality doesn’t go like that, clumsy chumps can’t get any, both money and women…

So, we need romantic socialism, or more crudely, sexual socialism, which is moe for me, well, I guess we don’t do well on sexuality, probably until I would be born ikemen in my next life. Marriage would be beyond my dream, so a sister figure is a good alternative for us. Sister is a partner by default, not sexually, but familially. Marriage is a contract, you need to fight to earn it, yet it’s breakable too. But imouto, both biological and spiritual, is unbreakable. That eternal bond is what we otakus probably want the most.

And yes, if my sister is happy, pursuing career, or having a good spouse, raising healthy kids, that would make my day. I mean in any form it takes if she’s healthy and happy, I’m good. I don’t need a spouse myself. I think Tora-san had that sense of security as onii-chan. And that kind of love was what Ralph was showing to a glitch girl, which was spectacular. Just admirable.

Yes, Ralph and One were onii-chan figures indeed. As well in Japan, we had Tora-san and Naked General. Nietzsche claimed Master Morality, but we otakus claim Onii-chan Morality, and Ralph and One are the embodiment of that. So, with loli and imouto, we will save the world! Imouto is our salvation!

Monkey Majik/Yoshida Brothers NYC Concert

I know it has been a couple of weeks after this event, but better late than never? If I had an unlimited budget, I would want to chase after this band. Mentally I can think about this concert as though it occurred yesterday, and yes…. I was very happy that I was able to experience Monkey Majik for their first time in the United States. It has been like an early Christmas holiday for me this year!

Monkey Majik for those who are not familiar with them is bilingual band with two of the four members being non-Japanese: Maynard (voc/guitar), Blaise (voc/guitar), Tax (drummers), Dick (bass). They have one anime credit, singing the opening themes to Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. This was their first North American tour, touring with the Yoshida Brothers, an act Anime Diet had interviewed and covered before. New York was their only stop.

Unlike JAM Project, I didn’t lose my voice for this group. But for the couple of days after the concert, I was still visibly energized and moved by this concert.

P1010780
Not the main entrance, but still Webster Hall

Monkey Majik and Yoshida Brothers performed at Webster Hall, where AKB48, Puffy Ami Yumi and other performers have performed. Doors were suppose to be opened at 7-ish, but opened later. This was a standing room only concert, so when the doors opened and people bum rushed in, I found myself behind the first row of people, stage right. Directly in view of Maynard and Ryoichiro.

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Ryoichiro Yoshida

Yoshida Brothers who I know is good enough to headline their own shows as featured performers, opened the act for their good friends. I seriously wish I can tell you what their set list definitely was but beyond my own untrained ears, I can only say that Shamisen music is best heard live. There was one song that people sung/hummed along with, I speculate it might be Sukiyaki.

NYC turned out to be a sold out show. This concert also occurred soon after Sandy, when NYC is still affected by the super storm. Up until the weekend before I was worried about Webster Hall getting power back, since for a time post-storm everything under 34th lost power.

I follow Blaise and Maynard on Twitter, so they have snippets of what they did in NY, which they stayed for a couple of days until their next show at Toronto.

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Maynard Plant

In between songs of their set, Blaise and Maynard spoke with the audience. As a fan it moves me to see how much love there is for this group. It also was gratifying to see the band themselves enjoy this concert as well. I was in a state of euphoria to know that at least I connected by voice to the two vocalists. It also heartens me to see that Blaise had earlier RT a comment I made to him.

The walls were vibrating with music from the other bands playing at Webster that night. Tax was definitely confused keeping apace of the musical beats, that Blaise and Maynard mentioned it. There were fans I heard from Japan, Canada, Pennsylvania, and of course New York. Blaise made a comment about Frank Sinatra, and I cracked up, since his “New York New York” song is a very cliche song, and Sinatra’s a Hoboken guy.

The stage was also pretty small, and with the amount of times Blaise and Maynard switched guitars, the floor was strewn with wires. This had some potential for tripping. But the performers and crew were good about keeping balanced, moving around the stage.

This was a highly enjoyable concert. I would sincerely love it, if Monkey Majik comes back again! At the end of the show, Dick came and threw out guitar picks, I was able to get one. That was a nice souvenir, though the Japanese lady next to me got Maynard’s towel. (The fangirl in me sighs enviously.)

Monkey Majik’s pick. Can I fangirl some more?

I tried to compile a set list of this concert, it seems as though Jiyuuhonpou has a complete set list that she listed on her tumblr.

Fast Forward
Around the World
UFO
Go with U
Wonderland
5.30
fly
Hero
虹色の魚
goin’ places
Bicycle
空はまるで
魔法の言葉
HALO
Together
Headlight
Encore: Change

For this venue, I didn’t take as much photos as I had hoped. I know May has way more better photos than I have taken up over on her flickr.