Production Baobab has announced that Kawakami Tomoko has passed away on Thursday. She was only 41 and we lost the other half of Atena prematurely again, three years after Kawai Eri ;_;
Nearly two months have passed since the big earthquake. Fortunately its physical effect to Tokyo was, say, minor: I couldn't go home on that day and stayed in my office over night. Many items such as bottled water, instant noodles and dry batteries disappeared from the shop. Commuter trains were packed because fewer trains were on service to save the electricity. But they were nothing compared with all the troubles that people in the north were suffering.
But ever since that day, it has been very difficult for me to enjoy anime. Not only anime but any form of entertainment and even an ordinary life brought me (probably as well as many other Japanese people) a sense of guilt.
Yet my life is gradually getting back to normal and one thing I want to let you know is a small exhibition, Eshi 100-nin Ten (One Hundred Illustrators) at Akihabara. As its titles say, one hundred anime/game/manga illustrators such as Itou Noiji, Kaishaku, Nishimata Aoi, Carnelian and Ikegami Akane contributed one work each. The exhibition itself is now over but its official BILINGUAL catalogue will be available soon at a web shop. I highly recommend it.
Finally the K-ON Live booklet with the OST2 CD will go to The Spatula. This time my FORTRA program didn't work and I used a dice instead (fortunately there were only three entries ^_^;;).
Just a quick note to say I'm OK in Tokyo and thank you to all those who sent me mails after the recent earthquake.
I went to Hanayashiki in Asakusa yesterday. It is the oldest (and an very old-fashioned) amusement park in Japan. I had really wanted to try its rollercoaster (the oldest and probably slowest in Japan ^_^;;). It didn't betray my expectation(?) and I really enjoyed it. ^_^ For anime fans, the place may be remembered as the secret base of the Flower Team of Sakura Wars.
As I mentioned before, I have an official pamphlet of "K-ON!! Come With Me Live" to give away (with a used copy "Houkago Tea Time II" CD (PCCG-01071)). So, again, if you wish to join the draw, send me an e-mail with "[St NHT] Entry for K-ON Draw" as the subject. The main text must contain your (a) name, (b) nickname, which will appear on this page if you win, (c) address and (d) e-mail address. The deadline is 20:00 (JST) on 20 Mar 2011 (only one entry per person). As usual, please note that, as this is a free draw, I can't take any responsibility for mail troubles etc.
What makes you fall in love with a certain anime? Given so many TV animes and little time I have for them, I usually watch as many as possible at the beginning of each season (say, January, April, July and October) then drop those which fail to attract me enough. I wondered what was the "trigger" to make me keep watching some anime and found, quite often, it was a small thing.
For example, it was the ED of the second episode in the case of Sora no Otoshimono. Many people talked about those "flying panties" but, for me, it was the choice of the song "Misaki Meguri." As the proper ED song(?) was used for the first episode, I didn't know they were to use old hits for ending, it was a total surprise and the combination of the bittersweet love song and utterly silly animation did a perfect job for me.
Another example is Asobi ni Ikuyo! Seeing Eris('s big breasts) in the first episode, Manami shouts to herself 'Gaikokusan!!' Then Maki reacts similarly, saying 'Hakurai!?' This was enough. ^_^ Both words essentially mean the same thing "imported (items)" but 'hakurai' is rather old-fashioned and define Maki as a "a not really young woman" ^_^;; (Aoi's reaction in Eps 3 was 'Yunyuumono~~!?' BTW).
Speaking of "Asobi ni Iluyo!", although I suppose most of you already know it, the opening sequence of some episodes were parody of Japanese TV edition of American TV drama such as Startreck, Charlie's Angels and Starsky & Hutch. I hope American/European TV will *quietly* show a parody of anime some day.
I have to admit I had underestimated the popularity of K-ON!! by far.
Yesterday I went to its "Come with Me" Live at Saitama Super Arena. The live was to start at 4pm and I arrived at the nearest railway station about at 3pm. There were already a huge number of people and, somehow, many of them including those who were walking from the station to the Arena were with the blue bags of Animate (You may not understand what I mean. Animate is often in charge of selling goods at events/concerts). As I approached to the Arena, the otaku concentration became higher and higher; I could see cosplayers and other performers. ^_^ Then I found a sign saying "Goods Shop - This Direction," which lead me away from the Arena. Yes, the shop wasn't inside of the Arena. A large parking lot was used for it and... almost all the items had already been gone... (I later learned that the shop was open at 9am!! and someone who arrived at 8am was TOO LATE to get some of the items). All I could get was the official pamphlets (<-- plural ^_-) and character Cylumes.
I left the shop area and entered into the Arena. It was packed with (apparently 30,000) K-ON fans. My seat was on the arena level, B5 (Note: I don't know the correct words in English and use "Arena" for the venue and "arena" for the flat area before the stage, rather than sloped stadium seats). As it was divided into [A(near the stage)-F] x [1(left side)-11] sections, it was about 1/3 from the stage and near the centre, which was a good one for this occasion yet corresponds to the rear seat of a hall with a capacity of 2000. The guy next to me was from Nagoya and the one behind me was from Gifu, whose next was a lady with her son from Taiwan!! All of them *travelled* for the occasion unlike me, who just joined it.
Anyway the live duly started, with the OP and ED songs of the second season. There was no one on the stage except the five ladies and looked as if they were performing their instruments themselves (I think I was wrong; the guitars and base were probably "fake" at least). After an introductory talk by them, solo performance (singing only) followed, in the order of Aki (Yui), Youko (Mio), Satomi (Ritsu), Minako (Mugi), Ayana (Azusa), Madoka (Ui), Yoriko (Jun) and Chika (Nodoka). During the solo performance, most of fans changed their lights to match each character (red for Yui, blue for Mio and so on) and it was really nice (I had wondered why they had SO many lights ^_^;;).
After that, a short sequence of anime was shown on the screen above the stage, where the HTT members were, because they were temporarily purged from their room, looking for a good place to practice. Finally they find a room looking suitable and was about to open the door "3, 2, 1... !!" Then the five ladies appeared from a side door of the Arena and began to walk towards to the centre. Then I realised that there was a small stage there (the area, assigned as "Block for the sound engineer," was excluded from the ticket sale and I hadn't feel anything special). Apparently it was a surprise for the occasion and the ladies eventually climbed up this "centre stage." My seat in the B5 block, which was a "reasonably good seat", suddenly became a "super seat" very close to the stage!! So I could enjoy four songs including "Gohan wa Okazu" at heaven. ^_^
After the five ladies left the centre stage, Death Devil appeared on the main stage. Sanada Asami and Asakawa Yuu performed two songs with help of two professional woman rockers (base and drum). Use of fire and fireworks worked very well, IMO, for this heavy-metal band.
Then there was a short voice drama performance, which was a prelude for the real live performance by HTT. They performed "Pure Pure Heart" and "U & I" on their own. You could tell because Youko could hardly move her eye from her right hand.
The live came to an end with "Fuwa Fuwa Time." But, of course, there were more. They came back to the stage for "No Thank You" and "Utauyo! Miracle" then again for "Kagayake Girls" and "Don't Say Lazy." Then the real last came. All the girls (the five and the others) sang the school anthem of Sakuragaoka Girls High School to Sawa-chan's piano. After that, each of them spoke to the audience, many of them in tears. The last song was, of course, "Come with Me."
Through the event, what impressed me most was Satou Satomi's drum. Given the choice of guitar, base, keyboard and drum, it must be the most difficult for a layman (well, there must be someone who happened to learn piano for his/her childhood). Beside, I suspect the drum is the most difficult to fake. Real or fake, I was really impressed. Also it was very interesting to see that Youko and Ayana were struggling to keep tears back, Aki remained very cheerful from the start to the very ending. Mio, Azusa and Yui must have been a calling for them. ^_^
So I have one official pamphlet to give away (again). Detail will be here soon.
There was an article on the Nikkei Newspaper today, reporting that Nihon TV is going to take the majority of the share of Madhouse (Here is an official announcement). As you know, NTV has been keeping a very close and long relationship with Studio Ghibli, but, as it is now under Disney, may have been looking for a new partner. Madhouse's "Summer Wars" were sponsored by and very heavily advertised on NTV.
Speaking of newspaper articles, the Asahi Newspaper carried a special article dedicated to Sakamoto Maaya and her new album. The article caught my attention because it treated her as a singer rather than a seiyuu. Good news to us all. ^_^
I went to a SoraOto event yesterday. More precisely, it was an event for "Sora no Shoujo-TAI" (Mina, Fukuhara Kaori, Nomizu Iori & Oogame Asuka). The venue was in Ginza, the same place as where the Nayakoi (or Sakakibara Yui's) event was held two years ago. I was just in time for it and, thus, had to stand very far from the stage. There were about 200 people and I didn't see any lady. ^_^;;
The contents was rather typical; mainly chat and live performance by the four ladies (if you can handle Japanese, there is a good fan report to read). What interested me most was (a) a short trailer for the new theatrical movie and (b) that the director revealed the location of the anime setting. I might visit it some time. ^_^
A (very late) happy new year!
I went to Angela's annual live at the end of December. My seat was a "reasonably" good unlike two years ago (Did I mention about it here? My seat was on the first row, a tough place for a middle-aged man with limited energy ^_^;;). The live was entitled as "Live for All the Songs from Fafner" and the format was somewhat different from the previous ones. The performed all the Fafner songs and only them. As they hardly talked between the songs and there were quite a few HD TV cameras, I suppose this part of the live will be released as an extra disc for Fafner BD or something like that.
Then live ended very early... officially. Not surprisingly Angela came back to the stage for encore. They told the audience that they were going to perform their latest song "Soukyuu" from now for its PV. So you might find me somewhere in the PV, if it was actually used. ^_^;; After that, the second part (kind of...) of the live started and it was more like their usual live. We enjoyed non-Fafner songs as well as their funny talks. ^_^
BTW, a little before the Angela live, I went to a small event of Nanri Yuuka for her latest single. The event itself was very short and there was nothing to report here but, when I told her that I wished to go to her solo live, she replied that there were talks about it but no solid plan yet. Fingers crossed. ^_^