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Author Archives: Frog-kun

June 2018 Update: Oops, I burnt out on light novels so I’m now going to talk about video games instead

Detective Pikachu

So in my last blog update post, I said something about how “light novels are cooler than anime”.

Turns out light novels are actually bad.

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May 2018 Update: I’m A Twenty-Something Year Old Anime Journalist, But I’m Being Swamped By Light Novels Because They’re Cooler Than Anime

llenn

Hello, friends! I just got back from a week-long trip to the Philippines and am typing this blog post in a state of bone-dead exhaustion. So I’ll keep this month’s update brief.

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Mari Okada’s Biography is NOW Available in English + An Exclusive Interview!

anthem-of-the-heart-2

It’s finally out!

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I Translated Mari Okada’s Biography

Hi all!

I’m thrilled to announce that Mari Okada’s biography From Truant to Anime Screenwriter: My Path to “Anohana” and “The Anthem of the Heart” will be getting an English e-book release on May 4, published by J-Novel Club. You can read a free preview of the book’s prologue at J-Novel Club’s website, and you can pre-order the book from Amazon here.

okadabio_cover_400

If you’re a subscriber to J-Novel Club and you pre-order the premium ebook, you’ll enter the draw to win a shikishi signed by Mari Okada herself.

I’m biased – I’m keen on promoting this book because I translated it myself. Hopefully if this sort of book sells well, it could pave the way for more English translations of books about anime creators. So if this sort of thing interests you, please do buy the book!

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February 2018 Update: Time For a Change

ai

Moving house is a pain in the butt. This is true no matter which country you’re in. This month, I moved house to west Tokyo. I really like where I’m living now because I’m within cycling distance of most of the anime studios in Tokyo. But moving to a new house was actually way more stressful for me than moving to Japan in the first place, mainly because it was my first time going through a Japanese real estate agent, buying my own furniture and setting up gas and electricity and whatnot. So in a way, this past month has felt like I’m finally moving into Japan for real.

I also happened to meet my fellow ANN Tokyo Correspondent for the first time last January, and this was the first month where we ate out together after going to an assignment. Since ANN is an international organisation where most of its members work remotely, I don’t often experience that feeling of socialising with my colleagues. My life has been all over the place in these past few months, but now I’m starting to feel like I’m settling into my job. It’s a nice feeling.

At the same time, I think it’s time for a change.

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January 2018 Update: Ethics in Anime Journalism

violet evergarden

People like to complain about journalists a lot. Readers routinely vent their frustration at Anime News Network for whatever reason. For example, the latest This Week in Anime column had a vocal minority of people accusing the website for being “insulting and derogatory” because the writers used the word “heteronormative” in an opinion piece.

Of course, there is more to ethics in journalism than picking the “right” side in the culture wars. So I would like to dedicate today’s blog post to some of the ethical concerns I deal with as an anime journalist on a day to day basis.

Any opinions expressed here are my own and don’t reflect the stance of Anime News Network or Crunchyroll.

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The Fascinating and Problematic Setting of The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress

combat baker 1

I mentioned in my The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! blog post that I liked Bookwalker Global’s other exclusive light novel release: The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading volume 2, I figure I should write a post explaining why I like it.

Put simply, I’m a fan of the setting of The Combat Baker. It is a postwar story about a former soldier who takes on a mundane-sounding job in a fantasy European setting. I guess in that broad sense it is like Violet Evergarden, although the tone of the story is very, very different. The Combat Baker also puts a heavy focus on the political backdrop of its postwar setting, as well as how that affects people in a rural town. I quickly found myself sucked into this world that SOW had created.

As cute and fluffy as the cover images make it look, there are some disquieting elements to the setting of The Combat Baker beneath the surface. Thanks to the presence of fantasy technology, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact time period it’s based off, but the general “mood” of the story makes me think it’s around World War I. The victor of this fictional war is a country named Wiltia, whose citizens have Germanic names and whose physical appearances are defined by their blonde hair and blue eyes.

So, obviously, fantasy Germany won the war and annexed an entire continent.

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Where Was Each Haoliners Show Animated?

haoliners gif

Haoliners is the name of a Chinese animation company that partners with Japanese studios to create shows that air in both China and Japan. I’ve written about them before, where I noted that a lot of their shows aren’t actually made at the same studio. This is not a surprise when you consider that they’ve produced over 10 shows for Japanese TV since opening their Tokyo studio in late 2015. No fledgling studio can lead that many productions straight off the bat.

So where are Haoliners shows actually being animated? Haoliners has studios in China, South Korea and Japan. If you look carefully at the credits, however, each show has involved a great deal of outsourcing. I’ll briefly note down the lead production studio in each case. (I’ll just be focusing on the shows that had an English release here.)

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I’m Sorry, and Happy New Year

love live inspire

I’m sorry.

That’s how I want to begin this post, because whenever I think about my blog, I just want to apologise. I’m sorry for not updating, I’m sorry for not doing the 12 days of anime, I’m sorry for just reposting old articles instead of writing anything new.

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“That Alone Would Have Been Good Enough”

tada

Your mind can be a dark and scary place.

Alone with only your worst thoughts stewing in your mind, the entire world feels like a prison. Your every problem is magnified to impossible proportions; you feel like you’re up against a suffocating wall with no weapons to fight.

A part of you is aware that your problems would be seen as trivial by other people. “It’s all in your head!” they’d say. But it’s not trivial, because they don’t understand that your head has become your enemy, and that it’s with you all the time. That’s why you never tell them. You never tell anyone.

And eventually, you snap.

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