Novel vs Anime – INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA!?

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

What do you do when you find a nice apartment with cheap rent, only to encounter a bunch of freeloaders want to take it off you? Who cares if the place is haunted, or if the underground people want to use it to take over the world! A penniless student has to protect his lodgings with all his might!

This is the plot of INVADERS of the ROKUJYOMA!?, the screwball comedy anime based off a series of equally goofy light novels. The anime only ran for 12 episodes, but the light novel series has 25 volumes in publication as of the time of this writing—and the series is still ongoing! Who knew that a simple fight over an apartment room could evolve into such an epic saga?

rokujouma 2

The anime made quite a few changes to the light novel, so if you want the full version of the story it’s best to check out the light novels, but the anime does do a good job of showcasing the most memorable moments of the original. Let’s take a closer look!

Note: This review only refers to the first volume of the light novel, which is covered in the first episode of the anime.

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How Vivi Lane Falls in Love

yagate koi suru vivi lane

Have I ever told you about my impeccable taste in light novels?

Have I ever told you about how impeccably I choose the light novels that I read?

In the wise words of Wataru Watari: “The illustrations count for everything.”

Who gives a shit about the author, the plot, the reviews, or any other indicator of good writing? I always pick my light novels based on how cute the pictures look, and this method has never once failed me.

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Life is Stranger than Fiction in The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! has been a fan favorite ever since it first aired in the spring of 2013. And that’s no surprise!  There’s something inherently hilarious about watching a demon lord and his general adjust to life in modern Tokyo, where everyone—even demon lords—have to work to pay their rent. The main characters may have been ripped straight out of a fantasy show, but their struggles are still oddly relatable to any working young adult.

maou 1

The first three episodes or so are the most memorable in the anime, full of witty jokes and charming character moments. But there’s more to The Devil is a Part-Timer! than just “fish out of water” humor. In its more serious moments, the anime uses its “normal” characters to remind the audience that, even in a world bereft of demons and magic, earth-shaking chaos lie just around the corner.

Note: Spoilers for the anime’s first arc (episodes 1-5) below.
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How Gundam Wing Became a Global Phenomenon

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

To celebrate the 38th anniversary of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, Crunchyroll has recently added some classic Gundam titles to its catalog. Let’s take this opportunity to look back on Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, the show that ignited the West’s love affair with Gundam. You may be surprised at how many convenient factors lined up in both the original Japanese context and the international distribution process that helped pave the way for Wing’s success.

Wing 1
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NOTICE: I Will Be at Crunchyroll Expo This Year


My flight is tomorrow so I’m gonna keep this short, but I’m going to Crunchyroll Expo! I’ll be attending as a member of the press, but I fully intend to enjoy myself there. If you’re going to be attending the convention too (or if you just happen to be in the area), come and say hi!

It’ll be my first time visiting the United States, so I’m really looking forward to it. I wish that I could stay longer and see more of the country, but I’ll be back in Tokyo by August 29th to resume my regular work.

I’ll have a longer update when I’m back, but that’s all for now. Take care, everybody!

How Faithful is the Gintama English Dub?

Note: This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

Earlier this year, the English dub of the third season of Gintama was released on Crunchyroll. It’s the first time that this iconic comedy series has ever been available dubbed, and this has caused quite a stir among fans. Some have looked forward to it, while others have raised concerns that the Japanese cultural jokes and wordplay won’t translate well into an English dub—that something about Gintama is too “Japanese” to translate well, despite the fact that the subtitled versions have already proved popular among non-Japanese fans. There are some loaded assumptions behind the idea that Gintama is unsuited for dubbing, and I’d like to unpack some of those in today’s “Found in Translation” column, if you don’t mind.

gintama picture

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Novel vs Anime – A Certain Magical Index

Note: This is a repost of a series of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

A Certain Magical Index is based off one of the most popular light novel series in Japan ever. If you count the side story volumes and the New Testament sequel currently being published in Japan, the Index series has over 40 volumes in print—and this isn’t even counting the A Certain Scientific Railgun manga spinoff which has its own sprawling continuity. If you’re even vaguely familiar with anime and light novels, you’ve probably heard of the Index franchise.

index cover

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People Sure Like to Romanticise Fan Translations


People sure like to romanticise piracy. This was something that occurred to me after I published an article a few days ago called Explaining the English Light Novel Boom with Bookwalker Global, which didn’t mention piracy at all and yet sparked controversy on the subject anyway. As many of the comments argued, fan translations have played a part in popularizing light novels in English translation. Why didn’t I mention their existence?

In truth, I didn’t set out to snub fan translation in that piece. It was simply the case that the people I spoke to at Bookwalker Global did not mention it. The article was not intended as a comprehensive overview of the light novel industry; it was meant to showcase Bookwalker Global’s perspective on the subject. I thought that their views would be interesting because a) They’ve recently jumped onto the English light novel bandwagon with a clear rationale for doing so, and b) They are deeply connected to the Japanese light novel market.

Fan translations were clearly not relevant with Bookwalker Global’s choice of exclusive titles. Neither The Combat Baker nor The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! had English fan translations when these releases were being decided, nor was there much hype for them on English-language social media. However, people still wanted me to talk about fan translation anyway. I suspect that they wanted me to romanticise their place in history.

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Manga vs Anime – The Art and Animation in Fuuka

Note: Ah yes, this article. Maybe it’s not good to say, but originally I was gonna be much more negative because the Fuuka anime is about on the same level as pig’s excretion. Naturally, I wasn’t allowed to say that on the site this anime is streaming on. Have fun reading this article and identifying all the euphemisms for “this is shit”.

Anyway, this is a repost of a series of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. Check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

Watching the first episode of the Fuuka anime made me realize how good the manga is at what it does. Fuuka is very much a typical teenage romance manga, complete with tsundere antics and a panty shot in the opening pages, but there’s also something irresistibly readable about it. In large part, this is due to the manga’s visual execution. Kouji Seo may be a controversial manga artist because of the often frustrating relationships he depicts in his stories, but he also knows how to capture a teenage boy’s viewpoint through his art. In the Fuuka manga, our hero’s confidence issues seep through his body language in every panel.

fuuka manga

Watching the anime, however, has been quite a different experience so far. The first thing I noticed about it was its overall aesthetic. The colors clash with each other, and the 3D backgrounds have an oddly prosthetic and clinical look about them that doesn’t mesh well with the character animation. The production flaws are understandable, considering that the anime’s art director and color coordinator are both first-timers in these roles. Studio Diomedéa has also struggled to finish major projects on time lately, particularly the recent KanColle movie, and Fuuka was almost certainly a victim of a rushed schedule (sadly the norm for TV anime). The external factors were clearly not in the anime’s favor.

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Translating the Kyoto Dialect in Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga

Note: After spending a week in the Kansai area (nothing work-related, just a brief sojourn), I thought it would be nice to bring out this old article. This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for Crunchyroll. As always, check my writer profile to see my latest articles.

In the second season of Blue Exorcist, the action shifts to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan for over a thousand years. In many ways, it’s an ideal setting for the Blue Exorcist story. The characters’ powers are often inspired by Buddhist motifs (Suguro, for instance, recites Buddhist chants in order to cast barriers). Given that Kyoto is famous for its historical Buddhist temples and imperial palaces, it makes complete sense for the setting to shift to Kyoto as the story delves into the characters’ backstories and the events of the past.

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Kyoto and how the city is typically portrayed in anime, but today I want to introduce you to one particular technique used in Blue Exorcist to help set the scene in Kyoto—the characters from Kyoto all speak with a dialect. This might be difficult to fully appreciate in translation because the differences in the characters’ speaking styles are not marked in the subtitles. Dialects are notoriously difficult for translators to handle in general, so how are English speakers meant to understand the Kyoto dialect used in the Blue Exorcist anime?

blue exorcist
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