Tokimeki stops at the border...

I found G-On Riders amusing, and I’d like to own a legitimate copy. The problem is, it’s not $333 amusing, and that’s five years after release. Even online, Japan just hasn’t caught on to the concept of discount pricing.

The only way to get a good deal is to buy used, and Amazon Japan has plenty of dealers eager to sell used manga and anime… if you live in Japan. I haven’t found any yet that will do international shipping.

I’m still planning to spend two weeks in Japan this fall, so it looks like the thing to do is order a whole bunch of stuff a few days before I leave the US, and have it all shipped to my hotel in Tokyo. After I get there, I can repack it all into a single box and put it on the slow boat to home. The savings on just a few items should cover the shipping costs.

Not all Japanese DVDs are quite as ridiculously packaged or priced as anime, though. Where an anime disc typically has an hour of content for around $50, live-action series do a lot better. A show like 銭湯の娘!? gives you two hours for $32, and Amazon does discount the box set, bringing the total cost down to $261, a merely painful $14 per hour.

…but I could get it for half that price, if I had an address in Japan to ship it to.

Sadly, while buying used products feels better than downloading them for free off the Internet, it’s not really any better at rewarding the creators for their work. Legitimate digital distribution would do a lot to solve that problem, but so would discounts, thinpaks, direct sales, etc.

I liked her better the other way...

A historically-accurate Yagyu Jubei isn’t nearly as much fun as the anime version…

No false advertising

Recently, Steven said:

After you've finished watching Misaki Chronicles, what becomes clear is that the story tellers had a really good story to tell, and knew they did -- but didn't think they could sell that story on the merits, either to their studio or to an audience. So they had to hide it, disguise it, attach things to it. Like huge boobs.

In the interests of clarity, I want to say that when it comes to the new manga series HEAVEN, creator Aoi Nanase has not gratuitously added large breasts and panty-flashing in order to market a serious story about the nature of good and evil.


A perfectly good theory...

…shot down by a definitive quote. In Hand Maid May, the genius cyberdoll who applies rigorous logic to all actions (including how much salt to add while cooking) is named Kei, and unlike the title character, gets a -san from everyone. Kei-san = 計算 = “calculation”.

Except the creator came right out and said that she was named after Robot Detective K, who isn’t nearly as photogenic.

He also said that May comes from maid, Mami from mommy, Sara from The Terminator’s Sarah Connor, and Rena from actress Rena Tanaka (This one, not this one).

[…and on an unrelated note, I had no idea that someone was planning a TV spinoff of The Terminator, called The Sarah Connor Chronicles.]

Buttons are jealous, kittens are terrified...

…dogs are howling in pain from the sound of her voice.

Kusumi Koharu

Kusumi Koharu can’t sing. Here’s proof. There’s plenty more where that came from, but it should be watched with the sound off, because while she’s a really, really cute teenage girl who can bounce around cheerfully with the other girls in Morning Musume, she’s painful to listen to.

It’s not that all of the other girls in the Hello!Project empire were chosen for their vocal talent; the majority will never “graduate” to a solo career, and you’ll only hear them solo individual lines in a group performance (sorry, Tsuji, but with Kago‘s permanent departure from the organization, your career is screwed). It’s just that Koharu stands out for pushing the cute/voiceless trend to a new extreme.

Although from the audition video, at least one of the two Chinese girls who were just added to the group might actually be a worse singer…

[oh, and the ED from her anime is sung by another H!P group, °C-ute, some of whose members will eventually become teenagers…]

The Idolm@ster

Just search for it on Google and Youtube. It’s terrifying, in a “do I really need a Japanese Xbox 360 right now” kind of way. If you find yourself downloading the 720p version of the trailer from that German torrent site, all hope is lost.

[Update: this site seems to have the best set of screenshots showing the gameplay. I like the dialogue in this one:

The Idolmaster


[Update: holy crap, that page is a giant cesspit of Javascript, weighing in at nearly 240K of code, and maybe 2K of actual HTML content. I was initially curious how much overhead the trendy-annoying JS image display code was adding (72K if it’s the only thing prototype.js is used for, 21K otherwise, plus the overhead of actually calling it, which makes the HTML basically unreadable), but now I’m wondering just how painful this site is for anyone with low bandwidth and an older browser.]

The Guardian of my World

A while back, I mentioned that I was tinkering with jQuery for updating my pop-up furigana. This dovetails nicely with my attempts to improve my Japanese reading skills, which currently involve working my way through Breaking into Japanese Literature and ボクのセカイをまもるヒト.

The first one is a parallel text with all vocabulary translated on the same page. I wish he’d formatted it a bit differently, and my teacher isn’t pleased with some of the translation, but it’s a useful learning tool, and there’s a free companion audiobook on the web site.

The second is the first in a new light novel series from Nagaru Tanigawa, also responsible for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it includes furigana for almost all of the kanji. My goal is to read it, not translate, but I have to look up an awful lot of vocabulary, and there’s not enough room on the page to annotate.

So I’m typing it in, and using a Perl script to add my shiny new pop-up furigana.

(and, yes, I’m deliberately over-annotating; I don’t actually need many of those annotations, but someone else might, and it’s not that much work)

[Update: I should mention that I’m using Jim Breen’s translation server to speed up the glossing process. The parser gets lost occasionally, but it’s still very helpful, often finding idiomatic phrases that cover several words.]

Oh, here’s the cover, courtesy of Amazon:


Mahoro finally gets her wish...

I got an Xbox 360 at a nice discount (Microsoft Company Store holiday deal), but I’ve only picked up one additional game so far: Dead or Alive Extreme 2. The English dub is painful, so I switched it to Japanese (I had to get through the first virtual day to reach a point where I could disable the supplied music, which is pretty awful, but you can get rid of the dubbing once you finish enjoying the title movie a few times).

From previous games, I expected to hear some familiar voice actresses, but new character Kokoro sounded very familiar. I heard Mahoro in that voice, and I was not mistaken.

Sadly, the creators of the DoA franchise do not value Mahoro-like figures, so all of the girls are rather generously endowed. Said creators are proud of the fact that each breast is animated independently, but I think they should have spent a few minutes with an honestly-gifted nude model to learn precisely how large breasts should be animated. Tip for the day: when she turns rapidly at the waist, they should indeed move, but not so much, not for so long, and not up-and-down. Virtual implants might tend to stay more centered on the chest than Ma Nature’s Own, but if they’re loose enough to move that far up, they’re going to sway back and forth as well. [back and forth, back and forth, …]

But enough about breasts. What image have they attached to Mahoro’s voice?


“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”