Anime

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 qj.net 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:

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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?

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その儀式は彼らの宗教の一部である


Otaku make passes at
girls who wear glasses.

Eiken for more?


What does the artist who created the Eiken manga do for an encore? Zokusei, with the thoroughly-anonymous 〇〇くん guiding the “reader” through first-person fanservice-y encounters with every bishoujo cliché in the book. He still loves supsersizing, but unlike Eiken (the anime, at least; I avoided the manga…), the things attached to the girls’ chests are probably breasts, and some of their figures are not alien to this species. Being manga, you’re also spared the sloshing-mudsack animation that helped make the anime completely unwatchable. Their eyes tend toward the psychotic, but other than that, most of the art’s actually not bad.

Okay, I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d noticed the small print at the bottom that said “from the creator of Eiken”. I thought one of the girls on the cover looked cute, it was only $5, and it promised 「美少女20人大集結!!」.

Each chapter is devoted to showing off a different girl, with just enough story to accurately classify her (tsundere, ojou, meganekko, iincho, Yankee, American, etc). All of them have names, ages, blood types, heights, weights, and measurements. For educational purposes, I’ve calculated the average statistics of the girls, excluding the 5 teachers and the little sister: 16 years old, 5’3”, 101 pounds, 34E-22-33. Note that the mean cup size is skewed by three mutants: 2 I’s and a J; the rest average an overstuffed C. The five teachers average 39H, a sure sign that this comic is set on a low-G planet.

Oh, and it has furigana, so I can officially consider it study material.

Dear anime producers, please license this


Wandering through Kinokuniya today, I saw something in the light novel section that stopped me in my tracks. Adjacent to the ten volumes of キノの旅 was 学園キノ:

Gakuen Kino

I found a blog with a larger photo. I couldn’t resist buying it, so I’ll see if I can get a decent shot of the interior color illustrations. For those fond of Kino’s Journey, I’ll mention that the first chapter is titled “Here comes KINO”, and the last is “Last Man Standing Got Milk”. Don’t ask me about the story; light novels usually have some furigana, but even for the kanji I know I have to look up a lot of words.

Apparently the author also has another series called アリソン, about a young woman with a Broomhandle Mauser and an early-20th-century fighter plane of some sort.

[Update: Just noticed the text on the little wrapper: この作品は「キノの旅」なんかじゃない。, roughly “this book is nothing like Kino’s Journey”]

Maid Cafe, please


San Francisco is looking to invigorate its Japantown with an infusion of pop culture. I’ve been insisting for a while now that Otaku Tokyo is one of the few colorful themes left unlicensed for a major Las Vegas casino, so perhaps this will help show the money-men the power of kawaii.

Japantown, old and busted

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