I think we all know that 2016 will be a year that we will just refuse to talk about in the future. It’ll be 2014, 2015, and then we’ll just skip straight to 2017. Some pretty bad things have happened this year, news-wise:
Donald Trump / Brexit / Growth of the Alt-Right movement / The sudden increase in racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia as a result of the previous three / The continuing situation in Syria & Aleppo / David Bowie / Orlando shooting / Muhammad Ali / Prince / Flint still not having clean water / Zika virus / Leonard Cohen / Alan Rickman / Suicide Squad / Hurricane Matthew / Kids going all butt-hurt over this year’s Call of Duty / Cubs winning the World Series / Turkish coup / Gene Wilder / Bastille Day Attack in Nice / Charleston church shooting / Leicester City winning the Premier League / The UK going batshit crazy that The Great British Bake Off was leaving the BBC / Murdoch now owning even more of the world’s media / Brussels airport bombing / Killer Clown craze in Halloween / North Korea still being an ass / England getting owned by Iceland in the European soccer tournaments in France
I also had to go to hospital in March after a series of violent seizures. My hyperactive nephew has hit puberty too, so that might be a pain in the ass. My favourite nightclub, Fabric, lost its license when a couple of kids OD’d on the dance floor (they got it back though). My nose unnaturally started to bleed in July, so that sucked. My first experience with a brony scarred me forever. Two of my favourite Formula 1 drivers retired (Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg). A cult got in touch with me when I wrote an article about some of their movies (not a bad thing…just bizarre…but I forgot to say thank you to them for reading the article, so in the off-chance that if they are reading this, The Golden Laws was actually pretty good, so thanks). You could even argue Pokemon Go had some role too in creating more of a dystopian society this year, even though it is a pretty cool game (despite it eating your data and phone battery).
And I’m still an unemployable piece of shit.
Anime and the general weeb culture wasn’t spotless either. Saying that though, it had its pretty damn fine moments: Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian finally came out after 9 or 10 years of development hell, Your Name, Hibike! Euphonium sequel, Overwatch, Hideo Kojima re-emerging after Konamigate with a pretty slick-looking game in the works, Stranger Things (hardly weeb but still a cool show), A Silent Voice (I didn’t like it, but so many people did), the news that Nintendo’s new console is coming out sooner than we think…
Last year I did a little piece over the worst things that anime did to us, which included Charlotte, the second season of Nisekoi (there was a sequel, in case you forgot, which you may have) and Gainax turning to product placement to make a mediocre magical girl show. Well time to do it all over again for this year; perhaps this year will be more significant considering all the other shit that happened.
(Remember: this is all personal opinion)
Danganronpa 3: The concept anime project of despair
Okay so, to begin with, I didn’t have high hopes for this, especially since Danganronpa: The Animation was a bit of a mess. That show had animation that totally mirrored the game (which was an absolute plus), and Megumi Ogata does a truly stellar job at playing Makoto Naegi, but so much of the story was completely skipped, to make sure everything that happened in Trigger Happy Havoc crammed into 12 compact episodes. But since I love the franchise, a part of me was hoping that there would be some kind of redemption. Well, you know how Danganronpa and hope just don’t mix.
I think it was the Future Arc that threw me off, despite many thinking that the Despair Arc was a complete waste of time. I didn’t like the new game Monokuma concocted in that arc; it just seemed a little too silly. The Future Foundation tearing itself apart in the way it did was a bit of a downer too (and I’m usually all down to groups of people in Danganronpa games at each others’ throats). Perhaps it was down to the fact that it wasn’t an adaptation of one of the games or manga or novels, and that the writers had to (almost) make things up as they go along.
I believe that the Despair Arc was needed though, as there was a massive gap in-between the 3 games that needed to be filled. Before, there were so many things concerning the aftermath of Trigger Happy Havoc and the prologue of Goodbye Despair that we didn’t know, but even though I was more than a little surprised at the end, I’m glad that hole has been filled. But while the Hope Arc had some kind of happy ending, I didn’t like the story on how it got there. The new Ultimates in the Future Arc were just very unlikeable people, unlike past Ultimates (baes like Kyoko, Aoi, Chiaki and Mahiru, and beast characters like Byakuya, Nagito and Mikan).
When Trigger Happy Havoc, Goodbye Despair, Ultra Despair Girls and the new game Killing Harmony all get ported for the PS4 next year, I will give them all (games and the shows) one more go…in chronological order. I was a late bloomer to the franchise (I have the truly excellent Youtube channel Gamer Non Gamer to thank for that; endorsement and advertisement), so I’m looking forward to that.
Tokyopop: Still failing
With Funimation, Crunchyroll and many more streaming sites dominating the airing of anime in the West, a lot were rather clueless on why Tokyopop had to come back from the grave. Kodansha removed their licenses in 2009, Borders went bankrupt, and as a result, Tokyopop staff were laid off and their German headquarters had to shut down. And yet Stu Levy insisted that his company would triumph.
I’ll start by saying that having the ever-sassy Bunnycartoon (The Anime Nostalgia Tumblr) around for research was a huge thing, as I wouldn’t have known a lot of this without her. It didn’t start with Tokyopop uploading Angel’s Egg and an episode of Pitaten illegally onto Youtube (and escaping a lawsuit), but moved onto Pop Media Holdings itself, which owns Tokyopop.
Their mobile app Pop Comics is a tool to let manga and comic creators get their work out to an audience, while getting some kind of payment. Except a lot of people didn’t actually read the small print of the app.
tl;dr. Pop Media can do whatever they want to their app (and the work on there) without informing the creators, and any lawsuits filed against them fall in Hong Kong law, and in arbitration (where a real judge is not needed, is infinitely cheaper for the company, and where 99% of the time, the sued company will win). So if you’re some poor 16-year-old who sees their pride and joy disappear on an app they regularly use to get their work to the public, you can’t do shit if Pop Media decide to shut down without notice. Perhaps they should be glad that Pop Media didn’t decide to seize hold of artwork and claim ownership too.
Stay dead next time, Tokyopop.
2016 Studio Key adaptations: Could they be any worse than Charlotte?
Well sadly yes. Released in the summer, Rewrite was a little show I thought would be cool to write about for OASG. It wasn’t done by P.A Works, so the summer curse didn’t apply…but that meant nothing. Not knowing anything about the game or the story, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was about what the story was, and who the characters really were:
Not exactly copying Charlotte, as the Rewrite game came out years ago, but still it was both very disheartening and very annoying to see yet another Studio Key adaptation going down the X-men/Avengers/Justice League route again. It just gets old, that’s all. And it didn’t help that the show was pretty damn bad too. Cute characters, but the male was just unbelievable and unlikeable. Generic Key characters going off and doing generic Key shit like sleeping under trees, running through fields, having amnesia and looking moody in churches. This show alone has put me off Studio Key entirely, so that’s quite an achievement. And guess what? Rewrite is getting a sequel next season!!! Will you be watching it? If you are, tell me what happens…or not…
Mayoiga: Wow. Just…wow…
In March, I ended up in hospital after a series of seizures, and thus had to take a break from OASG for the spring season. Mayoiga was to be one of the shows I was to write about too. Now some people might know that I seem to have a pattern when it comes to choosing shows to write about for my Otaku Theater simulcast column: I pick a couple of good shows, one or more okay/meh show, and one incredibly bad one. At the moment for this season, it’s Occultic;Nine, but I haven’t lost all hope for that yet (surprisingly).
If you don’t know the show, Mayoiga concerns a group of adults and schoolchildren who originally meet online and later decide to abandon their lives (jobs, school, family, everything), change their names, begin anew, and build their own village in the middle of nowhere. After their bus crashes, they have to make their own way there. And it’s around episode 2 or 3 when you realise that the show will end up turning into one putrid mess of Battle Royale, Danganronpa and Jonestown, with a good helping of extremely mediocre psychological ‘thrills’. Each character has their own past, their own dark secrets, and around halfway through, you realise that humanity does indeed suck balls.
Now after reading the plot of this, I had high hopes for Mayoiga. I mean, on paper, the idea sounds great. People abandoning the world to build a new one, only to find that the humanity they escaped from will never leave them, and thus turns them all mad. Now if it was just a book by some acclaimed thriller writer, then it might have done very well…saying that though, a book like it has probably already been written. The story and the script for Mayoiga needed a lot of fixing. And I don’t mean just here, there and everywhere; the entire plot needed to be rewritten. I was expecting all of them to just end up killing each other, but instead they all chose to fester in their own self-pity, self-hatred, malcontent and, in a lot of cases, their own psychosis. This in turn affected all of the characters, especially the two main characters, who both did not deserve the route they ended up going down.
And to think this was done by the same guy behind Girls Und Panzer too…
Animeleague: Declaring war
Some might not have heard of them, but Animeleague are a UK-based collective who run small conventions, as well as a massive forum. The good majority of members are weebs beyond weebs. And the bad kind too. You know that old saying of “Anime is good, and that it’s just the fans that suck”, well that couldn’t be any truer in this case.
Well after I attended one of their events in July, I publicly wrote about what sort of things happened there. Poorly-run panels, unruly staff, noise, stalls selling bootleg material, and some very serious health and safety hazards (including blocked fire exits and the presence of asbestos in a nearby locked room). But instead of heeding advice and aiming to better their events for the future, they have openly declared war on me.
Over the summer, I have had emails from all sorts of people I don’t know. Not major threats, but plenty saying they are willing to drag my name in the mud. I was just fortunate that I gave them my old cellphone number, otherwise I’d probably get texts and calls too. The emails have, thankfully, stopped.
I just worry that too many UK fans, who are good people, are sucked into this toxic collective (who have the major advantage of having their name/brand out more than everyone else). All I wanted to do is help the UK anime community be a better thing, but this didn’t help at all. If anything it made it worse…hence why I made the hard decision to keep a good distance from the community here.
So thanks to them, I have become disillusioned and worried that the community here will die a slow and very painful death.
There were some other shows I did despair over this year: Prisma Illya season 4, Dagashi Kashi, Kiznaiver, Super Lovers, orange…but none of them quite made the cut, as they all had some okay-to-good episodes in them.
I have a lot of complaints regarding the recent mass Anitwitter coverage of Yuri!!! On Ice and Flip Flappers too, not just by fans but by Crunchyroll too, who don’t seem to shut up about either show. But I guess I’m only moaning about this because I just did not like the shows in any way at all, and thus found pretty much every tweet concerning them very tiring to read, since I did not want to skip past so many (literally everyone on my Twitter is talking about them!!). No doubt, said complaints will return when next season brings a show I don’t like but everyone else won’t stop talking about.
Well, for the Otaku Theater column, the winter season will see me doing Little Witch Academia, Gabriel Dropout, Fuuka, and concluding Sangatsu no Lion (as well as covering Zaregoto episodes and the finale of Long Riders!). I’m also adding coverage of a classic/out-of-season show too, and I’ve chosen Chihayafuru. So many people I know say it’s amazing…well I know nothing about karuta, so I’m going to take their word for it.
And so to end this post, I will say only one thing.
Fuck you 2016.