What I really REALLY hated about anime in 2016.

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)

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Tokyopop’s return part 3: Waiving your rights over a mobile app.

When this landed on me, I was surprised too!

Pop Media Holdings, which owns Tokyopop, has a mobile app, POP Comics. It’s basically an app where manga/comic creators can publish their work for app users to read. Their website seems to love the words ‘interact’, ‘monetize’ and ‘awesome’…plus it’s free to read as ads incorporate the app. All sounds cool, right? I mean it’s a decent enough sounding platform for indie artists to show off their work to the public. They get paid, the public see something new, and Stu Levy is more chuffed with himself.

Well not everyone reads the small print

Putting in a nutshell, POP Comics can do whatever they want with their app without informing the user (or the creator who is publishing their work) beforehand. They can pretty much revoke your “creator-owned” status without telling you first, and if you have a problem with that, then you’d have to go through Hong Kong law instead of your own home country’s one. Also, if you have a problem or dispute with using the app (eg. a creator has issues with POP Comics showing certain stuff), you don’t have the right to actually file a lawsuit; something what is known as arbitration is used instead. Arbitration is favoured by companies because it doesn’t necessarily involve a real judge, and is much much cheaper for the company.

First we have a lot of people doubting whether Tokyopop is even worth its resurrection, then its issue of ‘raising awareness’ of shows by uploading whole episodes onto Youtube without the licensor’s permission, and now this? Sure having these dodgy-looking terms and conditions in a mobile app is something people are going to jump up and down about…besides there are better way for creators to show off their work.

Pixiv / Deviantart / pretty much any image-based social media platform

At this rate, I may end up writing more shit-hurling posts about Tokyopop (complaining how they should have stayed dead), and turn me into one great big SJW. Perhaps I should quit using WordPress and turn straight to Tumblr instead……I’d be able to both be chummy with other SJWs and at the same time have shit hurled in my face for no apparent reason.

Love goes to Bunnycartoon for finding this out and influencing me to write this. She haz teh conneketionz!!

Tokyopop’s return part 2: The Plot Thickens.

Well we have all been waiting with baited breath to see what Tokyopop really do have up their sleeves for their so-called comeback. I implied in my last Tokyopop post on how they had started talks with Disney for doing adaptations of Disney works; this would most likely mean the likes of Frozen or Star Wars or any of the Pixar movies appearing in print comic form.

Head honcho Stuart Levy, who never gave up on Tokyopop even when Kodansha left them, several of their staff were fired, their German office was shut down and Borders (their largest customer) went bankrupt, has gotten himself into a bit of a corner, unfortunately.

It all began when Tokyopop uploaded Angel’s Egg onto their Youtube channel, in the possible hope that they would have acquired the license for it. Angel’s Egg is a very rare piece; from 1985, it was a co-production of Ghost in the Shell creator Mamoru Oshii and Final Fantasy/Vampire Hunter D illustrator Yoshitaka Amano. This seemed a little too good to be true; Tokyopop venturing back into licensing again…but the girl behind The Anime Nostalgia Tumblr, and a friend of mine, saw straight through this:

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Do we want Tokyopop back?

Well, Vice seem to think we do.

I most certainly remember when Tokyopop manga filled the tiny tiny sections of my bookstore (and oh, were they tiny…considering how small the manga fanbase had hit the UK) with the likes of Fruits Basket, Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Battle Royale, Great Teacher Onizuka, Chobits, Cowboy Bebop…you name it, they most likely had the license for an English translation (make that an American translation, sorry). Not to mention the large number of original English and German-language works published, soundtracks, and licensed dubbed shows for TV.

With the advent and increasing popularity of digital manga (as well as pirated/scanned manga & fan translations), it’s debated on whether we want an actual physical copy to read. This is, of course, a debate that applies with any printed media, from novels to newspapers…but why is the appeal of owning an actual manga volume to hold in your hands and read so large? Why manga in particular? Well manga publishers in the West, like Yen Press, Seven Seas and Kodansha have it nailed; hell it was Yen who introduced the concept of English-language light novels (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one!), which hit off much to my surprise. But a lot of people are extremely skeptical about Tokyopop’s return when they made their announcement back at both Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con in 2015.

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