Thursday, June 8, 2017

Waifu Tourism: Using Japanese IP to market "Content Tourism"


Japan see the potential in Content Tourism; Government immediately starts doing it wrong.



So what is Content Tourism and why are they putting it in a blender with Cool Japan and then just pouring it randomly all over the place?  Well apparently, it is in the hopes of increasing international tourism in Japan.  Content Tourism is simply capitalizing on people's desire to visit specific locations because said locations were featured in a particular work (novel, TV show, movie, youtube video, whatever), this is slightly different from historical tourism (civil war battlefields, Jack the Ripper crime scene walking tour), only in that the source material for the impetus behind undertaking content tourism is fictional.  Both try to attract visitors by providing an intangible value to their tourist activities, in this case access to places connected to things they find interesting.  Or tangible value depending what's available in the gift-shop.


I'd like one meth please.  Every fandom has meth.
Every. Fandom.

Japan, being a popular setting for many modern fictional works of popular culture, has no shortage of such locations, but has been sorely lacking in the ability to genuinely connect them to the "Content" of Content Tourism.  Yes, you may have loved Initial D but are you gonna go rent a Golf GTI or whatever and drive around Gunnma?  You might think Crayon ShinChan is hilarious but are you going to go wander around Saitama trying to just drink it all in? (Side-note, It's best just to never ever go wandering around Saitama, seriously, there be some strange things that happen there, arg).  So the conundrum is obvious perhaps, connect places with popular anime and you'll get your tourists looking when where that thing happened that time in their favorite anime.  How do we connect things?  Well technology, it's Japan how else are they going to approach this, you expect them to hire some kigurumi people to just walk around and wave at everyone?


It costs extra if you want to know which ones in this picture pee standing up.

Rather than go with that potential creepy-factor, the geniuses at JETRO have decided to Pokemon-GO the hell out of this idea.  Now you can use a mobile device to look around a specific site or building and see that hot little waifu of yours peaking out from behind a corner.  Maybe they'll even narrate self-guided tours or tell which nearby kissaten is going to tolerate your weaboo-speak that you think is Japanese.  This is an interesting add on and another way the government is going to spend money on a good idea, look back at in 4 years, and say... "well that didn't work either, so what's next?"  Well that "conundrum" I mentioned earlier is probably not the impediment in this scenario which is going to be the most immovable.  What is happening is something like the Yamato effect.  No not that Yamato.  More about this later.


So who is coming to dinner?
Well, according to the JNTO, the countries that send the most tourists by far are the countries in close proximity, so it's not surprising to see Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong  be the top sources of international visitors.  But guess who's #5 on the list... that's right it's 'Murica, which so far is beating out Thailand.  This is also based on tourist visa numbers so US Armed Forces in Japan don't get included in these numbers.  You would expect Australia to have high numbers as well but they don't. And if you combine the USA with Canadian visitors, it outnumbered all visitors from the entire EU.  Outside of East Asia, North America is the next most important contributor to tourism numbers from Japan (combined figures 2012-2016 from the JNTO). 

So, are the increased foreign tourists going to be likely coming from countries that are already among the top contributors, or will they come from new sources that previously hadn't been significant sources?  Well that's the big question isn't it, but with geopolitical instability being what it is, Japan and Russia not becoming besties any time soon, and the growing competition out there, it looks like the man source is going to be an increase from the cash cows.  But that means there's going to be another problem.



The Yen is too damn high.

Exchange rates are something I have talked about before.  Or here too.  But it should be brought up again because the JPY and its stubborn immobility when it comes to rates against the USD and other currencies , it creates the perfect storm of antidote to any pull efforts that this program is going to have with many foreign  tourists who would find value in this type of Content Tourism.  They are all young, and underemployed, paid stagnant wages, have student debt that is astronomical, and have basically been all kinds of screwed.  If you're not a baby boomer, then you are statistically nowhere near the type of person that has the money or time to go an international vacation to one of the most expensive countries in the world.  Coincidentally if you're not a baby boomer, you're exactly the type of international tourist that this program is supposed to appeal to. 


That means that this program is probably so much more effective on domestic tourism markets rather than foreign tourism (with the exception of the ROK, but ROK to Japan is like USA to Canada, it almost doesn't count as an international excursion).  Domestic Japanese will feel a great appeal for this more than foreign fans but more importantly will have the means to capitalize on this opportunity for a valuable experience.  They ill not be tethered by tourist schedules and the need to see things in order of importance.  Seriously, if you're from outside Japan and it's your first time in Kyoto, you will be going to Kiyomizu regardless of what this program has to offer.  If you live in Japan you might have seen it before or can come back to it.  If you live in Japan you won't be worried about international data charges on a wireless device or having to have a whole other one just for this to work.  If you live in Japan you would know that acting like an anime character in public is just as socially frowned upon as if you were in the USA and lived as if you were one of the characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  If you live in Japan, you are the market that this would bring the most value to.  But where are they taking it?  Where it doesn't belong.  If the Japanese government were serious about getting more foreign tourists to visit, they would focus on ways to make it affordable for a young American couple in their 20s who were born the same year as Otakon started, to be able to get there at all.  But that would mean falling out of love with Tokyo, and it's not really in keeping with Abenomics (whatever it happens to be this election).

So now, connecting that to the Yamato effect at this point should be easy. The Yamato was truly a magnificent piece of engineering.  It could shoot at you from so far away that the curvature of the earth itself prevented you from seeing it.  It had an elite crew, lots of power, and was the perfect flag ship for any navy... if it had been in the Battle of Jutland.  They had the best, most bad-ass Arceus they could have, and threw it at 10,001 Charmeleon who were all in a really bad mood.  Results were as to be expected.  So the Yamato effect is when you have something that's amazing at what it does, and do incongruous things with it.  Yes you could cut 9 feet of plywood with a premium Dremel router bit, but a table saw is going to do that better.  The same is happening here.  Japan has the best knife to win a knife fight with, and they're fighting someone with a gun they bought from a pawn shop.







Thursday, June 1, 2017

May 2017 Recap


Kyoto State of Mind.
In case you missed it, Crunchyroll is streaming The Eccentric Family (Uchōten Kazoku) season 2.  They actually started doing this in April, but it's still a slow release so you haven't missed much.  There's something about this series that anyone who has lived in/near Kyoto is going to get all squee-squee nostalgic about.  Ditching class to just hang out around the shrines and parks around Kyoto creates a special feeling that just stays with you.  The Eccentric Family does quite a nice job capturing the Kyoto city-scape and overall vibe.

Some artistic license does in fact, take place.

If you haven't seen it at all, The Eccentric Family is a well made series that incorporates elements of Japanese mythology with the inter-personal politics and foibles of everyday life.  The characters have interesting faults and while not being completely free of trope-tastic deus ex machina plot navigation at times, it folds it in nicely and doesn't make investing your time in the series a painful experience.  So if you haven't yet, go on over to Crunchyroll and give it a look-see.


Anime-Style Novel Contest in Japan Bans Alternate Reality Stories and Teen Protagonists
I am ok with this.  You know why?  Because if they didn't then 90% of the entries would be that same shit.  Yes, Alck-Metal-Fullamist was great (the first time around), but we don't need to hear a million stories about how in a world where they wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people, a 16 year old born without a left ass-cheek saves an entire planet of vaguely middle eastern weirdos with purple hair from magic-hitler.  Come up with something a bit more appealing to a broader audience.

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2017/05/22/anime-style-novel-contest-in-japan-bans-alternate-reality-stories-and-teen-protagonists/

Remember when I wrote that thing about AMVs and it got everyone in a tizzy?  Of course you don't, fresh', it was 2011 and you were taking the SATs.  But what I did mention was how agonizing it was when certain trends become too prolific, and there was an unhealthy saturation of AMVs using the same Linkin Park song(s) to either Evangelion or that new Vampire Hunter D that came out at the time.  So, so, so many of those were standing between the audience and the actual good AMVs that it was just painful.  Such is the case here and now with writing.  It is the same shit over and over and over just with different hair colors and number of "senpai notice me!" moments.  If outside force is required to avoid that, then it should be applied.

Stories that can appeal to high-school aged consumers don't have to have any high school characters in them in order to have said appeal.  Furthermore, by not pigeon-holing the type of narrative, there are now other segments of the audience that can be potential consumers as well.  We can come back to Dragon Maid for this one because back in January I mentioned exactly that.  Dragon Maid is popular with the high school crowd, but it's about a fully functioning adult protagonist (and a dragon).  Someone well out of school, with a job, living on their own.  This means that people in that situation can relate to the story and characters as well, not just students who have that part of their lives to look forward to.  It's why it spans so many different segments out there.

Also... Boobies.

Being a writer means being part of an industry.  It's a business.  And as a business, you can't do it by writing what you want, you have to write what they want. In this case "they" being any potential customers willing to pay money to purchase said writings in whatever format.  When that matches up, then hey, good for you.  When it doesn't, suck it up and deal with it if you want to keep doing this.


AMAZON Japan to Buck Long Standing Tradition and Deal Directly with Publishers.
Amazon Japan has recently loosened its Wal-Mart like iron fist contract terms with distributors in terms of demanding the lowest price, thanks to some prodding/investigation by Japan's FTC.  Dropping the most favored nation clause, as it's called, means that Amazon can no longer make it a rule that every vendor must offer Amazon a lower price than any other e-commerce site they also sell to.  It is perhaps to offset this new dent in earnings forecasts that Amazon Japan is now pursuing a direct distribution strategy with Japanese publishing companies, rather than use 3rd party partners/vendors such as Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Inc.  With plans to order what are sure to be bestsellers straight from publishers, this will allow them to earn more while adhering to the SRP/Cover Price, or discounting it, or whatever it is they do; I don't know - I don't work there.

Look upon your doom, bitches.

Japanese industry and business culture has always loved a middle man.  So much so that there are giant companies in Japan providing middle-man services that have no market what so ever in countries like the United States or EU.  Take Creek & River Co. Ltd. for example, a placement agency for freelance creative people and studios, which places the freelancers at temp jobs with very large companies. It's basically a big Rolodex of freelancers with subscription fee.  In Japan, this is great because socially it's just unheard of to try and "cold contact" someone for something without a formal introduction by a mutually known party.  In the USA, all Procter and Gamble has to do is post something on a website and BANG, everyone with a BA in graphic design is firing their folios at them that they'll be able to pick someone in 24 hours.  C&Rs first foray into the U.S. market was mostly a disaster.

So Amazon is bring that "what do we need you for?" mentality to its Japanese operation, and it will probably be successful. Despite many aspects of Japanese society being in the technological dark ages (ATMs have "closed hours" and major entities still use fax machines a lot), people buying stuff online is widely accepted because another thing that's super popular in Japan is getting stuff delivered.



We know where you live!

Due to its serialized nature, manga will most likely be affected as much as other mediums such as novels and academic texts.  Rather the terms at which Amazon can offer e-reader versions of manga will have a far greater impact on how the market develops, and now that they will be dealing with large publishing companies, the pendulum may be able to swing in their favor.  We might see some very rapid manga releases as publishers hand off the legwork, and more importantly, the overhead cost of translation and distribution in non-Japanese markets to Amazon. 


Japan and ASEAN Release Joint Action Plan at the Intellectual Property Offices Symposium 2017, in Kanazawa.
The Seventh ASEAN-Japan Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting took place this month in Kanazawa, resulting in the joint ASEAN-Japan 2017-2018 Intellectual Property Action Plan.  Before you get all excited and wonder why Anime News Network didn't plug this in the feed, keep in mind this was made by ASEAN industry heads and the JPO (that's "Japan Patent Office" in case you were wondering).  Sorry to pour ice water on your boners, but no, fansub bootlegs and those pirated copies of Pokemon Sun & Moon that got you perma-banned from Ninendo Store and bricked your DS were not on the agenda.  This was almost all exclusively to do with patent law, proprietary manufacturing processes, and chemical formulas.  Also the entire detailed plan isn't available (or it is and I'm just bad at searching for it) but the joint statement, which consists of lip service and farts of well wishes, is online should you care to waste 93 seconds of your life reading it (.pdf file).   However there is also the analytical data from the manufacturing sector - it's pretty detailed.  Good luck, ya weebos.

This is totally what every patent attorney in Japan looks like, I am an expert.
 
But don't go back to checking on that torrent just yet, some things are going to come out of this.  Such as;
  • Although not an ASEAN member, China is slowly being dragged in to these kind of agreements as such activity increases and pressure mounts to stay in the game. Bringing China along for the ride by 2025 is a major step in quelling the "wild west" type of environment when it comes to IP over there and that will include entertainment IP as well as technological. 
  • New and streamlined avenues for prosecution of infringements may be able to (in the future) allow protection of entertainment IP as well, meaning ASEAN countries will be seen as stronger more viable markets for licensing rather than just write-offs to be ignored.   Except Vietnam; they'd probably still censor the crap out of everything.  
  • This is further strengthened by the listed objective of enhancement of collaboration between IP enforcement agencies, which will undoubtedly also enforce IP regulations on things like consumer products, well known brands, and entertainment.
Interestingly enough, there is a separate conference to deal with IP in terms of industrial databases computer codes, and AI software.  It's called  Intellectual Property System Study Group for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  With a title like that you know it's Japanese.



Wonder Woman: Gender-Segregated Screenings at Alamo Draft House.  ...oh here we go.
It's a thing that's happening.  As fun and or empowering as this seems to be, it also seems to be living on the border of "grey area" and "illegal" as well as in no way keeping with the actual spirit of gender equality (it's really the literal opposite).  Here in New York this may run afoul of some significant legal barriers, including Seidenberg v. McSorleys' Old Ale House (1970, United States District Court, Southern District, New York), which means having a liquor license comes with some very clear rules in terms of what you can and can't do regarding public accommodation.  Also what are they going to do about staff?  Is it going to be women only wait-staff?  Because if that is the case, the Department of Labor might take issue with Alamo also.


Yes, this stupid shit again.

I think my support for Wonder Woman as an IP (and an important one at that) has already been explicitly shown both here and here.  However, it is now tainted by the unfortunate social justice reaction which seems to be the same transparent and ridiculous strategy that was employed with the 2016 Ghostbusters.  Every single source of criticism of a business refusing to sell to members of the public because they are such-and-such a gender being instantly labeled as sexist, misogynist, white-nationalist (yes I actually saw that allegation out there regarding this mess) and then is just followed with screeching as loud as possible with no salient argument regarding favoring the exclusion of a specific gender from a licensed business.  I have seen some counterpoints which support doing these screenings, but I haven't seen a single one that seems to acknowledge what is actually happening.
1) Bars and clubs have "Ladies Nights"  or "Boy Nights" and that's legal.
Yes, because that's incentivization, not exclusion.  Specific groups, by gender in this case, are given incentives to patronize a business (which I still think is straight up sexist, but it's also so nebulous from a legal standpoint that it's not getting resolved any time soon that's for sure), but at no time can these businesses actually exclude admission to anyone based on gender during these or any other events.  That's kind of a game changer. Alamo isn't offering discounts or free food or anything else to women in general, they are simply saying "if you are gender such-and-such you will not be admitted/served" ...that's a very clear difference.
2) It's a non-profit fundraising event so they can do that
There's nothing that says something isn't subject to discrimination laws just because it's a non profit event or organization.  Hell, Otakon is an NPO, but do you think they'd be able to get away with having scheduled events for gender this one to the exclusion of gender that one?  The answer is no, they'd be breaking the law regarding public accommodation, and they really just shouldn't do it in principle.
3) But Alamo has classified these as private events, so they can exclude whoever they want. 
Can anyone come up to the box-office and buy a ticket if they are the gender that Alamo has decided to allow?  Yes?  Well then that's going to have a hard time meeting the definition of private event, we're back to public accommodation territory.
4) But what about Curves?  They are gender-exclusive and not getting in trouble so it must be ok!
Sorry slick, but you might be interested to know it is indeed the case that a number of states allow for exemptions to gender discrimination laws.  However it is limited to a specific type of business or entity, and almost always done on religious grounds (yes the original reason gyms and workout centers can gender segregate is because of religious demands).   It is also not the same in every state. Guess what kind of business is not on that list... yeah, there's that liquor license. So does not apply is pretty much how that one ends.  Probably.

See, I like Alamo Drafthouse, and if they get sued or fined, that's bad.  If they lose their license, that's bad also.  I don't want that.  So making sure that this won't bite them in the ass if a state agency gets involved or someone straight up sues is important for them if they don't want to be at risk for something that might shut the place down.

The problem now is that the go-to strategy of 3rd wave is now firmly in place, meaning anyone pointing out that A) this is an example of an entire segment of the population being excluded from public accommodation by a licensed business based exclusively on gender and that B) such a practice is potentially illegal, is now automatically labeled a sexist and misogynist in as loud a shouty-shout voice as can be made.  Woke ≠ Smart.  The bad part about this is that unlike Ghostbusters 2016, the ridiculous infusion of identity politics is going to tarnish what looks like a genuinely good movie this time, which is unfortunate.   I am fully thinking that Wonder Woman is going to be kick-ass.

Now I could be wrong about literally all of this, but until someone comes to me with a cogent, salient argument about the matter, rather than some white-knighting bullshit insult screaming and name calling, that's where I see things landing on this one.

Too sexist for the UN; But not sexist enough for the Box Office.
Makes all the sense you'd expect from people who do stuff like this.

Oh, by simply pointing this out I am now apparently, in addition to being a misogynist, sexist, and racist (somehow), I am also mansplaining... to literally anyone who reads this I guess? Can a man mansplain to another man?  Who fucking knows...


Bobby Moynihan Leaves Saturday Night Live.
Piece of Toast seen laughing maniacally - Garmanarnar inconsolable. In other news, Rick and Morty season 3 is set to air just in time for the 2020 US Presidential election. 

Your Plumbus is on back order, now shut the fuck up!

Yeah ok, they say it's going to air starting in July 2017, but any bunch of fucktards who pull "April Fools" jokes with their own TV series after the year 2004 are both, not to be believed and should be the subject of physical violence whenever possible. Seriously... I hope someone gets kicked in the nuts over this bullshit.


Jim Henson Exhibit to Open at Museum of the Moving Image July
The Museum of the Moving Image has announced that they will open a permanent version of a similar traveling exhibit form years earlier.  According to DNAinfo:



The Jim Henson Exhibition — a gallery of more than 300 objects from the famous puppeteer's career, including dozens of his best-loved puppets — will debut to visitors on July 22, the museum announced Wednesday.


The Museum of the Moving Image is located in Astoria Queens and is easily reached by Subway.


Holy Shit This Actually Happened.

www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sportswriters-tweet-about-japanese-indy-500-winner-causes-a-stir_us_592c128ee4b0065b20b7769c


I've never liked the type of worship of the military-class that started gaining momentum in the USA after it was obvious the wars Congress voted for were going to continue in perpetuity. "You give me special parking spots - my spouse is active duty!" "You don't get to criticize the military because they're fighting for YOUR freedom" (just not the 1st Amendment apparently) "blaaaarrrrggg!!!"  I really fucking hate that.  Did you join the military just so that others would have to kiss your ass?  No? Then stop acting like you're entitled to others kissing your ass.  If you look at the books that Terry Frei has written, you'll see he's really into the whole war and politics stuff as well as sports.

So apparently it seems like that kind of thinking was behind the comment of (former) Denver Post sports reporter Terry Frei, stating he was "uncomfortable" with Japanese Professional Driver Takuma Sato having won the Indi 500 on Memorial Day weekend.  Well, unless this schmuck said the same thing about the race in 2012, 2011, and 2010, when England won (you know, that country that had a giant Empire which tried to stop the USA from literally existing... twice), then it just shows that he's basing his comments on racism, not nationalism...  yeah, I'm gonna go with racism is kinda the worse one of those two.  I'd bet he wouldn't even have said the same thing if a German or Italian driver won this year.  I mean by this fucker's logic, you'd have to think the same "uncomfortable" thing if the race was won by a driver from; Japan, England, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Algeria, Turkey, Iraq, Vietnam, The Philippines, Austria, Romania, I guess North Korea too (and almost France that one time).  Something tells me this ass-face probably wouldn't do that.  Therefore his is indeed an ass-face.  ...fucking ass-face.

As an American who likes things Japanese, it's quite deflating to see things like this happen, and even more disheartening to know why they still happen.  Yeah, firing this shithead is a necessary move for the brand of the Denver Post, but the unfortunate part is, it's not going to change the way this fucker thinks in the slightest.  I don't even know if anything really can.

This kind of shit was already cartoonishly worn out in the 1980's.

People are on different sides of the issue; was it a correct decision by The Denver Post to fire this twerp?  Well yes I think it is, but I don't know if I myself would have done it if I were in charge, I'd really have to think about it.  The thing is, Terry Frei is an author and sports reporter for The Denver Post, and is making a public comment about sports.  Personal twitter account or not, keeping him on-board now damages The Denver Post's brand value significantly.  So from a public relations, marketing, and finance perspective, separating the brand from the entity that is Terry Frei is the correct decision.  This is the same kind of thing that happened with JonTron and PlayTonic.

Qualitative analysis can be an important part of corporate strategy as much as quantitative is.



Friday, May 26, 2017

Get Off My Lawn: Miyazaki out of retirement, again.



So "Your Name" does all kinds of awesome, and 5 minutes later Hayao Miyazaki announces he's not "retired" anymore for the second time.  The official story is that he saw a Studio Ghibli short animation and was all kinds of motivated to do it better.  There are two problems with that explanation:
1) It's total BS it's much more likely that he doesn't like to be a figure who might one day be surpassed by someone or something else in the animation industry, and so he's engaging this Saraharu O type strategy of making sure no one gets a chance to do that no matter what it takes.  But much like big O there, it's not going to last forever, and he can't stand it.
2) Even if that stated official reason is 100% true it doesn't make the situation any better.  Like Vladimir Putin can't stand to see the Russian government run by anyone else, Miyazaki simply will not stand to see Ghibli continue without him.  Now we could take a look at Earth Sea and say to ourselves, "well maybe that's a good thing" but whenever someone is motivated by something like that, the results are inevitably tainted. 

You go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.


There have been rumblings out there.  About what it's like at Ghibli when Miyazaki is actually around.  Some of them disturbingly mirror descriptions of what it was like when Steve Jobs was around the office.  Now, my big smug I told you so aside, it's at least obvious to everyone now that Steve Jobs was a massive gaping dickhole, as nice to be around as a flatulent badger with a toothache, and about as technically "creative" as Thomas Edison (that means he was good at stealing ideas).  So no matter what some palpably perceived public persona permeates people's minds, there's always that potential of it being erroneous either through organic processes or deliberate interventions.  

Am I saying that Miyazaki is just as bad?  Well I'm saying it's possible that he is. He's coming back to a studio where he can walk around like God, where no one will ever tell him "no" to anything, and jumping back into a field that has seen some serious technological advancements that he undoubtedly does not completely grasp.  Thankfully Miyazaki is actually genuinely talented and we probably won't see anything like Jar Jar on the horizon, but like Jay Leno, he's still barging back in even after stepping out and having others take the torch, only to be displaced by his desire to still be the main ingredient in theatrical animation.  The Baby Boomer motus operandi as it were.


Nobody does something like that unless it's to win at something.


He's doing this to spite someone or something that he's fixated on.  Yes, I could be completely wrong, but I'm the Angry Otaku, if there's one thing I know all too well it's the bitterness and spite that can only come from fine aging over years, and this smells exactly like that.  The guy is 79, a bajillionaire, and openly admits he has actually no fun doing these things.  His ability to communicate with people who are generations younger than him, which any production is going to depend on, may have atrophied or just disappeared all together, and he seems like the kind of guy who has one of those "don't make eye contact" rules that applies to most people in the office.  Yes, I am a glass-half empty kind of guy.

Imagine getting stuck in an elevator with this guy.

If you're reading this and wondering how I could say such things about such a "nice old man" I would just reply; "shut the hell up, you've never met the guy" you're just going on visuals alone and the fact that you like the movies he creates or stamps his name on.  If you think about he's also got be (inadvertently) responsible for at least a few cases of Paris Syndrome since his films seem to depict some sort of Disney-fied provincial Europe that never really existed but his Japanese fans end up thinking is completely true to life accurate.  Much like what was done with Steve Jobs, his brand identity, and company he's associated with are all being portrayed in the most benign and flattering light as possible, not only from their own PR efforts but by a press and media that simply can't bring itself to even ask the questions that may lead to image-shattering revelations.  They would just rather not look behind the curtain, and you can't even really blame them.

Everything's fine!

So until Miyazaki starts driving around a McLaren a Mercedes with no license plate and parking in the handicapped spot a-la Steve Jobs, I am going to hold out hope that this really is just him coming back to make more movies just for the sake of making more movies... but I don't think that's the likely version of what's happening.  Come back in 6 years and we'll see what happens.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

You're Not Helping: Why some fan-based "marketing" is actually not that.



It's still piracy, even under that egalitarian labeling you've put all over it.

You otaku should pay way more attention to them than you do.

At The Japan Society in New York on Wednesday, May 17 2017,  there was a buzz in the air; Manga Manga Manga.  How does it come to exist in English speaking markets, what does the future hold, and all that jazz.  From e-book/digital distribution platforms, to content that appeals to international audiences, and a weird look at the activity that is page layout, this was a picnic of forward looking optimism of English translated manga publishers (sans Vertical, because their scheduled staff member has taken a position at another company just a few days earlier, so they couldn't participate),  Well of course it was, you are not going to hear companies badmouth their own industry.  But over that picnic was a cloud of resentful tepidness that will steer the industry more than most people know, and the people who do know, will not care to admit.  It was the black flag of Piracy.


YAR HAR HAR!  HARDEE HAR HAR HAR HARRR!



After the stage lights were off, after the general milling around that happens at the end of these types of things, getting myself into the hushed whispers of people in the know wasn't hard, and it painted quite a picture. 

Within anime/manga fandom there seems to be this notion that if someone translates and then makes available any IP on their own time using their own resources, then it's OK so long as they're not "earning a profit" on it... (just donate to my Pateron "squee").   The thing is, that's just not correct.  I've mentioned it before regarding anime, and now it's time to mention it about Manga.  Scanlations are indeed theft.  No, not theft of inventory, but theft of a license.  Scanlators go out and do what a licensee intends to do, but scanlators don't pay for a license and for some reason don't think they should have to.  Why?  What makes you so special?  Why should you get to do something that other people have tried to invest their money and time in so they can create a business that employs people and actually licenses IP through proper legal channels?  Here are some of the BS answers that I've heard before:

-I'm just making it available for other people, since I'm not profiting from it, I'm not stealing.
Really numb-nuts?  If you rob a bank and get away with $20,000 but the operation cost you $25,000 do you think you still didn't steal anything just because it was a net loss for you?   What you are stealing is revenue that the licensor has to count on to recoup their own costs.


Stick to the plan.


-It's really helping more than hurting.  We're giving the title exposure and that will make it more popular!
Yeah, so you just design our website for us, but we won't pay you, but you will totally benefit from the "exposure" right?  What you're doing is actually hurting these artists, writers, publishing staff, and other employees the most.  You are making these titles available for free to the people who are most likely to buy them in a legally published form.  But now that they have unlicensed versions they aren't going to buy them just to have a second copy.  ...way to go guys.

-I only use them for review purposes, so it helps with "brand awareness" and will generate sales.
What, just because you don't disclose your source for where you got a scanlation means none of your readers will straight up look up where to find it?  (Yeah Anime News Network, I'm looking at you).   This is actually the worst argument of all.  Again, it's something I've mentioned before with AMVs although this time unlike being helpful, it is indeed detrimental.  That is because publishing companies see this stuff.  They see their own title, out there, being reviewed, in (poorly translated) English, and know it's not from a release they created.  You are just rubbing it in their face that scanlations not only exist, but you are now generating web traffic revenue off of something that was stolen from them.

I am sure there are many other arguments that try to paint the scanlators and their accessory helpers in an innocent light, but there is one fact that is indelible;  They are all doing something that they literally have no right to do. They did not license the rights, someone else did, and they are not only stealing from that someone else, but from the entire artistic staff that spend their lunch break, stayed late, missed their mom's birthday, or maybe worked themselves to death (this is Japan) who made sure that said issue of One Piece, Monster Musume, Dragon Maid, Vinland Saga, or anything else, made it in on time.  All that work, and no salary from the international markets that are consuming it at a ravenous pace?  That's enough to make you wanna jump in front of the Yamanote.


There's a Light ...Again.

Manga publishers are actually the last licensees of Japanese pop-culture to experience the bootleg hoards.   This is because paperless-publishing is new development.  The first industry segment to have to deal with this was actually the home media market.  VHS was easy as all kinds of fuck to copy and yes a genlock was needed but there never seemed to be that much of a shortage of fansubs out there.  DVD hits and not only does the entire VHS business go kablam, but now anyone and their idiot friend who just finished Japanese 201 in undergrad thought they could subtitle anything and send it out there on them interwebs (and they did).  And you could argue that anime as a watchable commodity is still something that goes on, yet most of the companies that made it that way are no longer around for failing to capitalize on future developments (CPM,. AD Vision, Anime Villiage, hell even Manga Entertainment might as well be on that list). Before that, it was music that suffered the backlash against bootleggers, with "real" fans refusing to buy SM (Son Mei) CDs of their favorite anime music, although this was back before the recession and when having a job meant you could buy things other than food and payments to your student loan.

So now it's printed media's turn.  Will we see a decimated landscape of former Titans of the industry before the new adopters create and support something like "Crunchy-Scroll" ...you know, something like an unlimited library of licensed and translated manga from a multitude of labels made available to subscribers for a set monthly fee (maybe with a few premium one-shots sold digitally for a little extra a la cart?  Yes, yes we will.  Because if history has taught us anything it is that companies that have found a big cash cow are really slow to change and that goes doubly so for Japanese companies. Their strategic planning moves at a glacial pace and their implementation is always a day late and a dollar short.  This will lead to regression and insular strategies that ignore international markets and as such, may end up producing nothing but titles that resonate exclusively with a Japanese audience.

http://theangryotaku.blogspot.com/2010/07/galapagos-effect-in-my-manga-its-more.html



Human psychology says that there will always be bootlegging idiots who think their not stealing by creating scanlations, but they totally are.  What the industry needs to do is be open to third parties that maintain digital subscription services which are ubiquitous to the point where it's actually easier for 90% of the fanbase to just get their manga fix from that source than it is to download it from a bunch of people who's translation skills aren't strong enough for them to get a job professionally doing it, and so they make scanlations to try and be cool.

After some "off the record" talking with people at this past event I don't think a single company has any plans to do so.  Don't fear the reaper kids.  Or the pirates.






Thursday, May 11, 2017

No post this week

Nothing this week.  Corrective eye surgery.  No can see words on screen goodly.  Writing more is happen later.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What You’re Missing: No, this time is 'who' you’re missing:

Arriba baby!

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here is some seriously awesome artwork from one Raul Trevino.  Artist and writer of the most excellent comic Tinkers of the Wasteland (which you can totally see online, but you should just really buy the books because they’re awesome), he also has a beyond amazing collection of original illustrations, including a collection inspired by the tradition of Dia de los Muertos (aka Day of the Dead), most famously practiced in Mexico, but also in many other countries around the world (basically wherever the Imperial Spanish were in charge for any length of time).  His works are great and worth a look, if not a total insta-buy. 


Seriously fun stuff.

In addition to the illustrations, Raul’s comic Tinkers of the Wasteland, is something that many a manga fan will appreciate.  If you’re old enough to remember the amazingly fun read that was Caravan Kidd, then combine that with a kind of visual que/aesthetic of Adam Warren circa Dirty Pair: Fatal but not Serious, and you’ve got this one.  I don't know if these were actual influences, but that's just the vibe I personally got when reading this. And that's a vibe I dig baby.

Post-apocalypse settings are a bit of an overtrope I know (especially because it looks like we'll be having exactly that in real life thanks to Kim tubby the 3rd and President Tiny-hands), but his series pulls it off quite well, and really looks at what kind of dynamic occurs when the world goes to hell and chickens are used as currency.  I won’t give anything away, but if you’re looking for something a little different, and dare I say “grounded” when it comes to comparison against some more popular manga out there, then this is worth a read.


F-ing chickens.

Although some books are out of print, they do show up on the secondary market and are worth tracking down.  Raul Trevino appears at conventions in California as well, so you can even get them signed.  Because he’s cool like that.  You can check out his tumblr or twitter to see some of his illustrations as well.

So even though Cinco de Mayo, sink-o-the-drink-o, and Dia de los Muertos (best holiday ever...) are all totally different things, they are all good reasons to grab a margarita (or eight) and check out Ink and Dead, or Tinkers of the Wasteland.



In addition to books, Raul Trevino also sells prints, and even original art pieces from his online store, which you should totally go to and buy stuff from because it's awesome.




Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 2017 Recap and Leftovers


In the last post of every month, we look at stories we didn't cover, either they weren't big enough for a whole post, or they just slipped past us.  Additionally we will leave you a recipe for a Japanese dish that you may have seen featured in an anime or two that you like.  Except we're not doing that this time because we already made this thing hella long.

From the Law Offices of Insult & Injury
Yasutaka Tsutsui wrote novels called The Girl Who Leaped Through Time and Paprika (among many others), which have also been adapted into anime movies.  Yasutaka Tsutsui also wrote this about a statue in Korea commemorating women forced into sex slavery by Imperial Japanese forces:
Ambassador Nagamine goes to Korea again. This means [the government and the envoy] accepted the comfort women statue. The girl is cute, let's go there and cover it with semen by ejaculating altogether.
                                                   -
Yasutaka Tsutsui

Ok so my first reaction is “what in the actual fuck-shit-ass-peanut-butter-bbq is that kind of comment?”  To which my subsequent reaction was ...oh right, Japan ...because of course that kind of idea would come out of Japan.  Yasutaka Tsutsui has since retracted that comment and stated he did not “intend to offend” anyone, to which I am simply thinking; oh bull-fucking-shit, you know exactly what that statue means and you know exactly what you said, ya weirdo. 

And like it or not, we're definitely getting Rule 34 of this in 3...2...1...

This bukake twist isn’t the beginning nor is it the end of this story.  The issue of Comfort Women has always been a sore spot for Japan, and is often the singular thing that gets erased from the history books by almost every group in Japan across the political spectrum.  Well, not everyone.  When this statue was installed in Korea, the Japanese ambassador was actually recalled.  Yes fine, it was set up near the Embassy as kind of like a big “fuck you” from Korea and all that, and he came back after 2 days, but recalling an Ambassador is a fucking huge thing.  You don’t just go do that every time something happens you might not like.

Even here in the good old USA, Japanese revisionist history proponents took their requested removal of the American version of that memorial statue (located in Glendale California), to the actual Supreme Court of The United States.  The plaintiffs have the audacity to call themselves Global Alliance For Historical Truth, and want the statue down because something something Japanese women something something nothing to see here.  This is an indefensible position to take.  Even the law firm representing them was eventually like “um, nah, we’re out, this is all kinds of messed up.”  Seriously, this lawsuit was originally brought to court by a tiny cute little Japanese oba-san, but it’s still such an insane level of Holocaust-denial pure awfulness, that you almost don’t give a shit that the woman probably ended up in fucking Manzanar at some point.  This is like that time some insane woman tried to sue “all gay people” because Jesus was too busy to do it himself or whatever.  I don’t know what kind of idea they had regarding a legal argument to they could make regarding that case, but the Supreme Court actually made the reasonable decision of telling them to fuck off, and so the statue stays.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Young_Men

Just keep in mind this isn’t just the Japanese equivalent of your racist uncle who has an individual “Make America Great Again” hat for every single day of the week, and can’t stop reminding you that Trump won, so now you college edgimucated librulz all have to join the NRA or something (well... the American case is actually mostly that though).  But the rest of this is an actual government recalling an ambassador over a bunch of insane shit, while the Norkos put another coat of turtle wax on the nukes, and while the Sea of Japan starts getting really crowded with naval vessels which can only speak to each other in "cruise missile."  Yep, Japan is creating an unnecessary shit-storm over a statue of a girl.

 You kids play nice now.
Mostly it's political, but maybe a bit of it is actually because…

Japan is still totally sexist. 
Megumi Igarashi, also known as Rokudenashiko has had her obscenity charge upheld by the Tokyo High Court.  Yes, the country that has had giant rock hard cock parades marching down public streets (more like pubic streets… wink wink) for centuries, still flips the fuck out over a cunt-kayak or whatever she did this time.  Seriously, a vajayjay boat is no big deal when you think about all the insane sex stuff coming out of a country which has apparently forgotten how to reproduce like normal humans

While the fine she received is relatively small, it’s still 100% bullshit.  Why distributing digital scans of your own hoo-ha to people who helped fund your art projects which make use of said digital hoo-ha scan is considered “obscenity” in a country in which “guro” is a thing, is beyond me. 


Although I might have second thoughts if the hoo-ha I saw had teeth and appeared to be in a state of constant screaming.
おまんこございます!


Maybe if she moved all the internet servers and production out of Japan and over to Guam or something, she would be able to keep doing what she’s doing, free from the army of old men who still somehow refuse to stop running things over there like the year is 1972.  The country pixelates its porn and has a real problem figuring out sex.  This development is not helpful.

People who go making and enforcing this “obscenity” bullshit… what do they think they are accomplishing?  What's going through their heads?  There’s no government enforced religion like where everyone thinks there’s a magical sky-daddy is going to smite you for some sort of blasphemy which is the result of …seeing a cartoon (hoo-ha or otherwise).  So that's not the reason they hate art.  So what the crap is the driving force here?  It seems as if Japan is maintaining a desperate and iron-strong grasp on a conceptual picture of what once was but will never be again.  You know how sometimes parents go crazy if their kid dies and keeps holding on the dead body and dressing it and talking to it and keeping the room exactly like it was on the day that whatever the hell happened to kill the thing?  Yeah, that’s Japan in some ways.  They are seriously clinging to the cadaver of a cultural past where everything was “better” but much like the USA, those times when everything was “better” were simply only the result of a complete lack of competition in the global economy for literally anything, and incorrectly associating cultural norms of the time with as being necessary for the inevitable prosperity which comes from being the only country around where people aren’t starving to death on a regular basis and the water isn’t full of diphtheria.  Now that you have to share more space in the elevator of life, it never feels as nice as when you have the whole place to yourself.  The mistake is thinking you had the elevator to yourself earlier because of the style of clothing you had on and not the fact that when that was happening you were actually the only tenant in the building, and  a lot more have moved in since then.

 ..."bitch"

But much like that crazy cadaver clinger, the only way to fix the issue is with outside forcible intervention.  Japan is never fucking its way back to a healthy population and so they are going to have to share their toys.  The levels of xenophobia, income inequity, language barriers, straight up racism, and the fact that the entire country seems to think that everyone needs to live in Tokyo.  The types of diversity that Japan needs even go as far as needing socio-geographic changes on a fundamental level.  That kind of thing is usually slow and expensive.


United Airlines.
So there’s no way you didn’t hear about that craziness by now.  To anyone who makes regular trips to Asia… or Europe… or Florida… or Paraguay, or literally anywhere for that matter, please never fly United Airlines ever again.
 
If for no other reason then just remember you could be next.

I know it’s not the fault of a lot of working stiffs over there who just do regular shit like clean the landing gear or deliver orange juice to the terminal lounge, but after the whole doctor-punching thing, there’s nothing I would love more than to see that entire company go down in flames.  I don’t care if that means literally going down in flames, if you’re still flying United at this point, then the plane crashing and your subsequent death from inhaling the smoke coming off the smoldering bodies of your own children while they gaze screaming into your panicked face as you remain trapped under a bulkhead impotent to save them or even lessen their agony, ensuring that the last experience you will ever have is learning what your own child's grilled pancreas smells like, …yeah that isn’t going to make me feel bad for you.  Fucking giving your money to United… you got what was coming to you.


http://www.inquisitr.com/4162613/united-airlines-mexican-passenger-accused-of-trafficking-own-daughter-escorted-off-the-plane/



The FCC hates you, State governments step in to stop them.

For the international members of this glorious audience, who are reading this in far away places like Mongolia or Washington DC, you may not be aware of how much power the individual states of these American States United actually have.  It's a considerable amount more autonomy than in many other countries.  That's why I can take a quick bus ride into New Jersey, bang a 16 year old, and not go to jail for it, where if I did that on the other side of the river it would be all statutory time.  It's why I can drive to Virginia, buy any kind of gun I find for sale and instantly take possession of it, whereas if wanted to do that here in NYC ...well I can't do that here.  States in the USA can set a lot of their own rules, and enforce them with a wide tapestry of enforcement agencies that never talk to each other.  Seriously, you could do a whole Hetalia series just on the internal interplay of the USA alone.



Oh, wait, every high school weaboo has already done that. Like ichi-ban super sugoi-goi kawaii desu!


But if you don't know much about the individual states and how they work, here's a boring educational video that explains a little.
And that's not even counting the USVI or Guam.


To the X and Y generations, the FCC is often painted as the “bad guy” in a lot of stories.  They were the organization of social conservatives who would lose their shit if someone said “tits” on a TV show or something.  The FCC was the guy who Dee Snider told “we’re not gonna take it” in the 80’s and the target of the ubiquitous “fuck the FCC” tagline which made the rounds in the 90’s.  But once the internet showed up, the bad guy became the RIAA and MPAA and the FCC kind of just faded.  The thing is, much like one can be critical of the FDA for some of the stupid shit they do, they also do a lot of important stuff that protects people.  The FCC is very similar, a lot of what they do is actually beneficial to the public and seriously important, so the current ass-raping of FCC regulations is something you should be concerned about.



http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/11/15258230/net-neutrality-privacy-ajit-pai-fcc


It should come as no surprise that our president has allowed corporate interests to come in and destroy the crap out of Net Neutrality and other important privacy protections.  Make no mistake, this has been on the Telecom agenda for long before the election... and if Goldman Sachs Banker-BFF Hilly-Billy were the one bombing Syria right now instead of Cheeto-Face-Tiny-Hands, we’d still have the exact same thing happening.  Some things are inevitable. 

 I don't even know what this is from but I totally had to put it here.

What is genuinely surprising is that individual State Governments are picking up the gauntlet of defending the people, and passing their own legislation which preserves the various protections afforded to their own constituencies, which providers must follow if they want to do business in that state.  What is super-surprising is that this has been initiated by Republicans in state government.  Now, it should be mentioned that these are Massachusetts Republicans, which in reality are kind of more progressive than Arizona Democrats, but it’s still unexpected.

This state/local level is the arena where political representatives will actually listen to you.  You think the President gives a fuck what you write to him?  You think people like senator-for-life Chuck Schumer is going to care what actually affects you?  They’ve got their ALEC money, and lobbyist money and super PACs, and “donations” so they’re fine.  You, young person who actually knows how the internet works and who will actually be hurt by this development, you don’t count to them.  You don’t vote, you don’t earn enough to make serious donations, you don’t own any businesses that they can claim they are using to “keep American jobs” by bribing you not to move… you have nothing they need.  But, lots of local state-level and even municipal politicians have recently learned that the gimmie-vote doesn’t work on their jobs anymore.  So contact them, write to them, even to the Governor’s office, write to local chambers of commerce, they are going to be much more inclined to listen.  Someone who bothers to print out, sign, and mail a letter about net-neutrality is going to be someone a local politician knows they will have to prove their value to.  This is how we stay safe from the culling of net neutrality.


Ex X-Men Artist: International political nonsense
Some artist not-so-subtly worked in some references to recent political development in Indonesia full of good old religious bigotry.  Basically, a group of people wanted to remove the Governor of Jakarta and elect a different one because the current one was not religion X but rather he was religion Q, and well, religion X totally can't have that happening now can they?  So although done overtly, these references to that situation inserted into the X-Men comic did actually make it through all the way to print.  Probably because the people who check for that stuff, can’t be aware of every political situation in the entire universe as we know it.  If an artist in NYC created a similar reference to municipal land use through eminent domain in the Atlantic Yards project, and concealed it in a comic published in Australia, it’s unlikely that’s gonna get noticed before it goes to press either. 



Oooo that’s a touchy subject.  You know what Disney really hates coming into contact with?  Yeah, it’s touchy subjects.  So it would be ludicrous to expect that Disney would not fire this artist and pull the issue with all speed, even more so when learn this particular touchy situation has the term “anti-Semitic” attached to it.  So yeah, of course Disney’s gonna drop that guy straight into pariah-land. 



His art was not really that good when you go back and look at it.

Message to Disney/Marvel:  Hey! This is the perfect time to go “America First”! …Americans know exactly fuck-all about any other countries unless a Kardashian has been robbed in one, so you won’t have to worry about this kind of thing ever again!  You don’t even have to pay for extra proofreaders and fact checkers!  It’s a win for your wallets and, a win for... well since when have you ever cared about anything else anyway?

Much like someone once had a sign up inside the White House once which read “Keep it Simple Stupid” Disney/Marvel’s new mantra can be “Keep the Stupid, Simple.”  Buy up these recalled issues kids, like I said before, this kind of thing is a great financial instrument.  …oh, and I know someone who just got bumped to the top of the no-fly list (wink).    Hopefully, getting fired hasn’t put this Ardian Syaf artist guy one broken pencil away from pulling a Collin Ferguson on the Jakarta MRT.


And in the end, religious zelots X beat secularists Q, because of course they did... yay creationism I guess?  Good for their magical sky-daddy.



At least there are people there who rightfully point out that it's smaller groups of these people, messing it up for everyone else.

This thing is already TL;DR so I am making otaku food/recipes their own recurring segment.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shut Up Wesley: Shattering otaku expectations with Samurai Gourmet.


Nothing quite shatters the American Otaku psyche quite like being exposed to what is, the real Japan.  This isn’t new, but what is unfortunate is that it’s still a prevalent phenomenon out there.  Actual, factual, regular, real, Japan is nothing like an Otaku thinks it is going to be.  No, I don’t think any otaku is going to go to Japan and think the place is run by giant robots, dragon maids, and has a dating service for monster girls… what is going to happen is these wee-bee idiots are going to show up in Japan and expect that the social constructs that they are accustomed to in America are going to be there for them in Japan.  Sorry fresh, it’s not gonna happen.  Fandom is voluntarily suppressed in Japan much more in Japan than it is in the USA.  Admit to liking Pokemon as a fully functioning adult in the USA, and people just say “fine whatever” but in Japan it’s a great way to get fired.  Fans finding out that they can’t act like fans in the place where the things they are a fan of is a tough thing to deal with.  This happens the other way as well, with Japanese people needing actual psychological help when they come to New York and find out that no, it’s not just “Tokyo with white people” or when they go to Paris and realize that no, it’s not a Miyazaki movie with the Eiffel Tower in the middle of it.  Seriously, that's a medical thing, and they even have a help line they can call for when the cognitive dissonance destroys their brain.



Japan has social rules.  We are talking about a country where if you wear a suit without a tie, you are going to get all kinds of attention.  Mostly the bad kind of attention.  The reason you don’t know that is because it’s not really in any of the anime that ends up being popular overseas.  You wouldn’t judge American life just by watching Breaking Bad or Empire if you wanted to get an accurate idea of what the place was like, so don’t for a minute go thinking you’re getting an accurate picture of Japan from whatever the hell high-school themed anime you’re watching now.  Even if you have been to Japan, unless you’ve had to go apartment hunting, pay your electric bill, go grocery shopping, get your hair cut, buy toilet paper/condoms/feminine hygiene items, all the regular living life stuff, you still aren’t getting the real picture.  It would be like trying to form an idea of what the USA is like after spending a few days in Boston or something.

  Gross.

Why am I even bringing this up?  Because somehow, Samurai Gourmet on Netflix has a one-star rating.  Or I guess it had one when I checked it out last.  Things change, it probably won't stay that way but the fact that it happened at all leads to the sentiment of: What the absolute fuck?  This show is great and there are a bunch of reasons why.  Starring veteran actor and comedian Naoto Takenaka, it connects a number of small moments of zen that center around specific foods.  It shows real Japan …that mundane boring place where regular people go to regular jobs, not the factional-fiction (or fictional-faction, whatever you wanna call it) Japan of trash like what's in Lost in Translation, that seems determined to convince the world that everyone in Japan is actually originally from Mars and like OMG it’s just such a wacky place!  Samurai Gourmet is not Ruroni Kenshin with udon, it’s not Ghost in the Shell: Fast-Food Takeout Edition, it’s just a simple show about simple things.  And it’s that simplicity which is uniquely Japanese.  If you watch this show and come away thinking “oh it’s so bland, quick let me go check out Ouran High School Host Club reruns” then you know nothing.  You are that 12 year old who doesn’t like Empire Strikes Back because it’s "the most boringest one" to quote Red Letter Media.



Back in the 1990s Katsuhiro Otomo made a film called Project Z.  It was a well-made and excellent film which took a look into the aging population shift that is still happening in Japan today.  And everyone else in the theater I saw it in said they hated it.  Why?  Well, they were expecting Akira Part 2 basically.  Which is funny by itself, because if you actually knew anything about Japan in the late 1980s you’d realize how much of a social commentary Akira actually was… but all you could see was “ooo wooosh boom!  Motorcycles!”  So there is a real disconnect that American audiences seem to have and not realize it.  This continues to happen with weaboo fools, falling in love with a fictional Japan that doesn’t exist, and then having their brain short circuit when confronted with reality.  Will this ever change?  No probably not.  But you should still be watching Samurai Gourmet

 What do you mean  I can't cosplay 24 hours a day here?