In Defense of Hololive: Breaking Down the Standards of Idol Culture

Anyone hanging around the AniSphere recently has probably noticed an uptick in discussions about Virtual YouTubers, AKA v-tubers, and their unavoidable presence on social media platforms. While v-tubers initially became popular in recent years due to the introduction and popularity of the Kizuna A.I. Channel, the COVID-19 pandemic has vastly increased their presence as a topic of discussion, as well as a form of entertainment. Widely known groups such as Hololive and Nijisanji have continued popularizing the idea in Japan and overseas more and more every day, which has resulted in a cultural explosion across many regions of the world.

The idea of v-tubers has mostly been popularized by Hololive’s EN branch but has been popular since the introduction of v-tubers familiar with the English language. Because of these v-tuber talents primarily living in Japan and being backed by Japanese-based agencies, there have been various ways that the companies have decided to market them to different demographics across the globe. Each agency also handles its talents and branches differently by giving their management and talents varying levels of control, but also by having them under policies and conditions, as most businesses do. Of course, there also are a fair share of independent v-tubers that have borrowed ideas from these agencies and use them to create their own platforms, as well. There’s a whole spectrum of things to consider when it comes to being a virtual YouTuber talent in 2021.

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How Important are Openings and Ending Songs in Anime?

Anime openings and endings (commonly abbreviated as OPs and EDs respectively) have become a staple of most anime in modern days, so it makes sense that the discussion continues to resurface, as there continues to be more and more anime released every year, which in return means more and more openings and endings are released as well. This is a different sort of era than what anime used to be, even from a decade ago, with most anime having the same opening or ending song for more than one season of a show. Even before the 2000s years of anime, OP/EDs specifically were relatively scarce in shows and were vastly different than the ones that we encounter today in terms of song genres, types of openings they are (instrumental or vocal), and most obviously the types of animation processes used in these music clips as well.

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The Toxicity of “Media Shaming” and Its Effects on Criticism in Anime

“Here we go again.”

It’s what I continuously say season after season when another discourse comes to light within the anime community. I don’t think it would necessarily be a problem if the discussions were fruitful and people were more understanding, a problem that I talked about back when responding to Irina’s article several months ago. That’s not to say that I think discourse is invalid or that I think that people shouldn’t be discussing how they feel about a particular show, but there’s a limit as to how you should do it and treating your debate partners with respect and understanding while doing so.

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Seasonal Showcase — Re:Zero’s Confrontation With the Past [Summer 2020: Week 4 and 5]

In the past two weeks of Re:Zero, we’ve seen two perspectives of confronting the past regarding how Subaru and Emilia handle their own issues. While we still don’t have the full details of Emilia’s situation (although we can make assumptions at this point with some of the backstories from the OVAs), there is no doubt that they’ve both had their own troubles and issues when it comes to how their past selves have handled particular situations.

Looking back to Season 1, we’ve had a large overview of Subaru’s mentality regarding how self-righteous and selfish he was when it came to trying to fulfill his own desires and wants, to the point where it took several episodes in order for him to get knocked out of that mentality due to the hardships he faced at the time. While we still see bits of that shine through Subaru’s personality now, he’s obviously undergone a full transformation thanks to those hardships as well. By looking at Episode 29, we can get a lot more context about Subaru’s past life before he was isekai’d off into the universe of Re:Zero as we know it. 

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Seasonal Showcase — Rent-A-Girlfriend Makes Me Want to Scream (But I Love It Anyway) [Summer 2020: Week 3]

As I scroll down my Twitter feed during any given season, I’m always curious to see what the current “discourse” is about any given show. Usually, this results in me reading a lot of points about shows that don’t necessarily agree with, but I can empathize with the reasoning in some way or another. 

This season, that show is Rent-A-Girlfriend. While the majority of people that I’ve discussed the show with are in love with the show, mostly for its scream-inducing moments and absurd rom-com elements, others aren’t necessarily into how Kazuya acts during the anime. While I feel that without Kazuya being like this, the show’s conflicts and discussions about different relationship dynamics wouldn’t be able to be had, I still respect the opinions of others not being able to stomach that behavior for 24 minutes each week. 

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Seasonal Showcase — Twisting Plots within Deca-Dence [Summer 2020: Week 2]

Nothing is more surprising than when an anime throws a curveball at you within the first few episodes of a show. 

It’s not uncommon within shows to do this when they begin to ramp up its story into something larger than life or want to increase the scale of their plotline to emphasize their thematic point. Occasionally though, this does happen early on in the show as we see with this week’s’ episode of Deca-Dence, proving the reason that the “three-episode rule” mantra of many people’s seasonal habits exists for shows such as these.

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Seasonal Showcase — The Unstoppable Force of The God of High School [Summer 2020: Week 1]

The first week of the Summer 2020 anime season has now fully concluded, and despite the lack in number of shows that the season has to offer us, there’s still plenty of great shows to partake in for our viewing pleasure. Since the season has such a small, awesome selection of shows, I figure this was a good chance to spice up the Seasonal Showcase posts by doing something a little different than the previous seasons. 

This time, I will be trying a different approach to the posts in selecting an individual show that I find interesting and focusing on that instead of lumping them all together in one post midway through the season. Think of this more as a weekly selective focus on a particular show than a general overview, although I also recommend checking out General Tofu’s new weekly seasonal check-in posts if you want that sort of content instead! 

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the seasonal anime adventure we’re about to set out upon!

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Improving Tiresome Anime Debates — A Response to Irina

In the past five years of being a blogger and almost eight years of being an anime watcher, I’ve personally seen a lot of discourse and discussion over a variety of topics from plenty of angles – opinionated and factual alike. There are always those debates, though, that continuously circle back around after some time again and again, almost as if they are scheduled to appear once a few months have passed. There’s never really any reason for them to re-appear sometimes, nor is there really anything new to add to the discussion, but they reappear anyway and suddenly they become the hot topic of whatever your preferred social media platform is. It’s akin to watching some horrible rendition of Re:Zero where instead of watching Subaru trying his best to reach his goal and making several mistakes that result in his death instead, it’s watching people you know engage in futile discussions until they’ve either said their piece or become a completely different person than you once knew.

This is why when I found that fellow blogger Irina posted an article about this sort of phenomena that occurs so frequently, I was curious to see what sort of community debate overlap or dissonance we were experiencing within the anime community. I found some of these topics discussed in the post lined up pretty well with what I had noticed from the community and definitely shared some of those same sentiments. While I could also add many other topics to the list, I wanted to take some time to focus on what Irina is talking about in the post itself: the nature of how these debates are no longer “interesting” to have.

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Help! The Tears Won’t Stop! — A Spring 2020 Seasonal Showcase

This season has led me to two major realizations within the space of seasonal anime and how we perceive it, as viewers and fans of anime. 

1) With a lot of shows delayed until this crisis is over, I was initially disappointed by the lack of my “main” shows such as Re:Zero and OreGairu S3 and wasn’t sure how I was going to fill the “anime void” left in my heart. However, I think this also has been ground-breaking and intriguing in its own way. Having an anime season happen that has negated a lot of the “hype” surrounding series such as these has left a lot of space for lesser-known series to make their own name based on their own merits, and likely more people have given them a chance because of this.

2) It’s not necessarily the name or popularity of shows that make them desirable as shows; it’s because of the animation quality and emotion delivered with each released episode. It’s so powerful that these shows can stand on their own, without needing any of the advertising frills or gimmicks to really sell the shows for them; they don’t need any of that. This may seem rather basic, but it can be hard to realize when giant anime companies constantly try to force their own interests into your social media, inbox, or in-person merchandise. 

While I don’t think my picks of the season necessarily have all the relations to either category, I think these are things we should be considering when watching seasonal anime. Thinking about “why” we watch anime to begin can be interesting at times, and I think that these shows below capture what I think is “interesting” within anime. I hope that you can find the same sort of shows for yourself within this season as well!

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Digital Media Preservation: Why the Interspecies Reviewers Controversy Matters

Anime has come so far from the days of having to watch subbed episodes of Evangelion on bootleg video tapes and trying to find any anime streaming site worth its salt that just wasn’t clustered with ads. One thing that I appreciate about modern anime streaming services and availability is being able to just sit down and watch a series when I want to without having to go through the hassle of worrying about where I’m going to find the episode or when the next episode will be subbed and released before I can watch it. It’s something that only now I can appreciate, looking back upon what I would have considered the “golden days” of anime (and I’m sure many others consider it those as well in certain regards).

There’s no question about it; the anime streaming industry has become such an integral staple of everyone’s watching and consumption of anime these days. Crunchyroll, Funimation, and many others (yes, even Netflix…) have created their own sort of anime accessibility bubble that burst when these sites became popular. They’ve popularized a lot of shows that may have been considered “niche” years ago and allowed everyone to enjoy great shows that lots of people had never heard of before, which is fantastic for the medium at large.

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