Author Archives: rockmanshii

Tomino Yoshiyuki Q&A at Japan Expo 2019, July 6

if you haven’t read it yet, here’s the article with my impressions on the first G-Reco compilation movie and the July 5 Q&A.

You can find other Tomino related events or interviews I translated in the past on this page.

Director Tomino held an around 30 minutes long Q&A on July 6, the third day of Japan Expo 2019. When he stepped on stage along with the MC and the translator, they explained how this was supposed to be a panel. What happened is, Tomino told Japan Expo’s staff beforehand how it’s his first time visiting France, so he doesn’t feel like talking about himself or his career, etc. Instead, he wanted to hear the audience speak. He wanted to hear our opinions on his works, answer our questions and chat with us. So they decided on holding a Q&A instead.

There were so many questions, I wouldn’t have been able to listen to all the answers if I concentrated on taking notes. So I just wrote down everything in my head. As such it’s possible I forgot certain parts or merged certain answers together. And I’ll update the post if I remember more.

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Gundam G no Reconguista 1st Compilation Movie Premiere and Director Tomino Q&A at Japan Expo 2019

(Needless to say, the feature image is a screen from the TV series version. I like Ringo a lot, though that doesn’t mean anything in a series where every character is awesome)

The first G Reco compilation movie had its world premiere at Japan Expo 2019 on July 5. Director Tomino Yoshiyuki also participated in a Q&A after the movie. He answered questions from the audience and revealed more on the upcoming movies.

Note that there’s another panel with Director Tomino happening on July 6 which I’m planning to cover as well.

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Thoughts on Various Manga, Mobage, Isekai and Characters with Gacha Addictions

I strongly dislike gacha mechanics and most mobage who use them. Even if an IP I’m super into, like Pretty Series, gets a mobage, I don’t play their games if they have gacha mechanics, satisfying myself with story summaries, videos, and screenshots. Despite being strongly interested in SNK’s characters and the Days of Memories series, none of which I’ve tried yet, I won’t be playing King of Fighters Girls when it releases for the same reason.

Seeing the popularity of gacha mechanics in Japan, following hits like Pazudora in the early 2010s, it was natural to see more and more characters in manga playing mobile games and even being addicted to gacha. And for some reason, it really pisses me off.

I wouldn’t say I consider gacha “gambling” as it’s something very different. I do believe it’s pretty dangerous and can be even more dangerous than gambling on certain individuals. Funilly, seeing other things in manga which can be problematic or are definitely problematic, doesn’t piss me off as much, probably because I’m not used to seeing gacha yet. For example, stalking being used as a joke in a manga probably never angered me as I’m used to it. (Even if it don’t myself think a certain element is problematic, it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily keep reading a manga which uses certain issues as a joke depending on certain criteria. It’s a case by case thing, too personal and complicated to explain here).

What irritates me the most is when recent isekai manga have gacha mechanics and characters addicted to them.

I’m saying “recent” since as you already know isekai isn’t a new genre and always existed with works like Dunbine, Escaflowne, Rayearth, 12 Kingdoms, Ima Soko ni Iru Bokutachi, etc. What I call “recent isekai” are the ones that sprung forth following the boom of the genre, also in early 2010. This is when most people started calling these “isekai” too. This boom ended up having many isekai web novels getting light novels, manga and anime adaptations, to the point of saturation. There’s a huge problem with quantity over quality, most isekai being bad, with different issues plaguing most of them. I’d even go as far as to say that “trash isekai” is a pleonasm.

Nowadays most anime adaptations are only one cour long, speeding through content, and are even more ads for the original source material than in the past. Meanwhile, a lot of manga adaptations tend to be very slow paced. In my opinion, this will create an interesting situation in a few years when the isekai boom will end, the popularity of the genre will drop, and multiple long-running manga adaptations will end up getting canceled before finishing adapting not even half of the original’s story.

With that said, not all isekai are bad. I don’t think I’ll ever take the time to write a specific article on how to find good works in the vast ocean of Isekai, unless I’m paid. However, if you want to read good things, the easiest and quickest way is to simply pick Isekai with female protagonists instead of male protagonists.

I’ve even seen one Isekai actually talk about this saturation issue: Gal Tensei, one of the best Original manga I read in 2018. It ended up getting canceled after two volumes, even though it was a particularly refreshing, genuinely funny, clever story and a commentary on social media. In the final chapter, through one of the characters, the author Sasaki Masahito shared their thoughts on the current state of the industry with the isekai boom, and it’s pretty much the same as what I’ve just said. In any case, You should definitely get Sasaki Masahito’s manga on Kindle and support really talented and nice mangaka like him. He even made me a drawing, seen above, when I praised his manga on Twitter. His new manga, Hachuurui-chan Wa Natsukanai, started this June 2019 and the first chapter is available on Shonen Jump Plus.

I wouldn’t go as far as say that I look down on people who play mobage with gacha mechanics. However, I do have a hard time understanding it. One convenient thing about mobage is how short play sessions can be, so it’s ideal for lifestyles with tons of commuting and when we don’t have time to play on consoles. At the same time, if you pile up the small amount of time put into a mobage every day, you’ll probably end up with way more time than what would have been spent on a console game.

I also strongly disagree with the idea that mobage players only ever play mobage, or that console/handheld console players all look down on mobage. This seem extremely obvious to me, but it’s possible it’s actually not the case. For example, Cygames Festival 2018 had Cygames reveal Granblue Fantasy Versus. One of the reasons behind the game they stated then is that they want more mobage players to try out console games and see how fun they are too.

I also recently started reading a manga called Gamers!, which is the adaptation of a novel of the same name by Aoi Sekina. Reading it is weird because it initially seems to believe exactly what I described above: that there’s a strong opposition between mobage players and console players. Most notably, that only console players can become (good or bad) hardcore players or bad elitists, which irked me a lot. However, I’ve only read a few chapters of Gamers! as of now, so I’m unsure yet if it’s only the characters thinking that way and that they will be corrected later, or if the author himself think that way and that this idea will stay in the story.

Gamers! is a pretty nice and original story. It’s about various high schoolers, their romances, and their different game-related habits, including game development. It has one big problem though, its lack of subtility. Maybe I have a bit too much otaku experience and it’s just that the target audience isn’t me, but the first chapter has the initial protagonist rejecting a girl’s invitation to join her gaming club. (Each chapter tend to follow a different character’s pov). The scene is done in a grandiose way as if it’s supposed to be shocking, while it was obvious he wouldn’t join. This lack of subtility was actually also a problem I had with Seitokai no Ichizon, a previous work also by Aoi Sekina, and it’s a bit frustrating to see it’s still there. Even if I probably can’t write a novel, this kind of stuff makes me think “even I could write this, it’s unfair.” At the same time, it’s nearly not as bad as childish stuff who think being dark is deep and mature, such as Akame Ga kill and its literal “wow look a character will die in this chapter, isn’t my story so mature and cool?” moments.

Another thing which makes me pretty reluctant to start playing mobage is the fact that the games have no end. Some can have interesting stories, though FGO and Granblue are probably the only mobage I’ve heard people praising their story regularly. At the same time, I can’t get invested in a game if I know the only way to end it is either to get bored of it or for the servers to close down. The servers closing down also means forever losing what you’ve put into the game, and I can’t stand that. It’s a different feeling than erasing your save yourself, losing it for some reason, or not caring about your save anymore once you’ve done everything you’ve wanted in a game.

If you’re looking for a never-ending experience and short play sessions, I think considering getting into fighting games is a much better choice than getting into mobage. While getting in touch with your fighting games’ community, you will definitely make some friends along the way too. This might be hypocritical on my part as I don’t play fighting games anymore because of multiple reasons, such as lack of time (saying it that way makes it seem as if I was ever a strong player).

In any case, there are multiple reasons I believe why most current isekai stories are bad. Most of the time it’s because of a sort of laziness. It’s not like I could write a novel myself so I feel bad criticizing authors, but most recent isekai are originally web novels, meaning they were written by people who didn’t necessarily practice how to write beforehand. And while the light novel adaptations, the manga adaptations and the anime adaptations will go through editors, you just can’t change the story’s core. Using the isekai boom means you can make a story by following the same mold as many other isekai and as such avoid shaping and explaining the world yourself. It’s a fantasy setting with goblins because that’s what people expect of Isekai. There’s an evil church. There are RPG mechanics and menu windows. There are demon lords. And in my opinion, one of the worst among worst choices is “there are gacha mechanics because that’s easy to explain since most teenagers already know about it”.

A quick tangent to wrap this up: while I dislike SAO for multiple reasons, I also like some parts of it, like Its deep worldbuilding. That aspect is one of its strong points, and works as a quick and strong indicator of how it was initially written in the early 2000s, long before the isekai boom.

I could go more in detail on certain points I’ve brought up, but this will end up getting too long and time-consuming for what it’s worth.

Pretty All Friends Episode 7 Translation; Pretty All Friends Happy Rainbow ♡ Easter Café Info

Official site with original Japanese text

Previous episodes can be found on this page. Look for “Pretty All Friends”.

I’ll try to add comments soon. I have a lot to say and didn’t finish writing them yet. I’ll notify on Twitter when I add the comments.

Update on March 24,2019: I added my comments at the end, explaining what I thought about the episode and why Oto is written pretty badly especially. The comments include spoilers for DMF and RL. I don’t think anyone interested in Pretty All Friends’ dumb weirdness didn’t already watch all Pretty Rhythm though.

Pretty All Friends Episode 7: The Fairytale Country and the prince of the Lost Woods.

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Pretty All Friends Episode 6 Translation

Official site with original Japanese text

Previous episodes can be found on this page. Look for “Pretty All Friends”.

Pretty All Friends Episode 6: Valentine Day Crisis at the Candy Kingdom!

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Pretty All Friends Episode 5 Translation

Official site with original Japanese text

Previous episodes can be found on this page. Just ctrl+ f Pretty All Friends.

Episode 5: The Best Friends’ Promise on a Rainy Day

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Everything You Should Know About KING OF PRISM And Pretty Series in 90 Seconds

Everyone and their cat knows how Shinkai Makoto’s Your Name revolutionized anime cinema in 2016, breaking through Spirited Away‘s records. What few know, however, is that another movie made anime history the same year: KING OF PRISM by PrettyRhythm.

As you may know, the KING OF PRISM movies are spin-offs of the Pretty Rhythm franchise. The first movie, KING OF PRISM by PrettyRhythm (shortened as Kinpri) was initially released in 14 theaters on January 9th 2016. Three weeks after release, it was only screening in 9 cinemas, and the staff was preparing for the worst. However, the movie ended up earning more than 800 million yen, and by May 2016 it was in over 100 cinemas across Japan. All thanks to dedicated fans’ word to mouth and the movie’s “Cheer Screenings” (応援上映 in Japanese), screenings where you can come in cosplay, use glowsticks, scream and sing along during the movie, or dub lines during subtitled scenes specifically made for it. The movie had a 9 months run in cinemas, and its final screening was at Shinjuku Wald 9, on September 2nd 2016, even though the movie was already out on DVD/BD since June 17th. KING OF PRISM was a huge success in South Korea as well. The first movie released there on August 11th 2016, and broke the record of longest screening period for an anime film, a record previously held by Love Live! The School Idol Movie!
The sequel movie, KING OF PRISM -PRIDE the HERO-, ended up releasing simultaneously in Japan and South Korea on June 10th 2017.

However, the Kinpri movies have a hidden history unrecorded even on Japanese anime sites. In the first place, how did a kids franchise spawn movies geared towards adults? Why are the movies gayer than actual Boys Love anime? Why does what seems to be a Yuri on Ice! ripoff with Shinji and Kaworu clones is a big enough deal to be screened at Los Angeles Anime Film Festival???

Note: While similar, I’ve added a lot of things compared to the French version of this article I published back in May 2018.  This is basically the XX+ Reloaded Definitive edition of the “Pretty Series History”.

Edit: I fixed the post’s layout, as it got screwed up after I changed the blog’s theme, even though it was fine beforehand during preview.

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