Anime Central 2023 Interview: Kubo Yurika and Ichinose Kana

Kubo Yurika and Ichinose Kana were at Anime Central 2023 to promote the game A Light in the Dark. Kubo is best known for her role as Koizumi Hanayo in Love Live!, and Ichinose is currently voicing Suletta Mercury, the protagonist of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury.

I also had the chance to ask Kubo a question specific to Love Live! during her fan panel, which I’ve included at the end of the main interview. 

You’re both here at ACen because of your role in the visual novel A Light in the Dark. What are your most memorable experiences being involved with this game?

Do you mean during the recording?


Kubo: Personally, this was during a time when I had a lot to record, so my sessions went on for days. My character, Mysterious Girl, goes through a lot of difficulties, and I was going through a lot of difficulties in my real life as well. So that overlapped, and I really realized that my life can be so easily influenced during recording.

Ichinose: By the roles you play?

Kubo: Yes, yes! That’s it! There’s a part of me that can be hurt quite a bit.

Ichinose: Oh, wow.

Kubo: So my memorable experiences tend to be about the heaviness of the role I play.

Ichinose: For me, I like playing serious roles, and my role hit close to heart. My character starts off very reticent, but there was still a lot of emoting involved. I do like heavy roles—and it was still heavy—but I still enjoyed it.

-How have your experiences playing characters such as Hanayo from Love Live! and Ichigo from Darling in the Franxx influenced the way you play your characters in A Light in the Dark

Kubo: So for both of us, it probably wouldn’t just be the roles from the works you mentioned—they’re all opportunities for growth as actors.

Ichinose: These are genuine experiences that contributed to our breadth of expression.

How do you balance playing multiple characters at once and keeping track of them?

Kubo: As for keeping track of roles, I think all the characters we’ve played so far don’t necessarily influence who we play in the moment. We just get into the role and do it that way. 

Ichinose: And since all the roles are so heavy in A Light in the Dark, resetting the emotions and getting out of the characters tends to be a bit of a challenge. But at the same time, as we work professionally, we do get ingrained with an emotional switch, or an acting switch, where we switch between roles in a very natural way.

Kubo: Yes, you’re right!

How does recording for a visual novel compare with other types of voice work?

Ichinose: Compared to recording for other types of video games, in other games, it’s more typical to do small voices like “Yah!”

Kubo: And “Hah!”

Ichinose: Yeah, and “Hah!” But there is a much longer story in A Light in the Dark, and there is much more emotional continuity. Depending on the recording, we might be skipping chapters, so we have to keep track of the continuity of the story and also the emotions. 

Kubo: But there are also branching paths in the story where the user has to select which path to go, and we have to be aware of the pre-selection emotion as well as which path the user chose.

Ichinose: One dialogue path would end, and then we’d have to do a different dialogue path.

Kubo: The level of tension and excitement would have to change too. It’s one of the fun and interesting things about the project.

Ichinose: I would sometimes have to rewind the emotional state of the character and go back. 

Kubo: Right!

That general area is part of the difficulty.

What inspired you to become a voice actor, or get into the entertainment industry in general?

Kubo: I started as a model for teenage magazines, but even before then, I was always watching anime and reading manga. While modeling, I was starting to wonder if I was unfit for the job, whereas I could always enjoy anime and manga. So I always wanted to take on the challenge if I ever had the opportunity. I did tell my agency that’s what I wanted to do, but they told me off that it’s not such an easy thing. They didn’t outright oppose what I said, but they said it’s not easy. When I got the role for Love Live!, though, that was my foot in the door into a career as a voice actor.

Ichinose: When I was in grade school and kindergarten I always loved watching anime, and my life more or less involved watching anime. I did play with my friends, but if I were at home, I’d spend pretty much the whole day watching anime. As I watched anime and loved anime, my thoughts turned towards the casts in anime, towards the voice actors, and eventually I would think that I wanted to get involved in the world of these various animation stories. So when it came time to choose a future for myself, one day I went to an open campus at a voice acting school, where I got my determination to go into voice acting.

For my three years in high school, I worked part-time and saved so I would have the money to pay for my own tuition for voice acting school. I paid my way through, did my audition, and got a role. So I started from a love of anime, refined my voice, and tried it out. I have the person who encouraged me to go into voice acting back then, who told me I had a chance, to thank.

Is there anything about your performances as Mysterious Girl and Young Girl that you’re especially proud of? 

Ichinose: What do you mean by that?

In the sense of, did you think you felt you had performed well, and can look back and say “I did a really good job here?”

Kubo: For my role as Mysterious GIrl, there is a portion in the latter half of the game where she goes through an emotional explosion. I played that part thinking, “I could lose my voice tomorrow, but I’ll go through with it.” If you can experience that scene, I would be very happy.

Ichinose: My character gets a little bit closer to the main character in the middle of the story, and she begins to open up and start talking about her dreams and aspirations—like how she would like to eat sweets. Normally, that’s the kind of dream that’s easily realizable if you have the money for it, but the girls grew up in an environment where that’s not something they could afford.

How is it to play a character who didn’t have something that was so ordinary and common for normal people? That was my challenge. So this is a serious title, but there are these small slivers of hope that my character can aspire towards, and if that kind of nuance gets through to the player, I think my acting will be rewarded.

Thank you!

Bonus: Extra Question for Kubo Yurika from the Previous Day’s Fan Panel

I love the way that you portray Hanayo’s shyness and intensity. My question is: I noticed your performance of her evolved over time; what changes did you make to playing Hanayo over the years?

Kubo: It wasn’t like I really changed my approach to Hanayo—more like as the years went by, Hanayo saw more of her character, experienced more, as did I personally. I think that’s kind of what led to that natural evolution. I wasn’t very conscious of it at all.

COVID the 19th—The First: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for June 2023

So it finally happened: I got my first case of COVID-19. I’ve been isolating, but I’ve also finally started testing negative, so I think I’m over the hump.

I already announced it on Twittter, but anyone who attended Anime Central 2023 should probably get themselves tested if they haven’t already. While I was masked for pretty much the entire time, I most likely had COVID-19 during the entire event, and it’’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the coronavirus.

While it might be too late for anyone who’s first reading about my COVID-19 case here, I still wanted to talk about it in this status update for a couple reasons. First, well, this is technically the “status of Ogiue Maniax.” Second, many people are afraid to admit they got COVID, worried that they might be looked upon negatively if they say anything, or feel a sense of guilt about how they put themselves and/or others in danger. But I think the more we publicly talk about it, the more we can reduce the stigma without downplaying the ongoing severity of the pandemic (it’s not just “the flu.”)

Thank you to my Patreon subscribers, who allow me to continue to indulge in this hobby of mine:


Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado



Sue Hopkins fans:


Philippe Nguyen

Hato Kenjirou fans:


Yajima Mirei fans:


Blog highlights from May:

I Finished Reading the Saint Seiya Manga

A nonstop rollercoaster of thrills, chills, and people throwing their bodies at perilous situations to protect their loved ones.

Oshi no Ko vs. Getter Robo: A Hot-Blooded Killer Combo

It’s like my fandom has gone full circle thanks to this meme.

La+ Darknesss, VTuber Birthdays, and the Ultimate Kayfabe

A look at the pecularity of the VTuber Birthday (and an excuse to celebrate La+ again!)

Kio Shimoku

Kio’s got some more good stuff.


While Anime Central wasn’t ideal due to my condition, I did manage to conduct some interviews, and I think they all turned out well. Expect to start seeing them soon!

Social Connection and Nostalgia for Web 1.0

I have a somewhat rose-colored view of an internet from long ago, and based on my observations on social media, I’m not alone. Increasingly, I see among those who surfed the superhighway a desire to return to a still-connected but far less prominently “public” presence. There’s no doubt a heavy element of nostalgia, but I also think there’s another major factor: a longing for a time when you could feel comfortable baring your insides, both the beautiful and ugly parts, without risking attack en masse.

The internet has thrived as a way to help people feel less alone without great risk to themselves. Whether it’s a political belief, favorite book, or even a sexual fetish, thinking you’re the only person in the world who’s into something can be an incredibly isolating experience. Are you “normal?” If not, are there at least others who can relate to you?

Now, especially as an entire generation has grown up being encouraged (or even forced) to make their online presence and extension of their offline identity, it’s not surprising that people would become afraid to share themselves. In a recent interview, game creator Sakurai Masahiro (of Smash Bros. and Kirby fame) said something related to this, which was summarized by a translator as follows:

“Sakurai talks about how he feels like today’s culture is too combative & people are quick to tear down things they don’t like in bad faith, and that the people putting things out into the world are vulnerable whereas the critics aren’t; he has little faith that things will change.”

I think it captures the environment well, along with the fear it creates.

Trying to find out if there were others like you carried a risk in the past too, of course. I’m under no illusions that those days weren’t filled with trolls or mean-spirited assholes eager to tear people down, but compared to today, the potential damage to the self feels less severe. Or at least, it would be localized.

There’s an anime called Jormungand about a mercenary team led by an arms dealer. In the final episode [Spoiler Warning], the main characters essentially cripple the ability to wage war from the other side of the world, though more regional conflicts are still very possible. In other words, while they can never truly stop war, they at least wanted to slow its spread. I think the desire to return to an era of web rings, bulletin boards, and extremely unpolished personal sites comes from a similar sentiment. Call it harm reduction, perhaps.

Evil Doppelgängers in Anime and Manga (or Lack Thereof)

The evil doppelgänger is a classic trope of fiction. I’m drawn to simple stories in this space, ones that revel in what makes these counterparts nefarious, and how this inevitably leads to cool battles where the original and the double are evenly matched. Oddly, though, I find that this trope isn’t terribly common in anime and manga.

While TVTropes is not the be-all end-all of how to understand fiction, it’s notable that the anime and manga sections for “Evil Doppelgänger” and “Mirror Universe” are barely populated. The Evil Knockoff has more entries, though they are typically not long-term characters. Goku Black is one such knockoff, as he‘s more of an imposter in the vein of the Fake Ultraman and the Fake Kamen Rider, as explained by Toriyama Akira himself. The Precure franchise has seen a number of examples, but they usually last for only a little while—a standalone movie (Yes! Pretty Cure 5, see image above), a couple episodes (Smile Precure), and only rarely as a recurring villain (Dark Precure in Heartcatch Precure!) Often, if they have any enduring popularity, it’s because their designs have an inherent appeal as the “bad versions.”

Contrast that with superhero stories where the trope is downright ubiquitous. For example, the Crime Syndicate from DC Comics has taken various forms, but they all amount to the same thing: crime-committing counterparts to the Justice League, who come from an alternate universe, and whose differences with the heroes range from interesting to hilarious. For example, the original incarnation of the evil Superman—known as Ultraman—gained new superpowers whenever exposed to kryptonite. Owlman is Batman except his origins usually involve being a relative of Bruce Wayne who had to kill someone in cold blood. When I think about how different creators can interpret what it means to be the mirror version of an existing character, it makes me appreciate their imaginations. Sometimes, it’s Spock with a goatee, or the way Nega Duck prefers scheming and explosives to theatrics and Gas Guns.

I think the difference might have to do with the fact that superhero comics have historically been some combination of “goes on forever” + “willing to bring back villains who will come and go.” Even in the longest-running anime and manga that would potentially have evil clones in the first place, they usually don’t go beyond a single arc. I have to wonder if such characters might be less appealing to creators and consumers of anime and manga alike because they’re not working off the succinct characterizations that have classically defined superheroes. 

Or even if the heroes do have “dark opposites,” they’re usually characters unto themselves, like how Gaara parallels Naruto by having a similar yet more cruel past, or how Shigaraki in My Hero Academia is like the evil version of a superhero nerd to contrast with Deku. The fact that literal superhero-themed anime and manga don’t feature such characters feels significant. Why is there no One Kick Man or Lion and Hare?

Instead, where the doppelgängers seem to thrive is in the world of video games, to the point that trying to count them is pointless. Whether it’s Dark Link in the Zelda, Dark Harrier in Space Harrier 2, or Dark Samus in Metroid, the notion of having to fight an opponent with all your skills provides a nice thematic challenge—especially in the endgame. Perhaps their lack of story is a bit more forgiving there because the primary focus isn’t narrative but gameplay.

Naturally, it’s not like a story needs evil doppelgangers to be good or fun. That said, what I find interesting is that for all the diversity of tropes and stories that manga and anime contain, somehow this is the one that isn’t so common. In the meantime, I can appreciate where such villains show up.

The Roles of “Characters” in Mecha Anime

Sometimes, you’ll see a wild claim about mecha anime, like “Gurren-Lagann was the first giant robot series to be about characters instead of the robots,” and it inevitably results in a backlash—in this case, the counterargument that all giant robot shows are about characters. Whether the initial statement is made in jest or as a genuinely ignorant take by someone with only surface-level knowledge of mecha, it reflects certain assumptions about what the genre is like.

I got to thinking about the notion that giant robot anime are about characters because it’s both true and an oversimplification. Moreover, the extent to which the giant robots truly “matter,” as in they’re inexorable from the world being portrayed and can’t be substituted with some other form of weaponry, varies tremendously. But regardless of the true “necessity” of either characters or robots, I feel there is more to it than just one side mattering more than the other. Then a thought occurred to me, and I have a kind of nascent “universal theory of giant robot anime”:

Giant robot anime are about characters, but more specifically, the main character reflects some vital or fundamental aspect of the world and story around them. The giant robot, in turn, is reflective of the connection between the hero and that aspect.

If it seems nebulous, that’s because it is. I’m thinking less about trying to justify every mecha anime and more about how the giant robots end up being the avatar through which so many of these protagonists interact with their environment and their histories, and thus reveal more about the anime themselves. There’s also no denying the close ties between giant robots and merchandising, but this also ebbs and flows over the decades.

So let’s start with some of the big ones. 

Tetsujin 28 is about Shoutarou trying to make a difference in a post-WWII environment by being a boy detective who fights crime. Tetsujin 28 the robot was created to fight the Allies, but is now being used for an alternate purpose: as a guardian of peace instead of a weapon of war. 

Mazinger Z draws a direct lineage to this sort of thinking. While the power fantasy and toyetic appeal of the robot itself is undeniable, Kouji is presented with a question about human potential from the very beginning: If you had great power, would you be a god or a devil? The robot Mazinger Z is Kouji’s way of making a difference, and he chooses to use it as a protective guardian.

Mobile Suit Gundam, the first “real robot” anime that emphasized the robots as weapons of war over superhero-like entities, is about its hero Amuro’s repeated exposure to the trauma of war. It’s through the Gundam that he experiences physical and emotional scars alike, and the very fact that his piloting experience molds him into a capable soldier also contributes to the overall “horror of war” message that girders Gundam and its many sequels.

Superdimensional Fortress Macross has three main components: romance, music, and robot battles. Here, the titular robot is literally a flying city traveling through space, and it functions as both an urban cosmopolitan center and a massive superweapon. In other words, it is the very space in which all three pieces of Macross take place.

Neon Genesis Evangelion centers around Shinji and his fear of human connection, be it with his family, his peers, his friends, or anyone else. It is the anime of extreme introspection. Not only is the EVA-01 the means by which he tries (and fails) to find self-worth, but the EVA itself is revealed to house the soul of his dead mother. He is contained in a womb-like structure inside of his giant mom.

Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann is about Simon and the limitless potential of humanity to overcome all obstacles slowly but surely—and ultimately whether there should be limits on that power. Gurren-Lagann manifests this through numerous transformations fueled by human spirit that bring on exponential power growth.

The above examples are all heavy hitters, but what I also want to emphasize is that this applies to “lesser” titles as well.

Brave Police J-Decker is maybe the most on-the-nose example of the relationship between a boy and his giant robot, as the story is about how Yuuta’s friendship with the giant police robot Deckard is what teaches the latter to develop true emotions and a proper sense of justice and humanity. 

Shinkon Gattai Godannar is about the relationship between Gou and Anna as husband and wife and how their love affects both their personal and professional lives as co-pilots. Godannar Twin Drive is literally a combination of both robots.

Robotics;Notes focuses on Kaito and his relationship with Akiho’s giant robot club, and the blurring of augmented reality with actual reality. The creation of the Guntsuku-1 is basically an untenable goal that, through the events of the series, becomes effectively “real” through how Kaito and Akiho view and utilize it.

Trider G7 is about Watta, who’s both a little kid and the CEO of his own company, utilizing both the image of Japanese corporate culture of the early 1980s and the classic child desire of wanting to do what the adults do. The Trider G7 robot literally flies out of a playground, and has tons of cool and wacky weapons, but the fact that it’s Watta’s robot and the main way he gets his job done means it’s the conduit through which that “grown-up” fantasy takes place. 

Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion the Animation is literally a commercial for bullet train toys that are, in turn, advertising for the Shinkansen trains in Japan. Its main character, Hayato, is basically a Shinkansen fanatic who sees them as not only the coolest things ever but as reflecting a philosophy of unwavering service to the people of Japan. The Shinkalion robots, by extension, portray a more action-packed version of this concept.

Giant robot anime embody many values, from crass commercialism to dreams of being brave and strong, from anti-war sentiments to deep looks inward at the psychological scars of society. The mecha themselves are often not “characters” in and of themselves (with a number of notable exceptions), but they are symbolic of how the protagonists of these stories relate to what they experience. The hurdle for those who think that these anime are “more about robots” is that this particular way of communicating the characters’ stories requires an acceptance of giant robots as a storytelling device.

Ogiue Maniax at Anime Central 2023

This is just a short post to say that I will be attending my very first Anime Central this May 19–21! Motivated by my wish to see Kubo “Koizumi Hanayo” Yurika, I have decided to dip my toes into the Chicago area.

I am doing zero panels, and will be attending them instead. I’ll also be trying to conduct interviews with guests. I hope to have a good time regardless—and I plan to make that happen even if the con doesn’t go as planned by scarfing down many hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.

To all those attending, stay safe! COVID is definitely still a thing, and I encourage everyone to wear good-quality masks. You will most likely not see me without one.

Oshi no Ko vs. Getter Robo: A Hot-Blooded Killer Combo

Sometimes it takes a meme to put a giant robot anime in the minds of the people. Hot on the heels of “Is this a pigeon?” comes the Perfect and Ultimate Getter mashup. 

For those who don’t quite get the joke, this is a mashup of the anime opening themes for 2023’s [Oshi no Ko] and 2000’s Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo. The two songs, “IDOL” and “STORM,” share a similar build-up during their respective choruses that makes one transition into the other almost seamlessly, with only a tweek to the tempo being necessary.

As a fan of both (the latter of which I watched during my formative years as an otaku), it makes me happy to see these two shows and their respective theme songs getting love. More than that, it made me think about a few things. 

First, I’m actually kind of surprised that so many people have a fondness for Shin vs. Neo. I know Getter Robo is just part of the bedrock of anime and the mecha genre, but I had always assumed Shin vs. Neo was just known in the little corner of the fandom I had occupied. Glad to see people have a sense of nostalgia for it, though that does make me feel old.

Second, if this is how newer anime fans discover Shin vs. Neo, then so be it. I hope they enjoy seeing a shirtless man beat a dinosaur soldier into submission, in addition to all the robot action. At the very least, the fact that this joke incorporates more footage of the anime means it’s able to show itself off better than Fighbird and the aforementioned pigeon meme.

Third, it’s a bittersweet reminder that one of the singers of “STORM,” Mizuki Ichiro, passed away earlier this year. IAs one of the elder statesmen of anime music, he might have very well leaned into this, and we might have legitimately gotten a cover of this. At the very least, Kageyama Hironobu and the rest of JAM Project are all around, and they are definitely game to perform memes (see their cover of “Okkusenman.”)

I think what I ultimately really like about Getter no Ko is that it showcases both series well. Their original content doesn’t get lost in layers of obfuscation, and I hope anime fans are able to experience and appreciate both.

If You Love ’em, You’ll Let ’em Go: Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution Full Review

Eureka Seven is an anime I love to death. Nearly two decades later, I still hold it up this TV series as one of the best ever. The sequels and spin-offs, however, have not been as hot. A film (Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers) basically reused footage from the TV series to tell a wildly different story where the characters look the same but are different people. A sequel TV series (Eureka Seven AO) damaged the story and visited gratuitous amounts of tragedy on the original heroes. And most recently, we have Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution, a trilogy that is similar to both previous continuations while embodying neither the best nor the worst of the franchise as a whole. 

Hi-Evolution consists of three films each focusing on a different major character: Renton, Anemone, and Eureka. However, much like Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers, they‘re seemingly not the same people as in the TV series. Whether it’s having different parents or literally being from another world, details great and small are out of alignment. Hi-Evolution also follows the pattern of intersplicing old footage with new, but again with drastic changes in context that make it unrelated. 

Or is it? Another aspect of the Hi-Evolution films is that they might actually be sequels to the original TV series, as well as possibly everything else in a sort of Turn A Gundam sense. It could be a unifying sequel, or a reboot, or an alternate universe, but it’s not very clear because so many things are so unlike what has come before. Or maybe it is obvious and I refuse to accept the possibility that this might be “canon” as it were. 

Hi-Evolution as a sequel would be saying something along the lines of “this is the real story you couldn’t see,” and my response is “eh.” As a remix or an alternate track, however, it has more legs. It contains solid narratives regarding relationships between parents and children and between people in general, the way humankind struggles with thinking of everything as a zero-sum game, and a look into dreams and possibilities. The issue is that I’m not sure why it had to be in the guise of Eureka Seven. I actually think if it had been conceived as an original project, it would be a lot less shaky overall, and wouldn’t invite such comparison.

I worry that the director and staff on Eureka Seven might be too attached to the aesthetics of the franchise, and it holds them back from being able to do more. As much as I adore that first anime, it might be an anchor dragging everyone down. Better to free everyone and let them soar with new ideas.

You May Dream: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for May 2023

I find myself in a constant state of worry that I’m not doing enough with anime and manga. It’s not like I’m avoiding it entirely, but I think my very focused consumption of it has receded slightly both in an attempt to do things I’ve never tried before and to make up for time lost in other categories.

There’s an entire Breath of the Wild sequel coming out this month, and I’ve only just gotten the glider in the first game! I want to build my language skills in Japanese as well as in others. I worry about being the person chasing two rabbits, but at the same time am perpetually unable to pursue just one without regretting losing the other.

In the meantime, shout-outs to my Patreon subscribers, including a new supporter among the Sue Hopkins fans.


Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado



Sue Hopkins fans:


Philippe Nguyen

Hato Kenjirou fans:


Yajima Mirei fans:


Blog highlights from April:

Inugami Korone, Taira Isao, and My Fandom History

I seriously did not expect the singer of Braiger and Ideon to show up.

The Safe Yandere

For when you want the taste but not the full buffet.

Randori Acts of Friendship: “Ippon” Again!

You might have missed this delightful judo anime.

Kio Shimoku

Kio made something that the kids would call yabai.

Apartment 507

Looking back on the end of Love Live! School Idol Festival.


I’m actually going to Anime Central this month for the first time! I’m hoping to get to see Kubo Yurika (aka the voice of Hanayo).

And you probably have heard about this, but the Writers Guild of America has gone on strike to protest unfair wages from streaming and the threat of companies potentially trying to use AI to hamstring writers. Funnily enough, the last time a writers strike started was on November 5, 2007—the same month as the birth of Ogiue Maniax.

I wonder if we’ll get any Dragonball Evolutions out of this.

Mecha, Isekai, and the Changing Image of Anime

A while ago, a thought popped into my head: isekai is the mecha of the past decade and change. 

The comparison is not perfect by any means, but what I see in isekai today is a position in Japanese pop culture that’s not so different from where giant robots were in the 1980s. Namely, they have their roots in power fantasies, rely heavily on visual and conceptual tropes around that power, and are pretty niche genres that are ubiquitous enough to be considered mainstream nevertheless. In other words, where giant robots were assumed to be part and parcel with anime as a whole, being transported or reincarnated to another (extremely game-like) world is now the de facto stereotype for many fans of anime.

Another important similarity is that derivative titles have had to find a place in their respective media landscapes, navigating the desire to be different enough to stand out while looking comfortably familiar enough to appeal to genre fans. Only, instead of it being God Mars and Armored Trooper VOTOMS, and Aura Battle Dunbine (itself an earlier incarnation of isekai) nudging the envelope, it’s The Hero is Overpowered But Overly Cautious, So I’m a Spider, So What?, and My Next Life as a Villainess. Also, of course, there’s Knights & Magic, the modern isekai that is also a mecha series and even starred in Super Robot Wars 30.

And like mecha, I expect isekai will have a downswing at some point, as people and cultures change. In that future, what I’m looking forward to is having people who are fans of isekai not so much as a way to live vicariously through these stories but in the sense of academic and anthropological fascination. Just as mecha fans like myself like to explore the history of giant robots, warts and all, I want to see enthusiasts looking at every obscure and major 2010s-2020s isekai title out of genuine curiosity over the genre as a whole.

As a final aside, I’ve been thinking about the legacy of Amuro Ray’s character and its influence on anime protagonists as an “otaku” before the term was even coined. Perhaps that’ll be for another post.