Against the Barrel: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for June 2022

I have to admit that the world feels overwhelming. If it’s not COVID rates ticking up, it’s deadly shootings and war and racism and the fact that these things are all tied together. As an anime blogger, I also think about these things in relation to entertainment, and in light of recent events, we’re seeing old boogeymen like “violent video games” being brought up. I remember those conversations from two decades ago, and though my perspective has changed from childhood to adulthood, I’m not so naive as to think that the root cause is violent entertainment. Rather, it’s at best a symptom of a deeper problem—that power is conflated with self worth, and that gun lobbyists want men to feel that threat of emasculation so badly that they’re willing to go to extremes.

I’m not someone who believes that glorifying violence in entertainment is inherently a problem. I like my action series plenty, and even if something like sports can be argued to be a conduit for aggression, I don’t think that it’s automatically going to lead to the kind of mind-poisoning we’re seeing from cultures that refuse to confront their own pasts. As long as media can be media and not propaganda, even the most depraved depictions of human behavior can have a place. If fiction is the only alternative for someone to find themselves comfort, that’s not the fault of the fiction.

On a less somber note, I’d like to thank the following Patreon subscribers:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from May:

Lots of Brain with a Bit of Heart: Combat in Girls und Panzer das Finale

A review of sorts for GIrls und Panzer das Finale, especially Part 2, but more of an analysis of how combat is portrayed in the series.

Ultimate Dancouga in Super Robot Wars 30 Is Quintessential Obari Masami

How this particular SRW30 DLC captures the essence of its original creator.

The Tools to Express Yourself: Blue Period

Thoughts on the moving story of a guy who’s suddenly inspired to become an artist.

Apartment 507

Why Zhong Lanzhu makes Love Live! better by being a heel.

Looking at the way the English translation of Spy x Family adapts Anya’s kid speech.

Kio Shimoku

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter was full of design drawings for Hashkko Ensemble. There’s a lot of insight into his early decisions for the manga.

Closing

I’m going to leave off on a nicer and more personal not: I finally beat Super Robot Wars 30! It only took…200 hours. I want to write an overall review of it, but part of me wonders if all the existing posts might be enough.

Dang, Spring Anime Is Really Good: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for May 2022

I know I’m probably not the first person to say this, but the Spring 2022 anime season has been rock-solid. I can’t watch every show, but the sheer amount of quality made for quite an enjoyable April, even as the world continues to teeter between hope and despair. Spy x Family, Ya Boy Kongming, Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, Birdie Wing, and a whole host of other series are just knocking it out of the park.

Thanks again to all my followers on Patreon!

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from April:

Navigating Your Cultures: Himawari House

My review of a comic about living in Japan as an Asian expat and searching for identity.

Super Robot Wars 30, Gaogaigar, and J-Decker: The Compromises of a Composite Narrative

Thoughts on the combining of two different Brave anime in SRW30.

The Art of Love: Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop

A great little movie that went under the radar.

Kio Shimoku

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter was full of design drawings for Hashkko Ensemble. There’s a lot of insight into his early decisions for the manga!

Closing

One other piece of big news from April was the announcement and release of the final DLC for Super Robot Wars 30. I still can’t believe Shinkalion made it in! It makes me want to draw giant robot fanart…

Mou Mantai: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for April 2022

Mou mantai is Cantonese for “no problem.” It’s also a signature phrase of Hong Kong native Zhong Lanzhu from Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, whose second season started today. The new anime season is upon us (again!), and I’m feeling positive about new shows, including seeing Lanzhu and the other Monster Girls in Love Live!

Of course, to say that there aren’t any issues is not entirely truthful. April Fool’s, I guess?

Life is good, but not perfect by any means. There are things we can’t control, like the unexpected twists and turns of international affairs. But there are things I can affect, and because life is personally busier at the moment, a part of me wonders if I should reduce my output for Ogiue Maniax. Right now, I typically do 2–3 posts a week (which I’ve kept up for the past 11 years or so), and the new result would be 1–2 posts a week. This would obviously make things easier for me, but then I feel like my Patreon might not be worthwhile anymore for those who still follow me.

A part of me also wonders if the reason I’m feeling this way is because Super Robot Wars 30 is so danged long. Enjoyable, but I think only now (months later) am I reaching the final third of the game.

Speaking of Patreon, my patrons continue to support me. To them, especially those below, I say: Thank you.

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from March:

Kizuna AI, Uruha Rushia, and the Search for Authenticity

A philosophical look at how we engage with Virtual Youtubers.

What’s the Justice, Indeed—Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier

My review of the amazing 2001 retro-style retelling of the classic manga

What Drives Them—Mobile Suit Gundam Reconguista in G Part III: Legacy from Space

Thoughts on the third G-Reco movie, and a realization about the best way to follow the story.

Kio Shimoku

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter has a nice countdown for the final volume of Hashikko Ensemble.

Closing

March 28 was Ogiue’s birthday! I’m glad people are still holding the torch, even a little bit.

The Heat Is On: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for March 2022

I’d be lying if I claimed I wasn’t full of fear of where the world is going. While violence is nothing new, there’s something about these particularly brazen lies we’re seeing used to justify a takeover of a sovereign nation that has me worried that the world is going to scary places, if not already there.

That said, while I sometimes would like to more fully disconnect my fandoms from the world at large, it’s a great deal harder than one might expect. Case in point, I started watching 2001’s Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier, which is about people who were kidnapped and forcefully integrated with machines, who then rebel against the massive warmongering arms dealer that made them who they are. Even an adaptation of a classic action manga has dimension. That’s not in the same ballpark as, say, a harem series, but I think it’s ideal to discuss both the anime and manga that embraces every level of political engagement to those that are more passively political. Heck, isn’t the biggest anime basically Attack on Titan?

Here are the special Patreon members who continue to show me their generosity. While the lack of new members might be viewed as a sign of stagnation, the fact that so many continue to stick with me is something I appreciate.

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from February:

Rise of the Dojo Dojikko: Mabataki Yori Hayaku!!

My review of a cute-girls-doing-karate manga I’ve been really enjoying.

Summer Cure Makes Me Feel Fine: Tropical-Rouge! Precure

This Precure’s full of energy and avenues for change!

Power and Truth: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

It’s been a long time coming, but here are my thoughts on Gundam Unicorn at last. Speaking of political anime…

Kio Shimoku

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter was pretty light in February, but I expect that to change in March with the final volume of Hashikko Ensemble.

Closing

I’m impressed how well Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier holds up. It feels just as fresh today as it did when I’d catch episodes on Cartoon Network back in the day, and the focus on diversity, peace, and criticism of warmongering feel more relevant than ever before. I hope the ideals that anime brings can be something we can reach in our lifetimes.

Diamond City Lighting It Up: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for February 2022

Happy New Year (again!) to all who celebrate the lunar calendar and the Year of the T-T-T-T-Tiger.

As the Omicron variant (hopefully) peaks at varying times, I’m naturally spending a lot more time indoors—even more than usual. A new anime season has made things easier, with returning favorites like Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, and Princess Connect! Re:Dive, as well as interesting new stuff like The Kodama’s Lazy Life and Tribe Nine. I’m also catching up on Ranking of Kings, which I’d heard such good things about, and there are still a few shows like Slow Loop I’m planning to check out.

I’m also delving into the world of Webtoons a bit more with Higashimura Akiko’s A Fake Affair (perfect for Valentine’s Day maybe) as I also read through her autobiographical series Blank Canvas. Her stuff is amazing, and I will almost always recommend Higashimura works. I’m relatively inexperienced when it comes to Webtoon stuff, so I’m open to suggestions.

My webspace is still down, and the administrators appear to be MIA. It’s kind of a pain, but this blog is old enough that trying to find every image I uploaded during my earlier years and switching to new hosting might not be feasible. If I get to the point where I’m supposed to renew, well, that’s another matter.

In the meantime, here are my biggest Patreon members, who help keep Ogiue Maniax going.

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from January:

Shining in the Sea of Stars: Hakaioh – Gaogaigar vs. Betterman Part 3

My review of the final Gaogaigar vs. Betterman novel. Especially worth a read if you’ve played Super Robot Wars 30.

Monsters Growing: Rokudou no Onna-tachi Final Review

A full-series review of one of my favorite manga in recent memory, a delinquent harem manga that rises well above its premise.

Encanto is Too Real

Disney’s latest feature film hits hard on a personal level.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 48 is the final chapter of Kio Shimoku’s high school music manga series! See how it all ends.

As a result, Kio Shimoku’s Twitter in January was a lot of talk about Hashikko Ensemble.

Apartment 507

Thoughts on the new season of Demon Slayer.

Closing

Every so often, I think about revamping my Patreon, as it’s been kind of stagnant in terms of approach for quite a few years now. One issue is that this is not my full-time job, and I don’t know how much I could actively devote to running it, so I’m hesitant to promise or aim for anything big. Would people be interested in Patreon-only content?

The Winter of Our (Dis)Content: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for January 2022

Happy New Year! As I say that, 2022 is off to an unusual start.

On the blog side, there’s been an issue with many of my older posts because the web hosting I used for many of the images has been down for the past month (and possibly more). I hope I can get it fixed sooner rather than later, but the hosting has been unresponsive. Fortunately, most of the content is primarily text, so even as many of the illustrative pictures are not displaying, there’s still plenty to read, if you want to check out the archives.

But of course, any and all web space woes pale in comparison to the unprecedented level of infection that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has brought. Last month, I wondered if I might have to temper my expectations about seeing loved ones in this environment, and that has turned out to be a pretty big understatement. For those living in places with record spikes in infection, I hope you can stay safe and well. Please, please get vaccinated (and boosted if you can), wear a good mask (N95, KN95, KF94, FFP2), and exercise discretion (especially indoors). We can still live our lives, but we should cherish the health of the people around us. While Omicron seems to have a greater ability to infect vaccinated people, it can still be the difference between an unpleasant day and your final one.

I order my masks from Bonafide Masks, but you can get KN95s at a Staples or equivalent shop.

Thanks to my patrons here in 2022, especially the following.

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from December:

Going Beyond Limits, for Better or for Worse: Anime NYC 2021

My review of Anime NYC 2021 and all its ups and downs. Also check out my convention review of Pompo the Cinephile!

Daitetsujin 17 and the Wonderful Clunkiness of Tokusatsu Soul of Chogokin

A preview of the next Soul of Chogokin figure turns into an analysis of how the toy line handles live-action series.

Fan vs. Fandom

Thoughts on the difference between being a fan of something and participating in a fandom, inspired by someone close to me.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 47 turns out to be the second-to-last! Can’t wait for next month.

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter in December saw him reminiscing about older times.

Closing

In much lighter news, the winter anime season is starting up! I’m still trying to finish stuff from the fall, but in the meantime, I’ve decided on my favorite characters of 2021. Who do you think reigned supreme?

Who Dares Interrupt My Corona-tion?!: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for December 2021

A low-angle view of the planet-sized Transformer, Unicron.

The end-of-the-year holidays are rolling around, and I feel like I’m in a strange place mentally and emotionally. I think it’s tied to the assumption that this year’s Christmas would be a far cry from the feelings of hesitation and dread that came with COVID-19 and hot off of the 2020 US elections, and how history might potentially be repeating itself. Virtually everyone I know is vaccinated, including many kids, but reports of the new Omicron variant make me wonder if I need to temper my expectations. And inevitably, it just makes me think of a certain planet-sized Transformer.

(Speaking of which, I got the new blu-ray recently. I don’t know for sure when I’ll re-watch the movie, but it never fails to disappoint.)

On a lighter note, I haven’t been looking at as much anime and manga lately, but there’s a very good reason for that: Super Robot Wars 30. It’s supposed to be over 100 hours, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. I am enjoying the hell out of getting to use Gaogaigo and the J-Decker squad, though.

I also attended Anime NYC 2021, but due to my blog schedule, my coverage of it will be in December. Look forward to a review of Pompo the Cinephile!

I wish for safe and soul-comforting holidays for everyone, and I’d like to thank my patrons for the month:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from November:

Real Character: Love Live! Superstar!!

My review of what turned out to be the best Love Live! anime—emphasis on anime.

The Best Sports Manga You’re Not Reading: Shoujo Fight

My long overdue general review of thia fantastic volleyball manga.

Imagine Fourteen Balls on the Edge of a Cliff: Ogiue Maniax 14th Anniversary

An anniversary post turned into a reflection on the site Something Awful in light of its founder’s death.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 46 is more serious than silly, and it provides a window into Jin’s inner turmoil.

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter involves sharing his thoughts on erotic manga artists.

Apartment 507

Six giant robot anime came out in Fall 2021. Here are my basic impressions of all of them.

Closing

The world is ever unpredictable, and I hope we do what we can as people to watch out and care for one another. Get vaccinated if you can, look out for your fellow humans, and understand that no one is free until we’re all free.

Imagine Fourteen Balls on the Edge of a Cliff: Ogiue Maniax 14th Anniversary

14 years is a strange milestone—it almost doesn’t feel like one. As the date approach, I kept wondering what would I even talk about. Then came the death of disgraced Something Awful founder, Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka. I never knew the man, but I definitely knew his site, and as I reflected on it and my earliest days blogging, I came to a realization.

If not for Something Awful, I might have never started Ogiue Maniax. 

I never contributed directly to Something Awful, nor would I say that it gave anything directly to me, but I found a community of fellow anime fans through various unofficial offshoots of the site. Chatting and posting among them were some of the early bloggers and podcasters who helped inspire me to start blogging myself—in my 10th anniversary post back in 2017, I thanked numerous people, and more than a few of them I came to know through these communities. For that, I have to be thankful in some part.

Many words have been written these past few days about how Something Awful’s complicated legacy defined much of the standards of internet humor and discourse we see today. In terms of the good, my favorites include the disastrous video game attempt known as The Zybourne Clock and the man who tried and failed to hike across America, both of which were kneecapped by unbelievable amounts of hubris. 

But while the big achievements and the major consequences are more visible, I can’t help thinking about the ironic combination of personal authenticity and endless posturing that defined interactions on that site and its descendants. It’s been a very long time since I looked at Something Awful on a regular basis, and a major part of my walking away was the frustrating degree to which posters there would become increasingly afraid of their own shadows, too eager and desperate to chase the crumbs of a specific kind of “respectability” that would provide at least a moment of respite from endless mockery. Irony was both the sword and the shield, and I assume that’s still the case today, given how the responses to Lowtax’s death turned out.

Something Awful’s community liked to create scapegoats to make its users feel safe and superior. Anime fans were one such group, with furries getting arguably the worst of it. It’s very easy to slip into these mentalities as well, and in hindsight, the fact that the furry community ended up being famous for encouraging inclusive behavior without allowing bigotry to permeate its ranks makes me reflect on how wrong Something Awful got it as a whole.

Even then, the joy of seeing people genuinely communicating their likes and dislikes at length despite an often-caustic environment—a scenario common to more than just Something Awful—made me appreciate when such discussions could occur. Even if someone vehemently hated a particular series, I appreciated when it didn’t come from trying to maintain a position of specific standards of taste one was supposed to have. Part of what motivated my blogging in those early days of Ogiue Maniax was the desire to present myself authentically, and while I hope I’ve changed for the better 14 years later, I’d like to think that desire is still there.

I also find myself reflecting on the fact that writing and communicating in a “real” way is a challenge for so many, and I think about those toxic environments that have and still exist where the toxicity is, in part, a product of defensiveness. Evangelion talks about the “hedgehog’s dilemma,” and so much of the nastier parts of the internet 20 years ago through today is influenced by the degree to which people are afraid to get hurt and expose themselves. In fact, I think many of the problems of today related to discrimination and communities rooted in fascism comes from people taking advantage of those vulnerabilities I mentioned, exploiting the hurt of people to a foul end. Funnily enough, absolute intolerance for Nazis has become a common trait between furries and Something Awful.

I still wish to write and share with little pretense, and I hope that comes across in what I still do. Next year is the 15th year of Ogiue Maniax, and I hope to see you there.

Away with Ads: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for November 2021

Readers may have noticed something different this month: Ogiue Maniax is now ad-free! And right in time for this blog’s anniversary!

I felt that the ads were getting more and more intrusive on the blog if you don’t use any sort of ad block, so I’ve been wanting to do something for a while now.

I’ve also had my Patreon going for more than a few years now, and I wanted the money to go more directly to giving my readers a better experience when reading my posts. I’m thankful to my patrons for allowing me to talk about the new anime season or giant robots or whatever, with special gratitude to the following this month:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from October:

The Anime THEY Don’t Want You to Know About: Makyou Densetsu Acrobunch

I reviewed a lesser known but quite peculiar mecha anime from the 1980s.

The Best Sports Manga You’re Not Reading: Shoujo Fight

My long overdue general review of thia fantastic volleyball manga.

Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Gameplay Thoughts

My personal take on the style and potential of the final DLC character.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 45 might just be my favorite chapter to date. Things are coming to a head between Akira and Jin!

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter has been buzzing with preparation for both his collected-volume releases in September. In a rare treat, he’s actually been retweeting fans who are supporting both Spotted Flower and Hashikko Ensemble, which is how I got retweeted by the man himself!

Apartment 507

A look at the farewell episode for Jigen Daisuke’s retiring veteran voice actor in Lupin III.

Closing

The two things that have my attention as of late are the final Hakai-oh: Gaogaigar vs. Betterman novel and Super Robot Wars 30, which features that very same story. I’m in a constant internal struggle as to which I prioritize. Do I spoil the novel or the game?

This month is also Anime NYC, and I’ll likely end up going. It’s smaller than New York Comic Con, so I predict it’ll be safer, but it’ll still be important to exercise best COVID-19 prevention practices. Remember, vaccinations will be required!

Ouran High School Ghost Club: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for October 2021

The funny thing about blogging for as long as I have—almost fourteen years, at this point—is that you never know what old entry might somehow get excavated and arrived from the massively convoluted ball of information that is the internet. Or rather, you never know which of your posts managed to have the right accidental SEO to actually survive and be on the front page.

This month, All Elite Wrestling held one of their big pay-per-views, All Out. It was an event with many surprise debuts such as Bryan Danielson (formerly Daniel Bryan) and Adam Cole, and among those appearances was New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Suzuki Minoru. I myself was watching and yelling at the screen as soon as his music hit, but when I decided to just check my blog stats on a whim, I noticed a huge spike in hits. The reason: Hundreds of people were finding my 2018 blog post about Suzuki’s entrance theme, “Kaze ni Nare.” Somehow, some way, that post is still on the front page when you google the song’s title.

Anyway, I hope the following Patreon sponsors take flight like birds and risk their lives to become the wind:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from September:

Standing in a Whirl of Confusion—Gundam Reconguista in G Part II: Bellri’s Fierce Charge

My review of the second G-Reco movie. The films continue to impress.

It’s a Secret to Everybody: Giant Gorg

My review of the lesser-known mecha anime Giant Gorg directed by the legendary Yoshikazu Yasuhiko of Gundam fame.

The Unquenching Desire for Villains: 9/11, 20 Years Later

A serious and personal reflection on a moment that changed many lives, including my own.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 44 sees the characters unite in full force, and reveals the softer side of Kousei.

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter has been buzzing with preparation for both his collected-volume releases in September. In a rare treat, he’s actually been retweeting fans who are supporting both Spotted Flower and Hashikko Ensemble, which is how I got retweeted by the man himself!

Apartment 507

A review of 2017’s Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul.

Closing

By next month, the fall anime season will be in full swing. All the big sequels and follow-ups like the new Demon Slayer, JoJo’s, and 86 have my attention. However, the fact that Sunrise is trying their hand again at a new mecha series has my attention. Will Kyoukai Senki be any good, or will it land like a wet fart? The fact that it’s impossible to predict given Sunrise’s track record actually has me more excited.

The final Smash Ultimate DLC character is in just a few days! My dreams will always be with NiGHTS (no pun intended), but I’ll be happy with anyone.

Lastly, speaking of October, New York Comic Con 2021 is on. If you’re going, know that NYC requires full vaccinations for entry for those eligible to get vaccinated. Stay safe.