Precure Can Drink in Japan: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for February 2023

February has arrived, and that means new Precure, of course. It’s this odd exception in that February debuts have been typical of the franchise, so I have it on my mind—especially because it’s the 20th anniversary [I’ve been informed that Precure is actually only 19, so oops.]. I still remember seeing the original Futari wa Pretty Cure being mentioned in an English-language anime magazine, and noticing the large combat boots and floppy socks they wore. It’s been a part of my fandom for two decades now, and while I don’t have plans to write a retrospective, I wonder if I should. At the very least, expect a review of Delicious Party Precure.

Moving on from a two-decade-old magical girl juggernaut, I’d like to thank my Patreon subscribers!

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Naledi Ramphele

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from January:

“Son Goku” vs. “Sun Wukong”: The Challenge of Translating Chinese Names in Japanese Media into English

If you’ve ever wondered why a Chinese character’s name in an anime sounds so unlike what the subtitles say, this might be hwy.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Season 1—Bold New Steps

My review of Season 1.

The Elegant Design of Suntory’s Virtual Youtuber

Many VTubers have extremely busy designs, but one notable exception comes from a surprising source: a Japanese beverage company.

Kio Shimoku

Kio actually retweeted one of my posts this month!!!

Closing

I learned along with everyone else that Love Live! School Idol Festival is shutting down to make way for the sequel game. Given this information, it’s all too perfect that I finally managed to achieve my goal. Will I play the new game? I really don’t know—it depends on how much time I have and what the gameplay looks like.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights January 2023

In amazing news for people who run blogs called Ogiue Maniax, Kio actually retweeted one of my blog posts this month! He also drew a bunch of Year of the Rabbit bunny girl art and went to an Animage exhibit at the Ghibli Museum.

Kio’s 2022 included the end of Hashikko Ensemble at the beginning of the year, which resulted in him taking it fairly easily for the remainder. In the morning, he’d wake up and notice no dark circles under his eyes. But because he’s been doing stuff like practicing ero manga, he’s itching to get back into things.

Kio asks if it’s okay to draw “bunnies” (for the New Year), and then follows up with drawings of people in bunny outfits.

Unnamed bunny girl. (I wonder if she has any connection to the “ero manga” practice Kio’s been putting in.)

Not-Ohno from Spotted Flower. Not-Saki is saying, “Uh, mom with two kids.”

Mimi-sensei from Hashikko Ensemble.

Jin from Hashikko Ensemble.

Kio says that the Year of the Rabbit is cruel (This looks like a reference to all the bunny girl art).

Kio was into the Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere anime, but wasn’t interested in the original light novels at first. However, a few years ago he bought all of them and became a fan.

Someone replies that the books look intimidating even without opening them, to which Kio agrees. (Note that the Horizon novels get very lengthy, with my some exceeding 1,000 pages in Japanese.)

Something that appeals to Kio about Horizon is that it’s a world without any knowledge of its own history—an idea that has always appealed to him. He recalls the author being a huge history buff too, to the point that he read history books every day prior to starting Horizon. It’s something Kio wants to try but has never done.

He’s also done Horizon art for a comic anthology book, but nothing beyond that.

Kio wishes there was more Horizon anime, and his favorite character is Kimi. He admits to liking “cheat characters” as a rule.

Kio realizes that Spotted Flower Volume 6 has been announced.

Kio excitedly decided to go to a Ghibli Museum exhibit on Animage magazine from 1978 to the 1980s. 

Painting his The Five Star Stories model kit using the Citadel Colour system. Replies congratulates him for finishing, and he says Citadel is great for small details like this.

An inconsistency in terms of left and right armor. The KOG looks like it’s gonna be a pain to build as a result of such warping.

Kio getting overwhelmed with nostalgia seeing the Animage Ghibli Museum exhibit, pointing out that these are exactly the magazine issues he remembers from that time. (The Nausicaa manga started in Animage and the time Kio got into drawing because of Miyazaki, per his interview with Luis Cammy.)

A comparison between the initial paint job on the Empress vs. now.

Kio (and Rakuen magazine) retweeting one of my blog posts!!! “Hmm? Oh, what’s this?” Except he’s making a pun based on oya (parent) and oya (oh?) because it’s about Not-Keiko from Spotted Flower being a mom.

It might be obvious, but I’m very happy that this happened.

Kio bought the March 2023 issue of Weekly Model Graphix, which has a cover drawn by the manga artist Kusada. Kio mentions to Kusada that the magazine definitely stood out in the store.

After seeing a demonstration of how 3D graphics can be used to create background and reference images in manga, Kio laments that he’s gonna have to learn 3D if he wants to keep drawing alone.

Someone in the replies points out that Clip Studio Paint has 3D reference objects as part of the program, and Kio thanks him while saying that he’s only just started using ko it.

​​https://twitter.com/kioshimoku1/status/1619329291694768132

Kio talks about how great it would have been to be able to use 3DCG models for Genshiken, and for anything involving Tokyo Big Sight (the venue for Comic Market). That said, Kio has collected tons of reference photos of Big Sight, so he can draw the place relatively easily. 

Some fans talk about how they love Kio’s analog background work (with one person calling it his bathroom reading material as a compliment), and Kio thanks them for their compliments. Kio does enjoy drawing analog backgrounds, and he used to be able to draw Genshiken backgrounds from memory (but not anymore).

After reading a tweet from an anatomy account, Kio has to fix a drawing to make a stomach crease go above the belly button.

Kio’s tortoise! In the first photo, it just leapt.

“Son Goku” vs. “Sun Wukong”: The Challenge of Translating Chinese Names in Japanese Media into English

Let’s say you’re watching an episode of Raven of the Inner Palace in Japanese. Or maybe it’s Thunderbolt Fantasy. A new character appears and introduces themselves, but the voice seems to say one thing and the subtitles another. Is the eponymous heroine Raven “Ryuu Jusetsu” or “Liu Shouxue?” Is the hero of Thunderbolt Fantasy “Shang Bu Huan” or “Shou Fu Kan?” 

They look kind of similar but also not. It feels discordant to read and hear two different things that are supposed to be the same, so you might be wondering why such a decision was made. 

What you’re running into is the legacy of how the Chinese language came to influence the Japanese language.

I am no expert when it comes to to Chinese-Japanese linguistic history, but I believe I can sum it up very briefly as follows. The Japanese language originally did not have a writing system, eventually began importing Chinese between the 3rd and 7th centuries AD to deal with that problem despite the fact that the language structures are dramatically different. Japanese began to use Chinese written characters (kanji), in some cases choosing to adopt Chinese pronunciations of words as well. Yet, because the languages are so far apart in fundamental ways, these pronunciations had to be approximated. The word for wood (木) was pronounced as muk in Chinese (specifically what’s called Middle Chinese by linguistic scholars), but due to the lack of ending consonants in Japanese, this became moku. Such onyomi, as the Chinese-approximate pronunciations came to be known, were codified into Japanese and are still used today.

But the Chinese languages continued to transform in China, and many pronunciations changed over the centuries. Various factors, from the rise and fall of dynasties to physical barriers creating pockets and enclaves of peoples meant that not only did the language end up different from its 7th century form, but also resulted in regional variations that can often be mutually unintelligible. While the Cantonese word for “wood” retains the “k” sound at the end (similar to how it was said in Middle Chinese), Mandarin Chinese (what is today the official language of China and the most common throughout the world) pronounces it as mu. This is because most of the ending consonants disappeared from Mandarin.

So when you have a hero or heroine with a Chinese name in an anime, that name can generally be written in Japanese through kanji. But when it comes to pronouncing these kanji, the default in Japanese is to use the old onyomi pronunciations. This is why Sun Wukong becomes Son Goku, and why Kongming (like in Ya Boy, Kongming!) becomes Koumei. But then, if these characters are ethnically Chinese or have origins in Chinese stories, might it be better to write their names out as if they were being pronounced in Chinese? The question is whether an anime based on Chinese culture should go Chinese -> Japanese -> English with names, or make it Chinese -> English. And if it’s a manga or novel, and there is no issue of text and audio disagreeing, is it still an issue?

There are many other factors that can complicate this decision. While many anime and manga are set in China, some series take place in a world that is merely Chinese-folklore-inspired. Twelve Kingdoms, for example, is a fantasy series where all the countries have names that would make sense in China, but would translating the names into Chinese be too far removed from the source material, given that the series is originally Japanese and the world of the Twelve Kingdoms isn’t technically China? And even if a story is set in China, what if it takes place in the 5th Century AD or any other time when even “official” Chinese sounded substantially different from its modern form? Or what if a story takes place in a region of China where Mandarin Chinese isn’t the dominant form? What if there’s a Chinese character living in Japan, and everyone pronounces their name as if it’s Japanese but they refer to themselves internally with their Chinese pronunciation? In English, we’re increasingly at a point where the right thing to do is to respect the person’s own desire for how to pronounce their name, but the context of onyomi in Japanese complicates that decision.

The toughest thing is that there is no right or wrong answer because it’s not even a matter of Japanese vs. English but rather Japanese vs. English and the point at which to insert the inherent Chinese cultural aspect into a translation. Whatever choices are made, it‘s important to understand that “accuracy” and “faithfulness” are not so simple. 

(Happy New Year!)

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights December 2022

Kio reveals his love of soccer/football and pays tribute to Mizuki Ichiro in this month’s tweets.

“This is what makes soccer interesting!” (Japan beat Spain in the 2022 World Cup on December to advance out of the group stage.)

Kio declares that he won’t buy any new model kits until he gets through these The Five Star Stories kits. Some of them are actually 20 years old. 

Kio finally tries the word balloon tool in Clip Studio Paint. He thinks he’s slowly coming to understand it.

Kio got out his disk copier to make a copy of the 2018 World Cup games he recorded. He’s also impressed by Croatia’s hard-fought win in overtime over Japan. Kio wishes he could have seen Japan in Top 8, though.

Kio compares Croatia’s momentum in the World Cup to a steamroller that crushes every other country’s dreams.

Kio is building one of his The Five Star Stories/GothicMade kits, and shows the parts. When asked if it’s the Kaiserin, Kio answers that it’s the Empress.

Kio also bought paints just for it.

The assembled Empress, before painting.

Someone asks where he got a certain kit he showed back in January 2022, but Kio responds that it was a present from a reader and no longer available for purchase.

Kio responds to someone who has the same Empress kit from an old Wonder Festival, and how the knees make it hard to pose standing. However, someone else shows what they’ve managed to pull off, which impresses Kio. He also agrees with someone who finds that the way the pieces are arranged in the box is similar to Tamiya’s motorcycle model kits.

Food from the store that prepares it for Kio’s pet tortoise.

The age of the model kit shows in a bit of deterioration.

The tortoise eats! There’s a video too!

Kio pays his respects to legendary anime singer Mizuki Ichiro.

Kio talks to the store that gave him his tortoise food, and mentions how quickly his pet ate through it all.

He can’t find his Vallejo primer.

Still having trouble with the Empress’s legs. Also, there are some extra parts whose purpose he’s unsure of. 

Fully assembled without any paint or modifications.

Not a Kio tweet, but note that there are special web chapters of Spotted Flower out this month! They feature debut of Not-Sasahara’s sister, Not-Keiko.

In response to the Rakuen account saying, “We want to see you do this from the bottom of our hearts!” Kio writes, “This is editorial saying this to a manga artist.”

Kio was thinking about the career of Lionel Messi after Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory all throughout lunch. He remembers a young Messi moving to Spain, contrasts with Maradona, how that World Cup trophy eluded him, and how we can finally call him history’s greatest footballer. (If it isn’t clear by now, Kio is definitely a fan of soccer/football).

As a follower points out, Kio wrote about Messi (written “Messhi” in Japanese) while eating a meal (meshi).

Kio discovered that he had a spray can of primer after all. He found it in a cardboard box.

More tortoise chow from the same company as before.

Tortoise activity area.

Kio mentions that he has a kit for the Engage from The Five Star Stories on the way.

Kio enjoyed the final episode of Bocchi the Rock!

The tortoise is enjoying the heat lamp, but seems to be sleeping even more than usual.

Kio tried to lightly brush the primer he sprayed, but brushing and spraying are just inherently different.

Kio wants to get better at both building plastic models and drawing ero manga, but doesn’t feel that he’s made much progress on either.

The Empress kit with the base coat fully painted.

He also bought these special glasses for plastic model building.

Using a Citadel Colour set with a brownish shade color.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights November 2022

In contrast to last month, Kio Shimoku tweeted up a storm in November. The big topics: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, drawing characters playing baseball, and…sketching out manuscripts for pornographic manga?!

Kio announcing that Chapter 41 of Spotted Flower is out. He mentions that the way the image is cropped unintentionally makes it look more improper than it actually is.

Kio finally got the chance to see the theatrical version of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (which had recently been playing again on the big screen). He didn’t even know about it back when it first released, though he’s seen the TV-broadcast version tens of times. In fact, he’s seen it on TV so much that seeing the scenes cut from that version added back in felt kind of weird. The full theatrical version adds a lot of nuance to places missing from the TV version, but Kio still has an affinity for that one, and he thinks they did a good job with the edits. He talks about how nowadays, it’s unusual for people to want to watch cut versions, but he still loves it nevertheless. He doesn’t have the TV version, and Wikipedia doesn’t even mention it at all. Kio wonders if anyone actually remembers it.

A follower also talks about the cut TV version of Castle of Cagliostro, which Kio also has a recollection of. Others chime in that they have seen Royal Space Force on TV, including one person who remembers Anno Hideaki providing commentary on it for an airing on the program Friday Roadshow (which airs movies on TV). Someone else chimes in that they can remember Anno explaining a few things. Namely, how good the scene is where Marty says 「誰かが必要としているからここにいられると思っている」[If anyone can provide a translation with proper context, that’d be a big help], and how the TV version uses monoaural sound, so it couldn’t replicate everything, like the way the sound changes as they go up into space. 

“I think I’m here only because somebody needs me.”

The saga continues: Watanabe Shigeru, the editor of the TV version of Royal Space Force actually replied to Kio! In a rare instance, we get to see Kio fanboying over someone. Watanabe mentions that while he’s an anime producer now, back then he was a mere tradesman. Kio asks if there’s a betamax version, but Watanabe says there isn’t, and the TV version was basically a “necessary evi.”

Watanabe also recalls that they had Okada Toshio and Yamaga Hiroyuki (also of Gainax fame) for the TV broadcast as well.

Someone else mentions that there’s a scene with the characters drinking milk that was included in the laserdisc release but according to Kio, it wasn’t in the theatrical re-release. Watanabe chimes in again and explains that this extra scene wasn’t shot on 35 millimeter so it didn’t look good when upscaled. However, it’s included with the blu-ray as an extra.

As a follow-up to last month’s trip to the batting center, Kio has been drawing Hashikko Ensemble characters playing baseball. There’s also some discussion about the characters and how 

As an aside, my friend Diogo Prado (and a Patreon member of Ogiue Maniax) got retweeted by Kio!

A fan apologizes for discovering Hashikko Ensemble too late, and asks if there’ll be a sequel (like Genshiken Nidaime). Kio says not to sweat it, and that everyone discovers works at their own timing.

Kio also went to see a new theatrical run of GOTHICMADE. Much of the story has also been told through the manga, but the last part of the film has still yet to be adapted. 

Someone replies to Kio’s preview of Spotted Flower Chapter 41 by saying the meme line, “But he’s a guy” from Stein’s;Gate. Kio replies “They’re both,” to which the replier apologizes. However, while the replier assumed he meant that Not-Kohsaka (depicted there dressed like Not-Hato) was nonbinary, what Kio meant was that both characters are guys.

(I guess this answers the gender identity of Not-Hato).

Kio reacts to the official Twitter account of Kumamoto Castle tweeting a saying popular among idol fans and the like: You’ll stan the ones you stan when you stan (the actual word being oshi). It’s basically saying you’ll know who’s your favorite because it’ll come out from you.

The batting center is a 30-minute walk for Kio, but that walk is a good way to sober up, apparently.

Kio went to see Royal Space Force in theaters again! This time, he noticed a sound similar to a baby crying that had never registered to him before while watching.

Kio and another talking about how they can’t stop humming the music from Royal Air Force

Kio’s reaction to a mecha from The Five Star Stories: “Oh? Whoaaa! Magnapalace!”

Kio mentions Ueda Masashi as one of the all-time greats of 4-panel manga, and writes about how even these simple characters could be portrayed as having unseen “adult” sides to them. He even used Ueda’s work as a basis for a scene between Not-Ohno and Not-Tanaka in Spotted Flower Volume 5.

Kio saw Shinkai Makoto’s new film, Suzume no Tojimari.

Sometimes, Kio sketches out ero manga manuscripts, but finds striking the right balance between elements difficult. Moreover, he feels that the order of priority is different for ero manga: Instead of paneling -> text ->  images, it’s the other way around. After all, you can’t tell if something is gonna be hot just from a barebones layout. (Note that Kio had previously praised ero manga artists for their talents—this seems to be a follow-up to the idea that it’s not that easy.)

When asked what he’s drawing, Kio says it’s new and original characters. He’s also entertaining the notion of quietly putting something on the adult website Fanza.

Related to the above tweets, Kio struggled with the most recent manuscript for Spotted Flower.

Kio went on vacation for a few days, taking a break from Twitter.

Kio watched the first half of the Japan vs. Germany World Cup 2022 match and went to sleep early assuming it was all over for Japan, only to wake up to headlines about the upset.

He planned to watch the second half once he got home, wondering if player Ito Junya went wild (which Kio later confirmed).

After retweeting a bunch of plastic-model-related tweets, Kio says he really wants to build plastic models, and remarks about the “big wave” of model-building hitting after all this time. Author Ikuhana Niiro encourages him to do so, to which Kio responds by wondering whether he should finally open all the cardboard boxes that hold his model kits.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights October 2022

More tortoise talk (and a COVID booster) for our beloved Genshiken creator this month!

Kio loves ICO, and is making jokes with others about treating September like the girl from the game.

After taking medicine, the pet tortoise is no longer having snot issues!

The tortoise relaxing. When asked if it ever hibernates, Kio mentions that he never tries to make it hibernate because it’s scary to do so.

Kio agrees with a commenter that the tortoise kind of looks like a croissant sandwich.

The legs coming out as they are is a sign that the tortoise is getting warm.

Kio got his fourth COVID vaccine shot! He took some Bufferin to deal with the side effects.

Kio had a dream where he was going to school again. As is typical of such dreams, he was late to school, he forgot his textbook, he couldn’t find his classroom, etc.

Kio responds with amazement that b the Hashikko Ensemble fan managed to find the reference for the hot spring location used in the manga.

Kio asks why his manuscripts have to emerge from his mind the way they do instead of making it easier on him.

Kio finds a livestream featuring manga artist Kuroi Midori, analyst Koizumi Yuu, manga artist Hayami Rasenjin, and editor Iida Takashi to be quite powerful.

Kio’s plan to set up a camera in his room to keep track of his tortoise has gone better than expected.

Kio is looking forward to the season premiere of How Do You Like Wednesdays? He’s talked about it in the past August and September as well.

Kio went to a batting center for the first time in about 30 years. The speed of the balls was scary. Though he did play in a softball club as a kid and was pretty good at it, it also has been almost 40 years. He did manage to hit a home run, though!

I Enjoy Duolingo’s Silly Sentences

Duolingo is probably the most talked-about language app currently around. I myself have tried it in the past hoping to shore up the languages in which I have some degree of familiarity, and also maybe even pick up new ones. Having studied and used Japanese for over twenty years, I’m well aware that attaining fluency in a foreign tongue is a lot of work, so I don’t expect miracles from an app that’s built primarily around accessibility. But Duolingo itself claims to be able to help people learn languages, so I wanted to see how others felt about the app.

A recurring criticism of Duolingo I found, especially when it comes to older versions of the app, is that it often provides example sentences that lean towards the impractical—less “Where is the bathroom?” and more “Who let the dogs out?” However, I think this is what I initially liked about Duolingo. In my experience learning languages, I feel like I make the best progress when I’m given the tools to be silly. I find that having language learning come down to utility—teaching useful phrases to be used in everyday situations or when traveling—tends to de-emphasize thinking more deeply about the language. 

The silly sentences highlight the idea that languages are made of “building blocks” that can be rearranged and recombined. A firm foundation is still important, of course, but the focus on silliness encourages thinking of languages as flexible concepts. Ask yourself, how would any given language translate something like “Who let the dogs out?” Would the word for “let out” be more like “make go out?” Or “let go out?” Or perhaps even “release?” It’s not impossible by any means to get this with the more practical approach, but going at it from a more lighthearted angle takes some of the tension and pressure of learning a language away, at least in my opinion.

I never really used Duolingo for Japanese, and I left a Dutch course largely unfinished back in 2018 that I’m only returning to now. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve found myself returning to the app more or less for the hell of it. This time, my goal has been Mandarin Chinese, and I’ve slowly plugged away at it while purposely taking a more casual approach. I do one lesson a day, and now I’ve completed the entire Mandarin course up to Level 1. What I noticed is that Duolingo can have a tendency to throw you in the deep end and not really explain grammar rules and the like, but much like the presence of silly sentences, I think it encouraged me to be a detective of sorts and try to figure out how the sentences work. That said, the fact that I know Japanese (and can speak another form of Chinese decently well) might have given me an unfair advantage over someone who has no experience in East Asian languages and tries out Duolingo.

Am I fluent in Mandarin now? Certainly not. Given the fact that Duolingo doesn’t even teach nearly all the Chinese characters needed to be considered “fluent,” that’s an aspirational goal that has to go beyond one lone app with an owl mascot. But I was actually listening to a VTuber stream recently that included some Mandarin Chinese, and I found myself catching things I never would have been able to even a year ago. I’d consider that progress.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights September 2022

Not many Kio tweets in September, so this is a pretty sparse entry this month. That said, there are some drawings that notably use Kozue from Hashikko Ensemble as Kio’s avatar. It’s interesting that he regards her (or at least her design) so fondly.

Kio retweeted an image describing an idea from a Tokyo University professor, who says that motivation comes from a specific part of the brain, but in order to activate it, you have to actually start doing it. Kio comments that even if he knows this, he’s still not able to work up the motivation. He then mentions drinking the energy drink Lipovitan D, and that he seems to be putting a lot of faith in it.

A drawing of Not-Kohsaka dressed as Not-Hato from Spotted Flower. Kio comments that sometimes he does have the motivation to do a big, high-quality drawing to his satisfaction.

“It’s humid…”

His right wrist hurts, but he can’t figure out what’s the matter. It doesn’t seem to be tendonitis. Kio ends up wondering if it might be that he’s using a different mouse.

This past summer, Kio’s pet tortoise started leaking some kind of snot-like liquid. To take the tortoise to the vet, he placed it in a cooler bag filled with ice, and also carried a sun umbrella. Kio remarks that this made him look like an ice cream vendor.

Apparently, the tortoise is 21 years old!! While it’s doing better, Kio thinks the issue might be a change in environment, as Kio recently moved to a place with no yard.

Kio realizes he promoted a sale for Spotted Flower too late…

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights August 2022

There was a hodgepodge of topics this month from Kio Shimoku’s tweets.

Kio has always had a problem with the air conditioner in his work area, where 28°C (82.4°F) is too hot, but 27°C (80.6°F) is too cold. This year, though, he has an AC that can be set to a perfect 27.5°C.

Kio wishes a happy birthday to Aoki Ume, author of Hidamari Sketch. (Seeing two of my favorite authors interact makes me happy).

At an Oedo Choraliers concert.

Kio reminisces about the Zukkoke Sannin-gumi, a juvenile novel series. Because Kio turns 48 this year, he read the sequel series Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi (when the child heroes from the original are now middle-aged) and thought it was the best. He thanks the author, Nasu Masamoto.

Someone mentions buying all of the Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi, to which Kio replies, “Amazing.”

Kio is two volumes away from finishing Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi and loving it. A fan of the soccer team Sanfrecce Hiroshima replies that the Hiroshima-born author actually had a collaboration with that time, and that a lot of the matches during that period ended up being very zukkoke (unusual, foolish).

Mourning the death of Kobayashi Kiyoshi, the original voice of Jigen Daisuke in Lupin III, who played him up until last year.

Kio promoting some new digital chapters of Spotted Flower, specifically starring Not-Angela! A fan replies with an emoji for panties, and Kio finishes the statement with “Please”—another reference to Genshiken and Spotted Flower.

Mourning another apparent death. This time, it’s illustrator Suzuki Masahisa, who passed away back in June.

Kio bought a new printer with a scanner function, and has moved his old massive scanner capable of handling A3-sized (manuscript) paper off his desk. He mostly works digitally now so it’s not always practical, but that old one comes in handy with things like scanning in paper drawings to use as extra materials for manga volumes.

Having more room on his desk means being able to use a dual-monitor setup, so he can look at references while drawing. He does this most often with women’s clothing.

A fan expresses how much they love “An-san” (Not-Angela), to which Kio replies that all three extra digital chapters this month revolve around her.

Promoting the third of the extra Spotted Flower chapters.

b, the huge Kimura Jin fan, asks Kio if he wants to promote a special campaign that lets you read the first two volumes of Hashikko Ensemble until August 31, and Kio does just that.

Kio has gotten around to gathering the film recordings and books he needs to put into manga what he couldn’t before. When asked what he’s drawing and if it can be shared on Twitter, Kio replies that it might be possible but it’s better to play it safe.

Kio talks about how exciting it would be go to the live talk event for Hirakata Ikorusun, author of Special, and ask about what happens in the final volume. (Hirakata debuted in Rakuen, the magazine Spotted Flower runs in).

Kio admonishes himself for still not being good at drawing panty shots after 28 years as a manga artist, and also for still putting in panty shots after 28 years.

Apparently, it’s not exactly for “work” (or is it?).

Otakon 2022 Interview: Voice Actor Ise Mariya

This interview was conducted at Otakon 2022 in Washington, DC.

My first question is about a role you had in the Precure series, Cure Lemonade. Precure is a very big and popular franchise in Japan, but at the time you played the character, it was still a young series. Was it like to play the character back then, and how does it feel to return to the character for crossover movies and other material?

Ise: I was in the third generation from the start of the series, and right around the time I was voicing the character, it was starting to pick up popularity in Japan.

So as you know, it’s about to approach its 20th anniversary, and I had no idea back when I first started that it would be this popular. Part of that is due to the fact that, yes, this is a children’s anime, but it also gives dreams and hopes to adults as well, and that’s probably what has led to it being so popular.

My next question has to do with the series Panty & Stocking. It’s quite popular with American fans—even more than I’d expected—and a lot of people are happy to see the series come back after 10 years. What was it like voicing Stocking, such an unusual and foulmouthed character?

Ise: I still don’t know if I’m in it, but if they reach out to me to play the character of Stocking again, I’d look forward to it.

I thought it was an interesting series. Panty and Stocking are angels in training, and they take off their panties and stocking and turn them into weapons to defeat demons.The vocabulary they use is rather…tricky?

Ise’s Manager (via webcam): Crazy!

Another character you’ve returned to in recent times is Dragon Kid in Tiger & Bunny, after a decade. Has your approach to playing her changed from how you first played her?

Ise: Tiger & Bunny 2 is 10 years after the original, but it actually hasn’t been 10 years since I’ve played Dragon Kid. Within that period, I’ve done drama CDs and movies, so it doesn’t feel like there was a 10-year gap. But even though Dragon Kid hasn’t aged after a decade, I have, and my voice has deepened and become more adult, so it adds another dimension to the role.

Watching Tiger & Bunny 2, she comes across as more of a senpai—which she is. I think the deeper voice lends itself to that role.

What was it like to play such a bizarrely inhuman character as Foo Fighters in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure? How do you perform when the character is in no way, shape, or form a human?

Ise: Let’s see. When Jolyne and the others first meet her, Foo Fighters is a plankton-like lifeform. At the time, she’s like “Uju! Uju, uju!” in a low voice when she’s just a stand. She isn’t quite human, but she’s intelligent and clever, so I didn’t feel that much difficulty playing the character. After she borrows Atroe’s body, Foo Fighters has a childishness about her and a sense of growth she shows alongside Jolyne and Hermes, so I was conscious of conveying that innocence. 

I really enjoy your role as Ray in The Promised Neverland. It’s maybe a somewhat different character from what you normally play, as well as a heavy work. What was it like to voice Ray, especially because he does age over the course of the series?

Ise: In the first season, Ray is willing to sacrifice everything in order to save Emma and Norman—to help them escape. He lives for that, but there’s a darkness about him, and he hides his true thoughts and feelings. He planned things with all this in mind, but when he’s able to confide his secret to the other two and speak those true feelings, it lifts a weight off his shoulders. In the first season, he’s full of heavy and dark feelings. But his position changes in the second season, and he becomes more cheerful.

A less prominent character you’ve played is Akagi Sena the fujoshi from OreImo. Were you familiar with fujoshi and BL culture before the role?

Ise: In Japan, when girls who love anime and manga reach middle school, they’ll—well, I wouldn’t say it’s guaranteed—they’ll start to develop some interest in BL. So I can really understand the feelings of those we call fujoshi, and I myself read BL in middle school. It didn’t feel difficult to relate to Sena.

From what I’ve heard, you put a lot of thought into your roles—it’s very clear from your answers. My last question is, what are some lessons you’ve learned that you think would help new or aspiring voice actors?

Ise: In America or in Japan?

It’s a pretty open question.

Ise: Tough question. Being a voice actor involves using your unique voice, but it’s actually not a job that’s only about your voice. Just like a live-action actor, one of the best ways to inform your acting is to gain a lot of lived experience as the foundation for your performance, and it’s good to want as many experiences as possible. When you’re in your teens, you should do the things you can only do at that age—school, friends, falling in love, doing everything someone in their teens does. This will help to inform whatever it is you’re performing as a voice actor.

Thank you! This was a great interview.

Ise: Thank you very much!