Muteki na Fujoshi: 801-chan’s Small Anime Revival

Months ago I reported on the fact that the popular Japanese webcomic turned franchise Tonari no 801-chan, about a hardcore fujoshi and her otaku boyfriend, was getting an anime and later that the anime was getting scrapped. Well now it is back in the form of a 90-second opening-only anime titled Tonari no 801-chan R to be released with volume 4 of the published manga, a follow-up to the Drama CD released previously.

This opening special will be directed by Yamamoto Yutaka, the director of Kannagi who had also previously worked on Haruhi and Lucky Star (before getting fired), and is the modern father of the Dance Op/Ed. It will also have an opening composition by A-bee, who worked on songs for Lucky Star and Keroro Gunsou. As for the singer, why that will be for Nico Nico Douga to decide, because they are holding an online audition to be the singer OF the 801-chan opening.

The test song is the third Yawara Opening, “Makeruna Onna no Ko,” and you can download the song here and then upload them here, provided you have a Nico Nico Douga account. They are looking for female singers, though if you’re a guy with a feminine voice then you also have a chance. The audition schedule is available but in Japanese, so I’ve provided a translation.

All times are in Japan time. Check to see how it translates to your own time zone.

6/19 13:00 – Open for Auditions
7/6 00:00 – Closed for Auditions
7/9  21:00 – Preliminary Results, as Chosen by Nico Users!
7/16 21:00 – Decision-Making Process LIVE

After that, the vocalist will be decided and recording will begin on 7/20.

Who knows? Maybe someone outside of Japan could land the role. I’d look forward to that.

If you’re curious to check out the 801-chan comic, keep in mind that it is still a free webcomic and that provided you understand Japanese you can read it on the official website.

This takes me back to the time when they announced the first Genshiken drama CD with Mizuhashi Kaori as Ogiue, followed by the release of the OVAs and then Genshiken 2. While I’m not quite as excited for 801-chan as I am for Ogiue (this is not 801-chan Maniax after all), I still really hope this does well.

Hey Ladies, Check Me Out I’m the Pitcher

So ladies who read Ogiue Maniax, I have a question for you: Has the One Outs opening worked on any of you or any girls you know?

So we have this show whose full title is One Outs – Nobody wins, but I! It is, to sum it up, “Akagi + Baseball.” And it’s a rad show full of tests of will and strategy with an indomitable central character. It’s the kind of show made for guys.

But try to convince someone to watch the show based on the opening, and some people, generally the kind that are weak to the girlier aspects of anime, are likely to shy away. A similar thing happens with Ouran High School Host Club.

Clearly the opening to One Outs – Nobody wins, but I! (it entertains me to use the full title) is some kind of girl or fujoshi eye candy designed to draw them into watching a show they might normally avoid.

So once again I ask, any girls who’ve been taken in by Tokuchi Toua’s smooth abs and beady eyes?

SHINJIRARERUKA KONO PAWAAAAAAAAA

I made mention previously that Pretty Cure is getting its own special crossover movie, combining the Precure girls from every series so far. What I didn’t know is that there was already a Nintendo DS game establishing the concept. Better still, it actually got its own custom opening.

I’m glad to see the concept of the Epic Crossover extending beyond the realm of Manly Men Anime, and Manly Men Anime FIghting Manly Men Video Games, and into the territory of magical girls with the ability to roundhouse kick you down the Grand Canyon.

You smell that? That’s progress. Though there is some precedent for it.

Also I keep rewinding the video just to see Cure Bloom make that Bruce Lee face.

0:57 in.

Additional Note: The song is actually sung by all four women who’ve performed Precure OP/EDs. Damn that’s some good fan-appeal.

Dramatic Opening

Recently I’d been on a search for “good opening from recent non-anime cartoons,” recent being the operative word here, so no Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors or Batman: The Animated Series. As I asked friends and looked around myself, nothing really came to mind, and I had to wonder why that was the case. Eventually, I realized that what I was looking for wasn’t necessarily a “good” opening, but rather a “dramatic” one. At that point, it was obvious why I was having so much trouble: dramatic cartoons just aren’t really part of the current landscape. Then I remembered Oban Star Racers, the French-Japanese collaborative animation, and it led me down a more interesting path.

Of all the countries that aired Oban, America was the only one to have a completely different song used in its opening. Every other country which aired Oban, be it France, Japan, Germany, or whatever got essentially the same song, localized and translated to their respective languages. They all share the same animation. So I felt, why not compare them?

American

Japanese (keep in mind that the French version for example has the same tune)

And a Youtube Doubler link for good measure.

I think what bothers me about the American opening is that it doesn’t bother to capture the feel of the show. It’s as if the song was trying to trick the viewer into thinking Oban was something completely different, though not quite in a Nelvana Cardcaptors kind of way.

I honestly don’t know where I’m going with all this, and I don’t have a super-important point to make. Consider this post the first step to something. What that is, I have no idea.

OP/ED OP/ED

The opening credits, or intro, of a staple of TV and animation. it’s a combination of sound and image designed to inform the viewer and pull them in. it is basically a commercial for the show you are about to watch with the secondary effect of giving credit to the people who are responsible for the show. The ending credits continue to list names of all the people who work on a show, and though it is not always the case, especially on American TV, it can be used to leave the viewer with a certain feeling. Japanese animation is of course no exception, but somehow anime has become what I think is the standard for openings and endings. There’s something special and different about the openings of Japanese animation compared to the animation of the rest of the world, and I’d like to know what it is.

I don’t think it would be too farfetched to say that a significant portion of anime fans love, welcome, and even expect the shows they watch to have good opening and ending credits. It’s the reason why fansubbers try so hard with their ridiculous karaoke effects. It’s the reason why I’m going to Otakon to see JAM Project. And I believe that it is a common factor in turning people into anime fans in the first place.

Anime openings can cause budding otaku to go, “Wow, this is different and good!” It’s not like non-Japanese cartoons are without good or memorable openings. I bet you there’s plenty of people out there who at least have a cursory knowledge of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme, or children (and adults) who could sing the Kim Possible opening as well. And while one can argue that anime openings have “better” music, it’s not like anime is without its repeated-title-shouting-style intros (see above concerning JAM Project, or should I say, its individual members).

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of professionalism. Not only is there an industry trying to make money off of it, but musicians, at the very least on a surface level, appear to approach these songs as if they were any other pieces they’ve performed. Directors are hired on specifically to direct the openings and endings. People’s livelihoods can depend on whether or not the opening credits are a hit with the audience.

I’d like to think that the root cause of the culture of successful openings and endings is passion and respect, but it’s an overly optimistic view of things. I just know that there’s something which makes the openings and endings of anime different and better.

PS: I haven’t even begun to think about dub openings and how they factor into all of this, though I’m sure that shouting, “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” will get a reaction out of people

PPS: I lied, this isn’t really an opinion or an editorial.