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!
Many VTubers have extremely busy designs, but one notable exception comes from a surprising source: a Japanese beverage company.
Kio actually retweeted one of my posts this month!!!
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.
Yesterday, I watched the Hololive COUNTDOWN LIVE 2022▷2023. It involved 3D concert performances by a variety of members including two of my faves, the currently COVID-stricken Haachama and the on-hiatus La+ Darknesss. I highly recommend it, especially the crossover sections between the girls of Hololive and the boys of Holostars. This clearly takes some inspiration from Japan’s long-standing end-of-year musical event, Kohaku Uta Gassen, but I’ve never actually watched it.
Looking back, it didn’t hit me how long the past year felt until I saw Kio Shimoku mention that Hashikko Ensemble concluded back in January of 2022. At times, it’s like the days move by all too quickly, and other times, it’s like they slow to a crawl. I can’t tell at this point how much of it is the prolonged funk of the pandemic and how much is just me getting older.
But here we are at the start of 2023 and the Year of the Rabbit, at least if we’re going by the solar calendar. Whenever I think about it, I find myself remembering a certain old flash video from the 2000s. Thankfully, someone uploaded it to Youtube, so I can inflict it on a new generation.
January’s Patreon subscribers are looking good. Thank you, everyone, and here’s to another fine (?) year.
At the start of the year, I feel myself wondering if I should be doing more both with Ogiue Maniax and outside of it. One thing I’ve thought about is starting a Substack, but I have no idea how I might divide my writing. In my head, there’s no real differentiation between “regular” posts and “premium” ones, and I’d probably have to figure out some way to make it worthwhile. One possibility is to break off the VTuber stuff into its own dedicated area in case it’s becoming too intrusive, but I don’t think it’s that bad currently.
I could also do premium posts on Patreon, but that sort of runs into the same issue. If anyone wants to see that sort of content (or if you even hate the idea), feel free to leave a comment. I think I care less about the money at this point and wonder more about how to promote Ogiue Maniax in 2023. All the old ways seem to be vanishing (and Twitter is constantly on the verge of collapse because of its moronic new boss), and I still haven’t caught up.
Whichever ways things go, though, I hope you’ll keep reading.
I’m riding high off of three things: recent elections defied expectations, the VTubers of holoX have just been celebrating their one-year anniversaries, and it’s been 15 years of Ogiue Maniax! It’s hard to believe each one for somewhat different reasons, but I’m hoping I can carry this joyous monentum through this month and into the eventual new year.
Here are my Patreon subscribers for December 2022! Thank you to everyone.
As with every year, I’m going to be rating the anime characters I think are the best of 2022. It is unbelievable how tough this year’s field is. I feel like the top candidates would have won in virtual every other year had they been eligible.
The new anime season is in full swing, but while I’m enjoying the hell out of so many things (like Gundam: The Witch from Mercury!), my mind is on the upcoming US midterm election. I plan on (sort of) following up with my thoughts on this subject in a few days but for now, I’m using this time to encourage citizens to vote however they can: in person on Election Day, by mail, by early voting, anything.
I’d also like to thank my Patreon subscribers for this month of November 2022.
This is looking to be one of the most competitive anime seasons in recent memory. I don’t think you need me to tell you all of the highly anticipated shows hitting this month, but the ones I’m really going to be watching out for are Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Golden Kamuy Season 4, Chainsaw Man, Spy x Family Season 2, and Pop Team Epic 2. There’s a good chance I simply won’t be able to watch everything I want.
On top of that, New York is hitting its big con season with New York Comic Con this month and Anime NYC the next! I have some concerns that NYCC is becoming too expensive and unwelcome for many, but we’ll see how it turns out.
Speaking of events, I’ve gotten my Omicron booster, which has prompted me to start watching anime in theaters again—masked and as safely distanced as possible, of course. You can check out one of my reviews in the highlights this month, with the next on the way in the coming weeks.
Thank you to my Patreon subscribers for October 2022!
My criticism of entertainment that ties to monopolize your attention in the worst ways possible.
On Twitter, Kio Shimoku has some issues with his arm lately.
I’m entertaining ideas to better replace the $15 Patreon reward, which basically has only ever been used once. If anyone has suggestions for things they’d like to see out of the Patreon, I’m all ears. I’m not sure what concrete bonuses I can offer at this point, but I’d like to at least have something that might interest supporters.
The summer of 2022 is starting to wind down, and it feels somehow different from even recent years. Maybe it’s that Japan hit a milestone with Comic Market 100 this past month. Maybe it’s the prospect of COVID-19 Omicron-centric booster shots potentially making me feel safer and more comfortable with traveling—including to Japan itself at some point. Or maybe it’s the passage of the largest climate bill in US history, as well as the announcement of a massive student loan forgiveness plan, that gives the vague sense that humanity can do something.
I hope this is a positive turning point, and that we’ll all be in a better position to do the things we love and plan for the future we want to see.
Thank you to my September 2022 Patreon subscribers, notably the following:
The rare portrayal of an Asian mom as action protagonist touches on so many aspects of the Asian diaspora.
Kio Shimoku talks on Twitter about how he’s bad at doing panty shots.
And here’s a look at the Spotted Flower version of Angela Burton.
An early review of Love Live! Superstar!! Season 2, focusing on the concept of the senpai.
As the seasons change and cooler weather (hopefully) arrives, I also want to think about revisiting some old projects. I keep meaning to do more Gattai Girls, but a lack of time and to some extent motivation has hampered that. I also wonder about continuing the Fujoshi FIles after many years of inactivity, but have to consider the possibility that it’s not my place to discuss how “rotten” fujoshi characters are. I’m not that BL and saw the characters with fascination, and am still wondering if I should let those closer to the fandom take over this sort of endeavor. I’m still entertaining the notion of a fan wiki, but who knows where it’ll end up.
I’m back from Otakon in DC, and hopefully without catching COVID or the five million other diseases currently making life miserable for everyone. Did I make the right choice going to an anime convention? I guess my body will tell me soon. I’ll have a review of the event coming up this month, including my logic as to why I decided to attend despite the obvious risks involved (hint: taking steps to be cautious can go a long way).
By the way, the title of this month’s update is a reference to Jack King from Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo.
Thank you to my August 2022 Patreon subscribers, notably the following:
The summer heat has been harsh here and around the world. I hope everyone is doing what they can to stay cool, and that the people with the power to actually change things don’t just sit on their hands while they watch the world burn.
I would love if the only thing on my mind was the summer anime season that’s just beginning. There are plenty of shows I’m looking forward to, but the news coming out the US Supreme Court is just too dire to ignore, especially this close to July 4. A lot of people are going to get hurt because of the family planning services denied to them, and the very fact that we’re seeing an established civil right being taken away is truly disheartening—though I choose not to give up hope.
Recently, I’d been watching old clips of George Carlin, and there’s a line that stuck with me that rings with the painful truth about the Conservative mindset in America: “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.” It drives home the fact that we’re forcing babies into a world that doesn’t give a damn about them; otherwise, we’d have reliable healthcare and infrastructure that prioritizes bringing people out of poverty instead of acting like all the suffering the poor have to endure is somehow deserved.
Readers might be wondering if I’m going too far off track from the core focus of this anime blog. To that, I say: While there is no inherent political direction to anime, with works that go in every direction on the political spectrum, there is a strong and complex history of feminism through anime and manga that has helped to shape the lives of adults and children around the world. How many, including myself, were inspired to see the notion of women as heroes in a new light through shows like Sailor Moon? What about the fact that there was an episode of Hugtto Precure! dedicated to addressing the stigma towards C-sections in Japan, or how Delicious Party Precure has a non-cisgender character? Even something decidedly more horny and muddled in its politics like Darling in the Franxx portrays a world where pregnancy is controlled against people’s wills, and the main couple can’t actually have children.
Remember: You can be morally against abortion but still be in favor of bodily autonomy. It’s about leaving the choice up to the person whose body has fundamentally changed due to pregnancy.
As with every month, I’d like to thank my Patreon subscribers, particularly these fine folks below.
I know many in the US are feeling like their votes don’t matter—otherwise, this stripping of civil rights would never have happened. And indeed, voting is very limited in what it can accomplish. It can be disappointing to see those with greater influence, especially politicians, not do enough to exert more lasting change. However, to not vote at all is to concede a very fundamental power. And while it may seem like a drop in the bucket, the consequences of its utter absence will be far deeper and suffocating. Please don’t give up.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…