Otakus! Apocalypses! Otakulypses! This week, our melodramatic mega-cast launches a three-stage nuclear warhead into the outer edges of the otaku blogosphere. The otakusphere! No anime speed-reviews. No figure photoshoots. Just otaku, more otaku, and even more otaku. Unloading their celebrity, anonymity, sanity, and insanity like there’s no tomorrow. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because even I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Hurry up, my Terrorized Toyboxers! Hurry up! Shut your windows. Lock your doors. And let’s hack into the cyber-scrambled broadcast frequency…
Part 1 of 3 > Omens of the Otakulypse
In the beginning, Japan created anime. And it was good. In the mid-1980s, a man named Hayao Miyazaki launched the environmental rocket “Nausicaä” into the stratosphere. And it was good. In the mid-1990s, two men named Hideaki Anno and Mamoru Oshii launched their respective apocalyptic missiles “Evangelion” and “Ghost in the Shell” into the cybersphere. And it was good. The land of anime grew fruitful. And the world of otaku multiplied.
Inevitably, in 2006-2007, a new force named Danny Choo launched the international warhead “Tokyo Dance Trooper” into the lower blogosphere. And it was good. It was better than good. Ultimately, in 2008-2009, a new storm led by “Artefact” launched the global warhead “Sankaku Complex” into the upper blogosphere. And it was better than good. It was great. The land of anime grew fruitful linearly. And the world of otaku multiplied exponentially.
But is it still good? Is such exponential growth leading to exponential decay?
Hmm, maybe it’s just me and my imagination. So let me ask you this. Does anyone else see any signs? Does anyone else feel the four corners of the otakusphere beginning to vibrate, rumble and crumble? Perhaps the warning signs of an otaku apocalypse? Omens of an oncoming otakulypse?
First Omen > Anime Bubble Burst. The first major sign to catch my eye, rumbled last month. In early May 2009, news of the “Anime Bubble Burst” spread like wildfire. Like a roaring and rumbling wildfire. Here’s a screencap of the “Sankaku Complex” article (04 May 2009) from my Blog 201 (12 May 2009).
Second Omen > Danny’s Daughters. The next unsettling sign to catch my eye, spanned from early-to-late May 2009. Lingering across several “Danny Choo” articles from “Dollfie Ryomo Shimei” (04 May 2009, 3rd Dollfie) to “Dollfie Nanoha” (25 May 2009, 4th Dollfie) to “Dollfie Eyes” (31 May 2009), Danny refers to his Dollfie acquisitions as “daughters”. While I don’t mind his understandable pride in owning such pretty works of art, I still find it rather unsettling, if not bordering on the edge of creepy, to refer to such dolls as “daughters”. Whether or not they’re humor-based terms of endearment. I can understand female collectors doing so. But male collectors? I mean, throughout my own figure collection, from the 1st to the 92nd figure, I found each character to be sentimental, inspirational or beautiful. But never thought of them as “children”. I can also understand “following one’s passion”, but then again, “with great passion comes great responsibility” too, right?
Here’s a screencap of the first article. His third “daughter”.
Then the next article. His fourth “daughter”.
Then the last article yesterday. Very “persocom-ical”, lol.
Third Omen > Melonpan’s Melancholy. The third twisted sign to catch my eye, rumbled in late May 2009. Drilling from the “Danny Choo” article “Otaku Graduation” (27 May 2009) to the “Angry Mimi” article “Leaving the Anime World” (27 May 2009) to the “Sankaku Complex” article “Uber Otaku Melonpan Abandons Otaku Ways” (29 May 2009), we witness the photo-by-photo crumbling of an otaku mind called “Melonpan”. Whether the incident was an elaborate practical joke or not, the believability of such a phenomenon is unmistakable. Unmistakable and unsettling. Which doesn’t reflect very well on “Melonpan” either. How unfortunate.
Here’s a screencap of the “Danny Choo” article.
Then the “Angry Mimi” article.
Followed by the “Sankaku Complex” article.
Fourth Omen > Rage Over Rapelay. The fourth burning sign to catch my eye in a month, also rumbled in late May 2009. Struggling from the “Sankaku Complex” articles “Rape Eroge Banned” (28 May 2009) and “Media Invents Eroge Ban” (29 May 2009) to the “Danny Choo” article “Rapelay” (28 May 2009) to the “Angry Mimi” article “Knowing How to Debate Intelligently” (29 May 2009), we experience the flame-by-flame battling from both sides of the “Rapelay” eroge ban. Does it defend the dignity of women? Does it degrade the freedom of expression? Does one override the other? Simple or not, complex or not, the issue is undeniably intense. Like the intensity of a whirling inferno.
Here’s a screencap of the first “Sankaku Complex” article.
Then the second “Sankaku Complex” article.
Then the “Danny Choo” article.
Followed by the “Angry Mimi” article.
Well, there you have it. The first four “Omens of the Otakulypse”. The spreading perception of twisted otaku by fellow otaku. A perception from not simply outside the otakuspheric community, but within it as well. Am I imagining things? Or are these the first few signs of things to come? I wouldn’t be surprised if the next few years witnessed the rabid rise of politically-driven witch-hunts which severely restricted the production (via higher risk and lower profit) of not only Japanese games, but anime, manga and figures as well. Saddened. But not surprised.
Trembling Temporal Tangent. Taking a trembling tangent off the paved path, let’s take a closer look at the “Angry Mimi” screencap immediately above. Enlarge if necessary. Do you notice the “Shoutbox” in the far-right column? As of Saturday, 30 May 2009, 7pm, here’s what Mimi-chan and Chie discussed.
Chie: DC’s sucking as always and careless blogger. disgusted how he pretend to be familiar with Japan, not considering how japanese people’s feeling… I mean he’s hypocrite wearing a mask of pro-Japan.
Mimi: @Chie: Danny really is pro-Japan. I don’t understand how he didn’t consider their feelings.
Chie: A sentiment to japanese people only. I’m sick of person who look down on us, even as it’s “tabloidish material”… would mad at this if it were an insult for their own country. WaiWaicolumn – the lost articles… demagogic media, Mainichi, TBS, hentai rag forced to back down, media invents eroge ban… I’m not saying DC’s demagogic or something, but I want him to beware of fictional info about japan.
Whoa. This got me curious. I mean, which “Danny Choo” article? When? So last night, my best guess was his article “Kawagoe” (2008/06/12, re-posted 2009/05/26), in which he discusses the town of Kawagoe below.
Why this article? What’s so bad about it? Well, consider his carefree use of the word “flattened”.
Kawagoe was originally a castle town of the Kawagoe clan. Many buildings still stand after many centuries surviving the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and bombings in 1945.
The 1923 earthquake pretty much flattened Tokyo where 105,000 died in the magnitude 7.9 – 8.4 quake that lasted over 4 minutes. Pics of flattened Tokyo at Wikipedia.
Then Tokyo was re-flattened again in the B29 bombings where another 100,000 people were killed – pics of re-flattened Tokyo at Tokyo Uni.
Ouch. Yup, I cringed too. Not the most considerate choice of words, is it?
Taking the dusty detour even further, if you scroll down the same “Kawagoe” article, you’ll notice a huge gap in the comment time-date-stamps. Jumping from mid-2008 to mid-2009. Why the fuss? What’s the big deal? Well, despite the date of “26 May 2009” at the top of the article, the first comment was posted on “12 June 2008”, almost one full year earlier. One year. Yup, whether he forgot about it or not, Danny is still recirculating his year-old posts as if they were posted today. Clever. Clever but carelessly misleading.
In fact, the first time I noticed this recirculating mechanism was back in September 2008, with his article “Japanese V Sign” (2007/09/16, re-posted 2008/09/19, I commented 2008/09/23), in which he discusses the origins of the “V sign” hand gesture below. According to the various comment time-date-stamps, Danny first posted the article in September 2007, and it was recirculated in September 2008. So there’s no reason why it won’t recirculate a second time in August-September 2009, just a few months from now.
Here’s the comment gap from April 2008 to September 2008.
And here’s my first realization of the recirculating mechanism. Notice the comment gap from September 2008 to 23 May 2009, just last week. LOL, how did that guy find me?
Haha, enough of the trembling temporal tangent. You get the picture. Clever but carelessly misleading. Unfortunately, according to the latest “Shoutbox” comments, Chie wasn’t referring to the “Kawagoe” article after all. Oh well. A tangent is a tangent, lol.
Part 2 of 3 > From Sankaku Complex to Shikaku Otakusphere
Leaving behind eerie omens and tangents, let’s blast through some shiny triangles and squares! Like I stated at the top of “Part 1”: In 2008-2009, a new storm led by “Artefact” launched the global warhead “Sankaku Complex” into the upper blogosphere. And it was better than good. It was great. The land of anime grew fruitful linearly. And the world of otaku multiplied exponentially.
Here’s a screencap of the “About Sankaku Complex” page. Feel free to enlarge the shot.
Here’s my shinier “Sankaku (Triangle)” presentation of “Japanese Media”.
Followed by my “Shikaku (Square)” interpretation of the “Otakusphere”. While Anonymity-to-Celebrity slides vertically, Sanity-to-Insanity slides horizontally. Moreover, while “Danny Choo” enjoys the highest celebrity status in the otakusphere, “Otaku Dan” is blessed with sanity as “Melonpan” is cursed with insanity, lol. Practical joke or not, the idea-and-intent to drill-destroy-and-document still borders on the unhinged.
Naturally, these are conceptual approximations based on my personal perspective. Concepts which rise and fall. Approximations which ebb and flow. Blogs which shift and stretch. Yet, despite everything, the outer edges of the otakusphere seem to be drifting further and further into unbridled-and-unchecked insanity. Myself included?
Part 3 of 3 > Saturday Bug Bash
Launching from unbridled blog blasting to unabridged bug bashing, let’s take a peek at how I spent my Saturday, 30 May 2009, from 9am to 3pm. Yup, with the approaching release of our latest software version in a matter of months, our company headquarters held a “Bug Bash” to gather a multi-departmental force to catch and attack as many functional defects as we could. Besides, with morning bagels and afternoon pizza, how could we go wrong?
Here’s one of our executive vice presidents, rockin’ to the beat!
Ah, the company auditorium! Check out the pizza boxes way in the back!
Another angle including the back row. Where is everyone? Playing foosball?
Yup, the back row, lol. Actually caught several decent bugs!
Finally, a shot of my laptop and Bamboo tablet. Nice!
Whoa, that was pretty quick, wasn’t it? But I’m sure you don’t mind, lol.
Otakus! Apocalypses! Otakulypses! Omens! Tangents! Triangles! Squares! Blogs! Bugs! Bashes! Damn, how was our melodramatic mega-cast? Did we successfully launch a three-stage nuclear warhead into the outer edges of the otakusphere? Did we unload our celebrity, anonymity, sanity, and insanity like there’s no tomorrow? Ahhh, the coast is clear. The ominous clouds have lifted. And the shadowy skies have brightened. You did great, my Tense Toyboxers! Everything’s fine! You may open your windows. Unlock your doors. Unleash your sanity.
Till next broadcast. Peace. Out.
Speaking of Danny and his dolls, here’s one of my craziest parody posts “Blog 160 > Adventures of Danny Clone” (08 Sept 2008), which explores the question: “What is the difference between figure and doll?” It’s a wild, weird, wicked and wondrous world out there, lol.