Friday, May 15, 2015

Q Attack, Round 12 - Is Demand for Live Classical Music Dying?
While partaking in Sakura-Con 2015 festivities, Tiger and Rabbit had the opportunity to attend a performance by the Seattle Symphony. They converse about the exciting trio of music performed and question if live classical music performances are becoming a thing of the past.


Tiger: We’re back to discuss in greater detail, the symphony we attended on Thursday, April 2nd, while at Sakura-Con 2015 in Seattle.

Rabbit: This is like part two of our “let’s milk this weekend for all it’s worth” series of posts.

Tiger: Well, it would’ve been difficult to connect the topics of anime and classical music together into one post. Better to bring it up here so we can discuss just this subject.

Rabbit: We were lucky to attend the Seattle Symphony’s performance of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 with Argentine pianist, Ingrid Fliter.

Tiger: Founded in 1903, the Seattle Symphony has been awarded one Grammy and two Emmys. It is under the direction of Ludovic Morlot, Music Director, who is currently wrapping up his fourth season. They perform at one of the premier concert venues in the world, Benaroya Hall, in downtown Seattle. We were able to walk to the performance from our hotel, such a great location, and it has amazing acoustics.

Rabbit: We’ve been there before too. PAX uses it as one of its largest theaters and the concerts are often hosted there.

Tiger: With guest conductor, Thomas Søndergård, the symphony was set to perform Karol Szymanowski’s Concert Overture in E major, Op. 12; Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21; and Sergey Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 100.

Rabbit: We were there for the Chopin but were excited for the Prokofiev too.

Tiger: The first piece of music to be performed was Szymanowski’s Concert Overture in E major, Op. 12. I have to admit, I was slightly upset when I saw that this was up first for the performance.

Rabbit: Slightly? You were practically ranting about it.

Tiger: I read the name wrong; I thought it was Pawel Szymański who is still alive. Classical music is not classical when the composer is still alive! Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, Szymanowski was a Polish composer born in 1882 and died in 1937. He was considered to be a member of Young Poland, a 20th century modernist movement along with Karlowicz and Fitelberg. Young Poland sought to immortalize their culture within music, focusing on traditional Polish music among other themes.

Rabbit: Ironically, Szymanowski was under the strong influence of Richard Strauss and The Five.

Tiger: I caught a bit of avant-garde in there as well.

Rabbit: You mean impressionism.

Tiger: No, I don’t. I hate that people called it “impressionism,” even the so-called impressionists didn’t call it impressionism.

Rabbit: You just have to be different than everyone else, don’t you? It’s like you calling it the Enlightenment Period instead of the Classical Period.

Tiger: We’re getting off topic here. Anyway, Szymanowski’s Concert Overture was originally drafted in 1904 and orchestrated the following year. It was his first symphonic composition and is an imitative work of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. Even though it was his first, it’s still considered a wonderful repertoire piece, which is why I think Seattle chose it. Plus, it also went well with the theme of the night being Polish and from a Young Poland composer.

Rabbit: Very true, though Prokofiev wasn’t Polish, he did share some similar life events that Szymanowski and Chopin did. I enjoyed it, it was quite nice though it felt like a hors d’oeuvre for what was about to come next.

Tiger: Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2! This is by far my favorite concerto ever.

Rabbit: A concerto is a piece of music written for a solo instrument and accompanied by an orchestra or large ensemble. Since they rolled the piano to the front of the stage, we knew that it was time for the Chopin. I was really excited too, I love this music.

Tiger: We probably own over 20 versions of this concerto. I tend to listen to the version by Dang Thai Son with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century the most.

Rabbit: This time Søndergård would be accompanied by Ingrid Fliter. I read an interview with her and it sounded like she really loves playing Chopin.

Tiger: Chopin was born in 1810, died in 1849, and like Szymanowski; was of Polish decent. This was actually Chopin’s first piano concerto; the number two denotes that it was the second to be published. Written in 1829, it premiered the following year with Chopin playing the solo and conducting from the piano. Chopin was a recent graduate of the Warsaw Conservatory and still trying to establish himself. He was ambitious and this is reflected in his concerto.

Rabbit: This concerto is often compared with those of Mozart and Beethoven and their larger classical forms. No. 2 was actually composed in the style called stile brillante, made famous by virtuosos Hummel and Weber. This is probably why Chopin’s concerto is more of an organized showcase of skill versus the more cohesive form of the classical style.

Tiger: Poetry versus structure I say. His concerto is bold and colorful; it is also very personal and highlights his imagination throughout. Chopin’s Concerto has three movements; the Maestoso is moody, the Larghetto is passionate, and the Allegro vivace feels like it’s going to dance off the stage ala mazurka. Actually Fliter was much more aggressive than I thought she would be. It sounds sexist but I thought she would be more sensual like Son but she attacked the piano more like Jenő Jandó does.

Rabbit: Her vision of the Larghetto made it feel like I was listening to an Italian aria. Supposedly Chopin wrote the second movement for his love of Constancia Gladkowska, a singer he met at the conservatory.

Tiger: The third movement, Allegro vivace is my favorite. So fast and uninhibited, it has flurries of emotion and drama that it’s hard not to get caught up in it. Was it just me, or did they skip the col legno battuto?

Rabbit: I was looking out for that as well, we were in the balcony but still should have been able to catch that.

Tiger: Yeah, I thought I knew every place it is used but I never once saw them do it.

Rabbit: Col legno battuto, or col legno for short, is a technique for bowed string instruments where the musicians strikes the string with the stick of the bow, not the hair. It was truly an impressive performance and Fliter’s interpretation of the work was powerful and dynamic.

Tiger: After a quick intermission, the night was capped off with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

Rabbit: Prokofiev was born in 1891 in Ukraine and died in 1953. His Fifth was composed in 1944 when he spent time at a Soviet Union retreat for composers during WWII.

Tiger: I cannot help but always compare Prokofiev’s Fifth to Shostakovich’s Fifth or even compare and contrast the two composers. When Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union after spending much time abroad, including in the States and France, Shostakovich was already actively presenting his works. Shostakovich was Prokofiev’s junior but had suffered a scathing review, some say written by Stalin himself, so it was an opportunity for Prokofiev to shine.

Rabbit: The Fifth has four movements; Andante, Allegro marcato, Adagio, and Allegro giocoso. The Andante is rigidly presented in sonata form. The exposition, the beginning of the piece, introduces two themes with the first theme being placid and played by the flute and bassoon. The second theme is more intimate with the oboes and flutes being accompanied by the strings. These two themes are elaborated upon during the development section before being brought back to their original forms in the recapitulation.

Tiger: The Allegro marcato is a throwback to Prokofiev’s pre-Soviet style. Actually, I caught a bit of Debussy in this second movement and it’s my favorite of the Fifth. Prokofiev presents his classic humor with the clarinet solo; the theme really reminds me of the music in an old Disney cartoon.

Rabbit: The Adagio starts off sweet and romantic before evolving into a moodier sound. The high notes of the woodwinds almost sound like lamenting cries from some maiden before the sudden return to the lovely theme, almost as if she awoke from a bad dream.

Tiger: Prokofiev once again brings back his favorite instrument, the clarinet, for the finale. The Allegro giocoso begins with the cellos introducing the first theme from the Andante before breaking out into a rondo, think a musical round of sorts, before the pastoral-esque clarinet is joined by the flute and strings.

Rabbit: It was a wonderful performance and I'm happy we got the opportunity to attend. Too bad it seemed like we were the youngest people there.
Tiger: Very true, do you think that there’s still a demand for live classical performances or is that demand waning?

Rabbit: I still think there are people who love going to the symphony or attending chamber performances, though I know they’re not as popular as they once were. Think what the world was like before movie theaters or the radio. Classical music was the entertainment of the day but now it’s not something everyone gets to experience. But I don’t think you can get such moving performances, where your emotions are truly tapped into, through any other medium than classical music. There is a sophistication to its design that makes it as interesting as any book plot and emotionally touching as any movie. Classical music can also be dramatic and exhilarating, and hearing that live, the sound resonating through your body, is an impressive experience. I believe that there is still a demand to see classical music performed live and I hope that people like us who enjoy going to the symphony can introduce others to the experience.

Tiger: While I love going to any classical performance, all you have to do is take a quick glance at the audience to realize that demand is waning. I would guess that over 80% of attendees were senior citizens and the rest were late middle aged people. Young people aren’t attracted to things like classical music or opera anymore and it’s quite apparent by the music news we see too. Multiple symphonies have had to shut down or cut their seasons short because they cannot sustain themselves. It’s an unfortunate state we are in but I do believe that demand for this form of art is dying. It’s sad to admit but the music can be boring if you don’t know what to listen for. We were both lucky enough to be taught at an early age how to really examine the music, almost like being musical detectives, rather than just passive listeners. How many people do we know that are our age who don’t have a clue about classical music? It’s not something that you find in everyone’s media repertoire anymore so it’s hard to cultivate a love of seeing the music performed live when people aren’t listening to it.

Rabbit: While you may have a point, I think it’s our duty as fans of the symphony to invite others to do something they may have never done before, and that’s go to a live performance. As we left the Benaroya, I overheard a younger person thanking friends for inviting her to the performance. She had never been, had never even heard the music before, but was moved by the live performance. She even expressed interest in attending again, so maybe there still is hope that this truly special art form can continue and eventually thrive.

Is Demand for Live Classical Music Dying?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 18 O'Clock - Manners, People!
This time it's Tiger highjacking Rabbit’s Random Happy Time to voice her concerns about the state of modern manners. While attending a performance of the Seattle Symphony, Tiger witnessed some atrocities that she's still ranting about and gives some tips for those who would like to attend the symphony but have never done so before.


Tiger: So I’m letting you know now that I’m taking this over.

Rabbit: ^shocked face^ What? This is my time.

Tiger: Sorry, but I have some things I want to get off my chest like dress code, etiquette, and general manners.

Rabbit: ^puts on helmet^ ヘ(・_|

Tiger: First off, it’s the symphony, not gym time so you should dress accordingly. I couldn’t believe how many people showed up in shorts and flip flops. Show some respect people! ヽ(#`Д´)ノ

Rabbit: Well, you do want to be comfortable while you sit and listen to the music.

Tiger: You don’t need to be that comfortable. Business casual is as low as you should go. (-、-) Heck, we’ve been to performances where it was formal attire and we had to wear a dress.

Rabbit: That was funny to see too, you in a dress.

Tiger: Oh shut it. Next thing to note is that the symphony isn’t like going to the movies. You shouldn’t bring candy with you! ヽ(o`皿′o)ノ It’s distracting to the other listeners around you and it’s just rude. (¬д¬。)

Rabbit: You never know, some people might need to eat.

Tiger: (」゜ロ゜)」 They should have eaten before then! Also, this shouldn’t need to be stated but you must not clip your fingernails at the symphony!

Rabbit: Eww…

Tiger: It’s true, we saw that lady doing it a few rows down from us. Why? Why would anyone in their right mind think it’s okay to clip their fingernails at the symphony?! o(-`д´- 。)

Rabbit: I have no idea.

Tiger: Some other quick pointers about the symphony. It’s a good idea to go early; everyone should be seated before the orchestra comes out. Also, make sure to pay attention to the intermission bell, it sounds to let you know that there is only five minutes left. A few people straggled in late after intermission and it was quite annoying.

Rabbit: I would also add that you shouldn't use your mobile devices during a performance. The light from people’s phones was distracting.

Tiger: One big thing that inexperienced classical music attendees might not know is that you do not clap after every movement; you only clap at the end of each full piece. For example, it was okay to clap after Szymanowski’s Overture was over since it was only one movement. With Chopin’s Piano Concerto, you would not clap after the Maestoso was finished but wait until the Larghetto and the Allegro vivace were completed as well.

Rabbit: Same with the Prokofiev, you would wait until all four movements were finished before applauding. ヽ(‘ ∇‘ )ノ

Tiger: The reason is that while it is broken up into movements, these pieces are still seen as one entire musical entity so applauding after one had finished would be like applauding partway through a movie.

Rabbit: Who applauds at a movie? 「(゚ペ)

Tiger: It’s just an example.

Rabbit: You could have used a stage show.

Tiger: But people applaud at various times with stage shows.

Rabbit: How about a video game then, you only applaud at the end because your hands are busy playing the game the rest of the time.

Tiger: *shakes head*

Rabbit: Is your rant over now?

Tiger: I think I've covered everything. I wanted to admonish the person sitting behind me for clacking a lozenge in his mouth but I found out later that he was just clacking his dentures.

Rabbit: ^shutters^ (/。\)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Q Attack, Round 11 - Are You an Otaku?
Tiger and Rabbit have returned from their adventures at Sakura-Con 2015, one of the oldest anime, manga, and cultural conventions on the West Coast. They spent an entire weekend immersing themselves in all things Japanese and share their experiences here.


Rabbit: Tsukarechatta!

Tiger: *moans* You can say that again, I’m beat. I love going on all these trips but man is it hard to function once you get back.

Rabbit: We need a vacavacation.

Tiger: There you go, making up words again.

Rabbit: No, really. We need a vacation from our vacation.

Tiger: I second that. So you want to explain why we’re both so tired.

Rabbit: ^stretches arms^ Five days of craziness, that’s why. We attended Sakura-Con 2015 in Seattle.

Tiger: It’s an anime, manga, video game, and general Asian cultural convention. They have everything from industry panels, anime theaters, a manga library, to special guest panels.

Rabbit: They also have an exhibitors hall, artist alley, and art show.

Tiger: Some of the guests included Vic Mignogna, Shimamoto Sumi, GARNiDELiA, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, Kashiwada Shinichiro, Mori Toshimichi, Kitada Katsuhiko, Asai Masaki, and n.NAOTO.

Rabbit: Which we didn’t see… at all.

Tiger: We saw some of the special guests though most we really didn’t care about seeing. It’s hard to get excited for all the English voice actors that go to Sakura-Con because we don’t watch anime in English. Now the Japanese voice actors were another story, I was really excited to see and hear Ueda Kana.

Rabbit: It was amazing to see the members of WIT Studio too.

Tiger: And Mori Toshimichi. We saw him at one of the panels, which we’ll be discussing in a different Q Attack. But before we move on to what we saw and did, let’s start with the first day of our trip.

Rabbit: ^deep voice^ Captain’s log, star date-

Tiger: *bops Rabbit on head* Do it normally.

Rabbit: Hai, hai. So we left our terribly sheltered lives behind us on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 to travel to the big city that is Seattle, Washington.

Tiger: Calling Seattle a big city makes me miss Cali.

Rabbit: ^glares at Tiger^ Interrupting! We traveled with the help of a magical fairy named Tinker Bell who helped us fly across the water.

Tiger: Chigau! It was a ferry and we sailed across the water.

Rabbit: The truth is just a matter of perspective. ^sticks out tongue^ We arrived at our destination and headed straight to the International District.

Tiger: Ever noticed how Seattle is constantly under construction?

Rabbit: Yeah, it took us a lot longer to get to the International District than usual because all the roads were closed.

Tiger: I’m telling you, that city is always in a state of disarray.

Rabbit: From there we ate-

Tiger: Yamero!

Rabbit: Yamete!

Tiger: Kotowaru!

Rabbit: Why did you stop me?

Tiger: We are not, I repeat, we are not going to talk about food.

Rabbit: Bu-

Tiger: Nope!

Rabbit: Kedo…

Tiger: You always do this, you always digress to food. We have a lot of things to cover so let’s not waste time on food.

Rabbit: ^crosses arms^ Fine… We spent the day in the International District shopping at Daiso Japan, Uwajimaya, and Kinokuniya before checking into the Sheraton Hotel and picking up our badges. We also went to see the Seattle Symphony that night but we’re saving that for a different Q Attack as well.
Tiger: Friday, April 3rd, was the first official day of Sakura-Con 2015. We started out bright and early, arriving at the Washington State Convention Center at 7:00am. The first anime we watched was The Basketball that Kuroko Plays from Production I.G. and Tada Shunsuke. It was originally a manga created by Fujimaki Tadatoshi and follows the great basketball players from Teikō Middle School, known as the Generation of Miracles, as they play in high school. What’d you think of this one?

Rabbit: I really enjoyed it; I wish they had a U.S. release planned sometime soon. Unfortunately, they didn’t show the beginning of the series but started it somewhere in the middle so we didn’t quite catch the entire plot. Still, I’d pick it up if they ever do release it here.

Tiger: I noticed there were a lot of sports related anime and cosplay at this Con. Last time we went in 2012, everything seemed to be focused on the school theme.

Rabbit: There were a lot of people running around in basketball uniforms, cosplaying the various players. I almost got hit by a couple runaway basketballs too.

Tiger: Next, we caught a single episode of Level E on accident. It was in English too, ugh. Originally a manga from Togashi Yoshihiro, it was turned into an anime by Studio Pierrot and directed by Katō Toshiyuki. The plot centered on a high school student and his encounters with the various aliens that had moved to Earth.

Rabbit: We didn’t mean to see that one. We were actually there for another anime but they were off schedule. So we watched that until…

Tiger: Steins;Gate! Originally a visual novel by 5pb. and Nitroplus, the anime adaption was created by White Fox and directed by Hamasaki Hiroshi and Sato Takuya. I really enjoyed this anime, we’ve seen it before, but watching it on the big screen made me enjoy it even more. I love the time travel story that it centers around and how mad scientist Okabe Rintarō copes with his ability to change the past and the future. The game is even getting released on the PS3 and Vita this year in the West.

Rabbit: We actually got to see a guest that’s connected to Steins;Gate on Saturday but we’ll be saving that for another post.

Tiger: We did so much that we’re going to spread this out across a few posts to try and limit each post’s length.

Rabbit: Really, we just want to milk this trip for all its worth.

Tiger: *laughs* Sō desu ne…

Rabbit: I feel like we’re on one of those game shows. “We’ll reveal the winners… next week! Goodbye everyone!”

Tiger: We aren’t doing this on purpose, honestly. Back to Friday, next up was the Aniplex of America Industry Panel.

Rabbit: Which was basically an hour of them showing anime trailers we could’ve easily watched on YouTube or something.

Tiger: It just made me sad. I want to own the Fate/Zero series so bad but Aniplex is freaking expensive! They are Aniplex of America so why do they only import their stuff? I don’t get it.

Rabbit: They always make limited or premium editions too. It’s not like we need that stuff, I’d love if they did just a plain ‘ole standard set that’s affordable. Oh well. That was our version of pressing our noses against the glass of an expensive restaurant and watching people eat inside.

Tiger: *shakes head* I don’t even know how to reply to that. Next, we saw Nisekoi: False Love. It was first published as a one-shot manga by Komi Naoshi and then serialized before becoming an anime series from Shaft and Shinbo Akiyuki.

Rabbit: I absolutely loved this one! Out of all the shows we hadn’t seen before, this was my number two pick. The story follows high school students Ichijo Raku and Kirisaki Chitoge. But these two aren’t your average high schoolers, nope. Ichijo is the son of Shuei-Gumi’s leader and Kirisaki is the daughter of Beehive’s boss. What does that even mean? Shuei-Gumi is a yakuza and their rival gang is Beehive. A war is brewing between the two factions and to settle the feud, Ichijo and Kirisaki are told to become boyfriend and girlfriend. Then there’s this thing about a locket and a promise and trying to find a key. Really though, it’s super funny.

Tiger: Next was my number two pick… but again the theaters were behind schedule so we ended up seeing an episode of DRAMAtical Murder. I kind of liked this, which is really sad to admit.

Rabbit: ^crosses arms^ Bad kitty, you have a dirty mind.

Tiger: I swear I didn’t know what it was, you can’t tell by watching just one episode!

Rabbit: DRAMAtical Murder was originally a visual novel by Nitro+chiral and then turned anime by NAZ and Miura Kazuya. But it wasn’t just any visual novel, no it was BL. ^shocked face^

Tiger: It had a PG-13 rating on the program! The story is set in the near future where an entire island is turned into a resort and the residents are all forced to live in the Old Residential District. Seragaki Aoba lives a simple life here until he is forced into the popular cyber game known as Rhyme. Soon, turf wars break out in game and in real life, dragging Seragaki deeper into the fray. Anyway, we weren’t there for that. Really, we weren’t.

Rabbit: I don’t know about you…

Tiger: *blushing* Oitoite. The real reason why we were in that theater was for Mekakucity Actors. It’s the anime adaption of The Kagerou Project by Jin. It’s a little confusing to explain but the project basically started with the Vocaloid song Kagerou Daze and soon became a phenomenon with a light novel series, manga, and anime. Produced by Shaft and directed by Shinbo Akiyuki and Yase Yuki, Mekakucity Actors follows the Mekakushi Dan, a group of people with eye related powers. The episodes seem to run out of order, making it a little confusing at first, but it’s a great show. I know the manga and light novels got a U.S. release and I hope to see the anime soon too.

Rabbit: Vocaloids, there were a lot more of them around too. Quite a few cosplayers, I even saw an IA cosplayer which was impressive.

Tiger: Very true, in the past you would only see Hatsune Miku and the other Crypton Vocaloids. Mekakucity Actors was all over the place. Lots of merchandise floating around the exhibitors hall.

Rabbit: I’d reckon that the only anime that you saw more cosplayer or souvenirs of was Attack on Titan.

Tiger: Well, I’m excited that The Kagerou Project is finally making its way stateside. Just picked up the first manga and hope to see Mekakucity Actors get a physical release soon.

Rabbit: Speaking of IA, the last thing we did on Friday was see the IA – KAGEROU Project Concert Movie.

Tiger: Or attempted to see it. They had a small table with merchandise inside the theater where you could buy stuff. Thing is, the line formed down the center aisle, blocking the view of most of the people there. We ended up buying a few CDs and then leaving early.

Rabbit: You got a few IA CDs; I know you were happy about that.

Tiger: I love IA; she’s one of my favorite Vocaloids so it was worth going just to pick those up. I also bought a CD I had no idea what it was. Turns out it’s an album called VOCALO Zanmai from Wagakki Band. They blend traditional Japanese instruments with Vocaloid music. Really, really awesome stuff. If you’re a fan of Vocaloid music, I’d definitely check them out. I love their rendition of Kagerou Days and Senbonzakura. Really glad I picked up their album even though I didn’t know who they were beforehand.
Rabbit: Then we went to sleep and woke up bright and early for our second day of Sakura-Con. Saturday, April 4th a poppy seed muffin-

Tiger: *shoots eye-daggers at Rabbit*

Rabbit: And then we proceeded to the anime theater so we could see an irregular high school magic show.

Tiger: *rolls eyes* Once more, the theaters were behind schedule and we caught the end of Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie… in English. Nothing is more painful than Naruto in English.

Rabbit: I know how much you love that anime.

Tiger: The guy who created it needs to die.

Rabbit: Finally we got to see what we came for, The Irregular at Magic High School.

Tiger: More commonly known as Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei, it started as a light novel series written by Satō Tsutomu and illustrated by Ishida Kana.

Rabbit: Since then, it has been adapted into five manga series, an anime, and even two video games.

Tiger: The anime is done by Madhouse and directed by Ono Manabu. Two musical facts about this anime; the music is composed by Iwasaki Taku and the second opening theme is Grilletto by GARNiDELiA.

Rabbit: The series is set in a world where magic is considered a form of technology and students go to specialized schools to study it. Students are separated by their test scores with the best students enrolling in Course 1 (known as Bloom) and the rest being put in Course 2 (known as Weed). Shiba Tatsuya and his sister, Miyuki, are new students at one of these schools and while his sister aces the entrance exams, he gets enrolled in Course 2. But not all is what it seems and Tatsuya seems to possess skills far greater than any Weed should.

Tiger: The Director, Ono Manabu was actually at the Aniplex of America industry panel to not only present the U.S. release but also announce some of Aniplex’s new releases.

Rabbit: I thought this was an okay show. Nothing too exciting story wise but the magic battles were pretty rad.

Tiger: Yeah, there have been some mixed reviews on the anime. I’ve read a lot of reviews that said you should stick with the manga but I’d be willing to give the anime a try. We only got to see a few episodes before-

Rabbit: Before we could be free and enjoy eternal summer!

Tiger: *shakes head*

Rabbit: Free! Is another anime that’s based on a light novel series, written by Ōji Kōji and then turned into an anime series by Kyoto Animation and Utsumi Hiroko.

Tiger: What we watched was actually Free! –Eternal Summer-, the second season since the first season has not been licensed for publishing in the States yet. The plot focuses on four high school guys-

Rabbit: Hot guys I might add.

Tiger: *shakes head* And you say I have the dirty mind. Anyway, these four are members of Iwatobi High School’s swim team. Other characters include members of Samezuka Academy’s swim team.

Rabbit: There were a lot of Free! cosplayers too which was kind of strange and cold looking.

Tiger: Seattle in April is by no means a warm place. You have to admit that the guys running around just in swimsuits were dedicated. So, I take it you enjoyed this one?

Rabbit: I did. Nanase Haruka rivals Saitō Hajime in looks but his personality isn’t as cool. And it was sports related so you should have enjoyed it.

Tiger: It was alright, I enjoyed The Basketball that Kuroko Plays better but it wasn’t bad and it had its funny moments. Up next was a panel that we’d been looking forward to for a while.

Rabbit: Yes! The Rolling☆Girls Special with Deai Kotomi, Kitada Katsuhiko, & Imai Arifumi of WIT Studio! Surprisingly, this one began as an anime series before it was spun off into two manga series. Directed by Deai Kotomi, the story is… hard to explain.

Tiger: It has one of those “you have to have been there” stories to really get it. It’s a coming-of-age comedy set 10 years after the Great Tokyo War which caused the prefectures of Japan to become independent states. As these new city-states competed with each other, vigilantes from the war were hired and became known as Best, representing their prefectures in one-on-one territorial disputes. These Best are supported by Rest, or commoners, who help to maintain peace in their respective prefectures. The story follows Moritomo Nozomi, a Rest, who is trying to answer the pleas for her prefecture’s Best who has been seriously injured. Tagging along are three other girls, who go with Nozomi on her trip across Japan.

Rabbit: And since it is called The Rolling☆Girls, they of course ride motorcycles. I have to say that the art style is very, very unique.

Tiger: During the panel, not only did they show a couple of episodes but they also showed what their animated storyboards look like when they are working on it. Definitely a great panel with lots of information on the behind the scenes action that’s needed to create an anime series.

Rabbit: And it was WIT Studio too! They might not be very old but they already have a solid track record with Attack on Titan, Hal, and Hōzuki no Reitetsu already under their belts. Add The Rolling☆Girls and the upcoming Seraph of the End, this is a studio to keep an eye on.

Tiger: After that, it was a mad dash to the main hall for the Itō Kanako & GARNiDELiA Concert.

Rabbit: It was amazing… but we are going to wait to talk about this one.

Tiger: As with our next panel, The BlazBlue Experience. So basically the last two events of Saturday night will be discussed separately in their own Q Attacks.
Rabbit: Sunday, April 5th, was the last day of Sakura-Con 2015! So sad.

Tiger: So we used this remaining day to just watch anime.

Rabbit: First up was Log Horizon, another “trapped in an MMO” anime. This one was also a light novel series first, written by Touno Mamare, before being turned into a bunch of manga series and an anime series. Produced by Satelight Studios and directed by Ishihira Shinji, the story follows game strategist Shiroe and other players as they become trapped inside the game of Elder Tales following a massive update.

Tiger: I actually really enjoyed this one, I thought it added some things and did well to differentiate itself from all the other anime in this genre.

Rabbit: You just like it because the game their stuck in is called Elder Tales.

Tiger: *sticks out tongue* After this one, we saw-

Rabbit: ^jumps in air^ Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!

Tiger: Here we go.

Rabbit: This was my absolute favorite anime we saw all weekend! Created by Umatani Kurari and Diomedéa, it was directed by Takamatsu Shinji. The story is about five guys who attend Binan High School; Hakone Yumoto, Yufuin En, Kinugawa Atsushi, Naruko Io, and Zaou Ryuu. A strange wombat-like alien approaches them and tasks them with saving the world. By using Loveracelets, the five transform into the Battle Lovers, who can use the power of love to combat enemies who spread hate. They form the Earth Defense Club in order to fight the Earth Conquest Club, which is also a club at Binan High School bent on destroying everything good on earth. I absolutely loved this one!

Tiger: It was very funny and made fun of the magical girl genre in a great way. It seemed like a pretty decent show in its own right too, not relying solely on gags. It also helps that the guys closely resemble those from Free! which makes them easy on the eyes.

Rabbit: So many pretty boys to stare at…

Tiger: Next was my favorite anime of the Con-

Rabbit: And we all know why you picked this one, you lucky star, you.

Tiger: Created by Kuroha and then turned into an anime by Nomad and directed by Sato Hikaru; the last anime we saw before Sakura-Con 2015 shut down was Chronicles of the Going Home Club. The plot follows a group of high school girls who are in the Going Home Club, a club that is dedicated to having as much fun as possible. It’s definitely a slice-of-life comedy that reminds me a lot of Lucky Star. You have club president Domyoji Sakura, the self-proclaimed ordinary girl of the club. She is energetic and downright crazy at times. Ohagi Botan is the club commander and successor to an ancient martial arts style. She once traveled the world fighting bears. Kokonoe Claire is club treasurer and heiress to a mega-corporation. Claire wanted to experience a normal school life but it’s hard for her to do so with her vast amount of wealth. Then there are the newest club members, Ando Natsuki and Tono Karin, both freshmen. Karin is an airhead, excellent at home economics, and her cuteness is Botan’s greatest weakness. Natsuki plays the part of resident Tsundere who’s serious and doesn’t always get the jokes of other club members. It’s a pretty hilarious anime that’s not only self aware but pokes fun at other anime too.

Rabbit: The bit about having to retool the show by episode three if you aren’t popular was super funny.

Tiger: And they have a gag where the ending credits will play too early only to have Natsuki freak out and rip them off the screen.

Rabbit: It was definitely a great way to end Sakura-Con but that wasn’t it for us!

Tiger: It wasn’t?

Rabbit: Nope, we stayed in Seattle on Monday, April 6th, and went back to the International District to eat-

Tiger: To do some more shopping at Kinokuniya and Uwajimaya. I was able to pick up a few more CDs including EXIT TUNES PRESENTS vocalogemini feat. Kagamine Rin & Kagamine Len.

Rabbit: I bought a melona ice bar!

Tiger: Sheesh, you can’t stop, can you?

Rabbit: I don’t know what you’re talking about. So any final thoughts on Sakura-Con.

Tiger: Furries, lots of furries, cosplay seemed to be kind of downplayed this year. Got to see a lot of anime, panels were good, concert was amazing, the tournaments were some of the best we’ve seen, and it was overall a great experience. You?

Rabbit: Lots of amazing food, lots of things to look at though we didn’t buy very much, I almost got killed by a soccer ball when walking around downtown Seattle, and it didn’t rain so that was great.

Tiger: I guess it’s time to wrap this up then.
Rabbit: After experiencing a weekend jam-packed with everything Japanese related, are you officially an Otaku?

Tiger: I’d have to say no to that.

Rabbit: ^shocked face^

Tiger: After all of the conventions we’ve gone to, I’ve learned that I’m not an Otaku, I’m a gamer. While I do enjoy anime, manga, and Asian cultures in general; I don’t find myself really engrossed in Otaku culture. I actually felt like an outsider at Sakura-Con. I don’t stream anime online so I’m really out of the loop with what’s popular. Take The Rolling☆Girls, that series has been out online for awhile now but this was my first time seeing it. Heck, I hadn’t even heard of Free! until you told me about it. It’s fun, I like going, and I like watching anime but I’m not a big enough fan to label myself an Otaku. It’s not like video games were when we went to PAX I recognized all the studios, I knew about the games before we got there, and everything appealed to me. There were lots of things I liked at Sakura-Con but going to Q&As with voice actors I’d never heard of or watching fan panels about certain shows just didn’t interest me. Anime is an interest of mine but not a passion. I don’t love everything about it like I love video games.

Rabbit: Well, I have to disagree with you.

Tiger: Naturally.

Rabbit: I totally consider myself an Otaku. Japanese culture is something that I love and not in that weird, I’m not Japanese but I love everything about you and even want a pet schoolgirl sort of way.

Tiger: I’d argue that I didn’t know anyone was actually like that until we went to our first anime convention.

Rabbit: We’re both Japanese-

Tiger: Faux Japanese.

Rabbit: We’ve lived there-

Tiger: Until we were five.

Rabbit: And it’s something that will always be a part of us. Plus, I like anime and manga in general. Japanese comedy is some of my favorite; it’s nothing like what we get Stateside. The action shows are awesome, the stories are amazing though sometimes stupid, and nothing can compare to manga. So what if we’re from Otaku Generation 2, being fans of older stuff doesn’t make us any less of a fan than those who only like what’s popular now. And while I don’t stream either, I still enjoy keeping up to date with what’s new and trendy in Japan. Otaku are pretty cool people in general too.

Tiger: I like that the Otaku culture is pretty nonjudgmental.

Rabbit: Stop in the name of Judgment! But you’re right, Otaku are generally great people so of course I consider myself one.

Tiger: *shakes head* Haha, very funny.

Rabbit: Really though, I love anime, manga, Vocaloids, chanbara, tsundere, and I especially love Japanese food! I’m happy I got the opportunity to experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. I also have a pretty big list of which anime I want to buy next.

Tiger: You’re incorrigible.

Rabbit: And you’re a party pooper. But fear not TvR faithful, the moment you’ve been waiting for is next! Random Happy Time Sutāto! Doki doki transformation in the name of LOVE!

Are You an Otaku?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 17 O'Clock - Asian Delights!
Rabbit finally gets her chance to talk about all the delightful meals she and Tiger ate while at Sakura-Con 2015. Though they stuck with their favorite Seattle restaurants, the pair were able to be adventurous and tried some new eating experiences.


Rabbit: I know you Qgers and Qbbits want to know all about the most important events of Sakura-Con 2015.

Tiger: What events are those?

Rabbit: Where we ate!

Tiger: ( ̄ェ ̄;) I can’t stop you, can I?

Rabbit: Of course not, this is my segment; anything goes in Random Happy Time! So when we got into town on Thursday, we ate at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot! Umai! ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

Tiger: Admittedly, it was really good. (*´∀`*人*´∀`*) With hot pots, they bring out a large bowl of broth and then your meats and veggies are brought out raw. There’s a burner in the table and you cook everything yourself.

Rabbit: It was amazing, I was in heaven. There were some things that I didn’t know what they were though. 【・_・?】 Like the pink balls and the strange alien flesh.

Tiger: ー( ̄~ ̄)ξ Those were beef kidney meatballs and beef tripe.

Rabbit: Σ(゚д゚lll)

Tiger: After that it was MOD Pizza for dinner. I got the Mad Dog and you got two pizzas.

Rabbit: The first one, they put the wrong toppings on and burnt it, so they made me a second one on the house. They were having personnel issues when we went which probably explains the mistakes, it was still yummy.

Tiger: They have really good marionberry lemonade there.

Rabbit: On Friday we ate lunch at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. They have the best burgers ever and a really weird name! ꒰˘̩̩̩⌣˘̩̩̩๑꒱♡ We always eat lunch there every time we’re in Seattle.

Tiger: Next was dinner at Blue Water Taco Grill. They are a great inexpensive and fast meal that’s close to the convention center.

Rabbit: On Saturday we ate a huge lunch at P.F. Chang’s since we knew we weren’t going to get dinner because of all the events that night.

Tiger: We did pack apple fritters from In Short Order and ate those that night. They were good even if they got smooshed in my bag.

Rabbit: For Sunday’s lunch we ate Phở at New Saigon. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. Nice to be so close to WSCC so we could save our tired feet the hassle of walking for a long time. We wrapped up dinner that night at our hotel’s restaurant, the Daily Grill. We both got tilapia in a lemon pepper caper sauce. Very good, very expensive.

Tiger: They are always pricey there, a little too high for my tastes but it was convenient.

Rabbit: As for our last day, we ate at Kau Kau BBQ which I’ve heard was really good but I wasn’t impressed with the pork I ordered.

Tiger: My chow mein was kind of greasy too. Isn’t Kau Kau a Dynasty Warriors character?

Rabbit: I think the spelling’s different.

Tiger: Well, at least we got to experience a lot of delectable entrées that we hadn’t had before or had in a long time.

Rabbit: I’m still dreaming of that hot pot. (´ ▽`).。o♡