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


  1. I'm mostly with Tiger on this one. I'm mostly a gamer who grew up on Japanese video games (I love 'em!) which subsequently got me to notice other forms of Japanese media and made me more aware of broader Japanese culture. I can appreciate many other parts of Japanese culture and media, but I never took to those other things in the way I did with video games. I'm a huge helping of Tiger with a pinch of Rabbit which I think mostly comes from not growing up and still not currently living around much of anything Japanese seeing as I live in Ohio. If I was a west coaster, the mix would likely be more in the other direction.

    1. Yup, I enjoy my JRPGs and quirky Japanese games a lot more than watching anime or reading manga. Yeah, I like a lot about Japanese culture but it's something that takes a back burner to my general love of games. - Tiger

    2. I think learning about other cultures is super fun! I can see being in an area where a certain culture isn't prevalent could be difficult to see said culture in action. I love hanging around Nihonmachi, or Japan Town, in San Jose and the International District in Seattle. It's so cool to see everything there, it's so different than the standard U.S.A. stuff we have. Plus, they have awesome food. - Rabbit