We’ve got a new co-host this week! We call him Glen, but you might better know him as Nagato, a long-lost friend and one of the original founding members of Project Haruhi. With him by our side, we start off by discussing Oxford’s hilarious and misdirected attempts to understand anime culture. After that, Chris gets all nostalgic about his very first manga, Love Hina. Finally, we move on to this week’s anime reviews.
WARNING! If you are the kind of fan who blindly worships any anime he enjoys, you might want to go elsewhere. We don’t hesitate to criticize these shows in the snarkiest fashion possible, which means a certain degree of intelligent and critical thought is required to fully appreciate our reviews. If you’re going to accuse us of being haters or trolls merely because we didn’t like one of your favorite shows, just don’t bother. I’m sure a site like Sankaku Complex or 4chan would be more amicable to your tastes.
As reported by Sankaku Complex [NSFW], pre-orders for the October 22 release of the complete Haruhi TV series on Blu-ray have recently gone up on Amazon Japan. With all twenty-eight episodes of Haruhi in high-definition, extra content and English subtitles, it may seem like this is the release fans are waiting for.
But then there’s the price: 30,000 yen (or $338 USD). For eight Blu-ray discs.
The Project Haruhi staff has talked about Japan’s absurd pricing structure multipletimes, but it bears repeating. What the heck are they thinking? Here’s a short list of other stuff you could buy from Amazon Japan for that amount of money:
What makes this frustrating is the actual release is great. It’s something I might like to own, and I’m not even that big of a Haruhi fan. The price, however, kills it for me. The even crazier thing is that, compared to the price of the DVD release of Endless Eight, this Blu-ray release is actually a bargain. Collecting the single-volume release of Endless Eight on DVD would cost the equivalent of $288 USD.
So, now the question is: how many people will actually buy the Blu-ray series? And if it sells poorly, will Kadokawa interpret this as disinterest in the Haruhi franchise instead of a rebellion against outlandish pricing?
Have you ever heard of the uncanny valley theory? It states the following:
As a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong repulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become more distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels. —Wikipedia
Basically, the idea is that we tend to find things that too closely resemble humans, but are clearly not, repulsive. So, for example, a stuffed animal or anime moe girl, due to their stylization, would be considered cute and likeable. A zombie or dollfie, however, would not.
A group of Japanese scientists with the YAMAHA corporation recently debuted their HRP-4C Miimu robot, and decided to dress her up like Hatsune Miku and have her ‘dance’. The result, visible in the video below, falls squarely in the lowest part of the uncanny valley.
Previously posted by Ryoko, we saw K-On! enter the record books with 33,000 Blu-Ray and 8,000 DVD sales for volume one alone. Today we hear of this record being broken by another anime, Bakemonogatari, with over 29,000 Blu-Ray and 15,000 in DVD sales. This lands it at 44,000 total sales to K-On’s 41,000.
Bakemonogatari is an anime by Shaft, now rather well-known for it’s artsy style and 24 minute slideshow for episode 10. Apparently the latter wasn’t enough to label it a lost cause.
As Bakemonogatari is not the moe-blobbery of K-On! and many other recent anime, we can only hope that it’s popularity will serve as a shoe to the hindquarters of the anime industry. So far this information has only been found on Sankaku Complex, so it should be taken with a pinch of salt; but if true then more reliable sources will be available soon.
What better way to show your loyalty to Zeon than snacking on these possibly delicious Char Aznable Spicy Curry Noodles? The noodles mimic Char’s cometary qualities with spicy and red peppers, with just a hint of cheddar cheese flavor thrown in for good measure. They even come with their own reusable glass Zaku II cup!
Although official sales figures for the Endless Eight DVDs are still forthcoming, early indicators seem to reinforce Kadokawa’s pessimism about the much-reviled arc’s market potential. In particular, Akihabara’s various anime-oriented stores have seen low sales, with one employee describing them as “mortal”. Whether or not this will translate into poor sales overall remains to be seen; however, it’s not looking very good at this point.
Despite this, Akiba’s shops still feature a wide variety of colorful Haruhi promotional material, some of it emphasizing the fanservice aspects of the E8 arc. The variety of swimsuit designs featured throughout E8 seems to be a particularly potent selling point. Pictures of a few of these displays can be found below. For a peek inside the actual DVD set itself, check out this post over on Cartoon Leap.
Osaka, which is no stranger to kaiju (giant monster) attacks, has fallen under threat from a new, horrible menace; a unnamed kaiju which takes the form of a rubber duck. This monster was reportedly created by mad scientist artist Florentijn Hofman in France. Although it has been spotted in other cities around the world, this is the first time it has menaced Japan.
It’s no secret that the fan reaction to Endless Eight has been highly negative. A Project Haruhi poll found that 69% of our readers hold a negative opinion of E8 (with 16% classifying it as “an absolute disaster” and 24% saying they didn’t even bother to finish watching the arc). Fans were further disappointed by E8’s ludicrously exorbitant DVD releases, which were priced at ¥6,930 (approximately $72 USD) apiece upon release. As a result of this atrocious marketing strategy, the E8 DVD releases all have very low user ratings on Amazon Japan, averaging around 1.5 stars. Now, Kadokawa seems to be acknowledging that fans may be hesitant to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase a substandard Haruhi filler arc. The following text comes from an interview between Men’s Cyzo and an employee of the “Kadokawa Media Bureau”.
“Even in the company hardly anyone knows why it took eight repeated episodes spread across 4 DVDs with two episodes each in order to unravel the mystery thoroughly. We are aware of the fan reaction, but…”
When asked if the E8 DVD sales could match those of Season 1:
“Well… All that can be said is that it would be nice if they sell, wouldn’t it?”
Given that E8 aired late at night (which ensured low ratings and less advertising revenue), the fiscal success of the new Haruhi season likely rests on these DVD sales. Unfortunately, it seems even Kadokawa does not think their prospects are very good.
This Miku MAD, which features an emo version of everybody’s favorite vocaloid, has been gaining popularity on Nico Nico Douga recently. The visuals are particularly impressive, putting most recent live-action JPop videos to shame.
Riding the impressive wave of Blu-ray sales, K-On! has claimed the record for the most opening-day sales from its previous holder, Code Geass. With 33,000 Blu-rays and 8,000 DVDs under its belt, K-On! has topped Haruhi’s best opening-day record by 1000 sales. When taken in the context of equally impressive television ratings and CD sales, it would seem that Kyoani has created another goldmine.
Despite some opinions as to K-On!’s perceived lack of quality, it seems the franchise is here to stay.