Moving Country, Back Soon-ish

Well, four years have come and gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye, and I’m now leaving Japan to return to New Zealand. I’ll only be home in NZ for a couple months before heading off to my next adventure in yet another country, but updates on Otaku Lounge will continue while I’m there nonetheless. For right now though, I’ll be taking a short break from blogging as I undergo the physical process of moving, and will be back with fresh content in September. Thank you everyone for your continued support. See you on the other side!

– Artemis


Anime Taste Testing: Summer 2016 (Part II)

orange anime
Normally I’d be doing this closer to the season halfway point, but as I now have only a few days before moving house/country, I wanted to post this up beforehand. This’ll probably be my final proper post on Otaku Lounge before going dark for a couple weeks, but hopefully I won’t be gone too long. Continue reading

Watson Watches: Ranma ½

ranma 1/2
Welcome to the fourth article of Watson Watches (the Retro Edition). If you’re reading this and have no idea what I’m talking about, this is the follow-up series to a bunch of interview-style articles published in 2014. The idea was to introduce Watson – who at that point was completely new to anime – to some specific titles and then ask him some potentially interesting questions. We’re doing the same thing this time around but with one important difference: all the anime I’ll be getting Watson to watch were released before 2000. Continue reading

Anime Taste Testing: Summer 2016

header Mononokean
If we’re going by sheer numbers then this season is already far superior to the last for me – which is actually unfortunate, since I’ll soon have to put all anime and other media to one side for a couple of weeks as the time to move country approaches. That said, I’ve managed to get through all the new anime releases that sounded even remotely interesting, so might as well get at least the first of these posts out while I still can. Just a quick note that all of the following impressions other than for ReLIFE (which was released all at once) is based on the first episode only. Continue reading

Pachinko: Gambling the Legal Way in Japan

It’s the weekend and I’m doing a little aimless window shopping around Matsuyama’s covered arcade (shōtengai) area. There are plenty of people out and about but this is Shikoku, where even the largest city would still be considered fairly quaint and even quite peaceful by Tokyo or Osaka standards; I’m therefore still able to identify the various background tunes coming from nearby stores. That is before a pair of doors to my right slide open at least and the sudden onslaught of sound drowns out everything within a half-mile radius. It washes over me along with a visible cloud of cigarette smoke and – lucky me! – I realize I happen to be standing right next to one of the shōtengai’s several pachinko parlors. Continue reading

Good Japanese Live-Action Films

attack on titan film

Yeah, that’s my face whenever I see most Japanese live-actions films too.

It’s pretty easy to critique the Japanese live-action film industry. While the number of domestic products being made has steadily increased over the past couple of decades, comparatively few of them have made enough money to be deemed mainstream hits while many struggle to even recoup production costs. It’s an industry riddled with earnest but terrible acting (because flavour-of-the-week models, TV personalities, musicians and idol group members are often hired in place of professional actors) and littered with a huge amount of derivative content (since so many films are based on flavour-of-the-week anime and manga franchises aimed squarely at already-established fanbases). In terms of available budgets and overall quality, the Japanese film industry simply cannot be compared to its American counterpart. Continue reading

Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2016 (Part II)

tanaka ohta
I know I say every season that I plan on being ruthless and dropping a lot if shows fail to impress me, but I guess I must have really meant it this time because holy crap I’ve dropped a ton. Fifteen shows originally went in to my weekly watch-list trials. Only five of them are still around. Ouch. Continue reading

Watson Watches: Sailor Moon

sailor moon cast
Welcome to the third article of Watson Watches (the Retro Edition). As a brief intro to anyone reading this series for the first time, this is actually the follow-up to a bunch of interview-style articles published in 2014. The idea was to introduce Watson – who at that time knew almost nothing about anime and had never watched it himself – to some specific titles and then ask him some hopefully interesting questions about them. This current series is basically the same thing but with one unifying factor: all the anime I’ll be getting Watson to watch were released before 2000.

Just for fun, we’re also going in reverse chronological order. Previously we tackled the 1995 landmark show Evangelion, and this week we’re going with another hugely popular title that even non-anime fans have probably at least heard of: 1992’s Sailor Moon. As usual, Watson watched everything on his own and was told not to look up anything online beforehand. The following questions were given to him afterwards. (Note that as Sailor Moon contains a ton of filler, we ended up agreeing that he watch the episodes introducing each of the main characters – for reference, that’s episode 1, 8, 10, 25, 33, and 34 of the original Japanese version.) Continue reading

Bathing in Japan

japan monkey onsen
I try not to make sweeping generalizations – particularly when it comes to cultures that I may take part in but am not strictly part of – but I think it’d be pretty fair to say that Japan really likes its baths. My students’ reactions when I told them that in New Zealand, most people tended to shower rather than bathe every day (and in the morning no less!), their reaction was a unanimous “WHAAAAT?” (Well, okay, it was actually “EEEEEHHH?”, but the sentiment was roughly the same.) Continue reading