The Old, The New, The Frank, The Untrue: Changing Faces of Japan’s Sex Industry

Prostitution may be (technically) illegal in Japan – it has been since the 1950s – but the sex industry itself is very much alive and kicking. Want to be chatted to by beautiful women or pretty boys over some pricey drinks? The hostess and host clubs have you covered. Feel like being bathed by an attractive lady who uses her naked body to apply the soap? No problem, that’s what soaplands are for. Got a highly specific itch you want to scratch? Get your cosplay and setting fetish needs met down to the last detail at an image club. Some institutions are a bit odder or less infamous than others, however, and Japan’s sex industry is in many ways quite different than it was in the 80s, 90s, or even early 2000s. Continue reading


Anime in Bite-Size: Good Anime Shorts

Sometimes one of the biggest deterrents to watching anime, at least for me, is that I simply don’t have the time or energy to invest in a complicated or long-running story. Sure, I could try and find a light-hearted episodic series, but with a usual run time of just over 20 minutes per episode (assuming you skip the OP and ED), at times even that isn’t feasible.

That’s where anime shorts come in. While you wouldn’t necessarily think a show with only a few minutes per episode would have the room to tell a decent story, let alone one with any particular emotional depth, the below titles are proof that such a thing is definitely possible. From comedy to good ol’ slice-of-life, drama to fantasy and even horror, here are some titles that make the absolute most of their short episode length to deliver stories that are both well-written and entertaining. Continue reading

Anime Taste Testing: Summer 2017 (Part II)

On the last exciting episode of Anime Taste Testing, Dive!! was awful, Konbini Kareshi was boring, and Katsugeki Touken Ranbu still wasn’t the decent game-to-anime adaptation we all dreamed about finally getting. That still left a few titles on my weekly watch-list though, including the new addition of The Reflection. Read on to see my latest impressions for seven different shows and then feel free to either laud or laugh at my opinions in the comments. Continue reading

Really That Bad?: Hand Shakers

You voted. We watched. This is the second instalment of a series of conversations between Watson and myself about anime that have, for whatever reason, been deemed as worthy contenders for the title of Worst Anime of All Time.

As stated last time around with Mirage of Blaze, our goal is not to criticize unpopular anime just for the sake of it, but rather to have a real discussion (yet hopefully still an entertaining one) about what makes any given show work/not work, and whether or not it’s truly deserving of the widespread condemnation it’s received from viewers.

So sit back, enjoy, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions in the comments. Continue reading

Dear Japan…

As many readers of Otaku Lounge may be aware, this is now my second stint living in Japan. I got my first full-time job here, lived completely alone for the first time here, and have basically come to think of it as my second home; I couldn’t possibly list every single thing I like about it. That said, no country is perfect, and there are definitely things about Japan that sometimes rub me the wrong way. Continue reading

Misadventures in Japanese Doramas (Part II)

As the title suggests, this post is the second installment of a (possibly still ongoing) series in which I attempt to further my experience in the scary world of Japanese live-action TV dramas. They’re basically uneducated mini-reviews of some of the doramas I’ve tried out over the past couple of years, in the hopes of getting a better idea of what doramas are like and what I think about them in general. Last time I took a look at Hana Yori Dango, Gokusen, and Massan, and this time around I have three more titles to add to the steadily growing pile. As with my previous post, they’re listed only in the order I watched them. Continue reading

Misadventures in Japanese Doramas (Part I)

It probably comes as no surprise to readers of Otaku Lounge that, alongside anime, I also consume other forms of Japanese pop culture. I listen to a lot of Japanese music, watch a decent number of live-action Japanese films, read some Japanese novels here and there, and very occasionally dabble in light novels and manga. However, I’ve had comparatively little experience with Japanese live-action TV, and decided a few years ago that this was something I should probably remedy – admittedly mostly out of a kind of morbid curiosity, since I loathe soap operas and was pretty sure I’d be getting the Japanese equivalent. Continue reading

Really That Bad?: Mirage of Blaze

You voted.
We watched. This is the first installment of what will likely be a series of articles conversations between Watson and I about anime that have, for whatever reason, been deemed as worthy contenders for the title of Worst Anime of All Time.

To be clear, the aim here isn’t simply to bash unpopular anime but instead to have a genuine (yet hopefully still entertaining) discussion about what makes any given show work/not work, and whether or not it’s deserving of such condemnation. For this reason, we’ll be striving to look at each anime on its own terms and not comparing it with any other title, regardless of any similarities or associations. So sit back, enjoy, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions in the comments. Continue reading

Kawaii Minus Gender: Genderless Kei

It’s been a long time since I last posted anything on Japanese street fashion, and of all the fashion-focused articles I have posted here on Otaku Lounge, all but one of them have been concerned primarily with women. After all, the vast majority of Japanese street fashions and subcultures have traditionally been dominated by female-centric styles: lolita, gyaru, mori girl, and plenty of others. Genderless kei – whose male participants have been gaining the lion’s share of media and fan attention – is changing that landscape. Continue reading