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Dated 7 November 2016: I wonder if people are arguing over whether or not Nyanbo! is anime

Shiro and Kotora
Wait. They're basically standing in a giant toilet.

Nyanbo! is sort of anime, and sort of Yotsuba&!, but sort of neither. Specifically, it's CGI boxes who are cats integrated into real-world settings, sometimes with real cats, and sometimes with real boxes. Either way, it's an amusing short with some neat visual gags. It also has Horie Yui and Kugimiya Rie voicing boxes who are cats. Or are they cats who are boxes? I'm not really sure. Romi Park is in this too, so it's basically Fullmetal Alchemist except with boxes who are cats. And because Sanpei Yuko and Takeuchi Junko are also in it, it's also sort of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 as well.

Sabatora and Kitijora
Technically, Nyanbo! is also an idol anime.

In either case, it's totally worth your time if you care at all about photography, cats, or boxes. Because of the characters' scale, nearly every shot involves high-resolution close-ups of neat-looking things and places. It's not quite macro photography, but the show looks great. It's definitely worth watching the 1080 version over the lower-resolution choices. The cats who are boxes who are cats also yammer back and forth and have amusing little adventures. Do you need any more from a five-minute short?

Dated 22 April 2013: Spring 2013: I've dropped six shows already

Iwai
Hair Pornography ~The Animation~.

Remember when I said I drop fewer shows these days because I'm less likely to start something I'm not sure I'll enjoy? Yeah, that went out the window this season. At present, I am following eight currently airing shows (not counting Detective Conan) and have already given up on six other shows. Specifically, I've stopped watching Red Data Girl, Dansi Bunri Crime Edge, Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, Photokano, and Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko.

Izumiko
Those are some glasses.

There's not anything particularly wrong with Red Data Girl, except that I just didn't find it very interesting. It's the kind of show that requires some commitment on the part of the viewer to actively attempt to unravel the intricacies during the journey to some final revelation, but I just can't quite seem to care about the spirits and folklore. I feel as if I should be watching it on general principle, since it is different from the usual retreads and low-brow fare. I gave up after episode three, but I'll start it up again if I hear enough people insist that Red Data Girl turns out to be incredible later. Oh, and I guess technically it's called RDG Red Data Girl.

Iwai and Kiri
At least he was careful with the scissors.

Dansi Bunri Crime Edge is preposterous. I knew that ahead of time, but it really is just too silly for me to continue watching. I guess the problem is it is silly-stupid not silly-funny. For example, Valvrave the Liberator is also silly, but I'm still watching it because it leans towards silly-funny. And while Dansi Bunri Crime Edge does not take itself entirely seriously, there is a certain lack of bemusement as the characters experience events that are simply ridiculous, even in a setting as absurd as the Crime Edge one. I gave up after episode three even though I'm a big fan of hair porn.

Muromi
Muromi is sort of racist.

I stopped watching Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san for no particular reason except that it just wasn't my sort of thing. I mean, it's fine, but you sort of have to be in the mood for its jokes to work. Being a half-length show, it doesn't exactly require much of a commitment to begin with, but I don't really feel like watching a show about wacky mermaid antics every week. Three episodes was enough.

Miura
Yumiko Miura and Fate Testarossa should hang out.

I can't help but think of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru as a Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai clone. This is probably because I dropped Bokutomo about the same time people started to act insufferably superior for truncating it as Haganai instead. So I've only a superficial understanding of I Don't Have Many Friends to begin with. Because RomCom SNAFU—or whatever nonsense we're supposed to call Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru—also features a club of self-described loners, watching it makes me think I've been tricked into resuming a series I abandoned in 2011. Worse yet, I at least sort of still liked the Bokunai characters when I dropped the show. With Yahari Something Something, I definitely like the "popular" twats in the school a lot more than our unsociable, bitter, cynical protagonists. I managed three episodes.

Takashi and Itta
I was already prepared to despise these guys on general principle.

I wanted to like Photokano. All it needed to do was sort of be like Amagami SS with just a little bit of a spine and the solid cast of seiyuu would sort the rest out. How bad could it be? I'm going to break from my normal position here to directly mention some spoilers, but rest easy that they are only spoilers if you are really new to anime, because Photokano doesn't break any new ground—or at least it didn't during its first three episodes. First of all, Potato-kun is only an aspiring photographer because his father gave him his old digital SLR. He's not someone with an actual interest in photography, such as Kosuda from B Gata H Kei. It turns out there are two photography-related clubs at his school: One's a group of irritating asshole stalkers, and the other is comprised of probably-pretty-cool girls. Guess which club Potato-kun joins? Go on. Guess. These other guys in his club have the dubious distinction of being even more annoying than the yahoos in Kaoru's photography club from Ai Yori Aoshi. At least Kaoru's club had a guy obsessed with trains.

Haruka, Takashi, Kazya, and Itta
Those are some contrivances.

Photokano also basks in the most tired and unlikely anime cliches, such as the mid-air collision kiss. The Ga Rei manga featured a mid-air collision kiss, but it presented it as an absurd chain of events for comedic effect. In Photokano, the incident is without irony and offered as just one of those serendipitous (?) moments caused by the irregular rules of anime gravity. I should have figured out before the three-episode mark that I would be better off just waiting for other people to post Photokano screenshots instead of actually watching the show.

Azusa, Youta, and Tsukiko
You are a craven douche, Potato-kun.

I knew I would drop Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko because I was unimpressed with the manga. If anything, the anime is worse because Potato-kun is annoying as all get-out. Not only is he one of those anime characters who flusters extremely easily, causing him to yammer excitedly in a wet panic, he's excruciatingly voiced by Kaji Yuki (the pig from Accel World), who is already bad enough as Ellen in the (otherwise excellent) Shingeki no Kyoujin. I acknowledge that Henneko is remarkably popular, but surely its fans simply have much higher Kaji Yuki tolerances than I do, or they're drawn to the flat (ha! I kill me) expressionless girl. Yukarin is in this too, but she's wasted here in my opinion. I only managed two episodes.

Dated 13 January 2013: Drinking to GIRLS und PANZER

Tea
For some reason Nagato Yuki owns a tea set and I don't.

I'm not sure if this really counts as anime product placement, but I bought some Darjeeling tea because of GIRLS und PANZER. It's pretty good, but I don't know if it's fifty-dollars-a-pound good. I don't have any tea cups, so I had to use an espresso mug. I also had to measure the temperature of the water with a thermometer I normally use for meat. Close enough, right?

Dated 12 December 2012: The fourth monitor

Yuuko
The original plan was six monitors. Now it seems excessive.

There's a space because that's where I mounted the center speaker.

There's a Chihaya because I didn't have another suitable image of Yuuko handy, at least not in 1920x1200.

[Update 2: I hid the previous three-monitor setup so well I forgot about it.]

[Update 3: All four monitors are 24" 1920x1200 IPS panels. One Dell U2410 (good monitor, but I hate the control buttons so much), one HP ZR24w (which won't do 1:1 1080, by the way), and two Dell U2412.]

[Update 4: Minor adjustment.]

Ayanami desk

Dated 4 December 2012: There's a reason for this

Sigg Steelworks flask
Okay, so it's not a hat.

It's because it's December 4th.

Dated 10 August 2012: It doesn't take Meitantei Conan to figure out who killed Yui's Gitah

Mio, Mugi, Azusa, Ritsu, and Yui
Not depicted: Bewildered patrons wondering why
people keep taking pictures of these tables.

What is Anime Tourism? Is it when anime fans make pilgrimages to real-life locales depicted in anime (see, for example, the Lucky Star Hajj), or is it when anime characters venture beyond their usual stomping grounds as tourists themselves? Maybe it's both. This installment features London, England, as depicted in the K-On! movie and in a series of Detective Conan episodes from 2011.

The River Thames
The River Thames
Welcome to London. It may appear slightly different than it does in anime.

Both K-On! and Detective Conan appear to be beneficiaries of an impressive amount of meticulous research. They accurately depict their locales while making only minor changes to avoid impeding their viewers' ability to identify certain settings. Some locations are simple yet still iconic and thus were shown virtually unchanged, such as this shot of the K-On! girls in the London Underground:

Azusa, Yui, Ritsu, Mugi, and Mio
Aldgate East
Upper: Azusa, Yui, Ritsu, Mugi, and Mio at the Aldgate East station.
Lower: Actual photo from the London Underground.

Of course, simple locations are not going to impress most viewers, nor encourage much anime tourism. Contrast this with the brief shot of the Tea Time band entering The Troubadour. A few seconds of film inspired enough visitors that the management now displays a K-On! poster in the window with a Japanese-language menu alongside its awards and positive reviews.

Mio, Azusa, Mugi, Ritsu, and Yui
The Troubadour
Upper: Mio, Azusa, Mugi, Ritsu, and Yui in front of The Troubadour.
Lower: Photo of the actual coffee house on Old Brompton Road.

As you can see, inconvenient trees and light poles occasionally get removed, and the scale sometimes gets changed to better fit a scene. For example, the rooms at 221B Baker Street are much more cramped than they appear in Detective Conan.

Sherlock Holmes museum
Sherlock Holmes museum
The interior of the Sherlock Holmes museum on 221B Baker Street.

Curiously, the K-On! girls also visit 221B Baker Street and pose for a picture, but appear to blow straight through the famous Abbey Road crossing without noticing. Had it been summertime, perhaps they would have been alerted by the crowds of tourists endangering their lives and making a general nuisance of themselves by playing in traffic.

Ritsu, Mugi, Yui, Mio, and Azusa
Abbey Road
Ritsu, Mugi, Yui, Mio, and Azusa cross Abbey Road on a quiet day.

I suppose the absence of crowds is a reasonable liberty in an anime movie. Anime "filming on location" generally seems to assume a best case scenario. Although blue skies are at least plausible in Ran's case since she visited London in July, the K-On! movie's depiction of the weather over Westminster Bridge during the colder months is somewhat optimistic.

Ran
Detective Conan episode 617.
Westminster Bridge
K-On! movie.
Westminster Bridge
There aren't crowds in Ran's shot because it's 9PM.

So how is the K-On! movie itself? I don't actually like K-On!, having dropped the series early in its run, but K-On! is a juggernaut almost inescapable for anime fans. So despite only watching four of its 40 episodes, I still know quite a bit about the show and the characters (although my Twitter joke pretending to mistake Ui for Yui's mother flopped), making the movie quite accessible. I have to admit it's a good movie, and the K-On! characters are more agreeable now that they're better established. In many respects, the K-On! movie is a journey. The characters travel from Japan to London and then proceed to explore the city, but it's also a journey in the sense that the movie is very much about the graduating members of the light music club searching for the appropriate way to hand it over to Azusa. Neither are journeys the way Monster is a journey, but they effectively take advantage of the opportunities a feature-length project has to offer. There is a palpable sense of bewilderment and wonder as Mio, Mugi, Ritsu, Yui, and Azusa wander around London, and the movie presents numerous opportunities for the viewer to see and experience it from their points of view.

Jubilee Gardens
Yui
Jubilee Gardens glows with the benefit of Yui-vision.

The unusually long London arc of Detective Conan episodes in 2011 is also a journey in both these literal and metaphorical senses. With regard to the metaphorical portion, the London arc advanced a fairly significant step in the relationship between Ran and Shinichi. From the literal perspective, Conan, Kogoro, Ran, and Professor Agasa race around the city collecting clues in order to stop a mad bomber, although the transitions are not as finely executed in these moments as they are in the K-On! movie. In the Detective Conan episodes, the characters seemingly pop up at various spots the story deems appropriate. Many of these cuts lack any real consideration as to how the characters got there, and some scenes ignore minor concerns that don't actually affect the plot. For example, Ran's fortuitous encounter with Minerva Glass at the base of the Sherlock Holmes statue outside the Baker Street Underground station (around the corner and a short distance away from the entrance to the Sherlock Holmes museum) advances the story, but doesn't necessarily comport with the traveling she does that day. The K-On! movie is much better at depicting travel around the city, and ensuring the corresponding scenes are generally geographically consistent; fans could potentially recreate much of the movie by tracing Hokago Tea Time's steps.

Ritsu, Mio, Yui, Mugi, and Azusa
Steps at the end of Westminster Bridge
This scene needed more pickpockets.

So am I actively advocating Anime Tourism? You mean like going to various locations around the world such as Italy or France or, well, countless places in Japan strictly for the purpose of seeing the 3D versions of 2D sites? Well, no, but if you're going to be in the area anyway, load up some screenshots on a portable device for comparison's sake. It's an interesting exercise in augmented unreality.

Dated 3 June 2012: I bought an Olympus PEN series camera because of Canaan

Olympus PEN E-P1
People who subscribe to the RSS feed saw this already.

For a digital camera, the Olympus PEN E-P1 is quite old already—practically ancient. It doesn't even have a built-in flash, and there are a number of four-thirds cameras that are quite a bit better. Nevertheless, I bought one anyway because it was pretty inexpensive and being "ancient" was part of its appeal.

Maria
That coat won't shelter your camera or your idiot hair, Maria.

I almost certainly chose the E-P1, however, because it is the modern equivalent of the Olympus Pen series half-frame 35mm camera depicted prominently in Canaan. As an anime series, Canaan is pretty flawed, but I guess as a product placement vehicle it's fairly effective. I could also go for some Pizza Hut right about now.

Dated 20 April 2010: The real star of B Gata H Kei

Yamada Chika
No, not her.

Don't get me wrong. Through three episodes of B Gata H Kei, Yamada is wonderful. I'm certainly rooting for her and Kosuda to figure out they like either other. Maybe it's the deretsun trope reversal, or maybe it's the way Yamada appreciates the things Kosuda does for her—appreciates them enthusiastically, to her little sister's despair. It must be traumatizing having the bedroom next door to Yamada's.

Nihon F3
Kosuda's SLR.

The real star of B Gata H Kei is Kosuda's camera. All his photography club jazz makes me want to buy a Nikon F3 even though I haven't touched any of my film cameras in years. Somehow it's endearing when B Cup sports product placement and base when K-On! does it. Even if B Gata H Kei is about challenging double standards, I still have my prejudices.

Yamada views Kosuda's photograph
Yamada views Kosuda's photograph.

I am glad to see B Gata H Kei take the time to develop a character's gimmick into a Honey and Clover-type moment where Yamada wonders what it's like to see the world through Kosuda's eyes, albeit briefly. Now if only she would simply realize how he sees her. I'm getting Hatsukoi Limited flashbacks.