最近はまってることがStar Trek
Wow I really like the Japanese verb はまる. Anyway, lately I've been super into Star Trek: TOS. I used to watch a bunch of Star Trek: TNG reruns back when I was in junior high or high school, but I never got super into TOS. Lately though I'd been seeing so many things about how progressive Star Trek was for its time that I got the urge to watch more of it. So I've pretty much been binge-watching TOS episodes starting from the ones available online and then borrowing the DVDs from the library. ^^

And a couple weeks back I went to an event at a bar with my brother and played the Artemis Spaceship Bridge simulator. It was super fun and I really want to play it again sometime. We got three rounds in. The first two I did weapons and the last round I did science. xD

君も問題ガール 普通になんてなれないでしょう
Oops, I dropped the ball on making a monthly post in February >_< I actually feel like I've been having a few creative sparks recently and there's been stuff I wanted to post about, but I just feel like I have no energy lately. T_T And then I went and got sick last weekend. And now I've been trying to write this post for about a week. orz I just need to finish it tonight.

Anyway, one of the things I've been wanting to post about is the jdrama I'm watching this season! I want to post about it every season, but most of the time the season ends and the next begins before I get around to it. orz Today, though, I'll just be talking about my favorite jdrama this season: Mondai no Aru Restaurant! Because I have a lot to say about it ^^;

I feel like in the past year or two I've been seeing more jdrama with feminist themes, and Mondai no Aru Restaurant is one of them. If I were to describe it in one sentence, I'd say it's about a group of women plus one crossdressing gay man starting a restaurant and fighting the patriarchy. xD What sets Mondai no Aru Restaurant apart for me, though, is all the other jdrama I've seen so far with clear, major feminist themes have ended up (in my opinion) dropping the ball on one issue or another or undermining their own messages in some way, but Mondai no Aru has yet to do that. Yeah, so if it continues on has it has been, Mondai no Aru Restaurant will probably be the best jdrama I've ever watched. ^^

Every character, every storyline, every detail, every hint and piece of foreshadowing, every element of this show works together to create an amazing story. I keep thinking about each episode for weeks after it airs, and I'm always looking forward to the upcoming episodes, to learning more about these great characters and to finding out what happens next in their stories. I could go on and on about it, but one episode that really wowed me was the Valentine's Day episode (episode 5). There are always several different stories going along on any given episode, but for the first few episodes seemed to each focus on a different character's story. The Valentine's Day episode (and Valentine's Day did happen in this episode) seemed to focus on one character getting stalked and hit, but ultimately I feel like it's about her learning her own self-worth, learning to cherish herself and her body more and learning to say no. It didn't really hit me until a little after I watched the episode though, how much it meant that they chose to do that for the Valentine's Day episode. Every time the dude who was stalking her did something that would be considered romantic if he was doing it at someone who actually liked him, they just focused on her face and how horrified she looked. They chose to make the Valentine's Day episode about romance going horribly wrong and hurting someone.

But yeah, the story is just super well-constructed. Watching through it, I feel like there are so many places where a simple line or action from a character is just super meaningful because of their pasts, and I feel like there's a lot of worth in rewatching it because there's a ton of hints at future revelations, too.

Okay, one last thing about Mondai no Aru Restaurant that I really love is that it has one of the best if not just the best representation of an LGB character I've seen in a jdrama. Like, yeah Haiji fits some stereotypes but he's not just a stereotype and he's not there to be laughed at. In fact, when other characters make jokes at his expense, he gets upset and calls them out. Also, they seem to have done a good job understanding the differences between sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender presentation, which, wow, is something mainstream pop culture anywhere I know of has trouble understanding, so good job, Mondai no Aru Restaurant.

感謝のこころ 忘れずに 西へ東へ ジャジャーンと伝えましょう
So back on Wednesday I got my copies of Jipangu Ookini Daisakusen/Yume wo Dakishimete! (lol why are both of the titles long) All 4 versions, with all four clear files.

With Jipangu Ookini Daisakusen, it's like the managed to make a song and music video that's even more Kansai than the previous heavily-Kansai-themed songs. xD At one point I imagined what a Konamon music video would look like, and I figure it'd look a lot like the CG portions of Jipangu Ookini Daisakusen. xD I like Yume wo Dakishimete. Everyone's so well dressed in the music video and everyone looks really cool and hot. ^///^ Also, I like that they put a hat on Kotaki for the video. Kotaki really rocked that hat. But, lol, did someone take inspiration from FIRE BEAT with those fire scenes? It was done well but I immediately thought of FIRE BEAT.

SUPERSTAR may be my favorite song from this single. At least, it's the one I want to listen to over and over again. ^^ The lyrics really fit the story of Again!! (never mind that I've only gotten around to watching like 2 episodes of it) and I always want to sing along with the chorus. for now and forever is a nice cheerful and happy song, though when they performed it on Shokura last week, it didn't leave that strong of an impression. I think because it sounded like they weren't at all used to singing it live. Certain parts of WESTERN PARADE sounded... weird to me... Like they had put the backing vocals too loud and it didn't sound like Johnny's WEST anymore? It's not bad, but... weird. I like Can't stop okay, but it didn't stand out to me compared to the rest of the songs on the single. But, with both Yume wo Dakishimete and Can't stop on this single, and then Criminal from their album... why are all of Johnny's WEST's love songs about unhealthy relationships and/or obsessive love? xD I mean, I know that sort of thing is more entertaining but still. ^^;

Overall, with the range of songs on this single, it sounds like they're trying a good variety of different styles of music.

A major thing I noticed throughout both the makings and just in whatever Johnny's WEST does, is how much they are all over each other. xD They're always casually putting their arms over each other's shoulders or hugging each other out of nowhere. That and how comfortable they are teasing each other (especially Kotaki's "you're my senpai but I'm totally going to mess with you anyway" thing he's been doing ^^) and how easily they play off of each other just makes me so happy to watch them and be a fan. They seem so close and so happy with each other. It's really exactly the kind of group I like. ♥

I have weird hobbies.
Nocchi blue
At an anime/gaming store my brother sometimes goes to, there was a deck-building game that always caught my eye, and Sunday of last week my brother and I finally got someone at the store to demo it for us! The game is Tanto Cuore. A deck-building game about maids. xD (We played with the Vacation expansion for the demo.)

Some random dude in the store walked by us as the employee was setting it up and asked if he could join. We let him, so there were 4 players at the start. It seemed like there was a lot of work the employees needed to do that day and about when we started playing a bunch of people came into the store out of nowhere, so the employee had to step out of the game after we understood the rules. My brother won, but I came in a close second! I really enjoyed the game and decided to buy the original version, but when I get another set, I'll probably want the Vacation expansion, since I liked the mechanics for that and a lot of the maids in that version.

The random dude who joined, us, though... He seemed to be taking a little longer than my brother or I to understand the rules and the game-flow, and yet he kept comparing it to other deck-building games in a way that made it sound like he was complaining about it. -_- And then after we were done and I picked out which version to buy and stand at the register, he was nearby and said stuff like "You should come here more often" and was recommending some other game to me (I wasn't paying enough attention to really hear the name of the game). I was wondering if it was a little mansplain-y, but I'm not sure whether he was directing his comments more towards me or to both my brother and me. *shrugs*

Anyway, overall I felt that it was relatively easy to understand and to get used to the flow of gameplay. It didn't feel overly complicated and the explanation for what each of the cards did was all written fairly clearly on each of the cards. But at the same time there's a lot of possible strategies and you have to combine maid effects well use each of your turns wisely to get a lot of points. So I think it could appeal to a variety of playing styles.

I think compared to other deck-building games though, since it uses a bunch of human characters with names, it adds another layer to it, since you could conceivably think up back stories and personalities for all of them. (Although maybe you could do that with any game? I guess it just depends on what kind of subject matter you like the best.) Or like, it stood out to me because of the cute art and kind of silly subject matter in ways similar games didn't.

I was pretty worried about finding people to play it with (one reason I really wanted to have it demoed before buying it), but I actually got my Dad to play it with my brother and me tonight. He said he enjoyed it, and he actually won. xD

In other recent news, I've been playing a couple of BL visual-novel style games I found for available for smartphones. That's been entertaining. :3

I bought a smartphone
Nocchi blue
Back on Monday I bought a smartphone. I bought it with a pre-paid plan and the phone itself was ony $99 so I think that was pretty good?

Pretty much ever since I heard J-web was available internationally on smartphones I've decided that my next phone would be a smartphone, but I wasn't sure exactly when that would happen. I'd been thinking about moving off of my parents cell phone plan and going to a pre-paid plan, but I'd also been thinking about waiting until I found a new job or moved out before doing it. I haven't found a new job or moved out yet, but my parents still seemed really happy about me moving off their plan. ^^;

So some things I've done on my smartphone so far:

  • Download an app that would let my type in Japanese because it didn't already come built in (although pinyin support was already on there whut)

  • Register on J-web (MOST IMPORTANT THING)

  • Download the twitter app and use that as an excuse to be on twitter more than I had been lately

  • Download LINE and do pretty much nothing except register on it so far

  • Look a little bit at games

  • Try and fail to figure out how to uninstall one of the built in apps

I've been sloooowly reading through available backlogs on J-web. Oh and, I registered on the Japanese version, because that's how I am. It can be really funny how differently different talents write and approach it, like in terms of topic, length, and tone. And, I'm really interested in playing games on my smartphone, but I kind of want to figure out what's good and get recommendations before downloading anything.

So if any of you have any apps (especially game apps) you'd recommend please let me know!

I also bought the Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright game last week, and although I haven't gotten very far in it yet (I'm still hooked on Rune Factory 4 and keep playing that instead xD), I'm really liking it so far! I can't help feeling like it's a little awkward to have Phoenix and Maya voice-acted (I felt the same way about Dual Destinies) since the series hadn't really been voice-acted beyond the brief "objection!" and everything before. :/ But it's also kind of the norm, so it can't be helped.

違う色した7つの光が 重なりあの空に虹をかけるよ
I got Johnny's WEST's first album the week it came out and all and wanted to make a post about it but kept not making the post. But I still really want to post about the album because it's great. So this is a go WEST Yo-i Don! post.

First pictures:
Cut for picturesCollapse )

Second song by song impressions (only covering songs first released on this album):
long orzCollapse )

Last the DVD:
They were the same way in the making video of Ee Ja Nai ka, but I love how much it shows how new and exciting all of this is to them. ♥ And again I constantly get the sense that they're all really close and really comfortable around each other. Ah~ this is why I love making/behind-the-scenes stuff. ♥

Somehow I thought Hama-chan was the cutest throughout. xD Things like not knowing what to do in recording or messing up the title of his favorite song. ^^ Hama-chan's great... and recently it feels like his movements are twice as big as everyone else's when they're performing, so I just end up noticing him and watching him a lot. Akito's still my favorite, though, but Johnny's WEST is very much a group where I like all the members for one thing or another (which is what I like in my groups!).

It's so funny that they only found out what they debut song would be part-way through the shoot for the jacket covers. ^^; But after they found out what the song would be, I don't know if he was joking or serious, but Shige said something like that he thought the debut song would be Konamon and I started thinking about what a Konamon music video wold be like. xD I'm pretty sure it would have be amazing.

The Banzai Yume Mansai video is really pretty and really cool although it was a little hard to follow the vague story they sort of had in the video. ^^ They're really putting a lot of work and effort (and probably money) into Johnny's WEST's music videos so far. It's only the first two videos, still, but they're both really good.

I don't know about them including a dance video for Ee Ja Nai ka, but I guess it'll be useful for anyone who wants to learn the whole dance? although they're not dancing for some parts whatever

Last week I went out to GameStop to preorder the Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney game, and I ended up buying Rune Factory 4 too while I was there. I've been kind of interested in the Harvest Moon/Rune Factory franchise long enough that I'm really glad to finally be playing one of the games. I'm getting really into it. I like how it's kind of part plot driven while also being part spend your time however you want, although I feel like there's too much to do every (in-game) day, though. I also like games with friend-making/romance-pursuing systems. I feel like I need to start making a list of every character's likes and dislikes, though. >_< So much to keep track of. It's also kind of both funny and really cool that there's stats and levels for just about everything you can do in game, from magic and weapons to farming and cooking to bathing and walking. I am finding it a little hard to make enough money to buy the items I want, although that might be partially because I'm a terrible item-hoarder in video games, especially in games with any kind of item creation or item upgrade system. >_<

I haven't felt like watching many dramas this season, with a couple of dramas I just didn't feel like watching after one episodes and a couple other dramas I've been thinking about watching but haven't even gotten around to the first episode of yet. Instead, I've been watching a few anime this season. orz It's been so long since I watched any anime regularly as it came out. I think the second season of Sengoku Basara was probably the last anime I watched as it came out? And that was back in 2010 I think... Anyway, the anime I'm liking the most this season is Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Every episode is so funny that I laugh through the whole thing. It's bad for me to watch it late because then I have to hold in my laughter. ^^;

There is one drama I've been really into this season, though. It's ST. Based on the promo image and the sentence or two of the plot summary I read, I thought it'd be some kind of buddy cop drama, but it's actually a "bunch of people with anxiety disorders solve crimes" drama. I have a lot to say about it, though, so I think I'll talk more about it in another post.

I have a few days off in a row starting tomorrow, so hopefully I can catch up on a couple things I wanted to write posts about.

なあ、どうして? この5人が こうして 共に生きる? 感じてみて 言葉なんていらない
I think it was back on... Thursday? that my copies of Legend Story and my copies of ABC Za 2013 digest came.

Legend StoryCollapse )

I really really like both music videos. If Ebi ever makes a bad or mediocre music video, I will be shocked. They're always so focused on making great performances, it really comes through to the finished product. ♥ And for Legend Story, they even had fans appear again! In the making, with Tottsu talking about how the staff, like the camera people and the lighting people, all the people they work with actually have it the hardest (and in this case, that included the fans who joined in), how Ebi actually have it the easiest, even if it looks like it's hard on them because they're the ones in front of the camera, and with Ebi greeting the fans and saying that this time, they didn't think of them as "fans" but as "costars" appearing with them, I cried some watching the making. ♥

It was really cool that they used the costumes from the drama for the Bokura no Kotae Here We Go video! Although probably partially because of that, it looked so hot, as in, Tottsu looked like he was sweating through all the dance shots. xD And most of the rest of them, their faces at least all looked a little sweaty from time to time.

I think of the songs from the bonus CD this time, BIG STAR made the biggest impression on me. It was kind of like they were telling the story of A.B.C-Z through the song. ♥

Johnny's DensetsuCollapse )

I gotta say, I'm pretty interested in Johnny's history, but! The story of the Johnny's going to America, meeting famous people, and recording songs isn't a piece of Johnny's history I'm all that interested in... I kinda knew it was a story I wasn't particularly interested in when I bought the DVD though, so I knew Part 1 was something I'd have to endure a little. The song and dance performances were all cool though! And it was pretty fun to see Tottsu play so many different characters. xD

It felt like most of the stuff that got cut to make this a "digest" got cut from Part 2... that, is, the parts I was most interested in. >_< I would've liked to see more about Four Leaves and Shounentai, but alas. (Then again, I am sad if Shounentai is brought up without a performance of Kamen Butoukai. I just really like Kamen Butoukai.) The A.B.C-Z legend part was my favorite part, and seeing the part where they showed Hasshi really struggling to keep up and the other members being strict/harsh with him brought tears to my eyes. But one thing I noticed watching the Ebi Legend part... and one thing I notice watching Ebi things in general is... damn do Hasshi and Tottsu stare at each other a lot! xD Like every time they look at each other, it's a long, meaningful look or something! ♥ HashiTotsu ♥

Anyway, overall I'm glad I bought the ABC Za 2013 DVD because I really enjoyed part two of the musical, and the Ebi medleys. The 5 Rings performance alone probably would have made it worth it.

This is a Jewelry Post
Nocchi blue
I went to the Renaissance Faire this past weekend with my family, which means I bought a lot of sweet accessories! I also got some jewelry yesterday that I ordered online, so I figured I'd put all of that into one post.

Image heavyCollapse )

Yokoo nekomimi
Since we're about half-way through the year now, I thought I'd take a look back at the list of fandom Johnny's-related things I hoped would happen this year (see here) and see how things have turned out at the half-way mark.

cut for listCollapse )

Speaking of A.B.C-Z no Ienai yo, that reminds me of an interesting list I found in the July issue of Popolo. There was a whole big section about Johnny's variety shows, including reader rankings, and one of the rankings was "Variety shows you want to see again". The rank was as follows (I'm not familiar with all of these shows, so sorry if I romanize something weird):
1. You Konto Shichainayo
2. Kiss My Fake
3. Gakkou e Ikou
4. Kanpani
5. Arashi no Shukudai-kun
6. Yanyan JUMP
7. Himitsu no Arashi-chan
8. A.B.C-Z no Ienai yo
9. 8ji da J
10. Soukon

I am pretty glad other fans liked A.B.C-Z no Ienai yo enough to list it here. I am also not at all surprised at You Konto Shichainayo making it. I really hope they make it a yearly or semiannual thing! There's a lot of really popular older Johnny's shows on the list too. ♥ The only one I don't get is Kiss My Fake being on there, especially in the #2 spot, since I found that show so boring I stopped watching after a few episodes, but there are a lot of Kisumai fans, and a lot of Kisumai fans would be regular Popolo readers, so *shrugs*.


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