Category Archives: Editorial

MadFest Brisbane ’18: Why it was the party of the Year!

I know I am jumping the gun by claiming that this event is the ‘Party of the Year’ in June, but that is exactly how I feel, and really still feeling. MadFest Brisbane 2018 has left the greatest impression on me. It was such an incredible convention that because I was so busy having fun, I actually didn’t get much footage. I do have some videos, which gives a little taste of what the event was like.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC6FLb5T3PE[/embedyt]

So I thought I would give my top five moments of MadFest Brisbane..

The Cosplayers

Oh my goodness didn’t Brisbane go all out this year. The amount of cosplayers in comparison to last year was unbelievable. Nearly 70% of the crowd was in cosplay and it was just awesome. I noticed that so many people were going up to other people and complimenting each other on their craft, taking pics and just having fun with it. What was really impressive was how talented people are making these costumes. When it comes to cosplay at a con, Brisbane has really set the benchmark as this being the con to show off and have fun with the cosplay.

The Guests

This to me was one of the big motivations for me to travel across from the other side of the country was indeed the guests. Having J Michael Tatum and Yui Ishikawa as the voice over guests and their entertaining panels/Q&A with the fans was a real treat. Tatum’s panels were hilarious and Ishikawa’s was wonderful. My favourite guests were indeed the cosplay guests, in particular BaoBao, the international cosplay guest who was by far one of the nicest people around. It was fantastic for the fans to be able to meet these guests and have some time interacting with them, particularly Tatum with him participating in the Black Butler fan group photoshoot and BaoBao spending time chatting and interacting with fans.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohPj6BtXXv4[/embedyt]

The Atmosphere.

IT WAS ELECTIRC!! I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it was. It legitimately felt like we were all at one big party celebrating anime. Everyone was welcoming, friendly and kind to each other. The real party atmosphere happened on Sunday were people were more than happy to get up and dance. The amount of random dance gatherings that just happened with heaps of random people is something I have not seen at a con in well ever. People were making friends, inviting people to join in conversations, looking out for each other, being extremely supportive of dance acts when they were on the stage. For me, I truly hope that this is something that carries over into all the other MadFest events because Brisbane has shown us what fun can be like at a con.

Click here to see some of the random dancing 

The Movie Screenings

Weren’t we all the lucky ones that were able to attend these screenings, in particular Maquia. It was a full house with everyone just there to enjoy the film. There is something about being in a crowd with all anime fans watching a film, there is nothing like it. The screenings have become a real must go to event for me when I attend a MadFest event.

The Hospitality 
The staff and volunteers of MadFest deserve a medal for putting on such an incredible event, making sure that it ran smoothly and according to script. Although we don’t see what is happening behind the scenes, what was delivered to us, the fans was just perfect. Volunteers were kind and very helpful and the staff were more than happy to interact and engage with the patrons.

 

Anime fans of Australia, there is no excuse anymore. MadFest was an absolute blast, I am still suffering withdrawal from the event and legit counting down the days till September where I can be in Melbourne for the final one of 2018.

What’s been happening! Just an update!

Hello Japandaman Fam!

So, you might have noticed that the site has been rather….quiet of late. To be completely honest with you all we have just been incredibly busy in our every day lives (doing our jobs, etc) that we have somewhat neglected the site.

But that is going to change. 

From this week I am back to posting thoughts, reviews, and all things anime. It’s only fair as we don’t want to see this fantastic site (and community) die. I will be doing some ‘Anime Rewinds’ again as I have had some people ask me to get back to writing them (SORRY!!!).  I will also try to keep up with the facebook social page a bit more as well as Japandaman himself.

I will also be attending the second Madman Anime Festival for 2018 (MadFest) in Brisbane and having a look around. I will be live streaming on both the Facebook page for Japandaman as well as using my personal twitter which Japandaman will link to you guys. Needless to say we are back to what we love doing, bringing you fun content. ^_^

Anyway..Love you guys and can’t wait to start delivering the goods again! 😛

Farrah

Anime Rewind: Kokoro Connect

Ever watch an anime and felt like questioning your own personal existence? I felt like that just recently watching ‘Kokoro Connect’

So a couple of nights ago I was scanning through the dub catalogue on ‘HiDive’ the new anime streaming service from Sentai Filmworks that has hit the scene and I was curious to see what titles they had available for international audiences. I will admit I am extremely impressed with what is available for fans to enjoy. Like AnimeLab this streaming service is completely user friendly and gives fans a good back catalogue of dub titles.

So on my lookout for something to watch I came across ‘Kokoro Connect’ and I was somewhat intrigued. So I got started on the series and from the first two episodes I was completely and totally hooked.

The anime premiered in 2012 producing 13 episodes that was directly simulcasted and four more episodes (OVAS) that were released after. The story involved five high school friends who are club members of the ‘Student Cultural Club’. However a supernatural being going under the name ‘Heartseed’ who takes up host in the club’s teaching representative Mr Goto creates phenomenons for the club members to test their friendships and themselves on a personal level.

Sounds confusing? It does seem ridiculously far fetched, however the plot moves along and you become drawn to the characters within the story. Each main character is a reflection of what the average teenager growing up in high school would be. But what this anime decides to do is show that not everything is as it seems and that there is always more to each person on a deeper level. We see that not everything is perfect and normal, that people can have issues or struggling in silence and no one would have any idea about it. It is an anime that forces the audience to open their eyes and reflect.

What was a draw card for me was that throughout this journey of learning about each other and developing a strong friendship is that these friends were put through a test to see whether or not their friendships were strong enough and that they themselves were just as strong personally. It also makes you think ethically about situations. One in particular where the friends had to decide whether or not they would let their friend die or would they take their place. It purposefully shows the strength that a person would have to go through to even come up with that particular decision.

In terms of animation and soundtrack, this anime just got it. The subtle comedy and drama intertwines beautifully and the pacing of the show makes sure it covers what it needs to cover. I love that this had a solid ending and that any loose ends would be cleared up by the very last episode. I won’t go into too much of a spoiler however I believe this was one show that managed to leave me completely satisfied with its ending.

So if you love shows that challenge your own perceptions, has a bit of drama, some silly moments and great characterisation and animation then this is the show for you. If you are a dub fan I highly recommend it as you have the likes of Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, Luci Christian and Emily Neves just to name a few lending their voices to this dub. They give the characters a life that they deserve.

I definitely will go back and watch this series again because I feel I have missed some important points but also because the show has a charm that I was not expecting. I would give this show a 4.5/5 purely because I just enjoyed it and found myself binging on episodes because I just wanted to find out more.

The show is available on dvd and blu ray from Hanabee but can be streamed right now on HiDive and Crunchyroll.

Japandaman Dot Com Launches Patreon

Just in case you missed it on the front page, and all the other pages on the right hand column, Japandaman is now on Patreon! Don’t worry, we’re not asking for a lot and we won’t start charging for content. It’s all about showing us some appreciation and saying thank you by parting with $1…that’s it. If you want to give more, that’s cool as well but a buck says thank you and we in return keep cranking out awesome content and new segments that you love and keep coming back for.

Here’s the all important link: JAPANDAMAN PATREON

Anime Rewind: Bokura Ga Ita

Late one evening I got extremely frustrated thinking ‘What articles could I possibly come up with for Japandaman?’ I was struggling to find my writing muse and I was somewhat getting tired of reading reviews of the latest anime that hasn’t even been out for three weeks. Already the ‘experts’ are chiming in claiming what we all should be and should not be watching. So I decided to turn on my television and not watch anime and just see what else was on. As I was searching through the smart TV apps I came across one called ‘Viewster’, naturally of course my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to look through the app to see if there was anything of interest on it. To my surprise this app was designed for gamers and anime fans alike. The anime catalogue was surprising, having a lot of classic/mid 00’s anime series in complete all for free. This is where I had that lightbulb moment, I thought ‘Hey Farrah, why don’t you do an anime review series on shows that we seem to have forgotten like the classics that people might not have seen?’ Thus, ‘Anime Rewind’ is born. A new review series from myself where I will look back at anime that might have slipped the cracks and give my opinion on whether or not to watch it.

I start my first review on ‘Bokura Ga Ita’ or as known in English ‘We were there’.

The story itself is a love story. We are introduced to Nanami Takahashi, a teenage girl who is starting her first year of high school who wants to make as many friends as she can. She comes across Motoharu Yano, the popular boy at school. Nanami absolutely detests him as he is completely superficial and so full of himself. As time goes on Nanami develops feelings for Motoharu and in return so does he for Nanami. The pair are in love but the circumstances surrounding their relationship is influential to whether or not their love could survive. Motoharu, still deeply affected from his ex-girlfriend death had become the base of all the issues that he is facing. The anime deals with first love, depression, relationship drama, death and much, much more.

The animation style is unique. Although it is not to the standard that majority of anime is like today, the style has its own way of telling the story. This might not be to the taste of many anime fans, however I really enjoyed the completely different style that this anime managed to take. The soundtrack is the winning factor for me. The music itself manages to tell the story and captivate the viewer. I found myself many times going onto YouTube just so I can go and listen to the soundtrack over and over again. The depth of the story and the characters is amazing. There is no other way I can describe it other than that. This was the first anime series in a very long time to take me on an emotional journey. I found myself drawn to the characters and felt their pain and sadness from the situations that they were facing. It is definitely the anime to make you feel. It will make you cry, it will make you emotional drained, but if that is your thing than this is definitely the anime for you. If I had to compare it to an anime series it is on par with ‘Your lie in April’ however this one actually makes you feel like you have been stabbed in the heart with a knife.

Definitely give this anime a go, if you are looking for something that will make you cry and something on the romantic side, then this is the one for you. The series is a long one with about 25 episodes. It anime does unfortunately end at the end of their high school journey, but the remaining story is continued in the form of the manga and also live action film (which was absolutely amazing). The anime can be found on the free mobile/smart TV app ‘Viewster’ and its free.

Bokura Ga Ita on Viewster will take you directly to the episodes

I rate it 4/5.

The times of Anime Streaming: A look at the different platforms available to Aus/NZ fans!


If you are an anime fan there is no doubt that we are living in what I would consider ‘the Golden era’. We are currently living in the time where we are able to access all the latest and greatest anime directly from Japan. Thanks to the wonders of technology and streaming platforms gone are the days where we would have to rely on trips down to the local video store (fun fact: they don’t even exist anymore) to get out a singular DVD (or if you are my age a VCR tape) to watch a grand maximum of three episodes and then having to wait at least three months (if not more) to get the next episodes. With the release of Funimation streaming service here in Australia and New Zealand I figured it would be the perfect time to take a look at some of our legal anime streaming providers here in Australia and New Zealand.

Crunchyroll

To me this was the original streaming platform that provided us anime fans with the access to all the anime we could get our hands on. Crunchyroll has become the ‘King Kong’ in the anime streaming industry with allowing fans access to all the latest anime directly streaming on their site. With the many choices for fans to choose from the only downfall with this service is if you are a dub fan there are not many choices for fans, if any at all. The app itself on your mobile device is decent. It allows you to stream directly onto your device and is pretty straightforward for the occasional viewer. Streaming through the website is good, but not great. It does get complicated at times, as well as the quality of videos do not stream as well as it should. Having Crunchroll is in my opinion vital. It does cost more than it’s competitors, however you are definitely getting your value for money in regards to simulcasts from Japan.
I rate this service 4/5

AnimeLab


This is the service to own in Australia and New Zealand. If you want reliable and easy to access anime then look no further than AnimeLab. This service is the first streaming platform from Madman Entertainment and it has delivered exactly what they promoted. The web and app layouts make it super easy and user friendly for anyone to use. AnimeLab had recently added movies to their websites adding titles such as ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’, Children Who Chase Lost Voices’ and ‘Wolf Children’ to name a few make this a service to rival any other streaming service. The beauty of AnimeLab is that they have been adding classics that have not been seen on other legal anime streaming platforms such as the much acclaimed ‘Death Note’ that make them stand out from the rest. The addition of the latest anime of simulcast season is the thing to note as in recent times it has been slow, but the latest titles that have been added are some that are not to be missed. Although their library seems to be small now, the anime is adding up onto the site thanks to additions of classic and well as new titles. It is very affordable for people that might be interested in taking on a premium membership.
I rate this service 4.5/5

FunimationNow

The latest anime streaming site to join the battle royale of streaming sites in Australia. This is the go to place for dubs, no question about it. If you are a dub fan then this is the site you need to invest in. With the Crunchyroll partnership the site is working on producing more dubs for fans and aiming to have dubs being released the same day as it is being released in Japan. The latest title to take on this challenge is ‘My Hero Academia’ season two which is now currently streaming on Funimation. The layout on both the website and mobile app is unfortunately very confusing, it is very difficult for fans to find shows and also the catalogue offered to Australia/New Zealand fans is not the same as offered to the U.S market. As it is a new service it will definitely take time to establish, but they are definitely giving their competitors a run for their money, as they are currently the cheapest service.
I rate this service 3/5

I could discuss Netflix into this mix, however as I wanted to focus mainly on the streaming platforms that are purely dealing with anime, it would not seem right. Netflix is offereing some shows that are currently not available on other streaming platforms but their catalogue at this present time is small. They would benefit if they had longer running series such as ‘Hunter X Hunter’ or even ‘One Piece’ to make them stand out from the rest. As an anime fan we have no right to complain anymore about not having access to anime. Most of these platforms offer their fans anime for free and all in HD quality. I use all three (four if I count Netflix) and it is because of having these platforms that it is making me a better fan. Rather than fans turning towards pirating anime, we should be turning towards these sites and supporting them. By supporting them, we are supporting the anime industry. Give it a go, let us know in the comments what platform you use and why.

(Names will link you directly to the streaming platforms should you want to check them out!)

All is fair in ‘love and war’ why ‘Scums Wish’ was the anime of the winter season

I must admit, I found the anime that was offered to us this past anime season to be stale and dry. Not many shows managed to capture my interest and keep me invested throughout the whole series, except one.

‘Kuzu No Honkai’ or otherwise known as ‘Scums Wish’ was without a doubt the best anime to come out of the season, a dark and gritty romance anime where you are taken on an emotional journey alongside with the main characters. The story revolves around the main protagonist Hanabi who has been in love with the boy next door, who as it so happens the new teacher at school. She has known this man since she was a young girl and looked up to him as a brother like figure till her own personal feelings changed and developed into something romantic. In order to fulfil her desires for the ‘brother’ she engages in a “relationship” with a class acquaintance Mugi, who like herself is entangled in a similar love dilemma where he is in love with the music teacher. These two characters use their relationship to meet their needs and re-enact their forbidden desires. With an array of other characters that get tangled into the mix Hanabi realises she is not only in a war with another person, but herself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNw0gj_2iRI

This show manages to captivate you from the first episode. The intense beauty of the animation and soundtrack entices the viewer to keep watching. The way that the story is told is almost as if you are watching a manga. It is pretty much exactly what the manga intended audiences to read and the anime manages to capture the same magic and intensity as it was in paper form. The main story is so intense that it almost feels real. There are times watching this anime that I felt it was triggering moments of my own personal romantic history and doing so in such a way that it did not feel cheap, but actually real. That this can and more than likely does happen to people. This story is not sugar coated to be something that is wonderful and sweet, but rather a raw, intense interpretation of what life is like for someone that might be experiences their first love.

I don’t think I have come across an anime that has made me feel the way this anime has done. Once I got up to the last episode I was in tears, in fact when I think about the final scene I start getting all misty eyed. Which leaves me to wonder, is anime getting too real? Are we looking for anime that triggers emotions within us. The depth that this show managed to go into and not seem un-realistic is something that we have been obviously missing. It is definitely a welcomed change to finally see some mainstream anime actually take that plunge and become that story teller of reality. That not everything is easy, that there are times where we will get hurt and that there is pain out there that we have to go through.

If you are looking for a happy ending romance, don’t watch this show. If you are looking for something that is real then this is the show for you. The anime has been working in conjunction with a Live action Japanese drama production which also manages to capture the essence of what life as a teen experiencing first love and the troubles and turmoils they would face. As like my many other reviews I refuse to spoil this show but take it from me, this show has it all. From excellent character development, emotional turmoil, visuals that are almost too breathtaking to even seem like this is a real anime to the intensely gorgeous and captivating soundtrack then look no further than this show. The ending theme ‘Heikosen’ is quite possibly the best ending song I have ever heard in an anime.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVjAFBoIZEs
This show is easily 5/5 for me without any second thought or question. I am still not over this show emotionally and I feel it will take a long time before I could move on from this show. This is easily a contender for ‘Anime of the Year 2017’. Sadly this is one of those show you might have to go and look for as getting access to it is incredibly hard, but take it from me when you do it is worth it.

Personal blog post…of sorts :)

I have this site I’ve been running for a while now and one thing I never really do is use it as a platform to blog about me, Japandaman. I’m always writing about the crazy, cool and otaku stuff that I love about Japan but I never talk about me. I think I’m going to start introducing posts about me and what I do when I’m not blogging about Japan.

Like how I love K-Pop and I’m now a K-Pop DJ, how I’m a Mirai Smart Doll owner (that girl brings me lots of joy), how I produce a community TV show and host it with my bestie and the coolest girl going around and the conventions that I love going to and what I get up to there.

If at any point, people feel as I’m rambling, then by all means, tell me to shut up and get on with it, lol! 🙂

Japan’s Electronic Explorers

Japan’s Electronic Explorers

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Beyond simply witnessing more and more advertising for mobile games, we may start to notice a much larger trend. The fact that the developers of viral game titles, with expensive launches and run-up marketing campaigns, are starting to resemble blockbuster film studios (and also can earn comparably massive profits) belies the larger trend. It could be that the destiny of digital games is to become a dominant medium — like a new kind of book, reinvented by postmodernity.

 

Japan, in its love for digital arts like anime and its reputation as a hotbed of mobile gaming, certainly deserves the credit of leading in the exploration of the gaming mindspace — not to mention the mobile devices themselves — and facing their social ramifications boldly. The interest of the public there is so strong that mobile games deserve energetic and costly marketing strategies, some of them innovative, which can crowd out ads for console games or films.

 

Worldwide, game studios are emerging to serve both global and regional (or game specific) markets. For example, the hot studio out of Sweden, Internet Entertainment has cuts its own mold by producing online slots and realistic card games that have the same quality and polish as major animated movies (sucking the same talent, too). Mobile casinos, like Japan’s pop app culture, have been pushing the limits of game-oriented mass entertainment.

 

Betting on Gaming

 

Billboards and TV ad campaigns in Japan that drive early audiences to play the newest mobile (smartphone) games aim to do two things: promote early downloads, and, drive the game’s brand into common knowledge — potentially into the ranks of the historically viral mobile games namesakes.

 

Japan has been home to cutting edge gamer communities and unique popular excitement — maybe since the country became synonomous with ‘video games’ and Gameboy-like devices. That atmosphere of massive enthusiasm for gaming and its high rank as an important cultural medium is the ideal setting for major innovation. Quality in mobile games found in the Japanese marketplace has approached, if not absorbed, the standards for graphics, complexity and performance expected from console games or dedicated portable gaming machines.

 

The nice thing about the global gaming phenomenon, let alone the craze inside Japan (with influences everywhere), is the diversity in games that it produces. The fact that all ages are attracted to playing a mobile game on one’s smartphone — aside from the free status of enough downloads — is proof that game studios are concentrating upon that many tastes and audiences.

 

The mega popular bingo apps found at www.tablet-bingo.com demonstrate the trend of gaming as a historic cultural medium aside from any particular content, as well as the accessibility of this medium to so many types of people, from bingo games played by parents to cutting edge action games played by their kids.

 

The point to make here is that despite the fits and starts of software development, or indeed the trial and error strategies used for marketing mobile game apps on a large scale, gaming itself is emerging as a self-evident communication medium. It is in step with our overall experience of living in today’s technology-saturated urban spaces, in always-connected states of mind.

Final Fantasy Explorers

So I managed to get my hands on a copy of the latest offering from Square Enix, Final Fantasy Explorers. I’ll be honest, I bought it because everyone was saying hard it was to find in stores and I didn’t want to miss out. Also, unless you pre-ordered, stock was very low across all stores.

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Final Fantasy Explorers and my Mew card!

So I’ve been playing it for a few hours and I have to say, I’m really liking it! It’s basically a Monster Hunter clone but in the Final Fantasy Universe. I’ve only completed the tutorial missions plus a few of the early missions. So far, the learning/difficulty curve is a lot lower than Monster Hunter which might appeal to gamers who struggled with MonHun (puts hand up).

I can’t wait to see what role classic characters like Cloud, Lightning and co have but it’s enough to keep me playing and temporarily put down Steins;Gate on the Vita. If you’ve missed all the hoopla, here’s the announcement trailer below.