On Hidamari no Ki

hidamari
The tree from the title.

Tuesday, 1 AM – that’s when NTV has been showing their adult-oriented anime, usually produced by Madhouse, which is now owned by the aforementioned TV station. Recently, the timeslot even got a name – AnichU. The timeslot itself is much, much older than the name, however – for well over a decade, it’s been a valuable haven for seinen anime, which included tens of my favorite anime. Kaiji, Souten Kouro, Chihayafuru… The list is too long to mention them all here. There was a time when I was watching those shows live through KeyholeTV, that’s how precious this hour in the middle of the night is. This time, I’d like to write about an early specimen of NTV-Madhouse production, one from year 2000.

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On Nozaki Mado Gekijou

nozaki
The cover.

Hi there. Remember Seikai Suru Kado, that sci-fi anime that wasn’t sure whether its for or against progress? This time, I’m gonna write about a different work by Nozaki Mado, a comedic story collection from 2012 titled Nozaki Mado Gekijou. The stories were being serialized in Dengeki Bunko Magazine – that was my first contact with Mado. An issue I’ve once bought contained Mori no Ongakudan. The book consists of 24 stories out of which 17 were old content from the magazine, while the remaining 7 are never-before published content, and some of them are stated explicitly as having been rejected. Later, in 2015, a second volume of stories by Mado was published under the title 野崎まど劇場(笑). By the way, the picture on the cover’s flaps shows Mado as a woman, but a picture from his entry on MAL shows a dude, so… the question of Nozaki Mado’s gender remains a mystery. In this post, I’m not going to write about all of the stories in this volume, but only a certain few of them…

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What is Sekai-kei? It’s Horseshit

sekai
The cover.

I recently bought Sekai-kei to wa Nani ka by Maejima Satoshi, a book on theory of nerdy culture. It somehow made its way to my wishlist – I’m pretty sure Twitter is to blame, but I can’t remember how it exactly happened. Have you ever heard the term sekai-kei? If you’re a hardweeb, you probably have, even though it seems rather unknown in the West. I definitely have and… before I say anything else, I’d like to say that before reading What Is Sekai-kei? I’d been very sceptical towards this buzzword. I make a point of not using words I don’t completely understand, unlike some people who always seem eager to jump at every new piece of netspeak, so sekai-kei is not in my dictionary. If you google around a bit in an attempt to understand what it is, you might piece together that it’s a genre of stories where there’s a boy and a girl, and their relationship influences the world around them. Or something. Why did they pick the word “sekai” (world) to name the genre? Is there a genre in the first place? Does it necessarily have to feature a boy-girl couple? Why? It’s all very mysterious. Mr Maejima tries to answer these questions in this book on postmodern theory.

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On Ankoku Joshi

ankoku
The cover.

Ankoku Joshi (The Dark Maidens) is a bit of deductive storytelling written in 2013 by Akiyoshi Rikako, a mystery novelist with some stellar educational history. I stumbled upon its film adaptation directed by Yakumo Saiji, with a screenplay by Okada Mari (that’s how I found out about it) in October last year and randomly gave it a spin, to some amazing results. I had absolutely no idea what I’m getting into. I’d been wanting to read the original novel since that time, and finally decided I should quit putting that plan off when Vertical announced they would publish its English translation. It came out very recently, so go buy it. I, however, opted to buy the original Japanese novel instead. Which means I missed the cute illustrations. Oh well.

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On Yume Nikki


Madotsuki going down some stairs, nothing to see here.

Year 2004. A person hiding under the name “Kikiyama” makes Yume Nikki (Dream Diary), a rather unique RPG Maker game which would steadily gather more and more fans throughout the years. It recently landed on Steam too. Have you ever played with RPG Maker 2000? I did a lot of that in middle school and would recommend you trying it out too. The app gives you rather limited possibilities – a typical first generation JRPG battle system, 320×240 as the maximum resolution, and the most basic tools a proper game programmer would have. But, if you were a serious type, after fucking around with the program for a while, you’d ask yourself the question: “Could I make a genuinely good game with that?” It seems to me that Kikiyama had that thought too. One way you could go about trying to make a valid game in RPG Maker looks like this: you give up using the default RPG-making tools the app gives you and make your own game rules from the ground up. You try to make a game of a different genre. The interactivity offered by this environment is extremely limited – the player can only use the four arrow keys, Enter and Escape. So, you could try to throw the option of appealing to your audience with gameplay out the window and focus on impressing them only with the game’s aesthetics…

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