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Real Life Origins of Kannagi’s Meido Kissa

I’ve been going back and forth on the issue of whether or not Kannagi, with its otaku-heavy supporting cast and frequent allusions to visual culture, can constitute proper otaku metaculture or not. Although it never becomes the focus of the series, it’s done with such reverence and genuine expertise that it’s difficult to ignore.

Regardless, there is a sequence in episode 6 that cannot go without comment. In it, the Kannagi gang visit a local meido kissa, which is very obviously modeled on my all-time favorite Akiba meido kissa, the Cafe Mai:Lish. The Kannagi animation team have really done a bang up job in this episode of recreating the Mai:Lish perfectly in 2D, down to the slightest detail. Have a look at some side-by-side comparisons.

2009: The Untranslatables

Thinking about the problems facing the transplantation of manga kissa to the new world, I got to thinking about the vast number of otaku cultural elements that are wildly successful in the Other Country, and simply do not exist anywhere else. Even in the relatively short time that I have been interested in anime and manga, the official releases seen in North America have seen an exponential increase in both quantity and quality. Things that it seemed would never get an official release even two or three years ago are now considered perfectly normal. It’s now possible to find genuine gachapon in all sorts of places, genuine manga anthologies are showing up in otherwise normal locations, and translated light novels are coming out almost every month.

However, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, we need to remember that an otaku’s work is never done. For all the progress that has been made, it is important to remember how much further we have to go. Certain things are still not suitable for release in gaijin-land, and no matter how badly we may want them, they probably never will be. I promise that I won’t make a habit of doing posts that are nothing but enumerated lists, since I think that pretty much every other blog on the tubes has got that style covered, but since it is the beginning of the year I would ask you to grant me this one indulgence. Without much further ado, I would like to present a list of ten things that will NEVER be officially released in English for a North American market. I would invite all those reading to please prove me wrong.

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