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HD Goes to AX, Shingo Still MIA

Breaking radio silence inform any and all that may be interested that at least one representative from HD will be present at this year’s AX. If there’s any interest in staging a mini-meetup, leave a comment and we can work something out.

On The International Brotherhood of Otaku

Shokotan recently blogged in praise of a group of American cosplayers, saying that “Americans are really great at making weapons and stuff” and wondering “How can they carry all that stuff around??”. The cosplayers in question have certainly put their hours in, and the results are impressive (although it’d be nice if there were some pictures from a better angle) but what’s more interesting is the statement that follows. “I want to know more about the otaku of the world!” she exclaims “The Internet makes it easy to keep up with the latest productions in real time, so the number of otaku across the world is increasing rapidly”

Now, say what you will about Shokotan. Shingo doesn’t care for her, but I’d call myself a fan. Nonetheless, she raises a very interesting point, which happens to be something I think about quite frequently. In short, how is it that otaku in This Country and otaku in the Other Country can have so much in common, and work toward so many common goals, and yet still have so little contact with each other?

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.

Tokyo Teleport Station: On the Viability of Manga Cafes in North America

Me again, returning to my roots with a fresh TTS post! The rest can be found here, for those of you playing along at home. It’s true, I have actually written for HD before, back in the cretaceous period. This is how I’ve managed to sneak into Shingo’s web site without him being around.

Speaking of not being Shingo, I want to make it clear up front that unlike some people I could mention, I am not in Japan. I have been, in the past, and will be in the future, but for the moment I remain in exile. Previously in Boston, I just very recently migrated west and found myself in San Francisco. As much as I loved being in Boston (Cambridge, anyway, and if you’re in the area please do show some love to the Tokyo Kid) I absolutely love being in San Francisco. The food is good, the weather is actually quite pleasant (which is to say NOT shoving sunshine and triple-digit temperatures in my face all the time) and the “Japan Town” is nothing short of glorious.

BREAKING NEWS: Haruhi Second Season (for real this time(we think))

Ok, I know you’ve all heard this one before, which ended in disappointment, but this time it really appears to be legit.

BREAKING NEWS: Akiba Liberation Demonstration

The revolution may not be televised, but in this case, it certainly will be blogged. Saturday’s Akihabara Kaihou Demo (Akihabara Liberation Demonstration, previously covered here) appears to have been a remarkable success. Our man Animaestro had this to report from the field:

Today Akihabara had the rare treat of experiencing the first ever Revolutionary Otaku Demonstration. Headed up by representatives of Revolutionary Otakuist Union, Revolutionary Moeist Union, and the Revolutionary Himote Union, a motley of cosplayers and otaku of various stripes marched through Akiba chanting revolutionary slogans and waving banners.

Full photo and video coverage inside.

Tokyo Teleport Station: The Triumphant Return of UCC Coffee

The return of a long lost friend was witnessed in Akihabara last week. HD’s Senior Coffee Correspondent, Seiya, weighs in on this ongoing story.

Tokyo Teleport Station: Lesbian Witches of the 1970s

For a change of pace this time around (and because the visual aid I need for my next otaku vignette is proving surprisingly elusive) I would like to offer up a review. Rather than rehashing reviews of things readily available elsewhere in the world, I intend to dip into the hefty backlog of things that I feel have long been unduly neglected and unappreciated. In this installment: Lesbian Witches of the 1970s (kind of).

Tokyo Teleport Station: Dumpster Diving

In this installment of Tokyo Teleport Station, Seiya sheds some light on the best way to get ahold of internal production documents straight from your favorite animation studio. Hint: Asking them nicely isn’t going to do it.

Tokyo Teleport Station: The Shinjuku Subway Boiler Room

In this edition of Tokyo Teleport Station, Seiya recalls an exciting tale of danger and infiltration, and explains why it is impossible to save money by entering a subway station via the ceiling.

Tokyo Teleport Station: The Secret World of Japanese Cosplay

In this week’s installment of Tokyo Teleport Station Seiya peels back the slick veneer of the Japanese metropolis to reveal its gritty underbelly: organized cosplay.

Tokyo Teleport Station: The Great UCC Conspiracy

Ace investigator Seiya represents today with the first installment of Tokyo Teleport Station, an item that (we hope) will become a regular column here at HD. In it he’ll be covering everything from the etiquette of watching pornography in a capsule hotel to the proper way to break into Tokyo’s Gainax HQ (AT Field optional), but today he deals with a far more pressing issue: canned coffee. And you thought the NHK was a conspiracy…

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