Speedy-san, Speedy-san, Wherever Are You Now?

Wow it’s been… what, six months now? I think that’s accurate, almost to the day (well, minus 2 days). In those 6 months I have not gone to any of the Asian-oriented parties  (and I say “Asian” since Korea seems to be the new craze), I have not taken any cosplay pictures and – evidently – I have not blogged anything over here. Last time I hailed you dear readers from the depths of my proverbial hole, it was about CHORISSU, the fanzine we put out with Umi & Sora during last year’s COMICDOM CON. It was an announcement of where it would be available post-Con, as well as a poll for the possibility of a next issue and its contents. Although feedback was positive, it was also very limited (only 26 people).

Let’s deviate a bit here and talk a bit more about CHORISSU: bottom line, it did not go well, despite what I was hoping for, given its run at the Con. We may have sold a couple hundred copies overall (I can’t be actually sure – I have lost track of the thing), but all the verbal feedback I got from comic shops, as well as some friends who have been in the fanzine scene far longer and far more regularly than I (not to mention some friends who work in graphic design), led me to one simple conclusion: we tanked it. There is no point in elaborating on the (varied) flaws and mistakes but suffice to say, the end result of the fanzine’s run got the team… disheartened – silently and discreetly perhaps (for the most part) but disheartened nonetheless. Although I did “lobby” for a second issue, which would incorporate some major changes and not repeat the majority of the mistakes, it never got off the e-talks and I sincerely doubt it will, anymore…

Now, given the facts described above, as well as Umi & Sora being on hold (for, as Kyoshiro had wisely predicted, real life will catch up sooner or later – two are outside the country on Erasmus programs, two are swamped with their studies and at least three with work), it should come as no surprise that I have been absent from this blog for so long. As for the so-called “J-scene”? Well, things are going as I feared they would – good cosplays are very few and far between (although Salonika seems to still resist – bless you Cassiel!), exhibitionism is now the main “theme” and worst of all (?), the new trend is Korean Pop (K-Pop) and soon, it seems, all-things-Korea (though I doubt it will last that long, since K-fans in Greece are a minority within the minority of J-fans) . I will be the first to say that most of J-Pop, especially the one I cannot associate with any anime, is more than a little annoying, but K-Pop is barely music at all and almost exclusively boy-band oriented. Sorry, no thanks – I couldn’t stand Backstreet Boys even as far back as junior high. Finally, all the varied teams that were popping left and right (which, in my opinion, were a good thing) have all but vanished. Over the last 7 months, the only event outside of Athens or Salonika proper was one organized in May, at Kerkyra’s Corfu – and then there was silence.

Where does that leave Otaku Lens then? Truth is, I am not sure. A couple of days ago I had a discussion with a friend over the net and she pointed out that Otaku Lens was not just about the parties, but also a number of other things related to modern Japanese culture. That much is true, I guess, with things filed under Oni Market and Nihon no Weirdness but one cannot deny that the main driving force was my love for what I hoped was growing in Greece and the documenting of it. Sadder still, over the past 6 months I have not found anything much to my liking in either the manga or anime departments…

Now, I imagine that the negativity fostered by what I see here in Greece affects my judgment, but there are some other factors to consider: for one, the translation industry of manga in English is waning, with ever fewer (and appallingly similar) things being solicited by American companies (just take a look at the DIAMOND PREVIEWS CATALOG and you’ll get the idea). I can’t find anything I have not already read in another title. As for anime, well, the disappointment is even worse: apart from re-issues of older series (we are talking torrent-wise here, which reflects the actual industry), I have found just two things which somewhat drew my interest, one being DANCE IN THE VAMPIRE BUND, which is nothing terribly special, just well-executed and AOI BUNGAKU, which takes classic Japanese literature (such as KOKORO) and re-interprets it in a more sinister light, which I have not yet watched. As for what is considered widely popular, it’s a complete nightmare: HIGH-SCHOOL OF THE DEAD. Boobs with a mind of their own, swords, guns and, well, zombies. I find zombie movies idiotic to begin with (except a few classics, such as ARMY OF DARKNESS and a funny one, SHAUN OF THE DEAD), zombie anime full of fan-service and devoid of scenario, don’t get me started…

So, again, I ask (probably just myself): where does that leave Otaku Lens? Still no idea but my intelligent friend (not to mention she is cute as a sugar-cane) has got me thinking and maybe the results of the process will be made available to you all. Only time will tell…

Until Yamato flies again,

Speedgrapher

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14 Responses to “Speedy-san, Speedy-san, Wherever Are You Now?”

  1. Why limit yourself in “things related to modern Japanese culture” & not look at modern culture in general (with a Japanese twist)?

    Also, could it be this “change” you see in yourself is a product of age*?

    *wanted to write growing up or mature but I think it would easily be misinterpreted.

  2. Glad you finaly showed up even if for a cameo appearance xD
    I am really sorry to hear that about Chorissu, it is not like we see Greek J fanzines often. I am glad I bought a couple back then because aside the fact that I love reading stuff like that, it contained some really happy memories, like this blog has on a much bigger scale, and I am one of those people that love looking at old happy times and smile ^_^
    Anyway i hope that it will do a comeback at somepoint because for me it had potential (even though i am totaly ignorant of fanzines, magazines and how they work)

    Hope to see you sometime

    P.S. I am gonna check this AOI BUNGAKU out since I am seriously running out of anime

  3. speedxgrapher Says:

    Dear Doctor, the thing is that I am already writing about comics in COMICDOM, about other pop culture stuff in my other blog and then there’s Easy Subjugation for everything else. The focus here was supposed to be Japanese and that is proving hard… As for the age thing, you certainly have a point there, especially when you look at age as an accretion of experiences which keep lowering one’s tolerance for BS…

    Dear Wabbie-chan, I am glad you are a memory person, even more so that you find some happy memories stored herein. As for another shot at the fanzine, I have not abandoned all hope yet but, as Logen Ninefingers (character from a book I am reading) puts it: “you have to be realistic about these things”.

  4. Kleisto na paei sto diaolo!Pou na ta koumantareis tosa blogs…Ase kai ta j-kai ta k- kai ta c- (chinaaa! se ligo tetia tha akoune! Koumounistika kinezika tragoudia..) Astous na fane ta moutra tous monoi tous…Kalitera na thimase kati stin kalh tou epoxh para ston ksepesmo tou!Kai to pio kalo einai oti tha ksereis pws voithises kati pou agapas na ginei gnwsto kai se megalitero euros anthrwpwn!(gia na min anaferw ta atoma pou gnwrises!) Opote as minoume oloi me tin kalh anamnhsh kai kleisto na paei sto kalo!

    Filika Panta, Zauk.

  5. The Master Says:

    “Do you remember my father’s land back home?
    Pastures of red grass, stretching far across the slopes of Mount Perdition. We used to run across those fields all day, calling up at the sky…
    Look at us now….”

    Eventually life and everything else goes on. It doesn’t mean it goes on to the direction we actually want it to (and that’s as relative as hell:P)

  6. Taking into consideration what Zauk said above me, I want to add that even in case you deside to “close” it, I surely hope closing doesn’t mean deleting it. But then again you don’t need me to tell you that, You’d probably not want to delete something that took effort and time and produced something memorable yourself, right?

  7. speedxgrapher Says:

    Dear Zauk and Dear Wabbie,

    oh, I am not one to slam doors shut without a second thought, because when I do, they tend to stay shut. No, no, I just wonder what else can be done with this here troubling artefact and the answer won’t be easy coming. Even if I do put a final full-stop, however, there is no way I am deleting this memory ark. Which brings me to…

    Dear (The) Master,

    first-off a bow and tip of the hat to you for an excellent and relevant quote (in so many ways). Yes, I am well aware that life (the universe) and everything eventually go on, usually drifting in a direction far different than the one imagined (or desired) and this is the cursed side of memory… remembering how it was and how you wanted it to be, worlds apart than how it is.

  8. The Master Says:

    Thanks for the tip of the hat, nii-chan.
    I found the quote really relevant, hence I quoted.

  9. “but K-Pop is barely music at all and almost exclusively boy-band oriented”
    just wanted to point out that this is far from truth. Try youtubing Girls Generation, 2ne1, After School, Brown Eyed Girls, Wonder Girls and some more. Not that this comment will make any difference, I just wanted to point out that sometimes someone might jump to conclusions without the proper research.

    As for U&S we all could see it coming (I am pretty sure about that), but no one wanted to admit it. So we just let it happen. It`s a shame, because I really wanted to be there – as a visitor – at the kimono thing

  10. speedxgrapher Says:

    “Research”? OK, are you serious? I mean, just because I HATE boy bands, doesn’t mean I tolerate bad Spice Girls and Pussycat Dolls imitations (and I couldn’t stand the originals, as it were). Cute girls? Sure. Lots of them (vastly more than needed)? Sure. Music? No frakking way. What’s next? Listening to Zouzounia?

    As for U&S, who were “all of you (you are sure) who could see it coming” and moreso “let it happen”? As opposed to… doing what?

  11. fotis asimakopoulos Says:

    No dear namida for me? boo-hoo
    I am sorry, but I cannot understand what you mean at your last sentence. If you could rephrase it, I would be glad to ask – my bad (and that not ironic)

  12. soryyyyyy, I forgot to change the name, Is namida to the comment above

  13. OPS ZEIS.. IS ALIVE!!! einai kalo auto
    dont trust the doctor muaxaxaxa 😀

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