Towards the end of 2004 I started writing two monthly columns for a culture site called Tokyo Q, and one of them was about anime. Each edition was usually made up of reviews of shows, as well as news items, but at the start of each Japanese TV season I’d usually do a round-up of what I thought looked promising in terms of new (and returning) series. In that spirit — and with the warning that I don’t watch a lot of anime series at this point in time, because I have zero interest in the vast majority of what gets produced these days (i.e. the moe type cutesy animated stuff that rules the airwaves) — here’s what I’m at least interested in checking out once the fall season kicks off in October (based on what I’ve seen announced on AniChart’s Fall 2016 page).
Ajin (Season 2)
I’m a huge fan of the manga series this is based on (I’m still currently reading it) and I loved the first season that aired earlier this year — it was a very close adaptation of the manga storyline, with a nicely done cell-shaded animation style (similar to what you see in Knights of Sidonia, which was done by the same studio). I can’t wait to watch season 2, which I expect to be just as good.
Fune wo Amu
I don’t know anything about this series other than the description, which says that it’s the story of a man who works at a publishing company, who is trying to find a successor as he approaches retirement age, and may have found one to work on a dictionary they are looking to publish. Sounds like an interesting setting, and I like the character designs in the preview art.
I was sort of interested in this, about a group of students brought together through a blog for some paranormal and occult happenings, but then seeing the ridiculously floppy breasts in this trailer really turned me off.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (Season 2)
I’ve only recently become a fan of Gundam, and am currently watching the 1985 series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The thing with Gundam is that you get stuff that follows the timeline of the original series (“Universal Century”), and then wild spinoffs that have absolutely nothing to do with the original setting, but share certain ideas and themes. So far I haven’t been interested in watching any of the spinoff shows, but I’ve heard very good things about Iron-Blooded Orphans, so I’m tempted to give the first season a try, just as the second season is about to start.
Update: I’ve started watching these series, including Occultic Nine and Iron-Blooded Orphans. Also part of the new season, I checked out Izetta: The Last Witch.
Update: Here are my posts for Ajin and Fune wo Amu.
This weekend I managed to finish going through the posts of 2005 (all 1063 of them). As I was going through these posts, I could see that it was a really important year for me. My first professional writing work started in 2004 as I became editor of MoCo Tokyo (a spinoff site to MoCo Loco, where I was also a contributor), and then at the very end of that year I started my monthly anime and design columns for Tokyo Q, but it was in 2005 that I started my monthly “On Design” column for The Japan Times, wrote for Gawker’s Gizmodo and Gridskipper, and also wrote some other freelance pieces. I’d definitely point to that year as the start of my writing career.
It was also the year I started writing almost weekly round-ups of Japanese magazines — which years later led to me starting the now-defunct The Magaziner website. It was also the year of me and Jesper’s first big collaboration together, in the form of our “Mamma Gun” exhibition/event at Cafe Pause, part of Swedish Style/Tokyo Design Week.
I’m pretty thankful that I can go through archives of my life like this, and see exactly how things happened and evolved.
If Tokyo Design Week takes place and you’re not there, does it really take place?
Apologies for the ridiculous statement, but as this year’s edition of Tokyo Design Week kicks off, it indeed feels incredibly strange to see it happen from afar. Even though in recent years I’d grown a bit disillusioned with a lot of what I’d see on display, there’s no denying that it consistently played a huge part within the evolution of what I did while based in Tokyo.
I got my start by blogging about art and design in Japan (more specifically, Tokyo) and I can indeed recall attending Tokyo Design Week (or rather the collection of design-related events that took place at that time, not specifically under that banner) during my first few years in Tokyo, and how it contributed to my enthusiasm for Japanese design.
Later, as I started carving a path in writing professionally about design – first for a now-defunct site called Tokyo Q, and then for The Japan Times through my monthly “On Design” column – I’m fairly certain that Tokyo Design Week (or more specifically at the time, “Tokyo Designers Week”) was the first major event for which I had a press pass to cover.
It didn’t take long before my desire to place myself more closely inside this scene had me collaborating with my good friend Jesper Larsson on showcases/exhibitions for Swedish design, that were part of the Swedish Style events that used to take place during TDW. It was incredibly exciting and satisfying to play a direct role in helping designers to take part in the week-long design festivities, and it also led to some fantastic connections with all manner of creative people. And who could forget those fantastic parties at the Swedish Embassy during TDW – always the best.
The last phase of my relationship with Tokyo Design Week was the most direct one, and it involved the annual PechaKucha Night that we produced for them in the big dome, which would end up being the biggest event of the week. It still doesn’t feel natural to see posts about this week’s PechaKucha Night at TDW, and not being the one who has to make sure that we have all of the presentations from our presenters, that all the tech is in place for the night itself…
So yeah, this time of the year coming around without a Tokyo Design Week to take in or to take part in is a bigger shock than I expected.