A Decade of Analog Broadcasts
This year marked Analog Housou’s 10th year on the internet. That’s right, the very first post on this now-antiquated Web 2.0 “blogging” platform was made on January 1st, 2011.
Given the lack of frequent updates, one may be inclined to think that churning out new content on this site is not at the top of my to-do list. This is quite to the contrary, but at risk of launching into a Frederick M. Gallagher III-style rant about “why the site isn’t updated,” Real Life has been a big factor contributing to the lack of content over the past few years. Nothing has been particularly hard or difficult, but having a Real Job takes a lot out of you, and that coupled with being a grizzled, fat and old 30-year-old dude, I have way less energy to put towards my hobbies compared to when I was a skinny and chipper English teacher in my early-to-mid 20s.
But enough of the geriatric moaning. Regardless of quality, I am proud of all the content I’ve put up on here, and hope to continue to do so. Of course, I didn’t get this site off the ground alone. The early years were supported heavily by the efforts of my buddies Bonertown and Seiya, and I remain eternally grateful for their contributions. I assume much like me, Real Life got in the way of them posting more often… either that or forgotten passwords. Either way, I always gently rib them to write a new post whenever we meet up. With international travel being the way it is now, obviously that has not happened recently, but I hope to meet y’all again soon, be it in Golden Gai or Akihabara.
Anyway, to “celebrate” this momentous anniversary, as masturbatory as that may be, I would like to review some of the top posts made on Analog Housou over the 10 years that it has been online.
My Dear Friends
First I would like to look back at posts overseen by my buddies Bonertown and Seiya. We worked a lot on season previews (remember those?) together in the early days, but both of these dangerous otaku brought their own unique voice to the site with the following posts.
Love and Peace! Trigun: Badlands Rumble (Bonertown)
While I have written about Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star on this site, before that Bonertown helpfully assisted me in completing Analog Housou’s look back at the three big western anime of the 90s with his review of Trigun: Badlands Rumble. Each time I read this review, I keep reminding myself that I need to see this damn movie. But then I remember that I should probably just go ahead and watch all of Trigun again. Sounds like something to do as my time indoors grows longer thanks to this pandemic.
Plastic Joy: Figma Hitagi Senjougahara and Figma KOS-MOS ver. 4 (Bonertown)
Figure reviews were always something I wanted to do, but just never had the knack for. So I was happy when Bonertown came in with this great piece looking at some of the hot new releases at the time. I love how you can tell the age of this piece, as it quotes a discussion both me and Bonertown had over IRC, back when the Mistakes of Youth IRC channel existed.
When I first visited Seiya’s place, the first thing he showed me was his expansive Laserdisc collection. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the first thing he showed me, but each time I did go to Seiya’s joint, I always made a point to gaze in wonder at his Laserdiscs, and at some point we watched a few together. Anyway, this is the definitive article on Why Laserdiscs are Good and Why You Should Buy them. Also, it is one of the few articles on this site that continued to get non-spam comments years after its publication. Read it and educate yourself on the superiority of the giant silver disc.
I actually reached out to my buddies Bonertown and Seiya to get some words from them on this “auspicious” occasion. As you will soon see, I received very different responses.
First, from Bonertown, via Discord:
bonertown: just post this gif
bonertown: i feel like this conveys more than anything i could ever type out
wah: gifs do have this power
Meanwhile, Seiya weighed in with the following:
Ten years, shit. You know, as I sit here in the de-facto failed state that America has become, sequestered in a bunker and trying to outlast the plague that has ravaged humanity, I won’t lie: this is not EXACTLY how I pictured these ten years unfolding. There have been good times and bad times, to be sure. I am eternally grateful to Analog Housou for giving me a place to host my unhinged rant about the value of laserdiscs. As much as I would love to promise to rededicate myself to writing and become a more active contributor in the NEXT ten years, I can’t. Like everyone else, I’m old now and it sucks. In a lot of ways it’s also awesome, but being middle-aged is undeniably some version of a deal with the devil. It’s the logical opposite of the man in the Twilight Zone who breaks his glasses. There was TIME then, but now the balance has shifted. I have money and freedom beyond what my younger self could have dreamed of, but the ravages of physically aging and the constant psychic pressure of my modest responsibilities have drained my vital energies to the point that my hobbies, no matter how much I love them, have become far less productive and far more consumptive. I know in my heart that my best days of making things with no realistic hope of compensation are now behind me.
All things considered it feels more absurd than ever to even try and guess what the next ten years will bring, but honestly I’m optimistic. Like everyone else with a working internet connection, I’m living in a sinner’s paradise of media. Anime, manga, games, you name it. The quality and quantity of the things I’m passionate about has grown astronomically compared with ten years ago, which was already exponentially more than when I first got into the game. Even with the darkest outlook it’s hard to imagine that the ways to indulge my interests won’t be even better in the future. The fact that it is presently illegal for me to go to Tokyo is kind of a bummer, since that is literally the stuff that my adolescent nightmares were made of, but hopefully I can get away with saying that an end is in sight without jinxing all of humanity.
I tried to think of ways that I, personally, have evolved over the past decade only to come to the conclusion that I have not so much “grown” and “changed” as much as my body has slowly rotted while I’ve become more financially stable. It’s not unreasonable to think that this trend will continue indefinitely, so if we’re still here and still blogging in 2031, then you can look forward to hearing the opinions of a man who is perpetually exhausted and can no longer eat anything with sauce on it, but somehow wastes hundreds of USD on obsolete media formats every month if not every week. When that time comes, I hope I’ll see you all there.
Once again, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to both Bonertown and Seiya for their help on this little site. Can’t wait to see the both of you again!
Top Ten of Shame
Okay… now that you have cleansed your palette by reading posts by people who are actually eloquent and know what they are talking about, time to unleash Wah’s Top Ten of Shame.
Sure, I said I’m “proud” of everything I’ve put up on this site up there in paragraph three–but that’s simply because I got anything posted up at all. This rings especially true given the update schedule as of late. But hey, all the old posts are still up for all to read, and hopefully those entries are enriching people’s lives in some way. No, I won’t check the analytics dashboard to see if people are actually reading this site or not.
Anyway, prepare yourself for a trip down memory lane. I hope it doesn’t make you cringe as much as it makes me.
It’s 2006 all over again: Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
Oh boy, Haruhi. Remember that? I have a feeling I would still like it if I watched it again–Endless Eight be damned–and I have a feeling I would still like this film if I watched it again, too. That said, I imagine I would come at it from a slightly different perspective. Hell, I felt that just by reading what 22-year-old me thought of this movie, because I am pretty sure I wouldn’t think some of the same things now. Anyway, I put this together as the big inaugural post for this site, marking this blog’s one and only instance of content planning. Reading it now, I was definitely a pretentious 22-year-old, and was still trying to shake off the troll voice I developed on the old blog (which is currently down now, go figure). Given the film’s release the previous year coupled with my first viewing of it at the New York City Anime Festival in 2010, I still think this review of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu was the best way to kick off Analog Housou.
One great thing about being an anime dork is all the money you can spend on things ancillary to the show, and one of my favorite pieces of anime merch has always been artbooks. I do one day dream of having the sort of free time that allows me to just gaze upon anime artbooks while lounging on a large balcony, sipping wine and listening to anime soundtracks on vinyl. Another thing I one day dream of doing is getting more reviews of anime artbooks up on this site. While I only got a few up (so far), I am happy that I spotlighted this unique Gundam artbook, which remains a favorite of mine… and also remains stuck at my parents’ house in the States–really need to evacuate it at some point!
One thing I had hoped to achieve with this blog was provide an ongoing record of my life here in this strange country known as Zipang. That said, after being here for a decade, you run short of things to write about. That said, revisiting this account of my second Comike threw me back in time to when I was fresh off the boat and trying to make the most of all the otaku goodness Japan has to offer. While I would probably buy way less, I do still want to chill at Comike again. Obviously not now, of course.
This post reminds me that I should probably also getting around to reading some of the dojinshi I’ve bought over the years… again, I just need the time to sit with all my crazy dojinshi, and take in their contents with a nice glass of single malt whiskey, while listening to Yura Yura Teikoku on a bitchin’ stereo system.
Also, R.I.P. Party Party Carolina.
Full Marks For Rice Curry Manten
Between work and laziness, one thing that has probably kept me from updating this blog as often as I should is my multiple visits out of the home for delicious food and drink. Maybe I should, uh, blog about these places I wine and dine in! Well, once upon a time I did. Having visited Manten recently, I can confidently say this review still captures the experience of dining there, and once everyone is safe and borders are open, I implore all of you dorks coming over for Comike to forgo chains like Coco Ichiban, and have real man’s bowl of curry over at Rice Curry Manten.
Stop Only Listening to Idol Music (…And Start Listening To Pizzicato Five?)
I love music–especially Japanese music–but I never formally studied music, or got deep enough into it to write stuff like, you know, this. But damn did I try my best to write about music within the digital pages of this blog, and I will still continue to try my damndest to write more. I feel this post is one of my best attempts, especially considering that it’s about a group that only has one song that I’ve actually listened to. Okay, I listened to this single’s b-side a few times, and was also inspired to check out some of their other songs thanks to this banger. But rest assured: Stop Only Listening to Idol Music is the only Negicco song that matters. So read my post, read my translation of the song, and watch the YouTube upload of the music video, and you’ll be set for life when it comes to Negicco.
No Matter How I Think About It, This Show Is Kind Of Too Close To Home–Watamote
God, this anime was rough. I watched it once when it aired 8 years ago, and I still can’t bring myself to revisit it or check out the original work. But god, did I get Watamote. I got the fuck out of it. When I first watched the show, I was still near the end of working out a lot of the issues that Tomoko has. Hell, I still have some of these issues, but they are now no longer crippling to me. I think when I watched Watamote all those years ago, I could still feel the crippling effects of these issues. Who knows, maybe now is the time to take another swing at this one.
The Artist Formerly Known As Omokage Lucky Hole@Friday, Yokohama — “Sorry For Being So Half-Assed”
I have written extensively about my experiences at shows put on my Most Favorite Band, Only Love Hurts, née Omokage Lucky Hole on this blog. Hell, I still have a draft sitting around about their last show I saw back in 2019, which probably warrants publishing as a document of one of my last Normal Moments before we were flung into a disease-ridden hellscape. This show was particularly memorable because a) I made new lifelong friends who I still see regularly today (well not now obviously) and b) I got to meet and take a picture with the vocalist, aCKy. The skeezy neighborhood where the show was held is only the icing on the cake.
They’re All Grown Ups, It’s Okay: Lupin III–The Mystery of Mamo
Lupin III is also something I have, for some reason, written extensively about on this blog. But among all my musings about Japan’s favorite gentlemen (?) thief, I feel my best examination of his exploits is my review of Lupin III — The Mystery of Mamo. Or maybe I just think that because Mystery of Mamo is my favorite Lupin anything. Anyway, revisiting this entry, I seem to have noticed far more about this film than a more recent viewing–which was to be honest, a viewing in which I was haggard and tired. Probably time to dig into it again. It’s that kinda film.
Shiro Bako is the Story of Japanese Society
Oh my God, boy was I a young, green lad when I wrote this post. But I still agree with every single thing said here. For context, this post was made when I was seven months into my first corporate gig here, and needless to say my experience in corporate Japan was a big shock to the system after my first “job,” which was pretending to teach English and twiddling my thumbs in the staff room of a random junior high school in the countryside. But yeah, Shiro Bako is good because not only does it accurately portray the grind of anime production, but also the grind of Japanese adult life in general. At least that’s what I remember — I haven’t seen the show since my initial viewing. Also, the movie was kinda weird. But yeah, anyway, watch Shiro Bako.
Kizumonogatari III: The Final Battle
I really love Bakemonogatari, but I did kind of fall off the horse as the series continued to mutate into multiple iterations about Araragi wanting to have sex with his sisters, or something. Which is fine, mind you, but trying to keep up with all the sister-fucking–or loli-fucking, or high-school-girl-fucking–can be tiring when trying to keep up with a full-time job and being a full-time alcoholic. Anyway, during my emotional turmoil brought upon by years of corporate slavery–nearly three years after the above Shiro Bako post–the Kizumonogatari trilogy was just what I needed: random, hour-long bursts of extreme violence and sexuality that I could casually sit down with after work with a tall Strong Zero. Of note, the gradual releases of the Kizumonogatari films from 2016 to 2017 felt especially satisfying after being forced to wait after the initially teased 2012 release. Hell, I thought my boys at SHAFT passed over this for Madoka Magica. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. I watched each of these films twice in the theater, and got a huge kick out of each viewing. Really need to pick these flicks up on Blu.
Analog Housou Now (?)
The more acute of you will notice that the majority of the posts highlighted above were written between 2011 and 2014. This reason for this is because those were the years in my adult life when I had the most time on my hands–work at the school ended at 4:30 pm, and I was free as a bird after that. Furthermore, the low pay that came with the job meant that the best way to spend my time was in front of this computer. 2014 and onwards sees the post volume drop a huge bit, but I feel in recent years I’m bringing it back, slowly but surely.
Of note, the past few years saw me put a lot of work into the following two series of posts, which have gotten my writing juices warmed up again.
10 Years of Anime (2008 – 2018)
It happened in 2018: I turned 30. Considered The Otaku Expiration Date by some, I used the opportunity to look back all the stupid anime I’ve crammed into my diseased brain over the years. Thankfully, 2008 is when I started to ween off a lot of the stinky crap I found myself watching in high school and in my early years of college. However, it was still a feat to wade through all the random shit I’ve watched over the years and pick out things that were memorable. As someone who was once always keen to keep up with the new season, I found that I never really looked back at the stuff that left an impact on me. I used this series of posts as means to rectify this, and I think the results speak for themselves.
Cowboy Bebop is one of my most favorite anime. But given I had seen it so many times, I had refrained from revisiting it for many years, afraid that I would no longer be able to experience the magic I once felt from gazing upon its many expertly drafted pieces of celluloid in sequence. But with the onset of this global pandemic, I did the unthinkable–I asked my dad for the Netflix password. Hell, I needed something to do. Anyway, being separated from Bebop for over 10 years and watching it for the first time in Japanese, I learned so much more about the show, and myself. My series of posts documenting my revisit to the show, Future Blues 2020, highlights both my long-held opinions on Cowboy Bebop, and my new discoveries from this recent viewing.
And Now… In Anticipation of Your Insight into the Future
Do I have another 10 years of half-assed anime blogging left in me? Who the hell knows. But if my boy Evirus can keep Karmaburn running for nearly 20 years, I think I got a fighting chance. And hell, I do want to get back to updating Mistakes of Youth (I don’t dare link a broken site), because boy do I have stories to tell. And hey, I want to get back to posting up illustrations. But, all in moderation. First let’s get the updates on this blog back up and running. To be honest, I am not off to a good start, with the first post of 2021 being made in the middle of March. But I’m my own boss–I’ll allow it.
A lot continues to change in both my life and the world, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it is all conspiring for me to… create more content. At least here’s hoping.
Thanks for reading!
Wow, 10 years! Feels like only recently that Mistakes of Youth ramped down and Analog Housou filled the void.
Great article, and it’s always fun to look back. I realised recently how much influence your tastes have had on me – I have a shelf full of OLH CDs that never would have existed if not for the article you wrote after Natsu no Arashi (and a torrent that I seem to remember you kindly put together!). Gundam as well – when I first ‘discovered’ Mistakes of Youth it was because I was a creepy anime pervert who enjoyed the same stuff as the characters, but your Gundam articles encouraged me to look past the harem and moeblob shows of the season to engage with one of the all time classics – and oh man, am I glad I did! Oh shit, and Lupin III as well – another show that you wrote so passionately about that I went all the way back to the 1970s to enjoy it.
So, congrats on 10 years of Analog Housou, and thank you for expanding my tastes in anime so much! I’m pleased that even with your busyness you still plan to keep the site active – maybe one day you’ll win big at pachinko, and you can have that balcony experience with your artbooks and Yura Yura Teikoku vinyls, and then have more time for writing articles. I’ll be waiting!