We’re finally done with Sakura Con and are heading back home to San Diego now. We had tons of fun in Seattle, visiting all the iconic parts of the city and sampling its famous “cult of coffee” in a big way. Our next convention will be Phoenix Comicon, hope to see you there!
Every season a few dozen new anime series will be shown, each hoping to attract enough attention from fans to make a profit, either through Blu-ray sales or product licensing. Most don’t make a splash — does anyone remember Nurse Witch Komugi, the awful nurse magical show from a few seasons back? — though as Kemono Friends proves, you never know ahead of time which shows will be embraced by fans. One new anime I took notice of was the new Warau Salesman (The Laughing Salesman), a remake of the classic Showa Era show about a shadowy salesman named Moguro who sells a unique product: kokoro no sukima, or gaps in the souls of his customers. Although he’s always smiling, he’s ready to backstab his clients a moment’s whim in order to teach them (and us) important morality lessons, something along the lines of “if a thing seems too good to be true, it probably is” and so on. If an dark old anime of morality plays seems like an odd thing to remake, consider the boatload of money anime studios made from the Osamatsu-san, which probably paved the way for many other revival shows in the future. (Can we get an updated Rose of Versailles, please?)
One of the more interesting aspects of Japanese society is the way many relationships are “vertical,” with significant separation between, say, a senpai (a senior member of a school, company or other organization), a dokyusei (a student who’s in the same school year as you), or a kohai (a junior member of a school etc.). While being senpai sounds great — you get the respect of others automatically, for free — it comes with some strings attached, for example an unwritten requirement that you look out for the welfare of those under you, pick up the tab if you go to a restaurant with them, serve as mentor for their careers, etc. While this system of “social levels” generally goes in sync with peoples’ ages, there are times when it can break down, for example if a 35-year-old man switches careers, he might find himself with a 24-year-old senpai at his new company. This can add quite a lot of social stress in Japanese society.
We’ve sold a lot of fun products over the years at J-List, and now one of them is back: the infamous Hentai Woody figure by Revoltech, which has a “naughty” face. See the product here, or read my review on the J-List blog!