Anime World Order Show # 229 – The Panda Is Quite Critical To The Resolution of Things

Unfortunately, our attempt to lose Patreon backers was a failure, meaning that at some point we will be reviewing Hand Shakers after all. Thanks to this, for the sake of experiencing at least one final ray of sunshine in life, Clarissa reviews the 2022 12-episode series Akiba Maid War without really delving much into spoilers.

Introduction (0:00 – 34:11)
As we predicted in our review last episode, The Boy and the Heron did indeed win the Best Animated Oscar. We prefer to think of it more as a lifetime achievement award. The Crunchyroll Anime Awards presentation was held in Japan, and while the winners were uniform to a surprising extent across multiple outlets in which judges and fans alike selected their best of 2023, we nevertheless harbor some concerns with regards to the focus of the presentation. This is of course nothing new–remember the American Anime Awards?–but it does raise the question who precisely this fancy awards show featuring numerous international celebrities is targeted towards.

Oh, and since it’ll probably be the single most devastating creator death of our lifetimes with regards to the number of people profoundly affected on a global scale, we touch upon the death of the legendary artist Akira Toriyama (Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, etc.) for a bit. It’ll certainly be a global story acknowledged by heads of state once Hayao Miyazaki passes away, but there won’t be the same level of spontaneous gatherings/parades/murals/etc. by people. This mural from Peru is but one example:

Quite a few Japanese talents associated with anime/manga passed away between the last episode and this one, and there were even more between the time this audio was recorded and the time this post was written, but Toriyama’s overshadows them all. Because of this–and a general lack of submissions being sent in–there’s no Otaku in Memoriam this episode. Were it up to us, we’d tell Toyotarou that the current chapter 103 of Dragon Ball Super could just be the series finale, but the true indication that Goku is on a comparable power level to Superman is that there’s too much money to be made and so the character will endure long after its creators have ceased to be. Anyway, Dragon Ball DAIMA (which we thought of in our heads as “what if Toriyama were more hands on with Dragon Ball GT?” but I guess that’ll be less true) will now be on television due to the spike in interest.

Contrary to initial Internet rumor, Toriyama did not draw this panel of Piccolo waving goodbye himself, as his final illustration. But he did request the panel be added.
We assume a similar story is the case for this shot in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Gerald intensely disliked this film, while Daryl considers it one of the best movie experiences of his life. Such is the variety of outlooks AWO offers.

Review: Akiba Maid War (34:11 – 1:16:53)
Between the recently-concluded Bang Brave Bang Bravern–the AWO’s review of that is basically “trust me, bro”–and 2022’s Akiba Maid War, CygamesPictures is proving themselves to truly be a Most Dangerous force in original anime production. At least all that Uma Musume money is being put to good use. Along with another highly formidable anime force, P.A. Works (Shirobako, lots more), they’ve given us what we’ve all needed our whole lives: a fictionalized account of late 1990s Akihabara, in which the saga of rival maid cafes unfolds using the narrative structurings and conventions of a classic gangster/yakuza film. For now, the Blu-Ray set has just been released courtesy of Sentai Filmworks and you can watch both the dub and the sub on HiDive here.

Zoom, Manager. Moe Moe Zoom, until all that remains is snow white ash.
The character design of the otaku loan shark looks like it’s lifted wholesale from someplace else, but our brains refuse to remember what. It’s possibly that one guy from Air Master.
This ED shot of the main character, Nagomi, is debatably the one that sums up her existence in Akiba Maid War.
But this image of Nagomi is perhaps the true distilled essence of the series. Club soda will not get that out, Moe Cleric.

Anime World Order Show # 228 – The Gang Attempts to Lose Patreon Backers

In a last-ditch effort to not review Hand Shakers, we decide to make a bunch of anger-inducing statements about anime, mecha, and conventions before reviewing the latest–and perhaps actually final this time–Hayao Miyazaki film, the critically acclaimed The Boy and the Heron.

Introduction (0:00 – 39:51)
With only 3 or 4 Patrons remaining before we hit the 250 patrons mark, we’re playing our remaining “make people quit backing us so we don’t have to review Hand Shakers” cards. Gerald keeps saying Mash’s name from Mashle is “Mashle” and thinks Delicious in Dungeon sucks, Daryl uses the phrase “mecha anime is dead” in a sentence while talking about Bravern, and Clarissa calls out people who work in IT that subsidize the furry fandom through commissions while keeping her Discord notification sounds enabled so you’ll think YOU’RE getting Discord notifications as you’re listening. Gerald also did a panel at the recently-concluded Megacon, and while it was not that heavily attended, there’s a possibility more people came to see him than Gina Carano. It was about the practice of Western productions outsourcing their animation production to Japan, so expect lots of delightful statements about your Generation X/millennial childhood favorites. We also weigh in with our recent experiences using the Crunchyroll Store!

You know, from Mobile Suit Gundam.

On a less rage-baiting note, Clarissa will be a guest on this month’s Anime Nostalgia Podcast, as she joins Dawn to talk about Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack, which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Otaku In Memoriam: Derek Wakefield (39:51 – 48:30)

This year, we’d like to hear stories about noteworthy anime fans who are no longer around, ideally by people who knew or had interactions with them. If you knew someone and wish to share some memories of them, record something and email it to us so we can put them into later episodes. If you’d rather not vocalize it yourself, that’s fine too! Just write it up and we can read it on your behalf.

Dave Merrill is the first to take us up on the offer, as he sends in a memoriam of Derek Wakefield, founder of the Earth Defense Command, a Star Blazers club which became an anime club which set the foundation for Project A-Kon which is still going to this day. It would not be a stretch to credit Derek Wakefield as the founder of North Texas anime fandom. Derek’s willingness to help out new younger fans helped Dave embark on his anime fandom journey. The disappearance of web message boards across the Internet has resulted in the loss of quite a bit of early Internet anime fandom history, but for the moment the Internet Archive still exists where there is a snapshot of this May 2014 memoriam post for Derek posted a few days after Derek had passed away.

Review: The Boy and the Heron aka How Do You Live? (48:30 – 1:48:51)
The most revered of anime’s living grandmasters, Hayao Miyazaki, came out of retirement yet again to make another film, which for years we’ve been referring to as “BETTAR THAN YOUR NAME.” That’s “bettar” with an a, not “better”, because if Hayao Miyazaki is anything, he is–as the Gen Z’ers and Alphas don’t know–l33t liek JeffK. Once the Japanese title “How Do You Live?” was revealed the Zoolander associations commenced, no doubt being the catalyst for GKIDS selecting “The Boy and the Heron” as its international title for its theatrical release in late 2023. As of this episode, the film has won numerous awards, including the Golden Globe, and as such is a frontrunner to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. If so, it will mark the second time a Japanese animated work has won the award, with the previous instance being Miyazaki’s earlier work “Spirited Away” (which is also an international title that’s different from the Japanese one, but it’s just shorter). It has garnered considerable and near-universal critical acclaim as well.

But that’s not as important compared to what WE thought of it. We absolutely did not deliberately misrepresent the contents of the movie or of any books, documentaries, interviews, and should any discrepancies exist, they are purely accidental and are absolutely not an attempt to rile people up like how you know who does for the National Review.