Tag Archives: Miku Hatsune

[12 Days of Anime] Day 10 – My anime design principle

Hatsune Miku

I am not a good artist and neither a good designer. However from a ‘real’ audience point of view, I know honestly what I like and it is not something that what others told me to like or what to hate. If I were to design my own anime characters I’d follow these design principle:

“Design and decoration must seduce, shape, and more importantly, evoke an emotional response.”

That’s it, it must be able to ‘seduce’, something lovely to the eyes, pleasing to look at. Anything that’s opposite to this would be deemed as ugly. How do I measure it? Well for me if the look alone is enough to seduce without the help of the plot/story to support it then it’s won already. I’d take keion for example, where there are cases where people fall in love with the characters even without/before watching the anime. Miku Hatsune, the Vocaloid doesn’t even have a fixed personality to begin with, other than being a 16 year-old girl as touted by the developer/creator, still managed to become a world-class “pop star”. Her derivative, known as Black Rock Shooter is also doing very well. Not to mention the female characters from the bullet-hell shooting game Touhou Project (all of them) also have thousands of fans worldwide. If you ask me to show the example of “ugly” character then I have not much to say as I normally don’t watch/follow what I hate. After all isn’t that what fans have always told the ‘haters’? I mean the popular saying “If you don’t like it, don’t watch!” However stumbling upon hateable stuff in inevitable or impossible. That said, I hate the design of Panty & Stocking (the anime). In fact I think most people like it because it has the anime to support the design. I don’t think the some people who love it now would love it if it was from some American cartoon that carries different name/title and different story.

Of course design alone is not enough if we’re talking about anime in general. That’s why I always insist that anime has to have proper plot/storyline to accompany the characters. After all characters are designed for the sake of the plot, not the other way round, where you could design a character to look like in any way you wanted it to be solely based on the plot given to you but there’s no way telling what kind of plot from a character design alone. This is what I meant by “emotional response”. For me the genuine emotional response can only be triggered by the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the drawing is. It also doesn’t matter how bad the animation is. If it is enough to evoke an emotional response in you than it already won half of the battle. I maybe biased in this and I could be wrong too but again the one who is being entertained here is me and this is why how the character look and in what story they’re in is important to me. Otherwise I would not find them that entertaining. For any anime to entertain me, it has to do the above without fail. With that said, I do admit that my No. 1 favorite character, Mami-san (and the rest of Madoka Magica characters) is badly drawn and I even criticized it in my post here. Also I never liked SHAFT anime studio to begin with but the story and my emotional response towards it saved Madoka Magica from being dropped/hated in my watchlist. Yes I am extremely picky but regardless how picky I am it doesn’t concern anybody.

Français : Chibi de Miku Hatsune.

[12 Days of Anime] Day 4 – Music in anime

When it comes to audio entertainment I’m always go to anime first. While most people would use the radio (both online or “offline”/on-air radio) for music discovery, I use anime instead. I treat anime like a music discovery tool in a similar way people treat the radio. It is because to me music discovered from anime is like music of “the chosen one”. There must be something special about it that it became the OP/ED/BGM of an anime. In other words, listening to anime music is like listening to something of special value, a value that is usually missing from randomly discovered music in radio.
Anime maybe my default music discovery tool but it is not the only one. There are at least 3 other sources for my music, namely games (eroge/visual novel included), Jdrama and not to forget doujin music circles. That said if I were to make a ranking anime has always be at the top, followed by the rest. I hardly take recommendations because I can’t simply accept it. For me music has to be good not only for my ears but also “good” in terms of being used in anime.
So how did some music that didn’t come from the above sources ended up in my collection anyway? Well, if you look carefully they are either classics, music from the yesteryear, nostalgic music from my distant past that I’ll always be fond of (like the vintage rock in the 70’s & 80’s). Even if you still managed to find newer/recent non-anime/games/jdrama/doujin music in my collection, again look carefully and you’ll find they’re sung by the same artists who sing for some of the sources above.
Recently anime music has become less interesting to me. I don’t think I’m the one who have changed, it must be the anime. Although I listen to many kinds of music I usually tend to pick Jrock over Jpop, as well as classical orchestra and new age music (that includes Gregorian and Celtic too). I think the most recent “good” orchestra music I’ve heard is “Mini Ika Musume na Hibi” from Ika Musume Season 1 OST. That was years after the last one, which is “Ailes Grise” from the anime Haibane Renmei. I wish more anime could have orchestra music too, at least as the BGM piece if not as the OP/ED.
When it comes to composer though I like Yuki Kajiura‘s works very much. Her works, accompanied by the awesome voices from her “FictionJunction” project and the girl band “Kalafina” really add extra powerful touches to her music. To be honest so far she is the only composer in the world that I like all of her creations. Even for other composers, there’s always at least one of their works that I can’t stand listening for long.
Speaking about my favorite music and the composer, of course it would be unfair without me mentioning my favorite singer/musician too. I like it when Hanazawa-san sings for anime but not all of her song sounds good to my ears. The same also true for my other favorite female artist, KOKIA. She has super awesome voice but I’m not ‘compatible’ with all her songs. That is why I rarely purchase a whole album of any artist. BTW I can’t mention Miku Hatsune here though since her songs and music really depends on the composer behind her, not herself. For musician/band/circle I mostly listen to music from IOSYS, supercell (just to name a few) because of their relationship with anime fandom in general (not necessarily have direct connection to anime but they have some affinity or association with anything anime-ish, including the Touhou Project).
Before I end this let me tell you I don’t stick to a certain artist/genre when it comes to music though I may have a tendency towards classical orchestra music as I’ve mentioned earlier. I only follow the song/music. Therefore if the music sounds good enough to my ears, and it comes from the sources I mentioned above I’d most likely grab it and I don’t care who’s behind it. The only reason I’d care about the artist behind it is to allow me to look for more works from that artist.

How To Celebrate Eid (Raya), The Otaku Way


Eid is just in a matter of 1 or 2 days more. While there are different ways of celebrating it among Muslims in different nations throughout the world, still it one of the most celebrated festival in the Muslim world. However there’s catch, over the centuries the way of celebrating it has become too static, or should I say it tends to get boring all this time. Now I think what if we make a change to make it more interesting? By the way the suggestions below is made based on Malaysian Muslim’s view on Eid (a.k.a. ‘raya’ locally). Keep reading after the break.

Five ways of celebrating Eid, from otaku point of view:

1. Cosplay
When I mean cosplay here, of course I’m talking about the one that you can wear to go to Eid morning prayer, the one that you don’t have to discard too much to enable you to go to the mosque, and most importantly it covers your aurat so that you can pray. Of course you could wear gloves and boots too (though you’d still need to put them off in order to pray, except for head wear, as long as they don’t get in the way when you are in prostration position a.k.a. ‘sujud’) but no, don’t wear wigs during this time. Imagine wearing your Storm Troopers armor minus the helmet, the gloves and the boots, or you could wear your Darth Vade costume minus the helmet, gloves and boots too but you can still wear the mantel and you may replace the helmet with ‘songkok’. And you could as well wear a ‘samping’ too. Sorry girls but you can’t cosplay as Miku Hatsune during this time and yeah its too bad anime characters with veils (tudung) is almost non-existent, not to mention most female anime characters are sexy. Wearing kimono to replace your ‘baju kurung’ and ‘baju kebaya’ won’t help either since it would be too obvious because most conservative folks would see it as ‘too Japanese’ instead of relating it with anime (the don’t know what anime is to begin with). So girls, all that left to you might be wearing your raya dresses with color-theme associated with certain anime characters, such as black and green for Miku Hatsune, or if you’re creative enough you may redesign your favorite cosplay costumes to look like baju kurung/kebaya (for a sample, see the image at the bottom of this article). By the way you may still wear cosplay costumes for visiting friends during this time but certainly not for going to the mosque for Eid morning prayer.

2. Replace lemang with sushi rolls

Lemang sushi13
Lemang is is a Malay traditional food consisting of glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk in bamboo sticks which the innerside of the bamboo stick has been layered with banana leaves prior to the cooking process, which would wrap around the glutinous rice once they’re cooked. Lemang usually served in slices around 1-inch thick and usually eaten with ‘rendang’. Their rounded shape and the banana leaves that wrapped around them very much resembling sushi rolls wrapped around with seaweed. So I guess otaku would love to see this happen.

3. Replace Ketupat with Onigiri

ketupat onigiri1
Ketupat is another Malay traditional food, consisting of glutinous rice(man Malay do have lots of food consisting of glutinous rice a.k.a. ‘pulut’), or sometimes the normal rice, also cooked with coconut milk but instead being wrapped inside bamboo sticks they’re packed inside coconut leaf pouches, usually 2x2x1 inches in size that is made in a special way, giving ketupat a distinctive form of rice dumplings. They’re also usually eaten with ‘rendang’, usually served by cutting them into four symmetrical slices, or cut diagonally into two triangular-shaped slices. While onigiri (Japanese rice balls) is not really rounded like a ball (usually more triangular in shape) they share some similarities with ketupat, which I think otaku would love to see onigiri being served during Eid too.

4. Replace rendang with nikujaga

rendang p_nikujaga_000_l
Rendang is yet another Malay traditional food, which I’ve been mentioned a few times earlier. It is a type of ‘Malaysian curry’ (although the recipe usually has no ‘real’ curry being used). It is consisting of meat (beef/chicken/duck/mutton, everything but fish and seafood) cooked with coconut milk, various herbs and spices including chillies, which gives it a spicy taste. OK, they have no shared similarity with nikujaga except they’re made of meat, so I guess otaku would love to see nikujaga to replace this too. Besides nikujaga is relatively easier to cook too because it’s pretty much “beef soup/stew with potatoes and soy sauce”.

5. Greet your guests and visitors with ‘irashai’ together with the salam and Eid greetings
This is perhaps the least and easiest thing to do to celebrate raya/Eid in the otaku way. Usually during Eid when people come to our house they will give us a salam and wishes “selamat hari raya” (literally ‘”happy Eid”). During this moment you could say “irashaimase” or “youkoso” to them, followed by “douzo, douzo” to seat them. And if it’s you the one who pays a visit you could say “gomen kudasai” or “ojama shimasu” to the host.

How’s that? Alright, cosplaying in raya/Eid might be too striking, and greeting ‘irashai’ would sound too awkward too but if you’re really an otaku you wouldn’t care, right? Or perhaps you have better idea? Last but not least, Happy Eid and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri from me, maaf zahir dan batin.