Three Way Action – Episode 01

Here it is. The first episode of our brand new seasonal editorial podcast, which we’ve (tastefully) named Three Way Action. For fans of The Nihon Revue, don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere. But, from now on, we’ll be bringing you two podcasts each season… Three Way Action in the middle and our review podcast, The Nihon Revue at the end.

The show is hosted by Akira, and today’s episode features TypicalIdiotFan and myself hanging along for the ride, and throwing our $0.02 all over everything. Everything’s fairly laid back in this show, so enjoy our (relatively) unscripted mayhem. To spare confusion, Akira’s is the first voice you hear after the OP, mine is the second, and TIF’s the third. Four segments in this episode:

0:23 Introduction and Spring 2011: Shit or Not Shit?

7:20 Loli Security

14:09 The Problem with Two Cour Shows… Will Hanasaku Iroha Get Better Later?

21:26 Bill 156 – Any Differences so Far?

The entire show runs for 25:23, and you can listen to it below.

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Or you could download it if that’s your thing.

19 Responses to “Three Way Action – Episode 01”

  1. “But, from now on, we’ll be bringing you two podcasts each season…”

    I came.

  2. Actually, the enforcement of Bill 156 will start on July 1, but the effects of its advent are already propagating the publishing world. Shueisha has specified that several titles will be discontinued or won’t get another print run because of it. AkiSora, Okusama wa Chuugakusei and Kareshi Sharing are among the 6 specified. The fear among publishers is that “unhealthy” themes will be less attractive for authors to incorporate into their stories, since the market for such books will shrink, meaning less diversity in the world of manga/etc. in the long run.

    I’m kind of disappointed that nobody is talking about Hyouge Mono. I’ll just go ahead and say it, it’s by far the best executed anime of the season. Think Game of Thrones in a Japanese feudal setting, with an otaku in the middle of it all. That being said, while I generally hate sengoku jidai stories, since they center on its warlords and not much else far too often, Hyouge Mono is like a breath of fresh air that makes me want to sip tea in a Japanese garden. I’d rank it above [C], AnoHana and even Steins;Gate.

  3. I thought the podcast should be named as something edgier, like Threesome Action or something. You know, just for shits and giggles.

    I can say that this season is not shit. I haven’t been so involved for this season as much as before, and it’s quite a pleasant surprise since I wasn’t expecting so much before it began. Maybe I shouldn’t expect a lot for any upcoming season; that way, I won’t be disappointed so much.

    Random thought: Hanasaku’s charming first episode reminded me of Kuragehime’s equally charming first episode for a second. Kuragehime has a poor ending at the end even when the whole series has been hilarious to me, so I pray that Hanasaku isn’t going to follow the same route.

    Quote of the Day: “Madoka died for your sins.”

  4. “Loli is a life style, it’s not just a flat chest.” Quote of the day, right there.

    As for Kugimiya and loli roles, she did play Shannon in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, which is definitely not a loli role. However, umineko is 2 years old, so it has been a while since she’s played a role out-of-the-box, per se…

    “I’d rather have bold shit than timid shit.” lol.

    I have fun listening to these podcasts, especially Akira’s comments. Keep up the good work! ^_^b

  5. Actually, the enforcement of Bill 156 will start on July 1

    Blah. I couldn’t remember the exact date. I just remembered that April was the time frame where the industry itself was given time to “voluntarily” make any changes but that the full enforcement happened later.

    but the effects of its advent are already propagating the publishing world. Shueisha has specified that several titles will be discontinued or won’t get another print run because of it. AkiSora, Okusama wa Chuugakusei and Kareshi Sharing are among the 6 specified. The fear among publishers is that “unhealthy” themes will be less attractive for authors to incorporate into their stories, since the market for such books will shrink, meaning less diversity in the world of manga/etc. in the long run.

    Less diversity? I fail to see how. You mean we wont get smut like AkiSora anymore? Is this where I say “Whoopdeefuckingdo?”

    I haven’t seen / read the other two, so I wont comment, but AkiSora is nothing but smut. Tell me what value that manga had to the world.

  6. The problems with the bill have more to do with the idea of a “slippery slope.” Sure, AkiSora might be trash, but where does it stop? The bill seems pretty vague, so where does the line get drawn? It’s possible for it to keep getting worst.

  7. @HirakuNoShadow
    We’ll try not to be so erotic next time. 😛

    @cyth
    I think seeing that it was made by Bee Train scared everyone away.

    @AC
    The important thing about innuendo jokes is to have a certain level of subtlety. 😛 The difference between Hanasaku Iroha and Kuragehime is that HanaIro has way more time to develop things. Kuragehime had an ongoing source, and it really felt like the anime finished things smack bang in the middle of the story. HanaIro has no source, so a conclusive ending should (hopefully) be the lesser of its problems. At the moment, its biggest problem is just the writing.

    @plasma991
    I didn’t fully understand Akira’s “loli is a lifestyle” comment at first, and even after he explained it, it felt to me like his definition of loli was mutually exclusive with tsundere (which, I admit, tends to be my moe archetype of choice). Anyway, thanks for the kind works. Akira will be a staple of Three Way Action from now one, so you can look forward to hearing him in every show.

    @Reckoner
    What I wanted to say on the issue, but we ran out of time, is that it doesn’t matter if you or I as consumers don’t notice any difference… what matters is if writers and creators notice a difference. If a writer comes up with an edgy idea for a manga/anime and it gets shot down by an editor or producer on the count of the Bill making it seem unprofitable, then that’s a story that’s lost to the world. I’m inclined to be against all censorship, but I can see why my fellow casters in this episode are tired of the hysteria. But, if the most positive thing that we can say about the Bill is that it’s barely made any difference, well, as far as I’m concerned it shouldn’t have been passed in the first place.

  8. Slippery slope arguments only work when there is the potential for abuse. That’s not the case here. Remember that the first attempt at a bill like this failed because of that argued slippery slope. Then refined bill may be vague, but contains language that can just as easily be applied in the same vague manner to protect various shows.

    In fact, the Bill contains a similar clause as the US Protect Act:

    The committee added a non-binding clause to the bill that calls on regulators to take into account “merits based on artistic, social, educational, and satirical criticism criteria” when evaluating publications under the revised law.

    Though whomever wrote that part in Wikipedia believes it is a “non-binding clause”, I’ve never heard of such a thing ever existing in a law before. Doesn’t really matter either. If Japan’s legal system works similarly to the US, the local (prefectural) law cannot trump national laws. Thus, any argument brought up that X title falls into the lines of free speech could be contested all the way to the highest court.

    So for those who are ultra paranoid that this will lead to a broader bit of “de facto” censorship, you’re daft.

  9. Except that you don’t want to be caught in a legal dispute at all in Japan as there’s a pretty good chance (read: 99,7%) that you’ll be charged with something (spoiler: the system is broken). The US Protect act has its own problems. Who’s to say which works have artistic merit? In reality, a panel of God-fearing locals. What has artistic value is up to the eye of the beholder. AkiSora might be smut in your eyes, but somebody obviously appreciates that kind of egregious display at least enough to purchase it.

  10. Perhaps another risqué name could have been AniMénage à trois. 😀

    I found it interesting to listen to, I never really have before, but I’ll be looking forward to the next instalment.

    As for YnS, I haven’t actually watched it so don’t crucify me if I’m wrong, but I think it sounds generous to call something bold just because it includes incest. It’s like the producers have got a gear, and keep turning it and turning it to try to make it look more than it actually is, and deals competently with difficult issues. It just comes across as disingenuous – hence why I didn’t even bother starting it.

    (Perhaps my harshness is unwarranted, I am comparing what I expect it to be, smut in all honesty, with Koi Kaze – which ranks among my favourites)

  11. Why loli? Why do you have to use the word loli? Why do you have to use a word that deliberately sexualises them? Why does anime fandom have to have this undercurrent of pedophilia? Why can’t we just call them young girls?

    ARGH

    When Bunny Drop airs next season, I will bite off the nose of the first person to call the young girl a loli

  12. Except that you don’t want to be caught in a legal dispute at all in Japan as there’s a pretty good chance (read: 99,7%) that you’ll be charged with something (spoiler: the system is broken).

    What in the balls could you be charged with in this case?

    The US Protect act has its own problems. Who’s to say which works have artistic merit? In reality, a panel of God-fearing locals. What has artistic value is up to the eye of the beholder.

    I quote, for the upteenth time, Justice Potter Stewart regarding pornography: “I know it when I see it.”

    The struggle to determine what is porn or art isn’t the issue, but what is obscene vs. what isn’t. Obscenity isn’t protected by the First Amendment in the US Constitution, hence the long standing battle over this very topic. Let me state, for the record, that I hate the US Protect Act and stated as such way back in my 10 Things article. However, that particular Act is far more broken than the Bill 156 language. While Bill 156 is vague, as many have pointed out, the spirit of the bill isn’t to eliminate anything. Some have cried “de facto censorship!” which is ludicrous since the Bill does not allow the government to outright ban any material. It only allows the government to require that said material is slapped with an “18 and older” audience label. The United States has had similar laws in existence for fucking decades. The Motion Picture Association of America has been using a rating system to easily identify which shows may not be “appropriate” for some viewers. What the hell does appropriate mean? The MPAA has dictated, for you, what it thinks is inappropriate. Yes, based on nudging from the Federal Government, but even then this form of “censorship” is highly vague. Forty years ago, movies that are PG rated now would probably be PG-13 or R. Society dictates what is appropriate and what isn’t. US obscenity laws have hinged upon the criteria that what is inappropriate is what “a reasonable citizen would find to be” inappropriate. In short, society dictates censorship, not governments.

    AkiSora might be smut in your eyes, but somebody obviously appreciates that kind of egregious display at least enough to purchase it.

    The same is true here. The spirit, again, of Bill 156 is to go after material that Japanese society feels is inappropriate. They use bovine terms like “harmful”, but let’s just say it outright: they don’t like seeing shit that gives them the creeps freely available for children to purchase. Don’t mix nuts on the issue, AkiSora is pornographic material without explicit sex organs being drawn in. The characters are constantly in simulated sexual encounters, often times between blood relatives. I don’t personally give a flying fist fuck that you think this has artistic merit or value, society doesn’t. You lose. Period.

    And, again, no material is being prevented from being sold. Assuming AkiSora’s production company didn’t decide to give it the axe, it would still have been purchasable, just not by kids. Maybe you think children have some sort of right to view heavy sexual material. I don’t, and neither does most of the world. And remember, I grew up a perfectly healthy male who, as a teenager, wanted to see as much sex related stuff as possible. Guess how much of it I could legally buy.

    Again, people are making hugely annoying mountains out of this molehill. That sexually explicit material that wasn’t originally called as such is being called as such now doesn’t change the fact that it was fucking sexually explicit material in the first fucking place. The whole allure of these particular items, ESPECIALLY AkiSora, was the sex. You can try to argue against that if you want, but you’d be a damned fool to try. But, hell, I love a good debate. Go ahead and demonstrate how AkiSora would fall into the grounds of artistic merit.

    After all, if I’m right about the language of the bill, you should be able to protect any of the six already cut productions based on their merits outside of the explicit sexual material. And, hey, I love being right, so I’m game. Really.

  13. Why loli? Why do you have to use the word loli? Why do you have to use a word that deliberately sexualises them? Why does anime fandom have to have this undercurrent of pedophilia? Why can’t we just call them young girls?

    You do remember we’re talking about Japan, right? Though the Lolita Complex is not exclusive to that particular nation, the Japanese have a strong association with beauty being related to youth. While you may see them simply as “young girls”, the target audience sees them as examples of ideal female beauty.

    It’s a difference in cultures, but that doesn’t mean jailbait isn’t jailbait. Even Japan is trying to move away from this traditionalist mythos with anti child porn laws. The heavily contested Bill 156 is, in spirit, designed to be another such piece of legislation.

    That, and it’s easy archetype identification. Comes with being a cynic.

  14. What in the balls could you be charged with in this case?

    I’m certain they would fine repeat offenders, or something to that extent, but that’s never going to happen because of self-censorship. However, if a case were to be brought up to the district attorney or the police, they have the right to release the names of repeat offenders in public. This is far more damaging to publishers than any monetary fine.

    Personally, I find your reasoning comparing Japan to the U.S. problematic. I’m quite certain Bill 156 got introduced not because there was a specific need to tend to the ailing state of Japanese youth, but rather because western pressure presented opportunities for Japanese low-tier politicians to advance their careers. I don’t even want to argue about different cultural values between Japan and the west or about shifting supervisory responsibilities from the parents themselves to the nanny state, as I’m quite certain my arguments would fall on deaf ears, but I do need to point out that Japan’s society doesn’t decry its “filth” by the same principles that us westerners are used to. In fact, I’m quite certain that their culture of “hammering the nail that sticks out” has a bigger meaning than the apparent disgust over manga eroticism.

    This difference in principle is why Japan’s legislators didn’t try to outright outlaw all of obscene sexual material in the same manner Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. have. Public discourse in Japan is simpler. The public and, by its extension, the legislative system have a duty to hammer in anyone that sticks out. This cultural logic convolutes its possessors when it comes to a number of filthy or even internationally embarrassing topics (such as TEPCO, the justice system, the yakuza etc.) because nobody wants to be that nail.

    Writing this, I think I’m flabbergasted by just how effective this perverse relationship between Japanese politicians and western propaganda machines really is. Actually, this conversation is over because I’m only a tick away before I implode from seeing how people fail to notice that values in developed countries in this day and age are so over the place that you can’t argue one single culture anymore. Over and out.

  15. Sometimes I wonder if they purposely attempt to condense as much of the narrative meat of the story into the 2nd half for a two cours show on purpose in an attempt to fish in people who are suckers for the aesthetic style, but force people to collect the entire series if they enjoy the last few episode of the anime. As a marketing strategy, it seems to play heavily on the idea that people will want to see an entire series as long as the end gets better.

    Perhaps Sorrow-kun’s recent article is influencing my idea of why they would plan out a series this way, but you can imagine people don’t want to just collect the 2nd half of a series that they really enjoyed the ending to. This, in reverse, influences their opinion of the first half in a way that may increase their evaluation. Maybe in terms of marketing strategy, “It gets better, I swear!” is a valid strategy to gain viewers?

  16. I’m certain they would fine repeat offenders, or something to that extent, but that’s never going to happen because of self-censorship. However, if a case were to be brought up to the district attorney or the police, they have the right to release the names of repeat offenders in public. This is far more damaging to publishers than any monetary fine.

    The only criminal act involved with this bill would be if the stores don’t put the material into the adult only section… there is no part of this law that says that the material that has previously existed cannot continue to be made. Why are you pretending it says more than it does.

    Personally, I find your reasoning comparing Japan to the U.S. problematic. I’m quite certain Bill 156 got introduced not because there was a specific need to tend to the ailing state of Japanese youth, but rather because western pressure presented opportunities for Japanese low-tier politicians to advance their careers.

    I don’t doubt that western beliefs has had an influence on the growing censorship trend in Japan over the last fifteen years. Then again, I don’t presume to know that all Japanese have been fine and dandy this whole time with the practices of the anime / manga industry and the consumption behaviors of otaku. I seriously doubt ambitious politicians are just doing this to placate us puritanical types.

    This difference in principle is why Japan’s legislators didn’t try to outright outlaw all of obscene sexual material in the same manner Great Britain, Canada, and the U.S. have.

    Actually they did. That law was shot down and turned into this one.

    Actually, this conversation is over because I’m only a tick away before I implode from seeing how people fail to notice that values in developed countries in this day and age are so over the place that you can’t argue one single culture anymore. Over and out.

    Culture changes. Values change. As a conservative, I can’t believe I’m saying this but… advancing societies will become more progressive and liberal as rational thought replaces traditionalism and irrationality.

    But, whatever. From what you’ve been saying you’re barely aware of what Bill 156 even does and are more concerned with creating nightmare scenarios. Which is pretty much what every other paranoid and irrational anime fan has been doing since getting wind of Bill 156. So you’re normal. Congrats.

  17. The only criminal act involved with this bill would be if the stores don’t put the material into the adult only section… there is no part of this law that says that the material that has previously existed cannot continue to be made.

    Thank you for being so patronizing, but I’m already quite aware such a case isn’t of criminal nature. The only part I’m not familiar with this law is the procedure of how repeat offenders get invited to a hearing. However, don’t civil trials also require a court?

    Why are you pretending it says more than it does.

    I don’t, and I’m sorry I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve actually helped dispel some of the paranoia about it in my part of the world. That being said, I think it’s still a pretty serious bill.

    From what you’ve been saying you’re barely aware of what Bill 156 even does and are more concerned with creating nightmare scenarios.

    I explicitly stated such a scenario won’t happen because of self-censorship, didn’t I? But still, if you’re such an expert on this bill, why have you forgotten the effect it might have on topics of gay relationships and sexual critique? Publishers and authors are appalled by its vague language, and those who may try to educate a wider audience (by God, maybe even the youth!) about a certain sexual topic, they may not be inclined to do that because of its vagueness.

    I’m aware I’m spewing out a lot of mays and mights, but that’s just how this conversation is going to role (actually, didn’t it already end? xD). Hopefully that’s enough to persuade I’m not an avid reader of Shitkaku Kompleks. :)

  18. If you mean that Tatsuyuki Nagai is a significantly better director than Masahiro Ando (Hanasaku’s director) at handling Mari Okada’s haphazard writing, then I’d agree. Otherwise, Ando just beats him at everything else.

    Honestly, watching the first episode of both shows, I can’t see how can Nagai be better. The camera work, storyboarding, edits, general execution is better in Hanasaku Iroha first episode than in AnoHana‘s.

    Really, I think a whole lot of has to do with Okada’s writing being this varying in quality between each work, rather than a problem with a specific director.

  19. “Akira: …I’m not a big fan of loli’s”
    Liar!

    I found it to be a good cast. Nicely paced and not too long or short. Good humour, interesting subjects and thoughts(though Bill 156 has been beaten to death on the Net already). I look foward to more.

    Tif > other two scrubs.

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