Thoughts on America’s Greatest Otaku Episode #7

Summary:In this episode the tour concludes, Team Mangaloids gets to visit yet another convention, murals are painted, and I learn that I have a bone to pick with the New Orleans Haiku Society.

I’m not going to talk much about the venues this time, because none of them really blew me away or were particularly bad either, so there isn’t much to report. I am convinced though that most motions in Kyudo are done for the sake of looking awesome and for no other reason.

Your Weekly Challenge Update

For once, I actually liked the challenge; painting murals is fun, and it’s appropriate for a show trying to raise awareness about otaku culture to some extent. I wasn’t keen on the fact that the contestants had to scout the venues for that; it seemed kind of unfair that Diana and Dre’s mural had to get erased because the landlord didn’t approve, while the other teams could do more or less what they wanted.

However, given that they all managed to complete the challenge (since Team D&D did complete the mural and snap a pic before taking it down), how is this going to be judged, exactly? On artistic skill? That doesn’t really seem fair, since only some of the cohosts are really into drawing (although all the murals were at least cute, if not stellar). Considering this is for the overall win, I think it should have been clearer what they were being judged on, but I’ve been complaining about how nebulous the whole challenge thing was from the very beginning, so it’s not exactly a shock.

If I had to pick, I would go for Stephan and Sully’s mural- it was the most mural-like, as opposed to a “drawing that happens to be on the wall,” and they completely sucked at all their challenges at the beginning of the show, so it could be a nice, feel-good, come-back-from-behind sort of story for the season. Eye of the Tiger….

Haiku Snafu

NO
THAT IS NOT HAIKU

I was enjoying the segment in New Orleans until this quote from Dr. David G. Lanoe of the New Orleans Haiku Society:

“In Japan, most Haiku is 5-7-5 syllables…but in English, you can get away from the 5-7-5 if you want to.”

No. No, you can’t. Experiencing Critical English Major Meltdown in 3…2…1…

If you want to write three lines with any damn number of syllables you want, more FIGHT THE POWAA! to  you, but then that becomes freeform poetry! Not haiku! The syllable cap in haiku is what creates the challenge! If you can just do whatever the hell you want, what’s the point of name-dropping a type of classical poetry with formal constraints?! Why not just call yourselves “The New Orleans Poetry Society,” which is more inclusive anyway? This is why people don’t take poets seriously, because poetry only has like two rules and you STILL can’t be bothered! Damn poets! How dare you live in a house with a roof?

I feel like for the sake of being a decent human being I should provide a disclaimer like “no disrespect meant to the New Orleans Haiku Society due to a difference of opinion over the definition of haiku,” only I can’t quite do it, because this is one of my pet peeves- this is one of my pet peeves, and it has been trodden upon. Besides this is poetry, and poetry is war- the normal courtesies do not, cannot apply. As poets, I’m sure my opponents will understand. Should we ever meet in the field of verse, prepare yourselves, New Orleans Haiku Society. Prepare yourselves.

Ahem. Moving on.

Best:

Team Mangaloids trip to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Chicago. There was nothing particularly great about it, it just looked like they were having a great time geeking out and it would have been fun to be there. I was actually kind of bummed that we don’t have one out near me after seeing this, but let’s be honest, no one actually has sympathy for the chick who lives right near NYC in the ‘I wish we had one of those around here….” department.

Worst:

I’ve already ranted about the haiku thing, so that’s covered. The only other worst I can think of is also kind of weird- I wasn’t pleased when those geeky convention dudes “Geeked” Meera. Maybe it’s just because someone snuck up behind me at Otakon and hit me with something, but I am NOT COOL with people invading my personal space at conventions, and was offended on Meera’s behalf. Fortunately, she’s much, much nicer than I am and turned the assault into an interview opportunity instead of decking them.

Ah, so I see you've met my friend Meera? KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF my friend Meera.

This Week’s Contenders:

Greer

Greer’s segment seemed to be filmed differently from the others, since it was impossible to get a screen of her alone. Fortunately, she was teaching Dre how to dance, so no harm done.

Like Dre, I’m glad we had a contender from New Orleans, but I wasn’t feeling great AGO potential: her cosplay was pretty impressive, and she showed enough enthusiasm, but she just didn’t have any special otaku traits above and beyond the other contestants.

Chance of Winning AGO Bunny Ears: Low, although I think she’s one of the more successful cosplayers.

Ryan

I actually don’t get the whole lolita-fashion thing- I don’t necessarily dislike it, it’s just one of those things on a long list of stuff where I’m not sure what the appeal is. That said, Ryan struck me as a pretty strong contender- she’s one of the more polished anime-style artists that we’ve seen, and her otaku-inspired handicrafts business shows a lot of dedication.

I have a question though, don’t you get into trouble with copyright infringement if you’re selling stuff based on Pokemon and whatnot? I get the impression a lot of her stuff is her own original work, which is great, but I’m pretty sure that if you’re selling fanart (other than at a con), problems can arise. Then again, I haven’t spoken to anyone about the legal ramifications of selling fanart for about ten years, so it’s possible that all companies involved have totally given up in the interim.

Chance of Winning AGO Bunny Ears: High- she doesn’t have a tremendous amount of otaku factors, but what she does, she does at a high level.

Jillian

I like the fact that Jillian comes at otaku creativity from a different angle- the way her AMV making got her into editing, which she’s pursuing as a career whether or not anime is involved. I’ve only edited one AMV, but I came pretty darn close to falling in love with the process myself just from that, so I can understand. Editing is seriously underrated, in my opinion.

Between decorating her cupcakes with otaku things, the editing thing, and her cosplay, she has some skills- however, the thing she’s probably the strongest at- making AMVs- we really didn’t get to see much, which kind of works against her. Ryan could show off her drawings for the camera pretty easily, but we kind of have to take Jillian’s word for it that editing is her thing.

Chance of Winning the AGO Bunny Ears: Medium. An interesting mix of skills gives her a shot, but I’m not sure any of them blow the competition out of the water.

Next Week: Apparently, the show is going to Japan. Did they announce that this was going to happen at the beginning? Because I had no idea that was actually happening, but it’s certainly better than the clips show I was half-expecting from the final episode, so no complaints.

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