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Tag: 90s anime

Anime Analysis 0

Otaku no Hustle: The Hustling (and Entrepreneur) Side of Otaku no Video

Otaku no Video (lit. “The Geeks’ Video”) is Gainax’s 1991 two episode OVA (original video animation) celebrating otaku culture.  Set between 1982-1999, the anime follows main character Ken Kubo’s journey from an everyman college tennis player, to his transformation into a diehard otaku, aspiring entrepreneur, the CEO of his a multi-million dollar anime figurine/garage kit company, and finally, the president of a successful multi-billion dollar animation company.  Otaku no Video is celebrated throughout the otaku community; due to its overarching theme of otaku pride and positivity. However, there’s one theme of the OVA that isn’t discussed within the community: the hustle of Ken and his journey as an entrepreneur.

Join me as I discuss this underappreciate theme of  Otaku no Video and how it even relates to the real world of entrepreneurship.

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From left-to-right: Misty May, Tanaka, Ken, and Fukuhara.

PART 1
THE HUSTLE

‘While we out here, say the Hustler’s Prayer
If the game shakes me or breaks me
I hope it makes me a better man, take a better stand’
-Biggie Smalls, Sky’s the Limit (1997 hip-hop single)

Towards the end of episode one, Ken (frustrated with his girlfriend dumping him, not being able to find a job, and dealing with the negative stereotypes of  otakus) convinces his friend Tanaka to drop out of college and quit job hunting in order to start up an anime figurine manufacture company: Grand Prix (GP) . The ambitious friends worked and hustle non-stop; creating figurines out of their apartment and promoting the GP brand.  Months later, they were able to buy a property – setting up shop at a storefront and hiring old college friends (to work for them).

Their business massively grew and they start to scale; buying up more property to open new shops. The public and media take notice of their brand; with Ken and Tanaka’s brand appearing on TV, newspapers, and magazines.  Grand Prix grew into a power player within their industry – dominating the competition.

Finally, after a year of relentless growth, Grand Prix transformed from a small business to behemoth of a corporation.

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In the real world, a company coming up from a small business to a major corporation within a year is a mere fantasy.  However, the reality of business growth can be rooted in taking risks. Quitting a secured job and/or dropping out of college to one’s entrepreneur journey is risky.  Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg know this well. They had to drop out of college in order to grow their business massively. Daymond John (founder of the urban clothing line FUBU and Shark Tank judge) quit his job at Red Lobster to focus on his brand (although he did wait until FUBU became a profitable business before quitting). The greatest of entrepreneurs had to surrender something in order to build their brand – just like what Ken and Tanaka did.

The otaku duo where met with overwhelming success in a span of a year.  Yet, like with many entrepreneurs, failure was waiting nearby.

 

PART 2
FAILURE AND COMEBACK

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‘Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is the part of the process of success.’
-Robert Kiyosaki

The impressive growth of the GP Company meant that Ken was able to expand the business overseas.  In order to increase capital, Ken (now a multi-millionaire), set his sights on China (in order to build a warehouse for mass production). Taking out a loan with a bank, Ken travels to China and buys land for the warehouse; overseeing the production of it. Back in Japan, the figurine industry starts to crash – putting Grand Prix at risk of going under. With the company in financial trouble and the morale of his employees fading, Ken at is in danger of losing his title as president of GP.

The downfall of the Ken begins.

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Fuck bankers. 

After the success of the warehouse in China, Ken is called to an emergency meeting at Grand Prix.  The meeting is a front to fire him as president – with the entire company in favor of it – including his best friend Tanaka. Ken is forced to work as a regular employee at one of Grand Prix’s underperforming location and he begins to lose hope in himself. Later, during an event at a Grand Prix store, Ken encounters Tanaka (who too was fired from the company on false embezzlement charges) and confronts him (about Ken’s firing). Tanaka begs for his forgiveness: explaining to Ken that he was manipulated by the bankers to vote against him.

Ken forgives Tanaka as he realized they were both screwed over (by the same people). Putting his anger aside, Ken asks Tanaka if he wants to start over again.  Tanaka agrees and the two join forces once again to build a new brand – separate from Grand Prix.  Together, Ken and Tanaka start up a Japanese Adult Video (JAV) business with cosplay porn as their specialty.

…Nah I’m just fucking around they open up their own animation studio.

Tanaka and Ken begin work on creating their new company: “Giant X”. Tanaka suggests that they create homemade anime marketed towards otaku to sell through mail orders (as well as selling merchandise at events for extra income). Tanaka recruits Fukuhara: a former employee of Grand Prix as an animator.  Together, the three start production on an original anime: Misty MayMisty May is a hit with the otaku market; putting Ken and Tanaka back in the national spotlight.  Giant X – like Grand Prix before – dominated its market and industry without resistance. Ken, with the success of his new company, buys back Grand Prix and becomes a juggernaut of a businessman. Later on, Ken opens the world’s first otaku driven amusement park: An amusement park for otakus by otakus.

Finally, at the end of the OVA, Ken is the richest man in Japan and one of the world’s wealthiest CEOs.

‘Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.’
‘If you’re a real winner you know how to bounce back!’
-Big Sean, Bounce Back (2016 hip-hop single)

Ken was able to bounce back from failure – like many entrepreneurs have done.   In business and in hustling, you’ll have your fair share of failures, mishaps, disappointments, what have you.  It’s all a part of the entrepreneur’s journey.  In order to become a successful entrepreneur, you must bounce back from failure and never give up. Richard Brandon, the founder of Virgin, has seven well-known failures. But he still works as an entrepreneur to this day. Walt Disney, one of the world’s most influential animator and businessman, was fired from his first cartoonist job.  His boss told him that he’ll never find success because he lacked imagination and his ideas were terrible.  Today, the Disney Company is worth over 92 billion dollars.

Failure doesn’t always mean the end.

Otaku no Video is a wonderful OVA on otaku pride.  It has inspired many fans around the world to love their nerdiness.  Gainax shows the world that otaku can break the stereotype that nerds are hopeless losers that won’t amount to anything in life.  However, what should be celebrated about this OVA is Ken’s grind from a young college kid to a rookie entrepreneur, to a successful businessman who failed but bounces back against all odds.  Although Ken ’s wild story and the man himself is fictional, we can learn from and relate to him.

We dealt with failures, setbacks, doubters, and disappointment, only to come back from all of them and shine brightly.  Our vision may seem wild and outlandish to some, but to us, they can come true – but only if we work our ass off for it.

We should be like Ken Kubo; staying focused on our goals regardless of what failure may come and embrace the hope of an unseen world far away.

‘I won’t let anyone block me!
I’ll go my own way!’
‘My goal is the world!’
‘I’ll be the greatest man’!
-Lyrics from Fight! Otaking! (Otaku no Video’s OP theme)

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 8: Favorite Anime Artwork/Directing (56k Warning)

Well, thank God for the saying “A picture is worth a thousands words” because I suck at describing visuals.  And I want to finish editing the grammar errors of my next post that is coming very soon so I’m going to leave you guys with some pretty anime pictures.

Enjoy!

I recommend that you listen to this classic vaporwave song to set the mood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8HrO7XuiE

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If you can’t tell I love hand drawn cel animation.  And I’m also aesthetic trash.

 

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 3 – Most Underrated Anime: Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star is underrated.

Seihō Bukyō Outlaw Star (lit. “Outlaw Star: Starward Warrior Knight), or simply Outlaw Star is Sunrise Studio 10’s 1998 anime adaption of the manga series of the same name by mangaka Takehiko Itō.   Outlaw Star aired in the West in three years later in early 2001 on the Cartoon Network’s dedicated anime and action block, Toonami, alongside other anime series such as Sailor Moon S, Dragon Ball Z (Cell Saga), Tenchi Muyo, and so forth.   While not as massively popular and successful as the series mentioned, Outlaw Star devolved a cult following in North America, which stands strong even today – nearly 16 years since its original North American airing.

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What’s Outlaw Star premise and why do I consider it underrated?

Outlaw Star follows  bounty hunters Gene Starwind and his business partner the child genius Jim Hawking as the two make ends meet by taking up odd jobs, chasing bounties on  criminals across the galaxy, and wanting to achieve  their  ultimate goal: discovering the legendary omnipresent data repository – The Galactic Leyline.  During their adventure, the two add to their motley crew Aisha Clan Clan, military officer and ambassador to the Ctarl-Ctarl military, the beautiful assassin Twilight Suzuka, and the mysterious bio-android Melfina.

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Melfina

What makes Outlaw Star underrated is how underappreciated the narrative themes explored in the show;  confronting fears and questioning one’s existence being two of the main key narrative themes.

At the tage of 15, Gene helplessly witnessed the murdered of his father at by space pirates.  He narrowly escaped  with the help of his father (who threw him into an escape pod moments before their ship exploded).   Such a horrific event would devolved into a phobia of space exploration in Gene.  It wouldn’t be until five years later when Gene meet up with fellow bounty hunter,  “Hot Ice” Hilda, who would inspired him to get over his fears for his dream to find the Galatic Leyline (and to protect Melfina).

‘You gonna just keep running away?’

-Ice Hot Hilda to Gene

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No one’s going to give you a map, you’ve gotta walk your own path.

As an artificially creation, Melfina questions her existence and her reason of her creation.  Resulting from her unnatural creation, Melfina views the world with a lens of innocence and naivety, allowing her to give a straight forward opinions and viewpoints in the world she lives in.

 

As the series progress, Melfina comes to terms with her existence and overtime discover her purpose in life.

Who am I? Why was I made? Who made me? And what did they make me for?
-Melfina

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And that’s what I can remember from her personality and character developments as I haven’t watch Outlaw Star in years.  I do plan on watching the entire again in the future, so I can give you guys a much better run down of the series later on.  In the meantime I would recommend you to watch the series if you love space opera  such as Cowboy Bebop. While the story pacing is tedious in terms of not getting to the point and the show visuals are outdated compared to most shows from that area, Outlaw Star is nonetheless a great watch.  Please check it out!

 

Anime Analysis 0

Otaku no Video: Tatake Otaking! – Lyrics Analysis

 

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Lyrical analysis of the theme song of the 1991 anime OVA Otaku no Video, “Tatake Otaking!” (Fight Otaking!) by Gainax.  Tatake Otaking describes the main character’s journey to become the king of all otakus, becoming whatever he desires, despite others telling him  he’s wrong to pursue his otaking dreams.

‘Over the endless wasteland
I run alone for all I am worth
embracing the hope
of an unseen world far away.’ 

When you start  the dream journey you’ll be alone on the path.  The  faraway world of your dreams unseen, but you must keep on pressing on.

It’s your dreams. Chase it, even if you can not yet see the end results of it.

‘The only thing I believe in is glowing passion.
I will be a raging inferno!
No one will be able to stop
my heart’s beat!’

Believe in your passion, it’s your main focus and at times, it’s the only thing that you can believe in.   Envision yourself as an unstoppable inferno, and do not allow anyone to attempt to put out your flames.  There will be people who’ll want to stop your shine.

Do not let them.  No matter what.

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‘One of these days, I will find out the truth of
love. Everything in this world will be mine.’

Love created from  the passion of the grind and hustle from chasing your dreams and you doing you.
This world can be yours if you put your mind to what you seek, and imply effort through actions.

Also, does the line “everything in this world will be mine” reminds you of a certain quote from an early 80s gangsta movie?

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‘We’re bound together by friendship.
It’s a thick bond.’

The otaku community, for the most part, is a close-knit one.  Our community is forged from many outcasts, shun by society for the common passion, which we all come together and support one another.  Naturally, (everlasting) friendships are created from this.

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Our little group has always been 
And always will until the end

‘I won’t let anyone block me!
(I won’t let anyone block me!)
I will go my own way!
(I will go my own way!)’

You can never allow anyone to stop you from achieving your dreams, no matter what.  On this hustle and dream path, there will be people who want you to steer off it.  They will attempt to  block your progress, or tell you shit like “Oh, you can’t do this.” Or “You’ll never make it.”

Fuck them.  Do you. If they ain’t paying your bills, fucking you, or feeding you, don’t let their opinions get to you.  Do you.  Do your own shit.

Besides, people like a man or a woman with her own path and goals, and can stay focus on them.

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People will hate and ridicule.  Fuck them.


‘Fight! Fight!
Fight! Fight!
Fight! Otaking! ‘

A possible reference to the original otaking himself, former Gainax president  (and company co-founder) Toshio Odka.

 

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‘I abandon the one I love and keep on running
believing in a shining future
and staking my dreams on it.’

On the hustlers  and dreamer path, you may have to abandon friends and family members who won’t support you and your dreams.  If you have people like that in your life, cut them out now.  They’re holding you back.  Keep running towards the shinning future you want in life.   

Ken Kubo (main character) had to abandon his girlfriend  off, who was on his case for being otaku and chasing his dreams.

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Hey, she doubted his shit, so he had to cut that bitch off like K Camp.

‘The sweat that soaks my T-shirt
is the medal of a man.

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Yeah no.

‘My tears won’t stop!
I won’t forget the beating
of my heart’s refrain!’ 

(It’s not that deep)

‘I will rise above the drifting time and be reborn.
The time will come someday when I
will be known as Otaku.’

(It’s not that deep)

‘I won’t let anyone block me!
(I won’t let anyone block me!)
I will go my own way!
(I will go my own way!)
Fight! Fight!
Fight! Fight!
Fight! Otaking’! 

(Already given my analysis on the hook)

‘I’ve thrown away
everything in my life.’

For some otaku, in order to become the ultimate otaku, they’ve thrown everything out from their lives.  Friends. Family. Work.  Everything just so they can invest in their passion and dreams.  (Although I personally wouldn’t recommend tossing love ones and a job aside just to watch anime all day)

In some cases, you may have to throw many things out of your life, so you can pursue a better life.

You have to be willing to give up something to get the real shit.

 

My goal is the world!
(My goal is the world!)
I’ll be the greatest man!
(I’ll be the greatest man!)
Fight! Fight!
Fight! Fight!
Fight! Otaking!

 

Going back to the “The world is yours!” mindset mentioned earlier.  People with drive and purpose want the world.  They want to be noticed by the world, and want everything within it.

Who’s world is this?
The world is yours Otaking.   The world is yours Otaqueen.

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