The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Locodol

We Tried Making a PV: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA 3 Review

“Home is the nicest word there is.” —Laura Ingalls Wilder

After Nanako becomes enamoured with Awa Awa Girls’ PV, Nanako’s uncle announces that the Nagarekawa Girls will also be creating a video of sorts to boost public awareness of the Nagarekawa region and its specialities. Their initial cuts appear too forced, and Mirai is eventually chosen to be a director. The girls succeed in creating a public relations video that resembles a music video to capture the spirit of Nagarekawa. This Locodol OVA joins the ranks of the previous OVAs as being fun additions to Locodol, although being set in the middle of the year, watching Nanako and the others film a PR video was perhaps not quite as enchanting as the Christmas OVA. Nonetheless, this third OVA does showcase through the resulting video, that the most authentic representation of a region is simply to be honest in showcasing an area’s attractions and specialities.

The third Locodol OVA marks a return to the warm weather and easy-going pace of life in and around Nagarekawa that Nanako is familiar with. As Nanako and Yukari re-discover, it is this normality that her uncle is trying to depict in their video; there is no surprise that the final video and the process of gathering footage highlights Yukari and Nanako doing things at their own pace to complete their assignment. At present, it’s been almost two years since Locodol proper aired. However, the third OVA captures the same charm that made the Nagarekawa Girls unique as Local Idols: they’re not particularly flashy or distinct. Instead, they perform with the aim of putting their home town first; Yukari and Nanako’s shows, though not as coordinated or structured as those of the Awa Awa Girls, are very genuine. This mindset allows them to bring out the best in Nagarekawa, and becomes the reason why Nanako’s uncle and Saori feel that Yukari and Nanako’s performance is too rigid. Conversely, when everyone acts as they are wont, the video’s contents become more reflective of life in Nagarekawa, making it into the video’s final cut for the world to check out.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This is my 700th post, and I will spend it going through the latest Locodol OVA. The presence of this OVA came as a bit of a surprise to me, being screened to a very limited number of viewers back during March (to the point where there was next to no discussion on social media sources and message boards that reached English speakers) and streamed to around a thousand viewers during April.

  • Yukari provides a quantitative measure of the extent to which she feels that she and Nanako can be considered a couple. The dynamics between Nanako and Yukari have been the subject of no small discussion, and while I find it to be adorable that the two are as close as they are, it’s not particularly meritorious of extended discussion.

  • Yukari and Nanako share the news of their assignment to shoot a PV to Yui and Mirai during lunch hour. Yukari feels it’s best to make the video public domain since the objective will be to promote Nagarekawa, and the girls decide to ask Nanako’s uncle first. Feeling that they lack the expertise, they further ask the Awa Awa Girls for some pro tips on how to make an effective PV.

  • Because the Awa Awa Girls are more seasoned idols, they have experienced the pressure and challenges of making a good PV. They remark that it’s hard work to deliver each section, since they do numerous variants and select the best ones for the final video. The ultimate advice they impart for Nanako and the others is to put their hearts into the video they’re making, since these feelings (or the lack thereof) can be felt by an audience.

  • Yukari’s interactions towards Nanako is largely employed as a comedic device in Locodol, and I find that in anime such as these, they can be successfully utilised to create humour far more effectively than if an identical setup in a different form of media or even genre.

  • After classes end, the Nagarekawa Girls meet with Saori and Nanako’s uncle to discuss logistics for how the shoot will go. It turns out they’ll be doing a public relations video promoting Nagarekawa rather than the PV videos (music videos) that Nanako was envisioning in her mind’s eye. I believe my hometown has countless videos highlighting its features, and I need not remind readers that Calgary is only an hour’s drive from the legendary Rocky Mountains, as well as being home to some of the best steak this side of Canada.

  • I could probably spend forever going on about why Calgary is a pro city even if I do have complaints about the efficacy of city transit and snow removal; that would rather defeat the purpose of this post, so I won’t speed too much time talking about Calgary. Back in Locodol, the girls begin shooting the video using a camera on loan from their city council. While Nanako is surprised to learn it’s a PR video, some words from Yukari motivate her to do her best nonetheless.

  • Given that this is a PR video, Yukari’s wish of making their video freely accessible will be realised. This reminds me of the ACM publishing policy notice I received a few weeks ago: the conference paper I published to Laval Virtual is signed under an agreement that allows my professor and myself to retain copyright of the work that gives ACM the right to pursue copyright should they so choose.

  • We opted for this approach because it would allow me to continue using the screenshots in my thesis paper and other conference papers. My third conference paper, submitted to the PPSN conference, was unsuccessful, but my Laval paper was selected as one of the Best Papers and invited for submitting an extended paper to the International Journal of Virtual Reality. I learned of both during the same week in that order, and it’s funny how things work out sometimes.

  • In my “Home of Locodol” post from last October, I remarked that the canal cutting through Nagareyama, Nagarekawa’s real-world equivalent, was designed by a Dutch engineer. In both the fictionalised and real locations, the canals serve as a park for locals to relax in, although Nanako and Yukari do not mention that the canal is a fine spot for hanami.

  • While working on variations of what to do and say here, a group of children who are fond of the Nagarekawa Girls drop by to visit. Both Yukari and Nanako get along well with children and spend a few moments playing with them: for audiences, this shows that Nagarekawa’s Local Idols are quite hands-on with respect to interacting with their town’s community, further demonstrating that they are effective in what they do.

  • Today was the long-awaited defense date, and I arrived early on campus to clear my mind before taking on the defense itself. The presentation component blazed by, and three rounds of questions from the exam committee later, I was informed the exam was over. The wait for the results were agonising, but the wait wasn’t bad: I passed. The thesis now needs a bit of extra work to clear up some definitions and terms, and there are a few minor things here and there to fix, but the toughest exam I’ve taken since my undergraduate defense and MCAT is done at last.

  • After the examiners provided their feedback, my supervisor handed me a form for complementary champagne from the university’s graduate lounge. We visited the lounge for lunch, and I decided to have a Carnivore Pizza (topped with spicy chorizo sausage, pepperoni and bacon) before returning home, just in time before a large thunderstorm rolled through my AO. I’ll cash in on the complementary champagne closer to my convocation, and for now, I’ll take a few days off to reorganise myself and prepare for the upcoming conference in the Yucatán Peninsula.

  • While filming, Nanako runs into some of her friends, and here, Mirai decides to include everyone in the videos, making the PR video a very lively one. Voiced by Inori Minase (of GochiUsa‘s Chino Kafuu), Mirai is quite shy but nonetheless makes substantial contributions to the Nagarekawa Girls, acting as a substitute for Yui as Uogokoro-kun where needed and otherwise performing quite well in a support role.

  • After editing, the completed PR video is ready for viewing. Professional video editing requires a substantial amount of effort, and I imagine that Saori is probably quite skilled if she’s doing these tasks for the Nagarekawa Girls. In the TV series, Saori was shown to be enamoured with Yukari and Nanako, but these tendencies become more subtle as time wears on rather than more overt, and as of late, she merely comes across as a competent manager whose fascination with the Local Idols is portrayed with reduced frequency.

  • The video’s unveiling occurs at a small event, and it turns out, despite being meant to be a PR video, the resulting product is a music video of sorts after all, showing ordinary life in Nagarekawa. Ultimately, the girls try, and succeed, in making a good PV.

  • Quite truthfully, I prefer the theme song for my home town over the Nagarekawa song any day of the week. It turns out that the theme song I mentioned for Calgary during my first Locodol post has a bit of an ironic twist to it: the melody and song was actually used for a wide range of American cities and is not unique to Calgary at all: while the Nagarekawa song sounds nowhere as polished, at least it’s original.

  • With this post done, I’m looking at the calendar and predict that I will have enough time to push out a talk on Alien: Isolation at the halfway point before I leave for my conference. I’ll be back mid-July, and will begin working then, so it may take me a little bit after that to acclimatise to my schedule. With that being said, I’ll try my best to have a final review for Flying Witch for sure: I’m on the final episode now, and look forwards to finishing one of the most interesting anime this season on short order.

  • While I’ve not provided any screenshots here of the OVA’s opening sequence, it turns out that the animation and artwork for the OVAs differ from that of the TV series. While some have taken this to hopefully correspond with a second season, news has not reached my ears of any continuation. As it stands, if all we get of Locodol is more OVA episodes in the near future, that would be acceptable (even if I myself would certainly enjoy another season of Locodol).

  • While Yukari and Nanako wonder if any international viewers has seen the new video, it turns out that some foreigners have; they recognise Yukari and Nanako. The scene might be scaled up to wonder whether or not international audiences are watching Locodol, and if this blog is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding “yes”. I will, for the foreseeable future, continue to write about any new Locodol OVAs that reach my ears, and if a full second season ever becomes a reality, I will be reviewing it in some capacity without question.

While discussions on this OVA are limited in scope and scale, watching Nanako and the others film a PV to promote Nagarekawa is reminiscent of the several opportunities I’ve had this year and in past years, where TV crews from local news stations visited our lab to film some of the research we carry out. Usually, the crews ask us to act as though the cameras are not present, and since the lab’s researchers are rather used to focusing on a demonstration or discussion, it’s surprisingly easy to act naturally. Granted, it can be somewhat more challenging knowing that a camera is present, but as Yukari and Nanako discover, they can be true to themselves on camera without too much difficulty. With that being said, my time with the university research lab is slowly drawing to a close: as of today, in this seven hundredth post, I’ve successfully defended my thesis in an examination lasting around ninety minutes. All that is left now is to apply some changes to the thesis paper itself, and then convocate in November. This brings the third Locodol OVA review to a close, and concerning any continuations, my thoughts have not changed since the Christmas post; while I would love to see more Locodol, for now, no new news have been released about a potential second season.

We All Celebrated Together: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA 2 Review

“As far as gifts go, you’re one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever known! Happy Christmas Birthday!” —Christmas Birthday wishes

Nanako strives to make Yukari’s birthday, which falls on Christmas day, a great success. She goes shopping for a suitable birthday gift and then spends Christmas Eve with her friends Misato, Satsuki, and Shouko. They reminisce about how it has not even been a year since they met, and the others have a surprise for Nanako: a Santa costume with which to surprise Yukari with. Although Nanako winds up forgetting to bring her gift, Yukari nonetheless appreciates her coming over to celebrate her birthday, and they celebrate alongside everyone else the next morning. As a Christmas-themed OVA, this particular special is somewhat unusual in that it was released quite close to Christmas itself (being broadcast on Christmas Eve), but other than that, it’s a pleasant addition to Locodol. That there would be a second OVA has been known since June 2015, and in November, it was further announced that the OVA would have a Christmas theme. With Yukari’s birthday falling on Christmas Day itself, the OVA sets itself up to explore the situation arising from sharing one’s birthday with one of the biggest holidays of the year: it can lead to some challenges when it occurs in reality, and the Locodol OVA does a fantastic job of conveying how Nanako and her friends manage to make Yukari’s birthday immensely memorable, fun and festive for Yukari.

Par the course for Locodol, the Christmas OVA carries audiences slowly and steadily through Nanako’s journey towards crafting a fantastic birthday experience for Yukari, whether it’s finding the suitable gift for Yukari or the motivation to follow through with her friends’ suggestion about visiting Yukari on Christmas Eve to personally deliver said gift. In doing so, the OVA illustrates the extent of Yukari and Nanako’s friendship: Nanako places a much greater priority on Yukari’s birthday, and these feelings do not go unnoticed by Yukari, who tearfully thanks her for having come all this way to say happy birthday. While the OVA might be set during Christmas, and for all of the festivities seen in the episode, what’s at the forefront of everything is Nanako putting in her fullest efforts to express gratitude for Yukari, whom she feels has contributed to her own motivation to continue working as a local idol. It’s a warming message about the Christmas spirit; gifts, decorations and food are secondary to people, and the OVA succeeds in conveying this particular aspect about friendship to the audiences.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • After a more controversial post about Girls und Panzer to kick off 2016 (nothing like a bit of controversy to get the blood flowing!), we’ll return the programming to a more incontrovertible anime: Locodol is decidedly less polarising and proved to be most enjoyable. This post will continue on in the pattern as those before it and feature twenty images; in response to queries about how long it takes me to write a post, the answer is “between 90 and 150 minutes” from starting with a blank page to hitting the publish button, encompassing drafting, editing, image gathering and commenting on the images.

  • The Nagarekawa Girls’ latest Christmas performance proceeds quite smoothly, and it appears that Nanako’s matured to some extent, at least enough to say her name properly. However, her audience feels that her tendency to stutter and pronounce it as “Nanyako” has become something of a defining characteristic. After this initial performance, the Nagarekawa Girls meet up with their managers and Nanako is surprised to learn that Yukari’s birthday is so soon.

  • Nanako’s friends, Misato, Satsuki, and Shouko, made only limited appearances during Locodol‘s main run, so it was quite pleasant to see that the OVA gives them a more substantial presence. It turns out that this group of friends formed as a result of Shouko’s antics during their first day of high school, and since then, this group’s become quite close. I have difficulty remembering Nanako’s friends outside of Nagarekawa Girls, so for my reference (as well as everyone else’s), Misato has black hair, Satsuki has blonde hair and Shouko has burgundy hair.

  • While the dynamics between Yukari and Nanako are sufficiently noticeable by most everyone save Nanako, I do not feel that this can be correctly said to be the OVA’s primary thematic element; something like that would not be enough for a 24-minute long OVA. As such, for the folks at Tango-victor-tango, their analysis would not earn passing credit. To reiterate, the OVA’s main theme is that Nanako and Yukari’s friendship is a particularly strong one that eclipses Christmas itself.

  • While out shopping for a suitable birthday gift for Yukari, Nanako wonders if it’ll be tougher to find something since Yukari appears to be the sort of person who’d look nice in most anything. She then encounters Yukari with family trying hats out, and suddenly begins to worry that she might accidentally get Yukari a duplicate gift. The end gift Nanako eventually purchases is not shown immediately, being left as a surprise for later.

  • Released on Christmas Eve, the Locodol OVA presently holds the distinction for being the anime with the closest Christmas episode to Christmas Day itself. I did not watch it until yesterday on account of a rather packed holiday schedule: in between revising and fine-tuning my conference paper, I’ve finished building my MG 00 Raiser, attended the Zoo Lights, been out to see The Force Awakens, helped a family friend tune up their computer, and watched the Calgary Flames get thrashed by the LA Kings in the New Years’ Eve game.

  • While Nanako and the others are celebrating Christmas Eve, Yukari is attending a family party. Yesterday, New Year’s Day, was quite quiet: I spent it fine-tuning the paper further and also pushed out the Girls und Panzer Der Film preview talk, before spending the evening with the extended family at hot pot. Aside from the usual lamb, chicken, beef, fish and vegetables, there was also a sort of skewered grilled, marinated squid that was so commonplace in Taiwan. Everything was absolutely delicious, and in the blink of an eye, two-and-a-half hours had flown by.

  • Elsewhere, Saori is toasting with a coworker. Saori Nishifukai is noted for her similarities with Girls und Panzer‘s Saori Takebi; despite being voiced by different voice actors (Saori Nishifukai is voiced by Asami Shimoda, of Infinite Stratos‘ Huang Lingyin) and having different hair colours, their hair style and glasses are similar enough. The OVA’s focus on Nanako and Yukari means that Saori’s cloak-and-dagger tendencies to photograph the two do not make an appearance.

  • With her friends’ encouragement, Nanako heads out into the night to fulfil her role as Santa, even as snow begins to fall and the temperatures plummet. Given that Nagarekawa is located in the Chiba prefecture, it would have a humid subtropical climate: winters would be quite mild, and the average December temperature is a balmy 12 °C.

  • Upon realising that she’s left Yukari’s gift back home and also neglected to bring her phone, Nanako turns to leave and slips on the stairs. The translation has Nanako say “this sucks” with respect to the situation, but I’m now sufficiently versed enough to hear simpler patterns, and Nanako’s “もういやだ” (electronic translators yield “I’m fed up”) approximates to the English phrases “enough already” or “it’s too much” in meaning.

  • Nanako is the sort of character that evokes a sense of pity in viewers whenever misfortune befalls her, and consequently, the maternal aura Yukari conveys is perhaps exactly what is needed during times like these. Similarly, Nanako is able to convince Yukari to take things easy with her free spirits. For this reason, Yukari and Nanako’s personalities are seen as being compatible, lending additional weight to their friendship as both do their best to support the other.

  • While Yukari is generally composed and mature, her actions occasionally belie a sense of loneliness: despite being from a wealthy background and quite good at everything she does, Yukari longs to spend time with her peers. After Nanako wishes her a happy birthday, she listens to the itinerary that Yukari has in mind, and spends the night. She realises the next day that she’d forgotten to let her parents know, but Yukari is a step ahead; foreseeing the evening, she’s already phoned ahead.

  • I never take baths and always shower simply because the latter is faster and more sustainable. Since we’re rolling a Locodol post here, I’ll turn my attention to some related news: the album Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita. Music Collection ~Winter & Spring~ will be released on February 24 and will hopefully generate some interest. Neither ~Itsudemo Genki! Nana-chan to…~ or ~Nonbiriya no Yukari-san to…~, originally set to release on August 19, 2015, have been accessible, so I’ve still yet to listen to those songs in full.

  • A gentle glow from the surrounding city is seen through the window as Nanako and Yukari toast, share cake and then watch a movie together. If we’re keeping count here, it means that from Nanako’s perspective, she’ll have had cake on four occasions over the course of the OVA, reflecting on the commonly-voiced concern about weight-gain over the course of the holidays. My countermeasure is to bundle up and go for a hike in the nearby park, which offers some interesting terrain to elevate heart rate and get the blood going.

  • The Locodol OVA’s choice of imagery does evoke the closeness that couples share, although things are kept family-friendly throughout the OVA’s run. In fact, Locodol has done a fine job of adequately illustrating the closeness of their friendship without ever needing to step things up, and consequently, during the TV series’ run, this aspect never detracted from the main message.

  • Misato, Shouko, Yui, Mirai and Satsuki meet one another outside of Yukari’s apartment, bearing the items that Nanako inadvertently left behind the previous evening. Their presence allows for Yukari’s birthday to be celebrated with a larger crowd, adding to the festivities.

  • It turns out that Nanako’s gift for Yukari is a pair of new gloves, a thoughtful and practical gift. During Boxing Day, I was tempted to get some leather gloves that were on sale, but decided to go with a warmer pair out of practicality’s sake to replace an older pair. After a particularly eventful week leading up to the New Year, the New Year’s off to a quieter start, and this is exactly what I need for the present.

  • That’s because in the upcoming week, the paper submission deadline, plus two separate lab tours will occupy my time alongside with the pre-semester TA meeting. My winter holidays end on Monday, and we’ll be off to a running start in the New Year; to keep abreast of things, I’ll need to bring my A-game to most everything I do this year.

  • Yukari and Nanako sing for the others, and a quick glance at this post shows that we’re practically at the end. I remark that from here on out, there won’t be any more weekly GochiUsa posts for each Saturday, now that the anime’s come to a close. For 2016, I’ll be following a slightly different anime posting pattern, preferring to focus on OVAs and movies for the most part, and for TV series, I’ll do the two-post format for a maximum of two shows during any given season. Two new posting categories, “Anime Live” and “Terrible Anime Challenge” will also be created, and what these entail will be left as an exercise for a future post.

  • A screenshot of Yukari and Nanako holding hands appears to be a fitting way to end off this post; with this post now over, I’ll be working towards pushing a talk for the Hibike! Euphonium OVA. As well, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai will be releasing on January 16 for all to check out; despite being later than either Anthem of the Heart or Girls und Panzer Der Film, it looks like it’ll be the first of the major movies to get a review.

One aspect that seems unavoidable wherever a Locodol discussion is concerned is the nature of Yukari and Nanako’s friendship; if there were any doubts before, the OVA seems to give the impression that the two are a little more than just friends, even if they do not explicitly say so. Nanako’s friends seem to be aware and imply that Yukari is Nanako’s special someone, while audiences see for themselves that the two interact as a couple would. This particular element is usually intended for other purposes when included in an anime, but Locodol manages to wield it such that it contributes to the anime’s sense of warmth without overstepping the bounds for what is reasonable. As such, the second Locodol OVA is a noteworthy addition to the Locodol series, and with it being over, one must wonder whether or not a continuation is likely. The manga is still ongoing, so material likely won’t be a concern, and sales for Locodol appear solid from what I gather; my prediction is that a second season or movie might become tangible after a sufficient amount of material from the manga has been released. With that being said, even if no continuation is planned, Locodol would conclude on excellent terms.

We Tried Giving a Tour of Nagarekawa: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA Review

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.” —Dana Owens

On a hot summer’s day, Yukari pays Nanako a visit by morning. After Nanako makes some progress with her assignments, the two decide to spend the remainder of the day together and encounter the Awa Awa Girls, who ask for a tour of Nagarekawa. Together with Yui and Mirai, Nanako and Yukari take the Awa Awa Girls to several local restuarants and then, the swimming pool. The Awa Awa Girls learn that while Nagarekawa is unremarkable as far as sight-seeing goes, the area has hospitable citizens who give the city a welcome feeling. Released a week after Locodol concluded, the OVA gives off the very same warm, inviting feeling that the TV series did; while Nagarekawa may prima facie be an ordinary town, the Nagarekawa Girls are able to capture the sense of community and togetherness within the city, leaving the Awa Awa Girls impressed at the kind of impact the Nagarekawa Girls have on the city despite being a more low-key idol group.

  • Set shortly after the TV series ended, the Locodol OVA serves as a fitting close to the series and again demonstrates that anime does not need to be complex, thought-provoking or cynical in order to be enjoyable. While this does seem to be a trend in anime, each season is counterbalanced by plenty of excellent series, such as Locodol, to keep things warm and fluffy.

  • The chibi depictions of Nanako and Yukari are adorable. While I noted that such things were out of place in a drama such as Glasslip, chibi characters actually make sense in a comedy as such as Locodol.

  • The reason why this post came out significantly after the week I had mentioned in the Locodol final reflection was because of my graduate schedule, which stacks teaching (and preparation for classes) on top of my own coursework and thesis project. At least Nanako’s work can be finished with a bit of elbow-grease: the matters I deal with are decidedly less straightforwards, but it’s also more fun.

  • Nanako and Yukari encounter Yui and Mirai in the river; after having mistaken them for children spending an afternoon in the river, it turns out the two are training their movement, by offering the explanation that water provides more resistance than moving about in terra firma and therefo

  • Here is another view of the world’s smallest shrine: we recall that it’s actually the little statue to the left, rather than the miniature shrine on the right. Viewing it head on, it’s easier to see how it might be easy to mistake the miniature shrine on the right for the city’s shrine. This fact is supposed to emphasise the eccentricities in Nagarekawa that only local residents might be aware of.

  • Like Nanako, I take great pride in knowing that my home city has a great deal of greenery, and that I will always be within walking distance of a pathway to take a stroll along. Compared to our sister city up north, we’re also closer to the mountains.

  • Nanako’s idea of a local attraction is the local sweets restaurant, where she recommends the tanuki cakes for the Awa Awa Girls. Their meticulous construction means that Nanako cannot bear to see them eaten, but the Awa Awa Girls remark that they enjoyed them.

  • Nanako’s next destination is a tonkatsu place. Fried port cutlets are quite popular in Japan, and was originally fried beef, but present variations make use of pork. It seems counterintuitive that Nanako would choose a restaurant serving a main course after a dessert: it seems more intuitive to eat sweet things after the salty and savoury things in general.

  • It’s been a little more than a week since I attended an evening lecture on campus about the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, which allows for the detection of incredibly small magnetic fields and has found application in fields as diverse as cosomology and medicine. Prior to the presentation, I had Korean BBQ chicken and a shrimp skewer with honey-glazed potatoes and noodles under a golden sunset while watching this episode. One of my courses requires that I attend and observe different seminars and lectures to gain a better understanding of research presentations.

  • As a result of my overwhelmingly hectic schedule, I’ve hardly had any time to relax over the past while: this past week, I was gearing up for a project proposal presentation in my data mining course, began the implementation of a random-walk function for my simulation and are in the process of completing several assignments, as well as grading other assignments for my tutorial section. At the time of writing, I am a little more than halfway done with the written portion of grading, and for the assignment, I will need to complete the assignment’s second half on k-means clustering.

Over the course of this OVA, the messages are familiar: where one goes is secondary to who one spend their time with, there are local treasures that people may often miss even if they live in an area, and it takes a bit of open-mindedness to discover these. Nanako, when asked to pick a good spot in Nagarekawa, winds up choosing local dining establishments because she sees them as special to the area. Similarly, when the Awa Awa Girls ask about an amusement park in Nagarekawa, Yukari’s suggestion takes them to the swimming pool. She feels that the pool merits mention because it is a popular spot in Nagarekawa, and despite some reservation from the Awa Awa Girls, they manage to have fun in the spirit of the moment nonetheless: while the locations that the Awa Awa Girls visit can hardly be considered as local attractions (to the same scope as the Heritage Park or Telus Spark Science Centre, to name a few), they are places where locals go to have fun, and as some travellers note, the joy of travelling isn’t always associated visiting high-profile destinations; some spots frequented by the locals have their own unique charm and may give an immersive, meaningful experience in an area that attractions might not.

  • Being a graduate student means being unimaginably busy, and as time wears on, I imagine it will be increasingly difficult for me to blog (or even play Battlefield 3). However, anime as such as Locodol present exactly the sort of thing that a busy student needs to relax. Here, Saori displays an uncanny level of preparedness and mentions that she’s brought enough swimsuits for everyone.

  • So beings a (friendly) competition between the Awa Awa Girls and the Nagarekawa Girls. The competition itself opens with the respective teams naming off different things they enjoy about working for their Locodol unit or their home cities. Since we’re here, some reasons why my current city dominates our provincial capital to the north include: better access to the mountains, more cultural things like museums and concert halls, more greenery, a city layout that makes more sense, a better football team, a better hockey team (so far!)…I concede that they have the better medical school, though.

  • Because I was reasonably conservative with the fanservice shots throughout Locodol, I will take advantage of the OVA to feature a few more fanservice shots purely for the reader’s amusement.

  • The Awa Awa Girls compete with the Nagarekawa Girls with a more serious mindset, calling back to mind the kind of training and work environment they’re used to. However, as the competition wears on, it becomes clear that the Nagarekawa Girls just aren’t interested in winning or coming out on top; it’s about making people happy, and in realising this, the Awa Awa Girls have seen Nagarekawa’s greatest specialty, hospitality.

  • The Nagarekawa Girls soon draw a small crowd from the children who’ve seen their performances and begin to play with them. Having fun in the moment is said to be the Nagarekawa way, and shortly after, the Awa Awa Girls join in.

  • The Awa Awa Girls bid everyone farewell, having had a wonderful day in Nagarekawa and realising that the city’s charm comes from its citizens, rather than any specialities within the region. They invite Nanako and the others to visit their city at some point in the future, and consider performing locally to become closer their own city’s folk.

  • The confectionery store owner drops by with sweets for the Nagarekawa Girls and the Awa Awa Girls, thanking the former for their efforts in the town’s summer festival. For their efforts, the Nagarekawa Girls have become an integral part of their city, and Locodol takes the spin on idols differently by suggesting that hit albums and sold-out concerts might not be as rewarding or meaningful as becoming closer to one’s hometown and neighbors.

  • Locodol is quite far removed from something like Wake Up, Girls! and IdolM@Ster, taking on a completely different atmosphere and narrative that seems to make the show enjoyable even for individuals who dislike the idol genre.

  • Nanako and the others thank the cleaning staff for taking care of their costumes. Nanako remarks that the kind of warmth and happiness she experiences as a Locodol is one reason why she wishes to continue working in the field.

  • That’s pretty much it for this post. Depending on how much work I manage to get done over the next while, I’ll attempt to get a Sword Art Online II halfway point talk out, along with a Battlefield 3-style talk about Sinon’s loadout and how well that has worked for me. As well, I’ve been working on a Madoka Magica talk behind the scenes.

Once the OVA’s drawn to a close, the whole of Locodol is finally over. Locodol might not be intended to be anything innovative or ground-breaking, nor does it strive for the scale that most of the summer 2014 triple-A titles have, but this is where its charm lies. Instead of having traditional idols, Locodol was able to create idols from ordinary high school students who are believable and relatable. As Locodols, Nanako and Yukari’s traits carry over into their occupation, giving rise to the sense that they are honest and genuine, contrasting the manufactured feelings that idols in both other anime and reality have. Once everything is considered, Locodol fulfils the role that GochiUsa did for the Spring season, and last autumn’s Non Non Biyori, providing viewers with a gentle, cathartic anime that is perfect for kicking back.

Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita: Final Reflection

“If you’re going to do something, strive to do it better than anyone else. Do it all the way. If you’re going to half-ass it, why bother?” ― Ashly Lorenzana

It’s been three months since my last talk on Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita (abbreviated Locodol for brevity), which turned out to be one of this season’s most pleasant series. Nanako, Yukari and Yui journeys through their local promotion program, bringing them onto national television, onto a contest for their city mascots, and even gains an additional member, Mirai, to help them out. Their road leads to the Locodol Festival, prompting the Nagarekawa Girls to write their own song, and despite not coming out first at the festival, the Nagarekawa Girls become closer to one another, helping one another appreciate all of their hometown’s specialities. One will invariably wonder how Locodol compares to something like Wake Up, Girls!, and truth be told, the two anime, besides sharing idols as a common theme, are quite distinct from one another: the former involves much less drama and the pressures associated with being an idol, and moreover, the means through which Yukari and Nanako enter the industry is also a lot more personal. Locodol is a gentle show that allows viewers to ease into the idea of idols; if other anime about idols seem unsuitable for viewers, Locodol is the perfect place to start.

  • Here is Saori Nishifukai, Nagarekawa Girls’ manager. Despite harbouring a secret obsession for the Nagerekawa Girls, to the point of maintaining her own fansite, she’s reliable and has the girls’ best interests at heart, offering advice and assistance to them whenever the going gets tough.

  • The art style in Lodocol is nothing special, being quite minimalistic and bears the subtle hint of a cross-cross etching in the landscapes. Though simple, the scenery in and around Nagarekawa is quite friendly, and here, Yukari and Nakako participate in a promotion for the region’s natural resources.

  • Yukari introduces Yui and Nanako to the world’s smallest shrine in order to pray for good luck during their national appearance. It’s not miniature shrine that’s visible to the left, but rather, the small statue of the person with an orange beside it.

  • Nanako’s tendency to stutter leads her to pronounce her name as “Nanyako” on several occasions, and although she is embarrassed by it, her audiences go with it, finding that it adds a certain charm to her character. Despite her shyness, Nanako can become quite involved in her role and deliver solid performances.

  • There are numerous moments in Locodol that evoke laughter from the viewers, such as when Nanako is under the misunderstanding that Yui plans to leave the Nagarekawa Girls for other pursuits. Such moments add a sense of lightheartedness to Locodol, which is significantly more easy-going compared to something like Wake Up, Girls!.

  • Mirai Nazukari is a first year who was drafted to act as Yui’s backup, and despite being worried about underperforming, she is quite competent as a performer. After she joins the Nagarekawa Girls, Nanako tries to bond with her, and the two eventually become friends, leading Mirai to feel more at home with the others.

  • I’m not quite sure what’s happening here (I think it’s the water messing with Uogokoro-kun’s electronic voice modulator), but I found the effect to be quite amusing. The background music in Locodol, like the music in GochiUsa, is gentle, relaxing and quite suited for the atmosphere. It’s been three months since GochiUsa ended, and no soundtrack with the background pieces has ever been released. I’m hoping the same isn’t the case with Locodol, and that the GochiUsa OST is released in due course. Though unremarkable, the music is well-suited for promoting a calmingatmosphere.

  • One of the more subtle things that makes Yui endearing is her speech, in which she adds す to the end of her words. If memory serves, there was a character in Saki with similar tendencies. I’m not capable of ascertaining the differences in Japanese dialects, so I am quite curious to know if this is an actual dialect, or just idiosyncrasy on the character’s part.

  • After overexerting herself, Yukari becomes sick with a fever. Nanako tends to her, and during the process, Yukari recalls that Nanako’s selflessness was what led her to become a Locodol, after encountering the latter when trying to help a lost girl find her mother. Despite losing her position for her actions, Yukari was moved by Nanako and thus, was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nanako had also become a Locodol.

  • No anime about an idol group is complete without the group receiving a new song to perform. In Locodol, Nanako is assigned to write the lyrics while Yukari handles the melody, and Yui manages the choreography. After the song is finalised, Nanako decides that the song should debut at the next local event, rather than reserve it for the Locodol Festival.

At its core, Locodol is about the discovery of local treasures and gathering the courage to share these treasures with other places. When the anime debuted back in July, Nagarekawa was painted as a city with very little unique points going for it. However, after the Nagarekawa Girls is formed, viewers (both in-universe and the show’s audience) get to know Nagarekawa better. As Nanako and Yukari explore various specalities in their town, they discover that everyday, seemingly mundane things are in fact, special in their own right and carry a unique charm to them that they had previously passed over. Similarly, Nanako, Yukari, Yui and Mirai all attend the same school, but until the Locodol project formed the Nagarekawa Girls, they didn’t know each other. This project brought everyone together, leading to a new friendship blossoming. Mirroring the girls’ discovery of local specialities, being members of the Nagarekawa Girls lead everyone to discover friendship in places they would have otherwise overlooked.

  • While Nagarekawa’s citizens are treated to the song, viewers won’t actually get to hear the song until the finale in episode twelve. The Nagarekawa Girls song (hitherto without another name) may feel like a typical J-pop number, but its lyrics capture everyone’s spirits, reflecting on the experiences each of Nanako, Yukari, Yui and Mirai had as Locodols. Earnest and filled with their honesty, the song conveys everyone’s love for Nagarekawa and for one another.

  • As is typical of many of my posts, the images are quite skewed towards the final episodes. I wound up with some eighty-eight images and had to pick twenty for the review (recall that even the Gundam Unicorn: Over The Rainbow talk only had seventy-five images), otherwise, I would be here for quite some time trying to think of figure captions for everything.

  • Watching Yukari and Nanako’s spiel on the croquettes and soda reminds me of the excursion I took today, which marks a week since the Giant Walkthrough Brain presentation. Although there is an assignment, plus research, lesson planning for my tutorial section and a project proposal (that I haven’t even started yet), I took some time during the afternoon to visit Gaucho, a Brazilian BBQ restaurant, with the research lab. The lunch menu included Brazilian-style Garlic Top Sirloin, Rump Steak, Pork Loin, Sausage, Chicken Wings, and Parmesan Beef served from churrasco-style skewer, which was able to I try all of.

  • The Locodol’s purpose is to promote their town and its specialties, so in this sense, the Nagarekawa Girls do a much better job than do the Awa Awa girls, who manage to move all of their merchandise but are unable to promote their own city’s specialities.

  • Everyone celebrates a success after their merchandise sells out by evening. It turns out that the Nagarekawa Girls had a scheduling conflict, with Nagarekawa’s Summer Festival occurring concurrently with the Locodol Festival, throwing a bit of tension into the story. However, Locodol‘s casual atmosphere prevails: Yukari and Nanako resolve to continue on with their performance at the Locodol Festival, and back in Nagarekawa, Nanako’s uncle pulls a few strings to keep the festival going long enough for them to return.

  • Nanako enjoys sweets in a restaurant in between performances with everyone, with a look of pure bliss on her face that evokes memories of Sora no Woto‘s Kanata, who enjoys a toffee with similar results while en route to the Clocktower Fortress. I admit that, yes, sweets are nice (cheesecake and chocolate cake come to mind), but I’m more of a meat-and-potatoes person. On an unrelated note, readers may have realised that this post has no fanservice images of any sort. This is because once Locodol moves further onwards, focus is less about the fanservice and more about growing friendships and responsibilities.

  • After two episodes, the audience finally gets to see Yukari and Nanako perform their new song, which sounds absolutely amazing. While some might consider it implausible for Yukari and Nanako to have performed as well as they did, given that they had only around three months worth of experience, well, first of all, this is an anime, so some disbelief can be suspended, and second, I was able to learn enough Unity3D over three months to put together the software for the Giant Walkthrough Brain in time for the performances.

  • While the Awa Awa Girls win for the second consecutive year, they encourage Nanako and the others to return to Nagarekawa to perform for their own citizens. Over the span of three months, Nanako, Yukari, Yui and Mirai have come quite a long way, winding up on the Locodol Festival stage. Perhaps more so than any other offering this season, Locodol seems to parallel my own summer as far as the Giant Walkthrough Brain goes, so there shouldn’t be any surprises that this anime holds a special place in my library.

  • After their performance, everyone is wasted. I realised that I hadn’t bothered learning Nanako’s friends’ names. To compensate for that, I’ll identify everyone here. Shouko Noda has short burgundy-colored hair and two braids, Satsuki Kashiwaba has blonde hair, Misato Mizumoto has a pony tail and Sumire Mihara is Nanako’s cousin.

  • The Nagarekawa Girls are welcomed warmly upon their return and sing the Nagarekawa song for everyone to wrap up Locodol. All in all, I found the anime to be enjoyable, acting as this season’s easygoing slice-of-life anime. Although unremarkable and thus, passed over by most, Locodol and anime of its genre appear in many seasons for their serenity. Not all anime need to have complex, involved plots or characters to be enjoyable, and after a long day’s work, such anime is precisely what the doctor ordered.

Ultimately, Locodol leads the Nagarekawa Girls to a major competition. While they do not win, they are able to leave an impression on the festival’s attendees. In the pre-show, Nagarekawa manages to sell all of its local specialities, illustrating how far they’ve come in understanding their town’s offerings and present it to the world. Compare and contrast this with the Awa-Awa Girls, who only sell their merchandise but fail to move their own city’s merchandise. As a whole, the Nagarekawa Girls are able to convey their love for Nagarekawa and showcase the best of their town. Through Locodol, I am reminded of my own city’s attractions; Nagarekawa might have the Nagarekawa Girls, but my city has Beakerhead. As Nanako and Yukari prepared for the Locodol Competition, I was fine tuning the software that was powering the Giant Walkthrough Brain. The opening night was last Friday, and a week ago, I decided to take the Saturday off and took an afternoon stroll at the city centre under sunny skies, before making my way to the La Dolce Vita Ristorante, where I shared a Crazy Calabrese and San Francesco with my supervisor and the Free Radical’s lead vocalist before we made our way to the Telus Spark Science Centre. Our performance turned out remarkably well, and this week, when I watched Nanako and Yukari perform, I was quite impressed to see just how far they’d come since Locodol began. There’s an OVA airing next week that will formally mark the close of Locodol, and depending on whether or not my graduate studies workload overwhelms me, I’ll try to have a talk out for it by next Saturday.

Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita: Review and Impressions After Three

As of 2013, tourism constitutes around 1 percent of Canada’s GDP, and this figure is expected to grow in the future. Canada is blessed with an incredibly diverse range of geographical features, ranging from the old growth rainforests in Western British Columbia, to the Rocky Mountains and East Coast; international visitors travel around Canada to experience these landscapes. Besides landscapes, there are also historical and cultural attractions to explore in Canada’s major cities. Canada probably won’t experience a tourism decline to the same magnitude as Nagarekawa, a problem that Nanako’s uncle, one of the municipal officers in the area, is tasked with figuring out how to rectify. He comes up with the notion of “Locodols”, or Local Idols,  thus beginning Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita ( lit. “Normal High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols”, abbreviated “Locodol” for short), which sees Nanako Usami’s participation in the Locodol program together with Yukari Kohinata.

  • I’m coming right out of a talk about how K-On! had a non-trivial influence on anime, and to drive that point home, I’ll kick off with a post about Locodol, which fits in with the artistic and stylistic choices that were so prevalent in K-On!. Besides music, the characters have a moé design to them, and their interactions are meant to give them an endearing feeling.

  • Unfortunately, at this stage in time, I only know the names of the Locodols, and as such, I have no idea who Nanako’s friends are. Nanako is characterised by her shyness at times, but when she’s got her mind on something, she can also be determined, as well.

  • Nanako’s mother and uncle are shown here: for the want of a swimsuit so she may attend the local swimming pool’s grand re-opening, Nanako agrees to help her uncle in promoting interest for the Nagarekawa region and kicks off the entire program.

  • Yukari is one year Nanako’s senior and takes an immediate liking to the latter; Yukari comes across as giving off a mature aura not dissimilar to Lucky Star‘s Miyuki Takara and Girls und Panzer‘s Hana Izusu, all of whom have an elegant air about them.

  • Despite getting stagefright and losing her place in a presentation quite easily, Nanako nonetheless manages to make the most of her debut performance. The two successfully captivate the pool’s attendees by singing Nagarekawa’s theme song. Compare and contrast this with Calgary’s theme song, which is one of the few cities I know of to actually have their own song.

  • Yukari and Nanako’s first performance also marks the beginning of a new friendship. Locodol is a four-panel manga that began in 2011, and as such, it is hardly any surprise that it has the feel of a laid-back, easygoing anime. In response to those who believe that moé anime are harmful to the industry, I would say that as long as the four-panel manga format exists, moé anime will exist.

  • This is because the four-panel format is intended to convey a sense of comedy, rather like Alfonso Wong’s Old Master Q comics; the Old Master Q series were largely about humorous situations, but also occasionally gave social commentary on Hong Kong society between the 60s and 80s. Returning to Locodol, Yukari comments that their role as local idols might be better seen as community service, as they are working towards promoting awareness of the Nagarekawa region in addition to entertaining audiences.

  • One of the girls’ earliest assignments after performing at the pool’s re-opening is to review local cuisine; Nanako remarks that this could be fun and imagines herself with Yukari, reviewing upscale steak, before wondering about her relative lack of table manners. On the day of filming, she is shocked to learn that the vendor they’ll be reviewing first is someone she finds scary.

  • Despite her initial reservations, Nanako thoroughly enjoys the sweets the vendor makes, giving him an honest, glowing review and bringing to mind Minami’s (of Wake Up, Girls!) excitement wherever food is concerned.

  • Nanako pays Yukari a visit; because the latter’s never had friends visit before, she decides to go all out in making Nanako’s stay as enjoyable as possible. It is here that viewers find out that Yukari’s family has an affluent background, and during the course of the visit, enjoys conversation with Nanako.

As the first of the new reflections/review format, we consider what Locodol has done three episodes in, rather than immediately after the series starts, and at the end, decide if this is something I will continue following. Insofar, Nanako and Yukari have participated in some of the same things as WUG in Wake Up, Girls!, including reviewing local cusines and acting as the image for services in Nagarekawa. As an idol anime, Locodol plays things with a significantly more easy-going feel compared to Wake Up, Girls!: the latter presented a gritter take on the entertainment industry, but in Locodol, because Nanako’s uncle is the manager and director for tourism, the family and political connections means that Nanako and Yukari get to sing and dance at their own pace without the demands of a cut-throat industry. Thus, Locodol depicts none of the sleeze and challenges seen in Wake Up, Girls!, instead, falling back on comedy to drive things forwards. Between the comedy and propensity towards fanservice, Locodol manages to keep things interesting thus far.

  • This is the owner of the store from earlier; thanks to Nanako and Yukari, he’s seen a boost in business and is immensely thankful for their efforts. Strictly speaking, the concept of local idols would work rather nicely for small towns

  • Uogokoro-kun is introduced in the third episode as Nagarekawa’s mascot, designed to evoke the area’s vast water resources. Despite appearing a little off-putting at first, Uogokoro-kun soon grows on viewers. A problem with the voice module means that the individual in this suit will sound a little funny, but on their first appearance, Yukari manages to pass it off as a cold, giving the children a solid impression of both the idols and Uogokoro-kun.

  • It turns out that Uogokoro-kun’s operator is eighteen-year-old Yui Mikoze, who wishes to be an idol despite her fear of facing an audience. To this end, she prefers being in costume, entertaining audiences with her flips and later on, break-dancing.

  • Despite being older than Nanako, Yui feels that because she’s been an idol longer, Nanako is the senior, even though at school, Nanako regards Yui as the senior. Upon closer inspection, note the washing-out and light texturing in the backgrounds, and how the characters are coloured normally with a greater intensity. This style could be deliberate to place an emphasis on the characters, who are the stars of the show (as opposed to the scenery).

  • Nanako feels a little locked out of the loop after learning that they’ve now an official group name: “Nagarekawa Girls”. Originally set to be named “Nagarekawa Dynamite Girls”, it seems that Nanako’s uncle managed to talk his higher ups out of that to go with the simpler name. By this point in time, despite having performed at a few events, Nanako still seems a little uncomfortable with seeing her images over the local news.

  • Nanako’s friends do not see her as being an idol: in Japan, idols are manufactured stars who have some talent in music and performing arts, intended to act as good role models for their audiences. However, lacking a uniform and the kawaii personality, Nanako feels more like an ordinary high school student; this is the series’ full title, and I look forward to seeing what the girls perform in the future.

  • With a formal name and uniforms, Nagarekawa Girls finally begins to take shape: I will refer to them as such thence, since it beats typing out Yukari and Nanako’s names everytime; should the group grow, it will become even more cumbersome.

  • The dark conditions do not arise from a capturing fault on my part: on the day of their performance, it’s overcast, and shortly into the show, the rain hits, prompting the audience to take cover from the performance. It strikes me as a little strange, but Yukari, Yui and Nanako have had minimal practise. Despite this, they put on a solid performance that captivates the viewers, at least until rainfall.

  • Spurred on by the moment, Nanako strips to her swimsuit and does the same to Yukari; I’ve opted to choose the screenshots that are the most acceptable provided the blog’s aim to remain family-friendly, and as such, closeups of Yukari’s assets, however pleasing to the eye they might be, won’t typically be included. Readers wishing to see more of that sort of thing are always free to put in requests, and I’ll include more screenshots of such 😉

  • By rising to the occasion, Nanako turns their performance around and raises the audience’s spirits. Even while riding under the stress of being funded by taxpayer money, Nagarekawa Girls nonetheless exceed expectations. Thus ends this post: next up will be talks on Rail Wars! and Deer Hunter 2014, to be completed before the week ends. As it stands now, I’ve fallen quite far behind in the Summer 2014 anime, so I’ll prioritise getting a talk out for Rail Wars! first, since those are pretty rare. Sword Art Online II and Aldnoah.Zero are this season’s heavy hitters and are reasonably well-covered, so I’ll wait until the dust settles before offering my own thoughts on those series. The timeline for those will be early August, which will also see a talk on Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket.

After three episodes, it does not seem likely that the entertainment industry’s dark side will make an appearance here, so Locodol will probably fulfil the role that GochiUsa held for the Spring 2014 season, acting as a friendly, warm series that brings joy to those who are seeking such an anime. Of course, one must wonder what is likely to happen in the future: logically, the scale of the concerts will become greater, and as episode three already sees the inclusion of a new member, Yui Mikoze, it’s also likely that additional idols could join. However, as Yukari mentions, the small size of Nagarekawa Girls is its current advantage right now, giving the group a more closely-knit feeling to it. Moreover, insofar, despite their jobs, Yukari and Nanako still feel like ordinary high school students, so it’ll be quite interesting to see how they adapt to their roles as idols. For the present, though, I’m quite content to continue following Locodol and seeing where things go.