Your Friend in Japan

A New Idol Anime, and What Year is it in Japan??

Written by HotAnime

Hello from your Friend in japan, J-List! We’re busy preparing for the San Diego Comicon (we’ll be at booth 4929!), but we thought we’d get the fun started early be launching our Comicon 5% Off Sale early! Use code SDCC2016, $60 minimum required. Get shopping now!

A new anime season is upon us, even though I’m way behind in most of the shows I was following from the last season. One series I’ve had my eye on this season is Love Live Sunshine!, a spin-off of the original Love Live! about a new group of girls who aim to become school idols like the original μ‘s group from the first series. The marriage of idol culture with anime — which began with 1982’s Super Dimensional Fortress Macross — has been one of the most successful innovations of the last 35 years, up there with using transforming mecha to sell plastic models and toys and switching to digital coloring instead of hand-painting animation cels. Another trend in anime is setting series in real cities in Japan…and hitting these municipalities up for cash to help fund production, in expectation of the “otaku-tourism” that will follow if the show is a hit. The new Love Live! series is set in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, a rural city with lovely views of the sea and of Mt. Fuji.

Do you know what year it is? I often don’t, thanks to the Japanese custom of counting years according to the reign of the Emperor in power. The current era of 平成 Heisei (translatable as “Having Achieved Maturity and Peace”) started in 1989, when Emperor Akihito ascended to the throne, making this year Heisei 26. Heisei is the fourth era since Japan became a “modern” nation; the others were 明治 Meiji (“Enlightened Rule,” 1868-1912), when Japan began to emulate the West for the first time; 大正 Taisho (“Great Righteousness,” 1912-1926), which saw a terrible earthquake that killed 140,000 in Tokyo; and the long and eventful 昭和 Showa (“Brilliant Harmony,” 1926-1989) period, a time of war, rebuilding and traditional dagashi candies. When you live in Japan for a while, you naturally come to memorize certain events in the Japanese era system: for example I was born in Showa 43, I came to Japan in Heisei 3, and started J-List in Heisei 9. While the era name isn’t supposed to change until the current Emperor dies, recently there have been reports that the current ruler Akihito is considering stepping down early because of his recent health problems, which is quite unprecedented.

J-List is preparing our usual awesome booth at the San Diego Comic-Con, booth 4929, where we’ll have our popular anime T-shirts, visual novels and “H” games (including Super Sonico and Jessica Nigri!), naughty magazines and related products, and more. If you’ll be at the show, come by and say hi! If not, enjoy shopping on the site during our sale! Use code SDCC2016 to get 5% off $60 or more!

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