Welcome to Karen's website!

Animated image from the show Kodomo no Jikan

Writing is really hard

I have so many different articles I wanna finish and publish still, and now I'm adding in another gigantic project that'll probably never see the light of day. And man am I tired and sleep deprived. I just wanna make something people like.

Categories: Not a tweet

The year of finishing some damn anime

Recently, I've had a tiny issue. By recently, of course, I mean the last 5+ years, give or take. I just can't finish a show. I'll get into something new, struggle to get through one episode over an hour, and then give up and do something else. And that's fine, I'm not beating myself up that I have a bad case of unmedicated ADHD, it's just frustrating that it means that I'm missing out on things I want to watch. And it's not because of anyone else, it's just me doing it to myself.
A 5x5 grid showing posters for various anime I plan to watch this year.
The goal this year: I have 25 shows in this 5x5. I wanna finish at least 20 of them. Cardcaptor Sakura is 70 episodes so it's an exception, I'll count it as finished if I watch 2 cours of it, or 24 episodes. Dropping a show also counts as finishing it, I just have to accept that it's dropped instead of whinging about how it's "on the backburner". No such thing! It's either happening or over.
So, here's the plan!
I'm gonna set aside Tuesdays and Saturdays as designated watching days. In 2024 I've got 103 combined Tuesdays and Saturdays, not including the ones that've already passed. So if I wanna watch everything on my list by the end of the year (444 total episodes), I'll need to watch a bit over 4 episodes on each watch day. More than 4 (4.32 to be more accurate) each watch day seems like a bit much if you're trying to count the hours, but it's better than it seems. That's to complete every single thing on the list, which isn't the goal, I only need need to finish 20/25 - I could skip a whole row and be fine. That'll give myself wiggle room in case life gets in the way, and extra space in case I wanna get some more shows in. Plus, not every show is made exactly the same. Cromartie episodes are only 12 minutes long, Yokohama Shopping Log is only 2 episodes long, etc.
I probably will not be writing about a lot of the shows just because writing about creative works is not my strong suit. I can explain why I like what I like given enough time, but I'm somewhat on a time crunch. I'm terrible at finishing writing my posts anyways, I'm not gonna try and pressure myself even more.
Younger me is probably sobbing as they watch 10 shows a season, staring at me putting 20 as my goal...

Categories: Anime, Big Long Blog

Rambling thoughts on the "Waifu" sticker

When I say "the waifu sticker" I don't literally mean exactly stickers with pretty anime girls on them. I don't really find anything wrong with the average peeker or anything, and honestly half the time the waifu sticker isn't even a sticker, it's a t-shirt or some other memorabilia.
What I mean is, in broad strokes, a piece of merchandise that is generally easy to produce (such as a t-shirt or a sticker) that usually features an anime girl (generally from a popular show like Darling in the Franxx, Nagatoro, SAO, Dress-up Darling, etc.) that is pretty traditionally attractive (she'll have big breasts and a big ass, but not too big), and often times has some hint of very basic eroticism (a bunny suit, a seductive pose, heart eyes, a pantyshot, etc.). I'm also going to lump in the "one word" stickers in here, where the whole point of the sticker is generally just one "anime" word. Notably, I'm not saying a Japanese word, because "waifu" and "senpai" are about as often to pop up as "lewd" and "weeaboo", it's more general western anime consuming culture than anything from the shows themselves.
General western anime consuming culture is honestly a great way to start poking at my normal frustrations with it. Anime is popular now, to an extent. If you go to a "pop culture" store anime is probably there, if you go online you'll find plenty of people who'll reference Jojo or post a Zero-Two reaction gif while being otherwise normal. It's normal to like Jojo, or Darling in the Franxx, or MHA, etc. It's pop culture, at least the shows that are popular, and every pop culture hit has its very own unlicensed shirt sold at a mall booth.
The Waifu Sticker is appealing because it helps you look like you're with the zeitgeist with very minimal effort, but in an edgy way. "Oh, you like anime? Well, me too, but my anime girl is in black and white and she's not wearing a skirt, isn't that so weird and far out?". It's signalling being in the in-group in a way that is digestible enough to be handled by the kind of person who'd search up "waifu" on redbubble instead of browsing through indie sticker makers, while also feeling digressive enough to settle down thoughts that you're just buying into something popular. Nonono, you're not buying a Bart Simpson shirt directly from the Universal Studios gift shop like everyone else, you're buying the unlicensed Bart shirt where he's smoking weed. Isn't that just so much cooler?
The other aspect that kinda gets to me is the sexualization, in the sense that a lot of it is very sexual, but in an incredibly bland way. If you as previously mentioned search for "waifu" on redbubble, assuming you're logged in and have the safesearch turned off, you'll be greeted by a variety of asses and tits and thighs. The worst you'll get is a bit of bondage here and there. It's incredibly toned down, stripped down, bare, and powerfully unerotic, primarily because of how it flattens a ton of characters into the "waifu" theme. Marin Kitagawa may be loud and proud, with a serious love of cosplay and a bit of an impulsive streak, but the important part is that she has relatively large breasts and a large ass. Nagatoro and her relationship with her senpai, how they slowly grow on each other and start pushing the other to do better and be better, isn't something that's allowed to manifest when you're trying to sell a $3 sticker based on the same handful of traits that all the other girls in your sticker shop have. Hell, half of the time they might as well not be a character, considering how they have a black bar covering their eyes with "waifu" covering slapped on the front. If you enjoy anime, even if you only enjoy a handful of very popular shows, trying to show that a character is your waifu by getting a sticker that explicitly covers up a big portion of their identity while flattening the rest of their existence into boobs and pantyshots seems like a genuinely terrible idea if you have any hint of genuine feelings.
But if your main goal isn't to have genuine feelings but instead to perform "liking anime in a mainstream way", then hey, whatever works!
I'm generally classifying this as rambling because complaining about this feels somewhat pointless. I'm getting mad over something that honestly kinda doesn't matter. The existence of someone with a Ryuuko KLK sticker of just her ass in panties in place of a personality doesn't mean I can't watch Kill La Kill and genuinely enjoy seeing the way it explores its themes and history, or the same with Dress up Darling, Mobile Suit Gundam, Lucky Star, anything else for that matter. I don't really interact with the kind of person this product is for, I have actively stayed away from most anime forums for a decade plus and counting. So I'm honestly confused why I care so much.

Categories: Anime, Big Long Blog

Pouring one out for a real one

Recently, I'd say about 2 months ago, a website died. The website was called Userbars dot be. It seems they stopped existing some time around May 2023, after operating since December of 2005.
It's minor in the grand scheme of things, I guess, but it's still a bit sad. It was a real relic of an older time, operated seemingly until 2014-ish, full of little slices of culture that people felt they cared about enough to turn into a little image to tag on the bottom of their forum posts. It's a pretty irrelevant form of doing things these days, anyways. But the userbars on my site on the left were all taken from it.
When I posted about it on some social media, nobody seemed to care. There are obviously replacement websites, it's not like we lost GeoCities. But I feel weirdly alone in caring.

Categories: Not a tweet

Unserious Company

Oh my fucking god, I despise google with every bone in my body. They cannot be trusted with domain names, a thing that thousands of other companies do perfectly fine with no hassle and tons of profit! I have to migrate a decent chunk of domains away from google unless I want them to be sold off to Squarespace! This is a product that has been out of beta for a whole year! That has existed for like 8+ years! Gone for seemingly no discernible reasons.
This is after they made sure to push for .zip and .mov TLDs, of course.
Why am I mad about this now and not when the news first dropped? The answer is that I was mad both times, and plenty of times in between, but whenever I think about it again it makes the anger vein in my head pop out once more.
This is not a hard business as far as I can tell, companies here have existed for decades! Domain Dot Com has been around since before the turn of the century, GoDaddy even longer, both kicking because it turns out it's incredibly profitable to charge people for an entry in a DNS server.
This company is relied on by sooooooo many people. Google is basically where you go for email, even if you're a business. Websites live or die by Google SEO. YouTube is nearly synonymous with internet video at this point. They have their fingers in every school with Chromebooks. They basically control how the web works via Chrome's dominance, and how thousands and thousands of apps are pushed out via Chromium in Electron.
Why do we allow this company to still exist in its current form? If we were actually a real country and not a rotting husk we would have made this company an example of them by now.

Categories: Big Long Blog

Idol Showdown: Some Day 1/2 Thoughts

tl;dr: It's Good™️, if you've never played a fighting game it's totally fine to pick up, and if you're a vtuber fan it's an extra treat.

I've been playing a bit of Idol Showdown recently, I think you should too! It's a free (as in free beer) fan-made fighting game, with the characters being various Hololive vtuber girls. Simple concept, very very simple exectution, and it's done very very well. I'm way more used to the Guilty Gear/Blazblue style of fast-pased airdashers, but I never felt like I was particularly hamstrung by just normal jump-ins and running.

Korone doing a sneeze-looking jump-in attack on a blocking Fubuki in Idol Showdown.

I actually really enjoy the meter(s) they give you. The STAR meter is your typical super bar, and you've got a few decent ways to spend it through a super + 3 EX moves + an assist call-in. Plus, there's a superchat meter, that fills up passively along side doing various actions such as anti-airing, doing motion inputs, and instant blocking. The neat part here is that the STAR meter stays between rounds while the superchat meter starts at 0 every round, giving you a reason to think about "Do I spend the bar for the heavy DP for more damage or just keep it for next round to call an assist" while also being able to do a lot of special cancels with the superchat bar.

The particular motion inputs aren't that hard too, which does help the superchat-meter situation. If you're a newbie, the jump from using the special button (which lets you do specials in a sorta smash-like way) to motion inputs can be relatively painless, you're not being expected to do anything too complex. Everything given to you is done by down-down-button, quarter circle forward button, or quarter circle back and button. Which is fine, honestly, I'm a little bored by it but it does help keep things feeling very standardized. If you play Korone you're not gonna be completely useless playing Sora, you'll be able to do a special move.

Overall my inital feel of the game feels a bit like Granblue Fantasy Versus. Honestly I like it more than I liked GBV, even excluding the whole netcode situation with that game. Meter's actually more useful in this! Wowee! I get to make decisions.

Animated stamp of Holo showing her whiskers Stamp where Riamu Yumemi says 'fuck yoy' Stamp of Flandre Scarlet Animated stamp of Kaname Madoka Stamp that says 'I support cute anime girls' Stamp of Iori Minase Animated stamp of Akemi Homura and Kaname Madoka rubbing cheeks Animated stamp of Remilia Scarlet Stamp of Holo looking annoyed Stamp of Iori Minase Animated stamp of Oshino Shinobu Stamp of Yukari Yakumo Stamp of Takako Takamura Stamp of Hatsune Miku wearing wings
Animated userbar of Gasai Yuno Userbar of Izumi Konata Userbar for the show Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Animated userbar of Holo Userbar for the show Rozen Maiden
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