Category Archives: Non-Anime

Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo Review

The only reason I have a PS4 is so I can play FF XV. So, you bet I was more excited than a weeb peeing their pants over the Love Live Final. As soon as I knew about the Platinum Demo, I immediately downloaded it and spent some nice time tasting the new Final Fantasy world coming in September. Continue reading Final Fantasy XV Platinum Demo Review

The Moral Crusade and Censoring Spree

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Before I say anything, please take a minute to read that screenshot of the latest broadcast regulations issued by the Broadcasting Commission of Indonesia (KPI).

You done? Good, now let’s continue.

I’ve been wanting to rant about this stupid-ass holier-than-thou complex that’s been growing as of late. Once upon a time, the government censored Shizuka’s bathing suit, because… reasons. The next time, the Miss Indonesia pageant was had blurred chests, because… fuck you, that’s why. But it was only until this piece of legal regulation came out when I finally said, “Enough is enough. This is so fucking ridiculous even by Indonesian standards,”

In the past couple of weeks, the government has initiated this sort of “moral crusade” against homosexuals, transexuals, and nudity. Spearheaded by the KPI, this moral crusade takes form of (1) blurring out chests of women, animated or non-animated, and (2) by criminalizing male hosts or TV personalities who are thought to act in a gay or effeminate manner. All of this under the pretext of “protecting morality”, in which the narrative is further pushed with an anti-LGBT agenda and anti-nudity. Indonesia is becoming more conservative by the second, all because a bunch of elites feel that gay people and partially exposed titties on TV are an existential threat to the moral values of the nation.

Fuck them. Fuck them and this sanctimonious moral crusade of theirs. They can all go deepthroat dicks until their faces turn blue from asphyxiation. Continue reading The Moral Crusade and Censoring Spree

Battle of Surabaya: So Good Yet So Bland

Okay. I’ve waited for more than four months. Battle of Surabaya DID NOT make it to Bali’s cinemas. Luckily, fate works in mysterious ways. Just today, on my flight from Jakarta – Bali, it turned out that Garuda Indonesia had Battle of Surabaya in the in-flight entertainment system. The bad news is, a pilot is gonna fucking die because I did not get to see the last 10 minutes of the movie.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Continue reading Battle of Surabaya: So Good Yet So Bland

To Waifu or Not to Waifu?

Lately, AV+ has been rambling on about the idea of developing synthetic relationships with cartoon characters. Basically, he takes the stance that there are many kinds of love out there, and just because a person loves a virtual character, the feeling of love exists. To quote his stunning conclusion,

Dan apapun bentuknya, cinta yang mereka dapatkan itu nyata.

My translation: In whatever form it may be, the love they receive is real.

Of course, you know that I once covered the role of moe in Japan’s population crisis. Just a quick recap: the moe industry is growing like never before and the amount of people who do not want a “real” relationship are also increasing, leading to worries that not enough people are procreating to balance the aging population.

So, back to the philosophical question: to waifu or not to waifu? 

Continue reading To Waifu or Not to Waifu?

Why I Listen to Vocaloid and (almost) Nothing Else

I listen to it everyday. At work, I always have a YouTube tab open in my browser to play some Vocaloid tunes. When I write alone in my room, I do the same. If there’s no Internet, I always have a playlist ready.

I’m not what you would call a music enthusiast. Or is the term “edgy cocksucker who always thinks everyone’s music preference is shit and just loves pushing his shitty recommendations onto other people” too harsh? Anyway, I enjoy listening to Vocaloid music all the time. I almost never listen to anything else, though I do think that music from the 90s are still the best. Who doesn’t like Smash Mouth and Backstreet Boys?

You might be thinking that I’m a fucking weeb just because I only listen to Vocaloid. I’m totally chill with that. The reason why I listen to Vocaloid is not because it’s good. Heck, some of the music is terrible and makes me want to question why the good Lord would even allow people to even create this shit in the first place. No, the reason I listen to Vocaloid is very personal to me: it helped me through a very rough patch in my life.

In my third semester in college, my high school sweetheart broke up with me in the most devastating way I can think of: she liked another person, and she broke up with me right after we saw each other for the first time in a long time. I took a critical hit and then went into a depressing period. During that time, a good friend recommended a song, Rainbow Girl. That was the gateway drug I needed to get hooked on Vocaloid. I knew about Vocaloid previously, but back then, internet wasn’t as cheap or fast as today, so I never went on YouTube to search for Vocaloid videos. From there, I continued my journey down the Vocaloid rabbit hole, discovering mellow songs like Just be FriendsI Wanna Be Your World, and SpiCa. I listened to them everyday, and they helped me get past my horrible period.

Now, I’ve moved way past that period, yet I’m still listening to Vocaloid. Some of the songs in my playlist are already attributed to some memories, from painful to joyful. For example, the entire Re:Dial album by livetune is linked to the time I lived alone in Jakarta for my internship. Just Be Friends is a timeless classic. When coupled with Answer, the two remind me of my depressing phase and how I came over it. The Decorator album is linked to my first Miku Expo experience. Heck, Vocaloid has helped me write some short stories that were published in my university magazine. Finder by livetune became my inspiration to write about a photographer and a cancer patient. Starduster by JimmyThumbP and SpiCa by Toku-P are both currently my sources of inspiration for a love story between an astronaut and a handicapped woman.

So, those are the reasons I listen and will continue to listen to Vocaloid. It’s not because I think other music is trash (well, I do, especially Justin Bieber), or because I’m a weeb; it’s solely because I feel a personal connection with Vocaloid and the skilled composers that have composed so many beautiful songs. Thank you.

Worrying about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Call me late, but when it comes to heavy shit like multilateral trade and IPR regimes, I’d prefer being late to having my facts wrong and looking like a total douche.

So, a while back, our President (who is always wrong) went to the United States of Fucking America for a state visit. He came back with some startling news: Indonesia was going to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They say it would be a good opportunity for economic growth, yadda yadda insert usual political rhetoric here.

Now, last time I checked, the TPP was a secretive project concocted by the US government to increase their export advantages and impose a global liberal trade regime. There has been no public discussion of the TPP bill and its details have remained secret. The only thing the public has are leaks from WikiLeaks and that’s pretty much it.

But since it’s made by America and has the word “liberal” in it, it should be bad right? Normally, I’d whisk away those conspiracy nutjobs, but this time, I would have to agree that the TPP would do more harm to Indonesia than good.

What the Fuck is the TPP?

The TPP acts as an international trade regime. In a trade regime, any country who ratified the pact immediately agrees to all the rules stated in the pact and from thereon, must adjust their own national laws to meet the standards of said pact. Say that, for example, Japan has their own copyright rules and America has their own. Now, since America made the TPP, if Japan wanted to become a member of the club, Japan would have to follow the rules of the TPP and thereby adjust their own national copyright laws to meet the standards of the TPP. That’s how international law works fundamentally. Don’t like it? Then GTFO; you don’t have to join the club. Now, let me get to the rules of the TPP. Though details are still rather vague, there are many credible analyses online regarding the possible content of the TPP. I like the analyses by TPPinfo.org. Head over there and educate yourselves if you haven’t.

Though there’s a lot to talk about, let’s talk about intellectual property rights (IPR). IPR laws  differ from country to country, mostly due to differences in local customs. In Indonesia, IPR laws exist, but enforcement is rather lenient because nobody fucking cares if you pirated a movie. In Japan, you could face charges for illegal downloads. Now, the TPP, aside from being a trade pact, is also an IPR regime, or a set of IPR rules that transcends borders. Anybody who wants to join the TPP must embrace its rules and adapt them into national law. IPR laws in the TPP are supposedly much more rigid than US laws, but since we don’t have enough details, we can’t say for sure.

What’s Wrong with the TPP?

So, we want to protect copyright. That’s not a bad thing, right? That depends: which side are you on?

There’s a fuck ton of things that are wrong with the TPP, but perhaps the most important one is about copyright. The TPP has the potential to basically kill all kinds of creativity in the name of copyright.

RocketNews24 has already discussed the possible debilitating effects of the TPP on the doujinshi market. Let me elaborate. Doujinshis are a type of derivative work, which is a work that “borrows” stuff like, but not limited to, characters from a certain anime/manga/other licensed intellectual property. And by Japanese copyright laws, doujinshis are by nature illegal because they are sold for profit. However, stakeholders have turned a blind eye because the doujinshi market, while clearly infringing copyright, has proven to be a much more lucrative opportunity. From Comiket, the manga industry can scout new talent and also increase their fandom. It would be a great hassle to sue a poor NEET just because they made a doujin of Umaru being raped by a bunch of anthropomorphized game consoles. The costs (lawyers, court, etc.) would exceed their gains, making it really stupid. By the way, it’s only considered a criminal offence if someone presses charges.

Now, enter the TPP. The terms of the TPP make it so that even minor offences are punishable by law. It removes the “crime after someone presses charges” system, meaning that the mere act of drawing Miria Akagi being raped by ten old men is considered a criminal offence. (Well, it should be. How could you! Treating an innocent loli like that… You fucking monster!)

Related to that, there is no indication of a “fair use” clause in the TPP. You guys know fair use right? When you use licensed music in a personal YouTube video, or when you download images off Google to use in a class presentation? Nope, according to the TPP, that’s now illegal and you can go to jail for that. And to top it off, even breaking digital rights management (DRM) on software for personal archiving or other uses can be illegal under the TPP.

Those are only the tip of the iceberg. Since I’m not a law major, I can’t discuss in detail about the clauses in the leaked TPP documents. But those aspects I find the most distressing about the TPP. Don’t take my word for it, I’m just another blogger on the internet.

What’s the Deal with Indonesia?

If Japan’s artists are rallying against the TPP, something must be wrong with it. But why did Joko Widodo agree to join the TPP when his entire political campaign was about developing creative industries? I’m genuinely concerned by this because I wrote a paper (which got published) a year ago about Indonesia’s creative industries and how they could become an agent of Indonesian soft power. I was highly optimistic back then, but now, I’m losing hope.

I think it’s important to let you guys know that Indonesia has a terrible IPR law record. Since the 1980s, Indonesia has repeatedly made it on the IIPA list, which is a list of countries deemed to be the best pirates in the world. Indonesia’s one of the best pirate countries in the world, by the way, according to the list. The annual IIPA report (most recent 2014) has yet to relieve Indonesia of this shameful status. Some of the problems mentioned were “largely non-transparent” legal procedures and the lack of a comprehensive IPR protection framework.

And don’t let get started on the severe lack of IPR law enforcement. The cops are raiding small-time DVD pirates while turning a blind eye to copyright infringement in the publishing industry. Makes you wonder why Indonesian writers choose to publish abroad.

Perhaps, by joining the TPP, Indonesia can finally step up its game in IPR protection. But is that really the case?

You see, creativity and IPR have this love-hate relationship. See, nothing is original under this blue sky. Someone else may have already thought about an idea we had yesterday. Different cultures share similar folklore; I’ve noticed some similarities between the fables of Aesop and Balinese bedtime stories. Even across Indonesia, cultures share similar types of music and dances. But on the other hand, in an increasingly capitalistic society where ideas are commodities, a degree of IPR is required to keep creative people in work. Wouldn’t you be pissed off if someone ripped off your artwork and claimed it were theirs? But too much IPR protection has the potential to kill creativity in the name of shekels. We have to realize that being creative sometimes means “stealing” (in a good sense) other people’s work and then adding our own touch to it.

“It is difficult for me to build characters from scratch since I am not a professional,” Usami said Dec. 30 while attending the 87th Comic Market, a famed event featuring fan fiction held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center in the capital’s Koto Ward. “People who buy my manga like it if I can manipulate well-known, attractive characters in a way that pleases me.” – Asahi Shimbun, 29 March 2014

Let’s take  a look at Indonesia’s creative industries. Face it, a lot of our so-called “creative” home-grown industries are just a bunch of pirates. That cool anime shirt on sale at a convention? The pic’s from Google or Pixiv, and a dude stole it and printed it on a fucking shirt. Those keychains may also be stolen images, printed on acrylic then sold to you gullible fucks at 20K per piece. Those kind of people exist, but I don’t regard them as part of the creative force. Fuck those pigs.

What I do appreciate as part of the creative forces are artists, cosplayers, writers, and filmmakers making original content, but are way underappreciated by the ignorant Indonesian masses. With a bit more IPR protection, those people could thrive in a conducive environment for creativity. But what about doujin circles and cosplayers? Considering the blanket-ban nature of the TPP, I’m quite concerned of the fate of these people. The otaku community in Japan are rallying against the TPP because it would make doujins and cosplays as a punishable IPR offence, even if the copyright owner does not feel the need to press charges. If it were applied here, then we’d have “people vs corporate” drama every fucking day. Artists wouldn’t be allowed to make doujins of original Indonesian characters; there won’t be parodies or doujins of TAWUR or Reon and Reyna 18+ fiction (which I would totally buy). The sole right to cosplay as lies in the company’s hands; nobody else will have the right to playfully cosplay as Yumna from Battle of Surabaya without the “IPR Police” swooning in with their black helicopters. Creativity will die at the TPP’s hands.

So, we need a degree of IPR protection, but if there’s too much, it works against the interests of the people. And without creativity, the entire “muh creative industries” rhetoric brought up by the President would be for naught.

P.S. Someone fucking draw a doujin where ALL characters of Re:ON Comics or Nusaimoe face the TPP in an epic boss battle.

“I’ll Block You!”: Meet IPO-chan, Indonesia’s Newest Parody

Who said only the Japanese can be creative with gijinkas? Give some credit to Indonesians too!

Literally overnight, IPO-chan, Indonesia’s latest moefication of something that’s not a yaoi parody of Jakarta’s governor, became went viral, making her way into the news feeds of netizens. Give a big hand to Spring Roll Circle, for giving birth to IPO-chan.

For those who require a background, especially the non-Indonesians or Indonesians who have been living under a rock, IPO-chan is a parody of the Indonesian government’s discounted version of China’s Great Firewall, known as a net filtering service called “Internet Positif” (lit. positive internet). Internet Positif was the initiative of the last Communications Minister, Tifatul Sembiring. At first, it was aimed at blocking “malicious” websites (a one-sided interpretation by the government) such as porn and gambling. Later, it blocked reddit and Vimeo, sparking resistance from netizens as those sites have nothing to do with porn. Tifatul has since become a meme and will forever be remembered as the anti-freedom asshole who tried to block the net.

IPO-chan and her features.
IPO-chan and her features. Credit: Spring Roll Circle

Now, about IPO-chan. She wears a blue uniform, with a red skirt and black leggings. Her hair is black (or dark blue? I can’t tell sometimes) and she wears it in a side ponytail along with a headset, possibly to emphasize that she’s an employee of the Ministry of Communication. She is also portrayed as carrying a black file titled “Black List”, which probably refers to the growing list of websites blocked by Internet Positif. However, her trademark is her red, plus-sign eyes. The white plus sign over red is the logo of Internet Positif.

“Don’t be lewd or I’ll block you!”

As for her character, she is often described as “authoritative yet bullyable”. In some works, she appears to be “cool”, but breaks down whenever someone (often portrayed as males whose faces have been replaced by logos of VPNs or proxies) tries to stand up to her. Her character parodies the nature of Internet Positif: at first glance, it seems intimidating, but it’s easily beaten by the usage of simple, free VPN programs. And because Rule 34 exists, there’s already doujins where IPO-chan gets sexually abused by a bunch of VPNs. For example, go check out Maggot666‘s FB page. Fuck yes?

As more and more people realize the existence of IPO-chan, there has been some positive and some negative feedback. She is welcomed as a form of creative social criticism against Internet Positif, and she’s fun to play around with. Online artists are already producing their own versions of IPO-chan. But amidst the positive feedback, there’s always that one nutjob who thinks IPO-chan is government propaganda designed to fool netizens into supporting Internet Positif.

Credit to Maggot666.
Credit to Maggot666.

So what do you think about IPO-chan? I want a gangrape doujin as soon as possible, preferably made by Kxjati if he decides to jump on the bandwagon.

All images are copyright of their respective authors.