The Daily Almanac: The Bra Strap

So you all remember my manifesto on the greatness of Chu-Bra a couple of weeks ago, right? Well, to sum it up, I thought the series was actually really well done because it combined the visual sexiness of lingerie with a very unique (and serious) take on the awkwardness of puberty. I feel that if you write the show off as being nothing more than lolicon fodder, then you’re doing the story a great disservice.

Well, Ed Sizmore of Comics Worth Reading still wasn’t quite convinced that there was more to this series than its sexy exterior, and he requested that I write up episodic reviews on what I was seeing when I watch this series. While I don’t plan to do this for every episode, I’m going to try to do it for all the really good ones from here on out.

So let’s focus on episode 7, since it is now streaming for free for anyone within the US. While the series has been focusing on puberty through the female point of view up until this point, this episode really centered around the male’s experience via its only boy character, Komachi-kun. As a male, I found myself able to easily identify with him as he struggles to keep his hormones in check while still trying to remain a “good boy.”

I thought this episode summed up the male middle school experience perfectly by centering around the all too familiar event we see pictured in the screen cap above:

Staring at the bra strap showing through the shirt of the girl sitting in front of you.

As the Chu-Bra girls go into the summer, they change into their lighter school uniforms, and with the lighter fabric comes the opportunity to catch a faint view of the bra straps underneath. Everyone notices this the first day, and as the boys gossip over this new development, Komachi does his best to not think about it.

But he can’t help it, none of us could at that age. And whenever he sees a bra strap through the uniform, he takes a longing notice to it. There was still this huge mystery at that time about the complex female undergarment and the unknown holy grail that was contained underneath those tiny belts and latches.

Watching this episode reminded me of how much I was enthralled with this idea during my adolescence, and how this strap has somehow become completely unattractive to me in my adulthood.

Perhaps the mystery is solved the first time we reached second base with a girl. Perhaps we simply desire something more than just the strap after a certain age. Or perhaps girls just learn how to hide their strap better as they get older.

But either way, this episode completely captured that awkward feeling we had with our hormones running wild in middle school, and that is why this series deserves more credit than it is currently receiving from the fan community.

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I’m the last person in the world to report on this, but if you haven’t checked out the McG directed video of Kirsten Dunst in Akihabara, you really should. It’s pretty awesome.

The video was created for an art exhibit at the Tate Modern Museum in London called “Pop Life”, which focused on post-Andy Warhol artists who make art out of modern commercialism. The art exhibit had a gallery devoted to the highly overrated “superflat” artist Takashi Murakami, who makes a cameo in the video as the dude in the ball that gets “puffed” away by Dunst in the final shot.

McG is probably best known these days as the dude who directed Charlie Angels and the latest Terminator movie, but children of the 90’s – like myself – will remember him as the guy who made kick ass music videos for Sugar Ray, The Offspring, and Smash Mouth.

Ah, the McG 90’s. It was a simpler time, when girls danced around in booty shorts, white guys partied in suburban neighborhoods, and everything was over-saturated in bright colors.

Anyway, I’m really glad to see him go back to his music video roots with this look at the scene in Akiba.

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FUNimation’s convention guy, Adam Sheehan, is no longer their convention guy. He’s been promoted in the company to Marketing Manager of FUNi’s upcoming social network, which used to be Shodojo.

Adam is one of the coolest guys working at that company, and I am so glad to see him take on a project I have such high hopes for. If you’re interesting in taking over his job as events manager, FUNi has already posted the job listing.

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And finally, let’s talk a little about Bandai and manga. Last week, BEI announced that they were launching a website dedicated to their manga division. And why do they need to have a new website? Because BEI announced today that they expanding their manga division with new Code Geass anthologies.

Now first of all, Bandai sucks when it comes to websites, so I can’t believe that they’re taking on a brand new site when their current one is still a bit of a mess. And case in point, the new website is already borked if you’re using any common ad blocker.

And also, why is BEI suddenly focusing on their manga division now?

For years, manga has always been some kind of afterthought for them to tie in to their anime titles. It seemed like they pretty much gave up on the medium when they could barely put out a bare bones release of Lucky Star last summer. Even Amazon could not get their hands on an initial shipment until months after its street date.

And then Lucky Star ended up on the New York Times bestsellers list as soon as enough stores got that initial shipments.

And now Bandai thinks that they got a manga division?

That is a major change of heart based off of one hit series. I think that Bandai needs to tread carefully and realize that not every manga series will benefit from an anime tie-in like Lucky Star did. Code Geass anthologies? Really? Is the market really going to buy that?

If you’re gonna be a serious manga publisher, then pick quality manga titles, not crappy anime tie-ins.

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