Hardcover Version of Anime News Nina is Totally Going to Happen

Author Robin Sevakis said her mind was blown when she noticed how far her Kickstarter had gone to fund a book version of her Anime News Nina webcomic.  As I sit here typing, not only did it pass it’s $7,500 funding goal, it surpassed the $10,000 needed to fund a hardcover version, less than 24 hours (and possibly less than 18) after posting.

Having been one of the few comics, if not the only one I’ve seen go from start to finish, I’m glad that this will be a reality.  Nina was often very amusing and unafraid to take shots at fandom and the people who make it up.  Currently the $160 level is the highest tier left, but since this is Kickstarter, that could easily change.

Suspect behind Kuroko’s Basketball threats caught

Mainichi Shimbun among others are reporting that police have arrested the man believed responsible for making terroristic threats against Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki and Kuroko-related events. His crimes include mailing threatening letters to the author and event holders, attempting to release hydrogen sulfide into a university gymnasium, and potentially spiking Kuroko-branded snacks with nicotine.

The police need to be lauded for their efforts so far, even more so if the charges hold. It had to have been frustrating to have so many events canceled since the incidents started in 2012, but events can be replaced. People can’t. Obviously, the culprit is a very troubled individual who was willing to harm others to get what he wanted, which was allegedly “revenge” on Fujimaki for being successful. It’s a small miracle that no real injuries were caused, but investigators helped thanks to their use of extreme caution.

In the best case scenario, the next news item will be how this person is going to be off the streets for a very long time, but this is still a developing story.

Ghibli > Game of Thrones

The nominees for the 71st Golden Globe Awards were announced today, and Ghibli’s The Wind Rises is one of the finalists for Best Foreign Language Film.  The good news is that it’s the first Golden Globe nomination for Studio Ghibli.  The bad news is it’s unlikely to win, because also in the category is the much ballyhooed French film Blue is the Warmest Color. However, Ghibli can at least say they have more nominations than Game of Thrones, which received zero in the respective TV categories.

Other relevant titles receiving consideration:

Frozen: 2 nominations, (Best Animated Film, Best Original Song)
The Big Bang Theory: 2 (Best TV Comedy/Musical, Best Actor in a TV Comedy)
Hunger Games Catching Fire: 1 (Best Original Song)
Despicable Me 2: 1 (Best Animated Film)
Orphan Black: 1 (Best Actress in a TV Drama)

Why You Might Care About Baseball’s New Posting System

ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball has reached an agreement with Japan’s Nippon Pro Baseball league regarding player transfers.  Previously, if one of the 12 NPB clubs posted a player (that is, made him available), MLB teams could submit a blind bid for the negotiating rights to that player.  The highest bidder then has 30 days to negotiate a contract with that player, paying the bid to the club and the contract to the player.  Now, the bidding system is still in place, but the maximum bid is capped at $20 million.  If multiple teams post a max bid, then a player is allowed to negotiate with any of those teams.

This was the plan for a while, but there were a few obstacles.  Earlier reports had 11 of the 12 NPB clubs had agreed to this.  The lone holdout was the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who just so happened to also have this year’s prized prospect, Masahiro Tanaka.  Considering previous bids had topped $50 million, you might be able to see the Eagles’ line of thinking.  The reports also implied that had the $20M posting cap was put in place, the Eagles would not post Tanaka, who still has 2 years left on his NPB contract.

So why is this interesting?  Well for one thing, the Eagles’ roster includes former major leaguers Takashi Saito and Andruw Jones, which is kinda cool. But what is likely more important to you is that the Rakuten Golden Eagles are owned by, surprise surprise, Raukten Inc.  This multidimensional corporation specializes in online retail, owning Buy.com (now Rakuten.com), and Play.com among others.  Rakuten has also invested heavily in Pintrest and Tsunku, the latter contributing Golden Eagles’ fight songs via Hello! Project.  In other words, Rakuten has fingers in a lot of places important to netizens and otaku.

In all likelihood, Rakuten is upset that they’re the ones getting 40 cents on the dollar when Seibu and Nippon-Ham got full price.  It probably doesn’t help things that the Eagles’ previous post attempt yielded a $19 million bid in 2010, but the Oakland A’s were unable to come to terms with Hisashi Iwakuma. The bid was retracted and Iwakuma stayed with the Eagles until 2012, when he went to the Seattle Mariners (partially owned by Nintendo, by the way) for nothing in return.  I don’t know about you, but if I was shorted $45 million over 3 years, I’d be a little peeved.

However, what if there’s something more to this?  Granted, $30 million would be less than 1% of Rakuten’s $4.7 billion in revenue, but it wouldn’t be the last time someone spent money they didn’t have, especially when we’re talking baseball.  If the presumed posting payday had already been earmarked, that could be problematic for the defending Japan Series champs.  The issues regarding a shortfall and/or drop back to mediocrity (Rakuten won 82 out of 144 games duringthe 2013 regular season; they averaged 67 the six seasons before that) could spill over into the rest of Rakuten’s footprint.  For want of a nail, the castle may not be lost, but there is the potential for damage.

Like I said, this is likely much ado about a little, but in a world that tends to get smaller every day, don’t be too surprised if it doesn’t.

NaNoWriMo is here!

You may be familiar with National Novel Writing Month. But if you aren’t, the goal is to write a 50,000 word narrative in 30 days.  Z and I both plan to be participants this year.  Z is a vet of these things, while I am fresh-faced an new, but have a, hate to say it, novel idea to put into text form.  Be sure to watch this space to check our progress as we try to conquer the Literary Aggro Crag.

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