Instead, much of my online activity now is being conducted at my Tumblr account:
Instead, much of my online activity now is being conducted at my Tumblr account:
Oh, where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me
She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.
– Wayne Cochran, Last Kiss
My friend’s forum site was blocked unexpectedly after Google Chrome warned us that it had malware coming from a Russian domain. Checking closely, it turned out that the real problem lay with the website hosting service, known asVision Web Hosting, purportedly based in the United States.
The reality is that it is a hosting company owned by a Serbian national under the name of Slobodan Cvetic, with a phony US address.
I went a little further to check the reputation of this company, and it revealed that my friend wasn’t the only one victimized this morning: hundreds and even thousands of victims have posted complaints of STOLEN DOMAIN NAMES REGISTERED UNDER CVETIC’S NAME AT GODADDY, and NOT to their customers!
It’s an offshore company operated by scam artists.
Which means that anyone using this service without realizing what it really does is going to get a real shock: no tech support, no money back, nothing — they’ll rarely or never answer back.
Worse, this company is STILL IN OPERATION for so long — 10 YEARS — and law-enforcement companies have yet to respond to this matter.
To the FBI and to the Interpol, please check into the activities of this scam operation; we would like to have this madness ended and everything returned to their victims.
To others: report here:
Neo Sing-Sing Orbital Youth Detention Center
Planet Cayennestar, DGTO Military District 3552 – Betelgeuse Star System
Alexa Pearl Mallory, her hair arranged in a classical cornrow, was in this wretched place for two weeks now, having been thrown in after she was found guilty of narcotics possession in her home planet, and the second such time to be sentenced, the first one being at another detention slammer like this some years ago, when she was then thirteen and charged for theft.
Once again she wore the regulation brown jumper suit (with her serial number) and regulation sneakers, and she had to go through the usual routine.
Being a street gang member, she was used to this, no shit, as the first one was completely educational: getting the usual rough treatment, of being harassed on the first day, then caught in a brawl the second day, isolation for two days, and then some amount of sizable reputation.
She knocked out the other bitch trying to get a grab at her ass, took away the upper teeth and the nose. They never touched her since then.
Anyway, to make the story short, it took Alexa two years before being set free, to roam the neighborhood again, back in her habitat, in the ghetto of the industrial planet that was Queenstar, selling a synthesized variant of crack. The going was good until some asshole in the crew sold her out.
Today she was among several thousands of girls congregating in the detention center’s huge cafeteria, a sea of brown filled up with chatter, watched over by roving butch-like matrons in starched blue uniforms and riot gear. She had a minor reputation now, thanks to a tattoo marked on her wrist, that marked her as a standing member of the New Bloods, the oldest street gang in the galaxy since the Great Emigration after the war.
Which meant that she can afford to have a seat, unlike the FNGs who had to be broken first before being accepted into the snakepit.
They called her Lex, and that was all. Until she noticed a girl coming towards her, dressed in the same brown jumpsuit and carrying a laden tray, except she was being escorted by a couple of stern-looking lady wardens.
Then it dawned upon Lex that there was a vacant seat opposite hers, and this girl, with dark purple hair (cut into short bangs) and a seemingly calm facial expression, took her seat and placed the tray onto the table.
As she watched her eat a bowl of noodles with chopsticks, Lex wondered, How long she was in this shithole? What’s so special about her?
She noted that this other girl had no tattoos or heavy scars or whatever that indicated of any past violence, or carried a demeanor worthy of a gang leader, a true queen of the penitents.
Lex hoped that this girl wouldn’t grab her by the lapels, so she asked, straight-to-the-point: “I’m in because of some crack, so what you’re doing time here for?”
The oriental-looking girl stopped eating, and her eyes stared back at Lex.
“They put me here because I sang and danced against the law,” the other girl said in an almost smoky voice. “For that I’ve been given twenty years.”
“That’s fucking weird,” Lex remarked. “What do you do for a living back then?”
“I’m an idol before coming here.”
Lex blinked. “What?”
“We’re basically performers of pop music,” the other girl said. “We mostly sing and dance, and try to make people happy no matter what problems they have. We also try to go to them no matter where they are, even in places where entertainment is banned completely.”
Immersed in the rough urban life, Lex had never heard of idols, just so much gangsta rap and freestyling in her home planet, but this was really a new concept for her… and why do somebody had to be jailed for singing? What kind of shit the anal-retentive government and the pigs were into?
“My name’s Lex,” she said, deciding to warm up to the conversation. “Lex Mallory, from Queenstar. What’s yours?”
The other girl sighed, smiled and said, “My name is Atsuko Maeda the Thirteenth. Nice to meet you… and you can call me Acchan.”
Author’s Notes: I wrote this for an hour, after I came up with this idea, wondering what happened to Acchan the 13th, and why she disappeared. I was also inspired by some of my viewings of Majisuka Gakuen.
As always, comments or criticisms are welcome. Thanks for reading.
It was a fanfic idea that I came up with while watching the latter portion of AKB0048 Stage 08, and partly inspired by a scene in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Here goes nothing…
After reading this article, I’m still a bit astonished that mine is longer (300k+ and counting) than most of the classics listed there, but then there are Fanfiction.net stories that are monstrously huge, some of them (including this AMG fic) clocking over two million words!
But to be honest, quality and the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle really counts here, and sometimes I’m obliged to cut down a bit on description and balancing it out with dialogue.
He who mocks the infant’s faith
Shall be mock’d in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
– William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
Author’s Notes: I’ve been taking time to write this chapter to prepare the characters for the inevitable face-off, as I wanted to provide the last two End of Eva episodes an added stretch.
The good news is that I now have more time to brainstorm than ever before, and at the same time I’ve been watching movies and reading books again to get more story ideas, so the tentative working title for the next chapter, at least for the time being, Auguries of Innocence.
I want to finish this and I will as promised. Thank you for keeping the faith.
I think it’s hilarious how many people are taking offense to a review that doesn’t even say it’s bad. The point of the review is that if you aren’t into the whole idol thing, you probably won’t like the show. On the other hand if you do, then they actually did a good job with it. If you don’t know about AKB48 or don’t like them, the storyline of the anime probably won’t make it into your favorites.
On a side note… I lived in Japan for a good portion of my life, spent part of high school there and college (as well as several years in China and one in South Korea). That being said, I’m no stranger to idol culture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to hop on the AKB48 bandwagon either. And, yes, I’ve seen Macross. Hell, I’ve been to the Macross Cafe in Japan. I wouldn’t jump to saying I’m “too American” just because my picture shows that I’m white. Racism goes both ways, buddy.
So, thank you. Please insert 25 cents to try again.
Beth: I’m sorry if I underestimated you, there are things that you may be correct about, but then if the objective of the anime is to earn additional profit for its creators/managers at the expense of supposed art and good taste, then it could be true in case with other forms of pop music, not just j-pop; it’s too easy for me to recall rock musicians who were in conflict with their managers, or rap musicians arguing with record executives, but their music is still there despite the behind-the-scenes strife.
The point is, the reason why I said “you’re too American” is that there are those Westerners who can’t adjust themselves to Japan, and usually they whine most of the time about everything because they couldn’t adjust to a largely alien culture, and indeed on an online daily like Japan Today, whenever AKB is mentioned in an article they screech and find them annoying.
If they can’t get along, they shouldn’t have come in the first place.
The other day I sought to find out why those girls want to be an idol, even with the supposed dark side of that industry lingering like a dark miasma (Perfect Blue comes into mind), and so I read the members’ personal blogs and mementos of their daily lives, until I realized they were sharing the same motivations as that of the geisha a century ago; like nuns or monks they were willing to sacrifice bits and pieces of themselves in exchange for a higher calling they think would bring themselves happiness.
And then I finally understood; it is a difficult life those idols have to bear and they couldn’t please everyone but they’re right up there; they feel it is their ultimate life-changing reward, having fought their way to the top together and made sacrifices to become what they really wanted to be, no matter how much they’re earning everyday… and from there they feel they could make it anywhere — as actresses, singers, voice actors, etc. — after a period of time.
Now in AKB’s case, if any of its members feel that the management is shafting them, they’re not afraid to air their objections in public and thus force the management to address their problems.
As much as some people express their dislike towards those idols, the management behind them, and the system as a whole, respect still has to be given because those girls feel that it’s their duty in society to make their audience happy, no matter how hard it is to perform, to sing and dance.
Reproduced from my reaction to Bluemist’s blog entry entitled The Melancholy of Idols.
At first, I look at this thing with complete indifference, thinking it’s worse than current-gen pop music (be it Western or, God forbid, K-pop). But then it took me considerable time of research, delving into what motivates a girl to become an idol, despite the negative perceptions associated with it, as well as seeing a unique symbiosis between her and the audience (guess I’ll read more about Drucker and the utility of an employee or a corporation towards society).
In peeling away the artifice and the manufactured image, I find her imperfections, vulnerabilities, as well as character strengths and possibilities that she thought to be dormant and untapped.
Even the producer/creator/songwriter himself, the man in charge of the idols under his care, also has his imperfections and rarely do they admit to anything or take the risk of being transparent and frank about the creation he engendered; in the chain of command, he takes the most blows and criticism, and should the situation demands it (in case of grave scandal or misconduct or total disaster) he offers himself to resign.
Eventually I find in her things that I could relate with, things that make her human more than just a commodity or a product.
Finally, what diligence she made from her audition into what she is now, has struck me as I discover parallels between her development and that of the classic geisha; a geisha serves a magnate or a politician in privacy, while an idol performs in service to hundreds, thousands or even millions. Both have made personal sacrifices in an attempt to attain perfection and an ideal image of themselves and to society, as though they share a common link with nuns, priestesses or monks.
Like the geisha, an idol is a servant, but emotionally in control and her resolve and diplomacy strengthened by experience and expertise, a potentially powerful individual who could convince more than any geezer of a Japanese politician could ever hope to get in their lifetimes… So, even if the chances could be remote, I will not be surprised should, say, someone resolute like Takahashi Minami becomes the first female Prime Minister of Japan.
That said, “hate” is too much of a harsh word.