12 Days of Anime 2018, Day 12: Run Diva Run – Minarai Diva and Pushing Nonsensical Boundaries

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Minarai Diva totally predicted virtual youtubers back in 2014 tbh

In yesterday’s post I talked about the gdgd shows as a whole, today I want to focus in on what might just be the most interesting of the lot, and also the most obscure; Minarai Diva. So what’s so interesting about Minarai Diva? What makes it entirely unique and pushes it beyond its cohorts in terms of meta weirdness? It’s live. The first (and only) live broadcast anime, Minarai Diva used motion capture and MMD to essentially animate itself in real time. With this dubious set up in place the show was streamed online and used contributions from twitter to crowdsource song lyrics for the ending theme. Naturally this was a complete mess. The entire first episode is a mess of constant technical difficulties. Around the halfway point Rie Murakawa’s mocap equipment breaks resulting in her character spending the entire remainder of the episode stuck in a T-pose. All in all it’s a technical nightmare that makes even the jankiest of the other gdgd shows look well crafted by comparison. And I loved it.

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Minarai Diva in a lot of ways feels like the culmination of all the fourth wall breaking improv driven nonsense these shows have built towards over the years. Live anime might not be something anyone asked for (it’s certainly never been done since) but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. These shows consistently find new ways to twist the definition of anime, Tesagure probably pushed the furthest with its on location recorded segments but Minarai Diva blows that out of the water. Where previous shows might have taken offhand comments from improv and spun them out into character traits or plot points Minarai Diva is entirely that, much of the first episode is spent poking fun at Ruri’s T-pose affliction or the various other technical issues. Audience participation is another area gdgd has touched on before but here it’s in full force as twitter posts flash up on the screen and the two idols use them as jumping off points for discussion. In these ways Minarai Diva feels like a synthesis of what the previous shows were building to, it’s something that had never been done before and builds off the previous meta leanings in a way I find genuinely fascinating. It’s this willingness to push boundaries that nobody asked it to push that makes it the ultimate gdgd show.

Sadly it doesn’t seem to have panned out, with the show coming and going without any lasting buzz. It hasn’t even been fansubbed past episode 3 (presumably because it’s a lot of work for something with incredibly niche appeal). Janky cg idol shenanigans are a hard sell I guess. That said, with the recent surge of virtual youtubers and so on gaining popularity maybe the show might have gained more traction if it were made today. Even if it’s not positioned for widespread appeal I think it’s a genuinely fascinating anime that deserves a bit more recognition and it’s worth a look if you can track the episodes down. And who knows, maybe this bit of wishful thinking from Naria Girls might come to pass someday (It won’t).

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And with that we’re done with this year’s 12 Days of Anime challenge. It was a lot of fun once again and I’m actually proud of everything I wrote this year, some of them might have been better if I hadn’t had to mass write four days worth in one go, or had been a bit laxer with the others and let myself pre-write before things got started but hey, half the fun of this thing is seeing what I can come up with on the day. Hopefully some of you out there found it interesting. Now I’m going to go not write anything for a couple of days.

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12 Days of Anime 2018, Day 12: Run Diva Run – Minarai Diva and Pushing Nonsensical Boundaries

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