Aikatsu Friends! – 076 (Ringing Bells)

The ultimate Friends who anyone can make

In one way, nobody could have expected this to be the last episode, but in another, it was the only possible ending since the entire series started. As always, I encourage you to watch it first, and don’t forget that the release date going forward will be a few days later than up until now because of the time change.

Episode 076: Torrent | Magnet

But as usual, I can’t just let this end without saying anything. My raw reactions are in the same place as always, but I like to reflect a bit on how far we’ve come over the past year and a half together on this journey. When Friends started, it wasn’t as rough a change or adjustment as coming into Stars, having been with the same girls for three and a half years. There was more acceptance and optimism, rather than worry over perhaps having lost something. And even the first episode, with Aine and Mio meeting as if by fate, was happier than the confusing, bittersweet collapse of Yume in the nurse’s office. We knew from the start that this would be more about friendships and collaboration rather than rivalries and competition.

In exchange for drama and romance, we got to explore the nature of two strangers coming together and creating a force of friendship stronger than what either could make alone. Especially with the second season, competitions were put aside in exchange for repairing broken relationships, first between Hibiki and Alicia, then with Solvette and their circumstances, and finally with this episode. Even the climax of the season wasn’t something like the Diamond Friends Cup, but a collaboration of the Jeweling Festival to raise everyone up together. Maybe it’s just the times, but I think a message like that is exactly what we need to show what can be accomplished when everyone works together to create a miracle.

And although it only happened rarely, I and other friends my age I’ve talked to have really appreciated the episodes focusing on Tamaki, Chiharu, Ken, and Hariu. When Chiharu formed her brand as early as episode 4, I knew that Friends would be special in that regard. When Tamaki and Hariu began their rivalry when Reflect Moon entered the scene, it gave so much more character to both of them—and who could’ve expected that they would not only begin dating, but get married on screen as the finale of the entire series, with the town’s bells finally, finally being put to use as wedding bells? It’s hard to express just how much I now appreciate this careful treatment of the adults with their own host of issues separate from the girls. And I know that this encouragement for the adult fans of Aikatsu isn’t coincidental, as two scenes this episode prove: Hibiki (and by association Mirai, Karen, and Alicia) are at least 18 2̶0̶ (forgot the legal age of driving is younger than adulthood in Japan) years old, as they can drive, and there’s a line by Maika about the girls becoming adult idols who can support Tamaki in return for what she’s done to raise them. Once again, I can feel that the creators of Aikatsu don’t want viewers to just passively absorb the show, but to take its teachings as their own and go out into the world. We can’t all be middle or high school girls singing and dancing as idols, but we can find someone special to us, and maybe one day become Friends through marriage.

It’s been seven years, but I’m not ready to stop anytime soon. In less than a month I’ll be moving to Japan for half a year for my research, but that won’t interfere with the subs of Aikatsu at all. Whatever may come, I’ll still be here, making sure that Aikatsu love is continued to be spread around the world. I hope you will be too. See you for Parade.

Simulcasts killed fansubs, then pissed themselves

Several years ago, I wrote a now-prophetic post about how simulcasts were killing fansubs, but expressed optimism given that at the time, at least everything was getting a CR edit. Looking back, you can really see just how much has changed since then, and what I wrote is really showing its age. Unfortunately, the Subpocalypse came to be, and things are only getting worse. With Sentai, Amazon, and Netflix ruining everything, I’m almost nostalgic for the simpler times with just CR and Funi (which have since merged their simulcasts). But just saying that isn’t very convincing, so I’ve compiled a short list of egregious errors and unacceptable practices just from the first half of this season. This is of course by no means comprehensive. Just take it as a sample of what innocent anime fans are wasting money on. I didn’t bother labeling what anime each are from.

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Aikatsu! – 178 (End)

I want to run with you, looking forward to the future

I want to run with you, looking forward to the future

Episode 178 (Final): Torrent | Magnet

I’m not bothering to make the post break, so come back after you’ve watched the episode.

It’s over, and yet it is just beginning. I felt it only appropriate to go back to our roots as a less than 24 hour sub group, and I can tell you my day started 21 hours ago when I woke up early to watch my first and last livestream of Aikatsu ever. I haven’t said this publicly, but to be honest, I could feel myself slowing down over the last year or so. I still loved translating Aikatsu and watching it, but my fingers would stop, and I couldn’t press on. That didn’t happen with this episode. Whether due to some combination of emotional attachment, episode quality, experience, or just dumb luck, I could finish in record breaking time. Not only that, but Etoce pulled through and edited despite wanting to wait and see if he could do it better tomorrow. And in the biggest surprise yet, yuyu came back after a year of irc silence due to real life, just in time when my other encoders were busy to save the day. If not fate, I don’t know what to call it.

This episode ended where the very first episode began: at Ichigo’s home of Nandemo Bento. She even throws in a little joke that she’ll make “nandemo” (anything) for Akari, but ends up making a bento. We get some real height comparisons, and what do you know—Akari is not only Ichigo’s height now, but Raichi exceeds them both. Noelle’s gotten her fair share too. Perhaps the most fun of references to episode 1 was with Aoi. She throws back the exact same line she had then (6:56 if you’re curious) about getting some secret information, and then makes reference to her underground information network. I’m sure some of you recall the insane connection she used to get those Mizuki concert tickets way back when. Plus, Johnny not so subtly mentions that Aoi has the makings of a Headmistress. Talk about giving us exactly what we want.

I want to dedicate this release to Akari, least of all reasons as a final birthday present to her. She’s been along on this journey since the very first season, and after all this time has finally made it to the top. It’s only appropriate that her final and greatest present from Ichigo is to be able to call each other by their first names, the highest showing of mutual respect. From the moment she went on stage during the Audition Caravan, proudly showing off a picture of herself in tears thinking back on her worthwhile experience of failing once, I knew that she was an idol that we could grow together with, unlike Ichigo who we supported with all our hearts, and Mizuki who commanded utmost respect with her unrelenting dedication to idoldom. With each of them in turn, and with each pass of the baton, we grew up as well.

Aikatsu is not a passive series. When you watch, it inspires you to actively go out and do your own activities. It has for me at least. That’s why time and time again it was impressed upon us that yes, everything is Aikatsu. That so long as you don’t give up, you can be an idol in your own way, and earn the admiration of others. But like Akari, I couldn’t have come all this way alone. While she thanks all her fans for their smiles, I thank you for your support. Whenever you ask where the subs are, it motivates me just a little bit more to get on it. When I see that download counter go up, I feel that the late nights and hours of typesetting are worth it. And in the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better final episode. While I love bittersweet finales that make me cry, this episode gave me a smile on my face the whole way through. Scene by scene I could feel my past three and a half years come back to me, and see how much I’ve changed. I could relive all the fun times I had watching, and where I was during each.

So thank you, Aikatsu. Thank you for love. I will never forget the impact you had on my life, and I’ll honor you by giving the same dedication to Aikatsu Stars. So one last time: My passionate fansubbing katsudou, Fankatsu! is about to start! Fufuhi!

Aikatsu! The Movie

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Mezashite! presents: Aikatsu! Idol Activities The Movie

Half a year after it aired in theaters, roughly two weeks after the Blu-Ray came out, and countless hours of subbing it daily have finally culminated in our release. We thank you for all of your support, and hope you enjoy watching it, whether this is your first or fiftieth viewing.

Aikatsu! Gekijouban: 1080p Torrent | 720p Torrent

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