While fighting off the temptation to express my opinion on Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (short version: A good first episode without 20 seconds that makes it troubling if not ruining it entirely), I remembered that I was invited in to write something on Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II. There’s actually a little bit of back story before I get into this post for real.
Back in July, as a result of a stupid wager on the Aniblog Tourney I ended up at Otakon. I went to a panel on sexism in anime, actually this one to be exact. Uncomfortably, I had made some purchases prior to this that made me feel like a terrible person for having attended this panel. Actually that’s the same feeling I’ve been having for most of the time since Kaibutsu-kun aired, but I digress slightly. The title character of Horizon came up as an example of an archetype of a character that is empty and can only be satisfied by the male protagonist who is there to allow the viewer to self-insert to gain a level of control over that character. Of course, that may be reading it entirely wrong, but that’s just going from memory.
Surprisingly, the chat on Horizon continued later that night at the local Hard Rock Cafe between repeated rounds of very large alcoholic beverages. The_Patches continued to talk about the show after having watched the 2nd episode and written on it. He made a very compelling case that there was something inherently interesting about Horizon’s concept. That trying to recover history by trying to re-enact it could be a fun experience stuck with me.
As I further delve off topic from the episode, I have to think that this is an interesting time that humanity is living through. Most of my adult life has been taken up with a terrorist attack, global military action in response that continues to this day, a couple Presidential elections here in America and financial dealings that have resulted in my general feeling that this current era is probably what the 1970s felt like.
In a better world, would people want to relive the current era? I think the prospect of going back to the 17th century seems a lot more appealing than going back to the Great Depression for instance. I generally have an opinion that the earlier period seems more appealing because of advances in the study of history and technology in general. There just isn’t as much source material from 16th century, so it’s easier for certain narratives to dominate. The English beating Spain’s Great Armada makes a great story. The underdog wins because conditions allowed it to happen. It’s an enlightening story out of a time filled with religious persecution.
Modern history, on the other hand, captures all that is terrible with the world. You can’t help but think that Humanity Has Declined as technology has allowed history to be measure in minutes. New documentation of an event is released in the morning, and by the time dinner comes around it’s already been packaged and re-packaged again for consumption for certain constituencies; some more fervent than others. From where I’m sitting, it can feel like I’m experiencing a different version of modern history than the one that’s been created for me by the media. It all just feels like a work of fiction.
So to go revisit earlier in this post, those events of global terrorism and the recession haven’t had a direct measurable impact on me (the latter more than the former obviously), but I have to keep those ideas in mind constantly. My very nature and the fact I studied history makes two minor opinions, but the only impact I can have is by marking a sheet of paper in a certain spot to elect someone to represent me at various levels of government. That somehow my 1/3 millionth of an electorate to determine 5/269ths of the voting pool for this nation’s highest office is important. The reality is that I matter as much to the history of the present day as a random subsistence farmer did in the mid-17th century.
So to wrap up the introduction to this post succinctly. The 17th century sound fun because of all of the stories that have been filtered through time. Modern history sucks because we know everything about what’s happening, but it allows me to watch Horizon. So on to the episode.
As this seems to be a day where some are making ridiculous arguments about preferences in their favorite anime, I figured I may as well jump on this bandwagon before it leaves never to return (or in 4 months). I’ve also decided to use the mighty power of Twitter to try to come up with ideas in this post to try to defend based on the title. Needless to say, I may have picked a bad day to do this. (Note: none of the views expressed below represent my real opinion on views, they are just my attempts to defend indefensible views on specific topics)
In the first of hopefully many (or more likely none), I have actually done some stuff on other sites if anyone was interested.
First up was participating in a different sort of First Impressions post. I was part of a team that wrote 50 words each on the first episode of Mysterious Girlfriend X while only knowing the last 10 words the previous writer wrote. Try to see if you can figure out which part is mine.
Then, if you ever really wanted to hear what I sounded like but never got around to asking, I appeared on Desu Ex Machina’s Friday Anime Podcast. It was a fun time talking about several of the new shows this season with Kevo and Aeroblip. I could have gone on for much longer yet, but sadly that had to be left on the editing room floor. So no Legend of the Galactic Heroes or Giant Killing or any other show I’ve blogged here.
Hopefully, more pans out for the future and I can do more posts like this in the future.
I was inspired slightly by another post into doing this. That post was largely about the boring male leads that have become synonymous with anyone who has seen a decent amount of anime series, but it really got me to think about the modern harem anime scene. If there is any genre that is known for boring, pointless leads, it’s harem anime.
Before I get started with eliminating some of the candidates, I must admit I was surprised at how much negative connotation the idea of something being considered harem is. There are a number of series Haruhi, Kanon, and Clannad amongst others that I would consider harem that are not because the mods at MAL do not consider them so. Since I chose to go only from their select pool, I was limited to a large extent, but it was still surprising that I had to add another candidate just to make 64. Continue reading
I’m not too big on bandwagon jumping. My votes in the Anime Power Rankings reflect that. Plus, the spring isn’t actually looking all that promising. So following Inushide, Lostty, Caraniel, and Yumeka (along with many others who have probably done it, but I hadn’t seen) I’m answering a set if 50 questions that have been going around this particular blogosphere.
I’ve been slacking of late as far as the non-episodic posts. Blogging 4 series at the same time tends to lead to burnout rather quickly, so I plan to get to that when times aren’t as busy. Now that it’s down to 3 series I have a programming issue I haven’t had to address in many a year. I guess people want to see more insight into the personal lives of the people they are following because it makes it easier to relate to them. There’s quite a bit of that on Twitter, but these questions are supposed to address that. Here goes nothing
1. Who is your favorite male anime character?
This is really a hard question to start with because I generally have a hard time deciding on one. Ask me in 10 minutes and my opinion would change. I’ve gone from thinking Vegeta was utterly badass to going through various generic main characters because of the rest of the cast. I even had Kuroda from Giant Killing in this high tier of characters. Ultimately though I had to settle on Jinto from the Seikai franchise. The man takes action when necessary, and fully commits himself to the one he loves.
2. Who is your favorite female anime character?
This one is actually much easier. That would be one Hildegard von Mariendorf. Who could not like a character who was the perfect foil for the man who conquered the entire galaxy? Her marriage was rather farcical given that it came as a result of the two of them giving n to their passions. If anything, it actually made her character that much more endearing.
3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?
I’d probably go with the OSTs of Macross Plus. It was the first anime I watched where it felt like the music mattered. It was essential to the plot as is the case in most of the Macross series. It then led to a rapid gathering of much of Yoko Kanno’s collection to that point. This was over a decade ago, I should add and this OST still gets into my music rotation.
4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?
Eden of the East, at least the broadcast version because the music from the Mancunian band does feel necessary. The animation itself actually gives a full synopsis of the plot and the sense of desperation coming from Akira and Saki.
5. What is your favorite anime ending + animation?
Oh boy, endings. I don’t really watch many of these. Kare Kano probably doesn’t count since it isn’t animation. I’ll go with the ending from the 7th episode of Hanamaru Kindergarden. A tribute to silent film before a silent film could win an Academy Award. Unfortunately, I think everyone involved has probably moved on to a different studio by now.
6. What is your favorite anime scene?
Episode 82 of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Anyone who’s watched it will know exactly what scene.
7. If you could meet an anime character who would it be?
I’d probably go with Fumihiko Matsumaru from REC. The guy works in an office all day and probably has good tales to tell over large amounts of beer.
8. What anime character is most similar to you in terms of personality?
Watashi from Tatami Galaxy, in the worst possible way.
9. What is your favorite thing about anime?
If I was completely and totally honest, I would probably say because it’s different. Not different in the way that those straight-to-Sci Fi Channel movies were during my teenage years, rather it’s more like a grocery or liquor store. There’s a section devoted to stuff from abroad, which makes it seem unique from everything that’s considered normal. It may cost a little bit more, but it seems like it’s different.
10. What is your least favorite thing about anime?
The thought that it could be considered a special product just on it’s own. Anime is capable of being just as bad as even the worst live-action movies and TV shows. I guess this is more an indictment of certain fans over anything else. So sticking entirely to the topic, I’d split it between the name used to define a block of 12 episodes at a time and the phenomenon of officially shortened titles.
11. Who’s your favorite anime couple?
Jinto & Lafiel from Crest/Banner of the Stars. When the question going around the aniblogosphere was “What anime would you want to see?”, all I could think of was more of those two. I don’t think anything else comes close.
12. Who is your favorite anime animal?
Leader from Honey & Clover. Though if we can count just non-human entities I would go for Chizuru from Kanokon, purely for superficial reasons.
13. What anime would make a good game?
The World God Only Knows as a dating sim would be incredibly meta
14. What game would make a good anime?
This is going to be a bit difficult as I don’t play that many games that translate into a story. Just for the hell of it, any of the new Street Fighter games to be adapted as top quality terribad viewing.
15. What was the first anime you ever watched?
This is sort of a difficult question. It could really be a number of things when I was a kid, like Speed Racer, Voltron or Robotech. Purists may not count that, but under other conditions it could also be Dragonball Z, Ranma 1/2 or Sailor Moon. It’s not a simple question to answer.
16. Do you think you’ll ever stop watching anime?
I could make this question morbid, but I’ll just settle for it’s highly likely that I would at some point in the distant future.
17. What is your favorite genre of anime?
I’m not really one for picking a favorite genre. That said I do usually consider what genre a show is trying to be when trying to rate it.
18. What is your least favorite genre of anime?
See the above answer if I’m trying to be fair. If not, then I would just stick to the “slice-of-life nothing happens ever” genre.
19. Are you open about watching anime with people you know?
There’s one guy at work who I took to ACen last year who knows. The rest of the people I know have never even bothered asking what I’m into. So I guess it’s more of an “if I’m asked directly about it” question than not.
20. Have you ever been to Japan?
No, but maybe some day when I actually have the money to do so.
21. What anime was the biggest letdown for you?
Clannad, which was supposed to have this emotional appeal to a large audience. I just wanted to violently throttle Jun Maeda into unconsciousness after watching it.
22. What anime was better than expected?
Probably Kaiba had the biggest jump between what I was expecting and what I watched. I really high on the show based on initial impressions and how poorly the show did in sales, and that it’s unlicensible outside of Australia. Turns out it was an absolute joy to watch. It’s a shame there’s little interest in it.
23. What is the best anime fight scene?
This is actually a pretty hard one, simply because I really don’t want to count mecha battles. For the way this battle concludes with the completely out of left field athletic ability of one of the participants, I choose this:
24. Who is your anime waifu?
I never really understood this concept. What the hell does it even mean anyway? As soon as someone can give me a logical reason for having one, I will get around to choosing one.
25. What was your favorite video game as a child?
Probably Sonic 3 & Knuckles, that locking mechanism was state-of-the-art for 1995. Think I got hundred of hours out of that game.
26. Most embarrassing moment?
You would have to talk to me in person to get this story, sorry.
27. Can you drive?
Yes, though it feels like I have a target on my rear bumper sometimes.
28. Are you mature?
I don’t think so. I do lots of stupid crap all the time and waste time and energy on things that I really shouldn’t.
29. What year were you born?
1983, 16 years after the Summer of Love.
30. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Dogs because cats just use people for their own ends.
31. Describe yourself physically.
6 feet even, and otherwise I don’t stand out in any particular way.
32. What would you name your first child?
I honestly haven’t thought about it because I’ve never thought the possibility I could have a kid was realistic.
33. What is the worst injury you’ve ever had?
I impaled my leg on part of a tree when I was 8, that’s probably about as bad as it gets.
34. What is your worst habit?
Always hiding who I really am from people. So fear is my worst habit.
35. Do you drink or smoke?
Yes…alright, I don’t smoke is that fair enough?
36. Do you have a tattoo?
Of course not. I just think any tattoo on me would look terrible.
37. Are you a morning or a night person?
Mornings because that’s just how I grew up in maximizing video game time when I was a kid.
38. Have you ever slept past midday?
Now that I think of it, probably not.
39. Do you regret anything?
Tons, I have that recurring wish that I could go back 11 years ago and change what I did then. I’d probably use that ability for evil, though.
40. Can you count the number of friends that you have on one hand?
Sometimes it feels like I have many, other times it feels like I wouldn’t need any hands to count. It really just depends on when I’m asked this.
41. Do you wear glasses?
I go with contacts. I was picked on when I had glasses as a kid, plus my parents basically picked for me. I still have a pair, but it never goes out in public.
42. Are you a picky eater?
Not really, I’ll actually try most things that look somewhat edible. I used to hate anything with mushrooms, and though I don’t love them, I will at least eat stuff with them in it. I do know people at work who consider pizza a vegetable, so I’m not terrible.
43. Would you die for someone?
As I am now, I probably wouldn’t. If I had kids then it might be a different story.
44. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Charisma to the extent that I could convince anyone to do anything I wanted. I’d be like the guy in these commercials:
45. Do you believe in the supernatural?
Not really, that’s something used to make more money be those selling supernatural goods or the idea itself.
46. Would you rather be rich or famous?
Rich, so I could use the money to become famous. Like donating enough money to have a hospital wing named after me, or kicking my Congressman out of office.
47. Have you ever committed a crime?
You’d have to ask me in person to get the answer, it’s related to the earlier question.
48. Time traveler or ghost?
Time traveling because screwing around with history and having untold consequences sounds exciting.
49. Does anybody have a crush on you?
I think my existence probably doesn’t register enough to make this possible.
50. Are you in a relationship?
Oh heavens no. I don’t think I deserve it either.