As some of you may know, I am pursuing a mission of watching as many new shows as I can this season to completion with the allowance of one dropped show (that I’ve already used). I got a question on Twitter yesterday in reference to the fact that I was still continuing to watch Imocho. While I find that show that uses the initial perversion to draw viewers in to a rather tame story of acceptance, it seems that it has been deemed the terrible show of the season that no one should be watching. Thus began a deep journey into what is the point of what I am trying to accomplish this season.
This has been a rather interesting season so far from my perspective, even if I haven’t found any single series to be particularly outstanding. Recently I’ve been coming across a theme in a number of things. That would be the simple concept of quitting. Let me just clarify that as of the writing of this sentence I don’t have any intention of doing that as far as writing this blog is concerned. That doesn’t mean I’m above using it as a topic in this little installment of my not often run Pointless Debate series.
I’ve really been thinking hard about this blog lately. Mainly the new season is coming up and on some sites there are polls where the audience is asked what shows should be blogged for the coming season. My big concern is that if I were to do something similar I’d end up with around 4 votes total. I’ve dealt with the relative unpopularity of this place before, but from a perspective of someone writing for an audience it makes it hard.
I can put it down to a single word: expectations. I basically do not have any. No one is holding me to any sort of standard. So I could just post a pile of horribly argued garbage filled with strawmen and it wouldn’t matter a bit. It really makes me wonder if I’m actually any better of a writer than I was when I started this back in 2008. So while I do enjoy writing, I guess I question whether it is doing me any good here. Especially with completely dropping the posts on Maou-sama and no one saying a word on it.
Anyway, on to the actual weekly recap. I’m actually getting really tired of writing on the shows that continue to be bad every week, so I’m going to a top 5 and a list of the rest. If there’s terribad, I’ll throw that in too. If anyone comes in expecting me to cover all 11 shows, you probably should have said something at some point. These will probably be more detailed in later weeks if they stick around, but for now, it’s probably best for my state to only stick to the normal level of detail. Sorry everyone.
These posts are never easy, in fact, I believe the previous 3 iterations of these have been absolute train wrecks. So instead of worry about that, I thought I would do something a bit differently. After all, I can’t do top X lists of my favorites of all-time, properly reflect on changes in my life or even retire from this blog because I haven’t found a reason to do so yet.
Back in the first week of this experiment when there was no set topic for what I would even write on, I described myself as a failure of a fan, but that’s beside the point. It was the popular thing to talk about series that influenced one as a fan. So in grand style, I’ve decided to retread that particular story and talk about the shows that have influenced me most since then. Nothing special or depressing here I hope. I’d have to really be trying to wedge that in. So without any further delay here they are.
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.
I’ll start by saying that I was inspired by the first episode of Space Bros into writing this post. Actually, it was more a case of the opening few minutes in how milestones were marked. The older brother Mutta was born in the aftermath of the Agony of Doha, when the Japan conceded an equalizer to Iraq in the final 1994 World Cup qualifier. Hibito was born as Hideo Nomo was putting the finishing touches on his first no hitter in Major League Baseball. The day their lives changed was on the same date as the 2006 World Cup final.
I was just impressed that milestones in their lives were marked by sporting events. It’s just something people who are really into something do. There was an episode of This American Life in which one of the interviewees uses Penn State football to remember dates and more. In my own experience, those same dates in order I was an annoying 10 year old who was vaguely excited about the World Cup coming to my country the next summer, I was watching a cut-in on the no-hitter and I was in a cramped room live blogging the World Cup final while IMing one of my former college roommates. The temperature in that room was near 40 C, but I shall spare any additional details. Even in that, you can tell that there’s more detail as I was more emotionally involved in what was happening and where I was.
I’ll just continue on with sports fandom a bit. I like to think of the time between games as a non-fiction narrative. Fans talk to each other about their teams, creating a level of expectation for the next game or for an entire season. For generations this has gone on, and it has only been enhanced by the emergence of newer and more interactive sources of media.
I always wonder if people feel the same while watching their favorite shows. As an example, do people remember what they were doing right before the final 2 episodes of Madoka aired? I can’t seem to think of any sort of marker in watching anime, apart from maybe January 3, 2009, though that was more relevant to writing now.
That has had me thinking that perhaps I’m just not enough of a fan. I may have seen many series over the years, but maybe I don’t know enough about what I’m watching. I sometimes feel this blog lacks enthusiasm because I’m not solely dedicated to the media I write about. Then again, I was enough of a fan to actually put my thoughts out in long form so that must count for something.
Actually what I’m really interested in is finding out what other interests people out there have apart from anime and manga. Do you feel as passionate about that and contribute to that community as often as you do in this part of the internet? Am I being too serious about this topic as well?
So I seem to have hit some mark for continuing to blog for a length of time, but I can’t seem to put myself in a position to celebrate it at all. Hence the use of a day count rather than a number of months or even years. I haven’t really felt good about the last year as far as my writing. Last year I said I had 2 paths to go toward, thoughtful analysis or writing on something popular. It seems I’m pretty well incapable of the former without being incredibly boring, and the latter seems to have been a complete miss with Haganai.
Duration isn’t exactly something I find worth celebrating in the middle of. At the end of it all, that’s fine if what came before it was great. However, it sort of feels like hitting Scamp’s famed 3 year mark is like awarding the winner of a 24-hour endurance race after 3 hours. Further more, I’m fairly certain that Scamp’s observation has skewed the survival of blogs as it has set a target that no one would have thought about before he wrote on it.
I made the decision to blog this series about a month ago, but it was the culmination of months of dithering about the direction to take this blog. Going throught the Gaiden and movies for Legend of the Galactic Heroes may seem like a worthy task, but there really isn’t all that much interest. Neither was there in talking about Giant Killing or Kaiba or Steins;Gate or Sora no Woto, or even that ill-fated Yosuga no Sora post I needed a real change. With a year of rust on my active episodic blogging, I will attempt to blog a series with a title that is fitting
if only in perception.
The first episode could be arguably seen as a story of self-delusion and the intricate stories individuals tell themselves to warrant their actions or it could be the mutual recognition of all involved that they had reached rock bottom and needed help. These stories and more below.
I recently completed my 500th anime according the database over at MAL, so I thought it would be time to put together some sort of tribute to reaching that milestone. So rather than trotting out a top 25 or some other list based on a rankings list I had, I decided to go with a list of the most memorable. These are in no particular order with simple reasons for why I personally found them memorable. Feel free to disagree because you probably will, but that’s what debate is all about isn’t it?
The last time I marked a post milestone I was well…let’s just forget about most of that. Instead, I should be celebrating the fact that this blog continues to exist. It’s not necessarily growing at the pace I’d like, but I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll only find that formula by accident. So I’m going to go all meta here for a bit to see if I have actually followed some advice that was given in that post, add some other thoughts on the last 100 posts before once again begging for advice from the masses.
Something that’s been on my mind since the last post has been the question of how quickly interest in a series dies. Judging by Madoka Magica it could be a mere week following the conclusion. On the other hand, some series live on inspiring such statements as “Akira is the Casablanca of anime.” The way something gets from the here-and-now to classic poses many questions, some more than others. Continue reading
After reading ghostlightning’s 2nd anniversary post, I wondered whether I should even bother at all with one of my own. The response when I raised it with others ranged from either jokingly ragequitting or not even bothering with one at all since 3 years is some sort of true mark of blogging. The fact that this post even exists means I decided to discard that advice and proceed to do an anniversary post of my own.
As it has come up several times in various conversations on Twitter, I have this complete wall of separation between my real life and my guise online. I don’t know when or how that came to pass, but it’s rarely ever been something I talked about. With My Sister Can’t Be This Cute (or the romanized version in the tag if you lean that way), the subject keeps coming up in my own thoughts as much as the desperate and ultimately pointless quest Kirino endures to maintain separate lives.
As this post is really going to be personal experiences relating to the title of this post, I doubt it will really get to the root of anything.
Recently, I was pulled up by a “fictional” person on Twitter for a reference to escapism in Amagami SS. More specifically, I called it “the sad, sad escapism that is Amagami.” Predictably this led into a debate that really went nowhere mainly because of my own time restrictions and the fact that I was in two minds about escapism in general. However, there were a few interesting things that came out of all of this.
After ghostlightning once again set the agenda over at the creatively named THAT Anime Blog, and with followups from Rakuen at Borderline Hikikomori and Caraniel’s…Ramblings, I thought I may as well have a go at something like this too. Categorization of the characters in these posts have broken down into words like admirable, complex, entertaining and relatable. I would also think there are other ways to have favorite characters, which could even be in reaction to the favorites of others; positively or negatively. One could even have characters that are favorites for irony.
Over the past three months, I’ve used the start of these episodic plots to talk about various anecdotes in the football world and while they may not have tied entirely into the plot of the episodes, I’ve tried to make them have some relevance. As this week’s episode had all of a minute of actual action on the pitch I’ve decided to go with something entirely different.
A few weeks ago, I drove 2 hours to go to a specific place I watched World Cup matches four years ago. At a place like this I could talk to people I would probably never meet again about Argentina’s defensive woes and England’s chances. This happens to be a much different from my everyday life where I have to explain such things as why David Beckham can’t play for the United States even though he plays for LA Galaxy. So the part of the episode where Goro and the rest of the Edomae crew try to round up additional members is something I can relate to a bit.
I’ve decided to take a moment to acknowledge the fact I have successfully hit the “Publish” button 199 times previous to this. Now I know a lot of people would be tempted to throw together a list of favorite posts they have written, or looked at other successes and experiences they may have had over the course of 200 post. Instead, I’m going to try to focus on one theme: unresolved issues. Continue reading
Reading through the several episodic posts on the 8th episode of romantic comedy Kaichou wa Maid-sama! I was struck by the fact that the above image was in nearly all of the posts. While I am being completely hypocritical by including it in this post, it raised a few questions. These started with the rather mundane questions about the other bloggers before moving onto a hypothetical about what I would do before going back to the larger appeal of this imagery.
Something I’ve noticed from time to time when I’ve been evaluating shows is that occasionally the whole experience will be ruined by one character who I absolutely come to hate. Most often this happens to be a main character or someone close to them because I find it hard to hate something based on one experience. As I was thinking this over, I was able to put these characters into 3 separate categories.
It’s a pretty common thing for people to have a top 10 list of favorite things, or worst 5 shows ever, or any other completely subjective thing ever. As a result of something commonly known as boredom, I figured I would spend some time putting together a complete ranking of every anime I had ever completed. In the process, I made a few discoveries about myself and the shows that I watch. Continue reading
This little (or large depending on how long it takes) series is going to be almost entirely meta, so if you want analysis of a particular show this probably isn’t the place for you. After the comments in the most recent Giant Killing post, which made it seem like I dispassionately write episodic posts without any sort of detail about how I feel about it all. Not very interesting I know (really I do know). So I try to get to the bottom of this problem and it begins with a simple choice.
I figured I should just get this in before I’m completely forgotten about by the end of the week. This blog was miraculously selected for the Aniblog Tourney. I happen to be seeded 81st and will undoubtedly go out in the Qualifying Round to the far superior Paper Flower blog. With it being 18 months since I started this project, and the sole reason I actually qualified for this thing, I thought I would give a little history lesson about this place.
Every season lately it seems as though I’m able to find some flaw in anything new, which then goes on to ruin the experience. Maybe it’s a distinct lack of “must watch” feel to anything airing right now, but then again others would disagree with that. Maybe the last time I experienced that was watching one of the bad seasons of 24 and laughing off plot absurdity and disrespect for constitutional law like nothing. What follows is pretty much unfiltered rant material on everything I have watched this season.
One year ago today I started this little project in writing having really no idea what I wanted to focus on and perhaps mainly as a way to kill time since I did not have anything to do the next day. With almost half of my posts in the past year devoted to Legend of the Galactic Heroes, as great as that is, I still think things haven’t quite gone to plan. Since I have a tendency to perhaps overreact to anything new in the most negative way possible (see my Worst Spring Ever posts from the first week of April), I though I would reflect on how this fall compares in the short term compares to last year.
Trying to look at groups of people based solely on TV ratings and DVD sales can be a frustrating exercise indeed. For example I could say that the general public in Japan likes animation that is nostalgic and/or child friendly based on rankings like this, or I could say those who actually buy the product like samurai and moe anime based on this. However, that would be as much of a logical fallacy as saying American men who buy beer like football and objectifying women based on a bunch of adverts. That doesn’t stop them from being made, though.
In a brief conversation with Twitter, the topic of Japan’s efforts to promote anime in an attempt to expand its “soft power” came up and this response got me thinking. Could this be the answer I was looking for in all of this?
The otaku making stuff for other otaku point could make sense logically. The idea of members of a niche subculture making something that caters to other members which reinforces the subculture and sets it further away from mainstream seems reasonable. I happen to be further separated from this by being part of a separate mainstream culture in another country thousands of miles away, which is just a really elaborate way of saying the material is becoming more inpenetrable because it is made for a selected group.
There’s really no way I can see this trend reversing anytime soon, and I am completely powerless to do something about it. There’s really no point in raging over the fact I can’t get an ever increasing percentage of what I am watching anyway. So I remain pretty much limited to asking myself why I like or dislike something constantly or trying to come up with ideas on why something gets made or if something like Saimoe is indicative of the future of character design?
Is it a pointless exercise? Most likely, but I can still have a go at criticizing the passive wish fulfillment in Sora no Otoshimono even if I do laugh at some of the silliness and it is well executed overall. I might not give the highly academic analysis of what I am watching (apart from my few years old idea of a look at snow removal in anime based on Kanon) but I can at least continue the constant introspection that has become a part of my experience watching anime.
It appears I have come from this at the wrong angle in asking why I decide not to finish 30-ish% of what I initially start. Maybe I should just start with why I like to watch anime in the first place over a lot of other activities I could be enjoying?