I have been thinking a lot about feminism lately. Specifically, I have been thinking about how gender politics relate to the anime fandom. It’s widely acknowledged that otaku culture is sexist and that the vast majority of anime marginalise women by objectifying or “Othering” them. But what about the individual people involved? Ordinary people like you and me who don’t necessarily think women are inferior to men but still involve themselves with anime culture anyway?
So I got to thinking… am I sexist for being an otaku? Am I a big, fat hypocrite for calling myself a “feminist” while also calling fictional female characters my waifus and buying merchandise featuring anime girls in sexual poses? This isn’t just a matter of enjoying ecchi anime - this is stuff I actually do, even if I intend it jokingly or ironically. Lately, I have been doing some hard thinking about what it means to be a “feminist” and what it means to be an “otaku” and I wonder if the two are mutually exclusive.
Kirito is a really overpowered guy who attracts all the ladies by not doing very much in particular. I think he’s an asshole. But I kind of like him.
When Oregairu first aired in the spring season of 2013, I don’t think anyone was expecting too much out of it. A light novel adaptation with a stupidly long title that translates to “My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as Expected”? What sparkling originality. I was looking forward to the show as soon as it was announced because of my partiality towards bullshit otaku romcoms, but I wasn’t expecting anything deep or profound.
I certainly wasn’t expecting this to be the story that would most perfectly criticise my outlook on life. It challenged my snobbishness, my elitism, my cynicism about teenagers. Oregairu is the story that made me respect teen lit.
There are many reasons why Steph is the best character in No Game No Life, but the biggest and main reason is that I am a Steph myself.
(Warning: This post contains dirty humour, for what is a Steph without embarrassing sexual incidents?)
LN translation is in a similar place fansubbing was in before Crunchyroll and other forms of legal streaming came along. There aren’t too many light novels officially translated into English, and many series are out of print and discontinued. As a fan translator, I do my part in making Japanese LNs available in English, but I know that what I’m doing is actually illegal. But in many ways, it really can’t be helped, at least for now.
The good news is that the situation is changing, little by little. With more LNs being adapted into anime than ever before, people are taking notice of LNs (for better and for worse). Yen Press has recently licensed the guaranteed cash cow known as Sword Art Online, with other popular LNs like Kagerou Daze on the way. And with the shift from print books to Ebooks, LNs have a better chance of finding exposure at a cheaper price. The digital revolution has opened up possibilities for every literary subgenre imaginable, so it’s not as if there is no market for LNs, even if they will remain niche for the foreseeable future.
Beyond translated LNs, there’s another type of English light novel, one that’s been eking out a humble living in the dark corners of the internet up until now: original English light novels, written by English-speaking anime fans. It’s this kind of LN I’ll be focusing on today.
Picture is relevant, I swear.
WARNING: 2500+ word long post ahead.
This is an autobiographical post.
What I’m currently watching: Haikyuu!!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. (As of June 26 2014)