My Opinions on the Latest Anime (Summer 2014 Edition)

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What I’m currently watching: Akame ga Kill!, Ao Haru Ride, Barakamon, Free! Eternal Summer, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Haikyuu!!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul and Zankyou no Terror. (As of August 01 2014)

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re: Your Taste is Bad and So Are You

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I’ve been thinking about Bobduh’s essay lately. Despite the trollbait title, it actually does provide a nuanced argument about how people consume media – at least as far as one’s personal politics goes. For those who haven’t read it, the basic argument is as follows: a little self-scrutiny goes a long way. Thinking hard about why you like certain things is ultimately a more fruitful avenue of discussion than hiding behind self-defence measures, like claiming “IT’S JUST FICTION” or assuming everything you like is “SODEEP”.

What struck me as most interesting is this idea that all media propagates messages, whether consciously or not, along with Bobduh’s claim that a message unexamined is a message believed. The latter is not entirely true in the strictest sense – not paying attention to the racist overtones in, say, H.P. Lovecraft’s works doesn’t automatically mean you’re a racist. If someone posed the question to you whether you condoned racism or not, I like to think you’d say no if you consider yourself as a decent person. But in not engaging with active criticism, you’re passively endorsing values you don’t agree with, or at least letting them go unchallenged.

I think this is particularly important in anime fandom, especially considering the realities of Japanese nationalism and soft power. In this post, I’m going to build on Bobduh’s argument that you should be engaging in serious critique rather than using your media solely to validate yourself, and I’m going to apply that to the broader political context behind anime’s production and consumption. I think it becomes easier to seriously examine your own personal politics when you zoom out and explore the macro-politics. (Because these are big, complex issues, don’t take my post as anything more than an oversimplification. The idea is just to get you thinking about how the personal and the political interact.)

Basically, your taste is bad and so are you and so is Japan and so is the rest of the world.

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Ranking the SAO Girls

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Spoilers: Klein is Best Girl

For what reason would you read an anime blog? For the expert opinions and deep analysis, of course.

Let me now impart onto you my profound insight about a very serious matter. Please read this post carefully. My opinions are very important.

THIS IS AN OBJECTIVE RANKING OF THE SAO GIRLS IN ORDER OF THEIR WAIFU APPEAL.

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The Anime Adaptations of Miyazawa Kenji: Night on the Galactic Railroad and Gauche the Cellist

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Today, I cover two of the most highly acclaimed anime adaptations of Miyazawa Kenji’s stories.

(If you want to know why you should care about Miyazawa Kenji, I covered the background and context in my last post.)

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The Anime Adaptations of Miyazawa Kenji: Background and Context

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Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) is one of Japan’s best-loved and most influential writers. But for whatever reason, he’s not well-known overseas. This post is my attempt to share just a tiny bit of Miyazawa’s enormous influence over anime to you English-speaking anime fans.

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Inaho Instigates His NTR Plot [Aldnoah.Zero Episode 7 Spoilers]

"Baka Slaine, why didn't you call me?!"

“Baka Slaine, why didn’t you call me?!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things were going really well for Slaine and his relationship prospects until the princess’s double exploded and an interplanetary war ensued. He and his sort-of-but-not-really girlfriend lost all touch. They couldn’t even text each other. But Slaine thought they could weather the storm together. After all, he and the princess had already had their first KISSU a long time ago. They were totally going to get married.

Unfortunately, trouble was brewing on the relationship front.

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Froggy Plays: DRAMAtical Murder

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Instead of contributing to society in any shape or form, I have been spending the last couple of days playing a BL visual novel called DRAMAtical Murder. I looked into my crystal ball and foresaw that the anime (which is airing this season) would be full of QUALITY like the above image implies. So I decided to cut the middle man and just play the game instead. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts.

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Translating Hikigaya Hachiman

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As you may or may not know, I recently translated volume 2 of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru on Nano Desu Translations. You can read the first two volumes of the series here.

Before you ask, yes, I have plans to continue translating all the published volumes of Oregairu. But for now, I thought it would be interesting to walk you readers through the translation choices I made. How exactly did I set out to capture the “voice” of Hikigaya Hachiman?

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Sexism in the Anime Fandom: A Case Study of a Tumblr User

A "stereotypical" female anime fan

A “stereotypical” female otaku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my last post, I discussed my stance on sexism in male otaku fandom. I described my ambivalence about my own fan activities and how I have always felt complicit in sexist attitudes despite my desire for gender equality. It is certainly easy to point out that anime fanservice objectifies women (among other things) and in doing so turn your critical eye away from yourself.

This time, I want to focus on the female anime fan’s perspective. In doing so, I hope to show that sexism in the anime fandom lies far beyond what is shown in anime itself. The sharp division between anime communities “for boys” (i.e. Reddit and 4chan) and anime communities “for girls” (i.e. tumblr and fanfiction sites) does not help. There is a distinct lack of open communication between both genders online. This enforces gender stereotyping on both ends.

This post is a collaboration with my friend AquaJet. She is an insider of both female otaku culture and tumblr culture. I decided to feature her writing on my blog because I feel this is a perspective that needs to be shared to a wider audience.

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“Feminist Otaku” = An Oxymoron?

A "feminist otaku"

A “feminist otaku”

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.

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