I think I’ve figured out what I like to see in visual novels.
As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am currently completing my honours thesis about light novels. No, it’s not technically about anime, but as we all know, light novels are more “anime” than anime, so I put myself in the same basket as the anime academics.
It’s not all fun and games being an academic, as anyone who has been through university should know. It’s downright exhausting reading piles of books and articles all day. This is especially the case if you take your work seriously, like I do. Since I’ve been trying connect my thesis to a lot of other disciplines, I read heavily outside my field. But I also routinely feel as if I’m suffocating under all the reading. Sometimes, finding the time to watch anime feels like work.
I want to talk about some of this pressure that I feel, because it’s a very real issue for me.
In the 1980s and 1990s, translation theorists discovered social justice. It became very popular to talk about what it means to be an “activist translator” and the ways we can use translation to make marginalised minorities more visible. We call this the “cultural turn” of translation studies.
Sociology is still the dominant paradigm for translation theories today. This should come as no surprise if you think about it. Translation is an act of cross-cultural communication, so all the major sociological theories are a natural fit. In fact, I took up translation studies after majoring in Japanese language and cultural studies, and I’ve also taken courses in history and sociology. Postcolonialism and feminism are not new concepts to me.
Feminism… well, everyone knows what that is. (Or, at least, everyone thinks they know what that is.) I don’t want to get into any internet arguments about it so I’ll just say that feminism is about women’s rights and leave it at that.
Postcolonialism doesn’t get talked about so much in pop culture, but it’s just as important when it comes to social justice. Postcolonialism is the study of the cultural legacy of colonialism. As we know, there was a period in time when European powers colonised much of the known world, and the ongoing effects of racism and imperialism are still felt today.
This post is a short compilation of some of the more detailed essays and reflections I’ve written about the subjects. I did them for my translation theory class so the language is pretty academic. But I do talk about a lot of my personal experiences as well, so I hope you find them interesting.
There are lots of potential candidates for scariest-sounding anime of the season, like Beautiful Bones and Dance with Devils. Heavy Object also sounds morbid. Imagine suffocating under the weight of a thousand fridges.
However, the anime I will feature in my post today is even scarier than all of those…
Romeo Tanaka’s New Visual Novel: Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu – An Insider Look at the Visual Novel Industry
Romeo Tanaka is best known in the English-speaking anime fandom for writing Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, one of the better light novel series out there. He’s also a visual novel writer, and two of the titles he’s worked will be getting anime adaptations next year: Rewrite and Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu.
Today, I’m here to hype up Kouya. The full version of the game hasn’t actually been released yet (it’s coming out on the 25th March 2016), but a trial version came out a couple of days ago. I played it and I have opinions. I feel it is my God sworn duty to hype up the game and its upcoming adaptation for all you visual novel fans out there.
For those of you who don’t care about visual novels, there is no hype. The anime will be shit. I guarantee it.
Gundam is ridiculous. The first Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) is known for pioneering the Real Robot genre of mecha: SERIOUS BUSINESS anti-war stories that also happen to feature giant robots waving beam swords in space.
Now, having stated the obvious, I’m not actually sure how I feel about this. I haven’t seen that many Gundam series (yet), but I’m getting the impression that this is a very hit-and-miss franchise.
You see, there’s a contradiction at the heart of Gundam.
Disclaimer: I can only comment on the Gundam shows I’ve actually seen, which is mostly just AU Gundam (Wing, Seed, 00. Don’t take this post as reflective of UC Gundam, or even Gundam as a whole.
Today, I found myself idly wondering about what sort of racial stereotype I best fall into. As an Australian, I am supposed to base my humour around crude racial stereotypes. That is our modus operandi. Even our former PM was a big fan of this time-honoured comedic tradition.
However, as a half-Filipino who has grown up as an anime fan in Australia, I don’t fit neatly into any of the racial boxes. Or, perhaps more accurately, the boxes I get fit into are different depending on who is judging me. When I was in high school, my predominantly white classmates referred to me as “the Asian”, and sometimes I get strangers asking me what country I’m from. Some people even think I’m Latin American. But to Filipinos, I’m white as Jon Snow, only with an Aussie accent.
I’m a tourist in my own countr(ies), forever an outsider looking in. I’m hardly the only one like this. No human being fits neatly into the boxes they get placed into.
Not that this stops the human tendency to create boxes. This has its obvious downsides, but for better or worse, boxes and labels have their uses. They’re good for shorthand. They make it easier to distinguish between different types of people. They’re the stuff that wars are made of.
They’re also good for demographics studies.
And that is why, my dear readers, I am going to ask you to fit yourself into a few boxes for me today. There aren’t that many questions, and obviously you don’t have to answer if you don’t to, but if you’re willing to share, please tell me more about yourself!
Fan translation is an interesting subject for media scholars. The whole practice is a demonstration of how our media consumption habits have been changing thanks to online technology. Fans have always been creating their own content, but now they’re able to distribute them much more quickly and more widely than ever before. A lot of the academic debate has centered around the ethics of fan translation and its relationship with piracy, which is a very fascinating subject that will get its own post one day.
Ironically, what gets less attention is the actual translating aspect. There have been scattered observations about the translation strategies used by fan translators, but very little empirical research. How do fan translators compare with professional translators? No one can answer this for certain. The question has only become more difficult to answer as the boundaries between “fan” and “professional” in the anime/manga/VN scene become increasingly blurred.
Today, I’d like to share with you guys a case study published in 2008 which directly compares a fan and professional translation. It’s not perfect (the scope of the study is extremely limited, and not to mention the study was published seven years ago), but what’s interesting was the author’s conclusion: the fan translation was considered just as competent as the professional translation.
You might have noticed I haven’t been posting as often lately. I could say I’ve been busy and this would be true, but the real reason is that I’ve been choosing to watch less anime. I’m more of a casual watcher these days. Could it be that I have become a riajuu???
No love life in sight, however.