The Art and Aesthetics of Haibane Renmei

Haibane.Renmei.600.207687Haibane Renmei features some of the loveliest concept artwork I’ve ever seen, period. It’s a pity that the anime art never did justice to Yoshitoshi ABe’s lush drawings, because the story of Haibane Renmei is a thing of rare beauty. The dreamlike and melancholy atmosphere is mesmerising; only the flat art and animation threatened to take me out of the experience.

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I Made a Tumblr

As I write this post, I stare vacantly at the ceiling and ask myself: “Why?”

Why must I fall further down the slippery slope known as social media? I already have a Twitter and that was not a very good life decision.

But why do people make Tumblr accounts if not to reblog pictures of cute kittens in the search of ever more creative ways of wasting their time?

And so I bit the bullet and made a Tumblr account. It’s supposed to be a literature/writing blog, but it has already devolved into nonsense. That said, I do want to use Tumblr productively as I get into writing fiction again. I feel limited just writing about anime or anime-related things. I want to keep this blog focused on anime, so I made a new blog. Simple, huh?

By the way, I am a noob at Tumblr, so if you have a blog, please tell me about it so I can follow you. If you know any cool people I should follow, please tell me about them so I can follow them too.

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Anime Fandom and Self-Deprecating Humour

if-you-stay-a-virgin-until-30-you-become-a-wizardWhenever I think about anime humour, the first thing that occurs to me is that it is very often self-deprecating. This is especially noticeable whenever a joke centers around a male character. He may be a brainless pervert, a loser geek, clueless about girls (and in many cases, all of the above), and he will often be teased by the female characters, sometimes even physically abused in a slapstick manner.

I’m not going to pretend that anything about “anime humour” is unique. If you’ve ever watched a Japanese variety show, you’ll understand that the tendency towards exaggeration and silly jokes is hardly confined to anime. And, of course, the gender bias in slapstick is a common media trope in general.

Still, I did get to thinking about how “anime humour” and “fandom humour” overlap. It certainly makes sense that fans of anime would engage in self-deprecating humour themselves. You can see this in words like “waifu” or the common fandom joke: “Your favorite anime is shit!”

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In general, people use self-deprecating humour to create an aura of approachability. There’s really nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s good to have a sense of perspective and the ability to laugh at yourself.

Self-deprecating humour can also be indulgent and self-serving, though. In the fandom context, it can come across as a self-defense mechanism, a way of deflecting outside criticism while carving out a distinct identity for oneself. By making fun of themselves, fans establish themselves as an in-group. Outsiders can only laugh at them, not with them.

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Stay Away from the No Game No Life English Novel

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The biggest mistake of my life was putting actual money into the English No Game No Life novel, published by Yen Press.

Yen Press has a pretty good reputation as far as light novel publishing companies go. Their release schedule is consistent and the translation quality is a solid notch above the fan translations. I particularly recommend their Sword Art Online release, which was translated by Stephen Paul.

However, not every release is translated by the same person. Some translations are better than others. No Game No Life, translated by Daniel Komen, is one of the duds.

Allow me to show you what I mean through choice excerpts from the book.

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The Aldnoah Zero Novel Translation is Now Available on Nano Desu (+ Blog Updates)

cropped-aldoClick the banner to open the translation in a new window!

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Reflections on Writing, Blogging and Translating

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Today, I turn twenty one.

I don’t feel old. I used to fear growing up, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even if the passage of time causes me to lose things, there are many more things that I will gain, simply by being alive.

At the same time, I’m amazed at how quickly time flies! It only feels like yesterday when I started up an anime blog with a stupid name. My blog still has a stupid name, but now it gets well over 1.5k views every day. I don’t post as often as the more dedicated bloggers, but I’m glad my readers have found something to keep coming back to. I still blush whenever someone leaves a kind comment.

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Froggy Answers Your Questions about Nisekoi

vlcsnap-2015-04-12-18h26m48s217The second season of Nisekoi has started airing! Are you guys having fun with it?

Yes, this is yet another Nisekoi post. I’m pretty sure my readers know exactly how I feel about Nisekoi, but for some reason, they keep asking me questions on my Ask.fm about it. In this post, I will answer all your Nisekoi-related questions and solve all your life’s problems.

This post is dedicated to Marow, the Nisekoi guru.

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Beautiful Fighting Girl and Otaku Sexuality

2012-03-08-Anime-Now-ThenI recently got around to reading Beautiful Fighting Girl by Tamaki Saito (originally published in 2000 as 戦闘美少女の精神分析, lit. ‘A Psychoanalysis of the Beautiful Fighting Girl’). Despite its status alongside Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals as one of the landmark publications on “otaku theory”, Beautiful Fighting Girl has made considerably less inroads in English-language scholarship, partly because the English translation only came out in 2011, and partly because Saito’s scholarship is very obviously flawed.

Nevertheless, I thought Beautiful Fighting Girl was a really fascinating read that helped stimulate my own thoughts about otaku sexuality. Saito’s argument that otaku culture is rooted in sexuality is something I find intuitively appealing, not least because I’ve made some similar observations in the past. So in this post, I’d like to critique Saito’s analysis directly, while also building on his more interesting ideas. In this way, I hope to develop a more workable theory of otaku sexuality, or Why Do People Love Their Waifus/Husbandos?

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First Impressions: Oregairu Zoku (Episode 1 + Overall Adaptation Thoughts)

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Pretty good stuff. First episode of Oregairu S2 covered the first six chapters of volume 7. Judging by the preview at the end of the episode, episode 2 will cover the rest of the volume.

I doubt I’ll be blogging about every episode, so I’ll just post some brief thoughts about this episode and the adaptation in general.

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Oregairu Volume 4 English Translation Complete (+ Impressions and Previews)

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I will not be translating Oregairu any more.

Despite the date on this post, this is not an April Fool’s joke!

Oregairu volume 4 is complete, just in time for the second season of the anime. You can read the volume here. I mentioned well in advance that I would step down as the Oregairu translator after volume 4, and now here we are. There will be no more updates on the series at Nano Desu. The good news is that you can read the rest of the series at Kyakka.

Final thoughts about the series below:

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