The Otakusphere: Politics, gatekeeping and anime hair physics

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I’ve got a sweet new masthead for this feature, done by my friend Jon Spencer. At least that’s what I assume his name is. I just wanted to give him a shout out.

It’s gotten me jazzed about getting revving up the engine and taking a tour around the Otakusphere. I recently watched Redline for the second time, so I think this is some great cruising music this week.

God. That artwork is beautiful.


Anyway, let’s start with Scott’s plea to realize that science fiction has always been about how society deals with scientific advancement. Hence, it’s always political.

I’ve been thinking about this topic after ANN released its list of worst anime of 2019, and AniTwitter exploded. I realize everything burns really hot and bright on Twitter, so I can’t take the opinions I see there seriously. That said, I really dislike arguments that start with “Why is it so political?” because that is a disingenuous statement. What they are really saying is “Why don’t your politics agree with my politics?”

I can keep going on this subject. I have lots of feelings about it. But for the sake of brevity, I will leave it there.

On a more esoteric note, Jack Scheibelein over at KawaiiPaperPandas addressed the age-old question: Why are there so many milquetoast heroes in harem anime? (The answer is because it’s the archetype.)

This is a subject I’ve always found interesting in talking about fiction. When is an archetype a useful shorthand for storytellers and when is it a crutch? I mean Luke Skywalker is basically the Joseph Campbell hero but is he bad character because of that. It is definitely why people like Han Solo more.

It’s an interesting idea. You should go tell him what you think.

I’m really excited that 7Monoke is back. I really like Anime Rants, and this one about the character deaths in Akame Ga Kill is really interesting. For the most part, I agree that the deaths in the show are part of the appeal. One of the things about a lot of the late 90s and early 2000s anime is that it felt like nothing had any real weight (or it had all of the weight, but that’s another conversation entirely.)

We are just going to hit all of the heavy subjects this week, but I like this post from Mari about the dreaded gatekeeping over at It’s Gonna be Okay.

First of all, any post that starts with a Big Lebowski reference should automatically be on this list, because the Dude is just the man of his times, you know. I really want a Dude sweater.

I’ve always been conflicted about gatekeeping. On the one hand, I do think there are shows that are objectively horrible. On the other hand, if you get joy from a show that is objectively horrible, then who am I to say that you shouldn’t. Life is too short to be spent on being the taste police.

But then again, I like horrible things and have horrible taste.

So Keiko and Keni each (separately) put together fun lists this week. Keiko put together a list of her favorite anime couples, which includes Taiga and Ryuji from Toradora. Have I ever said how much I like Toradora? I really need to go back and watch that show again. Alas, so much to watch and so little time to do it in.

Keni put together a list of fun and unrealistic anime haircuts. I mean does anyone really have anime hair physics in real life. It’s like their hair is a really super expensive weave that is made of a combination of silk and hairspray. You ever wonder what happens when it rains in anime world?

To wrap up, the same Jon Spencer from Jon Spencer Reviews just finished Jon’s Creator Showcase and posted it here. It’s like what I do for the Otakusphere, but so much more.

So is there anything that you think I missed, or want included in next weeks Otakusphere. Leave a comment with a link in it.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

5 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Politics, gatekeeping and anime hair physics

  1. Awesome stuff! 🙂

    Glad you like the banner, I noticed it isn’t sized well for your site so I’ll look into fixing that up for you when I’m home (probably Monday).

    Thanks for sharing the showcase and other great posts! 🙂

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