Madness? No, this is #TheJCS part 2

OK. For the people who missed my intro from yesterday, here is the short version.

Today, you’re getting Day 2 and Day 3 of #TheJCS. I divided it up this way in the hopes that more people will see more posts. I hope that you enjoy my introductions as well.

I kind of want these.

Day 2

So I went to get my eyes checked today. It’s the first time I’ve done that since sometime in 2015, I think. I’ve had vision insurance for years, but this is the first time that I’ve used it.

It’s kind of nice to live in the cocoon of adult responsibility.

That said, I wanted to talk about something I was thinking as I started writing this. I was pondering getting weird with The JCS.

I’m a fan of trying to be avant-garde even if it’s not to everyone’s taste. I thought about turning this into some sort of post-apocalyptic diary to force people to read through my scribblings. I’ve also considered purposefully linking people’s posts to the wrong sections, or putting multiple links that are scattered throughout the post.

All of this is meant to make people read beyond their own post, or to read these weird musings that I’m putting here are the beginning of my work for the day.

And I’m still not entirely ruling it out. I could just be seeding this here as an explanation for when I get really weird.

That said, for today, I’m going to play it straight, as I work through another five posts.

Let’s go.

So today we’re starting off talking about Tiger’s review of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun. As should already be apparent, I have not read it or watched it. In fact, I’m not a fan of comedy. This could be because I have a dark hole where my soul was and now I can only laugh at the absurdity of existence while staring into the giant void of humanity’s foolishness (my own included.)

That said, Tiger does make the show show sound charming, and that can do a lot for me.

It’s really one of the things that made Wandering Son work for me. No matter how silly it seemed, the show kept being charming. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters. Even though many of the threads I expected were never pulled, I didn’t feel like I lost time with it.

Now that I think about it, March Comes in Like a Lion was another of those shows. So, maybe my soul isn’t just filled with the wailing of despair.

Good on ya, Tiger. Good on ya.

From cute charming anime, we go to talking about cute charming… dice.

OK, not my best motorized scooter, but I’m keeping it.

No, that joke hasn’t gotten old.

But let’s get talking about the dice-hoarding habits of people who like shiny things. By the way, I like shiny things. I have a collection of 1943 steel pennies, and the centerpiece of that are a mint set that are stored in plastic. They are so pretty.

So I understand Nerd Rambles’ and the need to collect dice because they are pretty too.

I’ve always been bad at keeping dice though. I will buy a new set and within a week, I’ll have a D20, a D4 and maybe a D6.

(For the uninitiated, the “D” system comes from old-Dungeons and Dragons as a way of telling you which dice to use. The formula is D-number of sides. So a D6 is a six-sided die.)

Enough of that though. I don’t think there is ever such a thing as too many things, as long as your things make you happy and aren’t just cluttering up your life. Case in point, I have to stop myself from buying new video games that I already own, just because I don’t have it for X-system or Y-platform.

I really don’t need my fifth copy of Skyrim, or my fourth copy of Witcher 3. I already own those games and I have a place to play them.

That’s to say, that I reject the idea that you can have too many dice. You have as many as you need.

From talking about dice buying habits, we’re going to talk about… gatekeeping.

That transition makes more sense if you read the last section. If you just happened to come into this at the middle, then I don’t know what you’re doing.

So I feel like the realities of gatekeeping are a lot more nuanced than we give them credit for. For the people like me, who grew up in the before time, we feel protective of our hobbies. I think it’s because even letting your freak flag out a little bit was to open a doorway to derision, so we tied our self worth to our obsession.

When we see an influx of new people, who are obviously cooler than us, we feel threatened. Yes, I put myself in the camp of gatekeepers. I have that tendency as much as anyone from my generation does.

The last time I caught myself gatekeeping, I was doubting John Boyega’s anime cred when he said, “I like Gundam.” Now I feel like I have good reasons for that. I feel like if I asked him, “Well are you a UC or AU fan?” His answer would be, “Well I’m not sure. I just like what I’ve seen.”

Is it fair? I don’t know. Is it gatekeeping? Yes. It’s probably not healthy overall, and it definitely doesn’t serve a purpose.

That is an awfully long way of getting around to BlerdyOtome talking about Otome games. Honestly, I’ve never played them. They seem kind of puzzle-y (I think), which is not my thing.

But not being my thing doesn’t mean that they’re bad.

I’ve always found this distinction between real gamers and casual gamers a little bit forced. I play all of my games on easy. I’ve even thought about writing about what makes a good easy mode and what makes a bad one. Does that make me less of a gamer?

I don’t think so, but in some people’s eyes, I’m sure it does.

The same is true about this ideal of casual games. Just because someone plays a game on their mobile phone doesn’t mean it’s less of a game.

Also if you want to get into the misogyny of gaming culture, I don’t think you need to look any further than the fact that we consider mobile games “casual.”

Quoting from RealtyMine:

“Our data revealed that more women play mobile games than men – 66% of men play, while the same figure among women is 70%. In terms of the time spent gaming, females beat males at all times of the day – an average gaming session for women lasts 25% longer than for men.”

OK. Enough of me just pouring out my thoughts. Let’s move on to ThatNerdyGirlNews. I always dig her blog posts.

I’ve never thought being an anime fan is hard, but I just try to not talk about it with normies. It’s a defense mechanism I developed way back when. Don’t like your freak flag fly.

That said, there are people who think anime is all tentacle porn and loli chicks, so that is a hassle.

I continue to be surprised that 20 or so years after I became a fan of anime that the sub vs. dub debate is still a thing. Look if you like a thing, it doesn’t make you any less or more hardcore. It means you like a thing. I prefer RahXephon dubbed, I prefer Tiger and Bunny subbed.

Is there a right option? I don’t think so, but some people will tell you that there is.

I will say that the idea of Twincest is disturbing. I mean if it floats your boat, fine, but, Jiminey Christmas. |

From Twincest, we move onto a genre that seems to be disappearing — shoujo.

I’m with That Random Editor. I also think that shoujo, in it’s most traditional Marmalade Boy form, has faded away. There was a time where we talked about Fushigi Yuugi and The Rose of Versailles, but it seems that those times are past.

I put the blame on Western influences. The money from Netflix and others has turned anime from a varied medium that catered to a wide audience to one that is becoming increasingly geared toward a safe (or predictable unsafe) medium. The ways that anime is Japanese seems to be getting more and more shoehorned into predictable patterns.

I often wonder if Leiji Matsumoto could produce Space Pirate Captain Harlock today, or if it would seem too rigid, too formal and a bit too cheesy.

What I can say is that I miss a good shoujo love triangle. They were always better than the ones that crop up in shounen romances.

Day 3

Today is Aug. 18, which means it’s the beginning of my work week. My job can often become a whirlwind as I’m shuffled onto different assignments and in different directions.

All of this is to say, that I’m not particularly inspired after finishing work.

But I do have a very large list of entries to get through. I always take my responsibilities seriously, and I chose this.

So let’s go!

Among my failings is a lack of knowledge about BL. I looking into the future I will probably have to admit to more failings, but now I need to talk about a Mr. Mini Mart review in a meaningful way.

I’m sorry Fujishitings BL Reviews. I am going to fail you.

That said, I think BL is an interesting corner of the fandom. I mean I never thought I would read a line that wants to make sure things are “squishy.” I can guess what that means, but I don’t want to stick my foot in it just in case, I’m wrong.

That would be a whole different kind of squishy.

The other part I can sort of relate to is the predictability of plots. For me, it’s a factor of watching too much of a show. If there is a husband and a wife and a mysterious death, I can almost guarantee the husband did it.

I apologize again that there is no squishy in this write-up.

And from BL we go back to the world of shoujo and talking about Fruits Basket.

One of the things about being an oldtaku is that I’m surprised when something old becomes new again. I have to admit that I haven’t watched Fruits Basket either time it was popular. It’s not from a lack of opportunity. It’s more because I really didn’t like Ranma ½, and Fruits Basket also had people turning into animals, and high school hijinks.

Yes. I am that shallow.

That said, I like the idea behind Dewbond’s post. I don’t limit it just to Bleach or Fruits Basket. Depending on the genre, you could call it the “Sheldon” problem or the “Raistlin” problem or the “Rorschach” problem.

The problem is that main characters are, by design, bland. They are meant to be an entry point for an uncertain audience. This is why Leonard or Tanis or Night Owl are not lauded as the “best” characters. It’s the edgy, conflicted and complicated side characters that draw our eye.

I would say that sometime in the mid-2000s, those characters started taking center stage in our stories. Inherently, I find these stories less interesting. I don’t care about Walter White or Light or any of those other characters.

Granted, I may have just blathered on and didn’t have anything useful to say. I’ll let you decide.

So finally something I know something about — The 90s.

I remember when I was in high school and everyone was talking about Nirvana. I remember jamming out to Green Day. Yeah. The 90s were great.

And…

Wait. Matt was born in the 90s.

He was born in the 90s.

Jesus Christ.

OK. For me, the 90s was Blink 182 and Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Law and Order (back when that was cutting edge.)

Sure I remember N64, but that was the weird console that they came out with after making the all-time best console ever — the Super Nintendo.

Honestly, I’m half joking about all of this, because one of the things that makes blogging great is that I can see the world through someone else’s eyes. I didn’t grow up with Pokemon. They were something that came about after M:tG was big and then had faded into the background.

My childhood on the other hand was Transformers, GI Joe and He-Man and the Masters’ of the Universe. (I would like to point out that the Masters’ of the Universe doesn’t make much sense to me now that I’m older.)

I remember Animaniacs, but from the point of view of someone who enjoyed how it subverted normal cartoon tropes. It was cool. I’m a little too old for when boy bands were a thing.

The point is that there is a whole section of the 90s that I didn’t experience because I was a teenager (or young adult) in the 90s.

And from the 90s, we move into School Days and a very interesting conversation between Infinite Zenite and Dewbond.

To be honest though, I could (and have) talk at length about what I like and dislike about the series. I’ve been thinking about doing a ranking of the shows that I’ve watched through Anitwitwatches. Believe it or not, School Days would likely top that list.

It’s a show I like for two reasons. One is the overwhelming sense of dread I felt, especially in the middle episodes. Even more than Girls’ Last Tour or Wandering Son, this show knew how to create a mood and it nailed it, every single time.

It generated some passionate arguments in a way that The Rolling Girls never will.

The other reason I like the show is that the artificiality of it is not a detriment, it’s the reason it exists. It’s not supposed to be realistic. In fact, the realism is only there to highlight how unrealistic it is.

Even when the show dives headlong into fantasy, (I put this at episode nine. Others might put it later.) it’s still serving its themes.

It’s a show that is dedicated to what it’s doing and it’s doing it with all of its heart.

That said, I do think those things are what keeps it from being a great story. It’s so dedicated to its idea that it doesn’t care whether the choices make sense or the characters track. They will serve the theme, and you either accept that or you won’t.

And, yes, people disagree with me. But I think that’s what makes it likely one of the best shows I’ve seen in the last year. It’s like Eva or Beserk or even Serial Experiments Lain in that way. We can talk about it, and come away with different opinions about it.

And we finish today with a a lovely manga review from the lovely Al’s Manga Blog about some lovely people who are falling in love.

But really, I want more pleasant love stories. I miss watching stories like Suzuka or Toradora, where we had a lovely love story that progressed between two nice people. There didn’t have to be any sisters or cousins or older man/younger woman or semi-abusive relationship-turned-around. Just a nice love story.

Is that too much to ask Japan? Do you all remember how to make those in anime any more?

I miss them.

Thanks everyone for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more great posts to share from some great people.

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4 thoughts on “Madness? No, this is #TheJCS part 2

    1. I’m glad that you like it. I’m hopeful that everyone else likes it as well. I think the biggest danger is that people will get bored of it. It’s why I’m trying to put it up over the course of a week. 🙂

  1. Otome games aren’t really “puzzle-ish”. They’re more like choose-your-own-adventure stuff, but sometimes squished in with other genres (so you could get, say, an otome game with puzzles in it). They’re also surprisingly addictive *suddenly shrinks at the fact I’ve spent hours trying to get certain routes to unlock in certain games, even though I’m a “casual” gamer to most people because my main topics are anime/manga*.

    You might want to try Ore Monogatari (My Love Story) or Netjuu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie) for the romance stuff, if you haven’t already.

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