The Otakusphere: Video gaymes, bad romance and punching the heavens

Good morning, afternoon or evening to everyone out there in internetland. It’s Sunday in my corner of the hinterlands, so that means it’s time for another trip around the Otakusphere.

So it’s nearing the end of the spring anime season, and with summer shows just around the corner, we have nearly everyone wrapping up their thoughts on the season that was. Personally, I finished watching Back Arrow, and I’m prepared to see the final episode of 86 and the last couple of Odd Taxi. I’ve enjoyed all of those shows for different reasons and in different ways.

In recognition of actually finishing a show during the season it was airing, let’s start our cruising to Back Arrow’s opening. I will say that both of them grew on me over time.

Anyway, let’s get going and see what’s going on around the Otakusphere.

Talking about Back Arrow, Planet Jane over at The Magic Planet put up this review of the show now that she has finished it.

I’ve waffled about where Back Arrow should sit when compared to Goro Taniguchi’s other directorial efforts. I started off with that it’s somewhere between s-CRY-ed and Code Geass in its tone. While it felt like it moved closer to Code Geass, I’ve shifted back toward the middle after finishing it. s-CRY-ed was always the darker of the two shows, even with shell bullets and speed boots.

Oh. I’ve been watching a lot of anime this year.

At some point at the beginning of the year, I got bored with video games. I still like them, but I felt like I was playing them out of obligation rather than enjoyment. So I’ve been catching up on anime, and, man, have I watched a lot of it.

And so has LitaKino.

Ha. I bet you knew there was going to be a transition there.

OK. She says she hasn’t been watching a lot of anime, but it’s still probably more than I watched last year, so it’s a lot to me. I’m glad there is also someone who has struggled with Gundam Zeta. But she has definitely watched more of it than I have.

You know what else I struggle with? The trope that somehow a woman can fix a man through the power of love.

One of my favorite anime couples.

You know what show has that trope? Ita Kiss.

So TheNerdyGirlNews over at MyAnimeGo put together a great list of three of the best and three of the worst anime couples featuring Itazura na Kiss. The trope of fixing a man through the power of love was rampant in the mid-2000s (and arguably before). I’m glad I’m not the only one that calls out this problem couple and the strange message they send.

Also, I’m glad that Toradora got mentioned. I’ve been meaning to watch that show again. I just bought it on Blu-Ray.

So I love Toradora, or at least I did love it. I haven’t seen it for more than a decade. I bought it because when I watched it, I saw it on fansubs. I feel I’m ethically obligated to purchase the show if I’m able to.

Anyway, The Otaku Exhibition seems to be a little colder on the show. Personally, Toradora really appears to be a model for shows like Oregairu, Golden Time, and other romance shows that focus on the lives of a more extensive cast of characters. It’s not the only show of that ilk from that time frame (or before), but it was one of the most compelling.

Though, I don’t think anything deserves or doesn’t deserve to be a classic. If we’re still talking about it 12 years later, it’s a classic on some level. How often has Shigofumi been brought up? Or Neo Angelique Abyss? Or Library War?

I also want to finish this section by mentioning a couple of quick reviews. This one from Emikothewriter over at Ramblings N’ Scribbles about Here Comes Miss Modern and this one from Ashley over at the Review Heap about Ride Your Wave.

The review of Miss Modern reminded me that I listened to a History of Japan podcast episode about two figures in Japan’s feminist movement. That episode featured Seito Magazine and the essay referenced in Miss Modern (or at least in the review.) I was super excited. It’s a potent opening paragraph.

“In the beginning, woman was truly the sun. An authentic person. Now she is the moon, a wan and sickly moon, dependent on another, reflecting another’s brilliance.”

Hiratsuku Raicho

I’m sharing the Ride Your Wave review because it made me want to go see the movie.

Now for something completely different.

Yes. I just ripped off Monty Python. I am a complete and total hack.

Anyway, I’m going to distract you from my hackiness with some of Disney’s hackiness by giving you this list of the mouse’s live-action movies with commentary by K at the Movies. I’ll be honest, I liked the Johnny Depp Alice in Wonderland movies. I have a soft spot for retellings of the Lewis Carroll tale.

But you can go see K’s opinions for yourself.

Now let’s talk about some controversial stuff.

I have mixed feelings about age gap romances. A lot of times, they feel like some sort of bizarre wish-fulfillment. They come off as people trying to reclaim their youth or believing that they still have a chance at past glories. I’m not that excited about them.

But from everything I hear about Higehiro, I may have to give it a shot. Because it’s not a romance. This post from J_Tackett3 at Otaku Post is a compelling examination of how Higehiro and another show handled (or didn’t handle) the tricky waters of age gap stories.

Now onto fanservice and Fire Force. Jack Scheibelein over at Animated Observations shared his thoughts about how well the fan service is handled in that show. It’s not a show I’ve seen yet, but he does have some interesting ideas about it.

So I like learning about stuff and hearing different perspectives. In particular, I liked this post from 7mononoke at Anime Rants about the problematic and non-problematic LGBTQ+ relationships. I don’t really have any commentary other than to say that it’s worth checking out.

Also, I wanted to share this post/video about Caper in the Castro, the first gay video game (or video gayme). It’s a neat history lesson. Or, as someone who used to use BBSes and remembers when they advertised internet access, it’s a trip down memory lane.

Does anyone else remember Lyndon LaRouche?

And to wrap up today, let’s hit three posts about video games.

So I’ve largely checked out of video games for a few months after being thoroughly checked into them for about three and a half years. I didn’t really pay attention to E3 this year, but I do recognize that it happened. I saw a couple posts about the Wholesome Games Direct. This one by Blerdy Otome, in particular, caught my eye.

I like the idea of a Wholesome Games showcase. Not every game has to deal with darkness and death, right?

Well, except for Castlevania. That is a game that deals with death and darkness and dying a lot before you can reach Dracula and die some more. Jonah Daily Rants talked about the brutal difficulty of the original Castlevania. I bought that as part of that package rerelease, but I haven’t tried to play it again.

I wasn’t that good at those games when my fingers were young and quick.

Let’s wrap up on a fun video game from an olden time. Over at Moe Gamer, Pete Davison put together this post and video about Steeplechase, which was fun to watch. Honestly, even though it’s a simplistic game graphically, it still looks pretty fun. I have that collection somewhere. I should dig it out.

Anyway, that is all I have for this week. If any of these posts sound interesting, please go and click on them and head over there. It would mean a lot to me.

So until next week, remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot, not necessarily in that order.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Video gaymes, bad romance and punching the heavens

    1. Yeah. It really is a tough game. 🙂 I’m glad they’ve made games easier because otherwise I would never get to play.

  1. Library Wars is one of those series that makes you think “I’m probably the only person who’ve seen this,” and you certainly remember it, but for it’s… unique setting, let’s say xD

  2. I really do wanna check out any translated work from Seito magazine and I’ll check out the History of Japan podcast when I get the chance. Plus, thank you for the feature 😀

    1. Historically it’s interesting because a lot of the feminist movement coincides with the run up to WW II.

      And you’re welcome.

  3. Lyndon LaRouche had his supporters campaigning outside my university all the time. An interesting guy to say the least.

    I like that history podcast as well. The writer covers some topics I’d never heard of.

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