Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are in the world. It’s Sunday in my corner of the hinterlands, so that means it’s time to see what is going on in the Otakusphere.
This has been a rough couple of weeks for me here in my corner of the world. We have what I like to call apocalyptic skies. That is just a fancy way of saying that the smoke from our perpetual summer wildfires has finally blown in and has blocked out the sun in hazy grayness.
It makes it annoying to mow the lawn but makes it great for not going outside. Not going outside is my preferred method of being.
As far as anime goes, I have officially started watching Kaiji again. Or at least watching the first part of Kaiji again. The most frustrating thing about that show is that I love the OP, but it’s totally not available through Spotify. So you’re getting it here because we need more of The Blue Hearts.
And the Ramones. We need more of the Ramones.
Anyway, let’s start our engines and get to cruising.
I’m going to start this week off with a light one since we’re going to get into some dark stuff later. The Spooky Redhead posed a pretty basic question, asking, “What is your favorite animated scene?”
My immediate answer really is more of a moment than a scene. There is the moment at the end of the Lain OP where a gust of wind comes up and blows off her hat just as the vocals come to a stopping point. Everything turns black and white and freezes. Then we see Lain, in color, looking up at a frozen crow. The perspective shifts, and we see her hat, still frozen in mid-air, and Lain stuffing her hands into her pockets. And then walking off.
That moment of surrealism in the opening has always stuck with me because it’s so understated.
Anyway, that is my answer. You can share yours at the Spooky Redhead site.
Now let’s get onto the heavy subjects.
One of the things Dewbond is often beating the drum about is the possibly inevitable homogenization of entertainment. This certainly could happen as more U.S. corporations inject money into the Japanese animation industry.
Jack Scheibelein at Animated Observations approaches that question from the other direction. Do Japanese animation companies really care about what Western audiences think? While it may seem inevitable with an influx of Western cash that it would need to conform with Western mores, Japanese companies may just kindly say, “Thanks for the money, here’s the stuff,” and then go onto the next ecchi series.
I’m not sure. But it is worth thinking about.
On the subject of things typically found only in anime, Natural Degeneracy poses a question, “Should we expect more sex from our harem shows?” Now, I think this show already exists and is called School Days, but your mileage may vary on that front.
To be honest, it’s not the chasteness of harem shows that makes me shy away from them. It’s the sheer lack of believability that so many women would chase one guy. I could believe that one guy might string along two or maybe three women, but with five or six, there would be a revolt.
That said, I am aware that polyamory does exist. I just don’t understand it.
Before I get myself in any deeper, let’s move onto the posts that reminded me of my own life.
So Josh over at the Classic Anime Museum brought up Student Days, which is a show that I hadn’t heard of until this point. There is something about the description of pursuing a dream until it becomes a nightmare that resonates with me. I’ve certainly had moments in my life where I’ve chased something that would never happen, whether it was a relationship or a job or a hobby, to the point where it lost any real meaning.
Now I’m not sure if that is what happened in Student Days, but it certainly sounds like it. I’ll have to see if I can hunt down a copy of it.
Let’s go from getting into college to entering the workforce.
I haven’t been that invested in the summer shows. I know everyone is talking about Sonny Boy like it’s the next coming, but I’m barely able to keep up with the stuff I’m watching right now.
A show I was not prepared to learn about was Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan, which seems to be one part Death to Smoochy, and, well, maybe another part of Death to Smoochy. Now, as a fan of the Edward Norton movie and Rainbow freaking Randolph, this story of a depressed burnout kind of appeals to me. Jessi Silver over at Season 1, Episode 1, introduced me to it.
It plays at one of those fears that I have in my life that I will just not be able to work in my career. I’m a little older than Jessi, and I don’t think I could really do anything else. Or at least not for the same kind of money that I’m making right now.
Anyways, it will probably end up on my list.
Now we get to the post where I get real for a moment. Shoujo put together this post about her experiences with Fruits Basket that really struck a chord with me. It’s less about the series and more about how the series interacted with her life.
I don’t really have the same experience with a series, but I do have that experience with a video game. See back in 2016, my dad came down with what would be terminal lung cancer. Being 3,000 miles away from your family when one of them is dying is probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life.
To stop myself from going crazy, I put in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and played it. And I played it. Every day I would come home from work and start up the television and play the game. It gave me enough separation from the realist I was dealing with that I didn’t go crazy.
But I get it. Sometimes fiction is the best way to deal with the stuff that we can’t do anything about.
Where do we go from there? Well, how about talking about Filipino magazines.
One of my big interests is seeing how fandoms work in other parts of the world. I’m sure a lot is the same between the U.S. and other countries, but there is just as much that is likely to be different.
One of those things that is a little bit of both is Otaku Magazine. It is a publication from the Philippines, and you can learn more at this post on Rayas-Web.
What struck me is that they often shortened it to Otaku Zine or even OZine, but then they would follow it up with Anime Magazine. I mean, Magazine is already in the title? Do you need it twice? But it wouldn’t make sense to just put anime there, either. It’s a dilemma.
I’m going to put a couple of reviews in here really quick. First, we have Alo’s Watchlist talking about Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, and then we have Otaku Orbit talking about Space Dandy. Both of these seem like they would be enjoyable. I liked the reviews. Go check them out.
Talking about shows that I have seen, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is coming to Netflix. Here is info about it as written by Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner.
I’ve been surprised at the reach of BGS. It’s definitely got a following out there, and I’m a fan. I even splurged and bought the Aniplex releases of the show and the movie. I hope that the Netflix streaming will help share it with a larger audience.
Finally for anime stuff, I wanted to share this story from Anime Pad about a new hire at LeftField Media, which organizes Anime NYC and Anime Frontier. So I’m not really a convention person, but I always find the idea of corporate conventions thought-provoking. Fans are great. And sometimes fans can put together well-run conventions. And sometimes, they can put together something messy and amateurish. So I would trust a corporate convention to present me with a certain amount of polish that I wouldn’t expect from a fan-run convention.
On the other hand, I wonder how much heart they have. How much buy-in do they have from fans, and how much can I expect the conventions to just be canned and boring presentations.
I don’t know. Maybe someone else can help me out on that.
So from one side of our cyberpunk dystopia to the other. Yomu over at Umai Yomu Anime Blog put together this post about the death of anonymity on the Internet. Now there is some truth to this. Google and Facebook, and even Twitter collect a metric buttload of data on us every day.
On the other hand, as someone who uses those services to find people daily, they do a reasonable job of protecting the information from the general public.
But it’s certainly true that the Wild West days of Web 1.0 have long since disappeared.
I just have one video game post for this week, but I think it’s worthwhile. Emiko introduced me to Nier Re[In]carnation this week. I was not expecting to find a mobile game that intriguing. I’m not necessarily a video game snob, but I haven’t ever become invested in mobile games like some others have.
I think I’ll have to give it a try, and you should give the post a try as well.
Now I wanted to share a couple of book posts. Grand Fabulous Tofu King shared a review of A Fatal Footnote. Now people who have read this blog for a while may know that I have a weakness for hard-boiled detective stories. Well, that started with what I like to call parlor mysteries. Books from Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen and others like Harry Kellerman, Lillian Jackson Braun, and Ralph McInerny.
So it was nice to see a post about those mysteries that are more about sitting around sipping tea and less about tough guys being tough.
Then, in our penultimate post, Megan over at Nerd Rambles introduced me to the world of human skin-covered books in her review of Dark Archives. The book is a history of books clad in human skin. I always thought that was just something that was in fantasy and horror stories. You know the ones about tomes of mystical provenance with dark secrets.
Anyway, it’s worth checking out the review where Megan explains the book better than I am right now.
Finally, Buffalo Retro brings up the MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION of our time. Do we have to worry about the upcoming grease apocalypse? Why does Dawn need to get more and more powerful?
The grease is coming.
With that thought, I will wrap up this week’s trip around The Otakusphere. Please, if you could visit any of these posts, it would mean a lot to me.
Until next week, remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot, but not necessarily in that order.
And as always, thanks for reading.