Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are. It’s Sunday in my little corner of the hinterlands, so that means it’s time for another trip around the Otakusphere.
I’m not sure how the rest of you out there write blog posts, but for me, I’ll have an idea sitting around in the back of my head for weeks or months or sometimes years, and then something happens, and I’ll be able to put my thoughts into words. Well, my post from yesterday was one of those times. I’ve been thinking about the definition of anime and how marketing plays into it for a while. But I just ran into a post that allowed me to formulate my thoughts into something like an orderly pattern.
I’m not saying it was an orderly pattern, just that it vaguely resembled one. Now that I’ve written it, I feel a little relieved and a little worried that I forgot something or didn’t make any sense or just was a complete screwup.
I’m almost finished with the first season of A Certain Magical Index, which was still pretty good. But really, those first two arcs are the best.
Anyway, I like both of the OPs, so I will put one of them here. I’m not telling you which one.
So, let’s go and start our tour of The Otakusphere.
“These are our Mexican spices.”
So it’s strangely fitting that I wrote an entire post about how marketing impacts the public perception of anime, and Scott over at Mechanical Anime Reviews brings up a Taco Bell ad that demonstrates what marketers believe anime is. They’re not super far out there. That is undoubtedly what some anime are like.
I think the ad is hilarious, though. Whoever the voice actor is, sells it with such seriousness that it becomes funny. I’m not sure if it will hit everyone the same way, but it’s certainly worth checking out.
Let’s go from something that is intentionally “cheesy” to something that is pretty heartfelt.
planet Jane over at The Magic Planet did a really detailed review of one of the final episodes of Eureka 7. To be fair, I haven’t gotten a chance to watch that show for probably eight years, so I only remember the vague outlines of the plot. But there is something about Jane’s description of these scenes that really makes me want to go back and check it out.
It is interesting to me that the same person who put this together also wrote Ergo Proxy. Well, he wrote more than those, but he was the most responsible for those series. He has episode writer credits on a lot of other shows.
Talking about shows that I really should watch again. AK over at Everything is Bad For You wrote about one of the more thought-provoking series I have watched — Time of Eve.
One of the things that occurred to me when I watched Vivy is that we are often invited to consider AI as the “enemy” in several science-fiction shows. They represent an existential threat that somehow we will create something that makes us obsolete. The problem is that the solution to this is to create what is effectively a slave race. If we were talking about anything other than humanoid computers, we would consider Vivy’s servitude reprehensible. Ending aside, isn’t Vivy just fighting to keep sentient beings enslaved.
While I don’t think Time of Eve jumps into that, I believe there are many ways you can read the AI metaphor in this show.
Anyway, AK’s post got me thinking about the subject, and you should check it out.
Wait, did I just talk about two, nay, three anime series that I have actually seen. Quick, I need to fix that or else people might mistake me for an anime fan.
I have to admit, I don’t engage with BL a lot. I probably should, but that is beside the point. The point is that many blogs that I read do engage with it, including Nora over at It’s Your Fault That I’m Not Popular.
One of the tropes she introduced me to was The Omegaverse, which imagines societies where some people are the leaders or Alphas, some are neutral or Betas and others are Omegas. I hope I got that right. The thing is that the Omegas regularly go into heat, emitting pheromones that attract the Alphas.
I’m not sure why it surprised me, but it did. I mean, I just talked about how AI could be used as a metaphor for slavery; why wouldn’t someone develop a world where a subset of people were the submissive sexpots. While Nora isn’t a fan of the subgenre, in particular, she does share a couple manga that she likes.
OK. Back to another show (or movie) that I’ve actually seen.
Salman Al Farisi over at Calxylian talked about Your Name, the Makoto Shinkai movie that everyone loves. Since I’ve only seen two Shinkai movies, I don’t really have a huge frame of reference. I will say that I appreciate Salman talking about the thread that connects the two characters.
It really is a show about a relationship that transcends time and space.
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Let’s keep talking about shows that I have seen.
A couple of months ago, I shared my opinions about why I liked Akudama Drive. Well, since I wrote about it, I did see some discourse on Twitter about how it was a great show criticizing capitalism. I have to be honest, people say a lot of things criticize capitalism. I don’t think they do. But I did wonder if I was missing something. Akudama Drive really just read to me like a pulp thrill ride; trying to add any subtext to that would make it a worse show.
Part of the appeal of Akudama Drive is that you aren’t supposed to take it seriously. Well, it looks like Never Argue with a Fish agrees with me. And you know, I wouldn’t argue with a fish anyway. Go check out his review here.
So I really admire Matteo Watzky’s writing because he knows way more than I do about animation. Though I do disagree with him on the Gundam OVAs. Either way, I enjoyed this post about the current trends in action animation. Mostly because I’m glad there are people involved with anime that are younger than I am. It gives me hope that the entire industry won’t implode.
I mean, it might implode for other reasons.
Just to make sure we bring order back into the world, I want to wrap up the anime section of the Otakusphere by sharing this post from The Curiously Dead Cat about the best female characters from Spring 2021.
Wait, I have seen Odd Taxi. Oh well. It was a good list anyway, and I liked Odd Taxi.
Speaking about Odd Taxi. Jamal over at Get in the Mecha Podcast talked about it this week. Sometimes, I come across interesting posts and podcasts that present a different but equally compelling idea. My read about the themes of Odd Taxi is that it’s a series all about the constructs that we build around ourselves to protect ourselves. It’s less about everyone being connected but more about how we define ourselves both to ourselves and others.
Jamal presented a different but equally compelling idea. I recommend checking it out.
So, I don’t know how many people who read this blog also keep up with gaming news, but Blizzard/Activision is in a lot of hot water after word came out that Blizzard was not a nice place to work if you were a woman or a person of color. This has led to many people declaring they won’t ever participate in World of Warcraft or buy a Blizzard product.
Well, the Indiecator, like I am, is skeptical of the impact of boycotts. Many people outside of the gaming sphere are entirely unaware of Blizzard’s problems. I would guess they are the majority.
But, what I think the boycotts do is attract attention, especially in the case of high-profile streamers and others. At least in the short term, this might have some impact. On a smaller level, I think the boycotts are just people saying that they stand by others in this situation. It’s like giving a dollar to a homeless person. It isn’t about what the person will do with the money; it’s about feeling like you did something for someone else in some small way.
In the long term, I think the entire firestorm will just mean that Blizzard comes swallowed more by the Goliath that is Activision. Just wait for the Blizzard Call of Duty game.
So from the darkness that is Bizzard to the beauty that is Final Fantasy: Origins.
Lost in the Aether put up this post defending the beautifully dumb trailer released for the game. What I love about the trailer is how many times he says, “I’m here to kill Chaos.” At first, it sounds hokey, then it just becomes hilarious. Like Akudama Drive, it’s important that the narrator is earnest. It just makes it even more deliciously stupid.
I love it. I will probably even play this game because of it.
As an aside, what happens when you kill chaos. Does nothing break down anymore? Do we suddenly have perpetual motion machines? Does everyone live forever? Or does everything stop because entropy doesn’t exist anymore?
OK. OK. Let’s talk about Doki Doki Literature Club.
DDLC has been one of those games that I’ve heard a lot about, but I’ve never been brave enough to actually pick up. This review of the game’s new release from Nerd Rambles may be the push I needed to get me interested.
I’m not really sure how to categorize these next two posts. They’re kind of meta concerning blogging and social media. I have a love-hate relationship with communication through social media. On the one hand, it has allowed me to get into conversations about anime and video games with people from across the world. It makes information and people easier to find and contact.
Never in my life would I imagine that I could ask Helen McCarthy a question, and I would actually get an answer or Mike Toole, for that matter. But both of those have happened.
On the other hand, when you take away accountability, people can be dicks. People believe that they need to be champions for their cause rather than ambassadors for it. Judgments, recriminations and name-calling are far easier on the bird and face apps.
So I can’t disagree Solatrayo over at Ace Asunder for turning off social media and relying on blogging. I can completely understand why someone would do that, and if that is better for their mental well-being, then go for it.
In that same vein, Egghead Luna suggested that we should all be a little more collaborative online rather than destructive.
OK. And to finish up, I actually have two movie reviews, both for The Green Knight, which is a movie I forgot was coming out. Here’s one from Bandit’s Secret and the other one from Jon Spencer Reviews. I will let you read them and figure out what they like and didn’t like.
So that is it for another tour of the Otakusphere. Please, if you could click on any of the links and check out these posts, 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.