The Otakusphere: Controversy, more controversy and FIVE ALIVE!

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

It’s been a strange week over here. My work life has been nuts. Not in a way that I can explain here, but trust me, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. My personal life hasn’t been far behind. This has left me not watching much in the way of anime.

Hopefully, I can get going on a couple of my project anime that I had to pause for this week.

Of course, since I haven’t been watching much anime, I don’t have an anime-related song to share. Instead, let’s go with this song by Tom Smith that I was reminded of this week because of crazy things that happened in my personal life.

OK. Now that we have tunes started let’s talk about blog posts.

This was a week where quite a few people talked about how far entertainment should go in warning people about potentially triggering materials. To be fair, I grew up in New England, where I was taught to swallow my feelings until they bubble up and turn into some other self-destructive behavior. OK. That might be a little too real there.

Anyway, Jenn from Welcome to the Hell Zone wrote about her experiences as someone who has dealt with sexual assault and PTSD. She isn’t looking to have her fiction defanged because it will not necessarily be the thing that triggers her.

As someone who hasn’t needed to deal with PTSD on that level, I don’t want to be flip. I think it’s easy for people to say, “Suck it up” or “Get over it,” but I don’t think it’s helpful. Trauma is complex and how people cope with it is as well. The best people can be is empathetic and get as many opinions as possible from people going through it.

This is why it’s worth checking out Jenn’s post.

That said, I do believe good fiction can represent real life. One story that appears to do that is Even Though We’re Adults.

At It’s Your Fault I’m Not Popular, Nora talked about the manga that features a strange twist on the traditional love story. It’s written by the same person that wrote the manga for Wandering Son. Just in case people aren’t aware, I really liked the anime adaptation and have considered buying the manga for it.

I’m surprised that people reacted negatively to the reveal that happens toward the end of the volume. When I read that, it only made me more intrigued. Where does it go from there?

What twist am I talking about? Well, go and check out Nora’s post, and you can see for yourself.

While we’re talking about controversial anime, let’s talk about one of the most compelling anime I’ve seen this year — Flowers of Evil.

Anteiku Anime Reviews offered some thoughts about the show, mainly on the negative side. What I thought was worth mentioning is that I have a different interpretation of “evil” from this show. I don’t think Nakamura or Kasuga are evil per se. They certainly reject traditional morality, but very little of what they do actually hurt anyone outside of the two of them.

To be honest, Kasuga hurts people more by chasing the illusion of love that he sees rather than the actual girl that he loves.

Because Flowers of Evil is a romance. If it was just a little bit funnier, I would say it’s a rom-com. It’s a dark romance between two people who are a little broken, but it’s still a romance.

I could keep going on about the things I like about that show. But I’ll stop there.

In for the penny, in for the pound. I’ve already talked about posts dealing with trauma, infidelity and deviant behavior; let’s talk about one that deals with lolicon fanservice.

I have mixed feelings about fanservice. Personally, it just doesn’t do much for me. There are characters that I find beautiful, but very few that I find alluring in a sexual way. I feel a little dirty even admitting that.

I’ve never found loli fanservice attractive. Casper over at Reasons to Anime talks about this issue in the context of Dance of The Vampire Bund. A show I’ve never really watched. I started to wonder what would happen to a girl who lived thousands of years and wasn’t ashamed of being naked.

Then I wondered how much of what was shown was in the context of a character and how much to let people ogle at a naked kid on the screen? Can I be trusted to delineate between fanservice for titillation and fanservice for story reasons?

Anyway, it’s work checking out.

Let’s shift gears here and talk about everyone’s favorite anime genre — isekai.

Richard Wood and his text adventure brought up the steady creep of roleplaying game mechanics in non-RPG anime. Basically, he’s concerned about writers getting lazy and depicting character development through menus and XP bars rather than through characters doing stuff.

To be fair, I kept thinking about the Tower of Druaga as a show with a lot of video game mechanics, and that show came out before the isekai craze. But… that show is based on a video game, so it’s not really creeping in there.

It is something to keep an eye out for.

Are you ready for some more controversy?

Well, how about cheese. Personally, I’m a big fan of extra sharp cheddar. I could eat an entire bar of it like a candy bar. Yes sir.

Wait. That is not what I was going to talk about. I was going to talk about egg heads, which I didn’t really think about until Egghead Luna brought it up on her blog.

I never thought about it as an expression of anti-intellectualism. Of course, it is. Often, I wonder about the fear of knowledge that people have. I’ve been guilty of reacting poorly when something challenges my preconceived notions. I have to take a step back and think about it.

Anyway, it’s worth checking out the blog post.

Now, it’s time to talk about adaptations. You didn’t think the controversy train was done, did you?

Well, the Otaku Exhibition asked whether it’s important for anime to be faithful to the manga? Again, I don’t have a great answer. What I would say is that the story needs to be good. I know that sounds glib, so let me explain.

Zac Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation is reviled by many people because it isn’t exactly the same. But how do you make a movie adaptation of a book that barely has a plot and is really more of a collection of vignettes than an actual story? Well, you pull out the one thread and focus on it and make it coherent and consistent in a way that the original never was.

Is it slavishly faithful? No. Is it good? Well, I think so.

Anime is a different medium than manga. Expecting a panel for panel remake is just silly.

On a related note, I will throw in Scott’s post about remakes over at Mechanical Anime Reviews. I think they touch on similar issues.

In an entirely non-controversial post, Bandit’s Secret talked about JoJolion. I really like the art on this one. I don’t really know that much about JoJo, so it’s nice to learn a little more.

OK. Enough pretty pictures. Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite generator of controversy — Disney.

This month Ospreyshire over at Iridium Eye Reviews has been talking about alternate takes on stories with famous Disney adaptations. He’s closing out the month with an anime take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.

To be honest, I didn’t even know that this movie existed. It was fascinating to read about.

OK. I think we’re finally away from controversies at the moment. We can talk about nice, relaxing 1980s video games.

Pete Davidson over at MoeGamer shared a piece of video game history. Namely, the tie-in video game for Short Circuit. A movie that I mostly remember because it has a sentient robot saying, “Five alive. No, disassemble.” That line was a part of my childhood.

The adventure game that Pete showed off was neat. I was really impressed that he could manage to keep track of where everything was. I got lost just watching him. All of the rooms look so similar to me.

But it’s fun to watch.

Then there is Jonah at Jonah’s Daily Rants, who talks about the recent upgrade for Final Fantasy 1 — the original game that started the whole franchise. I remember how excited I was when I found that game on the shelf. I was a huge D&D nerd, and I never thought I would have the chance to play an RPG on a video game console.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Let’s wrap up today with a few quick hits on some reviews. Bloom Reviews talked about the manga, I Belong to the Baddest Girl at School. What really struck me about this is that it reminded me of Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagotaro. Both anime have seemingly tough girls lording it over a guy. Nagotaro really won me over because, for all of its posturing, it was wholesome.

At least in my opinion.

Then, there is this review of Mirai from At a Glance Anime. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this one before, but it also seemed like a fantastic adventure tale with some time traveling.

Finally, let’s wrap up with this review of Words Bubble Up like Soda Pop from Jon Spencer Reviews. I keep seeing this movie float around, and it’s probably worth checking out.

And that is all that I have for this week. Just a note, I will be in charge of #TheJCS next month, and I’m considering taking a break from The Otakusphere until I get that wrapped up. But I may be asking people to contribute some thoughts with some special posts.

A special thanks to Crow for sharing these posts. You should check out the five posts he liked.

Until next time, remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot, not necessarily in that order.

And, as always, thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “The Otakusphere: Controversy, more controversy and FIVE ALIVE!

  1. The loli thing…

    Japanese culture has been historically sympathetic to sexualized loli. Child porn wasn’t even illegal there until very recently and it is still no more than a slap on the wrist.

    There’s loli – and then there’s lolicon aimed to pull in a specific market. Some of my favorite anime are guilty of it. Poor Index has her clothes blown off of her yet again by Touma or Araragi forcibly removes his sister’s top to see if she still has a scar. (Or any of a dozen other stupid things he does to little girls.) Ninety-nine out of a hundred panty shots have no place in an anime and actually detract from the plot. And there is a remarkable number of female characters you might assume were adults by how they are drawn and how they are written who are canonically middle school girls. And as you mentioned, the ancient vampire who is drawn like a prepubescent and doesn’t care for clothing. More than one of those.

    Of course, as a nudist, I have a different view of nudity in anime. With some few exceptions, nudity in anime is *fetishized* regardless of whether it is grownup or loli. Rarely it is a natural event. It is the fetishization that irritates me, not sex or nudity.

    High School DxD Is a very wholesome show in comparison.

    Egghead isn’t such an insult. I take it as a compliment, a concession that I have a superior intellect. The richest people in the world are all “eggheads.” I’ll wear that badge proudly.

    1. It’s always fun to see what movies you dig up. I wish I dedicated more time to watching stuff. I have too many hobbies. 🙂

      1. Glad you enjoy that. This blog has been a learning experience for me being exposed to cinema around the world or even seeing alternate takes on pre-established stories. I hear you right there since I have multiple hobbies, too.

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