The Otakusphere: Hello? Is this thing on?

Good morning, afternoon or evening wherever you are out in Internet land. I have returned from my sojourn in the wilderness of the hinterlands for another trip around the Otakusphere.

Some of you may be asking why it took me so long to return. The answer is a lot more boring than it may seem. I just got tired of how much time blogging was sucking away from the rest of my weekend. So I hung it up for a while, but I’ve decided to return.

To be fair, I’ve been trying to think of ways, so the Otakusphere doesn’t suck up eight hours of my Sunday. I haven’t quite figured out a way yet, but I’m still thinking about it.

Either way, no one came here to listen to me gripe. They came to see what I found on my tour around the blogs.

So let’s go.

And just because I was thinking about this the other day, I’m going to throw up the opening for After the Rain, which is beautiful, and everyone should watch that show.

Talking about a show that I love, have I ever mentioned that I love Bakemonogatari? Sometime in the last year, I got into the Monogats. While I think the second series was lackluster, both Bakemonogatari and the second season of Monogatari are great. I’ve been considering going back and watching the monster stories again.

Edy over at Convoluted Situation is watching the show the hard way by slicing it into a scene-by-scene analysis. Granted, I think this is an entirely worthwhile way to approach the series and thoroughly deserves it.

Now let’s talk about some shows that I haven’t watched, but certainly seem interesting.

Casper over at Reasons to Anime tackled a show that I now really want to see: Tobira wo Akete. Does anyone else remember a time when isekai were focused on girls traveling to fantasy worlds where they had to face danger? Escaflowne, anyone? Fushigi Yugi? Or even Twelve Kingdoms?

I’m not saying they were all good, but at least they were different. Tobira wo Akete seems like it may fill a hole in my life that I didn’t know I had.

OK. Talking about isekai that may fill a hole in my life. Standing on a Million Lives looks like it could be cool. At least judging from this review over at Umai Yomu. So if it delves into Gantz levels of depravity or dismemberment, then I am entirely on board. Even if it hedges near that territory, I would be interested.

Yes. I do like Gantz. I love Shoot Em Up for all the same reasons if anyone has watched that forgotten gem from the mid-2000s.

I have a soft spot for that kind of camp.

I also have a soft spot for coming-of-age stories.

OK. That wasn’t my best transition, but I wasn’t in the mood to keep finessing it, so you get what you get.

I bring that up because two people mentioned Blue Period — Jack Scheibelein over at Animated Observations and Tessa over at All about Anime and Manga.

To be fair, this premise reminded me of Snow White Notes, which is yet another show I’ve been meaning to watch. And I have a feeling this one may fall into the category of shows that I will get around to eventually.

Just to highlight a couple more anime reviews here. I’ve heard the Great Pretender is so bad it’s good, which is why this review by Crimson at A Nerdy Fujo Cries stood out to me. Maybe, it’s just good? It seems like a show that might be up my alley.

Then Ashley over at the Review Heap adds his thoughts about Gundam’s Hathaway. To be fair, I’ve been hit or miss overall on Gundam. I like 08th MS Team and Turn A, but I wouldn’t say that I loved them. I’m pretty middle of the road.

But I’m glad to see Gundam is still alive and well.

Let’s get meta for a second. The initial concept of this blog was to search for my ninth favorite anime of all time. That is why this post from Flawfinder stood out to me. In it, he talks about his list of favorite anime. It made me wonder how helpful those kinds of lists are.

On the one hand, they can signal to other people what kind of shows that you like. If I tell people that I like RahXephon, people will assume that I like giant robot or science fiction shows. That would certainly be a correct assumption, of course.

But often, these kinds of lists turn into a bit of virtue signaling. I mean, how could I have RahXephon on my list but not Eva? How could I like Last Exile more than Gankutsuo? It’s a messy business.

Let’s move on to some fiction analysis. I thought this post by the Overage Otaku was intriguing. Critics and analysts will often bring up the Princess in Peril cliché. Don’t get me wrong. It is a cliché, and it’s often used to reinforce sexist roles.

What I’m left wondering, though, is how writers can avoid it? Often characters are put into peril. They are also often not able to save themselves. So how do writers avoid falling into that trap?

And talking about falling into traps.

Lost to the Aether put together a thought-provoking post about that one scene in Peter Pan. The one with the racist depictions of Native Americans in Disney’s adaptation of the story. I find this reading is nuanced. The thing about any piece of fiction is that it is of its time. The kind of depictions that are more disturbing to me are the ones in Walker: Texas Ranger.

A thin veneer of “respect” is being laid over those same Native American tropes in that show. Basically, they are just as oversimplified and cliché, but they just add that it’s being co-opted by the white guy.

I’m probably doing a lousy job of describing it, but the 90s were cool when we lived in them. Now, it’s kind of strange to look back and see how naive we were.

So I haven’t featured In Asian Spaces on this blog much, but I found this review of Save Me intriguing. One of the things I go to anime for is to see the world from a non-Western viewpoint. This is not saying it’s a better viewpoint, just a different one.

This is what Save Me seems to be. Christianity gets treated with a certain amount of respect in the West. That isn’t to say it’s never the villain, but the depictions of it often are nuanced when compared with something like Islam or even Buddhism. I’m curious to see how a Korean drama handles it. I’m also not that familiar with the history of Christianity in Korea. It seems like it may be worth checking out.

Now for a couple of writeups about video games.

I’m always interested in simulation games. I don’t always play them, but when I do, I spend hours building out my fake factories or fake farms or fake zoos. There is just something about the endorphin kick when you finally finish that new addition and see how well your society performs.

That is why I like this post from Leeks Plays, where she talks about Let’s Build a Zoo. It may not be a game I actually play, but I want to try it at least.

On the topic of interesting things, let’s talk about this post from Buffalo Retro about Medal of Honor versus Call of Duty.

My understanding is that Call of Duty started as a competitor to Medal of Honor after some people left the Medal of Honor series to start working on Call of Duty.

The focus of this post is comparing the Medal of Honor: Rising Sun with Call of Duty 2: The Big Red One. What I found interesting about the discussion of these two games is that they both focused on theaters in WWII that are often under-explored — the Pacific and Africa.

If you want to find out which one holds up better, you’ll have to check out the post.

OK. We’re in the home stretch now.

NaNoWriMo has always been a concept that I find a little weird. To be honest, I could jam 2,000 words a day, but I can nearly guarantee that they wouldn’t be a good 2,000 words. That said, novel writing is often minutes of writing and hours of rewriting. It often seems that NaNoWriMo is rewarding the fun part of writing rather than the part that is a drag.

Anyways, I enjoyed reading about Ryder K. Rose’s experiences with NaNoWriMo over at The Kitten Who Eats Ramen. I recommend checking it out.

A few quick hits to round out our tour.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I will feature any travelogue I find that is related to Japan. This post by Going Batty with Matty is no exception. I really liked learning about Kappa and places to see them.

Then there is this post by Shoujo about her experience recovering from a back injury. It captures the experience of looking back at the past through eyes from the future. That is something I can relate to but in different ways.

On a final note, here are some cute Nendoroids from My Anime Room. Cute things are cute.

That is all that I have today from The Otakusphere. 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: Hello? Is this thing on?

  1. Interesting point of view on NaNoWriMo, I’ve completed the challenge 3 times and I had plenty of stress filled fun each time. I always felt that NaNoWriMo was more about stop finding excuses to not write the book you always wanted to write, and instead just get it down on your computer screen and then after November work for the next few months on your editing and re-writing. I mean, you’ll never have a novel to re-write and polish up if you never write it in the first place. It’s all about starting the project, not about having a perfect finished product.

    1. I agree. I’ve finished two novels (not that they were good, but they were finished.) And I would agree that it’s important to finish them. But I always find that there is less focus on revision overall then there is on the initial completion.

      That said, I congratulate anyone who finished a novel. That is a lot of work.

      1. Yeah, you’re right. I wish there was more meet-ups and events to pull everyone through the revision process. That’s one of the hardest parts!

  2. Nice post ! The part about Walker Texas Ranger reminds me of the Conan bit where he would pull a lever and a strange clip would play from the show. And thanks for the shout out!

  3. I feel your pain, in the struggles of trying to make blogging fit into a busy life. It’s fulfilling, but man does it take up time when you’re wanting to be thorough. Here’s hoping you find a way that works for you!

    And thanks for the hat-tip there, and your thoughts on it. I totally missed that Walker: Texas Ranger was doing worse than Peter Pan was, for the time. My parents had it on constantly, too. The things that bounce off you when you’re a kid.

  4. I have a bias against NaNoWriMo, and part of it is for a stupid reason: I just hate the name. I hate even writing it, so I won’t do it again. You bring up a more substantive problem though — editing is a big part of writing, and I guess “words edited/rewritten” doesn’t add in to the total. Coming up with 60,000 words of trash isn’t that hard as you point out, but you’ll have plenty of work to do at the end of the month. Then again, I’ve never taken part in this, so I can’t speak from experience.

    You’ve also reminded me that I have to pick up Monogatari again, because I’ve been putting it off, even though I also loved the first series. Kizumonogatari was good as well, though the style is pretty different from the show. If the lackluster part you’re referring to is Nisemonogatari, I get what you’re saying — I liked it, but it goes all out on the fanservice and gets weird at points. I understand he reels it back in Second Season though.

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