Good morning, afternoon or evening out there in the internet land. It’s Sunday here in my corner of the hinterlands, which means it’s time to take another cruise around The Otakusphere.
It’s been a rough week for me, but I managed to survive. For the first time in a long time, I binged not one but two different series — Higehiro and Those Snow White Notes. While they both have flaws, they’re definitely worth the experience.
(On the subject of binging, Jon Spencer Reviews had this great post about binging RahXephon. A show that is is better digested in smaller pieces.)
One of the best things about Snow White Notes was the music, so I will share the first opening, which is the best opening. It reminded me of a Canadian group that I like called Enter the Haggis. Both of them are in that middle ground between folk punk and alt-country. I’ll link one of the songs I like from ETH here.
Anyway, let’s get the tunes rolling and start on our tour.
Sometimes anime crosses into normie culture in depressingly bizarre ways. I read this post from Anime Maru about Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar’s repurposing of the Attack on Titan opening as a way to paint himself as the hero fighting against the hordes of mindless socialists.
What was funny is that Anime Maru typically has Onion-style posts that are exaggerations poking fun at otaku culture in the West. What is funny is that this story could have easily been a joke, but… it wasn’t. This really happened.
I’m often reminded of a song from Chess where the U.S. and Russian representatives lament how the game used to be a model of decorum and tranquility. That is all I will say about that. Here’s a link to that song.
In an only tangentially-related subject, Anime Hanabi put together this post about THE MAN in anime. You know, THE MAN. You know, the one that is keeping you down. He comes in with his black suit and tie and eats all of your rice. Yeah. That MAN.
But the post got me thinking about how anime portrays governments and how the role of the main character affects the portrayal. Often, they are shown as bureaucratic messes needing to be worked around, like in Standalone Complex, or they work against the well-being of individuals for the sake of the whole, like in Psycho-Pass.
It’s kind of strange that both of those concepts are much more conservative than you might think.
Talking about using fiction to inform us about reality, this post from Umai Yomu Anime Blog is fascinating. Fiction, by its nature, is not a great way to tell what is real and what is false. But two other things are true. The first is that fiction needs to mirror reality enough to be believable to its core audience. For example, no one will believe a cop show where they never say the Miranda warning.
The other thing is that we, as Westerners, don’t have a lot of different ways of learning about Japanese culture. So seeing this first-hand account from Yomu about clubs in high school is fascinating. I wonder if it is the same for larger cities.
Among the many things I’ve never watched, I haven’t seen any modern isekai shows. I know, it’s pretty shocking, right?
I’ve been looking for an isekai that uses the structure to tell an exciting story involving character growth and actual stakes. From every description I have seen of isekai shows, they lack at least one of those two things. Yes. I am judging them based on a synopsis of the plot. But I don’t feel like investing time into what seems like it will just be a self-insert hero being awesome.
That said, this review from Karandi over at 100 Word Anime about Jobless Reincarnation has me intrigued. I’m not sure if it will hold up, but at least it might be worth a try.
Orguss has been on my to-watch list for some time. I learned reading this review from TamakiJoker at TakaTempest that it’s part of the same series as Macross and Southern Cross. Hell, I didn’t even realize that Southern Cross was part of the same series as Macross. I recognized it had Super Dimensional in the title, but I figured that was just a mistake.
I will say that this review has piqued my interest. You should check it out as well.
Another show I’m interested in is the animated Altered Carbon show, which is on Netflix. Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews reminded me of it in this post about the expansion of options over at Netflix. I’m curious about Altered Carbon. I still haven’t finished the second live-action series, but the first one was decent, even if it went off the rails toward the end.
Wrapping up my anime-related posts, we finally have an answer. Who could bean Goku in a fight? Besides Superman, that is. K at the Movies (along with Scott and Jon Spencer) has the answer right here.
On a quick note, I liked this post from Animehead’s Retroworld about Kentaro Miura. It seems like a hole that will never be filled for many manga fans.
Sometimes I see a concept so bizarre that all I can do is laugh at its ridiculousness. The story of anthropomorphized snails seeking love is one of those concepts. Yes. That is a thing. And if sexy snails are your thing, there is a game for that — Snail Story.
According to Blerdy Otome, the game is good, and I feel strange saying the character designs are attractive, even if they are weird. It’s worth checking out.
On a darker indie note, Indiecator wrote about the worst future. The one where you have to spy on your neighbors and set them up to take the fall for various crimes because your government overlords told you to.
The game, Beholder 3, actually looks intriguing if you’re interested in surveillance state dystopias or management sims. I’ve never been the type to get into stealth games, so I’m not sure how much I would enjoy it, but the idea looks sweet.
I’ve been considering giving Stardew Valley a shot. Sometimes I want a nice chill game about planting and mining stuff. That is what interested me about this review of Moonglow Bay by Richard Wood of Text Adventure fame. It looks like it might be up my alley if I’m looking for a pleasant fishing experience.
Do you know what helicopters and David Hasselhoff have in common? Neither did I until I read this review of City Crisis from Buffalo Retro. I don’t want to spoil the post, so I won’t share anything more. Just go read this review of this PS2 “gem.”
Now to talk about movies that I haven’t seen, but I have read some great reviews of.
OK. It seems that the recent Dune movie that came out has gotten near-universal praise from fans of Dune, and Bandit Secret is no exception. I have to say that this is the best possible outcome because the people who will see a Dune film are the people who love Dune, or the people unfortunate enough to be friends with people who love Dune.
Yes. I let that slip. So I would love to enjoy Dune. It’s got a fascinating world. It has all of the pieces for a story of revenge and swashbuckling.
But it never uses them. Dune was from the point in science-fiction history when writers were more interested in their ideas than they were in compelling narratives and characters.
Granted, I haven’t read it for nearly 30 years. Maybe a second attempt would go better than the first. But I’m skeptical.
Let’s move on.
I have an abiding love of trashy fiction. Give me wanton violence any day of the week. I mean not in real life, but on the screen, in fiction.
Anyway, that is why Sailor Suit and Machine Gun has me intrigued. I came across this on MiB’s Instant Headache. The plot synopsis sounds just as fascinating as the title. Go over and check it out.
Among the multitudes of subjects that I find engrossing are the regional differences here in the U.S. Have you ever seen those videos with titles like “What food is your state known for?” or “Language expert describes the U.S. regional accents.” I always watch them.
This is why I found this post from Shoujo about things that might be different in the Midwest interesting. I don’t know if I agree with all of them, but it’s definitely worth your time.
Finally, let’s wrap up with a couple of short ones.
Exploring Otaku has done just what I expected they would do. They have shared some life in Japan with their audience, which of course, gets them featured in this section. In this case, G took us on a trip to some restaurants. It’s fascinating that restaurants close after the lunch rush and before the dinner rush.
Finally, we have easily the most unusual bit of anime-related merch I’ve ever seen. You’ll just have to read it on the Spooky Redhead’s blog because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. But it may involve underarms and smells.
Anyway, that is all I have for this week. Please, if you could do me a favor and check out one of these posts, I would be grateful.
And until next week, remember to be good, be careful and learn a lot — not necessarily in that order.
And, as always, thanks for reading.