The month of July — a month that I would consider an extreme one in terms of weather. Scorching hot days resembling a desert are many, that is unless you live somewhere the humidity is overbearing or storms every single day of the week like I do.
Either way, just because July may not be the best in terms of weather doesn’t mean that it should be that way for anime content, and with the transition of the anime seasons happening this month, there’s a whole bunch of takes going around about some hot summer shows! That’s not even mentioning the throwbacks, anime convention content (or con-tent, I should say), or films that have been floating around the community.
Anyway, let’s dive into some of those pieces of the month that we at Backloggers HQ thought were pretty cool!
(And no, I will not apologize for the pun, sorry.)
This week on the Log Time Podcast, we lament that life made watching anime difficult this season, but we cover a few shows that made the Spring 2018 season great for us. We get to the nitty-gritty of the sheer fun of Megalo Box, discuss the awkward (but good) mess that is 3D Kanojo/Real Girl, and go ham on what seemed to be our show of the season, Hinamatsuri.
Audio Links: iTunes | SoundCloud
This podcast was recorded on July 13th, 2018.
Intro/Outro Music: The Elephant by A Shell in the Pit
If you’ve listened to our podcast, you’ve probably heard us say a million times that I and the other two Backloggers are originally from a state in the USA called West Virginia. Huntington WV, to be exact, similar to some other good, good podcast boys.
Plain and simple, we love our home. While I left it a few years back, I’m always homesick for it. Growing up, I took for granted just how freaking beautiful the state was, and the amazing opportunities I was granted by being in a state where even the most major city was not even a mile away from massive forests and rolling mountains. Camping, hiking, and many other things were second-nature to me. I’ve mentioned it before but Yuru Camp legit had me crying remembering what I had to leave behind for better opportunity.
I mean, that’s the capitol building for the state. And that mountain right behind it is the start of the surrounding forest. Nature be everywhere.
See, my home state is poor. Very poor, by United States standards, anyway. As beautiful as it is, West Virginia has been taken advantage of by hundreds of companies that mined it for its natural resources and then took all that money and ran. We prospered while those companies were here, but they’re mostly gone and so has our fortune. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average and the state government is constantly misappropriating funds. However, we’ve always been a strong people. We were birthed out of a fighting spirit, seceding from the Confederacy and joining the Union in the American Civil War because we were against slavery. We were the first ones to start the Railroad Riots of the 1870s because we weren’t going to lie down and let companies destroy the lives of their workers, and we continued that tradition of fighting for the little guys even this year, with the Teachers’ Strikes that started a national movement for better pay state by state for teachers. We’ve always been a strong people, though we suffer a lot.
It’s that time once again folks; the Backloggers community content round-up! This post will make the 12th one, and it’s so hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for a full year now. We’ve gone through so much good content from you guys and we enjoy putting these small compilations together hopefully as much as you guys enjoy looking at the content from our perspective. We have no intents of stopping these anytime soon (despite how it may seem at times), and we’re striving to keep the good content rolling! We’re always putting effort into making sure y’all are getting quality content presented, so as always, any feedback is appreciated!
Anyway, let’s get to that content!
Given how it works within the romcom genre of anime, 3D Kanojo is an odd show to begin with. It eschews a number of tropes that make so many of the romantic plotlines in those series feel contrived and samey through how it approaches the awkwardness and insecurities of new romance, and in turn makes its characters feel surprisingly relatable. As we reach the midpoint of the season, however, things seem to have gotten a bit muddied in terms of some of the show’s strong track record out of the gate. While episodes 5 + 6 do have their fair share of heartfelt moments that get to the core of what makes this show so good (in my view), it definitely suffers in terms of a few pretty important story plotlines and character-building moments.
I don’t know if anyone else does this but every now and then, I go back and reread my articles I’ve written. It’s not for any narcissistic reason. (Though, that’s exactly what a narcissist would say.) I’m not sure if it could be a smaller side effect of my anxiety disorder, but it’s more for fear. I get so nervous that something I’ve said before will come back and haunt me. Other times, I worry that I’ve written something I completely disagree with now or, just as bad, that I’ve written it so poorly, that my ideas could be misconstrued or actually are terrible in some way. To be fair, thanks to Facebook constantly bombarding me with “Your posts from 9 years ago!” reminders, I feel I have my reasons to get nervous about what I’ve said in the past. Hot damn, high school me was a dumb shit.
Me gesturing to my dumb-ass past self.
The article I constantly go back to more than any other, though, is my Kill la Kill article, my very first one I ever wrote for this blog and the one that started the whole dang project of The Backloggers. I think this one, more than anything, I get so nervous about. For one, it’s been one of the single most trafficked articles for our blog, and has been referenced not only in the blogosphere but also on Reddit as well as on a Chinese forum discussing Western and Eastern ideas about sexism. Which… HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT?! The Internet is amazing!
However, that’s what scares me. Even after I wrote it, I didn’t feel as hot about as I wanted it to be. And as time has gone on, I constantly think back to what I said, particularly when it comes to the themes of objectification and sexism versus equal treatment and empowerment. And I’m still not sold. Kill la Kill, to me, has been really complicated in that I feel it does so many genuinely cool and amazing things, particularly when it comes to multiple badass female characters that are so different from each other and fun to see be the leads in a fighting genre anime. However, while at the time of writing it, I tried to have a good answer for various scenes in the show, looking back, it’s a problematic piece on the whole. And after recently reading a discussion about these very same feelings from someone else, I finally caved in and decided I needed to review my earlier ideas.
Recently, I had the chance to watch the wonderful film Lady Bird, a movie following fictional Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she transitions from her last year in high school into her first steps into college and being an adult. It’s a beautiful film that balances and explores the natural humor and heartbreak that a lot of us go through during that same time in our lives. The film’s ability to convey the dynamics of Lady Bird’s family and their developing relationships with each other without every directly spelling it out feels so wonderfully natural and refreshing. It’s that sense of realism to it that I enjoyed, as I watched for all intents and purposes the Hollywood version of a slice of life anime.
There’s no evil villain in this story, no individual kids who bully our protagonist, no quest or soul-searching journey the character goes through, and not even an evil principal that forces almost illegal sentences on high school students a la Breakfast Club. Just a middle-lower class family trying to get by. They don’t always love each other but they try as we watch Lady Bird go through her last years in high school and her first few steps into adult life, struggling with her want to be special and unique while finding time and again that reality is a little harsher than that, and her dreams and ambitions are harder to obtain that just wishing for them. And in the end, they may have been what she wanted, but the naive singular pursuit of them left her missing what she needed. The film doesn’t end with our protagonist learning the error of her ways and dramatically changing everything. It just… ends. Because that’s how life is. Sometimes we only learn the lesson after the fact, and whether we learned or not, life keeps going regardless. We were only privy as an audience to just a slice of that life.