Hey, Mythos here. May kinda came and went for me way too fast. I’m still balancing multiple things in my life, which unfortunately also hit a couple of us here at The Backloggers at the same time so I want to apologize for the lack of content recently. We’re gonna try and push through this, most likely becoming master jugglers by the end of it, joining the circus, and amazing all with our incredibly skill and dexterity… Or we could just write a few articles. That works too.
Anyways, in the meantime, other people have been going full ham and we wanna share some of that good, good stuff out there with you. Definitely gives these a look ‘cause we got some hot takes here, and they’re comin’ atcha fast!
Let’s be completely honest here: Women are not really treated that well overall in Shounen, which is a shame given the popularity of Shounen and how it’s not just men/boys that read it. And it’s not like you can’t make a kickass action piece with girls in it. Fury Road decidedly proved that it could be done and it’s not the only example. Marion Bea writing for AnimeFeminist talks wonderfully about this issue and how Shounen can learn a thing or two from Shoujo and Josei writers who for years have been capably respecting both men and women in their writing (not always but they have a better track record). Marion also talks about women writing for Shounen that are helping push some nice representation, even if it’s not always perfect. It’s a really good piece, check it out!
The Importance of Frivolity – Irina
For all the fellow anime bloggers, writers, and others who also just like to read anime content, this one is a wonderful and positive point to make. Over at the Drunken Anime Blog, Irina discusses the importance of not just the deep dives, but also the more fun and “fluff”-filled pieces on anime and why each has its need in the overarching discussion on anime. I know I’ve made a few less serious and more “fluff” pieces before and besides being fun to write, it’s also just nice sometimes to read something a little less intense, especially when stress is getting to me and I need something positive. Please check this one out.
In Defense of The Last Jedi – Movies with Mikey
This last one I wanted to link isn’t about anime but holy hot damn is it freaking good! Mikey Neumann (a retired writer of Gearbox games who wrote for the Borderlands and Brothers in Arms series) goes into a super in-depth but also very funny piece on why The Last Jedi is actually a good film that did some amazing things for the series. While I know that the movie is surprisingly and incredibly polarizing for many people, Mikey does a very good job of understanding multiple sides of this argument and suggesting another way of looking at it that factors in both the negatives and the positives. For anyone that enjoys discussion and critical analysis, this (in my mind) will be for now until forever the example I point to for how to do critical analysis so. Freaking. Right. I cannot recommend this enough to everyone. It is just amazingly well put together.
One last thing before I hand it over.
I don’t want to do this too often because I hate self-advertisement, but for a while now, I’ve been trying to write a few things creatively, both for myself and because I just love to share fun things with peeps! If you’re interested, I recently wrapped up writing a short story about love, empathy, and depression over on a second blog I made for just such a thing. If you all have the time, I’d love for ya to read it and leave some thoughts so that I can get better at this sort of thing. And if you like it, there’s some other stuff on there to read that’s a little more jovial and fun, my preferred way of doing things. Thanks!
Will My Hero Academia’s Reception Ever Come Down To Earth? – Seasonal Prattle (@SeasonalPrattle)
While Prattle’s articles always cover a variety of seasonal shows and topics (which I would definitely recommend checking out if you’re interested in keeping tabs with those shows), I always am a huge fan of how each article starts, usually by providing a short take on certain hot topics of the community. This one is no different, as this one discusses the topics of fan lash-back when popular shows reach the point of “Is this actually good or is this being milked for all its worth?”
The article itself has its own points to make about the matter and the types of people that ask this question, suggesting that a certain part of My Hero Academia’s viewer-base is cynical or perhaps they just aren’t that into the show or its shounen aspects, which is fascinating in its own right and I’m glad Prattle has brought it up. It’s also interesting to think about the fact that MHA has been discussed for several seasons now, and while I’m sure it’s a quality show, it might be useful to have a few seasons break if they choose to continue, as I’m sure the backlash against MHA occurring for a variety of reasons will not decrease as times goes on.
Tacking on these “thought pieces” onto seasonal highlights is something I praise about Prattle’s formula of posts, and they always cause me to think about how I view certain aspects of the medium, whether that’s in the community or about a show itself. If you haven’t viewed any of their content, I’d recommend doing so!
So many words, So little thoughts – Reviewing shows you have nothing to say about – Drunken Anime Blog (@idrinknwatchani)
This is another great post by the Drunken Anime Blog which while the post itself may be more directed towards blog writers and may not necessarily be as interesting for readers, I think there’s plenty that readers can get out of a post like this as well, whether they’re thinking about running a blog or not. I think an underlying point that can be taken away from this article by readers is that there can be many underappreciated shows out there, or perhaps shows you may watch and think “Ah, it was just okay”, which is fine to do so! However, that doesn’t make it a waste of time to talk or write about, and I think that’s one of the core messages behind this post.
There’s so much anime out there that can be labeled as “okay”, but everyone has different experiences to express with each show that might seem like a waste of time initially. Many shows that I’ve considered a “waste of time” still have value hidden within their depths, and I think it’s important to remember that as we write about and discuss shows as members of the community, writers or not. Thanks Irena for writing this!
Steins;Gate and the Trolley Problem – The BugBlog (@DaLadyBugMan)
This is a different sort of piece that I actually really enjoyed and is especially relevant considering some of the hype that Steins;Gate 0 has gotten over the past few weeks of its airing. If you’re into the sort of behavior analysis that the Trolley Problem situation provides, then this post is right up your alley. It discussed some of the correlations between how Steins;Gate operates on a human appeal level and compares it to the Trolley Problem in a variety of ways, which is highly relevant to the entire plot of the show.
It’s a pretty interesting piece, and while I’d consider myself a Steins;Gate fan, I also think this post would appeal to anyone that’s into those sorts of social topics as well as those fans of the all famous time-travel story of Okabe and company. I greatly appreciate the incredibly unique spin on the topic, Buggy!
General Tofu’s Picks
Break in to Break Out: The Perfect Persona 5 Adaptation – Atelier Emily (@AJtheFourth)
As someone who put well over 100+ hours into his first playthrough of Persona 5 and is generally a fan of the MegaTen series in general, I was pretty pleased to come across Atelier Emily’s post about the anime adaptation of P5. She tackles a lot of the major issues that I have had of P5A (and honestly, of P4A, as well), which largely boil down to, essentially pacing problems. As Emily posits, these pacing issues unfortunately have a noticeably large ripple effect on the rest of the show, including less depth of character development, a more streamlined, less emotional view of the story’s overall impact, and other hiccups that make the show, while still largely enjoyable, definitely less engaging than the game itself in a narrative sense.
This is not just an open complaint, however, as she does praise a good bit of what makes P5A a pretty decent adaptation, all things considered, and a few things that could potentially improve how the game’s story is conveyed through an anime medium. It’s a great read as someone who’s a fan of the game, but it’s also an interesting take on how difficult it is to adapt a game that literally has tens of hours of story to it and adapting it into what is, essentially, about ten-ish hours of anime.
English-Language Scholarship on Studio Ghibli Films: Looking at the Numbers – Mikhail Koulikov (@AnimeStudies)
As someone working within academia myself, it’s always fascinating when I come across a piece delving into some aspect of critical, literary scholarship with a focus on anime or manga. Mikhail Koulikov of Anime and Manga Studies consistently works to keep a finger on the pulse of scholarly study of anime and manga, often plugging calls for papers for conferences regarding Japanese entertainment media, or presenting and reviewing resources for further critical, academic study of anime and manga.
This particular piece, however, is a brief examination of the inclusion of Studio Ghibli films as the primary text examined in, to quote, “the Annual Bibliography of Anime and Manga Studies – books, chapters in edited essay collections, and articles in peer-reviewed journals and professional magazines.” It’s fascinating to examine the prevalence of these films in terms of academic scholarship, and I would encourage anyone interested in this kind of study to check out not just this study, but all of the additional resources that are available through Anime and Manga Studies.
Redefining ‘Otaku’ in the Modern Era – Tim Rattray (@thoughtmotion)
Response: What Manga Tokyo’s ‘Redefining Otaku’ Article Gets Wrong – UEM! (@JekoJekoUEM)
It would be difficult to place the former piece on this list without also listing the latter, and vice versa. As of the time of writing this, Tim Rattray penned a post for MANGA.TOKYO in which he calls for, in large part, a redefining, or a reclaiming, of the term “otaku.” In it, he discusses what he posits as common definitions of the term for otaku, mostly in the pejorative sense, and asserts that the term should ultimately be re-vamped, and that those identifying as otaku should “show the world why being otaku is great.” At the very end of this month, JekoJeko of Unnecessary Exclamation Mark! (UEM!) posted a rebuttal of Tim’s piece, taking time to put forth a number of grievances that he holds against Tim’s assertions, methods, and overall working with the term otaku within the piece.
In total, it is a fascinating piece, as are both of them, and it would behoove anyone interested in the terminology of otaku, as well as the ramifications of the term and of those looking to re-brand it, to check them out. They are interesting on their own, and as a discourse, the read is definitely recommended.
General Tofu here! May has been pretty hectic, and because of that, it’s been hugely refreshing to come upon some really interesting posts in the community this month! Whether it’s been some takes on this season’s big hits, examinations of our community as a whole, or even a few things not necessarily exclusively related to anime, it’s been a pretty great month for community content!
As always, if you think your piece was interesting and we didn’t manage to see it, or if we missed a HUGE piece from this past month that you think should be mentioned, then link it below in the comments or reply to us on Twitter! We’re always happy to see what y’all have in store for us and everyone else in the community, so give us a shout if you’ve got something to say!