June 2018 Community Content Round-Up

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!

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3D Kanojo 5 + 6 – All Aboard the Misunderstandings Train

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.

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Kill la Kill – Feminism, Sexuality… Revisited

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.

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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.

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Lady Bird and the Slice of Life Genre in Films

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.

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May 2018 Monthly Content Round-up

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!

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Genre is Fake (But Very Useful)

An absolutely important read. Please give it a look over on The Afictionado’s site.

The Afictionado

"You're all just jealous of my jet pack" Credit to Tom Gauld

Every text I’ve read that has anything to do with genre study dedicates at least a few paragraphs to the disclaimer that genre is slippery, arbitrary, and, while a useful tool for analysis, kind of a pain in the ass. This pain is only made worse if we take this system of categories to be Holy Doctrine rather than something we made up to make talking about stories easier. So, okay, maybe genre isn’t fake. When I say genre is “made up” I mean genre is “socially constructed”, rather than “not real”. Here, Brian Attebery says it better:

Both literary studies and folklore are built on the idea of genres, rather as biology is built on categories, from kingdom to species, reflecting morphological similarity and common descent. However, unlike, say, raptors and perching birds, different genres do not exist until someone imagines them.

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3D Kanojo 3 + 4 – Love, Insecurity, and Other Such Things

3D Kanojo got off to a fascinating start in the first two episodes, giving us some perspective and a view into our awkward, complicated romantic leads Tsutsui and Igarashi. It was a pretty solid foundation, in my opinion, to base the rest of the show off of, and episodes 3 and 4 have both proved to have not dropped the bar of quality that has been set for the show thus far. While the first two episodes acted as a primer of sorts, episodes three and four focus quite heavily on the ways in which insecurities can develop on all sides of a new, burgeoning romance, how they can complicate issues between partners, and ultimately how people can respond to those issues in healthy, trusting ways.

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