Improving Tiresome Anime Debates — A Response to Irina

In the past five years of being a blogger and almost eight years of being an anime watcher, I’ve personally seen a lot of discourse and discussion over a variety of topics from plenty of angles – opinionated and factual alike. There are always those debates, though, that continuously circle back around after some time again and again, almost as if they are scheduled to appear once a few months have passed. There’s never really any reason for them to re-appear sometimes, nor is there really anything new to add to the discussion, but they reappear anyway and suddenly they become the hot topic of whatever your preferred social media platform is. It’s akin to watching some horrible rendition of Re:Zero where instead of watching Subaru trying his best to reach his goal and making several mistakes that result in his death instead, it’s watching people you know engage in futile discussions until they’ve either said their piece or become a completely different person than you once knew.

This is why when I found that fellow blogger Irina posted an article about this sort of phenomena that occurs so frequently, I was curious to see what sort of community debate overlap or dissonance we were experiencing within the anime community. I found some of these topics discussed in the post lined up pretty well with what I had noticed from the community and definitely shared some of those same sentiments. While I could also add many other topics to the list, I wanted to take some time to focus on what Irina is talking about in the post itself: the nature of how these debates are no longer “interesting” to have.

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The Deconstruction of an Idol

Author’s note:

For any of the 3D YouTube video links, up the resolution as high as will run on your computer. It’ll look like garbage otherwise because 3D uses a different standard for resolutions.

Also, I have not seen the full performance.  These ideas are taken from what parts are available online and what research I could find after diving into articles written about the show.


It’s a dark venue.  The stage is set up sparsely, with no instruments present, only three backing screens against the wall and a veiled screen on center stage.  All of a sudden, the music starts and the three screens light up to display very ethereal and blue landscapes that don’t follow conventions of design or reason.  Amongst the cacophony of electronic sound and imagery, a blue light materializes on the veiled screen and from the light emerges a girl, an idol in virtual form with humanoid features, but not nearly human enough.  She begins to sing.

STILL-BE-HERE

At first glance, it almost seems like I’m describing a modern version of the opera scene from The Fifth Element and honestly, the alien nature and style wouldn’t be far off from this performance. In fact, though, I’m referring to an art show put on at the CTM Festival in Berlin that was all about Hatsune Miku.  If you tend to tune out when people start to go Ga Ga for Vocaloids, bear with me. This show might interest you specifically.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Revisionism and How Studio Shaft “Felt Like Destroying Something Moe”

Let’s talk about genre for a second.

Now bear with me, I’ll get to the fascinating twists and the dark plot of Madoka Magica soon, but I want to get a little information across first.  For film genres, or any art form for that matter, there are a few different stages that a film can go through. Generally, it starts with an Experimental Stage, where the genre is starting out and the rules haven’t been made just yet.  As an example, think of westerns before they all typically started having one man for good facing off in a high noon duel against the bad guy.

After they finally establish what works, the Classical Stage begins, which is where all of the tropes and ideas generally come from. Eventually, people get tired of those tropes, though, and start the Parody Stage.  For westerns, this was Blazing Saddles. This stage makes fun of the over-used tropes that start to appear within a genre.

Finally, we get to one of my favorite stages: Revisionism.
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