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Everything posted by Blambo

  1. anime

    This guy is amazing.
  2. Social Justice

    Zuo and Tso are different romanizations of the name. For some reason it's mostly known by the Wade-Giles version, "Tso", even at restaurants where the rest of the menu is rendered in pinyin romanization. I used Zuo because pinyin just looks more right dammit at the cost of other people being able to actually read what I write.
  3. Social Justice

    Ok looking back it looks like I missed about 2 pages of content in the thread before posting my own comment. It makes little sense to just plop a random opinion down on an ongoing conversation like that. I didn't mean to come off as like saying that "everyone arguing is wrong and here is the correct thing", but I probably should have checked to see if my point was being made already. Sorry!
  4. Social Justice

    I was raised ethnically Chinese so the topic of appropriating food culture is kind of familiar. I've always found the problem to be less that non-Chinese people are making bad Chinese food and physically stealing an element of Chinese culture, but that bad Chinese food is being made because it being "Chinese" is all it needs to be marketable. So the appropriation doesn't exist in the fact that a different group of people are making the food, but that authenticity is being marketed without any attempt to actually be authentic. What's being "appropriated" isn't this specific element of culture but the aggregate image of a culture from the culture itself. It misrepresents and essentializes a really deep, rich part of the culture for the benefit of cheaply peddling the aesthetic of "being Chinese". At least where I live, the majority of bad Chinese takeout places are owned by ethnic Chinese people. That doesn't make the existence of General Zuo's Chicken any less problematic in the grand scheme of things as a bad caricature of Hunan cuisine, or makes the fact that the takeout place across the street from me claims to sell "authentic Sichuan cuisine" but actually just sells a spicy version of a much simpler Cantonese food any better. I also feel that the "what even is authentic food" path of argument is somewhat missing the point because although elements of a culture's cuisine could be adapted from another culture, what makes it "part of" that culture is its unquestioning assimilation without being othered or systemically held up as "foreign". I feel that nowadays you can draw a line with ramen on one side and Chinese noodles on the other without controversy, although 60 years ago ramen was called "shina soba" in Japan, specifically "Chinese style noodles". What makes it Japanese is its adaptation to the tastes and ingredients native to Japan (the use of kombu and bonito stock, the various toppings and method of preparation), and the cultural and culinary history that integration has developed. In my view, its existence as an element of cultural appropriation basically ended when people stopped using the (really offensive) word "shina", and began to view it as part of Japanese culture. The same would go for General Zuo's Chicken. I have no problem with calling it Chinese-American food, because that's what it is. It's elements of Chinese cuisine made to fit an American palate, and come to be part of American culinary experience. I'd even call it "Chinese food" in America because that's basically the cultural shorthand for this kind of food anyway. So even though actual Chinese food is itself a cultural mishmash of imported, native, and "fusion" elements, I find that it's still possible to say that it's being misrepresented as a whole without problematically imposing a fixed identity on it. In the context of the article Bjorn posted, the issue with collards being badly made is that much of the marketing energy isn't being spent on the restaurant having good collard greens, but that they sell what people consider Southern food without effort to make good collard greens in the value system that they're marketing. The fact that this is the focus is what I find problematic. I'm a bit tired so apologies if this is missing the point of the conversation or is in some way internally inconsistent.
  5. anime

    As much as your criticisms (and the art style) of the show turn me off of it, I'm pretty pleased/surprised to hear that the show didn't stop the narrative at "love conquers all" and throw its hands in the air with a 20 minute shot of a sunset. When you say it's inscrutable, are you referring to the developments in the drama or the general motivations of the characters? I guess one follows the other, but I mostly want to know if the characters are built to be defined by clear motivations contrived to move a convoluted plot forward, or if the plot is convoluted by a natural consequence of complicated characters with evolving motivations and thought processes. -- I finished Mawaru Penguindrum. I don't really know what I should be feeling about it since my immediate reaction was negative, but I also get the sense that I don't fully understand it. There's a lot of symbolism and repetition that don't seem to serve the theme that I took away from it, and I can't really effectively separate the stuff I should be looking at and the stuff that's just there to be evocative and motivate the viewer (or to manufacture Poignancy). It just seems kind of all over the place while heavily suggesting that it's cohesive. I can't say I had a totally negative experience while watching it but in retrospect there's so much fluff and navelgazing that I felt was totally unnecessary to its thesis (or at least the one that I read). I dunno, it's probably a style thing. There's also the possibility that it's specifically about the nerve gas attacks and I don't have the cultural understanding to fully appreciate the work, but that just makes it feel even more indulgent.
  6. anime

  7. anime

    I don't even find it visually interesting. The art style is kind of original (aka not the art style anime usually is) and I could see why it might work really well on a better animation budget, but because the animation and direction is so stiff the art style comes off as kind of uneappealing and way less expressive than any one still would suggest. I can see the limited production budget seeping through the 15 second long zooms on a still image. I dropped it a week ago on episode 4 so I don't even know what happens in the story, but 4 episodes of exposition feels like way too much. Characters go on and on about how everyone has a hidden past and how the white haired dude doesn't like to talk about his past, and it's all to build up this sense of mystery surrounding the people in the organization. But if it's just shoved in my face consistently, it's hard for me to to feel intrigued. Also it's all expressed very verbally and dryly, and doesn't seem to take advantage of its setting to tell its stories. Maybe I should finish it since it's only 11 episodes but really I was totally bored by what I've seen.
  8. anime

    Just watched Ouran Host Club. It was good! Also watching House of Five Leaves. It is unbearable!
  9. anime

    Kissanime got bopped recently, which means I'll probably never watch a Japanese cartoon forever. My pirating ass probably deserves it. I got to watch One Punch Man though, and it is really pretty. I feel like though it's riding the same joke every arc and just shuffling up the context and throwing in some slapstick. The whole "drama builds up then is made completely trivial by an overpowered protagonist" gag is really funny but I think it would feel more credible if everything else wasn't so bland. After a while I don't want to watch through a boring story to get to a gag I already heard, even if that's the humor in it. Like Mumen Rider's comedy potential feels totally wasted since he doesn't really do anything in any of his appearances besides his introducing joke (but I guess he's only appeared like twice so far). A more thorough characterization would make the world and its risks more credible (and thus funnier when Saitama comes in and bluntly punches the problem in the face) than characters vomiting back story and explanation or Being Dramatic at the screen, which is what I think makes the same kind of jokes work well in Gintama. Overall it's really great though. What I'm really watching it for is the animation.
  10. anime

    This been mentioned a million timesin this thread but to me most, if not all, Ghibli films feel disjointed and oddly paced. Some of them just less so than others, and others are just totally balanced out by sense of place or a really specific, gooey sentiment they evoke. It's a weird thing to say about multimillion dollar animated productions but most feel like they're made with a sense of intuition and tone rather than with cerebral intention or like a kind of literary cohesion. I'd feel more comfortable ranking them along this metric rather than their being literary masterpieces. The films that feel closest to being super intentional are like the nega-Miyazaki films directed by Takahata, and I guess like Spirited Away. Howls is still pretty garbage, even considering that.
  11. Star Wars VII - Open spoilers

    Jesus why blue and red? Also never realized the crossguard guy was also some kind of Darth Hockeymask. Makes the design even goofier.
  12. anime

    Hello I am truly back. Haven't watched much stuff for a couple weeks. What's good in the anime hood so far?
  13. anime

    RE Aku no Hana: I feel like this show probably won't get another season, which is kind of a bummer considering how much of the story's themes are fleshed out after the events of the first season, and how the focus of each character changes. I would recommend the manga, but the art is kind of bad to the point of distracting from the story. I also feel like everything in the story is really ad-hoc and melodramatic (especially later in the manga), but because the subject matter is so grounded and because plotlines are all coherent and consistent, it definitely had impact for me. What do you think about the rotoscoping? I like the idea is that it's supposed to be as uncomfortably familiar as the feelings in the story are (uncanny valley and all that), were it's really distracting and in some places ugly. RE School-Live: Yep, same here. I don't have much more to say about it but yep.
  14. anime

    Do you think this guy's problems could all be solved by shaving his sideburns?
  15. anime

    Unrelatedly: I've started to actually watch Evangelion after about six months of straight bagging on it. I hope through watching it I find more material with which to bag on it.
  16. Man this is the reason why Street Fighter is my favorite esports scene. Despite it being extremely deep and technical, the audience and the announcers can at least intuit the emotion of a match and the personalities of the players because there's almost nothing more immediate than two cartoon dudes punching each other on a 2D stage. Also I'd take big dumb half-ironic WWE machismo over detached clean professionalism with the occasional Twitch meme any day.
  17. anime

    So I just watched an episode of gintama where the main villains are militant gender essentialists that punish non cis people with a pink gender swap beam. It was pretty awesome but I'm definitely getting the feeling that this isnt exactly the gintama from like 2006. The show's definitely weirder now, probably because of how long it's been running and how much it feels like it has to one-up itself. Not quite sure if that's a bad thing overall, but it does make a lot of the bokke-tsukkomi routines kind of forced and gimmicky. Like it's Mulder and Sculley still doing the imagination vs skepticism schtick after 7 seasons of alien bullshit. A lot of the old gintama humor kind of relied on the viewer having some ground of normalcy to stand on for the non sequitur stuff to really kick, but now it's just kind of non-stop, forced weirdness. Still going to watch it though, cause it's such a long running train wreck that it's impossible to not be endeared by the desperate schlock. Edit: oh yeah another thing I miss is humor playing with anachronism, like the image of an edo era samurai reading shonen jump. The setting was really great for those kinds of jokes. I guess they ran out of material because recently the setting is more like a free pass to eliminate any accountability to place and time, opening more doors for weird non sequitur. Again, whatever though.
  18. Social Justice

    YEAH YEAH yeah
  19. anime

    Wow I can't believe you're still watching. Anyway there's more mayonnaise to come.
  20. Hearing the word anime in the cast made me excitedly open gmail and click compose, wait for discussion, then disappointedly close the browser after hearing nothing about it. I was bummed until I reminded myself that whatever I was about to write was probably garbage and that this is a video game podcast. This is also part of the reason why that I feel apprehensive about media that's includes young people but is probably written by older guys (a lot of anime), or anything that feels intentionally vicarious or constructed to be personal. There's a point where it becomes obvious that the audience and the author are trying to participate in a strange role playing where there shouldn't be any.