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Posts posted by Blambo

  1. Recently I've been wondering why noodles came into existence. They're kind of cumbersome to eat, you can't easily consume them with your hands, they're not really a mobile kind of food. I guess possibly because slicing up/stretching out dough increases the surface area for boiling and has consistent cooking?

  2. Finished the one season available for Princess Jellyfish on Netflix and Blambo really nailed a lot of my thoughts in regards to the show and Kuranosuke in particular. I was expecting it to dig deeper into ideas of femininity/masculinity as performance, but it's also okay having a character that is transvestite without making the show focus on that one thing.




    This was interesting because the other instances of a character using their femininity to accomplish things is when Kuranosuke gets the pet-shop owner to sell Tsukimi the jellyfish after the shop is closed, and Inari who is portrayed as a femme fatale. I'm not quite sure what to draw from this yet, but it's been something I've been mulling over.


    I think the strongest feelings I have about any character is Koibuchi. Fuck that dude. He's already so daft that he can't tell Tsukimi is the same woman when she puts makeup on, but there's a scene where he slaps a woman for not a particularly good reason. The show also let's the woman conclude "He hit me because he cares about me." That's an actual "epiphany" a character had and it was really disappointing.


    Aside from that huge caveat, I thought the show was really charming. I think I'm going to dive into Samurai Champloo next as Cara Ellison mentioned it in passing in the top ten list she did for Giant Bomb this year.


    It's good that Koibuchi is developed to be a kind of comedically pathetic guy though. Come to think of it, besides Kuranosuke the male characters in the show are either hilariously inept or shown to be kind dicks. Also I read the "epiphany" as Inari realizing that her tactics and lifestyle affect other people emotionally. To me she kind of represented the more sinister side of playing along with society's expectations, in that it can turn you into a sociopathic jerk with self esteem problems. I see that less as a weakness inherent in the gender of the character (as this trope is often baked into a character being an attractive woman, ie "all attractive women are vain") and more in how she operates in a power structure stacked the way it is, if only because the show shows the polar opposite of this situation manifested in the sisterhood. Anyway if that was the case it wasn't indicated obviously enough for me to remember any details surrounding it.


    Not to scare you off of the show, but I had the same kind of disappointment in Samurai Champloo as I had in Princess Jellyfish concerning anime character conventions and plots. I expected that the lush animation, interesting setting, and unique art direction indicated that it was a little different in the story department but it's kind of just...well it has a shonen target audience. Not that such an expectation is sane at all (it's an anime about swordfightin') but just in case you're as snobby as I am, don't expect it to be revolutionary.


    Also not to say that I hate nonsense shonen anime. I've been watching Gintama and it has moments of comedic genius couched in really unironically dumb stories and characters. But it's stupid to expect anything different when it seems to sell the comedy part a lot more than the latter part and seems to realize that the shonen plot twists and cool action are there to sell to the base.


    Stuff I finished recently:


    1. Lucky Star

    2. Azumanga Daioh

    3. Paranoia Agent

    4. Level E

    5. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

  3. I'm in the camp where the idea is that it's not even something we can prove or disprove if it's something that's supposed to exist outside the scope of our perception, so "agnostic". Maybe I'm wrong to think that not having proof a thing existing doesn't disprove it?


    I guess I like to think that this thinking leaves my mind open, but I end up leading a pretty "atheist" life regardless.


    EDIT: my Christian friend says that the religion he believes in doesn't hinge on the existence of God but the behavior that results from believing in it. He says that intellectually he's agnostic, and is of the mind that God's existence isn't something anyone can ever prove or disprove, so it's pointless to try empirically, so you might as well trick yourself into believing in something because there's a net benefit.

  4. I feel like a lot of people I know who identify as atheist fit more into the "strong agnostic" thing. I do too, but it leads me to live a life essentially indistinguishable from an atheist's. Also I think the psychological aspects of "religiosity" are widely accepted and practiced, even if it's not attached to a concrete religion. Something about recognizing your own subjectivity and respecting the presence of greater truths is kind of religious.

  5. Ahh I recently watched that. I'm kinda mixed on it. I feel like only trying halfway to escape from anime character tropes is working against it. The character designs are interesting and visually portray women as actual people with different body shapes and features, but the actual characters are really one dimensional. Maybe it's just me but it feels less dissonant for series to have totally idealized designs and bland personalities because you go in expecting trashy flatness. Having one without the other feels kind of weird. Another thing was its portrayal of obsessions and obscure hobbies as all encompassing personality engulfers is weird to me and leads to some cheap jokes and flat characters, and kind of made things boring and unsubtle.

    Though anyway I like that kuranosuke is portrayed as a well adjusted, though kind of boisterous, guy. The jokey parts that focus on his crossdressing seem to highlight differences and prejudices in the other characters rather than forcing a sense of abnormality on him. I also liked that he isn't portrayed as especially flamboyant or campy (his personality seems really "shounen" compared to some of the other male characters). So I feel like the cross dressing isn't the main part of his character and is quite gracefully portrayed as a thing that's not a problem within him but a problem other characters might have with him. It doesn't go too deep into the subject though, which I think is fine, mostly because the character itself is not intended to be a transgendered person (I think he established in the second episode that he just likes to wear women's clothing, and that he's not a "boy who wants to be a girl"). The focus is less on his internal landscape and more how he's treated by his family and peers.

    Unrelated thing I liked about this anime: if I read it right, the theme of overcoming uncomfortableness with society's expectations of beauty and turning it around to work in your favor is really really positive and optimistic. It was cool to see that in an anime.

  6. Honestly, I liked the first four episodes enough that the rest were bound to disappoint me. I like the basic groundwork of the show, which was created entirely as a melting pot for the leftovers from Kon's movies, but by the time I saw Paranoia Agent, I'd already seen other shows that devoted more time and energy to the best ideas that had been built upon that groundwork. Boogiepop Phantom (and to a lesser extent, Serial Experiments Lain) did rumor-fueled serial crime better, Ghost in the Shell: SAC did crime-as-meme and questions of responsibility for ideas better, End of Evangelion did all-consuming-entity built from a fucked-up psyche better... It was cool to see them all filtered through Kon's unique directorial talent, but I have such trouble thinking of it as groundbreaking. As I've written before, I know a lot of that is because of circumstance, and sometimes I wish it otherwise, but there you go.


    Shounen Bat is an awesome concept, though, and one that's completely singular for Paranoia Agent.

    Yeah also the commentary on Japan's entertainment culture isn't as new as I thought it was. The thing I liked about it though was that it wasn't completely hypocritical, considering it's a piece geared solely towards social commentary rather than parody. No characters felt overly cool or overly cute, and any cheap feeling references or tropes were used to further the tension and weirdness of the show's tone. I haven't gotten into Lain, Boogiepop Phantom, or Evangelion (though everyone tells me to do so) because at first glance they all seem to rely on gimmicks or really basic sources of appeal that feel way too indulgent (though this is based on complete conjecture. Most of my "serious anime/manga" experience is in the form of shonen comics and ghibli films).


    The final fantasy episode in particular felt like it had the most potential to be a cheap sneer at a specific subculture. But that was fixed in the next episode when the delusion itself was invented by the fake shonen bat to absolve him of any responsibility. Every time something shows up that feels like it might be a cheap throwaway explanation, it becomes clear that it was meant to be that and works toward the show's main theme.


    I just completed Lucky Star. It's basically impossible for me to get any of the references but that was cushioned by the quality of the animation and overall mindlessness of some of the humor. I've basically given up on sticking to "smart" series (part of an overall push to stop being a smug dick) and have been consuming anime designed to be pure entertainment. Gintama so far is pretty great.

  7. Merry Christmas!

    I'm not actually home right now so I can't post pictures but I got a cool set of space/california paraphernalia and a sweet board for fiddling around on. I'll post my finished project when I find the schematic. Awesome, nerdy Santa (god I'm sorry I don't know your username)!

  8. My package came on my birthday!

    Also: I feel bad because the package I sent out is incredibly impersonal...I didn't even attach a card or wrap it due to forgetfulness and an envelope shortage. I hope it's cool!

  9. I'm two episodes into Paranoia Agent and so far it's absolutely incredible. I hope that the plot continues to be segmented as character studies because so far it really takes advantage of the episodic format of TV shows, packing an amazing amount of detail and attention to the psyche of the subject through really simple, meaningful mechanics. I understand that the director, Satoshi Kon, has a reputation as a master editor and cinematographer in feature length anime films and I really look forward to seeing his work in a TV format.

    Edit: Just finished it. Damn it's good. I can't really say anything intelligent about it yet cause I'm still sifting through it in my head. Has anyone else seen it?

    After something as dense and thoughtful as that I needed a break so I started Lucky Star. So far it feels super inane; if the rest of the series is anything like what I've seen so far, which was the five minute dialogue about the idiosyncrasies of eating desserts, I probably won't be able to see the appeal beyond the base moe thing.

  10. I was talking to a friend who is really into music cultures and genres about gamergate. He, while understanding how crappy and harmful the culture surrounding the movement is and was, places a special importance in preserving subcultures and communities that form "scenes" that produce unique identities and aesthetics. He likened the archetypal "broshooter" game to some kind of viking metal genre that I can't actually remember in that it's something that emerged from a very exclusive culture but left an artifact of something that's unique and interesting in terms of its cultural heritage and aesthetic.


    This caused him to empathize a little with what evidently gamergate is about, which is preserving an aesthetic of the "gamer" subculture by any means (even though doing so reveals inherent, deliberate prejudices and toxic interactions in the culture). He argues that gaters don't feel like they're actively excluding anyone because they're preserving their culture, and that the culture should be allowed to exist even if it's harmful to society at large or is exclusive, simply because it's an artifact of humanity. Also there's a present idea that social activism will hamfistedly force diversity into this subculture, which will inherently destroy it because its aesthetic is built upon exclusiveness. I guess the correct response is that this subculture can be allowed to exist but it shouldn't encompass the entire medium, and that the aesthetics created by this kind of subculture can be abstracted and made more inclusive without destroying its heart (metal can be aggressive and hardcore without being just for men) but I was wondering what people here thought.

  11. Actually the reason why I haven't cut it yet is because it grows back really quickly and I no longer own shears. Seems futile.

    I'm not sure how hair works but combing, shampooing, and buzz cuts always end up with the same result in about two weeks.

  12. I have really dry, curly hair for a Chinese person due to genetics and pool water chlorine. For a few years I suppressed it by using an insane amount of conditioner and keeping it very short. Recently however, I've been neglecting it and its grown into a form that consists of a thick bush on top and upward curling wolverine wings on the sides. It's really distressing every time I look in the mirror because for years I've internalized myself as a "normal looking dude" and the Einstein hair is making me doubt my own identity.

  13. Whoa hey same with me but that's balanced out by the other half of my followers that are idiots from TiGSource and bots.

    I've been trying kind of hard to duck out of using twitter for a while, cause it always felt like I had nothing I particularly wanted to say while really wanting to communicate with people.