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Posts posted by Blambo

  1. The poster for that movie was really evocative when it came out but seeing the trailer kind of turns me off, since it kinda just looks like karate kid with bears. Not to say that's a bad thing, but I was totally expecting something different.


    Speaking of anime movies that look good but may be different when they come out:



    Animated magical realism and personal stories make me into goo. Something in the back of my head is telling me that this is going to be a bad love story with a lot of yelling at somebody in the rain and staring into the distance but I'm holding out hope.

  2. Mine is My Neighbours The Yamadas, because Isao Takahata is secretly the best director at Ghibli.



    My favorite thing about Ghibli films is the sense of place they give, if it isn't ruined by weird directing and a dumb plot. So that kind of narrows them down to stuff Takahata directed or From Up on Poppy Hill, which has the least common with any other Miyazaki joint to date and is probably my favorite Ghibli overall next to Only Yesterday or Princess Kaguya.


    Miyazaki's stuff is a weird mixed bag to me. A lot of decisions go into unpredictable, somewhat questionable directions, and the majority of them serve only as a backdrop the the incredible world design and ambient feeling, so much so that when it hits it feels more serendipitous than intentional (except for the Wind Rises and Spirited Away which were really consistent).


    Agh now I have to watch every Ghibli film again. There goes my weekend. Consumed by anime.

  3. -Anime Influence on Western Media

    Maybe it's also worth it to have an Avatar the Last Airbender discussion, if only to talk about how good it is, why every aesthetic decision made on that show is perfect, why it's the best battle anime, what it takes from anime and what it avoids, why it doesnt feel like a regular anime, why it's good and why it's really good.

  4. As a less brutal alternative for poor Blambo, the K-On! movie is on Hulu for free.






    Now look here Gorm is Blambo isn't climbing battle scarred and shell shocked from the onslaught of a full season of pure moe this isn't gonna work.

    Ok maybe it is but I sure do enjoy Blambo in full "this is the worst thing ever mode"

    So how about a compromise K-on Movie & Perfect Blue double bill  :D

    That week must have one hell of a theme...
    Also I've already watched all of Love Lab, so it's not like I break out in hives when I see moe. I got a pretty bad rash but that's all.

  5. The main character does have an interesting arc. I guess it never really sunk in because I was mostly paying attention to the wacky stuff happening, though I did get the sense that her character as it was presented is the result of some kind of balanced coping and troubled but more or less resolved past. I guess I didn't recognize the narrative punchline of the main character getting more and more well adjusted the farther away from a specific social structure she was.

    It just boils down to me not really seeing past the cute wacky stuff I guess, or that I was looking in the wrong place. I dunno. It strangely just washed over me and I couldn't really think of the main character as anything but an audience vessel, which maybe prevented me from being exposed to her character arc.

    Also it's not like she's presented as anything but a cuttingly smart, world wise person, even as a child. You never get to see the moment where her aloofness and skepticism is put up as a defense mechanism against society. But maybe it speaks more to my ability of perception that I need that kind of narrative cue to figure it out.

  6. I just finished Humanity Has Declined, which is a satire-comedy-post-apocalyptic-surrealist thing. A lot of the satire went over my head (probably will watch it a second time), either because it was kind of Japan centric or because they never really made any meaningful argument, so I focused on the main character. She's smart and capable while having realistic flaws, and serves as a weird reserved but biting straight man to the whole world. She's written in a kind of nondescript logical way that's usually reserved for potato-kun male type characters, which is refreshing. I don't think she has much depth; her backstory arc was just about how she learns to balance social skepticism and empathy to alleviate her loneliness, which would be an interesting thing to tackle if she had more time to develop as a character. Her design is interesting without being distracting though it's still very moe: which...more or less worked with her character? I dunno. Still looks very gratuitous.


    It just strikes me as kind of without a point, but kind of indicating that it does have a point.


    Overall it feels refreshing while still being relatively shallow in its criticisms, which results in me giving it a slight thumbs up with an apprehensive face on. It left a good enough impression on me because of how weird and whimsical it is, and how unique the writing is, but I'm at a complete loss when it comes to me trying to understand/justify what I liked about it on balance with what I didn't like about it. Never really experienced that before.

  7. Has there been decent mainstream anime with yuri elements? Utena comes to mind, but I haven't watched that (I just kinda know from osmosis what it's kind of about). Also this seems like it deserves a watch in a weird anime canon way.



    I finished listening. A couple thoughts:

    1. Full Metal Alchemist didn't click all that much with me either. It was good enough for me to get through it all but I felt like a lot of it was a little too childish and predictable. Those last 10-15 episodes were pretty good though so I was happy that I stuck through till the end.

    2. I was actually recently looking for a good tear-jerker anime to get into and saw a lot of people praising Clannad After Story as the tear-jerkiest of all tear-jerkers. It sounded like one of you mentioned Clannad in a positive light so... should I watch it? Any major bugaboos I should be aware of?

    Clannad also seems consistently recommended. Would like to echo the possible bugaboo question.
    Have you seen Mushishi? It's really sad in weird ways.
    I wanted really bad to discuss occult-detective anime like Mushishi or Mononoke on the podcast but I feel like it wouldn't have expanded to anything beyond that, and we were already an hour in without talking about LWA. Maybe a future "let's all watch" thing?


    Also Paranoia Agent.


    "Art Anime" week.

  8. I was stunned that Blambo & Twig almost (but not quite) made a simple but actually fairly robust case for why it probably shouldn't be hated as much as it is


    I was mostly talking about how midichlorians aren't as bad as people say, and I was gonna mention that the science is so bullshit that it might as well be magic, but then we actually started talking about anime. What a weird thing to bring up!


    I still kind of hate that movie.


    Also gotta mention; mad props to Codicier for being a hero and editing 5 tracks of nearly 3 hours of audio down to a manageable size and quality!

  9. I just parsed "dreadnaught" the other day and realized I'd spent my life giving that word less than it's bad-ass worth.

    Dreadnaught = dread-naught = dread-nothing = fear-nothing =

    "When ye sail outta this harbor in one my tall ships, laddy, ye shall dread naught!" Bad. Ass.

    This whole time I'd been thinking about it as if it is was meant to inspire dread, but etymologically that doesn't seem to hold up. I also like that the the a lack of fear applies to facing not only an enemy but also the ocean, whereas striking fear makes the ship seem only useful in war-time.

    Is there a reason why a world war I era British admiral talks like a pirate?

  10. I mean, I think that's a survival strategy for most "true artists" in mainstream anime (and, thinking of games like Spec Ops: The Line, also probably in AAA video games). You have the surface layer of culturally-reduced escapism to sell the show to the people who will actually make it profitable, and then you have a deeper layer of actual meaning, which may or may not integrate the thematic and aesthetic elements of the surface layer, that is then assessed as successful or not based on the dissonance therein. I don't think anime is conspicuously more complicit in this dynamic than movies or video games, but because the added level of cultural difference promotes a degree of othering that's not present in homegrown media products, people are a lot less tolerant of it when it's not something they've been trained by modern media culture to expect (or want). There have been more than a couple people, almost always forum newbies, who've shown up in this thread to say that anime is childish entertainment for gross perverts, without blinking an eye at how much of the world still thinks that video games are childish entertainment for psychotic killers. Then again, that perception also exists in Japan, where cultural difference can't explain it, and it's existed since at least the late eighties, with the first "otaku murderer," so maybe that's just the typical obsession over the validity of a new medium, which tracks back to sixteenth-century German monks complaining that these newfangled "novels," which were read silently and alone instead of in public to an audience, were going to turn people into solipsistic obsessives trapped in a fantasy world. I don't know, they seem like two sides of the same coin to me, so I try not to worry about the KyoAni moe machine just like I try not to worry about Call of Duty. Like the Thumbs said a few weeks back, it's all about developing a palette that can recognize and appreciate the strengths of a given work beyond the requisite slather of violence or sex that basically everything mainstream is obligated to have, at least if it wants to be profitable. I think there's a lot to love in anime, but it does take work, because animeeeee (sung in the same way as "video gaaaaames").

    In general, I don't waste much time or effort worrying about cultural stagnancy. Historically speaking, over several millennia, those concerns have almost never been timely or pressing, so long as artistic mediums remain the province of people and not institutions. I do worry about people on the other end with unhealthy patterns of media consumption, no matter the medium, but I think the vanguard there should be the social and cultural framework, especially how it talks about media in a way that's critical and also aspirational. That's a lot of what I try to do when I talk about anime.

    I do recognize that there's a certain amount of cultural perspective that goes into my preferring anime to be the butt of my criticism, though that's kind of why I'm trying to dissect specific aspects of the medium so I can understand it as much as I understand something that's more home grown to me, ie video games. I guess I'm coming off too strong on solely criticizing anime because I don't mean to say that no other medium is a source of gross exploitation of a psychological or cultural issue, I'm focusing on anime because it's something I don't buy into or get as much as someone who grew up around it, and because I want to see people criticize and develop a palette for anime on the level that, say, the Thumbs do for video games. I cringe every time I read something that says "it's just entertainment" when referring to any medium, and whenever people just ignore repeated tropes and aesthetics because "that's just what anime is". Much of the criticism that's shaped like "video games turn people violent" is too crass but there's always room for understanding the psyche behind violence in video games just as much as there is for understanding the psyche behind fawning over animated high school girls. But I dunno, "substituting virtual love for real love" is not on the same level as "video games make you a violent killer". The better anime analogue is "liking moe makes you a pedophile", which is ridiculous. However that makes the original, less cartoonishly stupid criticism of anime worth talking about.

    By the way I think this thread has achieved a lot in helping me develop a better understanding of the medium and how I interface with it, and much of it is due to your intelligence and engagement, Gorm.

  11. Isn't that more or less what Simon Pegg said about nerd culture in general? I really don't get it, isn't the point of a hobby and entertainment in general "escaping from the harsh world"?

    When a normal guy vegetates on the sofa watching TV he's just relaxing, but if you're a nerd... Oh, no! He's running away from reality! SHUN HIM! This is so dumb, this whole "escaping from reality", "infantilization" and such. What ISN'T "escaping reality"? All hobbies and ways to pass the time are "escaping from reality"! Reading books, drinking, sports, EVERYTHING.

    Everybody talks about escaping reality and such, but they never say what facing reality is. Is it being informed? Being mature? Socializing with real people? Going outside? Nobody says it, but guess what, you can do ALL of these and still come home to watch an anime cat maid waifu show.

    This is all true but it's also ignoring the possibility that some things are actually optimized to encourage closing yourself off from "normal" life and even being hostile toward it. I don't mean to normalize any aspect of life and I also don't want to say that nerd culture is inferior or fake, I just feel that anime in particular has features that capitalize on a sort of unconscious insecurity, probably not due to any malice on the part of the creators but due to the cycles of market demand and cultural exchange. I'm specifically referring to that dynamic of embracing some aspect of life and shunning another when both can be accessible. Maybe it's a stereotype of american anime nerd or whatever but I can see that being the case, judging from the way I see people engaging with anime and video games online. (This community notwithstanding)

    But even detached from anime, don't you feel that this specific kind of relationship with media is limiting personal growth and exacerbating cultural stagnancy? It's not the inherent aspect of escapism in fiction that bothers me but how often audiences and authors optimize toward it, and how the product of such optimization can be used to enhance the existing psychological issues of people who do engage with media in a kind of unhealthy way, ie to cover up insecurities and never deal with them. I have a strong feeling that moe anime does this, but I'm not saying that it's impossible to enjoy it without having latent Freudian psychological issues.

    I understand that fiction can be extremely cathartic and invoke self-reflection but to see past the presentational escapism layer requires a certain amount of focus and participation from the audience, and many creators cannot afford that risk while many audiences aren't willing to put up the effort. Showing what fiction is capable of doesn't excuse the aspects of it and the many exploitative works in it that work to its disadvantage, and I think that interpreting any criticism of escapism in media as criticism of the platonic ideal of escapism misses the point and skips over a lot of its nuance.

    Anyway Kenny Loggins is no longer my waifu, Gorm.

    Edit: Regarding my post I was mostly interested in exploring my friend's idea of the oedipal motherly role that escapism can take in defense of some oppressive father figure, whether it takes the form of Reality or Society or whatever. I got into anime recently because of a series of really shitty emotional events and sustained depression so this makes a lot of sense to me, haha. I thought it fit into the ongoing conversation of how otaku culture emerges from the pressures of Japanese society in the first place, but this is a huge topic and I definitely need to do more reading about it. I think it's worthy discussion though.

  12. This is a weird and personal thing to bring up now but I was talking to my friend about anime (the same one I talked to about moe and gender) and she brought up how waifu/otaku culture reminds her of a huge Oedipal phenomenon where victims of the paternalistic pressures of society retreat into and obsess over the maternal embrace of animated dolls that comfort and encourage and become more and more hostile toward daddy society. I feel like the exact wording is a stretch and that Freudian dynamics are overused and misunderstood but I feel like this puts into words why I feel so weird and uncomfortable about engaging with the culture surrounding anime and the works that emerge from its demand, or specifically the moe character trope. It feels like I'm participating in a huge creepy indulgence in subconscious insecurities that's beyond perpetuating gender stereotypes or otherwise promoting questionable social ideology. It just feels creepy because of the intended function of being a kind and motherly distraction from a harsh world, which because of the ubiquity of certain art styles and the format of TV episodes, is even largely independent of the actual "message" or content of the piece.

    My friend then jumped to Eva and eagerly encouraged me to watch it. I really, really feel weird about it now

  13. Episode 5 of Planetes: a couple discuss double suicide with the same tone and the same backing music as the wacky guy getting used to zero g three minutes earlier, all after straight up barfing up their backstory.

    The worst.

    So far all of the potentially good points and interesting themes have boiled down to shouting matches between characters with either extreme opinions or spur of the moment emotional swings. There's no nuance or poignancy to anything, which sucks because everything it seems to want to say begs for it. It just reads like a badly written sitcom soap opera that doesn't trust its audience at all and it's such a shame because it's IN SPACE. It's IN SPACE and the science isn't totally bullshit, and it sucks to find such a unique anime only to be be disappointed by writing that belongs in a shonen anime's boss battle arc in every episode.

    I want it to be good which is why I'm still watching it, but Christ almightly.

    One episode has a whole classism and adult fears thing that gets boiled down to a "snooty rich kid makes fun of poor people and has a naïve worldview" character who's at best a shitty caricature (at one point he actually just says "this is how the world works").

    Edit: I got to the fucking space ninjas.

  14. Man I kinda just realized that everyone who I recommended Punpun to who also doesn't like teen angst and imagery in eva might not like Punpun. I still haven't seen eva so I have no way of knowing but Punpun has a lot of that.

    But Punpun is also super smart, everything has a point to it, the angst actually develops in a way that's interesting, it doesn't exist just to exist, and there's no feeling of being navel gazy in the way I hear eva being. It's also has a wide view of adulthod, love and idealism that's not intended to be relatable or limiting. It's less Hamlet whining about death and more Horatio awkwardly stepping around him while quietly disapproving.

    It's also told in a way that doesn't ever directly present the thoughts and feelings of anyone besides the main character, which even then are told in third person past tense by a directed narrator. If it makes it any better, the angst is more something you observe and recall rather than something you're intended to participate in or find sympathetic.

    I dunno. Fucking read it.

  15. Terry Crews no Monogatari


    I just started Planetes. It's pretty good so far, though the animation quality is kind of bad, I'm loving the character designs and technology. It all feels grounded but not grim, and coupled with some pretty stirring music it's space as fuck. The characters look like actual human beings, which is big plus for me.

    The dialogue feels a little put on though. It feels kind of like a daytime TV drama the way everything is so condensed and people say exactly what they should say. There was a moment in the first episode where two of the characters just got into a weird debate about whether or not they should scrap a commemorative peace plate that was on a collision course to a war satellite, which is made even more put on and cheesy when they're debating while on the job. Also the main character is weirdly inept and untrained for her job, even though she has to go into space and cooperate with trained astronauts. I doubt being an astronaut has become so safe in 2075 that rookie office workers can just tag along on missions, but that's what the rationale would be I guess.

    So far there's a lot of wacky sound effects and base humor that would make the tone this really interesting mix of hard science and emotional realism with a light veneer of happy if it was actually funny and if the presentation was diegetic. Ideally I'd prefer ghibli humor and lightheartedness, which doesn't tend to break away from the sense of wonder that the pieces otherwise elicit.

    Overall my impression is that it doesn't feel tonally consistent, and the way it's written and executed might not take special advantage of the emotional impact of its setting (it's in space. There's so much you can do.) I feel like it doesn't trust the viewer to be entertained by long stretches of scenery and music a-la Cowboy Bebop so it packs every minute full of dialogue, which is a huge shame because the music and art is great.

    Another thing: it keeps playing its awesome music while there's conversation going on, which ruins the mood. It feels like it's constantly blowing its load and pushing everything they have at once.

    I'm definitely going to keep watching though. I really hope the characters that were introduced as weird flat one dimensional caricatures get some time to develop, or at least get some nice cowboy bebop style weighted dialogue.

    Edit 2: this is the most inane, badly written plot I could've imagined.

  16. Yeah there comes a point where potato-kun isn't recognizably unsympathetic anymore and his indecision is a wacky symptom of being too fortunate with the ladies, at which point his lack of discernible features makes him the male audience avatar which grosses me the fuck out. From osmosis I gather that Shinji is supposed to be unsympathetic and spineless (while female Shinji might be endearing and hilariously inept, which is commentary in itself (albeit obvious and hamfisted commentary)), but that because the other qualities of his relationship with the girls other anime (and its audience) have chipped away at the critical parts and optimized the parts that attract male audiences. Potato kun and his harem of stereotypes being the result, and then it further optimizes so that potato kun just disappears and all thats left is seinen-age grouped guy audience inserting themselves into an all female cast. Gross!

    Evangelion as the unintentional origin of this horrible setup is interesting, actually. I hadn't realized this at all, and was always kind of confused as to why certain female character tropes exist and are always treated as weird winky cultural memes within the pieces they exist in.

    I still haven't watched eva, and it's looking more and more weird.

    EDIT: I have a bad habit of prematurely submitting then editing posts, so the comment you read just now may not be the current one, sorry

  17. I think you just might like Oyasumi Punpun a lot. If something's really good, everything else pales in comparison. That's okay, too. I hate that so many shows use the girl-as-doll tropes pioneered by Evangelion but don't include the multiple episodes of systemic societal criticism that make it conscionable in that context.

    I mean, I had something specific to say about punpun, though I won't rule out me having weird honeymoon fever with the piece. This time though I'm not dropping punpun because I feel like it.

    Punpun being an abstraction has an effect of making him seem less credible and grounded, which I feel is similar to the effect moe designs have on me. Araragi has a plausible physique and is rendered and human looking, so it makes me feel, preconsciously, that he's The Cake any everyone else is temporal icing, or that he's the ground that you eventually touch back down on after floating on moe air.

    Anyway this isn't really specific to the monogatari series since I can say this about any anime with female characters and an accompanying male protagonist (or even an all female cast). If me eventually just enumerating all the latent reasons I'm bothered by moe is at all annoying, I'll just write a blog instead.

    By the way I really like how Shinji is just a weak chicken boy with girly features:


    He's so moe

  18. I think that's great, and might be an interesting watch. Thing is I'm still constantly bugged by surface level things. I had some complaints about the presentational layer of the show in my original post that I extracted here instead of editing:

    The manga Oyasumi Punpun has a kind of structure where the male main character is more or less defined and developed by the female presence in his life, but each character has emotional layers and aren't just weakly written side characters, and in this case I think it works, but I feel that this is a function of the piece not preferring any specific character or showing any of them to be totally sympathetic or central. Punpun doesn't have to be deconstructed as a hero because he never was one to begin with. His design and the designs of the people around him reflect that, and I'm not sure you would get the same effect if you made him look like the main character of Bakemonogatari. Everyone around punpun literally looks more real than he does, in the same way that the main character in Bakemonogatari looks infinitely more real that all the moe cute anime girls around him.

    (Punpun is the bird cartoon by the way)

    The design choice to doll up all the girls while keeping Araragi a regular dude may conflict with the intention of making the main character unsympathetic, is what I'm saying.

    This is another reason why I think that the way anime girls are designed hampers their perception as characters. It's a hard left turn to consider any of the characters rendered this way to be real (to me at least) and requires my watching hours of the show and other shows for it to sink in.

    Anyway maybe this design trope is totally central to Bakemonogatari's overall effect. If so then it could more or less be completely honest about its sexualizing and infantalizing the characters which is actually really awesome. I guess I have to watch it to figure that out.

  19. Yeah it's specifically that room for error that makes this really weak to me. If it's trying to communicate something, it's doing so with enough leeway to rope in someone who doesn't care about its message, in a way that it functions as a sexy fantasy anyway. This isn't a new thing though.

    If it turns out that the girls of the week exist only to point out something or other about the main character so that he develops, implicitly or explicitly, I'll definitely stop watching. I'm not sure how this kind of balance would even hold up in any circumstance if none of the female characters have emotional depth or are beyond stereotype. I haven't watched Mad Men, so maybe it's possible in some form/medium.