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Posts posted by Blambo

  1. After being amused by the Platinum Spice Old Spice Nisemonogatari mashup then being subsequently hypnotized by the Platinum Disco opening I decided to start watching Bakemonogatari.

    I hate it. It's visually impressive and has cool presentation but it's wasted on fauning over sexy high school girls while knowlingly winking at the audience, saying "pointing out these specific aspects of a male experience and wrapping it up in a cool looking package makes this gross experience subversive and ok".

    The end.

    Anime sucks.

    Why do I force myself to do this.

  2. I'm still confounded by the idea that a plantain economy with strict social roles, little room for free soilers, and literal slave labor constitutes a "non-ideological, economic form of democracy".

    He's not even the resident Hitler apologist in the class, he's the kid who exclaims "why isn't there a white history month" when he deems the 6th grade Martin Luther King day assignment not worth his time.

    What is wrong with people.

  3. Personally, I much prefer his post about how Hideo Kojima has predicted what is really going on in society.

    And the thing is, this mentality dominates the planet. At first it was confined to the northern United States: the south was founded by capitalists and operated on a non-ideological, economic form of democracy. This lasted until the Civil War, where the south decided they wanted nothing to do with the Puritan progressives of the north and tried to secede, only to get completely destroyed by the north and forced to comply with the Puritan style of running things. Reconstruction was simply the north trying to reshape the south in its image. Of course, it didn’t entirely work out, as evidenced by the existence of the Republican party today. Still, the Republicans and the American right are still fairly powerless, being only capable of slowing down progressivism instead of stopping it entirely. Indeed, the GOP still roots themselves in the various core memes of the enlightenment.

    What the fuck is wrong with people.

    I'm not surprised that a group of people who worship memes also consider mindless GOP platitudes to be upholding the spirit of the enlightenment. But wow.


    I've never seen a better example of how one-dimensional video game styled writing is just straight up demolishing a person's worldview. This person's logic of reality might as well be written in a World of Warcraft lore manual.

  4. Since there will inevitably be lots of porn on the Oculus Rift after it releases, I wonder if anyone will do the whole "flightstick hand tracking" thing but with your junk instead of a flightstick. And if somebody does manage to make that work, I hope they go the extra mile and allow you to customize your junk. Maybe one day I want to experience having a 13" dong. Maybe the next day I want to see what it would be like to have a fully animated squirrel where my junk should be.


    I just really hope they fix the nausea issues before this stuff becomes a (virtual) reality. 


    Valve's VR api was released recently so you don't even have to wait for the actual device to come out to experience this new wave of immersive pornography.



    One of the first things I remember seeing for the Oculus Rift was a demo where somebody attached a Tenga sleeve to a Novint Falcon so that you could fuck a poorly-rigged Hatsune Miku.




    Didn't think this would be so easy to find.

  5. Twig what do you actually think about Mushishi Zoku-Shou? It's one of those things where I oscillate between letting the ambiance wash over me and obsessively nerd analyzing stuff, so I don't have a coherent opinion.

  6. Just finished Mushishi and the first season of Mushishi Zoku-Shou. I'm super happy with how the first series ended, and how it was overall consistent and meaningful, and how each episode was layered and had lots of potential for interpretation. Unfortunately this half of Zoku-Shou feels a little weaker, and seems to have a lot of contrived scenarios that exist either to make Ginko look cool while ghostbustin or to push some pretty weak melodrama. Overall it has a much less chatoic and negative view of a mushi filled world than the original, which I suspect is because the first series got pretty damn grim, but I liked that about it. It made Ginko feel fallable and gave the world an incredible weight to it.

    Zoku-Shou is a lot more watery, and Ginko seems to have way more control over every situation than he used to and as a result a lot of the opportunities to look into Ginko's character go untaken, which was an interesting part of series one. Right now the episode format is:

    1) I'm sick with gimmick fever

    2) Ginko has an easy solution

    3) Sad music plays as I make a gray moral choice.

    Granted it's a hard formula to pull off, but it's formulaic nonetheless.

    Still, when it works, it's friggin great. I have individual thoughts about each episode, but I think I'll wait to finish the second season to share them. It's much easier to digest and unpack this time around, which feels less fun than the original series, but it has a certain flavor. Also I'll never get sick of weird semi-sentient bug gods as a concept.

  7. I had a dream recently where I kept repeatedly hearing Chris' voice snidely say "chugga chug chug Hans Zimmer" while watching a movie about a concert. I think it's from an episode but I might also be making it up. Anyone have recollection of that weird line? From anywhere?

  8. Sorry for getting my goat up, guys. I just spend a lot of time watching anime and enjoy extracting some greater meaning from it, at least when it's worthy of it. I know that a lot of anime is creatively compromised, most often through commercial considerations, and I find that a frustrating obstacle to useful analysis, but I don't think it's a particularly Japanese thing. I have a raft of TV shows like Sons of Anarchy that I've quit because the script was done and the arcs were complete, but the show was still slated for two more seasons after that. That's not even counting stuff like Hell on Wheels, which was a mess from the beginning and made no effort to cohere more than being a tone piece about angry men workin' on the railroad. So yeah, when an anime strikes me right, I usually dig deeper and, if I find something that doesn't work for me, I do my best to research the context, to see if it's something for which I'm just not carrying the appropriate baggage. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's hard to tell, like it is with KILL la KILL, because it's a little bit of both? I don't know, moving on.

    I used to agree about FLCL, personally, but recently I was reading an article that I can't seem to find it my browser history, which pointed out a lot of the ways that each episode is tightly clustered around a central theme, which together attack a lived experience of childhood in a holistic way. Reading through some of the character profiles and episode summaries again, I was impressed by how deeply FLCL is about the desire for children to be adults and the tendency for adults to be children, as well as how those desires both come from similar but not the same places. I feel pretty strongly right now, although probably not always, that FLCL only appears scatterbrained because it suits its themes to be that way.

    Also, cicadas make me think of summer nights, but then I grew up in Texas, where annual cicadas are pretty common in July and August. After over a decade of watching anime, it hasn't been hard to extend that association to summer days. I honestly think it's a masterstroke in Evangelion that the cicadas are ubiquitous, as a way of conveying the heat and that the world has been ruined in a very specific way.

    Again I feel like I'm not communicating enough that analysis isn't impossible and that it is worthwhile, especially since I can't imagine that every sigle aspect of Japanese art is incomprehensible to anyone else. If you have eyes and ears, you can appreciate and analyze any anime to the fullest extent that you can and in your specific way.

    Things are getting kind of muddy since I kind of just popped in the middle of the conversation after reading CLWheeljack's post, and it feels like it's turning into me attacking the art status of anime or making fun of people who enjoy it/analyze it, which I'm not or at least trying not to do.

  9. I mean, context is always going to be part of a creative work, so something is definitely lost when there is an inability to comprehend it in full, but there are many kinds of media from foreign cultures with foreign values that have some unique resonance with our own culture apart from appropriative familiarity: Greek epics, Roman poetry, French romances, Italian theatre, Indian songs, Russian novels... All of these examples have something that is absent from and inaccessible by a strictly anglophone background, but isn't the entire premise of art that there's something intrinsic there anyway, which is worthy of discussion if not to be preferred over a full analysis of the work itself? Are the people who consume, study, and love these things, along with Japanese anime, wasting their time because they're not privy to some arbitrary threshold of conscious or unconscious intent by the author?* Am I making a fool out of myself when I say that Dream of the Red Chamber is my favorite literary work, when I'm not Chinese, an aristocrat, or from the eighteenth century and therefore share nothing in common with the context of the novel? I'm not sure I find myself agreeing at all. Well, I may be a fool, I can't deny that. Also, if you're saying that a creative work can't be enjoyed (or can't be "100% enjoyed," whatever that means)** outside of the specific moment of its cultural context, you're basically saying that it's ephemera, confined to and defined by a specific moment, which is equally if not more reductive and dismissive to it as a product of a culture.

    Sorry, I know I'm overstating my case here, but it's been really weird for us to go from "KILL la KILL is a thematically confused anime, even among fans" to "all anime is thematically confused, it's characteristic of Japanese media culture and Western enjoyment of it as coherent is actually appropriation" in twenty-four hours, especially when we blew past a list of five thematically dense but coherent anime (at least two with outspoken auteurs for creators) that it took me all of fifteen seconds to throw together off the top of my head.

    * I can't find a place to put this, but "uniformity of message" could just as easily be said to be something that anglophone TV and movies doesn't value either, if you take the average work. How uniform is the message in Avengers: Age of Ultron or The Walking Dead, which are critically acclaimed yet thematically confused works? Is our context as a Western audience of particular use to us here?

    ** I used to stress out that I didn't and couldn't get all the references in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, until I read a couple interviews with native Japanese fans who said that they didn't get a majority of the jokes but liked how dense the show was packed with them. It helped me to realize that Kumeta and Shinbo were just throwing as much stuff as they could up on the screen in the hopes that there'll be something somewhere to make everyone laugh, even me. Understanding and enjoying something "100%" is sometimes unfeasible or undesirable for an informed member of the audience.

    I don't think we're disagreeing in any meaningful way. Anime or any exported art can be enjoyed to the fullest extent by any individual in their own cultural context because there's no platonic ideal of how or how much a thing should be enjoyed, but that's separate from criticizing and enjoying it in its intended cultural context, which has value on its own.

    I'm not saying that it's impossible to enjoy foreign art just because you're not a PhD in Japanese Media Studies, I'm saying that there are specific instances where it's impossible to understand it 100% in every way it was intended, especially in media as targeted and niche marketed as anime is. Sure the author dies with the birth of a piece but the farther you are from its intended audience the more likely you are to miss bits and pieces of authored things specific to a culture, whether it's as crass as a pop culture reference or as subtle as a cultural ideology. There's a limit in breadth and depth of how you interpret something foreign as a result, and I'm not saying that this fact should stop anyone from watching something foreign to their own cultural background, since the whole point is to broaden your cultural boundaries and redefine your identity and thought process. These limits don't mean that you can't sit down and enjoy anime as a westerner, since people obviously do, but like you seemed to indicate, the qualities that you're likely to enjoy it for on at first glance are universal. You won't get the benefit of getting a prereflective reptile brain enjoyment of elements not specific to your culture. Doing research may improve your enjoyment of the piece retroactively and also help you enjoy future pieces but that effort alone should indicate that there's a boundary, or at least a gradient. I'm saying that not being aware of this or ignoring this borders on appropriative because you're potentially misrepresenting a culture by stating an interpretation meant to be internally consistent within the context of this culture that isn't your own. I'm not saying that interpreting foreign media is per se appropriative, I'm saying it depends on your frame of mind.

    The answer to your Dream of the Red Chamber question is "no but that's not the issue here".

    Paranoia agent is a good example.

    its themes about paranoia and pathological blame shifting in modern society are universal, but the kawaiisa aspect and the cultural weight of the atomic bomb are not something non Japanese people ever experience. At most you can make a 6th grade reading comprehension connection but there is no visceral response to the overarching motifs of the show because you've never lived in this society.

    At best you can infer its cultural context but you can't feel it on first glance when images flash on the screen, and even when you do a reflective analysis on the work and attempt to assess its coherence with your analysis, you have no barometer for whether or not this foreign cultural thing is effective to you.

    Also I didn't mean to indicate that anime is universally incoherent or that attributing coherence to it is a western invention or whatever. Though, cynically, it's pretty obvious that depending on marketing factors or economics, choices in a lot of media will be made despite coherency or moral goal simply because it must pander to every inch of its audience to survive. The economics of the anime industry seem specifically susceptible to this, too. I think that this must be something that people are aware of. I think it's OK for some things to be treated as products if there's no valid arrangement of a piece where it's considered coherent.

  10. Wait, is your contention that those titles do stand up to close scrutiny? Or that they don't? I don't really understand your comment here, but I think it's just the phrasing.

    Either way, I'm not sure the relative maturity of the medium is relevant here. I think that anime is fairly mature as a medium, but uniformity of message just isn't something that the medium values.

    Anime is a fundamentally foreign medium from a distinct culture with distinct goals. It feels familiar due to appropriation and ubiquity, but i think it's a mistake to treat it as though westerners can consume and interpret it devoid of that context.

    Sorry if this sounds kind of pompous.


    Honestly I agree with this, though I don't think that reflects the absolute depth of the medium. There are universal aspects to anime that anyone can enjoy but unless you're Japanese or have been immersed in or studied the culture for a long time, I don't think that you can 100% enjoy or even criticize anime from the intended perspective, or at least that aspect severely hampers serious interpretation. There's value in experiencing something while being an outsider (that story about the dark souls guy Miyazaki having a very specific experience while reading Lord of the Rings with limited english capabilities is an example) but forgetting that position is like saying "this element of some other culture is what I think it is", which borders on appropriative.


    Also I'm willing to bet that any random /a/ browsing westerner who says they enjoy Lucky Star or Joshiraku for anything other than the moe is probably not being entirely honest with themselves. I certainly wasn't.

  11. Haha, I think I got a little too fired up there and gave the impression that I don't like the show. It's quite the opposite actually. There's too much awesome stuff that it's doing for me to drop it because of this one aspect I'm not too fond of. I'm definitely going to finish it and it will probably end up near the top of my list of favorites despite my frustration with the pervy aspects.


    Haha it's okay. Never forget that anime sucks.

  12. Mushishi definitely doesn't have a non-nebulous overarching theme, but each episode has a lot of content to dig into. I still have yet to watch the last five episodes though.

  13. To be clear I'm trying to never prescriptively say that anything with moe is bad. The reason why I always talk about it is because it has very specific, strongly evocative qualities, positive or negative, that shouldn't be ignored and can't be ignored by people who don't really watch that much anime, and because relegating it to a personal preference feels like pushing a valid criticism under the carpet. I don't hate all moe, so my not liking it in one instance isn't my being generally uncomfortable with the trope, it's usually due to its composition with the rest of the show.

    I like potato chips and will on occasion sit down and eat a whole bag, but I don't want to have it with all of my meals.

  14. During one of the episode breaks, Nick started reading the booklet for the Blu-ray, which Chris had on his shelf of Blu-rays and PS3 games that they'd often look at or talk about. He cracked up over the "hypersonic effect," a crackpot theory by Akira's sound-designer-cum-behavioral-scientist, and they spent a while talking about what it would sound like:

    The thing that I've always wondered is, Chris seems really unimpressed by anime, but that first-printing Bandai release was goddamn hard to get! There were only like five thousand copies before they cut costs with a cheaper case and no booklet. Did Chris just get lucky, or does he really like Akira?

    Chris secretly has a Vagabond omnibus and Ghost in the Shell figurines under his bed, and forgot to hide his most prized possession.

  15. I just rewatched Joshiraku, and it's made me reevaluate my moe enmity. My distaste for it is stemmed from (without saying too much more) its tendency to infantalize and idealize the perception of a character, its copious use in place of quality content, and the aesthetic/thematic rut that it puts the industry in. I still think these things are more or less true, present and correlated with the design/writing trope.

    But Joshiraku's non-moe content is actually really good. The characters arent written like moe characters, because they're essentially following a prosey joke script. The extremely dumb, pandering presentation is really dissonant with the smart writing and comedic timing, and for some reason that's actually enjoyable instead of grating, since it fits with the overall slightly surreal, dissonant joke logic of rakugo. The characters aren't really supposed to be people that you empathize with and care about because they're just recurring actors in a long, well written joke, and the use of moe makes it all feel intentional. Contrast this with shirobako, which seems to have the same quality of comedic writing but has a format that requires investment in its characters, to its own detriment.

    I guess what I'm saying is that it's kind of sad that this kind of interesting use of moe relies on it existing despite itself, but I'm more or less convinced that it's not always perfunctory. As long as it's there for a reason and it's effective, I'm (more or less) OK with it.

    If they remade Joshiraku except it was about middle aged men sitting at a bar telling jokes that bend the corners of reality, it would still be funny, though for other reasons too.

    Just kidding I'm full of shit. Joshiraku is impossible to enjoy without being Japanese, and I'm only watching it for the cute girl hijinks.