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Posts posted by Blambo

  1. I am behind tegan's idea, it already has my vote for winner.



    Should we make a list of people willing to take on a certain role? I could volunteer to pixel art, program, write, help teach thingies. I'll volunteer as a wild card I guess, alternatively I'll just make my own game.


    Second. Could have Dinosaurs edit the original post with willing participants and their stuff.


    I'm willing to do art, teach or use gamemaker, and be of general use art/programming advice.

  2. I enjoyed Samurai Champloo a lot more when I viewed Mugen and Jin as incredibly stupid and unlikeable.

    Really hard to respond to a lot of your thoughts without spoilers for future episodes, but they are intresting ones anyway so keep em comming!

    The best I can say is that my personal take on ep 12 is that it's needed to put emphasis on how knowledge doesn't make things less painful sometimes it can even make pain worse


    The loss of his true mother seems too much for such a young child to process and he recovered relatively fast, it's a death by a landslide a 'act of God' if you will a force utterly incomprehensible to him.

    But the loss of his second 'mother' comes with his fill understanding of what's happening, not only his knowledge of Mushishi but because he's evidently become more empathic with her than perhaps he was even with his real mother, so the grief and desperate attempts he makes to not loose her reflect that .

    To survive the consequences of his grief of he if forced to looses the memories of the very human connection that drove him to act rashly, not only that all the worldly and otherworld knowledge he has built up is taken and he is returned to a blank state

    'The Ginko' eats darkness and produces light which slowly in turn produces more darkness it portrayed as a blameless force just trying to survive in its own way, the newly self named Ginko's journey for knowledge and the pain the knowledge he gains sometimes inflicts regardless of his intent could be seen as a mirror of that. He's rebuilding himself, sometimes at a cost to himself sometime inadvertently at a cost to other in ways he's not quite able to understand.

    Yeah it seems that Ginko's role in all of this does seem, in hindsight, kind of disruptive. He's ostensibly trying to restore this balance in nature, but he can't really help other human beings if he truly left it to the whims of the universe. It kind of betrays his actual priorities, in that he can't overcome his overwhelming sense of human empathy even with his deep connection with Mushi. His connection is totally intellectual, and doesn't reflect this tree hugging hippie image I had of him in the beginning.

    I'm up to episode 20, which seemed to reveal that one of the reasons why he travels is to collect stories so that the girl (forgot her name) can walk again and exorcize the Mushi from her family line. It showed how the girl could have this tolerant, balanced attitude toward the mushi while striving to rid it from her body, in contrast to the tales of Mushishi who kill and exterminate mushi. I don't know what to make of this because in the end it's saying that sometimes man uas to exert power over nature, but justifying it by saying that man is part of nature and seeking survival doesn't tip the equilibrium.

    I guess the obvious metaphor in the episode is using knowledge and understanding to coexist with nature (trapping the cursed mushi in the letters of books in the library) rather than forcing it into submission, because the former creates a lasting benefit where the latter creates eventual, recurring destruction (the cursed mushi reappears every few generations if you just ignore it). Seems to be the whole message of the series so far, and each standalone story documents the drama of trying to live with a great unknown force that you can't fathom, destroy, or avoid without inevitable destruction, and the solution is either self sacrifice or negotiation and compromise, whether it's the past or other people or big flying centipede bamboo tree monsters.

    I have no idea what a lot of these episodes are trying to say or if what I'm getting from them is valid or consistent. Still love this series though.

  3. I'm now done with episode 16 of Mushishi.

    So far each episode has been awesome. I don't have any overarching thoughts about the last four, so I'll break my thoughts up by episode.

    Episode 13 was brain shatteringly sad. A lot of Mushishi so far have dealt with moving on when you experience loss, and committing to the life you can live. And so far most of them have had hopeful endings; the boy who moves past the death of his mother in episode 4, the girl who learns to live with her own strength and independently decide that she should in the swamp episode, even the episode where the dude's old girlfriend turns into goo ends with his living with a new life. Whether or not these people were happy doesn't change that they went on existing and coexisting with this cruel, chaotic, god bug world. But this episode shows someone not only clinging to his past but also never knowing if it really is in the past, and when he realizes that his fiance was dead the whole time he can't keep on existing. It's a much bleaker outlook, and basically says that once something's in the past, if you don't fully commit to living a new life you'll be dragged into a personal hell where you might as well be dead.

    I thought that this caps up this part of Ginko's development really well, cause it provides a strong argument against clinging to a past loss to the point where you're neither moving forward nor totally backwards.

    Episode 14 is mad weird. I feel like I'm missing a lot of cultural context because it looks like it references the kaguyahime folktale, which I know nothing about other than like the synopsis. It seems to be focused on how familial relationships could just be self serving, parasitic traps that you depend on due to necessity, which I guess is a really unique theme to impart in an anime. I have no idea how to parse this one. Ginko never actually does anything the whole episode, which I guess somewhat highlights the difficult question he faces, which is "should you value freedom over love". My idea of Ginko's character is that he would choose love unquestionably, but he also has this duty to protect the interests of his clients, and it seems like the family both want to be free of the bamboo tree.

    I don't have much to say about episode 15, other than that when I watched it I experienced enormous pity for Ginko cause it highlights the nature of his loneliness and wandering around once again. Though I guess it represents this natural compromise, where he found a place where he can be with other people, feel wanted, give to others, and maintain his lifeline and balance with mushi, but he can only indulge once or twice every year.

    Episode 16 was fuckin baller. I like how the mushi is functionally identical to a real disease (Alzheimer's syndrome) but the explanation for why it's occurring is totally fantastical. Also liked that it has a positive attitude toward accepting and making the best out of mental illness and losing memory and self, and seems to send the message that happiness comes first.

    I wish all anime was Mushishi.

    Edit: I think a big part of my I'm still watching (beyond alchemist detective awesomeness) is because I really want to see how Ginko develops as a character or if he develops at all. He's this perpetual, ghostlike presence in every episode that seems opaque before you start digging into how his actions reflect his inner landscape. This is another reason why I'm not too fond of episode 12, but I guess I never would've gave Ginko's character a second thought if it weren't for that.

    Edit edit: wait am I reading into everything too little or too much?

  4. I just got to episode 12 of mushishi.

    I really wish they didn't go into Ginko's origin story. I really liked the pockets of hints in previous episodes that slowly revealed his character, especially in the episode before this one where it revealed a lot about his inner emotional landscape and his profound loneliness (that episode, episode 11, was probably my favorite so far in terms of theatrics and weird concepts). Also stuff like what he was smoking and why were little surprises that kept me watching, and I was really disappointed to see a lot of it laid out like it was in this episode.

    Though what I did like was that it really put Ginko's actions and feelings in the last episode into perspective. They almost completely mirror each other, both with an apprentice Mushishi coming to grips with a new role in the world, with two masters accepting their place in the balance of life, and Ginko somewhere in between always looking for an alternative.

    His development as a character so far is this really sad shutdown of his role as this traveling bug super wizard that both helps people achieve their emotional goals and maintain balance in the ecosystem, because two episodes in a row (and also the dream episode and the zombie flower episode) he had to sacrifice the former for the latter, or accept that the people he's helping can also decide to compromise their emotional goals. He cant acknowledge that people can be happy in compromise or that compromise is more likely than achievement when he's in this situation where he's experiencing this constant lonely struggle, traveling from town to town looking for a permanent home.

    I'm really loving this series so far!

  5. I wonder if the interfaces for each of these VR headsets are unified enough to make a cross-device API for developers. If so, something like that would make me feel a lot more at ease with competition allowing VR to be a thing in the mainstream market if you have lots of devs independently developing for all devices rather than having a bunch of Vive or Oculus exclusives. It feels like a big reason why motion control failed was the platform lock.


    EDIT: wow ok so I should've just watched valve's thing from like a year ago:

  6. Hey guys, I tried following Danielle's suggestions (thanks so much!) and I definitely don't have any more running-induced joint pain when I increased my cadence a bit and leaned forward, trying to do midfoot running. Now I have mad shin splints! I might need to buy different shoes (I'm wearing these thick heeled basketball shoes) and take it a bit slower. But so far I find running a lot more enjoyable now that I'm either doing it at a track or outdoors, and frontfoot/midfoot running feels bouncier and more interesting second to second, rather than plodding along. It feels more tiring since I can't control my pace that well, but it doesn't feel like a drag anymore!

  7. Because of the similar voices and the point where Jake says "you've regressed 150 Nick Breckons" I thought of Nick as the proto-Steve who got a branching line of production after the Steve model succeeded, and every few episodes the thumbs crew redesigns the Nick model, loads him with the Baboo database and puts him on the podcast to see if he has a meltdown. If he does, he's put in the incinerator and a new one takes his place.

  8. Ah I saw Watamote. I felt less protective of Tomoko and more...pity and embarrassment, which I guess I can see how having a sort of cute character wracked by social anxiety helps bring home how debilitating it is. It kind of reminds me of the manga Oyasumi Punpun where the main characters are deliberately cute to produce a dissonance with the horrible events of the story, as well as to let the audience project onto punpun. In this though the author leans hard on the dissonance, where he depicts the world in a kind of supremely ugly realism that reflects punpun's constant disenchantment. I guess manga can take greater risks than anime can, though Punpun wasn't exactly something slated for a franchise or anything.

    K-On has a point? My friend keeps telling me that it's all (really really well made) fluffy happy fun without any emotional or aesthetic takeaway. I see it as the logical endpoint of the moe train.

    Non Non Biyori actually initiated the original conversation I had with my friend. I could've been great if it weren't for the needlessly flashy, generic character design and flat, shitty personalities. It's billed as a slow, atmospheric story about a girl adjusting to country life, but it's just not that. Because the whole tone of the show was so mellow and sleepy, all that was left was pure distilled moe and the theater of shallow stereotypes, and so the conclusion I came to was that the reason why people watch this show is precisely because of this watching porcelain dolls act out perfect little lives with tiny adorable flaws and quirks, and it just reeked of a fantasy that only a dude would have. If its goal was actually to show the quirks and life in the countryside, it definitely didn't hit it. Barakamon hit it 1000% better.

    I've been meaning to watch Kill la Kill since everyone seems to like it. It seems out of control, and Ive always liked weird stuff.

  9. I am only 5 minutes into this episode but I need to tell you that after Steve said "I don't usually talk to people about how to break into things", I made the "houses" joke at the exact same time you did and it made me really happy.

    And maybe means 200 episodes of Idle Thumbs has done something to my brain.

    But whatever. Bring it. My brain is better this way.

    Pretty sure it was Nick subtly indicating his burglary advocacy.

    Steve is fine with anyone HACKING into things.

  10. Well, with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon's presentation as the only rational guy is heavily compromised by his position as the viewpoint character. They have less facility in keeping it up during the second season and the movie, but especially in the first Kyon's definitely lying through omission and misdirection to obscure information about himself and about Haruhi.

    And then KyoAni went and applied that formula to a dozen other shows, with equal commercial if not critical success, proving that the effectiveness of it in Haruhi is not its thematic depth but just the simple dynamic of a rational dude dealing with irrational women. I think that's a lot of what we've been talking about today, good tropes that are digested by the furious hunger of the anime industry into the bare minimum of what works and then repeated over and over like they're printing money. I certainly got off of the KyoAni wagon after Chuunibyou, because it was such a cynical formula that couldn't even claim to be fun, but I'm sure there are plenty other shows employing different "formulas" that I haven't reached saturation yet.

    That clip is terrible. Is all of Nyaruko that terrible? Generic character designs, a funny joke papered over with lore, animation that tries to tell you the emotion of a given moment...

    I wouldn't be able to tell you if nyaruko gets better or worse because I couldn't get past the first two episodes. The inane formula seems to work though, since during the time I was giving it a shot I kept listening to the theme song after I stopped watching and glancing furtively at the OP animation in guilty, self-conscious moe indulgence. It's fucking catchy. And if I remember correctly Norio Wakamoto sang it in some video and it was funny.

    And yeah, I do guess all of this is perpetuated by the wheels of capitalism crushing art into fine, adorable bonedust. I'm sincerely sorry to just be using these two pages to rag on moe as a stereotype (and also anime in general). It's probably just that I haven't been exposed to moe being used in a context that isn't either perfunctory, pointless, lazy, socially questionable, or exploitative, (other than like, nichijou or azumanga daioh) but that's probably a function of my having no patience with it. I'm not sure what iteration of the KyoAni moe machine Chuunibyou is in, but when it's made explicit like this: huuurts...


    I can't help but project that pretty unambiguous intent to minimize a character everywhere I see big eyes and little mouths.

  11. I feel like the comedy equivalent of Potato-kun is the voice of reason guy. Again I didn't watch enough of Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuutsu to make this claim universally (this is becoming a trend. I just don't have enough time to watch anime I feel like I wouldn't like), but the main character is reacting to the crazy antics of haruhi and co. in a way that seems to be what the audience should be thinking, and for some reason he's always present no matter what to conveniently provide tsukkomi in a way that makes it seem like he has the only legitimate, reliable perception among a mostly female cast, who each have some kind of personality infliction. He (invariably he) is always present, no matter how much he complains, to act as a floating perspective point. This is also what I found appalling about Chuunibyou (the first two or three episodes have exactly that plot).


    This isn't haruhi but...



    It's probably a symptom of the bigger trope of "the only rational guy in the room" but that's been done in a way that isn't gendered, like in Arakawa Under the Bridge.


    But again, I need to watch more. Girl und Panzer sounds like it has mad layers too.


    I don't think that competency is a function of the stereotype unless the anime itself is not very good. Even though it sounds like I was defending Chuunibyou earlier, I actually despise it for a lot of what it sounds like you dislike in more moe-oriented shows. There are one or two characters who actually have inner lives and can get shit done, one of which is invariably male, and the rest of the characters are useless blobs. I think that that anime, the moe-blob anime, is inferior to the moe anime, which just uses those aesthetic principles to achieve a certain effect. Girls und Panzer invites you to make assumptions about the characters owing to their simplistic and cutesy design, but every character has their own skills and competencies, some expected and some unexpected, that are developed and given full play throughout the show. For instance, there's the mature and motherly ojou-sama who gradually abandons her hobby of flower-arranging to become a gunner, even though she abhors violence, because she enjoys the need for patience and a good eye, but likes the impact (literally) of a tank cannon more than a flower arrangement. And then, later in the show, that feeds back into her flower arranging. It's a moe character arc. Really, for a good show like that, moe is more just a means of giving the audience a non-threatening entrypoint into the fictional universe and a means of disrupting audience expectations once they're in.


    And yeah, I know that I've got a very conditioned palate for this stuff. I don't expect anyone else to like it. I just don't think moe is the thing killing anime these days. The thing killing anime, if anything's "killing anime" in an age when I can buy a full-length series on Blu-ray for sixty bucks, is a glut of lazy and underwritten half-cour shows, usually adaptations of the latest manga and light novel properties, exploiting moe to sell themselves to a contracting market that somehow still doesn't have much discernment. Even without moe, that exploitation would still happen, through some other facet of the otaku fandom.


    I know you're not saying that moe is killing anime. I guess I'm having a different argument, mostly with myself.



    It's not a good thing, but that's the same director and studio as Girls und Panzer and Another (and the director's done Shinryaku! Ika MusumeBokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, and xxxHOLiC at other studios). I'm tempted to say that's just his style, particularly with respect to the five female protagonists, and sadly it's one that sells even if it doesn't match the genre of the anime. I'm not even the biggest fan of the aesthetics of the P.A. Works brand of moe when used well, but what are you going to do?


    That example you gave from Girl und Panzer just gives me the impression that the character is "the one who likes flowers and is motherly". Maybe I'm overly negative, but I can't see that being appealing as a character anymore.


    I watched some of Chuunibyou and yeah I see that. The issue I have with stuff like it has been that these eye-catcher characters have been consistently female, and that doesn't fit the goal of creating humans-that-are-also-girls in media. I dunno, maybe it's a function of needing to create immediately appealing characters to sell an otherwise interesting story or something, as you pointed out.


    So HA. Moe is complicit in killing anime.


    At this point I'm thinking that my extreme aversion to moe is me trying to legitimize my liking anime at all. Truth be told if I really couldn't stand it I wouldn't have watched any of the stuff I'm complaining about, but I did watch non non biyori and fuck it I'm gonna watch the next season when it comes out.


    I watched Lucky Star as well, which seems to poke fun at this kind of thing but still indulge in it wholeheartedly, which is a kind of relief-of-cognitive-dissonance that allowed me to trudge through it but feel like a traitor at the end.


    Anime is weird.


    EDIT: I just remembered what I was going to say about using moe to ease someone into a world of characters. Isn't that also part of the culture that exploits the tendencies of a small market to expand a franchise, and is more of a business move than an actual artistic device? Doesn't it make the medium homogeneous?


    I might actually check out Girl und Panzer to see what you mean though.

  13. Maybe I'm laboring under a weird understanding of objectification, but I've always thought that acknowledging competency/agency doesn't imply that you respect or humanize a character or person, and reducing that competency to a stereotype makes it worse. It's where the femme fatale trope comes from, and what the girl next door trope manipulates (an otherwise perfect girl EXCEPT has some flaws/prior history that make her approachable).

    I feel nervous to bring up Girl und Panzer again but from what I gather from your description, it's as easy to view the girls as moe with the peculiar perk of being good shots as it is to view them as formidable killing machines with girly demeanors. Again I feel that the arrangement allows the audience to split characters into types and ideas, which is probably just a feature of a lot of anime in general. This was kind of why I feel odd about using the bechdel test.

    To me it doesn't matter if characters have agency or are moe or not, as long as they're somewhat undeveloped or not able to in some way identify with a living human being (which doesn't seem to be an impossible task), they're liable to be objectified.

    Princess Jellyfish has characters that are neither conventionally moe (well, maybe) nor sexualized, nor completely helpless. But they're all ridiculous caricatures that don't command understanding or human understanding.

    I just think that it requires a lot of media literacy to take it in a way that results in as nuanced a mindset as you have. I guess moe isn't really the whole issue but also how the conventional style of characterization in anime affects the presentation of females to a male audience.

  14. That's an interesting point. I wonder if that component of it is avoided if the character design itself is explicitly desexualized. But the protectiveness instinct still exists and might water down the character.

    God the attraction of moe is a many headed beast.

    Edit: that reminded me of an interpretation of the lucky star theme song that it teases a fat, male, otaku audience, and that the adorable girls are unreachable.