The culture that made anime into what it is

In many ways, anime is fundamentally different from all western media. Not just as the result of current business models, or recent trends, but also due to some deeply rooted traits of Japanese mentality.

Japan is pretty unique that way, with it’s mass media that is comparable to ours in it’s scope, but still very foreign in it’s execution. Most other countries that are similarly foreign to us, are either too poor, or too oppressed to have large media, while the sufficiently wealthy and free countries are being assimilated into the monlithic, globalized “western culture” that makes them almost identical to us. But for various reasons that I will not discuss here, Japan managed to both reach modern lifestyle, and to maintain exceptional amounts of it’s foreignness.

Trying to understand these cultural differences between Japan and the West, can be useful not just for making detached philosophical observations about art, (like realizing that values that we considered normal are just our arbitary local customs), but also for understanding the daily events of the anime industry. Why did this show tank at the sales? Why did that show get a second season?

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In defense of those annoying “fans of the source material”

It’s one of those issues that can be applied to pretty much any media fandom, but I saw it a lot among anime fans recently, and hey, I have an anime blog, so for the time being, let’s discuss it in this context.

When was the last time you heard this rant?

I’m an anime fan, so I don’t care about what happened in your LN/manga/VN! This is an anime, so it should be judged as one. It’s obvious that due to the differences of the mediums, the adaptation is going to be a bit different, so shut up about how “inaccurate” it is.

Strangely, as much as I see them, I didn’t ever see a  defense against them. No one ever comes up and explains why some people keep talking about the source material. They just keep sagely nodding at the universal wisdom that was just uttered. Apparently, the entire Internet believes that such rants accurately describe fandom etiquette.

Except, of course, the people who proceed to talk about the source material anyways. Including some of those who were just sagely nodding, right until the arrival of another series, that’s source material they are the fan of, in which case, they proceed to do the same. I guess I could write it off as people being hypocrites, and intentionally offensive rabid fanboys,  but following Hanlon’s razor, it’s much more likely that the source of the conflict is poor communication between two different groups with different interests, than that one group of fan is being malicious.

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Visual Novels, and how much their public perception sucks

Visual Novels, are the only otaku media that I really got into,  other than anime itself. I rarely enjoy manga, Light Novels are too rare in english, and I’m a PC gamer, so most Japanese video games are also unavailable for me.

But ever since I looked into Fate/Stay Night almost two years ago, I would consider myself a Visual Novel fan almost as much as an anime fan.

I didn’t even read that many VNs, and I have a horrible track record with finishing the ones that I started, even if I liked them, but there is something so fascinating about the potential of that medium, that I just keep obsessing over it as a fan. It reached the extent that if I see an article on a random website about any subject, with one throwaway line in it about a VN identified as a “dating sim”, I keep posting corrections about it in the comment section as long as that section is active with discussion.

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Nazo no Kanojo X: The first pro-abstinence anime ever?

No, seriously. Just think about it. While it’s true that the overwhelming majority of anime characters are virgins, the reasons for it are varying from fetishist appeal, to the inherent moe appeal of youthful innocence, (that is also used in series that aren’t supposed  to be sexually appealing). Sometimes, it’s pointed out as a significant plot point. Other times, it’s just implied by the characters’ age and behavior.

And then here is this one anime, that finally bothered to actually discuss teenage sexuality. Continue reading

Phrases that I hate: “Pandering”

pandaing to the audience

picture punrelated

So, from now on, this is officially a running theme on this blog. A category of posts, where I’m ranting about random phrases that fans tend to use, and reveal the negative implications that I see in them.

Last time, I talked about “Guilty Pleasures” and how it’s used by people to justify why they are continuing to watch an unpopular show, while  they are also conforming to the vocal elitists by joining their chorus about how bad it is.

Now let’s look at a phrase that is used to dismiss shows without directly addressing any  tangible problem with them: Pandering. Nowadays, it is even used on it’s own, as in “I don’ even know why I’m watching this pandering crap”, but it’s implication is always supposed to be, that it’s pandering to a certain group, that it shouldn’t be pandering to. To the people with bad taste.

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