Cheerfully, jauntily, one-sidedly – There are too many female characters in modern anime

Remember when anime casts looked like this?

legendofthegalacticheroescharactersreichvsfreeplanetsspread

Have you noticed that for the last ten years or so, anime casts have been looking cheerfully, jauntily, and one-sidedly female-centric?
prepare+to_be_pummellled
Read More

Advertisements

Wotakoi

Anime romances typically involve 15-year-old virgins.  That is not just idealistic; it also simplifies the story a great deal. The boy doesn’t have to worry about catching venereal disease from the girl’s previous partners, for example.

Wotakoi breaks the mold by introducing a female character who is not a virgin as the romantic heroine. It is not clear how much sex people have in this show; Japanese fictional characters are considerably harder to figure out than real live Japanese people.

For the most part, this show relies on the gawkish, innocent tropes of romance between virgins, but these people are not virgins.  They just seem to have acquired some sexual experience without acquiring much emotional maturity.

 

It’s fashionable to say that the friendzone is not a thing, or that the friendzone is just a bad rephrasing of “unrequited love,” but that’s not exactly true, and this show explains the complications.  The heroine treats the hero as a reliable friend first and foremost, regardless of whether they are sleeping together.   The heroine doesn’t have any trace of that dewy-eyed feminine vulnerability that makes a sexual relationship truly romantic – not with the hero, anyway.

So rather than saying that the “friendzone” exists only in the imagination of jilted boys, I would say that a one-sided lack of sexual chemistry is typically what makes the “friendzone” a reality. However, back in the days before easy divorce, there were lots of marriages with barely-functional sex lives that managed to produce children even though neither the husband nor the wife was very satisfied with the sex.

 

As far as I can tell, Japan currently has a problem with sexless marriages. There are apparently quite a few middle-aged married couples who have given up on sex. I get the impression that the hero and heroine could get trapped in a sexless marriage quite easily.

 

The characters are a little bit likeable and a little bit unlikeable. They are very much flawed people.

Cutie Honey 1973: kitsch overdose from a more innocent time

 

 

According to urban dictionary:

As an art movement, lifestyle, or literature and film genre, kitsch is pleasingly distasteful. It’s melodramatic, overdone, gaudy and tacky or sentimental and folksy. It’s so bad that it’s cool. Your cat might attack it, but it’s hot.

Have you ever watched “Urusei Yatsura” and thought, “This is a little bit kitschy, and silly, and sexist, but what if we turned the kitsch dial up to 11?”

It turns out that it was done in 1973. They hit levels of kitsch that should not have been possible.

It was like a visible, tangible form of autism made out of sheer kitsch.

You probably won’t be able to watch more than a few minutes of it without needing to hit the pause button and breathe into a paper bag to avoid hyperventilating.

According to urban dictionary, camp is:

1. something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental.

2. a person who adopts a teasing, theatrical manner, esp. for the amusement of others.

3. An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought to be artificial, vulgar, or banal.
4. Banality, vulgarity, or artificiality when deliberately affected or when appreciated for its humor: “Camp is popularity plus vulgarity plus innocence”
adj. Having deliberately artificial, vulgar, banal, or affectedly humorous qualities or style: played up the silliness of their roles for camp effect.

So if I have got my definitions straight, Cutie Honey was not camp when it was made, just like Jerry Anderson’s UFO was not camp when it was made. It was only after the culture moved on from 1973 that the kitsch of 1973 could become entertaining to later people who look back on it; the act of looking back is an exercise in camp.

I am not sure how many convenient fantasy combat tropes Cutie Honey acquired from earlier TV shows. I imagine that wildly unrealistic live-action heroes must have contributed to the mindset of the writers. The famous live-action show Kamen Rider apparently debuted in 1971, so I suspect that it had an impact.

At every minute of this show, one must stop and gaze with awe at the tremendous camp. The writers were familiar with ideas like chivalry, but they are very much locked into the materialistic fashions of 1973.

So an inexplicably rich scientist builds a superpowered robot and raises her as his daughter – but doesn’t bother telling her that she has superpowers. This doesn’t seem to slow her down when she decides to use whatever superpowers seem convenient to the writers at any given point. (If you are a superhero theorist, you might speculate that Cutie Honey is roughly as powerful as the Green Lantern, because her powers are essentially limited by the writer’s imagination.)

If you like rigidly logical speculative fiction, this show is going to leave you with some questions.

Cutie Honey can transform into any sexy female form – sexy flight attendant, sexy girl reporter, sexy rock star, sexy fashion model, sexy motorcycle girl – in a fraction of a second. As with the Green Lantern, her superpowers are essentially wormholes into the Plot Convenience dimension. Thus she doesn’t have to undress from her motorcycle gear and laboriously put on her sexy journalist outfit – it just happens, in defiance of any laws of physics, in a split second, exactly when she wants it to happen.

But she calls herself a “warrior of love,” which doesn’t make much sense. If you are a warrior, you’re not loving. If you’re loving, you’re not functioning as a warrior. Even career soldiers put their families somewhere far from the battlefield when they fight.

The show’s sense of perspective seems to screw up a lot. A bladed glove that should have blades less than one meter long seems to have blades that are more than two meters long.

Enemies explode because the writers can’t be bothered to slow down the story and explain dead bodies.



And apparently the writers are going to make her go back to a Christian school, just to produce unrealistic character melodrama.

White Helmets: a study in fake news

White Helmets:

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/the-white-helmets-are-saved-the-ottoman-empire-reborn.html

https://orientalreview.org/2018/07/25/they-knew-too-much/

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-22/white-helmets-rescued-israel-golan-heights-overnight-operation

Syria: Communication systems and foodstuff produced by Israel found in Al-Qaeda’ Positions

[It is not surprising to find that Israel conducts long-term false flags.]

http://www.awdnews.com/index/communication-systems-and-foodstuff-produced-by-israel-found-in-al-qaeda-positions/

Caitlyn Johnstone says meditation isn’t sexy, but it is a mental way to “get naked”

CJ wrote:

So we’re at a pretty significant juncture here. Our present situation could accurately be described as a question that we are collectively being asked as a species: do we want to (A) live on and find out what the future holds for us, or do we want to (B) go the way of the dinosaur?

Whenever I bring this subject up I encounter proponents of both answers. Though they never frame it as such, the people who show up in my social media notifications proclaiming that it is naive to think humans will ever cease their destructive patterns are very much on the side of Answer B. They insist that turning away from our ecocidal, omnicidal trajectory is impossible, and apparently their plan is to sit back and feel smugly vindicated when the world burns. They are choosing extinction, and their prize is that they get to be right and feel good about that if it happens.

Answer A is less sexy. Less egoically satisfying. You don’t get to feel smug and superior with Answer A, because Answer A involves changing. It involves waking up from that same ego structure which gets so much pleasure out of being right and knowing better.

If we’re going to pull away from catastrophe or dystopia and survive,… We’re going to have to evolve beyond our current relationship with thought. We’re going to have to wake up.

 

Throughout recorded history and across all cultures around the world, there have been individuals testifying that it is possible to undergo a transformation in the way one relates to the world, experiencing life as it actually is instead of filtered through unconscious conditioned thought patterns. After such a transformation, thought becomes the useful tool it’s supposed to be instead of the writer, director and star of the whole show.

Note that CJ is pushing a false dichotomy: she is saying that there are only cases A and B, where case A is transformation by meditation and case B is dystopia and extinction. She doesn’t mention the transhumanists and the extropian technologists, who believe that technology will swoop in and fix everything fixable, without any of that silly hippie meditation stuff.

For the first few paragraphs, the false dichotomy was somewhat plausible, but CJ goes off the rails with the following logical leap:

If such a transformation is possible on an individual level, it is possible on a collective level as well.

First problem: “possible” is a weasel word in this context. Meditation leading to individual transformation is well-attested by history – it’s not just possible, it can be verified. (And one can note that it often does NOT work.) Meditation leading to collective transformation is not clearly attested by history – there have been groups of meditators, but it is NOT clear that meditation transformed them. Furthermore, it is NOT clear that our current evolutionary state is measurable or understandable by anyone. CJ has not proven that she is good at measuring evolutionary states or meditation-induced transformations.

At the outset, let me note what history DOES show: history shows that when humans try to meditate as individuals, some individuals become “enlightened” and many become kooky. Further, when humans try to meditate as groups, they usually form religions. Religions are not particularly enlightening forms of social control; they do not abolish governmental violence. If Buddha didn’t transform the world and abolish coercion with his Sanghas, CJ is not likely to do so with Internet-connected meditators.
Read More

(At its best) Anime combines escapism and art house cinema (but sometimes perfectly watchable anime is just competent television)

panicHallucination

Art films are aimed at small niche market audiences, which means they can rarely get the financial backing that will permit large production budgets, expensive special effects, costly celebrity actors, or huge advertising campaigns, as are used in widely released mainstream blockbuster films. Art-film directors make up for these constraints by creating a different type of film, which typically uses lesser-known film actors (or even amateur actors) and modest sets to make films that focus much more on developing ideas or exploring new narrative techniques or film-making conventions.

Furthermore, a certain degree of experience and knowledge are required to understand or appreciate such films; one mid-1990s art film was called “largely a cerebral experience” that one enjoys “because of what you know about film”. This contrasts sharply with mainstream “blockbuster” films, which are geared more towards escapism and pure entertainment. For promotion, art films rely on the publicity generated from film critics’ reviews, discussion of their film by arts columnists, commentators and bloggers, and “word-of-mouth” promotion by audience members. Since art films have small initial investment costs, they only need to appeal to a small portion of the mainstream viewing audiences to become financially viable.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_film
Read More

Matoi Ryuuko versus Chitanda Eru, or, Not all woobies are moe (萌); not all moe characters are woobies

Thesis: A character cannot seem sexy to me if that character is not interested in sex.

vlcsnap-2013-12-21-15h34m25s218

vlcsnap-2013-12-21-15h33m53s118

Ryuuko, the protagonist of Kill La Kill! is a young lady whose father was brutally slain. She came home one day to find his rapidly cooling body as he bled out. This hardship immediately transformed her from a normal girl into a violent woman who will stop at nothing to get bloody revenge.

I have seen 12 episodes of Kill La Kill! so far. At no point has Ryuuko struck me as sexy, mostly because at no point has Ryuuko showed any desire for sex.
Read More

ON THE LITERATURE OF CYBORGS, ROBOTS, AND OTHER AUTOMATA FROM MECHANICAL DUCKS TO MYTHIC METAL GIANTS

ON THE LITERATURE OF CYBORGS, ROBOTS, AND OTHER AUTOMATA

FROM MECHANICAL DUCKS TO MYTHIC METAL GIANTS


Automata prefigured not just artificial intelligence, but the public’s terrors of it. Pop culture cyborgs, from Metropolis to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to Transcendence, share a common ancestor in Vaucanson’s Duck and the chess-playing Mechanical Turk. Cybernetic awareness and the freakouts about cloning are echoes of the public’s reactions to the earliest androids.
Read More

Shows with unusual charm: Gen’ei Takeru Taikyou – magical girl squad meets Catcher in the Rye

Some shows embrace traditional stereotypes but manage to have at least a few truly fresh twists.

In the case of Gen’ei Takeru Taikyou, the angst is pretty well-written, both for the villain and the heroines. Aside from the angst it’s a pretty standard mass-marketed entertainment product.

First, let me praise the angsty villain. If he didn’t have any superpowers, he would be a pretty standard teenage rebel, channelling Holden Caulfield:

G!_vlcsnap-2013-12-08-15h14m54s32

Read More