Category Archives: Anime

Stolen from zhai2nan2: How to use mythology to go from being a reactive TV junkie to a proactive self-realizer

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“…mythic discourse deals in master categories that have multiple referents: levels of the cosmos, terrestrial geographies, plant and animal species, logical categories, and the like. Their plots serve to organize the relations among these categories and to justify a hierarchy among them, establishing the rightness (or at least the necessity) of a world in which heaven is above earth, the lion the king of beasts, the cooked more pleasing than the raw.”
-Lincoln, Bruce (2006). “An Early Moment in the Discourse of “Terrorism”: Reflections on a Tale from Marco Polo”. Comparative Studies in Society and History 48 (2): 242-259.
Continue reading Stolen from zhai2nan2: How to use mythology to go from being a reactive TV junkie to a proactive self-realizer

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Stolen from zhai2nan2: Overthinking and fear and power and kindness in Hunter X Hunter

First off, I would like to introduce a screen capture of Killua that perfectly explains the philosophy of this blog:
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Secondly, for those of you who watch Hunter X Hunter, I would like to compare Killua and Gon to Knuckle and Shoot and to Morel and Knov.
Continue reading Stolen from zhai2nan2: Overthinking and fear and power and kindness in Hunter X Hunter

Full Metal Feminist


http://myanimelist.net/anime/5114/Fullmetal_Alchemist:_Brotherhood/

Fullmetal Alchemist
was one of the most successful speculative fiction works of recent years. It was written by a woman, Arakawa Hiromu. The 20th century saw many excellent female sci-fi and fantasy writers in the English-speaking world (C. L. Moore, C. J. Cherryh, Andre Norton, Tanith Lee, the list goes on) but writing seems to be in decline in the English-speaking world. Arakawa is one of the women to whom I point when people tell me that the entertainment world is biased against women.

Fullmetal Alchemist offers several interesting female characters. I want to point out just three of them.



Zhang Mei is literally a princess, but she encounters a little bit of hardship in her early life, because she has many rivals to her throne. Nonetheless, she is a classic wish-fulfillment character, suitable for children. She has exotic super-powers, a cute pet, and princess status.

I won’t spoil the ending, but if you watch the whole show, including the final episode, you’ll get a hint about the ending of Zhang Mei’s story. It is neither pro-feminist nor anti-feminist, because Zhang Mei manages to get some good aspects of both worlds. However, she is just a supporting character; she doesn’t steal the spotlight.



Riza Hawkeye is a classic feminist “Strong Independent Woman” stereotype. She has it all – romance, professional success, excellent skills. The only way she could be more of a stereotype would be if she were to have a trophy baby with her lover. She has no exotic super-powers, but she is so personally strong-willed that she trains her natural strengths and her firearms skills to the point where she can face super-villains on battlefields.

Like Olivier Mira Armstrong, Riza Hawkeye is such a strong and powerful character that she easily steals the spotlight during many of the episodes in which she appears. As a male viewer, I think this is a feature, not a bug.

Unlike Olivier Mira Armstrong, Riza’s tremendous strengths come from her personal, individualistic character. Olivier could never be a heroine to doctrinaire feminists, because she puts duty to her family bloodline above her personal feminist pride. (So, gentle reader, if you are reading this and protesting that you are a feminist but you still idolize Olivier – you are clearly diverging from your Comintern puppetmasters.)


300px-Winry

And finally Winry Rockbell is perhaps the most female of all the female characters in Fullmetal Alchemist. This is a story dominated by super-powers, monsters, exotic settings, and beautiful visual designs. Amid these super-soldiers, super-heroes, and super-dangerous perils – Winry is an ordinary girl. She’s highly skilled at a technical job, but there’s nothing unrealistic about her skill level – she was trained and she practiced and so she has skills. While Zhang Mei is a princess saving herself from peril with some help from friends, and Riza is a shootist saving her friends from peril by means of her guns, Winry mostly avoids peril altogether. Winry is mostly concerned with whether Ed is her loyal boyfriend, and she’s willing to walk across a battlefield to make sure of that, but once she’s been reassured, she’s not going to steal the spotlight by dominating combat. Winry gets into Ed’s emotions. Winry must be bribed with presents from Ed, lest she scold him. Winry is entirely happy to engage Ed in a traditional girl-and-boy romance. Winry doesn’t need to be the greatest hero in the story, so long as she gets to marry Ed, who is the greatest hero in the story.


Fullmetal Alchemist has several wonderful female characters who stand and fight on various battlefields. These characters can be seen as typical feminist fantasies that challenge the traditional patriarchal sex roles. But it also has Winry Rockbell, who avoids battlefields. Winry is an anti-feminist fantasy, written by a woman. Riza Hawkeye plays the feminist stereotypes straight; Winry Rockbell subverts the feminist stereotypes.

Stolen from zhai2nan2: 3edgy5me comments, crazy sculptors, and spoilers for Suisei no Gargantia

If you have not yet watched Suisei no Gargantia, just click past this post. It doesn’t contain any great insight that can’t wait until you finish watching that series.

So, by clicking the “more” link, you certify that you don’t mind spoilers.
Continue reading Stolen from zhai2nan2: 3edgy5me comments, crazy sculptors, and spoilers for Suisei no Gargantia

Blassreiter, Episodes 12 & 13: You’re gonna groove. Then you’re gonna cringe.

I haven’t been watching Blassreiter for a while. I think my favorite character died early on. The fact that I don’t recall should be a warning sign of low-quality writing. It makes me feel that I should have watched Kamen Rider before starting Blassreiter because the later show is probably ripping off the earlier show with the similar premise.

Episode 12 gave us old-fashioned manly heroics, lots of horrible death, lots of suffering that didn’t defeat heroic resolve. It was silly in an action-movie sort of way. It is the kind of manly silliness that anime needs more of.

Blassreiter is not a terribly well-written show. It relies heavily on spectacular action sequences that don’t mesh well with its ridiculously syrupy characterization. The first season of Garo was similar in tone but somewhat more watchable because the characters were halfway believable. Blassreiter drags, in part because it gets distracted with syrupy cringe about immigrants. It’s not as bad as Now and Then, Here and There, but damn, it’s trying hard to get to the bottom of that barrel and start scraping.

Apparently the writers of the show love immigrants and believe that all immigrants in Germany are blond-haired, big-eyed, defenseless children. They give blond kids Arab names like “Malek” and assume that the target audience won’t notice. (Japs are oblivious, but are they really THAT oblivious? Was this show written and produced by embittered Korean immigrants to Japan?)

Meanwhile, back in reality:
Continue reading Blassreiter, Episodes 12 & 13: You’re gonna groove. Then you’re gonna cringe.

Lesbians don’t ruin everything. Lolis don’t ruin everything. But Princess Principal has steampunk/dieselpunk loli lesbians, and I refuse to watch that.

I don’t hate lesbians. I don’t hate lolis. But I can’t suspend my disbelief far enough to get excited about loli lesbians.

I was a little suspicious when I saw the basic character design. The girls range from barely pubescent to 20 years old, and they all have too-good-to-be-true bodies that don’t even look human. Re-L Mayer was also too good to be true, but at least she looked like a supermodel version of the singer from Evanescence.

Continue reading Lesbians don’t ruin everything. Lolis don’t ruin everything. But Princess Principal has steampunk/dieselpunk loli lesbians, and I refuse to watch that.

Ninja Scroll – an anime that has been influenced by things other than manga

The visual art of this movie is not too stylized. It has clearly been influenced by some classic adventure movies, not by manga. It may well have some roots in manga, but it has the cinematography one might expect from a student of John Ford or Akira Kurosawa.

It is, nonetheless, very much a fantasy rather than a work of hard sci-fi. One can dismiss all ninja lore as superstition, or one can claim the legends of ninjas had some basis in facts. However, this movie takes ninjas as a starting point and leaps deeply into fantasy.

Notably, Rurouni Kenshin is less fantastical than this.