…anime pulls me back in. Wait, no, it doesn’t. Here are several “synopses” for the following anime season.
The ‘Fractale System’ is on the brink of collapse. A boy named Kurain embarks on a journey to search for Furyune–a girl who disappeared, leaving behind only a pendant. Kurain will eventually learn the secrets of the ‘system.’
That is brilliant. It is absolutely stunning in its inability to tell me anything. It’s just a string of sentences.
lol check it out there’s a guy… a girl… and a pendant lol whatever watch if you want idc
10 years ago, Yumeji Hujuwara noticed he had a power to see multicolored auras surrounding a person’s body when he looks at them through his fingers. Every so often Yumeji has dreams about a war with cats. One day a girl falls on top of him.
Mahiro Yasaka is chased by aliens one night until Nyarlathotep saves him. “Nyariko” is a formless Cthulu deity who can take on the shape of anyone it wishes, but particularly the shape of a silver-haired girl.
hey guys check out my new anime where yog sothoth is an ordinary high school girl yuriko. she is a shy but typically normal girl except for one extraordinary ability: she can read other people’s kokoro. with her talking cat friend she solves mysteries with the power to drag the entire world into insanity and bring about the end times. one day a boy falls on her.
I’ve perhaps been a bit too harsh in some of my more recent replies to your blog posts here.
Some of your blog posts here have made for great food for thought. Even most of the ones I disagreed with at least caused me to approach an anime from a very different perspective, and I thank you for that.
I particularly liked your willingness to be critical of animes that tend to go pretty unquestioned within the anime community (such as Durarara!!).
At the end of the day, though, I often felt that you approached animes with an advanced and thorough literary critique method that, frankly, is a bit above almost all of those animes. I’m not saying that anime can’t have ideas or themes behind them (a fair number do), but they’re rarely as sophisticated as you sometimes given them credit for. I think of your reviews of KissxSis and Highschool of the Dead here.
I do think that there are some animes deserving of your advanced analytical style (Haruhi is ironically one of them, which is what interested me in this blog to begin), but a lot of these pure or close-to-pure ecchi shows really aren’t, imo.
Still, I hope that you will someday recapture your fire for anime; or at least good anime deserving of the level of critique that you offer.
Whether or not anime is (meant to be/intended to be/whatever) sophisticated (this is a ridiculous distinction anyway), it does not exist in a vacuum abstracted from its cultural context. I’m sure you’re aware of this fact anyway, but I’m saying it for completeness’s sake. Every piece of art, from a Brahms symphony to a Hustler photoshoot of a woman pissing into a pool, is a cultural barometer. To submit Kiss x Sis (since you mentioned it) to a critical viewpoint is not an admission that it is sophisticated (nor is it an assertion that it is not sophisticated). I don’t even know what it means for an anime to be sophisticated. I wrote that article on Kiss x Sis because there are (I thought) interesting parallels between it and contemporary Japanese society. Just because Kiss x Sis was primarily created to get our socks off–so to speak–doesn’t mean the parallels I have managed to tease out are suddenly made up, fantasy, or ivory tower musings. As a result, your argument that some anime aren’t “deserving of… advanced analytical style” doesn’t make sense to me. We can disregard the high/low art dichotomy; it’s utter bullshit and if I’ve implied otherwise elsewhere on this site, I was mistaken. To debate such matters is frivolous. Rather, what’s important is what a piece of art accomplishes, what it reflects, what it means to different people, what it can tell us about the culture it comes from and the audience it attracts/repels. That has been the initial goal behind (speaking for myself) most of the articles on this site (snarkiness notwithstanding).
Honestly, do you think Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is somehow more sophisticated (whatever that means) than Highschool of the Dead? Romero denied that he was trying to make any explicit statements about racism. Were film critics then utterly wrong to see parallels in the movie and racism in America?
Well then… we probably have a strong and fundamental disagreement.
First of all, “sophisticated” is a perfectly legitimate means of distinction. Some of the meanings of sophisticated include “highly complicated or developed”, and “intellectually appealing”. You honestly don’t believe that works of art can be classified between “complicated/intellectual” and “simplistic/basic”? I would argue that its undeniable that some works of art are far more complicated or complex than others, and hence generally deserving of greater depths of analysis and discussion than their more basic and simplistic counterparts.
As for “not existing in a vacuum abstracted from its cultural context”… that may be the case, but you do overstate the cultural context’s impact on the anime quite frequently, in my opinion. That, or you overstate the importance of that cultural context in general. Whatever the cultural underpinnings KissxSis, or tentacle rape hentai may have, its chief (and in many cases, sole) purpose is clear, and there is very rarely much depth to be found in animes of this sort.
So I wonder why you would write grand essays (and I mean this as a sincere compliment) on such eminently disposable and very limited in scope pieces of art. What do you hope you would achieve with it? I’d much rather see you tackle animes that genuinely do aim to be a bit more complex than simple and straightforward ecchi/hentai. For example, what about the anime Cross Game? Or perhaps Clannad?
Clannad strikes me as the ideal anime for you to address, actually. It contains a great deal of moe, which this site ostensibly exists to critique… but it’s biggest fans and strongest defenders would argue that there is a lot of real complexity and depth to Clannad (at least the “After Story” portion of it). I’d love to read your take on Clannad.
These are just suggestions I’m making to you, to perhaps persuade you to continue this blog and develop more interest in it through applying your considerable analytical talents to animes where doing so could garner greater attention, imo.
Secondly.. as it pertains to high art vs. low art. Well, I’m not sure I’d put it that way, but do you really think that KissxSis is as intellectual and thought-provoking an anime as a Miyazaki film is?
Not all pieces of art are of equal worth and equal value, at least not when it comes to literary worth or distinction. And certainly not when it comes to degree of impact and influence, either.
Again, just some suggestions.
I would say that you are getting caught up in the god in the text mode again. Yes, some art are clearly intended for high brow audiences. I have never disputed that. That does not mean that they are suddenly sophisticated in nature. To put it another way, the intention may have been to craft something sophisticated (like say a Lynch movie), but it’s hard to turn around and say that this has made the art sophisticated-in-itself any greater than something that wasn’t intentionally made to be that way. I’m sure I sound confusing here, but I would suggest reading Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste if you are really curious about what I’m trying to convey. Plus, whatever we think of “high” art doesn’t mean that something interesting and profound can’t still be extracted from something that was meant to be “low” art.
Porn, for instance, is made primarily to satisfy our sexual urges. Some would argue that it is made ONLY for that purpose. But a lot can nevertheless be gleaned from what porn reveals and accomplishes regardless of its intention. For instance, you can see how porn has shaped our beauty standards in society. Is this not a complex issue? Many scholars have written “grand essays” about the immense role porn has in our society. Can we really deny that porn plays a major factor in modern society? Maybe you won’t agree, but I’m thinking probably not.
Yet, by your definition, who would consider porn to be sophisticated? Blowjob, sex in multiple positions, followed by the moneyshot. Sounds pretty unsophisticated. But this doesn’t change the truth above that porn is revealing; porn is a significant cultural barometer. That is why it doesn’t make one lick of difference to me what KissxSis is meant to be. Whether or not anyone intended it to be sophisticated, intellectually appealing, etc. So what? You can try to define sophistication and try to nail it down, but I’m not particularly interested in that result.
I came up with the name Moe Sucks because I thought it would catch people’s attention. Most of my serious articles, however, do not deal with moe. I may mention it as an aside, but my goal was never to hammer the moe point endlessly. But as I have always stressed, author intentionality isn’t the end all be all and as a result, people’s general impression is that all I do is rant about moe. C’est la vie.
But I have never claimed that KissxSis is an intellectual anime nor have I made any statements about its quality in regards to a Miyazaki film. Miyazaki films are certainly (objectively) more impeccably crafted. Miyazaki films may express morals more in line with my own. Just because I’ve written an article on KissxSis but not Miyazaki doesn’t really imply what you think it implies. Let me put it this way: how many critical articles have been written on Miyazaki and how many have been written on KissxSis? Can you now see why I was compelled to write something on KissxSis regardless of how I feel about Miyazaki?
Again, I think you are attributing arguments to me I have never claimed. I have never claimed that 90% of anime are of any “literary worth or distinction.” I have been very vocal about how shit most anime are. Nevertheless, it does not mean something interesting can’t be said about them.
Ok, I see where you’re coming from now.
However, it sounds like, from this blog entry, that you’ve lost the passion for anime. Maybe you could rediscover that passion by writing about anime that you genuinely like? It’s just an idea.
Whatever happens, it was always interesting reading your blog, and I thank you for sharing your somewhat unique perspective on anime.
Oh, I could do that–watch good anime–but where?! Aoi Bungaku was the last anime I really looked forward to every single week. It even got me to read new Japanese novels/stories to understand how Madhouse adapted them.
Anyway, to you and everyone else who respected what we tried to do here, thanks.
You’re welcome. :)
Sadly, I myself have middling interest at best with most current anime, which is why I’ve largely been looking at older material.
Still, one new anime that you might find interesting, at least, is Ore no Imouto. At first, I thought it would be another incest anime; a milder version of KissxSis perhaps.
Instead, it’s become an interesting look at the modern otaku fandom.
Just a heads up – I doubt you’ll find Ore no Imouto entertaining, or particularly laudable. However, I do think you might find it very telling. If you do decide to watch it, at least give it 2 episodes, as the 2nd episode is when it starts to really delve a bit more into otaku fandom.
I remember there was this French cartoon about the Earth that had just broken into pieces.
I don’t remember the name but that is what Fractale reminds me of.
Why shouldn’t someone beat down KissxSiss for the garbage that it is? It’s exactly that type of Otaku-pandering drivel that has made me dead tired of most anime. I’m fine with some eye-candy and fanservice from time to time, but to center your entire ”narrative” around it? No, just no.
It’s a shame you decided to stop writting articles regarding anime. However, i was interested in your thought process mostly. It’s fun to follow it, no matter what you are talking about. So i guess i’ll be missing your eloquent way of writing and unique perspectives. I guess i just wanna say ganbate up ahed :)
What’s sad is that all of those examples given as to why ‘this shit sucks’ are probably all going to be serialized as a manga and on the screen within two years.
All the quoted examples are anime for the following winter season. Unless that’s what you meant then I’m just stupid. :I
Wait, seriously…? I thought you were making something up that sounded ridiculous on purpose, ’cause I certainly laughed my ass off at those.
That makes it even worse….Nyarlathotep….Yeah. I don’t blame you whatsoever. This is a sinking ship and we all know it.
Still, I’d just like you to know that your site here still in my Firefox toolbar on the far left. Initially, I was planning on replacing the site with an anime blog with a better writing style and perspective, but then I realized I wouldn’t be able to find one.
I’ll be honest–I’ve been thinking about writing again recently. Life has just been hectic lately. I never made the decision to quit. I just got busy. First, I had to scramble to find a new place to live in the summer. As soon as I took care of that, grad school started. Shitty anime have been the last thing on my mind. Still, things are settling down so after this coming week (which will be particularly busy for me), I’ll rethink the direction of the blog.
There’s certainly a lot to cover if you choose anime again. By that point, it’s hard to determine what to watch or in many cases, subject yourself to. There have been 4 shows I’ve been interested in this season, though. There usually aren’t 4 shows that I actually wonder what happens next or even think in rather than just wanting to watch them.
Yeah, the first show is simply gonna be called Fractale by A-1 Pictures. I can’t recall what they’ve done recently but I haven’t watched anything recently so what do I know! The “girl falls on cat dreamer” is Merry Dream Eater by JC Staff. The last one is Haiyoru! Nyariko: Remember My Love (Craft-Sensei) by DLE. But hey, I gotta admit it has the best potential of the three.
To be clear, I’m not saying these anime will be bad, but it’s hard to imagine they won’t suck when their synopses are just so bad though. Anime is simply too self-referential.
Most of the time you can’t gauge the significance of a story in a show by the synopsis, but I just can’t help but be put off by them most of the time. For a lot of the ones that are like, “So-and-so’s childhood friend just moved back into town,” and whatnot, I question whether I give a shit and decide not to.
Kuragehime is pretty interesting for this season . It provides quite a lot of insight on fujioshi in a non offensive but rather idealistic way like how Genshiken depicted Otaku . Lots of potential for paralleling it with real life issues so there should be quite a lot of writing materials available. It will be 11 episodes only so hey , why not?