Thank You, Kyoto Animation

July 19, 2019

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It is absolutely heartbreaking that the worst tragedy in postwar Japanese history had to happen to one of the best studios in the anime industry.

I just cannot even begin to say how much influence and impact Kyoto Animation has had on my life. Kyoto Animation’s works (Lucky Star, Haruhi, K-ON!, etc…) were my foundational anime and they were what convinced me to start on the path that I’m now on. It is no understatement to say that I would not be who I am today if it were not for these shows. These shows taught me the importance of friendship. These shows taught me the beauty of love. These shows taught me the value of life.

It is because of these shows that I met so many wonderful people, gained so many amazing experiences and grew as a person. While art can always be redrawn, the people creating that art cannot be brought back to life. It pains me to no end to think that someone may not have the opportunity to have their lives changed by Kyoto Animation the way mine was because of this atrocity. The debt that I owe Kyoto Animation cannot be repaid. The only thing I can do is to offer up my humble words of gratitude and condolence as a fan, an admirer and a supporter of the many amazing productions that the studio has produced.

I still cannot fathom how the people who brought so much joy and laughter to millions were the ones to have their lives cut short. My heart goes to the loved ones of those who have sadly lost their lives and of those who were injured in the fire. Our pain must be infinitesimal compared to the pain that they must be going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them. Please know that their lives were not spent in vain.

Bad things happen to good people. I thought that that was an immutable fact of life that I have grown accustomed to. But it is times like these where I am reminded about how cruel reality can really be. However, it is during times like these that I am also reminded about the strength of our community and its ability to come together in times of crisis. To those who have offered up their time, effort and support to those in need, I offer a sincere and heartfelt “thank you”. You are the reason I am proud to call myself an anime fan.


Basic Film Analysis with K-ON!

June 21, 2019

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You never know how well put together something is until you take it apart. In this post, I’m going to analyze a scene from the final episode of K-ON!, showing how the framing and editing show Yui has grown as a character over the course of the series, gaining trustworthy friends that rely on her and finding a place where she can belong.

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Let’s Talk About Anime YouTubers

August 18, 2017

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Look, I enjoy thoughtful analysis. The problem that no one seems to address is the value judgment that seems inextricably linked to it. I’d love for channels to do a critical reading of anime, breaking down the themes, using different theories to pick apart the structure of the narratives and writing. I’d love to hear people discuss Narrative/Database Consumption, the Media Mix and Phallic Girls. But the arrogance that comes with it just annoys me to no end. The elitism, the pontification, the proselytizing, it’s so grating.

Why would any serious anime academic listen to these YouTubers when they could just read the works and theories straight from the source? I’ve had a much less stressful time reading Marc Steinberg, Ian Condry, Azuma Hiroki, Otsuka Eiji, Susan Napier, Anne Allison, Sharon Kinsella, Koichi Iwabuchi, Thomas Lamarre, Saito Tamaki, etc… They don’t spend half the book criticizing their readers (most of them, anyways) and I think anime YouTubers could stand to learn a thing or two from them. Cut the bullshit, rein back the pride and pretension and maybe people will be more interested. If you want to teach people something, the last thing you want to do is to make them feel stupid.


“How” Do You Love Anime?

May 6, 2017

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Yes. Not why, but how.

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Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale Movie Review

February 20, 2017

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Okie, I’ve just come back from seeing the Sword Art Online movie so let’s talk about it. But before that, because of the nature of the “fanbase”, I think I have to preface this review by telling you guys where I stand on the franchise.

I am by no means what you would call a big fan of the franchise. I have never read the original Light Novels nor have I ever played any of the games. I haven’t even bought any merchandise (…aside from a couple of figures). I have only watched the original two anime seasons. They were entertaining, serviceable shows with fun characters, sweet moments, cool concepts, interesting worlds and great action. I had no big issues with it. At least, not any that would warrant me trying to crucify the series and burn it at the stake. As much as I liked it, I never really did get into it and I never latched on to any of the characters except for maybe Sinon and Yuuki.

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(I’m sorry, but Sinon’s waist is a thing of beauty. Yes, I have a thing for shapely waists, but I digress.)

So, being neither a big fan nor a hater, I went into this movie with zero expectations, like I try to do for all movies. And as it turned out, even for a person like me with hardly any attachment to the series… I had an absolute blast! (^o^) After a dearth of anime movie sequels that actually succeeded in being little more than hollow, nostalgia-bait projects, it was refreshing to see that this movie does pretty much everything right… in my opinion, of course. Let me substantiate that.

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

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The Difference Between “Otaku” and “Weeaboo”

July 14, 2016

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From what I understand. In 460 words or less.

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Redefining and Recontextualizing Moe: A New Dimension to Sexualized Cuteness

October 27, 2015

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After getting approval from my supervisor and head of department, I present to you my honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore.

I decided upon the topic of moe for my research as it has been a very hot-button issue in anime fandom for quite some time. I hope my paper will give you a clearer understanding of the concept, why moe might be far more useful and essential to the otaku than you might have realized and why moe isn’t insidious and does not spell the death of anime. Also discussed are gender issues and virtual child pornography.

ABSTRACT

By adopting a cultural studies approach, this paper seeks to redefine and recontexualize moe. This paper argues that moe is used as a coping mechanism by the otaku to reclaim agency and remain connected in a more individualized society as opposed to a tool that legitimizes the subjugation of women in society and homogenizes anime. This is done through the possession of fictional characters via the creation of dôjinshi, attending events and going on pilgrimages to the real-life settings of their favorite manga and anime. In addition, because moe is an element of the kawaii art style, it is separate and distinct from the other elements of an anime, allowing creators to retain creative freedom while simultaneously catering to the otaku and appealing to a wider demographic. Instead of being exploited by producers, the kawaii art style facilitates the production of character merchandise that the otaku purchase and use to aid them in reclaiming agency and connecting with fictional characters and other otaku.

Continue to the full text after the jump. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to link to this post! (^o^)

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