Opinion


hate plus

Back in 2012, Christine Love, a Toronto-based game developer released her first commercial game in the form of Analogue: A Hate Story.1 She had made some games before then, like don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story and Digital: A Love Story, but these were free to download. You may remember me mentioning Analogue before. Indeed I enjoyed it quite a lot. It seems like a lot of people, who enjoyed Analogue, were also curious to learn the story of how the society on the Mugungwha had degraded to such an extend, which sparked the sequel, Hate Plus. The sequel delivered on that front and it was definitely an interesting ride seeing how Love envisioned the erosion would go.

I won’t, however, linger on how I found the game nor my thoughts on said erosion. Maybe I will at some point write a review of it to discuss those elements. For now, though, I wish to discuss a very specific part in the game that takes place during Hyun-ae’s route. During the third and final day of the game, when the player boots up the computer again to continue his or her journey with Hyun-ae through the newly discovered logs, Hyun-ae begins by asking whether the player will bake a cake to share with her. The previous day had ended with the player and Hyun-ae discovering the ultimate fate of *Mute during Year 0. Hyun-ae wishes to lighten the atmosphere with cake as she is still in shock over what she had learned. (more…)

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Edit: Due to my lack of free time, this has been sitting in my drafts for a rather long time. I’ve been slowly writing and editing it here and there, which is why this post is about a movie that is no longer airing in theatres. ^__^;; Also my usual spoiler warning!

Mecha feature prominently in promotional posters for Pacific Rim

Mecha feature prominently in promotional posters for Pacific Rim

This poor post has been sitting here forever, so I wanted to at least get it out into the wild now. It’s a bit different from what I usually write about (anime, manga, and games), but since it is a movie inspired by mecha anime in part, I thought it would be good to talk about it. I will start with saying that I went to see it in 3D and it was really gorgeous in 3D. I can’t imagine watching it in regular 2D now. Also yes, this will be a post that deals with my problems with the movie (since all I’ve seen is praise), but that is not to say I disliked the movie. On the contrary, I believe it was a pretty well thought out movie that suffers from the same kinds of problems I see constantly in Hollywood movies. Perhaps because everyone was praising it so much, I dared to hope it wouldn’t fall prey to the same sorts of problems I see in practically every blockbuster movie, but alas, I guess when you’re dealing with such a huge amount of money and already taking some risks, you fall back on the general Hollywood formula to be safe. (more…)

So I was reading older blog posts that I have neglected due to being super busy and I came across one about a Mayu Shinjou manga called Demon Love Spell that mentioned that the heroine was actually competent. Making a comment stating my shock given my experience with Shinjou’s manga, the author brought up another manga, Ai Ore. Curious, I checked out the MAL profile which stated that it was about a boy-ish looking girl in a band and a very girl-ish looking guy. Well with a premise like that, how could I not take a peek at this manga? I’m a terribly curious person after all. I’ve tried many manga and anime just because I heard horrible things about them and given Ms.Shinjou’s track record, I could not believe she would be capable of writing a manga that wasn’t horrible.

Guess who is the guy and who is the girl.

Typical sexy cover for a Mayu Shinjou manga, but not so typical is the gender of each character on the cover.

But she did! I never thought I would be saying this, but I actually enjoyed a Mayu Shinjou manga! It’s definitely far from perfect, but I did like how the heroine, Mizuki, did actually look like a guy; and Akira, the hero, looked like a girl. Now outside their appearances, Mizuki wasn’t very masculine. She was super innocent and naive about love, and she definitely had the Mayu Shinjou touch even if she’s a bit more interesting than most of Shinjou’s heroines. Although what makes her interesting is that even if at her core she is very feminine, and even quite passive, like the typical Mayu Shinjou heroine; Shinjou actually wrote the story and Mizuki in a way that allowed her to have assertive moments and a life beyond just her man. The stark contrast between her outer appearance and her inner self was also another aspect of what I found so compelling about Mizuki. I’m always happy to see manga questioning appearance/gender assumptions. This is true for Akira too. He’s tough and cool even if he’s short and very girl-like.

But I think the most shocking aspect of Ai Ore is that Akira is actually a kind person. He does actually love Mizuki and is very considerate of her; often asking her opinion and backing off when she feels uncomfortable. Not to mention the manga actually makes it a point through Akira’s own words, to show that one’s outer gendered appearance is meaningless. What matters is what gender you feel you are. Mizuki stumbles with this more, but ultimately she arrives at the same conclusion. She lets go of her insecurity caused by the stares and comments she and Akira garner walking hand in hand. These comments are basically people trying to decide what gender she and Akira are, and in turn whether they are a gay couple. It was a rather nice message and one I did not think I would find in a Mayu Shinjou manga. I mean Shinjou tends to write the most traditionally masculine guys and feminine ladies, on top of quite problematic things. It was definitely a pleasant surprise. (more…)

tonariTrigger warning. Also mild spoilers for the anime Hana Yori Dango and Rose of Versailles.

So back in 2012, the manga Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun got an anime adaptation and the anime blogosphere raised hell (or maybe it was a select few sites I happened upon). A few managa bloggers also chimed in with their outrage. The main point of contention was the threat of rape that happens in the very first episode (and chapter) of Tonari. A little later, I had decided to run a feature that looked at the worst the shoujo manga demographic had to offer, and deconstruct, through snark, why it was so harmful and problematic. Given the hell that was raised around Tonari, I thought it would be a great candidate for the feature. However having finished the first 5 chapters for my feature, I have to say that most of the criticisms levelled at Tonari missed the big picture about rape acceptance in manga and anime. (more…)

I hope everyone had a great Easter (if you celebrate). It’s a little late, but I wanted to do an Easter themed post and what better way than a top 5/10 list~ These seem to be the to do thing for me for celebrations, so let’s not break the tradition! It’s not cause I’m lazy, I swear! Since there aren’t all that many bunny characters (that I’ve come across), I’ve narrowed this list to a top five encompassing both manga/anime and video games. Here goes:

yarne
5. Yarne ~ Fire Emblem: Awakening (game) (more…)

It’s part 2 of round 5 of SSS. In part 1, we saw that Black Bird and Sadist stuck with what they started in chapter 4. Tonari goes the same route and fails for the third time, which means it’s time for it to get kicked off this feature. Meanwhile, Hot Gimmick toys around with the idea of a more assertive Hatsumi, but ultimately doesn’t commit to giving her any character growth. Nonetheless, it results in a much more toned down chapter. From part 1,  Sadist also was quite tame (but incredibly boring) and only got a C+. Black Bird did manage a B- though; thanks to the super creepy behaviour from the rival love interest!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.

Tonari really seems to want to push this taming animal thing on the volume covers, huh.

 

  • Chapter 5 is the start of volume 2 of Tonari, and in keeping with the trend started in volume 1, volume 2’s cover features Haru on a leash. Whip him into shape good, Shizuku! (more…)

“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and just wonder why something so silly, bad, demeaning, or pertaining to a double standard was even mentioned or briefly touched upon. Being such a small and blatant moment, in-dept analysis will not be given, rather, this is more for snarky me to share my snarky commentary.

We all know the silliness of the female wardrobe in the gaming industry. There are so many stupid design choices and double standards that it isn’t hard to find something to talk about, especially if one likes to keep up to date with all the newest games that are coming out and is constantly flooded with these “interesting” design choices. Nevertheless, there is one design choice that I loath quite a bit (maybe not the most but definitely in my top 5 worst female design choices) and that I not so recently came across an example of it on an article about a game called Dungeon Fighter Online. Yes, I refer none other than to the infamous Inner Thigh Cut-Off Pants (my name for them) that this game’s lone female character wears:

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It’s been awhile since my last Substandard Shoujo Spectacle, but I do wish to try and continue this column, even if some of the manga are getting downright painful to read *looks at Suki Shite Sadist* The theme for chapter 5 of both Black Bird and Sadist seems to be more of the same. Black Bird is continuing down the “Nice Guy” justification it started up in chapter 4; and Sadist is continuing to pile up on cliches and shallow mellow drama.

Black Bird

  • This manga sure likes reminding us of Misao’s predicament. The little blurb about her fate has been repeated in almost every chapter so far. Oh, Black Bird‘s author, have a little faith, I’m sure most of us are smart enough to remember this obviously crucial information without you repeating it at the start of every chapter.
  • Um, do the students not find it strange that the new transfer student (our dear third wheel) is whispering stuff to the teacher? If I had seen a fellow classmate whispering with a teacher during class, I’d find that really odd.
  • Rival tries to kiss Misao “as a joke.” Hahaha, right?
  • By the way, when Misao kisses a monster, it gives him energy. I wonder if this works on female monsters too? Not that we’d see any yuri in a manga so intensely heterosexual in its smut. But it does make one curious.
So damn hot.

See, Kyo’s such a catch because he hasn’t raped Misao yet.

  • Just to let us know once more what a darling Kyo really is, the author makes the rival pin Misao to a wall and threaten her by saying he won’t wait for her feelings. Once Kyo is gone, he will make her his bride. Also darn it, I love how “bride” is being used here as a code word for sex slave. Black Bird sure loves these little code words. Demons want to “marry” Misao and make her their “bride”. My if I didn’t know better, I would think these words are being used so that the reader won’t be utterly turned off by the idea of being a magical demon sex slave.
  • Guys more reasons why Kyo, even though he’s a possessive jerk that can’t keep his hands off Misao, is so much better than rival: The rival attacks Misao to make Kyo take the blow! See, he’s a coward and cowards are so not hot.
  • “No matter how much you hate me…Misao, I’ll protect you. I won’t hand you to anyone else!” – Kyo. SWOON MY LADY HEART! SWOON! He is possessive because he cares! Nothing like that cowardly rival!
  • Guys see! That stunt he pulled back in chapter 3 is ok because he cares so deeply for Misao that he risked his life and doesn’t want her using her magic blood to heal him. He doesn’t want to see her hurt physically, but I guess emotional scars are a-okay? Cause he basically scared her half to death in chapter 3.
  • “If I don’t have you, then there’s no meaning in living” -Kyo *cue major Twilight flashbacks* Also am I the only one that finds this creepy? I’m always a bit put off whenever a character, male or female, is depicted in a way that suggest their lover is the be all and end all of their existence. Yes, love is important, but it’s not the *only* thing of importance to a person’s life.
  • Monsters are a-coming, so Misao you better become mine. Romantic~

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