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…)

Strength Does Not Matter! The Beautiful Warrior, Shutumon

That’s the title of episode 16 of Digimon Frontier. There are two things going on here: first the title is suggesting that strength is unimportant and the second that Shutumon is beautiful. It’s not hard to realize what the implicit meaning here is: for girls, their strength is irrelevant, what is key is their beauty. And paired up with episode 15 where the enemy digimon gains her new evolution with lots of strength but at the price of being hideous, well, these two episodes are quite loaded with gender norms and tropes are old as human civilization.

It’s actually been a while since an anime (or manga) that I’ve seen has been so overt with expectations of beauty for women versus men. It’s not at all subtle in the least; there is only 1 female enemy digimon and it is only in her case that the question of appearance is ever raised. The other digimon are all male and are not particularly aesthetically pleasing. One is a mix between a gnome and dwarf, another is an inhuman lizard-like digimon and another a metallic humanoid. None really scream bishounen in the least and when they evolve into beast form, never is there any talk about their new appearance. In contrast, the animators of Digimon Frontier felt the need to make the single female enemy digimon not only cute and resembling a young girl, but also made her into a sort of idol in the digital world. Furthermore, they gave her a vain personality. In other words, they created her in a way that put appearance at the forefront of her character.

ranamon as an idol

Ranamon is an idol in the digital world.

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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…)

juuni kokuki

I’ve been on a sort of re-watching binge lately and one of the series I decided to rewatch was Juuni Kokuki or The Twelve Kingdoms. What struck me while watching the anime again was how well executed the recap episodes were. Often times, I dread the recap episodes because they are boring and don’t really have a purpose beyond saving the anime studio some money. But I didn’t mind the recap episodes in Juuni Kokuki because they were well executed, and they were so well executed precisely because they used the strength’s of Juuni Kokuki to make interesting recap episodes.

Juuni Kokuki is an anime adapted from novels by Fuyumi Ono. The story is best described as a fantasy with a strong current of political intrigue. There is a lot of terminology and concepts throw around in this series, and it can get a bit overwhelming trying to keep track of what means what. The anime studio seemed to realize this, so they centred their recap episodes around the terminology and political structures found in the universe of Juuni Kokuki. The result was recap episodes that were engaging and interesting. Most of the information provided in these episodes was not new, but because there was so much information to take in, this was a very much welcomed repeat. I found it helped me finally sort out all the terminology in the universe of Juuni Kokuki.  Furthermore, while the vast majority of the recap episode did not introduce any new information, there was always a bit of plot progression to be had. For example, the recap that happens while Rakushun and Shoukei are travelling to En establishes that Shoukei has finally understood the lesson everyone was trying to teach her. This makes the recaps feel integral to the overall story rather than superfluous. (more…)

So, I was thinking of what sort of post should I have for Christmas. At first I wanted to do a Christmas moment highlight from manga and anime that I’ve liked, but truthfully, there aren’t many that spring to mind, so going off what I did for Halloween, I’m making another top 10 ten list. How original, I know. ;) This time it’s for angelic or divine (associated with light/positive force, or gods/goddesses) characters. This time I’m also including video game characters because there aren’t as many of these sorts of characters that I like in just manga or anime. Hopefully next year I can think of a better Christmas post. (u__u)

Van Fanel (more…)

I recently found this link on MAL (from an anti-moe club) to an article about moe (I recommend reading it, it is quite insightful) and the article inspired me to finally write the post I’ve been meaning to write. Now I know that “moe” isn’t suppose to be a particular character trope or a specific something. It’s a feeling. I get it. I really do. And for the longest time, I had trouble making a case that the roots of moe come from a very specific type of moe. Thankfully, the article is written by someone who has the knowledge I was lacking and they laid out the claim I was desperately trying to make, but had no real historical proof to back it up. So here it is, what I always suspected but didn’t have any idea where I could research such a suspicion to back it up:

Today, while hardcore lolicon (and its young-boy equivalent, shota) still exists, the biggest descendant of lolicon has a new name, moe (“mo-eh”) . . . The word moe actually comes from a kanji meaning “to sprout.” “My vegetable love should grow,” to misuse a quote from Andrew Marvell—a slow budding affection, like a tender young plant. Or like an underage girl, unfortunately. The moe which makes me periodically ashamed to read manga in public, and which has caused a raging debate in the Otaku USA letter column, is a particular kind of moe which has its roots in the Japanese love of cuteness, domesticity and—one element among many—the lingering lolicon trend. It’s the moe of stories like Azumanga Daioh and Strawberry Marshmallow and Tori Koro and Yotsuba&!, in which adorable girls do adorable things.

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Ok, so I haven’t watched all the seasons so this may change, but from what I’ve heard of the most recent seasons, it is not very likely. I’ve watched seasons 1-3 in their entirety and half of season 4 and a few episodes of Savers. That out of the way, here is why I think Tamers, aka season 3, is the best season and I really lament the fact that there aren’t any more seasons like it. (more…)