1/21/17

Disaster Report: GATE

Whenever I’m asked to talk about bad anime that I’ve seen, I usually don’t have much to talk about.  That seems to be kind of unusual, at least from my perspective.  Most of my peers in this fandom grew up in the bad old days of the 1990s when the vast majority of anime available were crappy OVAs, and there are plenty of others that will watch something bad yet popular so they can keep up with the latest social media discourse.  As for me, I’m heading into my seventh year as an anime fan and I’m still playing catch-up with older classics and a seemingly endless backlog of notable shows from more recent years.  Making time for bad shows didn’t seem like a good use of my time.


Recently, though, I’ve been rethinking this point of view.  It’s not like I’m a stranger to enjoying so-bad-its-good media.  I grew up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I hung around sites like The Agony Booth and Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension in their glory days, sites where notorious flops and weird cult films were broken down in epic, long-form essays.  I’ve always been a fan of Nathan Rabin’s ongoing series My Year (now My World) of Flops on The AV Club, where he writes about movies and other pieces of media that failed, faltered, or simply were unable to be appreciated in their own time.  So why couldn’t the same be done with anime?  Why couldn’t someone do critical essays on the epic failures, the shows everyone love to hate, and the shows that were simply too weird and taboo even for anime fans?  Thus, Disaster Report was born.


1/17/17

Is Hayao Miyazaki Sexist?

I think some context is needed before I discuss the subject of the day:

I found this article both almost 6 years too late and without intending to. It began with a discussion on Twitter with a fellow Infinite Rainy Day writer about whether or not Hayao Miyazaki really respects women. Said writer wasn’t convinced and felt like fans would defend him regardless. Said writer also pointed out how only two articles online deal with Miyazaki’s sexism, yet were buried beneath non-stop praise for his feminism. I decided to do digging to see if that was true, and this article was the first to support that claim…kinda.

About late-September of 2011, an article was written on Cartoon Brew, which you can read here, discussing how Hayao Miyazaki’s Twitter account had mentioned his disdain for the growing number of female animators and writers in anime, claiming it’d “doom the industry”. The article stated that Miyazaki himself had composed the Tweet, but given that Miyazaki has openly compared iPads to masturbation I’ll assume it was a transcription of sorts. Anyway, when pressed for further clarification to his admittedly-vague claim, his responses only made matters worse by not really clarifying anything. Regardless, the comments section exploded with banter about whether or not Miyazaki was secretly chauvinistic.


I’d like to remind everyone that the internet isn’t a great place for political and intellectual discourse. It has a lot to offer in both areas, don’t get me wrong, but more often than not it blows simple misunderstandings, claims and false claims out of proportion for effect and views. This leads to arguments from individuals whom aren’t always the sharpest or most-reliable. In other words, the internet is a cesspool of click-bait and extremist rhetoric, even when it’s onto something. So I wasn’t expecting much as is, but since Miyazaki’s notorious for fanning the flames of controversy, I figured I’d dissect this article anyway.

1/13/17

Otaku Queer: Kanji Tatsumi & Naoto Shirogane

This time for Otaku Queer, I'd like to redirect our attention from anime and instead to games. With Persona 5 finally finished and coming to US stores soon, I figured I should strike while the iron is hot and discuss the franchise a little. Persona is wildly adored in queer circles for its aesthetics and actual attempts to try and discuss queer topics, and Persona 4 really helped me figure out my own sexual orientation. But it's also a series widely criticized in queer circles, and with good reason. Persona 4 is the part of the series that deals most heavily with the subject, so we'll be focusing on two of the franchise's most popular characters, Naoto Shirogane and Kanji Tatsumi.

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 4, KIND OF UNAVOIDABLE

1/10/17

If it Walks Like a Ponoc: The Studio Ghibli Effect

So how about that new Studio Ghibli film? I’m not talking about Ocean Waves, although I’m excited to see that too, I’m talking a new and interesting film. I thought it wouldn’t happen, especially with their restructuring situation. Can you say “awesome”? Because I can-

Wait, it’s not Studio Ghibli?


That was my initial reaction when I heard that Mary the Witch’s Flower, a film by recently-formed Studio Ponoc, was slated for this year. To be fair, it’s not hard to make a false assumption; after all, the studio was founded in 2015 by Yoshiaki Nishimura, who was a producer for The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and When Marnie Was There of Studio Ghibli fame. Many of the talent from Studio Ghibli have also migrated to this studio, including director Hiromasa Yonebayashi. It even looks like a Studio Ghibli film visually. And yet it’s 100% not a Studio Ghibli film.

1/6/17

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing

I suppose it's finally time for the only person who asked for a sequel to Last Exile to review it. I'm behind by about five years, I know, but without a network of bloggers, I'd just be talking to myself (In fact, I probably still will be). Another reason for the delay is when I watched the release on FUNimation streaming, the second half became so murky with so many plots that were stacked up in a disjointed fashion, week-to-week viewings became trying to look at a jigsaw puzzle that got flung across the room every few days. So let's see how watching all of it in a week treated a series that was before its cumbersome second half, a pretty solid sequel that utilized the positives of its original without relying on them while creating new characters and experiences that weren't a hollow echo... most of the time, at least.


1/3/17

Jonathan's Fave 2016 Anime (He Actually Finished)

2016 was not a great year for me anime-wise. Life hit me with a hammer, and I spent my energy on other endeavors, so I did not finish many shows. It did not help that most the shows this year were just bad or uninteresting. As I prepare to play catch up with the big Fall shows and start 2017 (I will be a monster if I miss Rakugo and Flip Flappers), I decided to look at the anime I did finish this year, pick out my favorites, and talk about them a little. With my slim list, shows that could easily be forgotten in my normal round-ups finally have a chance to shine, and also Love Live is here because Love Live is good.

I like Love Live.

12/23/16

Kinkmas: Milia Wars

This article was released the day before Christmas Eve.

Just pointing that out.

Let's finish up Kinkmas tonight with one of the most infamous fetish games out there, known mainly because it's one of the few vore games to be found. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time you push out an important fact in your brain so you can remember the existence of Milia Wars. I'm sorry in advance.

12/20/16

The Ocean Waves Are-a Coming!

Let’s face it: 2016 was a cruddy year for everyone. Whether it was the lacklustre film cycle being especially lacklustre toward Oscar season, the insane number of celebrity deaths, the Brexit vote or that Donald Trump won the election and is now setting out to make the US his 7th bankruptcy, 2016 simply doesn’t want to let up. This makes its occasional moments of awesome that much more spectacular, of which there have been a few here and there. Case in point? This:


That’s it: I’m petitioning for Studio Ghibli to be the 45th President of the United States. Take that, Russia and Trump! (Courtesy of GKIDS Films.)

I happen to be Infinite Rainy Day’s biggest Studio Ghibli fan boy. I can’t help it: they’re basically the Japanese Disney, both in status and influence, and not even Hayao Miyazaki’s official-but-maybe-not-official-but-maybe-not-actually-happening-I-don’t-know-retirement can break that. I also own every movie they’ve made on DVD or Blu-Ray, with one exception. That exception is Ocean Waves, but, as Only Yesterday’s recent theatrical release has clearly demonstrated, anything’s possible. So I’ve kept my eyes and ears opened for years for any signs of it making its way here.

My prayers have now been answered. As if hot off the press, Ocean Waves, that elusive Studio Ghibli title that’s technically a made-for-TV film, is finally coming to North America. I’m hoping it’ll be dubbed, GKids is the distributor, but this is great news for two reasons:

12/16/16

Kinkmas: Battle the Three Sisters

Welcome back to Kinkmas, my holiday timed four part look at weird fetish games, from the guilty pleasures to the infinitely strange. I'm taking off the kids gloves from here on, so now it's time to talk about a very, very strange game about a very, very strange fetish. As I promised, it's time to look at a ryona game. What's ryona, you ask? Why, it's the fetish where you get excited by physical abuse, of course! It's guro's puritan cousin, and a popular sub-fetish among fans of anime titty. After all, why just have anime titty when you can have anime titty getting punched? We're a weird species. With that in mind, let me tell you about Battle the Three Sisters, which is certainly ...a thing.

12/13/16

Kiki, or Bouba? Synesthesia Theory in Anime

Take a good look at these two shapes:


What do you see? What makes them unique? What makes them stick out? What if I told you one of them is called “Kiki” and the other “Bouba”? If I were to ask which was which without giving any clues, do you think you could point them out? According to Synesthesia Theory, first coined by German-American psychologist Wolfgang K√∂hler in 1929, upwards of 90% of those asked about Kiki and Bouba would respond the same way without much thought: the sharp, pointed blob would be identified as Kiki, while the rounded, softer blob would be identified as Bouba. That this is universally-accepted even by the uneducated shows how similar language structures really are.

I first heard about Kiki and Bouba in this video. The video dealt with geometry in film, and how it can subtly influence how we perceive the medium. The narrator began with the above question, then went on to explain how said concepts worked. The part that stuck with me most on a personal level was how he mentioned “Kiki VS Bouba” in relation to animation, and how it plays around with both shapes. I then began to think about its relationship to anime, particularly in how it uses both to influence its viewers.