There are few things the Western anime fandom can agree on, altogether. It’s hard to argue that Neon Genesis Evangelion wasn’t an monument of the medium, or that Berserk 2016 looked okay. But even when we unite on one opinion, we can still end up deeply divided.
This year, Eromanga-sensei was labeled ‘trash’ by both fans and haters, and rightly so. It goes beyond the idea of simply ‘trashy’ media (trash-like, sharing-qualities-with-the-idea-of-trash) and blatantly basks in its identity as a piece of garbage. For its devotees, it was one of the highest quality pieces of animated defecation the ‘idiot otaku gets surrounded by hot chicks of questionable ages and also his sort of his sister and fucks none of them’ genre has delivered. But among its critics, there have been some remarkably unfair judgements. In framing the show as one of his most hated of the year, Super Eyepatch Wolf did more than express his dislike of it: he didn’t believe that anyone could have been passionate about it. Continue reading How Eromanga-sensei Made its Mark: Masochism and the Modern Otaku
“What is perhaps most striking about anime, compared to other imported media that have been modified for the American market, is the lack of compromise in making these narratives palatable.”
– Susan Pointon
“…what appears to be be the single most asked question about anime in America, “why is anime so full of sex and violence?” is an inquiry that, while betraying an ignorance of the complexity and variety of the art form, is still significant in that it reveals the bewilderment of Western audiences in confronting so-called adult themes within the animated medium.”
– Susan J Napier
I’m sure my country’s recent ban of various sex acts in pornography wasn’t on many people’s Christmas list. Not because of any particular fetishization of any of the practices listed; it’s alarming due to the sense of a growing trend journalistic fans of anime should be all to familiar with. The practically Victorian belief that our media must be purged of any images we (that is, the social elite that stand to represent and essentialize us) find morally unsavory, and the result being dominated by a limitation of the expressions of women in media, to serve as a condemnation of the ‘patriarchy’, the ‘male gaze’, and so on. Continue reading Misunderstanding the Mukokuseki: Why Fanservice Is Not On the Fringe
An anime about making anime and celebrating the industry wins multiple awards from the industry. Passing comments might be skeptical of how self-centered the anime business has become. But those who have watched Shirobako know well how deeply it deserves its accolades. It’s a coming-of-age story that abandons the typical high school setting, but retains the moe aesthetic for its femicentic main cast. Combining the realistic struggles of a workplace with the hyperreal glaze of cute girls and boundless enthusiasm, it’s got both reality and moe firmly in its heart, and comments often on how the two conflict and co-operate in various capacities.
The success of Shirobako has however attracted a lot of attention from critics seeking to downplay its value for women, affirm the lie of ‘anime is a boys club’ to fabricate outrage, and use the show as a platform for continuing the anti-moe sentiment permeating much of our Western community. Continue reading Moe, Maturity and Reading Like a Man: Beneath the Surface of Shirobako
Previously, The Mary Sue argued that we should be critical of ‘objectification’ by ignoring contexts of characterization and treating anime girls as no more than objects in the first place. Now they want the community to be ‘critical about cuteness’, as they vaguely denounce the ‘adult male’ viewership of moe as misogynistic, and conclude that moe is ‘alienating’ for those who want to see ‘real women’ in anime, and not the lovable and hyperreal figures modern Japanese culture is full of.
Continue reading What’s the Matter with Moe? An Inside Look
I was thinking of leaving this review empty to sum up how I felt as the story came to a close.
Continue reading Charlotte – 13 (Super-Sized Final Loss of Hope)
When a series is this good, you want it to go on forever. But if we allowed that, our girls wouldn’t be able to graduate. School must end, the wider world awaits, and so we have the ending the School Living Club deserves.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 12 (Super-Sized Final Review)
Yuu’s hospitalization gives all the important members of our cast some final moments to catch up with him. It could probably have been meaningful if any of it mattered.
Continue reading Charlotte – 12
How do you solve a problem like Ayumi? In half an episode, apparently.
Continue reading Charlotte – 10
Even the swimsuit episode is more than meets the eye.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 09
Did I say Yuu bounced back before? This week he bounced back in time, and I’m sure a lot of people’s interest in this show has bounced back too.
Continue reading Charlotte – 09
The Club’s dreams may be floating in the air, but the reality of their situation has only just been unearthed.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 08
Delicious cooking, an existential crisis, and balloons. This week was as quietly chaotic as Yuki’s mind, and it resounds all the better as a warning that we’ve reached an turning point.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 07
Miki’s back-story is wrapped up (at last) with her introduction to the school living club, and something far more unsettling that the undead she’s faced: Yuki’s traumatic disorder.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 06
Did I say the structure of this show was disintegrating? Well, now it’s outright collapsed.
Continue reading Charlotte – 06
It was Miki’s turn to take the spotlight this week, as Gakkou Gurashi! continues to make every character’s backstory a heart-stopping and heartbreaking experience.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 04
It’s a baseball episode – what else is there to say?
Continue reading Charlotte – 04
A dive into Megu-nee’s past becomes a crash course in how to nail a flashback episode.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 03
As stunning as last episode’s ending was, life goes on for Yuki and the School Living Society. A test of courage through the lower school leads our daydreaming heroine into moral danger, while Kurumi wrestles night and day with an unsettling past.
Continue reading Gakkou Gurashi! – 02