IT'S HATE MEN DAY!
I almost forgot... today is the 14th anniversary of the Polytechnique Massacre
, and, traditionally, it's around this time of year that every bleeding heart liberal columnist in Canada takes out their frustrations on men *in general* and/or all gun-owners, even the responsible ones. These columns had actually been fewer in numbers after the tenth anniversary. I wasn't expecting to hear too much about it again until the next round number, probably 15 years (next year), but, I guess, 14 years has a special significance, one year for every woman killed at the University de Montreal that day.
Not that I object to anyone commemorating that horrible day in 1989, obviously, the problems I have are with anyone whom suggests that anyone besides murderer Marc Lépine shares any responsibility for what happened. "Collective Responsibility"
(okay, in the interest of accuracy, the article I just linked to calls it "Shared Responsibility") is just another form of "identity politics" which is utter Marxist class warfare bullshit; the massacre was the act of a single deranged madman, and I have no qualms about using the term "madman" because it's the term that fits.
For anyone too stupid to figure out certain things, even though they've had 14 years to figure it out, here's an easy-to-understand chart:
SHARE OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE POLYTECHNIQUE MASSACRE, BY PERCENT:
Marc Lépine: 100%
Men in general: 0%
Inanimate firearms: 0%
(By the way, don't get me started on how Marc Lépine could have easily been stopped, if, at the very least, the security had been carrying sidearms, since I'm a firm believer that people should be able to arm themselves for self-defense
, which is a very politically-incorrect thing to think in Canada, heh heh.)
Another canard that always gets dragged out this time of year is how all men are responsible for violence against women in a tiny little way by "not doing enough" to prevent it. Here's a news flash: if I saw a rape about to occur or a man beating his wife or girlfriend, I'd try and stop it and/or alert people whom can stop it depending on how much my own life would be pu in danger if I directly intervened. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have never been in such a situation where I have been able to prevent assault, battery, rape or murder, having not been anywhere where it was about to occur as far as I could tell. If I had been in such a situation and done nothing, then you could make a point that I'm responsible in a small way, otherwise, if you say I share some degree of blame for true violence against women in general, well, fuck you.
Of course the "radfems" often dumb down "violence against women" to the point that it's fairly meaningless, like if a man says to a woman "Hey, nice tits!" and it's not Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro and it's not a situation where a woman is wearing clothing which highlights her bustline and is obviously inviting men to look, then the guy's a jerk whom makes inappropiate comments, but he hasn't commited an act of violence. And, no, I'm not suggesting sane women invite rape by the way they dress, if they dress in an alluring way, but they can and do invite stares and comments, and I don't see anything wrong with that and if you don't like the stares and comments, get thicker skin or dress more conservatively. And, if you're in a workplace and you hear guys making sexual jokes and you don't find it funny, get over it. Perhaps ask politely that men not tell jokes like that when those women who don't appreciate that sort of humour are within earshot, or, better yet, just avoid the men (and the women who do enjoy those jokes) altogether when you see them together in casual circumstances. And, if the guy has a cheesecake picture of a buxom woman hanging in a semi-private area, especially if it's the sort of job where the guy sleeps at the workplace, just learn to look away. Even a guy just saying "You look pretty today." is considered to be sexual harassment to some of the man-haters. Can uninvited comments be unpleasant? No doubt, but, guess what? Men often get the occasional unpleasant comment aimed at them too, but, generally, we know to get over it and not let it bother us. Emotional trauma over simple things like that wasn't a problem until the pop-psychology of the "victim industry" came along and insisted it was. Honestly, I think the belief that you're supposed to be traumatized by such things now is 90% of the problem. Anyhow, I think the notion that this sort of behaviour, as rude and boorish as it might be in many cases, creates an atmosphere that says it's okay to beat up or rape or murder women is just ludicrous.
I also don't like the notion that, if I don't explicitly and publically denounce all real violence against women and participate in pointless symbolic gestures, like wearing white ribbons and candlelight vigils, that I'm indirectly condoning rape and battery and murder. Honestly, again, to people like that I say, "fuck you!", because I like to think of myself, most of the time at least, as a decent human being, and I feel directly insulted by the implication that, if I've never explicitly condemned something which is fairly self-evidently wrong, I'm condoning it.
Plus, I don't like the implication that violence against women is the exclusive domain of men. Increasingly in high schools, the cruelest violence is generally commited by girls, as evidenced by the murder of Reena Virk
, and violence against men and discrimination against fathers in custody cases is also a very real problem.
So, if you're someone born with a penis and XY chromosones and you're still feeling guilty about your role in the Polytechnique Massacre, I hereby absolve any man reading this of any blame, since the only man which should be blamed for the massacre kinda killed himself right after killing those women and isn't going to be reading this. Also, to the 99% of you men whom don't rape or assault or murder women, I absolve you of all blame for violence against women in general.
So, in conclusion, the clichéd question the liberal hand wringers like to ask this time of year
is "Has anything changed since December 6th, 1989?" to which the answer is, "Yes, Marc Lépine isn't still alive to murder any more women."
ROBERT MUGABE IS A RACIST, MARXIST, VOTE-FIXING, MURDERING DUMBASS WHOM SHOULD JUST DIE!
(Yes, the world would be much better off if Mugabe and his cronies were dead. Maybe send a few Mossad agents into the presidential palace in Zimbabwe, since the Israelis aren't such pussies about assassinations... well, Arafat's still alive for now, so they aren't perfect, but, I mean, in general.)
Aww... shucks. Mugabe threatens to take Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth
. Well, we don't want you in the Commonwealth anymore, so don't let the door slam your ass on the way out. (Note to self: fix door so it hits Mugabe's ass.)
I mean, the whole purpose of the Commonwealth is to promote trade amongst somewhat peaceful, somewhat like-minded modernized countries whom have reached a certain level of economic development, but, whilst Rhodesia used to be a very successful food-exporting country, Mugabe is a cretin of such stupefying ineptitude, evicting and/or murdering the people with the farming skills and knowledge and experience who can grow large amounts of food and placing the farms in the hands of the completely bogus "veterans" with little formal education and no farming knowledge who can grow... nothing. So, if you ask me, Mugabe's famine in Zimbabwe is very much the same as Stalin's famine in the Ukraine
, completely avoidable and a direct result of Communist ideological purity taking precedence over the actual needs of the people.
WEEKEND DISNEY THOUGHT #1
(For some reason, there's several completely different things relating, in one way or another, to the Walt Disney Corporation which I feel like addressing this weekend. Some of it is current-event driven, and some of it is just stuff I've been meaning to get to for a while but didn't get around to mentioning. I'll do one that is mostly cutting-and-pasting before I go to bed.)
Okay, contrary to what you may have heard or read, Ghost World
director's Terry Zwigoff's latest flick, Bad Santa
, is neither an attack on Santa Claus nor an attack on Christmas in general. It's a caper comedy with Billy Bob Thornton as a con-man whom, each December, poses as a department store Santa, most certainly not the "real" Santa Claus, in order to rob the department store safe along with his dwarf friend, whom poses as an elf. A emotionally-disturbed-but-very-sweet boy becomes fixated on Thornton's "Santa", as his mother's dead and his father's in jail (though the kid thinks he's just "gone to the mountains" to explore) and he's being looked after by his grandmother, who's senile and asleep most of the time, so the kid needs a strong father figure in his life, and the Thornton character, needing a place to stay in Phoenix anyhow, takes advantage of the kid's niceness to stay in a really cushy house and, in spite of himself, eventually bonds with the kid, and, yes, he eventually redeems himself, but not quite in the way you expect. It's a very funny film, but obviously a film absolutely not for the kiddies.
Anyhow, rumours have been circulating about Walt Disney executives objecting to the Miramax-produced film for its portrayal of Santa, even though the Thornton character is *not* Santa. Personally, while I don't believe most Disney-related conspiracy theories, in this particular case it would not surprise me at all if it turned out someone from Disney planted these stories just for added publicity.
answered a question about those very rumours in the November 30th "Movie Answer Man" column
(printed on December 5th in the National Post
). I agree with most of his response, but, Ebert notes that:
"Sean P. Means, film critic of the Salt Lake Tribune, deconstructs the mini-controversy as an attempt by Republican polemicists to "drive a wedge between Disney and its Miramax [which includes Dimension Films] subsidiary," because Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein is a "prime fund-raiser for the Democratic Party." He cites other examples where Disney was bashed because of films from its Miramax subsidiary."
See... why bring Republicans vs. Democrats into this? This particular "Right Wing Conspiracy" conspiracy theory is particularly easy to debunk, since, while Harvey Weinstein may be a prime fund-raiser for the Democrats, so is Michael Eisner, who has backed such Democratic candidates as Bill Bradley and Bob Graham.
(By the way, speaking of Roger Ebert's "Movie Answer Man" column
, you shouldn't e-mail him
expecting a reply, but I've gotten two personalized replies from Ebert myself. They were basically one-line answers, but, still, that's two more lines than I was ever expecting to get back from him. And one of the questions was asking why the Academy didn't have a "Best Animated Feature" category... but... just two years after I asked, there was a "Best Animated Feature" category, not that Ebert or I had anything to do with that, but it's still a neat story.)
I went to Blockbuster this evening (well, Friday evening) to rent Witch Hunter Robin
, a recent anime series, and, oh my GOD! They had the first three DVDs of You're Under Arrest
, on of my favourite anime series, and two DVDs of the subtitled-only 1982 (Super Dimension Fortress) Macross
TV series, which was re-formatted for North American TV as the "Rick Hunter" episodes of Robotech
(with two unrelated series, Genesis Climber Mospeada
and Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross
, the other two components of Robotech
While I already have the first three DVDs of You're Under Arrest
, I'm very happy to see it at the Pincourt, Quebec branch of Blockbuster along with Macross
because it's a definite sign that, at long last, AnimEigo
has overcome its crappy disribution problems in Canada, especially here in the province of Quebec, so, at long last, I no longer have to order stuff directly from their website. I mean, please don't misunderstand me, I love AnimEigo dearly and it's pretty much my favourite North American anime distributor, since they mainly do older titles which would only appeal to a small niche within the anime fandom niche which ADV and Pioneer wouldn't touch and, their flagship title, Urusei Yatsura
, is still about my favourite anime series overall. However, if I can purchase AnimEigo stuff locally in Montreal now instead of off their website, I no longer have to worry about getting a money order and paying for the shipping and paying the stupid fricking border fee along with the sales taxes to the postman when I receive their goods.
AnimEigo DVDs at the Pincourt Blockbuster; honestly, I never thought I'd see the day. I suppose it's still a pipe-dream that my local Blockbuster would get Urusei Yatsura
and Kimagure Orange Road
As a super happy funtime bonus, I'll post my review of the first three DVDs of You're Under Arrest
in a review I had originally written for a review website which is now defunct.
YOU'RE UNDER ARREST
DVD 1-3 review
You're Under Arrest (Japanese title: Taiho Shichau Zo!) is basically the adventures and comic
hijinks of two young, female traffic cops, Natsumi Tsujimoto and Miyuki Kobayakawa, and their colleagues at Bokuto precinct somewhere in central Tokyo. It is based on the manga series by Kosuke Fujishima (who went on to create Oh My Goddess!) which ran for seven collected paperback volumes in Japan, of which only two, volumes 5 and 6, have been published in English by Dark Horse/Studio Proteus. A popular rumour is that Kosuke Fujishima was embarrassed by the quality of the early You're Under Arrest stories, which featured much simpler looking versions of Natsumi and Miyuki, so he asked Dark Horse not to print the early stuff, although I have all seven volumes translated into French by Pika Edition (formerly Manga Player), so, if that rumour's true, he apparently didn't care so much about what his French-speaking fans thought of it. The You're Under Arrest manga has been rather fruitful as source material for spin-offs; as of this writing, there has been a four-episode OVA ("Original Video Animation"- cartoons animated specifically to be sold on video rather than airing on television) series, two animated TV series, a series of seven-minute long shorts (which are heavier in terms of T&A and "fan service" than the other animated adaptations) which aired on the popular variety programme Wonderful, an animated movie, and, starting very recently, a live action "dorama" series (with a theme song performed by, of all people, Mariah Carey). AnimEigo's first DVD box set of You're Under Arrest contains the four OVA episodes as well as the following eight TV episodes (the four OVA episodes were slightly edited to air as the first four episodes of the TV series).
The main menus for each disk are animated, although, thankfully for those of us that like to fall asleep in front of the TV, there are no short, looping segments of music playing in the background to pervade our dreams. Though, I have to say, myself, I really don't mind the static, no frills menus of AnimEigo's Urusei Yatsura DVDs, especially considering I'd rather AnimEigo spend what limited resources they have on getting the best quality picture and sound possible out of the masters and, in this case, good quality dubbing. (On the same token, I'm afraid I don't personally see the point of the "bonus" disk; the galleries and the little video clips of the Coastal Carolina dub actors trying to get the timing and "lip flap" right are worth a look, don't get me wrong, but there's nothing there that couldn't have easily been spread out over the three other disks in the set.) One minor annoyance about the menus is that there IS a "Play All" option, except it's semi-hidden; highlight the horizontal "traffic light", which is the "Play All" icon.
Perhaps the single most annoying annoyance about this presentation is that before every disk (including the bonus one) you have to sit through the legal warnings (with animated intro?) and then the EMOTION logo, the Kodansha Video logo, the TMS Animation logo sequence (which is really cheesy, with a giant hand that looks like it was drawn with cont� and a cherry thing that morphs into a mascot) and the "rainy" AnimEigo logo sequence; 1 minute 18 seconds worth of warnings and logos that you can't skip, although you can "fast forward" through them, or at least you can on the two Toshiba units (SD-2107 and SD-1600) I tried them on.
I don't think the picture quality of the OVA episodes looks too much better than the old CLV "hybrid" (one side dubbed, the other subtitled) LaserDiscs did, but that's more a comment on how good a job AnimEigo did on the LDs back then, not a comment on how bad the DVDs look now. The colours are bright and the lines are sharp. I can't find any major problems with the image on the TV episode disks, though I don't have any LDs of that to which I can compare; maybe just that the lines on the characters look a tiny, tiny bit "fuzzy" in some scenes, though that may just be the anti-aliasing (the effect used to minimize "jagged" diagonal lines). One thing that doesn't bother me one way or the other but might annoy some of the more "purist" fans, is that, unlike most other AnimEigo DVDs, the You're Under Arrest TV episodes do not have the credits written in Japanese, not even as an "alternate" angle track. It does have an option to remove the English language credits, so you can watch the opening and closing credits animation "clean".
I think the animation quality of the OVA episodes is superb, far above normal OVA quality in terms of overall detail. Also, I don't think I've ever seen automobiles animated as well as in the second episode, "Tokyo Typhoon Rally", at least not in anime, the way the cars are never distorted, even as the perspective changes as they careen around corners. In the same episode, I find the darkness of the typhoon and the halo effects around the lights and the way the rain-slicked street reflects the headlights and the way the Lancia kicks up water and splashes the "camera" and we see the scene refracted through the water to be just so perfect in capturing the look and the mood and the ambience of a rainstorm. I also love the opening sequence of the OVAs, particularly the 180 degree shot cited by Gilles Poitras in his book Anime Essentials as something that is relatively easy to do in animation but almost impossible to shoot in real life, with the "camera" zooming up a hillside towards Natsumi and Miyuki as a 747 appears overhead and then the "camera" closes in on Miyuki, framed by the belly of the 747, and the "camera" turns around Miyuki and closes in on Natsumi, in profile, and then pulls back so that we can see Miyuki and Natusmi from the opposite angle as the beginning of the "camera motion" with the rear of the plane in the distance. (We were lucky to get the original OVA opening and closing included in this set; AnimEigo almost used the edited TV versions of the 4 OVA episodes with the TV opening and closing because the OVA versions of the same episodes would have had to been licensed separately, except, somehow, the opportunity to use the original, uncut versions of the OVA episodes "fell into their laps", as AnimEigo chief Robert Woodhead himself put it on the AnimEigo mailing list last spring.)
The downside to having the original 4 OVA episodes and the following 8 TV episodes together in one box is that the drop-off in animation quality is very noticeable, though I don't think the quality of the TV animation is quite as bad as some people will have you believe. The biggest difference is that the animation of the automobiles doesn't look nearly as nice, nor are the cars drawn quite as detailed or as accurate. They still look pretty good for cars in an anime TV series though,
and I'd still rather look at these sort of hand-drawn cars than the cheap looking CG ones of Initial D anyday. The character designs are pretty much the same as the OVAs, though you don't get quite the amount of complex shading on the characters, especially with their hair and eyes.
Most of the main dub cast from AnimEigo's OVA dub from the mid-90s returns to dub the TV series, the one exception being that Juliet Cesario, who is probably best known as being the dub voice of Belldandy in AnimEigo's dub of the Oh My Goddess OVA episodes, replaces Jo Ann Luzzatto as the voice of Miyuki. The one minor problem I have is they say "Aoi" as "Ah-oy" (rhymes with annoy) when it should be pronounced "Ah-Oi-Ee", otherwise the new dub is about as non-cringeworthy as English dubs get, aside from the Disney Ghibli dubs, and is consistent in quality with the older dub. However, one thing I really liked about the older dub was that, for the Kindergarten kids, they used kids with fairly heavy Southern accents in the dub; I admit I wasn't comfortable with that at first until it occurred to me that there is no good reason why all dubs should use actors with non-identifiable accents, so I quickly found the kids' accents to be adorable. Unfortunately, the kids from the original dub would be well into their teens by now, so they used different kids, this time with generic accents. But they didn't re-dub the original 4 episodes, so you can hear both dub casts in this set and compare for yourself. The dub does take some liberties with the original script, like, when an old classmate of Aoi's talks about Aoi giving her his "button" in the original Japanese, the "button" becomes his "varsity jacket" in English, but they use colloquialisms in order to make it make more sense with an English-speaking audience. I don't particularly have a problem with that, since they didn't make the subtitles "dubtitles", so you can still see the original meaning of what was said. The Japanese cast includes Sakiko Tamagawa as Natsumi, Akiko Hiramitsu (Bloodberry in the various Saber
Marionette series) as Miyuki, Issei Masamune as the Chief, Bin Shimada (the Japanese voice of Krusty the Clown, apparently) as Ken, Etsuko Kozakura (Ryo-Ohki on Tenchi Muyo) as Yoriko and Rika Matsumoto (the woman that does the voice of Jim Hawking on Outlaw Star) as Aoi.
The opening theme song from the OVAs, "Courage at 100mph", is one of my favourite anime songs out there, and I like the closing theme song of the OVAs almost as much, and both songs are sung by Sakiko Tamagawa (Natsumi) and Akiko Hiramitsu (Miyuki), though the TV opening and closing songs are from J-pop acts Flying Kids ("To Be Myself") and Keiko Terada ("Thank You, Love") respectively. The background music, composed by Yuki Otani, is upbeat and cheerful, though fast and exciting when called for during the chase scenes. It's mostly videogame-ish "synth pop"; although there are musicians credited for playing instruments besides the synthesizer in the booklet for the OVA soundtrack CD (American edition, JVC-1006-2), it sounds mostly synthesized to me. Some of the pieces of background music also have a
vaguely "tropical" rhythm. The background music from the OVAs is re-used in the TV series, though there are a few pieces original to the TV series.
Natsumi is the tough one, being stronger than most of the men on the force, even to the point of being called a "gorilla woman", known for being able to pick up improbably large objects and stop Miyuki's patrol car with her feet. She tends to have a short fuse in high pressure situations and acts brashly, though, unlike a lot of other one-dimensional "tough and short-fused" characters you see in anime, she does have a soft side and isn't angry most of the time. Miyuki is much calmer and is a mechanical genius who customizes vehicles and can also defuse most explosive devices (including Natsumi). She's also an expert driver, though she can be shy around men she likes. Although Natsumi and Miyuki are mainly traffic cops, they seem to find themselves involved with all sorts of petty criminals, as well as the odd vigilante or two (who may or may not be people they know). Ken Nakajima is a motorcycle cop who often gets the girls out of tight situations; he's big, handsome, hunky, and painfully shy. Yoriko Nikaidou is another female officer who seems to be younger than either Natsumi or Miyuki; or maybe she's just small. She's the station's unofficial matchmaker and rumour mill, interfering in everyone's life, but she means well. She's not quite as "clueless" as she may appear, though everyone, including herself, underestimates her abilities. Aoi is a male cop who dressed up as a girl to catch perverts on the subway and found that he enjoyed being "female", so he remains a transvestite; his "disguise" is so convincing that most men can't tell the difference. The chief usually keeps quiet; in the manga he's a little bit more important a character than he is in the animated TV series (and in the live-action TV series, he doesn't even appear, the chief being a woman!). Something else that is as much of a "character" as any of the people is the Honda Today mini-patrol car that Miyuki "hot-rodded" herself (complete with nitro), so that, despite appearances, it's as fast and furious as those more sporty Hondas that you see Vin Diesel driving in the movies. Miyuki also put together Natsumi's "Motor Compo", which Natsumi uses to get to places the Today can't.
One criticism I recall from one of the critics of a certain anime magazine when this was new in Japan (1996) was that, although the main characters are police officers, it could take place in any office setting. I disagree. Obviously, they wouldn't get into car chases if they worked in an office, and that would be a major difference, but I also think that, while I am no way under the delusion that this is some sort of animated documentary of the lives of Japanese police officers, it does show a lot of the sort of work Japanese police officers do trying to stay a part of the community and not apart from the community, since many people in North America are accustomed to thinking, rightly or wrongly, that the police are there just to catch the bad guys. The thing that impresses me the most is that, not only are the Kindergarten kids not intimidated in any way by the police officers, female, male, or Aoi, they actually know their local police officers on a first name basis. While a lot of what you see on any comedy anime is exaggerated, I've read enough on Japan to know that this is pretty much accurate, at least in many neighbourhoods, as the police really do go around schools to get to know the children and not just pass around the see-through plastic tray with the joints and the LSD tattoos with the little pictures of Superman. We also see the cops being helpful, giving directions and helping people across the street. Don't expect to see a lot of gunfire, other than on the practice target range, since these are Japanese criminals we're talking about here, and guns are relatively hard to come by in Japan. The main vigilante in this series seems to be spoofing Batman, though not in the way you might expect, as nothing in You're Under Arrest can remotely be considered to be dark or brooding (not counting the movie). (Hint: think of an alternate meaning for the word "bat" and you?d be on the right track.) Besides the vigilante, in these episodes, Natsumi and Miyuki have to deal with a motor-scooter riding mama who breaks all traffic rules to get to sales a few seconds faster, Santa Clauses that take rather than give.
For the most part, this TV series stays fairly true to the manga, with some elements added to pad up the manga stories, which, at first, were very short. However, in the manga, a lot of the petty crime involved panties, bras and bathing suits, though this element was toned down for this particular anime series (though toned back up again for the "specials"). Another major, major difference between the manga and the anime is that, in the original manga, there actually never was a "how Natsumi and Miyuki first met" story, which is what the entire first episode is about. (In fact, very little that happens in the original 4 OVA episodes is taken from the manga, other than the characters, the vehicles and the general premise. "The Fox" subplot did come from the manga, but the identity of "The Fox" is completely different.) One thing I really like about the anime is that, although Bokuto precinct itself is totally fictional, a lot of the series takes place on real streets and highways in and around Tokyo, so you can actually follow along using a Tokyo map or atlas.
The "liner notes" for all 3 volumes are included with the first volume, and the lyrics for all the songs are with the second volume. The liner notes aren't nearly as extensive as those for Urusei Yatsura, but they don't need to be, since there aren't all the references to Japanese folklore and religion you'd find in Urusei Yatsura.
So, with the release of a newly dubbed series, the first original dub from AnimEigo since, I believe, Crusher Joe about 5 years ago and the first TV series to be fully dubbed from them since, well, ever, AnimEigo is now officially out of their coma and off life-support and sitting up and eating solid food with a series that will appeal to more than AnimEigo's core "preorder" fanbase. Not that this series is for everybody, as it is a comedy much more than it is a cop show, but Natsumi and Miyuki are one of the most dynamic female duos in all of anime and this is the perfect anime for those of you looking for something pleasant, light and charming with lots of warmth.
Just keep in mind that you're watching it that it is an anime, like many of the brutal hentai titles, and, technically speaking, ALL anime/manga is of the "same roots", and you shouldn't replace life with this anime/manga hogwash, because, no matter how many of you DEFEND anime/manga, you NEED to realize that this genre of entertainment is nothing short of witchcraft, REGARDLESS of the messages/storylines presented. At least according to Todd H.
and he should know a little about anime, since he, too, had what could be called a "phase" where he would occasionally watch some of it.
I'M FAIRLY TOLERANT WHEN IT COMES TO CRITICISM AGAINST ANIME, BUT...
Yeah, I'm a fairly jaded anime fan whom still likes plenty of anime but the fires of anime fandom don't burn nearly as brightly within me as they did in the mid-1990s, when I was still fairly new to anime as an interest, and, as a result, I'm generally not bothered at all by criticism of anime from the usual suspects, not that there's the widespread backlash against anime in general people predicted round about the time Pokémon
became popular with the kiddies since, aside from a few "breakout" kiddy TV franchises like Yu-Gi-Oh
and, to a lesser degree, Dragonball Z
, anime fandom in general remains a "niche" thing in North America, at least with adults. For example, as you may recall, I found the heated, nasty, fanboyish invective
aimed against some hapless woman in Washington state named Julie McBride-Wyatt
far more annoying than the actual column she wrote in which she criticized Cartoon Network's airing of the offbeat anime series FLCL
, mistakenly noting that the cartoon was rated TV-PG when it was actually rated TV-14, though, as I found out, the online edition of TV Guide
had made the exact same error, leading me to suspect that Ms. McBride-Wyatt accidentally got the rating from there and there was no intentional lie as part of TEH CHRISTIAN CONSPIRISY TO PUBLISH TEH FALSE INFORMASHON TO PROVOKE TEH BACKLASH AND GET TEH GUVIRNMINT TO BAN TEH ANIME. Even if she had wrong intentions, basically it was a medium-circulation, uninfluential newspaper and pretty much no one noticed this thing outside of Tacoma other than online anime fans.
Also, I have some degree of sympathy for Berit Kjos, of Kjos Ministires
, a Christian page full of conspiracies regarding the United Nations and the "New World Order", since she also has an Anime responses page
which she put up in 1999 in response to people writing her about Pok�mon
and other anime at the peak of Pok�mon
's popularity. She fully admits she doesn't bother watching anime in order to criticize it, she just keeps the page up and misguided anime fans insist on writing her, even though she doesn't even know 90% of the anime you mention and will only pick your letter apart, putting in bold those key passages of your letter which reveal how much you've been influenced by the one world government messages inherent in all anime, whose scripts are all written at UN conferences which promote teaching new ways of thinking and conflict resolution in schools, or something like that. (Okay, I'm being a bit facetious with that last remark, but not by all that much.) In short, anime fans, want my advice? Don't bother writing her, you're wasting your time, you won't get her to budge an inch, and your confrontational tone, as well as, very often, your questionable spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills reflect poorly on us anime fans in general.
Anyhow, what I wanted to tell you guys about last night was this one letter from a From Todd H.
which goes far beyond normal criticism of anime into "making stuff up" territory.
"I have been aware of anime/manga for some time now. I, too, had what could be called a "phase" where I would occasionally watch some of it. I also, unfortunately, watched some of the darker anime that is circulating."
Okay, so far, so good. I'm not particularly into the overly dark stuff either. I didn't care for the final three episodes of Narutaru
(the anime based on the manga by Mohiro Kitoh which was retitled Shadow Star
in English) much at all.** Just one problem here. Don't say "I, too, had what could be called a "phase"", that's just "I had a phase" with unnecessary padding. What else would you call it?
"I have read through the comments posted on crossroad.to, concerning anime/manga. I have to say this about most of the readers comments DEFENDING anime/manga: Do you (anime/manga fans) not realize that you are replacing life with this anime/manga hogwash? Going into excruciating detail about some FICTIONAL cartoon characters as if they were real?"
Umm... no, I'm not replacing life with anime and manga. They're just silly cartoons I enjoy, some with deeper artistic pretenses, but most are just goofy fun or straightforward "pulp" action. I have in-depth knowledge about a few series, but, for the most part, I don't share my complete wisdom with others, and the only thing I go into excruciating detail about here in this blog are my shopping trips to downtown Montreal, heh heh. Some people get more "active" with their fandom than I do, making costumes and going to conventions, but that's just a small part of their life. I see anime fandom as a pastime, no better or worse than most others. And, yes, most anime fans are fully aware that anime is fictional, well, aside from historical anime, so there's no need to put "fictional" in caps as though it's some sort of shocking revelation.
"Don't forget, that anime/manga is directly associated with the anime/manga that portrays girls AND women as throwaway toys, only good for sex and abuse? I have seen some of the most brutal of the anime in years past, and, technically speaking, ALL anime/manga is of the same roots. You can't have one genre of anime, without realizing the extent and brutality of the others."
Umm... well, the nastier hentai and ultraviolent stuff is associated with the rest of anime in that they're all animated cartoons done in Japan primarily for a Japanese audience. Aside from that... erm, since when did a few bad examples of a specific medium taint the entire medium? Citizen Kane
, and Generally Horny Hospital
are all movies... I don't think the value of the first two are invalidated by the fact that Generally Horny Hospital
is also a movie. And I don't even understand the meaning of "roots" here... Kiki's Delivery Service
and Cowboy Bebop
and Super GALS!
are all "rooted" in the most vile anime like Urotsukouji
? That's just wacky. I think you can have genres of anime with genres you like and genres you don't. There are plenty of genres I don't care much for myself, with sports anime being towards the top of my list.
Really, with "roots", you could at least claim that *much* of anime is "rooted" in Shintoism or Buddhism. (Not *all* anime, though, since ninety-nine percent of the time, an "all" statement will invalidate whatever your point is as it's easily debunked by finding examples that aren't the way you claim.) You'd score an easy point with Berit, and I would be unable to disagree.
"Anime is MAINLY for adults, evidenced by the storylines."
Actually, that's a popular myth perpetrated by many well-meaning anime sites in order to counteract the perceived stigma in North America that cartoons are just for kids. The bulk of anime produced is meant either for kids or teenagers; I'm not ashamed to admit that I like many a kid's anime, like Sailor Moon
or Cardcaptor Sakura
or Kiki's Delivery Service
, and even some of the more "fan service-y" stuff I like, like Tenchi Muyo
, was intended for teenage guys, not adults like myself. The more mature anime series in Japan are, for the most part, aimed at quite a small niche audience of adults, often on cable or satellite speciality channels. We just get a disproportionately high amount of the mature anime released on DVD in the west, and, other times, people notice something in kid's programmes which would be considered more "mature" content in North America, with the most obvious example being the implied lesbian relationship between Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus and Michiru Kaiou/Sailor Neptune in Sailor Moon S
, and they jump to the conclusion that the anime in question is meant for adults, when, in fact, all this indicates is that Japan has different ideas than Americans as to what is suitable to portray in children's cartoons.
"Some anime is just plain BORING."
No disagreement there. Like a lot of the anime that gets the most critical acclaim for example, heh heh. Or Saint Seiya
. But... erm... boring is a subjective designation, and the anime which are boring don't invalidate the anime which aren't.
"Some is DISGUSTING.
Well, again, I can't disagree, though just replace "boring" with "disgusting" in the last sentence of my previous paragraph, and you get my point for this one too. Except, while "disgusting" is subjective, I would hope that most people reading this would agree with me that the Slayers scat doujinshi
*** I discussed the other week is disgusting. Ewwww....
"ALL of it is like watching soap operas: The gullible and reality-denying individual treating fictional characters as REAL, hence the troubling trend of little kids acting like they are gods, superheroes, wizards, and animals."
Again, SOME anime are like soap operas, especially some of the more serious, relationship-oriented shoujo (girls) series like Hana Yori Dango
(Boys Over Flowers
) or Marmalade Boy
, and there are some soapish elements in series like Fushigi Yugi
or even Super GALS!
... but... erm... I have some wacky comedies like Adventures of Mini-Goddess
and Project A-ko
with no melodrama whatsoever.
Also, I suppose, if all anime disappeared tomorrow, kids would stop using their imaginations to pretend that they're animals or have cool magic powers or are superheroes? (Well, some of these people are against pretty much all forms of popular fiction, even Christian novels, and use the word "imagination" like it was a New Age plot.) And, while the vast, vast majority of anime fans know what is true and what is fiction, probably there's some fan out there whom believes his favourite anime characters are real, but, with that guy, his anime fandom isn't the problem; his problem is that he's delusional, and the fact that some anime fan somewhere has such psychological problems has nothing to do with the mental state of the rest of us anime fans. Like with all fiction, we suspend our disbelief (which I'm sure Berit would put in bold as though this is a novel concept imposed upon us by U.N.-trained educators and not the general basis for enjoying fiction) when we watch it, but we know it's just pretend. Pretending is fun.
"Even if there WERE such a thing as CHRISTIAN anime, the roots would STILL be there. One could not perceivably "christianise" something that is inherently evil."
Well, there are some Christian anime, like Superbook
and the Old Testament-inspired In The Beginning
, based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka. A handful of other anime actually have Christian subtexts... I'm thinking specifically of the first theatrical Patlabor
film, directed by Mamoru Oshii, which had strong parallels to the Tower of Babel story, as well as the film Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer
, directed by... erm... Mamoru Oshii, where the dreammaker Mujaki claims to be what tempted Eve in the Garden and what tempted Judas to betray Jesus. (Though I disagree that Neon Genesis Evangelion
has a Christian subtext... it uses names and symbols from Western religions because they're cool and exotic from a Japanese point of view, but there's no deep point; the series is actually inspired by creator Hideaki Anno's depression somehow.)
"No matter how many of you DEFEND anime/manga, you NEED to realize that this genre of entertainment is nothing short of witchcraft, REGARDLESS of the messages/storylines presented."
But, anyhow, how is anime, in general, witchcraft
, defined by my Oxford Dictionary of Current English
as "the use of magic
", which is itself defined as "supposed art of influencing or controlling events supernaturally"? So, merely watching an anime, any anime, even something without any supernatural elements whatsoever like Planetes
, is the same as casting an incantation? You know, you could claim that Christians shouldn't watch *specific* anime like Kiki's Delivery Service
, Sailor Moon
or Cardcaptor Sakura
since they contain some form of witchcraft, and, while I'd disagree since the witchcraft involved is merely "plot device" witchcraft, I wouldn't argue with you since that would be legitimate conclusion based on the actual content of those specific anime and not just a ridiculous generalization about the medium of anime in general, and, since that conclusion would be rooted in your interpretation of what is correct according to your faith, that would be fine with me. But, like I said, that's just a ridiculous fallacy that all anime is witchcraft.
The rest of his e-mail is religious arguments, which, like taste, are pointless debating, at least in a blog. I don't really have any conclusion here planned, I just hope you find my arguments destroy his, and, please note, this was very carefully written so as not to insult his or Berit's religious beliefs in general (though conspiracy theories are fair game as far as I'm concerned).
series changed gears entirely and the final three episodes were an endurance test of seeing excessively brutal and horrific things being done to or perpetrated by children without much in the way of context provided, so it's almost like a cartoon for sadists who get off on seeing kids do nasty, nasty things to each other. Perhaps the context for the brutality is better covered in the corresponding manga chapters; I don't know, I haven't read to that point in the manga and I can't find any good Narutaru
spoiler sites on the web. Now that I know the full context to the especially graphic sequence in volume 6
, though, I can say it's no less disturbing. Anyway, I fully intend on discussing my specific problems with Narutaru
episodes 11 through 13 at some point, but, until then, you can read some of my comments on the matter in this thread
or in this thread
(keeping in mind that I'm Kiyone
on the AnimeNation.net board).
***Scat = feces-eating, doujinshi/doujin = fan-made parody comic, usually pornographic, not authorized by the creators of the series or the company which owns the rights.
FUCK, FUCKITY, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!
I wrote a response to a weird letter about anime on Berit Kjos's page
, but then I pressed "Save" (the thing that comes up when you attempt to switch pages without posting) because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't lose it, but Blogger lost it, or, at least, I can't find it anywhere.
Damn! I don't have time to rewrite it tonight! :'(
AN ANTI-FREE TRADE PROTEST I SUPPORT
I'm very pro-free trade, but still:
People under 18, please don't click on the link!
"Why I Choosed To Protest Nude"
I am Michiko, the woman standing at far right. I wish to explain why I and my friends protest nude at WTO meeting. These nude protests are to highlight the irony of the WTO policies which seek to liberalise trade and constraints on capital, while preventing the free movement of people. These nude protests are explicitly linked to the struggles of the dispossessed people around the world and the free trade policies of the developed rich countries at the expense of those still developing. That is why me and my friends protest nude.
Yeah, much more appealing to the eyes (and certain other body parts I have) than the local Black Bloc.
Hey, Japanese babes, did you know that, to show that you support peace and social justice, you spread your legs apart?
EDIT: Hmm... why do I get the idea that Michiko cut-and-pasted the third and fourth sentences from elsewhere? Or, at the very least, she got an English-speaking friend to write those two sentences, but not the first, second and fifth?
HEY, BUSH STAFFERS!
I know you guys must monitor my blog for content from time to time since I put the Bush/Cheney re-election thingie on my page. That's fine with me... I'm a "friendly" Canadian whom wants to see the Republicans win, like Mark Steyn or Norm Macdonald or, of course, David Frum, so you'll never find any objectionable content in here... well, at least not about Republicans or conservatives or the war.
On Montreal Indymedia
I found out about this one nut whom calls himself "Johnny Wizard" whom entitled his most recent entry "Pleading with Americans to kill the unarrested bush for the love of children"
. Here's a Google search for "Johnny Wizard"
He seems to be very prolific in terms of writing rambling missives which are downright impossible for most ordinary non-intelligence agent laymen such as myself to read since he hits the "enter" key twice only about once every 50 000 words or so. He seems to be schizophrenic, but, still, I think it would be worth you guys's while to open up a large file on him and add his name to your "red flag" database.
EDIT: After studying some of the mostly non-political boards he posts his missives to, I tend to agree with the conclusion that Johnny Wizard may be a bot
... well, some ordinary, garden variety crackpot actually writes the posts, but then he gets some automated system to post them on as many non-password protected boards as it can find.