More Smut

The title of this post has a slight double meaning. The first and obvious meaning is that I intend to discuss this topic even more. The second meaning is that the discussion topic will this time cover shows with either more erotic content, or else with more, well, sexual fanservice. This post is mainly a response post to comments I have received from readers on reddit.com/r/japaneseanimation.

Now, I had a few directions that I could have went with this post, so let me begin by clarifying what I am omitting and why. The first topic I will omit is asymmetry. The ways in which male and female anime characters are sexualized differently is a thought-provoking topic, but I lack the expertise to engage it meaningfully. Besides that, it’s just plain hard to see both sides of the issue as a person who’s only ever been a cisgendered male. The second topic I will omit is hentai. The reason is that I haven’t actually ever watched it. However, I’ve done image searches in the past which I found rather unsatisfying, so I’ll discuss a bit about why exactly I haven’t looked any further into it.

So, without further ado, these are the topics I will cover: discussing effectiveness instead of appropriateness, the Madonna-Whore complex and how good ecchi can subvert it, sexual beings as opposed to sexual targets, how the latter can masquerade as the former, and what we can learn from full-blown ecchi. There’s no pictures in this post, and it’s once again ended up being pretty long.

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A Chobits Retrospective

Guest review by Ranma

I first watched Chobits when it was released in the US on DVD. I rented it on Netflix, and it was an early anime for me to watch in Japanese with subtitles. Chobits is based on a manga by CLAMP, an all woman manga/anime/media collective.  The manga, 8 volumes, ran in 2001 – 2002, and was adapted by Madhouse for television in 2002.

At that time I thought Chobits was fabulous. Of course as a relative anime newbie, I thought nearly everything I watched was fabulous. I hadn’t experienced my hundredth beach episode and magical girlfriend shows were more of a 60s sitcom concept than an animation staple to me.

But I’ve watched a lot of anime between then and now. And anime’s technology has improved and changed since then. Chobits was an early show to use a digital work flow, as opposed to traditional hand painted cells.

So when I found a copy of Chobits in an inexpensive thin pack at a local book and record store, it was with more than a little trepidation that I started re-watching the series. Would the animation hold up well when compared to more modern work? How would I react to the story now, with nearly 10 years worth of anime viewing under my belt? Would the technology in the story seem silly, like an old Jetson’s episode?

I needn’t have worried. CLAMP’s story telling skills and satire are more than strong enough to have survived the time skip.  And Madhouse was and still is one of the top anime production companies in the business.

Opening animation for Chobits.

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Smut

When a pair of breasts take up the entire screen, the possible reactions are many. The first is titillation, briefly stirring sexual impulses. The second is indifference, because fanservice is old hat and that’s not even good fanservice. The third is offense, layed out in many ways.

One claim is that it is wasting time. “I don’t want fanservice, I want character development!” goes the refrain. The next claim is that such a scene is ruining the character by sexualizing her. Some go even further and claim that such a scene reduces the character into a sexual object. Once an anime character with dreams and ambitions, now just a pair of breasts to stare at, alas! Some take offense at the fact that the breasts in this scene belong to an underage girl. Others take offense at their size.

Isn’t it amazing how polarizing two mere sacks of fat can be?

(WARNING: This post is long and image heavy)

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Art, Entertainment, and Postmodernism

Recently I had a debate with the reddit user baal_zebub over the distinction between art and entertainment. What follows is a somewhat reduced down version of the debate. It is still really long though, so don’t read this if you’re in a hurry.

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Aim for the Ace! – 1973

Director – Osamu Dezaki

Original Writer – Sumika Yamamoto

Studio – Madhouse

When a total beginner on the tennis team is called upon by the coach to replace one of the five regulars, so begins 26 episodes of pure drama. In this 70’s shojo title, the key word is expression. Herein lies a whirlwind of emotions, of shocking burdens lain upon our cast, of friendship and enmity, and of very forceful character development.

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The 15-Point Scale

At the end of my last post, I left you with this:

“the very evaluation of an entire anime as good or bad is at best a vast over-generalization of all the elements composing the anime. I do rate all my anime, and find it worthwhile to do so, but at the same time, I don’t feel like a number or word can possibly do it justice.”

Given that, why on Earth would I write an entry on how I like to rate my anime? It is for the benefit of you, dear reader, so that you we can avoid confusion in the future when I actually rate my anime on this blog.

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Thoughts on the Art of Reviewing: 7 Mistakes

This will certainly be a subjective take on what constitutes an “mistake”, and it certainly is difficult to claim one review is objectively superior to another, but just as a review of an anime is subjective yet still useful and valid, I hope this will turn out likewise. I’m adding this disclaimer at the beginning because I don’t want to pull punches later. If my tone is hostile, it’s not because I’m an arrogant son of a bitch, but just because I want to make my point as clear and forceful as possible. Without further ado, let’s deconstruct some bullshit! Continue reading

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What I hope to accomplish with this blog

So, first off, I’m not yet sure if this is going to be an anime blog or a multi-topic one. But, I’m going to start it as an anime blog and see where it goes from there. It probably won’t be frequently updated, and I intend to write with a “quality over quantity” mindset.

When I thought about the idea of making an anime blog, I asked myself the question “Why should there be yet another blog?” The answer was obvious; “because it may be worth reading”. Okay, so this means that above all else, I should strive to make my blog worth reading. And what would make it worth reading amongst all the anime blogs out there? Especially, how can I guarentee that every entry is worth reading?

I decided then that I needed to adopt a policy. I’m going to call this policy “one new thing”. For every entry, I need to say something that’s not been said. New thoughts, new information, new analysis, new conclusions. It’s all about the new.

Does this mean that I might be a shallow fool persuing novelty at the expense of depth? Of course. But, fear not, I do not intend to define my novelty in terms of randomness nor do I intend to rely on allusions to other spheres of thought as my source of inspiration.

Okay, so what can you expect? Well, I probably won’t review anime on an episodic basis. That would make my “one new thing” policy hard to implement, since I’d have to read every other blog post on that episode that made it into the blog world. So, this blog will be oriented towards editorials, with perhaps the occasional anime review.

You can count on me to be opinionated, offensive, self-contradictory, and even flat out wrong. It will happen, and I offer no apologies in advance. If that sounds enticing, then welcome to my blog and merry reading!

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