There’s a lonely man slumped in his in chair in a high-end restaurant filled with so-called “good” rich people. They’re piercing stares of shame, judgment, and disgust do not faze him at the least. They can be heard whispering and chattering about his pathetic state. There’s a few seconds of silence followed by the man demanding the people “what you looking at?”.
Then, the man speaks.
“You’re all a buncha fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be!”
He slowly rises from his slumped state and resumes his triad.
“You need people like me! You need people like me, so you can point your fucking fingers, and say ‘that’s the bad guy’!”
He’s stumbling: effects of the alcohol and drugs he consumed earlier kicking it. Despite his impairment, he glares at the rich people, whom are clearly at unease at his actions. He asks everyone if – unlike him – they’re good because he’s bad.
He answers for them.
“You’re not good. You just know how to hide. How to lie.”
Following that, he declares that he doesn’t have a those problems. He proudly states that despite being a lair, he is always telling the truth. As his bodyguards guides him towards the exit, he asks everyone to say goodnight to the bad guy; as this is the last bad guy of his caliber that they ever will see in their lifetime.
The scene described above is of course the iconic Scarface restaurant monologue. Our lead and titular character, Tony “Scarface” Monata, has infamously built an ill rep for himself throughout the Miami underworld, news media, and public as a multi-millionaire criminal overlord. He is all aware of his sins – and he’s not ashamed of it. He knows who he is. He knows he is a sinner. He knows he’s a bad guy. Rather running away from it, he embraces it.
He has the guts to be what he wants to be.
Tony Monata is a fictional character. His tale is of fiction. However, we cannot deny the fact that what he spoke in that restaurant is reality. It is the truth. When you have guts, you’ll be met with opposition. Either they’ve given up on being who they want to be, or they hide it from the general public; shamming those who’re doing “ill” deeds (while hiding their worse deeds from the world)
They cannot stand the sight of those who are confident with whom they are. They are envious of them: as they’re a reflection of what they can never be in life. The people of Miami hated Scarface. Not because he was a drug dealer, but because of his courageous, outlaw spirit. It is because he brought to light what they do in the dark.
We see this in the real world often. A black man speaks out against the vile actions against his community at the hands of white supremacist. The powers that be silence him for it. They know he’s telling the truth. They know that they are full of shit. History is filled with proof of their inhumane deeds that they deny. They fear that he’ll wake his community up. If they wake up, they will create a resistance group against white supremacy and expose their lies. So, they pull up his criminal record and ill deeds from 20 years ago. If he doesn’t have one, they make one up. They speak of his ill deeds of the past. Anything to discredit and sully his name in order to keep their hands clean. It doesn’t bother him one bit. He has the guts to be true to himself.
It takes guts to stand against an oppression system.
A young actress speaks out against the sexual abuse within the entertainment industry. She has witnessed Hollywood executives and producers coerce teenage girls to perform sexual favors for roles against their will. She makes the world know what is going behind closed doors in Hollywood with the notorious casting couch. Her heart forbids her to allow these foul actions to continue. So, she blows the whistle against it: exposing their deeds to the world. The cowardly predators smear her name. They blacklist her; making sure she never lands a major role in a movie or TV. She cannot get any work. She’s labeled as the bad guy. But she is unfazed by it all. She’s labeled as the bad guy. She knew that saving young girls from this will come with a heavy price. But, she doesn’t care.
It takes guts to defend your gender against an oppression group.
You can not let cowards rule this world.
In the realm of anime, anime is filled with many valiant characters who embrace who they are without fear.
The spirited Gearless Joe of the Spring 2018 hit anime Megalo Box refused to throw match after match, despite the pleads of his chicken-shit trainer and manager, Nanbu. He cares not for the politics of Shirato group’s Megalonia boxing tournament, the tournament’s prize money, the fame that goes with it, and throwing matches for the illegal gambling ring surrounding the tournament. He wants the fight of the lifetime with the champion, Yuri.
Haruhi Suzumiya, titular character of the iconic light novel and anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya embraced this ideology at a young age. She vowed to let the world know that she exist through her life mission of making every day an adventure for herself by discovering interesting and mysterious people and things. Rather than to fade into the background of the world stage, she was driven to become the main actress on it; regardless if she lived in Japan – a nation known for hammering down nails that stick out.
In this world, you cannot be bothered by what others think of you. You’re given a limited amount of time to live your life. If there’s something you want to do, then do it. Yes: People will judge you. Yes: people will shun you. Yes: People will no longer be friends with you or want to be in your circle. They will call you “weird”, “an asshole”, “strange’, whatever words they can think of to make them feel better about their lack of courage and make you feel bad about your everlasting levels of it.
But, you have to embrace that. Having the guts to be who you want to be comes with that. Don’t get me wrong: I am not telling you do anything illegal or immoral. If you are, you deserve to be shun. You deserve to lose your friends. Other than that, embrace who you are. Don’t live in fear over what others think. You don’t have time to do that.
Wasting your time being in fear of what others may think of you is for cowards.
Do not be a coward.
Fakeness fears realness.
Cowards shun the courageous.
Studio MAPPA’s Zombie Land Saga (ZLS) is a hilarious, interesting, and refreshing take on two separate yet equally bland and tired genres: zombie horror and idol anime. The fusion of these two genres, along with tackling mature themes such as PTSD, unethical practices within the entertainment industry, depression, gender identity, and of course, death, Zombie Land Saga became a sleeper hit during the Fall 2018 anime season.
With the success of Zombie Land Saga, it’s no surprise that MAPPA is working on a second season of the show, churning out merchandise online, the voice actresses performing songs from the anime throughout Japan, fans globally are giving their own creative spin on the characters through cosplay and fanart, and making analysis videos on the series.
While roaming through the ZLS fandom side of the internet for analysis videos and essays, there was one thing that caught me by surprise: the lack of discussion around the overarching theme of death of the series. Now, I get it: death is a sensitive topic, but I feel that it’s something we should talk about when it comes to this amazing series.
It might sound strange to you readers and listeners out there, but ZLS reminds me of how we need to appreciate life and respect death – not fear it.
Death Has No (Age) Limit
“Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey.
One is always aware that it lies in wait.
Though life is merely a journey to the grave, it must not be undertaken without hope.”
-Igor, Persona 3
Behind the (dark) humor of Zombieland Saga lies tragedy. The tragedy of seven girls who lives were cut short before reaching adulthood; with Lily being the youngest (aged 12), and, if we were to exclude the 20-something Tae, Junko as the oldest (aged 19). Like all youthful girls, Lily, Sakura, Yuugiri, Ai, and Junko were all youths filled with hopes, dreams and ambitions – only to die early deaths.
As a titan of the great idol wars of the 2000s, the prideful and unmovable Ai, along her group Iron Frill, dominated the music charts. No other idol group could reach their level of success. Each venue hall they performed at sold out: proof of their musical superiority. Yet, on the night of her biggest concert of her blooming career, Ai’s life was cut short when she (foolishly) stuck her hand out towards the sky during a thunderstorm (Iron Grill were performing at an open air arena). Ai lived for a few minutes in excruciating pain and suffering before dying on arrival at the hospital.
As one of the founding mothers of the 1980s Idol boom, Junko graced television screens and concert halls throughout Japan with her presence. Her powerful voice and air of mystery would lead her to nationwide popularity and stardom. Sold out concerts. Highly rated TV specials. High volume record sales. Nothing was impossible for the rising starlet. However, her rise to the top came to an abrupt, violent end. While on tour, the engines of the plane she was on malfunctioned midair; causing it to plummeted to the Earth.
Everyone on board was killed – Junko included.
Despite lacking proper training, Lily made it her mission to become an child actress to make her TV loving papa proud. Lily was a natural; an artistic prodigy even. One could always expect to see her on a major prime-time show and big budget film. There was no doubt that Lily could had grow into an extraordinary actress past childhood and into adulthood. Alas, the strain of a brutal workload, coupled mental shock of facial hair growth, and her father pushing her to her physical limits,despite her demands for rest, ultimately killed her. .
Sakura was a young bright girl with both scholarly and athletic success. Whatever she put her mind towards, she would go after it. However, despite her relentless drive towards success, she was met with setbacks and failures; driving her into depression in her teenage years. One day, during a depressive episode, she caught an TV special featuring Ai’s rise to success with her band. During this special, Ai brought up that she doesn’t view failures and mistakes as bad things; as they will help her with whatever comes next in life.
Touched by this, Sakura would attend Ai’s concert in Saga. There, shebecame inspired by Ai’s marvelous performance to the point that she was able to pull herself out of her depression; deciding that she would become a singer like her idol. She applied to join Ai’s group with this newfound inspiration and reason for living.
Sadly, on her way to mail the application, Sakura was hit by a truck and died instantly.
Death doesn’t care if you just pulled yourself out of years of depression. Death doesn’t care if you’ve been happy all your life. It pays no mind to women who are successful and women who are failures. It is merciless to both celebrities and average men alike. Death doesn’t hold biases towards the young and the elderly. It doesn’t matter to death if your smart or did stupid things (like Ai). We are all equal when it comes to death.
As you read above, there were three girls who were celebrities and one girl who was not. In the world of ZombielandSaga, the world once knew of Lily, Ai, and Junko; while Sakura was a nobody. In it , Lily, Ai, and Junko are in the history books while Sakura will forever be lost to it.
But, at the end, death came for all four of them – despite their status and age.
“Do not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something while you live and it is in your power.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Memento Mori, or “remember: you too will die/you too are mortal.” Within the Stoic community and philosophy, death is a topic that is covered and approached without fear. The Stoics of Ancient Rome and Greece kept death in mind; not out of some twisted morbid curiosity, but they confidently accepted that it’s a normal part of life. It’s a motto to guide a person to live in the moment and to think about the future: forgoing thinking about trivial, superficial things that will not matter in the long run.
With Zombie Land Saga, I believe we can approach this Stoic ideology with the anime itself. Remember: the ladies of Franchouchou are zombies for a reason; not because of some weird shady music producer, but because they lived and died young. Like you and I, they too, were mortal. We too, will die like our favorite singing zombie girls. With this (and death) in mind, we must be aware of our own morality. We must act that as if each day is our final day. We are not immortal. We not not invulnerable. We are all in the cross-hairs of death; waiting for it to pull its trigger.
As young girls in life, I am doubtful that Sakura, Lily, Ai, and Junko cared about death as most young people do. When we were young, the thought of a possible early death and planning for the future never crossed our minds. We weren’t concerned with taking care of ourselves nor did we want to. We foolishly believed that we had all the time in the world to do whatever we pleased; as if we could live into old age without flaw nor issues. However, at some point , we figured out that we do have to take care of ourselves and that our time on Earth is limited. Sakura, Lily, Ai, and Junko learned the hard way that life is short — as many young people are learning that fact today.
Now, You may be wondering, why did I left out Saki, Tae, and Yuugiri thus far.
There’s a reason for my exclusion of those three.
Saki is somebody I believe took the Memento Mori mantra to the extreme. Saki was a gangsta. She lived the gangsta lifestyle and died because it. In that respect, we can assume she had absolutely no fear of death. As a gangsta, why should you? You knew what you sign up for once you get yourself involved street activity. If you don’t escape it, the gang life will either land you in prison or in a casket. But Saki didn’t care. Hell, she prided herself on having guts and courage and respect people who are also full of courage like herself (as most gangstas do). She probably knew that she would die young from being reckless; which is why she took a game of chicken (way) too seriously.
Tae is an oddball as we have absolutely no information on her. However, according to Studio MAPPA, she was in her late 20s at the time of her death. We can guess that by the time she died, Tae had understand the concept of life and that she will die.
Finally, there is the case of Yuugiri the Stoic (not her official title but bare with me here).
Yuugiri is somebody we can assume clearly understands this stoic philosophy of life, death, and not caring about trivial things. She’s a woman from the Meiji Restoration Era of Japan; an era in which Japan was littered with violence, political shifts, social revolution, social unrest, and rapid industrialization (to name a few things that were going on during that time period). With constant history changing events unfolding in Japan, it makes sense for Yuugiri to have calm, peaceful approach and mindset towards her new life as a zombie and the new era she is living in.
There’s no point in getting in your feelings over simple things when major events are unfolding in your daily life.
Example: During episode 6 of ZLS Lily was concerned that Yuugiri would be confused with everything in the modern world by asking her if she is okay and if she could follow what is going on (in terms of Franchouchou upcoming fan meet and greet). Yuugiri replies that she will accept things as is and as they come; as being confused about anything wouldn’t help.
This is a philosophy we should take to heart as we’re on our life’s journey to the grave. Why waste time worrying about things that you can never change as death lies in wait for us? Is there any good questioning the things that we can never change? Instead, we must spend our time doing things that makes us happy and give us the best results every day. Think back of all the stupid things you had worried back in the past and ask yourself “was it worth wasted effort, and energy, and time directing my thoughts into those pointless things?”. I bet you’re kicking yourself right now over them. Did those things matter still in your current, present life? Of course not! Focus on what’s important for today and for your future.
I’m not saying you should be careless about things nor pay no mind to issues that could result in major harm or disaster in the future: that’s foolish! And I’m not saying you should accept absolutely everything that has an impact on your life. If there’s something that truly bothers you that you think could negatively impact you, do something about it.
Otherwise, don’t trip off the things that won’t matter 5 seconds or 5 decades from now.
Can you imagine if Yuugiri, or any other member of Franchouchou spent their time wondering why they came back to lives as zombies instead of reliving life itself and having fun as zombies and idols? They wouldn’t get shit done. They would waste their and Tatsumi time doing nothing but rotting away for eons.
Aimless wondering and wandering over pointless things doesn’t make you human.
It makes you a mindless zombie.
There Is No Second Chance: Live Your Life
“A zombie that doesn’t dance is just a regular zombie. The others are zombies, but they’re trying to live. Just how long do you two intend to just rot?” -Tatsumi to Junko and Ai, Zombieland Saga Ep. 3.
“You’ve got all the talent in the world, but the two of you girls are giving up without giving it a whirl!”
-Sakura to Junko and Ai, Zombieland Saga, Ep. 2
The ladies of Franchouchou were given a second chance at life thanks to their shady necromancer music producer who wanted to give seven people a chance to recapture their dreams. Dreams that they were never able to achieved due to their lives being cut short. Through hard work, pain, and relentless challenges, Franchouchou were able to become idols in the country town of Saga, Japan. Of course, such a story is a work of fiction; cute singing anime zombie girls will never exist in the real world. Once you’re dead, you are dead – there’s no coming back – no second chances at life. You do not get a reset. Nor do you net yourself a redo.
With that said, spend your time on earth wisely and work bettering yourself: just like our favorite characters from Zombie Land Saga before their untimely deaths.
Both Junko and Ai became major pop idol stars as teenagers. Can you imagine how excited they were when they got their first record deal as kids? Lily became a sensational television and movie star as a child and worked hard to make her father proud of her. Just think how much her dad smile when he saw her on the tube (as Junko would say). Saki and her biker gang wreak havoc on the streets and highway of not only Saga, but most of Japan itself. She was a street legend. Little is known about Yuugiri’s past life, but we can assume that thanks to her playing her role as the perfect courtier ,she was a legend of her time period. Sakura, despite dying a few days afterwards, was able to pull herself out of and defeat her depression while working on her goal on becoming an idol singer.
And Tae…well, she was the leader of the Sailor Scouts and a pirate empress in her time.
Meta jokes aside, we all yearn to live a great, long life. During our lifetime, we must seek to achieve great things, hit milestones, and make an impact on the world around us. It is important to set daily goals and make a great effort to accomplish them. We must set up targets and aim right dead at the center. Take risks, take a chance, and make things happen for you: You only have one life, one chance at writing the book that is your life story.
One final thing: You reading means that you greatly value yourself and education. You understand that there’s more to life than to a mindless zombie consuming pointless things until death. You understand that each second draws you closer to death and that you find ways to better yourself before death comes for you.
And to you for that, I say, thank you (but also read other people works for self-improvement, not just my essays).
Remember: you are mortal and you will die.
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The Swarthy Nerd Podcast
A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.
I post cool pics of my convention travels, weeaboo memes, and make reckless and wild ZombieLand Saga memes using screenshots from the series such as Sakura finding a cure for her depression having Saki steal credit card infomation , and turning Junko into a drugdealing degenerate
Editor’s Note: This is a text version of episode 32 of my friend and I podcast “The Swarthy Nerd Podcast” . It has been edited for this blog. You can listen to the episode in full by clicking on this link. Please enjoy!
Japan: A nation rich in cultural tradition, technological advancement, animation innovation, and an unreal politeness. It’s a peaceful county that holds the status quo on the highest pedestal. From childhood to adulthood, the Japanese are expected to follow the status quo, daring not to stand out from the crowd; as they will be hammered down like a nail sticking out from the board.
You’re expected by society and by your family to work hard. At school, work, and for the general public, Japanese citizens must put on their best face (or tatemae 建前, たてまえ lit. “façade”); regardless of what they might be going through in their personal life thanks to the nation’s intense conformist nature.
But, what happen when this intense conformist nature Japan is known for becomes too much for one person to bear? Let’s say a salary-man gets chastise by his boss for a one minor mistake that can be easily fix. In America, we might get in our feelings over the matter for a split second then seek to correct the issue. In Japan however, the salary-man will cave in, withdraw into his shell, and finish the work for the day – never returning to work the following day.
Instead, he’ll lock himself away in his disgusting, trashy room of his parent’s house in a state of deep depression for months or even years. He doesn’t interact with the outside world beyond the virtual, online world – a world in which he feels is much safer than brutal reality. He wastes his time and life away watching anime and playing video games; never contributing to society. His parents provide his need out of “support” until they grow old and die. They don’t know what else to do with him or get him out of this state.
This man is a member of Japan’s missing one million: hikikomori (ひきこもり or 引きこもりlit. Pulling inward, being confined). A social phenomenon with origins dating from the mid-1980s and appearing in the Japanese mainstream in the late 1990s, the hikikomori is the modern-day reclusive hermit who has withdrawn from all social interactions.
According to the 2016 Japanese census report, 540,000 people aged 15-39 are considered hikikomori. However, some experts has estimated that the number is 1.55 million (since hikikomori do not interact with society and prefer to be hidden) and growing. This condition can go on for years – even decades – and this is a problem that Japan must address before it worsen.
There are hikikomori that in their 40s (the first generation) who have not left their aging parents’ house in decades, leading to Japan’s “2030 Problem”; an issue in which the hikikomori baby boomer parents are entering their 60s, 70s, and 80s; therefore, they cannot provide for their hikikomori children (due to retirement, illness, and death). With the parents dying, this causes concern as many are wondering who’ll take care of these hermits and what to do to help them come out of their shells.
In this episode of the Swarthy Nerd Podcast, we will explore one of Japan’s infamous dark side: the hikikomori. What is a Hikikomori? Why so many men in Japan are withdrawing from society and causing a strain on the Japanese economy and their family? And could America experience their unique version of the Hikikomori.
BREAKING DOWN THE HIKIKOMORI
Before acknowledging why Japanese youth are becoming Hikikomori, we must analyze what causes and does not cause Hikikomori. 80% of Hikikomori are male; with the reminding 20% are females. The average age of Hikikomori is around mid-20s. However, there are reports of Hikikomori in their teens and 50s. A Hikikomori must’ve not partaken in society for a period exceeding six months.
They are not employed, seeking employment, or in educational training (NEET). Forms of entertainment fill their time, for example: video games, internet, and television. While it’s possible for some Hikikomori to suffer from pathological problem disorder such as autism, borderline personality disorder (BPD), schizophrenia, et cetera, Hikikomori itself isn’t considered nor treated as a pathological disorder.
The following items are what don’t make one Hikikomori. Simply going from home to work and only having interactions with people from those places doesn’t make the criteria for Hikikomori; as you’re employed and interacting with society. Non-conformity isn’t hikikomori. While Hikikomori itself is an extreme example of non-conformity, the act itself isn’t inherently Hikikomori. Japanese Herbivore Men who don’t desire a relationship with the opposite sex aren’t Hikikomori; as most are social. Understanding what makes and does not make a Hikikomori based on the factors listed above; we can begin to look into the reasoning behind the why.
WHY JAPANESE YOUTHS ARE BECOMING HIKIKOMORI
Referring back to the introduction of this essay/episode, Japan is a conformist nation where individuality is frown upon. Their youth are expected to aim high towards academic, social, and career success. Matt Davis’s article for BigThink.com on Hikikomori and the rigidness of Japan goes further on such expectations:
“Like most behavioral issues, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what mechanism lies behind it. However, there are some common features.
Japan is a very rigid, structured society, and the pressure starts early. Students are expected to study constantly, the school year lasts six weeks longer than in the U.S., and, when the Ministry of Education reduced the school week from six days a week, many parents began enrolling their children in juku, or “cram schools,” to fill in the extra hours with as much education as possible. Because of the emphasis on exams in Japan, about half of all junior high students in Japan attend juku.
Combined with the fact that the period from 1990 to 2010 saw very little economic growth in Japan, many students questioned the purpose of their high-intensity education when there was little guarantee of work at the end of it.
Social life in Japan, too, is highly structured and etiquette practices can quickly become complex depending on the situation and the others involved. For example, Japanese has many grammatical structures that vary depending on the exact nature of the person being addressed, whether they’re a superior, an employee, a customer, an older woman or man, a younger woman or man, and many others. Giving gifts is common, but certain items are considered impolite. Giving a kitchen knife to a newlywed couple is a no-no, since this implies separation.
What’s more significant than the specific rituals and rules in Japanese culture, the general, pervasive sense of propriety and correct behavior can be stifling. It is impossible to go through life without embarrassing yourself socially at least once, but in a culture where correct behavior is highly valued, slipping up in this regard can be traumatizing.
Often, a triggering academic or social failure prompts young men and women to withdraw from society and become hikikomori. It’s also been speculated that this social phenomenon is due, in part, to a culture of shame surrounding mental health issues. Depression wasn’t even recognized as a real condition until the late 1990s in Japan, and it is sometimes still seen as an excuse to take time off of work. Rather than be labelled as depressed or anxious, the term hikikomori paints people with a broader brush.”
And from William Kremer and Claudia Hammond’s BBC News articleHikikomori: Why Are So Many Japanese Men Refusing to Leave Their Homes:
”The trigger for a boy retreating to his bedroom might be comparatively slight – poor grades or a broken heart, for example – but the withdrawal itself can become a source of trauma. And powerful social forces can conspire to keep him there.
One such force is sekentei, a person’s reputation in the community and the pressure he or she feels to impress others. The longer hikikomori remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure. They lose whatever self-esteem and confidence they had and the prospect of leaving home becomes ever more terrifying.”
Let’s refer back to the word tatemae. As tatemae literally means “façade” or “pretense”, you will display a sort of masquerade of “happiness” and “carefreeness” for society: never revealing your true face, or honne (本音 ,ほんね). What is honne? Honne literally translate to “true voice” or the dark thoughts you keep hidden from the world. Thoughts such as “My boss’s idea is so fucking stupid; he needs to be fired!”, “I want to kill my bullies”, and “I’m tired of you crying about your problems all the time”.
The clash between tatemae and honne births inner conflict. You want to speak out about what’s bothering you or how you truly feel about a situation, but you live in Japan: a country of conformity – with tatemae a major component of Japanese social conformity.
Balancing between honne and tatemae for the Japanese can be stressful to the point that it can drive many to isolation. Why face the world with a façade, never being allowed to express your true thoughts when you can alienate yourself from said world? However, isolation is a dangerous trap. Having others support you won’t work well in the long run.
The Strain Hikikomori Cause
Hikikomori refusing employment and educational training to support themselves causes an ill effect on the Japanese economy and their caregivers. The Japanese workforce is dwindling as the numbers of Hikikomori increases. Aged Hikikomori whom decided to return to society find reintegration difficult; as they lack the (job) skills to generate income — especially as they’re entering the worst job market in modern history (the lingering effect of the 2008 market crash).
When discussing the caregivers of Hikikomori, we must bring up two set of numbers: 2030 and 8050. 2030 represent the year in which the first generation of Hikikomori will turn 50 while their caregiver parents will turn 80 (with some Hikikomori turning 65 even). By this time, the caregiver parent(s) of their Hikikomori child have long since retired and eventually died; leaving the Hikikomori without their primary support system.
Diving into the morbid, there are reported cases in which parents of the Hikikomori have passed away in their house. Due to Hikikomori’s lack and fear of social interactions, few Hikikomori have spent days or even weeks with the decaying body or bodies of their decreased parent(s) for days or weeks before contacting law enforcement.
Example 2: November 9th, 2018: 49-year-old shut-in from The Kanagawa Prefectural arrested for failing to report the death of his 76-year-old mother after sister of the Hikikomori male discover their mother’s body in her bedroom. The mother died in mid-October. Source: https://nextshark.com/japanese-hikikomori-mom/
Now, imagine hearing multiple reports of rotting bodies of the Hikikomori parents discovered in their houses because of the Hikikomori’s extreme social anxiety in 2030. I fear that it’ll be the norm come 11 years from now.
The American Hikikomori
For decades, it was believed that the Hikikomori phenomenon was a Japanese exclusive problem; a cultural issue of sorts. While not as extreme in Japan, there have been case studies of the Hikikomori in the United States. In her February 2019 article for the New York Magazine titled When ‘Going Outside Is Prison’: The World of the American Hikikomori, Allie Conti spoke with 21-year-old reddit user “Luca” through private messaging about his case of Hikikomori dating back from the age of 12. During class, he’d become so anxious that he’d forgot to swallow. The anxiety led his mother to remove him from school and take online classes – which he would soon drop out of those courses as well.
After watching the anime series Welcome to the N.H.K (an anime about a Hikikomori man “discovering” Japanese broadcasting company N.H.K, or Nippon Hoso Kyokai, translation: Japan Broadcasting Corporation conspiracy to transform Japanese youths into shut-ins), Luca decided to quit school and forego work as a personal rebellion against the world (meaning he’s a lazy ass white boy who needs to grow a pair of balls).
University of California researcher Alan R. Teo theorized that Hikikomori-like conditions are coming into the light in America. In 2010, the mother of a 30-year-old anime fan contacted Teo after her son, “Mr. H”, read one of Teo’s translation; leading him to diagnosed himself with Hikikomori. From the New York Magazine article:
“Teo encouraged Mr. H. to come by his office at the University of California in San Francisco for treatment, despite the fact that would mean stepping outside for the first time in three years. Mr. H. wore a leather jacket that reeked of cigarette smoke, had mangy hair, didn’t shower, and had long fingernails. “During the first and most severe year, he remained within a walk-in closet, ate only-ready-to-eat food, did not bathe, and urinated and defecated in jars and bottles,” Teo would later write in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry.
“He passed the time surfing the internet and playing video games.” Tests run on Mr. H showed seemingly conflicting results. While he exhibited traits consistent with obsessive compulsive and schizoid personality disorders, various scales and inventories concluded he had neither. Mr. H. claimed his reclusiveness was based on something pretty simple: He just didn’t want to be a part of the world, which is both what hikikomori in Japan had long said and basically what Luca told me.”
With seemly unpayable debt, a weaken work force, and an economy that’s expected to crash soon, more and more American youth are partakning in the hikikimori lifestyle to escape reality. This is not good for the American society. If this problem continues in America I fear we will see the same problems with Hikikomori in Japan with Americans – especially with most male Hikikomori in the West are radicalized through white supremacist and incel groups.
Yuki’s And TV Guru’s Thoughts on Hikikomoris
Yuki: “First off Japan, stop shamming people for failure: everyone fails. There’s a difference between failure and stupidity. Shame people for being stupid, but don’t shame them for failure. Another way to prevent hikikomori is reduce the workload on workers and students alike. You got people in Japan working 12-18 hours a day and it’s literally killing them (karoshi lit. death from overwork). Finally, stop shamming people with mental health issues; people in Japan are afaird to admit their issues due to the stigma link with mental health. Why would people admit they have mental health issues if they are being shammed for it?”
TV Guru: “Same thing, you can’t be fucking shaming somebody for failing. But, that’s the pressure they put on society. You can’t pressure somebody into working hard. Yea Japanese people are smart because they spend hours studying but all that long-term studying comes with a price…”
“The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people, find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.”
“The weight of society’s pressure to conform, and the lack of distance from other people, can make it impossible to think clearly about what’s going on around you. As a temporary recourse, then, isolation can help you gain perceptive. The danger is, however, that this kind of isolation will sire all kinds of strange and perverted ideas. You main gain perspective on the larger picture, but you lose a sense of your own smallness and limitations. Also, the more isolated you are, the harder it is to break out of your isolation when you chose to – it sinks you deep into its quicksand with your you noticing.”
In my 20+ years of being an anime fan, the thought of a twisted individual committing mass murder against those within the have anime industry never crossed my mind. Anime studios are known to receive death threats from disgruntled fans for whatever reason. Studios dismiss threats because those who send them never follow through with them. They are treated as people who talk a big action but never follow through. Thus, (and sadly) death threats aren’t taken as seriously as they should within the industry at times.
On July 18th, 2019 around early morning at the Kyoto Animation studio, 33 lives – mostly young people who not only just got their start in the anime industry, but in life in general – were senselessly taken from the world. Their stories, wisdom, ideas, and creativity for the anime industry will never to be brought to life for the world to see – because of one angry disgusting man whom decided to end their lives. Buildings can be recovered and restored, yes. Alas, we can not recover nor restored the talented lives that were lost.
It’s reported that the murderer was angry at Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) because they stolen something from him. It’s rumor that what was stolen from him was a light novel idea that KyoAni allegedly rejected and used said idea for one of their anime production. Out of anger, he broke into the main studio, pour gasoline on not only around the entrance of the building (to prevent people to escape the building) as well as inside it, but on his victims.
Even if KyoAni did steal this man’s novel idea, it is no reason for him to commit murder — let alone mass murder — through such inhumane means of turning a beloved animation studio into a death trap; burning people to death in the process. As a creative person, I understand the rage of having people steal your ideas/works and claiming them as their own. I would be livid if somebody stole my works and gain something from it. I even admit that I would go as far as to cause physical harm against a person if they stole my works. But, to commit (mass) murder over something I could prove was mines or creative a better version of it is maddening and illogical.
What was so valuable about that horrible man’s work that he had to take so many lives over it?
Is the love for one’s own art that extreme that people should be murdered over it?
Multiple people confirmed dead and 30+ injured at famous Kyoko animation studio from alleged arson attack. According to reports, police captured and arrested a man in his 40s who admitted to police he used a liquid accelerate to start the fire.
FROM ANIME NEWS NETWORK: “According to a report by The Kyoto Shimbun newspaper, nearby residents heard an explosion on the first floor of the building. NHK also quoted a man who supposedly heard an explosion in the building at around 10:30 a.m. JST, after which a fire erupted in the building’s second and third floor.” Kyoto Animation is an animation studio and light novel publisher founded in 1981.
Kyoto Animation is most famous for producing popular series and movies such as “Full Metal Panic!”, “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, “Clanned”, “Free!” and “A Silent Voice”.
My Personal Thoughts: Anime — and entertainment in general — isn’t that serious to the point that you have to commit arson and murder. If you’re gonna kill somebody, kill them because they harmed/killed a family member or they’re threatening to kill/harm you. Don’t lose your freedom and endanger others over some damn cartoons.
As I was reading through the comments of my post inquiring information on the Ontario, California based anime convention Anime Los’ Angeles (ALA) and how it compare to Anime Expo (AX), there were a few comments that caught my attention. These comments focused on the fact that ALA was a fan run convention that will never succumb to corporate greed and draw in the normies (unlike Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con according to these commentators).
Personally, I’m a fan of corporate and industry ran conventions (or at the very least, conventions who have some sponsorship from corporations and members of the industry). Anime conventions with corporate/industry backing have the means to bring in the big name heavy hitters of the anime industry. In addition, they also allow the major players of the anime industry to have world premiere of new and upcoming anime projects that you (almost) never get the chance to see at your local small-to-medium size anime convention.
Content creators such as myself love attending conventions that feature big name guests as it gives us superior coverage and content for our brand. It’s not to say that fan-run conventions don’t make for great content, but let’s be real: You’ll get more flies drawn towards your honey pot if your honey pot just happen to have somebody like Mamoru Miyano in it because you reported on him talking about his latest roles during Anime Expo.
(And no, I did not attend any of his panels at Anime Expo because my Black ass KNEW any and all Mamoru Miyano related panels would be jam packed with fans and I am not willing to stand in line for 10 hours for a seiyuu I’m barely a fan of just for internet traffic).
As nerd culture steadily enter the mainstream limelight, there is this looming shadow of fear that has been overcast on the world of nerd culture. This fear is of both smaller and larger fan ran conventions yielding to the all-mighty dollar offered to them by major corporations – forswearing their humble grassroots beginnings.
Can’t blame them on this one, really. We see this happen often with conventions grew massive in size and income. They get accused of “selling out” (note: knowing your worth and the worth of your brand isn’t “selling out”; that’s broke jealous dusty nigga/hipster talk). Once they “sell-out”, the content of the convention becomes water down and lose focus on the fan-driven material in favor of industry related items presented on the programming. Therefore, the loyal fans of the con since day one up and leave the con.
Now, if you’re a critical thinker, you can see where this is going and know the solution to this problem. If people are dreading that some big conventions are “selling out” for big businesses, then that means that you are going to have people who are still in favor of fan-run conventions that won’t “sell-out”.
Think about it: you have a market of fans who don’t want anything to do with major conventions that have corporate backing and they’re going searching for cons that are operating on the grassroots level. They would rather spend their money towards conventions that favor fan-related content and programming over what some Japanese industry jackass who snorts cocaine off a teenage schoolgirl’s ass while she’s cosplaying Ichigo from DARLING in the FRANXX in his office at nighttime thinks what makes good programming at an anime con (okay, probably isn’t that extreme, but you get my point).
It’s that “for us by us” mentality that most nerds crave when it comes to anime conventions. Fan run content that shows the true passion and appreciation of fans of this medium in an event that provides the means for such fans to talk about their love for anime – in person with other fellow fans.
Fan-ran events means you have the freedom to express your fandom and love for anime through any means without worrying about an overhead busting your balls telling you what you can and cannot have in your programming (it’s not to say that fan run conventions have overheads busting balls as well, but they’re more lax than say somebody who works for a big anime business).
There’s a certain magic of fan-ran conventions that allow programming such as a room party block with free drinks, a massive cosplay parade downtown, ribbon collecting, and cosplay stripping shows that most of your major big business ran convention wouldn’t dare allow. This magic you can’t find at most industry ran conventions. Is it true that these industry cats understand what fans want in terms of content for their cons? Sure, but it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna provide the means to fulfill said needs.
So, will fan-run conventions go away anytime soon? No. Why?
Because there will always be a need for them – no matter what.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a (cleaner) copy and paste free write of my thoughts of the evolution and history of the Western anime fandom taken from my Facebook page Yuki The Snowman. As such, I was shooting from the hip; so it is unstructured and lacks research and sources to a few statements.
While out-of-state at a friends’ house catching up on old times, we were disusing plans on attending an up and coming anime convention in their area next year named Dokidokon. During the discussion, they mentioned how cool it would be for us to report on the convention, it’s growth, and recording the events as they unfold at the con. With glee, they stated that it would be exciting to take record of what we witness there. Further into the talk, it was mentioned that we’re living in perhaps the best time period for otaku history in the West and how it is important for us bloggers, vloggers, and content creators to record such events in history.
I started to ponder.
While my friends and I enjoy attacking the otaku culture with venomous scorn, taking cheap shots against anime fans whenever the chance presents itself, and mock the culture for its many faults, we still hold onto our great appreciation for how far the anime medium and fandom has come. This is especially true given how Western otaku culture and conventions came up from (to my knowledge, mind you) the underground college anime clubs and conventions of the 70s and 80s to the massive juggernaut in which we are a part of today where the modern anime community is an indescribable melting pot of distinctive demographic coming together to celebrate our love for anime.
For those who might be too young to remember, it wasn’t that long ago when Western anime culture and fans where pushed into the darkest corners of the pop culture world. We were treated as unwelcomed outcasts by – and please note – most (meaning not all for those who are from the remedial side of the education game) nerds and geeks from different sets of the pop culture world (film, comic books, gamers, sci-fi, etcs.).
In the past, Anime (in the West) didn’t have that unbreakable grip that it has on the Western pop culture world today. Thus, us fans were mocked and alienated by outsides (both normies and, ironically, non-otaku nerds who too where shunned for their love for comics, games, etc.) for enjoying something that most people didn’t get. Maybe it was due to xenophobia, lack of understanding, or the pure pride of the ignorant who didn’t want to study why people like and watch anime, but anime fans were treated like some weird nerds who were too much in love with some whacky Japanese cartoons.
Sure, you had timeless hits such as AKIRA, Ninja Scroll, and Ghost in the Shell making noise in America; planting seeds and paving the path for what we are witnessing today when it comes to the Western Otaku culture, but they didn’t have the weight to help put anime in that sweet postion that we call mainstream appeal (Dragon Ball Z would take that honor and run with it in the mid-90s despite what the anti-entry-level anime elitists may want to argue to deal with the fact their favorite obscure anime didn’t get the job done but that’s another topic for another day).
Time went on. The influence of anime in the West grew stronger. Its popularity increased with shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon. Television networks such as Time Warner, The Sci-Fi Network, Tech TV and Freeform created program blocks dedicated to anime (Toonami, Anime Unleashed, and Made in Japan) in order to carter to the blooming Western anime fanbase. Online bulletin board systems (BBS) and websites revolving around anime culture sprung up on the dial-up internet side of the game. Magazines dedicated to anime such as Anierica were sent out to the mailbox of the American anime fan. Video stores started carrying anime that never aired on TV in America.
It was inevitable that anime in the West would become a huge deal.
Today, you can go on your favorite streaming website (legal and illegal) and pull up almost any anime from the past or present. Popular or obscure. Modern or classic. If you can think of an anime, there’s a good chance that you will find it online. No more wasting time and gas money traveling miles to a nearby video store in hopes you can get your anime fix. No longer do we need to call up a certain BBS to communicate with fellow fans of a peculiar anime and wait two-to-eight hours for a response.
With the advent of modern day technology and social media, we can instantly chat it up with fellow anime fans moments after an episode finished airing. Best of all, fans can communicate and interact with voice actors, creators, production studios, and distributors through websites such as Facebook and twitter – something that was once only possible at annual major conventions and snail mail.
History is being made.
As content creators, we must take advantage of this era of Western anime history. We must take part and note of the trends and the happenings of the fandom – despite the fact if we love or loathe such trends and happenings. Remember: future generations of anime fans will be curious on how their favorite shows and beloved parts of the culture became to be. They will research the roots of their favorites and find connects to the past (that is currently our present). There needs to be a record of what is going on today in the world of anime: both in the East and here in the West.
Keeping record will perverse what is happening currently. It will prevent experiences from being lost to time and history. Just imagine if nobody recorded the famous viral video of the Filipino female prisoners performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance from The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or most recent, the ever popular live-action versions Chikatto Chika Chika dance from episode 3 of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War!! by energetic otakus cosplay as Chika herself.
It would be utterly depressing.
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From spending 40-45 hours a week cosplaying as a stable adult at my job for drug and alcohol money (for both anime con partying and to deal with life), to working with my homeboy The TV Guru on our new podcast The Swarthy Nerds Podcast, to reading books on how strengthen my troll game against people with the laws of human nature, and to downloading a ludicrous amount of best Monogatari girl Hanekawa ero pics and doujins as research material for an analytical video essay on her tits for the 10th anniversary of the anime series, finding time to watch (and talk about) anime can be difficult for hard working grown ass man reaching his 30s like myself.
With so many anime coming out each season (roughly 60 shows a season) and the ever growing desire to watch hard hitting classic shows such as Evangelion, GunBusters!, and His and Her Circumstances (Anno’s a beast director I wanna learn more about him beyond FLCL) which fills my everlasting backlog, it can be a struggle to discus and view anime with the limited amount of time I have.
Sure, I can watch old anime and ignore the new shows. With older anime, there’s no need to dread on the fact that the next episode of an anime won’t come out for a week. Plus, older shows already have an established fanbase, which makes it easier to talk to fans of it (sans the asshole die hards with no personality who think they’re better than everyone because they watch the show on its original run 10-25 years ago).
But, there’s a drawback to using my time to watch and talk about older, classic anime.
First, (most) older anime suffer from a lack of discussion (around the show). Unless it’s a timeless show such as Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball, the chances of me finding people to talk about an older anime is rather low (and if it’s an obscure OVA from the 80s, then the chances of me finding anyone to talk about it are neigh impossible).
Second, watching older anime will alienated me from the current discussion; where – thanks to social media – an anime that came out last season is consider old news. Example: Talk revolving hit Fall 2018 shows such as MAPPA’s Zombieland Saga, Studio TRIGGER’s SSSS.Gridman, and CloverWorks’s Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai has decreased since their finales.
The focus shifted to Winter 2019 shows such as Mob Pyscho 100 2 and Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War. However, with the Winter 2019 season finished, the community are going to talk about the Spring 2019 season with shows such as One Punch Man 2, Carol and Tuesday,Fruit Baskets 2019¸ and Aftertouch (Shoumetsu Toshi). I have to be willing to talk about the new shit if I want an active audience, so I can’t waste too much time on the past.
You have to be in the know, you know?
If you’re like me, a content creator with a “real” job, then you know how much of a chore it is to try to watch and talk about anime. It’s bad enough that we have to dedicate 40+ hours a week to earn worthless pieces of paper we call money (unless you’re using the money to help you buy and consume drugs at an anime con after party, then it’s not useless). But what’s worse is not having enough free time to focus on our purpose; just limited time.
All time is limited, of course. We could die today or next week, thus robbing us of all the time we could have had to work on our shit. Even if we do live into old age, some of us will spend all our time working until retirement. Retirement does nets us all the “freetime” in the world. But now you’re too tired and old to do what we want (bear in mind that you can’t compete against the younger generation at this point of life unless you’re a very late blooming outlier – which is rare).
With this in mind, we have to spend our limited time wisely to ensure that our messages of great weeaboo cartoons reach the masses. We have to manage time. For me, I work on my content before work and do light studying on the topic of my content after work. I may skip breakfast (which I don’t recommend) to have more time to work on a post.
However, if not eating breakfast for a while means having so much extra time to present more content to the world because I was able to turn this hobby into a career (that’s making me 3x the amount of money then working a 9-to-5 on a consent level), then it’d be worth it.
Even on my off days at work, there’s complete focus on my personal work.
I also tend to put forth a lot of work towards my projects on my days off, or if I plan on being a shut-in weeb and not kick it with friends at the bar. Time and sacrifices have to be made on my end in order for me to talk about anime through blogging, podcasts, etc.
Until I have made double, if not, triple the amount talking about anime in comparison to the gig; therefore enabling me to have access to as much time as I want to create content or just dick around and watch shows all day while still netting automatic (passive) income (thus not being hurt money wise), I must make do with the time I have and watch a few shows.
Does it suck?
But, in order to do what I wanna do (if you haven’t guess by now, talking about wacky Japanese cartoons for a living and eventually creating a media company from it), I gotta spend my time wisely.
So, readers, how do you make the time to watch anime? For my fellow content creators: do you find it hard to balance content creation and having a gig (if you work a normal job while building your brand)? Let me know in the comments!
CHECK OUT MY NEW PODCAST The Swarthy Nerds if you’re tired of autistic, annoying white nerds with nasty, unkempt beards who dress like they’re still in middle school telling you about nerd culture and you desire something more on the real side of the nerd game:
Throughout her short seventeen years of life, Sakura Minamoto dealt with everlasting failures and setbacks that mentally wrecked her. In the third grade, she landed the intense star role of Snow White after months of relentless practice to master the role; only to become sick and bedridden on the day of the performance.
Gifted with superior athletic skills, Sakura was selected as captain of her school’s relay team. She trained day after day in hopes of leading her school to victory against other schools in the Saga district. Alas, on the morning of competition, she tore up her hamstring; forcing her to retire.
But, those past failures wouldn’t hold her back. Determine to eradicate her bad luck, Sakura (now a sixth grader), had her sights set on academic mastery; vowing to shut everything out of her life in order to enter the best high school in her school district. Friends. Family. Entertainment. If it wasn’t a tool that’ll help her gain scholarly success, Sakura ignored it. Nothing mattered to her sans entering the ranks of the educated elites.
Two years later, Sakura’s near psychopathic drive towards success would pay off for her. She aced the mock entrance exams days before the real deal. Finally! Victory was near.
Or so she thought.
On her way to take the real exams, Sakura ran across a few sick elderly women who needed her help. Instead of ignoring the women and letting them die on the streets (which she should: they had their chance at life), Sakura decided to help these poor women out. However, this drove Sakura into an intense panic; as she feared that she’ll be late for and miss the exams.
Thankfully, she was able to make it in time. But, the stress from the fear of missing the exams gave Sakura extreme test anxiety – causing her to fail the exam – and missing out on her chance of success once more.
Now in high school, the defeated , depressed, and hopeless Sakura rejected offers to hang out with friends, join any after-school clubs, and work on her scholarly and athletic gifts. Nothing mattered to her anymore. She knew that anything she attempted to try would only make her feel worse about herself.
Every day after school, she headed straight home; numbed to the world. She lay up on the couch, mindlessly watching TV and rotting away as life passed her by. One day in peculiar, Sakura caught a TV special featuring the rise of singer Ai Mizuno: the center performer of the idol group “Iron Frill”. During the special, Ai was asked about her work ethics, as well as why and how she works so hard.
“I guess it’s because I don’t think mistakes or failures are a bad thing. Because they always end up helping with whatever happens next. And I really believe I’ll only be the best version of me once I overcome it all.”
Mistakes aren’t bad. Failure isn’t bad. If you study your failures and mistakes, learning from them in the process, you’ll always better yourself.
(Now, let’s not forget the fact that worse girl Ai is a stupid fucking idiot who got herself killed by sticking her arm out during a thunder/lighting storm while holding a mic at an open air concert on live TV/internet broadcast; therefore traumatizing her friends, family members, band mates, and fans for life. Plus, she made her parents cremate and bury her, so there’s that)
You fucked up on a test. Cool. See what you were struggling with, study, and do better. You got rejected by the girl or boy you liked. That’s okay. Be happy and reflect on the fact that you finally control your nerves, got over your fear of rejection, and you went for it. It’ll all be helpful the next time you ask different girl or boy who captured your heart out. You might get turned down from the company you’ve dream of working for since your youth.
Look, you will fail at something – it’s unavoidable. Your return on invest for your efforts might wield negative results at the end. Whatever you’re working on, sometimes, it won’t turn out the way you hope for.
And that’s okay.
You should embrace failure. Appreciate it. Respect it. Failure means that it wasn’t the right time to execute your plan. You selected the wrong moment for your course of action. Something didn’t line up right. Your approach wasn’t correct. Even so, you should inspect what went wrong so that next time, you will do better and better; until the day you are successful.
Inspired by the TV special, Sakura attended their Saga concert. There, Sakura was captivated by Ai’s high spirited performance to the point she was moved to tears. It was there where Sakura found the willpower to pull herself out of her depression; yearning to attack success one more time.
One more shot.
One more try.
One more chance.
Sakura set her sights to become the girl that she always dreamed of. She applied to join Iron Frill as an idol. She wanted to perform next to the singer that – as cheesy and white girlish as it (always) sound – saved her life. This was it. She’ll no longer let the set-backs and disappointments of the past drag her down. With the finished application in hand, the high-spirited Sakura ran out of the house to mail it…
…And then she got hit by a speeding truck and died on impact.
Thanks for reading!
(Just kidding. Sakura lived for a few more seconds in the air from the force of being hit before dying.)
“Failure is deceiving; it’s a good thing! You want to and should fail –it’s the learning process!” -Grant Cardone, CEO and real estate investor
Sakura’s journey to success wouldn’t end at her death. In fact, her death (and zombification) was the start of her finally capturing victory. As the center of the all zombie girl music group Franchouchou, Sakura had to lead her team and new friends through failure after failure on the path of success.
You could say that their first concert at the death metal show was a near flop. First, Sakura was the only member of Franchouchou (or Death Musume as they were first called) who regained her human conscious upon awakening. The rest of the girls were still in their mindless state. This resulted in everyone (sans Sakura) not being able sing or play instruments – let alone perform in unison.
Second, they were dress in bright, colorful idol outfits; ill-fitting for a venue hall catering to savage and cutthroat fans of death metal. Finally, the crowd wasn’t feeling them. They believed that Death Musume was mocking death metal with their idol get-up.
Death Musume proved their doubters wrong.
Thanks to their enhanced zombie bodies and minds, Death Musume surprised the metal heads with their brutal, (literally) broken-neck style head banging, ghastly growls, hard hitting stage dives that would had injured or killed a normal human, and caused mayhem in the pits after the show.
Even if the show was a (so-called) “flop”, Death Musume gained the respect of the metal heads (whom normally dismissed idols). They even earned two metal heads as loyal fans after the event. Fans who once were discrediting them admired their savage spirit so much that they followed Death Musume’s journey to success everywhere they performed.
Their second concert was almost a complete disaster (compared to the last). Despite regaining their senses, Death Musume (now Green Face), weren’t in tune with one another. Their movements were awkward and stiff (due to not building up chemistry with one another yet; not because they were zombies). The audience seemed uninterested in their performance. Tae had yet to regain her senses; so she was still roaming around mindlessly.
Worse, she tried to steal somebody’s dried squid snack. Sakura attempted to restrain her friend; only to cause Tae’s head to fly off her body into the crowd – therefore causing panic and confusion.
In panic, Sakura played everything off as a magic trick. While Sakura struggled to regain order, Saki started to dick around. The two girls started fighting over Tae’s head (Saki took Tae’s head off her body while Sakua tried to put it back on, annoying the latter). Pissed, Sakura snapped on Saki and snitched on the fact that they were all zombies. Saki snapped back: leading to the girls auguring on stage. Understandably, the audience was shocked.
Total disaster indeed.
But, most damages caused by disasters can always be fixed.
Tatsumi saw this as a chance to switch the show’s direction. Seeing Sakura and Saki argue as if they were rival rappers, he began to beat box. Best zombie girl Yuugiri provided a melodic instrumental on her shimisen. Lily channeled her inner Flavor Flav and played hype girl. Worse zombie girl Ai stood around looking stupid, awkward, and useless. Second best zombie girl Junko was also standing around looking stupid and awkward. Sakura and Saki turned their argument into a rap battle.
Together, Green Face was able to take a losing situation, turn it around into something positive, and became victorious.
Franchouchou improved each passing day.
They didn’t avoid failure – they embraced it and turn it around – into success.
They failed to get a business sponsorship from a drug company (due to Sakura being an idiot). That’s okay; they cut a deal with a local restaurant a few days later; netting a promotion deal with them. Tae accidently wore said restaurant’s mascot t-shirt after winning a sporting event instead of the shirts featuring their band’s name and logo (for promotional reasons). It didn’t matter: Franchouchou gained more fans from the sporting event.
Lighting struck the stage and the girls during their first major stage performance. What would have killed any normal human the lighting gave Franchouchou (thanks to being zombies) not only gave the girls the appearance of angels, but enhanced their voices; giving their fans a musical experience they never forget.
“Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.”
“If you’re a real winner you know how to bounce back!” -Big Sean, Bounce Back
Like Franchouchou, you must use failures as a tool to net you a positive outcome. The path you were on turned into something else. But, you need to take advantage of that. History is littered with people whom “failed” at one thing but was able to turn it around into greatness.
Japanese Horror and visual novel author Ryukishi07 Ryukishi07 first draft of the ever beloved Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When They Cicadas Cry) murder-mystery visual novel series was a short play titled Hinamizawa Bus Stop. Inspired by a friend, he submitted the play to his college’s theater group for a contest. He lost. After college, Ryukishi07 tried to enter the video game industry with no luck.
Yet, despite the setbacks, he was determined to let the world know about the mysteries and horror of the small village of Hinamizawa. His passionate drive would pay off in August of 2006 when Ryukishi07 dropped Higurashi upon the otaku world at the massive Japanese anime convention Summer Comiket 2002. The game became a global sleeper hit; with the series branching off to light novels, mangas, two live-action movies, a TV series, remakes of the games, and of course, an incredibly successful anime adaption by Studio Deen.
Intelligent System was failing to keep the Fire Emblem series afloat. After back-to-back failures with titles such as New Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the series was at risk of being killed off by Nintendo. Finding themselves on death grounds with the series, nearly everyone at Intelligent System that has ever worked on a Fire Emblem game pour their heart, soul, guts, creativity, love, and focus into Fire Emblem Awakening. They truly believe that Awakening was going to be the final Fire Emblem game in Nintendo’s (and gaming) history.
If Fire Emblem: Awakening was going to ultimately fail, at least Intelligent System had the balls to try to revive the series everyone counted out with everything they had. And as we all known (despite what the old-school autistic elitist assholes in the fandom may say), Fire Emblem: Awakening brought the series back to life: saving it from total death.
See how you can turn failure into victory?
We live in a world where failure is viewed as a bad thing. If you failed, you’re nothing (according to lowly people with their inflated egos who will never fix their own failures). In Japan, failure is viewed in such a negative light that young school students have killed themselves from the shame of failure (may they failed a test, failed to get into an elite high school, etc.).
They would rather end their life than to face society (after failure).
The American school system have mentality wrecked children for decades; because teachers, parents, and the education system paint failing as the ultimate sin. Who knows how many children in America are suffering from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety because of how aggressive we are against failure?
Social media is now on a level where people will share your failures and humiliate you for it within seconds. We would rather mock those on Facebook or Twitter for their mistake(s) than to encourage them to recover and give them advice on how to do better. A screw up can easily be shared and display on the world’s stage without a second thought. It’s a shield to hide our own failures.
Why display your shame to the world where you can cover it with another man’s shame?
Society is not only fearful of failure – it uses it as a weapon.
But, you can’t be scared of failure. I’m not saying you should go out in purposely fail; that’s foolish. I am also not saying that some failures aren’t your fault; because your own stupidity and unchecked ego/pride can cause you to screw up. If you’re doing something that is outside the realm of logic, and your friends/family are telling you so, and you can’t prove them wrong, then don’t do it. Because that’s truly is failure.
You need to go into something knowing that there’s a high possibility that you will fail and that you need to bounce back from the failure. Beating yourself up over failure won’t get you to success. Having a defeatist attitude because you screw up won’t fix the screw ups. People will use your past failures to mock you; in order for you to give up. But, you can’t allow that. Try again until success.
As Sakura said to Junko and Ai in episode 2, and this is the closing statement:
“Quit coming up with excuses on why you can’t win. If you got even a little chance, try to do that then!”
Grover, Tim. “#1. When You’re A Cleaner… …You don’t recognize failure; you know there’s more than one way to get what you want.” Relentless: From Good To Great To Unstoppable
I lied about the whole “Ai worse girl” thing she’s actually became my favorite character as I wrote this essay and re-watched ZLS due to her relentless drive to re-write her legacy after death.
Seriously, I wouldn’t spent nearly $25 on this shirt if I thought she was the worse girl:
(Plus, I love how she G-checks Tatsumi when he’s on his bullshit)
I’m also going to work on another Zombieland Saga essay that tackles the morality of men, how we should make the best of our limited time on Earth, and and a touch of Stoicism to go along with it within the following months.
In addition, there will be an audio version of this essay in the near future.
WARNING: Contains minor spoilers for the manga version of episode 5 of Mob Psycho 100
As I watched the end of Mob Psycho 100 II episode 5, I was reminded of Robert Greene’s controversial book The 48 Laws of Power. To be specified, it reminded me Law 2 “Never Put Too Much Trust in Friends. Learn How to Use Enemies”. Mob wasn’t trying to use his enemy, the class bully Minori for anything; there was no need to. It’s the fact that Mob saved and spared her life, despite Minori’s cruel and sadistic bullying of Mob for six months.
Yes, she was possessed by the evil spirit Mogami. Under his influence she hurt Mob. She tortured him. Made him feel lowly about himself. Now however, before she was targeted by Mogami, Minori spent her life bullying others. She loved belittling her peers who didn’t share her high social status. She found it thrilling to humiliate those who can’t defend themselves. That said, bullying (Mob) wasn’t anything new to her; it was her nature. Mogami wanted to show Mob that people like Minori deserved to die. He wanted to show that Mob would have been in the right if he killed her.
But, Mob believed that Minori could change if her life was spared.
It’s mentioned in Law 2 that those who have enemies never expect anything from them (besides revenge). When a man is spared from the guillotine from his enemy, he’ll become forever grateful towards that man; doing anything within his power to please them. Thanks to, or rather because of Mob’s kind and forgiving heart, Minori went on the path of bettering herself – vowing to never bully others again and to be kind to people as thanks.
To say that Minori was grateful (to Mob) is such an understatement – given her past with him. Remember: Mob lived in a world of despondency created by Minori’s negative feelings, memories, and history of bullying to make him suffer. Pouring sour milk all over him. Recording her friends ostracizing Mob. Threatening to kill the stray cat he was taking care of. Having her underlings beat him up. Anything that is all hellish to crush and break Mob’s spirit and driven him into a near inescapable depression for six months.
Could you blame Mob if he’d snapped and used his psychic powers and physical strength to kill her? Could you blame Mob if he gave in to Mogami’s trickery and have the man take her life?
He had every right.
But he chose not to.
Why is that?
Why did Mob spare his enemy and show her mercy?
“When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk
Besides the (obvious) fact that Mob is far too benevolent to murder a human being, let alone someone his own age, he knows that people can change (through positive interactions with others). He understands why people do horrible things. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Mob realized that Minori became a bully because she was fearful that she was going to be rejected and isolated by society. It’s possible that she was projecting her own fears (of social isolation) unto Mob through bullying (bully the outcast so you won’t become a bullied outcast sorta thing).
Like Mob, she too was a victim of horrific mistreatment. Minori was Mogami’s prisoner. The sole, lonely inmate inside a prison crafted from the darkness of her heart. Mogami wanted to make Minori suffer for her crimes before killing her. Who knows how long Minori was strapped and chained to a bed while Mogami controlled her body.
She was helpless as Mogami used her body as he pleased.
Finally, if Mob would have kill Minori out of cold blood, he would had a worse human than Minoir and Mogami. Pop her in the mouth for the bully? That’s okay. Beat her ass and put her in her place so she would never fuck with him again? That’s normal. But to outright murder her would only continue a tragic cycle.
A cycle that Mob had to break.
Sometimes, the best way to kill your enemy is with the guillotine.
Sometimes, the best way to kill your enemy is to show them mercy and kindness.
AFTERWORD: lmfao I know this episode is almost two weeks old and everyone is talking about episode 6, but work has been kicking my ass lately, so I didn’t have time to bang this out on the week of episode 5.
Also, 10/10 episode a lot of great narrative and real life themes in it.
(Also some enemies are beyond forgiveness and you can’t show mercy to them. Crush them totally. That’s just me being real.)
Recently, my friend the TV Guru and I went to see Toei Animation’s blockbuster hit movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly at the theaters and man, it was an experience as both an Dragon Ball and anime fan that I will never forget. The experience of watching such an critically acclaimed film based on an iconic and influential anime series with many other anime and Dragon Ball fans touched us so much that we had to give our unbiased (drunken) thoughts on the movie. Trust me, if you’re a Dragon Ball fan and did not saw this movie at the theaters, you did yourself a disservice.
Also in this podcast we chop up good game and mock CrunchyRoll’s infamously hilariously and terrible nomination for their annual trash tier entry level anime awards.
And if you’re a weirdo who likes to burn their battery life and data plan by keeping the YouTube app open, here’s a link to our review on YouTube
I have a podcast now so if you’re a long-time follower who have been wondering where the fuck I’ve been, now you know. Don’t worry; I’m still gonna write blogs. This is a side project I’m working on with a friend.
Professional wrestling history was made when future WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) legend Kevin Nash invaded rival company WCW’s (World Championship Wrestling) live show, WCW Nitro. Along with tag-team partner and friend Scott Hall (who invaded an earlier Nitro show before Nash), Nash delivered a warning to the WCW:
Idioms such as “[this is] where the big boys play” and “this is the big leagues” are often used to identify areas of intense and professional levels of competition. Areas reversed for the elites and only for the elites. Rookies are warned not to enter the big leagues unless they are mentality and physically tough and resilient enough to join.
Of course, you have the foolish rookies who – thanks to their ego – think they can go toe-to-toe with the harden vets (of the big leagues). Blinded by both arrogance and ignorance they try; only to be utterly humiliated, embarrassed, and humbled by their superiors.
This is the case of Erimi Mushibami: a little kid who thinks she’s hardcore just because she’s going through her baby’s first weeaboo gothic lolita teen angst phase. So hardcore that, the first thing that she does upon arriving at Hyakkaou Private Academy, is to challenge Yumeko Jabami and Midari Ikishima to a game of chicken.
An extreme game of chicken where players must place a finger inside a hole built into a mini guillotine with several cords attached to its frame. The guillotine blade itself is only held by single cord that – if cut – will send the sharp blade flying down; slicing its victim’s finger off. Removing your finger before the blade comes down will results in the player forfeiting the match and becoming a slave to the game host.
It’s the ultimate game of nerves.
Nerves that Yumeko and Midari both have an unlimited supply of.
Yumeko is insane and gets off to playing high risk/high rewards gambles. Midari is not only insane, she’s a fucking deranged masochist whose panties would be soaked if she got a finger cut off. The game is so thrilling to these women that Yumeko put aside her disdain towards Midari to team up with her against Emiri.
Erimi is a stupid kid.
Erimi gathers Yumeko, Midari, and Suzui into a room for her little game. Yuemko is relaxed. Midari is thrilled. Suzui is scared. Not for neither Yumeko nor Midari: he knows both of them are crazy. Who he’s concern for is Erimi herself – the girl who started this mess.
Erimi has yet to understand that her opponents are extreme gambling addicts. Both find joy in playing risky games – no manner how dangerous (the risks are). Furthermore, Yumeko and Midari are having fun playing Erimi’s game; even if the odds stacked against them. Erimi eventually picks up on her opposition’s carefree mentality towards her game and assumes if she pushes the girls to their absolute limit, she can break them.
Again, Erimi is a stupid little kid.
Erimi starts bragging about how her mafia-like family is full of torture freaks that used the guillotine game (and other fear tactics) to force confessions out of their victims. Yumeko isn’t impressed; she winds up finding the game boring as time goes on. Yumeko also thinks Erimi is a scared little bitch: as she believes that Erimi may have install a cheat to prevent her from losing her finger in things goes wrong and decides to go off on her.
Midari joins in on Yumeko’s verbal onslaught against the goth kid; reversing Erimi’s love for torture against her (remember: Midari wants to be tortured). In fact, she admits that the risk of losing a single finger doesn’t excite her; she wants more punishment if she loses.
Intoxicated with glee, both Yumeko and Midari pressure Erimi to cut the wires. Worse, Midari, out of her excitement and impatience, snatches the scissors off the table and decides to cut all the wires at once. Sure enough, the safety feature that Yumeko theorized that Erimi put in place was triggered; saving everyone from losing their fingers. But, even in a moment of grace, Erimi has broken down. In tears, she begs Midari and Yumeko to stop even after the game was finished.
The little girl wasn’t ready to play with the big girls.
Ego is funny thing. It’s the source of our ambitions, desires, and self-confidence. However, if left unchecked, the ego can lead us to disaster; as we saw with Erimi in episodes one and two of Kakegurui xx. Her wild ego and childish behavior made her believe that she could go toe-to-toe with two superior gamblers who outclassed her in talent, skill, and insanity. She could not handle the pressure that Yumeko and Midari rain down upon her; leading to her breakdown. Her plan to mentality break her opponents backfired – given they both love the thrill and dangers that came from her game. It’s the ultimate irony: Play with people’s fears only to be paralyzed by fear yourself. Pretend to be a big kid only to have bigger kids put you in your place.
Never attempt to play in the big leagues when you’re still in the little leagues.
“Be your true mind.”
-Revelations: Persona Japanese tagline.
Starring into the screen of the gaming P.C. I brought off my friend during the 2018 Holiday season, I noticed that there was something missing: A wallpaper – a good one. I was using fanart of Yugiri from Zombieland Saga as a placeholder until I could find wallpaper that I wouldn’t mind always seeing. Don’t get me wrong: Zombieland Saga is an awesome anime and Yugiri is best undead girl, but I needed something better. A wallpaper to serve as a reminder to do whatever the fuck I want to do throughout the year 2019
I hooked up an old external hard drive containing over ten years’ worth of anime and manga fanart, screenshots, manga panels, and memes; most of them were perfect to use as wallpaper, but I desire one that would be my mantra for 2019. As I browsed through the drive, there was a certain image with a manga panel snapshot that spoke to my soul. It was of Kyoko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica with a pocky stick in her mouth offering a box full of them to somebody off-screen. As she chew on the snack, she says the following:
“Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life – do whatever you want to do. That’s the right way to live.”
There was no hesitation. Instantly, that became my wallpaper; vowing to never change it until January 1st, 2020. Throughout my life (until I got into my 20s), I was concern about what others thought about me. Wanting to not offend my friends, family members, and bosses (surprising, right?); I followed their suggestions, putting my own thoughts to the side.
I believed that if I put myself first, it would paint me as a hard-headed selfish asshole.
I should had been an asshole.
“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.”
-Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
Go to church because the rest of the family were going; despite the fact I’m secretly don’t follow religion. Enroll in a community college my parents wanted me to go; regardless if I wanted to go to one outside the Midwest (my home region). Hang out with friends even though I actually wanted to stay and relax at home. Go into work on my off day when I knew I wanted to tell my boss to fuck off.
Deep within my soul, my “easy-going” public persona was clashing with my true feelings.
I truly didn’t want to do what people told me to do, but I didn’t have the balls to admit it.
This went on until I turned 23.
I dropped out of college. Smartest move of my life. I stopped going to church. I don’t need Jesus to be a good person. I ignored my boss’s phone calls for me to come into work. He got the point soon after. I cut off friends who didn’t respect the fact I didn’t feel like hanging out with them when I was tired. They were fake friends – I didn’t need them around.
It was liberating.
Soon after I selected the image of Kyoko as my wallpaper, I got a reminder from My Anime List that Mob Pyscho 100 Season 2 was starting soon. Fitting. Mob (the hero of the Mob Pyscho 100 series) is a kid who decided to follow his own path in life; as opposed to listen to others people’s suggestions for his life. For example: when the supernatural club at his school tried to get him to join (because of his psychic powers), he rejected their offer. He joined the athletic club instead to build muscle.
The anime is one of the ultimate showcases of being your true self.
But, Mob may have appeared to have forgotten about this.
Wanting to impress his crush Tsubomi, Ichi (who catches Mob sneaking a peek at Tsubomi) comes up with a plan for Mob to court her attention: Have him run for the recently vacant student council president position (it was a ploy for Ichi to have Mob gain popularity so she could have him as the new leader of the recently dismantled (LOL) cult). She even went as far as writing a speech for Mob, in her own words. Despite not caring for school politics and social structure, Mob agrees to Ichi’s self-centered plot – reluctantly.
And by reluctantly, I mean that Mob completely froze during his speech.
In front of the entire student body – his crush in the crowd included.
It’s goofy that a guy like Mob, who was always dead set on doing his own thing, decided to follow the path of another person. Sure, it was to impress his crush, but the plot wasn’t from his own driven nature and ideas. Despite the public embarrassment, Mob “won” the heart of a female classmate: Emi. She was “impressed” by his courage to stand on stage in front of the school, which spurred her into confessing her “feelings” to him. The two started dating soon after.
Obviously, their relationship is rooted in compete bullshit.
When Emi asks what type of work he does, Mob is about to tell her about his supernatural works and adventures but feared that she’d be creep out. He comes up with a bold-face lie; claiming he works for a bookstore. This excites Emi as she’s an active and avid reader and is writing her own novel. She even offers Mob to read it, which he agrees to.
Later on, as Mob reads Emi’s novel, she confronts him. She asks why he still walks her home from school after he rejected her. Furthermore, she reveals that she knew Mob was going back to his club after he had walked her back home; thinking that Mob was afraid that he would upset her if he stop.
She also makes the connection that Mob only ran for class president because somebody told him to do it, since it was clear that he didn’t write his own speech. Then she bluntly asks if he has trouble making up his own mind and following his own feelings, which Mob confirms.
Finally, she reveals a secret about herself: She too struggles with being her own person – like Mob himself. She only asked Mob out on a dare and was pressured by her “friends” to do so (based on Mob’s pitiful performance during the elections). She was scared of being rejected and seen as a laughing stock by her “friends”, so she followed through with their cruel prank.
They agree to end their “relationship and part ways soon after – only to meet up again.
The “friends” Emi worked hard to impress and not offend?
They weren’t truly her friends.
Emi regroups with her friends after receiving a text message from them. She decides to show her “friends” the novel that she was working on. One girl snatches it from her hands and started to laugh and belittle her work along with the rest. Another girl, while trying to hold in her laughter, ask Emi if she was being serious about it. Emi (clearly upset and defensive), gives off a weak chuckle and replies she was only doing it for fun. The girls starts to laugh cruelly as they destroy her novel.
Emi became the thing she feared the most: a laughing stock among her friends.
Not because she didn’t “date” Mob, but because she had a passion for writing.
If they were truly her friends, not only would they not pressured her into dating Mob (something she never wanted to do), they would have encouraged her to keep writing.
As Mob walks back home, he sees the girls destroying Emi’s novel. He confronts them, telling them how wrong they were to do that to her and her hard work. He starts collecting the pieces off the ground. Confused, yet feeling appreciated, Emi helps Mob out and her fake friends leave the duo to be. The two try their best to recover the novel but the reminding pieces are blown into the wind. Emi gets discourage and decides that they should call the novel a total lost.
At this point, Mob decides to be honest with Emi (as she did with him) and reveal his true self: The fact that he’s a gifted esper. He uses his powers to completely restore the torn novel; which impresses Emi (as well as Tsubomi – who was watching the events from afar). Perhaps it was because that Emi was honest with Mob about her feelings, fears, and insecurities that led Mob into helping her. Maybe Mob was happy that he knew somebody who too was scared to be their true self and wanted to help them.
Regardless, at the end of the episode, both Mob and Emi was able to embrace who they truly are without fear.
I believe there’s a lesson to be learned from the first episode of season two of Mob Pyscho 100 2.
The lesson? Put yourself first, be honest with who you are, and never fear about what others may think about you. Once you can do all that, you have truly become free. People may call you selfish or self-centered for being you, but in reality, humans are selfish by nature. Some humans are braver with their selfish nature than others. If somebody complains about your egocentric nature , don’t take it personal. They more than likely are projecting their anger of not having the courage to be selfish.
Right now, there are people who are completely unhappy with their lives. Why? Because they were controlled into following somebody else’s path. They never had the courage to stray off the path that wasn’t design for them. There are doctors, lawyers, and dentists in those positions who are completely miserable because they decided to listen to their parents’ wishes. They feared to bring “shame” to their family and enter a career field they hate. If only they would have follow their heart instead, perhaps they wouldn’t be miserable.
Remember this: You have the freedom to be your own person.
It’s your life. Who cares if anyone gets upset?
“Your life is your own, ok? It’s OK to run away!
If you’re capable of it, it won’t be a mistake.” -The Mob Choir
These are the mere free-flowing, raw, and unedited thoughts of mines on the first three or four episodes of the Fall 2018 anime “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai” and my first impressions on it. There is no structure nor order on how I talk about this show.
A boy wakes up next to a girl around his age sleeping peacefully in his bed. He looks at her as she awakens and treats her with a “good morning”, in which she returns the greeting back. As they slowly wake up and indulge in playful teasing and banter of their lack of sleep, I am taken by surprise at the fact that the first episode has opened with our lead male and female characters in bed; suggesting that they are in an intimate relationship.
Additionally, the male lead looks and acts like an alpha; a rarity in anime today, as most male teenage leads are doormat simps (just like 90% of male anime fans globally). Finally! A young male anime hero with balls! This is great! Too great. Too great to be true.
No, really, it was. I accidentally downloaded the third episode, not the first.
Because I decided to get stoned out of my mind before watching this anime, I unwitty download episode 3; thinking it was episode 1. Sure, I spoiled myself by seeing Mai and Sakuta together in bed. However, it was a spoiler that I welcomed. I assumed that they got together by the end of episode 2 at the least.
I went back to KissAnime to download episodes 1 and 2. Episode 1 starts to play and its opening shot was the same opener from episode 3, except with different dialogue. Mai asks Sakuta if he is going to kiss her, in which Mai disappears and Sakuta awakens from his dream. Said dream foreshadowing future events.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this at how bold of a move that was. After all, Rascal Does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was written by light novelist Haijime Kamoshida (notable for his works The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, and the beautifully written original coming-of-age high school drama anime Just Because! from Fall 2017).
While I’ve never read The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, I’m a huge fan of Just Because! due to Kamoshida’s approach towards clichéd high school anime archetypes. Example: Rather than to write main character Eita as a new mysterious transfer student who enters a new school during the middle of his first year (like almost every other high school anime), Eita is a senior who transfers back to his hometown’s school district during the second semester (Eita moved away from his hometown during middle school). Eita’s “new” classmates at his “new” school district are actually a few of his friends from childhood. Komoshida effetely kills the “mysterious transfer student” idea off and replaces it with a character that’s already established and known by his peers in his city.
Komoshida is a clever writer in that sense, and Bunny Girl Senpai is no exception.
Before discovering that Kamoshida wrote Bunny Girl Senpai, I had no intention of watching it. Even hearing the show’s name alone made me (foolishly) believe that it was going to be, yet another, fanservicery, run-of-the-mill, below-average light novel anime adaption with a disposable trash waifu. A trash waifu wearing a skimpy bunny girl outfit that Cleverworks will produce figurines of her in said outfit for the fanboys of her to jerk off to and nut on.
These untrue, biased, stupid assumptions were slaughtered once I ran across Mother’s Basement video analysis on the show, explain that Kamoshida wrote the original novel, and discussing the themes of the show (such as bullying, facing rejection, social norms, etc.) So I figure I would give this show a watch.
Glad I did.
The first episode truly proved my earlier assumptions wrong. I was an idiot to think that this show was going to be garbage! Why did I allow myself to judge a book by its cover? In my defense, this current era of light novel anime adaptions is stale and bland. This is not the mid-2000s anymore when we had hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and creative light novel anime adaption coming out left and right.
Remember when the iconic juggernaut The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya came along and kick everyone’s asses in 2006? That was a light novel anime adaption that not only define light novels and light novel anime – but it was the start of a generation of otaku culture. The success and global cultural impact of Haruhi Suzumiya laid the groundwork for other light novels to be adaptive into TV anime.
I miss those days.
(Of course, that Haruhi laying the groundwork for light novel anime statement is up to debate)
Currently, light novel anime adaptions are a mess. The Goblin Slayer anime spat in the face of its light novel ancestor with its ugly CGI, lack of character development that was found in the original, removing important story plots from the light novel, and a controversial brutal violent scene that was not necessary for a first episode.
Every year, we’re “treated” to another boring, uninspiring isekai (another world) light novel adaption that just has a different gimmick that doesn’t change anything or do anything groundbreaking.
Sword Art Online needs to be taken to the backyard and get shot in the back of its head so it can be taken out of its misery already like the dying, useless dog it is.
Oh, how the era of the great light novel anime adaption has ended
…or so I thought. Bunny Girl Senpai’s first episode changed my mind.
Off the jump, we see the heroine parading herself around in a public library in nothing but a skimpy bunny girl outfit. Such a daring, lewd, and perverted act performed by any woman would certainly create attention for her.
But for Mai, – a well-known and beloved actress – there’s no way anybody could ignore her. Questions and comments such as “is she doing this for clout?”, “is this for a movie?”, “is that actress secretly an exhibitionist?”, and “she has fallen so low…” are gonna be said and asked. Everyone is glued to their phones. Everyone is addicted to social media. Indisputably, people seeking likes, views, and money for viral moments are going to document such an event on their smartphones.
Alas, she goes unnoticed. No. For real. They don’t notice her. She even bends herself forward towards a salaryman in a way that her breasts are in his face. But since the salaryman doesn’t have the time or the love for these hos, he doesn’t give her an ounce of attention. You know, maybe they’re just playing pretend. Mai has done this so often at this library that everyone decided to act like she doesn’t exist because they don’t wanna give her any attention.
Except they’re not playing pretend.
Mai doesn’t exist – both figuratively and literally.
She isn’t doing this for cheap thrills; it’s a legit cry for help.
Her existence is at risk and unless people notice her, she will die.
Moments later, Sakuta uses his main character powers to spot her walking about and confronts her. Mai, in return, copies Hitagi Senjougahara’s mannerism that she got from the Monogatari playbook and threatens him; demanding that he forgets what he saw and to never associate with her. And because the Monogatari playbook is public domain, Sakuta decides to steal moves from the Koyomi Araragi section and explains to Mai that he knows about her condition (due to personal experience) and that he can help her.
The condition? Puberty Syndrome: a rumored illness that causes sensitivity and instability among youths infected by it.
Mai believes him and accepts his help; thus starting the latest installment of the Monogatari series!
Kidding, of course. (That joke is getting old).
As mentioned (and me making fun of it) earlier, Bunny Girl Senpai (audaciously) borrows ideas from its influences (such as Monogatari) and other classic anime/light novel tropes, stereotypes, archetypes; using them to its advantage to add layers to each character personality. Therefore, the characters are more third dimensional compared to most others in anime that follow said archetypes and stereotypes.
Sakuta is your typical brash, blunt, and bold protagonist who doesn’t give a shit about following the rules, values, and order of society and freely operates outside of them (think Yusuke from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes). Because Sakuta is an outlier, he is outcast by his peers – even to the degree that his homeboy’s girlfriend tells the man to stop being friends with him; because it would ruin his and her’s high social standing in school (granted, Sakuta tells the girlfriend to fuck off).
This could be seen as social commentary, as Japan is a nation of conformity and holds value in being non-confrontational. Standing out and being a person who enjoys confrontation in Japan will get you mocked, ridicule, and disowned: three things I’m sure Sakuta has experienced in his young life due to his mannerism, but I doubt he cares.
“To be quiet, and do as you’re told…that’s the cowardly choice.” -Gearless Joe, Megalo Box
His sister, Kaede, plays the annoying imouto, or little kid sister role. Kaede affectingly hugs her big brother often, loves getting him out of bed or get in his bed (even if he’s trying to sleep), and she is almost always at his side. She’s soft-spoken when around strangers but truly shines and becomes herself when Sakuta is around.
Pretty annoying, right?
Well, Kaede is a victim of (cyber) bullying at her school. She received death threats from her former friends and cruel messages from her classmates telling her that she needs to kill herself. The relentless bullying and vicious messages caused Kaede to withdraw from society to the degree that she became a shut-in. She hates social media and modern technology; as we see her freezing up out of fear when she hears Mai’s phone rings in one episode. Because of her trauma, Kaede sees Sakuta as a protector of sorts which results in her being close to him.
She finds comfort in her brother.
Mai, as we saw in the first episode, is clear fanservice bait. Even in the anime promotional art, she’s wearing her bunny girl outfit in public. For this, I can’t blame anyone for thinking Mai does this for attention or thinking that she was designed to be trashy waifu bait. The fanservice and waifu material bits are turned on their heads once you understand the grave reasoning behind Mai’s acts (and character design).
Mai must do everything and anything within her power to court attention at all costs. Initially, the actress loved the peace and quiet that came with not being in the public’s limelight: something she had been under since childhood. Like any aspiring child actress, she was in “everlasting” bliss that people knew who she was thanks to her TV and movie roles. But, over time, the toll and stress of childhood stardom got to Mai and she wanted out of showbiz.
Her breaking point came about at the hands her manipulative manager and agent – her own mother.
During a commercial shoot for cereal (correct me if I’m wrong I don’t remember the full details), Mai’s mother and the video producer suggested that Mai should wear a revealing bikini. Mai refused: as she was in middle school at the time and was understandably disturbed by the idea. Her mom snapped on her; calling her own daughter a disappointment. It was at that point where Mai decided to retire from show business and stray away from the limelight.
She got her one true wish – at the cost of her existence.
“The limelight. The actor who steps into this brilliant light attains a heightened presence. All eyes are on him. There is room for only one actor at a time in the limelight’s narrow beam; do whatever it takes to make yourself its focus. Make your gestures so large, amusing, and scandalous that the light stays on you while the other actors are left in the shadows.”
–Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power”
(It’s ironic to think how Mai desperately worked hard to avoid any form of publicity and attention after her semi-retirement from the entertainment industry and yet, she was hunting it down once she realized that she could die if nobody acknowledges her. Maybe I’ll do an analysis essay on that one day.)
Watching the first episode (and parts of the second), I’m reminded of the golden era of the light (and visual) novel to anime boom. Text-based tales coming to life through animation. Stories crafted by otaku who dare to explore deep themes and issues about society, cultural norms, and life. There weren’t just mindless cartoons that otakus would simply watch and enjoy. They were shows with layers, messages, themes, and meaning.
It’s refreshing to see Bunny Girl Senpai bring such classic writing back into otaku marketed TV anime.
At the time of this writing, I am currently on episode 3. Sakuta is desperate to keep Mai’s existence alive. He has even gone as far as sacrificing his health by not sleeping (since anyone who’ve sleep after seeing Mai in her “invisible” state will have traces of her existence erased). Mai slips a sleeping pill in one of his caffeine drinks (probably deadly, but okay). She knows that this will erase her existence for him, but she doesn’t want him to put his health at risk – because of the fact she loves him. In tears, she thanks him for all he has done for her, and fades out of existence.
She’ll come back of course; thanks to Sakuta’s no-fucks-given attitude, however.
Bunny Girl Senpai has been an interesting anime to watch so far. The mystery of Puberty Syndrome keeps me wondering about how it impacts people and how it shapes society . The cast has wonderful chemistry with each other, as Mai and Sakuta have amazing banter with one another that helps keep fans interested in their relationship. Komoshida blending real-world issues such as bullying and blending in with sci-fi and supernatural elements is genius and I can’t wait to see how the writers of the show take his writing style to the next level.
I do hope this anime becomes a hit because I want to see more like it that is otaku driven and uses themes from anime to build layers for its characters. With people praising it online I sure my hopes will come to life.
…even if it does borrows from Monogatari.
-Yuki The Snowman.
I’m actually caught up with the show and currently waiting for episode 8. I have a theory that the main narrative theme of Futaba’s arc is accepting yourself (as Futaba has to deal with the fact that the second Futaba is the personification of her repressed but true self and she needs to understand it’s a part of her personality). I’m lazy as hell so I didn’t feel like rewriting the bit about episode 3 or whatnot.
The most real shit I’ve seen in anime in a while love how Sakuta speaks excellent game on standing out and being your own person:
Disclaimer: This rant was written under the influence of alcohol. Please enjoy!
And if anything I said offends you: Good!
I’m going to be real: When I saw Blerds (Black nerds) getting in their feelings and crying about how the new Overwatch hero Ashe, wasn’t a black female, I laughed. Really, I did. I found great joy in seeing blerds bitching at Blizzard Entertainment for not featuring a black female hero ever since the game debuted in 2016. I filled my quiet, empty house with vicious, head-splitting cackling as I skimmed through the everlasting rants of Black (nerd) Twitter’s as they expressed their disappointment in Blizzard.
This does, however, begs the question: why should it be the job of Blizzard (or any other non-black owned media and entertainment company) to represent Black people and to create black characters for us? They’re not entitled to do so. So stop fuckin’ cryin’ and beggin’ them to do so.
I’m ain’t sorry.
Now, don’t get me wrong: Black representation (as long as it’s positive) in media is not only a great thing, but it’s incredibly important for us. This is especially true when it comes to young black children (as children are highly influenced by what they see in media). Black children need positive, heroic black figures and characters to look up to during their developmental stages. But again, this duty shouldn’t lie on the shoulders of non-white owned companies who never will experience the struggles of being Black. They shouldn’t have to carry this burden.
Do you know must carry this burden for Black people? It’s real easy to figure this one out.
This burden must be carried by black people.
There’s no other way around this.
If we Black folks want to see our people in the media, then it’s up to us to gather our creative forces together and build. Build something worthwhile for our people to celebrate and showcase our race in media. We have the tools online to do so. We have social media and blogs/websites builders to spread our art to our community.
Look, we need to stop depending on other races to do the job for us. I get it: Black people are used to being dependant on programs (Section 8, food stamps/E.B.T, welfare, trickle-down economics, etc.), but we — the true originators of Earth — gotta stop that lazy, sit on our asses and wait for bullshit! It’s a huge waste of time.
Do you want to know what happens when we let other races represent us while we sit on our asses? This is what happens. Ready?
They draw us in an offensive manner with overexaggerated racial features:
We’re showcased as criminals:
We’re reduced to tap-dancing, coonin’ servant roles:
Now, do you understand why we must represent our people and not get emotional when others don’t?
If you want black heroes to represent black people in video games (and other forms of media), then do it yourself. You don’t need to wait on white people to give you one. There are thousands and thousands of creative black people who are bringing us black characters in a positive light (such as Black Sands Entertainment with their comic series Kids 2 Kings). We have black people in tech who can code and program. I’m sure they can make a game for you that features a black hero.
For real, Black people can get together with their skills, form their own video game company, and make their own games. And sure, some of you uncreative, section 8 living, single mother having, dusty niggas who ain’t about shit and ain’t gonna do shit with your lives can say “Well, that’s a cop-out! We need to hold these companies accountable for not putting black people in their games”.
I agree with you! It’s a cop-out! We should cop- out from mainstream society and do our own shit rather than wait for somebody to give us something. We don’t need to wait for somebody else to do it for us and cry when they don’t do it.
Crying to these companies don’t produce results.
It only produces useless tears.
Tears that don’t do anything for anyone but for people like me to make fun of you for shedding.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to download some Ashe Rule 34 and wish she was real so she could step on me.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (lit. When The Cicadas Cry) is a fantastic, intense horror anime, manga, and visual novel series filled with nerve-wracking suspense, psychological terror, bloody brutality, and relentless ultra-violence written by Japanese author Ryukishi07. Higurashi is beloved by both anime and visual novel fans globally and is considered by many as Ryukishi07’s best work, and for many great reasons.
By crafting a cocktail of classic narrative themes/conflicts, traditional Japanese folklore, and supernatural elements with real-world topics/issues (such as mental illness, child abuse/neglect, ethics in scientific research, citizens vs. government, etc.), Ryukishi07 delivered to the world of anime and visual novel a powerful and thought-provoking masterpiece. A masterpiece that ’s still respected and celebrated in anime and visual novel circles today; despite the visual novel ending in 2006 (not counting remakes, ports, remasters, etc. after 2006), and five years after the run of the anime (with Higurashi Outbreak in 2013).
With Halloween drawing near, I figured that it now would be the best time to talk about this marvelous series – but not in a way you may expect. Yes. The spooky holiday is almost here. Higurashi is a spooky anime. You would think that logically, I would talk about the spooky and horror themes of the series.
But, I’m going to take different approach.
A much different approach.
Would you call me crazy if I say that Higurashi, a Japanese otaku series, helped me get into old school Hip-Hop; a beloved urban American music artform?
Yes. As wild as it may sound, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni got me into old-school hip-hop. Out of anything and everything that is a possibility in the world, it took a Japanese horror series for me to not only get into old-school hip-hop but have a strong love for it. You may be wondering how is that ’s even possible.
Well, in order for me to tell you this tale, we need to go back to the Summer of 2010.
I’ve been a fan of Higurashi for almost a year after discovering the series on YouTube (I was actually aware of it back in high school, but that’s for another tale). And by a fan, I was fucking obsessed with it. I spent most of that summer looking up anything Higurashi; in efforts to gain knowledge about it. The official manga. The Fan doujins. The voice actors. Video games. Ryukishi07 himself even. And of course, it’s music.
One night, I was bumpin’ Dear You: Destructive, one of many remixes of Shion’s image song Youfrom the Higurashi visual novel. As the song was ending, there was a video in the suggestion bar of YouTube that made me a bit curious thanks to its thumbnail.
The thumbnail featured a transparent face of Rena in the foreground of a New York City borough with the word “You” in the top right corner in Old English font. The title of the video was in Japanese, sans one single word: “HIPHOP”. I merely assumed that a Japanese doujin music producer created a hip-hop sample beat of the song and was excited to hear a hip-hop version of the song.
Being ever so curious and my attention grabbed, I clicked on the link.
The song starts to play. A lone piano playing arpeggios rang out for four bars. The piano version of You no doubt. A drumbeat sample from Shing02 and Nujabee’s Luv Sic Pt. 1 played on the fifth beat and throughout the song, along with a woman (Lauryn Hill) vocalizing “ooo ooo ooooo”, and an East Coast hip-hop legend spitting.
‘Imagine smokin’ weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial…’
‘This is Nas! This is Nas rapping over a Higurashi song!’ I was in both awe and disbelief. Some visual novel otaku fuck in Japan mashed up Nas’s If I Ruled The World with You! Not only did he do that, but he also threw in the drum track from Luv Sic as an added bonus! Granted, I knew who Nas was thanks to a friend who’s a fan of his works – I just wasn’t a fan of him until I heard this mashup.
I instantly fell in love with both the mashup and the lyrics of If I Ruled The World, even if it wasn’t the original song itself. I let the song repeat itself for about seven times. Upon Hearing the sorrowful piano notes of You in unison of Nas’s speaking on of his vision of utopia for Black America, along with Lauryn Hill’s breathtaking vocals, and the cries of the summer cicadas, Goosebumps hit me hard.
I grew ever more curious about If I Ruled The World and the lyrics.
‘It’s elementary: they want us all gone eventually’.
‘Why does this fit well with how the Japanese government wants to wipe out Hinamizawa and the villagers in it?!’ I asked myself.
‘If I ruled the world (imagine that), I’d free all my sons!’. ‘I wonder; did the dude who made this thought about how Rika wanted to free herself from her tragic fate ?’ I pondered.
‘Strictly living longevity to the destiny
I thought I’d never see it, but reality struck
Better find out before your time’s out, what the fuck?’
‘I can see this for Rika and how she is desperately trying to find a way to cheat death for good before fate closes in on her.’
All Wild theories; but it made sense (in my head).
I had to let it marinate.
Even if the mashup creator didn’t mean to make certain lyrics relate to Higurashi, I couldn’t help but reflect. I let the song stop playing and decide to listen to the original version of Nas’s classic. There’s no denying that the beat was soaked in that definitive New York City hip-hop vibe. That electro notes playing up and down the scale. The simple yet deep pulse of the bass. The quiet layered strings.
I craved for more information.
Acting on a gut instinct that the beat for If I Ruled the World was a sample, I went on Google to see if my gut was correct – and it was. Not only was my gut was correct, but the sampled was also from Whodini’s 1984 classic Friends.
How many of us have them?
Ones we can depend on.’
It was like if the universe knew I was searching for a connection for the Higurashi mash up. The overarching theme of Higurashi is the power of friendship and there I was; listening to a classic hip-hop song with the hook asking if we have friends we can depend on.
‘Friends…Ones we can depend on.’ God. That’s powerful.
Satoko depended on her friends to save her from her abusive uncle – including her new friends; who were once her enemies (the villagers who once hated her and her family). Rena realized that no matter what, her friends love her: even if Rena was having a mental breakdown and couldn’t trust the friends she loved. Rika learned that how it was okay to open up to her friends about her depression and fear that Satoko – her best friend – was going to be taken away from her (by said abusive uncle mentioned earlier). Keiichi, like Rena, learned the value of trusting and opening up to his friends.
Was it all a coincidence that I would find a hip-hop song that has a famous hook that could relate to Higurashi? Perhaps. But there was no denying the fact by me researching the source of Nas’s If I Ruled The World sample, it opened an entirely new world of music for me. Sure, I was aware of classic 80s hip-hop legends such as KRS-One, N.W.A, Public Enemy, and Grandmaster Flash, but I never went out of my way to listen to them.
At the time, my mind only focused on listening to modern artists who were on the real shit (J. Cole for example) and 90s rappers such as Tupac. I thought I didn’t need to listen to classic rappers; I foolishly believed they were outdated! Nobody, sans OGs (original gangstas) and oldheads, went out their way to listen to the classic MCs. I was ignorant! Stupid even! For years, I allowed myself to miss out on what hip-hop legends of the past had to offer to the art form. My jaded attitude caused me to miss out.
You can even say it was a shame that it took some weeaboo bullshit to get me into the classics.
But, it did.
As I’m finishing up this little insight of my world for you guys, I am reflecting on how hip-hop has a lot in common with not only Higurashi but with anime in general.
Two completely art forms.
Many endless similarities.
Let’s start with Higurashi, of course. Both Higurashi and Hip-Hop share a common birth month: August. In fact, the first Higurashi game, Onikakushi-Hen (lit. Spirited Away By The Demon Chapter) dropped on August 10th, 2002. The official birthday of hip-hop? August 11th, 1973. A mere 29 years and a day apart, but it’s amazing on how they have back-to-back birthdays.
Hip-Hop, for generations, has been used as a platform to speak out against government oppression and corruption with hits such as N.W.A.’s Fuck The Police, Public Enemy’s By The Time I Get To Arizona, and Childish Gambino’s This is America. One could say that hip-hop inspires Black Americans to rise up and fight against the oppressive forces that threaten our quality of life.
During the second half of Higurashi (The Answer Arcs), the series switch from a supernatural, psychological thriller tale, to a story of the people of Hinamizawa rising up against the corrupt Japanese government (that was trying to wipe out the town and its people).
When it comes to the realm of anime in general, you can’t tell me there aren’t any hip-hop songs that can be used for anime and the characters and stories that make up this beloved art medium. Listen to Sky’s The Limit by Biggie Smalls: A song about the hustler’s rise to riches and achieving his dreams. After you listen to that go watch Gainax’s classic OVA Otaku no Video: an anime about an otaku becoming a hustler, to a businessman, to the world’s richest man.
Or maybe Tech N9ne’s Pyscho Bitch may persuade you. Listen to it and think about your classic psychotic yandere characters such as Yuno Gasai (The Future Diary), Kotonoha Katsura (School Days), Kaede Fuyou (Shuffle!), and since we’re talking about Higurashi, the series best girl Shion Sonozaki.
To end my tale, let’s go back to my previous question: Would you, after reading all of this, call me crazy for the fact that it took Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – a classic otaku horror series, to get me into hip-hop? I can understand if you say yes. Of course, it is. It shouldn’t even make sense.
But, without that You x If I Ruled The World mash up I discovered nearly ten years ago, I would have gone through life never knowing about timeless artists that paved that path for talented, iconic wordsmiths such as J. Cole, Logic, Tupac, KRS-One, Kendrick Lamar, and many more.
That would have been much, much crazier.
-Yuki The Snowman
Somebody on Wiz Khalifa’s team is a fucking weeaboo and sampled Main Theme Aifrom the Higurashi anime for him to rap over: