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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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.
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.)
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:
NOTE: This is a freely written article on thoughts floating about in my head. As such, there is no structure or order with this post. I’m shooting from the hip.
Admit it: You love controversy. It’s okay, nobody (except me), will judge you. In fact, you, the world, and I all love controversy. It doesn’t matter if the controversy is caused by a football playing taking a knee during the National Anthem against racism/police brutality, a disgraced rapper tap-dancing, coonin’ it up, and running a Minstrel Show for his massas at the White House, or an edgelord “Babby’s first fucked up anime” featuring a disturbing rape scene in the first episode. We love it. Love it so much that we waste time talking about whatever made us feel some type of way on social media, to our co-workers, friends, whoever may listen to us rant.
Even if we hate the thing that caused the controversy, we can’t help but talk about it.
Let’s take the newest Fall anime Goblin Slayer for example. Anime fan circles online are at abuzz at towards the new show. Not because it’s a great show or anything like that. But because (as previously mention), it’s an edgelord, shit-tier anime that featured the brutal gang rape of a female character and a young girl being stabbed to death. In fact, Goblin Slayer (the manga) heavily features violence against women (meat shield lmfao). And you already know that Left-Wing liberal college brats with useless college degrees and confusing genders are all up in their feelings about the first episode and the manga series as a whole.
They have gone to their tumblrs and their twitters to rant about how Goblin Slayer is a male-power/ rape fantasy series and believes that it trains males to disrespect and assault women. Others stated that if you like the show, you’re probably an edgy little brat who thinks violence in anime makes it mature.
They’re just giving the show free promotion at this point.
It’s funny: You’d think people would have the sense to not speak about the things they hate in order to not get it noticed. As we all know, that method never works. The more you talk about something you don’t like, the more awareness you bring to it. The more awareness it gains, the more it’ll grow. Example: Idiotic Right Wing conservatives (racially charged) rampage against former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and his deal with Nike. Kaepernick got a nice paycheck with his “Just Do It” advisement using his stance, activism, and platform.
Old, white men and women didn’t like that and decided to destroy their already-paid $50 Nikes that their poor, broke ass brought from Shoe Carnival or Ross’s (nobody isn’t stupid enough to destroy $150+ Air Force Ones, Jordan’s, or exclusives Nike shoes). Their anger simply only helped out the Nike brand and caused Nike to see an increase in sales – all because they couldn’t stop talking about their hatred Kaepernick and Nike’s supporting him.
And then Nike played everyone and use the funds to support Right Wing politicians.
As a child of the 90s, I am not a stranger to dealing with controversial against the things I love. The Simpsons (back when it was a great series) got a lot of heat for showing how truly fucked up the American family can be. Violent video games such as Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, and Postal ¸ where under attack by family groups. Wrestling – especially The WWF, was considered too immoral for TV. Yet, despite the controversy and protests by parent groups, the government, and other entities, these things strived and generated sales and popularity from the backlash. Why? Because people are naturally curious about terrible things. They check it out and see that whatever shit is causing the uproar isn’t all that bad.
I think people just feel good talking about the things they hate (or love)
With that said, If you are going to ask me how I am going to deal with the controversy behind Goblin Slayer as an anime fan here’s my answer:
(Speaking of controversy, you should totally check out one of my favorite yet controversial blog post: Pirating Does NOT Hurt the Anime Industry and share it on social media so I can make people mad at me and have them talk about the article and my blog. I wanna make high-horse moral weebs in their feelings.)
FOLLOW ME ON THESE VARIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS:
I’ll be honest with you: I’d be happy if Hi-Score Girl ended with Akira moving to America and never returning to Japan (not saying there should have been only three episodes, of course). Harou would have to move on, deal with his feelings, and handle his first heartbreak as the series finale or something. A realistic, relatable ending to viewers who experienced such pain in their youth.
They had feelings for somebody they cared about, spent endless hours with them, realized that person touched their heart and wanted to be with them until they were separated by uncontrollable forces.
That’s probably why I enjoy the third episode of Hi-Score Girl: because it hits close to home.
Years ago, there was a girl I had a crush on. We were in the same class and hung out with each other often. I don’t remember much about her besides that her family was poor. So poor that she only brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
I couldn’t care if she was poor or anything, she was a good friend and somebody I had feelings for. One day, she told me that her dad got a better paying job. As a result, her family was moving out of the city (for the job). I was happy that her family finally got money, but I was sad that she was moving away and that I would never see her again.
(My first childhood crush is probably hooked on heroin now because it’s the Midwest)
Even if the series didn’t end with Akira moving, it would have been impactful if Akira never returned, Harou moved on with his life and got in another relationship with a girl (which he does). In episode 4, we’re introduced to the new female protagonist, Koharu. She’s a bit of an introvert and goody-two-shoe who’s a little curious about video games (thanks to her dad running a small arcade outside their house).
Koharu, despite being a normie girl, has uncanny natural skills in fighting games, which catches Harou’s attention. Later, the two start to hang out after school. Harou gets her into gaming and helps her hones her gaming skills; therefore triggering the start of their relationship.
I’d be fine with Koharu replacing Akira as the female lead. Her character devolvement from a quiet normie girl who cares about nothing than to study to a sadistic, jealous, straight-forward gamer girl is the best in the series. However, this is a bit overshadowed by Akira’s return.
Not to knock on it, but it cheapened the emotion events of episode 3 (and could have ruined it if there weren’t other factors that will save it later down the road). Granted, it was foreshadowed that she was going to return to Japan (with Guile telling Harou that his fight with her isn’t over yet), but I do feel some type of way by it.
It’s a shame because like Akira’s relationship with Harou previously, Koharu interest and relationship with Harou is rooted in realism.
As stated earlier, Koharu is curious about arcades, video games, and why Harou likes them. Despite being the model student, Koharu hates studying. She wants to know what it is like to have fun and freedom; which is why she’s drawn to Harou (since he has those two things). After school, Koharu is caught in a snowstorm while attempting to return home. Harou spots her and gets her to come inside a candy shop until the snowstorm dies. Harou convinces Koharu to play Street Fighter II (as she explained to him she never played a game before).
Despite being new to games, she was able to pull off advanced moves such as anti-air attacks, punishing on blocking the opponents, and 360-degree joystick motion special moves with ease. Mind you, this is with Zangief: a character who is not at all newbie-friendly.
They continue to hang out with each other, strengthen their bond and Koharu’s interest in gaming. This would lead to Koharu’s strong crush on Harou, which in turn lead her to convince her parents to buy her a Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) to not only get into gaming on a hardcore level but to make Harou jealous of her.
On the topic of jealousy, Koharu and Akira are jealous of each other, and they are not shy to showcase their mutual dislike. After a session in the arcade, Akira spots Harou and Koharu hanging out with each other. She gives them a death glance (from the safety of her car). The next day, Harou tries to speak with Akira (after finding out she was at the arcade), who simply ignores him. She refuses to speak with him until he comes clean with his relationship with Kaharu (which he states the two are only friends and he has no romantic feeling for the blonde girl).
When it comes to Koharu’s jealousy, it’s more severe than Akira’s. When she hears about Akira initially, she’s not concerned; as she was happy that Akira’s a fellow gamer girl with supreme skills (and even admires her for it). That changes when she finds out that Harou and Akira had a relationship in the past, which sparks her envy. This envy drives her to get better at fighting games: Darkstalkers mainly.
This drive isn’t out just mere self-improvement, but to beat Akira in order to win Harou’s love.
In Chapter 24 of the manga (after the second time skip), Koharu confronts Akira; bluntly asking her rival if she and Harou once had a thing. Akira is silent, making Koharu push the question further. Upon not getting a response from her rival Kaharu flat out tells Akira that if she doesn’t make a move on Harou, she will. On the surface, Akira doesn’t seem bothered by Koharu’s plans but later on in the chapter, we see that she’s afraid that Koharu will deliver on her promise (but more on that in a future post).
At the end of Chapter 26, Koharu challenges Harou in a best of three wagers with a selfish ultimatum: If she wins, Harou will have to end his relationship with Akira and date Koharu instead. If she loses, she’ll let him be. To say that she might be a sucker for love is an understatement but its young love.
Young love that is fueled by jealousy, but young love regardless.
I do not know the mindset of women when they’re in love, but I’m sure jealously and the fear of being replaced by somebody else plays a huge role in crushes. Koharu was in fear that Akira’s skills and friendship would cause her to be replaced. On the other hand, Akira feared that Harou replaced her after she had moved.
I can’t blame Harou for being close with Koharu (even if it was on friendly terms). He assumed that Akira would never return and moved on. Of course, she was on his mind for the two and a half years that she was away (as we saw with Harou admitting to Akira that he was longing to see her again) His sole purpose was to improve himself so if Akira did return, he’ll be ready for her.
It’s funny how Akira was the centerpiece for both Harou and Koharou’s quests for self-improvement although while one reasoning is innocent, the other is in malicious intent. Harou wants to get better for his rival. Koharo wants to separate Akira from Harou and keep him to herself.
It’s a bizarre love triangle: two girls fighting over a guy because of video games.
Continued in Part 4
Me personally, if I was Harou, I would do some playa shit between the two girls and date both of them behind their backs)
Scenario: Let’s say you and another person are deeply in love with each other. You both have unprecedented chemistry. Every little thing that person does never fail to charm you. You can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy around each other.
You guys are inseparable.
One day, however, you’re forced to leave that person – forever. Your family is moving far away. You got a new job in a new state. That college you wanted to get into accepted you. You murdered somebody and now you have to leave your country for another one where your homeland can’t legally remove you from that new country before the police catch you. How would you tell that person and would you do anything within your power to stay with them – just for one more day?
This is the situation for Akira in episode 3 of Hi Score Girl.
Episode 3 starts with Akira losing to an A.I. controlled M. Bison (Vega in Japan and Dictator in the competitive Street Fighter scene). Normally, the gaming genius Akira shouldn’t have any problems fighting against M. Bison (as he took him out with only two buttons from a damaged arcade cabinet), but she’s losing her edge. Even if she’s only commutates through body language, Akira is being eerily quiet.
Harou sees this and assumes that she’s upset because summer break is ending; therefore she won’t have time to spend at the arcades. However, he’s ignorant of the fact that her situation is far worse than a mere end to summer vacation.
In a few days, Akira’s family is moving to Los Angeles, California.
The next day, the duo is invited to hang out with their classmates at a local theme park, which both of them take up on the offer. As the day progress, Akira and Harou decide to ditch them and hang out with each other in the arcade instead. Akira is more than happy to do so, as she wants to spend time with Harou alone.
There’s a part during the arcade scene where Akira spots the light-gun game Space Gun. Harou takes it that she wants to play with her simply nodding yes. He starts to tease her; telling her that she might piss herself because it’s a scary game (given she hates horror-driven media) but she goes with it regardless.
As they play, Harou tries to get Akira to advance the game by having her move her foot off the pedal (as holding down the pedal makes the characters retreat from the enemies). She refuses. Her leg starts to shake. If she moves her feet off the pedal it’ll only lead her closer to their unavoidable separation.
Akira is desperate for time. Harou doesn’t know it, but Akira has feelings for him. Remember: Akira spent her young life as the heir to a rich but brutally strict family. Akira was never allowed to enjoy life as opposed to the average girl who could go out and play with friends. It was only recently when Akira decides to defy her family’s wishes and escape to the arcades to get away from her miserable home life.
Flashing, colorful lights blinding the eyes. Furious adults screaming vicious profane words at each other after defeat. Chocking tobacco smoke poisoning the air. Such a vile place wouldn’t seem right as a safe haven for Akira. But she needed a safe haven to escape the unwanted responsibilities place upon her.
The safe haven where she met Harou: the boy that brought joy to her life.
Akira and Harou continue their journey through the park; traveling through a magic mirror house, riding a roller coaster and a scary ride. At one point, Harou asks Akira if her parents ever took her to a theme park, to which she shook her head no in response.
To say that Akira is a sheltered child is an understatement. To Harou, the trip to the theme park was normal. Every (normal) child has gone to a theme park at least once in their life. But, to Akira, a girl who never experienced the joy of having a normal childhood; this was a new, life-changing event for her.
I’m sure some of you out there may have been sheltered by your parents and can relate to Akira. They forbid you to play outside after a certain time. They didn’t allow peculiar forms of media in the house like anime or rap music. Anime was a tool of Satan so they banned it from your house. Maybe one day, you had enough of their bullshit and decided to go out into the world and do your own thing, just like Akira.
(Akira’s gonna wind up doing hard drugs and drink straight from vodka bottles later in life. That what usually happens to sheltered kids once they get out in the world.)
The more time she gets to spend with Harou means the more time she can live normally. She doesn’t have to worry about her high status, school work and the pain those things brought her. The pain she never asked for. Pain that was mended by Harou’s company, understanding, friendliness. They spent the reminding hours of the day playing until sunset, eventually heading home on a bus with Akira falling asleep and resting her head on Harou’s shoulder.
The sunsets on their summer vacation – and their relationship.
The next day brings in the new school year – and the horrible news. Harou hears about Akira’s family moving away. He’s shocked. It hits him – hard. Rumors start to fly such as “her parents got a divorce” or “they got a new job in America.” Harou refuses to believe he’s hurt about Akira’s sudden move. He tries to play it off by acting happy that his rival is gone. Finally! He can rule his castle (the arcade) in peace; he shouldn’t fear Akira invading it. She’s gone forever!
Deep down, he knows he’s full of shit.
Akira wasn’t any girl that played video games casually. She was a gifted monster who dominated them. Any game she touched she mastered it. Only he was able to come “close” to her skill level – but it simply wasn’t enough. Akira forced yet inspired Harou to improve in Street Fighter II. She never judged him for his gaming passion but encouraged him to get better at it.
They started out as rivals. He was disgusted at the fact that Akira bested him time and time again. He couldn’t stand the fact she was around. However, as time went on, they grew as friends. He respected her. Harou was happy that she was her equal. In his time of reflection (and holding back tears) he became honest with himself:
Harou had feelings for Akira. She touched his heart.
With newfound determination, he runs after her; rushing to the airport to see her one more time. He arrives in time and tries to convince her to stay (as she’ll miss all these new games coming out such as Fatal Fury by SNK). Then, he gives her a good-bye present: The toy ring from the first day they hung out together as friends – not rivals. She rushes to him, breaking down crying. She’ll never see her first friend again.
Her first love.
Continued in Part 3 (because fuck SEO suggestions I’m not making this a 1600 word post also my bad for making this a summary than a reason why this series work)
I hate romantic comedy in any form of media – especially in anime; as most romcom anime are unrealistic and littered with cheap, perverted jokes. From my reviews on My Girlfriend is a Shobitch and Hajimate no Gal, it’s clear I detest this genre. These shows were clearly written by otaku virgins who never had a relationship with the opposite sex and are living out their weird, lonely otaku fantasies through anime. So, when I discovered that J.C. Staff’s latest project, Hi Score Girl, was not only a (loose) history piece of the second arcade boom in Japan, but a romantic comedy as well, I was I amazed by how they show a realistic portray of a relationship blooming and evolving over time.
May I dare say that this romcom anime has even charmed me by how pure the relationship between main characters Akira and Harou is? You take two characters who’re seemly “opposite” of each other but somehow, they click. Akira’s the popular, high-class rich girl who excels in every subject – performance arts included. She’s the type of girl that every boy in school wants to date and every girl wish to be. Harou, however, is “hopeless”. His scholarly performance is a joke. Artistic skills? None. He gets teased often by his peers for his bad grades. He rather wastes his day ruling over at his castle: the local arcade, installing fear in peasants with his mastery in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (SF2).
Harou believes that Akira is out of his league. Can’t blame him for his wrong line of thinking.
Akira, despite her academic achievements and financial background, loves playing video games. In reality, she’s socially awkward, can’t make friends, doesn’t express herself verbally, and hates that her family controls her life. She visits the arcades often to escape her rigid lifestyle, blow off steam, and be her true self. Funny enough, like Harou, Akira is an SF2 player – except she’s the top player in their scene – as Harou will learn the hard way.
After witnessing Akira’s 30 win-streak performance against other players in SF2 Harou challenges her. He loses to her Zangief – badly. To save his pride, Harou defeats Akira by using Guile’s defensive “Turtle” style and “cheap” throws tactics. Akira gets pissed and starts attacking him; it’s the start of their rivalry that will bloom into friendship and eventually, the two having feelings for one another. During their summer vacation, the two hang out at various arcades, testing their skills against each other and thus deepening their bond.
For Harou, he’s happy he has an equal. For Akira, she’s happy that she finally made a friend.
Right from the start, Hi Score Girl destroys the bullshit idea that opposite attracts we see in romance-based media by having our main characters falling for each other over a mutual interest: competitive video gaming. Let me ask you people who have a mate a question: How did you guys fall for each other? Surely it wasn’t the fact you guys were opposite of each other. It was because you and your mate had things that click with each other and that turned you on towards them. Sure, there are some differences, but overall, you were drawn to them through your similarities (and other factors of course).
Social and scholar level wise, Harou and Akira can’t even compare. Akira shouldn’t be hanging around with a “stupid” kid like Harou. Harou shouldn’t have the chance to be with Akira. Still, they were able to overcome those minor differences. They grew close through their powerful love for competitive gaming, relentless desire to win, and mending their after-school loneliness. Who cares for social status differences when you and your friend vibe over a powerful passion? What’s good are having excellent grades, popularity, and cash flow when you’re lonely and your parents dictate your life?
Those superficial ideas don’t matter when they’re outweighed by shared attractiveness on a deeper level beyond mere opposites.
You’re a science teacher in Japan. You’re passionate about teaching children about cells and how they work. Yet, your students don’t give a damn about that shit. They’re some stupid ass, Bebe Kids ass, hopeless ass children who don’t wanna learn anything in life. No matter how hard you try to make learning interesting, they refuse (to learn).
You decide to fail them all – you have no hope for their future.
You head home after a stressful day of dealing with those dumb ass kids. You kick back with a can of beer in one hand while having a blunt in another as you watch TV. Bill Nye The Science Guy – an American educational classic showing kids how much science rules – comes on. A smile appears on your drunken, stoned face as you remember how much Bill Nye inspired you to become a science teacher with his down-to-earth, caring, and loving approach to science education.
Bill Nye ends and it’s followed by a classic cult movie: Osmosis Jones – a comedy movie about Ozzy, a disgraced white blood cell cop who, with the help of his partner Drix, defends the sickly body of some depressed zookeeper with unhealthy grief coping skills. After watching both the movie and Bill Nye you get inspired to come up with your own manga series to entertain children while also valuing their education by teaching them about cells and the human body. You down another beer, roll up another blunt, and relentlessly get to work on this new project for the next few months.
You retain the White Blood Cell character from Osmosis Jones; making him a stoic killer of germs instead of a street-smart cop. Drix? You replaced him with a cute yet clumsy girl, giving her the role of a red blood cell. As you brainstorm ideas for different cells, you come up with cool designs that will appeal to both children and adults. The children of Japan need this. It may be too late for your slow ass students to learn anything but future children will appreciate your efforts. Once you finish the first draft you pitch it to Kodansha.
They love it.
Over time, this manga becomes a sleeper hit – mostly because you made the Red Blood Cell a waifu character that everyone will look up ero doujins of her getting a train ran on her by the Killer T cells troops along with Macrophage-Chan – but because of how innovating your manga was in terms of teaching people about how cells work. And that’s how Cells At Work became to be.
Trust me: My father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate used to be drinking buddies with Akane Shimzu and he told me this on the phone last night.
Bullshit aside, I’m impressed by Cells At Work. It’s secretly adorable and I admire how the creative forces behind it use Shounen style action to sell its educational value to fans. Furthermore, the roles of the cells and how they interact with each other are explained in a down-to-earth manner. If you’re a complete idiot like when it comes to science, you won’t be lost, confused, or feeling even dumber than you already are.
(And trust me: You’re probably just as dumb as I am thanks to the American education system.)
Cells At Work is a simple anime (which is good because it doesn’t need to be complex or deep for the show to share its message). Each episode, there’s a situation with the human’s body is attacked by a variety of ailments such as basic germs attacking the city in episode one, an invading army of infections in episode two, and the world battling against invasive bacteria in episode 3. They win of course, but in that classic rule of three (episodes) style, they get fucked up and ROFLstomp by the series’ first major enemy. In this case, it’s Type A Influenza.
Granted, the heroes will win through some asspull bullshit by episode four.
Main character Red Blood Cell-chan (RBC-Chan) is a clumsy girl trying her best on her first day at her new delivery job. During a delivery run, she (along with the citizens of the “world” of the human body) are attacked by monsters – germs attacking the body. They’re about to be killed when supporting hero White Blood Cell comes to save them by mercilessly butchering and slaughtering the germs with combat knives.
As with any Shounen series, Cells At Work uses violent action to keep fans engaged. We are first hinted at this fact during the OP; which features a squad of White Blood Cells, armed with knives, hunting down a germ. This is followed up by an elegant maid walking around gracefully in a flower field…and she’s carrying a giant ax while her hands and face are covered in blood.
What makes Cells At Work works (besides the violence) is the usage of implanting classic anime tropes and personality with each cell. The Killer T Cells are personified as merciless, battle harden combat vets, the Helper T cell becomes a military commander, Macrophage cells are portrayed as elegant, classy maids who like to chop up their victims with their giant axes and blades.
Do you remember those educational “entertaining” science films back in school? You know what I mean – they’re cheesy, boring, trying too hard to have style but it’s so dry. Cells At Work throws that shit away while still retaining the knowledge. Knowledge at a simple level but still knowledge regardless. That’s why famous personalities – may they be fictional or not, such as Bill Nye, Carl Sagen, Miss Frizzle, and Ozzy (Ozzy and Drix) are beloved. They taught us the knowledge of science through their unique personalities. Of course, I’m not saying you’re going to get layered, in-depth personalities for each character compared to story-driven anime series such as Durarara or Monogatari but when you’re selling an anime centered around science and the human body you better make it entertaining.
As of this writing, I’m caught up to episode four (somehow that Influenza enemy thing didn’t get resolved) of the anime and from my positive reaction, I’m going to stick around with the anime until either the series end or something utter bullshit makes me turn away from it. While I do believe it’s going to be one of the best shows of the seasons, I can’t confidently say it’s anime of the year material but we will see once the series end.
If you’re looking for a different anime series that still share the familiar style of your shounen shows while also learning why you should take care of your body and the cells in it, then Cells At Work is right for you. If not, you’re the reason why the education system is such a failure today.
(Before I go, Let me go on record that Red Blod Cell-Chan and White Blood Cell are those two co-workers that you know have a thing for each other and they’re gonna get caught fucking in the employee bathroom by the janitor when they thought everyone left the office building that night)
What’s a name? Obviously, it’s a set word(s) to identify a person, place, or thing. Some names are linked to a famous brand (Nike, Nordstrom, or Nintendo for example). Others are associated with a person in your life ( brother, sister, cousin, etc.) There are names famous throughout the world — regardless of culture, race, etc (Micheal Jackson, Bill Gates, Shigeru Miyamoto). Depending on the person, whenever we hear their name, we either react with disgust or with love. Names are important as they are the basis of who we are as a person. Some fight to preserve their name in history — even after death.
In episode 2 of the Spring 2018 boxing anime Megalo Box the Junk Dog Gearless Joe squares off with Megalo Boxing champion Yuri. Before their fight, Yuri requests Joe’s real name, as he states that “I can’t imagine you want a ring name on your tombstone” in which Joe replies “They don’t make tombstones for stray dogs.”
Regardless if Joe wants to use his real or ring name, he wants his legecy to be known. He refuses to die without anyone knowing who he was in life. The line is simple, yet powerful. Joe is right: they do not make tombstones for no names.
Question: Do we recognize people who never done anything in history?
No, we don’t. Those who achieved greatness have their names embedded in history. The ones who don’t are forgotten. The story of the Gearless Joe is one of the classic underdog story. Joe is a young man of lower class status yearning to escape the strife and trap of poverty through boxing. With his boxing skills, he believes that if he becomes the Megalo Boxing champion, his name will live forever. Joe refuses to die as a nobody. That’s not his fate in this world. There’s no glory in being another unknown background character in a world of billions and billions of people.
Nobody gives a shit about a stray dog.
People fight until their final breaths to keep their name and brand relevant. We may not understand why, but there are many in this world who do not want to die as a nobody. Utliziing their skillsets and talents, they put themselves out there in hopes that one day, their legacy will be celebrated. Deep inside them, there’s that drive for certain humans to make their mark on this world by any means. If they don’t, they will die with the regret of not becoming the icon in their niche or even the world. That’s why they fight.
Yuki’s Note: This is unorganized and I probably got a few things wrong about nerd culture in the mainstream. Whoops.
I love scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing ads from companies such as Sugoi Shirts and Kaomoji. Seeing their flamboyant Japanese street fashion inspired clothing makes me smile at the expense of my wallet. But who cares as long as it could make me look good. I just wanna rock a fuckin’ shirt with an anime girl with a censor bar across her eyes in public! It just makes me feel good about myself and feeds my ever growing ego. But man, who would imagine vendors online selling stylish and fashionable weeaboo shirts on Facebook?
Nerds have come a long way since the darker days of our passion when we were shamed for simply enjoying our nerd culture. If I were to wear my weeaboo attire 20 years ago, people would mock me. Today? People (for the most part) tend to mind their business. Shit, just the other day, when I went to my local head shop the store clerk saw my shirt and we started talking about Fate series for a few minutes (he thought my sunglasses were something based off Fate). It was a lovely chat until he said that Rin was the worse girl in the Fate series and that Saber was the best.
I ain’t never going back to that headshop.
Anyway, you wanted to catch a superhero movie in full cosplay back in 1996 and you were over the age of 13? You got roasted! Now it’s the norm for people to cosplay as their favorite Marvel or DC superhero at opening night. If there was a nerd in a TV show, they were the laughing stock loser who never get the woman. They never got anywhere. But shows such as Silicon Valley has ended the stereotype that nerds are losers and that their hobbies won’t get them anywhere. I gotta say, this is the golden era of the nerd.
Everything that I’ve mentioned above now leads me to this question: Are nerds trendsetters?
The obvious question is yes, of course. In fact, I even answered the question my self. So leave my page. I want to say that, but I do enjoy going deeper with my theories and exploring them. We (well, I) have come up with the conclusion that nerds are trendsetters. But why? Why are us nerds trendsetters, and how can we take advantage of this before the inevitable nerd bubble breaks and we’re back to being shoved into lockers and having our lunch money stolen by the jocks (well, you weak nerds are getting shoved into the lockers, I’m knocking anyone out who tries to do that to me).
This is my theory:
People were tired of the old shit and wanted something new. Everyone and their moms love reality TV, watching sports, drinking at the local bar, what have you. Meanwhile, the nerds were in the background; creating and working on their passion. We spent our time inside, communicating with our peers, showcasing our talent online. As time went on and technology advance bringing the advent of social media people were started to take notice of the group they once shunned away: The Nerd.
Social media lead the way for nerds to showcase their creative talent (although we’ve been doing this shit years and years before that came along through online forums, blogs, etc.) As more people gain access to the internet, the more nerds were given exposure. Yes, there were TV channels such as the Sci-Fi Channel, Tech TV, and g4, but they were only viewed by their niche target market.
Now? Well, I mean they’re still being watched by their niche market, but the normies are getting into them as well. Oh and g4 is dead. So perhaps that doesn’t count. Shows that were once for nerds with cahs (meaning they could afford internet and cable packages) are available through streaming services such as Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix, etc.. The video game industry makes more than the movie industry. Anime is…catching up. It still has a some catching up to do, but with anime (slowly) creeping into the mainstream, I say it won’t be long until anime in the West is treated like film.
It’s funny to think about how nerds are shaping things up. We’re like rockstars (almost). Seriously. Go on YouTube right now and you see that some of the top YouTubers are people talking about video games or streaming themselves playing games. Two decades ago folks would scream at nerds that playing games isn’t a real career. Today? Playing video games and screaming at a game for hours on end is considered a real job. Of course, you have those normies who think that isn’t a real career, but they’re just mad that they’re slaving away at some corporate or labor gig they hate while the nerds they used to bully are making hunder of thousands of dollars playing video games.
So, to anwser my own question: Yes. Nerds are trendsetters.
Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Anyone who does not think Averages:InfinityWars is a masterpiece superhero film obviously stands opposite to the majority. Bored at work, I decided to make a shitpost on some Black nerd anime group stating that I do not think Infinity War was a great film (despite the fact I have yet to see it and I wanted to stir up a flame war). The post was merely an excuse to secretly give spoilers of characters dying (as I used a gif of Beerus of Dragon Ball Super erasing Zamasu from existence: a subtle hint to what Thanos did half the universe in the movie).
As expected, Marvel fanboys (who can’t handle the fact people won’t dickride their favorite movies/comics) attacked me. They called me a troll, a hater, insane, whatever insults they could use against during their blind fanboy rage. I simply laughed: as they didn’t know I never watched the movie (and I was going off spoilers I read online). Manipulative? Yes. Yes, it was. Do I care? Nope. Anyways, scrolling through yet another masterpiece troll post of mines I came across a post with the Kirby meme “Hating on popular things doesn’t make you interesting.”
I love this meme. Love to make fun of it given how silly it is to think that way. See, I think people who don’t like things others enjoy are interesting. They bring something different to the table. A unique taste or flavor so to speak. It gets boring talking to people who share similar interests. I rather have somebody who’s a bit of an outlier around. You can’t debate and/or argue with people that share your views – you don’t learn at all from them.
Somebody who has opposite viewpoints, you can learn from them.
By interacting with those who may not share your views, you learn what makes them tick. Somebody may not Pokemon, but they love Digimon. They might be willing to share their love of Digimon with you to give you an insight of thin passion. You get invited to go over to their house to watch a few episodes of it and you may even enjoy it. Dealing with people who are opposite of you is great. Furthermore, you’ll learn skills to handle situations where somebody might have a disagreement with you.
Do you really think you’re an interesting person because you like what’s popular – just like everyone else? You’re not. You’re not different. You’re boring. Bland. Uninspiring. Whenever I see a post like “hating on popular things doesn’t make you cool” or whatever, that just tells me this: “I am secretly insecure about the things I enjoy and I can’t’ handle criticism on it because I don’t have confidence towards it.” Confident people don’t let the “hate” get to their head. They just move on with their lives, heads held up high knowing what they enjoy is hot shit. Nobody can tell them otherwise. So what if people hate things you enjoy? Stop reacting to the hate and do you.
I believe this world needs that balance of people loving and hating on popular things.
When I had first received word of a new Higurashi anime coming out, I was thinking to myself ‘This has to be a troll’. The Higurashi series is over. There is no casual anime fan that fucked with Higurashi since Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kira (if even that). The visual novel side of the fandom is niche as hell. You ask some norime anime fan they heard of Higurashi and they’re either going to look at you silly or think you’re a sick fuck that gets off to lolis killing each other. Higurashi is not and will never come back.
Or so I thought.
Right before I was going to take a power nap, my YouTube notification alert went off on my phone. Subconsciously, I grabbed my phone to see what lame video some lame YouTuber has uploaded. As I scrolled down to unveil my shameful clutter of news in my notification bar, I was greeted with something that made my usual pathetic day better:
The haunting cries of the cicadas. Rika doing her classic “Nippah!” catchphrase. The yandere Shion in her Angel Mort uniform. Mion…with a butcher’s knife. Okay. She’s finally snapped or whatever but she’s back. Our favorite characters are back…alongside some new characters that I don’t give a shit about. One of them looks like series creator Ryukishi07. Okay, it may not be him and I’m probably just being prejudice towards Asians.
As I’m watching the trailer I couldn’t help but notice the text in the upper right-hand corner: Last Period. ‘Did Ryukishi finally tell Studio Deen to fuck off and got with a new animation studio!?’ I thought to myself. I went ahead to do some research on this “Last Period” and things became clear on why Higurashi was coming back.
Last Period is a smartphone RPG game. Joy. Fuckin’ joy. I mean, it’s awesome Higurashi is coming back in animation form. However, it’s being pimped to sell a fuckin’ RPG. Ryukishi, did something happen? I know BT’s death fucked your head up and everything but damn man, you broke too? Were those Umineko pachinko games secretly a front by the Yakuza for money and now you got too deep with them? You owe them some cash? You good bruh?
Jokes aside, I am happy Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is coming back. It’s one of those series that has a life-long impact on me as an otaku, consumer of art, a creator, and as a person. Even if Higurashi is crossing over with a smartphone JRPG series, I’m still going to watch anything Higurashi related. Expect Kira. That was a fuckin’ mess. But really, I hope this collab project is a success because I want more Higurashi. Hell, that might mean we might get a faithful adaption of Umineko no Naku Koro ni
…you know what, let me not get my hopes up.
Maybe not all weeaboos on the internet aren’t all trolls trying to raise my hopes up. Maybe there is a God who actually loves me and wants me to be happy with my life.
Maybe Studio Deen won’t fuck this up. Regardless, there’s a new Higurashi anime coming out and I’m happy.
(Warning: Major spoilers for Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War and Doki Doki Literature Club. I’m not dealin’ with ya weebaboos and ya hurt feelings.)
I can fondly remember when my homeboy (at the time) “spoiled” the fact that Hotaru was Sailor Saturn (Sailor Moon S) in grade school. I had just finished watching my first episode of Sailor Moon (episode 117: Higher, Stronger! Cheers by Usagi) the previous day and was hooked. I expressed my love for the Hotaru character and her awesomeness. Unlike Usagi and Chibi-Usa (who had to transform in order to gain their powers), Hotaru didn’t need to transform for her powers. My dude smiled and said “You know Hotaru is actually a Sailor Scout, right? She’s Sailor Saturn. That’s why she has powers. In fact, not only is she a Sailor Saturn, she’s being controlled by somebody else.”
“Ahh!” I replied. “No wonder she could do those things like blasting a monster across a track field.” The spoilers about Hotaru’s truth identify didn’t ruin her character for me. In fact, it made me more excited to watch more Sailor Moon S. I wanted to see Hotaru’s journey as a sickly, lonely girl to the Soldier of Destruction (who ironically, would save the world from destruction).
Spoilers don’t mean shit. Being spoiled about an event in the media we consume never ruin the emotional experience. In fact, it makes it better. Some may say “But spoiling something will make you disappointed or change your mind about a character.” Okay, so what? Your views of a character are going to change regardless of you got spoiled on their actions or not. Why try to avoid the inevitable when it’s going to hit you sooner or later?
Let me change your mind about spoilers. I know I can.
Spoilers neither ruins nor replace the emotional experience that you’d otherwise witness. Spoilers are just words. They don’t provide the gut hitting visuals of seeing your favorite character die. Spoilers don’t give you the sense of anger of seeing a “trustworthy” ally betraying his best friend on screen. “But Ben! What about twists and surprises!?” Oh well. Once you consumed media for nearly 25 years you tend to get bored with surprises and twists.
Recently, I’ve been playing the popular Western visual novel, Doki Doki Literature Club/DDLC (not to be confused with the obscure PC98 visual novel Doki Doki Vacation). Through my adventures (of playing the game), people were trying (failing) to convince me not to read spoilers. They told me that it’s better to experience the game blind so I could “truly appreciate” the game for what it is.
First off, I had to laugh at those who believed I should play DDLC by their standards. Second, telling me to avoid spoilers won’t work – it’ll just make me read them. Through reading spoilers, I discovered that Monika was the true villain of DDLC. Monika was a manipulative, angry, jealous, and lonely girl who wanted someone to love her and grant her freedom (from her digital prison and self-awareness powers). Did those spoilers impacted and change my views on Monika? Of course, but in turn, it made more interested in her character (given that I enjoy manipulative/Machiavellian-type characters).
Here’s where I still felt the emotional impact of Monika’s cruel deeds despite being “spoiled”.
As Monika brags about killing Natsuki, Yuri, and Sayori, your character is forced to sit across from her in the Literature Club (now the Room of Eternity). The distorted music, dark orange tint filling the room, and Monika staring at your eye gave me a sense of unease. I felt anger as Monika casually – yet coldly – discussed how she murdered her friends. Now, do you see how spoilers don’t replace those emotions? Again, they don’t give you that visual treat.
Reading those spoilers didn’t provide me with those emotions – but playing the game did. The spoilers just enhanced my journey, which brings me to my next point.
Around 2005, I started playing Fire Emblem 4: Genealogy of the Holy War. I “foolishly” spoiled the game’s ultimate plow twist – Arvis murdering the main character, Sigurd. Furthermore, Arvis manipulated the nobles of Grandbell to wage war against a few nations: just so he could have the nobles kill each other. Arvis’s schemes prove successful.
Rather than being mad at myself (for “ruining” the plot), I became curious about Arvis’s “terrible” deeds and did research. I discovered the game development notes of Shouzou Kaga (creator of Fire Emblem); gaining information on Arvis (that changed my mind about him). Arvis was angry at the nobles of Grandbell who abused their power – subjecting their citizens to levels of extreme poverty (while the nobles spent their riches on themselves).
Arvis – in his head – thought himself as a liberating hero for the common man.
The spoilers didn’t ruin the plot for me. In reality, not only did it made me want to play the game, it made me respect Kaga’s complex writing of Arvis’s character. Kaga’s notes help me understood the tragic (anti) villain archetype of media. It was the kick that I needed to see the game all the way to the end – to see how the events unfold through Kaga’s craftsmanship.
See how spoilers can work in your favor?
Spoilers do not mean shit. This was a fact that I discovered back in my childhood with Hotaru/Sailor Saturn, one of my favorite characters of all time. Being spoilers on certain characters might change my views on them. That’s okay: it was going to change either way. Reading spoilers helped me understand why villains such as Arvis and Monika had to do the things they did – and I still got emotional when I reached their villain reveals in their respected games. The spoilers got me in the head of the creator and made me felt what they felt. To me, that’s the ultimate sign of respect for a creator: understanding their works.