Crunchyroll, We Need to Talk

Look, Crunchyroll’s got some problems, we can all agree on that, right? A strange number of leftists feel the need to defend them, which I suppose is an understandable impulse given the kinds of people who most often pop up against them, though that doesn’t justify all the vaguely progressive people who somehow feel the need to die on the hill that is radical anti-piracy. Lies are frequently told about them and even my lovely wife has made a video rebuking some of the false claims CR faces, something I absolutely get it. It hurts to see misinformation even when it’s against someone you dislike and it only makes your side’s arguments look worse. But we can’t just correct these errors without an attempt to tackle the issues the company does have, because they’ve got a lot, and I’m tired of how little that’s been addressed. Companies aren’t our friends, they’re our enemies. You wouldn’t trust an international arms dealer just because they’re selling to you right now, would you? No, I don’t think you would. So listen, Crunchyroll, it’s time to talk.

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On Manaria Friends and the Pacing of Intimacy

Let’s cut to the chase: this season’s Manaria Friends is a weird show, with often confusing pacing and a structure that doesn’t make much sense from a traditional narrative perspective, even given its episodic nature. Simultaneously, it’s filled with an awful lot of fanservice, and while I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem per se, it is cause for concern for many viewers, and I get that. But the show is doing one thing incredibly effectively and I think that’s being undersold.

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Liminal Rebellion in Huckleberry Finn

This is a paper I wrote for class. If my professor finds it, please don’t mark me down for plagiarism, it is mine. Otherwise, please read it as a school paper and not an ordinary blog post.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a work written in the 1880s yet set in the antebellum period, occupies a peculiar place. It portrays a society where slavery remains the norm, yet by the time of writing, the practice had been abolished, at least in name. Essentially, the slaves portrayed in the novel occupy a uniquely liminal space; they are bound, yes, but bound within a context of real-world freedom. It’s fitting, then, that the book’s main character exists in an equally liminal position: that of adolescence. Both Huck and Jim stand between two periods in their lives and history, albeit very different ones, and in pairing the two and setting them on an adventure along the liminal space that is the Mississippi River, Twain explores the ways in which their conditions align, diverge, and give rise to a temporary solidarity in a society where such a thing is truly world-shaking.

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Systemspace and Capitalist Realism

This is a paper I wrote for class. If my professor finds it, please don’t mark me down for plagiarism, it is mine. Otherwise, please read it as a school paper and not an ordinary blog post.

Systemspace, an online cyberpunk cult of sorts, is not the first image that would pop into anyone’s head upon hearing “utopianism”. Founded by a mysterious user of the online imageboard 4chan, it’s been described by some as an, “anime suicide cult”(Nugent, 1), though the website itself heavily discourages suicide, claiming, “ you could have picked up a lot of Life knowledge during this time”(Tsuki, 1). However, while the world they promise may not initially sound like a paradise, it bears a great number of similarities to historical heterotopian works, most notably the Book of Revelation and Blade Runner, and in their proposal for a better life — or in their words, LFE—they expose the utopian undercurrents that exist within any subculture, while proving correct Mark Fisher’s famous quote that, “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism,” revealing the ways in which even our religious dreams are held captive by Capital’s strong grasp.

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On Finding a Soulmate

Y’know, I’ve been with Lachlan for a year now but it feels like we’ve been married for decades, honestly. After 19 years of singleness, I managed, on my birthday last year, to finally find someone for myself. From there, things don’t go perfectly, but they went well enough. What’s curious is not that our relationship worked out; we may not be “made for each other” but there’s such a clear compatibility between us that makes the whole thing feel very natural. What’s interesting is the way it’s affected my mentality. To be blunt, when I tell her that “I can’t imagine life without [her]”, I’m not exaggerating. My memories themselves feel as if they’ve undergone some sort of fundamental shift and frankly, I’m all here for it.

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On Cyclicality and Stasis in Endro

Episode 7 of this season’s Endro concerns itself with Princess Rola’s attempt to understand the other party members of her beloved Hero. Throughout it, she comments on how any given action of a character, usually a fairly benign one, calls back to similar behavior on the part of said character’s predecessors. Given that this is the 999th Hero party and the fact that Rola has read about every one of them religiously, she possesses a vast database of knowledge. It would be easy to see otakudom in her actions here; she seems to perceive the past Heroes and their comrades as traits before people and perceives the members of this new group through these traits in a codified fashion, rather than receiving them head-on as the people they are.

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Yuri Visual Novel Review: Heart of the Woods

Heart of the Woods is a self-described “modern-day fairy tale”. With a little bit of trimming and the removal of sexual references, it could easily fit alongside any book that your mother read to you as a child. As a genre, the fairy tale occupies a special place and duplicating its unique qualities is not an easy task. While belief in supernatural beings is still common in our society, fairy tales play a special role as the remnant of a more local mysticality, a belief that magic could be found right outside your door. At the same time, while more medieval societies believed in the existence of dwarves, elves, and magic wholeheartedly, the contemporary fairy tale is a fable, containing a broader truth but couched in the knowledge that none of its events could actually take place. But while elves may not be real, they certainly stand in for something that is.

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