Day 2 – Discovering Otaku Culture Through Oreimo

Code Geass is otaku as all get out but there aren’t actually any otaku in it. The series certainly made me fall deeply in love with both it and anime as a whole but it was utterly incapable of introducing me to perhaps the most important part of otakudom: the broader culture. Furthermore, I couldn’t actually assign Code Geass’ traits to its place in a wider subculture, it was just a good time. In order to discover all this, I had to find a light novel adaptation, a work which valorizes its heroes for being fans of the very media being consumed. And for me, that work was Oreimo.

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Day 1 – Code Geass, the Perfect Introduction to Anime

As with many sub-millennial Americans, I spent my early years watching anime. Pokemon, Yugioh, and Sonic X were mainstays due to their associated properties, of course. Other Toonami series(though not Adult Swim ones, those were too risque for my young mind) were also watched in my house, most notably Zatch Bell, which I really gotta do a video on someday, it’s fantastic. Anyway, anime was the norm during childhood and due to my frankly excessive level of internet use, I was well aware that the shows I was watching were Japanese. But over time, I drifted away from the medium, spending more and more hours a day on video games.

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[Script] Team Rocket are STILL Anime’s Best Villains

Anyone who grew up on Pokemon remembers Team Rocket. Endlessly hilarious in their stunted pursuit of Pikachu, frequently empowering in their breaking of gender norms, and ultimately sympathetic in the hardship they continuously endure, this sterling trio has been an absolute favorite for well over two decades, the only characters aside from Ash himself to have survived the many changes between regions relatively unscathed. Today, they arrive in the new Let’s Go games, only a little over 20 years after being added to Pokemon Yellow, and as the title says, they remain anime’s best villains. With so many acclaimed antagonists in the industry’s wider portfolio, how do they maintain such a lofty position? Well, let’s figure that out by examining what it is that makes a good villain in the first place.

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[Script] The One-Man Yuri Animator You’ve Never Heard Of!

An anime isn’t the kind of thing one person can make alone. Even delegating tasks like music and promotion away, the amount of work required for every single frame is too much to ask of anyone. Brilliant individuals like rapparu are able to make short, minutes-long videos and students frequently create crude but impressive graduation projects of the same scale but anything larger than that is simply unreasonable to expect. It’s just not viable. Unless, that is, your happen to be Naoya Ishikawa.

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Interview with Kuttsukiboshi Director/Animator, Naoya Ishikawa

With the help of @clar__a for translation, I present an exclusive interview with the director of Clione no Akari and Kuttsukiboshi, Naoya Ishikawa. Ishikawa is a deeply interesting figure and I’m incredibly happy to have gotten the chance to interview him. Please enjoy, and check this for a translation of some Kuttsukiboshi production details.

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[Script] How to Do Cyberpunk Right – The Yuri You Need

For all the sheen and luster it possessed in the 80s, cyberpunk has become a bit passe. Rarely serving as a strong critique of a hyper-corporate dystopia, our increasing proximity to the worlds portrayed in the genre’s classic texts has left new entries feeling a bit uninspired. Frequently, cyberpunk comes across as a genre that exists mainly to show off a cool, grungy, bright setting where action setpieces can occur. And that’s a perfectly reasonable goal but it’s not what makes cyberpunk stand out as a genre. To me and many others, cyberpunk is about how corporations and governments work together under capitalism, the way structural forces police individuals through increasingly precise measurements while caring little about them as human beings, and the way people can still manage to survive in this dystopian civilization, one which grows more and more familiar to our own on a daily basis. It’s certainly not easy to achieve all this without giving into the common impulse of centering action, but it’s possible, and 2016’s VA-11 HALL-A does so.

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[Script] The Best Ongoing Yuri Series? – The Yuri You Need

The rattling of a train; Quiet loneliness in a new seaside town; A classroom aquarium. And then suddenly, a chance encounter between two solitary girls. These are the panels that introduce us to Nettaigyo wa Yuki ni Kogareru, perhaps the absolute best yuri manga currently being published. A lofty statement, perhaps, especially given its status as a schoolgirl work rather than an adult one – and yet it is difficult to deny its truthfulness. If I were to compare it to another manga, it would have to be the inimitable Bloom into You – but even that can not compare to the subtle elegance contained in this work.

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