“If everything is already set in stone by fate, then why are we even born? There are those born wealthy, those born of beautiful mothers, and those born into war or poverty. If everything is caused by fate, then God must be incredibly unfair and cruel.
Because, ever since that day, none of us had a future. The only thing we knew was that we would never amount to anything.“
Continue reading “What Penguindrum Means to Me” →
Ascendance of a Bookworm’s Myne really, really doesn’t like living in a ‘class society’, and this is something which, to put it lightly, has caught on with a significant number of leftist and left-leaning anime fans. In the show, after all, the hardships imposed on the lower classes by feudal society are constantly critiqued, and it’s difficult not to compare them to the forms that class oppression takes in our capitalist society. Yet, this is where the primary contradiction of the show emerges: when it compares its world to ours using Myne’s nature as an isekai protagonist, it almost exclusively notes the ways in which feudal society is dominated by class, implicitly claiming that our society isn’t. In one sense, then, Bookworm is a defense of capitalism, a trend which is quite common in isekai. At the same time, however, Bookworm isn’t made for a feudal audience but a capitalist one, and thus any critique of class society will necessarily serve as a critique of class under capitalism as well. Neither an analysis which views it as strictly anti-capitalist nor one which sees it as deeply pro-capitalism will provide an adequate picture of the series.
Continue reading “Can Books Topple Class Society?: Measuring Capital’s Role in Ascendance of a Bookworm” →
There’s a certain type of anime — and it’s not just anime, but that’s the easiest example for me to draw upon — that I feel like I love if only I had seen it as a teenager. Most recently, this came up with Boogiepop Phantom, which has fantastic directorial flair but little of value to say beyond “man, aren’t teenagers disaffected?” What I’m talking about here isn’t a guilty pleasure, not really. Guilty pleasures are trashy, but these works are anything but. While I’m hesitant to use the word, the specific phrase I’d use for these would be either ‘pretentious’ or ‘relatively vapid’. These sort of works appeal to a very particular feeling of adolescence, where you’re alienated from those around you and have only finally reached the level of maturity necessary to realize that the beautiful world you thought existed as a child was actually tainted to its core.
Continue reading ““Only a Teenager Could Like This!” – An Observation on Boogiepop Phantom, Gunslinger Girl, and Adolescent Dreariness” →
Ensemble Stars is a decent anime. The tension it presents between a culture that carefully curates the best idols, weeding out the vast majority, and one that homogenizes the group in order to avoid throwing anyone aside is an interesting one, made better by the show’s clear allusions to market pressure as the ultimate cause of both of these flawed strategies. Furthermore, it presents great characters, by-and-large: as in most gacha games, they can occasionally feel one-note, but those notes almost always hit, and enough time is spent with each boy that by the end, they’re mostly rounded enough to be charming rather than obnoxious.
Continue reading “The Central Problem with Idol Anime” →
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.
Continue reading “On Cyclicality and Stasis in Endro” →