Archive for January, 2010

January 22, 2010

Animewriter on Ninpo and Revolutionary Girl Utena

Original post: Lies, Murderous Intent, Remembering Love Gone Wrong, WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS Black Rose Society Arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena


January 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm

As I read most interpretations of Utena written by western viewers I feel they’re missing the most important point of the whole series; this situation is almost the same as how western viewers saw the ending of TM 8.0 completely different from how Japanese viewers interpreted that very same ending.

I liked how you used wrong in the title of your post because from the very first episode of Utena, we the viewer, can see that EVERYTHING is wrong about the Ohtori Academy, and most of its students. The Othori Academy is an example of traditional Japanese society that has fallen off the path of social obligations and proper respect for one’s duties, and the concept of wrong memories, wrong motivations, and wrong self-identification fits perfectly.

If you take away the surrealism of the situation and look at the series and judge the characters by how they either conform or deviate from expected cultural norms it’s not hard to see why most of them have a bad end.

Almost all of the characters, Utena included, have given into their personal desires (ninjo) and have forgotten their social obligations (guri). Even in modern Japanese society, a great deal of weight is placed on the Confucius values of knowing one’s role in the family, and society (school, government, and so forth).

So, on first principles, A is A: Aristotle’s Law of Identity;

Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists as something in particular and it has characteristics that are a part of what it is. “This leaf is red, solid, dry, rough, and flammable.” ……….To have an identity means to have a single identity; an object cannot have two identities. A tree cannot be a telephone, and a dog cannot be a cat. Each entity exists as something specific, its identity is particular, and it cannot exist as something else. An entity can have more than one characteristic, but any characteristic it has is a part of its identity.

Taken from

So, most of the characters fail to realise what they are and what their proper role is “if you’re the eldest son, be the best eldest son possible; if your a member of the student counsel, try to be the best one possible; if you’re a prince be the best one possible”. Using this line of thinking you can pretty much see that Utena is not an unique character in anime or manga, you can see parts of her in Princess Sapphire from Princess Knight (1967) where Princess Sapphire was born with the heart of boy and the heart of a girl, and you can also see parts of Utena’s struggles in Lady Oscar from the Rose of Versailles (1979).

So, what I’m getting at is A is A; Utena should arise from the flames like the phoenix as (?), or emerge from her coffin and be reborn as (?), well, that’s the question. I’m waiting for your end of the series post so I don’t have to worry about any spoilers, and we can let it fly.


January 22, 2010

Coburn on the Beauty of Deranged Longing in Revolutionary Girl Utena

Original Post: Lies, Murderous Intent, Remembering Love Gone Wrong, WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS Black Rose Society Arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena


January 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Mikage really is an odd one. He probably does rank as evil, but I’ve always been interested in his reaction to that normal bloke Wakaba rejects – Mikage’s coldness towards his duellists strikes me as a sort of projected self-loathing, when he comes across someone who rationalises a path through frustration Mikage is almost admiring.

The whole beauty of deranged longing thing kind of reminded me of a passage in the play Equus where a psychologist angst-trips over re-educating and normalising a patient as an intrusion on his individualism. At school that struck me as a pretty badass line in angst. What I enjoy about this arc as a concept is that the self-obsession of the duellists (including Mikage) is presented as something easily manipulated, rather than a product of immaculate internal logic. The insanity isn’t autonomous, and the role of memory (so, other people) in building personal identity is foregrounded.


January 15, 2010

Sorrow-kun on A Sliding Scale Instead of Dichotomizing Objectivity and Subjectivity

Original Post: Defining a ‘good’ anime


Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:56 am


Is discussion of opinion just meaningless mental masturbation in a group environment? I mean, I don’t doubt that’s part of it, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Opinion might be subjective, but it’s formed out of interpretations of observations, and part of that process is objective. Thinking about it from this point of view, a clear divide between “objective” and “subjective” is probably an overly simplistic way to think about it. If you look at science, which values and strives for objectivity, the main point is to draw conclusions by analyz ing and interpreting the data. But it’s still possible for two people to draw different conclusions from the same set of data. That’s the whole point of scientific controversy, and from the debates that follow, these conclusions turn into test able hypotheses for future experiments, with the aim of trying to find out which conclusion is closest to the true nature.

The point I’m try ing to make is that, while judging anime is largely subjective, and science is largely object ive, neither is completely one or the other, simply because of process and human nature. I think we need to start think ing of subjectivity/objectivity as a scale rather than a dichotomy. Because if we define objectivity as “without opinion” as opposed to “without emotion” than nothing is truly objective, because opinion is the inevitable consequence of interpretation, some thing that must be done with everything we experience.


Submitted via twitter @ reply to @ghostcomments by Scamp.

January 13, 2010

Daryl Surat on Not Being a Jaded Anime Fan


Daryl Surat

January 13th, 2010 at 01:07:54


I don’t think my tastes are THAT specific, and I don’t even think I’m all that negative. The majority of my thoughts on anime are expressed by way of either my podcast reviews or my Otaku USA articles, and I would say that 95% of what I’ve chosen to review over the last 4-5 years is something I enjoy. In looking over Wikipedia’s seemingly incomplete list of all the anime made from 2000-2009, I counted roughly 1500 different titles. Of those 1500, about 170 were things I considered “worth watching.” Ties in nicely with the Internet’s 2nd favorite law about how 90% of everything is crap, with a percentage point or so margin of error.

But the unstated portion of that law is that nobody agrees on what falls into that 90% and what doesn’t. So it is that my 170 or so anime titles are a very different set than the set several other people come up with when presented with the same list. And so, even though I pretty much stick to talking about what I like, if I throw in an offhand remark about something I don’t particularly care for, that part’s all anyone remembers.

The most typical shorthand criticism levied towards me used to be “Daryl only likes shows from before 1990,” which was never true. Now it’s “Daryl only likes shows from before 2000,” which is also untrue. It’s just the inevitable result of a scenario by which there’s an increased output of titles available for viewing but a constant level of quality.


Submitted via twitter @ghostcomments by 21stcenturydigitalboy

January 5, 2010

Ryan A’s Response to K-ON! S2 at Paper Flower

Original Post: K-on! Season 2

Ryan A

January 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Enjoyed melforaine’s perspective that everyone should not be concerned/care about others’ preference for experience, my response:

… I’m not sure the popularity aspect is what causes the flaming, rather I think it is fans being sucked in and then “overly vocal” about their interest in the series (blind hype).

With this stimulation, a number of [likely nonconstructive] blogs posts, fan art, etc manifest. So, many who don’t like the overhead (K-On! getting 1000 posts in a season) are going to easily get negative on it in hopes that people will just watch (or not) and shut up.

Viewers can experience a series and it is a “closed” event (viewers are not relying on other viewers to have the experience… they do it on their own). Anything beyond the experience isn’t necessarily needed, nor should it be voided (we need a balance of post content in the community… see my writings on redundancy for more info), but with viewers drunken on hyper-moe-kawaiisum there tends to be pointless overhead en mass. There may be correlation with popularity, but generally it is the fans dumbing-down and expressing themselves illogically which is the catalyst.

The constructive perspective: can we identify with both sides and find a solution which satisfies all sides?

I feel most of the community can identify with both/all sides in the general case, though not the specific case of Moe-ON! But what is a solution? If we don’t want to see/hear something on the interwebz, then avoid it. Unfortunately, some outlets do not allow unspoiling, unspamming, or general categorization when subscribing to content updates; you either get all or none, and that is a major issue imo.

Update: Seems I touched on this before.