Archive for March, 2010

March 22, 2010

Animewriter on Sexuality as Sovereignty in Revolutionary Girl Utena and His Dark Materials

Original Post: To Be So Smooth: Seduction and Betrayal in Revolutionary Girl Utena’s Akio Car Arc

animewriter

March 22, 2010 at 12:05 am

Yes, now you’re really biting into some tasty meat, just a little deeper and you’ll taste the marrow of the bones.

I think that the reason why Akio and others are able to seduce and manipulate so many into doing their bidding is that they’re offering them the chance to fulfill their desires which aren’t possible in the first place.

“The Character’s Goal (Saionji wants something Eternal, Miki wants something (eternally) Beautiful, Juri wants the Power of Miracles, Nanami wants the Power to surpass everything, Toga wants the Power to Bring the World to Revolution”

In the your last post on Utena I commented on how everything in/and about the academy was wrong and I think that this theme is carried over brilliantly in the Akio Car arc. Almost every goal and desire the main characters want are wrong including Utena wanting to be a prince, she can no more be a prince then I could be princess.

What i found really interesting about your post was how you described Namami being more pure than Anthy because of lack of desire for a sexual relationship, with Anthy being sullied by her incestuous desire for her brother. To me, a large part of this series is about leaving childish ideas behind and becoming adults, and part of adulthood is the “loss of innocence”, I look at this issue completely differently, putting aside the whole incest issue, the desire for or completion of sex is a sign of declaring you’re stepping into the world of adulthood, now whether the outcome is good or bad is another story.

Many years ago I was in a forum that was discussing the sexual awakening of the two main characters from Philip Pullmann’s His Dark Materials book trilogy (they where around Utena’s age) and the author actually chimed in. He stated something to the effect (this happened like 6-7 years ago so I might be a little off on the exact wording) that the characters relationship changing from the pure child-like to the more sexualized adult form was a key point in emphasizing that they where becoming adults with the all responsibilities, rewards, and heartbreaks that go along with it. He stated that as children we are controlled by our religion, our parents, our schools, and our societal values but when we make the free decision to express our love in a sexual form we are declaring our sovereignty, it’s a decision we can only make for ourselves. This theme of sexual desire roiling under the surface, and not so under the surface of RGU is one of the reasons I really loved the series, I get tired of anime where the main characters fawn/have the hots over each other for years and the series ends with a confession, or a kiss, GMAFB, so I think that RGU’s slow boil is closer to RL than many anime tread, weird symbolism included. Oh, I wish I could have a car like that.

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March 14, 2010

Redmaigo on Shichika Yasuri of Katanagatari and the Choices that Await the Shrine Maidens

Original Post: Addiction and freedom and paradoxes in Katanagatari 03

Redmaigo

March 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

They are not disarmed. They are free. They have their weapons, and they have their pride. It’s up to them if they put them down for a man. That is the true lesson the followers of the shrine must face: to trust a man or trust a man enough to further your own agenda or to lower your defenses in order to do what is right and/for their own happiness.

Thus the dilemma, do you do the right thing or let them into your heart and let them do what they want?

Shichika is an innocent. He has accepted the role as Togame’s sword and has made his decision. When a man loves a woman that is the be all end all of the relationship. To surrender and love someone or something more than you love yourself is to achieve devekluth. Devekluth is an old Kabbalistic concept which is to annihilate yourself and become one with God. To sacrifice who you are to become one with something greater than yourself.

Shichika has made that choice.

I love this person good or bad. I accept the person right or wrong.

It is powerful . It is dangerous. But it does make you more than you can ever be. It’s almost like when you have your first child. Something so exhilarating that you could drown in it and die with no regret.

I think that is how the refugees feel when they came to the shrine and met Tsuruga. To live and die for someone or something even when you have been abused and used by the world up to that point. No matter what you’ve been through you have found something and someone that you can believe in more than yourself.

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March 12, 2010

Swampstorm on Alien Cultural Appropriation in Macross Frontier

Original Post: Sound Force: The Tactical Use of Music in Battle (Macross Frontier 16: “Ranka Attack”

Swampstorm

March 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

While elements of culture may find their way into war, cultural expression in itself is a form of warfare. In SDFM, the Zentradi are a case in point; the series denies that they have a culture of their own (their military lifestyle in itself is a form of culture), and they are ultimately assimilated into Earth’s culture. As such, for all the “love conquers war” rhetoric that the series spouts, SDFM merely substitutes imperialism in the classic sense for cultural imperialism.

MF brings out a slightly more sophisticated take on this by having humanity appropriate elements of a foreign culture (i.e. “Aimo”) and give it new meaning in its various reincarnations, whether it be as a lullaby from mother to child, a pop song for a movie, or a form of martial music. In so doing, however, MF establishes that both humanity and the Vajra have their own distinct cultures, and lets each go their separate ways.

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March 9, 2010

ExecutiveOtaku on the Evil Organizations in the Gundam Franchise

Original Post: Gundam Ecole du Ciel is so Doomed Moe

ExecutiveOtaku

March 9, 2010 at 4:13 am

[…]

I don’t disagree with this reading, only that I don’t make a big distinction between the constructs that are organizational systems and the humans that participate in it. I only mean that humans are still responsible for these things they create, and the actions they perpetrate during wartime.

Organizations can be a major force for evil in conflicts and other situations due to the way they either give a false confidence to the people carrying out the orders. If someone is ordered, especially a soldier who is taught to respect their chain of command, to do something that they don’t understand or doesn’t sit well with them they assume that the people above them know the bigger picture and thus things that the individual wouldn’t normally do become okay in many cases. Or the truth could just be hidden from most people, as Cima Garahau’s escort of the poison gas-carrying MS-05s was hidden from her until it was too late. And if that should fail, there is the threat of punishment by an organization if the orders are not carried out. Organizations can sometimes make it very difficult to do the right thing or can encourage people to do the wrong things.

That said, I lean more towards concluding that holding the organization more responsible is a cop-out. Some individual gave the order and in some cases other individuals executed orders that go against good conscience/the law/whatever. Reducing a conflict to the madness of states or organizations is an easy way out, a way of absolving the participants and comforting the minds of the bystanders who would rather not contemplate the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, sometimes their fellow countrymen. Once Chairman Zara was defeated in SEED, everyone seemed to forget about Yzak killing a shuttle full of civilians and other crimes. He even became a good guy! Clearly he was responsible for what he did (he wasn’t even ordered to destroy the shuttle), but SEED seemed to absolve him of this because he was part of an organization at war. In war terrible things happen, but this wasn’t a case of mistaken identity or even of stray rounds or explosions as happened to Shin’s sister. Sometimes it is politically expedient, such as in the peace treaty that ended the One Year War and only placed blame for it on the Zabi family. But it doesn’t address what happened in an honest fashion, and it can even be dangerous when the losers are not confronted with the fact that they lost, that they were wrong, as Operation Stardust proved. “A few corrupt leaders were wrong, but the people/the ideals were right!” as Gato might have said. Gundam may emphasize the ‘organizations are evil’ element, but it can only explain away so much. It’s an odd dynamic within the franchise: individuals (usually Newtypes) are given such a prominent place in the narrative, yet when anything bad happens it becomes all about the organizations that they are a part of.

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March 2, 2010

Revuhlooshun on The Beauty of Operation Stardust (Phase I)

Original Post: My Gundam is Better than Your Gundam (DKJ’s Favorite Gundam Moments)

Revuhlooshun

March 2, 2010 at 3:25 am

That is the beauty of it: These cocky, arrogant Federation officers being blown up in a huge sunburst of an explosion! :D

I think though that their arrogance helps the transition from the 0079 Federation to the one in Zeta Gundam. The Federation had become so confident and so big headed after winning the One Year War, and they were so sure in their capabilities, that they thought they were just invincible, which helps to justify the police state that appears in Zeta. The Titans rise not only from the sheer horror of that atrocity but also from the Federation’s shattered pride and image, making it almost a ruthless dictatorship.

To give it a parallel, it’s like 9/11. There were plenty of signs and warnings and briefings and memos alerting that it was coming, but a lot of it was dismissed within the government. We were in peace time. We just defeated the Soviet Union, the Evil Empire! What else was there to worry about!?

And the responses were pretty much identical in both Zeta and the real world.

And there was that awesome explosion :D

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