Archive for ‘Letter Bee’

October 27, 2009

Deckard and ghostlightning on Fanservice and Letter Bee

Original Post: Loving Someone Down: Letter Bee (04)


2009/10/27 at 12:53pm

Seem that among many fans and blogers exists a tendency to call “fanservice” anything that involves exposed flesh, sexual innuendos, etc. Given that when applied to serious (i.e. not Needless type) show “fanservice” has a negative connotation, the audience’s approach becomes “Guilty until Proven innocent”. This puts before the director/writer a dilemma: to limit one’s storytelling and narrative elements to those that will not be labelled fanservice or to suffer the accusations. Self-imposing limitations surely can’t consistently produce a better story than is possible without the restrictions. Of course, Bakemonogatari is a brilliant example of (hypothetical) third choice, but one has to wonder if the success of Bakemonogatari was achieved through design or luck. I personally wish for it to be design.
Of course, there is also, as maAkusutipen guessed, the desire to sell DVDs. However, if that is the intention of the director/writer than one is justified in criticising and disliking fanservice in the same way one can criticise the shallowness of soft cover romance/fantasy/crime/etc novels. These type of fanservice has its place (Needless), but mixing Dostoevsky with Sidney Sheldon is like mixing all the fruits and vegetables in the kitchen in hope that the result would be good since the ingredients are good individually: you may be lucky, but no more than once.


ghostlightning (in response)

2009/10/27 at 1:46pm

Good stuff.

As I mentioned to maAkusutipen, it might be helpful to do some genre-based analysis. I’ve only hinted on it there, but I think it’s good to try to get into the bones of it here.

While I can’t say that Dostoevsky (who I love btw) didn’t attempt to be a popular novelist by including tropes and devices that appeal to his contemporary readers (Shakespeare was more blatantly service-y, being generous with innuendo and ribaldry) for the purposes of this comment I will assume that he was aiming for posterity above all things, the kind of timelessness liberal humanist critics love.

Let us assume Dostoevsky never existed. A ‘trashy’ novel writer (those with Fabio covers) can, while risking commercial success, write a Brothers Karamazov of a romance novel… with Grushenka as the lead, torn between Vladimir and his father… while a incestuous homoeroticism simmers between Ivan and Alyosha. The prose is borderline purple at times, and the sexual content is gratuitous.

It won’t win prizes, but I daresay certain mature fans of the genre will be riveted… after all, ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ ended with a kiss between brothers…

Verily this particular novel would be well, The Brothers Karamazov of its genre: a fanservice delivery novel, that has uncommon wealth of material relative to its peers. Should anyone be bothered by the heaving chests, the heavy breathing, and the general lack of clothing in how both Vladamir and old Karamazov himself bare their souls to our Grushenka?

To a (small) degree this is how I feel about Fate stay/Night the visual novel (I’m in the middle of completing the Unlimited Blades Works route). It is an erotic game that has uncanny awesomeness in it.

But this example doesn’t really describe Letter Bee does it?

I sometimes suspect that both the panty shot obliquus and the mounted licking scene are wink wink nudge nudgeto older viewers who may not be interested by the (shonen) story alone, but can be persuaded by the charms of a loli furry and her cute little fang.

Further Reading (because I wrote a fakken editorial in this comment section wwwwww)


October 12, 2009

Deckard on the Peter Principle Among the Letter Bees

Original Post: The (Male) Fantasy in Letter Bee (02)


October 12, 2009 at 8:30 am

I don’t think Peter’s Principle is as sound as you make it because in the form quoted it doesn’t mention underlying assumption. These are very strong thus severely limiting to Principles generality. In particular, if the Bees organisation is sufficiently small and narrow in duties, the Head Bee may well be the most capable practitioner.

Almost universally, within an organisation different levels of responsibility require different number of staff. In mail delivery, there is only on CEO and numerous postmen; think about this as a pyramid with CEO being the top (narrowest) and postmen bottom (widest).
Let’s assume, for simplicity, that there is only one skill relevant to all positions within the organisation (ability to deliver mail) and progressively higher positions require more of that skill. Now start filling the pyramid with members of the organisation. You will begin at the base of the pyramid filling it with the least capable people and progress towards the top where the most capable will be placed as CEO.

Note that if someone within the organisation cannot be promoted while he is competent than the Principle is violated since it requires that “members are promoted so long as they work competently”. If the Principle holds for the organisation, then person just below the CEO (arguably, so must be CEO) is incompetent. Furthermore, because none of the people just below the him can be promoted (there is no empty space above them in the pyramid), these people are incompetent by virtue reaching their promotion ceiling; etc until everyone within the organisation is declared incompetent so long as we believe that Peter’s Principle applies to the organisation. The absurdity implied by the Principle should be obvious.

What this principle relies one is that people become incompetent sooner than they reach promotion ceiling. Note that the principle as quoted by ghostlightning specifies “Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent” implying the that competence is a 0 or 1 (i.e. binary) variable. Thus, the Principle does not talk about degree of incompetence, but about incompetence vs. competence.

An important note to the above argument is what exactly is competence. Because in the Principle competence is binary variable, the definition has to reflect that. One definition is that at each level a certain – limited – amount of skill is required and person is considered competent if his amount of skill is higher than the limit of the position. Of course, this definition further undermines the Principle since it imposes another very strong assumption: CEO has less skill than is required by his position.

In case of the Bees organisation, it is difficult to claim that it is a meritocratic fantasy because we (at least I am) unaware of the size of the organisation and its structure. If it is sufficiently small in size and narrow in its duties than the most capable practitioner may well be the CEO. Note that example ghostlighting gave (Ghibli, Ganinax) are all very narrow is tasks they perform and small in size. Furthermore, Bees organisation is not necessarily build along patriarchal lines because it relies on the strength of heart, not physical strength.

I hope i didn’t mess up somewhere; though I probably did.