Posts tagged ‘ghostlightning’

August 9, 2011

ghostlightning on growing into adulthood

Original Post: I’m 20 Years Old? FFFFFFFFFFFF Why Can’t I Look Like Sakurano Kurimu?!

ghostlightning
August 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

I want to be Son Gohan, all of 6 years old and the strength of a T-Rex. I can delve pretty big holes all by myself. I want to be an a room full of all the Lego bricks in the world and make Gundams for a month, then emerge from it as a fully formed adult and show my shit off on the internet.

I want to be a little girl just like my little girl so we can play and wrestle and dance together, then after a few hours I’ll turn back into her father so I can lift her up and adore her until my heart explodes.

I want to meet my wife again when we were both teenagers. Then a few days later be ourselves again so we can laugh: she at my long hair, me at her braces.

The wish to be a kid again never, ever goes away. So does the wish to never grow older than how you are at any time. But I realize I seldom wish to stay a particular age: like, I’d wish I was 18 again, but only for a few days, or maybe be 23 while backpacking through the world over a year… but nothing like to be a certain younger age again period.

To disappear from one’s milieu is to abandon one’s relationships in a way. Their relationship is with me, me the adult, the 34 year old husband, and father. I can’t be 18 and leave my wife at 36. That wouldn’t be fair. I wouldn’t like myself that much if I did. It would be a supremely selfish choice. And this, has less to do with being mature or adult, but just being loving.

The adventures I want to have are adventures with them. Sure I have 25 year-old friends who I probably can’t keep up with partying, or I won’t be able to join traveling. I accept this. I had my adventures at that age. The adventures I need to have, are those with the people I’m with and who I love.

Right now, you’re surrounded by people your age, and it’s easy to feel the things you’re feeling. The game here is to just live, go out and do things. You’ve done a bit of that, now do more, while you can, so that whatever you’re doing at whatever age will be things that feel right, because the things you haven’t done yet will be there for you to do, and the things that you miss, are already things you’ve done.

Happy Birthday bro. When I turned 20 it was both the best and worst day of my life. I would never ever want to go through that day and night ever again. But I would never change anything.

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July 5, 2011

ghostlightning on Gundam The Origin, Gundam AGE, and The Viewers

This is the text I intended to put on the original post: Our Preliminary Reaction to The Fact That There are TWO Major Gundam Projects Upcoming (and Unicorn Isn’t Even Finished Yet)

…but I decided to use it as a response to the first involving comment.

ghostlightning says:

July 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Didn’t get drunk at all, except from our own hot-blood and love for manly robot anime songs! (We sang Yuusha no Tanjou, The Winner, Crossfight, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Skill!)

Here’s the thing about Gundam AGE: it’s perfect. Not just for the Gundam franchise, but for anime in general. Robot anime has increasingly been the passion of the following distinct demographics:

1. Annoying elitist Oldfags
2. Annoying teenage Newfags
3. Fujoshi

The first group keep getting older, crustier, more irritable, and pissed off. Nobody wants to even try robot anime knowing that these guys will pick on them and act superior. The second group tend to appreciate robot anime in terms that annoy oldfags — they enjoy the shonen fightan style of flashy battles, they proclaim the few robot anime they’ve seen as the best shows ever, and they are unwilling to watch and appreciate most older shows. The third group doesn’t watch robot anime for the robots.

Of course there are the general anime fans, the casualfags, etc. These groups aren’t bad at all, but they tend not to watch robot anime for the robots. The robots are incidental to them, and instead judge the robot anime for general merits such as plot, verisimilitude (worse: realism /facepalm), character development (groan), and originality (kill me now). They will like a few shows transcendent of the robot anime genre, and mark them down for the ways that they remain being robot anime (I just died again).

Here’s an example of the possible reactions to say, Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin anime:

1. Oldfag: Man they better do this the RIGHT way.
2. Newfag: I hope it doesn’t look you know, old.
3. Fujoshi: Meh. Huh? Garma x Char wait what?
4. GeneralElitist Anime Fan: Why do they keep making OYW rehashes? This franchise is so dead.
5. Casualfag: Hmmm. New animation? May check it out.

Of course, these aren’t the only possible reactions. Casualfags may prove to be quite negative too. As for me, I think Gundam Unicorn is the best way to present a Gundam show: with the appropriate seriousness, focus on combat, include the grand thematic sweep, and use spectacular production values. To do this with the main storyline is a very good thing. For almost 2 decades, we’ve seen AU Gundam shows re-present the main Gundam story in attempted fresh ways. Each subfranchise has its own fans: W, SEED, and 00 had their own takes on the Universal Century narrative and its themes. These shows have been useful in bringing some of the newer fans to discover the rest of Gundam.

This is why Gundam the Origin is so good: There’s no need to repackage the main narrative into an alternative universe. It IS the main narrative, in TV anime form — stripped of all the compromises the original production staff had to make as pioneers of real robot anime. Also, new animation with higher production values to me is ALWAYS worth watching.

This may create newfags, and may transition existing newfags into their oldfag journey. BUT, Gundam the Origin being such an adult show may not really create fans of Gundam and robot anime in general in large numbers so as to infuse the community with growth and new blood. For this, you have to go beyond the UC, beyond your typical AU show (read: it can’t be something like 00 which was very faux adult). Gundam AGE on the other hand, is perfect for this.

I couldn’t ask for anything better. Yes, I asked for something like this, in very specific terms:

My Wishes for the Robot Anime of the Future.

I want Gundam to create a mass base of fans at the grade school level, just as I was a fan when I was a kid. I saw super robot shows in kindergarten and saw Macross in the 3rd grade. I want the game and merch tie-ins to be brilliant. I want the kids to go fucking nuts over this. This is what will sustain all of us. This is what will sustain the war effort for another decade.

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February 10, 2011

ghostlightning on The Death of the Author (and The Intentional Fallacy)

Original Post: Cyborg Soldiers: Child-Machine Weaponry

ghostlightning

February 9th, 2011 at 9:56 am

I have a very clear stance on the “Death of the Author” thing (as well as intentional fallacy — which is a distinct but related thing).

I think it is wrongheaded to dismiss the author’s statements, or any writing approaching the work using the creators as starting points or as dominant subjects.

What I rather think, is that the creators’ statements is part of their own readings of their work. I give them no further privilege beyond the novelty of their proximity to the work itself.

But it doesn’t mean that theirs aren’t interesting. Theirs undoubtedly are, and will continue to be as they prove to be interesting individuals.

What I object to is to treat the authorial reading of the subject work as definitive, sacrosanct, and as intellectual forcefields marking the borders of what are acceptable readings of the texts.

REPLY

 

January 22, 2011

ghostlightning on Macross’ justification of the existence of giant humanoid mecha

Original Post: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (My boyfriend is a nimrod.)

  1. Here’s what I have for you:

    Macross, more than any other robot anime, actually presents the least ludicrous justification for giant humanoid robots as weapons.

    Let’s remove the sillier super robot shows out of this (sorry Mazinkaiser, sorryTTGL, etc).

    Then, let’s consider the most anal anime involving mechanized weapons: FLAG,AppleseedGhost in the Shell. You’ll notice that only AS has humanoid robots, but they are far closer to human sized. They are nowhere near the trope humongous mecha. The larger mechanized weapons in these shows when they occur, are NOT humanoid.

    Why is it important to distinguish this? It’s because humanoid robots allow the anime to entertain us with robot grappling, robot sword fighting, and basically giving everything a battle anime/action show can give only even more awesome (metal!).

    So having removed those shows out of the conversation, we are left with Gundam — the most prominent representative of the “Real” robot sub-genre.

    Gundam doesn’t even really try to justify the conceit of having giant mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why aircraft or spacecraft cannot perform better as fighting units over mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why tanks cannot outperform them on the ground.

    Mobile suits are not aerodynamic, are slow everywhere within the atmosphere; and in space they present a rather large target for the kind of ordnance they bring to bear (of course, the super prototypes of the AU Gundams will “justify” this, but they suck).

    They are conceits, because watching humanoids fight is great. It really is. Now make them giant humanoid suits of armor, then we’re talking about one of the great contributions to entertainment (you’re reading the opinion of a robot fanboy, don’t even act surprised). Gundam has no strong excuse as to why giant robots exist, and are the best ways to conduct warfare, except that they look awesome.

    I am okay with this.

    Macross does better. How? It matches the conceit of giant humanoid robots with giant humanoid enemies! The Zentraedi are effing giants, so the humans designed their Variable Fighter to be able to survive close quarters combat with these giant infantry.

    This is remarkably consistent with the logic of the anal robot shows I mentioned earlier. The Zentraedi, being giants already — do not need further use of proportionally gigantic robots for themselves. They use mobile coffins in space, I mean for all intents and purposes non-humanoid mechanized weapons (Regult, Glaug). The most humanoid forms are actual suits of armor (Quaedlunn Rau) powered to move in space and mounted with weapons.

    The logic is symmetrical, or at least consistent. There is no need for giant humanoid weapons, until there existed giant humanoids. The giant humanoids did not have proportionally giant humanoid robots because there was no one that much bigger than they are.

    Beyond the idea that the Variable Fighter is the finest military-use mecha in the robot sub-genre (which is another essay altogether), Macross shows (and it’s funny how these kinds of things elude most viewers) how well thought-out it is, despite obvious inability in parts to make things perfect.

    Reply

 

October 27, 2009

Deckard and ghostlightning on Fanservice and Letter Bee

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

Deckard

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.

REPLY

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)

http://www.animenation.net/blog/2009/10/26/ask-john-why-do-americans-resent-fan-service/

REPLY

August 12, 2009

Reaction from someone who was in China during the 2008 Magnitude 8.0 Earthquake in Sichuan

sichuan-earthquake

From:

Is it Okay to Like Mirai Now? (Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 05)

  1. 6 ScrambledEggs

    August 9, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I too was moved by this episode. I had flashbacks to the Sichuan Earthquake and the collapsing schools. Parents should never have to bury their own children, let alone dig them out of rubble.

    What’s worse is the fact that these were government-built schools, and adjacent government offices did NOT collapse. Grief turned to anger and rage at the apparent corruption that had caused shoddy construction… and of course the Party then cracked down on them.

    Also the Sichuan quake was in a remote area during the worst part of the rainy season. Help took weeks to arrive in many places. Not to mention that large amounts of aid were siphoned off by corrupt officials (or so the average citizen believes, anyway).

    At least Mari, Mirai, and Yuuki don’t have to deal with any of that crap. In fact, so far we haven’t seen much of the ugly side of human nature at all. Some rudeness, a few selfish survivors, but no downright maliciousness. And the government response has obviously been well-prepared and highly-efficient. Humans have an amazing capacity to make a terrible tragedy worse, but our heroes are lucky enough to live in a relatively decent society where that doesn’t happen as much. If nothing else, that’s something for them to be thankful for.

    • 7 ghostlightning

      August 9, 2009 at 3:17 am

      I’m not that familiar with the recent earthquakes (China, Turkey, Iran come to mind).

      Mike from Anime Diet shared this article in the comments section of the review I linked to above [->]

      The aricle talks about how people can behave well in the face of calamity. It seems that the people of Tokyo are consistent with some of the observations in that TIME Magazine article. I do think that Mirai, Yuuki, and Mari have much to be thankful for.

      Pardon my repeating what I said somewhere else,

      What this does, in my view is allow the narrative to concentrate on the minutiae of concerns that give such nuance to the show. The characters don’t need to, or at least haven’t needed to deal with external threats (human malice/desperation) save for the physical threat of the earthquakes.

      Thus we are treated to an examination of the nature of indignity in the fourth episode. I think shit is one of the indignities we are most ashamed of because it is a constant in our lives and we are so intimate with it. Mirai going through what she did in the first part of episode 04 was an effective set-up to a breakdown extreme even for her notable irritableness and emotional negativity.

      In a addition to this, the narrative allows Mirai the latitude to empathize with the suffering of others, because there are no external threats in the form of malicious humans.

      • 8 ScrambledEggs

        August 9, 2009 at 4:15 am

        Thank you for the link! That was a fascinating and inspiring article.

        I mentioned China because I was in the country at the time and knew people involved. It’s interesting to compare the circumstances there with the ones portrayed here. They’re very similar in some ways, but also dramatically different in others.

        You’re right though. The absence of malice from survivors or government makes it possible for them to empathize with others. In a more hostile environment, such feelings would likely be replaced with wariness and suspicion. Touching scenes like the ones we had in this episode are possible because they aren’t threatened like that. And that is a good thing, I think.

        Oh, and I really hope that their parents aren’t dead… I would probably cry. I wonder if we’ll find out next episode?

        • 9 ghostlightning

          August 9, 2009 at 10:13 am

          That must have been quite the experience, to have been in China in such a time. Were you anywhere near the affected area?

          My only similar experience was way back when I was Mirai’s age in 1990, during Baguio Magnitude 7.8 [->].

          Baguio City is about 8 hours by land North of Metro Manila where I live (the epicenter is actually closer, about 3-4 North by land). We were lucky to not have experienced structural damage in Metro Manila, despite feeling the earth shake violently in our classrooms, and in our homes during the many aftershocks. But Baguio was pretty much messed up.

          We didn’t experience a societal collapse either in the localities most affected, instead our newspapers seemed very eager to report stories of heroism, valor, and survival just as the death tool numbers and the value of property destroyed.

          My experience of the event is far distant to Mirai’s though, and I wouldn’t presume to have a special understanding of what she’s going through, beyond being a conflicted early adolescent.

ScrambledEggs August 9, 2009 at 3:00 am

I too was moved by this episode. I had flashbacks to the Sichuan Earthquake and the collapsing schools. Parents should never have to bury their own children, let alone dig them out of rubble.

What’s worse is the fact that these were government-built schools, and adjacent government offices did NOT collapse. Grief turned to anger and rage at the apparent corruption that had caused shoddy construction… and of course the Party then cracked down on them.

Also the Sichuan quake was in a remote area during the worst part of the rainy season. Help took weeks to arrive in many places. Not to mention that large amounts of aid were siphoned off by corrupt officials (or so the average citizen believes, anyway).

At least Mari, Mirai, and Yuuki don’t have to deal with any of that crap. In fact, so far we haven’t seen much of the ugly side of human nature at all. Some rudeness, a few selfish survivors, but no downright maliciousness. And the government response has obviously been well-prepared and highly-efficient. Humans have an amazing capacity to make a terrible tragedy worse, but our heroes are lucky enough to live in a relatively decent society where that doesn’t happen as much. If nothing else, that’s something for them to be thankful for.

  • 7 ghostlightning

    August 9, 2009 at 3:17 am

    I’m not that familiar with the recent earthquakes (China, Turkey, Iran come to mind).

    Mike from Anime Diet shared this article in the comments section of the review I linked to above [->]

    The aricle talks about how people can behave well in the face of calamity. It seems that the people of Tokyo are consistent with some of the observations in that TIME Magazine article. I do think that Mirai, Yuuki, and Mari have much to be thankful for.

    Pardon my repeating what I said somewhere else,

    What this does, in my view is allow the narrative to concentrate on the minutiae of concerns that give such nuance to the show. The characters don’t need to, or at least haven’t needed to deal with external threats (human malice/desperation) save for the physical threat of the earthquakes.

    Thus we are treated to an examination of the nature of indignity in the fourth episode. I think shit is one of the indignities we are most ashamed of because it is a constant in our lives and we are so intimate with it. Mirai going through what she did in the first part of episode 04 was an effective set-up to a breakdown extreme even for her notable irritableness and emotional negativity.

    In a addition to this, the narrative allows Mirai the latitude to empathize with the suffering of others, because there are no external threats in the form of malicious humans.

    • 8 ScrambledEggs

      August 9, 2009 at 4:15 am

      Thank you for the link! That was a fascinating and inspiring article.

      I mentioned China because I was in the country at the time and knew people involved. It’s interesting to compare the circumstances there with the ones portrayed here. They’re very similar in some ways, but also dramatically different in others.

      You’re right though. The absence of malice from survivors or government makes it possible for them to empathize with others. In a more hostile environment, such feelings would likely be replaced with wariness and suspicion. Touching scenes like the ones we had in this episode are possible because they aren’t threatened like that. And that is a good thing, I think.

      Oh, and I really hope that their parents aren’t dead… I would probably cry. I wonder if we’ll find out next episode?

      • 9 ghostlightning

        August 9, 2009 at 10:13 am

        That must have been quite the experience, to have been in China in such a time. Were you anywhere near the affected area?

        My only similar experience was way back when I was Mirai’s age in 1990, during Baguio Magnitude 7.8 [->].

        Baguio City is about 8 hours by land North of Metro Manila where I live (the epicenter is actually closer, about 3-4 North by land). We were lucky to not have experienced structural damage in Metro Manila, despite feeling the earth shake violently in our classrooms, and in our homes during the many aftershocks. But Baguio was pretty much messed up.

        We didn’t experience a societal collapse either in the localities most affected, instead our newspapers seemed very eager to report stories of heroism, valor, and survival just as the death tool numbers and the value of property destroyed.

        My experience of the event is far distant to Mirai’s though, and I wouldn’t presume to have a special understanding of what she’s going through, beyond being a conflicted early adolescent.

August 12, 2009

The Inauthenticity of Senjougahara Fascination

While bantering with Coburn in the comments section in one of my earlier posts on Bakemonogatari, I conjectured that Araragi instead of being a viewer avatar is actually a commentary on the viewer. From the presence of fetishes to the impotence in fulfilling them — it’s as if the narrative is having fun at the viewer’s expense.

I find this very interesting. What fun it seems for the text to rip into its fans like so. Araragi is powerless against Senjougahara (real), and more himself and can fight on equal terms with Hachikuji (loli, unreal, a ghost). Otaku’s fetish for loli of the 2D variety has something to do with the latter’s powerlessness against the otaku. In the face of a ‘realistic’ woman, Araragi is powerless, has no initiative. His relationship, his life, is directed almost entirely by Senjougahara.

On the way to ‘study group,’ Araragi has no problem dallying with Hachikuji, who teases him with sexual entendre, fights with him, speaks his fetishes out loud while posing no real threat.

No.Real.Threat.

She is a ghost, and he has regenerative abilities. The viewer may like a real Senjougahara to show up in their lives [->] but as an otaku will not let go of the loli fetish. This is the inauthenticity of Senjougahara Fascination.

Furthermore, this regenerative ability… I will further conjecture that it is representative of the resilience of otaku. Hurt them, troll them, piss on them, ‘betray’ them, have your way with them. They will come back if they love you enough. If the Endless Eight DVDs of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu doesn’t sell, then I’m wrong. If “The Disappearance” doesn’t get a generate excitement leading to its release, then I’m wrong.

So Bakemonogatari has no compunctions pissing all over Araragi, the representation of its viewers. Araragi can survive almost anything, even Senjougahara.

Also, in Dungeons and Dragons, usually the first encounter player characters have with a monster that has regeneration abilities is with a Troll.

Just saying.

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