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The Witch of Tata: A Social Commentary on Isekai

Tata

The Witch of Tata (タタの魔法使い) by U Pa is one of the most interesting isekai light novels I’ve ever read. I’ve mentioned it before as one of the better examples of its genre, but I want to go into more detail about what makes these books so interesting now that the second volume has hit Japanese bookstores.

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August 2018 Update: Comiket Sucks

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It is pretty interesting to see how Comiket has been mythologised, both inside and outside Japan. Just like Akihabara, the electric town, Comiket has become a symbol for the Otaku Lifestyle. Every year, hundreds of thousands of anime fans from around the world gather at Tokyo Big Sight to get a taste of this time-honored otaku tradition.

Many come away disappointed.

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July 2018 Update: Kingdom Hearts Is Great If You’re Into Self-Cest

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SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE KINGDOM HEARTS SERIES LOL

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How a Not-So-Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom: On Privilege and Hubris

I think about privilege a lot. It’s something that I suspect a lot of children of immigrant parents have to think about, especially when they grow up listening to stories of their family’s poverty. “We worked so hard so that you could live well!” my mother has often told me. “Appreciate the sacrifices we made for you!”

As a result of these constant reminders, I’ve never doubted for a moment that I’m privileged for growing up in Australia. But it has been a lot harder for me to figure out exactly how my privilege affects my life, besides an abstract notion of “having more food and money”. The thing about privilege is that its hand is mostly invisible, and so even if we can detect some of the benefits, we often don’t notice how it seeps into our very way of thinking.

These days, I think of privilege like this: it’s a cushion that gives you less things to take individual responsibility for. Like how “male privilege” insulates men from having to think about protecting themselves from sexual harassment in public places, or how “white privilege” stops white people from having to worry about being arrested when they haven’t committed a crime, the privilege of growing up in a developed nation absolves us from making decisions about our health, education and finances that we’d struggle to navigate if left to our own devices. We benefit from society’s collective knowledge, even when we understand very little of it.

The worst thing a privileged person can do is pretend that the invisible cushion is the result of their own handiwork.

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That’s what I think about when I read How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. It’s the kind of story you’ve probably seen before, about a person from the modern world going back in time or into a fantasy world and advancing their societies using modern knowledge. Somehow, this average shmuck has all the specialist knowledge and administrative expertise to enact sweeping social and economic reforms to immediate success. We all know that things aren’t so simple, but it’s a thought experiment we like to entertain because a part of us thinks that we’re cleverer than the people of long ago.

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June 2018 Update: Oops, I burnt out on light novels so I’m now going to talk about video games instead

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So in my last blog update post, I said something about how “light novels are cooler than anime”.

Turns out light novels are actually bad.

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Hisone and Masotan: A Story About Love and Work-Life Balance

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NOT to be confused with Hisone x Masotan.

SPOILERS FOR DRAGON PILOT: HISONE AND MASOTAN EPISODES 1-10 BELOW:

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May 2018 Update: I’m A Twenty-Something Year Old Anime Journalist, But I’m Being Swamped By Light Novels Because They’re Cooler Than Anime

llenn

Hello, friends! I just got back from a week-long trip to the Philippines and am typing this blog post in a state of bone-dead exhaustion. So I’ll keep this month’s update brief.

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The Storyboards of PERSONA 5 The Animation Episode 5: What Works and What Doesn’t

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So far, the Persona 5 anime has been about what you’d expect from an anime adaptation of a video game, which is to say that it’s not very good. This is kind of a shame since the series director, Masashi Ishihama, has quite a reputation for directing stylistically interesting anime (From the New World, Garakowa: Restore the World). At first glance, he seemed like the perfect guy for a Persona 5 adaptation, given that the game oozes with style despite its PS3-era graphics.

It’s not that Ishihama’s involvement hasn’t done good for the P5 anime. The OP and the first episode, which Ishihama storyboarded and directed himself, are easily the most stylish parts of the anime so far. But the rest of the anime hasn’t lived up to those standards at all. The all-out attack animations look like they’re missing key frames and overall the show just looks flat.

But I don’t want to dwell on the bad stuff. Episode 5 is the best episode since the first one; it gives a glimpse of what other people besides Ishihama envision for the anime. That doesn’t mean that I like or agree with all the directorial choices, but it’s definitely the most interesting the anime has been in a while. So let’s take a closer look at Tatsuma Minamikawa’s storyboards for episode 5.

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Mari Okada’s Biography is NOW Available in English + An Exclusive Interview!

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It’s finally out!

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April 2018 Update: Persona 5 Took Over My Life

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I spent over 100 hours last month playing Persona 5 and I regret nothing.

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