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.
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.
June 2018 Update: Oops, I burnt out on light novels so I’m now going to talk about video games instead
NOT to be confused with Hisone x Masotan.
SPOILERS FOR DRAGON PILOT: HISONE AND MASOTAN EPISODES 1-10 BELOW:
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.
It’s finally out!
I spent over 100 hours last month playing Persona 5 and I regret nothing.
Isekai Izakaya is less of an anime and more of animated infomercial – and a good part of it isn’t even animated. For better or worse, though, that live-action cooking show segment at the end of the episode was probably the most entertaining thing about it, if only because the chef’s enthusiasm looked more authentic than any of the reactions shown in the anime itself.
I’m thrilled to announce that Mari Okada’s biography From Truant to Anime Screenwriter: My Path to “Anohana” and “The Anthem of the Heart” will be getting an English e-book release on May 4, published by J-Novel Club. You can read a free preview of the book’s prologue at J-Novel Club’s website, and you can pre-order the book from Amazon here.
If you’re a subscriber to J-Novel Club and you pre-order the premium ebook, you’ll enter the draw to win a shikishi signed by Mari Okada herself.
I’m biased – I’m keen on promoting this book because I translated it myself. Hopefully if this sort of book sells well, it could pave the way for more English translations of books about anime creators. So if this sort of thing interests you, please do buy the book!