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.
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.
SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE KINGDOM HEARTS SERIES LOL
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!