Why do we need more goofy Cold War thrillers? The answer: Full Metal Panic

dr strangelove tessa










I miss the Cold War sometimes. Not that I have ever lived through it, mind you, but man did some entertaining stories come out of it. The satire of Dr. Strangelove would never have struck so close to home if it didn’t come out of the paranoid political climate of the 1960s. There’s a kind of charm to those Cold War-era relics, in that peculiar mix of optimism (“We are the good guys!”) and pessimism (“A nuclear explosion will kill us all tomorrow!”).

As time has passed, however, the villains in your average trashy thriller have ceased to be members of the diabolical, all-encompassing Soviet Union, and the heroes are no longer unambiguously good guy Americans. Your average American action flick these days is more likely to be bogged down with cynicism and snark. I’m not a good guy, so let me take delight in being a sarcastic prick! (P.S. fuck Deadpool.)

Well, perhaps it is only with the passing of time and a change of perspective that one can appreciate the apparent “naive charm” of Cold War fiction without swallowing wholesale the assumptions of the time. Full Metal Panic wasn’t written during the Cold War, but its setting clearly harks back to it, and it is only made more ridiculous by the inclusion of moe girls and giant robots. While the series does go to some lengths to include some moral ambiguity and grittiness in the narrative, the goofiness never quite goes away, even in the most serious moments.

For me, Full Metal Panic is one of those rare types of stories that succeeds on multiple levels: as a spoof, critique and a straight example of its genre.

Full Metal Panic’s lack of tonal consistency is something that comes up quite often in discussions. This is indeed one of the reasons (if not the main reason) why Full Metal Panic manages to remain fresh, no matter how cliched the actual plot developments are. One minute you’re laughing at Sousuke for being such a war nut, the next minute you’re horrified and saddened at him for exactly the same reasons. FMP’s style doesn’t work for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned, the jokes are funnier because I’m made plainly aware of the darkness behind them.


But that’s not what I want to talk about today. There is another, subtler reason why Full Metal Panic is fascinating to me as a reinterpretation of the military/spy thriller genre. And that is that the story’s setting genuinely feels international in scope.

Normally with these thriller stories, a whole lot of globe traipsing is involved. Our hero (almost invariably a fair-skinned bloke from North America or a European country) will visit all sorts of exotic locales. These books frequently double up as travel literature of a sort. Readers get to become armchair explorers while the author acts as their tour guide by slipping in enough details to immerse the reader in the “atmosphere” of a foreign culture even as they shield them from the messy reality of cross-cultural interactions.

This isn’t unique to the thriller genre, and in fact this trope has been around for a very long time now. Think of books like Around the World in Eighty Days or anything by H. Rider Haggard. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and everyone knows that reading a book about a foreign country is not the same thing as actually visiting it, but it inevitably leads to cases of Chinasplaining and Japansplaining, among other things.

At one point, the Full Metal Panic novels take aim at this very thing:

“This is what defines the Chinese. They’re cunning, brimming with vitality, and possess an amazingly prosperous mercantile spirit. They freely control their public and private faces, their yin and yang,” said Hunter.


“Try sampling some Chinese cuisine. You will readily see the vastness of this race and its culture. The ideology made up by mere Westerners a scant hundred years ago is, in truth, worthless. That separation drama, you know, that was both a crisis and an opportunity for us tradesmen. Some were ruined, but some built up their fortune. That’s always how it goes. Even if there’s a political separation, even if both sides station troops, passage between North and South was relatively simple until just the day before yesterday. In short, it’s a case of scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” He spoke haughtily, as if he thought of himself as a natural-born Hong Konger. Never mind that he was the only Caucasian in the room.

Shots fired.

(As a side note, the name “Hunter” here reminds me of Samuel Huntington, the guy who came up with the contentious Clash of Civilizations theory. I wonder if this was deliberate.)

There are other ways that FMP tries to be international without aping the approach of the Euro-centric travelogues and thrillers that have clearly influenced it. All the main characters (and a majority of the minors one too) come from diverse cultural backgrounds, and many of them have also spent a considerable number of years living outside the country of their birth. This includes Kaname Chidori, the so-called “ordinary Japanese high school girl”. Instead of devoting pages to describing exotic locales, Shoji Gatoh makes his characters embody multiculturalism. I found this to be a more effective approach at conveying an international setting, even if Gatoh’s writing probably could stand to be more descriptive.

Another way that Gatoh deliberately tries to mix language and culture is through the titles of the FMP volumes. They all follow the same template, namely [Japanese verb] + [English phrase written in Katakana]. Here are some examples:

戦うボーイ・ミーツ・ガール = tatakau [fighting] boy meets girl

終わるデイ・バイ・デイ = owaru [ending] day by day

踊るベリー・メリー・クリスマス = odoru [dancing] very merry christmas

It’s because Gatoh is so committed to internationalism in every aspect of his writing that he can actually pull off a story about an international peacekeeping organisation that doesn’t feel like a front for Japanese or American nationalism. FMP keeps the fun of Cold War spy/thriller antics while excising the uncomfortable cultural baggage. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I’m astounded at how clever the setting of FMP actually is.

Veteran anime viewers may interrupt me at this point by saying, “A Japanese high school is the least original setting out there.” Well, yes, but as you may recall, this setting is used quite cleverly in context. As in the real world, FMP’s Japan is a pacifist nation, and so much of the action doesn’t actually happen there. When dangerous battles start happening in Japan, it really feels like the shit has hit the fan. In this series, the Japanese high school doesn’t feel like an island in the middle of nowhere but simply another part of an interconnected world.


This is a roundabout way of saying that I recently read the first five volumes of the light novel and found them to be good. You should read them too. If you can’t get your hands on the English light novels, go ahead and pirate them since they’re out of print anyway. [HANDY LINK.]

Full Metal Panic has convinced me that a goofy, retrospective take on Cold War thrillers is what the world truly needs. I’d love to see more stories like this, not just from anime/light novels but from any type of media.

As I finish writing this post, I’m reminded of Guy’s essay about Concrete Revolutiowhich was also about Cold War themes, so maybe I’ll watch that. One day when I feel like it…

In the meantime, I’ll amuse myself by looking at this gif, which is also, come to think of it, a goofy modern reinterpretation of a Cold War classic.



  1. “Your average American action flick these days is more likely to be bogged down with cynicism and snark. I’m not a good guy, so let me take delight in being a sarcastic prick! (P.S. fuck Deadpool.)”

    I’ve seen this stance from Bobduh as well (also about Deadpool) but I don’t really understand it. Cynicism spans originally from self-awareness and a basic appreciation of moral/cultural relativism, which ideally should be good things. Of course cynicism is the nihilistic response to those things, so there’s that, and I get why it might be annoying. But characters being terrible people also make for good comedy and/or satire a lot of the times. On the other hand, many traditional “idealistic” characters ended up being near propaganda at times. There’s a fine line between setting an ideal for everyone to aspire to and just saying “look, this is us, the ideal made reality! Rest of the world, adequate yourself to our standards”. Speaking of superheroes – Superman being one of the characters traditionally dangerously straddling this line. Though from what I understand now Snyder turned him too into a cynical anti-hero sort (I wouldn’t know since I’m not really much interested in DC stuff). For comparison, Marvel’s Captain America, despite his extremely “patriotic” brand, has probably actually managed to come across as one of the best examples of a sympathetic idealist: an actual believer, and the first ready to rise and criticize his own country, the way only those who actually *love* something can be passionate about criticizing it.

    • It’s all well and good to appreciate moral relativism, but Deadpool is a completely amoral human being no matter how you spin it. It’s not so much that he’s showing awareness of his limitations; he does shitty things and then laughs about how he does shitty things. Also, every other character makes the same kind of self-aware jokes he does, which gives the impression that everyone is the same person. The jokes eventually got repetitive and tiring.

      Captain America, though, he’s a good character.

      • But I don’t think most fans of Deadpool think that he’s this amazing role model. I love Cap, and I love Iron Man, and I want to see Deadpool as well. I like the first for his idealism, the second for his ingenuity, and the third because he makes me laugh and sometimes it’s good to just kick back and feel like you don’t give a fuck. They don’t have to represent a whole human being: they represent multiple ways to confront a situation. The point of Deadpool isn’t to be admirable or anything. Also, I don’t know how they handled it in the movie, but in the comics, Deadpool’s peculiar power is that *he’s aware that he’s part of a comic*. So it makes sense that he doesn’t give a shit about killing people – he knows they’re not real people, they’re just drawings on a page. That’s the point. Deadpool simply represents escapism.

        As I mentioned, I understand this criticism far better when aimed at Snyder’s Superman, because THAT is someone who used to be an idealistic model and is being turned into a cynic anti-hero. No one is supposed to take Deadpool seriously, while Superman has been a symbol for the best values of America for almost a century. They simply carry different weights on their shoulders.

      • Yeah, I can see what you mean. Deadpool is a very amoral character. Sometimes he’s good for money and sometimes bad for money. Though, he wasn’t always this way. (Comic history is really interesting.)

        Deadpool was “created” and I use created in the loosest form of the word by Rob Liefeld. An “artist” and “writer” who first got big on X-men. Deadpool first appeared in New Mutants #98. But what Rob Liefeld “created” was a generic mercenary ripoff of the DC character Deathstroke. The character that alot of people enjoy today, credit his character to writers like Joe Kelly, Fabian Nicieza, and Gail Simone. People who could actually write and gave him a personality. Though sometimes, from what I’ve read, the character’s morality can vary from writer to writer.

        • Ah, yeah, I knew he was the work of Rob Liefeld (and yeah, that name is infamous on its own). And a character’s general attitude or even morality changing depending on the writer and interpretation isn’t unusual already with regular ones (think Spider Man in “Back in Black”…); more so with someone whose defining characteristic is to be basically as random as possible.

          • I have a vested interest in comic books and their history. I’ll admit that I haven’t read as many I’d like, mostly because I’m not sure where to begin. I’d like to read Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and May “Mayday” Parker/Spider-Girl if I can get a chance to.

            Yeah, characters general attitude or morality changing depending on the writer and interpretation is something that really interest me about American comics.

    • I’m not against cynicism and snark. However,I don’t find American movies using them for any intelligent commentary or depth. It just a different form of pandering:” I’m so much better and you are an idiot for being an idealist, har har”. Novels have been dark as hell for centuries. Mark Twain, Douglas Adams, or Jonathan Swift told smart, funny and cynical stories. Hollywood told dumb, unfunny and cynical stories.

      Let’s be honest. Hollywood blockbusters are still escapism. Back then they sold unattainable ideas. Now they sell the the idea “the world is bad, and I know it. therefore I’m smart”. No thank. When I’m dreaming, I want a sweet dream.

      • I agree that cynicism can be used in a shallow way. I simply don’t see why *Deadpool* of all things gets to be the poster child of this trend as if he wasn’t *always* defined by being fundamentally a comedic anti-hero who relies on meta humour and doing crazy shit. I mean, even in cinematic form he’s basically part of the X-Men franchise, where idealism vs. cynicism is usually the main driving conflict between heroes and villains. He’s not a representative of a larger political ideal, he’s just the expression of a fictional universe that doesn’t always take itself too seriously. I don’t see why we can’t simply have both without seeing them as necessarily in contrast.

        • There is nothing really wrong with Deadpool movie itself. I don’t care enough to hate it. As I said above, it’s just not my type of show. If you like it, that’s perfectly fine.

          The thing is, too many Hollywood movies (and anime, for that matter) use snark and meta or go full “dark” these day. I hate this trend. And with nerd culture like this, it’s impossible to talk about its flaws on the net without thousands of fanboys jumping in my throat. People who hate it obviously will get more defensive and aggressive.

          • It’s just that I’ve seen the Deadpool movie heralded as some sort of “point of no return” for this trend that you describe. And I am kinda baffled because I really can’t see how it has anything to do; first, because “darker and edgier” isn’t anything new (hello, 90s!), second, because it seems obvious to me that this approach is at its worst when it takes itself seriously. Deadpool doesn’t seem “darker and edgier” to me, it’s simply a black comedy. It’s not even especially edgy because it sure as hell ain’t trying to make some grand statement about the world or how you ought to live. That’s why I said I understand the criticism much more if directed at self important stuff like Snyder’s Man of Steel movies (or for that matter, good chunks of Nolan’s Dark Knight ones).

  2. This is a very interesting, and unexpected take on one of my favourite anime series. Now, I really want to rewatch and maybe reread/read the FMP novels.

    Thanks, Froggy-kun.

    I totally agree on the international cold war esque setting and one thing I’d add is that the weapons (from the overpowered, experimental mechs to that super AWESOME SUBMARINE) probably harken back to that Arms Race as well. Good stuff.

    • Man, the arms race in FMP is completely insane. If you look at the real-life weapons depicted in the show, most of them are from the 80s and 90s (http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Full_Metal_Panic!), but then you also have a bunch of super hi-tech weapons that are so futuristic you’d think the story was set hundreds of years from now.

      Of course, that’s part of the fun.

  3. Just after finishing the first season and this comes up. Talk about timing man.

    I definitely felt while watching the show that there was a sence of freshness to it. Like you said, despite having the high school setting it still manages to feel like something else. I definitely noticed it while watching, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was doing.

    Also I’m not 100% positive but I’m pretty sure they are coming out with the fourth season this year. Hopefully it will cover up the remainder of the series that hasn’t been adapted yet.

    One more thing, nice Godzilla refrence. I can’t tell with just the image, but is it “Against Mechagodzilla” or “Tokyo S.O.S”? I also can’t wait for “Resurgence” because Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi are directing it.

    • The gif is from Against Mechagodzilla. I can’t say I’m the biggest Godzilla fan there ever was, but I’m looking forward to Resurgence as well!

      Also, I’m glad to hear you found something fresh about FMP. It’s a good show.

  4. Really nice review and analysis, Froggy. I’ll have check it out when I have the time. (If I can fix my bad time management skills.)

    It certainly would be nice to see a bit more idealism in this day an age. Idealism, believing in good is not easy. Its probably one of the reasons I love Captain America: The First Avenger and why its one of my favorite movies. Its a good movie with nice, genuine love toward human goodness of the character while at the same time never shying from the comics’ origins as propaganda.

    I just love that movie, and I love Steve (Captain America) and how much of good man he is. Him and Luke Skywalker are two of my all time favorite characters and honestly have influenced the kind of person I want to be. That strength of character to live up to one’s ideals. To be kind, compassionate, righteous, and just a good genuine human being. I think is probably one of my favorite scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdgrOdVBjBU

    Its really inspiring, and just another reason I’ve grown more interested in superheroes. When I was young, I grew up with stuff like Batman the Animated Series, the 90s Spiderman, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (another movie I love), and others of their time; so I’ve always had a bit of an interest in them but it has only grown in recent years with my interest in Kamen Rider, Cyborg 009, Super Sentai, and various others.

    (Sorry, if this doesn’t have a lot to do with the post.)

    Also, again really sorry to hear you didn’t like Deadpool.

    P.S. Love that gif.

    • This is a great comment! You have nothing to apologise over. You don’t have to be sorry over me not liking Deadpool. Did you happen to like it yourself?

      And yeah, out of all the Avengers, Captain America is probably my favourite. I didn’t like him *in* the Avengers, but his individual movies have been the best of the lot for pretty much all the reasons you said.

      • Thanks, Froggy.

        Yeah, I did actually quite like Deadpool. I know him and his humor isn’t for everyone but its always a little sad to hear someone didn’t have a good time seeing a movie, especially if you yourself had a good time.

        Yeah, the Captain America movies have been great. Now if only their was a live action Batman movie with as much heart as the animated series and Batman Beyond like this:

        I mean I like the Dark Knight trilogy, but the animated series and associated movies were just fantastic.

  5. Hm, maybe I should increase priority for FMP? I’m currently going through my backlog anyway, so who knows? Your post certainly made me a lot more curious.

    I did live through the tail end of the cold war, having been born in 1971. I’m Austrian, so none of the optimism applies to me. We’ve thankfully lost the war, and after that we’ve been watching former allies glowering each other. If push had come to shove we would have sided with the West, mostly because areas in our country occupied by Russia were the least economically developed. But push wouldn’t have come to shove, because one of the outcomes of WW 2 was political neutrality, and by the time I was born, this neutrality was the closest thing to national pride that even a non-loyal cynic like me could appreciate.

    As a child, I had this cartoony image of the USA and Russia launching missles at the same time, and then they’d meet in the middle and drop on our heads. My perosnal favourite film during “my part of that era” would be the animated When the Wind Blows (keeping up a domestic illusion while your hair falls out from radiation sickness).

    Concrete Revolutio is excellent, and so is Guy’s review.

    • Thanks for the comment! Gave me a lot to ponder.

      The generation gap is something I think a lot about. I don’t have many memories of the pre-9/11 days. I don’t know what life was like before then. I’ve grown up in that constant climate of unease over random acts of terrorism. As far as my generation is concerned, “the enemy” could very well be our next door neighbour. There is no sense of justice or security. People don’t have faith in the establishment.

      I wonder if people will look back in this so-called “Age of Terror” and lament over what it was like to grow up in it. Just like how someone like me looks back at the Cold War era and wonders how people managed to cope with that constant feeling of having a bomb hanging over their heads.

      • Badly. We coped badly. Being just old enough to be keenly aware of what mutual assured destruction meant at the peak of the Cold War (1979-1984) when there was the very real possibility that it would all kick off due to Reagan’s belligerent posturing and the Soviet leaders’ increasing paranoia, I had nuclear nightmares a lot growing up.

        If you want a sense of what it felt like and really want to ruin the rest of your day, Threads depicts the buildup to, actual exchange of and aftermath of nuclear war. it’s … not hopeful.

        By comparison, Full Metal Panic misses that edge of proper Cold War paranoia, that sense of dancing on the edge of a volcano, to make it entirely believable. It’s the weakest aspect of the series for me.

      • The Bomb was certainly a huge factor in the public consciousness, especially in the eighties with all those films, or pop songs (e.g. the Genesis video to “Land of Confusion” that ends with a Spitting Image puppet of Ronald Reagan confusing the “Nurse button” with the “Nuke button”). But personally, I’ve never been too afraid of the Bomb. It was too abstract. (Less abstract were atomic power plants, especially after Tschenobyl). My main fear has always been out-of-control crowds. Part of that was, I’m sure, “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” (German for “coping with the past”), which was all about making sure to never again let something like the Nazis rise to power. The Cold War, terrorism… all variations on a theme: rousing rhetoric targeting an “enemy”. As an Austrian, we’ve been part of the losing faction of World War 2, and it’s a war the national consciousness is actually grateful we lost. I knew that we’ve done “bad things”, before I understood what it was. By age of five, I was used to see concentration camp footage and Hitler speeches. I’m naturally distrustful of any sort of national pride. I don’t participate in demonstrations; even if I agree with the cause, they scare me.

        The anime trope of “I have to protect this” can, on occasion, remind me of ugly nationalism. The most striking recent example is Muv Luv Alternative. There was this idyll about how beautiful Japan is, and they have to protect it from that faceless alien manace… It’s hard to take for me, on an emotional level, because it strikes right at my fears. (I’ll note that GATE never once gave me that feeling.)

        Anime can have a scary nationalistic background radiation. And there can be a completely unrestrained usage of WW2 material for entertainment purposes that’s unthinkable in Germany/Austria (e.g. Germany in Hetalia; a couple called Adolf and Eva in Terraformars).

        I wonder if you can see now why your characterisation of that international feeling of FMP has drawn my interest enough to step from the shadows and into the comments section. It’s… reassuring to hear about shows like that.

        (Aside: I was quite disturbed by the way last season’s Grimgar treated goblins and kobolds: they were very clearly shown to be sentient, but the show made no attempt to even hint at a possibility of communication. There wasn’t even a sense of it’s-a-pity-we-have-to-kill-each-other. I got more a sense of get-over-your-squeamishness, much like the deer-scene in Silver Spoon. (Oddly enough, the one exception is Ranta. If anyone’s ever going to communicate with monsters in that show, it’s him, I think.)

        Anyway, I might have gotten a bit carried away there. Hope I’m not too much of a bother. Cheers,


  6. I haven’t had the chance to read/watch much Cold War comedy (aside from Dr. Strangelove, of course!) or Full Metal Panic (I’ll…get around to it, I promise), but this really makes me want to go find some.

    From Eroica With Love is a pretty hilarious Cold War/James Bond-style thriller, though most of their dilemmas were about dodging KGB agents atop moving vehicles. There was a huge focus on trying to look as good as possible to one’s enemies/avoiding national incidents/spy-versus-spy shenanigans, but it was absent of much of the nuclear bomb pessimism despite (because of?) its being written in the 70s. It was much more Get Smart (what wacky scheme will the poorly-disguised reference to communists throw at us next?) than the all-encompassing dark comedy of Strangelove.

    That said, Eroica and the Get Smart TV series are both a lot of fun. I highly suggest them!

    • Ohhhh, thanks for the recs! I didn’t know From Eroica With Love was an old manga. I’ll definitely give that a read. Get Smart, on the other hand, is a familiar title (although I haven’t seen it personally).

      And yes, you should totally watch Full Metal Panic sometime. Preferably before the new anime comes out.

      • Great to hear! Just keep in mind that the first few volumes are….uh….kinda horrible. When it embraces its ridiculousness, focuses on the espionage, and ditches the three teen leads it improves so much!

        Would you suggest watching the Full Metal Panic anime or reading the light novel first?

        • Depends on whether you like reading light novels. I’d personally suggest the anime first, but if you find random panty shots and bad CG too distracting, go with the light novel.

  7. Full metal panic is one of the first anime I watched. Good times. And god, it’s been over 10 year ago? Time flies.The show is not perfect by any mean. Like very Gonzo anime ever, the panty shots feel completely random, the CG didn’t age very well and the tonal shift is jarring.

    But I still like it. The characters are likable, the setting has thought put into it, the comedy is sometimes funny. It is unlikely to resonate with modern audiences but I’m an oldfag after all.

    • Yes, the panty shots are weird. I remember there was one while Kaname was having a mental breakdown of sorts, so uh… yeah…

      Interestingly enough, most of the flaws we associate with the anime aren’t present in the novels, so I think the novel is more likely to age gracefully. Whatever the new anime chooses to adapt, I don’t think it’ll alienate modern anime audiences. I can’t say I’m not nervous about it, though.

  8. “Full Metal Panic has convinced me that a goofy, retrospective take on Cold War thrillers is what the world truly needs. I’d love to see more stories like this, not just from anime/light novels but from any type of media.”

    I’ll go ahead then and recommend the film from last year, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Very quirky Guy Ritchie film, and probably my favorite movie from last year. (Not that I watch many movies…) I think I’d call it an affectionate parody? It’s about a US and Russian spy working together during the Cold War, and the actors pull it off in an entertaining way.

    At any rate, I should probably pick up a volume of FMP some time. It seems copies of it are still affordable on Amazon, fortunately. (Maybe when I finally decide to finally buy the more expensive Welcome to the NHK…)

    • Thanks for the movie rec! I remember hearing about The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but I never got around to seeing it at the time.

      Speaking of Welcome to the NHK, I was very lucky to obtain a copy of that, so I may write about that title sometime this month. Hopefully, that may convince you to finally bite the bullet and read it yourself!

  9. The whole USA vs USSR thing was definitely simpler to a certain extent, if compared to today’s USA + on-off allies vs Capitalist-communist China vs Putinist Russia vs ISIL anarchy…

  10. How is it feeling to see all the comment relates to Deathpool, one way or another?

    Cold War, huh? It’s some kind of quagmire that no one can escape fully. It hits all the right note from the most intellectual to the most primal of our fear.

    So how many note did FMP strike?

  11. WhoooooHoooo! Since there is a full metal tent revival going on, I am called to testify.

    I LOVE FMP in all its goofy and sometimes flawed manifestations, including the fan translations of the light novels. It was my first “mecha” love – I couldn’t deal with earlier things, they either just went on and on for no reason or assembled in space into mechanical tigers or something.

    How the author got the name Arm Slave (Armored Servo-mechanism?) for the mechas, how alt-history cold war themes were conflated with international adventure, mercenaries, secret organizations and chaos, death and brushfire proxy wars erupting around the word while Japan tried to stay safe and neutral: dropping an orphaned mercenary combat specialist, improbable as he was into a Japanese high school to protect a babe who dreams weapons from the future… Oh MY!

    My teeth explode with pleasure!

    Later I would find Gasaraki, but even then, the magicky stuff… whatever… I have yet to fully digest Patlabor.

    I had to DL these things off honest to goodness USENET, sometimes all night over 56k dial-up. Anyone remember Free Agent/ News Agent and Xnews? Don’t underestimate FUMOFFU either. It was there to rub the “Japan is a safe sheltered and peaceful country unlike the rest of the dangerous madhouse that is the rest of the world” message home. Black Hawk Down times.

    The teaser for the Second Raid: “Mighty X!” Fwwwooomp!

    And the villains! Gauron and his KASHIM!!! and later his psycho assassin sisters. Gates and his bad acapella rendering of the Yoko Kanno version of Schubert’s Ave Maria, Did he also sexually abuse babies? (I can’t remember which of them…. nevermind, brain bleach.)

    And the light novels…. Mao developing feeling for … Ooops spoiler, glad he didn’t get shot too bad. The psychic time loop behind “whispered”, Leonard, Kalinin..


    So when I finally snuck into an academic conference on fandom (which turned out to be %98 fujoshi) you just have to KNOW how I introduced myself as a blogger on certain aspects of Japanese contemporary visual culture. Playing hookey to go to the conference eventually had repercussions at work and everything went balls up, but it was soooooooooo worth it.

    And 3 people in the room caught the throw away line.

    There.. had to do it. Thank-you-sorry. Whew! And thanks for the FMP revisit in your blog.

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