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Author Archives: Frog-kun

Why I Banned Kink-shaming On This Blog

kakegurui

A couple of months ago, I made a new addition to my blog’s commenting policy: No kink-shaming. This was because of the discussion around a blog post regarding slavery-themed web novels. I thought that one commenter went over the line by insulting fans of such web novels and describing them in a pathologising way. It’s an attitude I’ve seen before on the internet, although it was the first time I had to deal with it on my obscure little blog.

Even so, I thought I had better put the foot down and communicate that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. People don’t often realise when they are shaming others for their fictional tastes until it is pointed out to them. It can be a subconscious act, performed without even realising the negative effects it can have on others. So I gave a warning to the commenter and put a reminder on the post itself regarding the commenting policy.

I was reminded of this incident earlier today when I saw a tweet from someone who said they didn’t want to be accused of “racism, sexism, pedophilia, etc.” because of their taste in anime. It’s not a completely unreasonable fear. Twitter is rife with stories about artists being harassed by fans for drawing “objectionable” art and people just generally being awful to each other. People often tell me how they feel uncomfortable admitting that they like a certain type of anime, like ecchi or lolicon, out of worry that they’ll be judged negatively for it. Having seen this kind of behaviour for myself, I can sympathise.

However, when it comes to solving this problem, I’m at a loss.

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Weathering With You is Worse if You Read it as a Climate Change Analogy

weathering

(Spoilers for Weathering With You and Makoto Shinkai’s other works in this post.)

Weathering With You is set in a Japan where the rain doesn’t stop, and only a young girl’s prayers can clear the skies. In the interviews around the release of the film, director Makoto Shinkai talked about its themes in relation to the real-life phenomenon of climate change. For example in an interview with Fujinkōron (summarised in English on Anime News Network), Shinkai said:

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How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Possibly at the Cost of His Soul

realist hero 3

WARNING: This blog post contains spoilers up to How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom volume 3.

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“I Tried Thinking About the Common Isekai Slave Circumstances Realistically”

slave guild

“I, a betrayed S-rank adventurer, will make a harem guild entirely from my beloved slaves”

Why is slavery such a common plot device in isekai web novels? It’s something I’ve touched upon in earlier blog posts and Twitter threads, but it’s only become a big question within the last year or so, thanks to The Rising of the Shield Hero‘s general popularity with the Western anime community. What was once a curious oddity within the light novel subculture has gotten much more visible now. And thanks to America’s fraught history with chattel slavery and persisting political issues regarding how that history is taught and remembered, isekai slavery is a more controversial topic there.

As a result of all the recent chatter, I became curious about why slavery became such a trend on Narou in the first place. I stumbled upon a story called よくある異世界奴隷事情を現実的に考えてみた (“I Tried Thinking About the Common Isekai Slave Circumstances Realistically”). It’s an essay/short story that explores the topic. I thought it was interesting so I reached out to the author ε-(´∀`; ) and obtained their permission to translate it. Here is the translation:

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I’m Fine With These Pokemon Being Removed From The National Pokedex

jynx

Folks, we’ve heard the confirmation that Pokemon Sword and Shield won’t let you import any Pokemon from previous gens that aren’t in the Galar Pokedex. Game Freak has even admitted that there is no guarantee that even later games will allow the Pokemon to be transferred.

Realistically, what’s most likely to happen is that the existing Pokemon will be cycled into future games. No Pokemon will be left behind entirely. But the more popular Pokemon will probably get to appear in more games, while others will have to wait their turn longer.

Ideally, I’d rather have every Pokemon be in every game, but we’ve finally reached the point where we have to make decisions about which Pokemon we’d rather appear in the games, and which ones should be left to obscurity. So here are some Pokemon that I honestly feel are pretty redundant. If push came to shove, I’m fine with them being removed from the national Pokedex.

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The Amoral Core of Lazy Dungeon Master

dungeon2

I’ve always been fascinated with monsters. They follow a system of morality that isn’t the least bit concerned with human rights. Racism? Bigotry? Inequality? None of that registers to them. As far as monsters are concerned, all human lives are equally worthless.

So what if a human became a monster? Or what if they were given incentives to see the world the way a monster does?

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Which Sword Art Online Spinoffs are Must-Reads?

ggo

Being the huge, sprawling franchise that it is, Sword Art Online has a bunch of spinoffs and side materials. Most of them aren’t worth getting into unless you’re a hardcore fan. But there are some gems that I recommend people try out even if they’re not big into SAO. They offer unique stories with their own appeal and delve more deeply into SAO’s virtual worlds than even the original series does.

Here are my favourites:

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Want to Practise Japanese through Light Novels? Read Otaria

otaria

“What light novels should I read if I’m learning Japanese?” is one of the questions I most frequently get asked, especially by people who are visiting Japan and want to pick up some beginner-friendly light novels while they’re there.

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Thoughts So Far on Unital Ring, Sword Art Online’s Newest Arc

unital

Now that I’ve finally found the time to catch up with both the Alicization anime and read the latest light novel volume, I’ve been remembering what a fun series Sword Art Online is. Alicization is such a change of pace from previous seasons; it’s basically a Shonen Jump battle manga at this point, and I’m completely okay with that. Plus, the latest volume of the light novel starts a brand new arc, so despite the fact that this series has been running for years, diving into Sword Art Online has been a fresh experience lately.

Getting back into SAO like this reminds me how much Reki Kawahara has grown as an author over the years. As I pointed out in an Anime News Network editorial in 2017, Kawahara first began writing Sword Art Online in 2001. As a recap, a rough timeline of Kawahara’s career would go like this:

Sword Art Online volume 1 (written for the Dengeki Taisho) -> Submission is scrapped, gets posted online instead -> the rest of Sword Art Online is posted online, up until partway through Alicization -> Kawahara takes break to write Accel World volume 1 for the Dengeki Taisho -> Finishes off Alicization in 2008 -> Accel World volume 1 gets published, Kawahara writes new volumes -> Meanwhile, the SAO web novel is edited and republished by Dengeki Bunko.

…This means that Accel World is a newer work than Sword Art Online, but nobody really pays that much attention to Accel World (not even myself, tehehe). Even so, I’ve always thought it was unfair to judge what kind of author Kawahara is now based on what he wrote over 10 years ago. Although Kawahara began writing the Progressive reboot series in 2012, it’s only in the Unital Ring arc starting from volume 21 that the overarching story of Sword Art Online continues past the web novel. That’s why I went into volume 21 with a heightened sense of curiosity. Just what kind of author is Kawahara nowadays?

SPOILERS FOR SWORD ART ONLINE VOLUME 21 BELOW:

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Your Name’s Producer is Kind of a Big Deal

kawamura

Image via The Hollywood Reporter

Like most anime fans, I only heard of Genki Kawamura after Your Name became a smash hit around the world. As one of the producers of Your Name, Kawamura is sometimes credited with making Makoto Shinkai’s infamously obtuse and sentimental style of film making accessible to mainstream audiences for the first time… although I don’t know how much influence Kawamura really had on the storytelling itself. Regardless, he’s a big personality in his own right, which is something you don’t often see with Japanese anime producers.

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