Lately, I have been thinking of doing NaNoWriMo. Then I remember that this is a stupid idea when I already write half the word count of a NaNoWriMo novel every month just for work. I say all that, but a part of me thinks: “Wouldn’t it be fun to bury myself in a complete nonsense story for a month and make up shit as I go along?”
I’m sure that the author of My Sister Lives in a Fantasy World has had similar thoughts, because the series reads like a giant NaNoWriMo draft.
In the latter half of the series, major characters and plot points get introduced out of nowhere, powers and abilities get made up on the spot, and half the word count is spent on characters explaining how the nonsensical setup of the story is supposed to work. But I still like the series, mostly because it’s the most fun I’ve had with the “Overpowered MC” concept in a while.
You might have noticed I haven’t been posting as often lately. I could say I’ve been busy and this would be true, but the real reason is that I’ve been choosing to watch less anime. I’m more of a casual watcher these days. Could it be that I have become a riajuu???
No love life in sight, however.
I’ve been thinking about Bobduh’s essay lately. Despite the trollbait title, it actually does provide a nuanced argument about how people consume media – at least as far as one’s personal politics goes. For those who haven’t read it, the basic argument is as follows: a little self-scrutiny goes a long way. Thinking hard about why you like certain things is ultimately a more fruitful avenue of discussion than hiding behind self-defence measures, like claiming “IT’S JUST FICTION” or assuming everything you like is “SODEEP”.
What struck me as most interesting is this idea that all media propagates messages, whether consciously or not, along with Bobduh’s claim that a message unexamined is a message believed. The latter is not entirely true in the strictest sense – not paying attention to the racist overtones in, say, H.P. Lovecraft’s works doesn’t automatically mean you’re a racist. If someone posed the question to you whether you condoned racism or not, I like to think you’d say no if you consider yourself as a decent person. But in not engaging with active criticism, you’re passively endorsing values you don’t agree with, or at least letting them go unchallenged.
I think this is particularly important in anime fandom, especially considering the realities of Japanese nationalism and soft power. In this post, I’m going to build on Bobduh’s argument that you should be engaging in serious critique rather than using your media solely to validate yourself, and I’m going to apply that to the broader political context behind anime’s production and consumption. I think it becomes easier to seriously examine your own personal politics when you zoom out and explore the macro-politics. (Because these are big, complex issues, don’t take my post as anything more than an oversimplification. The idea is just to get you thinking about how the personal and the political interact.)
Basically, your taste is bad and so are you and so is Japan and so is the rest of the world.
LN translation is in a similar place fansubbing was in before Crunchyroll and other forms of legal streaming came along. There aren’t too many light novels officially translated into English, and many series are out of print and discontinued. As a fan translator, I do my part in making Japanese LNs available in English, but I know that what I’m doing is actually illegal. But in many ways, it really can’t be helped, at least for now.
The good news is that the situation is changing, little by little. With more LNs being adapted into anime than ever before, people are taking notice of LNs (for better and for worse). Yen Press has recently licensed the guaranteed cash cow known as Sword Art Online, with other popular LNs like Kagerou Daze on the way. And with the shift from print books to Ebooks, LNs have a better chance of finding exposure at a cheaper price. The digital revolution has opened up possibilities for every literary subgenre imaginable, so it’s not as if there is no market for LNs, even if they will remain niche for the foreseeable future.
Beyond translated LNs, there’s another type of English light novel, one that’s been eking out a humble living in the dark corners of the internet up until now: original English light novels, written by English-speaking anime fans. It’s this kind of LN I’ll be focusing on today.
What I’m currently watching: Haikyuu!!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. (As of June 26 2014)
If you pointed a gun at my head and asked me what my favourite anime of all time was, I’d probably tell you that it’s Code Geass. It’s not the series I have the most nostalgia for (that would be Card Captor Sakura). It’s not the title that I consider anime’s finest artistic triumph (that would be Neon Genesis Evangelion). It’s not even the anime that’s resonated with me as a person the most (that would be Hyouka). But I’ve engaged with Code Geass on practically every level – as a robot fan, a shipper, a literary nerd, an otaku, etc. It’s the series I’ve gotten the most out of as a fan of anime.
tldr; I could write about Code Geass all day, but today I’ll focus on my single most controversial opinion about this show: I think Suzaku is a better character than Lelouch.
Yes, I’m serious.
Now let me write a whole essay about it.
Warning: This blog post contains Code Geass spoilers, word vomit and slight traces of yaoi shipping.
Tatsuya is such a hunk. This is objective truth.
But still, I have to wonder: why is he so generally perfect? I mean sure, it’s because the plot says so, but is there any, like, thematic reason for this?
I think there is.
(NOTE: So… this post was written after I’d only seen two episodes of the anime? I actually don’t agree with the opinions stated in this post anymore, but I’m leaving it unedited because LOL TATSUYA)