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March 2017 Update: Sword Art Online and Naruto are Good, Actually

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I’ve never understood the hipster mentality. While it’s true that not all popular things are good, I don’t see the point of getting mad about the duds or attacking the fans for being mindless sheeple or whatever. Take Sword Art Online, for instance. This series has a laundry list of flaws but the Youtube reviews in particular blow them way out of proportion. What is it about SAO that inspires so much ire? I have no idea, since its narrative flaws exist in just about every mediocre anime ever. Even if I disliked the series, it’s just not worth the energy to rant about.

The above paragraph is fairly moot since I actually like SAO, and I wrote multiple articles this month apologising for it. On Anime News Network, I wrote a piece on Reki Kawahara’s career, arguing that he’s improved as an author over the years and that SAO is mostly the product of his amateur web novel author days. On Crunchyroll, I praised SAO‘s visuals and pointed out that the anime is a good adaptation of the novels, all things said and done.

All this SAO talk was in anticipation of the Ordinal Scale movie. I was particularly looking forward to it because I got the opportunity to write interview questions for the creators, and I knew beforehand just how much love and hard work had been poured into it. The film was a pure fanservice from start to finish, but let’s not interpret that in a negative light. I think iblessall put it best in his review of the movie:

…it was delightful to see Ordinal Scale speaking a language only those who care about this franchise—warts and all—can understand. In the moment when we see Starburst Stream unleashed once again or Yuuki’s spirit embracing Asuna as the Mother’s Rosario Sword Skill appears in a burst of purple lights, the film clearly, unavoidably asks but one thing of its audience: “Remember. Because if you remember how you felt when you watched Sword Art Online, this is for you.”

I’m sure that this film has its fair share of detractors, but Ordinal Scale was unquestioningly Sword Art Online at its best (to me, at least). Can we finally agree that SAO has its legitimate good points?

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Reflections on 2016: Getting into Sakuga… Sort of

2016 was the year the sakuga cartel enacted their sinister plan of world domination. For years, they had been lying in wait, angrily debating the best Megumi Kouno cut behind closed doors. But now, they have moved out into the open. You can find these diabolical nerds in the streets, dancing around the statues of Naoko Yamada they have erected using Precure and Doremi storyboards and genga sheets. But worst of all, you can find them wherever you can find anime fans, crying over their favourite anime and arguing about pointless shit on twitter.

That’s right, any of us could be an agent for the sakuga cartel… even you or me.

mob-psycho-100-reigen

“Say what?!?!?!”

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Why I Only Follow One Anime Per Season

anime diagramThis diagram explains the gist of it.

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Translation Theory for Anime Fans: How to Critique Translation

Let’s start today’s post with a Youtube video.

What’s interesting about this guy’s take on fansubbing is that he brings up translation theorists in order to justify his argument that fansubs are Objectively Bad Translations. This is something you should probably take with a grain of salt. It’s really easy for an academic’s work to be oversimplified when it’s being talked about in a non-academic environment. Even if the argument itself is presented accurately enough, the context around it might not be. In other words, someone might present an academic theory as fact when a theory is really just a theory.

This is relevant to the world of translation because, if you read any of the modern theories, they’re pretty much all in agreement that what makes a good translation is… um… well… it depends.

Seriously, that’s what it comes down to.

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I wrote fanfiction for nine years

Kaoru-and-Tsukasa-WTF-facesHO-LY CRAP.

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“Identity through Inou-Battle” or「エンドレスパラドックス!!!」

This is a collaboration post with ZeroReq011 from Therefore It is. In Zero’s words, this is “somewhat of a general review, somewhat of a thematic analysis, and somewhat just two anime dorks having fun with words, roleplay, and other nerd geek weaboo stuff.” Hope you enjoy!

ZeroReq011: It’s a pseudo-harem set-up day at school. Four girls. One guy. The standout quirk of said guy is that he’s a–

Frog-kun: Zero, what are you–

ZeroReq011: INVASION BITCH

Frog-kun: O-Oh my God…

ZeroReq011: Don’t worry. She respawns.

Frog-kun: W-W-Why…

ZeroReq011: Because chuunibyou. Chuuni. I’m practicing my chuuni impression for this piece. You like it? Come now, you know I’m not actually evil.

Frog-kun: …r–

ZeroReq011: –ight then!

When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace 1

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de.Inou-Battle for short. The one guy and four girls (okay, five girls, but her ship’s sunk pretty early on) are inexplicably granted superpowers. Naturally, they continue with their commonplace school lives.

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I Miss Being A “Filthy Casual”

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I’ve grown up watching anime. Even if I haven’t seen as many titles as some of the more hardcore fans (I’ve completed over 500 titles, and of them around 340 are full-length TV series), I’ve still spent more time watching, thinking and writing about anime than I care to admit.

But you know what? None of this makes me a better fan than the person who only watches Naruto or Bleach. And in a lot of ways, I kind of envy those who can dedicate themselves to a small number of anime. Lately, I feel as if I’ve been losing perspective on what it is about anime that drew me to it in the first place.

In other words: I miss being a casual.

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Advertising New Anime Blogs [Liebster Award]

The year is 2014. Japanese cartoons featuring googly-eyed anime girls have taken over the world. What better way to spend your days in this post-apocalyptic world than to start a blog where you can freely complain write about your love of anime?

In all seriousness, I really encourage anime fans to express themselves and to get involved in the community. So here’s a post advertising some up-and-coming blogs under the guise of an award.

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We Are All Weaboos On The Inside

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This is a scientifically proven fact.

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Hyperreality and Spheres of Interpretation, Or Why Fanfiction Is SODEEP

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Writing stories is one of those things that for some reason people seem to think is a cheap and easy thing to do until they actually get around to trying it themselves. Fanfiction authors have it the worst, of course. In theory, people know that a fanfiction can be good. Unfortunately, most fanfiction is crap. The reason that this is so is because, even more so than regular writing, fanfiction is incredibly hard to pull off convincingly.

I wrote this post to shed some insight on the fanfiction writing process – but of course most of this does apply to original writing as well, so anyone interested in stories and how they’re constructed should find this useful in some way. It’s a lot more involved than it looks.

Note: This is a lengthy post, which delves into academia and literary theory. I’ll try to explain it all in an accessible way, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t call this light reading.

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