Manabi Straight Press

Does the role of Momoha Otori in Manabi Straight reflect a particular philosophy about press and its place in self-regulating societies?

I don’t think I can jump and say that the specific circumstances reflected by Manabi Straight Episodes 8-10 parallels some larger, real-world political situation. Maybe it is similar to some real-world student movements within the confine of schools, I don’t know. At any rate that is not what I want to discuss. It is more relevant from looking at how Momo is written to be this detached, aloof individual who records the actions of the student government and understand the plight of those girls first-hand. She reports that, the plight. That is exactly where Momo plays her role in the show–to show the viewer, what she reports is the truth, albeit re-arranged in her own ways.

In a sense, this is very different than the typical view of the press in the typical student council-type anime. Pretty much the view of the press in the school setting is the opposite–some self-motivated go-getter whose objective is to sensationalize by characterization to troll viewership. Even in the latest Hyouka episodes, the relationship between people and press comes out a little closer to a classified service. Which is, coincidentally, how the press is for a lot of people who have to directly work with the people behind mainstream press orgs, in the real world. It’s better than zero-sum, but invariably it feels a degree removed from what the audience understands as truth. Perhaps both ways of viewing the press understand that ultimately the press, still, functions as a narrator or a storyteller. There’s some kind of narrative which invariably spins in some way. It’s really just if this spin reflects some acceptable version of what we feel is truthful.

Of course, the truth is not so simple. The great thing (perhaps the one of many concepts that played out in the show which earns its self-titled moniker “utopia”) about Momoha in that story is that despite the truth isn’t a very complicated thing (eg., they need % support to make the festival happen), how the people understood even such a simple situation varied greatly, and reacted to it very differently. While ultimately Momo is appealing to emotion for Mutsuki and Mei, when she hijacked the broadcast, the effect of something relatively simple becomes profound because people understood it very differently, and now they get to see something they couldn’t (ie., why the student council desperately wanted the festival to happen). It’s the kind of activist behavior that we typically do not associate “real” press with. It’s different than, for example, the promotion video, which is suppose to impress, even if it also is informational.

In essence, that is the role of the press. Or rather, it’s what happens after just the facts. There is a lot of space in which the press re-arrange and re-mix something simple and give it depth to tell something that is beyond the surface. Say politician wants policy X to happen, the press’s job is to tell the world why the politician wants it to pass, etc. To an extent, that is exactly what the public needs to know to make informed decisions in a democratic society. I think that’s kind of at the heart of the way Manabi Straight depicts Momo’s role.

Of course, what passes for moving and amusing montages of cute girls doing cute things in one place is sappy political propaganda of opposition party platform at the other place, in another world. Once we go beyond the facts, it might be fair game for anything and everything. But blah, that’s no good. It’s important to recognize that understanding the perspective of an other is actually the ultimate calling in interpersonal communication and one of the greatest achievement for journalism in my mind.

5 Responses to “Manabi Straight Press”

  • jpmeyer

    Does the role of Momoha Otori in Manabi Straight reflect a particular philosophy about press and its place in self-regulating utopias?

  • Author

    Shingu – Inagaki-sempai – somewhat unusual representation of press as well

    Also – LOL role of the press in democratic society when institutional press always was a lapdog of ugliest liberal fascism in those societies; democracy lives DESPITE the press

    • omo

      I think a more fitting read is to realize how useless Momoha seems to be as a member of functional democracies and realize that despite Momo being in bed with the institution, democracy lives despite her seeming ineptitude.

  • sea world coupons

    SHERRY · Way to tough out that swim!And… oh my goodness, I FELT that cannon blow while I was reading this. Seriously, my heart did a little flip flop. I can only imagine what it was like to hear IRL.

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