The Threads of Life

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For people new to my blog you might not know that I am one of those crummy old nerds in this fandom space who poop on certain words. I have a thing for “slice of life” as you might know. But lately I’ve came up with a new way to define it: it’s the negative space in which Western fans lack the proper words and tools to describe, thus this life-like catch-all terms all these great anime, from Rozen Maiden to Shirobako. And yeah I’m being facetious with those examples, to make things clear.

I mean, it’s a theme lately but today I found in my mailbox this solicitation. I wanted to laugh, except I was at work. It’s such a great head turner that it took me a while to realize they’re charging people money to watch stuff they might not have a license to screen. The fliers in the email solicitation looked half-way like something photoshopped from the internet, the other half way like actual covers of manga. Are they anime bloggers? Please don’t be anime bloggers. Or more like, they’re doing this most likely because they aren’t. I don’t know. They certainly don’t know they can’t just J-List this and get away with it, with anyone serious.

Anyway, I found some sense of peace with the term once I stopped thinking about it descriptively. Maybe that’s the reason why so many people put up with the terrible terminology and stick to its usefulness. I just think it’s a misguided term that precisely causes people to think about things the wrong way as per that solicitation. I mean, real life nerds like anything in anime ended with Genshiken season one. In so far as much as real life nerds are liken to anything on Big Bang Theory, we are matching people to caricatures. The usefulness of that exercise, at this time, seems less than the eventual butthurt that it will invariably results in, not to mention it just seems like a waste of time and effort.

To go back to the solicitation, it also feels like a general lack of context, or the usual appropriation going on, guides that train of thought. But I guess I’m more or less not going to bother with mentioning that in detail unless it is unusually interesting–pretty much every western social group oriented around anime has to cope with that problem.

I think they should all just sit down and marathon Saekano or Seizon or something. Really dig into it and grasp what they’re saying. The problem with lax reading is perhaps endemic to anime, but a rigorous read on those material really can yield insight as to why people think and say the things they think and say in those light novels. And that’s more valuable than doing this pattern recognition thing and not understanding why there’s a pattern. Endemic probably because often people don’t want to take entertainment seriously. It’s like folks don’t realize the Shakespearean plays they read for school are no different to the people of the time.


4 Responses to “The Threads of Life”

  • TheBigN

    It is such a catch all, but I like how this group tried to phrase it rather than saying “cute girls doing cute things”, as how people who are derisive of “those works” tend to list it.

    • omo

      It’s easy to say that, after all you also like these shows, so it’s easy to like people who like these shows.

      But is that really for the best? Wouldn’t we want some opinions that are critical too?

  • TheBigN

    Of course. But while selfish, I’d also like criticism on “my terms”, and using my terms, I guess.

    • omo

      That’s a pretty big barrier to real criticism, then. I mean hearing what you don’t like to hear is usually the fastest way to get to the point. Seems rude to expect others to bend over backwards for you.

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