Category Archives: English Language Modern Visual Fandom

Adults Should Be Able to Tell Fantasy from Reality

I was reading the ANN Forums on the latest #kickvic topic and it is pretty easy to spot out the one or two posters who takes that Shield Hero narrative. I quote here:

Here is my issue with this whole thing. These rumors have existed for years and there is supposed evidence and testimonies and even his voice colleagues yet he was still getting jobs and invited to cons. 

if there is evidence, charges should be pressed and taken to the police and not to the internet mob. 

and as for the voice colleagues, their words are as good as dirt. The guy is a supposed sexual predator. Yet you still worked with him or never came forward publicly before so either A. They were worried about their careers making them complicit, B. They didn’t care or C. They are lying. 

But like, I think this is the fantasy that almost never happens. Occam’s Razor for one, but also just statistics is stacked against that one White Male Privilege Celebrity.

The Shield Hero story here is precisely that some well-intended man unintentionally crosses line to be accused for some male-privilege violation when in reality it wasn’t even that bad, and is probably forgivable. But this is neither here or there in Vic’s case–there is a clearly established pattern of abuse already. Granted, the facts on the situation is not always clear, and we definitely only know partial information, but the information present is largely condemning (some are questionably condemning), so thus here we are.

But I think given the play on our sense of justice, the internet mob is often and too often the first destination. This is what breeds that “SJW” mentality but also the other “hands that clap back” such as GG and whatever anti or alt groups out there. I think the real perversion of justice however is the wasted energy talking about this, and not realizing there are actual victims and there are actual things people can do to improve the situation, all sorts different things many people can do in very different capacities.

Only if people are mature enough to distinguish fantasy from reality.

[By the way I’m going to Japan later this month, also some family/friends obligation in other countries as well. See you WUG-side. And yes I will try to finish my Year-in-Review post…]


Tone Deaf Hero

[Rather than finishing my year in review, here goes a diversion.]

I too watched the first/preview episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero adaptation. It was a bit compelling but probably slightly more uncomfortable than compelling. The problem I have with it is its narrative voice. It reads(?) like someone is writing a light novel that target incels as the audience. That in itself is not terrible but seeing a show pandering to someone, no matter who, is not a great sign. It is not about the false accusation of rape, but the construction of the characters and motives surrounding it, that marks it poorly for the online lynch mob. (BTW linking Jeko because my post is basically a rebuttal of his and reading that motivated me to write this one.)

This post came to my mind primarily because, well, you can have a dramatic story about a hero who was falsely accused of rape, and not be misogynistic. He is right in that the innocent accused alone doesn’t make it per se misogynistic. So what makes Shield Hero so misogynistic thus far? Shield Hero is misogynistic because it reduces the women in the story to less than human specifically to further its emotional narrative. This is exactly what incels do as a fundamental concept to their cause. Of course, this is just based on one episode and I should overall disclaim that I don’t know what the story is like after this point besides from reading the Wiki entry. Given the quality of the story and the way the events are presented, though, I don’t expect it to be anything good. I certainly could be wrong (well, am I really wrong on SAO)?

So far in the series, things are not so offensive because, well, even the main character is hardly beyond a pile of tropes and I think even Nasu Kinoko wrote more compelling characters in the 90s than this. It is below par for the course for this genre. When you are eyeballing a pile of trash, that pile of trash is a bunch of trash, so even the bad ideas fail to be that terrible. I enjoyed Shield Hero e1’s general production quality (I guess it was technically the preview, so not the actual first episode). The baseline concept is not the worst among all the isekai light novel adaptations I’ve watched in the past couple years. I do like how the different heroes came from different versions of Japan. I even like (based on Wikipedia) how the main character grows to trust his female slaves over time, despite his trust issues with people, and despite that they had to actually utilize slavery as a key story element and not just some side dressing.

The unfortunate thing is, you can tell a story about a guy who suffers through all these common psychological issues without framing it using modern misogyny. Albeit almost as bad, but last year’s How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord similarly tacked this issue in a subplot without too much ick. (Although I was swimming in quite a bit of ick as is at the time.) I guess it is cool and hip and meme-worthy with some folks to tell a story Shield Hero tells. I am not particularly arsed by this because, ultimately, this is a work of fiction (and fantasy at that) and mature viewers (definitely not appropriate to show this kind of thing to children without parental guidance) should be able to realize what it is.

I think the story could be a lot better right off the bat by basing the main character not as a freeloader nerd laughing at bitches in his light novel. That is totally not the right way to start this story. If we want to go heavy with a fake rape accusal, Shield Hero will have to open with some heavier story elements, rather than just giving us the dumb lines he has been saying and the defensive (and borderline hypocritical) attitudes alone. I mean, maybe this indicates the author’s attitude about this particular plot element. It also doesn’t help, even before encountering the rape accusations, the main guy came across like a giant tool to begin with, and his cheerful “hey I’m in an Isekai Light Novel wink-wink-wink” attitude was the only thing that makes me want to root for him. This is also why that whole rape not-trial scene seemed really trite and a giant pander to incel thinking–as literally here’s a guy don’t own up to their tool-ness and blame others for their own failures, even if it may be a natural reaction and he might have a case for it. It’s a simple lesson in narrative storytelling–you are not suppose to be presenting facts of an internet argument to win your viewers’ sympathy. In terms of trustworthiness, our hero has very little one episode in because he has not done anything to earn any, so his plight also will ring hollow in the hearts of the viewers. Worse, it makes you think who would? Someone who was falsely accused of rape too? LOL.

Hopefully all those things I mentioned are just setup for future character development. It should be clear that despite the misogynist elements in this particular light novel turned anime, the core of the story is very, uh, staple, to use a nicer word. There is too much poor execution, so much unoriginality, enough to blunt of any strong message it wants to actually send at this point. I think it’s a lot easier, if you want to talk about misogyny regarding Shield Hero, to run a Bechdel test after the season is over. Truth is anyone who still want to discuss after sticking around probably already have their minds made up.

PS. How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord is a fun, but really bad mary sue sort of a story. It makes SAO S1 look good (aside from the fact that SAO S1 does…look quite good, but that’s not what I mean). And now we have something even more problematic. Dare I predict in another 2 years we will have even worse garbage (and I will probably still watch it….). Or, I can’t believe Death March is the best generic Isekai anime in the past year. Well it does have Suki no Skill…


Explaining Anisong World Matsuri 2018: Part 1

What does Anisong World Matsuri do? Can I eat it?

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Dissonant Antarctica

I read this and like, I have a very different impression of Yorimoi. Let me quote:

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than The Universe) is remarkably well done. Before the season started, I fully expected it to be a trite “cute-girls-doing-cute-things” fluff piece about high school girls having implausibly canned adventures in Antarctica. However, it turns out Yorimoi adopts a serious attitude toward exploring the logistics required and examining just how something like this might actually be accomplished. I take it as a triumph of original anime that the story seems well thought out and enjoyable in ways that are often missing from anime adaptations of preexisting works, particularly when such anime try hard (to their detriment) to closely follow the source material.

Wait, so Yurucamp TV, a manga adaptation that is all about the details of doing camping as a bunch of high school girls in the fall/winter time frame, does not adopt a serious attitude towards exploring the logistics required and examining just how something like camping might actually be accomplished? Are we even watching the same things?

Disclosure: I dropped Yorimoi like 3 episodes in, as I didn’t buy in to any of the main characters except the tarento. It’s not a trite “cute-girls-doing-cute-things” fluff piece. It’s an “annoying-girls-doing-weird-things” piece, where I often find the characters obnoxious and incorrigible, for weird character development reasons I’m sure they’ll explore later but I can’t be bothered to care–or stick around long enough to find out. I guess it also doesn’t help that Antarctica is not that an exotic location to me, since I’ve read up about it over the years following research that was done down there, and talked to a guy who spent some time there. The show itself is well done, I think, but the posture came across as too full of itself and there’s a degree of calculatedness that runs against my expectation of something that’s more organic in the making.

Actually Yurucamp gets it. What Yorimoi might take a season to do, Yurucamp does it in 1 to 2 episodes. And in essence, it does what I want to see, and just keeps on doing it. How many times did the girls in Yorimoi go to Antartica yet? (I guess episode 8 by the time of this writing.) It doesn’t need that setup. I don’t need to be hit in the face with your quirky personality quirks every few minutes. That some people in Japan have the balls to make a story about high schoolers wanting to go to Antartica, in 2017 terms, is just too much for me to take seriously–except it’s a serious anime! I’d rather watch a show where a bunch of Japanese high schoolers try to raise fund for a summer vacation in New York City–at least I find their destination worth investing in terms of my emotions and attention span. After all, NYC too is quite far, basically it’s as far as another world.

It’s worth examining what “cute-girls-doing-cute-things” mean for each work. I’ve been watching anime since the 90s, at least following TV anime with any real interests, and this descriptor dates back well even before that. I remember watching Magic Knight Rayearth–cute girls doing isekai RPG but in a meta way–and that was already a pretty solid framing of this notion. If somehow the Kirara-manga-adaptation brand has altered this category by flooding the market with trendy cute-girls-doing-not-much anime, please show how this is the case. I can understand, say, shows like Jinsei or Anne-Happy, or something, don’t get into the nitty gritty–but they aren’t shows about doing something. I just don’t understand the criticism as applied to manga or light novel adaptation in which the details are omitted, in which we can apply “cute-girls-doing-cute-thing” tag to. Death March? That is not even in the same genre. Slow Start and Mitsuboshi Colors? Yeah okay, but they aren’t about doing anything specific really (well, Slow Start is about mental trauma, I guess, and Mitsuboshi is about brats being brats). Koizumi is like Yurucamp that they are both very meticulous about specifics, and adopt from manga. Does that leave Takunomi as the only show that fits Evirus’s description?

I just don’t think that statement has any merit. In the scope of things Yorimoi is well-put-together, and there’s a strong feeling of production value? But I find the writing and direction betraying the same expectation in a negative way instead.


Year In Review 2017: Twelve Twelves

Anime industry exists because it’s a miracle.

I’ve been really busy this month, despite the lack of events. But here it goes–trying to scramble something together to introspect a year’s worth of content consumption. Introspection is worthwhile, and a tradition of doing it is a good idea. I don’t know how much of it is entertaining or informative for someone not me, though. Still, here goes.

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