Archive for April, 2008

The Lunar New Year: (3) Differences in anime and literature

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I have been unable to sleep early since the onset of my sickness. Since I have ideas still roiling around in my head, I decided it would be best to write another post (it would also bring me closer to my aim of fifteen posts).

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This book is worthless.

I gave some of my books today to a friend of mine. There was supposed to be a gift exchange among the different students of Biology (my course) for last year’s Christmas, but I wasn’t able to give that friend anything (since I picked him from the lottery) until yesterday. I gave So Human an Animal, Hyperion, and Greenmantle. All are notable novels to some extent, but they simply did not appeal to me. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, however.

I decided to give it to that friend of mine because he loved reading about different things and would probably appreciate the ideas of those books I gave him. I chose the novels in such a way that they had variety in them: every single book was different from one another that if he failed to like one or the other, there remained another option. This experience made me think.

Not everyone likes Honey and Clover, even though I think it’s the best anime series ever. It can be noted that the writer of that article also dislikes Twelve Kingdoms. While the reasons may be very valid, for example someone’s irritation with the character designs of Honey and Clover, as they are admittedly unique, there may be some reasons also that simply stem from the personality of the viewer.

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Real looks like an actress . . .

I’m sure how the viewer was raised up or grew contributed to his future choices and decisions (even as supposedly simple as choice of anime series), and I’m also sure most of us will never know the reasons why one likes this and the other likes that. However, do we even need to?

Anime, first and foremost, is a medium meant for entertainment. It is not like literature in that some literature aim simply to make people think either in its sense or nonsense. I fervently believe that The Sound and the Fury was written like that because it did not mean to entertain in the first place: it meant to force people to think, to intellectualize and experience how the thoughts of a retardate, an intelligent madman, and a rational asshole flow all within the same nuclear family. If it meant to entertain primarily, the story won’t have been written in such a method.

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. . . and he looks like a model

Anime, however, even at its bleakest and most complicated, is a medium meant to entertain first then to provoke thought second. Things are just like that. For even with the supposedly labyrinthine anime like Ergo Proxy, the heroes are very cute and pleasing to the eyes (Re-l was hot; Vincent was a bishie). There are no ugly leads. Because as long as one is entertained, even if he or she didn’t understand the totality of the (non)story, he will remain attracted to the series (even if only to the lead character), and this makes money for the studios.

And as long as enough money is made, both sides are happy. The cycle returns again to its starting state.

P.S. I finished this post at almost three in the morning. If I ever wrote something wrong, kindly address me in the comments. 🙂

The Lunar New Year: (2) Contextuality in media

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Remember that post I wrote when I was in a state of fever? I didn’t offer anything new but tried to confirm the murkiness of Code Geass. However, I did try reading about postcolonialism by essays of established critics (as to glean more information on the literary movement where Derek Walcott belongs). I’ve read those essays because I thought those were what was recommended by my professor. However, when I revealed the book to him and asked help from him, he was shocked at me. For one, he noted, even he as a graduate student had difficulty reading those critics; for another, those essays weren’t the ones he wanted me to read. He wanted me to read about the author, not about the theory, which was infinitely more complex. (more…)

The Lunar New Year: (1) We murder to dissect

Monday, April 28th, 2008

While I’m still unsure as to whether I can pull this feat off, I don’t back down on things that I’ve said: so here I go. I’m not going to write 3000-word posts everyday, but I’ll try to write morsels of thought that would hopefully bring you guys to vote for me. I tried searching for a good category for 15 posts, and I found that my ancestors celebrated their Lunar New Year in 15 days. So I decided simply to call it my Lunar New Year. I hope you like the title. 🙂

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We murder to dissect.

This is a line from William Wordsworth’s poem The Tables Turned. I have not culled it directly from his poem, however, but from So Human an Animal by Rene Dubos (as far as I know, no, he’s not related to Andre Dubus III). The choice of book was a departure from normality: I usually read classic novels or critically-acclaimed contemporary ones, and the book was neither. All the book had going for it was a Pulitzer Prize (it won in 1969 for General Non-fiction) and a cheap price-tag. I bought it anyway as it was cheap (I bought it months ago, and only picked up the book because I was being attacked by boredom, sickness and an inability to sleep). But like most books I’ve bought in the past, I tried finishing it.

Since I only read timeless novels for the most part (that’s why they’re called classics!), I was surprised at how badly the book aged with time. Although it had grains of knowledge, I found the book to be an indictment of society without offering any real solutions. I’m glad, however, because it referred to a lot of writers, and introduced me to that wonderful line.

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Smiling in the face of death

Guncannon, in one of the rare times we chatted directly with one another on IRC, told me he had only contempt for those who over-analyzed things (and I admit, I am a victim of that sometimes). Having grown and delighted in literary analysis, I tend to look too much into things at times. When I discovered this line, however, I was delighted. Wordsworth was indeed a genius.

We murder to dissect. Has anyone noticed that in their attempt to peg meaning into the anime that they watch, they have also disfigured it and murdered its content in some way? Daniel posted regarding Code Geass and its tension with colonialism, and it was incisive. However, one does not know if that was the message the writers truly wanted to deliver. In his interpretation of Geass’s message, he may have transformed the anime into something that it wasn’t. Somehow, he has intellectually murdered what it was for perhaps the writers as well as most people so that he could offer insight on it. But isn’t that alright? While I’m not a fan of murder (as anyone sane isn’t), all of us as anime watchers intentionally or unintentionally transform, disfigure, or mutilate the series that we are watching through our own interpretations. But if that fosters discussion, promotes knowledge, and in the end develops wisdom, what is a little murder of concepts? After all, in its murder, the phoenix of intelligence is allowed to rise once more.

My campaign post and my electoral platform

Monday, April 28th, 2008

First and foremost, I appreciate everyone who has nominated me as Most Thought-Provoking Blog in the Anime Blog Awards. I truly appreciate the support, and I am truly grateful. I wouldn’t have been here without your support. This is certainly one of the pinnacles in my career as an anime blogger.

But it hopefully doesn’t stop there. I would like your vote. However, I don’t have the loudness, the controversy, the establishment, or the degree that my competitors have. (In truth, I don’t have much to go for me.) However, I can say that I have written regarding anime (dating from my very first blog) for more than two years already, and I have tried my best to write posts in such a way as to foment discussion and critical thinking. While I have been successful for the most part (at least, that’s what most of my comments and commentators say), I have also had fiascos occur at times. I try to be very honest as a writer, and sometimes the emotions do get in the way, but I have tried to be consistent as a writer that provokes thought (even before the awards were started).

What do I have for me?

  1. I have tried to create a niche within the anime niche by the juxtaposition of anime with different media: most of the time, however, the medium of comparison I have used is literature or cinema;
  2. I believe I have been open with regard to my life in general, and as even just as a blogger I’m very proud of that;
  3. I believe I am the only Filipino blogger who has qualified for voting among all the categories (so vote for me, kababayan!);
  4. I attempt to deliver a message as concisely as possible (but I fail at times);
  5. I have never deleted any post detrimental to me, any critical comment, or anything negative that has been posted; I have been very open to opinions and change them when I become convinced that to change is better; I have tried to be nice whenever I reply to my commentators (although I don’t think I can be as nice as Jeff); finally, I have no gimmickry with regard to my writing (except for this one, and for my link posting on IRC): I have rarely written articles that were made simply to incite and created no unnecessary drama.

I think those mean something.

If you’re still unconvinced, however, I will write fifteen posts in the span of fifteen days which hopefully will convince you. While they will discuss and traverse different territories of anime and manga, I hope that at the very least one of them will convince the blogger/reader reading this to vote for me. 🙂

Cheers.

Existentialism and its discontents: for those of us who do not believe in God

Monday, April 28th, 2008

To be entirely honest, I did not expect to want to write about something today. I wrote about the impossibility of deriving meaning from Code Geass just yesterday (under my pyrexia I also cursed), and I have also completed a blog post two days before that. Honestly, I haven’t been as productive as this since the latter half of last year!

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I searched Danbooru for god, and this is what came out
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Allusions of postmodernism and postcolonialism in Code Geass: what the fuck am I smoking?

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

I’m very sure that no one delights in disease or sickness unless one’s a crackpot, which I assume no one reading this blog is. (My mind’s stoned right now, I think. I feel very high.)

Having said this, I realized that it is a boon when your mind and body are in a pyrexic, intense, and excited state with regard to writing. Perhaps the heat allows the nerves to conduct faster, I don’t know. I totally understand why my professor said he loved Finnegans Wake back when he was sick with a high fever, though. As for me, I just notice that the words come out more freely. Like the madeleine found in Swann’s Way, a reminiscence triggers the remembrance of another memory, and in this case I thought about Seth’s post on You Have to Burn the Rope. (more…)

An attempt in gender studies: homosexuality in anime and literature

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Three days ago, before I got sick, I had a choice: I could either purchase The Folding Star by Alan Hollinghurst or some expensive lavender shampoo. At first glance the two seem to be disparate from one another; of course, they are. However, they shared two attributes: first, they were both involved with lavender (The Folding Star had a lavender cover); and second, both were expensive enough that I could only purchase one of them. (more…)

We desperately need your help.

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

While I’m saddened that my confessions didn’t do too well, a bigger problem is at hand. Dreamhost, the hosting provider of Animeblogger, has threatened Maestro to shut down the blogs. Maestro said on IRC:

if they refuse to accept anything but the upgrade options we’ll have our hosting with them deleted, and that’ll wipe most of the blogs pretty much overnight

Please don’t let this happen. Please help us. If push ever comes to shove, I would be one of the first most willing to go back to my old anime blog at WordPress. But while help is still possible, the donation link is to your right (in my home page).

Clearing things up: why I’m writing about literature in a supposedly anime blog, passions, and history

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I thought that I had already resolved this issue with my writing in the past, but a close friend of mine had asked me why I wrote about literature so much. I also believe I have alienated some people with regard to my writing style, use of rhetoric, or some idiosyncrasy of mine, so I will try to set things straight (although I doubt I can change how I write at all). It still helps to clear things up. I believe that in this post a quasi-Wittgenstein approach is apt, so without further ado, I will begin. (more…)

Impressions and revisitations: why first impressions are very fickle

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Every time there is a new season, bloggers come out with their first impressions of shows that have caught their attention. I often shy away from these kinds of posts because no two individual tastes are alike. Even the most similar individuals have some peculiarity and idiosyncrasy to them. I would rather test the waters of the season myself. I do not, however, live in a vacuum. There are some people whose opinions I trust to recommend a good show. (more…)