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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Metropolitan Animation Nation

Think about some of the best and most popular anime you've ever seen... What do a lot of them have in common, other than a great plot? Well if you're anything like me, you find that those anime have as their setting a metropolitan area at some point.

There's one anime that comes to mind faster than the others, and its Bleach. Bleach starts out from Ichigo's perspective as a young guy in high school who lives in a urban or semi-urban area. He can see ghosts, because that's an attention getter lol. More importantly he can see ghosts in the streets of the city he lives in. By combining, supernatural themes and semi-futuristic urban motifs, Bleach has earned itself an automatic ticket to anime popularity. If only for the fact that it appeals toward two large demographics, namely those who kind of like supernatural themes and people who wouldn't mind living in or near a large metro area. Wait I forgot that it also appeals to the plug and play demographic of slightly uncomplicated good guy versus bad guy storytelling. Either way its a good shonen anime that involves a metro backdrop.

Then there's your hit or miss anime, the ones you either like or you watch and move on.

Akira is one of them. You've got some teenage punks, throw in some motorbikes but wait don't stop there add in an experimental agency that imbues people with high potential with psychic powers, and you have Akira! Akira is one of those anime you need a buddy to watch with, kind of like the buddy system used to keep people safe in the city. It has that Blade Runner meets Kill Bill kind of feeling, that also meets you in dreamland (if you're either lucky or unlucky). Moral there, don't cause too much of a commotion, especially on bikes, and quite especially as a nihilistic punk in the city.

Then there's Durarara, also involving a motorcycle and urban life. In it, there's an urban legend about a headless biker and the main character seems to have some run ins with a suspicious biker that might fit that description. Japan, being largely urban due to its small land space is very likely to have a supernatural urban pop culture with one key result being the popularity of urban legends. People from rural or suburban areas aren't keen on urban legends, well probably because of the disconnect or just because they don't believe in a social setting based legend type thing. But people from urban areas are OK with them and accept them as a way of defining their existential journey. Just like a rural citing of a UFO might cause talk in the town, an urban legend could cause a ripple or even a small stir in the large population of a city. Either way, Durara is that kind of anime. That kind of reminds me of the Persona series, especially Persona 4 which has the same theme but with more... crime?

Japan, being the country containing the city of Tokyo has countless Tokyo based anime and also Tokyo-suburb based anime. Even if the city setting isn't Tokyo by name, most anime have a large Tokyo-like city as a backdrop to the rest of the story. The list of these kinds of anime that just use a city backdrop could be endless: Yu Yu Hakusho, Great Teacher Onizuka, The World God Only Knows, C The Money of Soul and Possibility, Love Hina, Ah My Goddess, Chobits, xxxHolic, Birdy the Mighty, Denpa Onna, and the list could probably go on and on... forever!

This might only explain why anime may be more popular among metropolitan inclined persons, more than those who would rather set up their lives in the suburbs or the countryside... So maybe if you're a bored anime fan with nothing to do little-Japan area of your city is your best bet for a fun day out! :D

Monday, April 6, 2015

Supervillain's Finishing Moves, Wait...

Can anyone tell me what the best part of a shounen anime is? Most people would say, the cool powers or awesome feats of heroism. You want to know what the absolute bestest part of a shounen anime is?

The Supervillain's Finishing Moves

Or lack therof...

Let's examine some failed attempts at triumph that our favorite characters have tried so desperately to have one more chance in the limelight, shall we? (With videos, of course) (Definite Spoilers)

RK, Makoto Shishio - The Death Clock Ticks to Ka...(put)

Long story short, don't attach a time frame to your life...

One Piece, Rob Lucci - The Very Angry Full Body Metamorphosis 

Maybe it would've worked if he was a caterpillar...

Guerren Lagan - The "I-don't-need-this-mech", Yes You Do!

Bleach, Ulquirra - The Last Form that Could Have Used More Spazz (unlike Ichigo)

Naruto Shippuden, Pain Bodies - The Anything You Can Do, Pain Bodies Will Try To

Because only an AMV can contain this one...

Yu Yu Hakuso,Toguro - The Maybe College Calc Class Might Have Helped, 100 Percent

Maybe common sense too... What percentage of common sense was he on?

And the last but certainly not the least

But the most awesome

bad guy ever...

The Melancholy of Haruhi, Haruhi - The Tsundere Law of Attraction, Chu (OwO)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Luffy's Bad Vices...

Face it, we all know someone with some pret-ty bad vices. We all want the best for this person, but they never change. They're on a rocket course for oblivion and taking everyone around them in first-class seats. Why won't they ever stop if they know what's best for them? Well there's one anime character with the absolute worst vices of them all...

Monkey D. Luffy

Luffy is on a crash course, careening for self-destruction. A collection of bad vices, that will lead him to some pretty horrible places. There's something you can learn from such a failure at wising up that you can't learn from your genius parents...

1. Food addictions and binging

2. Fast commitments 

3. General disregard for bodily safety

4. Being hopelessly deluded

5. Attraction to dangerous situations and characters

6. Oblivious to stereotypes, societal classes and rules

7. Are you infected with Shounen-ism?

Friday, April 3, 2015

LGBTQ Characters in Anime

If there's any kind of media that's tolerant of all kinds of peoples, it's probably anime. Popular media in general is welcoming and making new roles for LGBTQ characters. However, popular media kind of only sees LGBTQ people as kind of sexual (or sex-u-al), as if they don't have their own unique personality traits and quirks that make them cool characters in their own right. Anime, takes LGBTQ characters to the next level and gives them cool anime traits that make them kind of awesome, anime awesome...

Tiger and Bunny's Fire Emblem

The epitome of lean, refined muscle and an inferno of firepower. The perfect shounen hero, except that he would rather choose between Tiger or Bunny than any of the other characters in the show. At first, he seems very flamboyant almost like the poster child for the gay Afro-character but as the show goes on he becomes a true hero. That's because in addition to being on a show for heroes he is actually fearless, cares for, and protects the weak. Check out a cool AMV with Fire Emblem right below, it's from our own studio and youtube channel.

MM!'s Mio Isurugi

Mio comes off as a girly girl and she is. But psychologically, Mio is a dom and can never actually be a girly girl. She'd rather have a stereotypically male role than a female role, which makes her different, sort of like she can walk both sides of the street. Through the show, she unlocks her peer's inner hentai or variation from the norms of attraction. Just by being around her, one guy came out of the closet and the other main character, the male lead Taro Sado, was able to express his own masochistic desires to the max. Making Mio Isurugi and the Taro a compatible match, but not the straightforward average heterosexual pair.

One Piece's Emporio Ivankov

The Okama Kingdom in One Piece, is a social community of LGBTQ located in one of the lower levels of Impel Down, the most deadly prison in One Piece. Impel Down is famous of destroying the hopes and dreams of the toughest pirates and criminals. It has levels dedicated to subzero temperatures and some levels dedicated to arctic temperatures, others to bloodthirsty monsters. However, the Okama Kingdom, headed by Imperio Ivankov (pictured above) is a flourishing social community with all the amenities of home, in a hidden corner of the expansive prison. The only price to be there is that Ivankov will change your body to the gender you're not comfortable with or take ten years off your life span with his injection power. Ivankov himself or herself, can change genders at will.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gundam 00 and the Importance of Different Perspectives

Gundam 00, the first Gundam series to take into account the real possibility of political influence. The 00 world is full of wars and military threats, much like how things are. With all those military themes, involving gundams can seem like overkill. But instead of just ONE gundam, there's more than five gundams, each with a pilot.

As we all know from the Gundam franchise, the main character has the most trouble and conflict. Frequently in the Gundam world, the main character is the center of a large-scale battle and also their personality, psyche, and emotional battle as well is set right there in the center.

The only difference with 00 is that each main Gundam pilot, there is a plot and a story. For each character there's a unique perspective and story that the show develops. This makes Gundam 00 different from every other shounen Gundam anime out. They're all part of a Gundam team that takes on the governments of the world and their mad dash to capture and exploit the world. When there's any team, perspective is important or nothing can be accomplished.

Setsuna F. Seiei

Setsuna is the informal main character of Gundam 00, since the show doesn't have a main character. He's reserved and thoughtful, hiding years of angst against the world's system and war in general. He's refined his power through years of training and yet more training. However, he missed out on a lot that life has to offer, not to mention height. Making him kind of dull when he doesn't show off his inner personality.

His main edge is that he survived a large-scale civil war, as a child guerilla fighter. But, only because he was saved by a Gundam which destroyed his attackers precisely, leaving Setsuna the only one standing in front of the Gundam's range of fire, holding his rifle in anguish and tears. His perspective, the conflict between pacifism and military power. Whichever way the pendulum swings... Setsuna might go or might not go.

Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy

Lockon is probably my favorite gundam meister in this anime. Although most anime nerds are like Setsuna in personality. Let's not forget about there are fans just like Lockon, extroverted and fun to be around. Lockon's probably the most optimistic main character in the series and also really humble. In addition, he's like the acting leader of the pack. While Setsuna is just the key player, Lockon manages Setsuna's angst and uses it for the greater good of their goals which are to stop senseless war. Lockon manages all of the other character's radical emotions actually, using his people skills and optimism.

Lockon's main motivation is his sister who he lost. Not only is Lockon the balancing act for Gundam 00 but he probably IS Gundam 00. Think about the show if Lockon Stratos wasn't in it? If you can't it's because he carries most of the burdens for the other characters... Such as when they mess up.. *Cough* Setsuna *Cough*

Alelulia Haptism

Alelulia is the most troubled gundam meister. A victim of human experimentation, he's psychically connected to another test subject, one of the enemy gundam pilots.

Alelulia would rather give up his own life than fight because he remembers his past clearly. He's not sure whether piloting a gundam is going to change anything. Even with Lockon and Setsuna and also Tieria supporting him, Alelulia struggles with inner demons throughout the series. But he never decides to violently face his problems and conflicts, presumably because he's connected mentally to his childhood friend.

She doesn't know that though...


Tieria Erde

Tieria is the hardest to understand. His personality is buried under hundreds upon hundreds of "nerd" layers of intelligence. His only goal is the fulfillment of his purpose, at all costs. To which end
 he refined everything, including piloting a gundam, to a quantitative science. A genius level of quantitation that no human could ever possibly acquire. But under all of those layers of seriousness and purpose, he hides a sensitive side that he rarely shows to anyone. He might be a cultural stereotype for a faction of the Japanese people.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Shinji's Father Problem...

Evangelion is one of those anime that classes as having a "post-apocalyptic" plot structure. In the anime, two alien forces threaten to overtake the Earth. The humans and the monster angel race. The monster angels are beings of high power and class that can destroy thousands of people in one go. To fight the monster angel race, an organization named Seele developed bio-robotic clones from both humans and Lilith (the monster angel race).

One of the heads of Seele, Gendo Ikari, is also Shinji's dad. Shinji has a myriad of problems in his relationship with and in interaction with his father, Gendo. The main conflict in Evangelion is the psychology surrounding the main character, Shinji Akari and the other main characters.

In fact and theory, Gendo's logic for Shinji piloting the unit is that Shinji is his son and thus has the military might in his DNA, either by patriarchy or some strange heritable peculiarity on Gendo's account involving his military past. In application and actuality, Shinji's success at piloting the unit effectively enough to defeat the stronger monsters was directly due to his angst and resistance to being his father, and neither of Gendo's reasons directly. Shinji never shouts in victory or relishes any victory against his enemies. Neither does he brag about his victories to the girls, who he knows he wants to have a better relationship with. So the logic and the application are two different things actually, as Shinji's emotions are the main factor in his power and not any connection to Gendo.

It is interesting that in the world of Evangelion with all of its bio-sequencing, DNA sequencing, genomic knowledge, knowledge of destiny and universe, etc, that the deciding factor in the power of each character is their emotional reactions to their world. That might be one of the morals of Evangelion, as a post-apocalyptic scientific world. It's actually really great news, coming from one of the darkest anime of anime history. Our emotions are the deciding factor in the end...

What about Shinji and his Dad though? There's more to explain.

Gendo, mistreated Shinji as a younger kid and was also a womanizer. Yet, it's only revealed later that Gendo had a harder youth than Shinji.

Then there's Shinji who initially really did not want to pilot the unit. It wasn't until he saw Rei injured as a pilot that he decided to agree to pilot it. The image of Rei being hurt overcame all of Shinji's fear. Even to the point of being encapsulated in bio-essence and undergoing the consciousness deleting process that goes with piloting the Evangelion unit.

She's into him?
Main point, Shinji's father problem was his motivation. In this case, it helped Shinji overcome most of his fears about the world he lived in and be a strong character. The only thing that his angst and his anger couldn't fix, was his inability to talk to girls and make relationships.

Shinji's girl problems are most likely because he didn't have a mother figure and a father figure in the same place. But luckily for Shinji, in the Evangelion anime there's a lot of female characters for Shinji to encounter and discover himself with...

Don't forget, that Shinji could only overcome his limitations with the help of the girls in the anime who had their own problems...

There's Asuka, who was kind of histrionic (moody) and overconfident, downplaying the serious nature of being encapsulated in bio-essence and piloting a totally unique and inherently powerful unit. To Asuka it's all a game, but it isn't until its too late that she realizes she missed out on other things in life...

And Rei who was repressed and overwhelmed by the world of piloting Unit 01, turning dangerously introverted and shy. Despite being helped by Shinji a number of times, she regrets his decision to pilot her unit. She gives off that feeling where she just wants to be left alone...

That's all folks!
Fan art obviously... ^

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