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Sabado, Abril 12, 2014

Me and Anime and Not Much Else


Man, I’m back, after that shitty last post. Four more posts to go and I’ve published as many posts as I have in my previous blog, Sawsawan ng Proben. And that doesn’t really matter. It isn’t even of consequence to the subject matter of this post. But just so you know. Here’s a photo of an oh-so-adorable cat to prepare you for the subsequent wall of text and stale puns and immature jokes.

O olmiety Ceiling Cat, spaer me frum dis bullshit.

And here is a funny fail gif. Just to make you feel like you’re not the lousiest person on earth after deciding to read this blog.
Symbolic of my own academic experience.


I love anime. I love the whole shit out of it. Though I’m not the hardcore type who can afford all the merchandise and haunt anime conventions—I can safely say that I’m a fan, even if most of the anime series I’ve ever watched were the ones aired on free TV and which had really cheesy dubbing.

I am not really sure about why I like this stuff. Maybe because of their larger-than-life premises (with some even diving deep into the metaphysical and psychological), epic-ass fight scenes, impractical but awesome stunts, and . . . and  . . . uh . . . its symbolism. Yeah. Sure, symbolism. Let's go with that.

Pictured: Symbolism
As I’ve said, I’ve seen only a few, but heard of a lot, probably because I have a friend who has watched, I approximate, nearly 200 series. And counting. (True story brah.)

There are some series that take themselves seriously, weaving dark, intriguing tales around an unfortunate host of characters—building a mysterious world from this foundation, gorging itself with shocking confrontations, sinister puzzles, and grim implications, integrating them into the mechanism of the universe the protagonists breathe in, working straight up to finish a compelling, no-nonsense story. Just like Shingeki no Kyojin.

On the other hand, there are some that don’t have intricate plots, just funny premises—with a few so over-the-top a non-fan would have a lot of trouble trying to understand it.
On yet another hand, there are some that’s just . . . uh, how do we say it . . . just weird incomprehensible eccentric outta this world pure, unadulterated Japanese.

Thanks Japan. Sleep is for the weak, anyway.
But that’s just how I love it.

Watching a few series and surfing the internet a tad too much, I have come up with a few observations, and generated some thoughts regarding the genre. 


Now, to start this off,I think you can easily relate to the association of anime to naughty tentacles. Well, it depends on what anime you're used to watching, but this cephalopodian reference pops up quite often here and there in the dark squishy alleys of the interwebs. A scenario between a cute girl and a giant squid gets messy real fast.

Real soon.
And, for some reason, maybe because of the inherent weirdness in it that some Westerners cannot relate to, a few have pigeonholed this type of media straight in the middle of WTF-is-this-shit territory, even though mostly today the hentai genre doesn't have much tentacle-centric works, since most works are classified under vanilla, or, uh, the "tame" ones.

And that aforementioned fact is brought to you by painstaking research. 

Speaking of unjust pigeonholing, there are some who classify anime strictly as "very violent" and "extremely sexual" in nature--a statement clearly made by people who had apparently never seen one. I guess that's because Western audiences are used to seeing their own brand of animation--mild, humorous, and simple--which is not really bad per se, and in fact I've taken a liking to some series, at my age, no less. There's a certain appeal to that. But that, in my opinion, is what makes anime seem strange to them: many are truly gritty and sometimes even going way past the point of mindblowingly gory and becomes eldritch shit.

Eldritch shit.
But actually, those aforementioned dark, testosterone-filled anime fall to only a certain subtype: it's either shounen or seinen, which means the target audience are boys to young men. 

I don't think that it's fair that the whole industry would be known only by a certain genre. It's like saying moms are terrible because yours is. Hah. Take that. Hah. Hah. Hah.


Okay, enough of my pointless rants on pigeonholing. Let's move on to lighter matters, shall we?

For an anime fan, or even a casual watcher, the term "fansub" is very, very familiar. As the name may suggest, it is a subtitled version of a foreign show (in this case, anime) produced by fans who have some proficiency in the source material's language. However, since the translation teams are mostly amateurs, and also owing to cultural differences that may be hard to translate from the Japanese original, they are very prone to mistakes, often taking scenes out of context or just plain losing their shit smack in the middle--something that turns out quite hilarious, even if sometimes these mistakes ruin the pathos of the scene.

If you linger too much on the 'Net, I can safely venture that you recognize this gem from the fansubbed version of Fate/stay night.

Wisdom beyond dispute.
As I said, fansubbing is troublesome because it is full of troubles.

The translation team carries the burden of effectively rendering the emotional effect of the original, and also preserving the scene's context to the viewers--which is where the snag comes.

I haven't watched the anime adaptation of Fate/stay night, but from what I've read it's something about Shirou (that smartypants above) sharing his wisdom with his his Servant, Saber. It's supposed to be a play on the Japanese idiom about people who "refuse to die when they are killed," however, foreign audiences didn't quite get it and had milked it for all its worth as a meme. I hope I got it right.

Yeah. Sometimes that's understandable. But what really piques my interest is the other type of failsub: the "I-TOTALLY-LOST-MY-SHIT-TRANSLATING-THIS" type. Behold:

Reminds me so much of fangirls who try hard to speak Nippongo.
More on that later.
Dude what the fuck?

Um . . . have fun?

My dear friends, remember, context is important.

. . .

If you're already losing your shit, at least don't let people know.

You did your best, Editor-san. Have a cookie.

Anata don't simply fuck with watashi!

Fuck it. Just . . . fuck it all.

Spare me the anguish of that mental image.

But that is life. You fuck up some, you fuck up some more. But let's just say someone delights in seeing you fail.


This segment's heading came from a notorious Harry Potter fanfic called "My Immortal."

Now, I'm not really proficient at Japanese. Maybe I can form a few sentences, but that's really about it. I'm not even able to read kanji.

However, what really annoys me are fans who try their darnedest to squeeze a Japanese expression into their manner of speaking, even though it's clearly stupid-sounding. I mean, it's really fine to speak the language if you are really determined on learning it as an alternative language, but the weeaboo-ish act of desperately substituting Japanese words/phrases when there's clearly a saner way of expressing it in the language you are currently using. If anata can't wakaru fluent Nippongo, it's really baka-sounding if you hanasu this way. People will kangaeru that anata is such a stupid piece of kuso who doesn't even have a life rashii desu. 

It sounds so weird and irritating I'd probably give anything just to hit someone speaking like that every day. Hard. In the face. With a chair.

But stupid weeaboo-ness doesn't end there. It's also common for addicted fans to call themselves "otaku," a practice more prevalent in foreign audience, since many are not really aware of the social stigma that it connotes. In Japan, from what I've read, the term is used pejoratively against people who are unhealthily obsessed with something. It's weird, and no way pretty. Quit your fantasies. In my opinion, a real otaku must have a vicious--may even border on creepy--craving for Japanese culture, language, and customs (or in that case, any object of obsession, since otaku-dom isn't restricted to things Japanese, really). The correct term is an "anime fan," or "anime lover," but I don't think I'm going to describe myself an otaku any longer (I thought calling myself one was fun sometime ago).

And since I've mentioned the word "creepy," may I draw your attention to the fans who insist on being "married" to a fictional character. Though I know I'm gonna get hated for this, but I do think that such a thing is really weird and irrational (this coming from a big oddball). I mean, guys, keep the 2D and 3D worlds apart. The bishounen or bishoujo you drift into fantasy-land with only exists until the series wraps up or they stop producing merchandise.

Human ingenuity never fails to surprise me.

Or if they live in your hearts forever. In that case, dream on.

But some do not care about their dimensional differences--some go to the extremes and live the anime life to the fullest. Which takes us to . . .


Some seem to be unsatisfied with being 3D, or having human proportions, instead pining for the level of cuteness only found in anime--impossibly large eyes, impossibly cool hairstyles, impossibly large . . . uh, assets. That's really cute, I think, and really adds up to the anime's appeal. 

However, I hold that there's a reason why it's fiction.

This is called animegao, from what I've read. It's like cosplay in that you bring an anime character to life with it, but you use a creepy plastic mask here.

I don't know, it's adorable and all, but it's a bit unsettling, thinking of how those painted eyes stare at you straight into your soul, motionless and emotionless except for that charming smile plastered frozen upon its "kawaii" face, waiting to devour you and digest your very being. It's supposed to be cute, but the fact that most players are dudes . . .

And finally, we have the Ulzzang subculture, which I learned about in the same Cracked article as above. It's some sort of a trend where girls try to look "super-mega-hyper cute overload" using buckets of makeup and fervent orisons and blood sacrifices to the Dark Lord.

Wow! So adorable! Now call the exorcist.

Now, now. I may be just having fun bashing subcultures I only have surface knowledge on, wallowing in my ignorance and inability to appreciate the inherent cuteness of this . . . thing, but I should be pardoned for thinking that this is some new kind of, well, unnatural, should I say. But I guess a weeaboo isn't a weeaboo if not for that, am I correct?

The sweet, agreeable citizens of the Uncanny Valley.

To summarize my points made in this article: I hate you, people. I hate you having fun.

So, congrats! You've made it through another one of my rants. I think I've run out of gas for now, so, yeah, I'm signing off for today.


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