Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Posts Tagged ‘ fandom ’

Tokyo is a pretty expensive place — it is especially bad when 1) it’s your first time visiting, and 2) you are an otaku. You are in Glorious Nippon, the Weeaboo Mecca! There is stuff that you want to buy everywhere. It’s pretty overwhelming.

On the bright side, I think few are naive enough or hopelessly optimistic enough to think that they won’t be spending crazy amounts of money on merchandise while in Japan. On the down side, even those who come prepared with money to spend and a budget to spend it on can get caught up in the insane amount of stuff they encounter while they’re there. There are a few places that almost require a visit, but there are also places that you’ll happen upon almost unexpectedly. Those will get you, those unexpected places full of impulse buys. Here are the top five money-sinks for weeaboo in Tokyo from my own personal experience:

5. Akihabara

Akihabara is the most obvious place. You go there knowing full well that it’s a huge fantard paradise. You go there expecting to see stormtroopers dancing in the streets and flash mobs breaking out in “Hare Hare Yukai” in addition to the maid cafes, manga cafes, pachinko parlors, the billion electronics stores, arcades, and seven-story buildings filled basement to roof with nothing but anime merchandise. Yes, that is buildings, plural, all seven to nine stories tall. Filled with anime merchandise. Seriously. It’s like the biggest convention dealer’s room you’ve ever seen. Multiplied by some obscene number. Sure, buildings in Tokyo all tend to be tall and narrow, so one floor might not constitute as much, but once you’re climbing the stairs in your fourth or fifth building, the magnitude of it all really starts to sink in.

[View the rest of this entry…]

Wow. This is a topic I’ve intended to write about for a while, but I never imagined that it might cause such rampant drama across the community. Of course it had to start while I was out of town. I’ve only skimmed through a majority of the posts made thus far about fanart and artist attribution, but the number of comments and trackbacks to WAH‘s original post, as well as his two follow-up posts lead me to think that just about every possible opinion has already been shared. For the most part, I agree with WAH, and I’m glad to see that a lot of people seem receptive to the idea of attribution. Still, there might be a few other things that are worth bringing up.

Art by Kiriska; I drew this.

Art by Kiriska; I drew this. Yeah, yeah, yeah~.

I don’t really use fanart here. Almost everything I use is official art and the occasional screenshot, and hell, most of my earliest posts had no images at all. Official art and screenshots, regardless of artist, generally belong to the series’ company, which is easy to look up, so I don’t particularly feel the need for accreditation there. The fact that official art is usually purposed for mass distribution is also a good argument. Fanart, on the other hand, is always tricky business, even outside of the aniblogosphere (or perhaps, especially outside of the aniblogosphere?). Legality aside, it’s a question of common courtesy and manners. Regardless of your thoughts concerning your own work, be it your own fanart, writing, quotes, coding, or whatever, there’s no point in pushing your ideologies onto others. Just because you don’t care about being credited for your creations doesn’t mean other people can’t be touchy about their stuff. It’s their right to be touchy if they want to be.

[View the rest of this entry…]

I hate spoilers.

For things you actually care about, once revealed, you can never unhear or unread or unsee. It’s incredibly frustrating to be working your way through some material only to have someone blather important plot points to you or inadvertently reveal that a certain character dies later on. As such, I’ve always taken to seeing movies opening night or reading books the day they come out because otherwise, I don’t feel like I can freely browse the Internet until I do.

A little extreme, maybe, but it’s dangerous being a Harry Potter fan when there are trolls roaming the webz with “***** KILLS **********!” flashing in their forum signatures. I’ve never attended a midnight book release for Harry Potter for the same reason — drive-by spoilers. Some people have nothing better to do. I actually blocked a few friends temporarily on Facebook and AIM for the week leading up the Deathly Hallows‘ release because I had zero tolerance for the various nonsense and fake spoilers they were spouting. Spoilers are serious business! Who are you to deprive someone of an experience?

What?! He dies? Noooo!!

What?! He dies? Noooo!!

[View the rest of this entry…]

I wonder if anyone’s actually polled the percentage of otaku that have at some point tried to learn Japanese. I wonder what a follow-up of such a poll would reveal about the percentage that actually attain some level of fluency. Anyone who watches subs on a regular or even semi-regular basis will be able to pick up a wide variety of everyday phrases and a decent slice of vocabulary. The observant ones might even be able to pick up some simple sentence structuring, verbs, and grammar. It’s a pretty awesome thing when you first realize that, hey, you know a bit of another language.

Undoubtedly, that’s why a lot of younger fans will insert bits and pieces of what they know into their speech or text online. It’s like a secret language, something esoteric to share between friends, and everybody likes thinking they’re special. Like Pig Latin though, the language is actually not so secret, or at the very least, the popular tidbits of the language that young fans like to parrot are not so secret, and they tend to annoy everybody over a certain age. Ostracized and mocked by the rest of the community, the young fans reach a point where they stop tacking -chan and -kun after all their friends’ names. There is a brief “maturing” period. And then they decide that they’re going to knuckle down and learn Japanese… for real this time.

[View the rest of this entry…]

Picking Favorites

May 15, 2009 Editorial 5 Comments

So I have this problem with the listed favorites in my MAL profile (the anime moreso than the manga). I feel like the list is out of date because I haven’t really updated it since I joined the site last June, and I’ve seen at least a dozen very good series since then. So many series could easily move into that empty fifth slot, and so many other series seem like they’re viable contenders for the titles that are already there. How do you go about choosing? Which factors are more relevant than others? And for a public listing, how much are you going to invest in using your declared favorites to brand yourself?

As far as the branding goes, my favorites list kind of makes me laugh. The only real point of unity is mecha, which I didn’t realize was something I cared for as much as I do until I compiled the list in the first place. What kind of person do I come across with such a list? Gurren Lagann is almost a cop out because there are very few people that don’t care for it; perhaps having it there makes me ordinary. Code Geass is something that might start some polarizing debates on the aniblogosphere, but the first season is almost universally accepted to be more worthy than the second. So maybe that makes me oridinary also. Gundam SEED seems to be hated on a grand scale and many Gundam fans seem to associate liking it with being ignorant. Stand Alone Complex is another title that faces little criticism, but a few dislike it for its rampant politics. So maybe having it there makes me look smart.

So, what does this list say about me on the whole? I am mostly an ordinary mecha fan that enjoys both testosterone-filled gar and intelligent political drama, but is ignorant towards the Gundam franchise. Not really sure if that’s the exact branding I would choose for myself, but I wouldn’t say the description is wildly inaccurate either.

[View the rest of this entry…]

I suppose I used to be the same way, but now it really bothers me when people react so indignantly towards people who regard their anime-styled art negatively. I don’t think the debate should really be centered around creativity though. Creativity is too subjective of an adjective and just inherently not worth the grief that a debate on its definition or application would cause. It isn’t about anime having just one distinct style that people copy because I’ll be the first to agree that there are hundreds of completely different styles within anime and manga and that it isn’t just defined by big eyes, little noses, and weird hair. It isn’t even just anime, but any pre-existing style, be it that Western superhero look, the Disney style, or the Jhonen Vasquez style.

Art by CLAMP

Instead, I think the issue should be more about how so many people use these styles as a crutch and how and why it hinders their development as artists. If you’re only drawing as an unimportant hobby, and if you have no real desire to improve, then I guess it doesn’t really matter. But if drawing means something to you, and if you really want to get better, then it’s really imperative that you work on the fundamentals: it’s imperative that you draw real things, that you draw what you actually see.

[View the rest of this entry…]

I hear this a lot: “I used to like such and such, but the fans ruined it for me.” And it bugs me every time I hear it; after all, why should the fans have anything to do with the actual series or game or whatever else? If you like it, then you will like it — I don’t understand why so many people give power to the masses by letting them affect their opinion of something. A series is not its fans, and the fans do not make the series. Sure, sometimes it might be annoying hearing fangirls and boys fawn over the various bishounen and moeblobs from your series of choice, if the only reason you decide to dislike those bishounen and moeblobs is because of the fans, then you’re not thinking for yourself anymore.

Case in point, I love Kingdom Hearts — okay, it’s not an anime or manga, but I think it’s a good example because the fans are notoriously obnoxious. I think the first three games were excellent (I am sad that so many people forget about Chain of Memories), and I love the ending to KH2. I like almost all of the characters and enjoy what we do see of their in-game relationships. Does it annoy me that fangirls seem to like slashing every single male character in the entire fandom? (Regardless of whether they ever actually officially interact? lol@AxelxDemyx?) It used to a little, but really, I am a huge proponent of the “to each his own” ideal. I may not like what you like, but I will support to the death your right to like it. And since I’m active on deviantART and people like to bitch about various fandoms always getting frontpage attention: I may not like what you draw, but I will support to the death your right to draw it. And if it’s popular? Good for you!

[View the rest of this entry…]

I picked up a Fullmetal Alchemist Flamel’s cross necklace for $15 at Ikkikon 2007. I’m a big fan of the symbolism and think the crossover relevance to actual alchemy is interesting. I wore it nonstop for about a year and a half. Seriously, I think I only took that thing off on three or four occasions in all that time (and I’m pretty sure a few of those times was so that I could wear my Kingdom Hearts crown necklace instead ;3). I had fun telling people that, no, I’m not a medical student, when they thought it was caduceus. It was also a pretty good conversation starter with the few I encountered that knew what it was. Necklaces are good. You can proudly proclaim your fandom without being overly obvious, and those who don’t understand will just think it’s a pretty design and never know that you’re a flaming weeaboo!

Unfortunately, at the end of that year and a half period, I found that I was developing a weird rash on my neck about where the necklace was hanging. I ignored it for a while, but it only got worse. I didn’t want to think it was the necklace’s fault, but it was kind of hard to deny. So I took it off. In about two weeks, the rash was gone. I put the necklace back on. The rash was back in another week. Damn.

[View the rest of this entry…]

A few nights ago, I had a dream. It was hazy, black and white, and I don’t remember much of what happened. But I know the entire thing was in Japanese, and I know there were yellow subtitles floating there too. I woke up with the dialogue still bouncing around in my head. It was kind of disorienting. And kind of sad. I guess.

It’s probably because I watched more anime in December than I ever have in a month. I had the entire month off from school, was stupid and didn’t get a job in that time, and wasn’t particularly motivated to do anything even vaguely relevant to my career. So I watched cartoons. Lots and lots of cartoons. Specifically, I ended up starting and finishing six whole series (Mushishi, Nodame Cantabile, Nodame Cantabile Paris-hen, Gundam 00 S1, Planetes, Ouran High School Host Club) and three movies/OAVs (Ghost in the Shell, 5 Centimeters per Second, GSD C.E. 73: Stargazer), all of which I’ve already reviewed except Host Club. I also started a half dozen other series that I’ve either put on hold or dropped: Ghost Hound (hold@1), Toshokan Sensou (drop@2), Seto no Hanayome (drop@3), Higurashi no Naka Koro ni (hold@7), Infinite Ryvius (hold@4), and Darker than BLACK (hold@5). I reread all of my Gundam Wing manga before I sold it, and I reread all of DOGS and Bullets and Carnage, not to mention keeping up with current episodes/chapters of Soul Eater, Gundam 00 S2, and Bakuman.

It’s probably not impressive as some people’s monthly consumption, but it’s a lot for me, especially compared to the amount I watch when classes are in session or when I’m working in the summers (it took me a month to finish Spice and Wolf, a thirteen episode series, during school; it took me three days to catch up with thirty-five episodes of Gundam 00 during break). I’ve had too much anime on my brain, and that dream probably isn’t the worst of it.

[View the rest of this entry…]

So my brother and I were debating about the relative merits of fanfiction. His stance seemed to be that fanfiction wasn’t very interesting in general because chances were that if he was reading fanfiction for something, he’d already seen/read the series, and thus the content of the fanfic couldn’t be anything new or interesting. But I beg to differ. What I find most interesting about fanfiction is the exact opposite. Given an already established setting, characters, and context, authors seem able to expand infinitely on what they’re given. These new stories can put characters in unexpected situations or explore in further detail a canonical scene; for people that are already fans of a series, it’s renewed life and the opportunity to keep enjoying something beyond its official lifetime.

[View the rest of this entry…]