Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Posts Tagged ‘ subculture ’

All in all, I’d say their reference of this particular meme was highly appropriate considering the scene directly preceding it. It’s really too bad there weren’t two other people in the scene to complete it (though I guess no one else in the series would be quite as excited).Bakemonogatari approves of the Reaction Guys!

There’s absolutely no mistaking the reference. Both Araragi and Suruga are in the exact same poses as the nearest two dudes and their expressions are nearly identical as well — just Suruga’s eyebrows seem to make her a bit more “Holy shit!” than “Hell yeah!”

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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!!

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Today was Pokémon Platinum‘s North American launch date. Platinum is the 12th of the regular Pokémon games and rounds off the 4th generation, so I wonder when we should expect to hear about either 5th generation game plans or 2nd generation remake plans. A lot of people think that Pokémon should just end already — that they’ve milked the cash cow long enough and that no one wants more. Around when the 3rd generation was launching, I felt the same way, but now I’m kind of indifferent. Or really, in some way, I want to see just how long this franchise can keep its momentum, especially since it doesn’t show many signs of even slowing.

More than a decade ago, when I was collecting the Pokémon TCG along with every other kid in the neighborhood, my father told me that these sorts of hobbies were just money-wasters and that Pokémon would be dead in five or ten years. The holographic Charizard that was going for $75+ on eBay wouldn’t be worth a dime then. Well, it’s been more than five or ten years later. That holographic Charizard still goes for about $10+ if you know who to sell to; all things considered, I’d say that’s damn good. It’s quite a bit more than a dime, at least. The first edition holo Charizard will still fetch you $75 at least, if not $100+. And as for Pokémon being dead? Ha! Sapporo just got a brand new Pokémon Center, and even in the US, Pokémon’s presence in stores is being expanded once again. I don’t think it’s unlikely to think that the Nintendo World in Manhattan might actually be turned back into a Pokémon Center — I mean, it isn’t like they sell much else there anyway.

Satoshi Tajiri really did have a breakthrough idea when he came out with Pocket Monsters. Considering Japan’s already rampant collector’s attitude, creating a franchise based around collecting is just… genius. To some extent, maybe collecting runs in my blood — being a huge pack rat also contributes — but I think that everyone’s got at least a little bit of collector’s urge to them. Few things are as satisfying as having a completed collection, but each little piece along the way is a great milestone too. It’s true even for things that might never be complete — stamp collections, video game, manga, and DVD collections, whatever. And so, Pokémon has become very much the same. You will likely never “catch them all,” but that doesn’t make the games any less fun. It doesn’t make you feel any less triumphant every time you hit the current monster cap.

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About a month ago, MyAnimeList revised its review system (this thread seems to have been damaged in the recent server problems; curiously, Xinil has chosen not to repost or fix it as he had done several other affected threads. I had to dig out this link from my browser history. Clicking the “last” post link on the page doesn’t work, though you can still manually navigate the thread up to page 8, after which it redirects you to page 1). This involved three major changes:

1) The hiding of the score breakdown for every review. Previously, every review on MAL showed not only the overall score, but the individual scores for story, character, animation, sound, and enjoyment. Reviews can still fill in the subscores… there’s just no way for readers to see them. (Later, Xinil conceeded and re-added the subscores, though users have to go through an extra click to get to them.)

2) The removal of BBCode support for all reviews. Reviews can no longer contain any kind of BBCode, including basic things like bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough.

3) The relocation of reviews on profile pages. Reviews are now to be accessed at the top of each user’s profile instead of from the side. Users can choose to favorite reviewers so that their newest reviews appear under a tab in their own profile.

A handful of people expressed their disapproval of change #3, but most of the dissenters were more concerned with changes #1 and #2, and I was among those ranks.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anime Vice launched on what, Friday? Despite the fact that I wasn’t initially planning to join at all, I’ve spent more than a little time on the site since then doing all manner of mostly useless things. Choice is supposed to be a good thing, I know, but I’ve always disliked that there were so many options when it came to anime encyclopedia and social networking sites. Why do we need so many? Why not just put forth the collective effort to improve what’s already there? ANN and Wikipedia are basically my first choices when looking anything up, and I think it’s hard to imagine that any other site is going to catch up to their repertoire of information any time soon.

I’m finding myself compulsively filling in the missing pieces that are all over AnimeVice currently, but I’m pulling almost all of my information from ANN and Wikipedia. Summaries will need to be reworded, sure, but all those stats and kanji names and static information like that? Copy, paste, baby. The site is still in its infancy, and I’m sure that eventually, it’ll start garnering information that ANN/Wikipedia’s collective encyclopedias won’t have, but there I pose the question again — why not just all that new information to one of the aforementioned sources to begin with? Why do we need this all new place for it? Why split up the contributing population more? (As a side note, I really hate how the AV’s encyclopedia is organized right now, but I’ll give it a few more weeks to develop and straighten out before passing final judgment.)

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WTF Japan: Mai Waifu!

October 30, 2008 News 4 Comments

“WTF Japan!” is actually a phrase that leaves my mouth rather frequently. American otaku like to think they’re hot stuff sometimes, but they will never be able to match up to the ridiculousness of the original breed, least of all the country that it all came from. No other countries takes its cartoons and comics as serious as Japan. You don’t hear about the Disney museum nearly as much as you hear about the Ghibli museum. The Japanese will riot and petition for the forest that inspired Totoro to remain as it is, but no one in the States could care less about whatever the heck inspired Walt Disney to draw Mickey Mouse. And what in all of the western world could compare to the otaku paradise that is Akihabara? We don’t have vending machines that sell action figures or crane machines full of high-quality collectables outside of every grocery store, and I could go on and on and on about how outrageous Japan is. I’m sure you could too.

But this is a new high bar for the absurdity that happens over there. Japan, you’re wacky and hilarious and I love you, but really. What the fuck?

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/a/ling Rush!

August 1, 2008 Commentary Comments Off on /a/ling Rush!

This morning, I woke to see that a Code Geass character popularity poll by BANDAI had closed and that the results reflected the collective efforts of /a/. The #3-5 slots would have probably been the real crowning victors of the poll, but due to the Zergling rush, #2 belonged to Rivalz, an incredibly minor and arguably irrelevant character, and #1 belonged to Clovis who (spoiler!?) is dead by episode three. It amused me greatly, but I’m usually amused by the poll-sabotaging antics of /a/. Earlier last month, a similar Japanese poll for Code Geass containing many more characters (since it spanned both seasons), was also “influenced” by /a/ — the poll came right on the heels of a five second scene in episode 13 of R2 that became an insta-meme by everyone who saw it (seriously, even if you’ve never seen Code Geass before, if you watched this one episode, you would know which moment it was or maybe not… the entire episode is full of crack and insta-memes). As such, the meme’s central character was rushed to the top. As far as I know, the results of this poll haven’t been released yet, but the /a/ rush might be why…

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