Anime Decade: From Japan Cool to Cooling Off

Posted by MattAlt 
Sanjeev (Admin)
So are Juggalo's otaku?
MattAlt Wrote:
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> And now part three (which gets more into the
> mechanics, pun intended, of old- versus new-school
> otaku):
>
> [neojaponisme.com]
> th-patrick-w-galbraith-on-otaku-culture-part-three
> /


Great stuff. I really think Patrick expresses the matter quite well.

I do think the angle with the robots versus little girl thing is a bit played up too much though...possible origins aside, the bulk of moe stuff is still centered on mostly teens (hardly surprising given much of the popular source material being teen-oriented lite novels and seinen manga), as most anime always has been, and for every creepy moe loli show out there, theres at least as many moe or adult-themed shows featuring older voluptious characters, if not more (and many no less creepy, heh).

Sure, you can call a show focused on a group of "little" high school girls that too if you like, but how is it different then from 95% of the popular anime shows before the moe boom which also almost always focused on adolescent casts?

Anyway, just a quibble. Great stuff, Matt! :D
Sanjeev Wrote:
> So are Juggalo's otaku?

Hmm... I think the formation of identity is different. I think that type of subculture prides itself on characteristics that are assumed to be shared by its members - the attitude, the behavior, etc in addition to their object of fan adoration. It's not like the formation of identity that Galbraith describes for otakus, which is based on identifying with something external (the fictional character). Groups like juggalos always assert that it's not primarily about the music, it's about being part of a community that trusts and supports each other, who are on the same page in many ways.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
In the third part of the interview, Galbraith makes a fine point at the start about the similar unattainability of sci-fi and human objects of fan adoration. However, I think he is overreaching when he says
Quote

No one is confused about the fictionality of bishojo characters. They are attracted to fiction as such. We have to date had far too many misunderstandings about otaku because we assume that what they desire in the so-called two-dimensional world is the same what they want in actual reality, or the three-dimensional world. There is not a one-to-one relation between these things, so we need to understand the complexity of engagement with images on their own terms.
If we take their own statements at face value, there is a vocal contingent of fans who certainly do desire real live women who act more like idealized, contrived character types. I think it's unrealistic apologism to claim that otaku as a whole do not hold up fictional characters and situations as the ideal which they would like to see realized - many otaku certainly claim as much.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I think this interview is missing something fundamental and important about the whole lolicon/moe thing: It is inherently misogynistic as hell. It's much older men and submissive, useless girls. There's a serious power differential there. It's pretty clear these men want easily controlled women, easily manipulated women (even if it's only in their fantasy life). I don't want to extrapolate that to, "real women/adult women are intimidating" necessarily, but there's a clear fear of or disdain for women who are not incredibly submissive and child-like.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Ginrai Wrote:
> I think this interview is missing something
> fundamental and important about the whole
> lolicon/moe thing: It is inherently misogynistic
> as hell. It's much older men and submissive,
> useless girls.

I think you need to make more specific critiques than this (perhaps with examples?). I don't disagree that there are anime series (in and out of the "moe" genre) that fit your description, but there are clearly series that defy it. Haruhi Suzumiya, for instance, has a somewhat broader range of character types, and imports the harried, hapless protagonist of the classic pre-moe "harem" anime genre. If anything, the male protagonist in Haruhi is the sweetly compliant one, keeping his objections to himself. Other moe series give only a limited degree of self-possession and agency to their female protagonists, but at the same time portray a world with minimal masculine presence - the characters are desexualized socially (though usually not visually) because the presentation of the series is detached from male/female interaction.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Yes and no. Some of the most misogynist broadcast anime I've (unfortunately) encountered isn't remotely moe.

There are also of course some moe anime that perfectly fit your description, which I would gladly do without. But hardly all of it. There are plenty of anime that are both moe AND feature strong, non-submissive female protagonists. Some really good ones and some really bad ones do this, depending on the story and theme. This is just another base assumption and over-generalization. It's not a coincidence that some of the best selling moe works are not anything like this stereotype. There are even a few "moe" shows that are actually either jousei in origin or mistakable as such (though some might argue these are not "technically" moe because of this).

That said, I cocked an eyebrow when Patrick talked with no small amount of irony (intended or not) about the anti-moe reaction as being misogynist. I do feel some of what he is getting at though. Male fans of shoujo manga and anime in the 90s faced a lot of similar flak from other parts of the fan community at first, with the same sorts of accusations leveled. There seems to be a certain amount of knee-jerk contempt among the fans of more testosterone-laden works for anything with a hint of feminity or cuteness to it, and that it is not acceptable for anyone with a y chromosone to express any fondness for such works.
Ah, Paul beat me to the reply.

To be fair, I think we've already kind of established Haruhi as something more of an outlier and perhaps more an anime example of the effectiveness of Poe's Law, in which satire becomes difficult to distiguish from the target. But yes, there are plenty of others.

But I must say I had the opposite impression of Kyon's role as male protagonist; unlike the simpering spineless central males which inhabited the works of series like Love Hina, Kyon is snarky and sarcastic and is pretty much the only character that can even tsukkomi to the always overbearing Haruhi's boke. Sure, she mostly ignores it and drags him along all the same, but her will is something like a force of nature. One thing I like about the male characters in most of Kyo-Ani's works is that they are not the whiny, indecisive pushover types of the older anime harem mold (striking similiarity there to some mecha pilots, come to think...).
Paul, the "endearing vulnerability" is basically most of the appeal for moe. If you want a good early example we're all familiar with, look to Minmay from Macross. She is 15 at the start of the show. How does she win the Miss Macross contest? Her high heel breaks and she wipes out on the runway. She wins the contest because of that endearing vulnerability where everyone in the audience (and obviously Hikaru all the damn time) feels protective towards her. Also: horny.

Contrast with Jamis, the blonde Hollywood star who is "too old" (at what, 25?) and "bitchy".

Another one you're probably all familiar with is Rei from Evangelion. Seems like a big tough monster/robot pilot, right? Emotionally vulnerable, fucked up eye and broken arm from like episode one! She's immediately vulnerable and zomg needs Mr. Audience avatar to save the day.

And note that while the protagonist is kind of a fuck up, it's someone the target audience can supposedly relate to. Also I think there may be a little of that porn thing where the women in porn need to be amazingly hot and the dude in porn needs to be average or worse so the male intended audience isn't intimidated or whatever.

But if you want to talk Love Hina, cool. My ex-girlfriend dug the comic and made me read it with her. Shinobu is the moe appeal lolicon. Underage and useless. She needs the (bland, moronic) male protagonist to help her with her schoolwork and the other girls picking on her and shit. Also she's like 15, virginal, wants him. The big love triangle is between her and Naru, the "tsundure" character (which is code for "bitchy"). She hides her massive insecurities and vulnerabilities behind her attitude.

I bet VZ would be glad to talk about his favorite lonely lolitas who need a big brother to come rescue them.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Listen to the Fast Karate for the Gentlemen podcast (www.daveandjoel.com). Half of their anime episodes are about awful moe shows. One highlight is the show were a 15 year lolita character gets RAPED BY AN ALLIGATOR.

While you may not dig tvtropes, their page on the subject had a huge list of moe shows you can investigate at your leisure: [tvtropes.org]

And Haruhi was of course meant as a deconstruction.

Finally, action shows and robot shows and shit are very often also sexist as hell. It's just a different brand of sexist. For example, why the fuck doesn't Motoko from Ghost in the Shell ever wear pants around the goddamn office? It's a future police station! Seriously, you're gonna wear a thong and thigh high tights, NO PANTS, NOT EVEN A SKIRT every day? Does the camera zoom up on Batou's ass when HE climbs in or out of a robot spider tank? Hell no! That's not even getting into shit like "women in refrigerators". Spoilers: In Devilman, the female lead Miki is beheaded by an angry mob of regular humans when they find out a demon has been living with her family. Then she is reincarnated into a slave in Violence Jack. She has no arms or legs and is lead around a leash (naked) by the Slum King. So is Ryo, but he wanted it because he wanted to be punished. Why does Miki need to be punished? Erm...

Edit: I looked it up. The show where a girl is raped by an alligator is called He Is My Master. Enjoy!

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]



Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2012 02:41PM by Ginrai.
Almost all your examples are from before the codification of moe as a genre, or series which are considered to be outside the moe genre. So I'm not sure what you mean when you talk about moe.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Yes, because He Is My Master, the show where an alligator rapes a helpless moe girl is before the codification of the moe "genre". I used examples from robot shows first, because we are robot show fans, so people here are likely to get them. Wioth Love Hina, though, Shinobu is totally a moe lolita character. Furthermore, I gave you a link to TONS of moe shows.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2012 05:38PM by Ginrai.
Are you guys TRYING to lure VZ back?

--------------------------
I want YOU for MoƩ Sucks Army
Scopedog Wrote:
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> Are you guys TRYING to lure VZ back?

He'll never come back. The dude LEFT TBDX and HER NO-GOOD CHEATIN' WAYS, along with a BUNCH OF US.

Haven't you been keeping up?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2012 06:55PM by gingaio.
[www.youtube.com]

Tomo Sakurai probably wants to forget about this one
Ya know, it's really just amazing how much they could do with so little actual animation. That clip is like a manual on how to 'cheat' while giving the appearance of being a high-gloss effort.

Ah, the '80s. :)
Is a Lemon Angel anything like a Lemon Party?

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Ginrai Wrote:
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> Yes, because He Is My Master, the show where an
> alligator rapes a helpless moe girl is before the
> codification of the moe "genre".

Okay, would you prefer I said "all but one of your examples" instead of "almost all of your examples"?

> Furthermore, I gave you a link to TONS of moe shows.

Reading a TVTropes page won't give me any insight into YOUR opinion. An arbitrarily selected list of moe shows won't shed any light on which shows you used to form your opinion. None of this does anything to address my request that you clarify your criticism that moe is about "much older men and submissive, useless girls".

Even a lot of explicitly lolicon illustrations or narrative works don't actually involve adult men (except in the tacit, negotiable role of the viewer's gaze). That layer of abstraction is a big part of what Galbraith is talking about, a big part of how otaku engage with idealized women. It's foolish to claim that's not a factor. There's a difference between child rape fantasies and the idealized experience of "watching girls do stuff". In your rush to qualify all of moe as one specific thing, you're missing out on a lot of distinctions that are vital to actually understanding the phenomenon.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Did you actually read what I wrote? Let me refresh your memory:

"I think this interview is missing something fundamental and important about the whole lolicon/moe thing: It is inherently misogynistic as hell. It's much older men and submissive, useless girls. There's a serious power differential there. It's pretty clear these men want easily controlled women, easily manipulated women (even if it's only in their fantasy life). I don't want to extrapolate that to, "real women/adult women are intimidating" necessarily, but there's a clear fear of or disdain for women who are not incredibly submissive and child-like."

In context, it is obvious that I was talking about the VIEWERS, not the characters, otherwise why would I be talking about their fantasies? I didn't say anything about child rape fantasies. I said, "It's pretty clear these men want easily controlled women, easily manipulated women (even if it's only in their fantasy life)."

Can you please try reading what I actually wrote and responding to that?

And I think you are making a pretty fundamental mistake in assuming "moe" is a type of show when it's not. Moe is this gross protective (with creepy sexual undertones) feeling people for these types of characters. Frequently the appear in lame high school sitcoms but you will also see them in other types of shows, like Ranka in Macross Frontier, who is an excellent example of a lolicon moe bait character. But whatever, how many examples do you need before you get the idea?

asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Reading a TVTropes page won't give me any insight
> into YOUR opinion. An arbitrarily selected list of
> moe shows won't shed any light on which shows you
> used to form your opinion. None of this does
> anything to address my request that you clarify
> your criticism that moe is about "much older men
> and submissive, useless girls".
>
> Even a lot of explicitly lolicon illustrations or
> narrative works don't actually involve adult men
> (except in the tacit, negotiable role of the
> viewer's gaze). That layer of abstraction is a big
> part of what Galbraith is talking about, a big
> part of how otaku engage with idealized women.
> It's foolish to claim that's not a factor. There's
> a difference between child rape fantasies and the
> idealized experience of "watching girls do stuff".
> In your rush to qualify all of moe as one specific
> thing, you're missing out on a lot of distinctions
> that are vital to actually understanding the
> phenomenon.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2012 09:11PM by Ginrai.
Sanjeev (Admin)
asterphage Wrote:
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> There's
> a difference between child rape fantasies and the
> idealized experience of "watching girls do stuff".

Umm...admittedly, I haven't been paying attention to the discussion (life, in its boundless mysteries and beauty, has a way of impeding arguments about shitty cartoons).

But are we seriously back on why moe is bad???

That's one HELL of a regression for this board, no?
"the whole lolicon/moe thing" is absolutely not a clear, distinct statement referring to "the interaction between viewer and character". "much older men and submissive, useless girls" sounds like an accurate description of a significant segment of lolicon art/fiction. While you may consider what you were saying to be obvious, I find a lack of clarity in all of your statements, which is why I asked you to clarify at the outset.

Yes, "moe" at its etymological root refers to a feeling. However, "moe anime" as the term for an ascendant genre of anime is in wide use in Japanese and English. I don't see any sense in your denying that this is a real term for a genre, as if there was no way anyone could possibly misinterpret what you're trying to say.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev Wrote:
>
> But are we seriously back on why moe is bad???

Hah, well, Galbraith makes an interesting point in that article about how we shouldn't demonize otaku for using fiction as an emotional surrogate. He makes it in a pretty clear and fairhanded way. I think it's an important point and deserves some debate... but Ginrai seems pretty mad about the idea that there could possibly be anything anywhere in the spectrum of "moe" that isn't conceptually equivalent to lolicon.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hah, well, Galbraith makes an interesting point in
> that article about how we shouldn't demonize otaku
> for using fiction as an emotional surrogate.

Fair enough. With all due respect to Matt's efforts in the interview (transcription and translation), I could only get through the first part. Again...not enough hours in the day...but I'd be lying if I didn't find the hyper-academic feel a bit dull and disconnected.

Anyway, I know I don't have much of a place to talk because I haven't been following along, but I can understand why Jeremy's getting annoyed, Paul. A lot of the back-and-forth in the past few posts has been more about semantics than the real message really trying to be conveyed. At least that's how it looks to an outsider.

I simply don't have enough time (or patience) to qualify every one of my statements with all the necessary disclaimers/pre-apologies/whatever to participate in discussions like these. So I don't bother. Kind of a bummer. But anyway, I personally don't demonize moe otaku. I've worked *in the real world* with enough child molesters, would-be child molesters, rapists...to understand their struggles, their unfulfilled needs, their aberrant behavior, their confusions, their want for closeness, and ultimately their humanity.

But I'm also not an idiot. I recognize the anger, frustration, or impatience most people feel towards people *with* these confusions...and probably more importantly, towards the (sub)cultures that don't seem to do a damn thing to address these issues. "Watching girls do stuff" IS at the heart of the confusions for the vast majority of these folks I've worked with in counseling--NOT child-rape fantasies. No, not all moe otaku are going to commit violent sex crimes (please just go ahead and insert all the other requisite logical disclaimers I don't have time to type here), but the core issues are essentially parallel.

...

Sweet jeebus....I'm fucking ranting about kiddie smut cartoons on an internet message board about toy robots and monsters...just to take my mind off the heartburn-inducing Celtics-Heat overtime Game 2 Eastern Conference Finals. Is it working? FUCK no.
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sanjeev Wrote:
> >
> > But are we seriously back on why moe is bad???
>
> Hah, well, Galbraith makes an interesting point in
> that article about how we shouldn't demonize otaku
> for using fiction as an emotional surrogate. He
> makes it in a pretty clear and fairhanded way. I
> think it's an important point and deserves some
> debate... but Ginrai seems pretty mad about the
> idea that there could possibly be anything
> anywhere in the spectrum of "moe" that isn't
> conceptually equivalent to lolicon.

Now that I think about it, isn't the concept of moe also present in shojo manga and anime? For example, in Fruits Basket Tohru is a totally clumsy, fairly useless, incredibly sweet girl who ends up saving the day of the also fairly vulnerable and socially somewhat incompetent male characters...
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
<snip>
> Sweet jeebus....I'm fucking ranting about kiddie
> smut cartoons on an internet message board about
> toy robots and monsters...just to take my mind off
> the heartburn-inducing Celtics-Heat overtime Game
> 2 Eastern Conference Finals. Is it working? FUCK
> no.

Shall we discuss the merits of crazy robots and tentacle monsters in loli hentai, and whether their design aesthetics are more or less closely related to those of our beloved toy robots and monsters? :P
thomas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> asterphage Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Sanjeev Wrote:
> > >
> > > But are we seriously back on why moe is
> bad???
> >
> > Hah, well, Galbraith makes an interesting point
> in
> > that article about how we shouldn't demonize
> otaku
> > for using fiction as an emotional surrogate. He
> > makes it in a pretty clear and fairhanded way.
> I
> > think it's an important point and deserves some
> > debate... but Ginrai seems pretty mad about the
> > idea that there could possibly be anything
> > anywhere in the spectrum of "moe" that isn't
> > conceptually equivalent to lolicon.
>
> Now that I think about it, isn't the concept of
> moe also present in shojo manga and anime? For
> example, in Fruits Basket Tohru is a totally
> clumsy, fairly useless, incredibly sweet girl who
> ends up saving the day of the also fairly
> vulnerable and socially somewhat incompetent male
> characters...


Funny, I made a similar observation just recently on my facebook timeline, as I've been reading the Fruits Basket manga, though I was making a comment on how the 90s shojo boom is likely partly responsible for the rise of moe. I would argue that during that period there were fewer shows of shounen/seinen origins that were of much quality while we had the mega-success of series such as Sailor Moon, Rayearth, Marmalade Boy, Kodocha, Card Captor Sakura, Vampire Princess Miyu (yes, really), and Fruits Basket among others which in turn led to wider appeal of "girlish" anime. Fruits Basket in particular has all the standard moe tropes, just gender-reversed (for the most part).
Paul, I agree with what Sanjeev said. You appear to have a real problem following along with what people are actually talking about and instead focus on tiny details out of context, distorting the entire point.

I am seriously not trying to be offensive, but this reminds me of the conversations my girlfriend has with the children she tutors that struggle with learning disabilities.

Paul, are you actually having trouble following what people are saying or are you just being pedantic and trying to piss people off for fun?

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/31/2012 11:58AM by Ginrai.
Did anyone get the book? I'm about halfway through it so far, fascinating read, really! A good cross section of the extreme otaku, the outliers, the celebrity otaku, and the more moderate otaku, and otaku of both(?) genders, and more.

The economist otaku interviewed made an interesting point about how there are both the 2d-devoted otaku and the 2d/3d "bisexual" otaku, which he feels there needs to be more of in order for things to improve...
So after watching Redline, I fail to comprehend how this anime movie could ever be seen as a "celebration of Western macho behaviour". The amount of references to classic 1970s and early 1980s anime, especially super robot, and classic Japanese monster movies is staggering. Heck, it's even said in the DVD commentary that the intent was to create a hand-drawn animated movie that felt like (the memory of) a classic anime series.
not sure what this is from.


-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2012 10:41PM by asterphage.
Attachments:
open | download - 1325580695700.jpg (115.1 KB)
Well whatever the case, at least I see he has Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou on his manga shelf.
that's a good manga. foundational Girls-Doing-Stuff combined with a core of real emotional connection.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
All of my heroes are teenage girls in frilly aprons.
mcfitch (Admin)
That about sums it up.
[penny-arcade.com]

-Mason

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Matthewalt &quot;I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!&quot;
hypocritical and bigoted

PA you've fallen on hard times

first the Kickstarter scandal and now this

you used to love Shenmue so much
I dunno, it was cute and honest when Tycho expressed trepidation that his niece might want to cosplay but I feel like they lost any position of authority on that issue when they basically capped off that story with cosplay is great, as long as it's characters we like.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I don't see anything wrong with criticizing pedophilia in anime fans.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
mcfitch (Admin)
See this is the point in the conversation where I'm out, and I should have known not to get involved to begin with. It's a fucking joke. It's a comic strip, and yes as Ginrai has pointed out, it's making fun of pedophelia/all out creepiness and it's rampancy in the cosplay/anime culture. Try reading the words that go along with that day's comic.
-Mason

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthewalt &quot;I actually kinda LIKE that approach! You know: let's make a TOY. Remember those? Products designed to be played with without breaking? DO YOU REMEMBER, LOVE?!&quot;
The comic strip is pretty much explicitly saying "anyone who watches anime with scantily clad girls in it is a pedophile". Who the fuck cares what the accompanying newspost says?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
no you see they made a joke once in a guest comic that every PA has to be printed out with the accompanying news post so you get the joke
I only had one direct experience with Anime cosplayers, at a local comic convention probably eight years ago. Saw a few people in regular looking, homemade costumes of characters that I mostly recognized and gave a nod to.

Then I ran into scary, teenage, girls-in-less-than-bikinis with cat ears and all sorts of makeup and such. Given the age range of the whole group, and watching as the elder dudes started gaping and drooling over the teens, and the teen girls starting to enjoy the attention, I got out of Dodge perty darn quick. That just felt icky, with a capital ICK!

I can understand someone enjoying a Sailor Moon as a counterpoint to a DBZ, and heck, I remember Iczer-1 when that came out...although that was borderline for a teenager, but hey. But when the whole game boils down to how many cracks, cleavages and orificiuses you can dangle on the screen, you're peddling something other than Anime in my book, at least the Anime I knew.
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