Journey with Kino’s Journey – Second Stop – Hard Questions (Monthly Watch)

I am now watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (also known as Tabi no Kino in Japanese). The series has an episodic, metaphorical, and allegorical nature, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide, but more sombre. As such, I think it lends itself well to being watched one episode at a time, and also to being discussed, or kicking off discussion, so that’s what I aim to do. The first four episodes have been posted before, but had been put on hold due to how much energy writing them demanded of me. I’m excited to resume the journey once more, and will be bringing over the older comments as well.

There will be a new post on the second (or third if it begins early) Monday of every month (next post: March 11th) , each covering one episode of Kino’s Journey, or the films. You can buy the series here, or watch it dubbed on Hulu here, if you live in the United States. Each write-up might differ in style, length, and focus. I might spend more time on the episode, its ideas, or what it made me think of, or feel. These write-ups assume you’ve watched the episode, and the discussion that’ll follow could be had on the episode, the points I raised, or the questions I pose. Well, let’s get to it.
(Also, sorry, I miscounted the weeks this month, which led to this post being a week late, sorry!)

Episode 2 – “A Tale of Feeding Off Others -I Want to Live-“

Kino's Journey anime episode 2 / Kino no Tabi anime episode 2 - Being alive

Is it just me, or did the head-slaver look like the “monk” from Princess Mononoke? Quite a bit, actually, and their characters are quite similar as well.

Questions Are Interesting:

Before we get further, I have a question, how many of you didn’t see where this will go from about halfway into the episode? I think the whole nature of the episode, and its title, and the fact this is a show more about human nature than random observations about nature, more or less told us it’d go something like that. I dunno, I think once they spoke of their “Homecoming Festival” I was sure. I did suspect them from the get-go, that they’d attack Kino after she caught the first rabbit. They just struck me as “off”.

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Journey with Kino’s Journey – First Stop – The Value of Experience (Monthly Watch)

I am now watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (also known as Tabi no Kino in Japanese). The series has an episodic, metaphorical, and allegorical nature, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide, but more sombre. As such, I think it lends itself well to being watched one episode at a time, and also to being discussed, or kicking off discussion, so that’s what I aim to do. The first four episodes have been posted before, but had been put on hold due to how much energy writing them demanded of me. I’m excited to resume the journey once more, and will be bringing over the older comments as well.

There will be a new post on the second (or third if it begins early) Monday of every month (next post: February 11th) , each covering one episode of Kino’s Journey, or the films. You can buy the series here, or watch it dubbed on Hulu here, if you live in the United States. Each write-up might differ in style, length, and focus. I might spend more time on the episode, its ideas, or what it made me think of, or feel. These write-ups assume you’ve watched the episode, and the discussion that’ll follow could be had on the episode, the points I raised, or the questions I pose. Well, let’s get to it.

Episode 1 – “Land of Visible Pain -I See You-“

Kino's Journey anime episode 1 / Kino no Tabi anime episode 1 - Jealousy of birds

Well, this was interesting. This reminded me more than a tad of Mushishi. Travelers who do not wish to get too involved, a new place and a new story each time. Likewise, I suspect the best way to watch this series would be an episode a day. After catching up with what the anime-club needs, I’ll probably watch it that way. Also, like Mushishi’s Ginko, I suspect we’ll see Kino and Hermes taking a more invested stance at some point. Continue reading

Netoju no Susume – On Compersion and Virtual Identities

Netoju no Susume anime review - Recovery of an MMO Junkie anime reviewYou know that feeling where you’re watching kids run around, laughing, and it brings you joy? Or perhaps when your best friend is celebrating a promotion at work, and you feel happy for them? Or, say, when you watch a romantic comedy, or an underdog story, and when the couple kiss or the protagonist overcomes all struggles, you fistpump and/or cheer? There’s a term that encapsulates this feeling, this emotion, which comes from the polyamory circles, and that term is “compersion,” take to mean, “Joy at the joy of others.”

To some degree, one could say that all romantic comedies operate off of our desire to see the couple hit it off, but while some romantic sub-genres (see Harem RomComs, as per my write-up on Nisekoi) work more off of wanting the story to take its “natural pathway,” some shows, such as last season’s Netoju no Susume (or either “Recovery of an MMO Junkie” or “Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life” in English), really do bank on us feeling compersion for the characters, and desiring them to be happy, because our own happiness depends on it (to some degree, don’t get too crazy here).

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire show.)

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[Gatchaman Crowds] Rui’s Choice and the Nature of Good Decisions

This is the last essay write-up on Gatchaman Crowds’s first season. Am I “done” with covering all the series has to bring up? Not even close. My old episodic write-ups bring up many ideas I don’t even touch on here, such as The Bystander Effect of the Diffusion of Responsibility, or many more masks for me to discuss. But, Gatchaman Crowds doesn’t believe in chewing one’s thoughts for them, and as I hope I made clear through these series of posts, the more I delve into this show, the more I actually have to discuss. I could be talking about this show for months to come. So, before we delve into the OVA and then Gatchaman Crowds insight, it’s very fitting we finish with this write-up on the nature of good decisions, which is both useful for readers to keep in mind in their daily lives, and as something to keep in mind as one watches and then thinks of Gatchaman Crowds Insight. This is a question, which underlies Gatchaman Crowds, and is re-opened in Insight.

This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire first season of the show.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

Write-up:

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 7 - Ichinose Hajime on scary decision making

This may sound trivial, but Gatchaman Crowds is very much a show about making decisions, and a particular one above all else. Rui’s arc specifically is about making a decision, about making a choice. Well, I’ll discuss in a bit why it may not be as obvious, but first, I’m actually going to take this show to task for raising the question that’s asked of any decision, whether it was a good one, and pulling a fast one on us in terms of what the answer to said question is, at least in this season. But first, let’s discuss decision-making and what makes for a good decision in general.

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[Gatchaman Crowds] J.J., Pai-Pai, Sagayama, and Rui – The Impossible Leadership of God (Hajime’s Bridge)

As we’re nearing the end of the Gatchaman Crowds write-ups (there’s only one essay left after this one!), I once more return to the sort of article that I opened this project with, one that revolves around one of the more general issues the series tackles: Leadership. Leadership is one of the things Gatchaman Crowds explores from the most angles, even if it doesn’t give it the most direct scrutiny. Its approach to leadership is at the same time both irreverent and sympathetic, and the characters and scene referenced in this post’s title reflect both of these facets. Irreverent to leadership, and sympathetic to leaders and their burden.

This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire first season of the show.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

Write-up:

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 7 - Pai-Pai crying for his God's answers

Hajime is Athena, sort of. She is born again when J.J. envelopes her in the first episode, and from his embrace she emerges as a Gatchaman. Later, she’s Jesus. J.J. sits across a chasm, and Hajime walks across the chasm to him, a leap of faith. The imagery seems as if she’s walking on water. But she breaches the distance, and sits right next to the seemingly impossibly far entity, who only touches them once, when giving birth to them and giving them their shape, their “wings”.

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Gatchaman Crowds – Hajime, Fun, and the Response to Trolling

(Guy: This post might be controversial, it also presents some of my personal views on life and life-philosophy. As such, I might find the need to moderate the comment section, if things get out of hand. Especially following this week’s Presidential Elections in the USA, the topic is even more topical than it always is. As always, this is not a review, but a Things I Like post, which contains spoilers for the Gatchaman Crowds series, though a bit more slight this time around.)

Probably the most controversial line in Gatchaman Crowds is when in episode 7 Hajime tells Utsutsu, who wonders how she can take all the crap that’s written on her online, “They’re people I don’t know. If I don’t like it, I can just turn it off.” This line is important enough that later on when Rui is bombarded by vile messages online after his identity is revealed, that it is repeated to him. This line comes off incredibly similar to “Grow a thicker skin. It’s your fault you care.”

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 7 - Miya Utsutsu and Ichinose Hajime on fearing what's said about you

The fear of doxxing and trolling.

Now, I’m going to address this line from Hajime’s perspective in a bit, but first I’m going to start with a controversial opinion I myself hold, but I’m going to actually break down why it’s not as controversial, perhaps, as it’d appear on first glance. The opinion is, “people choose to be offended.” And before you accuse me of saying that being offended is thus meaningless, people also choose to get married, and to have children. People still choose to kill one another. Choices aren’t meaningless, quite the opposite.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

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[Gatchaman Crowds] Umeda’s World – Rash Power

This collection of two write-ups focuses on Umeda, who is the true “antagonist” of the show, unlike Berg-Katze who’s more of a phenomenon than a person, Umeda is the darkness within us all, and what we must all face and fight off. He’s also human. These two write-ups continue from Rui’s World and will to power to exploring the various manifestation of power and leadership within the series, followed by the first foray into the hotly contested topic of trolling, and how one’s reaction to trolling is very partisan, dependent on whether they’re dishing it out or receiving it. In other words, this is another write-up on how Gatchaman Crowds explores what it means to be human, and this time from what we like to cluck our tongues at, even as we often fall into it ourselves.

This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire first season of the show.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

Rui, Umeda (#26), and Sugayama – The Will For Power, The Dream’s Death:

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 8 - Umeda Kouichi hates the world

The demagogue’s prey, the malcontent.

I guess you could also fit Pai-Pai here, but his is a mask of leadership he assumes out of perceived necessity, and we don’t know of any desire he ever possessed of fixing the world. Unlike Joe. Well, maybe Sugayama is likewise, but one needs a certain drive to become a Prime Minister. But I digress.

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