Goggles, not Labels – Feminism and Good Writing in [Anime]

The following questions were taken from my Ask.fm page, and in both of them the question is posed in a way that seeks to apply a certain label to anime, and I answer that it’s hard, and not all that fruitful. The reasons in each case are different, but I think both answers work well together as an exhortation to look at how we look at things, and to identify that as more important than the result itself.

Which anime works would you consider feminist?

I’ve seen some good tweets on the matter last week, let’s start with those:

MammonMachine on "Is this feminism?"

The long and short of it is that, often, answering such questions (and also, “What’s a libertarian work?” or “What’s a socialist work?” when dealing beyond outright manifestos) means something sort of weird, because all these things are ideological goggles to view other things throughout, rather than labels that apply to things per se. Even “Libertianism” which I said Mahouka espouses the ideals of. It’s mostly that these works contain some of the things these things aim for, or the ideas they use as basis.

Ergo Proxy anime episode 1 - Re-L Meyer looks down on others

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Durarara!!x2 Shou – Save Us From the Kind Man

Ah, what a time to be alive, the cour finale for Durarara!!x2 is upon us, and it’d be a bitter-sweet occasion, if not for the fact we have 2 more cours to look forward to, so be joyous and merry, because more Durarara!! is coming soon. This specific write-up began as a post-finale overview for the first of the three cours (To those who don’t know, “cour” in this sense refers to a “Season’s worth of episodes, 3 months’, which is distinct from “Season” for various unimportant reasons) for Durarara!!x2, but as it kept growing longer, I gave in and turned it into an exploration of the themes I found interesting in the show, and how it went about them.

Part 1: The Great Game Begins:

Durarara!! X2 Shou anime review - Orihara Mairu and Kururi are having fun

In life, stories do not come to an end. There’s never a clean break, and there are always more storylines going on in the background, and things are always, not starting, not ending, but ongoing. That’s always been what Durarara!! has been about, and especially the first half of the first season. And yet, while thinking ahead to the cour-finale, as I watched it, and especially with all that’s been going on as the episode continued, I was left with the impression that this is doubly true for this cour .

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be spoilers for the entirety of Durarara!! up to this point.)

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12 Days of Anime – Moment #12 – Connecting to the World via Durarara!! / “I am Not a Violent Man.”

For those of you who don’t know, the 12 days of anime is an event anibloggers engage in, where they relate 12 moments that are related to anime from the past year – moments which made them smile or angered them, from current shows or older, moments where they went to conventions, made dramatic poses, sung the Poke’Mon song at work, etc. Though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I’ve decided to join once more this year. You can read all the of the category’s posts (including last year’s) here. This year I dropped the ball on getting reddit participation, so you’ll have to do with me.

Orihara Izaya loves people - Durarara!! anime

That’s how Durarara!! makes me feel, which makes it worth noting for that fact alone.

My so-called 12th moment isn’t actually my least favourite, but the one I came back to the most times during the year. I’ve watched Durarara!! back in March. I’m fond of revisiting moments in media I enjoy, especially in the couple of months after I finish it – a favourite half episode, a favourite 20-40 pages sequence of a book, etc. But every so often there comes a work where “revisiting moments” from it quickly turns into revisiting the entire series. It’s happened to me with series such as Code Geass, and with books such as Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three (2nd book in The Dark Tower series), but it’s happened to me even more with Durarara!!

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Media Month in Review – August 2014

I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic. Highlights this month: Too much Hearthstone, several Marvelverse films, films from my childhood, and 143 episodes of Hunter x Hunter (2011)!

Movies:

Jumanji movie

  • Matilda – I probably haven’t watched this film since 1998, at the latest. This film shows its warts. While the first 10-15 minutes where we see Matilda growing up with just the narrator to guide us are pretty magical, the acting in this film isn’t the best, and at some points you can see the director went too wild with the “Children Movie silliness”, such as when the schoolkids get rid of Ms. Trunchbull. Still, it was an enjoyable view.
  • Jumanji – I’ve probably watched this last around 2001. I’ve meant to watch it a week before Robin Williams died, but I ended up watching it only after. This film isn’t an adventure film, holy shit but is it a horror film! When that vine went for Peter? It gave me flashbacks to The Exorcist, and that film had me run out of the room when I watched it in the 5th grade… I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Well-acted, and fun. Also, only when I went to IMDB did I realize the Hunter going after Alan was acted by the same actor who portrayed his father, similar to how in Peter Pan, the Darling family father also plays the role of Captain Hook.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – I’ve had a lot of fun watching it! It was a silly film, with silly lines, and silly action. I chuckled and laughed and enjoyed turning my brain off for a bit. Also, I kept waiting for “The Guardians of the Galaxy” to appear, which I was sure would be The Green Lantern Corps, which are of course in DC-verse. Still, kept waiting for someone serious to come and save the universe, not our bunch of incompetent walking shticks. Rocket and Groot were really great. Especially Rocket.

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Durarara!! – The Sound and Fury of Life

Durarara!! AnimeShortly before Winter’s season was ending, I was feeling a bit meh over all the anime I was watching, and didn’t feel like tackling all the shows I already started, so picked a new show to watch, with the intention of marathoning it. In short? I loved Durarara!! It made my heart swell, it made my thoughts race, as I’m filled with an inexplicable joy and feelings of overwhelming love for the whole world. That show invigorated me and made me want to run, and act.

Durarara!! (DRRR for short) had been written by Narita Ryogo, the author behind fan-favourite Baccano! (meaning “ruckus”), and their anime adaptations also share a director. I hadn’t watched Baccano! yet, but they both are light novel adaptations displaying a very varied cast, and both deal with noise, if only thematically. DRRR is a very loud anime, not in decibels, but there’s music that is somewhat ill-belonging present in almost every scene. The music disarms you, the music forces you to enter the world, to weather the fury, to embrace it. Repeating sounds are what draws you into a ritualistic mindset, and it’s very present here.

While they are Light Novel adaptations, I think these are exactly the stories that benefit from being adapted into a visual medium, as the intersecting story-lines and characters can be seen in the background, as we see this breathing world, without attention being drawn to it by the author. It’s a word which different characters share, and we get to see things from various angles. As much as it is a story of the characters, Durarara!! is very much the story of Ikebukuro, a district within Tokyo. It’s the story of the world inhabited and created by the cast.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be premise spoilers, but while I might spoil what some of the situations are, I won’t spoil how they are resolved.)

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Media Month in Review – March 2014

I’ve been all sorts of busy and pre-occupied this month, which explains the relative dearth of movies watched, as well as all the editorials I said I’ll write and hadn’t. I’ll also use this entry to give a sentence or so on each of the currently airing anime I’ve watched, and there’d been a metric ton of those.

I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic.

Movies:

How to Train Your Dragon

  • How to Train Your Dragon – Had this lying around for a while, and felt like watching more films recently, so gave it a go. Yes, I love cats, and that the main dragon is so very cat-like made me go “Awww!” – It’s a small and harmless little film. It only has one real character, and no real character growth anywhere. It’s mostly there for neat moments, for gag moments, and for ye olde “Be yourself, and you’ll change the world and win the girl” message. Take it or leave it.

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