Weekly recap: The fun I had!!

Alright, so this was another meh week overall, but it picked up near the weekend. I finally got around to write and post my review of Arte, the curiously feminist manga by Kei Ohkubo.

The most exciting news this week was today’s Doctor Who announcement. the thirteenth Doctor will be played by a woman for the first time! I am happy with this, not because I desperately wanted a female Doctor, but because I desperately wanted something different. Just anything but another young, white man. Not because there’s anything wrong with young white men, haha. But I really enjoyed Capaldi as the Doctor, I found it refreshing to have an older man instead of yet another bouncy, manic gummy-face – no offence to David Tennant or Matt Smith, but I’m glad they tried something different with Twelve. And I am glad they are trying something different with Thirteen! Having a woman in this role is going to result in new, fresh dynamics, and I’m curious to see what this will be like! I hope they are going to be more creative in the future as well – also with the choice of companions, since that’s another way to shake things up.

(I’ll just ignore the misogynistic backlash, since these whiny idiots don’t deserve to be taken seriously.)

Changing topic. It’s nearly been a month since RPG Maker Fes has come out … and I’ve really slowed down! D: That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I basically started taking my game more seriously, so now I am actually thinking about the big picture instead of making it up as I go along. I need some time to come up with a structure that works, and to flesh out the characters. Luckily, I greatly enjoy daydreaming about stories.

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The fun I had last week – Sunday wrap-up

I’m forcing myself to write these posts even if I haven’t managed to write a proper blog post all week. I was kind of busy wih real-life stuff, and … videogames, haha. I’ve been focusing on Dragon Quest VII lately, and made considerable progress. Perhaps I will manage to finish the game before Ever Oasis comes out?

Playing DQ7 put me in a Chrono Trigger mood, because it’s a JRPG, it has Toriyama designs and it involves time travel! I don’t feel like replaying Chrono Trigger at the moment, but I do like to listen to its music and think about its plot and characters.

Square Enix announced a new game by Tokyo RPG Factory, the guys who made I Am Setsuna (another game I’ve yet to complete). Lost Sphear looks a lot like I Am Setsuna, and the trailer suggests that it’s also going to have a melancholic feeling. But the settings aren’t exclusively snowy and the soundtrack isn’t piano-only, so I’m thinking that this game is probably going to have a more open and adventury feel? The plot sounds kind of like The Neverending Story, which isn’t a bad thing, of course. That book will always be special to me.

I’ve decided to quit visiting The Mary Sue. It’s something I’d mostly been doing out of boredom and because I don’t really know any other websites of that type. But since I don’t care for Marvel, superhero movies and Star Wars all that much, most of their content is boring and irrelevant to me anyway. I also think this narrow focus on the biggest franchises is not compatible with the website’s supposed feminist ideals. Most of their resources go towards promoting multi-billion dollar corporations, instead of more obscure stories and creators that don’t get much attention from mainstream platforms. I have a similar problem with AnimeFeminist, who focus a lot on current moe anime available via Crunchyroll, and who have neglected to talk about a couple of manga that should be right up their ally as far as “feminism” is concerned … But anyway, that’s not a fair comparison because AniFem is just a bit disappointing, while TheMarySue is actually loathesome in their hypocrisy and disdain for their readership. The PR disaster surrounding the Geekosystem merger is a great example. For something more recent, try this article, an ad for an unpaid internship at TheMarySue. After commenters criticize the website for not paying their interns, the article is quietly edited to remove any mentioning of unpayment. Which is a bit dishonest already, but to top it all off, a TMS writer goes around the comments smugly telling everyone “Where does it say it’s unpaid?”, which is just incredible disrespectful and insulting and dishonest and so many adjectives more. Basically, this website has no credibility left. I don’t consider it a feminist website at all. I’m not saying that the individual writers and editors aren’t feminists; but the website itself, the way it is organized, financed and run, makes it a very bad platform for actual feminist thought.

I really hate that fandom has been taken over by all these shitty enterprises that try to cash in on pop culture hypes, usually exploiting young, aspiring writers who are naive enough to believe that writing clickbait listicles is going to count as “experience in journalism” and help their future career. A few months ago someone offered me the ~amazing opportunity to work for him for free and get “exposure” – in retrospect, I should have been much less polite. I genuinely hope that all of these websites fail and disappear. Remember: if someone is going to be making money with your work, you deserve to be paid for it; if your business model hinges on unpaid labour, your business deserves to go down.

Anyway … I wonder if E3 is going to bring any videogame news that is relevant to my interests. I hope so. I actually have this dream fantasy that Square Enix is going to reveal Final Fantasy XVI and it will be a “back to roots” kind of thing that melds traditional Final Fantasy traditions with a unique graphics style and more modern elements that feel fresh and unique. I really appreciate all the non-FF titles that Square Enix has produced lately, but deep down inside, I just want to get excited about a Final Fantasy game again. I want to listen to the main theme and get chills of anticipation, I want to save crystals, ride chocobos, stuff like that!

What else? I promise that the next Kenshin post is going to come soon. It’s just such a good part of the manga, I don’t want to half-ass my commentary! I am also deeply in love with Wave, Listen To Me. I wish I was one of those influential bloggers so I could convince people to read it! Alas, I’m not.

 

So where’s the manga fandom? Not anime fandom, manga fandom.

(Apologies in advance for this petty rant. ^^ I’m just venting.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of googling and blog-hopping in search for this elusive thing: the manga fandom. The English speaking anime/manga fandom has always been focused on anime over manga, of course, so I’ve never really connected to it, since I prefer manga and don’t care about anime. But lately, it’s reached frustrating levels!

For example, when the new Rurouni Kenshin manga was announced, commenters on ANN and elsewhere didn’t really seem to care, but demanded a sequel to the anime instead. There’s this sad, annoying mindset in anime/manga fandom that the purpose of manga is to be a template for an anime, that a manga without an anime adaptation is not worth one’s attention at all, is somehow automatically a failure. And even the worst drivel on TV is somehow more noteworthy than literally any manga.

Very often, anime fans don’t even seem to care about the fact that many of the anime series that they consume are adaptated from a manga and not an original work. Again, look at all the Kenshin fans who desperately want to see the Jinchu arc animated, to finally see the story of Rurouni Kenshin properly concluded – but who have no intention of reading the manga! And it has been available in English for years! Yes, there are a lot of manga that you can’t easily get a hold of, or who aren’t available in English at all. But … well, often it’s like people don’t even consider the possibility that what they’re watching is just an adaptation, that there might be a longer, ongoing, better manga behind it. They don’t realize that quite often, the anime is the secondary material meant to support, not replace the manga. That mangakas create their stories to be read as manga, not used as screenplays for anime.

It’s not that I think people shouldn’t like anime. You can like whatever you want! But I’ve come across so many blogs and websites that claim to cover “manga and anime” but turn out to be about anime only, with maybe the occasional acknowledgement that manga exist. There are posts about anime that are tagged “manga” for some reason, which makes it really hard for me to find things that are relevant to my interests. It’s frustrating.

Does anybody know of any interesting manga blogs/websites? There are probably many that I just can’t find …

A look back on Outlander Season 2 (and the series overall)

I meant to write this sooner, but … that’s the story of my life. Or at least of this blog. And I tend to get insecure when I don’t know who my audience is. When it comes to Outlander … Well, I don’t actually know any other Outlander viewers – or even readers, for that matter. I’ve never had a conversation with another viewer that extended beyond pleasantries. And the outside perception of Outlander is … frustratingly inaccurate: That it’s a sappy guilty-pleasure bodice-ripper for shallow women, all superficial sex and wish-fulfillment and bla bla bla. You know, the stuff you should be a little bit ashamed of watching. I dunno, that’s obviously one aspect of Outlander, but another aspect of Outlander is that it grounds the central love story in a world that is realistically dirty, unpleasant and cruel. And it takes unusual turns – and bold ones, I’d say. Really, that’s one thing you have to respect about Outlander: this show isn’t afraid to topple its whole premise over and change radically. This is especially true for Season 2. I’ll proceed with spoilers. (And also some Hannibal spoilers.)

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On fandom and social justice and insincerity.

I’ve been so frustrated with the state of social-justice-minded pop culture blogs (and websites) lately. And by lately, I mean for a long, long time. The overall tone has become bitterness and cynicism. A lot of people have discovered Social Justice rhetoric to be an excellent tool to win online arguments, to claim the moral highground in petty fandom squabbles. The fact that these arguments are used so much these days in ship wars is truly saddening. For example, I recently came a cross a person who made a lot of angry posts accusing others of misogyny, of sidelining a specific female character. But that person wasn’t concerned about that female character at all, but rather upset that not enough people were shipping their favourite m/m pairing. This need to co-opt social justice rhetoric, to feign concern, to use issues of sexism, racism, homophobia etc. to guilt-trip and shame others, without actually giving a fuck about those issues oneself … it’s seriously poisoned all online discussions these days, and that sucks. Continue reading