Manga: I watched a Youtube video about “Shonen Anime’s Biggest Problem”, and while I agree with the core idea that power escalation is a huge problem for battle-focused shonen stories, and that making the fights bigger and more badass is meaningless without finding believable emotional stakes … Yeah, well, but I am mostly struck by just how few shonen titles people even know these days! And yet they try to make sweeping generalizations about the genre of shonen battle manga. In this video, there’s an attempt made to lump shonen manga in three sort of groups: first wave, second wave and third wave. Not only does he basically claim that Hunter X Hunter isn’t really part of any “wave”, being ~too unique, a ~deconstruction. He also shows a picture of Yu Yu Hakusho alongside Dragonball (as “first wave”), implying that he believes this to be another generic old shonen manga that just throws bigger and bigger enemies at the heroes, without depth or self-examination. Which is simply ludicrous! In YYH, Togashi already did many of the things he’d later do again in HxH, things that newbies today consider to be ~unlike anything that’s ever been done in shonen manga~.
It’s kind of sad how Rurouni Kenshin is never talked about in these videos or written analyses. It’d blow their minds! Because Kenshin is genuinely atypical in many ways, but it’s still a classic, famous and successful Jump manga. But … it doesn’t have a recent anime adaptation that can be watched on Crunchyroll, so it simply doesn’t exist for today’s crop of “shonen experts”.
Anyway, I just automatically lose respect for people when they say Hunter X Hunter is “not really a shonen manga” but a “deconstruction”. HxH is a shonen manga, and like many other shonen manga before, it plays with the reader’s expectations and comes up with a couple of surprising new takes on familiar tropes. That doesn’t mean it’s no longer a shonen manga, it just means it’s a good one. But that’s what happens if your entire shonen horizon begins at Bleach and ends at Naruto, and DBZ memes: you don’t know what you’re talking about.
I don’t know a lot of shonen manga myself, which is why I try to avoid blanket statements about the category as a whole. I don’t want to embarass myself, mostly.
Videogames: I am still busy with RPG Maker Fes. This week, I finally learned how to use variables to create a sidequest. I really find it oddly relaxing to think within logical commands. Obviously, it’s challenging and requires concentration and figuring things out, but it’s a kind of concentration that relaxes and satisfies me. At least … if it works. Sometimes I regret that Mathematics and numbers never clicked with me, because there’s something nice about their order and precision, quite different from the diffuse chaos of words.
TV: I don’t know what came over me, but I binge-watched Doctor Who‘s tenth season this weekend. I hadn’t watched any Doctor Who in years and really had no interest whatsoever. But … it was actually quite nice! I like Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, and I really like Bill as a companion, and it’s kind of funny I get attached to them now that the season and their time on the show is basically over, haha. Hmm. The thing is, I really like the stand-alone episodes of Doctor Who, but whenever it goes for complex and longer story arcs, I put up some kind of inner resistence, and don’t connect with it so well. I wonder why that is. Maybe I just like things low-key.
I generally really like stories where normal people get drawn into something supernatural and weird, with creative, unusual monsters or alien threats. Some of my favourite bits of 3×3 Eyes essentially did this in combination with a POV shift, so you also get to see the main characters from the perspective of a clueless newcomer. One famous example of this occurs right after the timeskip, when “Pai” has lost her memory and lives as a normal schoolgirl, until creepy puppets try to kidnap her and a strange young man claims to know her from a past life. And that’s Yakumo, our protagonist! (I love Yakumo.) And the creepy puppets are like something out of a Doctor Who episode, totally, especially when their backstory is revealed … and ultimately it’s about humanity and stuff. Aww.