Ikuhara concedes that perhaps there are some commonly used growing-up Aesops he should touch on, but resolves to do it in the weirdest way possible.
It’s the week of Thanksgiving, readers! And if you’re likewise American, you’re preparing to do what the rest of the world thinks we do all year long: eat to the point of sickness and pass out in front of the national pastime of concussion giving. But hopefully you’re doing it someplace warm, with people who love you and enrich your lives (something I hope fervently for you readers across the world, too). As for me, I want to take the opportunity to highlight some artists and bloggers I’ve had the good fortune to come to know (and even sometimes collaborate with) since starting this blog, whose work most assuredly deserves a look.
(I’m not including Artemis in this collection since I’ve talked about her before, but y’all should most certainly check out her blog of newbie-friendly anime essays).
There are few things so hellish for a grownup as writing a convincing young protagonist. There’s the line between making them too cloying or too foul mouthed, too dumb or too much like tiny adults in child suits, never mind actually getting within spitting distance of believable character arcs. And in the maelstrom of figuring out how to capture how kids act, it’s easy to forget how often those same kids look to fiction to figure out how to act themselves.
Before we go any further, two points. Firstly, no, not every character created ever needs to be a capital letters Role Model. The best fictional characters are flawed in relatable ways, but with merits that outweigh their weaknesses. That being said, where you put those strengths and weaknesses can have a more potent effect than one realizes, especially for an audience that isn’t yet adept at parsing the finer nuances of media.
Hey, so Gamergate’s been a thing recently. You know, that hashtag on Twitter where a bunch of disgruntled stereotypes fancied to fashion themselves as latter day Woodward and Bernsteins in order to shred the reputation of a show that had the gall to explore how maybe the gaming community is a teensy weensy bit less utopian, gender wise, than the party line might’ve stated? And it presently exists as a gold mine for the thick, ropy vein of misogyny and death threats that have always been a latent part of the gamer community, because they’d like videogames to be considered art but not, y’know, the kind that’s open to intellectual criticism? Yeah, that thing (if you’d like an actual breakdown of the who-what-when, Deadspin has a masterstroke of an article).
We’re not actually going to look directly at it, for fear of the blindness caused by 140 character masturbation. However, it did seem like an opportune moment to bump up an essay I’ve been toying with for some time regarding a metaphor of art as cultural reflection and the observance of willful blindness. Plus, I’ve not personally seen Godwin’s Law invoked yet in this short-form mouth foaming, and it seemed the most tonally appropriate way to add to this general discussion topic. And if you’re saying, ‘Vrai, how can an essay you’ve backordered for months possibly have anything to do with such a current event?’ don’t worry – it’s actually about ethics in game journalism.
Fun fact: I initially watched Utena while it lingered in the licensing grey zone between Central Park Media and Nozomi. While I was fortunate enough to find rental copies of the first arc, my experience with the Black Rose Saga predominantly involved filtering the available subtitles through my rusty and inefficient knowledge of the Spanish language. Consequently, my memories of the finer points are a little…vague. This may be as much an adventure for me as it is for you.
Also, we’re changing up the format this week, since applying it to what’s predominantly a recap episode would leave a whole lot of blank space. If you’re a returning viewer you ought to know this, but I’ll emphasize it anyhow: it doesn’t do to ignore the recap episodes in Utena. Ever.