LangsEnd

LangsEnd

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Anime History up to the 90s

    This is something I think a lot of anime fans who got into it during the late 2000 period want to learn about, but haven’t been able to. I understand the expertise is there, from offhanded comments by older critics, and some analysis of particular aspects of older anime. But I’ve found it hard to learn about in detail.

    • Hello, I believe this is a great topic. I, myself, am very curious as to the history of anime and its startup. How much of Japanese culture will you include in your paper? Since it is about anime history, will the focus be strictly Japanese anime? – arielsilkett 5 years ago
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    • I think this topic of yours is really interesting. However, it requires tedious research if you have not seen the 90s anime yourself. In any case, it would be great if you can really do it! so I wish you the best of luck! – lacieroseve 5 years ago
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    • If you're going to be doing this topic, you might want to look into some of the genre shakers - Neon Genesis Evangelion for mecha anime, for instance. There's also JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Revolutionary Girl Utena - basically stuff that's sort of obscure-ish. – Helmet 5 years ago
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    • This article has a lot of potential, however the Artifice won't publish anything that reads too much like Wikipedia. I'd be concerned this article may come across that way. If the author goes into enough detail with particular series and adds their own voice the topic would be successful. – Jordan 5 years ago
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    Kino's Journey Episode 2: Lives of Strangers

    What’s the life of a rabbit weighed against the life of a human? Most people would probably say it’s not much; that a human life is obviously much more important than a rabbit’s. But when Kino encounters three strangers caught in a snowstorm and on the brink of starvation, she has trouble justifying stealing one creature’s life to feed another. As soon as she stumbles upon the situation, she is forced to be responsible for one set of lives or another.

    In episode 2 of Kino’s Journey, our protagonist continues to struggle the hardships of being a free agent, condemned to make decisions and be responsible for their outcomes. But when she doesn’t owe malice or debt to either the rabbit or the men, what right does she have to make such a decision? And is she responsible when her decision leads to the deaths of both parties? We have an obligation to our own wellbeing, Kino suggests, which justifies hunting for one’s own food. And it seems that same obligation can be bought by others, as, after the men give Kino an expensive ring, she has much less trouble hunting for their food.

    The choice of a rabbit life as the stakes in this episode helps maintain the steady somber pace that characterizes Kino’s Journey. There doesn’t have to be tension or climax to Kino’s choice like there would if she was killing a person, so the episode can carry on and develop the significance of Kino’s decisions after the fact.

    Certain dub changes indicate both production confusion, and a difference in vision between the original Japanese writers, and English adapters, but nothing significant. The episode also delves a bit further into Kino’s character, and Hermes’ purpose as an object.

    • I think given the circumstances, it could definitely be viewed that Kino made the wrong decision. If human life > rabbit life. And let's pretend things didn't work out for Kino, those men would have gone on taking the lives of a LOT more humans. So Kino actually risked the lives of the 3 rabbits, her own life, and the victims that those three men would have taken for the duration of their lives. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    Kino's Journey Episode 1: Purpose, Communication, and Robots

    In the first episode of the anime series Kino’s Journey, the protagonist and self-defined traveler Kino, and her sentient motorcycle Hermes, visit The Land of Visible Pain. In this country the people have given themselves the ability to know the thoughts of others near them, hoping that true understanding would be the way to end all conflict and misery. However, in an unexpected yet probably should have been totally expected twist, it turns out that people don’t always think positive things about one another. A rude comment you would usually keep to yourself is now unavoidably known to everybody around you. One person’s pain is felt by everyone nearby. And even something as small as having different tastes in music can be enough to end once happy relationships.

    By the time Kino arrives the land looks deserted. Robots manage the dense city area, while all the people have spread out across the countryside, staying in their own homes and far enough away from each other that they can’t read any thoughts but their own. Almost on a stroke of luck, on her way out of the country, Kino runs in to one man who is willing to tell her what happened.

    This first episode is obviously about communication, and the struggles formal spoken and written languages have conveying pure thought, motivation, and emotion. But, while the mind reading thing turned out to be a bust, it does offer some way people can communicate these things. Body language; the little details of facial expressions, and the way we visually present ourselves. This is shown at the end of the episode when Kino’s smile to the lonely man expresses more than she could in words, but also more subtly in the introduction of the lonely man, when he goes from Stubbleface McStoppedcaring, to clean shaven before sitting down to talk with Kino.

    The early scenes deal with equality, identity, and purpose, both self-defined and externally imposed. The second act uses the country’s advanced robots to brilliantly manage pacing in a show that doesn’t stop for conflict. And the opening conveys an existential sense of freedom that characterizes the entire show.

    Episode one of Kino’s Journey is brilliant.

    • I still haven't seen this show but this tide definitely makes me want to. Very interesting idea for an anime episode. – Jordan 5 years ago
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    • Definitely sounds like something I'd like to add to my watch list. – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • Cool article idea. The idea of Artificial Intelligence is a significant part of western media today. You could identify links between the episode's topic and other key films, TV shows etc. – Thomas Munday 5 years ago
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    • I would also add about how this episode really comments on the nature of relationships, and how the intimate ones are matters not only of sameness and closeness, but accommodation and compromise. Intimacy existences in spaces not only because of, but in spite of as well. Similar to how having friends doesn't preclude you from keeping some secrets from them. – ZeroReq011 5 years ago
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    Anime Needs Re-Releases

    Anime releases in the West are contained. In the first seven years or so after production, a typical show will see a handful of DVD releases. The exact number depends on popularity. Then it quickly goes out of print with little to no chance of a revival. While this isn’t a problem, in terms of longevity, for newer anime that enjoy all the preservation opportunities the internet has to offer, many older shows and manga are on the verge of being lost. Even massively influential items, like the works of Go Nagai, have long been out of print, and there are not enough second hand copies to support the growing fandom in the West.

    The reasons these works don’t often get re-released are understandable. Licensing deals can be complicated, and anime fans generally have much more interest in the latest simulcasts than in the old genre builders. But at a time when so many commentators and industry insiders are predicting the death of anime, fans should be most concerned about this art form’s past. After all, while anime’s future may be unsteady, we know anime’s history is dying. In order to protect that history, we need to let studios know we care about it.

    • Hey, I know you! I think I've been following you on Wordpress for a decent amount of time. Very informative post! I like your writing style. – Dominic Sceski 5 years ago
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    • I do wonder if the anime industry in the West could take a leaf out of Universal's book. They have a psuedo-POD service for DVDs where they allow people to order titles that are technically out of print but have them produced to order (I think it was the Universal Vault series). I discovered it when ordering Flight of Dragons for my partner. If anime-based companies offered a similar system, that would be a great way for them to continue to make use of old licenses. – mattdoylemedia 5 years ago
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    • What comes to mind is the End of Evangelion film. It's sad that there are all these great anime that new fans will never get to see. I heard that the Mobile Suit Gundam film trilogy is getting re-released in the US early next year, but there's no word of this happening in Australia where I am. I think US companies do try to re-release product when it is in demand or if they think it can be marketed successfully. Like you wrote LangsEnd, there are many reasons why it can't or doesn't happen. – Jordan 5 years ago
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    • I don't really think single disc releases are still a thing. I know half-seasons are occasionally, but single discs aren't economically viable. Anyways to address your questions, when it comes to licensing, re-licensing old stuff can be hard because, since most anime are made with a production committee of several companies, its hard to know who holds the rights.Even if Funimation, for example, could get their hands on it, odds are it wouldn't sell. Older anime doesn't sell because the portion of the anime market that cares is relatively small. Discotek only manages to do this by keeping their release numbers and number of copies down, making sure that each copy is sold. Even when releasing old stuff though, Discotek only makes sure bets. Castle of Cagliostro? Robot Carnival? Yeah those are going to sell. The 80s Devilman OVA? Probably not.A fundamental part of why the majority of anime fans don't care is because, on average, people are only into anime for 3-5 years, at least hard-core. While they're in it, they're too busy watching all the new stuff to go back. Especially these days when they're is so much stuff coming out. So yeah, that's what I "know" based on little industry things I've absorbed during research. – jwiderski 5 years ago
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    • I love anime... – GanjaKing420 5 years ago
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    • Way sad. I mean... basically everything I used to watch is considered old now.... I def. need to start watching some newer stuff, but it makes me sad to think that youngins won't get to see the things I enjoyed... – Tatijana 5 years ago
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    • I would be so cool if companies could do re-mastered series/movies of old anime. There are a bunch that a lot of people will never hear of, either because they aren't talked about anywhere and they don't look as good as the newer stuff. With this the older anime will gain a wave of new fans experiencing their content for the first time. – LaRose 5 years ago
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    • It is disappointing when companies create new versions of old anime and it doesn't do any justice. Take Sailor Moon for example, that show was gold but it just disappeared after a while. Then it got revived, but just isn't the same as the 1990s version of the cartoon. Great post, Sailor Moon was childhood. – ladycsapp 5 years ago
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    The Legend of Korra isn't about Equalism

    A lot of people like to focus on the Equalist aspect of Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and how it depicts privilege and birthright. However, the show itself presents these themes as background to the real story of the characters and their interactions. If the political themes present in Legend of Korra were intended to be something of significant importance, we should expect them to be reflected in the main characters, as they are the ones closest to the audience and most capable of delivering any message. But when we examine Legend of Korra’s main cast, the opposite message is sent.

    By having characters disconnected from the equality themes like this, Legend of Korra takes us, the audience, away from those themes. They become a distant, though interesting, element of the world, even when they are driving the plot. Meanwhile, almost all of the characters’ growth occurs separate from the show’s more political themes.

    The majority of the most engaging moments in Legend of Korra have nothing to do with the immediate plot events that surround the Equalist movement and Amon, or the Order of the Red Lotus, or militarism and Earth Nation nationalism of Kuvira, but are when the show moves away from those things.

    • Interesting! It's definitely true that many character growth segments for Korra occur outside of the political intrigue narratives, such as in Book 2 when she has a vision of Wan and in Book 4 with the entirety of "Korra Alone." – Emily Deibler 5 years ago
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    • I have just started getting into Legend of Korra. I will keep your comments in mind as I explore. Munjeera – Munjeera 5 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    LangsEnd

    I have to largely disagree with this. All film makers have their style, and I don’t think Miyazaki’s is any more “unoriginal” than than anyone else’s. both the pretense of beautiful backgrounds and major role of female characters fall squarely in the field of style, and aren’t particularly idiosyncratic traits at that. And you wouldn’t exactly be hard-pressed to find a movie with elements of love, especially among anime.
    the powerful elderly think is a little more unique to Miyazaki’s work, but again, it’s hardly unusual for a writer or director to have their quarks. I would put his fascination with flying machines in this same category.
    When you look at the films Miyazaki has made, what really stands out about them isn’t how similar, but how different they all are. The man went from a Lupin the 3rd film, to post-apostolic world, to adventure/fantasy, to slow slice of life, to coming of age, to a WWII pilot turned flying pig. The only two films of his I would say really have a striking resemblance are Nausicaa and Mononoke, as they are essentially the same cautionary tale of man versus nature.

    Hayao Miyazaki: The Art of Repetition
    LangsEnd

    A good list for the most part; just a few things I’d have to disagree with.
    Naruto is way too long for a gateway. Gateway anime, I think, should be short; something to test the waters with. And at 220 episodes, plus over 400 more in Shippuden, Naruto is anything but short. Even FMA is pushing it a little, but that stuff’s just too good and has something for everyone, so it will always get a pass.
    Code Geass I just think there’s a bit of an accessibility issues. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I know there is no legal streaming place for that, and the DVD sets are too hard to come by and typically expensive for even a lot of hardcore fans, at least in my experience.

    Anime for Dummies: What Starters Should Watch
    LangsEnd

    I think you made Korra a very good jumping off point here, into the topic of privilege. But I also think you give the show too much credit for it’s thematic fineness. While the equalists create the main plot focus of the second season, the background details never really support the problem of inequality.
    The season has nameless extremists (and Amon) repeat over and over that bending is oppressive and creates privilege, but this is a terrible case of telling and not showing. The only intense of showing this really comes in Korra’s “But bending is the coolest thing in the world!”
    Outside of that line, what else does season one show about social and econoic struggles? Well, two of the main bending characters, Mako and Bolin, certainly weren’t drowned in opportunity. And the final member of Team Avatar 2.0, Asami, is a none bender yet as privileged as it gets.
    This handful of characters obviously isn’t meant to be representative of the whole of Republic City, but from an audiences perspective, they’re very significant to us, and are who we judge by.

    Politics and Privilege in The Legend of Korra