Ma-kun

Graduate of George Mason University's MA Anthropology program. Acdemic researcher and writer with a passion for Japanese culturual exchange/education.

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    Steven Universe and colonialism

    Steven Universe is often praised for its diverse cast of characters and positive depictions of LGBT rights and issues. However, I feel one central theme has been mostly been ignored throughout analysis of the show, aspects of colonialism present via the Gem Homeworld’s invasion of various planets, including Earth. The characters on the show often mention Earth as a Gem colony yet I feel that there is a lack in addressing the ramifications of what this means. Historically there are many examples of cultural influence and knowledge imparted by colonists to the inhabitants of their colonies, (The French and Haiti, England and India, and others for example). Yet, there seems to be little impact of Gem colonialization on the Earth or the human inhabitants, most of which seem to be totally unaware of Gems. I think there is some interesting stuff to explore in this unexamined theme.

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      Latest Comments

      People should also be aware of Miyazaki’s personality when examining this statement. While producing truly beautiful animations and having a keen eye for detail, Miyazaki himself is somewhat of a curmudgeon. As shown by his statement of the medium of anime being a “mistake,” I believe he is making a clear statement between animation as a medium and contemporary anime as a multi-media industry. While Miyazaki has displayed an idolization for well-produced anime since he was young he has regarded the current anime industry as a cheap recreation of the animation process. The production techniques and tropes used to produce contemporary anime series, such as still frames and Hanna-Barbera like sliding scenery, probably seem lazy and uncreative to a director like Miyazaki who prides himself on skillful and smoothly flowing animation.

      Part of this animosity may stem from the success of another animator, Osamu Tezuka, who arguably impacted the anime industry through the same animation tropes mentioned above during the 1960s. Miyazaki even went as far as to denigrate Tezuka’s legacy, directly after his death, claiming Tezuka was a hack that cheapened the industry (Clements 2013). So, while it may be ironic that one of anime’s most prolific director has seemingly disparaged the medium he partly made so popular, I think its fair to factor Miyazaki’s personality as a grumpy old man into this statement. It’s just who he is.

      A Response To Miyazaki: The Dark Side of Anime

      Very nice analysis for a very morally bankrupt and often nonsensical show. I was wondering if you considered that some people may enjoy the show by living vicariously through the characters moral ineptness. I don’t have any academic arguments to back this up but it seems to me that some may watch shows and characters featured in shows like “Always Sunny in Philidelphia” in order to “experience” bad, risky, or just plain degenerate behavior without having to face the repercussions of said actions. While we may not idolize or wish to mimic characters like Mac, Dee, Charlie, and especially Dennis, we may still express a desire to shed off social inhibitions that prevent us from acting how we desire in certain situations or to avoid topics we just don’t want to discuss or be exposed to. In this sense, I think characters with negative attributes may serve a fantasy or daydream like purpose for audiences to live indirectly through.

      "It's Always Sunny" and Why We Laugh at Bad People

      It is certainly true that English dubs can sometimes far surpass the quality of character voices and dialogue offered in the Japanese originals. I’ve always said that Baccano is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, dubbed animes out there. Being set in America and most of the characters speaking in a New Yorker styled accent clearly gives the English dub an edge over the Japanese sub.

      Also to add on your point about the difficulty of “proper” translations, I recently started watching the new series “Magical Girl Ore” and my brother and I were just talking about how they would translate the title of the show for the dubbed version. Considering “ore” is a masculine pronoun in Japanese that really doesn’t have an English equivalent; incidentally, I suggested the title “Magical Girl Dude,” but we both thought that title was bad.

      Are you a Sub or a Dub?