I am a recent college graduate whose main focuses in subject matter include film, animation, anime, manga, literature, and the arts.

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    Death Note and Nihilism

    The successful manga Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba is about what if one person (the main character Light Yagami) could kill anyone they wish by simply writing down a name.

    Since that’s how the Death Note works, *spoilers* it isn’t surprising that Light loses not only his life but also any compassion he had towards the people he personally knew, including his own family.

    As a result, the story of Death Note shares possible connections to the philosophy of nihilism by Friedrich Nietzsche.

    Analyze those connections in the Death Note manga to nihilism’s definition and practice. Include also how Death Note has been mistaken like nihilism (link) as something to literally follow in real life (link)

    Please note that this topic doesn’t focus on the Death Note anime/show but the original Death Note manga only (i.e. where Light was told early on that there is nothing after death by his Death Note’s shinigami owner.) Therefore, that aspect of the Death Note manga connects back to nihilism as an example since nihilistic belief is also about there being no afterlife.

    • I would point out that the show does point out that Light does end up changing things because the crime rate went down tremendously. SO, I wouldn't say 'attempt to change life never works.' To relate an Anime to a Philosopher, we need actual evidence of the philosopher. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
    • In regards to your first link, I would be wary of it. He makes mention of Nietzsche's famous quote, "God is dead!" but he does not give context to it, or even make mention-- for those who have not read, The Gay Science-- where the quote comes from. The quote comes from section 125 in The Gay Science and the section is italicized, The Madman. For your sake I'll quote it, The Madman.-- Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: "I seek God! I seek God!"-- As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea-voyage? Has he emigrated?--the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. "Where is God gone?" he called out. "I mean to tell you! We have killed him,--you and I! We are all his murderers! but how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breath upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Dow we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction?--for even God putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console our selves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife,--who will wipe the blood from us?.... That is most of the section. For a better knowledge of Nihilism and Nietzsche in general, I refer to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Not only is it free, but every article provides citations to tell you where this idea came from and why they are citing it. It might even be interesting, in staying with the Nietzsche vein, to think about the possibility that either Light or L are the Übermensch (Overman or superman in German). – garland41 8 years ago
    • Another thing people should take into account is how the anime deconstructs the notion of justice and how more terrifying it is to look at when seeing it is more based on power rather than actual morality, which is itself more relative than people realize. – Vicious237 1 month ago

    Studio Pierrot's Changes to Creators' Works: Good or Bad?

    The anime company Studio Pierrot has been often recognized for the many instances where they take the manga of a creator and then change around certain details or even whole characters or plot points to suit their purposes. More importantly, Studio Pierrot’s changes produce very different reactions from creators and fans alike.

    With Sailor Moon for instance, while some fans appreciated the extended filler episodes meant to make the one-dimensional villains like the Specter Sisters be more sympathetic and have them survive to be redeemed instead of being killed off like in the Sailor Moon manga; the creator herself though, Naoko Takeuchi, decried the changes made by Studio Pierrot as going against her manga’s characters by sexualizing the Sailor senshi as fan-service and altering their personalities to be less serious.

    In the case of Masashi Kishimoto, on the other hand, he not only embraced the changes Studio Pierrot made to his manga Naruto, he even wrote out future chapters to have the characters Hinata Hyuga and Naruto Uzumaki become a couple; but because the changes made went against the previously established story, some Naruto fans ended up rejecting the manga along with the Studio Pierrot fan-service this time around.

    Therefore, given these conflicting opinions, should Studio Pierrot’s changes be trusted or valued at all, even if they may be at odds with the original creators’ intent or fan approval potentially?

    • It's important to consider the merits that justify a studio's license for artistic originality when it takes over a work and creates an anime adaptation. Even as a personal detractor of Studio Pierrot, I think additions or changes made by them should be taken as is because as a newly introduced part of a franchise or series, they have the authority now to take the IP in whatever direction they see fit. Fans and viewers just need to become educated on who did what for what reason, give credit where credit is due, and criticism where necessary. What is 'better' or 'original' is irrelevant; the fact is that whatever changes made are now part of the franchise and it's up to the fans to determine what is good or not. – Austin 9 years ago
    • As with any Anime article speaking of the author's original intent, sources are very important. For example, saying Kishimoto had Naruto and Hinata be a couple because of the Anime is not only news to me, but it goes against some contradictory things I've heard, like Studio Pierrot raising Naruto/Sakura hype instead. In the Kobayashi interview, Kishimoto actually admitted to seriousl consider making Hinata heroine. I'm not saying this to contract anything but to point to how important sources are when attributing a quote to an author. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
    • The part about Naruto/Hinata being largely Studio Pierrot's idea is from an (English translation of) interview from around 9 months ago with Kishimoto. But you're right, perhaps I should've listed it as a source since I was under the impression that more people knew: http://falconia.tumblr.com/post/104920253714/recent-interview-with-kishimoto-sensei – dsoumilas 9 years ago
    • Important to bear in mind the purpose of adaptation and the audience the changes, and the show in the first place, are targeted to. Also be careful of skewing the 'audience' into purely netizens. I've always noted source material 'true fans' to be marginal in their extremes of distrust of change in adaptations. There's also a bandwagon-ish quality to their opinions. – JekoJeko 8 years ago
    • This may be late, I just saw this again, I previously forgot about my gripe with this. Regarding Studio Pierrot having the idea of Naruto/Hinata getting together, the source given to me is in context of the movie, not the ending of the manga, which is what sort of settled this shipping issue. I'm not bashing the existence of this, but I don't think Naruto is a fair example, especially in terms of who Naruto ends up with. – SpectreWriter 8 years ago

    Hetalia: positive or negative portrayal of nations?

    Analyze whether the anime series Hetalia is a fun (sometimes educational) portrayal of nations around the world for anyone to watch, or a racist portrayal of countries’ worst stereotypes and prejudices while trivializing World War II, Hetalia’s main setting.

    Specifically, this topic focuses on the idea of possible stereotypes, discrimination, and racism in general from Hetalia (whether from the original Japanese version or the English dub).

    • I believe that the majority of the perspective is coming from Japanese culture, no? Will you talk about Japanese culture and their views on the world, like China and America? Or are you mostly focusing on the idea of stereotypes, discrimination, and racism in general? – arielsilkett 9 years ago
    • Agree with Arielsilkett, it's mostly Japanese cultural perspective, to the point of other countries making jokes about the minutia of the japanese language in the subbed, which is taken out of the dubbed because it doesn't translate. – nsiegel 9 years ago
    • While I do agree with the two previous about how Hetalia is from the point of view of a Japanese man, I think it would actually be interesting to explore what Hetalia doesn't have. Yes, many of the stereotypes in Hetalia could most definitely seem racist (especially the portrayal of the Eastern Europeans), but I think it would be interesting to explore Hetalia from what could have been done with the plot and why. World history is really dark, especially when speaking of wars. The fact that Hetalia has many comic strips that revolve around WW2 and yet it still remains a slice of life. So I actually think you should delve more into the portrayal of the nations history. You mentioned the trivialisation of WW2, but there could be a lot more to that as well. Also think about how the nations supposedly represent the nations, but they reflect MODERN stereotypes. Italy was a fascist nation in WW2, so wouldn't Italy's behaviour reflect that? I don't judge Hetalia because of this, it's fine at what it does, I just think it might be interesting to think about what hetalia could have been if it were a more accurate portrayal of history. Interesting idea! You're headed on the right track! – QueenandLeonhardt 9 years ago
    • Hey, it's not like Western cartoons haven't portrayed races regularly. Hetalia probably does both, but honestly I doubt anyone really cares. The only country I felt was portrayed negatively was Ukraine, and that's because she was "endowed" and little else. I feel Hetalia puts a new spin on countries and, honestly, there wasn't really anything that offensive apart from some unnecessary sexual jokes. – OkaNaimo0819 4 years ago

    "Frozen-land:" is Disney overemphasizing Frozen at the expense of their other animated films?

    After Disney’s movie Frozen came out in 2013, it quickly became one of the highest grossing animated films Disney ever produced, achieving financial, critical and popular acclaim from fans worldwide. In fact, Disney even announced that there was going to be a "5-year Frozen plan" until the inevitable sequel arrives in 2018. (link) However, Frozen’s fame might come at a price for Disney in the future. Despite Disney’s later film Big Hero 6 (2014) also gaining the same sort of acclaim Frozen did (even the same Academy Award for Best Animated Film), in contrast, Big Hero 6 doesn’t have anywhere near as much of the attention that Frozen currently gets from Disney (which ranges from cruises, theme-park attractions, as well as more advertisement in general). What could this all mean then for Disney’s future animated projects? Will the emphasis on Frozen for the next five years become a detriment for Disney? Or should it not be viewed as potentially problematic at all?

    • This a very interesting question that deserves a lot of reflection, analysis but especially SOURCES. Numbers and links (like you've just shared) are essential here - how much has Disney gained from Frozen in terms of profit, and not only in terms of tickets and DVD sales but with all the derived merchandise as well and the theme parks? How much did the studio gain from Big Hero 6 (which might have gotten the same kind of acclaim yet has never done as well in the big public's eyes). It demands an aesthetical reflection as well, and you could compare both films. Is the story originally more appealing? Are the characters more sympathetic and well-constructed? Is it because it corresponds to the princess/romantic story model that we associate to Disney? Is the aesthetic more appealing? – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 9 years ago
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    Writing Ugliness in Female Characters

    In books, it is not too uncommon to find stories about the struggles of male characters with extreme deformities or other unpleasant features such as scarring that cause them conflict towards the outside world. Hugo’s Quasimodo and Leroux’s Phantom frequently come to mind as examples on the literary subject of beauty being found within.

    However, it is uncommon to find such stories for a female character even from books that have female authors such as Bronte’s Jane Eyre where the title character is ultimately plain, not hideous. Is this convention of women having at least some physical attractiveness so unavoidable that a female equivalent in extreme ugliness cannot be reached in writing?

    • This is a pretty interesting, I couldn't come up with any ugly female characters off the top of my head while reading this. Hermione in the written series was supposed to have big teeth and frizzy hair, which I guess they tried to stick to in the first movies until Emma Watson got stunning. It's hard to find ugly females in writing... The closest thing I can come up with as using a less attractive female protagonist is Ugly Betty the tv show. Orange is the New Black had an interesting episode about the older Asian woman's backstory that really made me empathize with her struggles as well. I hope any of these examples help :) – Slaidey 9 years ago
    • I have only seen this in antagonists. Generally, if a woman is "ugly" in a film she is seen as evil and it is "the evil/bad" that makes her ugly. The protagonist is beautiful because she is good. This sounds like a good premise but, hat films tend to miss is that they only capture physical beauty. Men can always be good or evil separate from their appearance but for women it is seen as a part of their identity. – brandibusick 9 years ago
    • This is an interesting topic and is definitely connected to the general "types" of people that are typically included in different media. The only example that comes to mind of a female protagonist being described as "ugly" is in Gail Carson Levine's novel "Fairest" (a novel aimed at a child/young teen audience). However, based on memory, it's hard to assess if the character is fully "ugly" or more conscious of her appearance. The story alludes to "Snow White" and definitely addresses concepts relating to beauty, ugliness, and perceptions; it might be a connected story to look into for this topic. – DragonWrite 9 years ago

    Yugioh as a horror manga

    While Yugioh is better remembered and known as the franchise for the card game that catapulted it into the limelight, in terms of its story, there exist many darker elements behind the shounen facade. Even early on in Yugioh’s creation as a manga, there were depicted all sorts of "games" that would’ve been more at home in the Saw film series: immolation from ice hockey, a roller-coaster that electrocuted anyone who makes a sound and Russian roulette with a fatally poisoned dish to name a few.

    And of course, the losers of these games were often depicted as suffering gruesome ends (sometimes censored even for the anime) that were initially caused by the darker half of the main character Yugi Muto. What’s more, all these examples of mortal peril, realistic or supernatural, existed on top of the suspense and mind games into the characters’ vulnerability, a noteworthy example being the character Mai Kujaku/Valentine’s entrapment in an hourglass of man-eating bugs while she was mercilessly taunted on her own self-worth.

    Consequently, with so many sinister themes shadowing the lighter ones throughout, should Yugioh when treated as a story be recognized in hindsight as much of a horror manga as well as shounen despite its creator Kazuki Takahashi saying otherwise?

    • This is a great twist! I always felt this away about some kid's shows re-watching them when I'm a but older, sitting there going "how did that not scare me? That's messed up!" I'd love to see this perspective brought out on the anime and then another section afterwards saying "what they animated was awful, but now look at all the stuff they cut out for it, it gets worse!" People love knowing dark origin stories of kid's shows, just look at the Pokemon theory of Gary visiting his dead pokemon you killed in Lavender town in the games. – Slaidey 9 years ago
    • I'm not sure if this topic was created before the most recent Yu Gi Oh article was posted, but this idea of "horror" has already been covered on the website. Great idea, though. – Jordan 9 years ago
    • perhaps psycological fits the story better. It isn't really horror despite some of the darker notes. I would recommend writing this as an analysis of where on the spectrum of childish to horror this falls. – Jutor 8 years ago

    The Good Dinosaur: signaling the downfall of Pixar?

    While Pixar’s latest film Inside Out may have received near unanimous praise from both audiences at $40.3 million on its opening weekend and critics alike, their next project The Good Dinosaur is reported to be having problems. With almost the whole cast, the composer, the director, and even the color of the main character Arlo’s eyes replaced mere months before the film’s scheduled debut in November 2015 which was also pushed back from May 2014, it would be easy to question the business practices of Pixar itself. Could it be then that the studio’s success with Inside Out was only a fluke and that the troubled production of The Good Dinosaur is the true foreshadowing of Pixar’s future existence instead?

    • I disagree. I think The Good Dinosaur looks like it's going to be good. I think the departure of the directors would be due to other reasons. – SpectreWriter 9 years ago
    • It might be too early to decide on whether The Good Dinosaur will be the downfall of Pixar. Aside from the first teaser, there is only one trailer out for the movie, and there are films that have gone through production problems and turned out decent, such as Brave which ran into similar problems as The Good Dinosaur. Perhaps instead of focusing on whether The Good Dinosaur will be the end of Pixar or if Inside Out was a fluke, you could go through and detail the changes the movie has gone through and perhaps offer your insight as to how you think this will affect the movie. – Seth Childers 9 years ago
    • Dr. Charles Xavier used to say: “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn't mean they're lost forever.” – T. Palomino 2 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    It’s all due to Hollywood, sad to say and how people assume that they’ve read the book as a result. Which is a true shame…

    Victor Frankenstein and his Daemon: A Study of their Dialogue

    What’s said here about Big Hero 6 in your article and comparing it to The Nightmare Before Christmas in terms of becoming a “cult classic” at least from a financial standpoint isn’t truly a fair comparison. Big Hero 6 has become the “third highest grossing Disney film ever” so far at a domestic gross of $222,527,828m debuting at the top of the box office http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=disney2014.htm.

    Whereas with The Nightmare Before Christmas, not only did it have an initial limited opening weekend in theaters (something Brig Hero 6 does not have), it also was released under a completely different studio owned by Disney, Touchstone Pictures, because of how little Disney trusted the film’s content as appropriate for the company (something that Big Hero 6 once again does not have in contrast) http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nightmarebeforechristmas.htm.

    Furthermore, The Nightmare Before Christmas was only nominated for one Academy Award for Visual Effects while Big Hero 6 won the later Academy Award for Best Animated Film of 2014. Lastly thee have been comments in news articles like Forbes about how Big Hero 6 isn’t getting as much attention though it received a “record-breaking second weekend gross” as well as being the “fastest grossing Disney animated film” after the article’s titular Frozen http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2014/11/17/is-disneys-big-hero-6-the-years-quietest-box-office-smash/.

    Therefore the fact that Big Hero 6 has been this successful can hardly have it be a cult classic since the term means “something, typically a movie or book, that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society” which doesn’t fit with Big Hero 6’s broad domestic gross rate which doesn’t count total worldwide gross and still far higher than The Nightmare Before Christmas easily https://www.google.com/#q=cult+classic+meaning .

    Why is Disney Overemphasizing Frozen?

    Good point there. Maybe the “smug look” that’s so commonplace for main characters in western animation is to create a so-called “relatable” attitude to connect with a younger audience? That it’s an attempt to make the characters look confident when it just ends up coming across as “smug” (especially in DreamWorks’ case from their most of 2000s films after Shrek) like you mentioned? Either way, this trend towards main character smugness in western animation is definitely a problem…

    The Use of Animation to Convey Character Traits

    Exactly, I couldn’t agree more with this comment here. Because of how gigantic Hollywood and films are in mainstream society, it makes it all the more crucial for the facts to be a faithful to the truth as possible. Unfortunately though, given that film-makers and producers are ultimately more interested in making money for the sake of entertainment, some cultures’ entire traditions, heroes, and stories (even historical events) too often get tossed to the wayside and may become even more misunderstood by those who fall under that so-called “lowest common denominator.” What was done to William Murdoch in Cameron’s Titanic, demonizing him for the sake of drama (while ignoring that he had survived the sinking instead of committing suicide) was probably one of the most blatantly unethical ways of doing so ever in a film that billed itself as being “historically correct” with its portrayal.

    The Debatable Importance of Historical Accuracy in Period Films

    With Sade, it seemed (at least personally speaking) that the way he portrayed his own “literary terror” was more like foreplay for him; that he didn’t view its threat of torture and violence the same way as later commentators would now. But yes, stories like “120 Days of Sodom” or “Justine” could very well go either way in terms of their meaning since particularly with Justine, they could reflect Sade’s cynicism that following the chaste, morally pure path in life often makes you a target for deliberate corruption. So in that regard beyond the fatal fetishes categorized in his material, Sade is definitely fascinating for the many ways he can be interpreted (philosopher or pervert) and this article managed to convey both possible sides to the argument.

    The Marquis de Sade and Literary Terror

    Edit: should be “…the trees for the forest” instead.

    The Superhero Film in The Modern Era

    I think what Heim is trying to say is that Marvel films now only see “the forest for the trees” or that Marvel only sees the overall plan of including all their characters together in one universe they all share and not the individual characters themselves in their own films. That the only thing that people get excited for with a Marvel is how everything comes together in the long term and not for the immediate film (hence the preview “stingers” that clue into merely the next segment for the entire Marvel franchise. So it gives the impression that Marvel doesn’t stop to analyze individual films themselves to make each them stand alone in quality. In any case though, I agree with what you both said, regarding Marvel and how it’s become quite an obvious problem by this point.

    The Superhero Film in The Modern Era

    This article provides an effective commentary on the seedy underbelly of the film/television industries’ imbalance of power towards women, to say the least. No wonder both films based on, say, the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov never condemn the character of Humbert Humbert for being a sex offender and child abuser just like those very men mentioned here. Why then would Hollywood criticize Humbert when there are already so many powerful men exist there who follow that same sense of justifying their exploitation of girls and women for their own personal benefit/ego? The same surely goes for why most of Hollywood continues to brush off what Roman Polanksy did to that girl he raped (to the point of even asking for Polanski to have all charges dropped despite him evading justice for so long). But again, agreed with the above comments that it’s great your article was so direct with your topic.

    Sex and Harassment in Entertainment Industry