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Gilgamesh and shooting the shaggy dog

Shooting the shaggy dog refers to a bleak ending at the end of a drawn out story. Doing so can create a sense of realism as seen in movies like Chinatown but can also create a sense of apathy in the audience if every turn makes the world worse and the the stories conclusion is just more of that.

For the writer, the Manga Gilgamesh is a pure example of shooting the shaggy dog. The plot is a world of darkness and depravity and the story’s conclusion leaves off with the question what was all of the suffering for? What was the purpose of the story if the ending doesn’t just drive home the point that the world is bad, but makes it clear that it can never be good?

  • Okay, nice, but you left me hanging. I understand your frustration with the story and the trope, but what's the thesis of your article? Are you trying to say the trope should die because it's not redeemable? Or, is there something of value in the trope and the types of stories in which we find it? Or are you going for something else entirely? Consider these questions, and consider exploring other stories as examples. A Series of Unfortunate Events immediately popped into my head. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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Akame Ga Kill and the apolitical revolution

The world of Akame Ga Kill is one of the darker world to exist in fiction, if only due to the focus on the horrific nature of amoral and immoral aristocrats who exist disconnected from the masses they rule and their own humanity.

The plot of Akame Ga Kill is one of a splinter cell, dubbed Night Raid, aiming to overthrow the corrupt prime minister and hoping to liberate their kingdom, they lose allies constantly, in the end only 4 members of the group survive. The Kingdom is overthrown but replaced with another Kingdom.

The horror of the Kingdom can’t be overstated, but the decision to continue a monarchial system in spite of that is one that begs the question, what’s stopping the decay of the previous system.

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    Happiness, a exploration of Nihilism.

    Happiness is a vampire manga by Shūzō Oshimi. While on the surface it is a supernatural story it delves quite readily into not just other genre conventions such as science fiction body horror and coming of age romance, but examinations on the very concept of humanity, the nature and purpose of suffering and if meaning can ever truly be garnered from horror.

    The protagonist is spared from death on the whim, his friend and his friend’s lover, not to mention her family, are much less fortunate. The protagonist and his love interest are subjected to grotesque trials for 50 years only for them to escape and resolve to live apart from humans, which begs the question, both textually and metatexually, what was the purpose of this?

    • I think the edits I made didn't process which is unfortunate. To clarify, Nihilism in the common understanding, is the belief that nothing in life matters, that nothing is really real. Within the plot of Happiness the Protagonist is subject to trials and tribulations that don't reveal a greater understand of the world to him within his story, his suffering doesn't better or worsen the world around him. Metatextually, the world of Happiness is similar and dissimilar to the real world, there are horrific science experiments done on people throughout human history that never yielded any medical insight. Suffering for the sake of suffering being all that was produce. What purpose does it serve to feature such a dispiriting element to the story when the ending amounts to, the main character being again isolated from humanity with the one who turned him into a vampire? – Sunni Ago 3 months ago
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    • A digestible yet philosophical dissection of Happiness would be an incredible read, especially if one takes the time to draw real world parallels--it is difficult NOT to feel nihilistic in this day and age, and tapping into that very real feeling of listlessness, one that inspired the concept of nihilism in the first place, and connecting it with the narrative of Happiness would underscore the humanity (both conceptually and literally) the series appears to be examining. – alliegardenia 2 months ago
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    The continuation of the Berserk manga series, a blessing from the skies or a curse?

    Berserk is an incredibly influential series of manga in the dark fantasy genre of literature and has amassed an expansive following throughout the world. It has branched out into different anime, films, video-games and other forms of media, inspiring countless other artists. Unfortunately, its story could never be finished as Kentaro Miura, the original creator, had passed away about a year ago, leaving the series on a sour cliffhanger.

    As of 7th June 2022, the Japanese manga magazine Young Animal officially stated that it will continue the serialization of the famous Berserk manga series without the visionary Kentaro. Headed by Kentaro’s best friend Kouji Mori, the close friends and coworkers of Kentaro Miura promise to deliver an authentic end to the manga, stating that they know how it ends, since Kentaro would often discuss the narrative with everyone on the team before drafting the scenes, dialogue and aesthetic decisions.

    The question therefore lies within the nature of finalizing someone else’s work after their death. Though the continuation of the series seems to be in capable hands, should it still be continued? Is the authorship and authenticity of the work more important than its continued serialization and commercialization? Will this decision attract controversy from the fans, how so or why not? Will the original vision of the manga’s themes and aesthetic features differ, or become watered down? How can one describe the differentiation between auteurs in an artwork or franchise?

    • Many series, like Star Wars (which imo has gotten worse since George Lucas handed it over to Disney) continue on after their original creator has either abandoned it or passed away. I think the most important thing for authors/artist that decide to continue some one else's work, is that they respect the ideas that the original creator put forward. This is part of the reason (imo) Star Wars fans have reacted negatively towards modern Star Wars. But series like Devil May Cry and Doom are still popular long after their original creators left the series. I think if the people who take over Berserk, respect Miura's original vision, put in an effort to maintain his art style, don't use the popularity of his work to market their own/or their personal agenda (be it political/socially) most fans will probably be somewhat understanding, and hopefully be reasonable in their criticism of the series going forward. Their is no denying their are going to be people who are going to be negative about any creative decisions made post Miura's passing. But in situations like this its usually best to ignore the more unrealistic complaints, and simply address the more reasonable ones. – Blackcat130 6 months ago
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    What We Can Learn from Survival Game Shows

    There are multiple manga with similar themes or genres related to survival games, i.e. games in which characters are playing to save their own lives. These manga include titles like Judge, Doubt, Gantz, Alice in Borderland, Online: the Comic, Youkai Ningen, and the list goes on and on. The mere fact that these types of manga are pervasive and common shows that Japanese artists are expressing a phenomenon, whether consciously or unconsciously, that is deeply rooted in their society or culture. Since these games are morbid and involve deadly rules, they are most likely critiquing a negative aspect of their socio-cultural upbringing. This is most probably connected to the pressure that they have to conform to their community’s rules and if they choose to be different, they have to endure the judgemental reactions of others. The fact that more death game shows are being adapted to live-action movies and series like Squide Game, Alice in Borderland, and Escape room demonstrates that this is a hot topic that is worthy of attention and consideration. Escape Room being an American movie shows that this is becoming a worldwide issue. The world is now becoming aware of how people must accept differences and how this is putting some people’s life on the line when, say, they commit suicide or live a life full of struggles and battles because of simply choosing to be different. Another issue to consider in these shows is that they depict the controlling nature of humans who would dare to commit these massacres if they had this technological power of designing death games. Another point to analyze is that relationships can become like a game with some people. Some choose to unite and fight together, others betray and manipulate to get to where they want, others fight alone and do not trust anyone. This is exactly how life works and how people treat each other in a realistic way. However, when people are at their worst, in this case enduring a survival situation, the real self of each individual is manifested. Whether they choose to betray, sacrifice themselves out of love, work alone, or build a community are all acts of survival and depict the true nature of humans who make different decisions in a survival situation. This is a universal matter and all humans from any culture are unpredictable in these types of situations, which makes it fascinating to explore how they react when they are at their worst.

    • Good topic, I suggest tightening up your points a bit more. This topic could be made into several different articles otherwise you risk it becoming muddled. I.e. an article could be "What we learn about suicide from Survival Game shows". – scampbell 1 year ago
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    • I agree with the above statement and I think it could go even more specific. A lot of survival games media is targeted and stars young adults or teenagers eg. Btoooom!, Hunger Games. I think exploring how survival games are marketed towards youth would be a great topic. – MichaelOlive 1 year ago
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    Legacy and One Piece

    Even though the manga has been around since 1997, One Piece is still active. Eiichiro Oda, the writer, has hinted possible endings in the past. However, he seems to continually extend the timeline of the story. Other popular manga that originated around the same time have long since ended; for example, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, and Bleach. But, that is not the case for One Piece. The writer can discuss whether or not the decision to keep this manga going has damaged the storyline. Some speculate that the writer has the ending written already and he is simply filling in the gaps. Does the manga’s continued popularity show that it has become living Oda’s legacy?

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      How My Hero Academia treats it's villains

      My Hero Academia is one of the most popular anime and manga series today. While the primary characters are heroes, many important characters are villains. The series creator, Kohei Horikoshi is known to subvert common troupes in the shonen genre. However, it’s how he treats his villains that is most interesting. It has been noted that characters like Bakugo and Endeavor aren’t quite as heroic as expect. They can be considered to be anti-heroes. The true villains of the series have been given arcs of their own.

      Currently, the Meta Liberation Army arc is focusing on the development of the League of Villains as they come into conflict with the Liberation Army. The main antagonist, Tomura Shigaraki is given a backstory, as he and his comrades train to become stronger. Why does Horikoshi focus on villains at all? Shigaraki story mirrors Midoriya’s, how’s that different from typical shonen series? Will focusing on villains in this manner result in readers caring about them more?

      • I am literally *so* excited to read this. I really like how Horikoshi makes readers question how heroic the "heroes" really are, since they're doing it as a profession in a capitalist society (which therefore devalues people who have no quirk, like Deku, or "unheroic" quirks, like Shinsou). All Might explicitly tells Deku he can't be a hero if he doesn't have a quirk. I really hope you touch on this false dichotomy of heroic vs. villainous, good vs. bad, good quirk vs. bad quirk, etc. and how the League of Villains is essentially a band of misfits whose quirks or upbringing alienated them from a pro-hero society. A buddy of mine runs a villains-centric blog that might have some useful discussion for you: codenamesazanka on Tumblr :) – Eden 4 years ago
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      • The protagonists of My Hero Academia are in short, fairly bland and one dimensional. they have one defining trait and are mostly left to that. Horikoshi seems to put so much emphasis on the villians because those are the characters she took the time to make interesting. – Aschneider 2 years ago
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      Could Manhwa become the main source for anime adaptions?

      Manhwa is a Korean term for comics, generally considered to be of lower quality than a manga, manhwa is starting to gain in popularity. Recently manhwa has become a source for adaption, with Tower of God being released and the God of High School coming up July (Both by Crunchyroll/MAPPA). Research and analyze the rise of manhwa as a source for anime adaptation. Can manhwa compete with manga? Is manhwa going to become a source primarily for American companies like Crunchyroll? Does the general quality of manhwa compare to manga matter?

      • As someone who mostly watches manga-adapted anime, this is an interesting topic. It could also delve into the key differences between manga (Japanese) and manhwa (Korean) or even, manhua (Chinese), whether that be in content, art style, etc. Then further explore its adaptations and what that means for the local industries and Western companies. – Lyka Cali 2 years ago
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      • Manwha as a source of soft power would an incredible topic to explore, in addition to how it would be able to harness that soft power in the process of transculturation. – curiosibri 2 years ago
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