A fan blog devoted to my reviews of recent Anime that I have had the pleasure of viewing, mostly via Netflix rentals. Some limited coverage of Manga, and even more limited coverage of Western animation.
So I had an interesting exchange with a Facebook friend. I have fair number of Facebook friends who are also fellow anime fans and I enjoy interacting with them about anime & manga and such, but some of the guys in particular are guilty of a kind of whiny, self-pitying tone and are passive-aggressively a little on the misogynistic side, though they'd hotly deny it of you called them on it to their face. Some of them are to greater and lesser degrees susceptible to various flavors of MRA strains of thought that is sometimes worrisome. I had to unfollow (but not wholly de-friend) once such fellow anime fan because reading his whiny MRA screeds on my Facebook feed was such a daily aggravation I could simply do without.
Anyway, this recent interaction sparked my intellect and imagination because I thought it might make a blog-worthy post and an object lesson in basic empathy.
My Facebook friend posted this image jokingly, with the caption: "Girls are WEIRD"
I joked with him at first, saying something like well, definitely seems to be the case in anime-world, doesn't it? He replied "and IRL?"
So I thought about it then composed my thoughts thusly....
Walking around in a bikini in public is socially acceptable.
Walking around in frilly underwear in public not so much;
Hence it normally only happens in anime (and presumably IRL) when the boy accidentally walks in on the girl while she's changing outfits, getting ready for bed, etc, invading her privacy uninvited. It's about consent & respect, not objectively how much flesh is showing regardless of context. Context matters. Nobody likes their privacy invaded, whether intentionally or by accident. If it was a genuine accident and the boy is profusely apologetic, the girl might forgive him later, but you can't expect her to in the heat of the moment, when she's surprised and embarrassed and caught off guard. If he invaded her privacy *intentionally*, he's a creep and she'll never forget it (nor should she).
He made some offhand reply about life imitating art, yada yada and I said while it's an overused comedy trope in anime, I'll usually still laugh at it. We left it at that.
Not a hostile exchange, but one in which I wonder if he really absorbed the point I was trying to make in challenging the simplistic views of the original artist who drew the image. He seemed to want to deflect my comment with a joke rather than acknowledge it.
What I'm saying is that I "get" what the artist is *trying* to say with his juxtaposed images. He is (and I'm sure it's a HE) trying to say something along the lines of "haha, women are crazy, inconsistent hypocrites. Look at this funny example."; Which would be compelling only if you're completely tone deaf and don't think of women as real people with real emotions and try to put yourself in their shoes for a hot second. That's all I had to do to come up with my analysis above. It doesn't require a graduate level education (though I have one) to figure this out, just an exercise in basic empathy. It works, even if you have a penis and are usually a bit of a horn dog like me. I dunno, maybe because I was married once, have had girlfriends before, have often had more close female friends than male friends, that I think about this more than the average dude who hasn't.
The girl in the bikini WANTS to show off her body. She's putting herself out there as an act of her own free will. She is an autonomous agent, in control of who sees her and in what context. The same girl, in her frilly underwear, feels vulnerable and self-conscious if she were to encounter a male in her presence when she didn't invite him. She's frightened, embarrassed, angry, and these are all valid emotions REGARDLESS if the male interloper spied her intentionally (creeper) or totally by accident (how many, many MRA's and nominally pro-MRA guys see themselves and how most anime protagonists are portrayed, for laughs). They want to see themselves as misunderstood innocents and the girls as overreacting because they've already seen as much or more of the girl's body earlier in the day when she was in her bikini which so fantastically misses the point.
I hate to have to pedantically spell this out but with some guys I really do wonder, and I say that AS a guy.
Just returned from a screening of the romantic (harem?) comedy Mayo Chiki, new from Sentai Filmworks. It was initially a sub-only release (copyright 2012) that was later dubbed (2014), and it is the new dubbed version that we got screened for us tonight at Alamo Drafthouse. I was doubtful of Mayo Chiki at first, and some of the initial conceit of the show reminded me a little too much of MM! but nevertheless it was surprisingly entertaining with very likable characters, even if the premise seems a little fanciful and far-fetched. It relies on a tried and true anime trope, namely the female character dressed as a boy but who's obviously a girl (to the audience) but this is later revealed as a huge surprise to the other characters out of the blue. I speak of "The Butler" to the richest, prettiest girl in school. A "Family Butler" who hails by the name Subaru Konoe (近衛 スバル Konoe Subaru?), pictured right, and is voiced by Genevieve Simmons, who also voiced the titular character in Mysterious Girlfriend X. She is the loyal, fanatically devoted servant to Lady Kanade Suzutsuki (涼月 奏 Suzutsuki Kanade?), who is not only Subaru's master but also her childhood friend, and also, as Kanade later reveals rather opaquely, teasing at a "Yuri" relationship, Kanade's "first love" as well. Because Subaru is regarded as male by the rest of the student body, the rest of the student body wants to know if main character Kinjirō Sakamachi (坂町 近次郎 Sakamachi Kinjirō?) is the "uke" or "seme" in their "obviously yaoi" relationship. See, Kinjiro accidentally walked in on Subaru in the boy's bathroom stall and caught sight of her very girly panties and shapely feminine rump. The truth revealed, Kinjiro is sworn to secrecy by Lady Suzutsuki, who playfully sets him and Subaru up, playing matchmaker of sorts. But she muddies the waters a bit by flirting with Kinjiro herself and hiding Kinjiro's budding relationship with Subaru by pretending to be actively dating Kinjiro herself, to throw Kinjiro's snooping kid sister, Kureha Sakamachi (坂町 紅羽 Sakamachi Kureha?), off the trail. However, by episode 4, Kanade playfully kisses Kinjiro, leaving him even more befuddled.
The craziness of this story is made possible only by the fabulous wealth of the Suzutsuki family and their unique arragements with their hereditary, nepotistic servants. But if you can just simply accept this conceit, the story is actually quite engaging on an emotional level in very surprising ways. It reminds me a little of the recent FUNimation release "Good Luck Girl" in terms of overall mood & feel. I do like this show and it is a potential future buy, but probably not as a bleeding edge new release. I have other priorities in the near future, like Part 2 of Attack on Titan, etc. I'm glad I attended this special advanced screening and will definitely put this title in my "consider buying" note in my iPhone.
Let me say straight up, Samurai Girls is fucking garbage. Dirty, trashy, guilty fun. It is NOT a good series, it really is crap.But that doesn't mean it's not fun to watch. I sometimes like to joke that Samurai Girls is a failed Hentai, with the best bits inexplicably left on the cutting room floor. No, seriously, this show walks the line between a fantasy epic Anime and a Hentai like a drunken hooker taking a roadside sobriety test before being hauled off to jail. It would've honestly made for a better show if it was just a straight Hentai without any pretense of actual fantasy storytelling.
It's like Sentai Filmworks had a look at FUNimation's seasons 1 & 2 of Sekirei (セキレイ, lit. Wagtail), the quintessential so-called "FUNimation Boob Show" and said let's top THAT and make it even TRASHIER. And they succeeded in reaching that objective at the very least.
This show is so embarassingly trashy that ALL of the English voice cast use stage names rather than their real names (though seasoned otaku know exactly who they really are). It has some decent action sequences, but the story itself takes itself a little too seriously and collapses a bit under its own ridiculousness. It'd be fun to rent this one but I'd skip out on buying it. It was fun to watch the screening of the first four episodes on the big screen at Alamo Drafthouse, and yes, I did actually buy this title for myself to finish at my leisure, which I did a few weeks back. Meh. It was okay, I'm glad I got through it, but it was fairly disappointing. Really mediocre storytelling at best. Not very emotionally compelling characters either except for the main ditzy red-head with the split personality. She tries to be for Samurai Girls what Musibi is for Sekirei (セキレイ, lit. Wagtail) but it really doesn't work as well.
If you're short on time or money you can give this one a pass; You're not missing much. If you mainly want to see cleavage and lots of jiggle, then pick this one up without fail. I was drawn in by the weird WW2 "revenge fantasy" imagery in the first episode...it's difficult to place the narrative in time until much, much later in the series, and there's a lot of seemingly anachronistic high technology that seems out of place until you understand the unfolding chronology better.