Posts with the “japan” tag

A Japanese Judge Dredd

It's a heretical sentiment to anyone, British or no, who grew up with Dredd as a comic book icon. Comparing Psycho-Pass' protagonist - a timid girl fresh out of the academy - to a Dirty Harry homage that was progressively retrofitted with philosophies from Thatcher's Britian, Fascism and the Cold War seems tortured at best.

gave the government means and opportunity to eradicate [...] political dissent by arresting deviants and subjecting them to 're-education'
But a dystopian future society under an absolute authoritarian rule, enforced by an organisation with little to no oversight and the ability, nay the responsibility, to mete out lethal justice to those deemed to deviate from the norm? The minutiae may be different but the broad strokes bear a striking similarity. More than that though, many of Dredd's stories over his 35 year tenure have been a pastiche or a response to real life situations and concerns. Likewise, Psycho-Pass is a response to the police force within Japan.

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Otaku: Japan's Database Animals

On the face of it, Hiroki Azuma calling otaku "Database Animals" seems self explanatory; you only have to look as far as sites like MyAnimeList or AniDB to understand the near feral desire to categorise and analyse and verify. Were that the whole story, Otaku: Japan's Database Animals would be an unfulfilling read which thankfully is far from the reality.

If that sounds a little like an otaku Escher painting you're not far wrong
Coming from Minnesota Press, the same publishing house house as Beautiful Fighting Girl, Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams as well as the Mechademia series, the book is in good company with its academically targetted, psychological study of otaku as a recent cultural phenomenom. Indeed core to the book's central theory is that otaku are very modern, only coalescing in the early 1970's.

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Little birds can remember

Contention follows any Kyoto Animation production; adoration and scorn is heaped upon them as a studio as much as their output (or absence thereof). Hyouka is their next work after Nichijou (or the K-On! movie for chronology purists) and initially drew ire for its glacially sedate pace as well as one of the protagonist's aesthetic similarity to fan favourite Mio.

Following its own tempo, the series is content to plod determinedly along sometimes wallowing in the most pedestrian of storylines while others frolicking through names and motives with little care for foreshadowing or context. Ostensibly this is a mystery show with each case being either a one-shot or stretched out to three episodes or more. The former are the most forgettable and while the latter may comprise the bulk of the series, it isn't until well into the mid teens that characters begin to hit their stride.

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The humble punk

Punks have been a staple of anime for as long as it's been around. The 2012 spring season alone features at least two shows - Accel World and Medaka Box - featuring them prominently in the opening episode and with the upcoming Kids on the Slope sporting a central character who fits the definition.

At the heart of the punk idea is a rebellious youth, whether part of a gang or standing alone, a delinquent or just misunderstood, there exists an endearing quality to them that crosses countries and societies. These are far from the 70's and 80's image of Sid Vicious and The Sex Pistols and closer to that of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.

would Kamina and subsequently Simon be treated as anything other than delinquents in today's society?
Not all of their depictions in anime are rosy though: often they're used as disposable antagonists, school bullies or street thugs, that tromp around in eclectic gangs. All brightly coloured barnets and sneered remarks, they're present simply to endure a beat-down or perhaps galvanise the resolve of the protagonist. This is where Accel WorldMedaka Box and any number of other anime fit in, even Kara No Kyoukai has them in both Remaining Sense of Pain and Spiral Paradox.

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