Scum’s Wish: The Treason of the Artist

When rereading Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” for my first Philosophy and Psycho-Pass post, I rediscovered a quote from it that stuck with me the first time I read it and that stuck with me again: “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

Why do I bring this up? Well, because it’s basically impacted the way I’ve viewed Kuzu no Honkai, AKA Scum’s Wish, which as of this writing, is five episodes into its anime run. This Le Guin quote is basically the antithesis of Scum’s Wish, a show whose thesis is basically “Pain and suffering are tragically beautiful.” While most people have been praising Scum’s Wish (and rightfully so, as it’s a very well-produced show), I’ve been hesitant to do so. Read More

In Which Buggy Writes A “Best Anime of 2016” Clickbait Article

Sometimes you write things because you have something insightful or meaningful to say. But sometimes you write something that you know everyone else always writes and that you know people are still going to click on for the sole purpose of hoping you reinforce their own opinions. And you feel a little shame at selling out so. But you write it anyway because it’s fun to write and sometimes you just have to write something for you, goddammit.

This one’s a post about my favorite (and least favorite) anime of 2016 and you can bet your ass I’m writing it to satisfy me and me alone. Read More

Philosophy and Psycho-Pass Part 1: Sibyl’s Republic

Perhaps the most common misconception about Psycho-Pass is that it depicts a dystopia. A dystopia, by definition, is an unpleasant or undesirable society. Perhaps a select few lead good lives, but in a dystopia, the majority of society is in ruin. It is easy to mistake Psycho-Pass as depicting a dystopia, as it focuses on the negative aspects of the world and the series explicitly references a large number of dystopian works, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” What it portrays is actually a utopia, just one that unfortunately comes at the expense of a few. However, viewed from a purely utilitarian standpoint, the Sibyl System has provided the ideal society. In fact, the chief of the bureau herself quotes Jeremy Bentham almost directly when she says in episode 13 that the Sibyl System has “achieved the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.” Read More

Anime is not Anime

Fairly recently, a debate broke out in the anime community after moderators on Reddit’s r/anime board banned discussion of the music video for Porter Robinson’s “Shelter” on the grounds that, despite being animated by a Japanese studio (A-1 Pictures), it’s “not anime” because of an American creator’s involvement. This upset many people who saw no reason not to define it as anime, and the whole “what exactly is anime” argument broke out again.

I think I’ve come to a pretty clear stance on where I draw the line that everyone’s trying to discuss (anime is an animated product in which culturally Japanese creators have the biggest influence), but I’m actually going to take another stance in addition to this: anime is not just anime. Read More

Spiral Radio Episode 1 – Monogatari Part 1: Kizu Genesis

What do you do when a highly acclaimed series that you should theoretically love doesn’t click with you? Is there some flaw in the series? Is the problem with you? And most importantly: if you try to approach the series again, this time with an open mind and determination to finally get the appeal, will you finally be able to love it? Andrew “Buggy” Koerner explores these questions and more in the debut episode of Spiral Radio. Read More

MeganeToast Episode 2: If Her Flag Breaks

Chris and Buggy break down as they attempt to break down Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, AKA If Her Flag Breaks, AKA Gaworare in this episode of MeganeToast. They’ve seen this abomination 7 times between the two of them and they still haven’t figured out what the plot is or how the flag system works. Or even what to use as the title of the show. Also, Buggy’s a bit intoxicated throughout the entire episode, but, I mean…can you really blame him? Read More