Getting Along with Hopelessness: The Existential Joy of Girls’ Last Tour

Part 1: Zetsubou~, Zetsubou~, Zetsubou~

…So there was no hope after all. All those years, toiling away alone…. But well, now that I’ve failed…I feel so relaxed.
~Ishii, Chapter 16

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Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko, localized as Girls’ Last Tour, is a series by Tsukumizu that focuses on Chito and Yuuri, two girls driving around a post-apocalyptic world in a Kettenkrad, continuously moving, scavenging for food, shelter, and fuel wherever they can find it. It’s a Sisyphean existence where nothing is gained or accomplished past being replenishing their reserves to keep moving. They have no purpose beyond continuing their own existence.

Most stories set in a post-apocalyptic, posthuman world  would focus on the existential despair and dread of being alone in the world, without purpose, and constantly confronted with mortality. However, when Girls’ Last Tour delves into these ideas, it does so in a way that I can only describe as “existential joy.” Read More

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Juni Taisen, Battle Royales, and Survivor Edgic

Juni Taisen is, in my opinion, about the worst possible way you can write a battle royale storyline. It’s entirely predictable, and while many battle royales are, that’s because they usually have a clear protagonist, unlike the ensemble cast that Juni Taisen has. And yet, in spite of this very complaint, I actually find Juni Taisen incredibly interesting. Read More

The Last of Us and the Importance of Player Agency

So I just recently finished The Last of Us (yes, yes, I’m years late to this party) and I am…upset about it. I was really enjoying the game until the ending, at which point everything completely fell apart for me. I’ve never been the type of person to think that something needs a good ending to be good, but at least in this case, The Last of Us’s ending ended up sullying the whole experience for me.

Obviously, spoilers are going to follow. Read More

Crunchyroll Expo is Already a Shitshow

For better or worse, Crunchyroll is perhaps the biggest face of anime fandom in the English-speaking world. They currently have the largest catalogue of streaming anime, they provide news articles and blog features, and they have a heavy social media presence, to the point you could argue it’s much too heavy. They have their detractors, sure, but they’re unarguably one of the biggest players in the game. So when they announced they’d be holding their own convention, it was a logical step that plenty of people were excited about. But as I look through the guests they’ve announced to this point (the morning of August 8th), I’m worried that it’s going to be, as the title of this post implies, a fucking shitshow. Read More

Fate/Still Confused

The Fate franchise is a fantastic and exciting one that I absolutely love. On paper, that is. In practice, it’s something I think I’d really be into, but it’s tied up in a whole bunch of convoluted bullshit that I’ve approached the wrong way, dipping my toes into only enough pools to gain a vague, incorrect understanding of what’s going on. Read More

A Call for Questions

A number of years ago, a Japanese girl named Yurika Kino (currently a 19-year-old student living and working in Tokyo) spent part of the summer with our family as part of an international exchange program. She visited our family again recently, and when we got the chance to reconnect, I found out she’s a fan of anime. I decided this would be a good opportunity to interview an actual Japanese anime fan, since there isn’t much opportunity for the English speaking fandom to directly interact with Japanese fandom. I figured my listeners might have some questions they’d be interested in hearing the answers to, so I’m putting up a post for you to submit questions to be asked in an upcoming episode of Third Seat by the Window. Just leave a comment if you have a question you’d like asked, or if you’d prefer to ask more privately, shoot a message to my gmail at daladybugman.

Update: The recording date has been set for June 27th, so get any questions in before then!

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

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