I Don’t Have a Lot to Say, Except…

WATCH THIS!!!

IT’S AWESOME!!!

And it will only take 6 minutes of your time.
This a music video/ short film. It is for the song “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and Madeon. They collaborated with A-1 Pictures to make this animated music video.
My older son showed it to me the other day, and I love it!

Enjoy!

The video short is also being featured on Crunchyroll.

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Reserving Judgement and The Benefits of Blogging

I am odd in how I watch anime…well, really any show for that matter.

Depending on my mood, or state of mind, will often determine whether I watch (or continue to watch) a show.

Judgement and preconceived notions take over about whether I’ll like a show.

However, many times, I have found my initial impression (and subsequent dismissal) of a show to be wrong or unfounded.

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Magical Girl Raising Project is a show that initially I had written off outright without even watching it. I assumed from the picture and the brief show description on Crunchyroll that it was just going to be some cutesy show that I’d have no real interest in. So I dismissed it. Until I saw an update on one of the blogs I follow that showed some images and talked about the darker themes and violence in the show. Had I not been someone who blogs (and follows others blogs), I would have passed over this one. I’m now watching (and enjoying) this little dark, and brutal show.

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March Comes in Like a Lion did not initially not grab me. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was my mood or mental disposition at the time. I didn’t even realize it was done by Shaft (which is one of my favorite studios) which my boys subsequently made fun of me for. One night,when I was bored, I decided to give it another try. It is now one of my favorites of the season.

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Mob Psycho 100 is another of those where upon watching the first episode, it didn’t grab me. I don’t know if it was my mood or my initial reaction to the animation, but I had decided it wasn’t for me. But there was a fair amount of “buzz” around it, so I forced myself to watch some more and ended up loving the show.

 

And it has been like this for me. Sometimes reserving judgement is the best avenue in approaching anime, shows, or life. Waiting to see how it actually reveals itself over a little time.

Just a thought.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

Evil: Who Wore it Best?

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Leviathans vs Kyubey.

Sometimes when I’m left alone with my own thoughts I go off on tangents that seem unrelated (and bit weird) on the surface, but make sense when given a little thought.

Aside from watching a fair bit of anime I have been slowly going through the Supernatural series. Currently I am somewhere near the end of the second season.

Last weekend I decided to re-watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion for no apparent reason (except that the Madoka series is one my favorite animes).

So, Monday morning, as I watched Supernatural and ate my breakfast, a thought occurred to me. The Leviathans on Supernatural and Kyubey (and the species of Incubators) are remarkably similar.

The thought came to me: They are both perceived as (and can be argued to be) evil. They, however, in both series can argue themselves to simply be pragmatists. Just doing what they need to do to survive.

Leviathans seek to fatten up the human race to use them as cattle for food. Incubators seek to use young teen girls as a power source that result in their death.

Now one may argue that the Leviathans are more evil because they want to eat everyone and that Incubators limit the damage: not so. Kyubey, by the end of the series, is looking forward to Madoka becoming the most powerful witch the world has ever seen, thus creating the largest source of power they’ve ever seen. BUT, her also becoming the most powerful witch also meant everyone on earth would be destroyed.  Kyubey viewed this as inconsequential, collateral damage.

Who is more morally corrupt? Leviathans or Incubators?

You may say: “But Incubators helped humans progress!!” True. Kyubey rationalized that the wishes they gave out helped forward humanity, thus they were being kind and treating humans well by allowing them to progress.

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Dick Roman, head Leviathan, also did things to “help” mankind. His agricultural company that he acquired  was tasked with making food additives (corn syrup, etc) safer and more healthy for people. His other companies were also acting to cure cancer and other diseases. Sure, it was also to make humans more tasty, but it was also done with the rationalization to “help” humanity.

Once again: Which is more evil? Still seems like a toss up.

There is also how they look:

Kyubey: Fluffy, cute, vacant eyes, weird ear thingys.

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Leviathans: Could be really anyone. The head one is Dick Roman. A handsome, well spoken, businessman/ humanitarian.
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Well…Leviathans are pretty creepy when they eat! True… but so is Kyubey when they eat their own corpse.
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Waste not, want not…I guess?

What about the trope that evil never dies? True. Leviathans are really hard to kill. Borax…decapitation. And Dick Roman they needed a bone, 3 kinds of rare blood: very complicated.

Incubators on the other hand don’t seem to be able to die. This is never made clear. Homura does manage to traumatize the hell out Kyubey by the end of Rebellion though.

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A final argument to say Incubators is less evil could be made suggesting that by the end of the original series that they are perfectly happy collecting energy via magical girls hunting wraiths. However, Rebellion nullifies this. The Incubators had trapped Homura before she became a witch and were seeing how they could harness they energy having her trapped in her own labyrinth. They were still basically seeing humans as lesser beings to be used as  a resource, much like Leviathans.

So…Who wore evil the best?

Was it evil?

This is what happens when the mind wanders.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

 

*images on this post are not owned by this blog*

 

 

Identity and Ethics: Mob Style.

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Mob Psycho 100

I was late to the Mob Psycho 100 bandwagon. I had watched the first episode, but something in it didn’t speak to me. I set it aside. Then,I kept hearing about how good it was. One day I was bored and finished with the other shows I was watching so I decided to give it another try.

The show got me. I like it.

The show also got me to thinking. Mostly what struck me was the struggles of the characters around self identity and the ethics of power.

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Central to this, of course, is Shigeo Kageyama aka: “Mob”. Mob is an un-athletic, socially  awkward, poor student who is not very remarkable in any way other than he is an extremely powerful psychic. The funny thing is: to Mob, this doesn’t mean much. While the rest of the world would see his abilities as desirable, they are just kind of there to Mob and he doesn’t really see them as all that beneficial. He instead looks up to his younger brother, Ritsu Kageyama.

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Ritsu is everything that Mob is not. Athletic, popular, a good student and is a member of the student counsel. Ritsu, however, envy’s his brother’s psychic abilities. Rather than being happy with his own good qualities, Ritsu measures himself against Mob.

Yet this is common in life. We often find ourselves stuck in envying what others have rather than valuing what is good in, and about, ourselves. This theme runs throughout the show to some degree which I found to be interesting.

Mob decides, after an unintentional prompt by  both a ghost he exorcised and the student counsel president, to do something about improving himself. Mob decides to get in shape and joins The Body Improvement Club.

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The Body Improvement Club was glad to take him. This was one of the refreshing bits of the show. After Mob became a member of the club, he was one of their own. It didn’t matter that Mob wasn’t athletic. That he fainted when running. He joined the club, so he was one of their own. At one point they even went so far as to try to rescue, and fight for, Mob. It was acceptance in a group regardless of ability. They just cared that he was there and he was trying. They are  favorites of mine. This allowed Mob to explore, and expand, his sense of identity.

And then there is Mob’s employer: Arataka Reigen.

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Reigen is a con man…But it isn’t as black and white as that. He sells himself as a psychic who claims to talk to spirits: he doesn’t. He takes easily persuaded people’s money and performs a service that, while alleviating the client’s problems, isn’t psychic or spiritual in any real sense as he leads them to believe. When confronted with an actual spirit, he calls in Mob. Reigen sets himself up as Mob’s mentor, letting Mob take on the “smaller” spirits as practice (which Reigen can actually do nothing about).  While client problems get solved, it is under false pretenses.

Reigen also takes on a protective role for Mob. He sees Mob’s uncertainty and awkwardness and works to protect Mob emotionally. He takes seriously (even though he is profiting from him) being a mentor and protector to Mob. In the quote below he normalizes Mob’s abilities.

Listen well, we are different than regular people because we are born with special powers. But that shouldn’t give you the illusion that you’re a special being. We are part of humanity. Besides our rare power, we are no different than them. People who run fast, people who can sing well, people who study hard, people who are funny, and people with psychic powers. Are we different from them? Having confidence in your strength, is good thing but do not get carried away. Our powers are a dangerous weapon.

This is why I love Reigen.

And throughout the show there is the struggle of: What makes a person special? What defines oneself? Does power define us? How we use power? Our abilities? Or something else?

Reigen “borrows” some of Mob’s power at the end of the show and gives perspective to the bad guys trying to take over the world. He points out to them, that even with special powers, you won’t get the validation you’re looking for.

I think that’s an interesting discussion to have. If you have kids: have it with them. If you have friends: have it with them. How to recognize and be happy with the person you are regardless of your abilities. Finding what makes you unique and special and being happy with that. And if needed, exploring new possibilities of who you are (or can be).

Attention Parents: There is a lot of “cartoon” violence in this show and only one scene where I thought it was perhaps a little bloody (which turns out to be a rouse).

I thought Mob Psycho 100 was a good watch. Nice animation. Action packed. And thought provoking.

Until next time: Happy Viewing!

 

*images in this post are not owned by this blog*

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Son the Youtaite

Some followers of this blog may know that my son is active in the Youtaite community here in the U.S. and has his own You Tube channel.

What is a Youtaite?

“The word “Youtaite” is a fusion of the words “Youtube”, referring to the website, and “Utaite”, which is a term used to call cover singers and is used particularly in Nico Nico Douga. Youtaites are people who upload song covers, usually Vocaloid songs, Japanese songs and/or songs translated from Japanese, on Youtube.”-youtaites.wikia.com/

His most recent upload was his (T.V. size) English version of the “Yuri on Ice” ED: “You Only Live Once”.

I think he did a good job, thus this post. He said it was auto-tuned a lot, but still likes the end product and so do I.

Enjoy!

 

I will get to posting more again soon.