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Old 09-05-2011, 12:31 AM   #401
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The only real connection I see between the Dollar and Anonymous is how both groups can grow without supervision from the inside of the group, and how "members" act under the guise of the group, again, without direct supervision or even knowledge from the rest.
They're just both very decentralized. But that's about it I think.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:40 AM   #402
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As for the Anonymous allusions--I honestly don't think the author of the light novels was aiming for that. He just thought an Internet gang sounded like a pretty good idea.
Really? I'd say it's almost impossible to use such construct without knowing your audience will make the comparisons, especially with the strong ties between 4chan and 2chan and /a/'s influence over anime in the West and everything.

If it were written in the 90s, sure, but in the 2000s? The comparisons are going to be made, and I'd think it would be expected.

ETA: As I mentioned, I'm still waiting on a successor to Lain, we have Madoka, Star Driver, and Mawaru Penguindrum up as candidates for successors to Eva and Utena, but there is no Lain successor in sight.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:51 AM   #403
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Once again, a show does not score enough nerd cred with me.
And once again I demonstrate that I don't score enough nerd cred with you: Anonymous? 4chan? 2chan? /a/? (I do think the chans might be japanese message boards, but what their relations are? Or maybe 2 is Jap and 4 a gaijin knock-off? I have never heard of /a/?)
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:57 AM   #404
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Or maybe 2 is Jap and 4 a gaijin knock-off?
Kind of.

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I have never heard of /a/?)
It's the anime board on 4chan.
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:30 AM   #405
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I would I could be blissful and unknowing in regards to 4chan...but nooooo, my friend is always sending me stuff from /a/ and /cgl/.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:59 AM   #406
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Anyone else Legend of Zelda fans? The first half of this week's Dantalian no Shoka totally remind anyone else of the trading sequence you always had to do to get the master sword or the mirror shield?
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:07 AM   #407
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I need to re-watch the end of the Evangelion anime, then watch The End of Evangelion, and then watch the Rebuild series (the Rebuild tetralogy any good?).
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:22 AM   #408
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and then watch the Rebuild series (the Rebuild tetralogy any good?).
Well we only have 1.0 and 2.0 so far, so it's really hard to say. It would be like judging NGE based on the first 19 episodes alone. So far, it's very, very good, but hasn't really lived up to the original series yet — which could naturally change, seeing as it's unfinished, and hasn't yet delved into the mindfuck territory as much as NGE yet. With the state of things at the end of 2.0, I expect that to change in 3.0.

1.0 was basically the same as the first six episodes of NGE, but with dramatically better production values, animation, and a re-done Ramiel fight that alone makes it totally worth watching. 2.0 is where things really start to deviate from NGE, probably due to Anno's realization from re-doing the Ramiel battle just how much potential there was in changing things up. 2.0 was quite good, IMO, though I'm still rather ambivalent about the changes to Asuka's character... I'll wait until it's all complete to judge, though. Again, definitely worth watching, though.

And as you may or may not be able to tell from my many posts on the subject, I'm going crazy waiting for 3.0 news. I can elaborate with further reviews on either if you'd like or are curious about any particular aspect.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:20 AM   #409
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So, what are you watching? The only one I've seen that's serious about the relationship aspect is Aoi Hana (after a manga from the same author that did Hourou Musuko).
Ok, I've seen Aoi Hana now. It was extremely realistic, and it was cute that the main girl was such a crybaby.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:11 AM   #410
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In case you haven't noticed, Maria-sama ga Miteru has become one of my favourite series. The reason? It makes me happy, in every single episode. I can even feel how it has changed my personality. Every central character has something that makes me want to be like them in some way, and I have acted upon that impulse.

The series is apparently realistic, but at the same time the culture portrayed is one the most alien ones I have encountered. With its serenity and lack of villains it is more strange than many fantasy worlds. Adding to the strangeness is also the hierarchical system of older students guiding the younger ones, and the formality of speech, both of which may feel strange for a westerner.

At first the (probably unintended) philosophy of the series confused me, but now I'm closing in on an interpretation. The following is an analysis, with only few spoilers, but you might want to not read it if you like to discover things yourself.

Something that I was unused to is how this series instead of engaging the intellect with twists and symbolism is about relationships and detailed analysis of characters. More than other series I've seen it is about EQ rather than IQ, and taking it to a higher level. A typical subplot would be "A realizes that B and C secretly likes each other but that they cannot express it to each other, so A aggressively creates situations that gives them opportunities to do so."

Another thing that confused me was the role of the student council, called the yamayurikai. During the entire series it felt off somehow; the predictable elections, how they were adored by the other students and how their actions had indirect effects on others, while they didn't exercise any direct power except for the power to arrange school events. What caused this confusion was how in other works, like in Utena or Clannad, the student council has been about power. E.g. how Tomoyo in Clannad wants to run for president to save some trees. Not until today did I understand the role of the yamayurikai, as it is explained in the first episode, and it is not about ruling through intelligence and charisma, but about guiding and leading through example, with wisdom as the central quality.

The yamayurikai are not politicians but sages, the spiritual leaders of the school. When they are troubled, everyone is troubled. When they are at peace, everyone finds their paths and harmony reigns. In the end, the goal is not to overcome adversity but to find enlightenment, and everything else will fall into place by itself. In contrast to the catholic setting, the (probably unintended) philosophy feels more like Buddhism.

Does this sound boring? Fortunately the creators also made a comedy series that is a parody of their own work.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:53 AM   #411
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I knew that new Ao no Exorcist OP sounded familiar. It's by the same group as the second Durarara!! OP.

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The series is apparently realistic, but at the same time the culture portrayed is one the most alien ones I have encountered. With its serenity and lack of villains it is more strange than many fantasy worlds. Adding to the strangeness is also the hierarchical system of older students guiding the younger ones, and the formality of speech, both of which may feel strange for a westerner.
I wouldn't say any of that's uncommon at all in anime. It should be pretty familiar to anyone familiar with the medium, unless all they watch is shounen fighting series. Oh wait... Interestingly, I don't know if it's been anyone else's experience, but the kohai-sempai relationship seem to finally begin to materialize a little bit by graduate school in the West. Maybe it just takes us that long to be more mature about asking for help.

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Something that I was unused to is how this series instead of engaging the intellect with twists and symbolism is about relationships and detailed analysis of characters. More than other series I've seen it is about EQ rather than IQ, and taking it to a higher level. A typical subplot would be "A realizes that B and C secretly likes each other but that they cannot express it to each other, so A aggressively creates situations that gives them opportunities to do so."
Ehh, I wouldn't say that there are too many series that focus on truly being intellectual, either. Complicated, contrived twists and shallow allegory do not an intellectual series make.

How much good shoujo have you watched? I forget — have you seen Kare Kano or Kimi ni Todoke?

Actually, have you seen Haibane Renmei? If not, watch it now. It's probably the best series out there when it comes to Zen-like pace-of-life interpersonal and introspective reflection. It's magical realism, though, so don't expect any high schools or dating angst or anything like that. It's another Yoshitoshi ABe series, but highly unlike Lain or Texhnolyze.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:14 AM   #412
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Does this sound boring?
Actually, it sounds like something I'd love. Your post just pushed it higher in my priority list.

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In contrast to the catholic setting, the (probably unintended) philosophy feels more like Buddhism.
This angle is also interesting to me. Do catholic schools differ from your regular (secular) schools? For example, do they also post test results for everyone to see?

Now, I haven't seen Maria sama, but I felt the mismatch between Christian imagary and Buddhist feel with another show:

Madoka

Most of the references I got pointed towards Christiandom: the references to Faust (which I wouldn't have got if fans hadn't translated the signs); Homura transferring from a Catholic school; Kamijou playing "Ave Maria" (in ep12); but above all: Kyouko's background as expressed in church and prayer pose.

However, the way the show handled wishing seemed to me more akin to a Buddhist's concept of attachments and suffering than to a Christion concept of humility. Madoka's ending with the emphasis on hope was interesting in that respect. It felt like a hybrid.

I sometimes wonder how well we understund our own backgrounds. It's probably easy to project unacknowledged elements (or side-effects) of your own experience onto someone else's terminology. Maybe our own behaviour is mostly available to us through concepts (concept-first -- interpretation of behaviour according to our concepts), while other people's behaviour is accessible primarily through observation (observation-first -- we form those concepts by focussing on "surprises").

I'm Austrian. Austria is predominantly Catholic, and I was raised to be one, but I turned out to be an atheist instead. When I came online, I was surprised to find that many people thought of hellfire threats when they thought of Catholicism. I've never once been threatened with hellfire, and I've been an open atheist at least since my early teen years. A few years ago I met my elementary school religion teacher (religion is a default subject in schools, but you can opt out with the consent of your parents), and she told me I complained that the bible was unfair to snakes. They're not evil; they're just snakes. That seemed to have been a fond memory, the way she talked. (I didn't remember that at all, but I'm not surprised. I was more into zoology books than the Bible at that age.) If anything, the Catholics I met who talked about religion at all, would emphasise "love thy neighbour", and "judge not lest you be judged".

That may very well have been a local emphasis. But one of the results of the emphasis on "judge not lest you be judged" is a sort of politeness rule that under an ethic that favours honesty might be decried as "hypocrisy", or a "double moral" - do as I say, not as I do. In everyday life, "sinning" is fine, as long as you have the decency to be embarrassed about it if found out. If you're too strict, abiding too much by the letter, in word or deed, you're "holier than the Pope" ("heiliger als der Papst"). It's interesting really.

Now what's my point? If I tried to construct Catholicism from my experiences rather than from the doctrine I learned, I might have come up with something much like Buddhism - there might be crucial differences, but they mightn't be practically relevant in most situations. So why, then, do I get Buddhist but not Christian vibes from the treatment of wishing in Madoka? What's the difference really? And how do I extract culture from religion? I've thought about Buddhism in terms of attachments so far, so is this it? But isn't - at a certain level of abstraction - thinking about attachments compatible with thinking about the distinction between life and afterlife? At a certain level of abstraction, concepts just seem to blur into each other.

Finally, if Japanese culture is influenced by Buddhism, and Japanese Catholicism is influenced by Japanese culture, then wouldn't this make for an interesting mix? Add to that that it's me making sense of that mix from a position of an Austrian Catholic(-in-name-only) atheist, who has been watching anime from Childhood on (a vital part of my childhood cartoons were shows from the World Masterpiece Theater, Sindbad, Captain Future, or Kimba the White Lion), so that certain narrative concepts are pretty familiar to me already, and I get a situation where I simply don't trust myself to unravel such a metaphysical/metaphorical mess.

Once I check out Maria-sama I'll be sure to post comments. I'm very curious right now, but might not have much time in the next few days.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:32 AM   #413
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How much good shoujo have you watched? I forget — have you seen Kare Kano or Kimi ni Todoke?
Kimi ni Todoke is, and I'm in danger of repeating myself, one of my favourites.

Oddly enough, my own first associations were slice-of-life comedy shows like Ichigo Marshmellow (which was surprisingly good in the emotional department). A lot of the slice life shows leave things unsaid; you'll have to decode the body language. (A-Channel was really good at expressing emotion through setting interaction and character behaviour.)

Very often characters reveal themselves only in a single slip - reverting to their comedy-mask straight away.

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Actually, have you seen Haibane Renmei?
Seconded. One of the best shows I've seen.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:26 PM   #414
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The melding of Christianity with other beliefs and philosophies is only a mismatch if you buy into the schismatic Western way of thinking. In Zuni, Catholicism has been integrated alongside our traditional religion, and following both isn't considered strange. I could be wrong, but I imagine it's similar in Japan. That said, some directors will just use Christian imagery purely for well, the imagery, and redefine all of it for its own purposes. *coughAnnocough*
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:12 PM   #415
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How much good shoujo have you watched? I forget — have you seen Kare Kano or Kimi ni Todoke?

Actually, have you seen Haibane Renmei? If not, watch it now. It's probably the best series out there when it comes to Zen-like pace-of-life interpersonal and introspective reflection. It's magical realism, though, so don't expect any high schools or dating angst or anything like that. It's another Yoshitoshi ABe series, but highly unlike Lain or Texhnolyze.
Neither Kare nor Kimi.

Haibane Renmei is of very high quality. I've been thinking about giving it as a present to a christian friend, though I'm not sure it's a good idea since she is very sensitive about what to watch. For me personally Haibane Renmei didn't make a strong impression, and I don't use to rewatch it. I don't know why, it just was not exactly in my taste.

I guess it is soon time to watch Lain. I've been avoiding it since I thought it was like FLCL, which I found unwatchable, but we'll see.

Grr. I was just skimming reviews of Kare Kano on MAL, and there was a spoiler. Grr. I should never read reviews.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #416
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I guess it is soon time to watch Lain. I've been avoiding it since I thought it was like FLCL, which I found unwatchable, but we'll see.
It's nothing at all like FLCL. But if you found FLCL unwatchable (O_O), you may also find Lain unwatchable. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Lain's utter brilliance is lost on a lot of people.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:23 PM   #417
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The melding of Christianity with other beliefs and philosophies is only a mismatch if you buy into the schismatic Western way of thinking. In Zuni, Catholicism has been integrated alongside our traditional religion, and following both isn't considered strange. I could be wrong, but I imagine it's similar in Japan. That said, some directors will just use Christian imagery purely for well, the imagery, and redefine all of it for its own purposes. *coughAnnocough*
Makes sense to me. I do think the mismatch is an artefact of my intuition (in particular, as I've been trying to say, of a mismatch between my living and thinking).

Also, there are many ways to use religious imagery. In Madoka it hovers between flavour and hint to unpacking some of the story. In Ao No Exorcist it's mostly an excuse for plot. In Maria Sama? I'll know when I watch (maybe; other things may take precedence while watching). However, there are Catholic schools in Japan - and it should be interesting to see if this school is treated differently from your other anime schools. I should maybe research Catholic schools in Japan beforehand; or maybe I should just... watch an anime? Heh.

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I guess it is soon time to watch Lain. I've been avoiding it since I thought it was like FLCL, which I found unwatchable, but we'll see.
FLCL appears to be loud an whimsical (I didn't get past episode 1, and I tried twice); Lain is quiet and serious.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:13 AM   #418
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FLCL appears to be loud an whimsical (I didn't get past episode 1, and I tried twice); Lain is quiet and serious.
What they share, and the reason someone may have difficulty getting through both, is they they both have many sequences that will make you go "WTF" and will not appear to make sense at first. Or possibly later.

That said, I'm astonished two people here didn't make it through FLCL. I thought everyone loved FLCL.

I'm used to people not liking Eva or Lain, but FLCL? Japanator named it the decade's #1 anime, less because it's truly better than everything else, but because it's the only one that pretty much everyone could agree upon as being ridiculously good.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:24 AM   #419
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Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
Madoka

Most of the references I got pointed towards Christiandom: the references to Faust (which I wouldn't have got if fans hadn't translated the signs); Homura transferring from a Catholic school; Kamijou playing "Ave Maria" (in ep12); but above all: Kyouko's background as expressed in church and prayer pose.

However, the way the show handled wishing seemed to me more akin to a Buddhist's concept of attachments and suffering than to a Christion concept of humility. Madoka's ending with the emphasis on hope was interesting in that respect. It felt like a hybrid.
That's an interesting analysis about the wishes leading to suffering, if that was what you meant. When I mentioned religion it was only meant in a loose way. I'm thinking that a typical Christian plot could be about the hero sacrificing himself, and possible being reborn as a godlike being. *Spoiler:* I'm thinking that Madoka fits this pattern, and the Matrix triology..

What I mean with a Buddhist (or rather eastern religious in general) plot would instead be that the hero gives up his striving and lays down his weapons, possibly after seeing that he is part of the problem. Or that he continues to fight, but without attachment, like Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita. Examples of this: Hero and The Fountain.

Since these two plot types are similar, they can easily overlap, e.g. if in the Buddhist plot the hero also sacrifices himself.

In Maria-sama, the Catholicism is for the setting, I guess, and for creating a meditative atmosphere. They pray sometimes and so on, but the story didn't have any Christian themes that I noticed.

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A few years ago I met my elementary school religion teacher (religion is a default subject in schools, but you can opt out with the consent of your parents), and she told me I complained that the bible was unfair to snakes. They're not evil; they're just snakes.
That's cute.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:27 AM   #420
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Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
That said, I'm astonished two people here didn't make it through FLCL. I thought everyone loved FLCL.

I'm used to people not liking Eva or Lain, but FLCL? Japanator named it the decade's #1 anime, less because it's truly better than everything else, but because it's the only one that pretty much everyone could agree upon as being ridiculously good.
The reason I didn't get through the first episode was all the shouting and loudness.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:56 AM   #421
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Ehh, I wouldn't say that there are too many series that focus on truly being intellectual, either. Complicated, contrived twists and shallow allegory do not an intellectual series make.
What I was thinking of, but didn't write, was a comparison with Death Note and the intellectual cat and mouse games between Yagami Light and L, who were both intelligent and competent from the beginning.

There are many works where characters matures emotionally, like in Clannad, but I can't think of any where there are many characters with a high emotional intelligence from the beginning. In Maria-sama I found many characters playing relationship games aggressively and on a high level already in the first episode, in a fashion reminding of what Light and L does, though in a less complex way.

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Old 09-07-2011, 02:05 AM   #422
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Originally Posted by Camilla Delvalle View Post
What I was thinking of, but didn't write, was a comparison with Death Note and the intellectual cat and mouse games between Yagami Light and L, who were both intelligent and competent from the beginning.
Such a comparison was what I expected. Death Note and Code Geass were the examples I had in mind when I said

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Complicated, contrived twists and shallow allegory do not an intellectual series make.
but I guess if you meant series in which the characters are portrayed as being intelligent, I can see what you mean.

*heads off to his probability homework to dodge arrows*
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:55 AM   #423
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It's true that Death Note lacks philosophical depth. Not even the question if it is right to kill criminals to make the world better is discussed thoroughly.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:06 AM   #424
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The reason I didn't get through the first episode was all the shouting and loudness.
Same here. It was mostly annoying and there was little to compensate for that (for me). If I were to sit through the entire show, I'm pretty sure I'd agree it's good. Not sure if it'd grow on me. Only finishing the show can tell me that.

It's not generic; it has its own style. And there are hints of things to come that might be interesting. It's just that none of it drew me in, while the hectic gestures put me off.

Wtf-content doesn't put me off, never has. I fully admit that I didn't entirely get Lain's ending; I'll revisit it some time. Loved the show.

Oh, and before I make a fool of myself: FLCL = Fooly Cooly = Furi Kuri. No?

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That's an interesting analysis about the wishes leading to suffering, if that was what you meant.
Pretty much.

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I'm thinking that a typical Christian plot could be about the hero sacrificing himself, and possible being reborn as a godlike being.
That's the saviour path. The fun thing is that - in Christianity - this isn't a path open to every man. You - a Christian - are not supposed to try and be Christ. You're supposed to accept his sacrifice with gratitude and humility.

There is a path to sacrifice yourself for your belief: the martyr.

The fun thing is this: as soon as you abandon chosen-one talk, as soon as you take the duality of divinity and humanity out of Jesus' sacrifice, you transform it into an achievement rather than a divine gift. And if everyone can achieve this, you really have more a path to enlightment.

But what that enlightment entails, and what the path looks like is interesting, too. You can reconcile any two philosophies, as long as you keep them abstract enough.

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Since these two plot types are similar, they can easily overlap, e.g. if in the Buddhist plot the hero also sacrifices himself.
Exactly.

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In Maria-sama, the Catholicism is for the setting, I guess, and for creating a meditative atmosphere. They pray sometimes and so on, but the story didn't have any Christian themes that I noticed.
It's exactly the setting I find interesting, in that respect. Curious about the effect it has. (But I'm worried about over-interpreting, exactly because of this curiosity. See?)
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:23 AM   #425
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Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
Same here. It was mostly annoying and there was little to compensate for that (for me). If I were to sit through the entire show, I'm pretty sure I'd agree it's good. Not sure if it'd grow on me. Only finishing the show can tell me that.

It's not generic; it has its own style. And there are hints of things to come that might be interesting. It's just that none of it drew me in, while the hectic gestures put me off.

Wtf-content doesn't put me off, never has. I fully admit that I didn't entirely get Lain's ending; I'll revisit it some time. Loved the show.

Oh, and before I make a fool of myself: FLCL = Fooly Cooly = Furi Kuri. No?
In the mystical words of Dalian: "Yes."

It doesn't actually mean anything in Japanese, either. They just thought it sounded cool.

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That's the saviour path. The fun thing is that - in Christianity - this isn't a path open to every man. You - a Christian - are not supposed to try and be Christ. You're supposed to accept his sacrifice with gratitude and humility.

There is a path to sacrifice yourself for your belief: the martyr.

The fun thing is this: as soon as you abandon chosen-one talk, as soon as you take the duality of divinity and humanity out of Jesus' sacrifice, you transform it into an achievement rather than a divine gift. And if everyone can achieve this, you really have more a path to enlightment.

But what that enlightment entails, and what the path looks like is interesting, too. You can reconcile any two philosophies, as long as you keep them abstract enough.
I think part of what I liked about Eva is that the main character is offered the chance to be the savior, and rejects it. And ultimately, the path chosen is indeed one of suffering, not for the sake of others, but rather for the sake of one's self, and not to reject attachments, but rather to build them.
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