Scissors: “Mulan: Rise of a Warrior”, Hollywood on History and What to do about “Weeaboos”

The 2009 Chinese live action “Mulan: Rise of a Warrior”

Poster for the 2009 Chinese film “Mulan: Rise of a Warrior”

I want to watch this movie as I haven’t watched many films about other countries historical heroes and figures that didn’t come from Hollywood. I’d rather see Mulan as the country she came from sees her. And from what I’ve read of the plot, it is way, way better (and makes more sense) than the Disney cartoon (I’m not going to go into the whole kid’s movies vs. historical accuracy and the big shift going on with Disney’s animation studios at this time (they were closing down the one in Florida, which was the one that created “Mulan” and many of Disney’s “experimental” feature length animated films, such as “The Emperor’s New Groove”.  Continue reading →

Rock: Robots, Boxing and “Home”

While reading “Dark Blue Suit” and the boxing documentary, watching the fights, and reading the imagery, I started to recall some parts of my relationship with my own father I had tried to “remember to forget”. They weren’t bad memories, but memories that reminded me too much that he was still my father.

After what little we had as far as a father/child relationship at the time fell apart during the summer between my 9th and 10th grade years, and again after I had graduated high school. He had told the court I would never graduate during the child support case that would decide if he be required to help pay for college expenses, and after I found out and had the official court record with his hypocritical words on it (told me my whole life to go to college and he would help pay for it), I gave up on ever having a relationship with him and wanted nothing to do with him.

To have nothing to do with him also meant rejecting the support that the court decided he was required to pay, I did so by taking a break year between high school and college since it was contingent on attending college right after high school.

I knew that if he paid for my college, I would have little say in my education and to become dependent on him to attend college would be to hand my future over to someone who I barely knew and didn’t care. Continue reading →

Scissors: Free Ramen?

Some free Ramen I found, though the location was questionable.

So, I already have plenty of sources and depth on the subject of my project, but I want to add more. I just don’t know if what I want to add is necessary and relevant or I just want to add it because it’s relevant and I like it.

So the question isn’t does or does it not have a place and function if I had all the time in the world to write this, but because I have limited time, I’m at the does this need to be edited out, something else added in, I forgot this or this whole bit needs to be scraped.

Somethings I want to include are LGBTQIA+ in anime, mainly due to the popularity and positive reception of “Yuri on Ice” and it being a potential landmark/gateway in anime when it come to LGBTQIA+ content and addressing emotional health issues, like anxiety, in an accurate, non-stigmatizing light. It also was not based on a light novel or manga as well.

I also want to address interest in Japanese culture outside of the otaku subculture lens through the YouTube channel Abroad in Japan, whose host is a British English as a second langauge or ESL teacher living in Japan (and misses decent cheese). Mostly I really like that this channel crosses over my love of dry British humour (yes the “u” is there on purpose, I couldn’t resist) and Japanese culture in general.

Continue reading →

Paper: Otaku, Fandoms and Humor

Looking into the sources and solutions into otaku stigma alone has been multiple rabbits holes, but one thing I’ve noticed there is the ongoing reclamation of the word otaku stateside. An example of this that also ties into one of the topics covered in class is the, I think incongruity humor, that is a central part of otaku culture as it starts to take pride in the word, rather than shy away from it.

Shirt from the store Hot Topic with the definition of otaku on it.

Covering the different types of humor in class this week, which helped cement my project focus and “home”, which had gotten lost in an increasingly interconnected web of cross cultural currents within just the stateside otaku subculture. Continue reading →

Rock: What is a NEET anyways?

So one of the common stereotypes within otaku culture is known as the NEET or Not in Education, Employment or Training. While the term was first used in the United Kingdom and in a similar manner in regards to the word otaku, NEET is a loanword in Japan with a similar meaning.

What I find interesting though is that, while being a NEET, which in the otaku subculture is stigma on top of stigma, there seem to be two types of NEET that recently have been reoccurring.

The first would be the stereotypical NEET, a person who has withdrawn from society, its obligations and does not pursue any productive means to be part of society, which most otaku actually do (hence the extra stigma within an already stigmatized group). This is demonstrated in the web manga via the Comico app and now in a newer slice-of-life comedy anime that airs throughout this fall called, “Recovery of an MMO Junkie”.

Screenshot of the main character Moriko Morioka in “Recovery of an MMO Junkie”.

Continue reading →

Paper: Misused Misappropriation

In reading “Donald Duk”, there were many themes that were talked about and explored in the group discussions, from the coming of age story as a young adult novel, the concept of dreams and reality and the, often mouth watering, descriptions and roles food has to play.

To myself personally and with what my project revolves around, what stood out to me was Donald’s friend Arnold. A young white boy, invited in to celebrate the Chinese New Year and participate with Donald’s family and community. To myself, this exchange and sharing of culture is a wonderful thing to read and see. Arnold learns firsthand about Chinese American culture, to be specific, and gets to also engage in it, which fosters a deeper and richer understanding and respect for Donald’s culture, unlike their teacher (as far as I was able to read, I still need to finish the book).

But when it came to the part when Donald’s family gives Arnold a Chinese silk shirt to wear as well, I immediately thought to a photo that sparked a strong reaction in the American white community on cultural misappropriation. – Bored Panda – A Japanese Tea Party

The debate took place on Tumblr, centered on the photo of a young white girl, about nine or ten, in her home, proudly wearing the kimono her parents had gotten her while wearing geisha styled makeup for a Japanese tea party themed birthday party.

In this particular example, the subject of accusations of misappropriation being used as a form of racism is brought up (it is an internet debate on an open forum, so all things specifically claimed and assumed, are still claimed and assumed).

For myself though, this was not the first time I had come across white people using the justification of cultural misappropriation (often stated as just appropriation) to bash other white people participating in another culture, normally in a respectful and educational manner. It wasn’t the first time that kids were in the center of the debate.

More and more, this term and how it is being used in the white community, comes across as another mask of colonial based/typed racism. It very similar to the justifications that Christian missionary work was in the interest of “saving” souls, just as cultural misappropriation is being used to “save/preserve” other cultures and teaching white kids to respect other cultures via not sharing and participating in them.

Except the only thing this is accomplishing is the keeping the “purity” of white culture, teaching the next generation that it is not OK to share in other cultures and this sort of misuse of the term is only reinforcing racist barriers that more than likely will only aggravated the exclusion of all other nationalities, culture, class etc. from being included in American society.

Note – the United Nation laws on this give a much better understanding of the actual purpose of the term –

Rock: The Stigma of Anime

This entry includes content that some may find uncomfortable and may have possible triggers for some.

In my last post, I started to introduce one of the main issues that the otaku, and even general anime and manga enthusiasts face: stigma.

Since there are many sides to this particular subject that I could easily write another few thousand words on alone with the issues behind the American rating systems, video games, the specific anime genres such as “harem” and “ecchi”, my focus for this post is the American double standards and the main root of the stigma behind otaku culture.

Given how well accepted Studio Ghibili’s works, game based anime such as “Kingdom of Hearts” and even the Hasbro toys turned animation “Transformers”, stigma should seem like less of an issue. Except one thing I noticed, and keep noticing, is that most of the anime, manga and games that are not associated with the stigma are geared toward kids. Or are “family friendly”, even if they deal with more mature themes, such as Studio Ghibili films.

In contrast, much of the anime and manga that otaku watch are not what would be considered in Western culture a “cartoon”, and can be very graphic, dark and/or deal with “R” rated themes. Continue reading →

Rock: Exploring Origins

In exploring my “home”, which for me is otaku (and to that extent nerd/geek) culture, I’ve been watching anime that myself or others first watched and introduced them to this previously much more private niche. This post is more, I guess soul “surfing”, looking back into my own history with anime and manga and looking for connections to explore on how I came to find “home” in otaku culture, which I was actually scared away from by the parents and pigs scene from the first anime I watched “Spirited Away”.

For myself this was “Eureka Seven” that got me into anime and manga, past a lot of fears and actually was a very healing experience for me that is still ongoing.

“E7” is a 50 episode long original mecha anime series by studio BONES in 2005 (they also did the well-known “The Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”). Something that would be a rarity to be able to create now in 2017, given it was an original story that wasn’t based on a manga, light-novel, video game, sequel, reboot (same issues that Western entertainment currently has), is a mecha (giant robot) anime (which are more expensive to animate) and is fifty episodes long (most anime now are 12 to 26 at the most).

Artwork of the Nirvash Type Zero mecha “lifting” from the anime “Eureka Seven”.

Continue reading →

Scissors: Memoirs, Vocaloids, Daft Punk

While going through the texts and in class the theme of the “American Dream” and picking yourself up by the bootstraps, the self-made, self-reliance mentality common in America, the central focus on the “self”, applies much less to Asian Americans who became successful. There is a much greater focus, followed by actual action, for Asian Americans to seek help within their communities and work together. Generally there is less of a community effort in seeking this and more talk when I look at Western persons who have obtained it, and a lot more bragging. Continue reading →