ForMyAmusement | 03-08-13, 12:07 PM
The "Ends vs. Means" debate is certainly one of the most common ones in recent anime and since I haven't watched many older series I can't make any judgments on how different it might have been back then.
I assume in your second paragraph you are referring to shows which are way too ambitious for their own good, throwing around grand ideologies while lacking profundity to pull it off. Personally I regard cases like these as cases which mostly suffer from poor storytelling, directing or plot, where a less demanding approach would have helped and not the ideology itself is the problem.
Since nowadays the anime industry is oversaturated with shows revolving around trite and banal issues, only aiming for shallow entertainment, it's hard for me to resent people who at least try to create something more challenging.
When it comes to Shakespear the first titles that come to my mind are his tragedies like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello. In each of them the male protagonist brings about their own demise by becoming a murderer in a moment of rage. In Greek tragedies the protagonist are often the creators of the problems themselves, and self-fulfilling prophecies aren't uncommon. The only anime that I can think of that fits this description is Ga-Rei: Zero, where one of the main characters succumbs to her desire for revenge in a fit of rage and causes a chain of events that leads to the her death and the demise of her loved ones.
However, I'm way too unfamiliar with Eastern literature to make any statements about it and I don't think anime is an adequate mean for comparison in this regard.
ForMyAmusement | 02-24-13, 4:47 AM
I agree that in many cases not the clichés themselves are the problem but rather their execution, though striving from the norm is always more preferable.
If I understand you correctly your problem with current anime is that it isn't pushing bundaries in terms of morality and ethical issues.
I will say that I disagree with your take on MSMM, as I do not think that Kyubey's actions were solely supposed to get across as completely morally wrong. Sure, none of the girls brought up a discussion whether the system was justified, but that didn't prevent the audience to question what's right or wrong.
While I can relate to your sentiment that usually the protagonists represent the "correct" moral stance, there have been quite a few titles recently which features morally ambigious topics.
Using ruthless methods for the greater cause has been a topic in both Fate/Zero and Jormungand: Perfect Order in the last few seasons and right now Psycho-Pass, Shinsekai Yori:From the New World and even Blast of the Tempest are tackling this topic as well.
In all these cases we are presented different views and takes on one single subject, where all possibilities have its up and downs.
In Psycho-Pass we have a system that's discriminating and flawed on the one side with rebels that go to the extreme in order to break it down.
In Shinsekai Yori we have a conflict with humans capable of psychokinesis who dispose of their offspring at the slightest chance of getting threatened and humanoid races who rebel against tyranny and vouch for democracy but disregard the lifes of individuals.
In none of these examples there is a clear ethically right option given, with the more relatable (aka involving the least brutal methods) stance being leaving everything at status quo as in this case the disadvantages are hidden from the eyes of the ones who "matter" and who would be able to change anything.
All in all, I don't think that moral ambiguity is reserved to Western works, though it does appear that at least in anime these kind of topics are rarely seen in comparison, if we look at the amount of anime that gets produced every season.
ForMyAmusement | 02-11-13, 8:48 AM
Oh, that's interesting! I already had a flinch that you were affiliated with literature but I didn't expect you to be studying it.
Anyway, you're speaking my mind in regard to the infinite amount of possibilities anime (or any other entertainment medium for that matter) possesses. It's all the more disappointing to see how many series revolving around the same cliched archetypes come out each season, though thankfully there are always some that stray from the ordinary.
For me it's almost better for a series to be ambitious while flawed than a small-scale series being executed perfectly. I appreciate consistency, but only the standout moments will make me attached to a show. And yes, I hope MMY will finish with a bang instead of fizzling out.
ForMyAmusement | 02-06-13, 10:28 AM
Well, I don't spend much thoughts on how the shows I'm following will fare in the long run to begin with. I will just take what I can get, and while it would be disappointing if the end result is not as good as I hoped for, I can just shrug it off and turn towards other topics. Basically my my course of action for every internet community in general, it's no use crying over spilt millk after all.
I think that's the route the anime will take as well, the Demon King and the Hero even decided in the very first episode to accept the casualities by not taking a more offensive (and significantly riskier) path and trying to end the war faster.
While I'm not sure that watching anime is how I should spend my free time, it's just too much a pleasure to abandon it. At times I followed 20 shows simulltaneously, but nowadays I have hardly the time for a fracture of it. Though I suppose that's not too bad since that forces me to pick up only the more worthwhile titles.
ForMyAmusement | 02-03-13, 2:40 AM
I can definitely understand your concerns about how much the Demon King is willing to sacrifice in order to bring peace but I think it's necessary to take into consideration that serfdom and even slavery is still widely accepted and probably deeply impregnated into people's minds and that the Demon King's influence is still far from too great as she's basically working undercover and could easily get exposed if she incurs the higher up's displeasure. As a result she's taking one step after another and I have no doubt that slavery will play an important part later given the focus on the older maid sister. So I wouldn't say that the Demon's King course of action will necessary result in the steadying of slavery and serfdom in general.
As to why it seems compelling to me, it's largely because the show is willing to think out of the box plotwise and in regard of its setting and the mix of different elements draws me in since there is a big repertory it can choose from and makes me eager to see what the following episode will offer.
But of course every viewer will react differently to that.
As a kid I was fascinated by Greek mythology so it struck me as familiar.
I used to frequently change my profile pictures but lately I've been too busy to handle the changes since pictures and avatars revert to their old state on a frequent basis here on MAL. I posted the current picture showing a star-crossed sky simply by default.
ForMyAmusement | 02-02-13, 12:35 PM
While war in the more recent centuries have been largely influenced by the desire for more economical and militaric power, I do agree with you that at the times of the Crusades the involved parties mostly had the spread of their beliefs and values in mind.
I'm afraid my post was not formulated clearly as it was not my intention to indicate that the anime reflects real historic events as it happened in the past but rather that it deliberately borrows elements from past centuries and meshes them in a rather interestng and compelling way. It's just that the analogies to the Crusades struck me as the most noticeable ones, that was triggered again by the setting I described in my post.
In terms of MMY, it's the economical benefits that keeps the war afloat right now, under the pretense of protecting their respective nation and culture, of course (which probably is actually partly the case considerig the losing country will get enslaved) .
However, and I'm sure the show will go down that parth as well, the benefits presented so far won't last forever, which is the reason why the Demon King aims to stabilize the nations economically in order to obliterate the very reason why lifes are sacrificed to ensure the prosperity of the majority.
As such economy plays an incredibly siginificant role as it is both the preserver and the possible solution for the war.
But I guess you already noticed that by yourself, so I'm not exactly presenting new information, I apologize in case I couldn't provide you with novel ideas you might have expected.
Btw, nice profile picture you have there. Rubens' slightly washed out and yet intricate depiction of Phaeton's failure caused by hubris is probably my favourite visualisation of this mythological tale.
JCDRANZER | 01-17-13, 12:46 PM
Thank you for the very quick reply. Is the manga following the story of the light novel or is it making it's own?
I watched the anime a few years back and I loved it. I found out about the light novel ending by seeing various spoilers scattered across all kinds of forums. Nice ending sort of.
If the manga is following the events depicted from the light novels, how far do you think they are with the story?
I've read Billionaire Girl from the same author as Spice and Wolf but it seems the series went into hiatus after the 1st volume was published. According to some it came out of hiatus in July 2012 but I haven't seen a chapter since. So I was wondering if the author is okay or anything.
A lot of good series were left unfinished because the author passed away but I don't think the author for Spice and Wolf has. The ones I remember that were left unfinished are like Itazura na Kiss, Trinity Blood, Kaze no Stigma, etc.
JCDRANZER | 01-17-13, 7:51 AM
Are you reading the Spice and Wolf manga in Chinese or the RAWs because they haven't scanlated past chapter 24.
precious | 01-11-13, 2:56 AM
While I don't really agree with you on all points of your Kino no Tabi review, it was definitely an interesting read and well written. You should write some more reviews, I'd appreciate it :-)
Also, how come you haven't rated Paranoia Agent yet?
What are your thoughts on it?
Dark_Puddles | 07-23-12, 1:11 AM
Yes the democracy country is one of the more interesting examples and can definitely be seen as one that passes judgement through story. I don't particularly see this as representative of the series as a whole though (clearly) as it was only like 5-10 minutes of an episode and adding anything about other forms of democracy working is pointless. It is a contrast to an idea and system in which many, including the Japanese, already live with so exploring it would be redundant.
And yes of course no human can be without bias, but I believe Kino is one of the closest examples one is going to get to it. The only episode Kino gets involved without being forced to is the second one and that is to save people that would die otherwise. The decision at the end of the Colosseum episode I find to be very interesting character moment as she actually changes very little of the law of the country, she doesn't abolish the law but essentially applies it to those who were before just the ones controlling it.
Yes your perspective on the series is quite interesting and well expressed and the reason I gave your review a helpful rating even if I didn't agree with it.
Dark_Puddles | 07-22-12, 11:25 PM
Hi, i just read your Kino's Journey review and I just had to say I viewed the series quite a bit different to you. You said;
"The only thing I truly found interesting in Kino’s Journey is when I considered the thought that the world the anime shows is the world seen through Kino’s eyes. Her prejudices influence how she perceives the situations presented and cause a very distorted world. To Kino, moral issues tend to be very cut-and-dry, so the world she perceives reflects that. The reason Kino travels is that she is unable to find a place the meshes with her understanding of the world, so she continues to travel while futilely wishing the world conformed to her and her being unable to ever consider changing herself. Looking at Kino’s Journey this way can open up some very interesting interpretations of Kino’s actions and the events that happened, but I doubt that view was ever intended so it doesn’t improve my opinion of the show."
For starters how did you come to the conclusion that Kino's "prejudices" and "moral issues being very clear cut" were reflected in how she perceives the world?
To me the whole point of Kino's character and viewing the story through her point of view is that she doesn't have these prejudices and a black and white view of morals. Kino traveled the world to just see it in all its forms and I believe rarely made any type of judgements of the people as she simply found a sort of beauty in it all (the world is not beautiful and that, in a way, lends it a sort of beauty). Kino isn't some hero of an action show that goes in and stands up for her view of good till the bitter end but rather is just an observer, a vessel in which the audience sees the world through and at times offer some thoughts on various things brought up by Hermes.
This leads to my second point;
"The main problem with the show is that it isn’t deep. At first glance it appears that there is a lot down there, but when you dive in you’ll soon find your head hitting the bottom. The stories are parables that cover a wide range of subjects with a general theme of humanity being naturally evil. Often the story is a social commentary that usually involves a society that is distorted in some fundamental way and Kino observing the outcome. Some other stories feature morality issues and a few others attempt to tackle philosophical questions. The stories are very judgmental; often the gavel sounds as soon as the case is presented. It is usually very clear that one side is wrong while the other is right. The show never attempts to present a morally ambiguous situation that forces you to reflect on the issue. It is only when you are forced to walk in the grey area between right and wrong that you truly learn about yourself."
I'm not a fan of calling shows deep. I find most shows have intrinsic value in a wide variety of areas that offer some interesting insight into things if one is to look a little deeper, intentional or not. Saying this I find it odd when people make the claim that Kino's Journey is not that deep due to clear cut good and evil or lacking a grey area, i just can't understand where people see all this judgement coming from the story or the characters that makes it so. This connects to Kino's character and her (in my view) not judging or trying to change the countries she visits, the audience is only shown the country and in pretty much all situations they are countries that function. There is nothing in the stories that give a clear indication of what is right or wrong, there is no philosophical debate but rather a raising of questions without answers often spurred on by Kino and Herme's conversations. The "depth" of the series doesn't come from the the answers it gives but rather in the question it tries to raise and get the watcher to explore. The whole good and evil and morality of the series, in my eyes, comes pretty much solely from the viewer and not the show.
Well those are just my 2 cents, your review was well written and an interesting take on the series and I just wanted to give some feedback.
danmari | 07-21-12, 6:56 AM
Glad I could give a little a poke in that direction then.
danmari | 07-19-12, 3:04 PM
Ever thought about writing reviews? Asking because I see you commenting in series discussion threads a lot and what you say is usually interesting to read ;)
Avato-chan | 04-28-12, 10:14 PM
yes its usualy hinduisim/shintaoism ect in anime's ,but it is understandable
Avato-chan | 04-27-12, 8:45 PM
wow. i just have to agree with your coment on Sakamichi no Apollon 2 ,i never say a christian portrayal ina good way