Sukitte Ii na yo 04 – Superficial Appearances

Throughout Sukitte Ii ya no Mei has remained the one point of consistency, and that despite her obvious issues with social interaction has also been the character that helps others regardless of the situation. She continues to demonstrate a straightforward approach to life, although her attitudes and ways of dealing other people have subtly changed due to her relationship with Yamato. Mei continues to demonstrate that she a character who doesn’t need a ‘prince on a white horse’ to rescue her from tricky situations, exhibiting an element of self-respect and self-determination that other Shoujo female characters often lack. Furthermore, her strong will and ability to stand up for what she believes in partly shows up the more traditional and arguably out of date thinking that Yamato shows in this episode. Through the eyes of Mei we are beginning to see the complex nature of school and broader social interaction. Many of the characters are considered popular or beautiful, but they also suffer from similar problems to Mei, and regardless of how popular they may be there is the notion that they are as alienated, if not more so than Mei once was. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 03 – Self-fulfilling prophecies

Sibyl is a system that is supposed to scan and check every citizen in society, and through the psycho-pass system law and order is maintained, while every element of society works together in harmony. At least, that is the apparent aim behind this system, however, the name ‘Sibyl’ can also be seen as a link back to the Sibyl’s of ancient Greece. They were oracles or prophetesses, who were seen as possessing the lips of god, with the ability to see the future and through their rituals divine the will of god. As Heraclitus (c. 535- c. 475 BCE) a Greek writer and philosopher suggests: ‘The Sibyl, with frenzied mouth uttering things not to be laughed at, unadorned and unperformed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice by aid of the god’. They are beings that are viewed to be the human voices of god, and while they may provide positive prophecies, they are not entirely to be trusted. In other legends the Sibyls and other oracles are seen as dangerous, corrupt, or destructive, taking bribes in order to invoke a positive prophecy from god, but to cross them would mean certain doom. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 04 – Hidden Pasts and Public Personas

There is always a part of your life that you will either keep hidden, or simply don’t mention to everyone you meet. It might be something that you’re embarrassed about, or perhaps something that might not be relevant, or even damaging to your public image. More often than not we can look at how the enjoyment of various forms of media such as anime, video games, or something else that is viewed as being socially destructive. Chuunibyou, while clearly a term used to describe a complex and wide-ranging set of ideas, influences and attitudes is one such example of something that many may want to keep hidden. But, to continue on from last week’s idea of Chuunibyou as a Social Haiku, it is obvious that such a simple word hides an increasingly complex set of ideas and values. As Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai progresses we are beginning to see an amazing range of characters and characteristics, all with their own ideas, insecurities and problems. Furthermore, the notion of Chuunibyou is becoming ever more blurred, and in doing so it becomes increasing difficult to truly mark out where this ‘syndrome’ ends or where it begins. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 03 – Expectations and Attitudes

There are certain expectations of whom or what you are supposed to be that affect your sense of self throughout life. These can be both social and cultural, with a classic example being fashion, where the idealised view of men and women are put up for the whole world to see. Such images of slender women, or well built and toned men can have a significant impact upon ones self esteem with the attitude that you are not good enough becoming potentially damaging. This can have a big impact upon teenagers who are already the focus of immense social pressures, along with notions of what it means to be cool. But obviously they are not the only ones who have to contend with these social and cultural pressures about how you are supposed to appear and act, what you are supposed to like and other attitudes. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 02 – Decisions and Consequences

A world where your thoughts, attitudes and abilities can be measured and quantified, thus determining your entire life style will create a highly stratified and structured society. In doing so it is also arguably creating distinct and potentially destructive social divisions, and with no ability to move up and change your current way of life, what might be dissatisfaction can become destructive and dangerous. These similar ideas are present in numerous cyber-punk anime, not least Akira, where the highly stratified society leads to protests and social disorder on a large scale. Such are further present in real life, with protests against government plans and attitudes towards where ones place in society are. Akira, and now Psycho-Pass mirrors this with the use of their various systems and bodies in order to police the spaces between these distinct areas of society, looking out for those who have finally snapped. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 03 – Chuunibyou as Social Haiku

Chuunibyou is a social Haiku, as a term it is used to condense and concentrate numerous complicated social and cultural situations and attitudes into a single, easily used idea. At its most basic, Chuunibyou is essentially a term used to describe adolescence, a period in everyone’s life where external influences and ideas can have a tremendous impact on how you view yourself and the wider world. It is therefore tremendously difficult to truly label someone as a ‘sufferer’ of Chunnibyou, apart from those who act in the most extreme ways. Rikka, Dekomori, and the past Yuuta are all perfect examples of the more extreme end of Chunnibyou, with each character taking on a new, and altogether different personality. The way they act, speak, and interact with the wider world around them differs tremendously from the social ‘norm’, therefore marking them out as wider, or perhaps dysfunctional. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 02 – Friendship and insecurities

The first episode of Sukitte Ii ya no demonstrated the importance of social contacts and a social group by showing what could happen when you become so alone and those who you have relied upon and suddenly not there. This doesn’t mean that people have to be incredibly popular, but it is the creation of even the smallest of social groups and contacts that can help you move forward with your life instead of staying in the past. Mei has slowly begun to realise this, and her problem with the stalker demonstrated that by deliberately alienating herself from society she became an easy target for such people. At the same time, her experiences with betrayal have left a strong impression on her, made even stronger since it happened when she was much younger. While her attitude that everyone is willing to betray their friends at a moments notice may be incorrect, her ideas that there are those who will happily drop you when the situation calls for it remains perfectly accurate. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 01 – The illusion of choice

A society where technology control our every move, making decisions for us and determining the fate of the world – in such a society he lines between what is real and what is fantasy become blurred, melding into one another until indistinguishable. The idea that technology can not only control society, but also determine who is guilty and their future actions is a scary thought, and questions the role of humans and human decisions on the very basic of levels. Such a dystopian worldview could have been snatched straight from the pages of a Phillip K. Dick work like ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ (Blade Runner), ‘We Can Remember it for You Wholesale’ (Total Recall), or perhaps even ‘Minority Report’. And that is because largely it is, the plot synopsis and general aesthetic and thematic choices present in Psycho-Pass are straight out of any Phillip K. Dick novel. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 02 – Ordinary in an extraordinary way

At the very beginning of the series there is a brief introduction to Chuunibyou, explaining that it is a complex idea that encompasses a variety of behaviour and general social problems. What is interesting is that while there are clearly elements of the fantastical in some of the strange delusions that Yuuta as the Dark Flame Master and Rikka in her present form have to deal with, it is also used to describe a far wider variety of things than you might think. In Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai it is primarily used to explain the bizarre hallucinations and delusions of Rikka, although there are other characters who arguably suffer from it. In fact, the major question of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai is whether or not Chuunibyou can be considered an illness at all, or whether it is merely a term used to describe a series of (often) interconnected circumstances that make life a little more interesting than it otherwise would be. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 01 – Social Outcast and Centre of Attention

Sudden meetings and love at first sight are staples of the romance genre, with girls and women often falling head over heels for the first man or boy who comes along. There are however a few stories that focus on the problems that their characters have, and while there is an element of love at first sight, the problems and issues that these characters have to deal with become far more significant than the romance. Sukitte Ii na yo, deals with a main character who is a social outcast, someone who has both rejected and being rejected by society. There will always be events that for some are easily brushed off, but for others leave an indelible mark, something that follows them throughout life. The impact that such events have largely depends on the event and where it took place, but they are strongest when you are young and learning about the ways of the world. Read more of this post