Horror, Ghost Stories, and Mischievous Spirits – Tales of The Strange and Anomalous in Anime


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This post was partly influenced by comments I have seen on forums, and twitter in the past criticising horror anime for its inability to scare the viewers, alongside problems with writing and characters. Horror in Japanese culture can be both terrifying, but also seem somewhat benign – it deals with a variety of different themes, but the most important, and arguably the most used is that of spirits and the effect they have on the human world. Having said that, I also believe that the term ‘horror’ when it comes to describing Japanese ghost stories is somewhat misleading, and feeds a series of assumptions about the stories content and whether or not it might be scary. Read more of this post

Least Interesting Anime of 2014:


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Now that my favourite anime of 2014 are out of the way, its time for a post on the anime I found least interesting this year. Read more of this post

Favourite Anime of 2014:


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Like previous years I wont be putting these series into any particular order, which is probably the hardest thing I can think of doing – partly because I don’t like scores, and also because I don’t really have a particularly favourite anime this year.  Read more of this post

Mothers and Demons – The Women of Cross Ange


Cross ange 8The history of Japan is filled with female figures, mythical and historical that are as powerful as they are dangerous. They are mothers, demons, and gods, holding the power of life and death in the palms of their hands, and for that reason they are worshipped and feared in equal measure. The story of Japan’s creation, and the roles of its gods demonstrate the power that women hold within Japanese belief and mythology. The Brother and Sister called Izanagi and Izanami are said to have created the islands of Japan and its deities. Izanami gave birth to the Japanese islands as well as to a large number of deities, but giving birth to the fire god Kagu-tsuchi was too much for her. During this painful birth, she was badly burnt, and after one final effort she bore the gods of metal, clay, and water from her vomit, faeces, and urine, only to perish and disappear into Yomi-no-kuni (the underworld). Izanagi in his grief chose to enter the underworld in an attempt to return Izanami to the world of the living. But, instead of following him back, Izanami instead begged him not to look at her in her current state. However, Izanagi could not resist and looked, but seeing her putrefying body, swarming with maggots, he exclaimed: ‘What hideous and polluted land have I come to unawares!’ Read more of this post

Comedy, Carnivalesque, and the Naked Body in Anime: Why the issue of ‘Fanservice’ is more complex than it first appears


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Japanese culture has long been viewed as a curiosity, from the period of European colonialism when The Orient was a place of exotic otherness, to modern day society where Japanese popular culture is viewed as extreme, perhaps hedonistic, as opposed to the more refined tastes of the west. When viewing anime, it is possible to see how it, as a cultural medium, promotes an orientalist view of Japan with its astonishing visuals, along with the numerous exotic and strange creatures and creations. Part of the exoticism within anime is the explicit use of nudity, and more revealing situations where male and female characters are seen in their underwear, or in a more exposed, even fetishistic light. Read more of this post

Outbreak Company – Cultural Imperialism and Development


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In my last post about Outbreak Company I explored the dissemination of mass culture as a form of soft power, a way of maintaining political, and cultural power within a globalised and changing world. Outbreak Company presents us with an example of Japan using its cultural wealth to create political, social, and economic links with another country. Shinichi acts as a ‘Moe Missionary’ so that Japans government can use this element of popular culture to their own advantage and help cement important relations with a country that no one else currently knows about. There are clear similarities here in the way western anime fans have come into contact with Japan – indeed, many bloggers and fans may only know about Japan through their limited knowledge gleaned from watching anime, reading manga, or playing games. There is much more to Japan than the national cool of anime culture, and most foreigners will never penetrate the barriers of language – we just have look at how poorly anime comedies, and those shows that focus on specific cultural and social aspects of Japanese life can be treated – and culture well enough to see Japan as the average Japanese sees it. Read more of this post

Outbreak Company and the dissemination of mass culture


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The premise of Outbreak Company seems a little odd at first – developing good relations with another nation (in this case one in a fantasy world) through the use of popular culture. However, once we look a little closer at this series whilst also exploring real world examples we can see that such a premise has been used before on multiple occasions, and is arguably central to the Japanese governments attempt to enhance its standing in today’s globalised world. Indeed, culture – be it political, religious, or social – has always been one way for a country to strengthen its position with its neighbours, or perhaps in a foreign country. If we look at the process of imperialism throughout the 17th-20th centuries we can see how elements of the conquered nations culture were supplanted by the conqueror. Culture can be used to rebrand a countries image, change how it is perceived in the world, and recreate a powerbase that was once lost. Read more of this post

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