‘Animating’ society


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Anime is a fascinating cultural artefact, with over 50% of Japanese studios producing animated works instead of live action, thus demonstrating a shift in the Japanese studio system from live action films of the 1950s and 1960s to one focussed on anime as its primary product. This shift to the animated medium means that anime is arguably one of, if not the best way with which we can explore Japan’s depiction of its own society and culture. The wide variety of anime, ranging from early morning children’s shows through to late afternoon/early evening series focussed for families and then onto edgier, often darker series for teenagers or those in there twenties is astounding. Such wide variety of series and anime’ broader appeal puts it in an important place within contemporary Japanese culture; whereas traditional culture such as Sa-do, Kyu-do and Ka-do have been refined over centuries and are the very basics of Japanese culture, anime is a relatively recent phenomenon, starting in 1963 with the release of Osamu Tezuka’s legendary Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy). Furthermore, whereas traditional culture is often focussed on the self, a form of meditation and a path to Zen enlightenment, anime provides a fascinating and important means with which we can view Japanese society and culture, along with the issues that are important at any given time. Read more of this post

One-Dimensional characters and plot flaws in Psycho-Pass


Psycho-Pass presents a fascinating world, a vision of a dystopian society within which your every thought can be tracked and quantified. It presents us with a highly stratified and controlled society where simple test scores can determine where you work and what your life will be like. The ideas that Psycho-Pass presents are therefore all potentially very fascinating, but at the same time, none of them are unique or new to this series. This in itself is not especially terrible though as every anime, film, music album and so on has in some way taken inspiration or ideas from another. That the issues in Psycho-Pass can be found in Ghost in the Shell or any Phillip K. Dick book is hardly surprising, especially given the wide-ranging influence of Philip K. Dick on the science fiction genre. There is however one distinct problem, Psycho-Pass hasn’t made any of these ideas its own, they have been borrowed almost wholesale in some cases and simple pushed into a space that will fit. Read more of this post

Accel World – Two Worlds, One Problem


Accel World was a mixed bag, bringing together some brilliant fight sequences, along with exposition heavy episodes that often ended in tedium, and topped off with problematic characters that never quite managed to stay entertaining throughout. Although this is not strictly true, there were numerous characters that were great to watch, providing some interesting insight into a world that at first appears overly simplistic, but soon turns into something that may be too complicated for its own good. However, one of the central, if not the biggest flaw with Accel World is the lack of proper antagonists. As a series it lacked that all-important element, an antagonist that is both entertaining, while also being as evil and nasty as possible. This coupled with the protagonist often dissolving into angst and tears could make various episodes and sections painful to watch. Read more of this post