The Speakeasy: A Reverse Thieves Podcast – Drink #001

Surprise! Anime 3000 presents: The Speakeasy

If anyone remembers, we had originally planned to make The Speakeasy our monthly rant section on the blog. That became the Final Denouement. The Speakeasy has instead become our monthly podcast. We hope everyone is cool with the change. We know we are super excited! We will being doing a monthly podcast which is generously being hosted courtesy of Anime 3000. The goal is to have a meta-podcast. There are already so many good anime and manga podcasts that review so much that we wanted something a little different. The Speakeasy is going to be a ongoing conversation between the two of us about themes, trends, and concepts present in anime and manga and along side that sometimes there will be a critical analysis of fandom. If you were ever curious about our conversations that are the genesis of our posts then this will be utterly enlightening. If you never wondered about that, hopefully you will still enjoy the show!

Drink #001: Bloody Mary, A discussion of strong female characters
We decided to go back to the roots of the blog for our inaugural podcast. We start off with the initial question: Is anime actually filled with good, strong female characters or is that dream much like a Satoshi Kon movie? The discussion then unfolds as we look at what our initial expectations of strong female characters were when we started watching anime, the realities of the medium, and its future.
(Listen) (Show Notes)

And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Bloody Mary
* 1 oz. to 1 1/2 oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a Highball glass filled with ice.
* Fill glass with tomato juice
* 1 dash celery salt
* 1 dash ground black pepper
* 1 dash Tabasco
* 2-4 dashes of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce
* 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)

* Dash of lemon or lime juice
Garnish with celery stalk.

May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired. Garnish with a celery stalk; a skewer of olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables; or even meat or fish (salami, shrimp, etc.) and cheese. Occasionally, pickled asparagus spears or pickled beans are also used.

14 thoughts on “The Speakeasy: A Reverse Thieves Podcast – Drink #001

  1. dxInt says:

    I’m of the opinion that strong female characters are relatively rare in anime and manga, and maybe it’s always been that way. But it’s not something that really irks me, and I hope I don’t sound too terribly sexist in saying that.

    Of course, there are always exceptions. In my realm of experience, a recent exception would be Battle Angel Alita, which seems pretty empowering to me.

    I must say, heterosexual fanservice is typically what ends up offending me, as a straight male! All too often, it cheapens a good story, or it comes across as a blatant attempt to make up for a mediocre show being mediocre. At those times it feels like an insult, like the anime creator thinks I’ll forget that the psychology of their characters makes no sense because a boob is jiggling. In a good drama with adults, sexual situations will happen, and they will make sense in the context of the story. In my experience, this is far rarer in manga and anime than it is in other forms of entertainment.

    Taking it even further (probably too further), it all reminds me of how embedded in manga and anime is the idea of resourcefulness- getting by with the limited resources at hand, even if the creators have to “trick” you with limited animation, decompression, stereotypical characters, fanservice, and (more recently) moe.

    I think it’s interesting (and this is a perspective of an outsider) that many female anime fans are less interested in how strong female characters are, and more interested in the possibilities of how WEAK male characters can become. I’m referring to the very bizarre trend of yaoi stuff, where (from my very limited understanding) men are often depicted as kind of listless and indecisive.

    • reversethieves says:

      @dxInt
      I think there are a good amount of strong female characters in anime and manga. You just have to shift through the average female characters and the weak ones. Also at times the weak female characters stand out more which hurts the overall image. It’s easy to forget Lacus Clyne when you are staring down the girls from a moe show based on a dating sim about girls who all wish to accept their master’s no matter what their flaws.

      I think little pandering does not mean a show has to be horrible. I love a bunch of shows that give you a little service while telling a good story. The problem is when the service is what they are selling you and the story is shot in the back of the head behind the woodshed because it is too much trouble to work on. This is the problem with all too many shows that have fan service or sexual elements.

      Woah. I think I will jump in before Narutaki can. I think female fans want strong male characters as well. I have met many a female fan that like a strong take charge guy or a male character who stand up for what they believe in. Look at how many women go NUTS when you bring up Kamina in fandom and you will see women like strong guys. Just like their male counterparts there will be women who are both fascinated and sometimes even stimulated by weaker characters of the opposite gender. That is just a part of psychology and sexuality. But I hardly think this is a hard and fast rule.

      – Hisui

  2. phatbhuda says:

    Gah! Having friends on a podcast is frustrating. It feels like I’m listening to a conversation but I can’t interject, haha!

    Anyway, I think the strong reaction to fan service and objectification in anime because it’s animated. There would normally be a response, but anime makes the response grow out of proportion.

    In our American culture, when we see animation, we naturally think of Saturday morning or Disney.

    Okay, back to listening!

    • reversethieves says:

      @phatbhuda
      Very true. Animation has that strange effect on people. While I think that the perversion in anime can taint certain aspects of the medium I think we cannot overlook when it does things right as well.

      – Hisui

  3. SDShamshel says:

    Great first podcast you guys. Having listened to it, I wanted to comment/ask about a few things.

    In talking about attractiveness of female characters you guys both mention that you are more than okay with everyone in an anime being attractive, but also later in the podcast talk about how some shows are simply too much, or too exploitative, e.g. Ikkitousen. What are your personal limits? I imagine that Hisui’s brother’s ex-girlfriend had a very low tolerance and that the idea of girls being impossibly attractive at all was “excessive fanservice.”

    Going along these lines, what do you think of the notion that “character development” can be fetishized? Essentially, what if someone tried to target those who are really attracted to characters growing in a story, and wanted to capitalize on it? Perhaps Key games are already doing this?

    • reversethieves says:

      @SD

      I usually don’t have a problem with fan service. I mean I watch Galaxy Angel and they don’t hide the fact that Forte has a bonny boom boom body. I read Ken Akamatsu manga. I play Type-Moon games. Type Moon Games. The thing with me is that I will not forgive a bad story or a story I do not like because you throw hot girls in skimpy clothing on the screen.

      But I am a guy. Narutaki is a different story.

      Odd fact. My brother’s ex did not really mind hot live action actors being in things. In fact she preferred it. Vocally. That is what made it all so odd.

      If character development can be fetishized and therefore we get more of it then sign me up. I will say that I could easily see how it could get to the point where it is thrown in just to be thrown in and therefore takes away from the overall story but I would have to see this on a regular basis before I start complaining.

      And really. You are going to bring up Key games in front of Narutaki. Have you learned nothing so far? Was there not a better example? ;)

      – Hisui

  4. Evan Minto (Vampt Vo) says:

    By the way, you didn’t actually say what your e-mail address was during the podcast, unless I missed it in there somewhere.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the show quite a bit. It had a nice flow, the audio quality was fine, and you brought up some good points. However, it was a little bit too long without much of a break in the discussion. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t handle nearly 80 minutes of discussion of only one topic. I would suggest structuring your shows into segments (or something like that) in the future so that people’s brains can get a bit of a rest from the nonstop discussion.

    I don’t have much to say in regards to the actual topic, except to point out a bit of a disagreement with your analysis of Ghost in the Shell. While I haven’t seen much more than a couple episodes of Stand Alone Complex, I think that the more fleshed-out version of Motoko sounds like a misinterpretation of her character. You said that she didn’t feel human in the film, but that was an entirely intentional decision by Oshii. To write her as a more human character is to break down the powerful depiction that Oshii creates in the original Ghost in the Shell film and make her stronger, but far less interesting.

    Thus, I would contend that Motoko of the first Ghost in the Shell film is a *well-written* female character, which is FAR more important than being a strong female character. Shinji, for example, is well-written, but he’s not strong. If everybody was strong, stories would be boring.

    And finally, the nude scenes in GitS are not fanservice. The opening credits sequence shows Motoko’s body being built, so that her naked body at the end lacks any humanity or feminity, thereby bypassing any chance at titillation.

    • reversethieves says:

      @Evan

      Oh Major Kusanagi. Why must you always stir up trouble.

      We will have to disagree.The Major in the TV series is just as much a complex and well-written character. In SAC she is a woman who has in the process lost some of her humanity and we see how she deals with it. In the movie she is a cyborg that is used to examine what it is to be human. Both of these things are good and interesting uses of her.

      Mamoru Oshii is more concerned with ideas than he is with characters. He uses the characters to examine ideas in his films but other than that he always seems sort of detached from them as a film maker. We saw the Major as a more complete character in the TV series. This is partially because the SAC has more time to present you with this certain ideas but it is how it comes across regardless.

      Also nice tits are nice tits and don’t let story telling make you think differently. This is a work from Masamune Shirow, he likes his fan-service. Although there is good reason thematically for her to be naked and we aren’t saying it shouldn’t be there, but the Major is fetshized.

      The list of characters was about well-written strong women, we thought the well-written part was implied.

    • reversethieves says:

      Also the last comment was a joint comment. I personally want to call you out Evan on the fact that you will think that Yotsuba&! has hidden fan service but Ghost in the Shell is all art because it is by Oshii. Blind Oshii worship is very silly and very common in the blogging community.

      – Hisui

  5. Vampt Vo says:

    @reversethieves

    You make some good counter-points there, and it certainly makes me want to check out more episodes of SAC to discover how true my snap judgment is. After all, I’m not claiming to be an authority, having only seen the movie and some of the series.

    Shirow likes his fanservice, but GitS is an Oshii movie based on a Shirow manga, not an anime made by Shirow. I did not interpret the use of nudity in the film as titillating, since I never felt that *Oshii* (as opposed to Shirow) lent her an air of femininity. But different people see different things, so I understand if you somehow gleaned fanservice from it.

    @Hisui

    I don’t think that I ever said that Yotsuba&! has hidden fanservice — I said that it had some creepy undertones that are inherent in the magazine in which it was published. The environment in which it was created cannot be ignored in an analysis of a work.

    Oshii worship? Hardly. I happen to believe that Ghost in the Shell is a film with a good deal of meaningful artistry, but I am not a huge fan of Oshii’s work in general. Indeed, the environment of GitS includes the fanservice of the original manga, but just like Yotsuba&!, that does not mean that the movie has any “hidden fanservice.”

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