Secret Santa Project Reveal

Let us all gather around the tree and see what gifts Santa has left us. For all those who do not know we sent out the word last month that we were doing a fun little cross blog collaboration called the Secret Santa Project. Everyone in the project would secretly pick three titles for someone else in the project that they hoped the other person would enjoy. Everyone would pick from the three shows they received and review one of them during the week of Christmas. On Christmas Eve we posted all the reviews so now everyone can see who their Secret Santa was. Hopefully everyone picked shows they liked and maybe a few people discovered a show they would have normally overlooked. You may notice that a few people got recommendations from us. Life hit some of the participants hard as it is want to do so they did not get their picks in on time. We gave them picks so everyone had enough time to get up their reviews. Just click the name of the show to see what each of our fine bloggers thought of the show they got. We will continue to update this list if people finish their reviews a little late so check back often.

hisuiconI’m really surprised by the turn out and overall positive reception for the Secret Santa Project. Most everyone picked innovative shows for the people they got. I was impressed by the shows most people selected for the project. They were almost all shows I enjoyed. I hope that people enjoyed the shows they watched and maybe will try something new again after their eyes have been opened by this project. I was only expecting to see half the reviews to be completed by the 25th but I have received all but 5 by the time this was initially posted. That fills my heart with goodness and hope. Also I’d love for someone to figure out a way to do this type of project with manga. I think it would go over well.  If they do you know you can count Narutaki and I in as participants. And finally, if nothing else the project got me interested in Vertical’s release of Twin Spica and made we want to go back and finish Bartender.

narutakiI was more than happy by the response we had for this fun little project. We could also do this project evil style in which everyone tries to pick a show the other person would completely hate just to fulfill any latent (or active) sadistic desires of people. But that is for another time. As for this project, I had a good time with it, even if we were less than thrilled with our show. It really seemed to get people chatting and I even had a few people lamenting that they didn’t find out about it in time. Don’t worry folks, this will certainly be brought back for 2010! Good thinkin’ Hisui!

Secret Santa Project Review: Texhnolyze, What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.

The roulette wheel of fortune is a fickle beast. It can choose to see you go home a winner or it can clean you out without remorse. We had to choose between Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, Millennium Actress, and Texhnolyze. There was no force on Earth that was going to make Narutaki casually watch Moon Phase; Millennium Actress was a solid choice but we had seen enough Satoshi Kon to easily assume we’d like it so it would have been against the spirit of the project. We gambled on the generally unknown: Texhnolyze. I myself had avoided it because I had heard it was relentlessly grim and obtuse by design which are two things I generally do not care for. We would both learn that my guesses on what this show would be like was all too correct.

To fully embrace the project, I felt Texhnolyze was the only option. I had literally never even heard of the show before and thus I went in with no expectations, no prejudice, and no idea what was going on. This actually became a running theme of the series, the “not knowing what was going on” part that is. Most of Texhnolyze in fact remains an enigma to me even after watching the whole thing and writing this now. But then again, I have no real desire to discover its secrets after all this. In fact, the only thing I can say for sure that was good about this show was that a Gackt song was used for the ending theme!

In the city of Lux, Ichise is a prize fighter until one day he angers someone enough to have them cut of one of his arms and one of his legs off leaving him to die in the street. When he is found struggling to live by a woman name Doc he is given cybernetic limbs. He does not accept his new limbs at first but as tensions in Lux grow to a frenzied pitch he soon finds himself involved in a apocalyptic prophecy only truly known to a young girl named Ran who he seems linked with. I think that is what it is about but I would hardly bet money on that fact. I don’t mind being dropped into a strange world and then slowly learning about it but Texhnolyze takes it too far by not giving me enough pieces of the puzzle. Shows like Haibane Renmei and Xam’d:Lost Memories do similar things but they give you enough information about the main story that you feel you understand what happened but still leave the impression the world still has many secrets it never revealed.

He was a prize fighter!? I just thought he was some schmuck they threw in the ring to get beat on. The first episode has almost no talking so you are left to interpret what is going on, and though the talking increases in further episodes, the requirement to figure out what was going on with little explanation stays the same. I believe in storytelling that “shows not tells” but this was too extreme. Heck, it’s not even clear the city is underground till episode 20. But despite that, the setting is where I would give the most praise for Texhnolyze. It was fully realized and quickly established as a city full of people vying for power and survival, an overall quite unhappy place.

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Otaku Diaries Part 6: The Otaku post for people who hate Otaku.

You cannot set foot in a convention without being ashamed of fandom.

This is sort of a follow up post to the Otaku! Threat or Menace? article. However, this time around we delve a little deeper into those little pieces of fandom make you just that much more otaku. And still another post will follow this one soon about that question of just what do otaku think of fandom past and present and where is it all headed. But here you will see that anime is this creature that affects people in different ways and has a draw for people that runs both shallow and deep. And amidst all that is the wonder how the community gets along at all!

I see more and more a very disturbing attitude among anime and manga fans. This idea that they are “too good to be anime and manga fans.” The idea that them and maybe a few other people are above the hoi polloi with their horrible taste, bad manners, and overall immaturity that makes people have a bad impression of the fandom. The problem is that so many fans now a days have this feeling it means at least some of them are wrong. Either the majority of anime fans are not as bad as they think or some of the people are that part of the problem see themselves above. We are going to try to see how prevalent and pervasive this feeling is in our participants.

I don’t really feel disgust towards fellow fans because I did the same things they’re doing. I can just hope that they try to turn themselves around as I’m slowly doing.

It generally goes along with adding ‘-chan’ to everyone’s name and asking boys to kiss each other.

Sports fans can be just as sad as anime fans. I just happen to be an anime fan so shitty anime fans piss me off more. I mean there are a laundry list of reasons to be proud of anime fandom and to be ashamed.

So, the sexy statistics. You might assume that anime fandom is made up of horrible people with sickly fetishes seeing how some people talk on the Internet. But overall most people had rather mundane tastes. Guys were unsurprisingly into large breasts and oral sex. In fact that was so mundane and ubiquitous we did not bother tracking it. The most common fetishes were uniforms and glasses which were popular with both sexes. We did have 4 self confessed lolicons, 2 people into futanari, and 2 people who said they preferred 2-D girls to real ones. But they were mostly the same people. So while there were people that get much negative attention they were in the minority. I was surprised that women went into very little detail about their fetishes in anime. Also there were only 2 women who said that she was into yaoi in the fetishes question despite the fact that several women said they were fujoshi. I had always assumed that we reached the point were women were just as comfortable talking about what turns them on as much as men but that might not be as true as I thought.

Okay, can I just say that large chests and oral sex are not fetishes. They mean you are a dude. It would be a fetish if you DIDN’T like those things, thus why we listed flat chests. The only real knowledge gained from this question was that most people are still run of the mill when it comes to their fetishes. Anime otaku aren’t just made up of a bunch of sexual deviants. But just the same with only a sampling for 40 people, prominent tastes like lolicon stand out with about a 10% cut. I, too, was blown away by the lack of yaoi mentions. I am not even sure why it happened because plenty of people mentioned yuri, so it’s not as if people just overlooked these things. However, with our sample of females being very low (only 11 participants) perhaps it just wasn’t large enough to show a more open manner with regards to sexual proclivities.

. . . being a yaoi fan I often feel quite ashamed of my fandom. I know that yaoi isn’t exactly high art, it’s a pandering genre meant to be instantly gratifying, and so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t attract the most intelligent people. Still, I wish that most young yaoi fans weren’t quite so loud and obnoxious, it really makes the rest of us look bad.

If I’m ashamed of any sort of fan, it’s the fans who hate what they don’t like with a passion equal to how they like what they like.

The behavior of other fans tends to irritate me . . . and it’s only recently that I realized that the “at least I’m not a fucking loser like THOSE PEOPLE!” defense is just a defense mechanism that redraws the line a lot. I’m so far over the line of normalcy without ever having crossed the line and become “one of those people” that the line I drew may as well have been meaningless.

Almost everyone who took the survey felt that other people in fandom disgusted them at some point but only a third of the people surveyed ever felt any disgust with themselves. These results can be used to paint two different pictures. The first is there is this small group of anime fandom that gives everyone else a bad name. The second is that there is circular finger pointing at everyone else who they think is the problem. The fact of the matter is both are true. There are people who are just outright embarrassing fans. Only the most lenient in the survey did not bring up people behaving badly at cons. The other problem is best summed up with “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” There are lots of fans who are overall good fans but have distinctly nasty habits. They see the bad habits of their peers but gloss over or ignore their own faults.

I’m a crusader against 4-chan culture. It’s disgustingly base and I’m a slave to the good and beautiful.

Most telling is that almost all fans were ashamed of other fans, but most not of themselves. So either most participants were upholding their high ideals of fandom or people don’t always see themselves as they actually are. The “it’s not me, it’s them” defense is what us and most other people probably think off the bat. However, that idea contrasts with much of the other answers we’ve gotten for other questions in the survey. People have been rather open about a myriad of personal things. Is it possible there is a disconnect when it comes to their fandom? Are people so caught up in it (otaku afterall) that they can’t really take a step back to evaluate that part of their lives? Or is it that other common happening of a few ruining this for the many?

Helped me be a better person? Find solace in a shared experience? Provided a comforting, reassuring presence when all around is chaos? . . . Been an inspiration helping me to discover new ways of seeing and thinking? Absolutely.

I don’t think there are too many good life lessons in anime. Sure, shooting a woman after sleeping with her may work for Golgo 13 but I’m thinking I just can’t pull it off in quite the same way.

Both the internet and cons have similar situations that become out of hand and can cast a shadow on anime fandom as a whole, and have cast a shadow as the opinions here express, which has many people fed-up. Biggest problem, as I see it, it too much information syndrome. And screaming it at the top of your lungs to anyone and everyone who is even remotely involved in your hobby. In a day and age where everyone is comfortable talking about anything, people just wish you wouldn’t. This coupled with, how many participants put it, the younger fans running wild in any anime meet up setting is making fellow fans cringe. But at the very same time, the internet and conventions is what has brought so many fans together. It even made doing this survey possible and as many people mentioned it allowed them to finally connect with others. More than a few people met friends and significant others through this very hobby. And as much as everyone complained about the anime community, almost everyone on the survey wants to continue to be apart of it. Just look at how many fans go one step further and create fan works or write about anime.

Overall I think this trend of anime and manga fans who hate anime and manga partially comes from this idea that people are surrounded by nothing but vile idiots. They enjoy anime and manga but see it as a fandom filled with people everyone should avoid. They get this attitude that they are above such things so they are thereby separated from what they dislike in fandom. But the answer is not to separate yourself from the community. It is to see the value it what makes anime and manga fandom great and and trying to encourage what is wonderful and productive anime being an otaku.

. . . it has provided a way for people in high school to stereotype me, which makes it hard for me to break through barriers and befriend new people. Pretty much I am know as the “anime kid,” so it takes some effort to convince other kids that I’m a normal, rather friendly person, and not some sort of bumbling social reject.

I wouldn’t be friends with nearly as many people and it kind of gives me a sense of belonging.

Despite what people said about hating their fellow fans I think the evidence points to people not being a hostile as they might let on at times. 80% of the participants had tried to learn Japanese at some point. There seemed to be a genuine interest in learning about Japanese culture and the Japanese language. A good deal of the people had contributed to some sort of activity for the anime community to enjoy be it a blog, podcast, fanzine, AMV, fan fiction, or fan art. And most everyone else who did not do one of those at least partook in the efforts of someone else who did.

What I really took away from this part of the survey is a desire that everyone wants to be a better fan. Everyone recognizes bad behavior so it is only another step to seeing it, and correcting it, within ourselves. And more positively is that people want to be apart of their hobby, anime fans maybe more than others. With few means to actually communicate with or becoming involves in the creative process of anime, fans are looking to connect themselves in different ways, some fun and some thoughtful (some a little of both). Anime fandom has a huge, and vocal, community and people want to be apart of it even if there are deterrents to it.

As much as they complained about hating other fans they usually had kind words about the people they had connected to. Anime fans want to make connections to their fellow fans and often do. There was rumbling of displeasure with their fellows in most peoples surveys but they were also able to talk about what they liked and who they felt exemplify what had drawn them and kept them in the fandom. The people who took the time to fill out this massive survey obviously cared enough about anime fandom to make their voices heard and that if nothing else is a good sign of people who still care.