Scum’s Wish: The Treason of the Artist

When rereading Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” for my first Philosophy and Psycho-Pass post, I rediscovered a quote from it that stuck with me the first time I read it and that stuck with me again: “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

Why do I bring this up? Well, because it’s basically impacted the way I’ve viewed Kuzu no Honkai, AKA Scum’s Wish, which as of this writing, is five episodes into its anime run. This Le Guin quote is basically the antithesis of Scum’s Wish, a show whose thesis is basically “Pain and suffering are tragically beautiful.” While most people have been praising Scum’s Wish (and rightfully so, as it’s a very well-produced show), I’ve been hesitant to do so. Continue reading “Scum’s Wish: The Treason of the Artist”

In Which Buggy Writes A “Best Anime of 2016” Clickbait Article

Sometimes you write things because you have something insightful or meaningful to say. But sometimes you write something that you know everyone else always writes and that you know people are still going to click on for the sole purpose of hoping you reinforce their own opinions. And you feel a little shame at selling out so. But you write it anyway because it’s fun to write and sometimes you just have to write something for you, goddammit.

This one’s a post about my favorite (and least favorite) anime of 2016 and you can bet your ass I’m writing it to satisfy me and me alone. Continue reading “In Which Buggy Writes A “Best Anime of 2016” Clickbait Article”

A Year of Podcasting

It started simply enough. I was excited for the premiere of Digimon Adventure Tri and was reminiscing with my friend Chris about the first season. I made a pretty straightforward suggestion: “Hey, Chris…do you want to try a podcast?”

“Hell yeah, I do,” was his response. I then extended the invitation to some friends on Facebook to get another cohost or two, and got a few responses. We hastily through something together, and on October 26, 2015, after adrenaline pushed me through a weekend filled with recording and editing, I published the first episode of The Digicast on YouTube.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since then. In that time, we’ve put out 8 episodes of The Digicast, 7 episodes of Third Seat by the Window (5 as “The Bugcast,” with one of those being a special anniversary episode), 1 episode of MeganeToast (with the second one on the way soon), 2 experimental live episodes of Dropped!, and 2 guest spots on other podcasts. That’s 20 podcasts in the space of a year, which is way more than I thought we’d put out. And when I say “we” put out those episodes, I mean it, because, while I’m technically the guy running the ship for all these (except for the guest spots, obviously), I’ve done none of it alone. Continue reading “A Year of Podcasting”

The Lain Test

In that lull between the Spring and Summer 2016 anime seasons, in which the old shows are ending but the new ones have not yet begun, I took the opportunity to finally watch Serial Experiments Lain. Now, Lain is a fantastic show, but it’s one that’s incredibly dense, surreal, and confusing, and I found it hard to watch more than one episode at a time. However, it’s one that I kept wanting to return to regularly. Then, when the new shows started airing and most of them were bad, I found myself partway through the episode thinking “I could be watching Serial Experiments Lain right now instead of wasting my time with this drivel.” I shot a few tweets off expressing this sentiment, the idea got picked up and used as a discussion point and episode title on the Anime Insiders Podcast, so I guess now the Lain Test is a thing that I want to try to flesh out a bit more. Continue reading “The Lain Test”

A Love Letter to Mafuyu

WARNING: this post will be NSFW. The writer has attempted to lean away from it as much as possible, but due to both the subject matter and the character featured, discussion of sexuality is unavoidable. It will contain links, images, and text related to sex. You will likely find it weird, awkward, and a little uncomfortable. Your opinions of the writer may be tarnished. If any of these things are things you don’t wish to see, please turn back now.

Falling in love is weird and painful. Falling in love with a fictional character is really weird and really painful. But there are few things as painful or as weird as falling in love with a character from animated pornography. Continue reading “A Love Letter to Mafuyu”

Re:Zero – Earning its Reputation

Re:Zero isn’t a show that should work on paper.

After all, it’s yet another light novel about a genre-savvy protagonist who ends up in a fantasy world and ends up surrounded by a bunch of cute girls. Nothing we haven’t seen multiple times a year for the past few years. Even on paper, its gimmick doesn’t seem particularly fresh or groundbreaking. It’s a Groundhog Day loop, a type of narrative so common that I can refer to it as a Groundhog Day loop without having to define the term for most readers. What’s more, the characters aren’t particularly well-developed or compelling, and there’s a whole lot of ugly CG.

And yet, somehow, it works. Somehow, despite it being like so many other soulless things we’ve seen before, the show is actually–against everything I assumed–legitimately compelling. Continue reading “Re:Zero – Earning its Reputation”

Born With a Silver Spoon: The Themes of Silver Spoon

A quick note: if you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend reading my previous blog post on the setting of Silver Spoon, as the setting is a highly important lense the themes of the series are viewed through. In addition, this post will contain spoilers for the manga past the point the anime covers. As it’s a slice-of-life, there aren’t any groundbreaking plot twists, but if you want to experience the manga entirely for yourself, you should do so before reading this article.

Silver Spoon, as a slice-of-life, has a plot that’s going on mostly in the background. However, it does have very strong themes that are presented almost immediately.

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“There’s a saying in other countries that saying those born holding a silver spoon will never want for food as long as they live. It’s like a symbol of prosperity.”
“I’ve heard that in some places, they give a silver spoon to a newborn in the hopes that they will never have to worry about going hungry. Times are hard right now in this recession, but you could say that all the kids born into farming families had a silver spoon because they don’t have to worry about not being able to make their livelihood.”
~Mayumi Yoshino and Aki Mikage, Chapter 63

The idiom “born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth” is generally used to describe someone as being born into wealth and privilege. It’s a good idiom in a lot of ways. Silver implies money. The fact they’re born with it in their mouth implies that no work needs be done and that others will provide for them. But, most importantly for this series, it implies that the subject will not want for food, one of the most basic needs of humans.

Silver Spoon focuses on that last part and consequently twists the meaning of the idiom a bit. You don’t need a lot of material things other than food. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have money; if you can eat, you can survive. And if you can produce that food by yourself, that’s what truly makes someone blessed. That’s why the school hangs a silver spoon above the dining hall: to tell the students–and the reader–that wealth is not nearly as important as self-sufficiency. Continue reading “Born With a Silver Spoon: The Themes of Silver Spoon”