We Remember Love Editorial Folio Vol. 1: Cultural Roots in Anime

lucky star gods and spirits konata kagami

I love reading blogs and while I share certain posts I find interesting via Google Reader, I thought I could do a better job organizing what I share in a magazine format. I intend to make this ‘folio’ a monthly publication. For the inaugural edition we will feature posts that discuss certain elements in shows that have specific roots in Japanese history or culture. I thought I would find a whole lot of these kinds of posts, but they’re actually quite uncommon.

For a consistent fix for this, 2DT is your go-to blogger. We’ll start with his post. (Click the images to visit the linked posts)

celebrating the bancho

It was actually a difficult post to pick because of how this kind of content is the distinguishing feature of 2DTeleidoscope. I went with subjectivity (my go-to move) and picked a post whose content I related to most. I was a bancho in the time before the internets.

2DT starts off by acknowledging the phenomenon of the bancho as some kind of time-honored institution in the Japanese educational system, but goes on to critique its perception of being a tolerated evil, as well as critiquing the Japanese educational system as a whole – a system that he has only recently become a part of. Beyond my sympathies for the subject matter (being a former bancho and a former educator myself), there’s meaty stuff here to discuss and the comments section attests to it.

soranowoto imperial japan & kokoro

kransom of Welcome Datacomp puts together this very informative breakdown of the cultural underpinnings of the first two episodes of Soranowoto. Not only does he expose the specific Japanese cultural touchstones that the show features, but also speculates confidently at the liberties the show did in westernizing some of these cultural elements.

Interestingly, he points out that this westernization isn’t the conflict (as a theme) in the show. More pertinent is that of the Japanese Imperial values (aggressive expansionist), and the (laid back) values of the pre-Meiji era farmers.

heroman roach armada

Landon of Mecha-Guignol does a great job disabusing viewers of Heroman of the notion that it’s set in a representative United States. Instead,

This, along with everything else that takes place in this episode, tells me that this isn’t anything coming close to resembling the real USA. This is the USA filtered through 80′s Hollywood movies and again filtered through a Japanese writer who has never set foot outside of his prefecture, much less Japan itself.

This is as much a caricature of The Breakfast Club as it is of The Karate Kid. I too, loved it. Hollywood does it unto itself, with films like Pleasantville or (arguably) even Forrest Gump. Too bad I stopped enjoying Heroman very quickly and dropped it after 8 episodes. But maybe it’s because the pilot episode felt so promising. Everything that Landon said here and more, I ate it all up.

kannagi purity fixation

Akira of Behind the Nihon Review goes out to criticize what he calls “the ugliest, most bigoted and most pathetic niche within the global fan community,” over the real rage expressed over the perceived loss of/lack of virginity of certain female anime characters.

The juicy bits of the post are where Akira goes into the Japanese version of the concept of wife-as-chattel, and how it differs to the western declarations of attraction (intent to fornicate with vs. the Japanese intent to claim).

gatakei in society

Aorii of Major Arcana provides a lighthearted exploration of Japanese blood-type culture, specifically how it relates to love and compatibility. The most interesting thing to me in this blog post is how Japan’s dating scene is labeled a “market.” I think this particular bit is worth exploring a lot, considering the declining birth rates in Japan, and its rapidly ageing population which has tremendous relevance: Japan being one of the largest economies in the world.

Postscript

As a viewer, I’m less interested in Japan as a subject than the finished work itself. Others find it a big draw to watching anime, which is great. But I am very interested in Japan as a subject when it is a big part of the show’s material, or when the show is decidedly set outside of it (Aria, Heroman). Given this particular interest, blog posts like this make for good reads if you’re someone like me.

One drawback here is that we can’t really verify the factual claims made by these bloggers given the amateur nature of well, our hobby. In this case I’d rather run the risk of misinformation, rather than remain in complete ignorance.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in we remember love editorial folio and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to We Remember Love Editorial Folio Vol. 1: Cultural Roots in Anime

  1. This is a pretty cool idea for sharing different editorials. Certainly easier to find something interesting that combing through blogrolls and such. Looking forward to more.

  2. Robert Weizer says:

    Guess I’d better write more quality than QUALITY!

  3. This is a pretty cool idea. I’ve started becoming acquainted with quite a few bloggers, podcasters and reviewers. Anything that makes it easier to find and devour material is helpful.

    • Glad you like it. I don’t find it convenient for me to listen to podcasts, but if you see interesting posts, feel free to post the link here or via twitter. I may want to build future issues of the folio around those.

  4. 2DT says:

    Ooh. Gave me a nice little banner image and everything. 🙂

    I’ve read these already, but it’s good to have them in one neat, well-arranged place. I’m particularly a fan of Aorii’s insights here.

    • Not surprised that you’ve read all these. As I’ve said to the above commenters, feel free to leave links here of blog posts you find interesting. I may build future issues of the folio around them.

  5. Hana says:

    Thanks Ghosty. Just read Akira’s very interesting ‘The Purity Fixation’, which is now making me wonder about the female otaku view(s) of main characters and how these are also represented in anime… Will check out the others later, but again a great idea, esp for new (and lazy) bloggers like me.

  6. Pingback: We Remember Love Editorial Folio Vol. 2: Comparative Explorations of Anime Themes and Dynamics | We Remember Love

  7. Pingback: The Purpose of Anime and Manga (Part I) | We Remember Love

  8. Ada says:

    Where did you get your images?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s