GeekNights Wednesday - Judge Anime by its Cover: Summer 2019

Reaching? It’s been there for far too long.

Okay, clarification: We are reaching the bottom of the barrel.

.hack//Sign at least had some interesting moody visuals and fucking awesome music.

Im ready for the bottom. I enjoy seeing how far this garbage can go.

Personally I’m looking forward to the isekai where a skillless loser who has no motivation and just watches Let’s Players all day gets teleported to a fantasy mmo realm so he can fufill his destiny of watching a real hero do heroic things all day. It will be full of all the usual anime tropes like accidentally groping scantily clad women and having drawn out arguments about heroism, but this time he won’t even be participating.

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I just had a revelation about current anime, manga, and light novels: If it has a male protagonist its is 80% likely to be utter garbage. I’m not sure how long this has been the case but I’m thinking its been a good while now.

Like seriously some of these shows seem like they’d be at least mediocre to decent if they didn’t have the disaffected milquetoast self-insert narrator-cum-protagonist and just made the shows generic fantasy stories.

I don’t even remotely respect these shows because IMO they are not actually created to tell a generic fantasy story. They are escapist fantasy in the most unhealthy possible form. Even though they play alongside all the other anime on the market I would actually consider them a form of pornography; their goal is not to communicate in a traditional artistic sense, but to titillate and provide comfort.

I’m of the same mind really, which is why I gave the caveat of only -some- shows being redeemable. Most are getting as close to the edge of adult as possible without going over and often past that - porn for teenagers that can’t buy it yet. While I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong particularly about media being comfortable or titillating - to a degree - most of this stuff falls beyond the pale of skeevy.

That brings up a rather dark question: is this just what’s getting subbed and licensed or is this all that getting produced? (Out of touch on anime, so no idea)

If there’s so much of this raw escapism being presented, where’s the demand coming from? Is this what people (the world, Japan) are actually watching? And if that’s the comfort food, what does that say about the culture that’s producing it and the market it’s feeding into? I’m not sure if the skeezy parts of these shows is part of this push into escapism or is it a seperate thread that’s getting tied into it.

Anyone with a better picture of Japanese culture have a view on the consumers of this stuff?

Anichart tracks pretty much everything that is being produced, so yeah there’s A LOT of this being produced. And IMO it’s a product of Japan’s continuing 150+ years of nationwide culture shock. I’m on my phone at work so I can’t write the sort of essay I’d like to but that’s the gist of it.

I won’t in any way call myself an expert, but as far as my understanding goes, Japan has a much more more structured culture. Adult life is oppressive in the demands your job makes on you, both in terms of actual time spent and the performative attitude you must adopt as a member of the workforce. I don’t think it’s surprising that a response to this culture is a glut of media that is actually kind of insulting in the way it defines its audience, but mainly offers a very easy and fufilling fantasy. This also trickles down to younger audiences and creates a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of front-loading this environment in which you are told that your adult life will be unfulfilling and nowhere near as exciting as this fantasy your being sold now.

This is also a huge part of it, and is intimately intertwined with the point I made about culture shock writ large on a nation-state scale.

That makes a kind of sense, and barring a sociologist chiming in to cite chapter and study, might be the best answer to that I can expect. It makes a kind of sick, sad sense, but it makes sense.

I had wondered if the increased number of “litrpg”-type stories was also correlated to what’s been a generation of “writing what you know.” World of Warcraft is fifteen years old, and it’s not anywhere near the first example of the genre. A matter of the authors and audience getting used to thinking about the numbers and the game mechanics in a story and just playing into it as a common language.

It also just occurred to me that “incel” type thinking is not limited to Western culture, but there lies a difference in its expression. Western incel types exteriorize their misbegotten attitudes with vitriol and violence. Japanese culture demands repression of outward emotional displays so those same attitudes and emotions gets internalized and expressed and comforted through media fantasy. Hence why you probably see a lot of overlap of western consumers of this kind of media with incel types.

LitRPG isn’t the issue really, its a bit of a tired trope at this point but not inherently problematic. It just seems to be the vehicle of choice for other more prurient and damaging fantasies. If you’re going to hit the adventurous power fantasy why not hit the creepy sex fantasy too?

I’ve been trying to figure out the one that causes the speakers eyes to light on fire, but I can’t find it!

There are really only two good isekai shows: Konosuba, which takes the game angle and leans it far more into dark comedy as to how fucked up a fantasy world is and having awful friends along the way. (It’s probably the closest anime equivalent to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). The other is That Time I Was Reincarnated As A Slime which goes takes the Isekai OP main character and transforms him into chill civilization builder that who is more focused in unifying everyone together through peace.

Right now Dr. Stone is the only anime I’m currently watching this season; cause the hook is pretty amazing and people told me it was one of Shonen Jump’s best new series. It’s funny how it reminds me of that movie The Martian or the recent trend of resource management/discovery games just with that more adventurous shonen bent.

Anyone can be a hero. Fighting monsters and saving maidens is easy.

But the Watchers… they are the ones who are the true heroes. Heroic power - called “Likes” and “Emojis” - are necessary to make a hero’s actions count. The more Watchers follow a hero, the more powerful that Hero’s Monetization power becomes.

Shitty McJoeButtz was at home watching livestreams. He’s probably the most prolific livestream watcher on Earth. He has no job. His few friends constantly make fun of him for watching games instead of playing them. Shy and generic, he hides his true power, unvalued in the culture around him: he is the best livestream watcher the world has ever seen.

A portal opens, McJoeButtz finds himself in a strange new land. A beautiful hero down on her luck beseeches him to save her… by becoming a Watcher.

Yeah, I threw up a little in my mouth. But I fully expect this anime to be made within four years.

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I don’t think it’ll be an anime; but it sounds like a Youtube Red series EASY.

Konosuba definitely also suffers from the annoying twat of protagonist problem.

Thats the point, it leans waaaaay into all the tropes, he’s purposely written as a huge piece of shit, Alway Sunny in Philadelphia style as @Nukerjsr said. It really is why it’s the only good one because it’s taking the piss on all the others.

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Maybe I just don’t see appeal in purposefully shitty protagonist, with purposefully bad supporting cast with bad jokes. Something made to be bad doesn’t make it not bad.