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Haibane Renmei Appreciation with Murakami

February 28, 2010

It was the cry of a bird. The boy carried a chair over to the window and climbed up onto it. He pulled the curtains back and opened the window a crack. In the middle of the sky hung a large white moon, the full moon of late autumn, filling the yard below with its light. The trees out there looked very different to the boy at night than they did in the daylight. They had none of their usual friendliness. The evergreen oak looked almost annoyed as it trembled in the occasional puff of wind with an unpleasant creaking sound.

The cry of the bird seemed to be coming from the pine tree. The boy leaned out the window and looked up, but from this low angle the large, heavy branches of the pine hid the bird. He wanted to see what it looked like. He wanted to memorize its color and shape so that tomorrow he could find it in his illustrated encyclopedia. His intense desire to know had brought him fully awake now.

But the bird never raised its cry again. It fell silent as a stone, up there in the branches of the pine bathed in moonlight. Soon a chill wind blew into the room, as if giving him some kind of warning. [1]

It was a round well, maybe four and a half feet in diameter.

Like most everything else connected with this house, the well looked as though it had been abandoned long before. Something about it felt as if it should be called “overwhelming numbness.” Maybe when people take their eyes off them, inanimate objects become even more inanimate.

Close inspection revealed that the well was in fact far older than the objects that surrounded it.

I leaned over the edge again and looked down into the darkness, anticipating nothing in particular. So, I thought, in a place like this, in the middle of the day like this, there existed a darkness as deep as this. I cleared my throat and swallowed. The sound echoed in the darkness, as if someone else had cleared his throat. [1]

I realized that I was being enveloped once again by the overwhelming light. Almost unconsciously, I spread open both my hands and received the sun in my palms. It was far stronger than it had been the first time. And it lasted far longer than it had then. At least it felt that way to me. In the light, tears poured out of me. It felt as if all the fluids of my body might turn into tears and come streaming from my eyes, that my body itself might melt away like this. If it could have happened in the bliss of this marvelous light, even death would have been no threat. Indeed, I felt I wanted to die. I had a marvelous sense of oneness, an overwhelming sense of unity. Yes, that was it: the true meaning of life resided in that light that lasted for however many seconds it was, and I felt I ought to die right then and there.

But of course, before anything could happen, the light was gone. I was still there, in the bottom of that miserable well. Darkness and cold reasserted their grip on me, as if to declare that the light had never existed at all. For a long time, I simply remained huddled where I was, my face bathed in tears. As if beaten down by some huge power, I was unable to do – or even think – anything at all, unable to feel even my own physical existence. I was a dried-up carcass, the cast-off shell of an insect. [1]

The Town centers around a semicircular plaza directly north of the Old Bridge. The other semicircular fragment, that is, the lower half of the circle, lies across the river to the south. These two half-circles are known as the North and South Plazas respectively. Regarded as a pair, the two can impress one only as complete opposites, so unlike each other as they are. The North Plaza is heavy with an air of mystery, laden with the silence of the surrounding quarter, whereas the South Plaza seems to lack any atmosphere at all. What is one meant to feel here? All is adrift in a vague sense of loss.

In the middle of the North Plaza stands a large Clocktower piercing skyward. To be precise, one should say it is less a clocktower than an object retaining the form of a clocktower. The clock has long forfeited its original role as a timepiece.

Several rings of stone and brick buildings fan out from the North Plaza. No edifice has any outstanding features, no decorations or plaques. All doors are sealed tight; no one is entering or leaving. [2]

The boy named Crow flew in large, languid circles above the forest. After inscribing one, he’d fly off to another spot and carefully begin another, identical circle, each invisible circle following another in the air only to vanish. Like a reconnaissance plane, he scanned the forest below him, looking for someone he couldn’t seem to locate. Like a huge ocean, the forest undulated beneath him and spread to a the horizon in a thick, anonymous cloak of interlaced branches. The sky was covered with gray clouds, and there was neither wind nor sunlight. At this point the boy named Crow had to be the loneliest bird in the world, but he was too busy to think about that now. [3]

[1] The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
[2] Hard-Boiled Wonderland & The End of the World
[3] Kafka on the Shore

by Haruki Murakami

Hi guys. No, I’m not back.


While I’m Gone

January 9, 2010


Another hiatus.

This has been bothering me for a while now so I won’t mince words: I’m getting tired of Anime. I haven’t been keeping up shows or other anime blogs. I blithely overlook and fail to respond to comments, sometimes even after reading them. There are a bunch of half-completed posts on my dashboard and even more ideas for future posts, but motivation to finish them is just dead at this point.

The good news is that I’m sure it’s a temporary slump, either from the holiday season or the upcoming Spring semester. I can’t imagine leaving Anime altogether, especially after experiences like Diary of an Anime Lived – which, as maudlin as this may sound, was a genuinely life-changing moment for me.

And I’d feel like a real jerk if I just packed up shop and abandoned you guys. I know we only know one another through the Internet, and it’s futile to think that I’ll ever meet you guys in real life, but you Anime bloggers are some swell people, and I would love to take each and every one of you out for a drink. Figuratively speaking, of course.

If you’re not a regular reader of my blog, I highly encourage you to check out the Anime bloggers on my blogroll, if you haven’t done so already. I have nothing but respect for these people, especially 2DT, who’s been with me from the beginning, even though I’m not quite sure why. I like to think of myself as his protégé while blogging.

Okay, too much brown-nosing for one post. I want to end this by saying that I’ll still be updating my personal blog since, at this point in my life, I find it easier to just talk about what’s on my mind, regardless of the subject. And since I only really used Twitter to keep up with other Anime bloggers, I’ll be taking a break from that as well.

Have a good one, folks.
Let’s hope you guys are still here when I return.

Bara as 2D Adonis Complex

November 26, 2009

I’m borrowing part of a Timothy Levitch quote when I say this: if Space Opera is a genre that epitomizes all phallic emotion in Anime, then Legend of the Blue Wolves is utter catharsis.

As one of the few and better known bara hentai of recent memory – partly because of its untimely discontinuation due to a lack of funding – it’s interesting to see such a heartfelt exploration of (credible) homosexaul desire in its main character of Jonathan Tiberius.

(See, having nothing else to blog about, I’ve decided to delve into hardcore gay pornography. Enjoy.)

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Go to Anime club, they said.

November 14, 2009


There are no words to describe what I’ve just experienced. I feel like Brad Pitt at the end of Seven. I feel like the crying Indian chief in those old “Save the Earth” commercials, just observing the wreckage and wondering to myself “…what happened here?” Right now, I’m cradling my head in my arms; I want to laugh and cry because I feel like I’ve just been prison-raped.

Where to begin?

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These Latent Two-Dimensional “Fetishes”

October 31, 2009


Quick addendum to my last post.

So there’s this website called MyIncestHentai (NSFW, obviously) that touts itself as “110% devoted to incest hentai” and even has this fancy banner emblazoned with “SISTERS, DAUGHTERS, MOTHERS.” I didn’t stick around for too long because the site is pretty annoying to navigate and it would take me a good minute to cue up a single page, but I was nonetheless intrigued by the community and some of the content.

One thing I found really interesting was the idea of a “rewrite.” Basically in a “rewrite,” someone takes a non-incestuous hentai manga and rewrites the dialogue so that the fornicators in question are now related by blood. Sounds like something reasonable in the off-beat world of hentai, but to my surprise, the community was vehemently against it and seemed to actually be “turned off” by rewrites.

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Incest as Tragedy

October 31, 2009

Try not to cringe at the following statement: I love incest in anime/manga. Or more appropriately phrased, I love incest in anime/manga when it’s treated realistically and has heart. It’s kind of disconcerting to see such an incongruity between the silly, off-hand incestuous relationships in harem Anime and the more serious ones that are sure to pluck at your sensibilities, a la Koi Kaze, for example.

Still with me? Okay, good.

So cut through the scads of incest manga that’s actually hentai and you’re likely to find Densen Complex, a single volume collection of short stories that’s a far cry from the “endearing imouto” trope. Throughout the stand-alone chapters, there are themes as assorted as molestation, experimentation, and even gender identity. Keep in mind, they’re all fairly grim.

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Re: Spirited Away is a Terrible Movie

October 21, 2009


This is a response to a guy on YouTube who calls himself “Confused Matthew.” He does a variety of movie reviews on request. By and large, he doesn’t hold back, nor does he have the ability to see a movie for what it is. Yeah, he’s that kind of critic. In his review of The Lion King, he goes off on a very long-winded tirade about how much he hates Timon and Pumba because of how uncouth and selfish they are. I thought he was kidding at first. Y’know, like, being ironically humorous of something like that. But he was dead serious. About two months ago, he did a review of Spirited Away, and, of course, hated it.

I decided to write this post because I actually got the chance to re-watch Spirited Away. Just yesterday, in fact. It’s still as captivating and beautiful as it was when I first saw it back in middle school, which is the great thing about Miyazaki/Ghibli films. They’re timeless and not a complete embarrassment to the industry.

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Incompetence, thy name is DEEN

October 2, 2009


Premise for an Anime: a high school, slice-of-life comedy centering around the anthropomorphisms of popular animation studios. If it was ever made and I was the director, the character archetypes would play out like this:

Kyoto Animation would be the busty classroom moeblob slut who would always tease the other main characters but would never willingly put out. She’s also a virgin. Bones would be the James Dean-esque stud; the classroom heartthrob with an indignant attitude towards authority and a cigarette tucked behind his ear. Gainax would be the child prodigy who ruined test averages and completed all of the extra credit assignments, even when he didn’t have to. Shaft would be the walking 80’s counterculture anachronism who would come to class hopped up on psychotropics – a running gag would be that the other studios would come to him for advice while he’s in a stupor and would misinterpret something he says for the better.

And Studio DEEN? DEEN would be the annoying fuckwit who would always cling to the other characters in times of need and would never have anything to contribute. The other characters would go about their daily shenanigans, laughing and joking around with each other, and DEEN would come in and just shit on everything.

The Umineko Anime is hands-down the worst adaptation I have ever seen, next to Fate/Stay Night – another DEEN production. At this point, with all the hype that Umineko has garnered, it would be counterproductive to talk about why this show fails as an adaptation – or just as an Anime by itself – so I figure it’d be much easier to talk about what went right.

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Suppressing Your Power Level

September 26, 2009


I’m going to cram this entry in real quick because I just realized that I forgot to make a “personal” post last week.
I probably should have timed this better because all this fatigue is making me have a huge brain fart.
Anyway, bear with me, as this is the kind of entry that I would very much like a personal response to, as I’m sure some if not all of you have considered it at some point or other since you first started watching Anime.

Also, I find this whole business with updating blogrolls to be a bother. If someone regularly comments, I feel that it’s only polite to add their link to the list. Am I right? If anything, I’m just glad that WordPress arranges them numerically/alphabetically, as it places priority on the only Anime blog worth reading.

Y’know, people are usually subtle with their brown-nosing tactics. But I’m so fucking jittery right now after downing two cans of Red Bull, so I just don’t give a shit! On with the post!

So do you have any close friends or family members who are active fans of Anime?
Do you have any close friends or family members who are active fans of Anime as much as you are?
I’ve quietly accepted the fact that openly claiming Anime as a hobby will invariably throw some menacing glances in your direction.

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Fall Shows I’ll Be Watching

September 24, 2009

excited haruhi
Oh, right. I still have this thing.
Hi again, everyone. Schoolwork came back to bite me in the ass. I’ve been subsisting on energy drinks, candy bars and coffee. (I don’t even like coffee.) And it’s causing me to break out all over, which is weird because I use at least three different kinds of moisturizing facial cleansers. Not to mention the oil absorbing sheets and the facial peel masks I use at night.


I’ve been reading through the updated lineup on Chartfag’s latest post. Sure, I found myself raising an eyebrow as to how some shows even made it past the cutting room floor. But there are also some definitively unique shows that I think will surely stick with us for years to come, if done right. Wouldn’t that be nice? I can’t even recall the last time we had an Anime of real merit, something even your friends and family could enjoy.

One thing about me when it comes to watching Anime – I’m not the type of person to “drop” a show, even if I end up hating it midway. Unless it’s an unfunny harem romance (ie: Shuffle, To Love-Ru), I’ll probably stick around for it to the end to see how it shapes up. With that said, here’s the list of the Fall shows I’ll be watching, along with some “maybes.”

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