Kickstarter to print doujins

With the death and resurrection of sadpanda, the question that many had were about archiving and saving materials. While this is all nice and good on the surface, and yours truly considers the older material to be paramount in terms of pop-culture history, the fact is that the site is working under the gray label of piracy. The creators of these comics know that it exists, and sometimes they have despaired about the situation. Some of them have considered sadpanda’s existence as net loss of revenue due to their comics being there rather than every user buying their comics while others recognise that piracy does not equal loss of sales. Not every person pirating something would’ve bought any of it in the first place, though piracy does seem to work as a sort of free advertisement, where people who truly enjoy the work probably fork the money for the product they consumed.

However, with doujinshi this is somewhat difficult. Sites like DMM and DLSite offer some comics to buy and read, but the issue here is that half of them are under DRM, have low image quality and is digital only. These are Japanese services with English storefronts, though you can find English language stores like Project Hentai that offer purchases in physical form in English. However, with shops like these, there are usually very limited quantity of each item and the prices can be a bit high at times.

NijiGEN aims to alleviate this situation somewhat, a Kickstater that aims to allow more direct sales between the customer and the creator. NijiGEN’s model would be to sell you a high resolution version of the comic which you could then print. This approach would eliminate the problem of low-resolution files that are kicking around, even on official store sites, but they’d be in a timed format. The intention is that you’d be able to print your own physical copy of the comic via a printer. Ultimately, the cost of printing your own comic is relatively low, even when you pick up the proper paper and tools to do it. With the possibility of modifying and selling e.g. postcards and such, and then selling them forwards in a limited fashion.

This sounds really stupid, why would this be any success? The creators of this Kickstarter are aware of three things, which launched the idea; the existence of potential market for physical medium in Overseas market, the censorship that doujinshi and other adult material books have gone through in Japan in recent decade (especially when going toward the Olympics) and the issue of piracy. However, the market section for this Kickstarter is extremely niche. First you’d need to be a person who wants physical copies of these comics, and secondly you’d need to be in the mindset of taking part of the whole doujinshi creation. Part of self-publishing is either ordering your book made or printing and binding things at home. I have to say, binding your own book is extremely fun. This service would allow the user to bypass large amounts of problems that may arise through ordering, like possible customs or legal issues. By the end of the day, printing your own quality comic would cost less than buying one and having it shipped from an online shop.

You of course face few problems, which probably break this model. Not all people have a decent printer, opting for a cheap one instead. Secondly, not all people know how to print properly. While standard settings are usually fine, the reality is that printing is a rabbit hole of problems and options, proofing and sometimes even trial and error. The timed source files will also rub some people the wrong way, putting them under pressure to get the most out from their purchase before the files expire. Some people would rather just buy the high resolution files and be done with them and not bother with physical editions at all, something that most modern audiences that have never been part of self-creating circles would always opt for first. This is why I don’t see the Kickstarter becoming funded, outside the whole issue of this being a Kickstarter, but the core idea is still valid; the closest second the customer who can’t buy the books they want, self-printing. The customer that is most common nowadays expects to be readily catered without any much effort put in themselves. The same reason why model kits don’t sell nowadays outside niche audience and have become extremely easy to build and are readily built. Self-made, or handicrafts, is not in fashion currently.

I’d like a service like this. The concept of involving the customer as part of the circle as the person responsible for final edits, printing and binding, is great. Extremely niche, and that’ll probably be its doom.

While you’re looking stuff on Kickstarter, consider backing Your Everyday Life with Konko for some headpats and relaxing storytelling.

The death of history comes when nobody is there to remember it

The title might sound like a bullshit sentiment, and it kind of is. Mostly because that is a personal point of view as someone who was a history buff in his teens. With the Internet’s sub-cultures still reeling on the loss of sadpanda, and that site-wide mirror being more or less a confirmed hoax at this point, it really made me think back how little we value history and its artifacts. Are you saying bunch of porn counts as historical artifacts? Very much so, especially if its older than decade or so. While most people will get stuck on the whole porn issue and what sort of porn it might’ve been, the same people don’t seem to consider what sort of sociological statements those pictures were making. For example, the much discussed (for better or worse) lolicon has gone through numerous iterations since the movement surfaced in Japan in the 1970’s. You can see its effects everywhere in the media in completely standard and normal ways, like Captain Harlock having having Mayu as a level of plot device, one of the reasons why Harlock still protects Earth from its inner deceit and alien threats. While Harlock could have numerous reasons, a character like this was surely influenced by the pop-cultural scene of the time. Similar things can be found in many other works in the era, culminating with Cybele Vol.1 seeing its Comiket publishing in 1979, and probably pushing itself to the mainstream popular culture with Comic Lemon People first issue hitting the magazine stands for all to buy in 1982. This magazine had such impact that modern Japanese popular culture wouldn’t exist without it in its current form.

Think what you may, White Cybele has a very classy cover

Much like everything in history, things are complicated. It is disingenuous to say that it is sexual objectification of children, but that’s what many seem to go to first. What lolicon was in the 1970’s and 1980’s was effectively what people understand with modern moe; the use of cute, young characters within works. Discussion during these eras were about affection towards these characters, and their desires. That must be emphasized; characters. By definition, a real person does not step into the equation. The age range of these characters was not defined either, like it is nowadays. These characters could be almost anything, as long as the visual style represented the idea of these cute, somewhat innocent characters and their visuals. The culture of cute is a very much a large component here, and with the 1960’s and 1970’s producing a generation that grew up on modern cartoons and comics in post-World War II Japan, it was more or less natural growth in terms of cultural landscape. Within this cultural scape, a lolicon wasn’t someone who had predatory tendencies towards children or pedophilia in any form; it refers for a preference for a certain style and look of the character. In many ways, the term moe has superseded lolicon as it carries largely the same connotation of cute characters. The historical background is largely the same, and even the marketing is similar. The term is simply more politically correct, perhaps to distance itself from how people consider lolicon to be only porn. I should also mention shotacon, which is more associated with female fans; the admiration of similarly cute, beautiful young men and boys. However, this term too is nowadays marred with its sexual connotations.

To put emphasize again; what determines these in the 1970’s and 1980’s is aesthetics. Young, cute looking characters that are the object of fan affection. As you’ve probably surmised, the Western use for the term is very different and based on different historical and cultural background, and partially reliant on intentional misinterpretation.

This is all terrible condensed, and needs its own proper post before I even attempt to cover the best years of Comic Lemon People, but one thing should be clear to most of my readers; the above isn’t exactly what what the Global, especially the Western, consensus is on the topic. We are talking about one nation’s rather major movement in popular culture history, which has been marred needlessly. Without reading around, listening to the people from the era from that specific place, reading and listening to first and second hand sources, you might think that pedophilia and lolicon are the same thing. In fact, they vehemently different; they are both qualitatively and fundamentally two different things. Drawn picture is not the same thing as a real person, or a photo of a real person.

Let’s assume we have lost fan made works from the 1970’s and 1980’s from the Internet and we can’t obtain physical copies anymore. The people who lived during that era are now dead and we can’t have their recollection from the era nor is there any properly documented interviews from them. Without first hand accounts, we can only rely on accounts that might or might not be correct. Writers may have an agenda and paint the movement in black colours, demonizing it to hell and back. Some sources might not even be in the same language as the target topic, misunderstanding major elements. Works that use sources that intentionally colour history is not uncommon, as history is full of propaganda. Be it political, religious or whatever, any and all events in history has different sides seeing different things. It’s like people watching a die from six different sides; they all see a different number. What we need to do is view that die from all angles and understand them for the whole picture.

LUM IS OVER is probably the best example of cross-cut of numerous creators from 1987 collaborating around Lum, with over thirty individuals pouring their affection in pin-ups and illustrations

It is not a secret that lolicon had a sexual element to it, but frankly everything has. It simply has been blown out of its proper proportions, probably because how influential Comic Lemon People was in the mainstream. Nobody seems to consider the 1970’s boy and girl characters as a result of this movement in itself, unless somebody directly mentions that shotacon was named after Tetsujin #28‘s main character, and that show had its inception in the sixties. Despite Elpeo Ple is cited as Gundam‘s household loli character (after all, she was named after Comic Lemon People, Kikka Kobayashi already was around in the first series. Hell, even Fraw Bow counts despite the character’s older age, but she still maintains that cute charm around her compared to most other female characters in the show. Don’t forget that Lum of Urusei Yatsura is considered the first real anime and manga sex symbol, and she is very much part of the lolicon culture of its era. Aalt, she’s too old for that. No, she’s the perfect age, because remember; it is about aesthetics of cuteness. Cuteness and sexiness do no exclude each other, as much as certain cultures think otherwise. Lum’s roundness, alluring eyes and soft body was in many ways first of its kind, trailblazing path to modern shoujo and even styles, where eyes got rounder and cuter with the time.

It’s not even Comic Lemon People that made its wake. While Lemon People might the one that’s on the tongue of most Westerners when talking about lolicon serial comics, Manga Burikko was its direct rival. Not only did it coin the term otaku, but its main editor Ouzuke Eiji wanted to produce shoujo manga, or girls’ comics, for boys. He called this New-Wave shoujo manga. His influence, as well as the whole era’s, is vividly felt in the 1990’s shows. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is probably the most prominent example of this alongside Magic Knight Rayearth. In truth, the whole movement was well under within animation and comic industry in Japan in the mid-1970’s with Majokko Megu-chan being an early magical girl show that was prominently aimed at boys, much like Cutie Honey ended up being. By the 1990’s, lolicon as a style and aesthetics had become the mainstream visual flavour and style. This continues to this day, hence why moe was needed to surface as a specific and direct continuation. Historically speaking, lolicon and bishoujo fell under the same overall umbrella, with both having some differences but exactly the same aim in visuals.

I had two covers to choose from for Manga Burikko my archives, and this was the one that most wouldn’t find all that objectionable

It wasn’t just these two aforementioned comics; lolicon and loli was quite honestly everywhere with major companies and major magazines advertising and selling products proudly labeling their products with lolicon. This wasn’t about the porn, but again the style. Major players like Uchiyama Aki were publishing in standard comic magazines aimed at both boys and girls all the while he was working on adult magazines. He was publishing clearly labelled lolicon comic in same magazine as Ozaku Tezuka, and they were both doing characters that fit the same exact aesthetic description.

As you’ve probably surmised, lolita complex in Japan is very, very different from what it is considered as in North America and Europe. However, that definition crept into Japanese mindset as well in the late 1980’s and was more or less set in stone in the 1990’s, when the term mostly vanished from the common use. Perhaps the most commonly cited incident that put a negative tone on the term and its proper surroundings is Tsutomu Miyazaki kidnappings, where he kidnapped young girls, murdered them and not just raped their corpses, but also ate them. Moral panic is caused by lesser things, though Tokyo High Court ruled that he acted on his sexual fantasies rather, which of course was directly linked to his hobby as an otaku. The cultural backlash was understandable, but perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Discussion about loli and lolicon in Japanese context, in even Japan, does not consider its proper place as a mainstream style and only applies the bastardised understanding of it, partly influenced by the Western misconceptions, party by the intentional obfuscation and and partly by sheer misunderstanding. It is no wonder the term has different application nowadays, even when the whole modern Japanese comic and cartoon culture stemmed from it.

You may argue that language changes and whatever arguments for non-sexual use for loli or lolicon once existed doesn’t matter. Language may change, but its historical context should not. To use an example, the Finnish word neekeri is a direct loanword of nigger, but it had none of the negative connotations to it until the American negative connotations were associated with it. Before that, it was another normal way to name black people. However, with new generations fretting the term and its origin, censorship has forced books to remove the term and even candies change name. There is a chocolate pastry filled with cream that used to be called Nigger’s Kiss, but nowadays it has removed all branding from this and renamed itself as Brunberg’s Kiss. The past generations have demonized what was harmless word and such it is viewed as one, even in its proper historical context.

The point really being that I was making is if we lose first-hand information sources, we might as well rely on hearsay. However, when a historian has first hand information, recollections from an era from an independent person, it is a treasure of information that can be compared and contrasted to what is known from the era either from other first-hand sources or official records. However, when it comes to popular culture movements and events, official records are always dubious at best, unreliable at worst. That is why a place like sadpanda was such a treasure trove, because it contained not only author’s own works from forty years ago, but also serial comic magazines and self-published works, filled with fanart, letters, opinion pieces and news on politics and events that affected the pop-culture of the time. These sources are imperative to understand not just the lolicon scene we’ve been talking about, but the whole comic and animation culture of the time. That is only one view point, reading newspaper magazines and other sources is as important as well. Thus, losing one of them, any of them, will impact on how later generations are able to understand history. History just doesn’t happen; it a never ending movement forward. Most of what I’ve said about in this post has been by going through era specific first and second hand sources, some of which were on sadpanda.

Human history is fragmented at best. At worst, it is a puzzle that has lost an amount of its pieces. We should aim to keep every bit of history safe, even if we object to them. A statue of a South State’s general should be left as it is, to remind people that there is history and that it is a complex mess of human actions and perspectives. We should not allow destruction of any kind of resource, statue, book or whatnot, to be destroyed simply because it might offend sensibilities or it simply doesn’t fit modern culture. The moment humanity decides to ignore this in favour of some sort of one truth above all, history creeps toward its death. History is a tapestry painted with fine tipped brushes of endless shades, not with broad bristles in primary colours. Those who forget history are bound to repeat it may be an old saying, but it is a saying that will get repeated down the line, if people continue to be Brutus to history’s Caesar.

Music of the Month; East Coast Summer

Y’know, after you’ve worked through the dark of winter and managed to nab some vacation during summer, it all feels so good. Nevertheless, four weeks off from work goes by so very fast. Even when there will be days when you hope to get back to the work bench and burn yourself five times over just to get shit done properly. Sacrificing your skin for perfection that was not asked for, but dammit I do wish to do work well enough to be satisfied at my handiwork.

I think I had an idea for a solid plan what to do for this summer’s long-form post, but I guess that whisky I drank washed it all away. Not that I can keep up with my plans anyway at this point, life’s getting a bit busier again for no good reason. At least I have plums to eat. If you wonder what the hell am I talking about, I had a tradition to write one longer post about a topic, like a read through of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Latest Edition or Themes of Godzilla, which will get that sequel post at some point with Shin Godzilla. I’ll just have to take my time with that, because a part of the discussion will be about whether or not it rips of Kami no Kemono tl. as Beast of God, a 1992 giant monster comic by Tomoe Keisuke. It’s pretty damn well illustrated and written. Just look ho w spiffy the cover is.

Yes, the official English title is Ogre: The Geo-Monster. We don’t talk about the English title much

While I could’ve used some Internet resources to skim over what are and what aren’t, I find it much easier just to get the original material in hand and see myself what’s on the paper. I don’t need to rely on second hand information or translation guesses from or rumours. Remember how Mega Man fandom used to discuss how Sergess was confirmed as Dr. Wily in Rockman X2 comic? Never happened, I had to make a live-reading of the comic years back to confirm the rumour false.

I can’t recall all that clearly if I ever write about the difference of being influenced, ripping off or just subconsciously inserting sources of inspirations into your work properly, but I did make a post how Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse is a sum of multiple sources of inspiration to the point of basically each episode serving few new more or less apparent additions. Like how Cui Yifei is effectively Shampoo from Ranma ½. Things like that. Hatsuke Miku isn’t exactly her main source, though that probably got changed around after she got the nickname ‘Chinese Miku’. Probably would be worthwhile to make a whole post on how much MLA TE just “recycles” inspiration into itself.

The whole story really is Top Gun mixed with Gundam 0083 with a good dash of Macross Plus in MLA setting, so that’s always something to the show. ML overall is like an otaku dreamhouse, filled with references and jokes left and right. Kinda like Gekisatsu! Uchuuken just not as overt and direct about it, and far less IP infringing.

I’ll also take some liberties and might skip a post during the upcoming four weeks or so if it looks like there’s something else I could spend my time on. Be it washing the carpets I have or screwing around with people I know, I’m going to treat this summer as a possibility to take a break of the routine I’ve been having for a good while now. A chance to get back to promised projects, like getting a gallery of CGs via emulation or scanning stuff I’ve promised. If I get time for that. Knowing the usual way vacations and such go, you end up being busier than during work. Maybe I just suck at scheduling.

Before I call quits on this post, I’d still like to touch a bit on the whole games streaming services. Yes, I’ve pretty much beaten that horse to the ground and given it few good kicks, but the more time passes the more I see some people doubting its success. Thus far it has not been a success as such, but very few tech steps like this are during their decade. People often forget how big VR was in the early 90’s with gaming. 3D boom came and went. Streaming games to players hasn’t been exactly a smooth experience thus far, but perhaps Google can make it a mainstream success during 2020’s. We are moving towards media experience where the consumer has no control over the media itself after all. Google making the console experience effectively just the controller is more or less natural simplification of the whole concept technology allows. I’m not their target audience, but their current setup seems to be aimed to shallow Red Ocean market. Whether or not it will work as intended, and even if it doesn’t, we’ll have to sit and wait to see if it’ll become mass market success.

Fans expect big franchises to have a plan

If there’s something Hollywood and whatever entertainment industry you like to fellate should learn from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is that you need a solid plan to follow from the get-go, or at least after its proven that you have something worthwhile in your hands. At this point, its not just recommended, the consumers expect it. We’ve come to a point where cinematic universes have become its own thing, despite stories continuing from entry to entry in TV and film have been nothing new since the early film serials. Hell, someone like me could even make an argument that Marvel’s films and series are nothing more than overblown, high budget film serials, but they had to have a more marketable name.

What’s one of the most common complaint you hear about the new Star Wars movies? At least one of them is that Disney and Lucasfilm had no clear plan how the story would advance, they had nothing planned in advance. Sure, the original trilogy didn’t have one either, but we’re not in the 1970’s and 1980’s anymore. The very rough outline of the Prequel movies did exist in Lucas’ head though, something that can’t be said about these Sequel movies. J.J. Abrams is infamous for making plots and stories with no planned advancement or end result. Stuff are just mystery boxes you figure out as you go along without any care. Who cares if it makes sense if it can create suspension and shit like that. It makes poor storytelling, and at worst, breaks immersion. No, not immersion, but sense. Disney had a chance to write sequel series to the most popular science fiction franchise in the history of global entertainment, the series that made their Marvel movies possible at all (Episode I effectively created the modern computer driven digital movie making everyone and their mothers use in Hollywood for all big bang budget event movies) and yet they just don’t plan ahead. Oh they planned ahead how many movies how many times a decade they’ll be making, make no mistake about that, but the content of these movies and what they were going to be about was unknown. Of course, this being Disney, adapting any existing work from the previous Expanded Universe was out of question. That’d mean they’d have to pay royalties. Don’t think for a moment that Disney didn’t abandon old EU just to abandon all needs to pay anyone anything. Now that they can make their own little canon, worse than what it was with the Sequel movies, they don’t need to pay anyone for their stories.

Take a look at Star Trek at this moment for a parallel comparison. Its in the trash at the moment. Netflix doesn’t want the third season of Discovery and is now forcing CBS balls deep into action if they want that series to continue. The Picard series was passed on to Amazon, and Amazon supposedly wants to back out from that series due to terrible pre-screening reception. I don’t blame them, if the rumours are true. There was a plan for Trek, and that plan was the Arbams movies to succeed. Well that plan got fucked when all three blew. Discovery clearly had no long-term plan, and got changed multiple times in direction and plot to the point of the Season 2 of the show having very different tone to it, and the goddamn Enterprise had to be shoved in there. I bet your ass that they took the whole thing into the future at the end of the Season 2 just to appease down people who kept saying that the technology looked too advanced for the time period, so now its in the future. Should work for you, eh? Not that canon matters anyway, but goddamn if its not one of the bet PR things they can market to audiences and core fans.

Of course, if your plan sucks and is failing, you should abort it and straighten the direction. This being billion dollar companies throwing money left and right inside their own little bubbles with no real contact with the grass root level consumers where all their money comes from, nobody should be surprised that they only realise how bad things can go afterwards. If there’s one thing we common folk should learn from Hollywood is that self-PR and bullshitting your way through everything makes big bucks. Just put the blame on everyone else and diplomatically tell anyone consuming your products to go fuck themselves. Pay PR firms to put out articles on sites how fans are in the wrong and how your product is for better fans who value superior products. Then you never really get them, or the money. Licensees don’t want to license your new show’s designs and other small things that eat away your profit all the damn time.

They say longform storytelling is the new TV-standard, but from all the Netflix shows and such, it doesn’t really show. Sure there’s a plot going through episode to episode, but vast majority of shows that use longform stories are still extremely episodic. You can skip a boring episode over and lose nothing. All you need to have is three episode, effectively; where the plot starts, where the twist happens, and the end. All others are inconsequential filler at best. Or in Discovery‘s case, have a two-parter that is worse than the worst episode of Star Trek to date about mushroom macrovirus living your brain and people coming back to life in mushroom dimension. No, it is even more retarded than it sounds.

If you want to make a cohesive long story that jumps from movie to movie, from series to series, in a given time when you’re making these movies and series by the dozens, it’d be a good idea to sit down with someone who wants to spend decade of their lifetime keeping things in leash.

Sure, many stories are very successful when told in parts, episodic and piece by piece rather than planned out. The thing is, they were planned as mostly self-confined pieces that allowed things to organically expand and grow from rather then deliberately set up something, or in most cases, planned to have seven movies right after year-by-year basis. Maybe its just these people running these franchises can’t do their jobs properly as providers and do whatever they want. Well, the result is as it is now, and things keep going south.

Music of the Month; Megalomania

It has been a rather stressful last month or so. I didn’t even notice when summer months turned around, and that I could’ve set this post last week, or earlier. Things just flow at a rapid pace, with summer heat being a pest. Even my plan to attend a convention to have a presentation was shot down by car breaking down on me and the spare part might cost up to a grand with some luck. There has also been a death in the family, so excuse me if this post will end up being rather short and anemic.

I’ve come to a point where I can safely say that I won’t be planning the future of the blog. It was certainly fun to plan stuff out when and how I’d make certain posts, but that’s just not all that possible if I want to spend any time off the computer screen. That’s not to say I’ll just abandon every long-running posts I have, but as you’ve noticed during the last year and a half (or most likely, have not) is that all plans have mostly gone to shit. Time is of the essence, and that is something I would like to spend elsewhere at times as well.

To cover some topics quickly, the gaming disorder has now been officially been recognised as a disease by the WHO. I’ve covered this topic myself few times over, and the arguments and sources linked in them still apply. WHO is not exactly the most popular organisation going around, and I hope this will be redacted or made far more accurate than what its current for is, as now its determinants really fucking everywhere. You could apply the main forms of it to any enthusiast in a given hobby. A healthy obsession for a hobby is a thing, but hey, a person who appreciates their hobby to a high point should now be considered mentally ill. What a load of shit. Niche Gamer has an opinion piece why WHO is flawed classification, echoing some of the stuff I’ve already written, but also going into deeper and wider look. Ryan Pearson’s article touches on proper points, but leaves the whole political aspect out. Maybe for the better, outside some of the internal leaks that commented on certain nations pushing this classification there is no solid evidence for it.

There’s a new Godzilla out there, and I honestly have no want to see it. The 2014 Godzilla was a disappointment at best, extremely boring at worst. As a movie, it was extremely kitch, safe and resorted on failing consumer expectations. I might go to see Godzilla II (I do love how overseas market gets a number before King of the Monsters in an era where too few movies are numbered anymore) and do a short first impression review, but I’d need to kick myself into the theater and get someone to go with me. Not a tall order, but this is also a good time to rewatch Shin Godzilla and add its themes to the Themes of Godzilla post I have floating around. That’s a post that should get expanded, but with what time?

Here’s the beef I’ve always had with Godzilla, and technically with any other franchise that does the same thing Robocop; it gets dumbed down for the kids. Not just in story, but also in production values and themes. Those movies that are aimed for children audience mainly have the short end of the stick in every regard from story to special effects. The VS Godzilla did find a good balance between adult themes and kid friendly Godzilla, but at the same time looking at the series in perspective it is clear how run out of worthy ideas and resorted on their catalog of popular monsters, setting the whole theme of reusing and revamping old monsters in new guises for the future. Godzilla stopped pushing the envelope well into the 60’s, yet the VS series didn’t even try. Space Godzilla? Evil Mothra? Plant Godzilla? Another Mechanical giant monster based on previous monster? I do love the VS series of movies, but goddamn do they look meek when you take the nostalgia goggles off. Ever since I found out the Gamera trilogy, I’ve been going back to those movies ever since, and its influences are very, very strong in these new millennium American Godzilla movies. Maybe I should just cut this rant short for now. There is room for a serious Godzilla movie every now and then, but the rest will colour the cultural perception. It’s just that very few want to make a good Godzilla that took itself and its themes seriously. No, let’s just drop an Oxygen Destroyer as a missile and call it a day. Let’s not even consider its ramifications.

E3 is around the corner again, I honestly couldn’t give jack shit at the moment. I know I used to make posts about it, but with the lack of time (there’s that again, I’m repeating myself far too often) I’d rather not spend three days of watching direct advertisement meant to sell me games I probably don’t want anyway. Less reason to get angry, more reason to enjoy whatever sunshine and wasps this summer offers. Sure, I’ll probably end up writing a post or two if something interesting pops up in the news sites that warrant speeding the videos over after the fact, but otherwise, I really have to question the hype surrounding E3 when it is world’s most expensive marketing event. Hatebait click articles of course would make money, but that’s not how we roll here.

How we roll is with tea heated in the microwave, added sugar and drinking while the spoon is still in the mug. Just remember to sharpen those knives of yours, that makes cooking safer.

And oh yeah, R-Type Final 2 has some 50h left in its Kickstarter, throw some money at it if you want to fund a resurrection of one of the genre defining franchises.

Smash that Rant

I’m not even going try to pretend this post is in blogger persona in any shape or form. I haven’t had a good actual rant for a while, and maybe twenty years of hearing the same bullshit last night tipped me over, or the upcoming Godzilla II; King of the Monsters  (yeah they added II to the title, but why in the fuck they went and re-used this title anyway? This is Godzilla; Gee Whiz We Couldn’t Make Up An Original Title) and how certain part of the fandom views monster movies compared to the rest of the people. You can split monster movie fans roughly in half, and this really goes tokusatsu and other genres that are aimed at kids and teens; there are those who appreciate the human drama, and then there’s the juvenile idiots who come to watch toys being smashed together.

Aren’t you being a bit unfair there? I won’t be having any pretense. The view on Godzilla movies is that they’re stupid movies for kids, where a giant lizard, be it a man in a rubber suit or 3D model, smashes through things and fights another just as badly made suit or CG monster. Everything else is just an excuse to get there. They’re right too in most cases. Godzilla Raids Again, despite it trying to be a legitimate sequel, is ultimately a sequel to a movie that never needed a goddamn sequel. That’s academical at this point, just like how it’s academical that the living form of Hydrogen Bombs became a child friendly hero defending the world and talking in his Monster Language. It’s like turning Spawn into Saturday Morning Cartoon hero for five-year old kids. Works for Ultraman, and hey, the original Ultraman show was pretty damn good. Difference of course being that Ultraman has always been for kids specifically, and turning the series into a grimderp direction for adults is about is retarded as you can get. It’s not unusual for fans to demand the shit they love to grow with them, something Marvel and DC have had to struggle with all the time, but good luck effectively wanting to destroy what made you love that shit in the first place.

You know how people generally enjoy Godzilla or other similar shit? When they’re kids, the whole human element is lost to them. They don’t get how Godzilla’s skin is reflecting the scarred skin of a nuclear strike victim or other shit I talked in Themes of Godzilla. It’s a post that should get updated but fuck me if I don’t have enough shit on the line to do but no time. Sometimes I feel like becoming an unemployed NEET just to have time to indulge myself in hobbies and projects I’ve promised to finish. Kid seeing people working together might just think these are nice people cooperating, but the whole underlying message of unified mankind with no prejudice or racism really doesn’t him home. No, it really doesn’t. Parents need to actively teach this shit rather than leave haphazard movies to give this message, because kids come see rubber suits smashing each other. The other way people tend to watch these movies are for the sake of camp and kitsch. Often drunk, because holy shit if monster movies have some retarded plot. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was personally when I saw VS series’ Godzilla VS King Ghidorah for the first time. After reading and hearing how good it was, but it turned into a fucking travesty in the end, and the more understanding of cultural environment of the time I got, the more the movie turns into a travesty. Middle finger to OPEC nations just on the doorsteps of Lost Decade. It ain’t uncommon to hear people getting plastered and enjoying a good damn hearty laugh at monster movies.

It’s like Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. Chinese love to see robots smashing shit. There’s no shame in admitting liking childish things, but let’s be completely clear here; a movie with main intention to have monsters fighting each other in a spectacle with no real weight or meaning is childish. Make it gory, make guts fly and filled with horror, and it’s still childish. You know why there are exactly two Godzilla movies that are considered to be films rather than movies, films that stand on their own apart from the rest of the mass and actually have made an impact? Because they treat the core of the films, the allegory of disaster a man has brought to himself and can barely contain it in any shape or form, with heavy respect.

Are you mad that Godzilla became a popular series for children? No, absolutely not. It serves the viewers and allowed the franchise to have a life it would have otherwise never seen. It became a cult classic, a historical monument and cultural icon in more than one way. Yet, this has brought the unfortunate side to us, where part of the fans are there just for the monster fights. They are there for the spectacle and that’s what these movies end up being. Godzilla is a series of allegories, and after hearing oh so many goddamn years that people think its just monster fights from people who are in for just monster fights, you end up with movies like the 2014 Godzilla that doesn’t only fuck up the cinematography, but also is just a sad excuse to have monsters fighting each other. It is a movie with a half-assed message about bad things without any real weight to it. A half-hearted message against nuclear bombs or power is kinda wasted when the allegory of nuclear holocaust is the hero of your movie. Oh it just means we can harness nuclear power for good, just like with the other Godzilla movies. No it doesn’t. Humanity never harnesses Godzilla. They keep it at bay at best sometimes, but in the end its always a disaster. Nuclear power is the safest and cleanest form of energy we could have nowadays, but never mistake nuclear power with nuclear weapons.

The human drama should overshadow the monsters. That’s what they’re about after all, each one of them; the human condition. Each and every time a disaster or monster movie comes out, its backbone is the human condition and drama that it carries. Most often they’re terrible written shit, which is why some concentrate on the monster fights. It’s a hard as hell script to write and it can be done only so many times. Because some people value personal view and analysis on shit more than what they actually are, you know what King Ghidorah was to me originally? It was the disaster from space, the possibility of humanity ending in a bright flash as a meteor strikes the Earth, wiping us clean. What else could we use against such a threat that nuclear weapons? Most likely it’d shatter into parts, like three heads Ghidorah had. We’re at the mercy of cruel, uncaring space, and all we have are weapons that we’ve managed to unleash on ourselves to defend with. None of those ideas matter in the end, y’know. It’s just a cool three headed golden dragon that’s powerful and throwing shit around. Yeah, sounds about right.

Aren’t you just salty bitch? You could say that and go fuck yourself while you’re at it. We live in an era where we have the luxury of movies and products like this are abundant. Godzilla and other movies of its kind are dime in the dozen. We are able to produce and enjoy so much MacDonalds grade shit that it isn’t funny. A Snickers bar now and then is great, but sometimes you really should throw that five bucks at a high-grade dark chocolate mint that you have to eat bit by bit, enjoying its flavours and savoring how strong it is. There are too many Godzilla movies for them to have any true meaning any more. People who expect monster fights would rather spend their viewing time on the phone, missing the that is of importance. A friend said Shin Godzilla would have been a better movie if had Mothra or King Ghidorah for Godzilla to fight. He missed all the anguish the movie has over life that doesn’t understand what it is or how it became to be. Life, that doesn’t now but pain and yet wants to continue onward despite everything else wanting it to end. The commentary on how Japanese government fucked dealing with Fukushima and how, the contradiction the culture itself represents as one of the cutting edge technology nations still sticking to their traditions to the point of effectively coercing inaction. And yet, all that was naught because it didn’t have monsters fighting.

You get why I get frustrated when people say all these movies are is monster fights? It’s because we can have our cake and eat it too. Fuck the cultural schema and paradigm we have now. You could have a film about two monsters fighting as a high art film as long as you treat it with proper care and remember the core of what these monsters are. However, with movies like Pacific Rim being around and applauded by a fringe fandom and the Chinese, that’s never going to happen. It’s like having the idea of high-grade dark chocolate mint, people discussing about it, but all we get is Snickers. Snickers sells better, it has more people wanting it. We could have genuine art, something that just doesn’t turn into frackled shit after we’ve consumed it.

As I said, I’ve been hearing the same thing said over and over gain. Even these people realise the framework and drama is necessary for the movie to function in any sensible level. However, this has been constant. Jokes have a basis on reality, and the more you act like a retard among retards, you’ll end up being one. Market forces can’t be denied. Clever movies don’t sell or are being made. Spectacle has become mundane. Everything is produced en mass. Uniqueness has been beheaded. Godzilla has a cultural paradigm it is stuck in. Like the Japanese said with Shin Godzilla, let the Americans do no-brain popcorn filler, leave real Godzilla for the Japanese. I can’t help but agree with that sentiment. Perhaps Shin Godzilla spoiled me. Not only is it a good monster flick, but a genuinely great film to boot worthy to stand next to the original. None other entry in the series can do the same, despite whatever my personal opinions would be.

If there’s anything you should from this blog, take it that you can’t go against market forces now matter what your personal tastes are. They don’t matter. You can defend high art or the most depraved porn, but if the market says otherwise, that’s that then. Godzilla and so many other of its kind are stagnant. We’re repeating the repetition of a repetition. Going back in time to see where it comes from is a breeze of fresh air that puts things into proper perspective. Perhaps I’ll need to follow one of my own advice from long past and let things go as they please and find new venues to enjoy. I can always return to the things I love without any regard where it may have gone nowadays.

I can always try to make something people might enjoy myself, even if this blog and its success are largely an indication how inept and stagnant I am myself.

Purple’s Qualia; Travel like light

I wonder where I should start with this one. Perhaps from the start, though what is the starting point is hard to determine. Maybe it was the fact that Back to the Future sparked my liking for time travel stories at a younger age, or that SF books and such have so much about it. Even the first Final Fantasy is a time travel story at the end, looping the beginning and end together. Time travel story after time travel story after time story. With further understanding on how world works, the stories themselves adapted the ideas, installing multiple world theories and others as the standard rather than BttF‘s popular linear time traveling.

At some point, it became clear that time traveling requires spatial traveling as well. I don’t remember what made this point clear to me, but one story had it as its major focus. It might’ve been a short story in a collection. Both spatial and dimensional travels are popular topics within fiction. These sometimes incorporate time travel, but time travel inherently has to have either of the other, sometimes both.

These stories are everywhere. Very few of them are anything new. Games, books, movies, comics, each form of media has taken their numerous takes on time and dimensional travel. I grew tired of them. Few times I didn’t exactly realise that these were major parts of a story, like Muv-Luv. You could say I did, seeing my main argument to hate it was Don’t bring you aliens and mecha into my realistic romance story but after learning it was an alternative world, I opened up to it.

Perhaps the thing that broke the camel’s back with these stories was the fact that branching universes breaks the intended motif of Muv-Luv, where Takeru has been set in an ever-looping hell before he can find that one path to save the world from certain death. However, with the series now having retroactively installed the whole branching timelines, there are no loops as such. Each time Takeru returns to origin point, he is at a branching point. Rather than saving humanity in BETAverse, he manages to save one of the infinite branches his actions are part of in infinite amount of BETAverses. The original intention, the very mechanic of Muv-Luv, of repeating a loop until one true path was found, was made moot.

How would you sell a story with time travel to someone who categorically is sick of them? I’ve been sold many stories described as the most scientifically accurate or realistic depiction of time travel, but that’s an oxymoron. With the current understanding, time traveling only exists forwards. We do it just by being. Nobody has yet gone back to the past and explained how it all works, or come returned (if that’s even applicable term) from the future to tell us how it works. To put it bluntly, none of if is realistic, none of it works, and we can only travel forwards.

Cover of the novel, with Marii’s purple eyes, but none of the qualia yet

Maybe that’s not exactly the starting point. More like presenting the colours and paint that are going to be used on the canvas. When Jinki:Extend was airing around 2005, I was aware of it but never watched the show. I liked its visuals but at the time I had my hands and mind busy elsewhere. Tsunashima Shiro’s style is distinctive and eye-pleasing. It is rather ageless as well, and will stand the test of time better than some of his contemporaries. Fast forward some thirteen years. At this time I’ve begun checking modern shows that I missed, comics to read during my downtime despite going through some hard times. Finding his works, very few translated as such, ultimately lead me to 2009 novel Purple’s Qualia by Hisamatsu Ueo and its 2011 comic adaptation.

Purple’s Qualia, or lit. translated from 紫色のクオリア as Purple Colour’s Qualia (officially formed as Qualia the Purple because of course this would be the official translation Japanese went with) is a story about infinite possibilities, about deep and loving friendship, sacrifices through trial and error, and perhaps most importantly, about a girl with purple eyes who sees all living things as robots. It is also a story with time and dimensional travel without actually having either.

More after the jump, we’re going a bit image heavy here.

Continue reading “Purple’s Qualia; Travel like light”

‘Fight!! Iczer-1’ production materials.

This is a small set of production materials out there directly relating to the Iczer series. Click an image for a larger view and easier navigation per gallery.

Iczer-1

Nagisa Kanou

Villains

Side charas

Character and environmental models