Management: Apparently I’m popular enough that anibloggers are consigning me to more blog work. Anyway, if you’ve either yet to read or entirely forgot the opening lines of my last self-reflection questionnaire post, I’ve set myself up to do these kinds of super editorializing posts in a super editorializing manner. These kinds of posts are a lot less formal, polite, and reserved than my usual Management content. I’ve subsequently labeled their style and persona as Non-Management.
Non-Management: Apparently AnonymousMatcha (personal shorthand Matcha) likes it when I write in Non-Management speak, and since she’s the reason why I’m doing this in the first place, I’m going to address my questions directly to her. They’re going to involve teasing. It’s okay. I’m a sadist.
I’ve been nominated by Matcha for the Liebster Award. It sounds prestigious, and I suppose you can think about it that way. Prestige is an abstract value, after all, and whether or not abstract values like prestige mean anything is really up to the person considering the value. Matcha ended up receiving it with some glee. I ended initially receiving it with apprehension…
…apprehension which later turned into glee the moment I realized I could tease her about it. Thank you Matcha.
Ultimately related to matters of abstract prestige and playfully harassing Matcha, the concept of the Liebster award did end up fascinating. It’s a meme, a unit of culture that has reproduced itself over and over to the point that it becomes part of popular culture, either within popular culture at large or popular culture within its medium. A networked individual creates a unique unit of culture and shares it with other networked individuals as numerous units, copies of that unit, who may like it, dislike it, or be indifferent to it. The people who like it may decide to share it with other people within their network, and if they like, they too may share it with other people. The lovers may eclipse the haters and fencers. Something involving math occurs, and suddenly you have many units, many copies of the original culture popularized by crowdsourcing. You have a meme, and the nature of that specific meme, plus the nature of memes themselves, end up being reflective of the popular zeitgeist.
That the Liebster Award is a meme means that enough bloggers have reproduced it to become popular and, thus, perpetuating in the blogosphere. This meme is especially unique, however, in the stipulations people end up voluntarily following to sincerely pass this meme along. That there are stipulations that go beyond simple “likes” or “retweets” is interesting enough. Memes more easily spread if the crowdsourcing process is simple. That these stipulations are blog-related, that they involve an extensive bit of writing in the form of non-binary questions and answers, means that the process isn’t simple. A lot more work has to be invested by the collective to make this a meme. That the Liebster Award still manages to be a meme under these conditions is, in my opinion, more impressive than lazier versions of its kind. Additionally, because the questions require explanation, there is flexibility in answering these questions. The answers tend to have variability. Finally, there is a dynamism to the questions. A Liebster Award set of questions are likely to be different between the people asked, and these questions are made up by the person asking them.
The Liebster Award’s set of questions, in other words, is not only reflective of the person answering the questions. It’s also reflective of the person asking them.
The Liebster Awards are me. The Liebster Awards are Matcha. This is a great opportunity for me to tease Matcha. Thank you Matcha.
- What is your relationship with Frog-kun?
- You must have a one-on-one skype
datechat with someone on Anitwitter. Who would this be? What would you talk about?
- What is some unique quality about yourself that you are absolutely sure no other anitwitterer in the world shares with you?
- What is something that you are afraid of?
- You are going to an anime convention and the requirement is that you cosplay. What do you cosplay as?
- You are a director for an animation studio and you’ve been assigned an original animation project. Give a synopsis for your anime and the main theme you want to shoot for?
- Do you ever feel ashamed to be an anime fan?
- A magical being descends and gives you a choice. You can either continue your ordinary life, or you can be granted magical powers so that you can live through an extremely exciting scenario that is written by Urobutcher. Would you prefer a life that is peaceful yet safe, or exciting yet dangerous?
- Pick an anime/manga universe you’d like to live in. Why?
- What is something that you like and dislike about blogging?
- Pick an anime character that you can relate to.
Enough of my rambling. Time to tease Matcha.
1. What is your relationship with Frog-kun?
I’m glad you asked Matcha. It’s a beautiful Internet story about a boy, a frog, and a bat.
I was just a lad on Internet anitwitter, and I happened upon this Internet scene,
of a beaten Internet Frog-kun by Internet people mean.
You may think the Internet actions that ensued upon this Internet sight was Internet pressure.
I was Internet fresh, and I had a lot of doubts.
I was Internet alone, and I didn’t want to be left out.
Rest assured, Internet Matcha, that it wasn’t the Internet’s case.
I just wanted to hit Internet Frog-kun with an Internet bat,
to put an Internet smile on my Internet face.
You might find this account a bit disingenuous of me because of its sensationalist conclusion or Dr. Seuss style, but this is what happened. There’s an earlier ask.fm that pretty much gives the same story, but less elegantly. I suppose you can say we became friends a bit after, and its through him that you found me. You may ask yourself why Frog-kun’s friendly with me, and I’ll tell you that it’s pretty simple. He’s a masochist.
Putting aside his kinks, Frog-kun’s a great guy who has quite a bit of insight about otaku culture. I would say I’m a fan of anime, and you might be able to argue that I’m an otaku, but at the end of the day, I’m also a person who’s very self-serious about the media he consumes. I tend not to engage very well with those parts of otaku culture that I find somewhat sordid on a personal level. Frog-kun is able to, and he’s self-aware enough to critique it on his blog (which is linked to his name in the question above). It allows him to be more of an insider on otaku culture than I will likely ever be. As both a social scientist who’s curious about the social roots and dynamics of otaku culture and an anime fan concerned about the health of an anime industry led and run by otaku culture consumption, I find Frog-kun’s perspective valuable. That I was able to collaborate with him on an Inou-Battle piece, particularly where elements of otaku culture were concerned, is something I’m appreciative of. Also, I’m reading a book he recommended, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, by John W. Dower.
2. You must have a one-on-one skype
date chat with someone on Anitwitter. Who would this be? What would you talk about?
3. What is some unique quality about yourself that you are absolutely sure no other anitwitterer in the world shares with you?
I’m not sure about any other anitwitter sharing this trait with me, but I’m kind of a sadist, if you don’t know, and my language in the anime community tends to lean towards causing violence and suffering. A lot of it is playful, and a lot of it is self-therapeutic. I’m honestly horrified by violence and suffering, but I contradictorily end up expressing myself in ways that seem to encourage or belittle violence and suffering as an outlet for stress and a reinforcer for my cynicism. I use it to cope with the aspects of the world that are arbitrary and cruel so I’m not overwhelmed, so I don’t neglect to see the aspects of the world I find beautiful and kind. A lot of these beautiful and kind things, I feel, are beget in the midst of, in spite of, and in defiance of the arbitrary and cruel. I’ll also admit that there are parts of me that I’m not proud of, that can be considered arbitrary and even cruel as well deep down in my subconscious, but I try to live a life of beauty and kindness regardless. It’s a human thing. My faults withstanding, I want to be a nice and kind person. Like I describe in my Kokoro Connect post, I don’t want to be alone. I want to cry and smile and laugh with other people who accept that I’m imperfect and that I’m negative, and in turn, I want to show people that I can cry and smile and laugh with them despite my imperfections and negativity.
That got sappy for me. Bat beatings for Frog-kun. Anyway, the motto of my blog (found in my About page) is a quote from Kino’s Journey, and I try to embody this quote, in my sadism, melancholy, and hope. It’s also why I constantly urge narratives to push characters to the extremes of the conflicts they suffer from, because it’s in this light where people can see each other’s humanities so they can learn to like them them for who they are and resolve them to become better people. Human beings are contradictory: static, yet so, so dynamic if we believe. If we believe, but there are even dichotomous contradictions there. Contradictions abound.
Desired authenticities. Betrayed expectations.
People are just so complex.
4. What is something that you are afraid of?
It’s a cliche, kind of like a meme actually, but it wouldn’t be a cliche if it didn’t have truth to it. I’m afraid of being alone, and not merely alone in the physical or communicable sense. It’s the fear of not empathized with, not being understood, and this kind of fear can pervade as much as in a crowded street as in an empty room. I suppose that’s why I dislike parties. There are always people around me, but I always end up feeling so alienated. Few people talk to me, and the few that do talk to me out of obligation. They never have anything relatable to me to say, and I never have anything relatable to say back. We don’t share the same interests, and I hate the feeling of acting phony.
Sappy, sappy, sappy… Shit, I’m going to have to beat Frog-kun again?
5. You are going to an anime convention and the requirement is that you cosplay. What do you cosplay as?
El Psy Kongroo.
6. You are a director for an animation studio and you’ve been assigned an original animation project. Give a synopsis for your anime and the main theme you want to shoot for?
That off-hand idea I mentioned to you earlier on ask.fm about a blood-and-brain-soaked bat becoming sentient doesn’t sound like a totally bad idea. I wonder how many times I’d have to beat Frog-kun for that to happen.
Answering this question seriously, I’d like to expand on this short story I ended up writing sometime ago, hopefully whenever I get time to polish it up. I have something of a fascination with both neuroses, something that I wrote about in this post, and Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personalities Disorder. The fascination with the former’s been something that stuck with me ever since I read Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, and the latter’s struck me ever since watching Shigofumi (and, to a certain extent, writing about it in this post). I wanted to take ideas from various media I’ve consumed, Shigofumi as well as Cowboy Bebop and Katawa Shoujo, and fashion it into a disturbed, yet sympathetic tale of a miserable, paranoid, and abused girl whose only friend hitherto the time the story’s set was an alternate personality she inadvertently created from within her tortured psyche as a defense mechanism towards an arbitrary and cruel world and father. From there, the issue transitions to whether or not this alternate personality is in fact the girl’s psychical fabrication, or is in fact its own person. I’d love to direct something like that, though I’m not entirely confident that I could get my vision right. The theme, I suppose, would be love, someone to love and someone to love you back. However pessimistic and distrusting this girl is, she believes in her friend, her friend is proof, however unorthodox, of this desire for affection.
7. Do you ever feel ashamed to be an anime fan?
I don’t actually. I like the anime that I do because I’ve found the insights and experiences I’ve had with it to be powerful, crucial many ways to the person I am now. To be embarrassed by anime, to turn my back on the medium is tantamount to a betrayal of myself, and I hate being phony. I benefit from the fact that I tend to be selective about the shows I watch. I watch to learn and be moved, and that’s ultimately turned me off and made me more indifferent to a plethora of shows that society might find questionable or queer. I’m also something of an outsider to society in a lot of areas already for reasons that relate to me been socially critical, so having society look down on me for my fandom appears ends up being perceived more like uninformed egotistical snobbery than genuine criticism.
8. A magical being descends and gives you a choice. You can either continue your ordinary life, or you can be granted magical powers so that you can live through an extremely exciting scenario that is written by Urobutcher. Would you prefer a life that is peaceful yet safe, or exciting yet dangerous?
9. Pick an anime/manga universe you’d like to live in. Why?
I might be willing to visit some, but I would not pick any to live. A lot of anime/manga universes are more painful than the universe I live in, and for the ones that aren’t, many wildly imaginative and fantastical, I’d just outright refuse. I don’t subscribe to escapism, and I actually wrote a post about this a while ago with Higurashi.
10. What is something that you like and dislike about blogging?
I like writing, and I dislike writing. I love being able to express my thoughts on an issue, theme, and/or show in flowing words and sweeping flourish, but at the same time, it’s time-consuming and tiresome. Sometimes I get stuck on how to express something in a post. Sometimes, I feel like there are other things that are more pressing than writing a post. So far, this post has taken me some hours and has ballooned to over 3000+ words. I’m admittedly lazy and I admittedly don’t like feeling stressed, so I don’t find the prospect of those feelings fun. But once it all comes together with a modicum of satisfaction, once I’m able to hear other people enjoy my writings and perhaps caused them to rethink or reconsider something. Once I’m able to ask them about those thoughts and share our analyses and perhaps even some friendly verbal jabs and shit-talking… I feel like writing again. I suppose that makes me somewhat masochistic too.
11. Pick an anime character that you can relate to.
I’m going to cheat (because that’s what I’ve been pretty much doing on my myanimelist profile picture for the longest time) and say Hanako Ikezawa from the indie VN, Katawa Shoujo. Outside of how absolutely precious she looks in the bottom image, Hanako’s emotional temperament is, in many ways, like mine. Obviously, I didn’t watch my parents cook in front of me, and obviously, I don’t have scars covering one-third of my body. I wasn’t viciously bullied for scars I didn’t have, and I’m far better socially adjusted than her by start, or even the end, of her route, but I can empathize with her character. She, like me, sees the glass half-empty. We’re naturally melancholy people, and the worse of things tend to occur to us more easily than the better. It naturally colors our worldview as cynical darker grays, but they aren’t black, and, again referencing my Kokoro Connect post, the glass isn’t altogether empty.
We want to laugh and cry and smile with loved ones and for loved ones, with people we care about and for people we care about, but our experiences end up shaping our emotional temperaments, and our emotions can get out of hand when we plummet into bad places. Our worldviews suddenly get so much more myopic that it’s hard to think, hard to breathe. These contractions end up overwhelming us involuntarily, and as much as other people might inform us or we know ourselves, we just can’t help it. And yet Hanako, who’s had it far worse and endured far more than I have, is able to find moments of genuine happiness for herself, all the same. She’s able to find friends, fall in love, and plan for the future, and I just have to think. If people like her can live life, then, however negative I may be, I should be able to live my life just fine too.
Now for 11 Random Facts About Myself:
- I’m Filipino-American, and just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I’m good at math.
- I used to play piano, I currently play clarinet, and my band experience has given me a taste for marching arrangements.
- I’m formally studying to be a political scientist and international relations expert, but I’m foremost a history buff that really needs to find more time brush up on more history.
- My dad’s a software programmer and loves math. He might be the tiniest bit disappointed with my academic choices.
- Don’t need glasses, yo~
- I’m still too young to legally drink at the point of this post, but I’ve resolved not to drink out of principle. Somewhat odd, considering that Filipino culture is part drinking.
- I was not an athlete in high school. Nor am I today. At all.
- My parents used to guilt trip me with stories of their childhood experiences in rural poverty back in the Philippines into having more initiative and being more independent. It might have the tiniest bit to do with my self-esteem issues.
- I cow into my room, lock the door, and either read books or watch anime while my roommates drink and dance and vomit and do other things involving their other bodily fluids.
- I love Hanako and Homura to death, and I will put you on my despair list if you decide to shit-talk them.
- I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve Internet beaten Frog-kun.
Now for 11 Questions for my Nominees:
- I just beat Frog-kun with a bat. What do you do?
- Do you ship, best girl, and/or waifu? If you do, what do you get out of it? If you don’t, why?
- What’s your favorite anime couple. Why?
- How open-minded or adventurous to trying out show genres you’re not used to? Are there any show genres you feel either obstinate or uncomfortable trying? Why?
- Have there been things in shows that have (as opposed to disgusted) horrified you? Why and how? Additionally, have there been things in shows that have moved you to tears? Why and how?
- Do you prefer shows that bore you or shows that disgust you? Why?
- What are a couple of characters that you strongly identify with? Why?
- When was the last time you decided to watch a show you knew or thought you knew you’d dislike or hate? Why did you watch it?
- What’s a question you’d ask yourself? Why would you ask it?
- What is something that you fear? Why do you fear it?
- The bat I used to beat Frog-kun came to life. What do you do?
And now for My Nominees (aka Write Shit like Me):
*Not a hit list.
Now people, let’s make memes.