My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU : An Angel and her Knight

Management: Covering the plot and the character work of the last two seasons of My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU, otherwise known more pithily as Oregairu, while my opinion of the show is generally positive overall, this essay is, by no means, is meant to serve as a comprehensive review, but rather, as an articulation and analysis of the complexities of a couple of the show’s characters. It’s a good show though, so you should watch it if you haven’t yet.

A link to a previous mini-analysis of aforementioned two characters can be found in the beginning of this piece as well as here.

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“I’ll go searching…”

A post a few months ago had me answering at length: What is [my] favorite anime couple? and Why? It’s My Teen Romance Comedy SNAFU’s (or Oregairu’s) Hikigaya Hachiman and Yukino Yukinoshita, and the explanation is in the embedded link. But wait, they aren’t an official couple as of yet. Wouldn’t pairing them together be considered shipping?

For those who aren’t in the know about this particular factoid about me from either my comments on anitwitter or the opening paragraphs of my White Album 2 review, I don’t ship. In the event that characters are reasonably well-written, that their hopes and fears, insecurities and desires relate, resonate, with our human us, with our human selves, with humanity, with what it means to be human, I want to avoid imposing my wishes on characters as much as possible.

These characters are fictional, but fiction are reflections of reality. Beyond any convictions of essentialism (of which I hold few to none), I’m loathe to deprive humanity of its agency. I believe character agency is tied to character respect. I do end up wishing certain developments for characters I become attached to anyway because my own hopes and desires for these characters leak out. However, I draw a line when it comes to shipping. For their sakes, something intimate as a romantic relationship is no business of mine to matchmake just because I’m God.

“Filling in the blank space,

I thought this theorem I posed was correct,

But it ends up just treading air.”

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Cults and Anime Post-Aum

Management: Some of the early fruits (part of an annotated bibliography) of an anthropological research paper I’m working on connecting Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese psyche, the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks, and cult tropes in anime post-Aum. I’ve honestly been busy to the point that I’ve only managed to come up with one of my more usual complete and lengthy pieces for next week, and I feel bad for not updated the blog for so long. Hopefully this slapdash analysis will soothe those disgruntled until then.

The full essay is here. Check it out.

What may be regarded by society as religious “cults” have permeated history from ancient and modern times, with their latest widely accepted mass incarnation in modern times emerging in its latest wave in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of globalization and Western values of individualism, materialism, and secularism. In response to a world increasingly tied together through markets of economics and ideas, culturally closed and colonially bitten portions of society, rather than accommodating and resigning themselves to what they see as the imposition of moral and spiritual depravity, have produced new age religious movements attempting to cater to the socially disaffected. Born out of a highly materialistic, highly competitive, and highly oppressive (so they say) Japanese culture within the context of other existing and soon-to-exist new religions throughout the world was Aum Shinrikyo.

With the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks and other acts of violence and deviancy, Aum Shinrikyo would leave an indelible scar in the Japanese psyche that, to this day, permeates in popular Japanese culture and even anime subculture as negatively connotative “evil cult” tropes. Some anime embrace them, others make light of them, others still challenge them, and others utilize them in all three ways. Some recurring themes to keep in mind as you scan down the following seven, alphabetically ordered shows that feature some use of this trope:

a charismatic, eccentric, ominous, and/or megalomaniac leader;

world-rejecting and anti-social behavior;

eschatological, millenarian, and apocalyptic worldviews;

claims to supernatural powers;

eccentric, nonsensical, and/or suspicious deviancy;

financial exploitation;

sexual exploitation;

conspiratorial thinking;

brainwashing;

fanaticism;

violence;

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