Archive for December, 2010
I’m so glad to see that Moritheil’s been blogging more (and not just re-posting arguments, either). He just posted a gem, Judgement on Otaku. An excerpt:
Try as I might, I canâ€™t really see picking on otaku, but trumpeting your sensitivity towards gays and lesbians, as any different from having learned what you can and canâ€™t get away with. It doesnâ€™t seem to indicate that youâ€™ve actually internalized the idea that stereotypes can be damaging.
As usual, Moritheil’s absolutely right. I have two things to add:
Making fun of people is wrong. I don’t care how clever you are, or how ironic, or whether you “don’t mean any harm.” “Grow up” or ”don’t be so sensitive” aren’t valid resolutions, because they don’t resolve the problem.
The kindest, most respected men in history — Jesus, Buddha — spoke most strongly about not making fun of people. This is a well-established standard of conduct.
On the other hand, there’s a big difference between making fun of people and critiquing a group phenomenon. All sorts of groups and movements throughout history deserved critique and analysis. To take extreme examples, the Nazis and the Klan deserve analysis and debate. Those groups shouldn’t be shrugged off or ignored.
Neither should their members be made fun of or dismissed out of hand.
Americna anime cons have been solidering on using the exact same format for about two decades now. I submit that it’s time for some changes.
- There aren’t enough opportunities to meet people.
- Video rooms are boring. They’re usually half-empty. A lot of time is spent showing anime that many people have seen.
- There are too many goofy panels.
- Artist’s Alley is a ghetto.
- Assign attendees to randomly-named groups of no more than 20 people each (using a slip of paper included in their bag). Offer discounts on food if bought for the entire group at once.
- Reward each attendee with a goodie if their entire group shows up at con ops at an appointed time and sings a song of their choice.
- Publish a formal request for panels. Post on the Anime and Manga Research Circle. Come up with a theme for the con. Ask academics and bloggers to present on specific topics (while accepting panels on other topics).
- Only show obscure anime.
- Pick one anime film that everyone should see. Cancel everything else during its time slot.
- Move karaoke into a public space.
- Give colored tickets to random artists in Artist’s Alley. Give each attendee a free goodie if they bring in one of each colored ticket.
- Organize discussion panels. Not just between experts; also with the audience. Address hot-button controversial issues: lolicon, the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill, the ethics of fansubs, etc. Record them and post them online.
I do love Osamu Tezuka’s work, but some of his titles are rapidly going out of print. Here’s what you can (and can’t) find; links go to the Amazon.com page for the first volume of each series.
The following works can be found on Amazon and similar retailers new or used for about their original price (or less!):
Adolf – The story of three men named Adolf during World War II. Please forgive the cheesy covers.
Apollo’s Song – A cautionary tale about violence and sexuality, this is one of Tezuka’s stranger stories, in which a violent young man is forced to live through multiple tragic lives to learn compassion.
Astro Boy – Tezuka’s most popular work, and one of his most
Ayako – Just released. Haven’t read it. Has a naked woman on the cover.
Buddha – A biography of Buddha’s early years, light on the mysticism and heavy on the realism.
Black Jack – The story of a
Dororo – Only 3 volumes! Granted, Dororo begins with a silly premise: a man promises his unborn son’s limbs and organs to various demons; the
Metropolis – Inspiration for the relatively recent film, this is one of Tezuka’s earliest works, and it shows. Only one volume, and it’s starting to rise in price on the used book sites.
Lost World — Another early Tezuka work. Mostly action/adventure fun.
MW – Tezuka’s musings on why bad things happen to good people. An almost absurd amount of tragedy and evil occurs in the pages of this
Nextworld – Yet another very early Tezuka work, a rollicking adventure story that touches on a few grander themes.
Ode to Kirihito – I haven’t read this one yet. It’s about a guy who contracts a disease that turns him into a monster, so it’s a
Phoenix – Tezuka’s masterpiece, spanning millions of years and a breathtaking array of characters and situations to probe the mysteries of the human spirit. The first volume of Phoenix now goes for hundreds of dollars (U.S.), and others are rising in price, but most are available for $12.
Hard to Find
These titles are hard or impossible to find, even used.
Crime and Punishment — Released in 1990 as a bilingual manga; now well
Princess Knight – The first shoujo manga.
Swallowing the Earth — Another one I haven’t read yet, it’s apparently a slapstick story about the world’s dependence on the gold standard, mixed with quiet points about modern sexuality and other social issues. Color me intrigued.
And of course, this post only lists those few of Tezuka’s works that have been published in English; the man produced hundreds of manga.
Anything else I should add? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!