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Friday, January 8, 2010

Cute Girls Attack Politics! The Audio World is Lost to Comments!

Just a Bunch O' Random Stuff

(Or any old excuse to play around with the controls on this blog)

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this whole "moe" thing.  And trying my best to refrain from pulling out any lame Three Stooges jokes.  (It's fucking HARD).  After spending the last couple of days doing research to figure it out, I think I might finally have a handle on it, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Back in the day, Mitsuyoshi (my Japanese friend and provider of all things great and wonderful) would send me episodes of Magical Emi and Pastel Yumi in amongst the Hokuto no Ken and whatever mecha shows Nippan Sunrise was hoisting on us at the time.  Do these count?  Or were they proto-moe? Or Neantherdal moe?

Moe or Noe?

I never had the heart to tell him to stop because no one was requesting the crap or even watching the crap and the space on the tapes would be better spent on...well, pretty much anything else.  Even commercials.  Don't laugh, the Japanese had kick ass commercials back in the '80s.  But I was always the considerate one and if he wanted to send me girl shows, who was I to argue? It was a small price to pay for all the other cool stuff and, besides, I didn't know if it would be considered rude.   But the fact that he included these series in the first place told me something.  It may have been something that I didn't want to consider, but I pretty much had to.  Maybe he watched them himself?  Or if he didn't, he obviously assumed we might. On the other hand, I don't think he ever missed a chance to send us episodes of High School Kimengumi either, so maybe it was just more convenient for him to set his VCR for blocks of shows.  I dunno.

Oh, yeah,  no anime snobs in the C/FO-San Antonio, no siree!
 I think we must've ended up with at least 40 Emi/Yumi episodes and almost that many Kimengumi episodes, all taped directly off of Japanese TV.  And never got any requests for any of it.  Oh, yeah, check that.  Just about when I was getting burned out (early 90s) one guy from Austin or Dallas (JAMM again) asked for the Magical Girls episodes.  Since they were scattered on ten to fifteen tapes, I didn't have the will left to do the editing job and just let him borrow the tapes himself. He must've really, really liked the shows 'cause I never got those tapes back.  Ordinarily, I'd have been mighty pissed and thrown a fandom hissy (and, yeah, I still had a lot of juice back then), but I'd simply stopped caring.  If he needed the damned things that badly, God Bless him.

Watching 20 hours of this stuff is punishment enough.

On to something a bit less depressing...

My recent reincarnation was due, in no small part, to discovering the podcasts at Anime World Order.  In particular, the guest interviews with good folks like Tim Eldred, Steve Harrison, Rob Fenelon, Bill Thomas... basically everyone who stuck it out while lamers like me folded up our VCRs and ran for reality.  Or away from reality, which may be closer to the truth.  If the internet fandom had been running this strong back in '95 or so I might never have left, but once I moved out to rural Louisiana, I pretty much had to shut it down.  Aside from a brief trip to AWA in '98, which kind of reinforced the fact that anime fandom had passed me by, I just gave it all up cold turkey.

But man, listening to Daryl and Clarissa and Gerald, I hear the voices of a lot of people I knew back then. That enthusiasm.  It's not exactly the same kind of enthusiasm as when we were standing by ourselves on a busy streetcorner shouting out about the amazingness of something like Penguin's Memory or some other obscure piece of toon work no one on this side of the Pacific knew existed - anime and manga are so much more a part of the general entertainment consciousness now -  but it's certainly familiar. Something I never forgot. Now it's more like the tone of voice I used to use on those damned mechaheads when trying to pry them away from their Zeta Gundam toys long enough to watch an episode of City Hunter.  Man, I could rock that voice back then too.  Up until I got that sofa cushion in the face, anyway.  'Swat I got for having meetings in the living room...

Seriously, penguins with automatic weapons and combat stress disorder. Does it fucking GET any better than this?

I think the magic in the podcasts is hearing the voices. Reading something on the 'net just isn't the same thing as hearing the voices. A large part of the spell of fandom for me was the human interaction. I get the feeling I may have been in the minority in that, but when it was no longer available to me (not a whole lot of cartoon fans in the middle of the swamp), a lot of the appeal just died. But when the three folks at AWO start tossing it back and forth with Walter Amos, I'm right back in the back of a sparcely populated video room at two in the morning with Jeff Blend doing our dueling Akira Kamiya Kenshiro yells. Mine was better, but then I have the feeling I had a lot more practice.*

I envy those who can't stop for nothin'. I really do. Hearing Bill Thomas go on and on - does that guy even HAVE an off switch?  Simply amazing he can keep up the cartoon mojo after all this time.  Would that everyone had that kind of passion for something, and wear it out in the open so easily.  But, again, that's not always something that can come alive on the page or the monitor, as hard as we try.  But it just freakin' JUMPS out of the speakers at you.  So guys (and gal) at AWO, keep up the good fight. I'll be listening.

As for this blogging thing...

Though this is my first real attempt at a blog of my own, I've actually been blogsurfing for quite a while. Just not anime blogs.  Or even entertainment blogs.  Nope, I have the worst sort of blog addiction.

I'm a slave to the dreaded political blogoshere.   

It could be worse. I could be addicted to recovery blogs.

I read a good crossection of the political blogosphere, mainly HotAir, Sullivan, Instapundit, the "Juicebox Mafia," The Corner, Drudge, HuffPo, etc.  I generally hang on Ta-Nahisi Coates' site, simply 'cause whereas most political blogs have cesspool comments sections, his is pretty straight.  And he doesn't mind if we talk NFL and isn't terribly obnoxious for a Dallas Cowboys' fan...

I certainly don't intend to get political here, 'cause that path leads to DOOOOOOOOM!!
There is method to my madness. The reason I started blogging about anime is because it is utterly inconsequential, and thus won’t attract the attention of readers who are earnest.
By "earnest" I'm assuming he means the anklebiters who frequent most high-profile political blogs, half of whom know more about everything than you do and the other half of whom are there to make snarky comments on the off-chance that someone, anyone, will pay attention to what they have to say.  The traffic on those sites is unbelievable, which in turn draw more people looking for an audience for their pithy comments.  I was going to talk a bit about the "inconsequential" part, but I just don't feel all that qualified.  It certainly was back when I was a fan, but I dunno about now.  With every new Miyazaki film getting the Disney distribution treatment over here, it's hard to argue about the Japanese medium as a whole not counting in the big picture, anymore than we'd deem the Pixar releases as inconsequential.  Some Miyazaki films do make the "best of" lists of high-profile film critics on this side of the Pacific, after all.  Oh, well, so much for the "not qualified" part.  Meh.

In any case, one of the aspects of the higher-profile blogs that I do find interesting is the way they feed off each other, even if it's not all that pretty to watch at times. Politics will do that, of course, but I've also seen a lot of back and forth in the comments sections of the anime blogs I've managed to track down over the past two weeks or so.  So why doesn't this kind of chatter show up on the actual blogs themselves?  Is it that some commentors don't have their own blogs in which to answer? I dunno, but I've easily seen some comments that I thought really were deserving of a blog post and a trackback and a link, etc.

And now a word from the press secretary to the star...   

One more bit of...err...presidential politics before I'm outa here.  I'm about as big a "Lost" fan as you can get (hey, kids, flashbacks!!!), but it says something when the press secretary has to come out and let you know the Prez isn't gonna ruin the premiere of your show.    

Oops, wrong Locke

 Not sure exactly what it says, but I'm sure it says something.      

"Why don't you open the comments section to everyone?"

"Working on it!  Working on it!"

* We weren't actually being rude. Well, okay, maybe we were, but we had an excuse.  See, back in the day when we ran all-night video rooms, the convention officials frowned on people using them as free room and board for the night, if you know what I mean.  And nothing, son, I mean NOTHING wakes up dozing fanboys like a healthy dose of ...  
"Ata ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta taaaaaa.... waaATAAaaa!!!!"  

In stereo, no less. 

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