NisiOisiN and the deconstruction of language: a primer to discussing Owarimonogatari

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That’s an intimidating title, I know. In many ways, NisiOisiN’s approach to psychoanalyzing human behavior is no less complicated, owing to his strong grasp of the Japanese language and the ways by which he manipulates it in order to subsume the many “apparitions” that pepper his thematically chaotic stories. Be it a story about a young girl pushed to the brink of desperation due to a life of domestic violence, or the fantastical pursuit of an object of affection that transcends time and even death itself, NisiOisiN has always approached his stories through the thoughtful deconstruction of the language of his characters, introducing a thematic “object” that is subject to identification as the show unfolds. And this need to “identify” is central to the existentialist dilemma of “knowing thyself”, as is exemplified by the many arcs that focus around specific heroines and the “apparitions” of which they are tasked to come to terms with.

But this is where we run into the main issue of NisiOisiN works: its reliance on the deconstruction of language — and not just any language — but the Japanese language. Here, I discuss some of the paradigms of NisiOisiN that will allow us to gain a better understanding of the context behind his manipulation of language, which will hopefully serve as a useful primer for the upcoming episodic review articles I will be writing on Owarimonogatari. Continue reading

Summer 2017 – Week 4 & 5 in Review

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Okay, so apparently someone here doesn’t know how to count. And that same person couldn’t half-ass himself to correct his previous post so he decided to just combine weeks 4 and 5 in one post since for some weird reason, one show had two episodes aired in the same week. I’ve always been terrible at timing these week-in-review posts, anyway, so I guess it’s about time people were used to it by now.

But then I realized that a problem with my weekly review naming convention is that episode numbers can be ambiguous to the actual week in question, meaning if my naming sense for the week is totally off, it can throw of a reader unless I explicitly state what episode I’m talking about.

So to reduce confusion, I’ll be including the episode number in the header titles for each of the shows to be discussed — that way, no matter how stupidly I label my week-in-review post, you can be assured that you’re reading the right thoughts on the right episode.

So with that aside, let’s run down just what happened this week in animuland. It’s been a bit tiring — both in real life and in anime itself — but hey, that’s the way it is once the honeymoon of the first few weeks of a season has ended. Continue reading

Lost in Translation #17 – Sakura Quest

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Hey guys! Time for another Lost in Translation! This entry comes from Episode 17 of Sakura Quest where we see our five heroines being rudely referred to thusly: Continue reading

Anime and the Love of Headphones 4

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Hey guys! It’s been a while, but time for another segment on Anime and the Love of Headphones! In this installment, we take a look at one particular pair of headphones featured in the first ending theme of the Spring 2017 anime Sakura Quest! Continue reading

[Editorial] Anime for the Uninitiated

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“Hey, you watch anime, right? What’s a good recommendation?”

It felt like some kind of trap. Having just returned from a 10-hour stint in the laboratory, I wasn’t prepared to answer that sort of question. If anything, it felt like an ambush after having opened the door to the game room in a humble effort to see if anyone was around. True enough, there they were: two of my flatmates — one sociologist, the other a philosopher — sitting in the middle of the room, listening to the strained screams of a desperate Kirito slaying a wolf in the open fields of Aincrad as the closing act of the first episode of Sword Art Online was flashing across a 52-inch television screen.

“Yeah, I’ve never watched much anime before, and this was what he suggested I watch.

As if searching for a response, the philosopher seemingly scanned my expression, which was a mix between exasperation and confusion. On the one hand, there was the desire to throw out a random title and retreat out of sheer exhaustion from the toils of the day that was — a well-earned pint of Guinness and a soft pillow was a tempting prospect at that point — but at the same time, I was pondering why on earth anyone would recommend Sword Art Online as an introductory title to someone so obviously uninitiated to anime in the first place. Continue reading

Summer 2017 – Week 3 in Review

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Ed, you said you’d forego weekly reviews in favor of editorials, what gives? Maybe I should give you a forehead flick every time you change the specs!?

Yeah, pretty much. I’m ready to receive any number of forehead flicks if it means I get to do my regular spiel of sharing my weekly thoughts on anime, so sue me. At the very least, there’s a more manageable number of titles not requiring a split post to fit them all, so I feel more inclined to doing it more than before. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Anyway, we’re starting at week 3, because apparently I didn’t miss THAT much at the start of the season. So sit back and relax as we run through just what happened in week 3 of Summer 2017! Continue reading

Lost in Translation #16 – Magical Circle Guru Guru

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Hey guys, time for another Lost in Translation! Truth is, this entry is mostly about reference spotting, but it goes without saying that a big chunk of the enjoyment on this series banks on the viewer’s understanding of the Dragon Quest franchise. That’s not to say that you can’t appreciate it without having first-hand experience of the game; rather, a lot of the jokes can be missed otherwise. So hopefully, these little entries can help enrich your viewing experience if you’re one of those people who hasn’t played Dragon Quest back in the 80’s.

Because the truth is, the video gaming culture in the 80’s and early 90’s pitted two franchises as main rivals as far as RPGs were concerned: Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. For many Japanese friends I’ve met, they say that it was Dragon Quest that was far more popular than Final Fantasy, and it wasn’t until the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo Entertainment System for those in the West) that the Final Fantasy series really started to take off. Likewise, it isn’t that common to find hardcore Dragon Quest fans in the west given how well-exposed Final Fantasy is.

But putting that into perspective, that explains why a large chunk of the parodies in Magical Circle Guru Guru focuses on Dragon Quest, in general. Of course, I’m not claiming to have noticed all of the references in this pilot episode alone, so if you’ve noticed anything, do feel free to share it in the comments below! So sit back as we run down some interesting tidbits from episode 1 of Magical Circle Guru Guru! Continue reading