Ah, it seems it was not. I have not tended to frequent blogs very much recently, regarding anime discussion. If there was an interesting conversation you ran across, however, I would be interested in taking a look.
lol. So, I just tried to watch episode 3 of No. 6 while eating. Didn't quite manage :P.
I better catch episode 4 before I say anything about literature. Of the first three episodes, though, I'll toss out some quick impressions:
- first, two things which register as minor reservations. They won't jeopardize my enjoyment or ability to take this anime seriously, but they are flaws which might distract me from complete engagement with it. 1. The shounen-ai vibes. Nezumi is pretty touchy-feely. That's okay and all, but it takes an amazing male character to make me genuinely enjoy something that is actually unrepentantly gay somehow. 2. The overplayed 'dystopian' authoritarian portrayal of the ruling government. This anime presented a pretty compelling hypothesis for human society in the near/far future, so I was kinda disappointed to see it fall back on the banal cliche of an oppressively evil government. Humans might be weak, but they aren't stupid--there are many more efficient ways for hypothetical dystopias to enforce conformity than the unimaginative use of fear and brainwashing.
- The way this show deals with sex is pretty amusing and interesting. Safu, for one, is astonishingly kinky. To actually refer to her romantic motives as "an emotional desire to reproduce", she makes my mind wander to the type of more depraved doujins where women are occasionally reduced to little more than living baby factories. Christ, girl, science doesn't actually need to go that far :P. However, the way that Nezumi also included sex as merely one of his examples of "experiencing"/"knowing" reality also reinforces this somewhat detached perspective of it. If the show is willing to go that far, then, I hope that the 'dog hotel' which was introduced in episode 3 will have it naturally revealed that the rented dogs are used for much more than simple 'heating' lol. If you're gonna be that blase about human sexuality, then don't show hypocrisy by holding anything back .
- Anyway, at the very least, I like that this anime obviously has an ambitious story to tell. It's trying to sell itself on the strength of its ideas, rather than the gratification I always fall back on if all else fails. It's got my full attention as a show that will try to involve my thinking faculties (not yet so much my emotional ones), so I won't restrain myself in engaging it on that level.
edit: Well. Episode 4 moved a lot less than I had expected it to, but I'm looking forward to episode 5. Regardless, the gay is all over the place, and frankly what's-his-name (the main character) is kinda pissing me off. Also, I dunno how it is for Yaoi fangirls, but sexual promiscuity is not attractive to me in a male. :P Do you really know what you've dragged me into here? lol.
To directly comment on some of the themes you brought up in the first place: the inevitable encroaching redundancy of humans and individuality, as well as the accelerating gap between the rich and the poor, are very prescient themes that I think this show has done very well to have sitting at the backs of our heads. I actually relate to those anxieties very personally. On the contrast the show has raised between the sterility of the [dys]Utopia of No. 6 and the 'real' world of sex, books, and fighting; I find it somewhat artificial. Shion embodies naivete, while Nezumi has practically drowned himself in a harsh reality. The ideal I prefer is mastery over reality and our base humanity without being lost to its senselessness, however; which is why the upcoming Safu episode actually looks very interesting to me. Here is a person who, while living in No. 6, will not be lost to naivete. Someone who is drawn to the direct experience of reality while still managing to protect herself with a cool distance intellectually. Unfortunately, though, I've already got a feeling that she'll play out the losing end to the 'real emotions' Shion will experience in the outer world with Nezumi.
Heh. The range of new shows I took the time to research and try was actually fairly reduced this season so in truth I hadn't even yet given No. 6 an episode--out of unfamiliarity more than anything else, of course. The question you mention regarding lasting literary value is a very interesting one for me however as it was actually not so long ago that I grew somewhat frustrated with academic literary values or the emphasis placed on works of obscure or traditional canons, and threw myself rather emphatically into a pursuit for meaning instead in our sea of modern commercial media and culture. I'll certainly give No. 6 a look very soon--it sounds like it brings up some rather worthwhile things to think about.
On Mawaru Penguindrum: on some level, I feel that unbridled, destructive creativity is one of the greatest enjoyments an anime can ever offer me. This is part of how I am enjoying Mawaru Penguindrum so far--it actually gives me something of a thrill as I witness what sometimes feels like utterly unrestrained individuality. The stronger, more essential facet of Ikuhara's directing style however seems to be in his use of obscure symbolism and structure, which I confess may be comparatively dull and not something I actually have a whole lot of faith or confidence in--I never did finish Utena, for one thing. Given some of the commentary by other posters who've delved deeper into Ikuhara's themes and symbolism than I have, the obscurity does/should actually clear up by the end to deliver a core that's solid and relatable, so that's what I'm counting on--but I will say that the deliberateness/stiltedness of Ikuhara's rhythms have sometimes even felt like they were actively pushing me away. I am of the opinion that it is a piece's job to grip the viewer/reader, rather than the viewer's to peel back layers of obscure meaning; so if this work is depending on the latter--by the end of the series--for me, it might have become a failure. I do know that even what it's shown so far however is powerful and confident enough that people's reactions to it will be big, though; so it is almost worth watching just for that alone.
On Shinkai: 5cm per Second really is brilliant. It utterly crushed me when I first saw it. It's an enormously powerful piece of work. I'm not too familiar with Shinkai's other works; Beyond the Clouds put me to sleep when I tried to revisit it after Byosoku 5cm, but Hoshi no Koe put me to tears alternatively. 5cm/s really is the standout work however, and while I can't say I actually like the guy for what he did to me with that movie, the feelings which have been invoked in me since that time are probably permanently engraved in my heart. So, an invaluable experience, really, but my relationship with it is more like a part of my past than anything in my present or future.
On your recommendation I will have to revisit MP. I watched the first two episodes, but the absurdity of the penguins (!) put me off, and so I missed what has made you (and many others) interested in this project.
What do you think of No. 6? If I were to return your recommendation I would point you to this show. Shion's fall out of privilege to the underside of the ideal city of the future provides for much reflection about human values and human nature. Mixed in is the central question regarding culture, of what literary works survive in a future that has forgotten not only you and I as individuals but also the shape of the world we know. Unfortunately the conversation on Animesuki has so far been uninspiring, so I haven't participated much on the forums this season.
The other fine anime I have encountered recently you no doubt already know all about: Makoto Shinkai's 5 Centimeters a Second. What a masterpiece: not only of lovely animation, but of sensibility--the awareness that love no matter how intense no matter how significant is transitory, and can only be treasured at the very moment it is lost. The film is incomparably moving. Right now I am going backwards and forwards through Shinkai's work. He gets compared with Miyazaki--no wonder.
Thank you so much for your "friend" request! I have reciprocated by making the same request of you. For better or for worse, literature has been for me a solitary pursuit. The things I like and find interesting are laid out before everyone--apparently to ignore. So I have mostly gone my own way. Which is a roundabout way of saying I appreciate your intelligence and your interest all the more.
Hey hyperborealis; or should I call you Dave? I was thinking back a bit about how I never got to directly respond to your second post in the episode 11/12 thread on Madoka Magica (the thread's tone just turned a bit too hostile to quick--I really did not think such a characterization-relevant scene deserved such criticisms; and at the same time I was coming under a bit of time crunch/stress from a certain real life issue) and I really regretted our conversation having come to a halt so inconclusively. I'd been thinking for a while about just reviving that post in the Madoka thread but when this season started I found something I thought might be even better: incidentally, have you heard about Mawaru Penguindrum?
It's a new anime, by a studio I don't really follow (Brains-Base), but also the mind behind Sailormoon and Revolutionary Girl Utena--an industry classic--who is doing his first work since the latter in 14-15 years. Directorally, I am a greater fan of Madoka's ShinboxShaft but Ikuhara (that's the guy's name) has got a similarly great visual flair and his concepts are, if nothing else, powerfully original and creative. If I were to compare Penguindrum to Madoka, thus far, I would say that the former actually has even an stronger artistic (if not narrative) touch and thematic density--although, as far as the tone and direction of the narrative, Mawaru Penguindrum also has a story which seems to me as a fair bit more 'poisonous'. In any case, it is a work which I feel is just as rich for interpretation and analysis as Madoka proved to be and which I am rather thrilled to see through to the end of--and which made me think that you yourself might also be interested. It would be a pleasure to see you pop into the thread a some point or another, if you're willing--as I am rather interested to hear your impressions.
Incidentally, on a somewhat past issue; I have not often previously taken the initiative with Animesuki's friend system, as I tend to be rather individualistic or forward in my own reactions to anime and I have never found my interactions with others much to extend beyond the originating series of contact. I realized it'd be a bit of a shame however to have passed by a rapport like we had over Madoka, so this occasion seemed like a very good exception. I wonder if you're interested--and it will be great to hear back from you on Penguindrum in anycase;
(i.e. Myron Yao; though I will probably be more comfortable with my handle online, personally. )
Yeah, I've quite enjoyed your contributions and our conversation as well. I've just been lurking for a little while in part due to the wait for the next episode in addition to some other things distracting me at the moment. The other thing is that I really do admire people who can put forth their perspectives concisely and coherently as I tend to get too into it and write tremendous wall of text posts. At times I run into a wall with that as I question both the relevance of what I'm saying and the time investment.
I am quite dedicated to enjoying Madoka though, so no worries I will jump back into the discussion when the time arises . By the sound of it, you're somewhat new to these forums? If so, allow me to extend a belated welcome. While I won't say serious or sophisticated discussion at Animesuki is so much a consistent happening, people can only have such conversations if someone is willing to go out and put their ideas out there, and there are probably more people willing or wanting to engage anime on that level here than anywhere else. To that end, it really was your own initial posts which stimulated my thinking and helped me get my words out, so I very much have you to thank as well.
Anyway, I'm definitely still lurking around right now and such, so yeah :P. See you around.
I just discovered the recommendation feature of the forum and wanted to thank you for your kind comment of 3/14/11.
And much more, thank you for the conversation we have had across the posts. I've learned a lot from you--you bring back the good part of grad school . More than that, you've really engaged Madoka Magica on a profound level, which has allowed the conversation here to reach a seriousness and a sophistication I almost never see elsewhere. I really can't thank you enough for that.
I only wish you would contribute more, and more frequently.