Thanks. The irony, I suppose, is that things are looking up just a hair at this frozen moment in time - Spring especially might be decent. But it's like global warming - one cool day doesn't mean it's not happening.
As for Boku Dake, I've been on that bandwagon since long before the anime was announced. The manga is spectacular, and the anime is up to the challenge so far. It's absolutely great.
Pocari_Sweat linked me to your recent MAL article. Good article, even if my own views on current anime are slightly more positive.
Still, I get a feeling lately that anime has become overly safe and conservative, so much of your article resonated with me. I don't know if I'd say that anime is in a total creative rut, but there's at least a stronger Sturgeon's Law vibe I've been getting from anime in recent seasons, if you catch my drift.
One current show we definitely agree on is ERASED. That's refreshingly different so far. I very much liked its first episode.
The problem is that it feeds into a centuries-old box Japanese women have been placed in. And as someone very dissatisfied with the way gender roles have developed in anime, the rise of idol culture is a disaster purely on an artistic level. It's a lose-lose in every way, and anything that forces people who like to pretend otherwise to rub their noses in the shit they help to spread is a positive in my book. Whether WUG ends up being that is an open question...
Thanks for the informative reply. You raised some good points. I agree that if being a J-Pop Idol is considered the highest aspiration for everyday girls in Japan then that's a pretty sad commentary on their society. I mean, American girls often dream of being actors or pop stars or somebody famous, but most usually aim for something more realistic and productive in a practical sense (like Doctors, Educators, Nurses, etc...).
Well, I certainly am no expert, though I know a bit about the idol industry. The first thing you have to understand is that it has a large yakuza presence, and the more localized you get the more control is in the hands of the yakuza. Then you have the whole issue of the more famous idols not being allowed to have boyfriends - there's the notorious example of the idol who was berated and forced to shave her head on live TV because she was discovered to have gone out on a date.
There are also countless stories of scams, mostly involving cases where girls are promised a fast-track to stardom and channeled into host clubs (and far worse). This would be the most likely result when something like WUG takes place in real life. The ones you see on TV are the barest minority - and even that disgusts me - but the picture you don't see is in most cases probably about one step up from sex slavery.
All of that, of course, is not even to consider the impact this has culturally - fostering an image for girls that's totally unrealistic and, for me, undesirable. Would you want your daughter growing up thinking becoming an idol was the highest aspiration she should shoot for? I'd rather she think about being a doctor or an astronaut, myself. All the worst aspects of gender politics in Japanese society are exacerbated by idol culture. And it happens to be toxic for anime and music, too, if you want to talk about the superficial level.
No, I'm not a moderate on this. This is a nest of cockroaches and the longer people are allowed to pretend otherwise, the bigger the problem grows.