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Old 2011-04-19, 12:52   Link #261
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
You echo an interesting point that SeijiSensei made to me recently, about the relative lack of entrepreneurial zeal in Japan. I'd leave it to him to present the point, if he feels like it.
Sure, I'll share. I just want to mention that I have no personal experience with Japan so these comments reflect the perspective of a gaijin whose understanding of Japan is largely derived from watching anime and reading a few books and articles here and there.

What I wrote to TRL was this:
Quote:
Isn't that supposed to be the problem with Japanese capitalism? Zeibatsu rather than entrepreneurs? When was the last time some kid in an anime wanted to go out and start a successful business? It always seems to be about going to the right prep school in order to go to the right university in order to get a sinecure in either the public sector or one of the large corporations. Doesn't seem like the sort of culture where guys like Steve Jobs would thrive.
Social psychologists like David McClelland wrote about the "need for achievement" as an important factor motivating entrepreneurial behavior. I see Japanese culture as built more on McClelland's "need for affiliation" which puts social order and harmony ahead of the pursuit of individual success. That's not the type of cultural setting where entrepreneurship thrives.

There aren't many anime that delve into the dynamics of modern Japanese organizations. One example I can think of in support of my line of argument is Kashiwa's difficulties in Welcome to the NHK!. She tries to get her fellow workers in a public sector agency to consider new methods for delivering services. She gets rejected at every turn, partly because of blatant sexism, but also because the rest of the staff are averse to innovation. That's a common complaint about public-sectors worker in the West as well, of course, so I don't know if this example depicts an aspect of Japanese culture or a consequence of sinecures.
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Old 2011-04-19, 14:34   Link #262
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Social psychologists like David McClelland wrote about the "need for achievement" as an important factor motivating entrepreneurial behavior. I see Japanese culture as built more on McClelland's "need for affiliation" which puts social order and harmony ahead of the pursuit of individual success. That's not the type of cultural setting where entrepreneurship thrives.
The problem with that line of thought is that it's a bit too culturally deterministic, not far from the idea that Asians can't think, presumably because our cultures and traditions frown upon innovation and favours group harmony above all else. Anecdotal experience does indeed seem to show that East Asians (sorry, I'm not familiar enough with Indians to speak on their behalf) today are risk averse, but historical evidence would strongly suggest that this was not always the case.

Song China (960 to 1276), for example, was on the verge of an industrial revolution before the Jin and the Mongols conquered the country. And the mammoth encyclopedia Science and Civilisation in China — British scientist and historian Joseph Needham's magnum opus — clearly shows that there was no lack of scientific curiosity and innovation in supposedly repressive Confucian China.

Moreover, if we were to look at the even bigger picture, you'd soon see that practically every other country in the world is no match for the United States when it comes to modern entrepreneurship. That would immediately suggest to me that, rather than there being something inherently wrong in Japan (or elsewhere, for that matter), there is rather something particularly fortuitous about conditions in the US that encourages BIG BUSINESS entrepreneurship.

And, if you ask me, it's simply because there is no other country in the world at the moment where the best brains are easily matched with the deepest pockets.

Steve Jobs had a better-than-average chance — compared with his contemporaries anywhere else in the world — of getting his ideas off the drawing board because he could easily find venture capitalists or angel investors to fund his craziest (but wildly successful) ideas. Few other places in the world, not even London, can boast the kind of high-risk-superb-returns venture-capital ecosystem present in Silicon Valley.

And then, there is the sheer size of the US economy. Japan was just until recently the second-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of US$5 trillion. By comparison, the US economy is valued at US$15 trillion, three times that of Japan's. Practically speaking, it's far easier to scale up a business in the US than anywhere else in the world. Hence, again, I would say that Steve Jobs enjoyed a better-than-average chance at mega business success than his contemporaries in other countries.

All that aside, if we move away from the idea of an entrepreneur as a mega-hit success like Jobs, you'd probably see that entrepreneurship is not really "dead" in places like Japan, or even in Singapore, another country that suffers periodic angst over the seeming lack of entrepreneurship.

Yet, even here, among my closest circle of friends, three of them are businessman, out of which two of them are already well on the way towards being self-made millionaires. Of these two, the first one originally secured the local franchise for an international modelling agency, then used the contacts he built up over the years to establish his own luxury events-management business. Having all but clinched the account of every major luxury brand in Singapore, he then branched into a new business, setting up private schools in China. The second friend built his own jobs-recruitment portal from his bedroom back in 2000, and grew that business over 10 years, making it the third-largest company of its kind in Singapore. His company was just this month acquired by a far larger American business, suddenly giving him a brand new reach across the entire South-east Asian region.

As for the third friend, his idea hasn't quite hit the big jackpot yet, but his food-review portal is already by far the most recognised brand of its type in Singapore. All he needs now is a "killer app" to turn a great idea into a steady flow of cash, and he'd be a made man.

Meeting such friends for dinner or supper every now and then often leaves me privately depressed. It makes me feel like a hopeless underachiever.

But, back to the original point, nah, I can't fully agree that culture is what's holding back Japanese entrepreneurship. It is possibly a contributing factor, but not the only one, nor even a particularly crucial one.

I mean, think about it: almost all the anime studios you can think of are self-started businesses. That's entrepreneurship! Granted, not on the same scale or even in the same universe as Apple's, but still healthy entrepreneurship all the same, albeit on the mom-and-pop, small-business level.
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Old 2011-04-19, 15:55   Link #263
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Moreover, if we were to look at the even bigger picture, you'd soon see that practically every other country in the world is no match for the United States when it comes to modern entrepreneurship.
Max Weber's classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism focused on northern European societies like Germany and Britain.

I'm not mounting a defense of McClelland or trying to make a culturally deterministic argument. Every society has its share of entrepreneurs, though some societies seem to have more support for entrepreneurship than others. Certainly the availability of venture capital has made a big difference in the US, though I don't think it played so great a role in the earlier spurt of technological innovation in the 1950's. Some companies from that period like Digital Equipment Corporation had venture backing; others, like Raytheon, took advantage of the surge in military spending during and after World War II. For people living in societies without a huge "military-industrial complex" like we have in the US, it's perhaps easy to overlook the role that military spending has played in the development of the modern US industrial state.

If it weren't for the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense, we might not all be communicating over the Internet today. (The fundamental technologies of the Internet were developed to solve the problem of communications during an all-out nuclear war.)
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Old 2011-04-20, 00:29   Link #264
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Well, being an Economics major and a non-native English speaker, I can tell you that had I not taken some of my Economics and Business classes in English, I probably wouldn't know what the word "entrepreneur" stands for.

All the same, the Japanese language does loan some foreign words like most other languages do. In fact, entrepreneur isn't even an English word either, but French. But, either way, I do know they have the term "kigyōka" (企業家) which means the same thing. So, if the use of アントレプレナー is not that common, then I'm not surprised about Kimimaro not knowing what Masakaki was talking about.
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Old 2011-04-20, 00:34   Link #265
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Is it me, or is this conversation rapidly veering away from the show?
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Old 2011-04-20, 02:09   Link #266
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Originally Posted by Deconstructor View Post
Is it me, or is this conversation rapidly veering away from the show?
Well, we could spend some more time discussing Hanabi's dietary habits or the possibility that she's a skank playing with Kimimaro's feelings, if that's what you want...

All my previous posts were meant, at least to me, to be no more than a short aside and, in the spirit of learning and inquiry, one could always take it as background knowledge for the setting upon which this anime is based.

It ties in, moreover, with concerns about [C]'s apparent pretentiousness, a view which I'm inclined to share at this point.
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Originally Posted by sapphire-pyro View Post
If I understood your point correctly, [C] has become "pretentious" just because it raised more questions than answers on its first episode?
If yes.... then what about all those mystery-centric anime? They can't be a mystery series/film if they have nothing which is mysterious (because the answers are still a mystery) in the first place
No, [C] has not become "pretentious" just because it raised more questions than answers, but rather because it appears to pretend to be more profound than it really is. Much of its premise does not yet bear up to close scrutiny, especially for those who have at least some grasp of how finance and economics actually work.

And, as I've said earlier, I'm not necessarily looking for something convoluted like the "sea of information" that characterises the dystopian world of Major Kusanagi Motoko (which to me classifies as hardcore sci-fi). I'm also fine with something fun and whimsical, like Summer War's Oz (not really, sci-fi; more like science fantasy).

But as lordshadowisle said, as it currently stands, [C] comes across as shounen fighting/fantasy drapped in some "fancy financial setting". In other words, it appears to be adopting these fancy costumes and financial mumbo-jumbo to disguise what looks, at the moment, to be just a shallow story.

Of course, it's just one episode. We don't yet know how the show will develop, so I'm reserving judgment and giving the story's outlandish premise some benefit of doubt. Moreover, I well know that most anime fans dislike heavy-duty topics in their entertainment. I'm under no illusion, for example, that viewers loved Spice and Wolf not because of the opportunity to learn about the mechanics and history of mediaeval economics, but simply because of cute and coquettish Horo.

Don't get me wrong. I love shallow entertainment as much as any other guy. I wouldn't have salivated over Highschool of the Dead otherwise. But I do have a problem with shows that pretend to be more intelligent than they really are. Revel in being shallow! Why pretend to be otherwise when you're not?
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Old 2011-04-20, 02:22   Link #267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post

And, as I've said earlier, I'm not necessarily looking for something convoluted like the "sea of information" that characterises the dystopian world of Major Kusanagi Motoko (which to me classifies as hardcore sci-fi). I'm also fine with something fun and whimsical, like Summer War's Oz (not really, sci-fi; more like science fantasy).

But as lordshadowisle said, as [C] currently stands, it comes across as shounen fighting/fantasy drapped in some "fancy financial setting". In other words, it appears to be adopting these fancy costumes and financial mumbo-jumbo to disguise what looks, at the moment, like a shallow show.

Of course, it's just one episode. We don't know yet how the story will develop, so I'm reserving judgment and giving the show's outlandish premise some benefit of doubt. Moreover, I well know that most anime fans dislike heavy-duty topics in their entertainment. I'm under no illusion, for example, that viewers loved Spice and Wolf not because of the opportunity to learn about the mechanics and history of mediaeval economics, but simply because of cute and coquettish Horo.

Don't get me wrong. I love shallow entertainment as much as any other guy. I wouldn't have salivated over Highschool of the Dead otherwise. But I do have a problem with shows that pretend to be more intelligent than they really are. Revel in being shallow! Why pretend to be otherwise when you're not?
What if the economic backdrop and the shounen fights are both minor? I will agree, it is too soon for anyone to clarify a direction this series is heading hence I don't feel anyone should be advocating strong thoughts on the series yet. However I do believe the major themes are neither the economics/finance side or is it the shounen style battle.

The bold part to me highlights uniqueness in premises at least as far as 'C' goes, in which a part of me is waiting to see which direction the series will take or how much the finance backdrop will influence the characters in the series. Although I feel it is a great marketing that is interesting to say. And what would 'C' be without the finance and economic? perhaps generic if people believe and not to mention the battles are practically one hit KO or will are they going to go into long cinematic battles like dragonballz?as far episode one shows there is no confirmation on the direction this series will take.

That one word pretentious bothers me so much I wonder why. My feelings are, there is a balance between both element. Neither elements, the battle or the economics seems to take center focus. What would people classify persona trinity soul series as? It has elements of shounen fights but they were never the central focus. That series to me is what is being reflected in 'C' currently.

EDIT: hmmm perhaps I need to clarify better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Used Can View Post
Well, being an Economics major and a non-native English speaker, I can tell you that had I not taken some of my Economics and Business classes in English, I probably wouldn't know what the word "entrepreneur" stands for.

All the same, the Japanese language does loan some foreign words like most other languages do. In fact, entrepreneur isn't even an English word either, but French. But, either way, I do know they have the term "kigyōka" (企業家) which means the same thing. So, if the use of アントレプレナー is not that common, then I'm not surprised about Kimimaro not knowing what Masakaki was talking about.
I believe it has more to do with the series using the MC in explaining concepts and background to the average Japanese person. With the term being in english I'm doubting the Japanese audience will understand without a definition. It should be noted that the audience of this series is unlikely going to be people educated within the field of economic or finance.

Last edited by Nemuru; 2011-04-20 at 03:28.
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Old 2011-04-20, 03:18   Link #268
lordshadowisle
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Perhaps some of my original words were a bit harsh, my apologies if anyone's enjoyment of the show was thus affected.

Though I'm not fond of the fighting/battle part of the show, I'm quite interested in learning more about the setting and the characters. Specifically, some of the questions that I hope to see revealed are:

Whatever happened to the economy? We already see some of the aftereffects. It would be interesting to expand more upon the original cause(s) as well as the ongoing signs of depression.

Whatever happened to the main character? What other things caused him to adopt such a pragmatic(?) attitude? Lastly, what would happen if he has money? What would he do, how would he change?

Somewhat off tangent here, but after reading some of the discussions on the word "Entrepreneur", I do hope that some real entrepreneurship is done. It would be somewhat gimmicky if "Entrepreneur" was just an in-setting euphemism for "Prize Fighter" or "Gladiator", though perhaps it may be argued that in their world entrepreneurship is that risky.
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Old 2011-04-20, 03:26   Link #269
karice67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
No, [C] has not become "pretentious" just because it raised more questions than answers, but rather because it appears to pretend to be more profound than it really is. Much of its premise does not yet bear up to close scrutiny, especially for those who have at least some grasp of how finance and economics actually work.
Hm...just wondering, what do you think its premise is?

Or the same question to anyone else?
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Old 2011-04-20, 03:46   Link #270
TinyRedLeaf
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Hm...just wondering, what do you think its premise is?
That the "financial district" is a section of hell itself, created from and sustained by the debt accumulated by ordinary people in the real world. In a country with a national debt twice the size of its GDP, hell is literally brimming over with the money of soul and possibility (but at Japan's expense).

But money is never enough (avarice is, after all, one of the seven sins). The devil himself is on the prowl, scouting always for new marks for his champion to defeat. With every duel won, hell's splendour grows, even as ever more economic vitality gets sucked away from Japan.

EDIT:
Now that I think about it, the above reminds me heavily of one of my favourite songs of all time. Yes, it's off-topic and, yes, I'm showing my vintage. But, still, it's cool (and eerily relevant).

Spoiler for TL;DR:

Cookies to whoever eventually gets around making an AMV of [C] based on this concept.

Last edited by TinyRedLeaf; 2011-04-20 at 07:10.
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Old 2011-04-20, 14:22   Link #271
Deconstructor
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Well, we could spend some more time discussing Hanabi's dietary habits or the possibility that she's a skank playing with Kimimaro's feelings, if that's what you want...
While boring, at least we would be talking about the actual characters themselves. What came before my post were discussions of ideas with very little basis in the actual anime.

Quote:
No, [C] has not become "pretentious" just because it raised more questions than answers, but rather because it appears to pretend to be more profound than it really is. Much of its premise does not yet bear up to close scrutiny, especially for those who have at least some grasp of how finance and economics actually work.
Such pretentiousness is a result of attributing too much to the premise. Usage of economic terms like "financial district" and "prospect" may simply be shout-outs to real-life concepts; they can have nothing to do with the actual concept. It's just cool to name things after other things.

Quote:
Don't get me wrong. I love shallow entertainment as much as any other guy. I wouldn't have salivated over Highschool of the Dead otherwise. But I do have a problem with shows that pretend to be more intelligent than they really are. Revel in being shallow! Why pretend to be otherwise when you're not?
"Intellectuals" often have this problem... as soon as anime uses concepts in their field of expertise, it becomes far less enjoyable as the intellectual scrutinizes over why every little thing is untrue. It extends to become a criticism of the entire show fails to meet the consistency standard.

Suspension of disbelief is about accepting untrue things as true. Naturally, those who are more experienced in a field will have more difficulty accepting something contrary to their life's work. You might ask yourself, "Why doesn't this part of the show match up with the model of supply and demand?" However, from a newbie's point of view (myself, who knows little about economics), this show did not appear pretentious at all. Episode 1 provokes a lot of thought about money in general, but little about economics. Sure, they go to a college for economic studies and characters calling themselves entrepreneurs battle in the Financial District, but no further economic concepts are used.

At least for now.
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Old 2011-04-20, 15:40   Link #272
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Sunopsis and screencaps of the second episode are up at the official site!
Seems to me Kimimaro will be having a non-Japanese for his first opponent?

@ about [C] being "pretentious"
Ah, I see. Oh well, it's just the first episode so we'll see~

@ "Hell Notes"
So that's the basis of those currencies?! COOL! I didn't expect for there to be "hell money" in the real world.

@ TinyRedLeaf
I look forward to seeing a [C] AMV using that song *_*

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Originally Posted by totoum View Post
Anyone else found the line in the ED "ED sequence for noitamina 26th episode...has no name but it called "C"". Really badass?I can't explain why but I love it.
I noticed it too xD
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Old 2011-04-20, 16:00   Link #273
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Originally Posted by lordshadowisle View Post
Somewhat off tangent here, but after reading some of the discussions on the word "Entrepreneur", I do hope that some real entrepreneurship is done. It would be somewhat gimmicky if "Entrepreneur" was just an in-setting euphemism for "Prize Fighter" or "Gladiator", though perhaps it may be argued that in their world entrepreneurship is that risky.
Though only one episode isn't close to enough to make a decision, their choice of entrepreneur opposed to a Japanese word for the same concept that seems to be used more often, kigyouka, is a sign that they are just using entrepreneur as a name for prize fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
No, [C] has not become "pretentious" just because it raised more questions than answers, but rather because it appears to pretend to be more profound than it really is. Much of its premise does not yet bear up to close scrutiny, especially for those who have at least some grasp of how finance and economics actually work.

Don't get me wrong. I love shallow entertainment as much as any other guy. I wouldn't have salivated over Highschool of the Dead otherwise. But I do have a problem with shows that pretend to be more intelligent than they really are. Revel in being shallow! Why pretend to be otherwise when you're not?
As with my above portion of this post, I think the pretentions are mistaken pretentions, like how Eva was never meant to contain any religious messages and only using christian terminology and symbols to look cool.

The usage of English, entrepreneur, when the Japanese word would be better at conveying meaning in any message the have to say about economics to a Japanese audience, is a hint that they aren't trying to be serious about critiquing the economic system, but rather use it to look mysterious and thus cool, like Eva used christian symbols, or people on this side of the Pacific have Kanji tattooed onto them.

If [C] turns out to be a shallow series without serious commentary on economic issues, which I really hope it doesn't since I was really hoping for [C] be a serious show, I think the translation of words like entrepreneur should follow "keep it foreign," and be replaced by a word like kigyouka. This will help the economic experts enjoy the series a bit more.
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Old 2011-04-20, 17:41   Link #274
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I actually hope they keep the econ concepts to a relative minimum and just make it an underlying social commentary that Japan's economy is going to hell in a hand-basket. I already found myself becoming distracted by the "conflict of interests" problem. I watch anime to escape the drudgery of econ studies. XD
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Old 2011-04-20, 18:44   Link #275
karice67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
That the "financial district" is a section of hell itself, created from and sustained by the debt accumulated by ordinary people in the real world. In a country with a national debt twice the size of its GDP, hell is literally brimming over with the money of soul and possibility (but at Japan's expense).

But money is never enough (avarice is, after all, one of the seven sins). The devil himself is on the prowl, scouting always for new marks for his champion to defeat. With every duel won, hell's splendour grows, even as ever more economic vitality gets sucked away from Japan.
Ok...that's definitely going a far bit further than where Nakamura Kenji started (according to one interview anyway). I guess we'll see in coming episodes whether he also thought along the lines that you have

p.s. Hey, but classics never get old!
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Old 2011-04-20, 22:52   Link #276
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C - Episode 1

I liked this episode. It explored some things that I've rarely seen in other anime before, such as mentioning the recession. Although it's obvious the anime industry has stagnated in variety of content due to the recent recession, this may be the first time I've seen it actually mentioned in an anime, let alone be a basis and catalyst for the plot like it is in C.

The financial district might be a metaphor for the stock market or the casino, as it is shown as a legitimate alternative source of income that is more risky than a steady job.

As far as this episode, Kimimaro is a good protagonist. I can sympathize with his asocial habits, as there are many people I know in college who I feel inadequate among. "I'm not part of that crowd." "She's pretty, but she's out of my league." All those kinds of thoughts. His reactions to Masakiki were very much full of disbelief and confusion but he never overreacted or slipped out of character. He's just a hardened, apathetic college student. How his character as a whole turns out will be determined by how he develops in the rest of the series. I sincerely hope he doesn't become another overpowered chivalrous action guy who constantly monologues his opponents.

About Hanabi, I think she's just a really nice and friendly person. It didn't feel like she was 'leading Kimimaro on', although of course that's a possible case but from this first episode it doesn't point in that direction. And I don't think anybody is obligated to tell a classmate about their relationship status, unless they find themselves squeezed into a possible sexual fling that could ruin their other relationships. And anyway, it's refreshing to see somebody like Hanabi in an anime. She's attractive and she's nice. It's understandable for somebody like her to have a boyfriend, especially at her age, as opposed to the typical formula in anime where we have 4+ gorgeous and sweet girls who have never touched a boy's hand in the past suddenly going horny for the male protagonist. And the timeslot C is in is generally geared towards women in their 20's. You know, those who are working and studying hard to get money and jobs. Silly otaku values need not apply to this anime. I'm sure lots of people who watch this show would feel jealous of Hanabi for getting a rich boyfriend.

This anime has made me want to start learning economics, even though I'm primarily a science student. For anyone with experience, what are the best economics textbooks for college out there?
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Old 2011-04-20, 22:58   Link #277
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Originally Posted by Tempester View Post

This anime has made me want to start learning economics, even though I'm primarily a science student. For anyone with experience, what are the best economics textbooks for college out there?
Lol, this is a first.... you be bored to death without a familiar to make things more interesting.
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Old 2011-04-20, 23:25   Link #278
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This anime has made me want to start learning economics, even though I'm primarily a science student. For anyone with experience, what are the best economics textbooks for college out there?
That's a difficult question to answer without knowing more about your math skills. You might start by browsing this list from Amazon.

Paul Samuelson's Economics was the gold standard for introductory textbooks in my day. The Mankiw text in that list is probably its successor. You can browse it online at Amazon.

Economics is usually taught in two parts: microeconomics and macroeconomics. The first is really where most of the theory lies -- how markets function, how prices and quantities are determined, how choices are made with perfect and imperfect information, and how industries and markets should be regulated. Macroeconomics focuses on large aggregates like national product, the money supply, and the role of government spending. The news tends to focus on macroeconomics, but most economists, especially mathematical economists, focus on micro.

If you have the math for it (mostly differential calculus), you might try Varian's Intermediate Microeconomics, the second book in that list.

I hope you have access to a college library, because the prices on these books are just ridiculous. You can probably pick up a couple of syllabi from the Economics department and see what they use.
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Old 2011-04-20, 23:32   Link #279
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
That's a difficult question to answer without knowing more about your math skills.
I'm finishing Calculus III this semester, so I shouldn't have much of a problem with that. I'll try out Varian's textbook first since you've mentioned it. Thanks a lot for the resources!
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Old 2011-04-20, 23:53   Link #280
SeijiSensei
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempester View Post
I'm finishing Calculus III this semester, so I shouldn't have much of a problem with that. I'll try out Varian's textbook first since you've mentioned it. Thanks a lot for the resources!
You might want to push yourself a bit, then, and try his more advanced text, Microeconomic Analysis. I used that in an advanced micro course and learned a lot from it.
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