Thanks for your concern. The last couple of days have been better. 2 weeks after this thing started, I think I might finally be seeing the tail end of it.
It's been an abnormally cold start to winter here. So I only go outside when absolutely necessary.
There are things like Charlotte and God Eater that aren't sequels but....stuff like that gives off a fair amount of SOS (same old stuff) resonance. But it is a very sequel-oriented season. Durarara x2 is clearly a focal point of attention, Working has somehow re-appeared for more, the list goes on. For the last three years, July has had a fair amount of appeal. It's very marginalised this year. This whole year is, to be honest.
The amount of One Outs and City Hunter I've watched the last couple of days has increased. A couple of weeks ago I rewatched some of Garden of Sinners. I'm re-kindling motivation/interest in the medium.
Sorry to hear about the cold(?) you caught. I find them particularly bad myself when it results in a heavy/tight chest feeling, like it sounds that you have. I sometimes find hot soup, especially chicken noodle soup, to be helpful for sickness like this.
My own motivation level has been a bit low lately. Summer 2015 anime season doesn't have a lot that interests me right off the bat. It's very sequel-heavy.
A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako's Feet from October is the one thing that has piqued my interest.
*shrug* I'm just feeling nothing regarding 2015 anime. You'd have to go back to the early 1980s to find a year I had less to take from anime-wise. I'm well-behind on UBW due to how crazy AVCon prep is getting and it's still 5 weeks to go. I'll catch it at some point once all of it is out.
Picked up Wolfenstein: The New Order for $20 today in the Steam Sale, the one thing I was after, so mission complete on that front. Now I just need to wait for about half a day before my internet rolls over since the game is 46GB and I have less than that left until the first day of the new bandwidth.
Life is Strange: Episode 4 is scheduled for the first week of July. I'm looking forward to that.
Anime-wise, been slowly getting through the first season of City Hunter and re-watching One Outs.
Caught something at the start of June and it won't go away. No blockage/sinuses - all in my chest. Which makes it near impossible to fall asleep until it's morning most nights....amplified by the fact it's the coldest June in a VERY long time here....I freaking hate winter.....anyone who says 'wear more clothes, problem solved' is an imbecile....
Overall I'm fine. Just feeling very uninspired by 2015. Which is why Life is Strange was that big of a deal for me, since it's the only thing across any medium that has done it for me.
Sorry for not getting back to you more on our most recent PM discussions. But I became caught up in other discussions and shows over the last two weeks, and just kind of lost track of it. It might be a good idea to move on to other discussions.
So how are you doing lately? Are you pleased with UBW overall? Anything in particular coming up in the Summer 2015 season that you're looking forward to?
Sorry for delayed reply. My back has been a real nightmare for the last 36 hours without warning.
I think, as you've pointed out, there are cultural factors at play. Stop me if you think I'm wrong about this one, but I'm going to recall something I heard Crispin Freeman say when he was at AVCon in 2012.
In Japan, the notion of heroism is very different to what the US/The West thinks. In the West, it is about vanquishing evil, sending villians to oblivion. In Japan, it is more about bringing redemption/balance back. At the very least. FSN certainly delves into what it means to be a hero. The endless self-sacrifice which Shirou is notorious for - and one could put Saber in that category as well - is ultimately self-destructive. Shirou does not exist as a character to be liked. His views are heavily flawed and drawn from a man who was equally flawed - Kiritsugu. The way of the hero was not something Nasu championed overall. There were positives to being a hero, but following that ideal in totatily was ultimately undoing that person.
I think the reviewer misses a point my friends have agreed on in the past regarding FSN - the viewer isn't meant to like Shirou. He doesn't exist to be worshipped, pitied or idolised. Merely he was willing to make sure evil didn't prevail even if he didn't agree with the Holy Grail War. Shirou's ideals aren't written to be championed. I think the reviewer expected Shirou to come up with an argument to counter Archer or Gilgamesh since that was how they experienced things in Fate/Zero. The trinity of flawed male ideologies about women in Fate/Zero coming from Kiritsugu (sacrificial), Kiriya (they need to be saved) and Kirei (they are damned) serve a purpose, set up anti-hero/villain status, perhaps tie the ideology to something tangible in an argumentative sense. But Shirou was never designed to have a viewpoint that made sense from a logical perspective.
As for the gender things - I think anyone knows there are creepy elements to FSN. But the claim by the reviewer and others that they exist for shock value and to be derogetory just doesn't sit with me. At what point did Nasu ever condone such actions? And what ultimately happened to those that perpetrated such heinous actions? They eventually met a bitter end as they deserved. In the Nasuverse, those who did wrong, particularly from a moral sense, didn't get away with it.
While in Fate/Zero, what irked me most was that every significant female character met a very cruel end. Irisviel had an utterly painful death and was defiled by Kirei in the process. Maya was left to bleed out in agony. Aoi was murdered. Rin lost her family and her kindess. Ilyasviel lost her family and innocence. Saber was left alone and felt that her life meant nothing. Sakura was left abandoned to rape and torture. Whereas the majority of the major male characters either lived to fight another day or died in glory/quickly. Female life didn't seem to mean much of anything within Fate/Zero, from what I saw.
And yes, while Saber and Rin may not be true examples of independence/not being objectified, they still made their decisions within the FSN saga on their own terms. They never let themselves be utterly defiled. In the end, they do prevail. Shirou was heavily reliant on them to succeed. At the end of Fate, Saber did choose her own path, regardless of what had happened with Shirou. She chose her own end to find her own peace. She wasn't existing just to be with Shirou - she was always after salvation. Rin's intentions changed somewhat over the process and her heart returned. I feel regardless of which route it was, the female always gained more than Shirou did. The female that was the core of their respective arc meant more than Shirou.
Perhaps in the end, this review was designed to seek attention. Or perhaps this person genuinely believes everything they wrote. I find it flawed and contradictory. You can't claim moral high ground with Fate/Zero and condemn Fate/Stay Night in the same breath but this person sure loves to.
1. I'm certainly willing and happy to discuss this with you, but I might choose to take some of it to PMs, for various reasons.
2. I haven't watched UBW's latest episode yet. I'll probably watch that later tonight or tomorrow. I'll want to watch that before going more in-depth on what this ANN reviewer wrote.
3. I agree with your points on Fate/Zero vs. Fate/Stay Night (and UBW). Both have a couple elements that I think could reasonably be considered sexist, but they're mostly minor elements, thankfully. I wouldn't consider either work a sexist work overall. Both shows have some female characters that I think show an admirable degree of agency and/or personal goals and/or independence.
4. I think this review's main weakness is Ameriocentrism. This is a growing problem I see with many video game and movie reviews, particularly when it comes to video games and movies not made in America and/or with a non-American setting for the game. Japan isn't perfect, and it's fine to point that out, but America is far from perfect itself. I think it's important to keep the immediate cultural context of a work into account, and I don't get an impression of that in this ANN review.
I think the reviewer is missing some important elements to Shirou's character and his idealism by insisting upon a very Ameriocentric frame for pretty much her entire review. Here I think she's missing how Shirou's idealism may have nothing to do with gender, per se. I suspect that Shirou's heroic altruism may be about his character being a strong representation of Japan's generally collectivist/social harmony spirit. That's not to say you can't critique that national spirit itself, as its not without its downsides. But if you're going to do that with UBW and Shirou, then you should do it with Madoka Magica and Kaname Madoka as well (she likewise reflects that spirit, I think), whereas this reviewer compares Madoka favorably to Shirou.
Feel free to share your take on what I've wrote so far. I'll probably write more to you about this soon, after watching UBW's latest episode.
While I feel there are 'some' valid points in there.....an underlying basis of this person's argument is that Fate/Zero wasn't sexist/objectifying women and that Fate/Stay night is. And that's something I can't abide by at all....
Certainly there are characters who are cruel/sexist and objectify women in Fate/Stay Night. Undoubtedly. But to say that Fate/Zero didn't, I can't agree with that. To say that Fate/Zero thematically justified it, I can't agree with that. To say the females in the entire Fate/Stay Night trilogy are mere bystanders/objects and that this is all about Shirou - I can't agree with that.
I don't like how this person's review has started an internet witchhunt. ANN seems hellbent on crucifying Nasu. Their editors are backing up the reviewer's words to the extreme in the very large thread that resulted. Certainly opinion is divided between those that replied.
I feel that something has been lost here. Nasu's strong sense of morality seems to have been cast by that site's higher-ups aside along with Urobuchi's obssession with damnation for the characters he likes most. Doesn't seem so long ago that ANN was ripping Fate/Zero to pieces with Carlo Santos - now they're doing it to Fate/Stay Night and trying to claim the moral high ground.
If you feel like discussing this, I'll properly expand my thoughts on this.
Foxy, AW - if either of you see this and feel like commeting, please do.