All posts by moritheil

One might be forgiven for thinking that Moritheil is a postmodern literary critic who started reviewing video games in 2001, and spent the early 2000s learning at the right hand of con staff and fansubbers. However, those rumors are spurious: Moritheil is actually a distant relative of Genghis Khan who stands poised to conquer the world via the Internet. Follow along at http://twitter.com/moritheil.

Objects in Japanese Pop Culture

The recent theft of costumes and props from an AKB48 set highlights an interesting behavioral pattern. Viewed in a harsh light, it might be seen as a kind of voodoo, a ritual shamanism: obtaining relics of important people so as to be nearer to them and draw upon their power.

Mainichi Japan concludes its article on the incident with a tell-tale quote: “We intended to sell the items after getting tired of looking at them.” At once the frivolity of the exercise is laid bare: having no practical use for girls’ clothing or specially made signboards, all the boys really could do is look at the objects.

Continue reading Objects in Japanese Pop Culture

First they came for the lolis

The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.

– Robert Heinlein (commonly attributed to Mark Twain)

Fans raged on twitter and IRC channels today as FUNimation announced that Dance in the Vampire Bund DVDs would be released censored. Ordinarily, broadcast versions of risque anime are censored, and DVD versions contain the full content as an extra enticement for fans to purchase the DVDs. In an age of increasing backlash against the sexualization of minors, however, FUNimation may be feeling the pressure to conform to Western social norms.

The announcement was made at the official FUNimation blog:

After viewing the unedited as well as the Japanese broadcast edit of the series Dance in the Vampire Bund, we have determined the series contains controversial elements which, when taken out of context, could be objectionable to some audiences.

With this in mind and with approval of the licensor, we will edit select scenes from the series in streaming and home entertainment release. These are scenes which are inappropriate for U.S. viewing and are not essential to the storyline.

Continue reading First they came for the lolis

Great Artists Steal

Good artists copy; great artists steal.

– Attributed to Pablo Picasso

What is the difference between copying something and stealing it?  To copy is to mimic, to ape, at all steps being cognizant of the fact that the thing you are copying is not your own.  To steal is to take something and make it your own.  Therein lies the fundamental difference in attitude between the technically competent and the great: an artist who merely copies without making a work his own has not imparted his own style and has not truly produced something worthy of being called art.  He is a failure as an artist.  A great artist, no matter how much he may superficially use the styles of others, leaves his own mark on things.

Continue reading Great Artists Steal

Mai Waifu

As spring approaches, Valentine’s Day is upon us, and even the most hardened anime otaku’s thoughts must turn to love.

Though some resist this destiny, I will not run, scream, or fight. I have always been of the opinion that the most important decisions are those you make in an instant and stick with for a lifetime.

Therefore, in accordance with time-honored tradition,

Continue reading Mai Waifu

Let’s Bible One-Shot: The Moe of Christ

Suffering is moe.

Crucified on the cross, Jesus Christ knew profound suffering.

Therefore, Jesus Christ is profoundly moe.

This, along with a few other propositions of dubious logical merit, forms the basis of Let’s Bible, a tale of Biblical proportions that toes the line between being bizarrely funny and simply wrong. Perhaps, as James Wood said, the Creator cannot be reified, but in Let’s Bible, Jesus is certainly moefied.

Continue reading Let’s Bible One-Shot: The Moe of Christ

Crimzon Clover demo

YOTSUBANE, makers of danmaku game Crimzon Clover, offer a web demo.  The demo was previously released at Comiket 77, and an earlier version was released at Comiket 76.

The older version.

Japanese gamer NGD reviewed an earlier version, suggesting that parts were loud, flashy, or outright ugly, especially during BREAK mode, but admitting that overall it was “surprisingly good” despite these shortcomings.

European reception to the present version seems to be centered on its high production values and difficulty.  Comparisons to Do-Don Pachi Daifukkatsu and Ketsui have been made.

BREAK mode.

As a demo, the game contains only three stages and an incomplete third boss fight.

Aika Zero: Yielding to Victory

Stop it before it penetrates the sky!

What defines Aika Zero? The fact that it deliberately imitates fetish porn? The fact that the overarching target for the first story arc is a giant phallus, which must be destroyed before it succeeds in emptying its fiery load? The fact that the show goes further than the original Aika, blurring the line between titillation and parody of pornographic content?

Continue reading Aika Zero: Yielding to Victory

The Future of Love

How will they remember love?
How will they remember love?

Many people look upon those who express love for characters as having “given up” or “retreated from reality.” While it’s true that they have turned their backs on their fellow flesh-and-blood humans, it is woefully inaccurate to suggest they have “given up” on romance and love.

Continue reading The Future of Love

MangaGamer sparks outrage over Soul Link

Game publisher MangaGamer announced Soul Link CGs would be removed, leading to cries of hypocrisy over their initial plans to produce an “uncensored” version.

A total of 6 CGs from the game will be removed due to having an arguably underage looking character naked.

soullink600

Comments so far have been unilaterally negative:

“I fear Mangagamer intends to take the censorship even further than JAST.”

“Decisions such as [this] will cause your fanbase to turn against you.”

“It’s taken a good 2 years (or more) and tons of bad translations and delays for Manga Gamer to establish the reputation that they have right now and virtually overnight, with the announcement of “censorship” it’s on the brink of shattering.”

Several countries view attempts to sexualize underage persons with alarm, and Anime Diet has previously reported on efforts in the United Kingdom and the Philippines to ban all works that portray minors in a sexual context. It is unclear what laws, if any, would be applicable in the United States, where such works are legal, provided no actual children were used in their making.  Still, the official MangaGamer website prominently features a young girl as its welcoming image, indicating the company intends to court loli eroge buyers.

MangaGamer is better known in some circles for its upcoming release of Higurashi no Naku Kokoro ni, scheduled December 15th.

Shitsurakuen: A Tired Argument

Shitsurakuen-cover

Shitsurakuen is metafiction. However, rather than metafiction that cleverly employs existing genre tropes to make an argument, it is metafiction that simply arrives back at the starting point. Both visually and narratively, it borrows heavily from classics such as Revolutionary Girl Utena and Sailor Moon, yet fails to do anything new with the material.

shitsuraken_guys

The protagonist Sora is an innocent, strong-willed girl who believes in truth and justice. This essentially makes her a female iteration of the typical good-hearted male lead in shounen shows – not very smart, but with a good heart and a strong sense of right and wrong. From the get-go, she is contrasted with her more mature friend Tsuki. Tsuki has learned to accept the wickedness of the world and not fight back against it, thereby becoming a collaborator in her own oppression.

Continue reading Shitsurakuen: A Tired Argument

Otaku no Ken II: The Dark Side

Its cold blade, collecting on its surface the moment it is drawn the vapour of the atmosphere; its immaculate texture, flashing light of bluish hue; its matchless edge, upon which histories and possibilities hang; the curve of its back, uniting exquisite grace with utmost strength–all these thrill us with mixed feelings of power and beauty, of awe and terror. Harmless were its mission, if it only remained a thing of beauty and joy! But, ever within reach of the hand, it presented no small temptation for abuse. Too often did the blade flash forth from its peaceful sheath. The abuse sometimes went so far as to try the acquired steel on some harmless creature’s neck.

Bushido, The Soul of Japan, Inazo Nitobe, p. 135

In January of this year, a 20-year-old man in Sulphur, Louisiana used a katana to kill a dog.  The Humane Society paid $2500 for his capture.

Continue reading Otaku no Ken II: The Dark Side