In our roundtable discussion on whether or not anime is art, Ray brought up an excellent point about that infamous scifi-fantasy-loli-pantsu fanservice vehicle, Strike Witches. To wit, though the show has actual fodder for intellectual discussion, the mere fact that it shows school girls in a permanent pantyshot state renders this moot for the vast majority of viewers. You cannot rehabilitate such a thing, the argument goes. No amount of light will overpower this darkness.
Two major categories have sprung up in anime discourse. There are referential anime such as Yakitate Japan and Lucky Star, and there are anime which are designed to be watched with no prior knowledge of anime, such as Bleach and Naruto. In keeping with the concept that otaku culture is like a language to be learned, I will refer to the former as “advanced” anime and the latter as “beginner” anime.
Obviously this is a simplification. These categories are not pure and exclusive. Many essentially non-referential shows, such as Full Metal Panic, still have the occasional reference. Heavily referential shows such as Genshiken or Dai Mahou Touge can still be watched without getting all the references. Overall, however, there is an increasing creep of metatextual issues into the actual body of anime that air each season.
Jon: What if our appliances could talk? That would be great!
Garfield: No it wouldn’t. Every time a lightbulb burned out it would be like a death in the family.
This is largely what is wrong with the idea of sentient disposable objects – to wit, if they really are sentient, your characters have exactly two options: either love them and care for them and be heartbroken all the time, or be callous bastards. (Or, you know, psychotic satsujin angels. I was assuming they weren’t doing the killing themselves, but the world of anime is large.)
Anime Diet is again proud to present an exclusive interview, this time with the voice actress Yukana. She’s well known for her role as CC in Code Geass, Tessa Testarossa in Full Metal Panic, and characters in Chobits and numerous other shows. Throughout the interview, as well as in the fan panel (we missed the press conference), she was dressed in a long, dark velvet dress, and was simultaneously reserved and cheerful in answering questions. Her natural speaking voice may surprise you, unless, like me, you’re a Tessa Testarossa fan. Because that is who she sounds most like in real life! Kind of like how Hirano Aya sounds even more girlish than Haruhi Suzumiya in real life.
The interview was held on Saturday, November 10, 2007. This transcript is of a private interview, not a press conference, and perhaps ironically, that meant we spent a shorter amount of time with her than we did with the Claymore staff. But–we still got our delicious endorsement anyway! In Japanese, too.
(BTW, this is the only video you’ll be getting. We were requested to not display anything else in public. Sorry.)
Jeremy, myself, and Fred–who understands basic Japanese–were present. As in the Claymore staff interview, it was done through an interpreter, who translated in the third person, which is accurately transcribed here. The interview was edited for conciseness and clarity. And no, tj_han, there is no real juicy gossip for you. You’ll have to ask another reporter for that. :)
Coming soon: reports from the fan panels for both Yukana and Claymore staff, a video diary like the Anime Expo ones, and a final written report.