JOURNAL: OtakuForLife (Brian Auxier)

  • Thats Righrt RELEASE TODAY!! 2009-03-26 12:13:58 Get ready it'll be here before you know it! 
  • Its coming 2009-03-18 17:31:31 COMING THIS APRIL OCP's Latest video it'll be epic! Watch for it!

  • 2004-09-17 11:37:19 
  • Moved Famous Quates Here 2004-06-19 13:18:04
    "Ok, careless wisper and action dosn't work"
    - Dave and the crew ( Otakon Pre-screenings)

    "Grahhh my eyes"
    - Geoff (reaction to my Little girls AMV)

    "I don't Larp my charcter, I am my charcter!!"
    - Me

    "Hay!! Do her she's still warm"
    -- DAVE (During the scene where Akima dies in Saikano.)

    "Go is about defense and support"
    --- Shinji (Brandon)

    "Dude, I thought Kenshin was a girl"
    --- John Westbrook

    "Look for the tall geeky guy who always looks lost"
    - Me (Desciption of Vicbond)

    "I close my eyes and listen to the music, then the shapes come to me"
    --- Thyril ( summerized)

    "Roleplaying is just a circle jerk with your firends where everyone's faking it"

    "No one's perfect...Well, there was this one guy...but we killed him."
    - Steve E

    "Your going to back stab him with a fucking seige weapon?"- Mighty DM
    ( The Gamers)

    "If it wasn't for my horse , I wouldn't have spent that year in college" - Jet Black

    "The disciple goes to his Master and asks:
    - Which is the most complicated game humans ever invented ?
    - Chess, of course!(master replied)
    - And what about Go ?
    - Go already exist ! "

  • My Asain Final Paper 2004-05-04 22:53:45 Brian Auxier
    Tuesday, May 04, 2004
    East Asian Film Popular Culture
    Final Paper
    Professor. Min

    Mixed Messages
    Using Anime to Examine Japanese Culture

    The purpose of this paper is to examine the way Japanese culture represents and interprets itself through the medium of anime. In other words, learn about a culture through its mainstream form of animation. Now, there are several problems with doing this, while all Anime programs to minor extent show small parts of Japanese culture I must narrow the field to discuss primary issues. In doing this, I know I’m leaving things out that could be explored in other papers. But alas time and future obligations won’t allow me to delve deeper into these smaller bits and pieces. I will talk about the major ideas and leave others to the imagination of the reader. Also, that a lot of the information I will talk about is gathered from years of being a devoted anime fan and not from any one source. Some of the things that inspired this paper are from Susan J. Napier’s book “Anime from Akria to Princess Monoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation” a great piece of academic literature that even I can read without falling asleep.
    Anime, a tradition stated with Manga series and shows such as Kimba The White Lion, Astroboy and others based on a Disneyish feel, are no longer what they were. The broad topics that Anime covers are everything from a teen drama to adult horror, and kids programming. This is only matched by the wide range of topics covered by film. Animation in the Japanese culture is currently based around the some of the same topics America explores in its films. This is not to say that American movies are an exact interpretation of America and it’s values. But, if movies do reflect the culture they came from, then Anime must do this for the Japanese. Therefore, I will discuss primarily the underlying issues that I have found though experiencing the modern marvel of anime.

    The inner torment and repressed self
    Japanese culture is “That of cells in a blood stream” they all work, as one. There is very little social merit placed on the individual, its all for the good of the whole. However, at the same time Japan is a modern democracy. It has the values of capitalism and individual sprit that it must attend to. So, how does this tug-a-war between values of self and community leave the Japanese society in general? Well, it leaves it in a very unbalanced state.
    During the day, office workers work as a unit and at night they get incredibly drunk like you or I, discuss their bosses, feelings and do bad karaoke. However, these feelings are not completely purged by nights of heavy drinking, some wish to be an individual and to be freed from their group dynamic. These feelings are not only felt in the older generations, but, more often in the teenage years. This dynamic shift in the attitudes of young people, to work less as a collective makes teens seem monstrous and weird. These feeling get re-expressed in Anime as the “Monstrous Adolescent” who decides the fate of mankind like in NGE (Neon Genesis Evangelion) or in the raging, society-neglected character of Tetsou in Akira, waiting to restart the world again and write or fix society of it’s problems.

    The tech connection
    Tokyo and Japan in general has been described as a place of almost never-ending technical change. The city is lighted up with skyscraper-sized televisions showing the newest products or introducing the latest JPOP (Japanese Pop Group). Thousands of people are forced to take the cities rails everyday and the streets are flooded with humanity like New York carrying the sounds of a technological city.
    However, this emphasis on technology unnerves some people in Japanese society and is once again expressed through the medium of Anime in such shows as Serial Experiments Lain where “everyone is connected”. Lain is a person that consists of two selves a “real” lain and a “fake” one which inhabits the wired world, starting all sorts of chaos by revealing peoples’ weaknesses to others and running their lives for the fun of it.
    The premise is that everyone is connected together through the Internet, which has been linked to the collective unconsciousness, the “real” Lain tries to fix things by rewriting them but only ends up making things worse.
    Then there are Movies like Ghost in The Shell that examines what makes a human a human by a using a soul-seeking android, as it’s main character. The character looks for god and self-identity because she is mostly a robot. Also, there are Movies that protest the growth of technology because they feel it is destroying and polluting the world’s purity such as in Princess Mononoke. The main tie between these movies is there religious references, which run throughout Serial Experiments Lain, Ghost in The Shell and Princess Mononoke, which lead me to my next topic.

    The search for meaning and looking for god
    Japan is a country of many religions including Taoism, Daoism, Buddhism and Christianity. These religions in their multitude blend together in odd ways in the Japanese mindset and form some pretty unique questions. Some these religious questions and debates have been explored through their whole society. One of the ways these questions are explored is through Anime. Unlike many American films religion is not a taboo subject in Anime, in fact there are many famous Anime titles that use religion and philosophy as their main source of inspiration.
    Take Kino’s Journeys as an example. The main character explores the world and gives insightful debate with Hermes her adopted talking motorcycle. Which doesn’t talk with any type of mouth, but rather project’s it’s raspy voice outward from the bike when it speaks. For that matter, take Lain where god is supposedly “on the wired” and “Heaven is full”. These ideas are not even thought of as odd subjects for animation to delve into and are celebrated by the Japanese people and Anime Fans in general for their uniqueness and thought provoking subjects.

    School life and the exams
    School life in Japan is hard. It is complicated and consists of studying, cramming and praying to pass certain placement exams. These exams are important in order to get into the right high schools to get in the best colleges. This stressful life drives many students over the edge. They sometimes commit suicide or become increasingly depressed as time goes on. This once again shows up in Anime in two ways as the “Monstrous Adolescent” which I already discussed earlier in this paper and secondly in escapist kids Anime. The children targeted Anime, is closest to what the average American person knows as cartoons. These shows are meant to show a world that doesn’t rely on grades or the right degree to prove their self-worth. For example the infamous Pokemon and other kid themed shows, in which the hero is a young and able-bodied person who can face the world on his own. These heroes are shown to have a destiny, a goal that is like no one else’s and these stories usually take place in a imaginary world or at least a modern world with non-modern elements such as super powers, talking ghosts or powerful future technology. These are meant to keep kids happy and for the most part they do.

    In conclusion and final thoughts
    Many truths and ideals can be found by observing television shows and movies of another country. Throughout this course we have watched Korean soap operas and live action movies like Sent Down Girl, Suicide Club and 301/302 that helped us understand a culture that was vastly different from my own. This helped me model this paper and gave the idea for which it was based. It seems, if you observe what a culture creates and learn a-bit about its background you will get a better understanding of what that culture is like. There are many people who think they understand Japanese culture, but really no one including myself can really fully-understand it. Maybe if Anime and film can help fill in those gaps and people will learn to understand other cultures better. Until then,
    Sayonara Professor Min-san des, argato. (Goodbye Professor Min and thanks)

    Susan J Napier, Palgrave Press, 2001
    Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese

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