I’ll try to be brief, because it’s almost New Year here.
When people ask me, “what kind of music do you listen to?” I immediately shudder. It’s not a difficult question to answer, but my answer could be so off-the-wall that they’ll never talk to me again (this is a recurring irrational fear of mine). So depending on who they are, I give “safe” answers.
- I listen to the classics. (Then I give examples of pop/rock/jazz artists.)
- I listen to anything and everything! (Then they’ll follow up with “Who?”, and I die.)
- I listen to music from different countries (heavily implying Japan)
- I try to look for music that isn’t normally played on the radio. (no, I’m not a hipster)
All of these are true. My tastes are wide, and I find that I could latch myself to almost anything. But I don’t really go out of my way to look for new music. I look at my sizable music library and wonder if I really need more, then end up playing something like Steely Dan’s Aja album. Shut up, it’s brilliant!
Anime is fairly notorious for its treatment of women characters, and even women authors help perpetuate this. This has led some people to clamor for strong female characters in anime, but I’m afraid the term has become an oxymoron of sorts.
First of all, let’s dissect the term. Strong Female Character. Strong, female, character? There are three words–two adjectives that both modify the same noun. The character must be strong and female, a combination of the two. But in the first place we must have a character. I tend to think that not all characters are equal in make–some are types or caricatures, which are inferior. What makes a proper character, then?
Dropping anime is usually unpleasant. There’s always an element of sacrifice involved: be it bandwidth or money or a favor from a friend who lent you the discs. And of course, the constant one is time. Accept it or not, you’ve spent time with a show–it could be a minute, or ten episodes’ worth–and then you decide not to watch it anymore.
When I was starting to get into anime seriously, I encountered people who would discuss creators and studios. This was a big quantum leap for me, having framed anime in terms of “good” or “not good” only. Why are they talking about who made what? Why bother? I thought.
Maybe some of you are asking the same question. Why does it matter? What do we gain from doing so?
One of the most challenging things I must handle as an anime fan is when people ask me to recommend them anime. I take recommendations seriously, because I want others to enjoy what they watch–if they get a dud and hate it, I would hold myself liable. My knowledge as an anime fan isn’t just for myself; it’s also for the service of other anime fans. It’s challenging because anime is so vast and wide that one can’t just hope to throw out a couple of shows and expect them to be well-received.
So what I do is ask the person to narrow down their preferences. They give out a genre or two, or mention a specific show they like and would like to watch more of.
“Would you like to watch a classic?” I ask, giving a baseline, like “older than 2000″.
“Umm… I guess not. Something newer, maybe?” they answer.
This is where my heart breaks a little. But I give them what they want, and hope for the best.
Merry Christmas! For this year, I’d like to talk about anime, and not just specific shows that I watched this year. I’d still mention some of them, don’t worry! It’s just that enough people are doing that already, so I’d like to bring something new to the table.
This year, I started writing harder. Not hard enough as I would like to, but it’s a start, and one of the steps I took was educating myself by reading writing books.
One book I read was 20 Master Plots. I know, boring title, but I seriously learned a lot, and if you’re even remotely interested in writing or understanding fiction, you should give the book a read. It’s going to point out things that seem like stupid cliches to you and explain why writers do them, and suddenly they make sense and you wonder if you stories suck solely because you’ve been trying to avoid them all the time.