Friday, January 30
The madness continues when some Korean netizens actually advocating cyberwar on Japanese sites that is promoting Hetalia-Axis Powers. Not content with successful attempt to stop broadcast of the anime series, the zealous patriots now targetting Internet streams and channels to distrupt the anime. It is unprecendented that an act of war is mulled in response to an anime backlash, this has to be first example of serious byproduct in negative light from soft war ever. Frankly speaking, I don't know if I should cry or laugh about this.
Even famous Sankaku Complex which is very critical of Koreans in this affair did not escape the wrath of Korean netizens.
It once said that Korea is like a dagger pointing straight at Japan's heart.
A poster asked me to post this one too. I guess the street did not go one way here. Personally, I find the marketing distasteful and it is ironic if the real Nazis were there, these people would be put straight into gas chamber(s). Heh.
Thursday, January 29
Wednesday, January 28
Friday, January 23
Kids Station satellite TV channel announced Jan. 16 that it had cancelled its plans to run the animation Hetalia--Axis Powers, which would have premiered on Jan. 24.
The Hetalia production committee said the sudden cancellation was decided at the "convenience of the broadcaster," and the animation channel said the decision was made "due to various circumstances," giving no detailed explanation. But according to prevailing views on the Internet, the decision was made in consideration of protests against the content of Hetalia.
Hetalia is based on a comedic manga by Hidekazu Himaruya, a Japanese student in New York. In the manga, countries are represented by anthropomorphic characters and their international relations are depicted as their human relations.
Main characters include Italy, depicted as a nation that is weak in war but is bright and adorable and loves food and women. Germany is a serious man who loves rules, while Japan is infatuated with European nations. The United States is a country who likes to always be No. 1 and Britain is a snobbish man.
"Hetalia" is a made-up word combining the Japanese word hetare, meaning a sense of helplessness or uselessness, and Italia.
The gag manga portrays the characters' relations with the historical events of the Middle Ages, early modern age, early 20th century and other eras as the background.
As soon as the adaptation of the manga into an animation was announced, a number of South Korean Internet users strongly called for the cancellation of the broadcast, as they felt the manga offers an insulting portrayal of the South Korean character. In the manga, South Korea is depicted as a man who "is weak before the United States, calls China his elder brother and hates Japan."
Net signatures for a petition opposing the broadcast were also collected. The cancellation of the broadcast was announced immediately after these moves started to be reported in Japan.
Turning the national character of one's own or another country into a joke in casual conversation, novels and other settings can happen in any country.
Himaruya himself said in his book that he came across a Web site of ethnic jokes while studying various national characters.
There also is a tradition in Japan's otaku culture that even such things as trains or computer operating systems can be changed into cute characters in a way that turns inanimate subjects into characters meant to inspire a "moe" (fondly adoring) response. Hetalia should be viewed as one of these expressions.
No matter how lightly or harmlessly it may be intended, however, depicting a nation or ethnic group in a manga or animation inevitably is undertaken at great risk. The manga happened to have attracted protests from South Korean Internet users, but there is no guarantee that it will not receive similar protests from other countries.
Such jokes may not develop into a serious matter as long as they are enjoyed in private. But we have to think of what reactions they may cause when they clash with the "justice" called for by various national or religious causes.
On a different level, but still fresh in our memory, a Danish newspaper caused a global uproar in 2005 when its cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed offended Muslim states. Islamic traditions prohibit the publication of any images of the prophet.
As a result, massive protests swept the Muslim world, and many people fell victim to violent demonstrations and other incidents the following year.
I personally cannot deny the attractions of Hetalia. In fact, the character Chibitalia (Little Italy), in particular, is irresistibly cute. But it may be better for world peace to limit the pleasure of such characters to this small Far Eastern island nation--even if such an act might be called "hetare."
Basically the summary of whole article is "WHY SO SERIOUS?"
Earlier entry on this seemingly amusing but actually a deep issue of Korean-Japanese unresolved relationship, a baggage from old Japanese Imperial era. It is also another good indicator of soft power conflict that many social scientist(s) begin to study lately.
PDF link to the article.
An interesting look at soft power war between Japan and China over creation of content based on Chinese mythos like Romance of 3 Kingdoms or Legend of Condor Heroes. Under increasingly assertive China, there is a push against Japanese style manga on same content lately. This is a byproduct of increasingly uneasy geopolitical relationship between 2 Asian giants in shadow of increasing US withdrawal from active protection of Japan after World War 2.
Hong Kong has their own dyanamic comics industry that has soulful influence from Japan in storytelling and character archetype styles; some of them become famous enough like Storm Riders which is vastly popular with Overseas Chinese in South East Asia. But it is not entirely 100 percent carbon copy has it has own unique Chinese penchant for melodrama and vision of values.
Some MMORPGs like Perfect World is also an interesting synthesis of this, many promotions of this title is drawn in anime/manga style with notable character designs like Werefox (kitsune 狐 in Japanese folklore or Chinese 狐狸精) despite it is created by Chinese company. It is a backhand acknowledgement that Japanese soft power is immensely strong in a way.
I stumbled upon this website by a Canadian who is constantly improving his android female named Aiko. What struck me is the android can react to touches according to its mood, she either can be affectionate or very snappy depending on where or how you touch her. The creator rely on donations to keep this rather interesting (or disturbing to some) project going.
Main link. Sometimes it received too many visitors that the website may not display properly. So be patient.
Saturday, January 17
Despite of general negative reaction to the development, personally I felt he can pull it off. Spike is easily most popular male character in anime history hence the feedback bound to be negative from anime fans but Mr Reeves do have affinity for certain stock of characters. Spike is one of those anti hero rogue types in space noir setting which Keanu can act it out. The only problem is, Spike is a very dynamic martial artist based on Bruce lee and judging from Reeves martial arts in Matrix saga, it is a bit problematic.
My summary is; give them chance then judge it. Pre-judgment is not very smart in my humble opinion.
the Korean news on it.
In massive outcry led by netizens of South Korea, a nationwide strike to cancel broadcast of new anime, Hetalia Axis Powers, a cynical satirical look of nations morphed into mostly male humans situated in both world wars. Despite an assurance from network that the Korean character is not present in the series, the petition still going strong even reaching highest level (National Assembly) in nation which denounced the series as discriminating against Koreans.
As it is now, the show was canceled broadcast in the aggrieved nation, but I felt it would have reverse effect as DVD sales will skyrocket in South Korea due to curiosity factor alone. It is a free publicity for the series in massive way. This is what the protesters miss.
The discussion of the said series in highest South Korean assembly.
Personally I share with many people that this is an attack on freedom of expression on ridiculous level. I don't see the series itself is a problem as 20 over nations depicted in the series did not raise as much a a heckle but only Korean seems to take it a bit too seriously. What gives?
The only explanation that I can think of is Koreans in large still feel the sting of Japanese attempt to destroy their nation down to root level. From time of massive Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea in 1500s to World War 2 ruthless colonization which saw the extinction of Korean royal family by Japanese overlords. Not to mention intricate historical crimes like comfort women issue, refusal by Japanese royal family to issue formal apology for war crimes and current island disputes. Plus Koreans were seen as second rate by Japanese despite the K-Wave led by famous dramas like Winter Sonata lately.
It would seem Hetalia Axis Power is a new victim of the uneasy dispute between both nations.
Tuesday, January 13
First episode is streamed in Crunchy Roll few days ago and looks good. Skipped 6 months after 1st season ending, the characters were re-introduced somewhat slowly. Still too early to say anything but for 1st episode it is not too bad. It has action, comedy, soft moments and foreshadowing that points to general direction of the story. We see a broken, tired Jil who is now a recluse who was consoled by high spirited but in denial mode Fatina who meet Utu later on in a fair. The first priestess of Ishtar suddenly appear into their life and another adventure is on hand for Jil as he saw a terrifying vision regarding about Kaaya from the priestess.
Great character design from previous season is still around especially Fatina, this time GONZO did a right thing. A surprise hit from last year, Druaga is based on dungeon crawl video game and expanded into full blown series.
A little investigation revealed the screenwriter and director were responsible for few good series. Koichi Chigara (director), who did Blue Submarine no 6 and Shoji Gatoh (screenwriter and novelist), responsible for episode 11 of Haruhi Suzumiya and entire Full Metal Panic! series scripting.
GDH is banking their hopes on this one and as this entry is written, milking Strike Witches for all its worth. Let's just hope they did not overdo this series.
Their OP is tongue in cheek humor just like last year. Previous entry.
Monday, January 12
Just saw it and I love it very, very much. The story is about Rin, an ex-ballerina prodigy who can't dance anymore due to a severe injury found her body expression freedom again when she riding a mecha/motorcycle in near future Japan out of curiosity. However her new found freedom is clouded by an oppressive military government that replaces representative democracy who sees university students as most dangerous rebels against their absolute rule.
The university student themselves were organizing protests against the military government with tacit approval from some of the intellectuals in the university. Think of South Korean student protest movement in the 80s and you will get the picture.
I would heartily recommend this series to anyone who look for something more meaningful to watch. Very few anime can impresses me within 1 episode and happily this is one of them.
Easily the most beautiful scene in anime so far. It captures essence of human spirit: freedom. Because of her background, the mecha/motorcycle reacts to her in certain manner that is liberating to see.
The question of this series is, will Rin's spirit overcome her surrounding or to be corrupted by odious government.
Easily the best series of new year offering so far.
Thursday, January 8
Director Ruairi Robinson with first time screenwriter Gary Whitta is confirmed in the making, the material will be split into 2 movies to accomodate 6 volume manga works. Set in New Manhattan instead Neo Tokyo though.
Who is Mr Robinson? Frankly this info did not give me much confidence. However I have to confess that I have yet to see any of his works here so it is 50-50 for me.
I am interested to see if the streaming site can make money from this. In future, people might just turn to these technology to get their weekly anime fix instead of downloading fansubs if the fees were reasonable enough. I do believe this is way of future.
Earlier, bigger entry
Friday, January 2
Thursday, January 1
Ah, let's hope we will reach our own Avalon, The Distant Utopia without need to be stabbed in the gut like Saber from Fate/Stay Night.
Enjoy the wallpapers, not made by mine though. Above is from Kara no Kyokai, below is infamous "impure" (snickers) goddess, Kannagi.