I’ll be brief.
As of tonight this site is going to be effectively shuttered. Later this week, any and all traffic linking to our content will be redirected to our new self-hosted domain: http://altairandvega.net.
We began in the summer of 2011. That really does feel like a lifetime ago. We’ve grown and changed, evolved and moved on, and we have a new space to play in.
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The Untold Story of Altair & Vega | Discourse over Distance
Grace. いただきます. Bismillah. Cultures across the world have developed means to express gratitude for what they consume. This is possibly borne out of an innate quality, as recent studies suggest, that rituals before a meal may alter our perception of its taste. The idea of gratitude being expressed serves another ancillary function: it staves off the guilt of consumption.
In this season’s The Eccentric Family (Uchōten Kazoku | 有頂天家族), we follow a family of shape-shifting Japanese raccoon dogs. Yasaburō, the narrator and main character who poses as a young human, spends his days avoiding and cavorting and playing with Benten, the powerful and dangerous psychic woman seen in the image above. The dialogue between the two is brisk and spry, with a back and forth that moves at a nice clip. But none of that is remarkable on its face to me, until we understand that she ate the young raccoon dog’s father in a year-end ritual meal and that it is common knowledge in their community.
Something almost unbelievable happened last night. Trigger Inc. set up a campaign to crowdfund the next episode of their 2013 Anime Mirai title Little Witch Academia, and in less than five hours, they met their $150,000 goal and more.
Pixar’s poetry lies in the mixing of pain with sweetness. What I love about some of their films is that there’s a true sense of heartache that fuels them underneath the mirth. Across fourteen feature films there have been several narratives they’ve explored, occasionally more than once; love and loss, parenthood, religion, self-improvement. The theme that strikes me as the most inherently interesting—and the most unusually brave considering its status as children’s fare—is the ongoing musing of talent vs. mediocrity.
We occupy a rather unique niche on this world in that we’re the only ones blessed with the capability of pondering our own finitude. It grants us the perspective of reckoning with our mortality, a bitter balm for the weight of knowledge.
When we’re presented the same story in different contexts, we’re made privy to different things. Our perception of stories is at the mercy of the medium, the storyteller, the point of view, or the order in which it’s seen. Many variables affect presentation, which in effect alter the outcome of what we receive. Puella Magi Madoka Magica the television series was ostensibly about magical girls engaging the forces of evil through the use of powers acquired in a magical contract. The first Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie, while containing the same characters and housing the same plot as the first eight episodes of the television series, is more specifically a classic Greek Tragedy borrowing freely from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
It is the story of the inevitable downfall of Sayaka Miki.
And just like that, in walked trouble. “Vuc, I need a favor.”
Day is not the type of dame one can refuse so easily. She’s more of a self-contained force of nature barreling down wherever she pleases. Knowing this, I set my rather significant textbook down and try to proceed as cautiously as possible. “I don’t know if I can help you, but I can sure listen to you.”
“Something’s happening. I can’t go into details, but I need you to tail someone for me.”
I didn’t like the sound of that at all.
“The thing is, I came across a tidbit and I need you to help me out. I had a few others on this, but honestly they weren’t able to make any sense out of it. You see this girl, Horizon? She’s in the middle of something big.”
“Could my body be any more inconvenient?”
Every move you make is carefully planned. You are limited in your capability, your capacity, your reach. To reach beyond what is allotted to you is met with struggle, strain, and pain. You cannot be frivolous in your actions, for each moment is carefully meted out as though you’re incapable of the responsibility yourself.
How would this color your outlook on life?
Hyouka follows Oreki Houtarou as he enters high school wishing to expend as little energy as possible despite his intelligence and deductive capacity. Of course if he were successful, we wouldn’t have much of a story; so we follow along as curiosity incarnate Chitanda Eru enlists his aid in helping her remember why an old story from her uncle left her in tears. To solve this becomes one the Classics Club’s raisons d’être, as we have Fukube Satoshi and Ibara Mayaka round out their quartet.
The answer lies in the name of the club’s anthology itself, the Hyouka, and why asking her uncle what the name meant left Chitanda in tears.
xxxHolic is a difficult series. The manga has a convoluted continuity tied up in several different franchises. The anime adaptation is easier to follow, but has its own hurdles with the extremely stylized designs animated on a modest budget. Truth told, I procrastinated on this series when I’d seen the roughness of the animation coupled with the relatively comedic tone of the first few minutes of the first episode. It wore through slapstick and familiar Japanese comedy routines, setting up certain expectations as I watched. I let my preconceptions doubt the story. I was wrong.