From the New World Episode Twenty-One: on False Gods and Tyranny

'There is no need to deceive you.'

The lives of individuals are meaningless before the greater cause.

In the twenty-first episode of From the New World we are treated to the continuation of what is likely the series’ denouement. We are also informed of the central tenet of the queerat rebellion; a belief that not only motivates the queerats to take up arms against the human villages, but also the resolve to sacrifice both themselves and one another.

To paraphrase a queerat infantryman, they no longer wish to be ruled by tyrannic false gods.

Although bestowed with a god-like power, the humans of From the New World are most certainly not gods. To add to this, and whilst we do not know if they originally claimed godhood or not, we do know that they do not discourage the queerats in thinking them so. Ergo, we can comfortably agree with the charge of false godhood.

What then of the other charge, that of tyranny? Again, we find plentiful evidence that the humans are absolute rulers from a queerat perspective. The humans created and have since bred queerats; they use them for manual labour, they administer the lives and trials of the queerat populous, and they are happy to dispose of the occasional troublesome queerat colony, or indeed colonies, when deemed necessary.

Through modern eyes, tyranny is a bad thing – an outmoded form of governance to be eradicated at every opportunity. Should we, therefore, succumb to the very modern urge and support the queerat rebellion irrespective of how ominously it is painted by the series?

I would argue otherwise.

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Mariko From Above: The Birth of an AKB0048 Successor

takamina, takamina the 5th, akb0048

“Maybe it’s arrogant to talk of supporting Acchan, but I succeeded 0048’s captain, Takahashi Minami. So I decided that I had to change. I had to be strong enough to support Acchan. That’s what I thought.”

-Minami “Takamina” Takahashi the 5th, AKB0048 Episode 20

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The Golden Ani-Versary, 1978: The Year of Leiji Matsumoto

Galaxy Express 999, 1978

Galaxy Express 999, 1978

Alternate title: In which AJtheFourth attempts to force you to watch Ringing Bell.

Fifty years ago, a little anime titled Tetsuwan Atomu, or Astro Boy, directed by creator Osamu Tezuka, aired on January 1st, 1963. Its popularity marks the beginning of what we now know as the anime industry. To celebrate this Ani-Versary (yes, mind the pun) Geoff Tebbetts of AniMaybe organized an amazing tribute to the past fifty years of anime with various anime writers, researchers, and bloggers picking specific years to cover. I’m honored to be a part of this project, and recently wrote an article on the year 1978 which covers, among many things, Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut in Future Boy Conan, and the most depressing children’s movie ever imagined: Sanrio’s Ringing Bell. Please head over to The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime to read all of the articles. Then watch Ringing Bell and let me know what you think.

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Predictions From the New World up to Episode 17

shin sekai yori, from the new world, maria akizuki

“When I made up my mind that leaving the home I had been born and raised in was inevitable, I was very sad and unhappy. But when I thought about what everyone there truly felt, it gave me pause. If I had been eliminated and disposed of by the village then, after much grief and tears, my parents would’ve eventually forgotten about me. Just as your parents eventually accepted the fate of your sister.”

-Maria Akizuki to Saki Watanabe, Shin Sekai Yori Episode 16

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It’s Only a Paper Moon: the magic of Tamako Market

"..."

“Say it’s only a paper moon

Sailing over a cardboard sea

But it wouldn’t be make believe

If you believed in me.”

-It’s Only a Paper Moon, Harold Arlen

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From The New World Episode Fifteen: All Queerats Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Shin Sekai Yori Episode Fifteen Her Majesty

The fifteenth episode of the currently airing From The New World continues Saki and Satoru’s quest to find their friends, and return with them to the human settlement before their deadline falls, and the hounds released.

The series itself has prompted a smattering of praise, speculation, and attention from across the anisphere. Indeed, with recent revelations, one might wish to spill yet more ink on a range of topics; from Mamoru and Maria’s inevitable demise, to the limits of the humans’ abilities. In the following, I intend to spill my ink on the topic of the societies shown—that of the queerat society in particular.

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Paradise Kiss and the Art of Self-Deprecation

source: zerochan

source: zerochan

Radar: I can’t because I’m ignoring her all the time.

Hawkeye: Why?

Radar: Because she’s ignoring me.

Hawkeye: Ah! But you ignored her first!

Radar: Yeah, that’s because I’m trying to beat her to the ignore.

-a conversation between Radar O’Reilly and Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H Season 3, Episode 6

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Old Souls: Constructions of Erotic Realities and Hot And Steamy vol. 1 (NSFW)

hot_and_steamy-crop

Note: This post discusses explicit sex in an explicitly sexual work, and includes images which are not safe for work.

It ought be fairly clear that most pornography is not an accurate reflection of reality. But perhaps more interestingly, different pornographic works inhabit realities which are vastly different from each other. When they divorce themselves from real-world sexual mores, erotic texts are often freed to reinvent sexual morality from scratch.

This is true to all fictional works up to a point, but the dissonance between how strongly sexuality is highlighted in pornography and how often guarded or shameful it is in reality makes the departure consistently, explicitly more noticeable. That said, so long as the author inhabits the real world and real sexual mores, their departure from those mores is clearly marked as a departure.

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I Like Pictures – on Liking Pictures

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So, it’s finally my turn. Let me tell you a story about how I like my pictures.

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For Certain Definitions of ‘Favorite’

katanagatari

Generally, I try to come from a straightforward place when I talk about “favorite”. Years ago (like 10 or 15), I came to this decision when people asked me about my favorite movie. It remains The Princess Bride for the simple reason that it’s the one movie that I’ve seem more times than any and can always be convinced to watch. When I went to assemble my list of top anime, this didn’t work as easily. If we list the the works I’ve seen the most, it goes something like this:

  1. Iria
  2. Slayers OVA
  3. Read or Die OVA
  4. Hikaru no Go
  5. FLCL

This is not my Top 5 list. When it came time to make a Top 5 for Anime-Planet’s list features, I made a different call. But why? I’m not entirely sure. When I look at the list above, I am struck by how many of those things are solid, easy-to-watch OVAs that can sort of be chewed up in the space of a day, which explains why I watch them so much.

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