Otaku annotated: adventures in moe, porn, and postmodernism

I found Hiroki Azuma’s Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals at the university library — seven or so months ago. And, what do you know, it’s due back. Overdue, probably. So I suppose I should annotate this thing at long last, for your benefit and mine.

It’s a short book, but I won’t be entirely exhaustive here. I’ll omit basic overviews of things many of us would find intuitive anyway, and some of the more extreme postmodern/poststructural business, in the assumption that you’ll read the book yourself if you’re looking for that sort of thing. It must be said, though, that, while Azuma got his start as a Derrida scholar, Otaku is very readable even if you aren’t so familiar with Baudrillard, Lacan, and their ilk — and, that being the case, I suppose I ought to make this post more or less readable, too.



Moment(s) the [nth]: Honorable mentions, part 1

Here I stand some three days after the conclusion of Project Twelve Moments 2009, my fingers bent and bloodied, my mind weeping ichorous tears after twelve days of wracking. And yet my work is unfinished. A mere twelve posts aren’t enough to cover every specimen of drawn and/or animated media I consumed in 2009 that hit me where it counts. I’d like to mention, briefly, a few other examples of note, and though even this list will surely leave things out, I’ll at least feel a little better for recommending a few extra things that seem to deserve it.


“Fate:” Owen, IKnight, and Haruki Murakami

I’ve had my say on Fate/stay night, the visual novel that has, evidently, rendered me too jaded to enjoy VNs with a certain abundance of moe proclivities. But what of the sphere? Allow me to examine the reactions (and the general thoughts on visual novels) of bloggers more popular than I am, one F/sn route at a time.


Finishing Fate for real

I’ll say, tentatively, that “Heaven’s Feel” (or “Heavens Feel,” whichever you prefer) might’ve been my favorite of Fate’s three routes. It’s almost certainly the darkest; I read somewhere, I think in the comments to IKnight’s post, that horror is Nasu’s strength, and I can believe it. Where “Unlimited Blade Works” throws the characters into a worst-case scenario, “Heaven’s Feel” strips them down until they’re worst-case scenarios themselves, defective and startlingly human iterations of the characters we’ve come to know. And while Rin is undoubtedly mai waifu, as it were, I found Sakura to be the most engaging of the love interests.


“–My whole life was ‘unlimited blade works'”

Hoo man. “Unlimited Blade Works” was intense, and that’s considering my prior knowledge of the massive twist toward the end. I got the impression that ol’ Nasu was toying around with the absolute worst-case scenario he could think of — so much so that the protagonists’ methods of victory started to feel like deus ex machinae in light of their horrible circumstances. But I didn’t really mind. I was too busy gaping in awe as Rin pulled out some kung fu moves.

Yes, really.


I am the bone of my keyboard

Have withstood pain to create many posts.

Here, have some more Fate/stay night. I still haven’t scoured the blogs for helpful thoughts on the “Fate” route, but I can at least make some notes on my progress through “Unlimited Blade Works” — can and should, before I forget everything. Windows Update and my own carelessness conspired to do away with a few of my screencaps, but I think I can wing it well enough through those points.

Also: spoilers well beyond the scope of the anime.