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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Delightful Dystopia: Black Lagoon

READER DISCRETION ADVISED: I DID NOT censor myself so there is some cursing and touching on Adult rated concepts.

 Question for you think it would be an awesome life to live as an outlaw? To go anywhere you want, do whatever you please, and stare down anyone in your way with a fierce sense of independence?

 That's the kind of thinking that is glorified in one of my favorite anime's. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's called Black Lagoon!

Revy wields two of my current favorite gun! As if I needed other reasons to love her!

 This particular series really challenges me even to this day. I'm talking on a philosophical level here. I've always been a spiritually and morally oriented person I must admit. I believe in God, and anime's like Naruto and Bleach and Amagami SS reinforce my penchant for lovey dovey stand by my friends mindsets. I'm a bit of a cheesy sucker in all honesty and not too keen on recognizing the gritty harsh realities of life. I usually spend my life trying to have a lot of fun and pretty much just ignoring the fact that maybe it's not going to be so easy to make all the bad things go away.

 Black Lagoon is like an old war veteran who's been around the block and knows how life really works. It's sick of your childish bullshit and is always ready to put you in your place with harsh lessons of experience and sharp tongued lectures about the pain and suffering we have to go through in life.

When I grow up I'll win the Olympics! 

I don't think mafia hits are an Olympic event...

 Black Lagoon makes me think about how a person is supposed to live when everything really goes straight to hell, especially if your life went to hell at a very early age like Revy's did. She's has an interesting conversation with Rock in the Nazi U-Boat early on in the series about respect, honor, and morality. Rock starts it by telling Revy to respect the dead soldiers and leave the medals and other prized possessions that they lived and died with. This rationale was a child of common sense from my perspective...but then Revy went off on some pretty dark but hard to fight stuff. She asserts that a skull in one hand and a military medal in the other are merely "things" nothing more and nothing less. "When you strip away their meanings both of these are just things." She goes on to talk about her tragic life and explains where she gets her hope and satisfaction. She says that she once believed in God until the cops beat the shit out of her for no reason, she explains that love and God always seemed to be sold out when she went shopping for them...

 This was really rough stuff for me to swallow I must's uncomfortable to have your comforting beliefs of the universe to be challenged so harshly, even if it's only by a cartoon character...

 She goes on to assert that she does have much more useful things than love and God. She has power in the form of money and guns. The meanings people ascribe to things are nothing but a bunch of sentimental bullshit and the only thing you can rely is the stuff everyone can agree on...namely money.

 She even goes so far as to say that with the power of her money and weapons the world is a Great Place.
Imagine that, in a terrible world of blood and guts she perceives greatness by virtue of the cash in her pocket and the guns in her holsters.

Fuckin' A!

 Rock just kind of rolls over and accepts it but I was left with a bad feeling and some disturbing thoughts in my head. My problem was that I could easily imagine real people like Revy who can truly justify their terrible lifestyles on the basis of the terrible world that they live in. Every fiber of my being wants to viciously fight and resist this idea that some people could actually be trapped in a sinful world and that there is simply no escaping it. It defies the value of morality and the concept of free will as well. What's worse is that it takes it a few steps further by prescribing a strong dose of insanity as a coping mechanism for the cruelty of the world as a whole. 

 Got a shitty life with people all around trying to screw you? No problem! Just live your life constantly suspicious of human beings and counteract them by screwing them right back. Hypocrisy doesn't meant shit, this is just how people survive. "Sometimes we'll break the rules to put food on the table." (Dutch, Black Lagoon) We all have our own needs and priorities and sometimes we can't afford to worry about anything but doing what needs to be done, however underhanded and hostile it is. This was really hard for me to deal with and I desperately tried to find some kind of rationalization that would put my mind at ease. Interestingly, Balalaika helped me out with that.

Even with the nasty scars I still find her attractive...

 Balalaika once said in a conversation with Mr. Chang that there isn't any need for justice and morality...all we need is profit and trust. It was strange to hear that statement because that's kind of what I thought justice and morality know people trusting each other and making profit, otherwise known as making an honest living. Balalaika's philosophy is still a bit troubling but helps put the whole theme of Black Lagoon in a better perspective. We live in a universe where the normal state of affairs is chaos. We survive through this chaos by establishing our own order of things. We all set goals and agendas and establish rules that we follow as well as forge contracts with each other to gain the cooperation of others. 

 This is really what the story of Black Lagoon is about. It's about people dealing with chaos and pain by latching on to whatever gives them a psychological high on life and they negotiate with and make use of the forces of life like rival gangs, economic situations, financial power, social influence, and of course physical force. 

"Masked Thunder Kick!"

 The setting of Black Lagoon is a bit depressing and no matter how much I love the anime I still feel saddened when I think about that basic fact. None the less I also take comfort in how the show addresses that issue which is why I love this anime so much despite the fact that it directly contradicts many of my ideals and by extension much of what makes up my identity as a human. 

 Life requires us to take action and work out our own arrangements. There are no hard and fast rules for how human beings have to live. I'm not sure why God would design a world like this, but this is the world we are in and it's the only one we've got. This in a way gives a serious and realistic interpretation to the anime craziness that I have been pushing as a legitimately wise and happy way to live life. I've written a lot now about how we need to cut loose and embrace the wisdom we can glean from our favorite anime and manga. Black Lagoon gives true intellectually serious consideration to that ideal by applying it to the chaos that is not so fun and happy and instead causes pain, misery, and blood spilling.

 Towards the end of Black Lagoon season two, Rock confronts Balalaika in order to stop her from killing off  the Washimine clan in Japan in the interest of saving the young girl Yukio because he wants her to have her chance at a "normal" life. Balalaika holds Rock at gunpoint and tells him straight out that life in the big picture is insignificant and that justice is a meaningless concept. Long story short it's clear that the only things that matter in the world of Black Lagoon are those of the pragmatic and hedonistic varieties. What really made me laugh madly with ecstasy was how Rock played off of that pessimistic and selfish way of doing things in order to achieve the goal of protecting "justice" and help others. He stopped Balalaika from killing him by amusing her, one of the two options she gave him by telling her that though he had no obligation to protect Yukio and was not concerned with justice he merely wanted to do it as a part of his own sick "hobby". 

Guns and Rum: Two hobbies I share with Revy! ;)

 Everyone in Black Lagoon does what they do ultimately to satisfy the need to survive and the need to live an entertaining life based off of whatever the hell gets you off. Rock uses the path of the villain to serve what we might consider a path of the hero and this really gave me a grand ray of hope.

 The world doesn't seem to make sense and apparently people are free to pursue their own selfish senseless agendas ranging from drug addiction and pleasure derived from murder to the lovey dovey hero business that  "normal" people enjoy. 

 So the answer in my opinion is this: We can do whatever the hell we want in life. We can murder, cheat, and steal, or we can love, have sex, and help each other out. We can have fun and let go of past offenses or we can have a big pity party where we brood and bemoan. But with this great power we can choose to enforce a useful definition of "justice" and "morality". It doesn't matter that we can't actually "prove" the truth of morality or love or goodness or anime crazy fun. We can simply define these things as our "hobbies" just things we do to survive and live amusing lives before the last one of us kicks the bucket.   

 So let's take these lessons to heart in order to manage the stress and pain of life. Life has miserable issues for us to deal with. Death, illness, disability, loneliness, poverty, torture, murder, rape, theft, and more and more...but let's not despair, let's counter the random evil with random good. Can I prove my God exists and that Jesus knew what he was talking about? No I can't, but so what? Pursuing love and my benevolent God's will is something that keeps me fighting for survival and my love of Anime and Manga is something that keeps my life entertaining and interesting and they're a hell of a lot better than getting off on going to war aren't they?

 Now we can forge positive hobbies in life and consciously recognize that they are all we have and all we need. We can get through this chaotic senseless adventure of life just by embracing life and doing whatever we can to enjoy it before it slips away!

 I hope I haven't lost you with the grittiness of this post but it is Black Lagoon we're talking about here so don't judge me too harshly!

 Have a good week mina-san!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Otaku Animeblasts: The Osteoblasts of Human Kind!?

 Do you know what Osteoblasts are? If not I will tell you. Osteoblasts are cells in the human body that serve the purpose of synthesizing the materials that make up your bones! They literally build the structure that supports your fleshy body and gives it shape!

                                          Is that how Zanka no Tachi South works?

 So why the hell am I giving you a biology lesson? Because I think that us Otaku's can or at least should identify ourselves as some version of the osteoblasts. I call it the Animeblast movement! Think of it this way the human body needs bones to be able to have a stable shape that can move through and interact with the world. This basic structure is a vital part of what makes you a human being and the osteoblasts give you this empowering body structure by taking minerals and literally building and maintaining your skeleton with it!

 Now imagine all of humanity as being one single organism, the organism of human kind. This creature called humanity needs some sort of structure to doesn't it? But what does this structure consist of and how does it get constructed and maintained in the first place!? Well I'll tell you what I think. The structure of human kind is culture: C U L T U R E = S T R U C T U R E. Culture is the word that captures everything a human community is: it's values, laws, sense of identity, solidarity, entertainment interests, and more that I've probably not thought of. These are the minerals that are somehow produced and added the the skeleton of human kinds existence on Earth.


Obviously these minerals need osteoblasts to put them together into the big skeleton of people on the planet.
These osteoblasts are the people among humanity who have passion and vision for the happiness we all want in life. If good osteoblasters in the world are successful and able to thrive, all of humanity gets a strong backbone, legs, arms, chest, head, and hips with which to take on the world! But now I'm advocating for a way to take the people of the world to the next stage, we need Otaku's to become osteoblasts of communities everywhere. With the same spirit of those tiny little cells in all of our bodies we Otaku's need to work diligently to add the anime culture of creativity, craziness, and love to the bone structure of the world of human beings.

Does he have enough yet...?

 Okay, I hope I haven't lost you on my sciencey analogy here but there's a very good reason why I did that. Osteoblasts are tiny tiny little things. On their own they seem rather insignificant and couldn't possibly build a skeleton all by their lonesome's! But together they form an army that gives us our very lives to live, to jump around in and play! And work too I guess... But that fact should really inspire hope in Otaku's everywhere! I'm sure you anime/manga fans all identify with my struggle against a world that doesn't get my anime happiness and silliness, but there is hope! We can rely on what little we each have in order to shock this world into submission to the anime will!  

 What I'm driving at is the very sneaky and come from behind way with which all Otaku's working together can not only gain the acceptance of public opinion for our anime/manga fandom, but we can go as far as to embed anime type culture into the very bones of humanity. All we need are a ton of willing Otaku's putting in little pieces of anime at a time, bit by bit on a constant basis every single day. 

 I'm thinking that in the interest of working realistically and effectively we can and will have to take a different interpretation of anime rule number 11.

That's why I'm suggesting a less destructive type of "blast".

 I myself will take the initiative to be the first official Animeblast. Slowly, surely, and independently adding bit by bit of anime inspired culture and fun to the whole world in order to make humanity happier. I like Kisuke Urahara's clothes to be quite honest, or really I like any variation of the soul reaper garbs. They are of course inspired by traditional Japanese wear and they have in turn inspired my own personal pet projects. Pretty soon I'm going to be working on a pair of geta which are relatively simple for someone like me who has experience building a wooden patio table. I expect that the wood work for geta sandals will be a piece of cake for me! :) These little minerals will be my contributions to society's structure and I hope that as I contribute more and more of these small but provoking little things it will spark a revolution in our world! 

 So I challenge anyone reading this to be brave enough to step outside of your normal circle of anime believers and try to shock outsiders with an Animeblast. Don't get thrown in jail and don't get fired from work but get pumped with the spirit I know is within you! Don't be ashamed! Let yourself go and be an Otaku, be more than an Otaku be an Animeblast, be a transformative force in the world that gets people in the groove to give and receive jokes about the size of each others boobs and has people looking with rolling eyes as our village idiot tries talking to cats again to gain knowledge of the universe. I want people to embrace the fun and excitement of anime craziness and accept the joy it can bring rather than getting discomfort out of it. Animeblasting can break people out of their shell and make them comfortable with the chaos of the world!

That pretty much sums up my post!

So let me wrap this up with some closing words. People are stuck up with their traditional ways of thinking and doing. The world has too many tight wads that are good at surviving but have no clue how to really live. I say that we can teach them how to live as Animeblasts. Blowing their minds one step at a time! Like Dutch from Black Lagoon once said: "What's the point of life if you can't get excited?" Here my answer: There is none. Not one point to a life that can't be filled with the ecstasy of some healthy insanity. Anime gives us our daily dose of it and the world needs Animeblasts to take that stuff out and share it, so that it can become deep and vital part of our very bones!!! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Anime: A Series Of Thought Experiments?

 Anime makes you think in really unique ways...okay that statement is far from my greatest original quips of cleverness but bear with me. I would like to claim that anime and manga perform the really great and valuable service of making us confront angles of perspective and possibility that the mind ordinarily would never ever touch. Take Naruto for example, a lot of people were brought back from the dead in that series.It's especially notable when Itachi comes back and has to talk things out with his brother Sasuke.

In anime this kind of event is taken for granted, just think about all of the amazing things that might happen if we got these opportunities in real life! What if people we know whom we may have loved or hated came back and gave us the break down on how they chose to live. How do you think things would change for your perspective of the world if you got answers from the people who can no longer give any? If you really ponder the true meaning of a ridiculous anime development you would realize how amazing the ideas are.

 If they are no longer bound by responsibilities and politics of the living they would certainly be free to talk more openly about their true thoughts and feelings, in which case how would my past relatives really feel about me? What would George Washington or Ben Franklin really have to say about the way this country has turned out? What advice would they give us? Would their return to this world however short transform our views and reinforce our legacy as Americans? 

 Anime makes us think in tangents that ordinarily seem irrelevant and I think that this is a very good thing. It literally expands our minds and allows our thoughts to reach places far beyond the typical mind which is focused on traditional habitual ways of looking at the world. 

 I've mentioned before about my disappointment with people for not understanding or embracing my anime inspired happy-go-luckiness. I have a tendency to go over the top with things, for example I've taken it upon myself to keep to my schedule of writing this blog with at least one posting per week. This has kept me up with the clock closing in on midnight in spite of the fact that I have a test tomorrow that I need to do more studying for layered on top of the fact that there is absolutely ZERO obligation for me to write this thing in the first place. If this got to be too much work for me I could literally just start pretending this blog doesn't exist and it wouldn't hurt me a damn bit. But I press on, and I do so because Naruto didn't quit no matter the cost and it got him incredibly far in life, so I found myself wondering: "What if I did the same?". 

 Anime makes me consider grand possibilities...

                                               This could totally be me right...?

 But really I find myself thinking that the only reason things can or can't be done half the time is because of what we perceive to be possible or not possible. In my experience anime functions as a tool to experiment and toy with ideas of what we might be able to enjoy in life and it's already showing promising results in my life. I have wooden planks in my house that are dying to give birth to a pair of geta sandals for me and I've got needle and threading all set to make sweet love to some cloth materials in order to make little kimono and yukata babies!

With these projects on deck to be initiated in my life the finer values I learned and adopted from this Otaku nature of mine are now inching towards reality. I'm finally starting to bust the barrier between the manga covers and video screens and the real world that contains my actual life. 

 Consider the concept of Tsundere...

This one trope alone has given me a sense of hope about aggressive jerkiness' everywhere. I wrote a whole posting about how Toradora made me less able to pass judgement on others because it gave such fine consideration to peoples personal stories. This particular anime made me think more about what it means for someone to actually be a jerk or an otherwise bad person, sending my mind off on a thinking spree that tries to work out the ways I might be wrong about the way human nature actually works. People are shocked on a regular basis at my ability to be highly tolerant and patient and forgiving, hell a part of why I was so late to writing this article was that I spent a whole day with a classmate in need of a great deal of aid with school issues. Many others would have gotten fed up with her and wanted to abandon her...for God's sake her son did want to just ditch her himself! But I endured because my Anime Mind has pondered such things long and hard and I am determined to make miracles happen and so I will face whatever the world wants to throw at me and I will find a way to rise above it and take this world by storm!

That's not what I meant by storm...but that's not bad either.

All I'm trying to say, is that I think there is intellectual value in anime fandom. It's established science of psychology that people need to be entertained, fully stimulated through all of their senses, challenged with new and interesting ideas, and repeatedly slammed with it all in order to learn and grow in intelligence, creativity, and skill. Anime does absolutely everything for the human mind that a healthy one craves! That's why it's so addicting, that's why you know and love it by heart, and that's why your mind gets so wild when you've been exposed to it for a good long time. 

 So take this opportunity to avail yourself to the benefits now, just in case you hadn't noticed the intellectual gold mind you were sitting on. What would happen if you forgave your worst enemy? Would he have a change of heart like Nagato when Naruto talked him down? What if you went the other route and launched a full scale rebellion against the people who hold you down? Would you rise to become a supreme conqueror like Lelouch vi Brittania, and ultimately become the savior of the world by guiding it to a better future free of the dismal past? 

 What about true love? Do you think you can find it like Junichi Tachibana did? With any of six or seven different but perfect in each her own way ladies!? 

 I think these questions are worth exploring because they bring up thoughtful questions of hopes and dreams that would not have been considered otherwise. Anime is extremely entertaining but it also makes me think and in so doing it changes me as I believe it does to all of its fans. It serves to mold and shape my identity and I think a great surge in quality of life can emerge if we take to heart the ideas we often take for granted as we secretly watch anime and read manga where the normal people can't see. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Anime: The Ideal Law Of The Land!?

 I have a bit of a problem I have to confess to...several actually you see I don't respect authority, I have a sick sense of humor, and I'm a bit too perverted for my own good. I also like to interrupt the normal flow of life with sarcastic snide remarks and I like to jump people randomly with big hugs for no real reason too.! Except I don't really think that I am. There are a lot of taboos that we have to put up with in life and it really messes with my Anime Mind. When I watch anime a part of my psychological high comes from the vicarious experience of totally inappropriate fantasy born behavior that is totally acceptable or at least tolerable for all of my favorite anime characters. In real life the scene pictured above would progress into a scandal that would stress those involved to the very limit and lead to a lot of misery, but in anime this stuff carries on like it's no big thing!!

 Allow me to address one of my favorite shows: Amagami SS

                      The nature of this posting demands the inclusion of...interesting screenshots. 

 Juunichi's sister loses her cool with him numerous times throughout the anime. These freak outs have much to do with compromising positions the boy finds himself in with his lady friends. He accidentally gropes right on her well developed breasts and has his sister inconveniently walk right in on the "non-action". Resulting in an understandably distressed little sister. But here's where it diverges in an departure from realistic interpretations of the scandalous circumstance...namely nothing happens...isn't that odd how such a disturbing sexually intoned event can occur and yet everyone brushes it off like it's nothing. In anime universes nobody will question your integrity, your character, or your credibility for even the most suspicious and damning misbehavior you may clearly seem to be guilty of!

 This illustrates, in my view a degree of liberty, independence, and personal strength enjoyed by many anime characters which I consider highly desirable. Please allow me to hold your attention in order to offer you an explanation.

                                                     Please don't go yet!!

 We live in a world loaded with and dependent upon formal and tedious procedures founded upon the interests of those who have little concern with whether their fellow humans are happy and able to communicate with and comprehend one another. Think about every time you've ever been in the midst of an unfamiliar crowd. You had to consider every word and action of yours before it came close to coming forth and making a scene. You couldn't be yourself, hell you couldn't be anyone. You have no identity in a crowd consumed with a mob mentality. You must conform to some faceless, nameless, and soulless program of thoughts and behaviors with any deviation being punished summarily by others who were trapped by the very same slave driver known as politics...

 In anime's there's a lot of faith that people have in things turning out all right as well as an intimate knowledge characters have about how the world works and how to read other people which imparts an inexplicably powerful ability upon people to be brutally and inappropriately honest, open, and aggressive without incurring any serious level of wrath upon them except in situations where the plot calls for such a development. 

He's in big trouble! ...except not really?

 Junichi walked into the swim clubs practice session to see his lady of the arc and was called out on the carpet for being a hardcore peeping tom!!! In reality you'd have teachers having a nice chat with him about appropriate behavior, mom and dad would probably get a call about it, and the kid would have hard time to do. Instead he gets let off! It's especially shocking the first time when he explains his actions by going off with a whole speech about loving a woman's body and wanting to see it streaming through the water! WTF!

 How the hell do you get away with that!? 

 Here's the thing, my biggest complaint here is that we don't have strong personal relationships with one another.We have no liberty because we submit to authorities/politics to prescribe acceptable conversation topics for us, we have no independence because we are always looking for some saving grace to deliver us rather than taking our lives into our own hands and facing what life throws at us, and finally we have no personal strength because people in general in our culture will cry, criticize, condemn, and complain with no interest in learning and growth. In these processes of submission to the fallacious belief that our lives are under the jurisdiction of some formal authority I feel that we deny ourselves and each other countless opportunities to learn about ourselves, get to know each other, and get to know life itself. 

 Now, men should NOT simply be allowed to grope women on a whim but wouldn't it be great if we lived in a world where women didn't have to fear men so much that they have to have freaking seminars about sexual harassment?

                               Don't you wish your own power was all you needed to be safe?

 I truly believe that the test of ones quality of life is based on how many rules people are forced to strictly abide by. Put another way the more relaxed the rule book is the happier the people living under it will be. We need trust more than we need justice, we need productivity more than we need procedures, and we need honesty more than we need manners. 

 One of my best friends is a girl and she allows me to get away with the most profane and disgusting language that you could ever imagine. I would not even dare to repeat it to anyone and especially not on this blog in spite of the fact that I'm posting about freedom and's just that bad! But that's the beauty of our friendship! We can get away with anime levels of inappropriateness and craziness because we have risen above good manners and proper procedures. It's not that we get away with crimes or other destructive behaviors, rather we have transcended the "safe zone" of human relations. We have developed trust and respect on a level that allows for degrees of freedom and power that often create the appearance of disrespect and downright serious danger!

  For comparison with the above photo my friend has threatened to kick me a couple of times in case I tried to get her into bed and.or kidnap her which I've joked about yea this stuff can happen!!!

 But in order to achieve the ideal anime inspired life of bonding, growth, learning, and entertaining interpersonal and dynamic relationships I will make this declaration.

 I call upon all people within line of sight of this text to heed my pleas for change! While you should not trust too carelessly I ask you to open your lives to your fellow people! Partake in your communities both online and off to connect with others. Get together in the coffee shops to merely discuss your favorite anime's and manga's, meet up to help each other with homework or the ...regular work! Don't be discouraged of humanity, there are people in this world with more in common with you than you may realize and they are yearning to spend quality time with you as you yearn for them. Not only this, but strive to master your own life! As a community, as a society we ought to shun the big brotherish authorities of the world. We have too much suing and not enough discussion and discourse, we have too much war and not enough debate and negotiation, and we have too much politics and not even close to enough personal relationships to one another!
                            Above: Something that kicks the hell out of "politics" it's called love!

 Politics are what people do to deal with other people they don't care one lick about...emotions matter, relationships matter, love matters big time, what I'm trying to say is that we need to emancipate each other. We must free ourselves and our compatriates in order to truly get the best out of each other so we can joke without fear, debate without destruction, and fight without misery. We can be happy by giving up on stability and embracing the crazy world we live in, filled with unique and interesting individuals most of whom can be such great friends that government and police will be rendered obsolete because we the people can be the best ones to keep ourselves and our fellows in line and in love!

 May we all begin to enjoy each other's insanity on an increasingly persistent basis!!!