Moving forward (Ft. Western manga)

Every now and again, I wonder what the future for manga and anime is in the west. At some point, I wrote about how some anime fans had to come through the trenches and endure the time of 4Kids and everybody looking down on them (myself included) for liking it. Now, manga and anime are in a good place in the west, in the sense that the young adults love it and now that shitty edits aren’t as common, younger people can watch it as intended (or at least as close to the intention as possible). I feel that it’s important to ask what’s next and one reason for this is because I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of people around the west who watch anime and want to take a step into that industry.

Recently, I came across a series called Akai and it’s being promoted heavily on social media from what I’ve seen. I don’t have all the details but what I do know is that it has an anime series scheduled to premiere next year (or 2021, the tweets are confusing on that) and it’s created by an American. That’s huge, considering that I hear that the manga industry in Japan is already extremely competitive, I don’t know if this true but I also heard that Japan has a very insular culture so the people there tend to feel awkward when foreigners try to do things that they’re known for.

Personally, I hope that the series does well because it can help to further open the doors for people from the west who want to tell a story through manga. There have been people from the west who have had a go at writing their own series however, my understanding is that OEL series at their very best sell half as well as your average manga series so in a sense it feels like any efforts from a westerner is doomed to failure.

Considering the growth in acceptance of manga and anime in the west, I feel like it’s only natural that people try their hand at creating stories. The fact that we have the internet is a pro is some ways, mostly because there’s a possibility of sharing your work with a wide audience without actually having to go through the traditional channels. For me, I would like to see a lot of westerners creating their own series and showing that we have ideas that are worth taking a chance on. Of course something like this takes time and even if it doesn’t open doors, it’s possible that the western manga community gets strengthened as a result of more people investing in it.

It’s good to think about the progress and it’s even better to know that regardless, the western anime community will continue to move forward. I’d love to hear about more stories coming through in the next two to three years that everyone can get behind but even if there aren’t more stories, there will be other ways for the community expand which I’m looking forward to seeing.

Designer children…

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Having a child by design, is it a bad thing? A while back I watched something that outlined the concept of designer children and I thought that it seemed like a good idea. One thing that was pointed out was the moral implications of having a child by design but I genuinely couldn’t see how it was a serious problem; maybe it’s because some of the viewpoints that I saw were trivial (in my opinion) such as having your child look a certain way with a specific eye colour but not to get too far off the point, I want to ask if there’s truly a problem to breeding by design because for me it looks like a logical step in a good direction.

When I think about designer children, I see the chance to edit cells that might lead to disease and further eliminate the possibility of children being born with specific diseases. Imagine a world where there was no sickle cell or even possibly cancer (if it could get to that level) what’s not to like about that? I want to see it from another point of view but it’s hard. There are people out there who are born with conditions but are still fully functioning members of society who contribute just as much as those who are born without conditions. The fact that people are born with conditions but manage to set themselves up to live in a way where it’s not exactly a disadvantage is something but at the same time, it’s not as if it doesn’t have its drawbacks, no matter how much you limit them.

I can’t say that people who live with diseases have wondered what their lives would be like if they didn’t have them but, I can say that I’ve wondered what life would be like if we could eliminate them. In a sense you could say that everybody would be on equal footing (although designing your child has a wide range of possibilities so some people would still be in a more advantageous position than others). I’m not usually a fan of the idea that human’s play God, but something like this benefits society (as long as it’s affordable to most if not all) and I think it goes without saying that it makes you wonder what could happen for research like this moving forward.

It’s easy for me to support something like designer children, probably because I don’t have the entire context needed to understand it beyond a surface level and my emotional attachment to the idea of not having to deal with diseases. There are likely other cons that I’m not considering but at the same, I feel like these cons probably wouldn’t outweigh the pros. That being said it begs the question, having a child by design, is it a bad thing?

Sports talk: Fickle fans

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When I look at sports, I always have to look at sports fans and the mentality that they have towards players of teams they support. Being a sports fan is something that’s very emotional, so much so that it affects the lives of people who follow it in general. I don’t think I’m ever truly going to understand the emotional attachment that people have towards the teams that they love and I don’t know why I’m able to say that considering that I follow football and support a team too. Having said that, I’d like to think that I can look at players with some kind of rationality because one thing I see about fans is how fickle they are.

In football, the summer transfer window is one of, if not the best period of the year because the sports sections of newspapers and websites are flooded with transfer updates of all kinds. When you see the news that a player who has just come off a good season is linked with your club, the YouTube videos saying ‘welcome to insert club here’ and tweets talking about how great the player is start to flood in. I don’t want to say that it’s a mania but there’s definitely a sensational feeling around the club where the praises of the player make it to television and everybody is behind the player… if they make good on the hype.

I don’t think it’s always been like this but in the modern game it only takes a few bad performances before everybody turns on the player and labels them a flop. It’s needless to say but for some reason logic goes out of the window, people don’t take into account how the team a player transfers to may play a different system, or how if they transfer to a different league then there’s a settling in period where they have to get used to the league and the country. The support turns into abuse with some people carefully picking out stats with the hope of tarnishing the player’s name further even though it’s most likely unfair to expect so much from someone in a setting that they’re completely unfamiliar with.

The most amazing part of it is how after a string of good performances, the hatred disappears and everybody acts like they always believed in the potential of the player. There’s also the situation where the player gets sold and starts doing well elsewhere and for some reason gains the love of the fans back from the club they did poorly at. It’s just another situation where logic gets completely trumped for no reason and nobody seems to think that there’s anything wrong with it.

Are there things wrong with this mentality? Yes, but for me the thing that I think about most is how getting behind players and turning on them is so normal, it’s actually a part of the game that’s to be expected. It makes no sense considering that fans are aware that a player’s mindset affects how well they play so if they’re in a place where they feel unloved, it’s going to affect their performance. Generally in life, if you can feel at ease, you’ll probably put in a better performance in what you do.

Watching sports fans and how they react to things will always be interesting just because so many parts of being one makes little sense but the attitudes which are senseless will continue for a long time to come.

Quick thoughts on blogging…

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When I look back and realise how long I’ve been blogging for, I can’t help but feel some kind of way about it because it ain’t made me rich yet (thanks for always putting me on people’s radars WordPress…). Not really, but it does get to a point where blogging about things almost turns into a conscious effort. Starting a blog is easy but maintaining it isn’t, it’s so easy to find shit to blog about because for some reason when you first start a blog, you want to write about everything that comes to mind. I look back at some of the things that I wrote earlier in my blogging days like how I asked about when the right time to tell children the truth about Father Christmas is but honestly, I don’t give a fuck about that.

Moving forward with blogging is weird because sometimes, I find myself writing posts and publishing them, knowing that I just want to keep up the record of having posted something every month, even if the quality of what I’m writing disgraces the blog. The feeling of having to write but not doing so has evolved for me; now I look at some of things I write and quit halfway because I don’t even want to read them. I can’t explain what it is, but I think a point comes for a lot of bloggers where the internal pressure to write just dies as they go on to focus on other things. The amount of blogs that I follow which have stopped posting and not come back as of this post is too many to remember.

Having a blog for a few years really does change the perspective of blogging. I think once you accept what you want to write and you’re happy to interact with the community, knowing that there are people who will read your things, it no longer feels like you have to write anything and honestly, some things are better off unwritten.  I’ve watched the number of posts I write per year steadily go down and the part which sits with me the most is how unbothered I am about it. I’ll admit that there was a point where I wanted to fight it but accepting it isn’t so bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if I stopped blogging within the next 3 years or so which wouldn’t be bad considering that I started this blog for no true reason.

Coming through the trenches

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When it comes to anime, I’m happy to see the way it’s received in areas near me (and the whole western world to an extent). I think about it sometimes, specifically the dubs that 4kids did and I feel like their dubs could have really done some everlasting damage to anime’s reputation so, to see that anime has come out on the other side with people still strongly believing in dubs is something that I consider a serious W.

4Kids dubs were bad, let’s not even tiptoe around it but when I grew up watching anime, for the most part, they’re what I and many others had to deal with. The sub vs. dub argument was foreign to me and since anime was growing in popularity, I can only assume that 4Kids dubs put anime in a position where it was considered childish (considering the name of the company it’s easy to believe that this may have been the goal but I’d like to think that it was more along the lines of getting young children into anime). I remember Brock calling onigiri, jelly doughnuts and that was probably one of the more forgivable things. Every now and again, I look into my mirror and chant a protection ritual for the integrity of anime, hoping that something like 4Kids doesn’t happen again and I can say that so far it’s worked.

There are many things that didn’t really help the outlook on anime around me but 4Kids just sits differently with me, most likely because the distribution that 4Kids had was on a very wide scale. If you take something from one area to another, it really does fall on you to make sure that it resonates with the audience that you show it to. Essentially changing the content of the stories you bring and portraying them in a way that is different to the original intention is a gamble especially if you don’t tell stories as well as the original creator.

It would be a lie if I said that 4Kids didn’t have some importance in how anime has grown but at the end of the day, its practices are still the stuff of nightmares. I’m not sure how true this is but from what I know, some people consider 4Kids the reason as to why One Piece isn’t more popular in America even though it’s one of the most popular manga series out now (and ever). Luckily, One Piece survived but I think about what could have happened if 4Kids found itself in a position where it was the standard bearer for dubbed anime and dubbing practices and I can’t say that it would have been good.

The good thing is that now people can enjoy anime in all its originality thanks to the bigger exposure it has. There may still be some shitty conceptions that people have on anime but it will most likely better in my opinion, especially if the medium can survive 4Kids.

Some thoughts on challenging games

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Very huge bastard

Games can have a bad reputation, this is something that I’ve said before but when I think of some of emotions that games can give you, it only drives home how much of a shame it is. Not too long ago XaviSenpai pointed out to me that games help people with their problem solving skills after I said that games didn’t have any educational value and that somehow led to me playing Kingdom Hearts 2 again to see if I could defeat a difficult bastard boss (that I barely beat before). Playing through the one battle reminded me of the challenge and it threw me off because I expected to win first try if I’m being honest. Despite being pissed off, I appreciated the fact that the game forced me to improve my skills in a short amount of time just to have a chance of winning.

The challenge in games might be an underrated pro, I’m not fully sure of this but I don’t always hear people praising how much of a challenge a game can be when trying to sell it. It really is a test of your problem solving skills and checks if you can adapt to what the game is asking of you. In a game like Kingdom Hearts 2, it’s more pronounced because you can complete the game by pressing the X button which lends itself to the belief that the game is easy but when the difficulty spikes up and the game starts asking you to use more of its controls, it can be a mindfuck to almost realise that you’re basically learning elements of the game that you should have known when you completed it.

The way that a challenging game can draw you in, make you think about how to tackle it and constantly engage your brain to find new strategies could all be seen as transferrable skills and what’s better is that with each new version of a game, you’re tasked with finding different ways of attacking the challenges, further improving your ability to develop strategies. There’s also a huge sense of satisfaction that comes with the progress you make, personally I take it as an indication that my time hasn’t been wasted more than anything but, I also know that I have the ability to adapt when needed, even if not to the largest degree, I still see it as undeniable proof that the ability is there.

There are possibly a lot of positive arguments about the skills that come from the challenges in gaming, such as building a winning mentality when you don’t give up, having the ability to analyse, pick up patterns in something and exploit them amongst other things and this all makes me appreciate games that much more. When people talk badly about games, it is what it is but I think the impact of that is lessened a little when those who play games are able to see the benefits of it. From my experience, it looks like games are misunderstood, especially console games and it may be that there isn’t the right kind of visibility for them to show people all of the positive aspects such as the challenge.

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Bonus footage of bs death

 

Praise us now!

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Me when you criticise this post

Sometimes I don’t understand people in creative industries. If you’re someone doing something creative, there’s a chance that you’ll have to sell your product to the masses and when that time comes, it’s also possible that your product will get criticised because there’s nothing in the world that everybody collectively likes. It’s just part of what happens, when people experience something that’s on the market, they’ll form an opinion which they are allowed to have, it’s not offensive or anything it’s just an assessment of the experience. That being said, I’ve noticed that when some people hear feedback on their work and it’s criticism, they get emotional and start complaining as if it’s the consumer’s fault for not liking it and if that’s your attitude, why sell your stuff to begin with?

A lot of things in the world require people to have thick skin and selling any kind of product is one of them, you can’t take the good without taking the bad (unless there is no bad). Nobody likes criticism which is fair but, I get seriously confused when people get upset about others not liking their products as if it’s by force that people have to like whatever is marketed to them. If you sell something to someone and they don’t like it, it’s okay, YOU WILL LIVE! It makes me question what people expect when they get into this kind of field because it when people get angry over their product not being received well, it shows a degree of cluelessness.

It happens often enough for me to believe that within most if not all creative industries, there’s a mentality amongst those involved that they can’t be criticised and that isn’t right. I can’t say for sure but it feels like people tend approach things with this mentality and become shocked when they learn that others don’t abide by the same rules. Personally, I think it’s good to show passion and stand by your creations but it doesn’t look good for your character when you try to justify why your specific creation shouldn’t get criticised only to go and criticise those who didn’t like your project, now they probably don’t like you either (and that’s probably bad for business.)

Criticism isn’t the end of the world. There are times where responding to it negatively makes sense, like if the criticism is disrespectful and turns into an attack on your character but in most cases it just makes sense to accept the criticism and keep it moving. There’s an audience for everything and if a creator has found their audience, they just need to focus on developing that and making sure they continue to receive love from those they are trying to appeal to. It’s really a non issue in most cases which makes it so confusing as to why people get upset when their work is criticised.

Respect and death…

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Not too long ago, I was thinking about the reaction to Nipsey Hussle’s death and I realised that it might be the biggest reaction that I’ve seen to a death on social media. At the time, I wanted to know why everybody was so touched by his death and to this day, I can’t figure out if it’s because Nipsey did so much whilst he was alive or if it was the FOMO part of social media culture. I saw a few people claiming that there were some who jumped on the Nipsey Hussle bandwagon only so that they could be involved in the conversation and it’s probably a fair thing to say when you think about it, but it brings about a question. Is showing respect wrong, if it isn’t genuine?

Nipsey’s music didn’t have the biggest reach, personally I only listened to Nipsey Hussle twice and the most recent of those listens was in 2016. I might be wrong but I don’t think that Nipsey charted much, in fact I heard that his sales increased wildly only after he died. Considering factors like this make it likely that a considerable number of people only jumped on the Nipsey wave because of how others on social media portrayed him. I said before that there were some people arguing that others jumped on the Nipsey bandwagon and didn’t actually care for anything he did but at the end of the day, the fact remains that all of these people showed respect.

It’s not like it doesn’t happen these days, if anything it happens a lot where everybody on social media jumps on a trend because they’re desperate to be a part of the conversation. Personally, I don’t think there’s a problem with showing respect to the dead if they didn’t impact your life but, it’s weird if someone dies and you start acting like they influenced you heavily just because you see others speaking of the impact made on them. There are ways to address something without trying to fit in and it’s okay to speak on something, letting others know that it didn’t impact you in the same way that it may have impacted them (if at all). There are arguments that probably justify the way some may have jumped on the Nipsey Hussle wave, like not realising the impact he had in Slauson and to the black community until it started getting shared after his death as well as the fact that dying usually tends to immortalise people (to varying degrees).

If someone dies, you should show respect. I think there are very few reasons not to and when it comes to the respect shown, in a lot of cases I think the reasoning is secondary. Like I wrote before, it’s weird if you show respect to someone who’s died only because everybody else is doing but at the end of the day it doesn’t affect you, it’s more a reflection of said people and it can serve to show you the kind of person that you don’t want to be. It’s a good thing that Nipsey got shown a lot of love when he died and a lot of people united and stood behind his family and projects. Personally, I’m not too bothered about some of the love being disingenuous but I think it’s a good question to ask and a good conversation to have.

Using the Lord’s name…

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The power that could be in my hands. hmm

I think God is one of the most interesting subjects that people can talk about. There’s so much to speak on like if you think he’s real, what you think he may have done for your life or why the world works in such a way. Depending on the way God is viewed, God either gets a really good reputation or a bad one (like Marmite) and part of the genius in it is how people use God for their own benefit whilst convincing others that it’s for their benefit.

There is some immorality when it comes to God and how some preachers use the name. Personally, I don’t really pay too much attention to that kind of stuff, I find that a lot of the times when I listen to preachers, they tend to give common sense statements and package it with God’s name. I’m sure that the preachers who do this are aware of what they’re doing but it’s somehow justified because it sends the people hearing it into ecstasy. I don’t really get it because it supposedly has a profound effect on the lives of those hearing it, so much so that they feel like a different being entirely for hearing things that have most likely been repeated to them through many other mediums just without God’s name.

God is a name that gives hope to a lot of people because it makes them want to be better and those people who believe are always happy to show their appreciation however, I think it makes it too easy for others to take advantage. It’s hard to measure how good of a person you are in God’s eyes, all people really have to work with are the rules that are stated in their respective religious texts and I feel this allows preachers to dictate to others believers how much their actions impress God. It’s impossible to prove and disprove what preachers say in relation to God, I think some people might even feel that preachers regularly make specious claims but because of the nature of any individual relationship with God, it’s too hard to argue.

When it comes to the things that preachers say, it’s a question of whether they’re doing more harm than good. Some preachers convince the people they preach to, to donate money to God because some religious texts request that you do that with some of your earnings (or something along those lines) and because of this, it’s easy for preachers to say that the more money given, the more you’ll be rewarded. Some preachers suddenly get luxury cars and expensive suits when others donate more money to God but on the other hand, the feeling that it gives the donors is probably unrivalled by most experiences in their lives. I don’t know if this is the case for most people who subscribe to a religion but I know that for some people when they do any act that they feel God wants in any capacity, it gives them some kind of hope (maybe even validation) and keeps them striving to be a good person. It’s hard to argue that these preachers don’t encourage other believers to be better and improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them and in turn that has a good effect.

I can’t say I agree with everything that preachers say, but the gain of said preachers is safely wrapped in the goodness of those that they preach to. Just thinking about that and the work you have to do to make that happen makes me respect the hustle, although with that being said, it doesn’t do any favours for God’s name.