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.

Who said games were a waste of time?

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Make a lucrative career from gaming or learn how hack back accounts? Decisions, decisions. 

Seeing the earnings for the Fortnite world cup is weird to take in and assess. From playing a video game, a few people have become rich and possibly found a career and as amazing as it sounds, the thing to really pay attention is the FAT payday from… Gaming? I don’t think a lot of people my age have any problems with gaming, but the way I was raised quickly taught me that games are for leisure and if you spend too much time playing them, then you’re wasting your future and that teaching went for a lot of people I know as well. As far as I know, financial rewards for playing games have existed for a while (EVO comes to mind) but there was always something about it that made it seem like winning money from games only comes down to luck and it’s not something worth investing your time into.

I see it, I see it clearly but the conversation about making millions off gaming still makes me want to tell people who are having it to drop the crack and talk to FRANK. It’s an amazing development in gaming and general because it shows that there’s another pathway to making a living outside a 9-5 (even though, those jobs unquestionably pay) and it’s also a reward for people who have a passion for gaming but might feel negatively about their life direction because of how much they enjoy it. Slowly over the years, online gaming has become more popular, a lot of people love MMOs and I remember trying to play GTA online on my Playstation years ago only to be told that the servers were full up. Things like Pokémon Go and Temple Run had their fair share of popularity but to see what it’s helped lead to is still pretty out there if you ask me.

For a lot of people, games have played some role in their lives. It usually happens in childhood from what I know but even in adulthood the act of playing games to relax after a stressful day, or playing it to bond happens as well and its effect can be understated since it’s unconventional to take them seriously. It’s weird for me to see Fortnite get such a level of coverage and reward this kind of money but it’s not a bad thing in any way, in fact it possibly lends itself to gamers and games alike getting the respect they deserve. At this point in time, I’m sure that being successful in a game is something you have to show rather than tell but with the possibility of more games offering extremely lucrative rewards for playing them, going forward, I don’t think many people are going to have a problem showing those around them the result of the work they’ve put in.

Prizes like this are going to become more commonplace with time, at the end of day, people have been making money off gaming for some years whether it’s through the journalism that follows it, being a competitive gamer, creating a character on YouTube to play games and attract a huge young audience or some other gaming related idea. I have to keep mentioning how weird I find it! The world changes kind of rapidly year on year and this is a sign of the change that’s being made. In the grand scheme of things, it might not be that significant but it makes me wonder what other unlikely things may come to pass.

This ain’t your life…

Sort your life out and mind your own business. When you’ve done that, continue to mind your own business until someone else wants you in theirs, at that point you can make a choice. Maybe some people feel as if they’re a teacher or leader of some sort but regardless, people need to learn how to mind their own business. People have good intentions, and I understand this but sometimes I hear stories about how people want to help those around them because they feel that the people they know have nothing going on in their lives. I can admit that the same thing has happened to me and I didn’t appreciate it.

Chances are that if you intrude in someone’s life telling them what you think they need to do in order to start moving forward, they might be reluctant to listen to your point of view or straight up disregard it, even if the advice comes from a good place. It’s very easy for that information to be misinterpreted, even you just want to see the best for said person, who confirmed that you know what’s best for them? Are you trying to see a better version of them or the version of them that’s in your head? Are you in a position to be throwing out advice? Is your life really setting an example? These are just a few questions that you have to ask yourself when you start believing that you can save somebody else from falling into supposedly evident mediocrity.

Everybody is different, people don’t tend to have the same views on life as everyone they meet and so they all deal with things differently. From the outside, it might look as if somebody’s life needs help moving forward but truthfully they may just be fine but keeping all their moves to themselves. It’s true that some people don’t know how to ask for help and it’s a good thing to look out for them but at the same time, you can’t assume that you know who wants to ask for help. It’s impossible to pilot somebody else’s life and backseat driving is even worse. One of the most underrated abilities in my opinion is minding your own business and getting your shit in order so that people can really see what you’re achieving.

I can’t think of many things that take the piss on the same level as someone who is at the same place in life as you, telling you what you need to do to improve your life. It seems helpful in some ways but really when you think about it, it comes across as extremely arrogant. For the most part humans have the responsibility of working on themselves, there are exceptions such as teachers, parents, guardians and things along those lines but if you’re not falling into those categories, do yourself a favour and mind your own business until you’re required not to, you’ll waste much less time that way.

Anime acceptance…

Watching the view on anime change over the years is something that I think anime fans should appreciate a lot. I thought about it recently and realised the amount of conversations I’ve had with people who watch anime, as well as the amount of people who don’t recoil in disgust when I say that I’m an anime watcher. There are so many threads and conversations on social media that are about anime, there are also healthy discussions on topics relating to anime characters, YouTube accounts and blogs dedicated to anime with a healthy following and it’s weird to think about especially when I compare all of this to how anime was viewed when I was growing up.

There are some people out there who probably feel as if they have to act like anime gatekeepers because it’s not really viewed negatively nowadays. Thanks to things like Netflix, social media and memes, anime is more accessible than it was before and people can now see the best part of a series before questioning why people would dare watch it. Once upon a time, people who had to stomach the shots and the jokes when it was discovered they watched anime. It didn’t matter too much if they were down to earth or very weird, for the most part these people were put in the same box. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people who watched anime had a phase where they acted as if they dabbled in a few shows here and there because they cared what others thought of them. Binge watching anime was information that anime watchers could only truly share with other anime watchers and even then, it was done with caution.

It makes sense when people feel negatively that anime watchers can now be part of the cool tribe because it never happened for them but that’s not the big picture, it’s not even part of the picture. I want to say people born in the 90’s and later are now a driving force in the changing perception of anime in the west. Personally, when growing up it felt like if you watched anime then it meant you were either into shows for really young children (like adults didn’t watch Powerpuff Girls) or you were into Hentai (or both!) when that wasn’t the case. Now thanks to people who have carried their love for anime into adulthood it’s slowly being integrated into society more, with songs that sample anime themes, music lyrics and tv shows referencing anime and even celebrities that people love admitting that they like a cheeky anime or two.

The recent willingness that people have shown towards accepting anime in the west is good thing because there are a lot of assumptions that come with it in dire need of erasure. I have to admit that at the moment, it doesn’t bother me how people watch their fix of anime whether it’s subbed or dubbed, legal or illegal. The most important thing is that it’s getting out there and it shows. It must have been years in the making to see anime go from a point where it was shunned to a point where some shows can cause FOMO (like One Punch Man) and when you add in the fact that some people publicly go out in anime inspired clothing or sometimes you may find yourself eavesdropping on a passionate conversation on the subject, it really makes it clear that good times could be ahead.

Despite all of the flexing that’s done on instagram and twitter, we live in a time where people like to promote the idea of being yourself. People don’t have to be marginalised for not fitting in with what’s around them and that gives people who watch anime a chance to be more confident in the fact that they watch it. For me, this is something that I wanted to see growing up and I feel that this should be the end goal for a lot of anime fans in the west. Seeing the medium in a space where most people won’t mock it without giving it a chance. Time will tell if respecting anime is a trend or if it’s here to stay in the west but I want to assume the latter because of the amount of things it could lead to, such as more love and respect for OEL manga or just more anime inspired things to really help it translate to the masses better.

Thoughts on Hunter x Hunter (2011 series)

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After watching the 1999 version of Hunter x Hunter, it was only right that I watch the 2011 version especially considering that has all the hype. What do you call a boy who admires a man actively trying not to have a relationship with him? Gon Freecss, you call him Gon Freecss. The 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter for the most part kind of assumes that the viewer watched the 1999 version or is at least aware enough of the arcs that the 1999 version covered so, it serves as detailed recap until the Chimera Ant arc. In that time Gon leaves his aunt’s house only to occasionally return as he’s too busy being caught up in shit that shouldn’t really concern him but hoping that it will somehow lead him to his dad.

There are some differences between the telling of the story in this version and the 1999 version, I think the most obvious difference is that this version doesn’t take itself as seriously and can be extremely whimsical. I did some research and it turns out that some people feel that the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter captures the spirit of the manga better than its 1999 counterpart. The 1999 version of the show takes viewers from the Hunter Exam up to the Greed Island arc and personally, I feel that it does a better job than the 2011 version because of the detail and the darker direction. There’s a lot to enjoy with this version but when looking at the direction of Gon, Killua and Kurapika, it makes sense as to why the ’99 version might be considered better. The aesthetic of the ’99 version really helps the Yorknew arc to shine, especially when considering that Kurapika loses his calm demeanour and commits murder which honestly left me wondering what would have happened if it had covered the Chimera Ant arc. That being said, there were moments that the 2011 version did capture better than the 1999 version such as Hisoka getting off to Gon’s potential during their fight in the Heaven’s arena, Uvogin’s requiem and the volleyball match on Greed Island (especially when you take in the fact that Lil B the BasedGod sampled the ost to make a legendary tune).

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All respect to Hunter x Hunter for inspiring the BasedGod

Despite my preference for the 1999 telling of Hunter x Hunter, that doesn’t mean to say this version of the show didn’t do a good job. It did an excellent job. The animation was stand out from the first episode, I couldn’t believe how good it was and then I saw that Madhouse covered the production which made sense. For me, this was basically watching the continuation of a great story, I could have started at the Chimera Ant arc but watching the arcs that came before made it come together better. Anything I could say about the portrayal of who the main character was, I feel was already said when I wrote about the ’99 version of the show. It was something that the series continued to do well, the feeling of believing that everybody in the story was important.

The Chimera Ant arc was definitely the main event of this version. Before watching, I saw that it was highly rated so I avoided reading why it was great so that I could make my own conclusions. The stand out character of the arc was Meruem who really felt like the main character most of the time he was on screen. I enjoyed watching Meruem gain a sense of humanity and essentially abandon his destiny, due to the respect he gained for a supposed lower life form. To see a character who was born with everything ready to be taken by him, throw it all away for the simplest of reasons had me wondering where he was going to go. I think part of what made Meruem so interesting is that he couldn’t understand his growing humanity and in the end, still didn’t seem to understand it but was able to decipher what was important to him. There truly was never a chance of him being out and out defeated in a fight but as the arc went on, he seemed like less of an enemy and more of a possible friend who desperately wanted to understand himself. Meruem easily had the most touching moments and it was made better by the fact that there was a clear positive growth in his character.

Gon also stood out for something that came back to haunt him. Throughout the series, Gon was never shown to be the strongest character but he did have a lot of ingenuity which helped him especially early on. The only time I can really think of where Gon’s weakness was so clearly shown that he could only come to resent it before the Chimera Ant arc was when Hisoka grabbed him during the first stage of the Hunter Exam and he struggled. Outside of that, Gon had always found a way to manage. Having overcome so many obstacles, only for his weakness to be displayed before him without him even getting the chance to do something about it left Gon in a bad way, but as the arc went on it became clear that the weakness he felt was a plague in need of a cure. At first I didn’t really get it but then I had to think about it and it made a bit more sense. Gon as a character has always been extremely concerned about protecting those he cares for; Gon also wants to meet his father who keeps putting obstacles in his way, I felt like Gon may have felt unworthy of completing his goal when his weakness was shown to him. Unfortunately, Gon went down a similar dark path to Kurapika’s, allowing himself to be consumed by the negative feelings before ultimately acting upon them. Gon’s selfishness really prevailed in this arc, before the Chimera Ant arc, Gon was selfish but it was more understated. The crazy part was that it was satisfying to see Gon take the burden of his weakness all on his own just so that he could nearly throw away his life for a little bit of redemption. The best part in all of it was how Gon’s potential was shown, however, he never got rid of the weakness and it served only to hold him back further in the end.

When it comes down to Hunter x Hunter, it’s clearly a matter of preference as both tellings of the story are good and both will leave you wondering when the manga is going to continue. There isn’t much for me to say that isn’t already out there.

Other thoughts:

  • Meruem gave out so many free pimp slaps, he deserved to be king.
  • A very important lesson from the Chimera Ant arc. DON’T TAKE OUT LOANS!
  • Some may say the moral of Meruem’s story is not to trust these h*es…
  • Netero went out like a boss.
  • The narrator really talked too much during the Chimera Ant arc.