Category Archives: Anime and Manga

Anti-censorship Mangaka Wins Seat In Japan’s House of Councillors

In a huge culture war victory, mangaka Ken Akamatsu has just won a seat in Japan’s House of Councillors. He ran as a member of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, and became the first mangaka to win a seat in said house.

By the way, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party is similar to America’s conservatives, and a mangaka is an author of Japanese comic books.

This is a culture war victory because Ken has strong anti-censorship views, particularly concerning manga (Japanese comic books). He’s of the opinion that if westerners are interested in manga, they should have them as the author intended. He was also outspoken against proposed legislation which would have outlawed many doujin (unofficial, independently-made manga) because the legislation in question would have been overly strict in handling copyrights, and made no distinction between drawings and photographs when it came to depictions of nudity.

Considering this, it seems likely that Japan’s mangaka are going to continue to hold strong in resisting western pressure to adopt woke themes in their work, and with a mangaka now championing them in public office, their position is getting stronger.

Because Japanese entertainment is free of woke themes, many are turning to manga and anime as an alternative to the politically-charged comics and cartoons produced by western entertainment companies. Foreign influencers recognized that this is happening, and have attempted to include manga and anime in their sphere of influence, to various degrees of failure.

It was just last year that the president of Kadokawa expressed his belief that manga was more extreme than swimsuit content, and that he wanted the company to change so it would be more likely to be reviewed by western tech companies like Apple and Google. Because his words had the potential to cost his company a lot of money, he was made to take a pay cut, which included paying back back-pay.

Prior to his election, Ken Akamatsu was most famous for Love Hina, a comedy about a boy who made a promise to meet a girl again upon attending a prestigious university, but forgot her name. As he studies for the entrance exam, he becomes the manager of a girls dorm.

It stands to reason that those in the creative arts would take less kindly to attempts to censor them, but things aren’t always so straightforward. With western media companies, it’s usually the companies that have creative control over IPs, and the IP creator usually sides with the media company because they don’t want to risk losing involvement with their own brainchildren. Western media companies tend to bow to vocal minorities, in part because they wish to avoid the potential for negative publicity, but also because western activists tend to be entitled and belligerent. Worse yet, western media companies tend to lack either courage or principle.

Japanese media companies tend to be more principled, and what’s more, because the manga industry is highly competitive, mangaka tend to make fewer choices that would risk alienating their audiences.

Principled and based.

Japan now has someone in their House of Councillors to represent mangaka and those who read manga, and he has a strong anti-censorship position. The woke mob continues to lose ground.

Review: Girls’ Last Tour

Genre: Slice-of-life, science fiction
Studio: White Fox
Original Author: Tsukumizu
Status: 12 episodes as of 2017
Rating:
TV14
Platform: Amazon Prime

Sometimes, it comes out of nowhere: an anime that you’ve never heard of catches your attention. You give it a watch, and it surprises you because what you just saw was effectful for how understated it was, and for how little attention it gets. And it’s thoughtful enough that one can ponder its themes days after watching the finale.

Girls’ Last Tour (GLT) features Chito and Yuuri, a couple girls journeying through a desolate futuristic cityscape aboard a kettenkrad (a small, WWII-era utility vehicle). As they journey, they converse with each other, make discoveries, and learn more about their world through these discoveries.

Here’s the official trailer:

While one might imagine a post-apocalyptic setting to be grim, dark, and edgy, GLT is lighthearted in tone. While the girls do sometimes make difficult choices concerning their own survival, the survival aspect is eclipsed by the philosophical undertones.

The Girls’ Last Tour anime is based on the manga of the same name, authored by Tsukumizu. Those already familiar with the manga will see that the anime follows the manga closely. But while the manga has a messy but emotive look (comparable to Ueda Hajime of FLCL fame), the art in the anime has a more basic, clear look. In either case, it’s clear that both manga and anime are made with a whole lot of heart.

As is typically the case for slice-of-life programs, there is a particularly strong emphasis on the personalities and interactions between the characters. In GLT, the stakes are a lot higher due to the fact that there are only two main characters.

The main characters are Chito, a diminutive and reserved character who is often quite meditative, and Yuuri, an impulsive, free-spirited person who wears her heart on her sleeve. The two are nothing alike, resulting in the two frequently expressing difference of opinion as they find themselves in different scenarios. Which is one of the joys of this show.

The differences between the two characters makes their positive attributes more evident. Chito is a bookworm, but Yuuri doesn’t know how to read, so she’s slow to see the value of books, or keeping a journal. Yuuri is more physically inclined, being a better aim and being better at swimming. Neither one of the two can do everything on their own, a point that their experiences prove well.

The two sometimes beat each other up.

Perhaps I’m imagining it, but it seems to me as though GLT does more to portray Chito in a sympathetic light. Which is perhaps to be expected concerning an introspective character in a light-hearted, philosophical slice-of-life anime. But there are times when Yuuri’s relatively care-free approach wins out, and makes Chito’s concerns seem perhaps unnecessary. One of the two is more prone to worry, and while the case can be made for that being beneficial for one’s survival, sometimes the case can be made for worrying very little.

Over the course of their journey, the girls find joy in the little things: food that they find, fuel to top off the kettenkrad, enough water to bathe in, and sometimes the odd artifact. In rare cases, they might even find another human being. And there is a lot to find in the huge, multi-level city that is GLT’s setting.

Sometimes? Often.

As one watches GLT, they may take an interest in the show’s lore. What is the girl’s mission, if they have one? Where did they come from? What is their destination? How did the city get to be in the condition it’s in? How far ahead in the future is the setting?

The show doesn’t do much to answer these questions, aside from the occasional clue. But it seems as though answering these questions isn’t the point. For all the worldbuilding that’s there, it serves the purpose of providing the characters with a setting. Having established the setting, the focus of GLT is the interactions between the protagonists. And Chito and Yuuri are two characters that reflect off of each other so well that to dedicate an episode just to expanding lore would seem like a distraction.

No one will card you after the world ends.

And when we get into the brain-fuel that GLT provides, I almost don’t care how the world ended. Besides, there are many, many anime out there that’ll happily tell you the many creative ways that the world could end. And personally, I think there’s more new ground to be covered when the purpose of life is pondered by two girls who can easily find joy in what they find, rather than be miserable that they don’t have what someone else has.

Having watched the first season, I wondered whether there would be more. The 12 seasons we have now account for most of the manga’s story. However, the few chapters that are left would only fill a few episodes. Thus, a second season seems unlikely to happen unless it involves a lot of filler. And it’s been a few years since season one concluded. Thus, it’s unlikely that Girls’ Last Tour will be picked up for a second season.

Thus, if you’re interested in how the story concludes, the fifth volume of the manga picks up where the anime leaves off, while volume six closes out the series.

Girls’ Last Tour season one gets a score of 8.5 out of 10.

Girls’ Last Tour is a lovingly-crafted, intelligent show. I recommend giving it a watch. Then, go out there and live the best life you can live.

Review: Made In Abyss (Volume 10)

Author: Akihito Tsukushi
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Horror
Localization: Seven Seas Entertainment
Rating: Older Teen
Available to read online on BookWalker, fees may apply.

(This review contains commentary, and therefore contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.)

Volume 10 of the translated version of Made In Abyss has dropped, as of last week. For those who have been waiting to read this installment of Akihito Tsukushi’s opus in the English language, here you go. This installment picks up where the last one left off, wherein Reg and Faputa were fighting over the fate of the village of Ilblu, but things weren’t looking great for Reg. And with no more line of defense for the village, Faputa became free to engage in unmitigated mayhem.

If you’re new to Made In Abyss, you might expect a light-hearted romp from these cute, endearing characters.

But anyone who expects anything as light-hearted from Made In Abyss hasn’t been following along. While the rest of the series used imaginative concepts for its horror elements, Volume 10 is notable for its heavy gore. At times, I even found it hard to look at. But hey, I’ll still take it over the cheap jump-scares of American horror films.

Tsukushi is great with expansive, beautiful landscapes. However, those take an aside this time around, as much of the action takes place within the crumbling walls of the village of Ilblu. I found myself appreciating the use of perspective when communicating the enormity of the Turbinid Dragons, which tower over the protagonists like skyscrapers.

Much of this volume centers around the strangely-endearing character of Faputa, who initially engages in her genocidal rampage with a singular focus. However, when Belaf imparts his memories to her, she begins to change. But rather than cease from the aforementioned rampage, she becomes less motivated by hatred and more by duty. But even then, she develops the desire to seek her own value and live for herself.

It’s great to see Nanachi back in the action, but it’s mainly Belaf who intervenes between the two of them, and the bunny doesn’t seem to contribute much. Which lends to the fan theory that Ilblu was originally intended to be Nanachi’s point of departure, but Tsukushi changed his mind when he saw how popular the character became.

But then, Ilblu ends up destroyed, so where would he have ended up? It might be interesting to see what role Nanachi plays in future chapters.

But there’s another problem, and that’s that what was created in the village cannot survive outside it. And with the village being destroyed, Riko’s new friends are about to say goodbye. What’s more, the village’s ability to protect from the strains of ascension are dissipating, and we get to see a particularly grotesque transformation as a result.

When all is said and done, Reg extends the offer for Faputa to join the party. While many fans would crane their necks to hear the answer (especially if it’s “yes”), Faputa instead leaves us in suspense as she decides that she’ll consider it, before wandering off on her own.

Sure, she just engaged in mass-murder, but she’s so adorable, right?

So, what’s my opinion? Is Made In Abyss Volume 10 worth 1000yen (about $8) on BookWalker?

(This image was censored for this review. This scene was not censored in the English publication.)

I give Made In Abyss Volume 10 a score of 9 out of 10.

If you’ve enjoyed the series up until now, Volume 10 is a safe purchase. And I think series loyalists would appreciate the conclusion of the Ilblu arc. What’s more, the excellent artwork and storytelling of Akihito Tsukushi are also there. It’s a welcome addition to a fantastic series, and I’m not disappointed with it, at all.

Sosu.

It Happened: DeSantis Officially Revoked Disneyland’s Special Privileges

If you put money on Disney pushing sexual perversion on children without consequences, then you just lost money. But probably much less money than you deserve to.

Disney’s special privileges gave Disney the authority to operate Disneyland nearly as though it were its own separate state, granting them special tax privileges and even so far as granting them the authority to build their own nuclear power plant if they wanted to.

However, a bill was introduced which would revoke Disney’s special privileges. After passing the Florida senate and the Florida house, the bill reached the desk of Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who signed it. Now, Disneyland has to compete fair and square with other theme parks.

Now, leftists are screeching because large multimedia corporations are being held to account and made to play fair. It’s an irony that you’ll recognize unless you somehow missed the left’s close relationship with multimedia conglomerates, tech oligarchs, banking cartels, the corporate information media, retail giants, academia, the energy sector, the military-industrial complex, among many others.

This is just the latest episode of a drama in light of Florida passing the Parental Rights In Education Act, which has been deceptively termed the “DoN’t SaY gAy BiLL” by the self-appointed thought police who believe you’re too stupid to think for yourself.

The alphabet soup crowd in Disney’s employ spoke up in protest, and even though the protest was an utter failure from a numbers perspective, Disney’s upper leadership decided that they wanted to avoid any bad press, so they decided that they’d create content that exposed more children to sexual perversion.

Which, by the way, is the exact opposite of what you’d want to do if your aim is to avoid bad press.

Sure, the leftist journos celebrated Disney’s bRaVerY, as one might expect them to. But that’s one circle jerk that left out the general population, who didn’t respond as kindly:

Over two-thirds of people are less likely to do business with Disney in light of their desire to expose children to sexual ideas, and about the same amount are likely to seek out family-friendly alternatives to Disney.

Disney doubled down, as one would expect from a fanatical leftist. So, DeSantis decided that if Disney is going to get into politics, they’re going to lose the special privileges that were previously afforded them by the state of Florida.

This is how we win. Challenge the fanatics, and force them to show their true colors. The only thing the left knows how to do when challenged is to overplay their hands, so they’re going to behave predictably when things aren’t going their way. Then, make sure they experience their well-deserved consequences.

Also, as relates to corrupt entertainment media companies like Disney, one should seek out alternatives. It’s not even as hard as you might think. Putting aside The Mandalorian, Star Wars hasn’t been doing that great lately. And as for Marvel, things have been coming apart since the conclusion of Phase 3. Disney has a bunch of classic movies that you probably saw as a kid. But putting that aside, Disney doesn’t really have much going for it on Disney+.

Before seeking out entertainment alternatives, I want to point out that the idea that the heroes of entertainment media must inform people as to moral principles is a misguided notion. The fact is, entertainment media is just made up, and shouldn’t inform anyone’s moral compass. I point this out because too many people point to their entertainment as something that informs them of their virtues, as though this was necessary to justify it.

The fact is, entertainment is only supposed to be entertaining. That’s the entire point.

Your best defense against malign influence in entertainment is understanding that your moral values are decided independent of the entertainment you consume. Hopefully, you understand that watching a show about an unethical hero doesn’t mean you should emulate his unethical actions.

If you’re seeking alternative sources of entertainment, I can recommend manga and anime. While Japanese entertainment has been the target of negative press in recent times, this is largely because the corporate media understands that they have no control of Japanese entertainment, outside of perhaps a few localizers.

From Mobile Suit Gundam 00

What’s great about anime and manga isn’t just the esoteric appeal, it’s also that many, many genres are represented. Some anime are comedies, some are horror. Some anime are adventure, others are drama. Anime is great because you’ll find something for you, whoever you are.

Another great thing about anime is that it’s produced in a culture that is untouched by cancel culture. Thus, the writing is not inhibited at all by the delicate sensibilities of a bunch of screeching snowflakes who seemingly have no idea how to ignore something that’s not according to their tastes.

From Cardcaptor Sakura

Another great thing about anime is that even the stuff that’s made for kids doesn’t insult their intelligence. Of course, a lot of it is made with the expectation that you’ve done your diligence as a parent and have already taught your kids that cartoons don’t teach them how to behave.

I’m going to reiterate this because it’s really important: Parents need to do their due diligence by teaching their kids that cartoons do not teach them how to behave. It’s not as easy as just telling kids as much, raising children actually takes effort!

Because my generation is familiar with the likes of Family Guy, American Dad, and King of the Hill, they should understand that there are cartoons that kids would not appreciate as much, and some that aren’t made for them. In anime, there are many cartoons that were made for grown-ups, so grown-ups aren’t being left out.

From Ghost In the Shell, an anime with a more mature edge

There are alternatives to Disney, and some of them are vastly superior. With western entertainment companies increasingly going woke, our best bet seems to be anime. If you want a suggestion in addition to the other anime pictured, Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki is generally considered a great place to start. Really, just about anything by Miyazaki is considered a classic.

From Spirited Away

The flow of the era is coming around to our favor. But in the time that it takes for companies like Disney to learn their lesson, they have to take a few hard hits. In the time that it takes for that to happen, it’s not a bad idea to find some alternatives. At this point, anime and manga seem like the best way to go. And why not go for it, if you haven’t already? You’re likely to find something that you like.

You might even find that you’ve been watching anime, and didn’t know it.

From Pokémon: XY

Crunchyroll Dropping Free Simulcasts, Sentai to Withdraw 60 Anime From Platform (pay attention to headline)

According to Bounding Into Comics, anime streaming platform Crunchyroll is set to end their free simulcast program, which presented anime at no charge with commercial interruptions. Not only that, they’re pointing out that Sentai Filmworks is withdrawing 60 anime from the platform.

Because both stories are being presented in the same headline, it may appear that the two are connected. Which they are, by virtue of the fact that both stories involve Crunchyroll.

From the story as presented, one might even get the idea that Crunchyroll would be done with simulcasts, altogether. But in typical journalist fashion, the clarification comes a couple paragraphs in:

“For the Spring 2022 season and future seasonal releases, Crunchyroll will update our offering on simulcast titles by subscription tier. To view new and continuing simulcasts, a premium monthly or annual subscription will be required.”

So, Crunchyroll is still doing simulcasts, as a paid service. I get that Crunchyroll is not viewed in a favorable light, but does the headline have to be worded in a way that allows the reader to make the worst assumptions? Journalists know that many people just read the headlines as they browse, so they word their headlines in a manner that cultivates the assumptions of those browsing, while burying the real story a couple paragraphs down, knowing that it’s usually the first paragraph that’s sampled when the page is indexed by search engines.

I usually like Bounding Into Comics, but I’m disappointed with how they handled this. Tsk, tsk.

Having said that, I recognize that the anime community has legitimate grievances with Crunchyroll, largest of which being that they have a bad habit of using the platform to express their own political biases, which is especially inappropriate considering that what’s localized is Japanese content, which came from a culture that doesn’t have the same California-metro culture that embodies the bulk of misguided activism. Then there’s the fact that they’ve thrown a huge chunk of their budget behind High Guardian Spice.

It’s my opinion that translations should be handled in-house, by the original producers, as they (along with the author) would have the best idea which cultural elements are most significant to the work. And for that matter, they’d likely also realize that consumers of Japanese animation are not babies, and would therefore be able to comprehend that something originating from Japan might have Japanese cultural elements. It’s also my opinion that the producers should be the main distributors, not some middle-men such as Crunchyroll.

While localizers may be loathe to admit it, they’re still in competition with pirates. Even as far back as the mid-2000s, teams of free localizers could produce a subtitled version of an anime episode within days or perhaps even hours of its broadcast on Japanese television. While professional localizers may claim that they’re producing a higher-quality product months (or even years) after the original broadcast, the fact is, for the typical anime fan, even a cheap-o pirated sub will do.

Considering this, it’s easy to see that, as is the case with simulpub with manga, simulcasts are the best that anime publishers can do when in competition with pirates. Even then, it’s still not enough to sway those willing to wait a couple days if it means getting the product for free.

Thus, it becomes a practical course of action for publishers to appeal to those willing to financially support them by ensuring that they don’t have to wait for it. Otherwise, fans might find it more appealing to wait for their peers to translate anime and manga if it means it becomes easier to fill up their tanks.

What’s more, that popular anime can flit from one streaming platform to another might make it hard to follow anime with a license that changes hands from one streaming service to another. If you follow a great many anime, you might face the expensive decision of subscribing to multiple streaming services at a time.

Of course, many of us might remember a time when anime was a far more expensive hobby. Remember when an anime movie on VHS could set a person back as much as $50?

Crunchyroll just lost a lot of content, and they just became less appealing as a budget option.

The Metaverse Has a Catgirl Police Force

As quick as I may be to pick on the Metaverse, I can admit when they have something great. Such as their community of unofficial catgirl police.

Yes, they do have such a community. And no, they don’t police the Metaverse in any official capacity. They’re called the Loli Police Department (LPD for short), and they’re a community that roleplays as police officers in VRChat.

The LPD acts out scenarios for fun, often for their own amusement, but sometimes to the bewilderment of onlookers. And because they’re trying to do it right, these catgirls are in the anime style.

It may be a little nitpicky to point out, but a more fitting name might be Nekomusume Police Department. The word “Nekomusume” means “catgirl” in Japanese, though one can also suggest the word “Nekomimi”, meaning “cat ear”. Under their current appellation, one might get the wrong idea of what the group is about.

When I first saw this group, it brought to mind a similar concept conceived years prior by anime artist Kanzaki Hiro:

It may be true that the Metaverse is a sad digital substitution for the real world, but for certain subcultures, the LPD might be a welcome sign that creative visions such as that of Kanzaki Hiro are coming progressively closer to reality.

Now for the part of the post where we “go there”. I know that for a lot of people, police women are considered attractive, and for others, catgirls are attractive, so there’s a lot of potential for wide appeal. For those with highly-specific strike zones, the LPD might end up being a selling point for VRChat and the Metaverse.

Why stop with a team of catgirl police when there is so much more potential for digital public servants with animal ears? Is a team of bunnygirl nurses far behind? Or how about rats that sell insurance?

Why Konata Izumi Is Such a Sad Character

You may remember Konata Izumi as that happy-go-lucky character from the anime and manga series Lucky Star who is a regular fountain of pop-culture references.

Right from her introduction, and throughout the series, she’s depicted as plucky and snarky. What’s more, she indulges in a high volume of entertainment media, has little filter, and happily embraces the title of “otaku”, a term with a negative connotation in Japanese culture because it means “fanatic”, and is used to describe a person obsessed with entertainment media to the detriment of career and personal development.

However, Konata is a sadder character than meets the eye. Because Konata is a fictional character, it’s easy to take for granted that she’s the way she is because that’s the kind of character the writer wanted. But in real life, people’s personalities don’t develop in a vacuum, there are reasons people are the way they are. To the surprising end of developing Konata’s character, there’s a moment in the anime that shines some light on her background, and her character becomes far more understandable.

Early on, Konata’s friends visit her at her house. While there, they find a photograph, and mistakenly identify the woman depicted as Konata. But Konata corrects them, pointing out that the woman in the photograph is her mother, Kanata.

Then, Konata drops the bomb. She casually reveals that her mother is dead, and that she had committed suicide.

Then, it all starts to come together. Konata’s heavy consumption of entertainment media is a coping mechanism, and her lack of filter and willingness to take on a title that most would consider undesirable just for identity demonstrates the kind of detachment that would naturally come with the kind of person who came to the point that they don’t care what anyone thinks.

And Konata came to that point in an attempt to cope with a broken family.

The fact is, spousal abuse is an epidemic in Japan, and in many cases, the abuse escalates to the point that the wife commits suicide. When this is the case, the woman may be leaving behind a family that attempts to cope in ways that they don’t anticipate.

While Konata’s character remains light-hearted through the rest of the series, from that point on, she appears in a slightly different light. One’s family life, particularly in their childhood, plays a huge role in how that person develops. Behind Konata’s low-filter, carefree attitude hides a tragic family life.

When Lucky Star really took off in popularity, anime fans everywhere developed a huge nerd-crush on Konata, seeing her as a character that they could identify with, and in many cases, she was declared a “waifu-character”.

But considering her family history, a man that finds a woman like Konata would have to make sure that she feels loved, rather than treat her like merchandise.

“The funniest people are the saddest ones.”

Confucius

Pokémon is Not As Childish As It Looks

The idea that Pokémon is a childish game has been around for quite some time. It’s a superficial observation, which does hold up to an extent. But some of the themes of the Pokémon games are quite a bit darker than they get credit for.

Let’s examine some of the themes of each generation of games, one at a time.

Generation One (Kanto)
Shows how casino gambling can be used to fund genetic engineering experiments which culminate in a psychotic, telekinetic battling machine.

While Team Rocket were certainly the bad guys in raiding the corporate offices of Silph Co., let’s not forget that Silph was developing a proprietary PokeBall that bypasses the will of a Pokémon and guarantees its capture.

Generation Two (Johto)
Team Rocket cut off the tails of Slowpoke to sell for profit.

Later, in what can be called a TI’s paranoid delusion having come to fruition, electromagnetic waves were employed that literally drove certain creatures within its area of effect berserk. If all you know about Team Rocket is the buffoonery of Jessie, James and Meowth, you’re not getting the whole story.

Generation Three (Hoenn)
We get to see both sides of the climate change extremes.

With the Hoenn remakes (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) came a postgame episode that showed all of Hoenn being threatened by an impending meteor impact. The Devon corporation proposed teleporting the meteor to an alternate dimension, where it would strike a different Hoenn region in a different timeline, instead. Yeah, for an alternate Hoenn region, it could have been death from above, with no warning and no way to respond.

Generation Four (Sinnoh)
Hoo, boy. This one is a whopper. Where to begin?

The bad guys resemble a sci-fi cult. Like many cults, the group exists for the aspirations of its leader. Cyrus doesn’t share his true motives with the rest of Team Galactic, which involves wiping out the entire universe then replacing it with an emotionless universe governed by Cyrus. Grandiose, much?

In the anime, Cyrus meets his end when he’s killed by Giratina. If you don’t know what a Giratina is, it’s a Lovecraftian monstrosity that was banished to a different dimension for it’s violence. Considering what animals in this world do just to stay alive, to be so violent to end up banished to another dimension for it is quite a feat. And judging from the condition of the Distortion World, Giratina might not have learned its lesson.

Generation Five (Unova)
The theme of this one is philosophical, but goes to show that the popularity of an idea can cause people to give up something that’s clearly to their benefit to keep. Behind it all is a cultist who stands to benefit from everyone else giving up their Pokémon, and he actually came up with a plan to change society, first through persuasion, then through peer pressure. When his plan fell apart, he pretty much went insane, even as far as railing against his adopted son, and not accepting that he lost.

In the sequel game of gen 5, the bad guy attempts to murder the main character.

Generation Six (Kalos)
Are you sitting down? You might want to. The bad guy wanted to wipe out all humanity, except for whoever happened to be in his little team, with the Malthusian reasoning that there wasn’t enough resources to go around. Like many who think like that, he’s as enthusiastic as he was because he fantasized about being the one to manage all the world’s resources.

In the anime, Lysandre became one of the few humans to have been killed by a Pokémon, when he was killed by Zygarde (Bonnie’s friend Squishy shared in the guilt). It’s hard to imagine anyone shed a tear for him, but Malva might have. She was Lysandre’s girlfriend, and a TV anchor. So yeah, in Kalos, a Malthusian infiltrated the tech industry and the mainstream information media. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Generation Seven (Alola)
As much as I’d like to say that things cooled down since gen 6, gen 7 depicts a monolithic corporation endangering two universes for selfish reasons. Then there’s all that Lillie had to go through. That poor girl watched in slow motion as her family was torn apart, first when her father disappeared, then when her mother went insane looking for the ultra beasts, then when her brother ran away from home. In the original Sun/Moon, Lusamine ended up in an intermittent coma due to the cells of Nihilego remaining in her brain, and Lillie went to Kanto to search for a cure. If Lillie grows up to be normal it’s going to be against some pretty steep odds.

The Ultra variants of Sun and Moon have a postgame story where Giovanni enlists the bad guys from different regions, from different grimdark timelines where those bad guys succeeded in their plans. Considering how screwed up some of their plans were (see above), that’s a lot to contemplate.

Generation Eight (Galar)
The bad guy imprisoned a cosmic dragon, and slowly tore it apart, one fragment at a time, to continually extract energy from it. By the time the player encountered the thing, it was nearly a skeleton of its former self. What’s more, the bad guy was willing to risk a catastrophe for the entire Galar region, just to solve an energy crisis that would have been centuries away from being significant.

Is this to say that Pokémon is mainly about its dark elements? Not really. If anything, Pokémon is about the connections that one can form as they meet people who share their interests. But to dismiss Pokémon as being merely childish is to demonstrate how easy it is to hide an edge behind a disarming exterior.

Kadokawa Announces English Similpub, Bypassing Western Localizers

If you’ve been wanting manga continually delayed as Japanese cultural references are vetted through the filter of some gender-confused blue-hair, you’ve just been handed another L.

That’s because manga publishing company Kadokawa has just announced a similpub, releasing English versions of manga alongside the Japanese releases, effectively translating manga in-house, bypassing western localization companies with a direct-to-consumer model.

That’s a win. A huge, massive, epic win. Not only does this mean that manga is no longer being passed through the industry equivalent of a Twitter puritan with an interest in making it more “safe” for the trigger-sensitive, it also means we no longer have to wait months for a translation. What’s more, it also means no more need for “scanslations” by the fans as we wait for some super-slow American localization company to translate from Japanese to English, which should be all there is to it.

What Kadokawa is doing is the equivalent of “If you’re going to take so long doing something so simple, we’ll just go ahead and do it ourselves.”

I remember that this has long been a problem with video games, until game companies such as Nintendo adopted a similar similpub approach. That was great for people like me, who considered importing copies of Pokémon in the time it takes for an American company to localize the titles, which typically took around half a year, potentially longer, in the event that Nintendo wanted to release the games in the November window, for obvious reasons.

My first import game.

All that waiting for what should have been translating Japanese text to English. If interpreters can translate speakers in real time, reading text and providing translations shouldn’t be hard. Sadly, much of the game industry is still slow in this regard, with Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea being delayed by months as the translation is done by localization company NISA.

Kadokawa’s announcement is excellent news for those who want to read manga in their own language, but at the same time, want the manga to be unfiltered, direct translations of the Japanese originals. An argument can be made by the localization companies that translating is an art form, and sometimes, a direct translation with intended nuance can be difficult to do. It might sound like they have a point, but then, who better to translate than the publishers who have a direct line of contact with the authors, and could therefore more directly determine what was intended?

When manga is translated by a localization company with their own agenda, the result can be information lost that makes the artistic expression less resemble what the artist intended. This has been a problem for a long time, but in times past, it has been easy for localization companies to get away with it. In the nineties, there weren’t fan communities that were as well-developed as they are today. Today, it’s trivially easy to find fans that know the Japanese language, and could quickly point out differences between translations and the originals, often very quickly.

It was just last week that the team of Digimon Tamers did a reunion where they faced an enemy named “Political Correctness”, which had an attack called “Cancel Culture”, in a setting where misinformation was presented unashamedly by corrupt media outlets peddling fake news. This clearly shows that the Japanese don’t have the same values as western media companies, and that they clearly view the likes of cancel culture as an enemy to overcome. Which it is.

And it was the week before that the president of Kadokawa inadvisably suggested that manga writers started self-censoring to make manga more palatable to the likes of Google and Apple. This resulted in huge backlash against the Kadokawa president, and Kadokawa itself demanded that the president take a 20% pay cut, on the reasoning that his remarks would cost the company money.

If Kadokawa had gone through with it, Kadokawa would have been the manga example of Get Woke, Go Broke, showing once-and-for-all that embracing the likes of political correctness would make a manga company less successful. But that didn’t get very far, as Kadokawa as a whole was not as enthusiastic about giving up money just to virtue signal.

And it was earlier this year that localization company Seven Seas Entertainment came under fire for publishing a light novel that was hugely different from the Japanese original, and they eventually caved and re-released the same light novel, bringing it more in line with the Japanese original. The same Seven Seas Entertainment is usually more enthusiastic about releasing manga that has the potential to be controversial, such as when they acquired the rights to publish a particular one about a decade back, but backed down when retailers threatened to stop stocking Seven Seas products.

But with a direct-to-consumer, similpub model, there wouldn’t be any need to drag manga through the localization process, or through stodgy retailers, meaning the only ones that would censor a translation of Kadokawa’s manga would be Kadokawa themselves, and Kadokawa has already demonstrated a lack of interest in self-censorship.

What’s more, a direct-to-consumer, similpub localization model would eliminate expensive middle-men from the localization process, resulting in higher profits for Kadokawa, and faster. Not only that, English-language consumers would get translations much sooner, and more in-line with the Japanese originals. Everyone wins! Except for lazy localization companies.

I know that some in the political correctness crowd might not be happy with this development, and might respond with a boycott of some kind. But what are they doing reading manga to begin with? Weren’t they aware that they were reading censored versions of media produced by writers that don’t have their values? There are better ways of coping with the fact that not everyone has the same ideas as they do, such as getting over themselves, accepting the reality of the matter that different people are allowed to express different viewpoints, and develop thicker skin. Perhaps then, they’ll come to comprehend this development as a win for them, too.

MyAnimeList has provided a list of titles that will be the first to be included in the program, some of which will be available for free for a limited time. This might be a great opportunity, so why not check it out?

Digimon Tamers Snipes At Cancel Culture

When I first saw Digimon, at first I dismissed it as another Pokémon me-too. But I gave it a chance, and discovered that it was respectable in its own right. Digimon Tamers was the high point of the series, a sentiment that’s shared by the general Digimon community.

On August 1, at Yokosuka Arts Theater, Digimon Tamers celebrated its 20th anniversary with an event where voice actors read from a script written by Digimon’s writers, which added a new antagonist to the story.

The villain is named Political Correctness. His attack is called Cancel Culture. The names were in English. And no, I’m not kidding.

An actual reading from the event by Digimon voice talent.

The Japanese seem to want to make it abundantly clear that they see what’s wrong with western culture and it’s entertainment industry, and they are absolutely not on board with it. What better way to do it than with one of the Tumblr crowd’s favorite Japanese IPs, and in a manner so devoid of subtlety that even a knuckle-dragging, horse-toothed, dim-witted ignoramus wouldn’t need what’s intended to be explained to him.

It’s true that Japan has an advanced society that favors intellect. It’s based on this perception that the PC crowd has touted the Japanese, as though they are at all sympathetic toward their various causes. What they don’t seem to realize is that the Japanese definitely do not have their values. The Japanese have a heavily meritocratic society, and heavily esteem traditional values, including those which protect the traditional family. The same could be said of much of the Asian world.

In Digimon, the bad guys are usually classified as viruses. In biology, a virus is an organism that injects instructions into a host cell in order to change the cell’s instructions, and therefore, its behavior (usually to the end of making more viruses). Computer viruses are so named because they hijack a program’s instructions in a similar way.

Cancel culture and political correctness are like viruses, but in a memetic sense. They are an instruction set that overrides a host’s better judgement, and subverts their capacity for rational thought to the end of perpetuating the memetic itself, which continually seeks out new targets towards the end of its own self-perpetuation.

While a virus eventually causes its host cell to burst, killing it, political correctness would eventually turn a person into a neurotic shell of their former selves.

With this development, the Digimon creative team is taking a shot directly at the PC crowd, sending the message that “No, we are not your allies.” It might even be what it takes for them to figure out that the Japanese entertainment industry in general is against political correctness, and interpret it as an attack on their creative endeavors and their culture as a whole.

But it’s hard to tell just how clearly you have to spell it out.