Category Archives: Anime and Manga

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.

Manga Publishing President Already Backtracking Concerning “The Great Mistake”

Wow, that did not take long! Just days ago, the president of manga publishing company Kadokawa had started trending with his opinion that manga content is more extreme than Japanese swimsuit content, and suggested that he wanted matters to change so that manga would be more likely to be reviewed by American tech companies like Apple and Google.

Kadowaka president Takashi Natsuno faced immediate backlash for his comments, from the industry, from the fans, and from his own company. As a result, Natsuno has issued a public apology, and has voluntarily taken a 20% pay cut for a few months at the request of Kadokawa, which he would be returning to the company.

I’d be speculating, but I suspect that Natsuno’s earlier statement may have been virtue-signaling as damage control for his earlier statement about the opening ceremonies of the olympic games, which this year were hosted in Tokyo. Here is what he said:

“Compared to the Olympics, such shitty piano recitals don’t matter.”

That in particular was a legend statement that he didn’t need to feel sorry for. But sometimes, a person attempts to handle the situation in a manner that makes matters worse, which might be an explanation for why he would later attempt the Japanese equivalent of trying to score intersectionality points. Except, the Japanese have stronger sensibilities than western feminists, which is why his virtue signal exploded in his face.

If any SJW had any hope of infiltrating the manga industry or Japanese culture, it just vanished in a hurry, as “the great mistake” parasite didn’t last long enough to have a significant impact on the intended host company, and was eliminated quickly enough that it leaves no doubt that western intersectional politics don’t stand a chance in Japan.

I’ll be honest, I was willing to play the long game on this one. American content companies take a long time to learn their lesson, so it was a refreshing surprise that Natsuno faced backlash so quickly. And on top of that, he actually listened to criticism. That’s a far cry from the typical western CEO who is too proud to admit his fault, and surrounds himself with pusillanimous suck-ups who are too afraid to tell him that he’s wrong. Ah, the superiority of Japanese corporate culture.

As for American content companies, it seems like they’re finally starting to come around, but it might take a few years before we fully see results. Sometimes, a company figures out what’s going wrong, but they have little choice but to honor commitments that they’ve already made, unless they have a legal out. What’s more, it would make more practical business sense to attempt to recoup losses that they’d otherwise take in full if certain projects were simply cancelled, full stop.

When an entertainment company has been going in a wrong direction for a long time, there is inertia involved in getting them to change course. On the plus side, we’re already seeing some positive change in some of what Disney is offering, particularly related to Star Wars where Jon Favreau or Dave Filoni is involved. Because Kadokawa reversed course so quickly, it’s a definite victory for the manga community.

They made a show about SPED clone troopers. And I like it!

By the looks of it, Japan is still going to be the place where entertainment is still entertaining. Even though net ground has not been gained, it’s still a victory in the culture war, as it shows that intersectionality’s offensives were not sufficient to overcome, or even so much as make a dent. And with matters trending back around on the western front, victory is beginning to show on the horizon.

Manga Publishing President Considering “The Great Mistake”

For a while now, people have been turning to manga (Japanese comics) as an alternative to American comics, for a variety of reasons. It’s gotten to the point that a manga series has single-handedly outsold the entirety of the American comic book industry.

Among the reasons that people have been turning to manga is that the Japanese are less political in their entertainment, and therefore, anime and manga are yet to be poisoned by intersectional politics, or have their entertainment value ruined by reason of its wussy sensibilities.

For the most part, the Japanese have balked at the idea of their own media being influenced by western or international sensibilities. In that sense, they’ve done well in staying true to their own national identity, and as a result, their entertainment has remained entertaining.

You probably saw the title of this post, and wonder what I mean by “the great mistake”. This is what it would be called when a Japanese media company decides to compromise with the likes of intersectionality or western politics, and in so doing, alienate their audience and consequently learn the hard way why it’s such a bad idea to self-censor and lose customers as a result.

People tend to learn better when they have examples of failure, as such would provide material evidence that a certain decision is a bad idea to those for whom it is not already abundantly evident.

Takashi Natsuno, the president of Japanese manga publisher Kadokawa, has stated that manga is rarely reviewed by the likes of Apple or Google by reason of content which he considers more extreme than that of Japanese swimsuit models.

I’m going to be direct here: I’m not concerned about what Apple or Google thinks when it comes to anime or manga. I get my manga through websites like BookWalker. While BookWalker is available as an app, anything purchased through BookWalker can be read through a browser on a tablet. No need to go through an American storefront.

Something like two hours passed since writing that last paragraph. I went to BookWalker, and got distracted rereading much of Made in Abyss.

Here is what the president of Kadokawa said in a June 22nd video interview, with translation from Nicchiban:

“The fact is that there are people who have miraculously beautiful figures, and there are people who think there is value in that, and there is money to be made. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this is unfair, and I don’t think the argument about whether gravure is good or bad is valid. On the other hand, Japan is full of manga that are more extreme than swimsuit gravure. The publishing industry that I’m in is full of ‘liberal’ people, but I feel that we need to recreate standards that are appropriate for this Internet age, including such things.”

“Japan is full of manga that are more extreme than Gravure. This and other factors prevent Japanese manga from being reviewed by Google and Apple. So, I feel that we need to redefine the standards of the Internet age and determine what is acceptable for the public and what is not. The publishing industry I’m in is full of libertarians, but I really feel like we need to rethink things.”

As the article points out, it’s possible that he’s being misinterpreted, and is pointing out that the more extreme manga is difficult to host on Apple and Google. I doubt it, but if his intention was to call for self-censorship in manga, I’m not actually worried about it, for a few reasons.

For one thing, the idea of self-censorship to appeal to western audiences is tremendously unpopular among mangaka. I know that mangaka can speak for themselves in this regard, but it’s easy to see why they’d feel this way. Artists don’t like arbitrary restrictions placed on their forms of expression, which is something that western artists should be able to relate to. What’s more, if someone in an entirely different culture doesn’t like what the Japanese produce, they don’t have to read what the Japanese produce.

What’s more, Kadokawa’s position is so grossly unpopular that even if he used his sway in the company to encourage mangaka to self-censor, the more popular mangaka may use their own sway to seek out a different publisher. Though, in many cases, it’s not as easy as that. Sometimes, content creators are bound by contract. Such “golden handcuffs” are something to watch out for in the event that you want to make a deal with a company to promote your big idea, as is the forfeiture of creative control of your IP, so they’d get to decide what to do with the characters you created. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Then, on top of that, self-censorship would hurt the manga publisher’s bottom line, as readers would quickly feel alienated, and turn to another manga.

But another big point is that Takashi Natsuno is only a temporary president. He was only hired on for a couple months, and isn’t likely to remain much longer. If he’s going to fire his mouth off with such unpopular opinions, he’s not helping his career in the creative industry.

Speaking of firing his mouth off, Natsuno had this to say about the Olympics’ opening ceremony:

“Compared to the Olympics, such shitty piano recitals don’t matter.”

Whether you agree with him on the creative direction of the manga industry, he’s certainly capable of throwing out one-liners that bring down the house.

What makes censoring manga so stupid is that characters in manga are just drawings. They are just lines printed on paper (or shown on display screens, as the case may be). People shouldn’t get so hung up over depictions of violence against people who aren’t even real, or the objectification of characters who, by definition, are merely objects to begin with. They are fictional depictions, and escapist fantasies presented to people for their enjoyment. If you don’t like what’s depicted, you don’t have to consume it.

The idea that art must be a sincere expression of one’s intrinsic values or a vehicle to further a progressive message is a product of a society that has gone awry, and lost sight of the fact that art can simply be creative, without need for justification.

What’s more, people shouldn’t be stuck on the idea that something has to be accessible through the likes of Google or Apple or Facebook, or some content aggregator. If something is anywhere on the net, it’s accessible. If a person thinks that the internet is just one search engine or social media site, they’re stupid. And stupid people shouldn’t decide what everyone else on the internet sees, reads, or shares.

But they’re sure trying.

As for “the great mistake”, while it would have every chance of backfiring in a huge way, the failure it would result in would be clear, plain, and indisputable, showing what would happen when you attempt to replace the audience you already have with a hypothetical audience which hasn’t expressed much interest. If Natsuno were to go forward with “the great mistake”, he’d be a dubious kind of volunteer to make a point that few others in his industry would dare to.

Probably because they’ve been watching from afar what’s already been happening with Marvel and DC. But if a manga publisher makes the mistake, and the damage were to be localized to just one publisher, then it can be said that the SJWs tried on every platform that was available to them, wasn’t able to succeed on any of them, while keeping the damage to a minimum. While it would be better if no publishing company has to be lost, sometimes, some people insist on proving a point, even if it means someone takes the fall. In war, not every soldier gets to return home.

“No one is immune to failure. All have tasted the bitterness of defeat and disappointment. A warrior must not dwell on that failure. But must learn from it and continue on.”

Grand Admiral Thrawn