As of late, I have been studying a great deal of feminist philosophy and watching a lot of anime that I don’t review right away (sorry)! So to make up for lost time, I will be combining both of these and writing a great deal of reviews that relate the things I watch to a feminist critique.
Not all of my reviews necessarily support feminism on the surface, as I am a firm believer in that such concepts are very fluid and diverse in terms of how to get the message across. For the next three months, I will be looking at different anime under three different themes, but keep in mind, they are not limited to those themes! As of yesterday, I kicked off this set of theme reviews with an example of Objectification in Rail Wars.
Here’s a tentative method and schedule by which I will be reviewing these anime.
March is approaching, and on the US calendar, that means Women’s History Month is coming. This year, I will be celebrating with something feminist-related and anime-related, which I will discuss further on another post some time this week.
In the meantime, I need to address some kind of opposition to the things I will be talking about because of the plans I’m making. Having said that, today I will be reviewing a series that is more about fan service than about trains!
Wait. There are trains in this anime?
I’ve talked quite a bit about the famous (or infamous) Nobunaga Oda on this blog on several occasions, particularly in how he is portrayed in Japanese media. But as far as I can tell, most of these series did not portray him very accurately! The warlord of old is so skewed in pop references, you wonder if he could ever just be himself!
Well, this series finally puts Nobunaga Oda in his own realm, and also does the history some justice! But in terms of characters, this series has to be one of the most unique of them all.
In this series, there are TWO Nobunagas!
STOP THE PRESSES!!
Shounen. Shoujo. Seinen. Josei. These are the typical demographics that are used in Japanese manga to gear the intended target audience of any given magazine. However, no projects are to be treated explicitly for boys, girls, men, or women; and having a demographic label is pretty arbitrary, albeit a pretty good indicator.
Having said that, this TV series became AT-X viewers’ Anime of the Year 2014, which is one of the premiere polls of what is most popular in Japan: the intended anime audience (not saying, of course, that input from non-Japanese audiences are not important; but it is what it is). And I think part of why it gained so much popularity is because this show, which was adapted from a 4-panel shounen manga publication, appealed to audiences from all the “typical” demographics.
But enough of me rambling on about the complexities of sex identities (I’ve been reading a lot of Simone de Beauvoir lately). This series was one of my favorites from last year too; and as strange as it sounds, my first exposure to it was not from the manga, Crunchyroll, or even a close friend. I first heard of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun from a Chiyo cosplayer at Anime Expo 2014 (right about the time the series aired), who just happened to also be an alum of a school that Latino Gamer and I attended!
Me as Taichi Tanaka (Tari Tari) with Chiyo Sakura and fellow alumni from **** College. Photo taken by Latino Gamer (right).
When it comes to mecha narratives, there are certain recurring themes. On the surface, one might expect military involvement, technological advances, and gargantuan battles between giant machines, piloted by people or automated to fight on their own. The mecha genre also offers what I call “social themes,” such as humanity, post-humanism, and relationships (note: these are all very loaded terms, and don’t necessarily boil down to something simple).
However, one thing that this series offers in addition to some of these established themes is something that I’m sure a lot of fans who have heard of this show are aware of (and if you weren’t, you know now): literary comparison! In this review, I will explain to the best of my ability what these inferences are.
The Midsummer Knights of Captain Earth. Sound familiar?