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Drilling down Gurren Lagann

Some French friends have organized a last-minute Christmas blogging project (affectionately known as Nyoël Blogging 2011), in which we were supposed to suggest a few anime titles that we'd seen recently and were prepared to blog on, and the others would vote on the one they most wanted to read about. You can find those articles below (in French):

As for me, I was assigned the task of blogging about Tengen toppa Gurren Lagann, which I've happened to watch earlier this year for the first time at an anime club showing back in France. I knew very little about it before beyond the designs of the main characters and the fact that it was a robot show revered by robot show lovers. Based on that information I kind of expected it wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I ended up gnashing my teeth throughout and disliking the experience to a much greater extent than I imagined I would.

So this post will be about Gurren Lagann and what I hated about it. I've already explained that on Twitter, but you'll have it here in longer form for the enjoyment of the Frenchie Christmas crowd, even though there is little Christmas-like about it. Although you could say it does have a bit of Japanese Christmas-likeness, seeing as I'm typing it out alone in my room on Christmas Eve and will mostly be talking about other men's penises. Note that I won't be talking much about thinks I'm either somewhat positive or noncommittal about, like the technical prowess in animation (which I frankly don't care much about to the extent it doesn't serve an aesthetic that I can get behind).

Incidentally, I apologize for interrupting a quasi year-long hiatus with a post about penises that aren't even attached to cute little boys. Speaking of which, I'm rather stoked about that upcoming Akane Shinsha magazine specializing in otoko no ko. But I digress...

How to write your own blog post on the moe decadence

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The anime fandom is a cliquey bunch, and the aniblogosphere even more so. You have groups like the grumpy old timers, the enthusiastic, semi-literate dimwits, the Random Curiosity copycats, etc., who tend to stay among themselves and read little of what the others are writing.

Among those, a particularly exclusive group is the bloggers you could call intellectual aestheticians, who unironically judge anime based on its adherence to (their understanding of) the conventional canons of high culture. Basically the people who consider that the only 2010 show worth watching was Yojouhan shinwa taikei—that's quite different from the old timers, mind you: those would rather mention SRT OG or some con screening of Eva 2.22. One of the core tenets of this group is that anime should be about creating art, and that it is becoming less and less successful at it as time goes by. Compared to some unspecified past when Sunrise and Studio Pierrot were putting out Golden Lion-grade magna opera at rapid-fire rate, I suppose? (It would be interesting to research the origins of that particular streak of international anime discourse, by the way; somehow, I doubt that it even existed in the 1980's, and my hunch is that it probably developed out of Eva mythological commentary in the late 90's. But I'm getting side-tracked.)

Now, the purpose of blogging is often less actual conversation than social status, and some anime blog posts can be difficult to understand until you read them in this light.

Anison classification from unsupervised lexical clustering

Ohisashiburi desu, etc. There are probably many more important things to talk about first, but I've been having fun playing with some tools this week-end, so here goes.

If you've ever paid attention to anime song lyrics, you've probably noticed that the same words tend to come up over and over again. And more precisely, that the same words tend to be used in songs with the same mood or belonging to the same genre. So I figured we should be able to establish a classification of anime song by simply looking at there lyrics, that might teach us something about them or even about the shows they are used in.

And the results are indeed relatively interesting.

Wrapping up the Google story and some more legalese

Some final comments about the “Google dropping lolicon sites from search results” story, and a quick look at related legal problems elsewhere.

As explained in the previous post, Google picked up on a complaint that loliero scanlation site Little White Butterflies was hosting child pornography, and pulled it from search results after filing a report to NCMEC. Pointing out that the material hosted there was clearly not child pornography under US law, the site owners asked on Google's webmaster support forum that the takedown be reviewed. The request has been ignored so far, and it appears that Google has no intention of addressing the site owners' concerns (not even by telling us that they won't overturn the takedown).

The confusion about moe

Pondering the meaning of moe 「萌え」 sounds a bit 2005, back when the word qualified as a popular phrase in the Japanese media. Nowadays, it's become pretty uncommon among otaku to say that you're moe for such and such, as the term has been somewhat bastardized by mainstream exposure, or has simply fallen out of fashion (angry rants of English-speaking bloggers notwithstanding).

Still, there are no convenient replacements for at least some uses of the word moe. For example, the most concise answer I can give when somebody asks what kind of manga or anime I like is moe-kei. It's quite precise and widely understood (well, not in the general public of course, but the right answer if a Japanese person that isn't an otaku asks about your tastes in anime is more along the lines of “I've heard about that Studio Ghibli thing and what they do looks pretty cool”).

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