8 Nominees For Why the Crunchyroll Awards Sucked!

Ah award shows, the fecal stains of prestige and meaningless arguments. The pinnacle of people caring about things they shouldn’t. And voting systems so absurdly broken, it makes election politics look normal. Whether it be the Oscar’s, the Golden Globes, or even some poorly thought out online bullshit contest, it’s one of those things that we want to feel included and angry about, even though we know that we are insignificant in the big picture and that it’s really just an outlet of personal validation of the shows we saw whether it be (usually) outrage or a pride in enjoying the same thing everyone else watched and enjoyed! This year we had a big one, Crunchyroll debuted it’s very first awards show! With winter 2016 Sakuga darling Flip Flap- I mean Yuri on Ice, sweeping almost every category. But I don’t want to focus on the outrage of my favorite show nobody gave a shit about not being randomly given a shit about. I want us to instead find the main reason why the Award Show was as vapid a sham as it was. Today ladies and gentlemen we have 8 super validating contestants, and as we go through each of them I want you to think long and hard about which one you like the most without considering any of the others contestants whatsoever! Please vote without a second thought 3 weeks from now when we choose our winner!

1. It’s a Popularity Contest  

Do you remember back in high school where the decision of who was the best was who was the most popular? Remember those days where absolutely nobody gave a single solitary care about your existence because you were an outcast? Everyone thought you were a pervert who wanted to fuck underage girls because you liked these foreign things called “japanese cartoons”?

Remember what it was like not to be cared about and the conversation always surrounding that hot dude who happened to do an obscene amount of crunches and secretly fucked enough women to create an std monster the size of a Kaiju? Remember how you wanted TO MURDER EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE PRETENTIOUS ELITIST ASSHOLES AND SEE THE BLOOD OF THERE XENOPHOBIC SKULLS WHERE IT SHOULD BELONG, ON THE END OF YOUR PRECIOUS SPIKED NAILED THAT YOU NAMED STACY?AND REMEMBER HOW YOU PICTURED YOURSELF LAUGHING OVER THE CORPSES OF YOUR ENEMIES AND YOU WOULD LAUGH AS YOU DISMANTLED THEIR LIFELESS BODIES LIMB FROM LIMB “IM THE POPULAR ONE NOW!” YOU WOULD SHOUT AS YOU WERE SURROUNDED BY NOBODY BUT YOURSELF THE WALLS PAINTED RED AND THE MIXTURE OF UNCLEAN ODORS WAFTING THE AIR LIKE MAGICAL BLISS???? Well now you can experience that all over again as you watch every show you care about get flushed out by some show you haven’t even watched but assume is terrible because as all real otaku know, if it’s popular it probably sucks (see: Sowrd Art Online). Now you can watch your beloved show get grouped in an entire “other” category, because we know it won’t win so it doesn’t even matter. Congratulations kid, welcome to the unfortunate irrelevancy of write in voting.
2. Recentism Bias:

This one goes almost without saying because anybody with 2 neurons to spark a synapse with has complained about this. Whatever is most recent in peoples minds is what is going to win. Do you really think people have a strong enough collective memory to quibble about what came out early in the year during an “of the year” awards show? Of course not, people only think about the now, there is no time to reflect on the past, it’s all about what you care about in the moment! Sure Mob Psycho was a show people cared about, sure even Erased was a show people cared about, both the collective conscious would refer to as “10/10”. But come on! Mob Psycho came out over a half a year ago and Erased came out at the BEGINNING of the year. Screw that, what is on peoples mind right now? Oh! It’s Yuri on Ice! Setting the year back one? What the hell are you on about? We need to talk about shows of this year, nobody cares about 2015 anymore, that isn’t current year! We have to stay relevant god damn it! We have to do this NOW NOW NOW!!!

3. The 7 Unqualified Titans

I want to present to you some choice passages from one of the judges named Lauren Orsini I have linked the full post in the sources at the very bottom for reference in case you are worried that I’m misquoting her. She starts out by answering the question “why you?” here’s what she has to say:


So there you have it, she got a place on the judge spot because she had done a lot of work promoting and helping those guys. Want to make it on the Crunchyroll board? Just make everyone at the company likes you. Exhibit B here is Tristan Gallant whom I’m going to go on the very slight assumption was chosen because he got tons of his fans to sign up with his affiliate link. My point being that the qualifications for making it aren’t “who is the wisest” it’s simply who does the Executives like the most. This is reflected even later when Lauren admits this

“I was the person picked for the job. But am I the BEST person for the job? Definitely not. I never took a film criticism course in college. I don’t speak fluent Japanese. I am not an expert on sakuga or any other facet of how your anime sausage gets made. I am just a girl with opinions, opinions that have kept getting louder and louder as I applied for (and picked up) work at Anime News Network, Otaku USA, Crunchyroll, Kotaku, Forbes, and more.”

I have no issue with this in itself. I respect a judge that comes forward about thier biases and knowledge base however she is under qualified comparatively when even stacked up against OTHER BLOGGERS, and you don’t need to believe me, this qoute here points that out

“Probably most of the anime reviewers and bloggers you read on a regular basis are no more qualified than I am to do this, though there are some notable exceptions. (Amelia Cook at Anime Feminist has a college degree in Japanese Studies; kViN is a sakuga expert, etc.)”

This should really raise the question that if there is a bunch of more qualified people, then why didn’t they come on as judges? Ah it’s probably because those two aren’t partners in anime with crunchyroll, at least not explicitly. So what ends up happening is you have this homogeneity of underqualified people stepping up to bat to use this as an opportunity to show off their tastes. It’s just something to keep in mind when you consider who your representatives are from this contest to begin with.

4. Diversity is Secretly the Ultimate Evil  

So let say you grope crunchyroll’s kawaii testicles in the right way and you are magically chosen to be part of the judge team “finally!” you cheer in a moment of euphoric bliss “After all this time I can state truly a diverse pick of my favorite shows of the season for each of the categories. I’m way more qualified to care about the crunchyroll awards!” Well prepare to get your spirits bombed because that’s not how it’s going to go down. If you choose 1 popular character and then a bunch of more obscure names, those obscure names don’t get any recognition, let Miles explain it himself in the podcast he had with arkada about why diversity hurts your overall chances

Miles: You were trying to put a lot of diversity in your

Arkada: Yes

Miles: submissions which probably hurt them because if other people weren’t- or if other people were trying to put diversity but DIFFERENT diversity than you uh-

Arkada: Then everybody only gets 1 vote and then it’s up to whoever’s putting everything together to try and figure out “ok whose actually on this thing”

And there you have it, the cold and clean reason why diversity will end up being a race to the bottom instead of to the top. Not to mention that diversity never matters in a popularity contest anyway, it’s just what appeals most to the most people. And just like that any sense of wanting to put on shows that obviously “won’t win” is choked out from you and your list transforms into a swelling of popular show you actually liked. (We will return to this podcast in depth in a later nominee)

5. No Alternative Voting

I won’t toot this horn too loudly so I’m just going to keep this short and sweet. Alternative voting methods always will make more sense than the way we currently do it because the voters won’t feel like they are throwing their vote away by voting for some obscure show that won’t actually win. Whenever a less known show like Kabaneri or Rakugo Shinju was pitted in the same category as Re Zero or Yuri on Ice, they would get maybe 5 or 10 percent, for the most part that’s just because it’s a populatiry contest. But my tortuous mind can imagine the poor moron sitting there thinking that gee they REALLY want to chose Kabaneri because it’s good and thier actual favourite show of the year but it won’t actually win so they don’t pick it. Below I have linked a video to CGP Grays video on runoff voting.

There is also this little neat thing called the “Condorcet method” which is even more mathematically superior to that but I can already tell you aren’t interested because you can’t pay attention to anything that isn’t directly related to anime for more than 3 minutes. That’s ok, but if you are for some neolithic reason why America elected an Orange Man as president, this is a HUGE factor.

6. Everyone Can Vote (And Should)

Speaking of bullshit voting issues, there is no exceptions to who can and who can’t vote. You don’t even have to be a member of cruchyroll premium to vote. You can just be some random schmuck that is browsing the colossal corporate cesspool that is facebook, see it randomly on your feed and say “oh I’ll just vote for my favorite show I watched this year”. And then go back to telling your Uncle why he is a racist for voting for an Orange Man or take what you think is a flattering photo of your body with pursed lips on your visage imitating a duck beak, or whatever those “humans” do on that website, I left there a while ago. There is a problem with this lack of standards however because since they didn’t want to exclude anybody or give certain people more of a voice in the voting booths, they completely skew that stats for people who only half care and aren’t really all that informed.

It doesn’t particularly help that the “you have to vote” mentality is so indoctrinated in peoples feeble minds that they will subconsciously, mindlessly, vote even if they are grossly under-informed or don’t even care because people are sheep that have been so herded by the ideals of the “patriotic duty” to vote that they will go out of their way to fuck up some poll just because they have been told through life that that’s how you feel included.  Or, Haruhi forbid, people who are for some miserable desperate reason part of the “crunchyroll community” get dicked over as well. Because instead of it being about shows the community likes, it was bent to the lowest common denominator instead, which makes them feel alienated. And before you point out “what do you care about those people?” I don’t, but to my mind those are the only people who should be rationally invested in this in the first place because it is called the “crunchyroll awards” after all, and the people there would want to feel included and feel like they are actually part of something. I propose that you should  give those people more of the vote than others, give them say a full vote and the anonymous randos 3/5th of the vote like america did back in the day with the black people. This works because white male plantation owners cared about it while everyone else just cared about causing some shit (see: the american civil war). Going back to how things are supposed to be I think would make everyone important to your community feel just a bit better.

7. Judges Subject to Blind Voting

In a podcast that Arkada held with Miles, a friend and crunchyroll higher up, they discussed a lot of their personal picks for what should have won versus what did win. A lot of interesting things can be noted in that discussion, for example there were a few times where Arkadas definition of what a category means did not reflect Miles. Early on they discuss the Hero category and Arkada didn’t choose Subaru as a hero because he saw the character as selfish and thrown into the state of being a hero against his will. Meanwhile Miles points out that he is a hero because he inhabits the role of a hero. Who is right here, well arguably both of them, but that’s the issue is that it doesn’t matter how you interpret the category personally so much as how everyone as a whole the collective group interprets it. While this case specifically may not be egregious there was another moment later on where Arkadas entire list of “best girl” picks are  Rem and a bunch of underage girls because Arkada didn’t see it as “girl who I would want to marry the most” as most other people tend to interpret it so much as “girl that was the best in the show” and while at first that incongruity seems just a bit silly, it doesn’t take long to realize that this form of blind voting can completely misinform the judges because their standards of what a category means may just be completely off base from what they actually mean. And while on paper that’s no big deal, had Arkada known that the best girl category was defined as “person you would marry the most” in the show then he wouldn’t have chosen Tsumugi, and cute blond Rapunzel length haired 5 year old and instead somebody who might actually fit the collective understanding of that category way more. Miles even notes at one point when they talk about best boys that Sakamoto might have been in that category if they had sat all those people down in a room to hash it out and compare notes.

8. Arbitrary Nominee Limitations

In the “best anime of the year” category they had exactly 8 nominations, in every other category there was only 4 nominations. Why limit it to 4? When you only have 4 nominations you really snuff out a lot of other shows from being there, which causes even more rage that the best comedy is trapped in down to 4 shows, giving gems like tanaka-kun no breathing room. If your response to that is “they wouldn’t have won anyway because those shows aren’t popular” then I commend you for being able to pick up on why this is not worth paying attention to. HOWEVER let’s assume that for some strange ridiculous reason this is saaaayyyyyy an advertising ploy to get people to pay attention to and watch more shows on cruchyroll then they are really limiting the amount of recommendations they can give. To me, that seems like a very bad move if you want to introduce people to new anime (assuming of course that this is the real goal of this which I can’t possibly believe it is, this was just a hypothetical of course). I have about another 5 or 6 things I could vent about how this fiasco of fuckery happened but I have to keep to an arbitrary of 8 for no reason whatsoever even though going on would be more informative and useful.


Well that about wraps up our contestants this evening, vote from your homes who should win as the most impactful to this issue and I promise you I won’t read it because I can’t be bothered. I want to point out that I never cared about this, I didn’t vote, because I don’t respect a crunchyroll awards. It’s not like whomever wins ACTUALLY wins anything, and it’s not like if that was true it would go to shows I would most care about anyway. I wanted to try and give insight into the pure cynical hatred of why these things are as bullshit as they are. If you really care so much about the fact Yuri on Ice won everything then start your own awards show. This could also make for a great parable as to a few other things like why the popular vote might not always be the best idea. There are many other things that are completely nonsense that I didn’t touch on. The fact that the judges couldn’t rank their picks just to name one. This is a clownshow all the way down to the core, and caring about it is exactly what they want you to do, and exactly what you shouldn’t do. The only person that can truly represent your opinions are you, so you should advocate your opinion regardless of what is popular or critically acclaimed or whatever. You are the master of your own destiny, the force is within you, and all those other popularly used analogies that ironically tout individuality. Until next time, Oyasumi mother fuckers!












Erato Identity Crisis: A Manifesto

      Let me set the scene for ya a tad before we get into the meat of this: I was confronted about getting a haircut recently since my hair was getting quite long and unruly, and a more fancy polite dress up was required of me. So I needed to play defense as to why I didn’t want my hair to be cut that goes beyond the adolescent angst fueled “fuck u dad I’m 19 now I’m my own gender queer person fuck this society ugh” type of proposal that was bound to completely fail. Since the real reason behind why I wanted to keep my hair long is actually incredibly deep and complex, I decided to write it down quickly as I could under the 2 hour time constraint I had. The original version of what you are about to read was a bit dirty and brief. It’s basically a rough draft I had to show them, what I’m showing you instead dear viewer, is the edited version that runs more smoothly.  It is very explanatory in nature as I want others to understand more of where I am coming from. This is by no means an actual encompassing of all these issues or even all of my thoughts, which would take 7 hours to explain, this is instead basically a manifesto of my stance and my issues combined into 1 easily digestible post. So with that preamble out-of-the-way, here is my identity crisis in all its glory.


Let me start this off by saying that my issue is much deeper than a simple “I don’t want my hair cut because I hate society and want long hair”, at least not really. At some point that was the issue, but it isn’t now, I’m not an adolescent teen that I once was. My true problem is that I have an identity crisis, more specifically I think I might want to look and sound more like a female but I’m not entirely sure. This is something I’ve been dealing with for about half a year now. It was easy to deal with at first, because I didn’t think it was a big deal, but slowly it crept up on me and the dysphoria accelerated out of control. So let me try to extrapolate exactly what this means, in order to fully capture why this wasn’t easy enough an issue to just tell you over a cup of coffee spontaneously.

      So to begin with I want to clarify this is not a problem I’ve been dealing with since I was sucking my thumb and shitting my diapers. I didn’t walk around in my crib and then one day realize “wow I’m a woman trapped in a mans body.” I fact, I was completely fine up until 6 months or so ago, I felt fairly comfortable in my body despite the fact that my self-esteem for many reasons has always been incredibly low. Although I could quibble over exactly what comfortable means because while I am conventionally sort of attractive I’ve never really been able to look at myself and think I looked attractive regardless. This was a very odd thing to recognize because surely I actually look attractive as a male, so what the hell is even my problem? Well I’ve pinned it to this desire to look more effeminate or androgynous, at the same time I’m in general a very self loathing and slightly depressed person.

      However, here is the issue with that, because I am not sure which one caused the other, I am highly uncertain about how much I want to look effeminate or androgynous. On one hand I’m aware that looking the way I want won’t “fix” my self loathing issues, I will always strive for more and because of that always expect more out of myself, my obsession with self-improvement is my own worse enemy at time. I could be a complete Adonis but that won’t fix issues completely unrelated like my intelligence and financial instability. At the same time it is quite possible that this is stemming out of my self-loathing issues, that this could very much be a created illusion of an issue to make myself have something to point to and say “this is why you think you suck Erato, this thing right here explains it.” It is quite the dilemma, because I think I want to look like a woman and have a feminine voice but I can’t be sure either. To reiterate I wasn’t always this way, this quandary of self-identity didn’t always exist. So even though I think it is in part a problem of not looking the way I want to, I honestly can’t rule it out as “just a phase” either, which is a very VERY distressing position to be it. I’m trapped in a limbo, I want to work on figuring this out but don’t want to proudly tell people in my life either because of my own personal uncertainty.

     Let’s talk about the actual issue with this as a coming out procedure for a moment: Whenever people come out about things there seems to be this expectation, at least in my eyes, that the people you are talking to should change their outlook on how you behave and act. I absolutely do not want that in any way. I honestly think that while my self-esteem would rise, it would “change who I am”. Part of the identity crisis is a realization that I have a somewhat inconsistent personality. However, I REALLY don’t want it to be treated any differently than I was as a man. This is why I abhor gender constructs, they box me in and now I have to act “girly” in order to look like a girl. No, I refuse.

.                                                  i-am-me

Maybe I will act more effeminate, maybe I always sort of have acted effeminate in a way, but that should never be a definite part of how I am. I want to look different because I feel ugly, that is all there is to it at the end of the day. My actual personality has always been in a lot of flux and I don’t want to be treated differently because I might look a bit different. I’m the same person, more or less.

     Now I’m going to get into the specifics as to why I didn’t talk about this earlier. Since I am as uncertain as I am about this, part of me was really hoping to fix this on my own with my own funds. The switch to looking more like a woman requires an insane amount of money, time, and experience. I don’t know how much of my wardrobe I actually want to change. I feel for example fairly certain I don’t want to wear a lot of dressy clothes or high heels or what have you, but without having tried I also can’t even rule that out. The awkward “let’s go to the store and try out dresses” is not how I want to approach this issue at all. I wanted it to be a sort of slower exploration on my own terms, starting with the simple stuff like basic makeup, longer hair, less body and facial hair, etc. And then ever so slowly from there I want to work my way up. It’s not because I’m afraid to come clean, it’s just because I don’t want to dive into the hormone therapy (which costs a ludicrous amount of money by the way) before I’ve even taken my first dip into the pool. Let’s start simple and work our way up and see what I do and do not want instead of jumping all in to what could very well be a shark pool.
      This is why I’m scared to get my haircut. Lady hair is about the easiest transitional step there is and the idea that “it’ll grow back” is infuriating when it never GROWS to where I want it in the first place. This isn’t about gender politics, or me having been transsexual since birth, it’s something comparably more manageable than that. Paradoxically however me and some other people out there that feel the way I do are now stigmatized with a certain skepticism that we don’t REALLY want to look like a woman or a man or something in between, we just think we do because our issues are as severe from the get go. Sadly enough though, as douchey as it is, it’s still somewhat warranted because even we don’t know ourselves yet. That’s why it’s a crisis and not a blatant “this is who I am” to the world. In summation, that is why I’m scared to have my hair cut.


They accepted me and took it about as well as I could have expected. They didn’t treat me any differently for it, it just raised new problems. I told them that now that I had it in writing I am more than happy to answer any questions, because really it was just about breaking the ice. That being said my family, while having their fair share of issues, is supportive of me and really open to my lifestyle choices. That being said I’m wholly aware that some other people in relative position to me might not have the ability to talk about it without being stigmatized, or sent to a mental hospital, or are just scared. I can not help you. Nor I can not pretend that I care about you specifically, because I honestly don’t, I don’t know who you are at all. However what I can tell you is that you should know you aren’t alone and that this is a problem I feel a lot of people face. Hopefully this has been enlightening to somebody, thank you for reading!congratulations-rei

Madam, I’m BORED (Explaining the Failure Eden of The East)

I think the reason a lot of boring shows exist is because writer’s don’t know how to properly accentuate on the potential strengths of their own work. Do you guys remember Mirai Nikki, you know that one show that the entire critical anime community condemned for being an absolutely terrible piece of garbage with no structure or good writing in sight?  Meet Eden of the East, Mirai’s slightly less handsome cousin that debuted in the spring of 2009. Eden of the East seems to lack anything that makes it remotely stand out but yet also isn’t particularly interesting in a “so bad it’s good” way either. Somehow it is able to awkwardly tightrope this middle ground in a way that results in absolute boredom. Let me walk you through the myriad of reasons I think this is a boring mess of a show, starting from the beginning.

The setup and exposition is pretty impressive on a surface level, it starts out with a strong opening theme, that arouses in me feeling of meditative contemplation. The show itself thunders on equally striking ground as well, showing us a girl trying to throw coins into the white house fountain and a naked man holding a gun a few meters off in the distance. But once that immediate wow factor wears off the characters start to appear very irrational. Firstly, the girl is throwing her money over the fence of a government property owned building. Provoking government property at all, especially as a foreigner, can put you in deep shit with that government if you get caught. This girl is willingly putting her life in danger just to throw a little chump change into a fountain. This is not only irrational on the girls part it also is inconsistent with how it would play out in reality at all. Notice also how there is absolutely nobody here except a couple of cops that aren’t paying any attention whatsoever. If you were to go to the white house you would see plenty of people picketing or taking selfies or whatever. The white house is a really popular tourist attraction since it has the allure of being the place the executive branch of office is kept, and because of that the security there is also pretty intense.

That aside, the cops then confront her about it, as they should, when suddenly a green car almost runs the naked dude I mentioned earlier over and detracts their attention. He then dodges the cops by a miraculously well timed truck that runs by just in time for the man to evade their line sight. Now that the hero is out of the limelight, our incompetent duo of cops run off into the wind instead of what should realistically have happened. What should have taken place here is that one of them attempt to arrest suspicious girl whilst the other searches around the area, perhaps even calling for backup. The characters then meet and opt to be super friendly despite the fact neither of them know what the others intentions are yet. The girl decides to give the man her jacket and scarf because she figured he might be cold, which is a pretty absurd thing to do for a stranger you just met. In another moment of spontaneity, instead of deciding to team up with the the the girl, the boy decides to just  run off after dropping his gun behind because I guess why would anyone need a gun? Let’s not even begin to mention that the cops could take said gun in for fingerprint DNA later and trace back to this anonymous fellow. The subtext of the show so far is that the characters all should act as irrationally as possible and this pretty much maintains itself through out the entirety of the show.

Don’t believe me? Let me note to you another couple of decisions that don’t make any sense just within this one episode alone. At one point the boy asks for directions to his home. Then he inexplicably asked the man dressed in a business attire for his pants, the man happily obliges and hands them over. There is absolutely no reason for the business man to do this, the girl even aptly even points this out via her own comment on the moment:


The girl then continues to chase after him subsequently following his conversation with the now pants-less business man, and does so by crossing the street WITHOUT LOOKING BOTH WAYS FIRST WEW LAD. This is a big deal, especially in a bustling city like DC because doing something like that can get your ass run over so fast. The girl then bellows at a stranger walking out of the house this one simple query, WHAT NUMBER? Now, we the audience already know that the dude ran into red coat boy just a moment ago. However, from where she is standing there was no way to tell that and that certainly isn’t how you ask regardless. A respectable person would ask “hey sorry to bother you but have you seen someone that looks yay high wearing a red coat?” not whatever annoying ass scream she just did. But not only does the show not do this, the guy also responds when a human being with any sense wouldn’t answer such a shrill, they would just ignore a person that does that and assume they are homeless. Once we get inside the apartment and snoop around a bit from the dudes perspective, the girl knocks on the door and politely asks for only her passport and wallet because she is too bashful around this boy to want her coat back to (a coat which by the way seemed fairly expensive, although I’m not a fashion gal so I can be too certain). This is where shit really starts to make no sense, he begins to compare the passport he has against the one she has, this would be ingenious if he knew he had any actual relation to the lass waiting on him. Unfortunately though he doesn’t, which makes the process rather bizarre when you account for what proceeds: he decides to pick the passport that is the closest in content and burn the other passports in a toaster. The problem here is he doesn’t actually have any certainty that those toasting passports are invalid. So he could have very easily just burned his real passport by accident and he wouldn’t know until long after he has left.

Now this next moment is the icing on the bullshit cake right here, the police woman finds the girl waiting in the hallway and inquires about if she is the person in the picture she is holding. It very obviously is, her hair is the exact same and she is still wearing the exact same pants and boots as earlier. From the mumble of a response the girl gives it should have given away the ruse immediately, then she would have been taken in for questioning instantaneously. But instead of that happening the boy, Akira as we now know, comes out and tries to smoothly haul her off under the disguise that she was waiting for a date. The police officer halts both of then and requests to see Akira’s johnny. So this police officer is so fundamentally bad at her job that she cant tell from the body type, eye color, height, or so forth that instead she asks to see his johnny. So of course he does and because it was colder outside and warmer in here his cock is larger here then it would seem outside. The police officer then blushes and let’s him go. This moment transcends stupidity into another plane of existence, a plane we refer to as terrible comedic gags. But hey check this out it actually has double meaning see, because the johnny also is a marginally derogatory term for NEETs as well….. -.-  Oh hey and by the way Akira nice job just leaving a soon to be incendiary building without letting anyone know, you are really quite a hero. The show didn’t want to present the inflamed aftermath so I’ve taken it upon myself to show you the real life equivalent.

triangle shirtwaist factory fire.jpg

Now I get what the obvious rebuttal to this all is, I can already see the comments now they probably go something like “It was a joke scene dumb ass, you weren’t supposed to take it seriously, lighten up a little you hollow bitch. Your family doesn’t love you because you take everything too literally and make their lives a living fucking hell with no escape in sight.” This is a fair concern except for one tiny little issue: the show doesn’t actually fully embrace the absurdity of the situations itself either. If the show played this up as some zany ridiculous ride where the reality is thrown out the window and often makes fun of its own story-line I would agree with you. Instead however, the show never becomes hyperbolic and boisterous, it plays it straight the entire way through with a few reality breaking jokes sprinkled throughout, which then only serves to further sabotage its own tone.

The story wants you to take what is happening seriously, despite the fact there are all these little discrepancies with reality in the way. The other thing is that none of these little moments of poor judgement ruin the show on their own, although they do have potential to be quite out-of-line. It’s when the moments are stacked up and shown next to each other that it begins to become an issue. A single characters irrational or incompetent moments are somewhat permissible, it’s when every character is irrational all of the time that it becomes questionable. If the show wants to be a funny action adventure then it is bogged down by a semi-realistic design and serious themes.

Let’s divert our focus on some of the serious themes this show tries to tackle for a second. The first one is of international terrorism. At the end of the first episode we get to see our duo point towards a news casting about a rogue missile launch. The show refers to this attack as “Careless Monday” because the Prime Minister explains the he was careless on surveying that, but luckily nobody got hurt because everyone is evacuated in time. The show takes this as a serious threat and plays it up as such that it ends up becoming one of the essential focal points of the story. So you might be under the impression there might be something intriguing going on here, some sort of undertone here about the tactical insecurity of ballistic missiles or the effect of living in a world of fear of these missiles, you would be wrong. It is as surface bearing as that and doesn’t really have any lasting impact on the society at large, nor does it take time to really delve into the political finger pointing that went on, it just stops and starts at “I was careless”.

Probably the worst moment of this is near the end of the second episode, when the adorable couple discusses one of the more infamous acts of international terrorism in recent history known as 9/11. Saki, our female protagonist, shows a sort of yearning to want to see what the towers looked like before the construction freedom tower. In her own words she says “But somehow we shouldn’t forget about that attack…” when Akira grabs her, takes a selfie with her, and then tastelessly portrays it to her as their own personal “ground zero”. Suddenly this moment that felt so sobering and important is ruined by the need to create levity and happiness again. While this moment is ever so brief it does speak to a larger issue: the show wants you to care about the themes and take them seriously when the show itself cant even do it properly. And this isn’t just reflected in that one moment,  it’s also revealed in the fact the show fails to observe or comment on a post 9/11 america at even a world building level america which they could easily have done by not making the airline escape seem as easy as it was. If you try to get an airline ticket to or from anywhere in America they check several documents, have a ludicrously high security, and even do “random checks” that aren’t actually that random and usually go off on foreigners. They failed to capitalize on showing what a post 9/11 america looks like, further undermining the message that we should remember the effect these disasters have.

Another one is the rise of NEETs in Japanese society, many of the characters are NEETs and there is a mystery in that 20000 NEETs went missing. The show could comment on how they are stuck in this situation due to the economic bubble popping, or the job market being really strict. But instead it decides to say….the show didn’t really have a strong desire to actually comment on the NEET epidemic so much as just utilize it because it was a culturally important issue. It is later found out that Akira actually thought this might be a great way to save japan, by enlisting NEETs into the military. So maybe it was saying that if you cant find a job then you should just join the military. Which frankly not only is this a rather shallow answer to the cultural predicament, it isn’t a particularly enlightening one either. So ultimately the NEET epidemic was not touched on very well either. So the show fails to take advantage of a strong political commentary, despite the fact that’s part of what the show wants to be.

One of the other things that really bothers me is you never really get a strong emotion from any of these characters. All of them feel incredibly flat and bored within the world they inhabit. The way the faces are designed themselves feel very limiting. It seems like they can’t actually pull those vibrant displays of emotion you might see in a Kyoani show on these models without accidentally getting a rejected Poppie the Performer episode. Sometimes a character smiles a bit or cries but the emotions never feel like they are actually being felt by the characters so much as it seems that they are doing it because that is what they are supposed to do. I could easily explain this as probably a limitation of the art design, especially with the face, in instead an attempt to capture realism. However past all of this, the characters hardly ever seem like they feel very strongly about anything to begin with.

The perfect way to explain this is by observing the revelation of the serial murderer called the “Johnny Hunter” who cuts off the dicks of the virgin men she takes to bed with her that can’t get it up in front of her. The woman could have been revealed as this insidious crazed killer with a very twisted morality. However the show doesn’t do a fantastic job of encapsulating this psychopath, she seems pretty damn numb about everything she is doing. In her opening scene we see her climb out of bed and look over at a corpse bound to a chair and bleeding from the groin area all over her floor. Her response to seeing it is call on her phone and explain that she has done it again and ask if the receiver can clean up the remains as elegantly as possible. Later we see a scene of her in the process of murder raping another dude and it feels so absolutely void of the natural emotion you would expect from that type of scene. She seems just sort of bored and tired and he seems only slightly distressed instead of the muffled screams of terror that should be happening. This moment is then re-continued at the end of the arc and to the actors credit he does do a significantly better job of getting across the urgency of the situation this with slightly louder muffled screams, but still not anything that feels raw.

Akira then barges in at the last second and leaves himself exposed for what would be in a real situation a quick stab because he had to talk on his phone. For some reason though this scene never ramps up into dramatic heart pumping violence it presumably should for an action show. He instead decides to sit down on the bed with her and asks if a man did something awful to her. You heard me right instead of trying to avenge the people she ruthlessly murdered Akira decides to play Dr. Fucking Phil. They then get really intimate and almost have sex before he passes out bleeding for some unexplained reason. Saki then barges in and the villianness decides to have a few parting words before pulling a batman and unmasking the buffoon as a serial rapist and flying away with him. In the end I’m left bored, the characters aren’t robotic but due to their passive expressions and general apathy I cant really connect to the characters on a personal level so they might as well be.

Another reason why I can’t connect to them is because I can’t actually even get into the heads of any of the cast. The narrative storytelling of the show is fairly irritating because while the show decides to tell the story through the 3rd person omniscient perspective, it wont actually reach into the thoughts of the characters. As a result everyone says everything they think in a stale and hard to care about way, nowhere is this more obvious than in the arc with Yuusei early on in the show. What he is trying to be is the smooth sly detective that attempts to snoop on Akira and do other scheming. Except for the the fact he makes a very unconvincing detective, he says every action aloud, sometimes in broad daylight. Sometimes this ends up being very confidential information that he is saying aloud. He also talks when trying to be stealthy so that doesn’t help make him seem very convincing in that sense either. But why couldn’t they just have him think these thoughts to himself? Everything is contemplated aloud which makes it seem like nobody is concerned with trying to hide information. The audience can’t have lucrative information we know that none of the other characters had the possibility of knowing. So the show fails to be incredibly thrilling as well.

What about in the opposite direction as a mystery story where the information is being fed to you bit by bit further trying to get you to figure out the “why” to all the possible questions it poses, does it work then? Well I do feel like if you asked me “what genre would Eden of the East fall under” the closest possible answer I could give you with the knowledge I have is that it is a mystery story. However, it’s also a very contrived and lame mystery story to boot, because most of the actual answers to the mysteries are either absolute nonsense or not very interesting to begin with. The concept of the show is that 12 people are given a cellphone with 10 billion yen on it and are tasked with the vague notion of trying to save japan using the money any way they can. This money can do just about anything, in the second episode the detective douche I talked about earlier used it to shoot down 3 people with a fingergun with the real gun being in a cop car a little while away. So what ends up happening as a result is a lot of the mystery elements feel pretty asspully. Like for example Akira uses the money he has to charter 20000 NEETS to Dubai by boat for them to come back at the very end of the show (the reason they come back is to my knowledge never properly explained). Because of this there is never any information you can foresee coming, there is no reward in trying to solve the mystery because it was unsolvable from the get go.

Where it gets really lame is that some of the answers that are given don’t feel like they add up to anything, Let’s say for example that you were curious about Akira’s movie buff knowledge. Maybe you were always eager to know where exactly the of that origin for whatever reason. Well in the movie this is told forthright as “my mom always let me watch a bunch of movies but the only one she would watch with me is dumbo” but we never meet his mom, we don’t have any context for that emotion reveal in relation to the actual show. So yeah that’s not particularly fascinating. Perhaps you are wondering why “Careless Monday” happened without casualties, well because they noticed that there was some shells there and evacuated the people before the missiles could hit. So ultimately none of the answers feel satisfying because they don’t add anything to the story. As a result there is little inclination to re-watch the show with the information you have, nothing changes about the show whether or not you know the full picture.

It surprised me to see that this show is as well beloved as it was, which I can only assume was part of the dreaded hype cycle. If I had to guess what exactly beget this hype cycle, one of the larger selling points would most likely be the director and script writer on this project being Kenji Kamiyama’s first original work, the person responsible for the directing and writing of Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex. In interviews about Stand Alone Complex he seems adamant in maintaining that the success of it was in part an attempt to emulate Oishii’s style and he seems to be able to detail what he felt he failed to imitate or what he got correct. However this is his original creation, and his first one at that, so he had much less that he could draw to and rely on. He had to create the characters, story, themes, and so on from scratch instead of having a world that is already somewhat realized by a separate artist.

I’ve theorized that the reason why the elements plays so poorly might be because of incompetency on the part of Kenji. Just look at how the show is book-ended, the first few lines, narrated by Saki, are that Akira became a prince out of necessity and to be a sacrificial lamb for Japan, but she also notes that she doesn’t know how exactly he got that way, it’s a mystery to her. Except this isn’t true, at all, she followed the fucking guy through his whole journey and knows exactly what it is that culminated in him becoming a prince. At the end she even said that he became a prince in a country with no king. So because of that I feel like they either started out the script one way and it went wildly off track. Or, the more plausible explanation, which is that because nobody was there to control Kenji or for him to bounce his writing ideas off of, he probably would have thought all these different ideas were a-ok in the writing room.

One of the things I picked up on in one of the interviews was that the producer wanted him to do “Ghost in the Shell without the military angle” because apparently he wanted the show to appeal more to the female demographic. I can only imagine that that must have put him on short a creative leash, especially since military is a core theme to ghost and the shell since the series is so heavily focused on technology and military is an essential piece to understanding technology. One of the other things he mentions is that he wanted to make more anime that felt more in line with the Hollywood style instead of a moe show. What I discerned from this kernel of knowledge is that this was why his show looked so realistic, but because it looks realistic that’s why the absurdity of the story didn’t have room to shine since the characters couldn’t have those large expressions or appear more colorful in its instead realistic and bland color tones.

I would probably also guess that a lot of the reasons why people legitimately like this show has to do with how solid the soundtrack was. I firmly think that a lot of people are fooled into thinking a lackluster show is good simply by how great the backing tracks are. I mean no offense by this, after all, music is a great way to manipulate how you emotionally respond to a show, or just life in general. It’s no large shock this soundtrack is so good because the music is done by Kenji Kawai who has an illustrious musical resume when it comes to anime, working on stuff from Ranma 1/2, to Barakamon, to the Ghost in the Shell movies, to….dude just a metric asston of stuff. He almost has a credit to fit into every letter of the english alphabet, the most recent as of this blog post being Mob Psycho 100. The guy has a large backlog of experience so you can expect he knows what he’s doing.

And it certainly shows, the music itself here feels like something you might expect in a relaxing videogame, I’m loosely associating the song “No Name in D.C.” to a mid level battle in a final fantasy game. The self titled track “Eden of the East” feels like it might reflect one of Sinatra’s cheerier backing melodies. And of course Brenda Vaughn belts a pretty soulful lyrical track on “Reveal the World” that melds pretty expertly with the finale of the show. While a number of the more brooding songs are pretty forgettable, most of it at least accompanies the scenes it is used in quite well and isn’t particularly heinous. If there is anything I see myself wanting to return to it would definitely be listening to some of the ost again. Despite all this however, the songs don’t wow me away from what I see into thinking this spiritless product is actually any good, in fact the honest passion of some of these songs just make the show itself seem even more underwhelming as is shown in the above average production of the OP and ED.

My last potential guess would be that people just weren’t inherently as bored as I was watching this. This one baffles me to some degree, but because the show tried to do so many multi-genre elements, and none of them particularly well, people might have ended up enjoying it because of it opened them up to the different genres and therefore feel more attachment to the show. Some folks might also like one genre so fundamentally that the fact it was in the show might have made them more likely to enjoy it on the principle of it having that genre. I believe this might be part of the answer to, the way appealing to demographics work is that in theory you want to appeal to as many different people as possible, this might be why the producer wanted it to appeal to girls. However the issue here is that as I’ve mentioned, none of the particular genres were pulled off well so no hardcore fan of these genres that cared about the integrity and importance of that genre would let that slide. The other problem is that the show itself is rated R and shows a lot of male nudity. If you are trying to appeal to as many people as humanly possible you wouldn’t let the age range be so restricted, so even in the case that it was trying to appeal to as many people as possible it absolutely failed.

So all in all this appears like a directionless mess of an anime that couldn’t really choose would it wanted to be so it picked this awkward middle ground where it wasn’t good at anything. It’s a poor comedy because of the lack of facial tonality. a half-assed political commentary since it cant delve into its own themes, a weak drama because the jokes get in way and make the plot look like nonsense. It’s a poor thriller because we don’t really get into the heads of the characters and see how the chain of actions might line up. And it’s a barely passable mystery with weak characterization, a nonsense script, unimportant information, and sleep inducing dialogue. Since it is so genre amorphous it reads across as a boring piece of garbage with no strong direction. Somehow that ability to be completely non-intriguing is ironically enough the only intriguing thing about it.

P.S. If I messed up some random lore info within the content of the story then I’m more than happy to hear about it. Watching through this was a slog so I am willing to admit that I might have missed some key information due to the fact a lot of the information was displayed in as boring a fashion as it was. Although I doubt the small lore errors are going to change my thoughts on the show it is still nice to hear the feedback. And other feedback, even “write better next time moron” is clearly appreciated as well ^.^