Gender Dynamics of Rurouni Kenshin

*** THIS IS JOEL PAGAN’S BLOG POST***

Anime has been a large part of my life ever since my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are of staying up late at night to catch whatever cool shows were on Toonami. The one that drew me in the most was Rurouni Kenshin, the tale of the Wandering Samurai, who had forsaken his life as an assassin and know seeks only to protect. This is emphasized by his iconic backwards blade, a katana with the sharp end on the opposite side of the blade. The setting of the series is in a post-Feudal Japanese society, so what we see is many of the traditional values held during that period are being challenged. This can be seen through Rurouni relatively meek and calm nature, as opposed to many of the other samurai he encounters, whos till carry those ideals of masculinity from the Feudal-era. It can also be seen in his love interest,  One of the characters I was able to identify strongly with was that of Honjo Kamatari, a relatively minor character in the series, but an important one in terms of gender dynamics. Continue reading

Why is gendering so important? Wandering Son

Wandering Son is a story which focuses around Nitori and Tatatsuki. Two 5th graders who share common ground given the fact that they both are questioning their gender identities. Nitori born a boy, wanting to be a girl and Tatatsuki born a girl, wanting to be a boy. The shifting of gender identities in the series is what makes this story different from other tales of adolescence. The two characters appear to form a strong bond, and this creates excitement in the story as well as faces the audience with the question to whether they are romantically interested in each other or if their friendship is created because they are going through similar experiences. The story goes on to follow their relationship even through puberty where they see the other develop the way they wish their bodies would. Supporting each other through the fear of what changes puberty will bring them is what brings them even closer together. Nitori scared of his voice breaking and Tatatsuki scared of her breasts growing. However, through this struggle, the two characters find small ways to find comfort in their transformations, like Nitori recording his soft tone voice before it changes and Tatatsuki saving up for a chest binder. Therefore, Wandering Son is seen to be a story that explores the internal conflicts of pre-teens battling with their gender identities and finding ways to cope with it. Continue reading

Fan or Foe?

In Rayna Denison’s Anime fandom and the liminal spaces between fan Creativity and Piracy, we dive into the world of Fansubbing, which is a process in which  fans take raw footage of anime episodes and translate them into other languages. The question arises within the piece as to what the true intentions are of some of these groups, and if their work is genuine. Within the music industry, some of the points that Denison makes about fansubbing groups correlate to the music fans behind streaming services. Continue reading

Anime and Pornography: A Tragic Reality

As modern technology improved throughout the generations new access to pornography arose, this caused an increase in consumption throughout the globe. Japan’s porn consumption is ranked third highest in the world- it is still growing at a fast rate, coming close to beating out South Korea for their second place spot. Anime Porn, otherwise known as Hentai, is a popular form of pornography which originated in Japan. This pornography is common in Japan and all across the globe, the animation allows for creative and unique perceptions of sex, but with this comes a rocky road. The morality of Hentai is questioned my many and the art form is under scrutiny for the direction the pornography is headed. Continue reading

you name analysis

Before this class, my knowledge of anime was restricted to the childhood shows I used to watch like Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and Beyblade. I wasn’t aware of the consistent and ongoing genre of anime as much.
Thus, I had never heard of Your Name before. I wasn’t aware that it was the huge hit that it was. So, before watching the movie I saw the summary online and I wasn’t very impressed it seemed to be like any other gender reversal story like ‘it’s a boy girl thing’ where two classmates change identities one morning after a series of incidents the night before.

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Your Name

The movie Your Name features a body-swapping fantasy of the two Japanese adolescents, Taki and Mitsuha. Taki is from a highly developed city, Tokyo, and Mitsuha is from a traditional household in Itomori. Tired of her life centered around family tradition, Mitsuha wishes to be a “handsome Tokyo guy” which turns into a reality. The film then illustrates daily routines of Taki and Mitsuha as they switch with each other randomly.  I find the themes of division and violation to be interesting in this film. Continue reading

[Spoilers] The horrors and impressions of the animated sexual violence in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc (2012-2013) leaves with viewers

Sexual Violence Trigger Warning

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc is a movie trilogy and an adaptation of the original Berserk TV show and manga by Kentaro Miura. The first two movies were directly from the already established TV show. This fantasy, horror anime follows the life of Guts and his adventures with his mercenary group: Band of the Hawks. With beautiful and creative style by switching between CGI and animation, compelling and in-depth characterization of the cast, and suspenseful and epic fight scenes, this anime has easily risen to be one of my favorite anime. However, the third movie, The Advent, takes a dark turn, and ends with a very graphic rape scene. This gruesome scene called into question my education of sexual assault, and the implications of animating rape scenes. Continue reading

[Spoilers] The implications of Tetsuo’s final transformation in Akira(1998)

Akira(1998) is a cyberpunk film set in the futuristic city of Neo-Tokyo, following the transformation of Tetsuo, a member of a biker gang who develops psychic powers. The film takes on an ambivalent approach to the ‘rational’ pursuits of power and knowledge, presenting a narrative of ascension towards a particular notion of the epitome of human perfectibility, namely omnipotence and immortality, through the marriage of the technological and the biological. Continue reading