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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

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Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Salaryman's Club is a show that snuck into this season and it's not super-amazing but it's a nice little sports show about a salaryman badminton team. I am curious how much of a thing this is: of course company own sports teams (professionally but also do little teams for their groups) but the teams in this series are at professional levels (and national levels), with media coverage and literally are just named after their companies with the catch of this particular show is that the main low level team needs to work and do sports. Catch aside, is this very much a thing and is it a thing in other countries?
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I‘m all caught to Ranking of Kings, just in time for the latest episode. Bojji is so pure that even the main villain blurts out for him to be careful.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
As someone with his finger perpetually on the throbbing pulse of modern anime, naturally I'm watching the hot new series everyone's talking about: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006).

I actually got a few episodes into this a while back but just wasn't feeling it. I'm not sure why; between CLAMP, giant robots and Death Note-like scheming, this is precisely the shit I should be into. And as it's represented in SRW30, I figured I ought to give it another chance. Anyway, I'm enjoying my second pass at it and plan to go the distance this time.

A few early observations:

- I like that Lelouch's powers didn't come with an instruction manual, and that he has to figure out the rules and limitations through careful experimentation. That sort of thing always entertains me.

- Am I basic if Lloyd is my favorite character so far?

- Lelouch's high school antics are relentlessly, aggressively boring. I get that he needs to have a civilian identity to protect and to balance with his other pursuits, but damn, man. Come on.

- I don't know how it's going to happen, but I feel like Lelouch's plans will at some point hit a brick wall when he realizes Nunnally is immune to the Geass because he can't make eye contact with her.

LELOUCH: Nunnally, I demand you tell me what you know! I order you! I command you!!
NUNNALY: ...
NUNNALY: ...
NUNNALY: Nunnaly ya business. X)
LELOUCH: !@#$%
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I watched Geass as a teenager before I'd really developed any concrete tastes and preferences of my own simply because it was popular, and that kind of surrender to the majority flow I think fucked me up enormously with the medium and what kind of works I was habitually exposed to in that period. Death Note is a good parallel to draw because they are both so painfully emblematic of the mid-2000s zeitgeist, in the most pejorative way I can conjure up; utterly vapid surface pretense that's transparently engineered for mass market appeal and which builds its foundation of universal attraction with a deliberate and total absence of thematic depth beyond crass exploitation and shock value, serving up nothing of ideological substance except the revealing treatment of women during the course of these stories. Late-night misogyny hour timeslot darlings, the lot of them. Gorō Taniguchi's oeuvre speaks for itself--he has a voice and it is repellent.
 
- Am I basic if Lloyd is my favorite character so far?
🤷‍♂️ They're a fun character.

Lelouch's high school antics are relentlessly, aggressively boring. I get that he needs to have a civilian identity to protect and to balance with his other pursuits, but damn, man. Come on.
I actually like the school antics, but get why they'd feel like a drag. As much as it feels like filler, the school business grounds the setting and the characters so they can get a taste of harmony and peace so that both the threat of chaos has real consequences, and informs Lelouch's desperation and internal anguish later on in the show.

Gorō Taniguchi's oeuvre speaks for itself--he has a voice and it is repellent.
He makes fun shows, but they definitely require some compartmentalization to enjoy. Whether or not you wanna do that, that's always gonna be a personal decision. It's a little bit easier to do so on a show like Planetes. Little harder with shows like this or Back Arrow.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Something felt off about the way Gyakuza was portrayed. Every damn character in RoK is much is much more than they seem, but the Gyakuza people were cartoonishly evil, even when it actively hurt them. I was wondering if there would be more to their betrayal of the Houma, but if the reason is simply the author subconsciously or consciously writing “ungrateful Koreans”, then that’s really screwed up.

How is Imperial Japan taught in the country? Is this a common idea?
 
That postulated theory is certainly possible, but that's also way too vague to make any kind of declarative statements about. Definitely something worth keeping an eye on to see if there are other parallels that pop up down the line. But as it is, I'm not quite sold. Especially when the alleged metaphor crumbles pretty quick upon any further examination. (Houma in this instance get completely wiped out; King Bosse's revenge is characterized as being just as cruel and evil -- he's not the good guy in this story; backwater villages in Japan historically look very similar to the Korean example that article gives; who are the Gods in this whole metaphor? Etc.)

What I think is more likely is that the story/author is just falling back on standard, near universal, fairytale tropes about civilizing savages. Which is not good at all obviously, but not necessarily informed by malice and prejudice, just ignorance/naivety.

How is Imperial Japan taught in the country? Is this a common idea?
It's really just isn't taught. At least in regards to their colonization and war atrocities. I talked to several Japanese exchange students back in college, esp during my East Asian history seminars. The general populous knows and is taught the basics, but it's not explored with any depth and is frequently white washed in primary and secondary school. Not necessarily directly lying about what happened, but more like the common lies of omission that most nations tend to carry out about their history's less savory moments, and focusing more on domestic history versus what the country was generally doing on the world stage at any point in history. (Like how nobody in America talks about the disastrous American colonial experiments in the Philippines that you could easily argue was genocide, as bad or worse than what Japan was doing in Korea pre-WW2.)

At least, that's how it was like a decade plus ago. Things change 🤷‍♂️
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
I hope there isn’t much too this. Ranking of Kings has been a delightful surprise, and I do not want it to go all Cerebus with terrible politics coming out of nowhere.
 
I’m gonna be real. Love Ranking of Kings dearly, but it’s had “terrible politics” from the beginning, just by merit of its entire premise. A modern fairytale about good kings is inherently bad on its own. Monarchies are bad! And this is essentially apologia for autocratic systems. If Bojji decides eventually let’s shift to a constitutional monarchy or to abolish the entire ranking system for kings, awesome. But I haven’t seen a hint of that being the case.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I’m gonna be real. Love Ranking of Kings dearly, but it’s had “terrible politics” from the beginning, just by merit of its entire premise. A modern fairytale about good kings is inherently bad on its own. Monarchies are bad! And this is essentially apologia for autocratic systems.

While I'm no fan of absolute rule in any form, this seems to me to be a pretty nonsensical position. By the same logic the movie Black Panther is problematic because it portrays a functional tribal monarchy (run by a drug addict, no less) that falters, but recovers due to the nobility of its rightful ruler. That misses a lot of what's going on in that film.

Most of history worldwide has involved autocratic rule and as a result many stories are about royalty, some with noble characters. That doesn't make them treatises on monarchy's value. Ranking of Kings has been exploring the positives and negatives of a monarchic system (there are clearly bad rulers, and even nominally good ones can be suspect), so it's doing fine on that front.
 
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By the same logic the movie Black Panther is problematic because it portrays a functional tribal monarchy
LOL - BP's entire political structure IS mad problematic. The difference is BP does more to acknowledge this than Ranking of Kings does by admitting the moral complexities involved, culminating with T'Challa telling his ancestors off and admitting that Killmonger's ideology was right, only his methods were wrong.

Most of history worldwide has involved autocratic rule and as a result many stories are about royalty, some with noble characters.
This is both true and paradoxically not true at all.

World history and the story of humanity is actually really complex and not at all how you're characterizing it. Generally yes, large central political organizations have historically been autocratic in nature. But the breadth of human history is more than just the story of the 1%. Our species has existed for a good 40k years; organized sedentary civilization is max only 25% of that. The overwhelming trend of human tribal arrangements were more democratic in nature than not. Responsibilities in tribal organizations are most often divided out by group consensus, and leadership positions are typically adhoc/temporary/limited and approved by the tribe as a whole while not remotely guaranteed to be hereditary. Even in the story of organized 'civilization' - you might have an autocrat or a King at the top of the totem pole, but at the local, municipal level, villages across the world usually were self-organized and had much more democratic organization where the role of village leaders or council was more responsive to the community and not remotely guaranteed to be a hereditary position.

And even at the higher levels of organized and sedentary societies, the overwhelming history of the world is still that the people are governed by the consent of the governed. One of the most consistent themes in human history is that of populations rising up to overthrow autocrats when the autocrats in power stop representing the best interests of their governed and let life become untenable (see the long history of peasant revolts and revolutions that litter the margins of history), or simply using passive resistance to undermine a regime that no longer represents them (See: Rome falling due in large part to its people refusing to take up arms to defend it/no longer being invested in the Imperial organization). Even in some of the most autocratic societies on Earth like historical China, their Empires would collapse and rise up based on popular support from the masses - where peasant revolts were often the downfall of one dynasty and the beginning of another.

Your comparison to Black Panther does BP a misjustice. BP's central thematic thrust is about the role of a leader and how responsive they need to be to their people. Killmonger didn't take over illegitimately, he cultivated support democratically by addressing the concerns of many Wakandans that were being ignored by the monarchy and used legitimate legal methods to gain his power. And Killmonger's brief reign doesn't end he's personally defeated but actually instead when his supporters are convinced to stop supporting him and to lay down their arms. BP also isn't as autocratic as you're making it out to be, when the position of King is one that is elected by the tribes, and that challenges to rule can come from anyone during the time to elect a new monarch. Ranking of Kings so far has had almost no discussion at all about the agency of the governed or the monarch's responsibility to their people or their complicated needs. The closest we've had is Miranjo's people looking to democratize the power of the gods and using it to resist their tyranny. But for Bojji & Co, the people are just spectators that jeer and cheer on a whim as an audience rather than a people with agency who have lives, needs, and perspectives of their own that inform their actions.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I'm not sure that with what you've written above you've convinced me that Ranking of Kings has "terrible politics" because it is about a king, or that it's an apologia for autocracy because its main character is a prince who's a nice guy.

I'm also puzzled by why you've laid out your vision of tribal cultures and popular uprisings throughout history. Though I can see where I may have been too loose in defining my scope of "history worldwide," all I was intending to say is "There are a lot of stories about royalty because there's a lot of royalty in human history." Are you disputing that?

What I am arguing is that your original statement (that Ranking of Kings has had terrible politics from the beginning by virtue of being about monarchy) is simplistic, reductionist, and looks past the content of the story being told. I think you actually did an admirable job of exposing the dangers of that approach. You argued that my intentionally glib interpretation of Black Panther using a one-dimensional reading was wrong. I agree; I was mischaracterizing the film as an example. My point was that reducing that film to a simple premise viewed through the lens of "monarchy is bad" would fail to consider the much more complicated story. I believe the same about Ranking of Kings.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Art that features monarchs is often not commenting on monarchy or any kind of political theory, but rather using it as a metaphor. Modern people experience situations that can be likened to those that we can imagine kings experiencing.
 
all I was intending to say is "There are a lot of stories about royalty because there's a lot of royalty in human history." Are you disputing that?
There are a lot of royalty in human history. Know what's there's even more of in human history? Your average joe. The ruling class of any given society, especially in pre-modern times, only ever really accounted for 1-5% of the total population. So why are the stories about 1-5% of people, overwhelmingly dominating the kinds of stories people used to (and hey, still pretty much) tell? Societies are made of multitudes, and it's rather nonsensical to make a story in this day and age almost exclusively about an extremely narrow slice of society at the expense of everyone else. There's a lot of reasons why it's important to both discuss this trend, and to encourage the reversal of it. A lot of society's ills - especially in these trying times - can be directly connected to a bizarre worship of powerful, special individuals who inherited all of their status and abilities.

My point was that reducing that film to a simple premise viewed through the lens of "monarchy is bad" would fail to consider the much more complicated story.
Alright. But my point was never to 'reduce' the show to that simple premise alone, just discussing that aspect of it. I've already given the show profuse praise and outlined how despite this or that problematic issue I'll still be watching it in other posts. I wouldn't do so if there weren't other things of value going on in the show making it worth my time. We can have discussions about specific aspects of broad topics, and we can also have focused criticism about things we otherwise enjoy. In my opinion, having these kinds of discussions about pieces of media with problematic components is a good and imo a responsible thing. Kinda like how having conversations about how depictions of the police in media and if they're being responsible or not is important anytime that's a large aspect of any given show. Having critical discussions is the opposite of being reductive, it's the beginning of having a more full, meaningful dialog about something.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
So why are the stories about 1-5% of people, overwhelmingly dominating the kinds of stories people used to (and hey, still pretty much) tell? Societies are made of multitudes, and it's rather nonsensical to make a story in this day and age almost exclusively about an extremely narrow slice of society at the expense of everyone else. There's a lot of reasons why it's important to both discuss this trend, and to encourage the reversal of it. A lot of society's ills - especially in these trying times - can be directly connected to a bizarre worship of powerful, special individuals who inherited all of their status and abilities.

I think you're not contesting my statement, then, but instead arguing that narrative (or perhaps anime) needs to actively counterprogram against stories about monarchs. That's fine, but I disagree with your position. While I'm happy to assess the output of an artist or storytelling team, I'm not a big fan of prescriptive criticism as a way to dismantle a specific work, and I think a broad statement like "we shouldn't write stories about princes nowadays because we need to write about common people" is the statement of a manifesto rather than an attempt to examine Ranking of Kings directly. I would instead encourage you to use your prescriptive criteria to seek out or create stories that highlight the narrative structures you want to see and boost them to others, as Ranking of Kings will never be that story.


WisteriaHysteria said:
Alright. But my point was never to 'reduce' the show to that simple premise alone, just discussing that aspect of it. I've already given the show profuse praise and outlined how despite this or that problematic issue I'll still be watching it in other posts. I wouldn't do so if there weren't other things of value going on in the show making it worth my time. We can have discussions about specific aspects of broad topics, and we can also have focused criticism about things we otherwise enjoy. In my opinion, having these kinds of discussions about pieces of media with problematic components is a good and imo a responsible thing. Kinda like how having conversations about how depictions of the police in media and if they're being responsible or not is important anytime that's a large aspect of any given show. Having critical discussions is the opposite of being reductive, it's the beginning of having a more full, meaningful dialog about something.

Your intent may not have been to reduce the show, but I'm afraid you did by the wording of your original post. You wrote: "A modern fairytale about good kings is inherently bad on its own. Monarchies are bad! And this is essentially apologia for autocratic systems." You closed off debate or exploration by doing so, in the process cutting off "the beginning of having a more full, meaningful dialog" you purport to seek.

I don't think you needed to do that to explore the problematic aspects of monarchy within Ranking of Kings. Simply by discussing content in the show I think obvious questions arise that challenge the idea of monarchy, such as: "What are the positives and negatives of ranking every king by official fiat committee? Is this a good thing for society?", "How does the construction of 'good monarch' relate to being a good person, and what problems do the restrictions of monarchy create in defining these?" and "Is monarchy an inherently corrupt system of government?" All of these come about because there is monarchy in this story. I didn't have to start with the premise "Monarchy is bad, therefore this show is problematic" to ask these questions. Doing so reduces the show to an argument about the value of monarchy, and starting from that point would have encouraged a limited exploration.
 
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So the Funimation library has begun migrating to Crunchyroll.

I believe if you are currently subbed to Funimation you won't lose anything, but any new episodes of shows that have moved will be only on Crunchyroll.

Many notable absences in that first batch. No Dragon Ball, no One Piece, no Slayers. I won't be signing up just yet, but I probably will eventually.
Merging the streaming services was a long time coming, but I was surprised to hear that Sony is phasing out the entire Funimation brand. I can only interpret this as Sony not just redoubling its efforts in the Streaming Wars, but pivoting away from home video releases. Which sucks!
As a consumer, I'm happy about this transition and it's been a long time in the making. That's one less subscription I need to pay for, and the added convenience from this is a big bonus. Yes, a lot of Funimation's back catalog isn't making the jump quite yet, but I get the feeling that's a licensing issue, and that it'll get cleared up in the future. But even if it didn't, it's not something that personally effects me much, as I usually watch old shows via other methods. I also wouldn't make any assumptions that this is some kind of pivot away from home video either, considering Sony's long entrenched history with media. Rather, I think it's more likely this is just for the purpose of corporate/brand consolidation. Why maintain a separate, independent publishing arm in Funimation when Sony already has other, larger publishing arms that could effortlessly pick up the slack and reduce overhead? Why label things "Funimation" when "Sony" or "Crunchyroll" are more recognizable brands?

@Buylgakov, with the wombo combo of you both repeatedly asking leading questions, and then putting words into my mouth that I never said, I really don't feel that this conversation is either productive, nor being conducted in good faith. Like this:
I think a broad statement like "we shouldn't write stories about princes nowadays because we need to write about common people" is the statement of a manifesto rather than an attempt to examine Ranking of Kings directly.
You put a concept in quotes as if I said this, when in reality I didn't say this or anything like this. In fact, I went out of my way to explain repeatedly that these concerns weren't deal breaking to me but you keep representing them as such. So this is where this conversation ends as far as I'm concerned, because any further engagement would be a waste of my time since this isn't being conducted in good faith.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Merging the streaming services was a long time coming, but I was surprised to hear that Sony is phasing out the entire Funimation brand. I can only interpret this as Sony not just redoubling its efforts in the Streaming Wars, but pivoting away from home video releases. Which sucks!

I'm all for less Balkanization of streaming services, but it will never stop blowing my mind that some fly by night pirate site managed to stumble its way into being the dominant anime delivery vehicle in the west. This reality is very weird.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Megalobox season two is great and I love that it goes in a very different direction and feel. That end theme always gives me feels.
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I am very much looking forward to season two of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War myself!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
My only real complaint with the move from Funi to Crubchyroll is that a lot of the stuff I was either watching or had on my backlog queue were only moved over as subs, and it’s really hard to use it as background noise that way.

Im assuming the dubs will make the move over as well, before too long but for day one, it’s not great for me personally.

At least Lupin the Third made the move intact
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
I am very much looking forward to season two of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War myself!
And now I'm slightly disappointed that it's dubbed-only. Still a good show, but I preferred the Japanese voice cast!
 
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My only real complaint with the move from Funi to Crubchyroll is that a lot of the stuff I was either watching or had on my backlog queue were only moved over as subs, and it’s really hard to use it as background noise that way.

Im assuming the dubs will make the move over as well, before too long but for day one, it’s not great for me personally.

At least Lupin the Third made the move intact
Something to consider when using Crunchyroll is how it handles dubs. It isn't typically an option you can choose to enable in the player like when you're watching a dvd or using netflix. You it's treated like an entirely different season of the show and labeled as the dub often.
 
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