Away with Ads: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for November 2021

Readers may have noticed something different this month: Ogiue Maniax is now ad-free! And right in time for this blog’s anniversary!

I felt that the ads were getting more and more intrusive on the blog if you don’t use any sort of ad block, so I’ve been wanting to do something for a while now.

I’ve also had my Patreon going for more than a few years now, and I wanted the money to go more directly to giving my readers a better experience when reading my posts. I’m thankful to my patrons for allowing me to talk about the new anime season or giant robots or whatever, with special gratitude to the following this month:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from October:

The Anime THEY Don’t Want You to Know About: Makyou Densetsu Acrobunch

I reviewed a lesser known but quite peculiar mecha anime from the 1980s.

The Best Sports Manga You’re Not Reading: Shoujo Fight

My long overdue general review of thia fantastic volleyball manga.

Sora in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Gameplay Thoughts

My personal take on the style and potential of the final DLC character.

Hashikko Ensemble

Chapter 45 might just be my favorite chapter to date. Things are coming to a head between Akira and Jin!

Kio Shimoku’s Twitter has been buzzing with preparation for both his collected-volume releases in September. In a rare treat, he’s actually been retweeting fans who are supporting both Spotted Flower and Hashikko Ensemble, which is how I got retweeted by the man himself!

Apartment 507

A look at the farewell episode for Jigen Daisuke’s retiring veteran voice actor in Lupin III.

Closing

The two things that have my attention as of late are the final Hakai-oh: Gaogaigar vs. Betterman novel and Super Robot Wars 30, which features that very same story. I’m in a constant internal struggle as to which I prioritize. Do I spoil the novel or the game?

This month is also Anime NYC, and I’ll likely end up going. It’s smaller than New York Comic Con, so I predict it’ll be safer, but it’ll still be important to exercise best COVID-19 prevention practices. Remember, vaccinations will be required!

Old Spice’s Isaiah Mustafa vs. Terry Crews is the Batman vs. Superman of This Generation

Commercials about deodorant are not a common topic on Ogiue Maniax, a blog dedicated to anime and manga discussion. However, one thing that anime, Old Spice in 2015, and superhero comics have in common is a love of crossovers in varying capacities. With Old Spice, this comes in the form of ads where its two biggest spokesmen, Isaiah “Hello Ladies” Mustafah and Terry “POWERRRRRRRRRRRR” Crews pit their respective deodorants against each other. It’s been a long time coming (and basically instant money for Old Spice), but what stands out to me about these commercials is just how much they actually pay attention to keeping their respective superhuman abilities consistent as they’re utilized to both entice the viewer and outdo each other.

738px-Lupin_vs_Conan_Movie

When placing characters into a crossover, especially one that involves a direct conflict, what’s important is maintaining the strengths and identities of the characters being brought together. Superman is immensely strong, unbelievably fast, and has a variety of astounding abilities, while Batman is extremely intelligent, excels at planning, and puts in more effort than anyone else. Detective Conan is a master of deduction and observation, while Lupin III is renowned for his deception and improvisation. When these characters meet, there is ideally a clever interaction that enhances their mutual reputations, and that’s what happens when Isaiah takes on Terry.

Both Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews exhibit reality-bending powers in Old Spice commercials, but they’re uniquely different when compared to each other. Isaiah’s “ability” is that he can quickly and seamlessly transition one environment or object to another without a moment’s notice, owing to his status as the ultimate ladies’ man. Terry essentially invades space through the sheer power of his intensely hyper-masculine personality for men, cloning himself, appearing where he shouldn’t, and even blowing himself up. What you see in these series of commercials is how the two try to one-up and counter each other with their specific skill sets, a battle of equals who realize that the other is just as potent and manly as the other, only in different ways.

Basically, while it’s always been clear that a lot of thought is put into Old Spice’s recent commercials, what we see here is an actual consideration for Isaiah and Terry as unique, superheroic characters. Isaiah can’t do what Terry can and vice-versa, and never is there a conflation of what the two are capable of. It’s the superhero duel the world has been waiting for, and in a way I hope it comes to define and influence all future crossovers in mainstream media and advertisement.

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My Article on the Anime of 1977 at “The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime”

The “Golden Ani-Versary of Anime” is a collaborative effort among bloggers, fans, and experts of anime to celebrate the 30th anniversary of anime on television. Coordinated by one Geoff Tebbetts, the plan is to have one article per year from 1963 and the debut of Tetsuwan Atom all the way up to 2012. I’ve included below an excerpt from my entry on the year 1977.

angie-predance

The year 1977 is something of a contradictory time in anime. Although the industry at this point was at the beginning of an animation boom and had been firmly established for over a decade, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact level of experimentation vs. continuation of formulaic trends, simply because in many cases the individual works of 1977 featured both.

The ’70s were the golden age of giant robot anime, and with six super robot-themed anime debuting (as well as five holdovers from the previous year) 1977 was no exception to that trend. Somewhat unfortunately for the robot anime of that year, the legendary arrival of Mobile Suit Gundam in 1979 tends to overshadow them as a whole, but while nothing in 1977 broke the mold as Gundam would, there were a few series which pushed that mold to its very limits. These shows managed to convey new and interesting ideas while working well within established convention, an impressive feat in its own right.

Continue reading “1977: Conventions and Innovations”

1977-petiteangie3a

Exploring Thoughts in “Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko”

This post contains spoilers from Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko

Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Mine Fujiko came and went, and I think it brought with it an intriguing sort of depth and character study that differentiates it from most anime out there.

The way in which the series explores the psychology of the character Fujiko really felt like women were in charge of this show, which they were. It had not only a female writer in Okada Mari, but also a female director in Yamamoto Sayo. I think I get this impression because while Fujiko is an unpredictable character of many mysteries, the way it’s portrayed doesn’t invoke “mysterious woman” as some kind of unsolvable rubik’s cube or distant creature like I think often happens when men write about exploring a female character’s psyche. There is less peeling back the layers and more starting from the assumption that the way thinking happens on the part of Fujiko is normal.

There’s an interesting twist which happens at the end of the series where up until that final episode we think we’re learning about Fujiko’s past and that finally we get to know what makes her tick, but it turns out that all of those memories have been falsely implanted in her. That false past shown is one of rape and sexual abuse, and it created this sense that Fujiko’s life of crime and hypersexual activity is in response to that. As I was watching, I wondered how this would transform the identity of the character of Fujiko, and even whether this extreme past would make it incompatible with the rest of the Lupin the Third franchise before it’s revealed to be false information.

If the circumstances were different, the fact that we were basically fed lies perhaps might have felt like a cop-out, but I don’t see it that way at all. By subverting it at the very end I feel like that whole train of thought, the very act of considering the consequences, became a meaningful thought exercise.

Created Equals

Warning: Spoilers for Aquarion EVOL in this post

Amidst fears that a television series starring the matron saint of anime femme fatales would be mired in an inescapable well of sexism, Lupin III: The Woman Named Mine Fujiko manages to assuage those worries through extremely sharp characterization. Say what you will about nudity or Fujiko as an object of sexual desire, but the show makes it clear that they all have the skills and the smarts to succeed in their mutual world of thievery. Even if trust is at a premium (as is often said), there is no shortage of respect between Fujiko, Lupin, and the rest, and with mutual respect comes a sense of equality.

I’m not about to decry anime and manga as being polluted with unequal male-female relationships, as I can think of many examples to counter that idea, enough so that they don’t collectively turn into “the exception that proves the rule,” but this very idea of representing gender-egalitarianism has me thinking about what goes into portraying such relationships. For example, if a boyfriend and girlfriend each alternate being “dominant,” then is that “equal” or is it merely just multiple instances of inequality? Does breaking things down for comparison defeat the idea of equality between a guy and a girl by putting too much emphasis on haves and have-nots, or is ignoring it a bigger mistake?

As far as recent anime goes, the other show besides Lupin: Fujiko which has me really considering the concept of equality among opposite sexes is Aquarion EVOL, particularly that of Yunoha and Jin, the (literally?) star-crossed lovers who seem to have taken Pixiv by storm. Yunoha is an extremely quiet girl whose very shyness translates into her power (invisibility), and when she meets Jin (an enemy spy whose power is to keep others away), the two form a bond which gradually grows stronger.

Between Yunoha’s diminutive size in multiple respects (in a series full of toned and busty girls, her proportions are significantly more subdued) and her personality, Yunoha can seem to carry a potential problem that is similar, yet in a certain sense opposite to that of Fujiko in the sense that she can come across as the girliest girl, harmless and pleasant and easy to dote upon. Yet, despite the awkwardness of some of her interactions with Jin which can come across as her being dominated (notably the part where he tries to kidnap her out of love so that she can be the mother of his children and save his woman-less population from dying out), I don’t get that sense from their relationship.

While Yunoha can seem weak, and even her willpower and inner strength aren’t particularly impressive, Jin in many ways seems even weaker despite the basic idea that he’s an extremely skilled pilot and a deadly fighter. There’s something to his personality, perhaps a combination of naivete and extremely subtle yet numerous emotional scars, which make even his “domination” seem weak. In that sense, I find their relationship to be a very equal one, but in the sense that the two seem to grow to understand each other, a resonance between similar, yet complementary individuals.

One of the big ideas I keep running into when it comes to portraying a character well with respect to their gender is “the right to be a weak character.” By that, I mean how weakness (mental, physical, emotional, etc.) is generally thought of as a trait which makes one character “lower” than another, and which implies that their appeal is in their “lower” status, but at the same time that weakness can resonate on a more “equal” level with those who perhaps find themselves similarly weak. I think this is probably part of what makes arguments over moe so volatile, but let’s leave that for another time.

(Please don’t argue over moe.)