Name: Shiina, Mafuyu (椎名 真冬) Alias: N/A Relationship Status: Single Origin: Seitokai no Ichizon
Information: Shiina Mafuyu is a shy and demure girl who often has her face buried in a video game. So addicted to video games is Mafuyu that she will bring multiple home consoles and portable systems with her on long trips. Though open to diverse genres, Mafuyu mainly plays visual novels, for which she creates internet guides.
Along with her older sister Minatsu, Mafuyu is a member of the Hekiyou Academy student council, voted in by her fellow students. There, Mafuyu participates in the idle discussions which characterize the student council, and has a tendency to pair the only male council member, Sugisaki Ken, with another male student named Nakameguro. She is also somewhat antagonistic towards Ken’s younger sister as the two have “overlapping characters.”
Mafuyu describes herself as “half-games, half-Boys Love.” She believes being able to fantasize about a pen and a pencil together is a fundamental skill.
When it comes to anime and manga academia, I commonly see two mistakes.
First is when an unusual work that is elevated by critics and scholars as being artistically significant is considered indicative of other works in anime and manga. Oshii Mamoru’s Ghost in the Shell movies are the most frequently misused in this respect, and while I do like Oshii’s work (including his recent film The Sky Crawlers), he’s pretty much considered an anomaly. And even though he’s much more celebrated and popular, I think Miyazaki is the same way; his works are almost a universe unto themselves when it comes to the Japanese animation industry. If you’re going to analyze the nature and life of the Japanese animation industry, do you look at the rare exception or do you look at the more common works, the middle-of-the-road stuff? I’m not saying you should enjoy crap, of course. However, I think that while the former can give you a good idea of what anime can do, the latter gives you a far clearer image of where anime is.
The second is sort of a mirror image of the first problem. Here, run-of-the-mill works with little to say creatively are considered shining examples of artistic brilliance. Shows that served little purpose outside of making some money and are quickly forgotten due to mediocrity are carted about and displayed as if they were seminal works in the history of anime. For example, Seitokai no Ichizon might be presented as a brilliant portrayal of the difficulties in gender relations in education among students in Japan, when it’s more just a show designed to appeal to otaku and has some entertainment value.
But wait, you might be thinking, “How dare you tell us what’s significant and what’s not! You’re not the boss of us!” But I’m not saying that at all. Ghost in the Shell can say a lot of things about the anime industry. The only thing is that because GitS is an exception, you should probably study it as an exception. And I do think Seitokai no Ichizon‘s story is worth analysis to some extent, but you have to be aware of its origins as a light novel, as well as the otaku subculture it’s trying to appeal to, before you really try to present its ideas as indicative of anything at all.
While I do believe in personal interpretations quite a bit, postmodernism can be a terribly dangerous weapon.