Monday, June 21, 2010

Stories of Demons and Their Ghosts

Twitter Sonnet #154

Living fur shoes disconnect internet.
Horizontal modems seek router love.
Robin Hood brings bourbon for percocet.
The duck mind is alien to the dove.
Old bread remembers threshing of ghost grain.
Harvest grinding liquefies plastic bits.
Barley foresees a scotch glass circle stain.
Level eighty farmers are lousy gits.
Mud hen warlord is alone on the lake.
Drinks are constantly brought to his table.
Water's downed purely for his bladder's sake.
Fowl organ warp fields are always stable.
White cat predators only play at night.
Horses do wonders for a short man's height.

I read yesterday about BP burning endangered turtles alive. The scale of absolutely disgusting behaviour on the part of BP seems too absurdly large to be real. But even as I say that, it makes sense. If any of this disturbed the consciences of these people, they'd never have been as mad to drill for oil as they had been. When one talks about people living without hope, usually it brings to mind depressed people. But the small community of rich white assholes who contentedly destroy to save their own fortunes show what the absence of hope for the future can look like when it's the bedrock of a people's existence. They may even believe on a superficial level the bullshit they spew about God and working towards a better to-morrow, but I think these people are already instinctively walling off with vast funds gotten by any means a small island of safety in a world moving inevitably towards destruction. But they can't wield their intellect to see that the old ways of self preservation are inadequate because they're moving on pure, scared asshole fuel. They don't feel guilt. Anything they might feel guilty about can rationally be put off on someone or something else. I keep thinking of Michael Palin's line in Brazil; "It's not my fault Buttle's heart condition didn't show up on Tuttle's file."

With breakfast to-day, I watched the fourteenth episode of Bakemonogatari. It's the second of three online only episodes, and for some reason I hadn't gotten around to watching it, even though it'd been out for a while and in that time I've actually re-watched part of the series. But my affection for the show continues to grow. I see I'm far from alone, and its great popularity makes a lousy English dubbed version seem inevitable.

I think it's popularity can be compared to that of Evangelion. I read a quote from Evangelion's director, Hideaki Anno, about Evangelion's popularity that I think could be applied to Bakemonogatari; "It's strange that Evangelion has become such a hit--all the characters are so sick!"

Similarly, rather than trying to run from the more disturbing and troubled aspects of otaku culture, Bakemonogatari seeks to confront and even embrace them intelligently while reasserting as the audience's voice a fundamental belief in not doing harm to others. I think that's a big part of it's staying power, that and Akiyuki Shinbo's unreservedly creative direction as well the character designs by Taiwanese illustrator Vofan. Something about his designs remind me of first encountering anime, that long ago epiphany that cartoon girls with large eyes and small mouths could be really, really sexy. Maybe it's just a slight difference in Vofan's unconscious design algorithm.

The latest episode of Bakemonogatari certainly has the best cat girl I've ever seen. Anime is full of all kinds of cat girls, but for some reason this is the only one that really gets me. I can't explain exactly why.

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