Porn, linux distros and cat pictures

I may have made a small mistake.

something is wrong here

A while back, I regged up an account for myself on Academia.edu. It is a good place to find academic papers, excerpts and pdf reprints of some of the theoretical writings surrounding Japanese popular culture. You need to be registered to download these as pdfs.

Perhaps I spent too much of my life in University. I have two master’s degrees, a whatever BA, plus an honors undergraduate degree in Fine Arts; the infamous BFA. As there used to be no PhD in the Fine Arts, this counted for something. Also, I have very little artistic talent in the conventional sense, so I often feel that the BFA is my “best” degree. And yes, the few solo shows that I have had have been well received. I cheat; I think things out then work hard at it.

As an academic, I am probably a wash-out. I am sloppy, hate academic rigor and find too much of what goes on within the walls of academe boring and pointless. Big fan of University clubs though; they were fun.

So occasionally I will review and/or incorporate a sloppy review of an academic paper that I find important when I “go on about something“. When I feel really bored, I might indulge in sophomoric exercises, such as seeing how the second part of the Genshiken rates on the Bechdel Test. One evening, I decided to post a list of all the search terms that wordpress.com captured, from search engines queries used to find my blog. The I uploaded a pdf of the post to Academia.edu

Porn, linux distros and cat pictures; not even.

This blog gets a modest 30-50 visits a day. I am guessing that perhaps %5 – %20 of theses visitors are here to read odd little essays that go on and on about manga, anime and the like. The rest must be disappointed, or at least puzzled:

Where iz de hawt steamy pr0ns?

I should just delete that post and the pdf version of it on Academia.edu. All the traffic just goes to show that the long-in-the-tooth, circa 1996 page view boosting trick of hiding search words in a transparent frame behind your page’s main text still can work, especially if you are running a p0rn site. But I won’t delete them. Not yet. I want to see what happens next. Welcome to my latest conceptual art piece, and yes, since I have the ticket, it is as “real” as any other work of conceptual art.

Note my finely honed hipster irony.

As well, the fandom that Kio Shimoku tells stories about is marked by the curious fact that their weird little stories are chock full o’ schmex. The adult content is part and parcel of how the stories pose questions of identity and behaviour. They map the shape of their readers’ hearts.

No schmex, no force that through the green fuse drives the flower.

In a similarly curious way, both dumps of “raw data” listing the search terms, plus the way these terms attract further searches, prove the point, while begging further questions. Neverending earthly desires. The page-view stats are flattering. Maybe some of them really are here for the posts? Nice to be fancied. Top %1. Team Muda blasts off at the speed of light!

I would like to thank the Academy.

 

PS: For those of you who feel that I have wasted your time with this post, here is something -neat!- found in a pile noted by Dr. Ogiue Maniax.

 

 

A bit later: Since I am dropping videos into my posts for no reason, here’s a magnificent ear-worm that just drifted into view:

Enjoy!

Kio Shimoku, Madarame & Hato vs Akio Nakamori

Meanwhile, one more backgrounder thought about Madarame and Hato, in the wake of the suspense over Chapter 120 and beyond.

What if one of the meta-reasons for Madarame’s gradual, growing attraction to Hato Kenjiro, even for Hato’s existence was Kio Shimoku’s response to a decades-old torrent of ridicule directed at manga fans by the man who coined the term “2D complex” and first used “otaku” as a pejorative against them?

Akio Nakamori’s second article in the July 1983 issue of Manga Burriko (see Galbraith below) asked: “Do Otaku love like normal people?”

“No, otaku do not love like normal people because they are attracted to fictional girl characters”

103failed men bulg web

Read the nasty origins of Madarame’s 2D forever complex for yourself, in: “Otaku Research and Anxiety About Failed Men” by Patrick W. Galbraith  www.academia.edu/12327055/_Otaku_Research_and_Anxiety_About_Failed_Men

Oh snap! That’s inconsiderate towards those who read Hato as a trans-person. Kio Shimoku goes out of his way to make Hato blurt out Otoko otoko otoko every so often to muddy the waters. Read the article and think of Madarame and his character development, stretching back to chapter one of the Genshiken.

Long game Shimoku-sensei, long game…

 

PROGRAM NOTE: Please check out the previous post, including the comments. It has been updated and added to; on January 30, 2016, (and again, more on Feb 01, soooo tired!) to more fully thrash out wither MadaHato. Lots more mulling over it all. Don’t be shy, please read and weigh in! Fan-mind assemble!

The squeee heard ’round the world

Wherein the shock of chapter 120’s apparent developments causes a mild case of dis-associative writing conceit.

AKA, the post that will not resolve! Updated and added to on Jan 30; even more stuck in on Feb 01, 2016… Some one stop me now!

run mada run web

Our 53rd “Genshiken used to be good but is now nothing but gay fujoshi shit” discussion is now in session.

Mudakun, confused: Soooo… Chapter 120 raws are out. I was expecting Madarame to just stand there, or to get all angry and bitter and spit out at Ogiue that he’s been set up to be the coward. Hato can back out of something that the Hatos got too deep into and the girls can have their melodramatic story of failed boy love. Swear a lot, then go home and call a moving company.

Mudakun, sympathetic: On the other hand, Mada has sure shown some spine, going after Hato, not giving up after a classic manga “thorny path” speech on top of Hato’s earlier “I am not the pretty thing you think I am” speech. He might be wondering what the heck he’s getting himself into, but he feels something and he’s acting on it. That’s commendable… Manly even… Am I committing a spoiler? Ok:

SPOILER WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Mudakun, angry: I think Keiko was right after all. While Hato might not be consciously setting out to fuck Madarame around, the Hato continuum is such a great big screaming drama-queenish mess that anybody who gets sucked in is gonna get hacked up. Ya’ dont put your hands under running lawn mowers. Scorpion and frog…

…Closest thing to Hato acting honorable were the two attempts to back out, but both times Hato wanted to save face and be the hero. “I am not the perfect girly girl I present as, choose someone else !!!” “you are not ready to walk the thorny path, you are only in for cheap thrills!” Such self-sacrifice from the conflicted kouhai. C’mon; what is bugging Hato is that Madarame is leading, not following and that the Mada-sou-uke script is in shambles. Also it looks like shit is getting real and maybe the Hato continuum ain’t ready for butt-sex intimacy. Maybe Hato fears that a real m:m romance will jeapardize their membership status in the magic Genshiken circle of fujoshi-dom?

…Also, not buying the “Brave Mada” thing completely either. Hato as proxy for Shimoku-sensei has set up the readership by running a wish fulfillment script for the fen-dom. Mada is patheticly overwhelmed by the harem interest. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for true love or even a weekend of fun. The Hato-wanting-Mada story still feels like Hato is dancing to an internalised fujoshi script and acting it out for his idea of a gift for the Genshiken wimmens, as proxy for the shipping (assumed rotten, female) readership. I don’t buy Hato’s want-him-at-first-sight pity-moe and I don’t think they know each other well enough to have any other reasons to suddenly want each other. Any evidence of even “he’s my type” physical desire? Do either of them look at any other 3D male body parts? Even each other’s? At least Rika thinks Mada has a sexy neck and collarbone. Sure Hato has ingested metric shit-tons of yaoi, but then hitting on the first vulnerable guy in sight isn’t exactly fair ball, is it? I read nothing but opportunism and sempai pity-moe from Hato and “Hato is interested in me and I’m not as scared by that as I am scared of interest by Angela, Sue or Keiko” from Madarame.

Mudakun, analytical: Well, one thing you gotta hand to Kio Shimoku; He has dragged whatever straight male audience of otaku his series had left into gradually accepting that the senior geek character could go soft-gay (as opposed to hard gay?) for a crossdressing and rather confused young.. ahem.. might as well use the rude gay term, twink. Assuming the author still wants to sell shit, this is quite a high wire act. And Shimoku has now started drawing boy-Hato as overexaggeratedly “cute”, Check this out:

twink hato cover web

Mudakun, confused: Yikes! That’s not just rotten girl bait! Pretty boy Hato! That’s massive ‘phobosity-inducing poking at us insecure guys and possibly some service for whoever… Does Shimoku plan to write Hato into a boy band? I hear that some of the managers want droit-de-seigneur from their charges.

Mudakun, angry: You give him too much credit. Kio Shimoku is just running a boys-in-skirts retread. Otokonoko, otokonoko, otokonoko. If it wears skirt it’s a girl… etc. Figures that if that “Dicca” mangaka can sell a few pervy fujo retreads to straight boys, that mining the “Reversible” market will extend the life of a long-in-the-tooth franchise.

Mudakun, analytical: I would remind all of you that no one has got nekkid with anyone else and a tub of sex lube yet. Aren’t these charas still (if not paired off) all angsty, clumsy virgins?

M,sympathetic: There still is plenty of time for the happy couple to talk it over and realize that while they both might be uncomfortable with the idea of fucking, there is something there… Something, maybe like friendship? What a roundabout way to go about it. This, by the way is what I call the Helmut error, and even Sedgwick makes it. It assumes that everything for guys leads inexorably to guys fucking, all the time, above all else. The goggles – they are hard to avoid, both for the rotten contingent and for a gay community that wants to see any affirmation of their lives in the crushing weight of straight narrative. This is understandable as sex is very good, but all indications, including the dating scene in modern Japan sez that this is in no way absolute. Straight or gay, folks, even male ones, can be hesitant and choosy.

M,angry: Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ve heard all this before, but ya’ know: The complainers on 4chan and some of the forums have a point! Where is all the geek lore? Where is the otaku social stuff? It has been all romcom hitch-Mada-up for a year (or more like 3) now. And you haven’t heard it all yet… Get this: Some anon on 4chan said that in the dialogue in ch120, as Mada is going on that he’s not completely scared off yet, stooopid-Hato comes out and insists that Mada has to be the uke if they are going to go out. The Uke! Fuck That!

M,analytical: Any idea what Mada has to say about that?

M,angry: Fuck what Mada says, he’ll probably just mumble something or whatever. Thing is, that’s a pretty shitty way to start off a relationship. Kio Shimoku is being nasty! Neither of them know jack-shit about how to do man-sex – not that I do either, but it sure doesn’t sound like something one tries to fake from what you picked up from trap games and yaoi. One of the big complaints that real gay guys have about yaoi and BL is the whole seme/uke thing.

behold the fearsome seme.jpgBehold the fearsome seme!

M,analytical: Maybe Shimoku is after a bigger de-construct of fujo fantasies and will go into rude grotty details of the scared couple making a terrible mess of man-sex. I mean, it is almost a miracle that they can hold hands without one or the other getting hurt, the way they have been written. The first kiss is going to end up with at least one broken nose. Could they even get up the nerve to try a first kiss? What if one of them doesn’t smell right to the other? Shimoku will have to get them both really drunk first! Then someone can ralf all over someone else.

M,less angry, now skeptical: Yeah, I mean putting aside that they are cartoon characters and can be written as realistic or unrealistic as needed, the only way that either of them has ever considered same-sex desire has been through fantastic representations of it – BL and josou games.

M,sympathetic: Careful… Remember that for angsty virgins even vanilla m:f intimacy will be clumsy the first few times. No matter how much porn they have read. Same for romantic relationship stuff. If you put heavier conditions on same-sex romance and -urmm- the mechanics, you come off a bit phobic, neh? Similarly, where were the objections over Angela, Keiko or Sue being interested in Mada? Not much to go on there, neh? Isn’t the whole premise of this dialogue contaminated with an undercurrent of phobosity; fear of a gay or trans* Hato and “mourning” for the “queering”/”gay-ing” of Madarame? That, in the very least looks sad. Didn’t we expect more from ourselves than that?

M,confused: Isn’t it easy to blame-wash discomfort as something a lot worse? We are working on it. If anything we were lulled into a false sense of security by all the denial being spouted within the story. Sure, the denials became more and more strained as the story went on, but these mirror the not-gay/ fantasy-shadow-of-gay of lots of BL and yaoi, plus the long-standing slipperiness of public identities like “gay”, their application to same-sex practitioners in Japan; plus the whole sociology/ gender studies thingy about “men who have sex with men”. You could run a grad seminar on sexuality and gender issues on the Genshiken.

If Hato and Madarame do become an intimate couple, will either of them ever admit to being “gaei” (or however Japanese folks are pronouncing it this week) or “bi” or non-binary, or queer or any other of our familiar western labels? Or will the happy guys just take refuge in “I’m not… , it’s only him”? Or Hato will finally cop to “The heart of a girl, so the couple are now all progressively and nominally “straight” again. Perhaps they’ll just call it a “hobby”? Kio Shimoku likes to tease his readers.

M,now skeptical: It would have been easier if the readership was not put in the position of either assuming a default state of heterosexuality for the characters, then adding “fantasy sports” to their tastes as a side effect of their pervy fannish enthusiasms and had, in the matter of those who grumbled and dropped the series, just assumed that all the Genshiken characters were all going to be “just-so” polymorphously perverse as a story-telling trick: The Genshiken as a slow, toned-down, better behaved Rocky Horror show.

M,sympathetic: That would have made all the characters read as obnoxious posers, rather than conflicted, shy young-adult fans. The only odd thing is that their hobbies involve displaced, fantasy minority sexual and gender expressions, while they themselves default as angsty straight virgins. They just like reading about under-age lolis, magically sexy girly-boys and bishie guys (or rugged oyagi) struck by fits of lust and passion for each other. No fantasy lesbians though (so sad…) The ‘phobosity is a side effect of the exoticism. We are into a more complex “othering” than simple fear/dislike/hate.

M,now skeptical: Hmmmph! Are you sure that lurking the rotten-girl feed on Tumblr and those little fanfiction experiments haven’t swung you from one extreme of bias to another?

M,confused: Ok, Angela is still paper-thin, but at least from Kio Shimoku’s slightly nihon-jiron perspective, athletic carnivorous convention-going American girls might be predisposed towards a ride on the yellow taxi and develop a geek crush on Mada. Angela is alien and aliens do alien things. My past objections to her characterisation still hold; the character type is troublesome, even if the way he draws her and the few lines he gives her softens it a bit.

Sue is still best girl because she and Madarame are equal in otaku lore and fanatic devotion to the culture – they have been trading obscure references since day one. The only thing wonky about her chara is how she bounces from exuberant fannish whirlwind to paralysed shy Sue. I know that the second version is to level her up from joke character and is supposed to manifest only if she is experiencing any “feelings”, but the execution has been a bit rough. Her little talk with Madarame has fixed this a bit, but not enough. I used to think SueHato would be a great power couple but Spotted Flower convinced me the YajimaHato is better, because the Hato continuum is a heck of a lot of work. And don’t tell me that Yajima Merei would put up for any BL uke-seme nonsense. Guess seme-uke doesn’t come into play if you are with a woman, boob job or not…

Keiko? Keiko is Keiko. As The Adversary, she is still the most believable, but shouldn’t she be raging? She just proposed to Madarame, even saying that she would support his useless ass and he stood there paralysed.

M,now skeptical: Ok, I buy all that. Let me recontextualise: I question not the gayness but Hato’s sincerity. Hato trying to back out might even be read as the last honest part of him trying to trick himself into behaving decently. Asking Mada to be the uke? Jeeesh! That’s like asking the girl you are meeting for a first date if she will please wear rubber undies, cat ears and high heels later that night. Hato is running on a script: from sempai crush and the Stands cheering section onward to little miss Nadeshiko no Genshiken. It reads as selfish and predatory and devoid of love or even friendship.

M,analytical: All our desires are just things we force on others anyway? Still, would sincerity be a big issue if it was a m:f crush?

M,now skeptical: I recall that someone had a very cynical reading of Sasahara going through the motions of not freaking out while reading Ogiue’s dojin. Brain to Sass: smile and compliment her silly gay smut = get into her pantsu. WIN!

M,analytical: Point taken; aren’t we all the big mushy romantic.

M,sympathetic: Look, you might be a bit right about my point of view shifting, or at least acknowledging how other fans can get caught up in their enthusiasms. What’s wrong with that? They are pretty damn resourceful; they “add value” and make “secondary product” and do what academics call “transformative works” and they came up with the link for the raws really fast, because I was too lazy to sit on /a for days waiting for the post. Pretty impressive. We all get more material out of our fave franchise as long as we don’t freak out and go all phobic. Some of their insights are GOLD! It’s not like the Genshiken fendom are doing Nazi S&M bara and stuffing it in our faces. Given that Kio Shimoku wants to be the numero uno producer of fanfiction for his own property and routinely sucks the oxygen out of the room, it’s a wonder anything gets made.

Besides, you were pleased as punch that you snuck into Hatozine, and lookie how all the other pieces in it were good. No horses got frightened. No Mada screaming that his butt hurt. And what of all that other weird fic you wrote in order to quote: “work out the possibilities”.

M,analytical: Hey! You were there too. We can’t blather on about fandom and dojins and fans making a story their own and never know how it feels to do it, can we? It was all worksafe. You gotta admit that the Sue and Hato-kun piece wouldn’t have come together unless we got all the other crap out of the way. And a Qualia rip-off is as good an excuse for a multiverse as any. We LIKE Qualia. Gaku is frighteningly romantic in a psycho lesbian way. Gaku could out-psycho Muracielago; maybe not the first 600 times, but she wouldn’t give up. Gaku never gives up. She’s in love. “What other purpose does my existence serve?” You know she is lurking in the wings. Much psychotic mojo is bound to rub off. Just wait until Keiko shows up.

M,skeptical: stop self-promoting. You even wrote a gay Hato and happy (absent) Mada into the mess. Besides, if it was so much fun, why haven’t you fixed the dialogue yet? What about all those tips your beta reader red-pencilled up for you? Got bored and distracted again?

M,sympathetic: We had better things to do IRL, neh? And please remember that the one probability-variant Hato was out about his sexuality, had had a lot of interaction with his Mada before-hand and the happy couple were working it out without the stupid BL stuff. We had to throw in at least one Mada and Hato pairing, vanilla as fuck, or it would fail as a multiverse.

AHEM! GENTLEMEN! Aren’t we a little off-topic?

M,confused: Uhhhh, right, Ok; Here’s another thing I don’t get. Many of the past works by the mangaka have relationships that barely hold together and then painfully fall apart. Or deal with their aftermath. They are serious and big-time realistic – well except for the in-verse Genshiken spin-offs. Spotted Flower suggests that Saki breaks it off with Kousaka – or vice versa, or did he get hit by a beer truck? So far though, the Genshiken ‘verse rules are that once paired, folks stay that way for good. BL scripts: are they still big on happily ever after? The wimmins love that kind of stuff. Pure Shoujo. Is the Genshiken going to stay monogamous?

M,now skeptical: Yeah, good point. Mada could turn into the bad guy and develop Magic Dick syndrome. Worked once, lets see what else it can do. What if Mada starts spouting “I’m not gay, its only Hato – but you are cuter” lines? He could, even innocently, completely destroy the Genshiken. Was Kio Shimoku dropping a hint when he had Kuchiki bring up up the “circle queen” trope with Ohno? “I really like Hato, but the physical stuff doesn’t work for me“, confides Madarame with a sad face… Keiko would fall in an instant. The rest of the harem might waver, but a few would fall. That would salve a lot of bent phobish noses, including mine. One pretty boy while in University; not like it’s murder, incest or folk dancing.

4chan thread web
4Chan as usual has much to say: http://boards.4chan.org/a/thread/136565463 

M,sympathetic: That’s pretty harsh.

M,now skeptical: What do you think powers the whole josou/ trap game thing? It could even be considered a working evolutionary strategy if it gets Mada out of his shell of intimacy-fear and it eventually leads to sex with women, pair bonding and baby making. An alternative to “childless single men who masturbate to anime and do not matter in the over-all course of humanity” (see previous post). Hey: maybe that’s why Hato kept trying to back out. The Hato continuum suspects treachery. Get used as “training wheels” and then Saki changes her mind and it’s “see you ’round kiddo”. It’s that old yuri trope, retreaded.

M,confused: So in a way the seme/uke stuff is standing in for larger issues of who can bail and who gets left behind once the initial thrill wears off? Also; are we missing some big joke for the fujoshi community; that Hato is just as improbable a seme as Madarame? Maybe Hato needs to go all judo-psycho on a sempai, any sempai to avenge the hurt that Kaminaga caused him? That’s a great way to run a romance; not. I keep thinking that Kio Shimoku is more likely to poke at fujoshi foibles after setting up their expectations, then to completely pander to them. Madarame has a head full of otokonoko games, Hato a head full of yaoi. And I am willing to bet a cookie that Hato is being written as still thinking that Madarame has fallen for a fantasy female Hato. Big mistake. It sure reads as if Madarame has always seen Hato, kun and chan as a guy otaku with a taste for BL who has a crossdressing hobby and who will blubber “I’m not gay”, all while having a head full of male:male fantasies. Fantasies that were made by wimmen for wimmen. So far into the wrong closet that he is half-way to Narnia.

genshiken img000022 sherlock web

Gawd! Maybe the problem is that Mada has developed a severe case of Hato-moe! All that hemming and hawing and denial and running away and “No! I get to be seme” (pout!) stuff is the twink/otokonoko version of tsundere?

M,sympathetic: Poor Madarame, odds on he will lead with his heart on his sleeve, rather than as a gormless horn-dawg who got a chance to give it a spin around the block. Mada doesn’t think that Hato is chan or even a josou game otokonoko. Hato however is not “all in” in the romance department. Hato is acting out. Mada will ache for Hato long before Hato aches for Mada. Perhaps Madarame is fooling himself into thinking that while not the girl that Hato presents as, Hato does have the heart of a girl, rotten as it may be, trapped in a boy’s body.

M,now skeptical (not the least bit raging any more): Kio Shimoku seldom writes characters that ache. Very reserved, very Japanese. Perhaps we have finally hit on the reason for Keiko’s inclusion in the Harem; she at least shows emotion! Is this a subtle social-class thing as well? File that one away…

Mada victory dance

At the very least Kio Shimoku has pulled off one further slight of hand. He has managed to make desperation into an attractive after-shave for Madarame. As if ill-socialized nerd losers can suddenly go HoYay, “get lucky” and find true lurv. Or is the subtext that shy, tongue-tied losers weren’t motivated enough, or could not put aside their fears until they twigged to man-love? Scary as all heck, all that shyness just meant that buddy was LATENT. That’s a real old bogeyman. It causes nasty IRL fallout too.

M,confused: What about the rest of the Genshiken and the other harem members?

M,now skeptical: Right! Good call! Are their motives and behavior acceptable, or must they be denounced? Once again, I nominate Keiko for most authentic and honest. She has no BL sloshing around in her head and only suffers from relationship cynicism. She is the only reality and morals-check in the whole excursion, even as she has let her competitiveness get the better of her. …Or she is hubby hunting. Mada would be a marry-up and would make for a good provider if she could clean him up and send him out to bring home the bacon.

M,analytical: Second that; but her deferring to Sue is odd. A few minutes earlier she had characterized Sue as borderline autistic. Of course Sue did win the New Year’s eve games for Mada and since Keiko considers Madarame a loser geek, another geek would be an acceptable pairing. Plus as an outlander, Sue could later evaporate. Picking up after Sue wouldn’t be demeaning. Playing rebound girl to Angela would be.

Sue of course is amazing and deserves happiness, but she has a fierce pair of the goggles as well. Part of her will always be cheering for a BL romance played out in front of her eyes and that blinds her and biases her towards cheering HatoMadaHato on, despite the obvious problematics of the pairing. Add to that how she feels guilty for outing Hato’s secret stash of MadaHato sketches and killing (for 2 weeks) his fan-love. She is as prone to let a trainwreck occur in front of her nose in the name of storybook lurv, as the rest of them.

Angela has a similar weakness: she may be interested in Madarame for all kinds of reasons, but again, the goggles get in the way. Her reasons and how serious she might be about Madarame are opaque. Her past romantic life is a cipher – we assume that she takes what she wants but no one has wormed the details out of Ohno yet, and Ohno supports her as best choice for Madarame – which should mean something. Despite this, her “Hato is Madarame’s heart” stuff is pure shoujo tripe. Her fujoshi tastes have blinded her and she has stripped both Hato and Madarame of their reality as human beings by cheering on a fantasy script.

M,confused: I don’t like how Rika fits in. Playing Loki the trickster is going to backfire. On one hand she is quick to “get real” and announce that yup, Hato is probably 3D gay, denial or not and Madarame ain’t, so it might start all gushy BL but it won’t end pretty. The VIP member will get bruised; output of good steamy yaoi clench illustrations will decline. Weighed against this is her natural urge to stage manage a far-too-complicated plot. HatoMadaHato to launch, much drama to ensue, followed by heartbreak and then friend Yajimacci gets her heart’s desire. Hato the creative wunderkind gets a babysitter. Dojins flow freely through the land of the Genshiken. Perhaps the shock of a broken heart will even be the kick needed to jump-start Hato’s story-telling engine. Madarame therefore is expendable to the greater cause. Hey wait a second; How happy is Yajima going to be if Hato really IS gay? Setting your friend up for a future of “Geh, he’s out with some guy again” doesn’t seem to be that nice a trick. Or does Rika consider Yajima so “manly” that she will be enough to “cure” or at least stabilize Hato?

M,analytical: Yajima Merei is acceptable as all heck. We can at least look at Spotted Flower as one possible fate for her and her alternate self doesn’t seem too phased at being stuck in a weird relationship with a possible Hato. Japanese society is full of good sensible wifeys who put up with the odd habits of their spouses, as long as it keeps freak hubby productive, happy, out of trouble and devoted. So you have the heart of a guy after all, but you’ve always wanted boobs? Fine, whatever. Keep drawing. The fool needs me.

In real time however, Yajima is a mess. Her angst is going to be the way Kio Shimoku levels her up and showing the end product before you show the shovel work that got there is a bit of a cheat. Her early “why don’t you stop crossdressing?” insistence made her look like a ‘phobe but of course was just a setup for her “awakening desires”. She has beheld the smoothness that is Hato-kun and she feels something she thought she would never feel. She has just begun to give herself permission to feel it and it is driving her crazy. On the other hand, smooth-boy sure looks to be as queer as a 300 Yen coin or better, in deep deep denial and therefore a great candidate for a starring role in a BL tale. Yajima, while not as vocal about it as the others, enjoys her BL. She also has her pride. Hato-chan still bugs the heck out of her. Too bad Rika decided to give her desire a nudge. If she sits quietly, she is complicit in the inevitable trainwreck as she waits to pick up the pieces. If she tries to stop it, she is jealous and will most probably fail in any case. That would crush her – she has very little confidence in matters of the heart. Either way, she’s guilty as fuck. But she will still stand by and watch Mada and Hato go off hand in hand.

M, analytical: And then there is Ogiue blundering into the fray. “Go after Hato! Sass went after me, so of course that’s the way it has to work“. Funny how Hato-chan had not yet rejoined the group, was just hanging around, waiting, waiting, all by her little lonesome

M,skeptical: It all boils down to the absence of women in BL tales. The only roles that gals can have in a BL tale are cheerleader or “that bitch”. The women of the Genshiken cannot put their desires foremost in the face of a juicy 3D ship. Another thing: It looks to me like Kio Shimoku has abandoned almost all of the fan-lore in favor of stealing the focus on emotional, relationshippy stuff from Shoujo/BL/Josei: only he is going to do it “meta” and by adding disappointment plus “reality don’t work like that”, prove that he can hold his own against the standards. And he wants to snooker otaku guys into reading the stuff. Josei manga for guys. Hah hah hah!

you want to do what web

M,sympathetic: Hey, you still after him for moonlighting at Paradis?

M,analytic: You have to admit, he’s moving towards Josei territory. And moonlighting a thinly veiled spin-off at a josei/yuri/what the hell izzit??? smutty magazine is a damn fine insurance policy. “Wrap it up, you are cancelled” they say? “I have prepared for treachery!” Paradis even allows for 18+ steam. Where else could you shop a sex scene between a cynical but still in-love big girl and her manic “new half” lover? I bet that Kio Shimoku could even make it tender. Dirty, but tender and slightly melancholic. Might be even better than yuri smut. Boy’s got needs, ya know…

M,confused: whoa! you all are too pervy for me to keep up with.

…Heard that one before…

…Yeah…

…So, hand in hand into the setting sun are they? Where they off to?

…Liquor store and a pharmacy first!

…Gehh!

…Manners! Don’t ‘phobe out!

…It’s Ok if they are both in Lurv. Its OK if they are both just out for kicks. Consent concern!

…Eyes wide shut!

…Crying Game!

…Whatever… lunch time!

wrap it.

 

 

A FEW DAYS LATER:

Mudakun, skeptical: This is problematic, reopening a post to process new developments. We should be writing a new post.

Mudakun, analytical: I think it is better to cover this like “breaking news”, but you are right in one way; there’s a big danger of it looking like we are covering our bets and “explaining our position” in a way that reeks of bad faith. And the whole “dis-associative discussion” conceit is getting strained.

Mudakun, sympathetic: But lookie at all the developments! More info about what is going on in ch 120 from Dr ogiue Maniax’s post [http://ogiuemaniax.com/2016/01/29/final-fantasy-genshiken-ii-chapter-120/]. Lots of great comments here (please visit the comment section!) on this post and at his blog – (Jeesh I went overboard in his comment section; embarrassment! )

Remember you made this blog so many years ago precisely because you were overdoing it commenting on other people’s blogs! 

Also: this is a major development in a series that anchors this blog, its research and the hearts of the disparate fandoms that follow the Genshiken and CJVC. To radically simplify; the guys who liked the old male-otaku comedy slice of life social anthropology in the first iteration of Genshiken plus the (assume mostly, not all) women who have invested in the romantic tension between Hato Kenjiro and Madarame Harunobu. Note that as in the Genshiken, the latter seem to be more productive in terms of secondary/transformative work on the canon. This is a force-multiplier for their points of view.

Add to that the phenom that we must process this as western fans, which involves an odd dynamic apart from Japanese readers and fandom – they get the chapter and mull it over. We wait for -ahem- unauthorised fan translations and the more rabid of us search out copies of the original Japanese. These are then “understood” from a range of; completely by the pictures, through “somebody said that chara said this” to “review with care not to drop too many spoilers” through to fan scripts and finally, a month or more later, the careful fan translations that we all rely on.  You have to admit it is a different, more drawn-out “reading”, one that may even have its own benefits in terms of building and maintaining a certain kind of, even obsessive fan interest.

Mudakun, confused: So what is happening is kind of like real-time, dragged-out, play by play, pop literary criticism? Jeesh! It is all really tenuous. We read too much of our own biases into the scraps and wisps that we glom onto. Take chapter 120’s indications that as Hato is telling mada that if they go through with this there will be MadaHato and there will be HatoMada.

As Dr. Maniax has lead his review with: (Yikes!) Anal Sex!. But of course it is nowhere that simple. What, and with what nuances is Hato dropping the bomb? In the immortal words of Bill Clinton, “what do you mean by sex?” Is Hato saying; “You wont get any boobs or pussy from me, and at some point we will have to consider the possibilities of each others’ backsides? Well, heck, plenty of male:female couples try it, even some female:female couples use toys to play in the back lot. Depends on how slow and considered and safe and extremely attentive to consent folks go about it, neh? The possibility for getting hurt is high. There is plenty of discussion about the symbolism, politics and best practices about that in minority sexuality’s discussions and lore and even boring straight folks can find lots of consideration about going there, if they take the time and effort to educate themselves.

Or does Hato Kenjiro refer to his/her/their fantasies instead or as well? Because the Hatos have been pretty well recognised within the Genshiken as having a habit of drawing “hardcore” stuff. Lotsa mosaics when flashes of it are shown, but it is strongly suggested that the sex presented is “rough” and comes with a bit, (or more) of bondage fetish. Note that Hato’s ukes’ hands are often out of sight, behind the back. They ain’t scratching their tailbones. Hato doesn’t seem to do happy western-vanilla-slash style holding hands, happy glances and buddy-skinship.

Hato-as-written-chara aside; this would be perfectly in keeping with a critical representation of the harder yaoi artifacts within the Japanese BL fandom, by Kio Shimoku. Lots of criticism has been raised at the fandom for this kind of stuff; even if straight (and faux lesbian for straights) pornish smut manga etc., gets just as nasty; the politics of representing gay males by straight women, as overwhelmingly into overblown rough, over-dramatic angsty sex is downright regressive. But defenders of the practice from the ranks of Japanese female hardcore yaoi fans are adamant that they need this, want it, fantasy is fantasy and they’ll even go out of their way to hide it well behind lots of warnings, disclaimers, book slipcovers and very secure, passworded online venues. “We apologise, but we ain’t giving this up, it is ours!”

Go back and review the Nagaike stuff, if you need a refresher on the extremes of fujoshi practice, Recall hat we did a messy walkthrough of her first big thing, some time ago: https://heartsoffuriousfancies.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/the-girl-looks-at-the-boy-looking-at-johnny-while-his-father-is/ 

(and remember to play Patti Smith’s Horses at the end -pure punk slashy stream-o-consciousness eroticism! Hawt as blazes!)

I would even add the testimony of BK, friend of a friend -aw heck we worked with him years past, back at Uni. He had to suffer being a campus “gay spokesperson” back in the neolithic age. Had been to Japan a few times, liked the gay scene there. When asked about yaoi, his comment was: “Yeah I’ve seen it, but it is wayyyy too rapey for me.” So I draw a line from one or two points on a graph? What else do I have? Outlander academics including Dr. Mizoguchi ?

Some points of discussion from within CJVC (gleaned from past posts)

not a proper floral chara page

mada should try this web

Oh shit you read that stuff!

Pubic service yuri fragments_of_love_v001_ch004_029

Mudakun, skeptical: Yeah, yeah, yeah, thanks for the seminar, professor. But you are falling for Kio Shimoku’s trick. Of course a certain part of the fandom, guys, not-too knowledgeable stodgy and uncomfortable with “gay stuff” male fans (yup, that’s us!) are going to get snookered by this. Shock and Outrage! Mourning for Madarame’s lost heterosexuality. One can even argue that Hato tossed it in the way of a pursuing Mada for exactly that reason. “WhoooHooooo! Butt Sex! Scary, scary butt-sex! And guess what? My fantasy version of it is gonna hurt you bad, and I might just need that so much I demand it as a precondition, even if I have no freaking real life experience in it or how horribly it can go wrong.” Is this what Hato is saying? Step back and it is obvious that if Hato wants Mada and Mada wants Hato, they can figure out (be written as figuring out) almost an infinite variety of ways to achieve and/ or give each other/ share pleasure, orgasms without sending each other to a proctologist for surgical reconstruction and fistula/ hemorrhoid/ anal wart removal. As some gay guys have pointed out in “ask a gay guy stuff” web video explanations to confused straight guys: “we’re guys, we can figure out what we like.”

So I call “Red Herring!

Counter to this the very persuasive arguments from those who advocate for a sympathetic reading of Hato’s frustratingly evasive behaviour. See comment section, (really.. please, go read the comments… Feel free to add also)  Where “we” read “dancing to a script like a puppet” others have advanced the equally possible and far more sympathetic reading that Hato is wracked with insecurity, prone to self-sabotage, damn committed to making sure his “trap” persona will not under any circumstances “trap” and desperately doing what small things he (and she, they…) can for Madarame because he (and she, they…) are wracked with feelings for Madarame and cannot figure out how to “honorably” and significantly show these. So Hato is left with presenting to Mada as Nadeshiko no Genshiken,  cooking him meals and cleaning up his place. That’s all that Hato can do: “care” for Madarame.  Oh, and valentine’s day chocolate…

Which actually puts Hato in the most traditional (and sympathetic) of all female courtship roles. The rest of the women interested (a bit) in Madarame are not into doing domestic stuff for him. Is this a snuck-in critique by Kio Shimoku? That’s a minefield in itself. Feminism “ruined” the modern Japanese young woman, etc. VS. Japanese males still need to be taken care of by their fufu‘s because they are helpless and infantilized?

Mudakun,analytical: Also of note: correspondant Winter (below) picks up on our throwaway Hato-Moe idea and amplifies it – if I may restate: Madarame has “interest” in Hato, Hato has shown interest in him and it is flattering, even pleasurable but then Hato backs away. With a woman, Madarame would (to stay in-character) feel too uncomfortable to even ever have that much interaction. But Hato is suddenly bringing up objections. Trouble is that Madarame has gone into “seek” mode and is looking at the Hato objection dance and reading it through the lenses of 10,000 romcom heroine protestations. It is beginning to look cute, even endearing. It is beginning to trip a “chase’ switch in Madarame. Ogiue blunders in and validates this course of action. Madarame might be wondering why he is suddenly chasing, but he also must feel a rush of power, or agency, of no longer being the wishy-washy coward. Suddenly from being least adventurous in the lists of 3D love he finds himself as the most adventurous and damn if it doesn’t feel good. And all of Hato’s protestations are beginning to look cute. (Though if that is what Kio Shimoku is pulling, a bit of a lampshade would go a long way, just saying…)(Maybe we get one when we get to read the fan translation?)

Worse (or better) Hato must really be tripped up by this. If Hato really wanted to save Mada from a tragic thorny path relationship, Hato could, in the words of any savvy 16 year old female, cis or otherwise, “slap him down hard”. “Fuck off creep. Do not want you. Get lost Now.” Problem solved. It would hurt, but such is self-sacrifice. But Hato looks to have been snared by Mada’s sudden show of resolution. Hato is blubbering. Sou-uke! Thorny Path! MadaHato! HatoMada! Grotty physical concerns. Rotten fantasies. Difficulties in crossdressing…  Dry skin, got a headache,  oh heck, is that my phone?, I completely forgot this appointment I had 600 miles away… 

D’awwwwwwww…. thinks Madarame, staring at the curious boy-girl in front of him. How cute, how moe

Mudakun,sympathetic: Another angle to be considered from our reactions and the fandom: “Can it work?” Bill Clinton time again; what do you mean by “work”? The rude version, we put forward, above: One pretty boy at University, it’s not murder, incest or folk dancing. A kinder reading could be written as “puppy love”, “first love” or even (cue heroic music and sound of engines starting in the fog) “We’ll always have Paris”.

So far, Genshiken couples look pretty long-term, except of course for the alternative universe of Spotted Flower. Without AltHato’s chewing out AltMada for being a coward, this would be easier to consider. Add to this that past major works by Kio Shimoku are relentless in the showing of how young relationships fall apart and one has to admit that a romance between Harunobu and Kenjiro might not be a for always thing.

This can be played in a number of ways too, from regret, long-simmering anger and the need to give it one more try (stop dressing up like a tart every time AltMada drops in) to, (again cue Casablanca music) “This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship“.

 

Mudakun, skeptical: Fuck You Muda! You swore you wouldn’t hook up the arduino board to the summoning grid and drag the angry shade of Dr. Sedgwick into this, at least not yet. Put Hato-chan on the plane, walk off into the foggy night with Hato-kun as bros’ after all that confusing stuff has been worked out? Do you really, really think that Kio Shimoku has decided to do a Russian Reversal on Dr. Sedgwick’s Between Men and use the female Hato as a transitional object; not to go from intense male friendship to male:male intimacy, but from intimacy to intense male friendship?

???

Pull the other one, it has bells on it and makes a pretty noise!

Mudakun,sympathetic: You gotta admit, that would be one heck of a tale. Now that Queer Theory is out and about. running around in academia and underlying the plot-lines in western cable-tv series, everybody – including stogey straight writers get grab the bits and rudely jam them into improbable tales. Do you think the creative class was going to endlessly keep their distance and be content with warmed over Freud? How many more stale stories can you spin out of pappa-mamma, fer chrissakes?!!

Mudakun,analytical: If Kio Shimoku was really, really into stretching it, he could spin this out in such a way as to mollify both the old guard guy fandom and the more romantic, don’t-need-graphic-sex-angst BL fens. Mada and Hato have to talk it over more, right? Both have problems talking. Precedent and parallelisms in story telling suggests an Ogiue/Sass-like examination of Hato’s drawings, including the really repressed MadaHato ones.  Madarame has to bring some of his raunchiest loli-pr0n to the session too – Mada’s trap games are by no means vanilla grade, not if reports on the genre are to be believed. (for details please review the Girl Comics essays via archived links in the earlier post: “Through all your houses wandering” [https://heartsoffuriousfancies.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/through-all-your-houses-wandering/])

The obvious reaction must be: “Fantasy is fantasy, this stuff looks like it could be really hurtful in real life; do you, me, us, really need this?” Then they are back to tentatively pawing at each other, trying to re-invent “making out”. They are both scared and flustered, even more than they are horny so things will take some time. Besides, they have plenty to talk about. They are, after all otaku

-ahem- mind if I engage the playset field?

Mudakuns, the rest in unison: Oh fuck, why the hell not?, we have the multiple voice thing going, might as well crank the self-indulgent knob to 11. More fanfiction! Blergh! You really have been corrupted by the Tumblr crowd!

Mudakun,analytical: Try this: Genshiken club room, a few days after the trip. Enter the wimmens. Madarame and Hato-chan are sitting next to each other, reading a doujin, pointing out stuff. A BL doujin. Bonus for Hato with wig off. Bonus for Madarame dressed better than usual, but disheveled.

“Sooooooooo… what happened, spill it” That’s gotta be Rika who asks. Sue makes perhaps angry-snide obscure quote. Ogiue frowns, requests decorum. Cue Ohno, senior fairy godmother of all happy relationships:

“So, how is it going, you both look a bit tired. Happy but tired. All good?”

Both beaming,  completely confident; either to answer: “We stayed up all night playing video games.”

Further prying questions, some regarding sex acts; response by either along with much blushing: “He should learn how to floss properly” “Hey you ain’t exactly sweet breath-san either… You are squeezable though… that’s fun” Affectionate shoulder bumping. Turn to stare at each other “Are we in a hurry?” “Nope, no hurry here, Do I look hurried?” “Not you, how’ bout me?” “Nope, you good.” Both turn heads, stare at the rest. In unison:

“Answer your question?”

Girls outraged, press home for details, Sue poking for HatoMada and MadoHato, plops sketch pad down in front of him. Hato draws nice vanilla western slash-fen style hand-holding guys, smiling at each other, no schmex.

“You liek my new, more realistic drawing style?”

Genshiken girls reaction shots, shock, disbelief, disappointment, beaming, d’awwwwww, entire range…. Rika enraged that numero uno source of in-house smut has just been destroyed.

Kio Shimoku chuckles, commences next story arc. Potential for serious drama kept in back pocket. Parts of both fandoms grumble; all keep reading. “Hah! Managed to pull off an aspirational, activist sensitive happy-smiley Shoujo-style compromise resolution. Shit, I deserve an award for this one.

Mudakuns, rest of them:

Blerghhhhhhhhhhhh!  

FROMAGE!

Cheat!

…Whatever…

(updated January 30, 2016)

 

STILL LATER, FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS :

Mudakun, now really skeptical:  I am not convinced. Something is still wayyyyyy wrong here.

Mudakun, concerned: Oh Double-Snap, we’re back? Again? What’s the matter – Heh, I know it’s been a shock; Madarame in pursuit of a boy, turning down Sue’s confession. Turning down his last chance at Angela. Turning down a common-law proposal from Keiko. Still, if that’s the way things have worked out, Amor Vincit Omnia, neh?  An author can write anything he or she wants to. Give it a rest. Go back to sleep.

I hope we are not doing something as naff as going off into a mild state of male hysteria over the symbolic death/ becoming-gay of a long cherished geek icon? We might have well saved a lot of time and effort and just gone with the lazy bubba short-form solution: “Yeah, Genshiken: used to be good, is all this gay fujo shit now…

Mada beast on Hato

Mudakum sympathetic: Oh Puh-lease! If anything we are just over-fanning on our favourite past-time. We have a bit of free time in our life now, right? And isn’t this a good writing and thinking exercise? Add to that a bit of fun with photoshop. Still can put the word-things one after another and make with the sense thing! Lookie, the web-thing is not a fricking mess and we are getting familiar with Twitter and Tumblr. …Have even figured out #tags. Ojisan ain’t Amish. Don’t be so uptight! Roll with it!

So, what’s with reopening the post?

Mudakun, skeptical: Something didn’t feel right. Something still doesn’t feel right.  A few points: The Harem Arc has been going on for three years real-time now, since Jan 2013’s Ch 84 when Mada quit his job after the fall festival, declaring: “I want to be a loser” In Genshiken time, perhaps 5-6 months have passed. One could argue the fun started earlier in chapter 82, with Yajima Merei suddenly fantasizing about Hato.

Girl; you need that “signifier”. otherwise it’s yuri!, or fakee-yuri (wait, where have I ???)

Genshiken_082_016 YajimaxHato

Two things happened to launch the arc. Madarame went NEET and Hato’s Kaminaga-Stand appeared, impelling Hato towards Madarame. “We” were wrong about “no physical attraction”. Hato-as-puppet, controlled by the Kaminaga-Stand is very interested in Madarame’s neck:

85_009 him got neck

And while we’re here, this is about the time that Sue started to act flustered. Should we have been calling this the Love Trapezoid Arc instead, all along? Sue will go on to find the super-secret HatoMada stash in the next chapter. This will confirm that Hato has gone gay for Madarame, Stands notwithstanding – they are him, after all, right? Perhaps that is emblematic of the whole problem. The stands “stand-in” as (paranoia) agents of delusion, avoidance and denial within Hato’s BL obsessions. They vanish when he “accepts” them. But they leave one last parting gift: Hato’s desire for Madarame Harunobu is still framed and bounded by the conventions of an odd genre of popular, amateur erotica – a genre that Hato, by rights should not be playing around with.

The damn BL stuff has “queered” Yajima. It has queered the heck out of Hato, or to use a better contextualisation; imposed a less than optimum set of fantasy narratives upon the emerging sexuality and gender expression of his character. It will go on to get its paws on Madarame. Sue? Not so much, perhaps she was insulated from it by her admiration/yuri-flavored sensei-crush on Ogiue. It has also “queered” the mangaka, and to the extent that we have been Stockholm syndromed into cheerleading a once improbable MadaHatoMada romantic plot, it has gently “queered” some of the readership – just a teeny-tiny bit. The effect is minor; Kio Shimoku is handling the “killed-virus” version, rather than the active pathogen.

If the Genshiken wasn’t, if this was the manga or anime club, or the campus radio society, perhaps a young guy named Hato, with a cross-dressing hobby might be written as beginning to hang around with the graduated senior member who has recently quit his job and is decompressing/ bumming around in the clubroom. The story then would be of how an angsty virgin closeted gay male who has adopted one of the older traditions of the Japanese gay community can come to terms with his emerging sexuality and reconcile his desire with the etiquette of hitting on a straight friend. Whatever; give him a backstory with some theatre or film-making or acting experience – of course he got snookered into a female costume – that’s an old chestnut. One of the other club members, the “big girl” has also been wondering about Hato. She generally doesn’t trust men, but Hato puts her at ease. Campus life story ensues.

It’s not the Genshiken that is the secondary character. It’s the damn BL!

Mudakun, sympathetic: …And Hato has been lately crossdressing at the club for kicks, under the cover story that he doesn’t want his professors to hear that he is goofing off and not working on his big research paper. I remember a certain student who wrote for 3 years under pen-names at a campus newspaper…

Mudakun, skeptical: late-onset “chuny” again! But isn’t the whole BL exercise an agent of female agency? A “fatal strategy” that inverts and disrupts the patriarchal order, or some such tripe? Sure one can look at any MadaHatoMada as a blow against hetero-whatever-hegemonic-woowoo, and two points for queering-everything-until-queer-is-this-year’s-newest-fashion-accessory but the story is all still about the guys. Aren’t Hato and Mada just doing the same thing as Kuchiki, jumping in and flailing around center-stage in women’s space? They are just performing with more panache and fanservice for the women.

It is the BL stuff that is making everything feel forced. All fictional tropes of romance get in the way of the romance as much as they enable it. Everybody follows the scripts and worries at the same time, that when they say “I love you” it will sound and/ or feel fake. Without the BL background, Hato, the kid with the odd hobby might end up out-and-about in guy clothing and run into Mada. Both get gloriously drunk and Hato blubbers out his bro-crush. Mada, feeling adventurously free and bohemian, if not a tad intrigued by the presence of a bishie Hato goes along with it – he might even jump in with enthusiasm. Next morning they both feel scared crapless for making out. If you are cheering them on, insist on mutual blinding world-class hangovers – the pain will give them time to get over the shock of whatever clumsy and limited intimacy they were able to manage before passing out, while putting it in context. Problem solved.

Mudakun, analytical: The Genshiken is all about how the fandom gets in the way, even as it weirdly empowers relationships. Yes empowers. Younguns in Japan are nowhere near as frisky as they used to be or they should be, if Japan is not to depopulate. Or they are all as frisky, but a crappy economy, changing social blah blah, round up the usual suspects has put a damper on pair-bonding. And yet, the Genshiken as social for a fandom of libidinized imagination (doujin culture, aka amateur peer-made porn) offers the happy tale of 3 paired off couples. A better score than showing zoo pandas panda-porn to get them to mate! Sure Saki had to put up with her martian-boy-wonder paying more attention to ero-games than to her. Sasahara had contextualise Ogiue’s habit of drawing male charas that looked like him boffing other guys, then learn to “be more forceful in his seme” with Ogiue. “Right! No males, cross-dressing, gay or otherwise with my woman unchaperoned! And you get spanked tonight for doubting my resolve!” Gehh! Reads like 1960’s Heinlein.

Only Ohno and Tanaka have the romance bits worked out. All they worry about is economics. Oh wait; Ohno does get fearsomely jealous if Tanaka makes an outfit for another woman without first clearing it with her. But Tanaka has shown no alpha-male rage over the legions of rutting slobs who photograph Ohno at convention shoots; an actress’ lover cannot be jealous of her audience. As well, the Genshiken came within a whisker of pairing up Mada with Sue Hopkins. It may yet pair Alt-bent-Hato with Alt-Yajimacci and  Alt-Mada with Alt-Saki.

Trouble is the new Genshiken does not run on heteronormative moe and cosplay. It runs on women’s melodramatic fake-gay smut. The question then becomes: If you bang moe boy and BL girl together, do you get adhesion? So far, not so good. The Kaminaga example suggests that rotten girls and oblivious, strong raiju guys are a better match – which runs closer to IRL field data. Fujoshi are practical (and the guys, if they twig to their girlfriends’ hobbies can continue to dismiss the stuff, secure in the knowledge that at least their girlfriends are very, very interested in sex. (win!)) It’s similar to IRL art-school students. Exogamy is the preferred norm, at least among undergraduates. Two artistic egos stuck in a one-room student flat is a recipe for homicide, not romance. Grad students might look for alliances of convenience within their field, but even then it is rare that they spark within their cohort.

The MadaHatoMada problem remains. Madarme and Hato will always be framed within a discourse of the tropes of BL, as MadaHato or MatoMada. The seme-uke pairing conceit will not vanish, because it is the “genre marker” that stands in place to signify the whole damn “Night at the Opera” over-the-top narcissistic event horizon of soap opera melodrama; shame, violence, fetishistic sex because intimacy is beyond their reach, jealousy, lustmord and regret and A cruel god rules over us, that runs around nekkid, rampant and grinning in the genre. That’s Entertainment! Fortunately, Japanese rotten girls have yet to discover Hannibal-slash or there would be same-sex eroticized cannibalism lurking in the wings as well! The only other alternative, the escape hatch is the “frozen time” of the perfect vanilla male:male lovie-dovie friendship. And because there are not a whole lot of real-life stories of long-term male couples to draw on, these run on the thin side. Hetnorm=unfair again.

Lookie at the example of Kinou Nani Tabeta? (What Did You Eat Yesterday?) Activist outlander reviewers have noted, if not grumbled about how asexual the couple is. Japanese het couples act neutered after a long period of marital bliss too, but a gay couple is expected to keep up appearances and be a bit more true-to-their-desire-as-reality-and-discretely-yet-confidently-demonstrated-social- fact. In other words, stuck in the campus gay spokesmen role again. Jeesh, they cook for and groom each other. Miso soup and haircuts.

Mudakun, skeptical: Bad example! You know that there is politics around THAT manga. Woman BL author doing activist “normal-life” representation of gay male domesticity. Severely enjoined from scaring any horses. Also, perhaps a “real” gay mangaka’s series got bumped because a vanilla BL author’s take on a gay male couple was easier to sell. Perhaps you scrapped a post because the whole kerfluffle was really the publisher’s call; capitalism is unfair; “this space program runs on bucks, not Buck Rogers” and it is a bad idea to juxtapose a (straight female) BL mangaka to a gay male mangaka and let that proximity appear to be a fight for scarce magazine page space, for the entertainment of the peanut gallery. Everyone shut up, salute the flag and keep marching.

Mudakun, sympathetic: Yup, happy ever after into the sunset, just like a yuri genre “story A”. What do you want from a Uni romance rom-com? Rubber Biscuit?  And like the yuri genre’s story A, isn’t the freedom of agency available to the true, if unconventional love the whole point? It is not as if Hato and Mada have to be inevitably torn from each other like the fifty-plus young women in the 1920’s Flower Tales. The same societal change that has made marriage, even dating a near-toxic chore to %20-%40 of young Japanese folks also allows the freedom for two guys to make eyes at each other. No one cares.

Mudakun, skeptical: Besides, there is still male privilege. Yukio Mishima was married, fathered children and yet was notorious for his liaisons with fem-ish demimonde gay guys and his later “koha” manly-man patriotic society death cult. Guys can get away with all kinds of shit in Japan – as long as they keep up some token display of obeisance to the order of forms.

Here’s an alternate Hato, lest all the other “nice” versions become cloying:

Quackquack quack ch120 p110x1280

Mudakun, was sympathetic-now horrified: Nooooooo! Ugh! proto-fascist, oblivious to politics, artist-is-beyond-good-and-evil Hato is not good at all! Will become a famous mangaka by filching Spinrad’s Iron Dream and retreading it as a manga; featuring the crossdressing/ emergent transwoman political saviour “Sam” Palin, “her” rival turned sidekick/lover Dougie Trump, and their growing troupe of sexually liberated and reactionary minded politicians and billionaire allies, as they beat down the forces of lefty-commie-wimpery in global Mahjong Tournaments!

Mudakuns, rest of them: Ugghhh sickness! feel nauseous. Need fresh air!

Mudakun, concerned: I believe that IATPT Bulletin 1147 does not apply in this case. This is a low order probability fork. Anyone care to drop a dime on it? Do I hear a seconder?  -brief shuffling, check email, etc – Ok, that’s fixed, except for the fall-out with an older, bitter Madarame joining the Japanese Communist Party to atone for his doomed romance with that monster.

Mudakun, skeptical: Where the frick were we again? Oh yeah. Pairing up Hato Kenjiro and Madarame Harunobu seems forced. But breaking them up seems forced and unfair too. Turning them into best bud ‘bros after some unsatisfying groping feels like a cheat. Yet none of this would be a problem if it was girl+boy rather than boy+boy-perhaps-in-denial-about-that-girl’s-soul-he’s-got; marinaded in BL sauce. And Hato is a big perv. Is Madarame into really pervy trap games like Boku Pico too? It would be easier if he hadn’t tossed all those S&M AV’s. Evenly matched depravities could go happily wild on each other and the bystanders would cautiously applaud. The freaks are out tonight. Let’s do the time warp again…

Add to this the “meta” that all these contradictions, kept aloft and in play, are money in the bank for Kio Shimoku. Easy stories end too soon.

Mudakun, sympathetic: So the Genshiken can keep going for all eternity? I guess he can put a happy Hato and Mada couple into the background and bring in a few new members. Now that he has a gay male (or male with emergent transwoman) couple, he could even dare to bring in a -gasp- lesbian(!) Fool around with the idea put forward by the Japanese cultural critic whatsizzname that CJVC perviness sucks the oxygen out of much of the energies that would otherwise go towards IRL activism to advance LGBTQIA rights. Or play with the idea that otaku spaces can serve as safe “queer” spaces, or if they can’t; doesn’t that need fixing? The Genshiken was a pervert dumping ground for other clubs that, thanks to its recent female membership is now powerful in the fields of its interests. Its power derives from its schmex-fixation. Might as well get an honest days work out of the stuff.

(Feb. 01, 2016)

Better a pig than

I was a bit amused when a teeny bit of my hobby fell off the truck and recently got dragged into the debates surrounding the Republican presidential candidate nomination circus going on stateside.

Then I got annoyed.

Got news for you, asshat; we’re better than that. Even if some of us have -ahem- rich fantasy lives involving 2D characters. (1)

 

Other than that, I suspect a lot of the fandom’s politics runs to the progressive side of the political spectrum. Perhaps M. le GOP mouthpiece knows this and figures that he can insult commie faggot otaku all he likes, even to the point of conflating them with… geh … supporters of Donald Trump.

And what of the fen-dom? I really can’t see many fen and American rotten girls supporting Trump. How traditionally conservative to write off the women-folk.

Meanwhile his masters are getting ready to panic and bow down to the Trump, should he win a primary. The analysis on the larger clip, that all the ideological stuff in the GOP was just a cover for reactionary nativist anger duped to the service of plutocrats is delicious.

Entire clip:

See http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rick-wilson-
donald-trump-single-men and http://crooksandliars.com/cltv/2016/01/gop-strategist-calls-trump-supporters for more on this.

Coincidentally, I got to watch 4 episodes of Gotham, season 2 on the flight back from Japan. Billionaire super villain trying to seize political power, over-the-top ham acting…

Do I detect a certain amount of clumsy topical satire?

Maybe M. le GOP mouthpiece has heard of right-wing otaku in Japan. How would he know of them?  Suspicious.

It would be funny if a lot of USA fans decided that someone needed a lesson and went off and volunteered for the dems. Then again, perhaps some fans are pretending to support the hairpiece in order to watch the entire right-wing mess assplode.

Lying to pollsters is always good fun.

It might be time to dust off Thompson’s best bit of writing, the one that sometimes gets overlooked in favor of his more vernacular writing.

web600fearandloathing

 

Or perhaps I have been watching too much Rachel Maddow.
Her stuff usually lifts my spirits, except when it depresses the -eff- out of me.

In the immortal words of the heroic ace of the Adriatic:

rather

 

 

(1) I must stand in solidarity, with my brethren who have yet to embrace 3D happiness. Compared to supporting Trump, even taking your hug pillow out on a date and/or marrying your DS lite waifu is at most, a harmless display of personal style.

Enter the dragon

Wow…

Slack off for a few days and the Genshiken-verse throws you a surprise, or even a treat!

Lookie who just popped up in Spotted Flower:

Sure looks familiar2 Spotted flower600

If that aint a Sue Hopkins gapple-san, I’ll swim back to Canada. …And is that a hint of competition that we are being treated to? …Or just service-y ribbing? Meanwhile Kio Shimoku has slipped another one past us. Please recall that original-Sue has so far given no hints of drawing ability (assistant-work aside) or interest in developing any.

Which is a shame. Of course Sue is at least as monomaniacally focused and adept at picking up and mastering skills that are dear to her heart as Hato is. With the focus on Hato and the “be able to draw my fantasies” plot anchor, I have often wondered if Sue had the itch to draw and what her fantasies were. And didja catch Yajima-gappel‘s “Tell Sempai I said Hi too“?

What’s up with the sempai thing? Or was not-Yajima referring to not-who(?)-note-accent-perhaps-Yabusaki?

I always thought that SueHato would make an incredible power couple and provide enough kick-in-the-butt for Hato to assume a more “out” presence in and around and even outside of the walls of the clubroom; say as next Genshiken president. Can’t hide from the stuco boy forever.

Yeah, I ship SueHato, how boring of me.

But, yeah, gappel-Yajimacchi makes better sense.

…The patience of a saint.

Aside: Vacation ending soon; will get back to work and do all those posts I have been promising to do: Return of the Otaku; a re-jigged version of a scrapped post which was a follow-up on the “propaganda fide” Hammer post – fixed so as not to step into fake controversies or insult sempais; a crap-load of boring crowd pix on a Flickr slide show of crowds at winter 2015 Comiket (too flustered to do many close-ups which politeness dictates obtaining permission for) and a short thinky piece on what happens when boring old vanilla guys like moi (and certain mangakas) begin to clue into certain theories written for a select demographic then blunder in and mis-appropriate some of the core themes. (grin! – Of course we check our privilege, we check it almost as often as our wallet) Oh, and the last is as applied to that most persistent of questions; what in the world is Hato Kenjiro?

Wind blows, rain falls, fire burns…

Complete Aside, but worth noting: A good discussion of “the male gaze” and moe along with some notes towards defining a “female gaze” at:

CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE LITERATURELinkle, the Female Gaze, and the Sailor Moon Paradox [http://japaneselit.net/2015/11/21/linkle-the-female-gaze-and-the-sailor-moon-paradox/]
Zettai ryouiki? That explains a bit more about some of Hato-chan’s outfits.

Hold ‘de presses! Nicholas Theisen’s [COMICS] AS READING, published as an ongoing work on his blog WHAT IS MANGA? is wending towards the finale. The latest chapter, CHAPTER 5 – INTRODUCTION, OR [COMICS] AS GUIDE TO TEXTUAL SUBJECTIVITY PT. 3, is a wonderful bit of mythic narrative on a subject dear to my heart, and this blog’s “masthead”. You go read it right now! (please… )
http://whatismanga.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/comics-as-reading-chapter-5-introduction-or-comics-as-guide-to-textual-subjectivity-pt-3/

Hato-zine

Hot off the presses. Get your copy Now! 
http://hatozine.tumblr.com/post/136614729817/hatozine-a-genshiken-fanzine-for-hato

Shimoku-sensei can be proud and happy that his characters have slipped out of the pages of his work and are running around on the net, and in the hearts of his fans. I am honored to have snuck into the fray. Check out the fine essay by Ogiue Maniax‘s proprietor and Genshiken blogging sempai. Congratulations to all the contributors and the powerful editor/ organizers!

Now stop reading this and go read Hatozine!

lore

day1 winter 2015

I am following the hashtags #comiket#C89 and #comiket89 on Twitter to see what I am missing on Day 2 of the big event. It looks like the lines are far longer today then they were yesterday. The weather is sunny and cool but not chilly and it looks like it will be a fine day. Yesterday was majority but not exclusively fujoshi day; there was also a good deal of loli yuri to keep the guys happy. Today is supposed to be game-centric and tomorrow is a hentai-fest for guys. Don’t take my word for it: you can ride page translate and sign up to view the free online catalog at https://webcatalog.circle.ms/

Day1:

  • FC (jump ball)
  • FC (jump Other)
  • FC (Youth)
  • Prince of Tennis
  • Gintama
  • FC (girl)
  • Creation (girl)
  • Creation (JUNE / BL)
  • TIGER & BUNNY
  • Animation (Other)
  • Anime (Sunrise)
  • Gundam
  • FC (boy)
  • Hetalia
  • FC (pounding) (Gangan)
  • FC (novel)

Day2:

  • This ship
  • online game
  • Game (RPG)
  • Square Enix (RPG)
  • Games (Other)]
  • Swords Ranbu
  • Game (love)
  • Game (history)
  • History and creation (literary-fiction)
  • Special effects · SF · FT
  • TV · Film and entertainment
  • Music (western-Japanese music)
  • Music (Male Idol)
  • Sport
  • Eastern Project
  • Railway, travel and Mekamiri
  • Game (power required)

Day 3:

  • Creative, Anime & Game (man propensity)
  • Creation (boy)
  • Gaku漫
  • Digital (Other)
  • Cosplay
  • Creative, Anime & Game (man propensity)
  • Critic and Information
  • Coterie software
  • GYARUGE
  • TYPE-MOON
  • Original Goods

comiket-area-map-layout

Now that I have done the haj, that’s enough for me this time… The next time I attend I will make it a point to either(/or): (1) Have a rudimentary ability to read hiragana and katakana and be better able to carry on limited conversations in Japanese. (2) Be actually at a booth selling or helping to sell something. (3) Be a part of the volunteer army that helps to keep the whole show going. Accumulate experience, not stuff.

I scored a catalog and a few give-aways yesterday and that’s enough. I really don’t need any heavy, pr0nish souvenirs to annoy she-who-up-with-me-puts or to box up and ship to myself lest the customs officers at Pearson take a dim view of my hobbies. I have more than enough stuff to last a lifetime and a half. I really don’t need any more. Hooray for a hobby that has almost all of its content online and in digital form.

Yesterday I watched as legions of Big Sight employees received load after load of skimpily clad chesty waif emblazoned oversized shopping bags at the trash bins, along with Comiket catalogs, (heavy as a phone book – scored one minus the tear-out coupon thing in the front pages) tons of industry flyers, promo pamphlets and cards. Japan has top-notch recycling mojo; still the sight of so much printed waste is a bit shocking. I was also disappointed that the old mainstay of promotional giveaways, the little packet of tissues seems to be out of fashion. Them things are handy when you are traveling!

As previously mentioned, I am working to assemble the pix I took of the day into a Flicker set/ sideshow for this blog… Soon…

In the meantime, a few observations:

The influence of Pixiv on the dojin creation fandom cannot be overlooked. See this post then go to the source and use page translate. Once again, note that Comiket/ Comic Market is unlike most North American “conventions” in that the reason for it and the overwhelming majority of the content is self-produced. It is all about fanzines and fan-work. Commercial participants are like delivery trucks in the narrow residential streets of Japanese neighborhoods; tolerated for the useful work they do, but they better damn well know their place and yield to pedestrians at all times. Having a place like Pixiv to post your practice sketches, get comments and tips and perhaps even engage in a bit of shameless promotion for your dojin is a force multiplier for the fandom.

The other really interesting thing about Comiket is the legion of volunteers. The orange baseball hats and armband brigade were everywhere. There are reportedly over 2,000 of them working the convention and they are all superbly organized. I want their ops manual. The know-how and the procedures for coordinating that many people, how they are detailed up for setup, crowd management, line-wrangling, take-down, ship-back and the myriad other tasks is amazing lore. You just don’t pull that kind of thing out of your ass and get away with it. Add to that how they coordinate with the staff from the Big Sight, the shipping companies and the industry booth folks and you really have an amazing level of organizational mojo on display.

Watch this fun video if you doubt…
Sauce: http://upvoted.com/2016/01/16/crowd-control-in-japan-is-mesmerizing/

While most of the folks at Comiket were looking at the stuff, I tried to  keep an eye on the volunteers. I’m sure that they had their share of tense moments and snafus but I saw no hint of such. You really have to have an institutional reserve of experience to pull something like that off. I am in awe.

Congratulations and thanks to all the staff and participants and fans! Happy Comiket 89.

Forty thousand in gehenna

It is nearly the end of the year.
JP dec sunset web

Tomorrow is the first day of Comic Market, AKA Comiket. It is fujoshi day but I’ll go anyway. My feet feel like the Turkish secret police have worked them over, so it will be both canes and plenty of Meridol. No lines for me: if I make it by 12:30pm that should be fine. Experience the rush of humanity, see some cosplay, visit the dealer booths. I am in Japan, it is the time, it has to be done. End of discussion.

Please note the freshly minted twitter link on the left of the main sidebar or visit [http://twitter.com/Mudakuntweets]. I have a data-sim plan and intend to work that little smartphone camera like a rented mule.

A shout-out to this 2008 guide to ‘Ket. At least it has a useful map:
https://ticktank.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/ticktanks-english-guide-to-comiket-part-iii-navigation/

Meanwhile Chapter 119’s raws have surfaced in the usual nefarious grey spaces, (amazing what can be done with Ctrl-Shift-I, resources, frames, images, drag) the fan conversation is getting heavy and I’m guessing that Mada has put his foot in it again. BIG TIME.

Joni Mitchell’s case of you is playing in the background…

Dr. Maniax has a most excellent summary freshly posted.
http://ogiuemaniax.com/2015/12/27/future-boy-genshiken-ii-chapter-119/

Happy New Year!

The Fear

Lately “the fear” (cf. Thompson, Campaign Trail 72) has been creeping up on me; my version is that feeling you get when you go to a party, a coffee shop, a conference or even a convention and suddenly you are one billion miles from even faking fitting in. You wonder if you are pestering the celebrity guests or the booth folks, and even the staff… You wonder:

WHY AM I HERE?

I really should stop doing this, I should stop pestering folks in the comment sections of their blogs, I should stop getting too wrapped up in fannish stuff. Why am I even doing this blog? Oh yeah: writing exercises to stave off early onset senile dementia. Cling to that thought. Feel the anomie. The weird little narcissistic variant thereof, complete with overworked self-consciousness. I am feeling brotherly sympathy with Genshiken’s Kuchiki. My teeth explode with pleasure.

Gang of Four – “At Home He’s a Tourist” (Live on Rockpalast, 1983)

This kind of shit happens, no biggie. It happens to everyone. You can even do things with it if you push through it.

Here’s a more extreme version of the condition. Skip about halfway through the piece for “the fear“. His version is about awkwardness and gaming fandom but the effect holds for all kinds of “communities of interest”. Read it.

http://www.salon.com/2014/10/30/that_creepy_guy_from_the_internet_how_gamergate_shattered_faith_in_the_geek_community/

Honestly, lots of folks have been supportive on this blog, I just need to clear my head.Steadman F+Lweb

The urge to run off to Japan, rent an insanely over-horsepowered El Dorado convertible with special tires from Sandoz laboratories inflated to 70psi and set out toward Fukushima in search of the Japanese Dream has become impossible to resist. Even if the logistics of the enterprise are dubious.

At very least, if those clowns for that cable TV show ambush me on the street in Akiba again, I’ll be ready with some high-octane bullshit for them.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I have scrapped three versions of a tightly argued and well-structured theory post due to toxic contamination and now I find myself 6,000 miles from home. It turns out that the rental market for vintage El Dorado convertibles in the Kamakura/ Yokohama area is a little tighter than I first imagined. She who up with me puts is also a bit annoyed at my antic manner.

I can’t complain. It’s coming on Christmas, They’re cutting down trees. They’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. Comiket in one week! I understand no Japanese, so making the pilgrimage will undoubtedly be a gigantic alienation crowd-fest at the end of a 2 hour train ride.

I have almost figured out the online guide map and have found a total of one Genshiken-related porno dojin with Hato-kun as an Adult Video star. The name of the circle is something to the effect of “busty little girls pedo bear ice cream circus”, if you can believe web translation service. Tuesday is rotten girl day, Wednesday looks like game day and Thursday, New Years Eve is a sausage fest.

Do not want know what FC pounding is web

If anyone out there has any other ideas, I will entertain amusing suggestions; Slavoj Zizek dressing up as Santa Claus and screaming post-Marxian bullshit at the main offices of the NHK on Boxing Day, or even the Murakami show at the Mori, I can be persuaded give them a try… I might even, possibly…. report back here on them.

There must be a beach somewhere around here. It’s not too cold yet. Maybe I can get some swimming in. They have these things called natsu-mikan here; they are like grapefruit only more bitter. Good grapefruit are hard to find. You have to be rich to afford them.

Best of the season and a happy New Year to all.