Monday, March 10, 2014

zombie nerdrage of doom

The sheer amount of unfathomable contempt I am currently feeling has driven me to dig this blog out of the grave in which it has been quietly rotting. I am feeling petty and cruel and nerdoutraged.

Over the past few months, I've become a regular follower of ANN. It's a very convenient place to get narrowly-targeted otaku news, and I'm pretty fond of the House of 1000 Manga and Answerman columns. Occasionally I read the reviews as well. I have Strong Opinions about anime, and it's interesting and at times kind of refreshing to read someone else's view that is more coherent than pseudo-readable tumblr mob babbling and gifs. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I do like consuming full sentences every now and then). Also, not going to lie, it feels nice to have my own opinions vindicated by someone who actually bothers to write their shit on the internet.

But. Today, one ANN reviewer posted their review on Hoozuki no Reitetsu Episodes 1-7 Streaming. And. Ok, you don't find the humor appealing. I can let that slide. I am personally enjoying this particular season immensely and Hoozuki is contributing greatly to that. To me, it is an unexpected delight of a show, given that I'm not usually fond of office/gag comedy, even if they are supernaturally themed. Alright, but humor is always hit and miss, and to each their own. If you didn't like the show very much, then it has nothing to do with me.

But let me quote these parts of that review, this thing that I cannot forgive:

"There are precedents for Hozuki of course. Bumbling King Enma, ruler of the afterlife, has his roots in Dragon Ball Z's version of Enma—a big bluffer seated perpetually behind his desk."

....I'm sorry? What was that???

"Hell as a harried bureaucracy drowning in paperwork was an invention of Yū Yū Hakusho. "

....are you fucking kidding me.

"There's Momotaro and his entourage, various traditional Japanese monsters and occupants of Hell, a mythical Chinese beast of some sort, and many more. None of them are amusing, except in passing (Momotaro's dog, pheasant, and monkey take to torture with disturbingly happy enthusiasm), and some are downright awful (the man-crazy, bodybuilding horse and cow women who guard Hell's gates)."

You aren't even trying, are you.

"It's possible they'd be funnier if we were more familiar with their original myths, but the treatment of mythical figures we are familiar with argues against that. Satan is a cruelly unfunny parody of the blustering American and Beelzebub is equally devoid of laughs as a parody of European aristocrats."

I don't even know what to say to this. I really don't.

Seriously, a reviewer who can't be assed to realize that King Yama and the Infernal Bureaucracy do not, in fact, originate from Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho shouldn't be publishing reviews on anime, especially on a series as strongly derived on Japanese culture like Hoozuki. How can you even claim to be a fan of anime if you simply watch and watch and not put forth even the slightest fucking effort into actually absorbing and digesting what you consume? I can't even call this willful ignorance anymore; you are just a stupid fucking asshole. You are literally one fucking google search away from not making a complete dumbass out of yourself. (Also since you're actually a proper staff reviewer that ANN has hired, your name is permanently attached to this dumb article for all of posterity. At least try to cover your ass a little bit when you write, why don't you?)

And I really don't even want to get into this, but the sheer amount of egocentric ethnocentrism in the comments about western Satan and Beelzebub make me really mad. If you don't give enough respect to Japanese and other East Asian cultures to acknowledge that they actually exist outside of media that you consume for you pleasure, you don't get to criticize how they choose to parody elements of western culture such that they appeal to their own tastes and sensibilities, alright?

You know what else makes me unhappy? There are 22 comments about this article while I'm writing this, only one of which pointed out the sheer factual incorrectness of attributing relatively accessible parts of Buddhist mythology to Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho (no, I will never get over this). This means that there are scores more of dumbasses who think the same, or aren't willing or able to make the logical conclusion that these things are recurring cultural allusions instead of a goddamn anime reference. I freely acknowledge that I am a fucking weeaboo; it is something I simply cannot deny at this point in time. But I have rarely felt so utterly contemptuous of these-things-that-are-supposedly-of-my-kind but are kind of just narrow-minded, culturally ignorant trash. Are you lacking in a brain, or could it be that your head is shoved so far up your ass that the only things that could ever possibly cross your field of vision are the things that you shit out yourself?

I'll admit that I'm just being incredibly petty and vindictive here. Ranting is what a private blog is for, after all, and just as Kathryn has her thing about anatomically incorrect skeletons, Chinese mythology is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I've been utterly charmed by the Infernal Bureaucracy ever since I got my grubby, twelve-year-old hands on an English translation of Journey to the West. This cruelty is the cruelty driven by intense nerdrage.

But, you know, actually attempting to know source material will never hurt you. You learn something and expand your worldview! And at the very least, you'll certainly get a lot more of actually watching this:

than you ever will out of watching this: