How hyperbole for 'Steins;Gate' led to thoughts about how hyperbole can be counterproductive
Of all the anime-adaptation projects contemplated by Hollywood lately, 'Robotech' stands a better chance than most of surviving the transition
Anime needs a canon, for fans both new and old — but one that manifests as a process, rather than as a list
Last week I published an article about Macross and Robotech that was misleading and downright incorrect. There is no nice way to put any of that. The article was a botch, and its very premise was predicated on misinterpreted facts, as a number of people chimed in to pointed out. I have left the article up for the sake of continuity — no point in pretending I didn't write it — and reflected further on what prompted me to write the piece in the first place. Greed, mainly. Not monetary greed, but greed of another kind: the need for attention and validation.
It's too easy, and potentially misleading, to say the opposite of something great is something awful. The real enemy of the great is the aggressively middle-of-the-road, the thing that's "okay" but rarely much more than that, and which encourages other things to be only okay as an easy way out from ever having to shoot high. Tokyo Ravens is so middle-of-the-road it risks being roadkill. It takes ancient Japan's strain of mysticism and magic, drops it into the modern world, and then almost immediately flees with it into the comfortable arms of a dumb high-school-hijinks story. I don't mind a dumb story that knows it's dumb; I mind a story that flirts with smarts and chooses to be dumb instead, because it's an easier sell.
Critics spend most of their time engaged in the business of criticism — writing or talking about the things they look at — but not as much time reflecting on how they go about said business. I have seen as many different embodiments for why this might be so as I have read the works of different critics. Some don't feel it's their job; some aren't as articulate about their own work as they are its subjects; some are looking to keep the amateurs out, even if they won't own up to such a gatekeeping sentiment. But the more we talk about how one goes about this business of looking at anything critically — whether it's modern architecture, public policy, or the popular culture of another country — the more we see why it matters in the first place.