Friday, January 9, 2009

Everyone is talking about BubbleGum Crisiseseses

BubbleGum Crisis Trifecta Now Complete,
- or -
Why BGC 2040 should only be watched in an academic setting with the sound off.

It's the future... but there's still no cure for Priss's mechanophilia.

Remember when I mentioned trends in Japanese Sociology and three possibilities that may be what the country chooses to rely on as a whole? Remember those three and how two of them seemed reasonable and the other one seemed like one that was really out there? Yeah, well they’re going with the robots anyway. This raised a point which has a sort of universal relevance throughout almost all segments of humanity not just Japan or Asia. What I speak of is the ability of the individual/collective mind to de-sensitize itself to the common sense notions of the ridicularity of an impractical concept or thing, if that said concept or thing is one that helps to maintain a social or ideological status quo. …did you get that? (I know ridicularity is not a word).

Nowhere is this more observable than in religious circles, where creationists come up with the most astonishing ideas about dinosaur bones and 2million year old light from Andromeda in order to maintain their pre-existing belief that your eternal soul needs saving by a ancient zombie jew if you eat his flesh and drink his blood because 6,000 years ago when the world popped out of nothing, a rib-woman was tricked into eating a magical fruit by a talking snake… with legs. Now that’s an extreme example but well exemplifies why there is so much of this kind of thinking going on. Over in Japan this news story is an example of life imitating art, a view of a life where Boomers and Cyborgs are a legitimate and feasible strategy for society to go on (anything to keep the Gaijin out) and the elevator girls still bowing to you while you go up to the top floor of Seibu looking for socks or whatever... but they’ll be robots now. Popular culture as reflected in manga and anime is very much steeped in the acceptance of borderline sci-fi absurdities in forwarding idea of preserving Japanese societal norms in an unchanging manner. In anime, the notions of a future where mechanical people Japanese people walking around doing all kinds of stuff is painted as a totally inevitability, but a Gaijin walking down the street in 2040 will still be weird. Now, it doesn’t take someone with a PhD in social sciences to realize that the actual future will probably end up being the opposite of that. But that’s not gonna stop this from getting pushed to the limit. This notion, that in the future Japan will stay as culturally and ethnically isolated as it is, and simply turn into Japan + Robots is so imbedded in cultural sensibilities that any anime or manga that is set in the future which does not include some manifestation of this, is thought of as an anomaly. It is such a hallmark of Otaku culture, that non-Japanese manga inspired works (web-comic Mega Tokyo is an example) include such manifestations as obligatory.

Now from the perspective of a country like the United States, this seems illogical and a long-shot wasteful use of resources at best. The USA comes from a very different perspective, one where a large scale immigration lead to developmental success and anti-immigration notions are usually the losers in the gladiatorial arena of popular politics. So it’s easy for someone from such a perspective to stand behind this Japanese path and mumble “it’s not gonna wooooork” as time goes on and things get outta hand. Of course that sentiment is scoffed at, not based on the merits or chance of success, but rather an almost religious notion that the alternatives are simply not acceptable because they violate many basic sensibilities of the status quo.

This exists in an even more proto-form in the world of fandom, where all kinds of notions and wishful things are superimposed on to commercial art and writings all over the place.
I once went on a 21 minute trolling crusade on youtube, commenting on every AMV I could find which used a song wrongly attributed to Weird Al Yankovic. Not only was I amazed on how many I could find (What if God Smoked Cannabis, Fart Will Go On, Toast, Ugly Girl, …all kinds of crap), but I was then further amazed at some of the responses that sought to rebuke the reality and assert that they were Weird Al songs. Things like “Oh he didn’t sing it but he wrote it” or “Someone else originally did it but this is Weird Al’s version” and the best “well Limewire labeled it as Weird Al so there.” Now these people want to be right so much, that they are blind to how ridiculous those claims are when you think about them. Now I could go on and on about the origins of this phenomenon (it has to do with how Napster worked) but this isn’t the “Angry weird Al fan blog.”

So everyone is talking about BGC from the “it’s not gonna wooooork” vantage point, and we can laugh at a Japan of 2040 where a mecha-maid serving you coffee with visible cleavage for you to ogle without negative repercussion is common every day scenery, but a gaijin walking into MosBurger is still worthy of stopping in your tracks and gawking. Yes this is going to be a reality. So is Bubble Gum Crisis and its atrocious re-incarnation BGC 2040 and anything else with crazy Japanese robots some sort of propaganda for the new world order of automation and negative population? No, that would be stupid, and the amount of old people wasn’t made apparent. This is an example of how cultural sensibilities are adapting to indigenous and external environmental factors in a changing world. Sensational news stories aside, the path of least resistance to this problem is so only to an outside observer, and the most desirable from the Japanese perspective will continue move forward with great entertainment for the rest of the world to see nothing else.

To address the flaws in the argument that annoying otaku are gonna bring up (this will only address issues from the original BGC and not BGC2040 because I just can’t watch all of that):

- Oh but the AD Police Chief is like such a Gaijin and he’s the Captain so he rose so high and so there must be plenty more out there in the future society.
No. BGC is just as much a product of Blade Runner and other American movies as Gunsmith Cats is related to Blues Brothers and The Fugitive. He’s thrown in there for effect.
- But Nene’s name is Romanova, and the original BGC is Full of Gaijin like it's nothing.
Are you kidding? Look at Nene. LOOK at NENE, she’s the embodiment of the Japanese O.L. and if you think the audience is seeing anything other than that when they rate her the #2 top female AIC character of all time, then you need to read more (or you’re in middle school). This also applies to every other non-traditional Japanese name in this thing, Priss, Lina, Samuel MacCoy, Brian J Mason, Silvy, you want me to keep going? With that logic EVERYONE in Mega Tokyo is an import. I’m pretty sure that even IF that was the writers intention, it’s been lost on the audience.
- But in BGC 2040 blah blah blah...
How can you ask a question about an anime that doesn’t exist?

Japanese Robot Secretary.
She doesn't rike you.


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