Revisiting My Neighbor Totoro (On The Rewatch #1)

I remember it more clearly than most things. After working out, I biked across my college campus to meet up with a couple friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I dragged my exhausted body up the stairs to their room on the dorm’s 7th floor, and we sat down to chill out and watch a movie.
But the most interesting thing I remember about that fairly typical day is the movie my friend had put on. It was animated, but not like the mainstream American Disney productions I was used to. I vividly remember how it started: cute little bugs and snakes danced on the borders of the screen as a little girl strode confidently across centerscreen and a glowing anthem accompanied her.
The next thing I remember is these two young girls – one maybe four years old, the other closer to ten – running around a distinctly foreign looking house together. All these little black things scattered in their wake, fleeing the sunlight as they they threw open each dusty door. And I reacted to some degree the same way as them. Initially scared, then unncertain, and finally overwhelmingly curious. I found the film unpredictable, and that unpredictability was fascinating.

Since that day anime has continued to surprise me in new and interesting ways. Even when watching the same anime a second or fifth time. Rewatching My Neighbor Totoro has left me with some of the same but also some entirely new fascinations, and it’s one of my favorite films to put on and fall asleep to. I don’t mean that it’s grown stale, rather the film is ultimately soothing in it’s intricate familarity. The way the characters live their daily lives at first look could seem familiarly mundane, but on closer inspection is as complex as any day in the real world. I think that is a goal in all of Hayao Mizaki’s works, but his 1988 feature captures that sentiment best for me, maybe because unlike most of his features, My Neighbor Totoro was set in a 1950s Japan.
The films starts very grounded – a family man and his two daughters move to the coutryside to be closer to the hospital where their ill mother resides. Immediately, Mayazaki shows us where he shines; it isn’t in the plot or stakes, but rather in how detailed his visual storytelling is. We see are shown key moments on their trip and when we arrive at the family’s new house, we now realize that they are moving in here. The movie didn’t immediately tell us explicitly through dialogue what was going to happen, instead we are allowed to see the trip ourselves and come to the realization through watching the characters interact with each other and their surroundings. Seeing the car packed to overflowing with personal belongings is the first clue, and it builds from there. By the time the father is moving things into the house with a mover, we see the house is in total disrepair. One girl swings around a porch pole and almost breaks the rotten thing off. Cobwebs and dust fill every room that the girls run through while exploring their new home. And their joy fills the house, scaring out the little black things I mentioned before – soot sprites that litterally scatter on the wind.
The rest of the film is an escalating magical journey that has become iconic as the premier anime family film. And all this without a main driving conflict. My Neighbor Totoro captures the magical moments of everyday childhood. Consider how Mei (the younger of the two girls) discovers the Totoros. She is playing in the yard and finds a trail of acorns in the field. This both piques her interest and is a great bit of building after a setup, since earlier as Mei and Satsuki (the older sister) are exploring the house they find acorns falling out of thin air. So, when Mei sees a pair of bunny ears above the grown out grass that soon after is revealed to be a partially invisible, plump, rabbit-sized creature hefting an overflowing bag of the seeds, it isn’t more than a pleasant surprise for her and us. Like any inquisitive kid, she chases the rabbit thing all over until she follows it and its slightly larger counterpart down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole that leads right to the gigantic “To-To-Ro” as Mei names him after his yawning noises.

My Neighbor Totoro is quick to declare its world’s magic ambiguous. Totoro is as big as a California King Bed, plush, round, and lathargic. He doesn’t even respond to Mei crawling up on his stomach, and even when she seems to get his attention by itching his nose, he scarcely looks at her directly. Totoro continues to ignore human interactions for most of the movie. Is he really there? I mentioned that the first little Totoro that is spotted by Mei appears see-through at its introduction, and later after Mei trys to show her father and sister the giant Totoro, he seems to have vanished along with his rabbithole. This kind of ambiguous presentation adds to the magic of my Neighbor Totoro and is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it time and time again.
Sorry this post took longer than I said it would. This is a bit of a stream of consciousness post, but I hope you like it. Thanks for reading, I’ve been VasA. Until we meet again, enjoy yourselves my friends. It’s a great big world out there, full of Totoros and other magic, but for now I need London dry gin, more than 3 hours of sleep, and meaningful interactions with people.
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Introducing “On The Rewatch”

It’s no secret that the internet landscape as it is today provides almost limmitless access to information. I can remember being a kid and having to get in front of the TV at the right time time of day on the right day of the week to get my Pokemon fix. I can remember pulling VHS tapes out of tattered boxes and inserting them into the family TV, only to be forced to rewind the entire tape before I could watch the grainy footage. But now, I can go online and find a 1080p HD copy of almost anything I want to watch within minutes. Dictionaries are useless as long as I have my smartphone on hand; books, obsolete between the two tablets that I listen to audiobooks on. Everything relating to the consumption of information is so easy and QUICK. But in all this quickness, I think we’ve lost something.
And that something is the rewatch. Everyone is so focused on clicking through the daily new content from their favorite creators online that they don’t bother to look back. I’ve learned as an analyst that the more times you watch something, the more you pick up on new things and solidify your memory of the things you knew before. There is so much more that I’ve been able to get out of anime on the subsequent rewatches that I wasn’t able to get out of them before. That’s why I no longer consider anime to be in my favorites unless I’ve watched them within the last 6 months or have rewatched them many times to confirm how I feel. As someone who loves movies and anime, I want to start a new series on this blog where I look back at titles that are important to me and see what more I can get out of them on a repeat viewing. So I’ll be starting “On The Rewatch” where I write rambling posts on what I got out of my rewatches. My Neighbor Totoro will be up first. I’ll have it out tomorrow morning. I’m sure it’ll be fun and I hope you’ll join me. Vasa out.

Shut Up About The Anime Awards (Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2016)

So the 2016 Crunchyroll Anime Awards have come and gone – leaving waves of salty, ice cold comments regarding the results reverberating throughout the anime community. Yet, all I can think is, “What did everyone expect?” I hate the nature of the negative backlash to the Anime Awards and especially the recent hit Yuri on Ice, simply because this saltiness seems to be coming from a place of egregious misconceptions. It has been over 2 months since the awards and I still haven’t seen a detailed explanation as to why the anime awards turned out they way they did, so I am making this post to explain it and hopefully calm a tiny bit of the waters.

1. Popular Personalities and Marketing
Let’s begin with the “judges” of the Anime Awards. These judges really were just there to select nominees for each category of award, they didn’t actually decide the winners. And they were mainly popular personalities, including people such as: LeSean Thomas, who is an American director and television writer for animated series like the boondocks; Xavier Woods, a professional wrestler actor in the WWE; and Arkada from the anime YouTube channel Glass Reflection. These people do no have time to watch every anime that comes out in a year with their busy lives, but I guarantee they have seen the most popular shows in the genres they most enjoy. Popular, universally liked personalities have mostly popular, uncontroversial tastes in shows. This isn’t true in all cases, but it’s a good rule of thumb – especially since I can’t see someone like the infamous, yet fairly popular Digibro of YouTube with his highly contentious opinions being selected as a judge for a publicity campaign like the Crunchyroll Anime Awards. Yes, let’s get this out of the way – the Anime Awards are a publicity campaign, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Crunchyroll is in essence, a business entity. It’s a website owned by Otter Media which is then owned in 50% chunks by two other companies. Crunchyroll’s main goal is to make a profit. The Anime Awards are a great way to get people who may have only heard about anime in passing to check out Crunchyroll’s streaming service to see what all the hype is about. Using popular, well liked personalities like LeSean Thomas to drive interested traffic to your website is a great idea from their perspective.

Now that we’ve established the background framework of why the Anime Awards came into existence, let’s talk about the structure that further suggested the outcome of these awards.

2. The Concentration of Popular Vote To Limited Choices Within Limited Categories
Crunchyroll and the judges agreed upon making 14 categories of awards and having 4 named choices in each of these categories, in addition to a write-in choice in each category. The only exception being the Anime of the Year Award. According to Crunchyroll’s Sr. Social Manager on a podcast he did with Arkada, he had to convince Crunchyroll to expand the ballot to 8 nominations plus the write-in choice for the Anime of the Year Award. I counted the number of standard length TV anime series that began airing in 2016. My criteria were for the shows to have at least 10 episodes of 22-26 minutes each. I came up with 162 series. I didn’t include the innumerable movies, OVAs, shorts, and continually-running anime from 2016 in this number. My point is that even if only these standard anime shows were eligible in the voting (which as far as I can tell is not true), only 5% could be named as nominees for the Anime of the Year Award, or 2.5% for any other category. It’s a pretty widely accepted fact that when people are faced with named choices and a write in, they are much more likely to vote for a recognizable choice than to consider any outside possibilities, so I think it’s fair to say that the options were pretty limited. In addition, all of the award categories were pretty basic and vague. For example, “Best Girl.” Two unspecific words that mean different things to different people. Best Girl? In what way? The most attractive? The smartest? The coolest? The cutest? The most effective in the story? The most morally righteous? All the categories are like this.
3. Recency Bias and The Ephemeral Nature of Hype
It’s important to remember that the more recently you have seen something or thought about it, the more likely you are to feel strongly about it or generally remember it. This a cognitive bias that some people refer to as “recency bias”. Those who participate in the online anime community heavily are by and large people watching currently airing anime and participating in discussions about it. With that it mind, it makes sense that more popular shows as well as more recent shows will get nominated and win, because they are on everyone’s minds already.
Hype is ephemeral. When people watch a trailer for a marvel movie, for example, their hype lasts as long as they remember seeing the money shots of Iron Man punching Captain America or feeling the Inception BWWAAAMMMs and wooooos reverberate in their skull. The nature of Hype is that it’s a state of being that lasts a fairly short amount of time.

4. POPULAR VOTE, YA STUPID IDIOTS.
This is really the most simple aspect of this. The voting was open to anyone on the internet, and the more popular shows have more people who have watched them overall, so regardless of whether those people liked them or not, the more popular shows have a larger batch of potential people who could remember liking them. The most popular shows become favorites of more people because those people have seen less shows in total. i.e. If you’ve only ever heard news about 2 political candidates, you’re going to vote for one of them, not the other 35 people running for the same office you don’t know about.

A Slightly Oversimplified Summary Of What Led To The Awards Results:
Crunchyroll undoubtedly ran the Anime Awards as a way to bring positive publicity to themselves. There were limited choices for the Awards. Recency bias, hype, and an open popular vote further led to Yuri on Ice sweeping many categories and generally more popular shows/characters/scenes winning many of the awards.
In conclusion:
So the anime awards was a popularity contest, and this was clear to me from the SECOND I HEARD ABOUT THEM. So, how did you all not see this coming?? Unless you have a fundamental lack of understanding about what popularity is, which is fine, but now you are no longer uninformed on this matter. I haven’t even seen more than a few sparse scenes from Yuri on Ice, but I can definitely say that it doesn’t deserve to be crucified for winning every award category it was in. The people spoke, and the polls listened. And if you think popular vote award shows will ever reflect your own exact opinions back at you in the way you want them to, then you are devaluing your own opinion. Your opinions are shaped by your experiences in life and who you are as a unique individual. That’s what makes you, you. Looking for affirmation in a popular vote is entirely missing the point. Be unique. Express yourself. And don’t worry so much about making sure you’re popular. When it comes down to it, what’s best is entirely decided by personal opinion. What’s way more interesting than these awards is what you loved from 2016 anime and why.

Let me know your thoughts on all of this in the comments.

I am VasA. I hate literally everyone. I hope I die soon. Rem is a best. Here’s best grill 2017 Aqua with a bottle of liquid happiness. Goodnight.

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My Twitter: https://twitter.com/IamVasA

My Current Anime 3×3 Mosaic

Although I have long had a list of my favorite anime in various forms of top 5 to top 30 shows, I have never before made a 3×3, a core list of my 9 favorite anime, so I decided to make one.

But that was back in mid-2016, and since I never finished and posted this 3×3, I am not entirely confident that this list will hold true now, as I currently consider a series holding up on the rewatch to be the most important factor in my feelings about it. For example: I have watched Ping Pong The Animation at least 3 times and I am sure it would remain in this list, but I haven’t fully rewatched Your Lie In April since it aired. (note: I plan to do that in the next couple months for another post about it) So I can’t be 100% confident on it’s place as my number 1. so at the end of each of my quick sells on my favorite shows below, I put in italics how many times I’ve rewatched the series and how confident I am that it would still be my favorite. This is a little different of a post than my page of current anime rankings, which is a more accurate meter of my taste. But anyways, I decided I wanted to finish this post.

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When I initially made my 3×3, it took me a few days to sift through what I loved and what influential enough to be to be included in this 3×3. But when I finally got down to these 9 shows, it was extremely satisfying to settle in to this 3×3 and find suitable images for a mosaic….but then I never fully finished writing the post – until now.

Top row, right to left:

Your Lie in April – My favorite anime to date, despite me only having watched it once, this anime took me on a roller coaster of feelings that I connected with on too many levels to count. Tragedy, depression, competitiveness, elation, and hope all mixed up into one. It made a special impact on me when it aired, because it was just the right time in my life for a show to break me and pick me up again. Never rewatched, no longer very confident on its place in here.

Fate/Zero (seasons 1 & 2) – It’s hard to not like a show that brings such strong characters of so many differing philosophies together, and pits them against one another in a battle to the death, all with a production level that makes everything look like a theatrically released OVA. Gen Urobuchi writes incredibly interesting thematic pieces that even if I disagree with I can’t help but continue to ponder long after they are over. Yes, I know that Gen Urobuchi wrote the novel, not the script, but his writing is clearly at the core of this series’ tone. Rewatched 2 times, very confident on its place in here.

Ping Pong The Animation – Having been a division 1 college athlete myself, I can’t help but think that no other anime tackles sport and how it affects the lives of the players more intensely than Ping Pong. It may have a cheesy-looking name, but don’t overlook this one if you love character studies, experimental animation, and subtly complex narratives. Rewatched 2 times, very confident on its place in here.

Middle row, right to left:

Great Teacher Onizuka – GTO is probably one of the funniest anime out there, and also one of the most dramatic. And that mix is handled perfectly. The tone shifts never feel forced or out of place, but rather the wacky (often perverted) comedy compliments and emphasizes the shows more serious moments, driving home themes of acceptance, personal discovery, and breaking down walls between loved ones with a sledgehammer….literally….all while having a good laugh about it. Never rewatched, somewhat confident on its place in here.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – 2199 is a very serious space opera that has very few goofy moments. It explores futuristic Sci Fi not only in terms of aesthetics and technology but also in societal outlook and ethical questioning. A huge wealth of ideas are explored here. If you love GiTS:SAC then this is a series you don’t want to miss. Never rewatched, watched most of series while drunk, not very confident on its place in here.

The Devil is a Part-timer! – Having some of the best comedy that I have found in anime, this show takes meta to a high level and is easy to connect to and laugh at if you have ever been down and out in life, working a crappy minimum wage part-time job. Rewatched 2 times, very confident on its place in here.

Bottom row, right to left:

Shokugeki no Souma – The joyous competitive spirit of main character Soma Yukihira is what made me love the manga in the first place and J.C. Staff made sure to let that shine through in this adaptation. It is filled with ridiculous foodgasms and sports-anime styled cooking battles. Never rewatched, not very confident on its place in here.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond Is Unbreakable – I’ve always liked JoJo’s, but part 4 is definitely my favorite – equal parts hilarious, mundane, and extrordinary. You kind of have to watch it to fully understand. Only watched 18 episodes (currently on hold), not very confident on its place in here.

Noragami (seasons 1 & 2) – Noragami is another comedy on this list, and it’s kind of like a spiritual brother to The Devil is A Part-timer. The main character is a God who has to do odd jobs to get by, because no one loves him. There is a lot of situational comedy here and more than a few serious moments of drama by the end. Only rewatched part of season 1, only mildly confident on its place in here.

Tell me about your 3×3 in the comments below and/or in your own blog post!! I’d love to see it!

Thanks for reading! You can follow my twitter for more dumb weeb opinions: https://twitter.com/IamVasAmosaic39590d69ba5d8627e990ed808125ffe6ec20174c

VasA’s 12 Days of Anime 2016 Wrap-Up (Day 12 (sort of))

I know I’m a few days late on the draw, but I’d like to do a very short post wrapping up my 12 days of anime for 2016. I did five posts during the 12 days of anime this year. I didn’t make 12 posts in 12 days as I’d hoped to, but I’m happy that I participated at all. I haven’t published so much writing about anime in such a short period of time ever, and I even did it while working one of the hardest day job and travel schedules of my life. Reading other participants blogs was an added treat, as well as a motivator, and valuable educational resource. I got to write my longest post ever, rambling about how worthless Konobi is. I wrote passionately about my favorite anime of all time. I delved into some personal storytelling about feeling passionate and consuming copious amounts of alcohol. I even took a stab at writing about a light novel audio book. The 12 Days of Anime this year was an invaluable experience for me, and I hope to participate in years to come. Thanks for joining me, VasA out.

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This post is part of the The Twelve Days Of Anime, which is an event where over the 12 days leading to Christmas (the 14th to 25th of December), Bloggers and YouTubers share 12 impactful moments they had relating to anime during the year.

By the way, if you don’t know me, then hey I’m VasA and thanks for stopping by! See you next time.

#12DaysAnime

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VasA’s Days Five Through Eleven Post of The Twelve Days of Anime Twenty Sixteen But It’s Actually Just A Single Post

The Kizumonogatari audiobook was delicious. Or should I say it IS delicious? Well I guess I’ve only consumed it once so far in its entirety, so my intial enjoyment of it is in the past now, however recent. But as I consider it currently, I’m drawing even more enjoyment from renewing my analysis of it. I guess that is what good art can do to us. But with the way things slip my mind so easily, I might have to ingest it again just to remember it properly, that with my inability to make like a vampire and reach through my neck into my brain to physically search for it. But enough of that! I must say that watching the first 10 episodes of Monogatari Series Second Season earlier this yeat and devouring the English audiobook version of the Kizumonogatari prequel novel more recently has left me with a greatly improved appreciation for author Niseoesin’s work. My experience with the Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari anime years ago had been relatively fruitless, as at the time I was unable to parse the dense dialogue and constantly changing camera perspectives, especially while trying to read subtitles. On top of that I was not nearly as familiar with the medium of anime and its tropes, trends, and overall culture. I hadn’t yet come even close to the understanding of anime otaku culture I have now. And in as much I didn’t really understand the meta commentary of the characters, or the series’ “mindful self-indulgence” as Digibro over on My Sword Is Unbelievable Dull put it. But now I relish in this type of mildly cynical wit. So when I listened to the first chapter of Kizumonogatari and the English Araragi espoused beautiful prose for minutes on end about the glory of Hanekawa’s panties, and then an English voiceacted Hanekawa asked “So you didn’t just go on for 2 pages detailing my panties?” [quote not exact, I don’t have the audiobook on hand right now to look it up] I audibly chuckled. This kind of occassional 4th wall breaking is what produces some of the best comedic moments in the franchise.

Let me get this out of the way: I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone who is considering getting it. It’s a lot of fun and if you (like me) want something you can listen to anywhere (such as while at work) you’d be hardpressed to beat the entertainment value of this audiobook. It’s 10 hours of interesting dialogue and fantastic character writing delivered by high quality actors. Did I mention this book is fully voice acted? It may have only been three actors (if I remember correctly) but they all did a great job with making their characters believable. So there is your recommendation. It is a prequel to Bakemonogatari and in the afterward Niseoesin even mentions that you could read this book before Bakemonogatari if you wanted to. From here on out in this post I will be spoiling some of the later parts in the novel for the purpose of talking about them. You have been warned.


Whereas watching Bakemonogatari was like jumping into the second episode of the third season of a TV series I’d never heard of, listening to Kizumonogatari was more akin to watching a stand alone movie with an open ending that could easily have more of a narrative added on to it. I felt so much more at home in Kizu than I had in Bake or Nise, although part of that is recency bias, since I haven’t watched the latter two shows in nearly three years, so please forgive any misremberances.  Araragi runs into Hanekawa early in Kizu, and having been aroused by the sight of her panties as the wind blew up her skirt, he goes to buy porn magazines, in the process of which running into a mutilated vampire on the way. The funniest gag in the novel since the meta two page panty description happens when he runs away to throw his dirty magazines in the trash before returning to offer his blood to the dying vampire, all so that he won’t be found dead with a shopping bag of shameful goods. This very telling of his character. Araragi doesn’t mind being found dead, but he doesn’t want to be found dead with dirty magazines. He’d rather not have his name be besmirched and wind up as a headline in the newspaper that would emnarass his family. Of course, he doesn’t die, and instead winds up as a vampire, and from there Kisshot and Hanekawa get massive character developments over the course of the novel. I could write for far too long about them and the other characters, but I’m just going to focus on a few key character moments about Hanekawa so as to keep this twelve days of anime post concise.

“She was amazing. She really was. Honestly. She was so amazing that it didn’t make sense.” – Araragi says about Hanakawa in Kizumonogatari audiobook chapter 16.



If you’ve watched Monogatari Series Second Season, as I think it is safe to assume most anime fans who would be reading me blog about Kizu have, then I’m sure you know there is something deeper behind why Hanekawa acts so kind and amiable all the time. Well, Kizu pretty much does nothing but show us how wierdly kind Hanekawa can be. She constantly comes to Araragi’s aid throughout it, not only bringing him a full set of clothing at one point, but actually using her own savings to buy them for him at a store and manage to get sizes that would work for him.

She also steps up during two battles in the novel, exposing herself to powerful foes in order to give Araragi advice. In one of these fights, Araragi vs Episode, she has her body broken in half and shattered to bits by the impact of a huge cross thrown as a projectile weapon. And yet she still manages to eek out the right words to communicate to Aragi what he must do to win with her dying breath.

In another scene, Hanekawa is strangled while bbeing held captive by madman Guilotine Cutter, and she tells Araragi to not worry about her safety.

All of this characterization may seem like generic overblown movie character heroism, but if we can look through that we will see something different. A broken girl. A girl who is so broken that she doesn’t see any intrinsic value in herself. Hanekawa only sees herself as a vessel good for helping others, and in this she feels her own life is logically worth nothing. She has fantastic grades and a vast wealth of knowledge, and she acts kind to everyone she meets, but none of that matters at the end of the day when she goes home to parents who don’t care about her. And that may be why she seems to purge undesirable thoughts and accepts all of her circumstances without a gripe. This willingness to accept everything and put on this facade of a model student while not embodying the sentiment behind it disturbs a number of characters in the Monogatari franchise and downright scares Meme Oshino. Of course, all of this is just my own subjective interpretation of her character, based on my own limmited knowledge.

I find Hanekawa to be an extremely interesting character and one whose attitudes and actions I’m still trying to parse in my own mind. Thank you for reading.

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This post is part of the The Twelve Days Of Anime, which is an event where over the 12 days leading to Christmas (the 14th to 25th of December), Bloggers and YouTubers share 12 impactful moments they had relating to anime during the year.

By the way, if you don’t know me, then hey I’m VasA and thanks for stopping by! See you next time.

#12DaysAnime

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Shoegaze And A Hangover (12 Days of Anime 2016 Day 4)

So following up my post two days ago about the nadir of my life and my post yesterday about getting back into writing about anime and gaining a greater appreciation for anime analysis early in the year, I am now going to transition into a major part of my summer. Which was getting drunk alone after work on blisteringly difficult 70+ hour work weeks. The reason I was getting drunk was fairly simple. I hadn’t drank in over 9 months while getting back on my feet financially and getting in a good head space, as well as to maintain a heavy work schedule I wasn’t used to.

But I love to drink. I’m pretty sure I inherited my Mother’s and Grandfather’s propensity for overconsumption of alcohol and just like them it’s led me to trouble more then a few times. Luckily it hasn’t delivered me to the Grim Reaper like it did them. But morbid tales aside, when you’ve settled in to working 70+ hours a week and have unchecked insomnia, you might find you look to the sauce to pursue any scarce bit of shut-eye you can scavenge. Oh wait, that is kind of morbid…well whatever. And at almost exactly the same point in summer I found out about Demolition D’s [“Demo” henceforth] Ustream channel.

I was definitely a fan of anime analysis at this point, but I needed more of it in video\audio format so I could listen to it at work. But there are only so many times you can rewatch Digibro’s massive stock of analysis videos before you crave other analytical perspectives like a connoisseur craves fine wines. Demo does not not have a large amount of analysis in most of his videos, and they aren’t very long in total – I’d say 8 minutes on average at best. But I hadn’t yet explored much of the YouTube analytical sphere, so after I exhausted most of Digibro’s collection I turned to Demo. He hadn’t been making many videos so I checked his twitter and wound up following a link to his UStream. And after that, endless drunken nights of reverie ensued.

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A screencap of one of Demo’s streams on my phone.

It had turned out that instead of making more videos about anime, almost every night starting at between 12:45am and 1:30am, Demo would stream music, movies, anime, music videos, short films, and more on his Ustream and would be in the chat with a bunch of crazy drunk weebs just like me. Demo would often imply he was drinking, and others (like me) would mention we were drinking every night. So it was like we all got drunk in our respective places after work and told bad jokes in a chat client while we binge watched artsy shit. Oftentimes, streams would spiral out of control as the sun came up and devolve into droning music videos, minutes of looped anime gifs, long blank screens, and obscure anime shorts; like the much more emotional than it sounds Kanamewo, where a woman finds an alien frog girl, brings her home, and fucks her – all set to a heavily experimental post-rock/shoegaze song. Not that I had any idea what I was watching until much later, as Demo would usually no longer be attempting to communicate in chat at this point. Sometimes I didn’t make it through the whole streams, as I would successfully drink until passing out and manage to sleep for at least an hour or two before getting up to chug massive amounts of water, shower, and head to work barely sobered up.

So in a quest to be able to fill my time at work listening to the interesting music that Demo played on his streams, I found his SoundCloud and started with his “This Shit Right Here” playlist. I spent days at work listening to this playlist and related tracks continuously while I monotonously cleaned university carpets with boiling hot steam and a rotovac. And so I discovered Tokyo Shoegazer, through Demo’s repost of their song “Bright”.

What is Tokyo Shoegazer? Tokyo Shoegazer is a Japanese shoegaze band. What is shoegaze? Essentially it’s alternative rock with heavy distortion in the guitars, fuzzy singing, lots of feedback, and a blurred format overwhelmingly suitable for lengthy songs. the reason it’s called shoegaze originates from how the bands perform their songs. The genre involves a lot of on stage tweaking of the whammy bar and more notably playing with a large number of floor pedals to create layered tones and experimental sounds. Hence, looking at the ground – shoegazing.

Now that I’ve recently discovered what it is, I’ve realized I love shoegaze. It’s the perfect genre for me right now. The vocals are dream-like, the soundscapes epic and sweeping, and the format inspiring in it’s incredible artistry. It’s MY FAVORITE aesthetic. And I’ve only just scratched the surface. I could get into a lot more detail about this genre, but I’m running out of time to get this post up and I want to explore the genre more before I talk more about it again. I also don’t want to embarrass myself talking about music when I have such a narrow understanding of the medium. Here are a couple wide-appeal Japanese shoegaze albums for you to listen to if you are interested in the genre. The first one is more blurred and dreampop-esque and the second is more like post-rock.

 

 

If it was Digibro who got me in to anime analysis, then it was Demolition D who got me in to shoegaze. Now that I think of it, the summer I spent watching Demo’s streams and drinking my insomnia into submission was a lot like the winding narrative and blurred imagery of a shoegaze record. I hope you found some intrigue in this sprawling post about nothing in particular. Have a good one. until next time, VasA out.

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VasA’s Twelve Days of Anime, Day Four: I Like Beer… – And Shoegaze!

This post is part of the The Twelve Days Of Anime, which is an event where over the 12 days leading to Christmas (the 14th to 25th of December), Bloggers and YouTubers share 12 impactful moments they had relating to anime during the year.

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