The Sunshine Award – I Got Nominated For One of Those Blog Chain Letter Award Thingies But This One Is Pretty Cool So I’m Game

I wanted my next post to be about One Punch Man so I’d have all three of my stickied posts feature a screenshot from the show but Medieval Otaku nominated me for the Sunshine Award and … wait, I just had a good idea … continuing, Medieval Otaku is a great blog that I like to read. As a Roman Catholic, I enjoy reading a quality written blog that adds Catholicism into the mix of covering anime – I have never had the guts to do it much myself because I think I might have poor impulse control when discussing religion since we’d be dealing with something truly important (a person’s soul as opposed to anime) and I want my blog to remain a place that’s civil.

I also thought the questions were good ones so here we go …

Three Rules of the Sunshine Awards

  • Extend thanks to your nominator
  • Answer the questions provided
  • Nominate other bloggers (the number is of your choosing), notify them, and generate some questions for them

Medieval Otaku’s questions:

1) Does any anime remind you of your favorite author’s books?

Since I have a watch of favorite authors, I’ll pare the answer to just two. The first author, J.R.R. Tolkien, is primarily known for what he called medieval romances – The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings. To remind me of his work, a work needs to show a crazy attention to detail in creating the setting, characters, and story with the result being something that feels completely real. There is only one anime that has done this for me and that’s Hunter x Hunter. I can think of no better complement for Hunter x Hunter then that – it reminds me of Tolkien’s works, so we’ll leave it at that.

natsume29739The second author is Neil Gaiman. My favorite book of his is American Gods. One of the ideas in this book is that whenever a person worships a god it causes a physical representation of that god to be created and/or sustained in that country. This includes intangibles like the gods of media, looking like TV anchorpersons, and of technology, looking like socially awkward nerds. This is similar to what is found in Shinto and thus, I see a very similar idea in many anime such as Natsume’s Book of Friends and Kamichu!.

2) Who is your favorite philosopher?

I don’t have one.

There are certainly philosophers that are worthy of respect but I view the profession with a degree of mistrust, much like I do lawyers, because of the degree of atrocities attributed to various “enlightened” philosophies and that clouds my ability to have a favorite philosopher. An example of this, on a smaller and more personal level, is that I know of no living Jesuit that I would trust my soul to or accept what they say as “wise” unless they were quoting – and quoting completely – from someone I already trust.

I am also more interested in what you do with a philosophy and the people willing to defend the truth found amongst these philosophies. John Locke could be a candidate for “favorite political philosopher” but I’d rather study and defend the government that the Founding Fathers created after being influenced by him from the ill-conceived and wrong philosophies that seek to mutilate a great country to fit a mold that has only produced miserable, failing or failed countries.

3) What is your favorite anime?

[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 131 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.21_[2014.05.28_02.46.16]

Hunter x Hunter, see question 1. To be more precise, the 2011 version of this anime – I haven’t seen the original 1999 version. If I wanted to continue the comparison between Tolkien and it, I’d liken watching Hunter x Hunter as being similar to starting from the light-hearted beginning of The Hobbit and continuing through to the end of The Lord of the Rings. I’m closing in on having watched 1000 anime and I strongly suspect I will never find another anime that will be able to eclipse it.

4) Why did you start blogging?

[Vivid] Gakkou Gurashi! - 01 [41249C22].mkv_snapshot_05.42_[2015.07.27_02.50.02]
Me watching anime.

There were various reasons that helped contribute to my starting an anime blog with the simplest being that I liked anime, had no one locally to talk to about it, and forum posting wasn’t enough. The reason I continue to blog about anime is that I discovered that blogging forced me to ask myself “Why did I like this anime?” and finding the answers deepened my love of the art form and pushes me to continue writing.

5) What’s your favorite hobby?

My second favorite hobby might just be writing holiday themed Dungeons and Dragons adventures. The latest was for a family picnic on Labor Day. It featured the line, “I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies!” as well as asking the players to pick sides in a labor dispute between Dwarven miners and the mine owners. The ruthlessness at which my family members attacked each other at the end was pretty awe-inspiring.

[caffeine] Mikagura School Suite - 01 [720p][CDC4A6F5].mkv_snapshot_07.35_[2015.04.24_02.19.48]
Me while reading a very good book.

My favorite hobby is reading. Growing up, the eldest of six siblings, I was always a reader – I had to be. The rule for the TV was that the youngest person in the room got to decide what was on the TV and Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet and living in a rusting steel city meant the neighborhood was mainly filled with older people who didn’t want to flee to the suburbs. After a brief fling with fantasy that culminated with my first reading of The Lord of the Rings in fourth grade and then a couple year detour through military history books – primarily WWII – I ended up reading almost exclusively science fiction till the present day.

I’m not going to pick any blogs to nominate for The Sunshine Award but if anyone reading would like to answer these questions consider yourself nominated and feel free to answer away.


1) What anime most disappointed you the second time you watched it? And which most surprised you?

2) Would you rather have a great cast of characters or a great plot in an anime?

3) Which anime would you enjoy most living in, not as the main character but as one of the background people?

4) What anime is, in your opinion, the most criminally under-appreciated anime by supposedly “knowledgeable” anime fans?

5) Which anime are you most angry at yourself for liking?


5 thoughts on “The Sunshine Award – I Got Nominated For One of Those Blog Chain Letter Award Thingies But This One Is Pretty Cool So I’m Game”

  1. I am really curious about the new Hunter x Hunter. I’ve seen the old one and started to watch the new one, but the fellow whom I was watching it with went ahead in the series without me. At which point, I dropped it; but, I may pick it up in the future.

    I definitely understand the point you make about philosophy. It’s more interesting and consequential to see how people use it. In my opinion, the discipline has gone downhill since St. Thomas Aquinas anyway. My own favorite philosopher is St. Augustine, or, if you want me to choose a less theological one, Aristotle, which is a rather odd pairing, if you think about it.

    Of Neil Gaiman, I’ve read his Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which are really rather similar works. I should branch out a bit more. And, I shall take you up on your questions–just for fun.


  2. I’m game. Posting my answers here, since I don’t have a blog to put them in:

    1) What anime most disappointed you the second time you watched it? And which most surprised you?
    I’ve never had an anime that significantly dropped in my estimation on a second viewing. Dropping one rating point, sure – dropping three or four points, no. There is one that I’ve been very reluctant to re-watch because I’m afraid that might happen to it, though, and that’s Bastard. That’s a favorite from my formative anime years in the late 90’s – one of my friends had a fourth or fifth generation fansubbed VHS copy in college, and we loved the dialogue. It was so over-the-top cheesy and hilarious, we used to quote it at each other all the time. I’ve never watched the legal version even after Geneon put it out on DVD, because I was always afraid the “official” subs wouldn’t be half as funny, and the very few YouTube clips I’ve seen that were ripped from the official release have only reinforced those fears.

    As for what surprised me on a rewatch, that’s easy: Lyrical Nanoha season 1. The first time I saw that in the late 00s I wasn’t too impressed with it. But then Madoka Magica came out a few years later and I saw Nanoha’s fingerprints all over that show, and then Yuki Yuna came out last year and I found myself getting into arguments with people who were calling it a Madoka clone, pointing out that a lot of the things they were giving Madoka credit for were things Nanoha did first anyway. That’s when I decided to rewatch Nanoha, to refresh my memory so I could argue better with those people. And I don’t know if it’s because my tastes have changed, or because of seeing a lot more “dark magical girls” like Madoka and Uta Kata since then, but watching it the second time was like seeing it from a totally different perspective, and suddenly I was able to look past the flaws and fully appreciate the places where Shinbo and writer Masaki Tsuzuki took that series.

    2) Would you rather have a great cast of characters or a great plot in an anime?
    Obviously I’d like to have both, but if I can only have one, give me great characters. I’ve stuck out some pretty painfully generic anime plots just because the show happened to have one or two characters that I really liked and connected with. Conversely, I’ll almost always drop something if I can’t find any characters that I like, no matter how good or bad the plot is otherwise.

    3) Which anime would you enjoy most living in, not as the main character but as one of the background people?
    Angelic Layer. A game like that would be so cool if it really existed. I wouldn’t have to compete at the national level like the characters in the anime, just living in that world and being able to play the game for fun would be good enough for me.

    4) What anime is, in your opinion, the most criminally under-appreciated anime by supposedly “knowledgeable” anime fans?
    K-On. First, I think that series shoulders too much of the blame for the “moe-fication” of anime when that trend was already well underway years before it premiered; it just makes a convenient scapegoat for moe haters because it happened to be the most successful show of that type. Second, amidst all the mingled hype and controversy over the moe, the music, and sometimes the characters, what I think gets overlooked by a lot of anime fans, even the ones who like K-On, is the fact that the show’s writing, especially in the second season, is damn good. I’ve read all of the manga, and frankly most of it is nothing special – just a typical Azumanga-inspired 4koma, with rock music. It’s the kind of thing that usually gets adapted for anime as a series of five-minute comedy shorts that no one remembers in six months. It was director Naoko Yamada and the (also criminally under-appreciated) screenwriter Reiko Yoshida who took this simple gag series and transformed it into a full-length, fully fleshed-out narrative of girls’ high school life, and one with enough substance for tens of thousands of viewers to emotionally connect with these characters as more than just something to laugh at. This particularly comes through in the second season, because the first season is basically just following the manga with some adaptation expansion to develop the characters and round out the running time. But while the second season still hits all the manga’s plot points, a large part of that season is Yamada and Yoshida’s own work, whether they were creating entirely anime-original episodes or taking plot threads that got tossed off in four pages in the manga and expanding them into full story arcs. Unlike most anime where “filler” is a four-letter word, those are often the parts of K-On where the series shines brightest of all, and yet it’s the one thing about it that no one ever seems to acknowledge.

    5) Which anime are you most angry at yourself for liking?
    Right now, Love Live. To be clear, it’s nothing to do with the show itself, nor do I feel any shame about liking it. The problem is that now I’m also listening to this huge volume of Love Live music that I’ve either been downloading or importing, plus I started playing the mobile game recently on top of that, and those two things are taking up a ton of my spare time, way more than I ever intended them to. That’s why I’m angry at myself, because that secondary stuff is so damn addictive and yet I just…can’t…stop.


  3. Thanks for the comments.

    @medievalotaku: How far did you get with Hunter x Hunter (2011)?

    I’ve thought about how with physical objects, with trial and error and time, there appears to eventually be a model that can’t really be improved upon. For instance, the B-52 has been in service since 1955 and they expect it to remain until, at least, the 2040’s. This just astounds me. A bunch of guys with slide rules in the late 1940’s and early 50’s created an airplane that can’t really be improved upon.

    I wonder if philosophy might be similar. Maybe not in areas like economic philosophy because new technology might radically change things in the future, but in other areas, maybe St. Thomas Aquinas pretty much reached the peak and he can’t really be improved upon.

    If you want to read more Neil Gaiman I’d suggest trying Good Omens written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – it’s about an angel and devil that don’t want the world to end and a misplaced antichrist and it was rather funny. Also, I really enjoy reading his short story collections – Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning – because they contain a mix of genres and the short length means each story can be read in a single sitting and then slowly savored and digested over the day.


    I wouldn’t risk it either. Maybe someone, though, took those original fansubs and made a modern version using a digital raw – it might be worth looking into.

    I think many people would feel the same about characters and plot, I know that’s how I feel.

    Not to make you feel old but I had to look up what was Angelic Layer. Was the anime any good? I see the anime was made by Bones so did it start good only to end with disappointing or incoherent ending?

    I agree with you about K-On! I have a partially blocked out post ranking each series/franchise of Kyoto Animation and have K-On! at number 7 of 15 (the second season and movie would have probably ranked higher if I’d separated them). Naoko Yamada seems to get better the second time around with a show, the season of Tamako Market was decent – it never seemed to perform as good as it should – but the movie Tamako Love Story was really great. Because one has to wait for the second season for the show to get really good – like Birdy the Mighty Decode – I find it hard to recommend K-On!.

    I have sunk a fair amount of time in the past trying for proficiency in Go and Hanafuda because of anime. I think if KanColle introduced an American ships version, I’d probably be all over it.


  4. Angelic Layer’s a fun show. A friend gave me a used copy of the old ADV thinpak boxset as a gift a few years ago; I hadn’t heard of it either before then. But I’ve watched it through three times now and I quite enjoy it. It’s a kid-friendly shōnen, so it’ll never win any critical awards, but it spins a good (albeit fairly simple) story and the Layer battles are still entertaining even in a rewatch. The real novelty at the time was having a shōnen tournament battle series with a girl as the central character, which isn’t that common even today and was practically unheard of back in 2001. Plus the Japanese voice cast is a virtual all-star team, with the likes of Jun Fukuyama, Tomokazu Seki, Masaya Onosaka, Kotono Mitsuishi, Ayako Kawasumi, Satsuki Yukino, and Kikuko Inoue, among others (for those keeping track that’s Belldandy, Saber, Vash the Stampede, Kagome Higurashi, and Sailor Moon, all in the same series). My favorite seiyuu, Kana Ueda, even had her debut role in Angelic Layer too.

    And no, the ending’s fine. It was adapted from a CLAMP manga, so this wasn’t Bones doing their own thing. There are some changes to the story, but the general consensus even among CLAMP fans is that the changes made the story even better. The main creative team was director Hiroshi Nishikori and series composer Ichiro Okouchi, who also teamed up on Azumanga Daioh; Reiko Yoshida (there she is again!) worked as one of the episode writers for this series too. Sentai just license-rescued it earlier this year for their “Sentai Selects” line, and that edition’s coming out in about two weeks. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to double-dip – it looks like a nice set, and the price is right, but I want to wait and see if ANN or someone else reviews it first and what they have to say about the technical quality and the extras.

    Good luck on your KyoAni article! I’ll definitely look forward to reading that. I’ve seen seven of the 15 franchises so far (counting Hyouka, which I’m in the middle of right now), with most of the rest on either my short or long-term PTW lists, so I’ll be interested to see where you place them. Better not take too long, though, or you’ll have to block out another one with Phantom World coming in January. 🙂


  5. “A bunch of guys with slide rules in the late 1940’s and early 50’s created an airplane that can’t really be improved upon.”

    It doesn’t need to be, because people still use radar. It’s like talking about how to improve the steam engine. Are we still using them? No? Doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved, just means there’s better stuff now. In fact steam tech is used more in cooling now.

    Technology is not so much a tree as it’s a deck of cards in a battle game.


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