What is the deal with this?

Listening to: “Showdown” – Pendulum
Reading: The Sighs of Suzumiya Harui

Since I wrote about my reading progress yesterday, it’s been going even better. The ebook app I use the most is the default one provided on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which does not cover page numbers in the most readily accessible way. Instead, it tracks progress with a percentage of completion. I do miss being able to say what page I’m on, but this app is mostly better than Aldiko (my backup e-reader app), and the percentage does give me a clear idea of how much I’ve read in a session. When I wrote that post yesterday, I was about 22.7% into the book.

After finishing, I started right on one of the shorter books on my list of To Finish, only to be almost immediately annoyed by it.

I’ve talked about my issues with Japanese storytelling enough that I don’t even need to rant about it anymore. (I probably will, just not right now.) But storytelling is not the only place where I run into a rut of stale yuck that would make a dog turn up its nose. The fetishes and fanservice are starting to get stupid. I do not roll my eyes at panchira because I am a woman. I don’t understand why men and boys would settle for something so boring when they can just google porn. But the real reason I think it’s so stupid is because it’s so predictable and overused.

After having a bit of a think, I may have figured out why these classic standbys strike me as so pathetic. The panties have gotten crusty, so to speak. My college Japanese teacher (a native, btw) told me a joke about how often American, Japanese, and Chinese people change their clothes and bathe. It’s offensive on counts, so I won’t repeat it in its entirety. The only relevant point was that “Americans change their clothes everyday” while “a Japanese man will wear the same suit for a year”. Laundered, obviously. But the same suit.

You could draw a consumerism insult on Americans and a hygiene insult on the Japanese from that. Or, you could refrain from being insulting and notice that Americans have a need for variety that the Japanese don’t, as a network of industries, cater to nearly as much. Maybe it’s because I’m stuck in America, but I like the new stuff. There’s a reason we throw away food when it goes bad. And there is a reason that eight-track tapes are obsolete and disco is “dead”. Trends change. People move on. Just because I still like Labyrinth and Flash Gordon doesn’t mean I don’t want the next movie I see to be an innovation in film-making and storytelling.

Every culture has its stable of old tropes and elements that are begging for retirement. I don’t know why so many of the ones that annoy me come from Japan. There’s plenty of crap that outright pisses me off coming from the works of James Cameron and Alek Keshishian. Maybe it’s because there’s so much crustified fetish fuel sprinkled about as though it’s welcome everywhere.

Hands up anyone who thinks that a girl or woman who is red-faced and crying is sexy.

Now, anyone with his or her hand up, please explain the appeal to me. I mean it. Is it a 泣き味噌 萌え thing? I mostly don’t notice it in a visual medium, like anime or manga, but I’m reading a light novel. …before anyone says it, I get that she has big breasts. That has nothing to do with lines like this:

“The impeccable, perfect bunny-girl blushed bright red with tears in her eyes, and followed timidly behind Haruhi as her bunny ears swung to and fro.”

This girl is being forced to dress in a humiliating costume while absolutely no one makes a move to stop it. And the main character, who purportedly has a crush on her, just gets off on her humiliation continually. It doesn’t help that the focus character of the books is a steamroller who behaves like a sociopathic idiot.

It’s getting so that this stuff is overshadowing everything that made the series look interesting in the first place. I think after this book, I’m just going to have to tell these books to go screw themselves. There are bloody nine of them.


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