starlady: (watanuki)
Under the influence of Michael Dylan Foster's Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Youkai, I realized that xxxHOLiC and several other prominent anime and manga can be classified as youkai manga, and may well be understood as such by Japanese audiences without ever having to label them thus explicitly.

I'll deal with xxxHOLiC first, because it's the one with which I'm most familiar. In his book Foster devotes extensive attention to Yanagita Kunio (1875-1962), the renowned folklorist and inventor of minzokugaku or folklore studies. Foster divides youkai into two components, the mysterious and the weird, and in his consideration of Yanagita he quotes the folklorist from a 1912 essay: "And so in the end, all we can say is that human beings themselves are indeed the most mysterious [fushigi] thing in the universe" (145). This is almost exactly what Ichihara Yuuko says in the prologue to xxxHOLiC, and what Watanuki says at the beginning of xxxHOLiC Rou: "Of all the living things in this world, people themselves are the most mysterious of all."

CLAMP's invocation of Yanagita becomes even more resonant in light of Foster's discussion of one of Yanagita's essays from 1917 called "Hitotsume-kouzo" (One-eyed Rascal). In this essay, Yanagita offers a theory about the prehistorical origins of a certain one-eyed youkai, proposing that in olden times members of the community marked out for sacrifice had an eye put out to denote their status, and though the custom died out the belief that, in Foster's phrase, "a one-eyed person could receive sacred intelligence from the deities remained" (146). The origins of Kitarou, in Mizuki Shigeru's manga, anime, movie and print media empire, having only one eye are immediately clear, and the fact that Watanuki in xxxHOLiC and Ginko in Mushishi have only one eye seems not only natural but almost overdetermined. If they didn't have one eye, it would be impossible to trust their insight into the otherworld. Indeed, Ginko actually resembles Kitarou strongly, not only in their lacking a left eye but in the floppy hair they use to disguise the lack.

In xxxHOLiC Rou it's revealed that Doumeki forsook science to study minzokugaku, a choice that Tsurugi Kohane made as well; the discipline that Yanagita founded reached its height in the 1930s, and their decision only throws the fact that in xxxHOLiC CLAMP never use the word "youkai" into sharper relief. Terms such as 'mono' and 'ayakashii' and 'yuurei' appear frequently, but their all-purpose signifier has been expunged. Doumeki and Kohane might reasonably have chosen to major in youkaigaku but for the fact that such a choice would undoubtedly bring home to the readers xxxHOLiC's status as a youkai manga in a way that might very well destabilize the suspension of disbelief or ironic imagination necessary for readers to enjoy the work.

Nevertheless, it is clear that HOLiC is a youkai manga, insistently locating a nexus of the mysterious and the weird (Watanuki's shop) in the middle of present-day Tokyo and finding mysterious things both in customs kept alive only in the otherworld and in insistently contemporary devices such as computers and the TV.

The other thought I had, in light of Foster's discussion of the kuchi-sake-onna, a new youkai who terrorized Japan in the late 70s and early 80s, is whether or not Li'l Slugger of Kon Satoshi's anime Paranoia Agent might be considered a youkai. Given the fact that he is both a harbinger, an instantiation of and a resistor against the contemporary social problems detailed in the anime, and that he generally appears only at twilight or at night and only when his victims are alone, Li'l Slugger's status as a deliberately created, mediated youkai seems clear.

References
Foster, Michael Dylan. Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Youkai. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.
--------------. "The Otherworlds of Mizuki Shigeru." Mechademia 3 (2008): 8-28.

starlady: Sheeta & Pazu watch the world open out before them (think in layers)
LaMarre, Thomas. The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

I'm going to pound this out while I wait for my dad to get home so we can go to the shore. Landmark book of animanga scholarship in half an hour or less: go!

Disclaimer: I am personally acquainted with Tom Lamarre; he wrote one of my reccomendation letters for my graduate school applications.

Tom Lamarre's overarching concern in The Anime Machine is polemical; as I've discussed at greater length before, he has a bone to pick with the vast majority of (English-language) anime and manga scholarship heretofore, namely that people tend to focus on the minutiae of narratives over technical means and that in these narratives, moreover, people go looking for and thus find some sort of amodern, tautological Other "(traditional) Japanese culture" or whatever. In defiance of this tendency, Lamarre insists on reading anime as what it is, a carefully calculated global entertainment phenomenon, and on looking not at what anime talks about but how it talks, how it thinks, what it does.

How anime thinks technology )
starlady: (witness)
So my old partner in crime [livejournal.com profile] scottishrefugee liked this story enough to translate it into Italian, which is ridiculously flattering.

Title: The Momiji FIle
Fandom: Gouhou Drug aka Legal Drug
Length: 4,550 words
Warnings: None
Rating: Teen
Pairing: Rikuou/Kazahaya
Summary: Rikuou and Kazahaya take a request immediately after their return from "that weird school." Written for Yuletide 2009.

Read it here in italiano! (Or here in English at the AO3.)
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
My tally for Yuletide: my story for my requester and two three stories off the unfilled prompts list, one two for Madness and one that became a Treat.

Yuletide writer(s), my internet connection will be intermittent for the next four days. I may not respond to your story immediately, but it's not because I don't love it, it's because I've been kidnapped by my relatives. Or something else festive.

For Yuletide Madness purposes, once again, here is my Yuletide letter.

And hey, Yuletide Madness starts soon! [community profile] dark_agenda is collecting eligible chromatic prompts. This year Madness is open to anyone with an AO3 account: go forth and write, ye writers! 

Also, the CLAMP 20th Anniversary Fanbook is now available in PDF! Download link is here; the book will be available to purchase after the holidays.

As an editor for the whole book, I've seen the draft copy, and let me tell you, fellow fans, we did an awesome thing, and each and every one of us who contributed in any way should feel proud.

I met up with my awesome friend K in Philly this afternoon and we had a great time wandering around, to the Liberty Bell, to Ben Franklin's grave, and to New World Comics. Then the staff at Korma, where we ate, gave us dessert on the house! It was rice pudding and it was delicious.

So on that note of kindness, very happy holidays to one and all; Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Happy Yule, from the bottom of my heart. Have a good weekend, at the least.
starlady: (witness)
I reread this manga recently, and it's interesting on several levels how much some of my thoughts about it have changed. Also how much better my comprehension of Japanese is.

I think it was my sister who first brought the existence of Gouhou Drug to my attention (also known as Legal Drug in English language fandoms) with something along the lines of "it's CLAMP's yaoi manga!" Which is both true and not true. As most people probably know, Gouhou Drug follows seventeen year-olds Himura Rikuou and Kudou Kazahaya, who live above and work at the Green Drugstore in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. Both of them aren't in school, Kazahaya because he never went at all and Rikuou because he dropped out; both of them are also consumed with vanished women, someone named Kei in Kazahaya's case and someone named Tsukiko in Rikuou's. Kazahaya has weak touch-based parasensory abilities, while Rikuou has a touch of telekinesis. The proprietor of the drugstore, Kakei, can see the future. Legal Drug is sadly unfinished (personally I believe this probably impacted the development of xxxHOLiC in particular, as volume 2 of Drug crosses over with the former, and Watanuki visits the drugstore in the HOLiC anime); it stands at three volumes.

When I first read the manga, maybe two years ago, I really did agree that it was yaoi, but in light of things like Clamp's interview in Da Vinci 4.09, I've reconsidered my views. Kazahaya and Rikuou don't really break any new ground compared with other intense homosocial bonds in CLAMP, such as Fai & Kurogane or Watanuki & Doumeki. What makes them seem much slashier is that CLAMP situate them against a background of canonically homosexual relationships--Kakei and Saiga, throughout the series, and all of Suiryou Academy in general, and Nayuki and Mukoufujiwara in particular, in volume 3. Too, Kazahaya and Rikuou conform at least superficially to a lot of the stereotypical "uke" and "seme" traits, respectively, which only heightens the yaoi-esque atmosphere. But it's not actually BL; Kakei and Saiga are the wrong age, and Kazahaya and Rikuou will almost certainly never be anything more than (extraordinarily close) friends.

I think my favorite panel in the whole manga is when the old dude yells at the student in the Ushagi-san suit, "Stay in your weird school!" in volume 3. Also, I think Rikuou is much hotter than Nekoi typically draws him.

I have not read much (well, any) BL; what do other people who have think? Also, people are discussing related issues at [personal profile] kaigou.
starlady: the OTW logo with text "fandom is my fandom" (fandom^2)
Not "Merry Christmas, baby" (sorry, Bruce!)--

No, what I wanted to say is that I am looking at the draft PDFs of the CLAMP 20th Anniversary fanbook that we as the [livejournal.com profile] clamp_now community and particularly [livejournal.com profile] nokiirat, fearless leader and tireless editor, have spent months putting together, and you know what? We have done an awesome thing. Fandom has problems and it is not always a metric or even an English tonne of rainbows and sparkles, but that does not diminish the fact that at times it is a space where people can come together globally and do awesome things.

N, we should totally try to get something about this in Transformative Works and Cultures. Maybe I'll ask you for an interview. :-)

And I still really need a fandom tag.
starlady: (bang)
I'm pleased to be one of the three final review editors for the CLAMP 20th Anniversary fanbook that the members of [livejournal.com profile] clamp_now  and our friends throughout cyberspace are putting together in honor of our favorite quartet's achievement. We're accepting participants until April, so anyone who's interested in expressing your appreciation to CLAMP who hasn't done so already, check it out. 

Things we couldn't say )

starlady: (dodge this)
I can tell you two people who had a great time at "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull": Steven Spielberg and me. That's right, I remembered to see Indy IV today and damn it was awesome. I honestly don't know what people were complaining about--there were maybe two crappy lines, but seriously, it was just as good as the (two good) old ones, with refreshingly little digital effects in the action sequences, seriously, it was just good. The New York Times wanted to feel again what it did in 1981 with "Raiders", but for the 21st century? Whatever. The 20th is still plenty interesting. I mean, clearly, you know, a lot of it was sort of Spielberg enjoying himself (Indy survives the Plumbbob test in a refrigerator! motorcycle chases in Yale Library! the whole ending!) and Lucas getting his kicks too, particularly in the opening sequence and the fight in the malt shop (shades of "American Grafitti", anyone?), but Spielberg is a master and I don't know how you couldn't have enjoyed the movie. I was feeling sort of sad all day, and the movie totally made me feel happy. Though to be honest, they sort of had me when I walked into the theatre and the "Raiders" theme was playing. It sounds good, but of course it doesn't have much interesting in the string part.

I read TRC 192 in the bookstore today and HOLY CRAP CLAMP WHY DIDN"T YOU SHOW SHAORAN SR'S FACE!!!!! Also, the promise to run turned out to be completely un-ominous. What was ominous was Yuuko on the last page. And Watanuki was there too, looking lost. Apparently he and Shaoran are the same age after all. Given what the Kei drama CD says about them, I shouldn't be surprised.

Book meme )
starlady: (ultraviolet)
I've been watching a lot of anime the last week or so, in a desperate and foolish attempt to clean space off my hard drive. Space which then gets sucked back up as I attempt to finish another AMV. I'm hopeless.

So here, in no particular order, is a lot about a lot of shows, some really old, others brand new.
starlady: (clamp-style meat buns)

Who is your inner CLAMP character?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Kurogane

You are like Kurogane from Tsubasa. You are everything anyone could want to those who love you, and everything to fear from those who do not. Your are the type of person who comes across as being aloof and distant and your trust is not something easily earned, but once it is, you are a friend for life. And try as you might to fool them, those closest to you know you’re just one big cuddly teddy bear. <3

Kero-chan

 
88%

Kurogane

 
88%

Yuuko

 
83%

Miyuki-chan

 
75%

Seishirou

 
71%

Fai

 
58%

Chii

 
58%

Hokuto

 
54%

Watanuki

 
50%

Sakura

 
46%

Kamui

 
46%

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starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
Electra

August 2017

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