Monday, April 17, 2006
I'm not a regular listener/watcher of podcasts, but here are two that recently caught my attention.
Anime for the Lazyman
Actually, I first heard about "Anime for the Lazyman" on G-pen.com several months ago when I was asked whether or not they could link to some of my otaku-related essays in the notes for Episode 4. I gladly gave permission, but due to laziness on my own part combined with a lot of other stuff to do, I put off watching the episodes for quite awhile. I finally did watch them, however, and was really entertained in the process.
The video podcast is hosted by Chi, a graduate of USC's film school and currently a graduate student at the Tokyo University of Technology. He is also currently working at an anime company in Japan. Most episodes of "Anime for the Lazyman" so far have featured three people--Chi, a company employee, and "The Boss"--sitting in front of the camera talking about anime, the anime industry in Japan, and otaku culture. Chi considers himself a mid-level otaku, pretty knowledgeable about the most popular anime titles, but not the type of fan who watches everything and anything just because it's anime. The company employee is usually a woman who offers her perspective as someone who knows a little bit about anime but isn't really a fan, and certainly would not consider herself an otaku. "The Boss", even though he doesn't necessarily identify with the current generation of Japanese otaku, is the most otaku of the bunch in the sense that he knows the most about anime and strongly believes that it is important to learn more and to spread awareness of anime around the world in order to encourage a free flow of ideas that will result in more creative anime productions in the long run.
Chi and the company employee (different episodes feature different employees) have interesting thoughts, but it's "The Boss" who really steals the show with his humor and manic energy. You don't ever get to see his face, but you can tell he feels strongly about anime and improving the state of the industry. If we are to call him an otaku, it's because he's creative, passionate, and critical like the protagonists of Otaku no Video as opposed to the laid back and middle-of-the-road protagonists of Genshiken. Maybe he's not always right about everything, but he puts forth his opinions in such a straightforward, convincing, and humorous manner that it's fun to listen to anyway, and his insights open up many avenues for further thought and discussion. Poor Chi, though, after being lectured and needled by "The Boss" for not knowing enough and not having the right attitude about learning more, is often left with nothing to say. Chi is a good host and brings up interesting topics, but I found myself tuning in to find out what "The Boss" was going to say next.
You'll need to register an account to download the videos, but I think it's worth it.
Weekly Anime Review
I heard about "Weekly Anime Review" very recently when a new internet friend of mine, Kevin at Burn DVD Burn, told me I was mentioned on it. The good folks who produce "Weekly Anime Review" attended Anime Punch where I was a guest, and their latest episode is a review of the convention. They gave my panels positive reviews, so I'm more than glad to give them some free exposure here ^_~
Regarding Crispin Freeman (who is mentioned in the podcast), I want to note that I didn't mind the question he asked during my otaku panel. While I don't necessarily agree with his opinion (regarding the value, or lack thereof, of creating art that is derivative), I'm glad he asked his question because it prompted a heated discussion amongst the audience members, many of whom were artists themselves. Crispin, Lillian, and I had a pleasant dinner that same night, so there weren't any hard feelings. After all, people challenging our ideas allows us to learn and make progress, whether by changing our ideas completely, refining them, or finding better ways to articulate them. The next time I give my otaku talk, I'll try to more clearly explain my thoughts regarding otaku culture's postmodern creativity.
That said, I'd like to thank "Weekly Anime Review" for attending and covering two of my four panels at Anime Punch. I enjoyed the rest of the episode, as well. ^_^
Here is the aforementioned episode: http://www.weeklyanimereview.com/index.php?post_id=80162
Posted by Lawrence Eng at 9:54 PM