#globalisation

Hi All!

My name is Dominique Gaitt and I’m a 3rd year studying International Studies and Communications and Media majoring in Sustainable Development and Global Media and Communications. I am in the Monday tute for DIGC330 and am looking forward to learning about Asia in a way I haven’t previously. I find what you learn in school about other countries can be stereotypical and focuses on the history instead of the present cultural circumstances, which is why I love my degree because it steps away from all of the watered down historical accounts and shows it how it is from another perspective. In this case focusing on the digital world which I believe is so interesting because historically its a very new aspect to study.

One day I hope to be working with an NGO focusing on something like helping refugees or environmental sustainability. Basically the eventual is aim to be the achiever of world peace and all that greenie talk. Possibly a politician, who knows. Someone who has the power to change a lot of what is fundamentally wrong with today’s world. But in the mean time i’ll just study it at uni.

Looking forward to a great semester!

 

 

Case Study: Intertextuality between Dragon Age: Origins and Final Fantasy XII

Intertextuality isn’t a term used much outside of literary essays, but it is a word that describes the phenomenon of taking influences from a particular text and making a new text that pays homages to the original texts. Loosely it refers to the origins of certain ideas or concepts that worked their way into other content.

Using this as a base, I will be showing how a Western RPG, Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) is intertextually bound to the earlier Final Fantasy XII (FFXII). DA:O is a game I picked up this semester to give myself a grounding in the modern WRPG. I was looking for a game that was immediately accessible, and was blown away by how easy to was to pick up and play. Many weeks later I finally found that the gameplay had been heavily built on FFXII, similarities that I had picked up much earlier. While FFXII was rated well by critics, the player communities took issue with the passiveness of the game, they cited the new, self programmed AI system as taking away a core element of gameplay. Which was true, but definitely played in to the aims of a great JRPG. By taking away some of the gameplay involved in grinding, the developers had taken a core pain and turned it in to a passive experience that was easily forgotten and able to be set aside as you did other things.

And yet, this system that was criticised by audiences found it’s way, exactly, into a WRPG. I personally, loved it. I have always been drawn more to the focuses of JRPGs and for a western RPG to exhibit these values meant that I fell in love with DA:O. I previously looked at what I feel stops Visual Novels from being JRPGs and cited gameplay. And here we have a WRPG exhibiting the gameplay not of it’s genre. Of course, the next logical question is, “Do you think DA:O is a JRPG made outside Japan?”

Let me take you quickly through the areas I’ve already defined as setting apart typical WRPGs and JRPGs, namely style, gameplay and structure. The grey area is thick but together they create an ambiance that befits either a WRPG or JRPG.

The stylings of DA:O befit both genres. The focus on relationships and speech interactions is something seen more commonly in WRPG staples as the way to progress story in which you choose your character which is the element not available in JRPGs for the most part. However the art style and creatures have a realism that shies away from the extravagance of the JRPG. The characters themselves and their personalities fit many of the tropes of RPG history both JRPG and WRPG origins.

The structure is where things get interesting. There is a multifaceted storyline that is typical of a WRPG, but it’s pacing isn’t. In fact, the pacing is ripped entirely from FFXII and befits the epic nature inherent with JRPG. On the flip-side, the party system is much more common in JRPGs, but the recruitment and dialogue that results is almost unheard of in the JRPG scene.

I already know what the conclusion would be when I started writing. DA:O is most definitely a WRPG. It values the same values throughtout all parts of the game, however, it is tied intrinsically to JRPGs, and benefits from throwing away the worst part of both and hand picking positive qualities from both worlds to create a bridge between them, I felt that as I was playing this game I was playing a multicultural RPG.

Anime and JRPG tropes in Adventure Time

Let me take you on an adventure through the wonderful world of character archetypes. Instead of doing a regular post, this is going to be a bit of a weird format. I’ve been looking at anime and JRPG tropes and I’ fairly sure that these transcend the origins of the content. There will be Moe’s melting hearts and Tsundere’s definitely not being interested in you, even in a show like Adventure Time, which I’m sure many of you have experience with. Getting in to it, I’m focusing on female archetypes, as these are the most established, not to mention that the fanfiction episodes turn the male characters into females for analysis there.

Flame Princess: Type B – Yandere

Flame Princess fits a Type B Yandere. Type B’s generally work in the opposite direction of the typical equivalent. The core element of a Yandere is the violent switch. Usually this is done in defence of the sanctity of their love interests, however while Flame Princess’ switch is tied to Finn, it is not done in defence or against other interests, but as a result of her interactions with Finn and the effects he places on her. This counter to the norm puts her as a Type B. Yandere’s are often associated with obsessive girlfriends which creates drama, but is more subdued in Adventure Time.

Princess Bubblegum: Type A – Tsundere

Tsundere is one of the more common archetypes. Unlike a Yandere, the switch is to the ‘dere’ or loving mode. When not interacting with their interest, or not acknowledging it, they will aggressively decline the notion of being interested. Princess Bubblegum is more complex to be a solid Tsundere, however she does have a general sense of potential interest in Finn, but that is held back by her outward neglect of voicing any feelings involved.

Lumpy Space Princess: Type A – Kuudere

Kuudere is a broad archetype as it covers all manner of the ‘aloofness’ that defines the trope. LSP exhibits her ‘Kuu’ qualities outwardly switching to a ‘dere’ around certain characters that happen to break the barrier to make her interested in them. She is caught up in many of the elements that define various lesser ‘dere’ subtypes such as the princess complex Hamidere. LSP’s personality in terms of romance is heavily tied to the concept of ‘the switch’. This refers to the interactions that flip characters from their personality type to the common ‘dere’ archetype and is integral to this method of character definitions. Each character gets two sides of a coin to flip between.

Marceline: Type A – Dorodere

Taking the above concepts, Marceline fits as a Dorodere, referring to her tendency to vamp out on people because of her ‘condition’ as a vampire in certain situations.

Tree Trunks: Type A – Dandere

Danderes are the shy people that open up more around people they care about.

Finn/Fiona: Deredere

A Deredere is much like the control to build the archetypes off. They are always in the loving stage and generally the one type that make good main characters by liberty of the un-type nature of Deredere. This is also why Derederes do not have Type A or Type B.

That time of the year…

So now comes the time where I take a long hard look at everything I’ve researched, and try to narrow it all down into a singular topic. This part is hard. I feel as though the information I have collected can equally contribute to what I would like to express within my research essay. The hardest part will be coming up with a question to really narrow my focus. Hoppes (2014) believes that “the research question may not be evident to the writer and is one of the last puzzle pieces to fall into place.” (pp.66) Which has certainly become the case for myself. Judging from what Hoppes has said I need to look closely at all the information I have collected, and brainstorm a number of questions that could be relevant to the topic.

Looking back at my previous posts I can most definitely see a connection. Each aspect of Sailor Moon I have looked at from a Western perspective in comparison to the Eastern perspective. Whether that be the changes within in content, the exportation of both the anime and manga, and the globally accepted female characteristics.

I feel that having watched the anime as a child provides me with an advantage when looking at it from a Western perspective. However I also feel that my nostalgia may affect my ability to look at the show from a critical level. The one thing that may play to my advantage is that I have watched the original dubbed version as a child, and I am now watching the new re-booted Japanese version (with subtitles, because I am unfortunately not that talented) as an adult. This experience is allowing me to garner a whole new out-look of the series as a whole. I eventually plan on reading the manga, but unfortunately that won’t be for a while, because – you know – assessments, and stuff.

So to finish off this series of blog posts I leave you with an article explaining pretty much everything you need to know about Sailor Moon, and a comparison of both the original and new and improved anime. Later Sailor Scouts!

sailor-moon-old-vs-new-usagi

Hoppes, S 2014, “Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity”, New Directions For Higher Education, no. 166, pp.63-71

A controversial topic…

So this week I will be looking at the controversy surrounding Sailor Moon. The video above gives a short look at the differences between the Japanese and American (Western) versions of Sailor Moon. In case the video isn’t working, or you just cannot be bothered watching it, i’ll give you a short run down. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are dating! *GASP* shock horror!

Or at least 90’s America thought it was.

Nawwww!!

Nawwww!!

However the world is changing. And fortunately for Sailor Moon fans everywhere (well outside of Japan anyway, because let’s face it, they are pretty ahead of the times when it comes to this sort of thing) we are finally going to be able to watch this romance play out before our very eyes.

When the original series was dubbed for Western Audiences Neptune and Uranus were shown as cousins. And as you can see in the YouTube video, their scenes together became pretty awkward, pretty quickly. As a consumer of Sailor Moon I feel robbed. I grew up with the dubbed versions of these shows as I have only just recently discovered the beauty of the Japanese versions.

Feminist site BitchMedia praise the series for helping “girls around the world come to terms with their sexualities” (2014) with the writer herself exclaiming that she grew up wishing for a romance similar to that of Haruka and Michiru (Uranus and Neptune). I myself grew up with a pretty open understanding of different sexualities, and although I am straight, I have a number of close friends who are not. A number of those friends found it hard to come out to friends and family for a number of reasons, and I can’t help but think that if they had children’s programs, such as the Japanese version of Sailor Moon, would’ve they accepted their sexuality earlier in their lives?

However, all is not lost. According to CAAM, Viz Media, who have just acquired the Western rights for both the original and re-boot, are releasing 200 original episodes un-cut. They are also promising to keep the new episodes the same as the Japanese version, when they eventually dub them over.

Here is a video promoting their progression.

Bridges, R 2014, The Feminism of Sailor Moon, BitchMedia, http://bitchmagazine.org/post/the-feminism-of-sailor-moon

Fighting for love, justice and… feminism?

One of the aspects of Sailor Moon that drew me towards the show was its portrayal of strong female characters. There were an abundance of super hero cartoons on television at the same time as Sailor Moon; however the heroes were almost exclusively male. To watch school girls who were so much like me, kick some dark kingdom butt – it was exhilarating. My eyes were opened to a whole world of possibilities , but to think that watching Sailor Moon as a child could have some sort of link to feminism as an adult seems incredible.

Kahn (2014) believes that the link between Sailor Moon and feminism lies within the characters that Takeuchi has created. “Usagi can be emotional, flighty, and boy-crazy,” characteristics most females can relate to. The Sailor Scouts are all so different that even if you don’t fully relate to Sailor Moon (Usagi) there are 8 more planets that could suit your fancy.

“They are avatars of death, as with Sailor Saturn, whose power is to bring about the apocalypse. They are elegant, thrill-seeking race car drivers like Sailor Uranus, in love with world-class violinists like Sailor Neptune, and they are ace students like Sailor Mercury.” (Kahn, 2014)

The video that I’ve posted by Ravenclawgirl29 gives a pretty decent outlook on the feminism values within Sailor Moon. Although the speaker gets a little lost on her own tangents occasionally she provides some great points. In particular the point raised on how all shows that are marketed as being ‘gender neutral’ are predominately male characters, with a few females thrown in every once and a while. Sailor Moon was one of the only shows in the 90’s marketed as ‘gender neutral’ with a mostly female cast.

So if you have watched the video, what do you think? Do you agree with the points raised by Ravenclawgirl29?

Kahn, J 2014, Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture, Comics Alliance, http://comicsalliance.com/sailor-moon-feminism-renaissance-nostalgia-women-role-models/

Sailor Moon – The Global Phenomenon

So as I have mentioned previously I will be talking about a different aspect of Sailor Moon over the next few weeks to really mesh out just what my final project will be about. To really give you an idea on how much I know about Sailor moon, I will give you a bit of context. I first started watching Sailor Moon when it aired on Agro’s Cartoon Connection sometime within 1992-96. I was obsessed. There is no other word for it. I owned my own moon wand, and legendary silver crystal. I had the action figure and the costume. I grew my hair long so I was able to turn myself into ‘meatball head’. I was going to be Sailor Moon and no-one was going to stop me.

As it turned out, I was not the only one in the world who acted like this.

Looking into the global phenomenon that is Sailor Moon I have discovered a number of interesting facts. The first is that fans have continued to stay loyal to both the anime and manga, even after it stopped playing on global televisions. Social media pages are flooded with fan-art, fanfiction and discussion about both the manga and the anime. Even a simple search through Tumblr came up with a number of results. The popularity was great enough for a re-boot of the anime series to become a reality.

Sailor Moon Crystal premiered May this year, and is fast becoming just as popular as the first. At the moment it is exclusively Japanese with English subtitles. However, American Company Viz Media has recently purchased both the original and new content. Watching the new and (in my opinion) greatly improved anime has once again sparked my love for the super heroine that is Sailor Moon.

So what is it about this crime fighting Sailor Scout that the world seems to love?

Dailot-Bul (2013) believes it has something to do with anime being a unique genre that global audiences had never seen before. “In practical terms, the mixture of Asian and non-Asian traits has provided the manga and anime industries with a distinct export advantage.” (Cooper-Chen 1999, pp.297)

However, with popularity comes criticism. The original Sailor Moon anime was criticised for not being close enough to the manga. The re-boot criticised for being too different to the original. Personally, I am just enthralled that I get to fall in love with Tuxedo Mask all over again!

Cooper-Chen, A 1999, “An Animated Imbalance: Japan’s Television Heroines in Asia,” International Communications Gazette, vol.61, no.3, pp.293-310

Daliot-Bul, M 2013, “Reframing and Reconsidering the Cultural Innovations of the anime boom on US television,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol.17, no.1, pp.75-91

Auto-ethnographically discovering Sailor Moon.

So the time has come for me to start narrowing down my final research question. As my theme for the past few weeks has been Sailor Moon, I hope to continue with this trend. However, I am not entirely sure of which path I would like to continue down. There are a number of different avenues I can explore, however there are three that I am mainly interested in: the globalisation of anime, controversial topics and how they translate to Western audiences, and the portrayal of female characters within Sailor Moon.

For the next three weeks I will be writing a more in-depth look into each of these aspects of the Sailor Moon phenomena. My study will conclude a look at the Manga created by Naoko Takeuchi, the original anime series (1992) and the re-booted Sailor Moon Crystal (2014). I will be basing my auto-ethnographic research, on previously conducted research on each of the topics.

Auto-ethnographic research is something that comes quite difficult to me. Within my three years of uni, I have been taught to critically and academically think about certain topics. However, this normally means keeping my own voice out of the research. Hoppes (2014) believes we all yearn for understanding and that life is all about asking questions. The questions we repeatedly ask are usually about ourselves, and where we fit in this crazy world. However, Hoppes believes that it is the questions we ask about ourselves that will help define the questions we ask in auto-ethnographic research.

For my research I have decided to follow Hoppes’ views on what auto-ethnographic research involves. This includes: “discussion, reflection, note-taking, emotional recall, and identification of categories and themes yielding a narrative that affords both the inside views of a research participant and the outside view of a researcher.” (Hoppes 2014, pp.64)

I feel that emotional recall will be something that comes easy, as I have a childhood connection to the original Sailor Moon cartoon. As I re-watch the re-booted Sailor Moon Crystal I fell this connection returning. However I believe that discussion and reflection are to be the two most important factors of this experience and will try to focus the majority of my research around them.

Until next week, Sailor Scouts.

Sailor-Moon

Hoppes, S 2014, “Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity”, New Directions For Higher Education, no. 166, pp.63-71

외국의 (foreign)

When I was a kid, I saw the study or experience of other cultures from almost exclusively one perspective: for the sake of self-knowledge (Clark 2000). The effort of studying other cultures, of avoiding being consumed by ethnocentrism, was not necessarily something that I enjoyed or found easy. To be honest, I always found cultures like those found in the Middle East and Asia particularly difficult to wrap my mind around and truly enjoy, compared with that of Italy, France, Scandinavian countries, and even Russia.

There is way to understand the reason behind my resistance to learning about cultures from this area according to Clark; by trying his ‘Forced Migration Game’ (2000)

1. If you were forced to migrate to another nation, what would be your top 3 favourite choices (you would be quite happy living there instead of your current home country)?

2. What would be your 3 least favourite options (under no circumstances would you like to live there)?

3. Examine why you chose these 6 countries. Was it lifestyle, climate, religion, health values, social constructs, politics?

By examining how I ranked countries from my juvenile perspective, I could understand some of my motivations for being less likely to understand or want to travel to Middle Eastern and Asian countries. My childhood was dominated by images of war, unrest, lack of political and social freedom, and unfriendly climates when it came to these countries. I only saw stories from these countries via a biased, ethnocentric traditional media (television, newspapers, some online media) or no stories at all, exemplified by this comment by 1970s CBS news journalist Eric Sevareid:

“The truth is that there is very little in most of the African and Asian nations worth anything in 20th century terms that was not put there by Westerners. The truth is that in spite of their talk about returning to their own cultural roots-remember Africanization-what they want to be is what the West already is.” (Clark 2000)

My priorities have changed since I have grown, and this is predominantly due to new media’s communicational possibilities, as technological change sweeps the globe and cultural boundaries are blurred (World Health Organisation 2014). In the Australasia region of which we are a part, I had seen South Korea chiefly in relation to its conflict with North Korea; it was predominantly on the peripheral of my ‘cultural radar’.

South Korea’s aspirations have been expanding to include domination of tourist and technology markets, and have in this process drawn me into its open embrace, through the communication of digital stories from native citizens like artist Lee Lee Nam (who tells digital stories through re-imagining traditional artworks through video), foreigners such as EatYourKimchi (who are excellent advertisements for South Korea, might I add), and Koreans like Jen from Head to Toe living outside of the country, who were previously all unknown to me before I could access them via the internet. These stories have opened my mind to new experiences (I really want to travel Asia now, whereas I only wanted to see Europe before), expanded my creative tastes (introduced me to KPop and Korean cinema), and enticed me to study other Middle Eastern and Asian cultures with a new fascination and determination.

External reference:

Clark, L. E. 2000, ‘Other-wise: The case for understanding foreign cultures in a uni-polar world’, Social Education, Vol. 64, No. 7, p. 448, National Council for the Social Studies

 

Konnichiwa

Hi everyone!

My name is Amy Hutchesson and I am in my third year of BCMS (probably could have guessed that). I am actually really excited to do this subject as I love Asia! I have been to many different parts of Asia and want to see more! Over the last uni break, I travelled through Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and I had the most incredible time! I love that we get a small fragment of some of these cultures in Australia, yet there is SO much more to discover when you actually go to these places. I especially found this in Japan! I feel like the only piece of Japanese culture we get in Australia is our westernised sushi..

I am also going to be starting an internship with a company this semester which is centralised in Singapore and Malaysia, so there is a lot of Asian influence in my life at the moment. (Including 2-3 times weekly Asian take out) The company that I will be working with is involved with some global brands, so I think my topic of interest will combine culture and globalisation and how these Asian cultures remain so authentic and so different when the world is so rapidly globalising.

It was such a surprise in Singapore because they have every chain or franchise that you can possibly think of from all over the world, including Jamaica Blue from Australia, Max Brenner from USA, Café Nero from the UK! Yet Singapore still manages to have a style of its own! It’s fascinating.

I am doing two majors, one in International Media and Communications and the second in Marketing and Advertising. I am also doing a minor in French. I am not sure what my ideal job would be at the current point in time but I am just grasping every opportunity that comes my way. I love film and theatre and would love to work in the industry. Will have to see what the future holds. May end up living in Asia!

singapore

Image: Amy Hutchesson, Singapore, 2014