So here it is, Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight. The show that all the cool kids were watching back in 2018. If you weren’t a fan of the Maya x Claudine pairing, or the Nana x Junna pairing, then you weren’t considered cool enough. I like to boast about my own tastes in shows, but would it shock you when I say that I have not actually completed this show? I ended up dropping it in the third episode, after I began to feel really frustrated in how the show presented the characters, the character design itself (especially the two main protagonists of Karen and Hikari), and…well…a lot of other petty little things.Continue reading
And so I’ve taken this opportunity to reinvigorate my personal blog. It’s taken me 3 months, so hey…again.
Not exactly the way I had wanted though, but my family are already telling me how stir crazy I’m becoming in this apartment of mine. And as someone in their mid-30s, my mindset as an anime fan could be seen by some as different than those who are fresh out of high school or college. Other things are a factor too; I’m not really a part of the UK fan community or con scene anymore, and I often find a lot of…other things more enjoyable than what the latest episode of ‘insert-anime-here’ will bring.
So, where do you want me to start?Continue reading
This personal blog of mine has gone through so many ‘renovations’ that I’ve actually lost count now. Every time I do one, I get some kind of weird euphoria that I know that that renovation will be the one – the one that’ll keep me writing…something.
I have a regular column writing about seasonal shows, and I’ve written for other blogs in the past (Anime Herald/Japan Curiosity), and I’ve been doing that for a while now. When I have had time to update this place, I feel all sorts of things, and end up writing about all sorts of strange stuff. I’ve covered the controversial Japanese cult Happy Science and their interests in anime (which even they responded to), I’ve done entire 2-cour marathons of shows I absolutely hated with a passion, I’ve spoken about my past as a crazed, ignorant and obsessive Madoka Magica fan, and I’ve spoken about how I felt the UK con scene was in a deep decline (which has effectively left me alienated from them).
So after all of that, what would another renovation of this place even accomplish? I write things that I’m fine with, but most of the time, it is just a case of me emptying my brain and putting together all of the gooey mess into a WordPress post, regardless of how it looks or of any consequences that would come after it. And after so long in the blog writing game, I don’t think that looks too good. People have said my writing is fine enough, but deep down, I can’t quite see how.
So I’m going to do the only thing that’s left right now: I’m putting this blog on an indefinite hiatus.
Maybe when I return I’ll be writing about the same shit, only each post will be meticulously planned, as opposed to just brain-emptying. When will the next update be? A week, a month, a few months, a year, I don’t know. But when I come back, and I will come back, this place will look very different. Some of the major posts here (Happy Science, Social Anxiety Disorder, etc.) will remain, but everything else will be scrubbed entirely. All of that hard work will disappear, but I know this is for the best…for both me and you guys, I’m sure.
NB: This post contains spoilers for the Rebellion movie.
Whilst writing this post, I’ve had to go and do not just a lot of memory back-tracking, but a lot of self-reflection as an anime fan. Madoka Magica is one of the shows that has made me the kind of fan I am, but it is because of what the franchise has become now is why I must walk away from it. 6 years of fanart, fanfiction, outspoken posts about the numerous hidden metaphors in the show, bizarre rumours and a abnormally long wait for new material has made me walk away from Madoka, Homura, Mami, Sayaka and Kyouko (as well as everyone else) for good. And here are the reasons why…
This is a post about Happy Science. You may not have heard of them.
They are one of many ‘Japanese new religions’ (or Shinshukyo) that still operate. No way are they on par with the likes of doomsday cults like Aum Shinrikyo (now known as Aleph). It would be wrong to call them a hippy cult, but peace, love and understanding is essentially what they are about. Believers and converts are required to follow a set path in life, and must have “the aspiration and vision to seek the way and contribute to the realisation of love, peace and happiness on Earth”.
The founder and leader Ryuho Okawa (the reincarnation of supreme deity El Cantare) claims to channel spirits such as Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, among others. However, while the group doesn’t aim for monotheism like most major religions, it recognises many gods…I presume one idea of this is that they see no need for religious war.
So why on earth am I writing about them here?
I’m pretty sure that it was when I was looking into how some religious organisations use anime as a medium to show people their beliefs (and whatnot). I first came across the shorts made by Aum Shinrikyo/Aleph, showing founder Shoko Asahara using supernatural powers like levitating and phasing; the shorts are still scattered here and there on YouTube. But this didn’t directly lead me to Happy Science, though. I’ve had this interest and fascination of religious groups and cults for a good long while; not at all joining them, but instead I think about what drives people from mainstream religion to such beliefs that, to some, could be seen as threatening to everyday life. I researched some more into ‘Japanese new religions’, and pretty much one of the first things that came up was concerning some anime movies that Happy Science had produced to show its beliefs; not so much as propaganda, but to act as information. This, and spreading the message that a deity known as El Cantare is there for all of us, to shield us from greed and lust.
And so I managed to find these movies, and see for myself…