Category: Miscellaneous

JoJo: On the Origin of Stands

JoJo: On the Origin of Stands

What Exactly are Stands in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?

Stands — if you’re a fan of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, or even if you aren’t, I’m betting that you know what they are. They’re the physical embodiment of a person’s life force. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone gets to have one — or does it?

I’ll get to that question later on in this article, but for now let’s just go with the original explanation for the existence of stands. While everyone has some amount of life force, there are also those with an overwhelming abundance of it. These are the people who have the capacity to manifest a stand under the right conditions.

And since each stand is linked to the life force of its user, they tend to personify something about that person in one of two ways. On one hand, Sticky Fingers’ appearance and ability reflect Buccellati’s sense of style. On the other, Hermit Purple’s ability is exactly what Joseph needed to track down DIO’s whereabouts.

Stands also come in a variety of shapes, styles, and functions. Some are humanoid like Josuke’s Crazy Diamond, while others are objects like Narancia’s Aerosmith. Sometimes users need to directly control their stands like Avdol’s Magician’s Red, and other times they function automatically like Yuya’s Highway Star.

The Evolution of Stand Abilities

While there’s a lot of variation among stands even within the same part, stands have also evolved as the series has progressed. The stands introduced back in Part 3: Stardust Crusaders are very different from the stands of Part 5: Golden Wind.

The original stands from Stardust Crusaders were fairly simple by today’s standards. To showcase the progression of stands across the parts, let’s take a look at the stands of the main JoJos for Stardust Crusaders, Diamond is Unbreakable, and Golden Wind.

Jotaro’s stand is extremely simplistic, though still extremely powerful. It’s a close-range, humanoid stand with extreme strength, speed, and precision. It’s from this stand, Star Platinum, that we get the term “punching ghost.” However, later on in the part it does develop a time-stopping ability.

Jotaro Kujo and Star Platinum from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3: Stardust Crusaders
Jotaro Kujo and Star Platinum

Josuke’s stand is another humanoid stand that punches things, but this time there’s a twist. Crazy Diamond traded in the power, speed, and precision of Star Platinum for the ability to repair anything it touches (except Josuke himself). This ability can be used to heal his allies, repair broken objects, or incorrectly do either of those actions to the detriment of his foes.

Giorno’s Gold Experience is even more complex than Crazy Diamond. Again, it’s a humanoid stand that punches things, but it comes with a whole host of extra abilities. It can heal friends, track enemies, reflect damage, cause disorientation, and more.

Ways to Acquire a Stand

So now that we’ve established what stands are and how they’ve changed over the parts of the series, how does someone actually acquire one? Originally it was implied that stands manifested in people with strong wills (or life forces) on their own, but this was retroactively removed from canon.

Currently — in the anime at least — there are two confirmed ways to acquire a stand. The first and hopefully most obvious is to be pierced by a stand arrow. This is how the vast majority of the stand users we see in the series acquired their stands.

The second way to get a stand is by being the descendant of someone who received a stand from the stand arrow. The only member of the Joestar bloodline to have awakened their stand via a stand arrow was Jonathan, and he was already dead by that point.

Every other member of the Joestar bloodline awakened their stands due to being Jonathan’s descendants. However, just being a descendant of someone who was pierced by a stand arrow doesn’t automatically mean your stand will awaken — it just means you have the potential.

Shizuka Joestar (Achtung Baby) from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
Shizuka Joestar (Achtung Baby)

For the stand to awaken, there needs to be some sort of external pressure. For example, the Joestars in Stardust Crusaders who awakened stands did so in response to DIO awakening his stand with an arrow. In Diamond is Unbreakable, we can assume Shizuka’s Achtung Baby stand was awakened due to the pressure of being abandoned.

But, there’s actually a third possible way to get a stand — spontaneous stand acquisition. This hasn’t been confirmed, but I just want to put the possibility out there. We don’t know who Shizuka’s parents are, so it’s possible the extreme pressure of being abandoned was enough to awaken a stand for her on its own.

Where do Stands Originally come From?

Let’s talk about the stand arrows for a bit. I’ve been talking about them for a while now, but I haven’t actually explained what they are (though most of you already know). These are arrowheads which grant those who are pierced by them stands.

However, not everyone who gets pierced by a stand arrow survives and obtains a stand. If their life force, or will, is too weak, then they will be killed by the power of their own stand. And stands can also be pierced by stand arrows, causing them to evolve into Requiem stands.

I don’t really want to get into Requiem stands in this post, but essentially they’re just overpowered stands which have the perfect abilities to solve whatever predicament the user finds themself in. There are only two confirmed Requiem stands and they both appear in Golden Wind.

Anyway, the stand arrows are kind of a big deal, but where did they come from? It’s said that the arrowheads were crafted out of a meteorite which crash landed in Greenland 50,000 years ago. These arrows contain some sort of supernatural power, or virus, which comes from the meteorite and creates stands.

The stand arrows and their creator from the anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind
The stand arrows and their creator

And this brings up another question, are stands the byproduct of an alien virus? There’s one (possibly) known alien in JoJo’s, Mikitaka Hazekura. He’s a self-proclaimed alien, who does look slightly different from everyone else, who appears to have a stand ability.

However, he doesn’t see his ability as something all that unique. Is it possible that he comes from the same planet as the stand virus? Is there an alien civilization out there completely infected by this stand virus and who view stands as a natural phenomenon?

I think so. Considering the extra terrestrial origins of both the stand arrows and Mikitaka, I think it’s safe to say that stands originate from some sort of alien virus.

The Next Step in Human Evolution

So if there’s a civilization of stand-wielding aliens, what happens when a sizable population of humans develop stands? What if a lot of people survive being pierced by stand arrows, and then go on to have multiple generations of children. All of those children will have the potential to awaken stands, and with each generation there will be more potential stand users.

If this continues, then eventually everyone on Earth would be a stand user. Since having the potential to awaken a stand seems to be a dominant trait, even if only one parent could have a stand, all of their children will be potential stand users.

But like I mentioned, just because you have the potential to awaken a stand doesn’t mean you will. There needs to be an external pressure. So let’s say a world war broke out. Would all of those potential stand users awaken their stands?

Imagine a war of that scale involving stand users. It would be complete chaos. A war like that could very well end humanity.

The good news, however, is that I don’t believe that stands are actually the next step in human evolution. I don’t think the JoJo’s universe would ever have a realistic chance of getting to that point for one, simple reason: stand users attract other stand users.

Because stand users are drawn to one another, and because they’re constantly fighting, their numbers will always be relatively low. Any time a large number of stand users awaken at the same time, they’ll end up killing each other, thus pruning the branches so to speak.

There’s also the fact that not everyone with the potential to develop a stand actually has the willpower to survive it. Holly from Stardust Crusaders is a prime example. She’s strong enough to manifest a stand, but not strong enough to stop it from draining her life force.

Even if stand users stopped fighting each other, it’s not guaranteed that they would be able to sustain a large population due to this effect.

Conclusion

What do you think of the origin of stands? Are there any other ways to acquire stands in parts 3 – 5 that I left out? I know there are other ways in parts 7 and 8, but those are in an alternate universe. Do you think stands originate from an alien virus? And do you think stand wielders are the next step in human evolution? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful in any way, remember to click the like button ❤ down below and follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. There’s also a Discord server for those of you who want to discuss anime with myself and other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Anime for Beginners II

Anime for Beginners II

Introduction

Today I’m bringing back Anime for Beginners due to popular demand. This is the (now) series in which I list five anime I think are suited for those just starting off on their anime watching journey. To find out what the first five series I recommended are, go check out the original post.

So, before we begin, what counts as an anime suited for beginners? For the sake of these posts, I define these as anime which can be viewed, enjoyed, and understood with little to no prior knowledge of anime. They also cover fairly general interest genres so they can appeal to a wide audience.

As with the original list, I’ll again be skipping the long-running shounen series like Naruto and One Piece, because I don’t really think they need any introduction. However, the original list was still full of shounen anime, so this time around I’ll be including more variety (although shounen is pretty general interest and easy to understand).

1. Little Witch Academia

Little Witch Academia anime series poster
Little Witch Academia

First up we have Little Witch Academia, which is an original anime created by Studio Trigger. If you’re not familiar with the name Trigger, then now’s the time to get acquainted. All you really need to know about Trigger is that they’re constantly saving the medium of anime (or so the meme goes).

But, while I won’t say that all anime by Trigger are beginner anime, the great thing about them is that they tend to only reference past Trigger and Gainax series. And, since Little Witch Academia isn’t their bread and butter, the mecha genre, it comes with less references than some of their other work.

In fact, the only reference in Little Witch Academia I can think of off the top of my head is to Gurren Lagann, which you should be familiar with from my first Anime for Beginners post. But, studios and references aside, what is Little Witch Academia?

It’s a fantasy series which is basically like if you made an anime version of Harry Potter and then turned it into a comedy. This series follows the misadventures of “muggle”-born Akko Kagari and her roommates, Sucy and Lotte, as they attend a prestigious academy for witches.

And, one of the great things about Little Witch Academia for anime beginners is that it’s found on Netflix, which it seems most people have access too. There’s also a movie, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, for anyone looking for more content after finishing the 25 episodes currently available.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced the series will ever be finished due to the death of the screenwriter, but we can hope.

2. Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal anime series cover art
Sailor Moon Crystal

Next up we have another female-led anime in the form of the legendary Sailor Moon. Specifically, I’ve chosen Sailor Moon Crystal because it’s a new reboot of the series which follows the manga more closely than previous adaptions, which means it looks nice and has no filler.

While Sailor Moon wasn’t the first anime in the magical girl genre, it essentially redefined the genre in its image. But, don’t let the fact that it’s a shoujo anime about magical girls turn you off from watching it. Sailor Moon is one of the defining series of the entire anime medium.

And, what’s really great about Sailor Moon is that it doesn’t really make references to other series, but is instead the series everything else references. You can find Sailor Moon references in anime across all genres, and even in a lot of Western media as well, and that’s one of the biggest reasons to watch the series.

However, unlike some of the other defining anime which are constantly referenced, like Neon Genesis Evangelion or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sailor Moon has a much lower barrier to entry. While those series are targeted towards people already in the anime community, Sailor Moon is much more of a general interest series.

Also, I should mention that there are currently three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal, and while the first is mainly episodic, the second and third seasons really go all in on the plot. The third season specifically is one of my favorite pieces of anime ever.

There’s a reason Sailor Moon is considered a timeless classic, and it’s not just because it’s about the power of friendship.

3. One Punch Man

One Punch Man anime series cover art
One Punch Man

The first action anime of this list is One Punch Man, a superhero parody series with a second season coming out soon. Basically, if you’re a fan of superheroes, whether they be from Marvel/DC or My Hero Academia, I think you’ll probably like seeing One Punch Man’s take on the genre.

The series follows a regular guy named Saitama who gets bored with his mundane everyday life and decides to become a superhero because it was his childhood dream. However, after training, it turns out that he’s become too powerful and is able to defeat any enemy in just one punch.

While this may seem great from an outside perspective, the issue is that since every fight is so easy, it’s no fun. And, what’s the point of being a superhero if you can’t even have fun while doing it?

As someone who hates needlessly overpowered protagonists as well as the superhero genre in general, I can safely say that I still found One Punch Man immensely enjoyable. The fact that it’s a parody series does wonders, much like how the best isekai anime is KonoSuba, a parody of isekai anime.

Also, the fact that this series is ranked #45 and is the fifth most popular anime on MAL should hint towards the fact that it’s loved by a lot of people. I don’t really think you can get much more general interest than an action/comedy show about superheroes right now.

4. Laid-Back Camp

Laid-Back Camp anime series cover art
Laid-Back Camp

Laid-Back Camp is the most recent anime on this list, only coming out at the beginning of 2018. There’s a subgenre of anime colloquially referred to as “cute girls doing cute things,” and Laid-Back Camp would be a branch of that subgenre, “cute girls do comfy things.”

There were a lot of really good anime to come out during the Winter 2018 season, but if I had to pick one that anime beginners should watch, it would be Laid-Back Camp. Since it’s a slice of life series, there’s not really an overarching plot, and so it’s not something you have to get all that invested in in order to enjoy.

The series mainly follows two girls, Nadeshiko, the standard female protagonist, and Rin, the best girl and queen of “comf.” Together, and also separate, they enjoy camping outdoors in the Winter, when the campsites are nice and quiet.

But for a series about girls outside in the cold, it’s surprisingly warm. The character designs, mixture of cool and warm colors, and generous amounts of hot food, all work together to make this one of the coziest anime you’ll ever watch.

If you like cute girls, and you like seeing those cute girls doing comfy things, then you’ll like this anime. That’s all there is to it. So bundle up and stay indoors, because you can now go outside vicariously through Nadeshiko and Rin.

5. Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop anime series cover art
Cowboy Bebop

The final entry on this list had to be Cowboy Bebop. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t add this into the first post on Anime for Beginners, but it’s here now so that doesn’t matter anymore.

In the West, there are few anime which are as beloved as Cowboy Bebop. And, while I don’t think it’s quite as amazing as people like to make it out to be, there’s no doubt that it’s a good anime that plays into what Western audiences love, space and cowboys (because this is the 1960s).

But, while the subject matter may be what draws a lot of viewers in at first, it’s really the characters that make them stick around. As a mostly episodic series, Cowboy Bebop has to have good characters in order to stay interesting, and boy does it deliver.

And, if you’re a dub kind of person, which many anime beginners are, then you’ll be glad to know that the English dub of Cowboy Bebop is actually considered better than the original Japanese version. I’ve only watched it in Japanese, so I wouldn’t know, but that seems to be the general consensus.

As far as dubs go for the other four series on this list, I’m not sure if any of them are dubbed except maybe Little Witch Academia, but all five series from my first Anime for Beginners post are dubbed.

If you were to pick one series from this list to watch first, my suggestion would be Cowboy Bebop. It’s 26 episodes long, but since it’s mainly episodic you can take as many breaks between episodes as you want and watch at your own pace. However, it’s also easy to binge if that’s your thing.

Conclusion

And, there you have it, five more anime recommendations for beginners. If I ever end up making an Anime for Beginners III, it’ll be in the far future. Instead, I think I want to make Intermediate Anime and Anime for Experts lists first, which would build on the series and subjects covered in these beginner posts.

So, your homework is to watch all 10 series featured across both my Anime for Beginners posts before my Intermediate Anime post comes out, because I’ll be assuming you have. And, as always, just because I’ve labeled these series as for “beginners” doesn’t mean more “advanced” anime viewers should skip over them.

If you enjoyed today’s post, then let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. And, if you’re looking for any more anime recommendations, you can always tweet @DoubleSama and I’ll be happy to answer (especially if you’re following me).

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter and the benefits you get, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Anime Character Names

Anime Character Names

Introduction

Today we’re going to take a look at the wacky world of anime character names. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that the names of characters don’t matter all that much, but you’d be wrong. We can actually learn a lot about certain characters just by knowing their names.

Sometimes character names simply serve to make it easier for viewers to keep track of who’s who, other times they can be simple jokes, and occasionally, there are names which make everything else about the character make sense once you figure it out.

To cover this topic, I’ll be breaking it down into three different sections, physical characteristics, color palettes, and character attributes. And, as we’ll see, some character names don’t just fall into one of these categories.

Physical Characteristics

Names which reference the physical characteristics of their respective characters are by no means exclusive to anime. In fact, this is extremely common in Western cartoons as well, but we just don’t notice pay much attention to them because they’re in our native language.

So, before getting into examples of this in anime, let’s take a look at the series SpongeBob SquarePants. Just about every major character in the series has a name which explains what kind of animal they are. Squidward Tentacles is a squid, Patrick Star is a starfish, Mr. Krabs, is a crab etc.

But, what does this look like in anime? Basically, exactly the same as it does in Western cartoons. Often the most easily recognizable of these names belong to characters who are themselves animals, or animal-like.

For example, in One Piece there’s a recurring character named Hachi. You may already be familiar with his character, but if you’re not, can you guess what type of animal he’s designed as? If you guessed that Hachi is an octopus then you’d be correct.

So, how can we know Hachi is an octopus without even seeing him? Simple, his name, Hachi, means eight in Japanese, which is the number of arms octopus have. Now, I’m not saying that we should be able to determine what a character looks like just from their name alone, but names like this make it easy to keep track of different characters.

Another example from shounen is Kisame from Naruto. Same is the Japanese word for shark, which makes complete sense once you see Kisame’s character. He looks very shark-like, carries a sword called Samehada (shark skin), uses water-style jutsu, and summons sharks.

However, while names which describe the overall physical attributes of a character are fairly common, what’s even more common are a subset of these names which only describe the color palette of characters.

Color Palettes

One of the most obvious character names which ties into their color palette is Aqua from KonoSuba. Aqua’s color palette is blue, as you would expect from someone named after water. It also helps that her name isn’t in Japanese, so it’s even easier to recognize.

But, what if her name was in Japanese? What then? Well, fear not, because the Japanese word for Aqua is simply Akua. And, in case you were wondering, there is an Akua in anime. She’s from Love Tyrant and has blue hair as well as her name implies (you’ll notice that by color palette I tend to mean simply hair color).

While I can’t think of a character named a variant of Aqua whose color palette isn’t blue, there are other names, like Sakura, which don’t always work out.

Sakura Haruno from Naruto is an obvious example of this name working, since her hair is pink just like sakura (cherry blossoms). However, it’s more of a stretch to say that this type of naming convention still holds completely true when we look at the Sakuras from Madoka Magica and Fate, who are red and purple respectively.

Kyouko Toshino, Akari Akaza, Chinatsu Yoshikawa, and Yui Funami from the anime series Yuru Yuri
Kyouko, Akari, Chinatsu, and Yui

But, fear not. Just because the name Sakura doesn’t always work out, there are still other names which do, like Akari Akaza from Yuru Yuri. Her hair color is red, which is exactly what the word aka means in Japanese. That’s right, both her first and last names have the word red in them, just in case you weren’t completely sure.

And, in some cases, such as in Prisma Illya, you’ll have characters given names by other character specifically because of their color palettes. Chloe von Einzbern is known to her friends as Kuro (black) because she’s a “dark” version of Illya, literally.

Character Attributes

Now it’s time for the more interesting role of anime character names, and that’s to describe character attributes that aren’t purely physical. And, this is where we’ll see some characters I mentioned in the previous two sections making a comeback.

Take Aqua for example. Yes, her name being Aqua matches up with the fact that her color palette is blue, but what’s even more important is that it signifies she’s a water goddess. Just from her name and character design we, the viewers, know she’s a water goddess long before Kazuma does, which is just one of the many jokes in the series.

Likewise, I mentioned that not only does Kisame look like a shark, but he uses water-style jutsu and can summon sharks. The fact that his name has to do with sharks foreshadows this even though we don’t actually see him use these jutsu for quite a bit of time after he’s introduced.

And, similar to Kisame, we have Squalo from this week’s episode of JoJo’s Part 5. Squalo is Italian for shark, and his stand, Clash, is a shark-like stand. Unfortunately that logic won’t work on most of the other characters from Part 5 since they’re mostly named after various types of food.

Yuusha, Fai, Mei, and Seira from the anime series Endro~!
Yuusha, Fai, Mei, and Seira

Then, we also have characters like Yulia “Yuusha” Chardiet from Endro~! All of Yulia’s friends call her Yuusha, which turns out to be a pretty good nickname for her considering it means hero, which is what she is. This is basically like how Goblin Slayer is named Goblin Slayer, her name is simply her title as well.

Even if we didn’t know that Yuusha was a legendary hero, it would be implied simply by her name. But, like the rest of the names I’ve gone over in this post, Yuusha’s is still pretty basic. So, what about a name that has a bit more nuance?

This is where my favorite character, Mayoi Hachikuji comes into play. Her first name, Mayoi, can be written as the word for lost. This is significant due to her former status as an apparition known as a lost cow (or lost snail). But, that’s not all!

Her last name, Hachikuji, is also a reference to her character. As previously mentioned, hachi is the word for eight, but ku is nine, and ji is temple. So, all together her last name reads as “89 temples” which is a reference to the 89th temple being considered unlucky in Buddhism.

Further, the characters for hachi and ku in her name can be read as misfortune. So, basically everything about her name points to how she’s unlucky or lost in some way, which makes more and more sense as the story of the series continues to unfold.

Conclusion

And, that’s all I have to say regarding the names of characters in anime. So, let me know what some of your favorite clever anime character names are in the comments. Mine is obviously Mayoi Hachikuji, but I’m interested in hearing some of your picks which might not have made their way into this post.

Oh, and since I just remembered this one, Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon. Usagi is the word for rabbit, which references her hairstyle, and Tsuki is the word for Moon, referencing her role as Sailor Moon.

If you enjoyed today’s post or found it interesting in any way, let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. And, make sure you follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on all my latest content.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how to become a supporter and the benefits you receive for doing so, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Mature Themes in Anime

Mature Themes in Anime

Introduction

Last night I saw a tweet from someone associated with Anime News Network claiming that The Rising of the Shield Hero is “the most morally repugnant isekai show” they have seen due to its inclusion of slavery. So, I think it’s time for me to explain exactly why slavery should be included in that series.

However, I won’t stop there, because I’m sure people who believe slavery shouldn’t be depicted in Shield Hero are also the same ones who think sexual assault shouldn’t be depicted in Goblin Slayer. And, for good measure, I’ll be throwing mental illness, such as depression, into the mix too.

So, if you’re someone who believes none of these more mature themes should be present in anime, then you’re the person who needs to read this post the most. There are a variety of reasons these themes need to be included in anime, and you’re probably overlooking them.

Sexual Assault

I’ve discussed the inclusion of sexual assault and rape in Goblin Slayer a decent number of times during my episode reviews of it, so we’ll start here because it’s familiar territory to at least some of you. Everyone who dropped Goblin Slayer after the first episode and then complained about the series is wrong.

Well, they’re probably not all wrong; some of them simply decided that the series wasn’t for them. But, anyone who dropped the series specifically because they thought it was using sexual assault for shock and entertainment value is completely misunderstanding the point of the series.

Think of it this way, yes Goblin Slayer includes scenes of brutal sexual assault, but does it ever glorify it? The answer is no. And, the reason for this is because the underlying story of Goblin Slayer is about the struggle to return to a state of normalcy after something like a sexual assault occurs.

Fantasy series are parallels of our own world in which we can explore themes and ideas that are otherwise off-limits for one reason or another. Take The Lord of the Rings for example; parts of it cover how deforestation and pollution negatively affect the world.

So, for a dark fantasy series such as Goblin Slayer to do something similar with sexual assault makes complete sense. By taking this taboo topic and putting it into a fantasy story, it becomes more accessible for a lot of people and may even make them start thinking about it.

Yes, we can all agree that sexual assault is bad, but we typically don’t stop to think about life after the assault. How do survivors cope with it? What happens if they can’t cope with it? What about their family and friends, how are they affected as well? These are the questions Goblin Slayer brings to the forefront.

Fighter, post-Goblin attack from the anime series Goblin Slayer episode 1
Fighter, post-Goblin attack

But, most of Goblin Slayer focuses on what I’ll call secondary victims of sexual assault. This would be characters like Goblin Slayer, whose sister was assaulted, or Priestess, whose comrade, Fighter, was assaulted. There are probably a number of reasons for this, but my guess would be that this is the side the author felt he could do justice.

This has led some to claim that the end result for the primary victims, like Fighter, is brushed under the rug. However, I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case. Yes, Fighter is so physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred that she quits being an adventurer and fades away, but the sad reality is that’s what happens to some survivors in our world too.

By including the fact that Fighter never recovers, we’re being shown that not everyone is capable to returning to a state of normalcy. Sometimes we need to be reminded of this, despite how much we as a society like to avert our eyes.

And, I’d also like to point out that Sword Maiden is an example of a primary survivor who, although hasn’t completely recovered and probably never will, has at least worked hard to make the best of her situation. She’s still scarred, but she’s doing her best to regain control of her life.

Also, I should point out that since sexual violence is a real thing in our world, it only makes sense for it to also be present in fantasy worlds. So, in that regard Goblin Slayer is simply being realistic.

Slavery

Now it’s time for the current hot-topic, slavery in anime, specifically Shield Hero. So, let me start by saying that as a historian I’m opposed to brushing any part of history under the rug, especially if it’s done so that certain groups of people can pretend the dark parts of their history never happened.

Slavery was real, slavery is still real, and we shouldn’t try to pretend that isn’t the case simply because it makes us uncomfortable. So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at three key points about slavery:

  1. Slavery has always been a part of human civilization.
  2. Slavery isn’t purely a racial issue even though we like to think of it that way in the U.S. specifically.
  3. Even those who owned slaves generally understood it was wrong.

With those three points in mind we can start to understand why slavery is depicted in Shield Hero and why it’s depicted the way it is. As for the first point, slavery is, unfortunately, common wherever there’s a large population of humans.

And, since the nature of slavery has changed in modern-day, I won’t comment on it, but historically slavery was extremely important for the progress of individuals, communities, and nations. For example, the Spartans were able to have a standing army specifically because they had slaves to do their farming.

Similarly, in Shield Hero, Naofumi is able to become stronger and save people as a hero specifically because he purchases Raphtalia as a slave. Does this excuse slavery as an institution? No, but it’s an explanation for why slavery was tolerated to an extent in the past.

Raphtalia in the slave market from the anime series The Rising of the Shield Hero episode 2
Raphtalia in the slave market

Just remember, historically slavery served a purpose, and that’s exactly how Naofumi seems to see it in Shield Hero. When he first purchases Raphtalia he does say that slaves aren’t people, but we can probably chalk that up to him trying to get the slave trader on his side considering he never says anything like that again.

Later on in the series, when confronted by the other three heroes about his use of a slave, Naofumi defends himself by saying it’s perfectly legal in the world they’re in. Coming from an outside perspective that seems like a bad excuse, but what about if we think of it from Naofumi’s perspective?

He’s been brought to some unknown world against his will and is being forced to fight to save the lives of a people who have shunned and tormented him. He can’t leave unless he wins the fights ahead of him, and he can’t do that without a slave to make him stronger.

And, it should also be noted that he tends to treat Raphtalia as a daughter, not a slave, but I recognize that doesn’t change the fact that he bought her. But, this shows that even though he bought a slave, he doesn’t see slavery as something that’s right.

I’ll also point out that, like Goblin Slayer with sexual assault, Shield Hero doesn’t glorify slavery. It kind of did when Raphtalia chose to have the slave seal placed on her a second time, but even Naofumi was against her doing this. To me, that’s more of a sign that Raphtalia is mentally broken down, which I’ll get to later.

But, my final point on the use of slavery in Shield Hero has to do with the most recent episode in which the slave trader tells Naofumi that thanks to him, the slave business is booming. Nobles from across the land are buying Filolial eggs and demi-human slaves at record numbers.

The tweet I mentioned at the start of this post specifically pointed to this scene as proof that Naofumi is complicit in the slave trade. However, there are two key things to remember here. The first is that Naofumi never tries to convince anyone slavery is right, and the second is that the nobles are the ones buying slaves.

The fact that the nobles are buying more slaves is the real key factor here because they’re the antagonists of the series. Just like how the Goblins from Goblin Slayer are doing the raping, the Nobles (antagonists) are the ones buying more slaves. Ergo, buying slaves is bad because it’s what the bad guys are doing.

So, from a historical standpoint, Shield Hero is being accurate. And, from a “moral” standpoint, Shield Hero is saying that only bad guys buy slaves. The fact that Naofumi also bought a slave is just a sign that he’s an anti-hero, much like how Deadpool kills people even though killing is bad.

Mental Illness

And, let’s just briefly go over the inclusion of mental illness and depression in anime to complete the mature theme trifecta. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “but mental illness isn’t the same as sexual assault and slavery,” and you’re right, except that it’s treated the same way.

Much like sexual assault and slavery, we tend to avert our eyes from those suffering from mental illnesses such as depression. So, what better way to get people to start thinking about these things than to include them in popular media like anime?

Let’s take Raphtalia for example. When she decides to have her slave seal re-applied, it certainly seemed like slavery was being glorified on the surface, but beneath the surface I see a deeply disturbed young girl. The fact that Raphtalia believes her worth is tied to how devoted she is to Naofumi is an issue that shouldn’t be overlooked.

This is probably an effect of losing her family, becoming a slave, and then finally meeting someone who treated her half decent for once. However, where I think Shield Hero fails in this regard is that Raphtalia seems to get over everything too quickly.

By the next episode she’s no longer a broken girl, and it’s like nothing ever happened. But, this isn’t the case for all characters who suffer from mental breakdowns. I’ve mentioned before that one of the best written characters in anime is Asuka Langley from Evangelion, and she’s a prime example.

Asuka has a lot of mental issues she’s dealing with throughout the series, and the ways in which her character and the problems she deals with are presented is extremely well-done. To put it simply, she looks towards older men for recognition of her worth due to a combination of depression, insecurity, and anxiety.

And, sorry for this spoiler, but things don’t end well for her. Asuka isn’t a character that glorifies mental illness in any way. Instead, she’s the embodiment of how devastating mental illness can be without proper help and support.

Just as Goblin Slayer brought sexual assault to the forefront of our minds with its depictions of life after an assault, and as Shield Hero made us face the reality that slavery was a very real part of life for most of human civilization, characters like Asuka from Evangelion show us the reality of mental illness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Goblin Slayer’s use of sexual assault, Shield Hero’s use of slavery, and Evangelion’s focus on mental illness are not bad. If anything, they’re good because they bring these difficult topics to the forefront of our minds without glorifying them.

I’d also like to say that if The Rising of the Shield Hero is “the most morally repugnant isekai show” that you’ve seen, you must not have ever watched Sword Art Online. Or, maybe you have, but never noticed that girls tend to get sexually assaulted an average of once per season in that series for no reason other than fan service shots.

So, although today’s topic was more serious compared to what I usually write, let me know if you found any of my points particularly persuasive by clicking the like button ❤ down below. And, if you don’t agree with any of my points, I invite you to give me your perspectives in the comments.

And, finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. If you want to support this blog then you can do so by becoming a patron over at Patreon.com/DoubleSama, or simply by following me on Twitter @DoubleSama.

Update:

I tweeted this post at the person who was making the aforementioned claims on Twitter about Shield Hero being bad because it supports slavery. It was my hope to be able to start a discussion with him, but as is often the case when people realize they’re wrong, he blocked me.

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Netflix vs. KissAnime

Netflix vs. KissAnime

Introduction

This post was supposed to go live yesterday, but I was out all day until around 10:30pm, so here we are. Normally today would be set aside for the latest episode of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, but since it’s just a filler episode I figured I’d skip that review for today in favor of this post.

It’s finally time for the second entry into my Battle of the Streaming Platforms series, and this time I’ll be taking a look at two polar opposites, Netflix and KissAnime. In case you missed it, the first entry in this series looked at Crunchyroll vs. Funimation.

But, for anyone new to this series, the format is as follows: I discuss five different aspects of each of the streaming services in question, website mobile app, free tier, subtitles, and title selection. Then, at the end of the post I rate how each service performed in each section out of five and add up their total points.

For example, if a streaming platform scored a 3/5 in all five categories, its final score would be 15/25.

If you’re just interested in the end results, they’ll be listed in a table down in the conclusion. But, for everyone else, let’s get started by taking a look at the websites for Netflix and KissAnime respectively.

Website

For most streaming services, the website is one of the most important aspects because this is likely where a majority of your users are viewing your content. However, I’d be willing to bet that isn’t the case for Netflix.

Instead, Netflix has native apps on just about every platform, be they mobile, game consoles, TVs, or computers, so there’s not really ever a reason to use their actual website. That said, their website is one of the best when it comes to streaming services because it’s built exactly like their apps.

Netflix website anime series
Netflix Website

Not only is the panel layout visually appealing, but it’s also extremely easy to find anything you’re looking for either through the search function or the genre groupings. And, as a bonus, by simply hovering over each entry you can view a trailer and read a brief summary without needing to go to a separate page.

On the other hand we have KissAnime, which functions more like a searchable forum of anime entries. The basic search functionality is still the same as with Netflix or any other site, and so this is probably your best bet for finding what you want to watch.

However, the problem there is that you’ll likely want to know what you want to watch before even venturing to KissAnime. Unless the episode or series you’re looking for was just added to their database, you’ll have to do some digging in order to find it.

Now, this is the part at which I’d showcase a picture of how KissAnime is structured so you can visually compare it to Netflix, but if you’re familiar with the site you’ll understand why I can’t do that. KissAnime doesn’t allow adblock of any kind, and because of that, it’s covered in ads for hentai games.

This is probably the biggest drawback to the KissAnime site. Not only does this mean you and those around you will have to see all of these ads, but it also means that your load times may take a bit longer. A lot of ads on a page means there are a lot of things to load, and this can sometimes affect performance.

Mobile App

Alright, so Netflix wins the website category because it has a sleek, elegant design without ads, but what about the mobile app category? Surely KissAnime can mount a comeback here, right? Well, if you thought that was the case then you’d be wrong.

In fact, KissAnime doesn’t have a mobile app, so I can’t even give it a rating for this category. So, by default, Netflix wins again.

But, just because Netflix gets an automatic win for the category doesn’t mean I won’t discuss what it does well, or not so well, in this aspect. As you might have guessed, Netflix’s app is extremely good considering it functions exactly like its apps across all other platforms.

However, what really sets Netflix’s mobile app apart from say, the one from Crunchyroll which I looked at in the last entry of this series, is the ability to download series and movies. Whenever I go on a long trip, I always make sure to download multiple anime series and movies beforehand so I can watch them without using up data.

Yes, downloading anime to your phone takes up a decent amount of space, but you have to remember that it’s a temporary use of space. Once you finish an episode or movie, the app will either automatically delete it from your device, or ask if you’d like to delete it, depending on your settings.

Free Tier

Alright, so KissAnime wasn’t really able to put up any sort of fight in that previous category, but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s out of the competition just yet. That’s because this next category, the free tier, goes in KissAnime’s favor by default.

Since everyone I know has a Netflix subscription in one form or another, it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s solely a subscription-based service. If you don’t pay, you can’t watch anything via Netflix’s platform, which means it’s automatically disqualified from this category.

But, just having a free tier wouldn’t be enough for KissAnime to make a comeback in this competition, so is there anything special about it? In fact, there is. The great thing about KissAnime’s free tier is that free is the only tier it has. That’s right, everything is free, so there’s no episodes, series, or movies locked away just for members.

However, if everything being free sounds a bit too good to be true, then you’d be right. As previously mentioned, the site is plastered with undesirable ads with no way of removing them. If you happen to visit KissAnime without first having it whitelisted, prepare for a ban lasting at least 24 hours.

That said, at least it doesn’t have video player ads, so your viewing will never get interrupted.

Subtitles

Subtitles have the potential to make or break an anime, so it’s no surprise that they would be important enough to have their own category. In this section, we’ll see two very different methods of navigating the wonderful world of subtitles.

First, let’s take a look at Netflix. Whoever does the subtitles for anime over at Netflix (or not at Netflix if they outsource this job) does great work. Unlike the subtitles of other services, I haven’t noticed any typos or egregious assaults on grammar, and that’s pretty important.

However, Netflix’s subtitles go beyond just being well written. Depending on the platform you’re using Netflix on, you can also customize how the subtitles appear to either make them easier to read, or just give them a different style that you like more.

You may remember from the previous entry into this series that Funimation has a similar subtitle customization feature, but the key difference here is that with Netflix it’s optional. The base subtitle settings are just fine on Netflix, while on Funimation they were so bad you’re forced to edit them.

But, Funimation isn’t the focus of today’s discussion, KissAnime is. So how are KissAnime’s subtitles compared to those of Netflix?

To put it frankly, they’re bad. KissAnime doesn’t have a team of translators who work on each episode and make sure the subtitles are polished before release. No, instead KissAnime relies on fan-subs, which is to say subtitles done by fans of the particular anime.

Sometimes these subs can be good, and sometimes they can be horrendous. And, when they’re bad, they’re extremely bad. When the Violet Evergarden special first released I watched it on KissAnime (it’s now made it to Netflix as well), and the subtitles were incomprehensible at times, which really detracted from the episode.

Basically, if you’re using KissAnime and want to have readable subtitles, you’d better hope the anime you’re watching is popular and has been out for a while. The good subtitles often take longer to be released than the bad ones, so you might have to wait a few weeks before you can get them.

For those of you wondering where my review of Zoku Owarimonogatari is, this is the reason I haven’t watched it yet. Since I love that series so much, I’m choosing to wait for it to be released somewhere with good subtitles rather than risking watching it with bad ones.

Title Selection

But, as you might expect, the other categories above don’t matter for much if a streaming platform doesn’t have anything you want to watch on it. So, how do Netflix and KissAnime compare to each other in that regard?

While Netflix has certainly gotten a lot better with both the quantity and quality of the anime it has in its library, its anime library still isn’t all that expansive compared to other streaming services. This is likely due to the fact that Netflix isn’t purely an anime streaming service.

Yes, they have some amazing anime over on Netflix, but your options are definitely limited. KissAnime, on the other hand, doesn’t have this problem. Because it’s not exactly a legal streaming site, it doesn’t have to worry about whether or not it has the rights to stream any particular anime.

This means that you can find just about any anime on KissAnime, even if it’s nowhere else to be found. I’ll admit that I use KissAnime, but only for anime which I can’t find on another service, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion (which Netflix somehow now acquired).

So, while KissAnime has a lot of issues, it still has a library which is about at extensive as it can get. I’ve never searched for something there and hadn’t been able to find it.

Conclusion

And, now it’s time to take a look at the results in the chart below.

Service Website Mobile App Free Tier Subtitles Title Selection
Netflix 5 5 x 5 3
KissAnime 1 x 4 2 5

As you can see, Netflix won three out of five categories, while KissAnime only came away with two. They also each failed to score in one of the categories, so their scores are effectively out of 20 points instead of 25.

The final tally for this entry in the Battle of the Streaming Platforms series is Netflix with 18/25 points and KissAnime with 12/25 points. But, just because Netflix won this competition doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for every person in every situation.

If you’re looking for a better user experience, then Netflix has your back for a monthly fee and a more limited title selection. However, if you’re all about getting everything for free, want an extremely large title selection, and don’t care about giving up some user comfort, then KissAnime is a great option.

I’m not sure when the next entry of this series is going to be released, but I’m thinking it will be between Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, so you can look forward to that. I’ll also release an infographic displaying the results of this series over on Twitter @DoubleSama in the near future.

So, if you enjoyed today’s non-Boruto filler review post that should have come out yesterday, click the like button ❤ down below. However, if you were really hoping to read my review of Shikadai deciding to become a politician for an episode, then you can leave a comment and I’ll take your words into consideration for the future.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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