Yubin Hong Fanfiction + Commentary

Fanfiction

(Original work: Spirited Away)

“Memories are never forgotten, they are just difficult to recall” – I have heard of this somewhere before. After I came out from the mysteriously abandoned amusement park with my mum and dad when I was 10 years old, sometimes, there were times when I shed tears because of a strange feeling that I couldn’t understand at all. I also had a busy time adjusting to my new house and making new friends. Time flew so fast, and tomorrow is my first day at university.

‘Oh my, but why do tears flow more than usual? I need to calm down and get ready for bed.’

I untied my purple hairband which was tightly tying my hair as a ponytail to sleep, still with tears in my eyes.

‘When did I buy this purple hairband? Phew… I don’t care. Let’s sleep, and I should sleep for the first day of uni.’

“Chihiro! It’s time to get up, you sleepyhead.”

“Uhmm.. what time is it, mum?”

“It’s already half-past seven! You said the first class starts at nine, right honey? And I prepared delicious curry for you. You’d feel better when you go to class after breakfast.”

“Okay mum.. Thank you. Where is dad?”

“He already went out to work. He also wanted to say good luck with your university life.”

“Aww… I feel so blessed.”

Mum’s curry was so delicious as always. I brushed my teeth, tied my hair with the purple hairband, and texted my best friend, Yumi. She got accepted to the same university as I did.

“Yum yum! let’s take the train together.”

“Sure. Just open the door and come out! I’m already in front of your house.”

“What? Seriously? Hang on, I’m coming.”

“Mum, I’m going out!”

“Take care, honey!”

“Yumi!!! Sorry for being late.”

“It’s alright, Chihiro. I just can’t wait to go on a date with so many handsome guys in uni, you know?”

Ugh… Yumi always talks about guys.

“Did they tell you that they want to go on a date with you, already?”

“Chihiro! Why are you so negative? Come on, I will introduce one to you later!”

“Never mind~ I will focus on my grade and future career.”

After constant chattering, we finally arrived at the first lecture room and took seats.

Suddenly, I felt as if I was overwhelmed by something.

“Chihiro, look at the guy seating in front of us. He is my type.” Yumi murmured.

I tried to reply to her “So what?” as usual, but at that time, I just couldn’t.

That strange atmosphere from the guy, made me shed tears again.

“Chihiro…? Are you crying?”

“I don’t know why. What a strange feeling. I gotta go.”

“Wait, Chihiro!”. Yumi tried to grasp me.

“Wait.”. That voice grasped me. It was the guy’s voice. The guy turned around and looked at me.

“What… is this situation? Did you guys know each other?” said confused Yumi.

“I…don…”

“We have met before, right?” said the guy.

“My name is Haku. Could you remember?”. Again, it was the guy’s tender voice which sounded very familiar to me although I cannot remember this guy.

“I’m here to keep the promise I made at the time that we’d see each other again someday.”

“Ha…ku… Kohaku river..?”. Suddenly, I remembered the whole thing. The way he saved me from drowning, the way I saved him at the bathhouse, the way he helped me to get back to my real mum, dad, and the real world that I originally belong to, Yubaba granny, Zeniba granny, Kamaji grandad, Lin, Boh, and Kaonashi – The whole thing.

Haku gently smiled. “I knew you’d remember me.”. The whole lecture room shook, Haku turned into a dragon, held me tightly, and quickly passed through the open window. I could see Yumi who must be getting frantic through the outside window.

“Are you worried about your best friend?” said Haku.

“Ha… hahaha…. You can’t say that again because I will hit you if you do that.”

“Wow Chihiro, you’ve grown up to be a strong girl, even stronger than 9 years before! Okay, I just want to say that your best friend and everyone who saw you and I will forget the unrealistic situation. I learned how to make them forget from Yubaba.”

“Haku.” I stopped his words.

“Yes.”

“I missed you a lot, but I didn’t expect to meet you like this.”

“Oh, it was the surprise event. I constantly tried to become human in your world to meet you properly, but I failed. This was the first time I’ve succeeded it, and yeah, I pretended as if I’m a university student. And you know what? Everything has changed in a good way in my world since you got back to the real world. I can’t wait to show you those changes you’ve made.”

“Hmmm.. I see. But the way you chose to meet me again is indeed rude! And how did you know my university, the fact that I will be in that lecture room, as well as I will sit on that seat behind you?”

“I am so sorry if you feel like that. And I knew everything because I’m your guardian who will protect you forever since you helped me to find my identity as the spirit of the Kohaku river. The guardian knows everything.”

“Ugh, doesn’t make sense.”

“But it’s true. Your purple hairband, it’s connecting you with me.”

“Oh…” “Yeah, the purple hairband that Zeniba granny gave me… I did not recognize it for a long time. Somehow, I could not resist using this hairband whenever I tie up my hair in my world.”

“Yes. It was Zeniba’s magical power to connect me and you.”

“Now, we arrive”.

Haku put me down to the ground near the bathhouse where I used to stay.

Suddenly, Haku smiled strangely at me and disappeared to the sky.

“Haku? What is this…?”

“Surprise!!!! We missed you, Chihiro!!!!” The sudden voices! These people, I remember all of them.

“Ah…ah…I can speak by myself, Chihiro. Ah…ah…I learned it from Zeniba.” It was, Kaonashi!

“Oh my god! Kaonashi, good on you! Oh my gosh, thank you, everyone. I missed you, too.”

“We are no longer greedy. We learned how to take care of each other because of you, Chihiro. Thank you, my dear.” Said Yubaba.

“It was my pleasure, granny.”

“You see, Chihiro?” said Haku, who suddenly appeared again.

“Yes. I can see. I feel happy that I am loved by all these people and you, Haku. But I think it’s time to go back to my world”

“True. You can visit here again anytime you want from now on.”

Then I came back to the lecture room with Haku. To Yumi, who said that she was worried about me because I suddenly disappeared with Haku, I told her that Haku was my ex-boyfriend and he and I decided to get back together. Yumi understood me. And this is the story about when Haku first came to my world to meet me again. I’m now recalling it and enjoying hot spring baths with Haku in his world since the winter break has started. No one else could be happier than me right now.


Commentary

My fanfiction was written based on Spirited Away, directed by Miyazaki (2001). According to Vogler (2007), there are seven-character archetypes. The first one is the ‘hero’. Since Chihiro in this story easily overwhelmed by unexplained sadness and stimulates audiences’ sympathy, she is the heroine of this story. However, Haku is also could be considered as a hero because he overcame the obstacles which prevented him to meet Chihiro again. The second is the ‘mentor’ which is referred as Zeniba in this story. At the beginning of the story, I mentioned Zeniba’s quote in the original film, which implied that Chihiro’s unknown sadness will be cured by remembering the reminiscences with Haku and other friends. The threshold guardian is Haku as the dragon. He could not approach to Chihiro, because he is the spirit of the Kohaku River, and it is depicted as the dragon. The character of a herald in this story is ‘Yumi’ who helped Chihiro to face Haku. If Yumi was not interested in guys at all, Yumi and Chihiro could have just studied hard at the university and Chihiro would never know what the root of unprovoked grief was. The shapeshifter is of course Haku. He was pretending as if he was the ordinary guy in the university, but he was the guardian and lover of Chihiro. There is no ‘Shadow’ in this story. However, Chihiro’s unknown sadness often bothers her and this was an invisible villain. The trickster could be Chihiro’s purple hairband since it always has been considered as the real-world accessory, but it was under the spell which showed Chihiro’s life and feeling to Haku.

The narrative structures could be divided into three basic parts: ‘Set up’, ‘Development’, and ‘Denouement’ (Vogler, 2007). Both Vogler’s (2007) mythic structures and Gomez’s (2017) collective journey structures are emphasising those three structures as well as that the hero’s journey has started from the ordinary world. Chihiro’s life was ordinary for a while before she met Haku again at the university. While Vogler (2007) argues that the special events which occurred to the protagonist should be traumatic, Gomez (2017) argues that just the protagonist’s realisation of something that bothers him or her is fine. Besides, in my story, Chihiro just realised her unknown feeling. Chihiro tried to remember how she met Haku because she felt the same way of sadness as she often did and has heard of mentor’s (Zeniba) voice that she should remember it to find out the basic root of her sadness and get over it. There was no death or rebirth since it would not be right for someone to die in the mood of this story. Since Chihiro already went through the conflict with Yubaba and other monsters in the original work, Haku helped Chihiro to get away from her sadness that occurred by missing her childhood memory in a bathhouse by showing her that she has done a great job to his world. A new, better world arise because of Chihiro and this phenomenon is the part of Gomez’s (2017) collective journey structures. Moreover, Gomez (2017) argues that an endless universe could help writers to build a structure of the story. By implying readers that Chihiro started to date with Haku, and by showing the fact that she could freely move back and forth from her world (ordinary world) and Haku’s world, the readers could acknowledge that the two worlds are endlessly connected.

References:

Gomez, J. (2017, December 14). The hero’s journey is no longer serving us [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBBm0we4sAU&list=LL7iRRnJ6uCdXi5MnORJYobA&index=7&t=0s

Miyazaki, H. (Director). (2001). Spirited Away [Motion picture]. Japan: Studio Ghibli.

Vogler, C. (2007). The writer’s journey: Mythic structure for writers (3rd ed.). CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Week 11-12 responses

Week 11

In what ways has the genre of reality television been lost through the hybridization and diversification of programmes?

As reality TV itself reflects lots of real-life situations with different genres such as romance, horror, and family drama, et cetera within one episode as well as describes the social issues that people undergo in particular time and place, it is considered as discourse rather than genre (Lorenzo-Dus & Blitvich, 2013). Since I was not sure why ‘documentary’ could be the genre whereas ‘reality TV’ is vague to be considered as the genre, now I am going to figure out what is the difference between documentary and reality TV. Campbell (2018) argued that while reality TV implies the TV show which contains the features of artificial, stimulating, and entertaining, documentary deals with more genuine and serious subject which does not contain any contrived contents. Therefore, although documentary and reality TV shares similar features such as both of them are filmed based on the real life situation, reality TV has been scripted and more depend on the audiences and viewer ratings.

Reality TV, furthermore, is considered as the hybridization of documentary and entertaining features to attract audiences (Mast, 2009). Sometimes, it causes the misunderstanding of certain people who appeared on the show due to the sensational editing. For example, if one person said some words to encourage other person to escape from the conflict and even though other person agreed about it, it is often edited as if that person wanted to argue and made more troubles (Ouellette, 2016). It is dramatized. Thus, by this factor, reality TV is no longer remained as ‘reality’.

‘Cathy come home’ (1966), directed by Ken Loach and produced by Tony Garnett was also a play which presented hired actresses and actors, not ordinary people in the real world. However, this docu-drama succeeded to attract the audiences’ attentions into the real-world problems in the society although it was a fictional story based on the real life. It helped audiences to form a compassion and homogeneity, as well as developed their ability to aware of the problems in the society and to act upon the way to solve the problems. For “the thousands of Cathys”, people in Britain donated £50,000 in the first month through the housing charity campaign (Lamb, 2016, p.15; Lacey, 2011, p.116). As can be seen, reality TV not just simply loses its identity as the genre, but by combining other features such as drama into documentary, it enables audiences to focus their attention on the broadcast rather than broadcasting the boring documentary itself. Since every audience are living there lives in the real life situation, they feel sick and tired of seeing the world they are familiar with and they used to think in their perspectives rather than considering other people’s perspectives. Therefore, rather than showing the world as it is, the dramatized world could stimulate people through showing them much more entertaining and emotional contents.

‘Infinite Challenge’ is the Korean reality TV show programme hosted by the seven famous comedians in South Korea (Yoon, Kim, Son, & Kim, 2017). I was grown up by watching this reality TV show which gave me tears through the genre of touching Drama, laughter through the genre of Comedy, as well as fear through the genre of Horror. Although there were scripts and deliberate editing to promote the ratings, the comedians’ endeavour to give different messages to audience was highly rated among people (Yoon et al., 2017). Although reality TV is ambiguous as the genre as well as some of the low-quality reality TV shows are threatening people’s mental health, many of them still entertain people in wholesome, and different ways.

References:

Campbell, C. (2018, July 25). What is the difference between “reality series” and “documentary series”?. Retrieved from https://nonfics.com/what-is-the-difference-between-reality-series-and-documentary-series-6e830ed4c500/

Lamb, B. (2016). Cathy come off benefits: A comparative ideological analysis of Cathy Come Home and Benefits Street. Journalism and Discourse Studies, (2), pp.1-21.

Lorenzo-Dus, N., & Blitvich, P. G. (2013). Discourse approaches to the study of reality television. Real Talk: Reality Television and Discourse Analysis in Action, pp.8-41. doi:10.1057/9781137313461.0009

Mast, J. (2009). Documentary at a Crossroads: Reality TV and the Hybridization of Small-Screen Documentary. Sociology Compass3(6), pp.884-898. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9020.2009.00242.x

Ouellette, L. (2016). A Companion to Reality Television. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Yoon, T., Kim, S., Son, B., & Kim, S. (2017). When old meets new: An analysis of Korean traditional narrative in the contemporary reality TV show Infinite Challenge. Acta Koreana20(2), pp.423-448. doi:10.18399/acta.2017.20.2.004

Week 12

Where do you think the future of reality television shows is heading? Will new forms of technology for example make an impact? 

Since there are a number of reality TV shows world-widely, the audiences’ sensible watching habit is needed, not an unbridled one for the desirable future of the reality TV. Kerns (2013) argue that by watching “16 and Pregnant”, people are helping those teen mothers to become rich and famous although teenage pregnancy is a taboo in the general society for their health safety reason, economic power to take responsibility for their family, and in many other ways. Besides, this quote explains how unreasonable for them to earn all those money and fame in the short period of time: “Many of us were raised to be honorable and work hard to be the best in whatever we do, but if you want to be on a reality competition, something millions try out for each year, that actually puts you at a disadvantage.” (Kerns, 2013). Every teenage student is learned how to use contraceptive tool to avoid pregnancy, however, those teenagers did not follow it by their foolish decision at that moment, and it is their responsibility to deal with their situations, not make money for free just by being as if they are pitiable. However, this reality TV programme encouraged audiences to donate money for them, and this phenomenon may cause the side effect such as the increasing number of teenage pregnancy because it always can be supported by people who have sympathy on them (Kerns, 2013). Similarly, in South Korean society, there are so many individual reality TV channels which earns money from the audiences who requires them to show provocative contents such as bragging woman guest’s boobs and hips. Money and the fame, is not just for the people who contributed hard for their lives any longer in the current society. Therefore, whether the reality TV’s future will be bright or dark is solely depending on the audiences’ requirement of medium consumption.

Moreover, according to Reiss and Wiltz (2004), although current research shows that there are no gender preferences for the reality TV, depending on the audience’s gender and basic desires, the viewing habits will be decided in the future. For instance, if there is a woman who get pregnant, she would watch the reality TV programme which treats the contents of women’s pregnancy rather than men whereas if there is a man who is a gay, he would watch the gay’s dating show programme rather than women. Therefore, there will be more fractionized reality TV contents depending on the gender in the future as well.

In terms of technological development, the new forms of technology such as VR (virtual reality) is expected as the next step for mass medium to go (Dredge, 2017). If VR becomes common when watching TV, reality TV’s artificial reality world would become more realistic to audiences. For example, when it comes to the cooking show programme, audiences could feel like a famous chef is cooking in front of their eyes. Moreover, technological development itself could be the content of reality TV such as how the development of VR impacts our lives. Thus, it is obvious that reality TV will be affected by the new technology.

References:

Dredge, S. (2017, April 9). Virtual reality: Is this really how we will all watch TV in years to come? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/09/virtual-reality-is-it-the-future-of-television

Kerns, T. (2013, August 27). Is Reality TV promoting unhealthy attitudes? [Opinion]. Retrieved from https://929nin.com/is-reality-tv-promoting-unhealthy-attitudes-opinion/

Reiss, S., & Wiltz, J. (2004). Why People Watch Reality TV. Media Psychology6(4), 363-378. doi:10.1207/s1532785xmep0604_3

Week 10 – Alt History/Sci-Fi

What role did the I Ching play in the novel’s composition and philosophical underpinning?

Alternative history refers to the science fictional genre which dramatize one or more historical events (Alternate history, n.d.). This genre is occurred by considering what if something happened instead of historical fact. For example, Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, The Man in the High Castle was written based on what if Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan won at the parallel universes of World War II (Mountfort, 2018). Therefore, with regard to the composition of The Man in the High Castle, the author used lots of historical elements to entertain audiences as if they were exploring the places in actual history through time-machine by written down historical and folksy elements in the novel.

Among those historical elements, especially I Ching is the vital part of The Man in the High Castle plot – in other words, without I Ching, the story could not be proceeded. I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes includes Chinese divination text uses hexagrams which is similar to the tarot card reading (Mountfort, 2016). According to Smith (2008), in the hexagrams, broken lines were referring the numbers 6 (六) and 8 (八), and solid lines were referring values of 7 (七) and 9 (九). Besides, I Ching, by Emperor Wu’s judgement, was placed among the Five Classics include “Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, yin-yang cosmology, and Wu Xing physical theory” (Smith, 2008, p.32). This attractive divination text captivates Dick and considered by him as the most significant and 5,000 years of representative oriental oracle as well as a number of characters’ acts are controlled by I Ching in his novel (Fitzgerald, 2016). In terms of the various aspects of narrative, characters, settings, and time period, The Man in the High Castle rely on “the texts of the hexagrams, randomly generated by the counting of yarrow stalks or the casting of coins” (Fitzgerald, 2016). Moreover, Mountfort (2016) argues that as an American author, it would be experimental for Dick to set a plot with I Ching. However, he was the first author who centrally, sophisticatedly, and self-reflectively applies oracle-text into novel (Mountfort, 2016). Thus, it is obvious that I Ching played important and dominant role in the novel’s composition.

I Ching has successfully played its role not only in the composition matter but also has successfully become the basis of philosophical background of this novel. For example, Mountfort (2016) describes how hexagram and its philosophy such as Daoism applied in the text and character:

“Tagomi’s result, hexagram 61 Chung Fu / Inner Truth, in turn also anticipates the I Ching’s answer to Juliana’s question about the meaning of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the novel-within-a-novel that is paired metafictionally with The Man in the High Castle” (Mountfort, 2016).

As can be seen, the philosophy of I Ching becomes the clue to find the “meaning” of abstract and figurative novel. Moreover, since I Ching is the method of divination which is relevant to fatalism, and fatalism, in terms of alternative history genre, the supposition of US being ruled and suppressed by Nazi and Imperial Japan could be the real historical events if the fate favoured them, not US. Therefore, in fatalistic perspective, The Man in the High Castle could be more attractive and entertaining than those who are not because as I mentioned, this novel considers I Ching as the key philosophical method to handle the situations and overturn the fate.

References:

Alternate history. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved October 11 2019 from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/alternate+history

Fitzgerald, B. (2016, September 28). Something missing from Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle: the Author, the I-Ching. Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://medium.com/@brianfit/meta-fiction-a-living-book-and-philip-k-dick-s-man-in-the-high-castle-eac578bdcb09

Mountfort, P. (2016). The I Ching and Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle. Science Fiction Studies, 43(2), pp.287-309. doi:10.5621/sciefictstud.43.2.0287

Mountfort, P. (2018). Science fiction doubles: Technologization of the doppelganger and sinister science in serial science fiction TV. Journal of Science & Popular Culture, 1(1), pp.59-75. doi:10.1386/jspc.1.1.59_1.

Smith, R. J. (2008). Fathoming the cosmos and ordering the world: the Yijing (I Ching, or Classic of Changes) and its evolution in China. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. ISBN 0-8139-2705-6.

Week 9 – Cosplay

According to Mountfort (2018), what are the three main genres of cosphotography and what are their dominant features?

From imitating Japanese anime characters’ appearances to those of Marvel characters and so on, the popularity of cosplaying is getting popular and popular. Some people, including me, are wearing costumes of villains, ghosts, and superheroes on Halloween to enjoy that days with their friends although they are not the biggest fans of specific characters. Before getting into what are the three genres of cosphotography, I will figure out why ‘cosplay’ becomes the popular genre in order to understand why both photography and cosplay are influencing each other.

Suckling (2016) explains seven reasons why cosplay has become so popular globally. To begin with, the fans who are obsessed with sci-fi and fantasy TV show and film characters were started to publicize them commercially by wearing those characters’ costumes (Suckling, 2016). Costume play and cosphotography are take for granted that they have rooted on fandoms with regard to their features of imitating particular characters. Besides, there are six reasons left which played significant roles towards costume play’s popularity – superhero film franchises; firmly formed cosplayers’ communities both online and offline; fans’ desires to make reality into fantasy; lots of open-minded people who usually do cosplay which give impression that there is no age, sex and appearance limitation for cosplaying; emerging confidence and courage by role-playing superheroes and cute anime characters; and lastly, cosplay is simply fun (Suckling, 2016). Therefore, cosplay refers to the icon of respecting diversity and freedom which attract people into cosplay world.

When there are cosplayers, there are a number of photographers who take pictures of it. Therefore, the term for photography of cosplay is “cosphotography” (Mountfort, Perison-Smith & Geczy, 2018). Mountfort et al. (2018) states that there are three prominent cosphotography genres – first, a number of staged costume festival on the runway; second, “the hallway snapshot” (p.50); and third, “studio portrait” (p.51). One of the features of these genres is that they contributed on the camera technology development. For instant, from 35mm shots to smart phone cameras (Mountfort et al., 2018), cosphotography played its role for the camera which captures clearer and sharper picture for the public. Better and higher quality of photography not only satisfies cosplayers desire to become superheroes, but also critics’ evaluation of those photos and cosplayers (Mountfort et al., 2018). Moreover, the spontaneity of cosplayers is dominant in cosphotography (Mountfort et al., 2018). Those cosplayers wear make-up, put on a wig, and pose like their favourite character. They enjoy being taken photos by cosphotographer on their own initiative. Sometimes, cosphotography influences people to be impressed by futuristic fashion and science fiction through such as Morojo’s dress in the twenty-fifth century (Mountfort et al., 2018). It is impressive that cosphotography could be the vehicle for people to encounter new genres and make them enjoying it.

To conclude, cosphotography contributed to the technology development in terms of quality and popularity. Although cosplay seems like minor people’s genre who are into anime, sci-fi, DC, Marvel et cetera, it accepts and allows any people to become the superhero and other attractive characters and get away from the exhausting real life.

References:

Mountfort, P., Peirson-Smith, A., & Geczy, A. (2018). Cosphotography and fan capital. In Planet Cosplay: Costume Play, Identity and Global Fandom (pp. 45-74). Chicago, IL: Intellect Books.

Suckling, L. (2016, August 16). Cosplay: What makes it so popular?. Retrieved from https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/life/83198636/cosplay-what-makes-it-so-popular

Week 8 Response

Looking at both Napier (2005) and Cavallaro (2006), discuss how these critics suggest anime is culturally ‘located’ – i.e., in the East or West, or somewhere else?

It is obvious that the anime market is rapidly growing and getting popular in both Eastern side (especially, Japan) and Western side. However, it is ambiguous to judge which side does anime belongs to.

According to Cavallaro (2006), the famous Japanese anime director, ‘Miyazaki’ had inspired by many Western authors, cartoonists, and animators such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Winsor McCay. Therefore, the elements of his anime sometimes followed “Greek and Norse mythology, Western folktales and fairy tales, and the Bible” (p.8). Moreover, the characters’ appearance is more resembled with Caucasian rather than Asian. However, still, he used Japanese graphic styles which is called ‘ukiyo-e’ as well as put distinctive and unique Japanese sensitivity, beauty, and sadness inside his works (Cavallaro, 2006).

Miyazaki’s anime is well-combined by both Japanese culture and other Western countries’ traditions as well as he produced traditional Japanese anime which have touched people from other countries’ mind. It shows that he created his own “mainstream Japanese anime” rather than some imitated works of Western animation or Japanese style “Disney productions” (Cavallaro, 2006, p.9). Although the father of Anime in Japan, director ‘Miyazaki’ produced his own works by referencing Western pieces, his works amazingly and beautifully demonstrates world-wide messages in unique and traditional Japanese (or Oriental) emotion such as the importance of protecting the naturistic system. Therefore, Cavallaro (2006) suggested that anime is culturally located in both West and Japan.

Similarly, Napier (2005) argued that both in western countries and Japan, anime is treated as the popular genre. Also, the anime characters usually wearing European dresses as well as their appearance are not like ordinary Japanese people – they are having a huge eyes and different hair colour (Napier, 2005). Moreover, not only in Japan and western countries, but the popularity of anime in other Southeast Asian countries such as Korea or Taiwan increases (Napier, 2005).

However, unlike Western animations, Japanese anime brought ‘otaku’ culture which defines that the rabid fans of anime (Napier, 2005). They are nerds who are into the anime characters or anime drawing techniques more than other people (Yusuke, 2019). As Napier (2005) emphasized that Japanese anime is something unrivalled genre since it is quite different and varies from Westerners’ children’s animations such as Disney animations, this critic’s point of view is that ‘anime’ is culturally located in nowhere but Japan its own. Thus, although the genre of ‘anime’ is getting popular globally, ‘anime’ culture is Japan’s own culture which includes not only the entertainment for children but different subgenres for adults, especially those who were born in Japan, and even otaku. For example, anime with including the feature of ‘shojo’ which refers little girl in Japanese, and ‘kawaii’ which is the term for cuteness are stimulating the otaku’s interests toward anime which lead them to buy the products with the anime characters drawn on them (Yusuke, 2019). Not only otakus in Japan, but otakus from other countries are also into buying this since anime directed from Japan has its own attraction especially for them (Yusuke, 2019) which is different from western animations for educating and entertaining children.

In conclusion, although many of Japanese anime had referred from Western cartoons and novels, one important fact is that Japan have created their own genre by combining their own culture, habits, and values with the Western cultures. Sometimes, Japanese anime impress audiences solely by showing their cultural references as well as inserting traditional music which emphasizes overall atmosphere of ‘Japanese Anime’.

References:

Cavallaro, D. (2006). Introduction. In The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp.5-13). London: McFarland & Company.

Cavallaro, D. (2006). Frame of Reference. In The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki (pp.15-28). London: McFarland & Company.

Napier, S. (2005). Why anime? In Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle (pp.3-14). Hampshire: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Napier, S. (2005). Anime and local/global identity. In Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle (pp.15-34). Hampshire: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Yusuke, S. (2019, June 26). Otaku: What is the otaku culture in Japan?. Retrieved October 9, 2019, from https://jw-webmagazine.com/otaku-what-is-the-otaku-culture-in-japan-2283995b38c0/

Week 7 Response

What issues do Herge’s albums raise in terms of representation of ‘race’, and particularly ethnic and cultural stereotyping?

Herge was a Belgian cartoonist who created the character whose name is ‘Tintin’ (Assouline, 2009). When it comes to one of his albums called ‘Blue Lotus’, it is delicately and realistically describing the era of Japanese invasion of Manchuria which was occurred in 1931. For instance, there is a scene that Mitsuhirato is offering Chinese people the opium, and those who addicted by the opium suddenly become very aggressive. This scene represents that the era when Chinese people were under Japanese influences.

The reason why Herge played an important role to both Asian countries and Western countries is that most of Western people had prejudice like Asian people dump their children into the river, eat rotten eggs, and other negative prejudices toward them. However, by precisely researching and demonstrating what is actually happened at that time in China and their relationship between Japan – thanks to his best friend, ‘Zhang Chongren’ – the Western audiences or readers of Tintin could adjust their prejudice towards Asian people and could actually learn what was happened there as well as the geography of some part of China (e.g. Shanghai, Yangtze river) (Assouline, 2009).

Nevertheless, with regard to depict Asian people’s appearance, Herge drew them as the people who have squinted eyes and the combed-dark black hair (Laser-Robinson, 2019). It is lessened while describing Chinese people, but still exaggerated while describing Japanese people. Moreover, by describing Tintin as the saviour of drowning Chinese boy, it leads to another prejudice that Western people should have sympathy about poor Asians (Mountfort, 2012). Thus, Herge could be considered as the racist although he tried to demolish the Western people’s prejudice towards Asian people by doing the researches, somehow he still biased towards Asian since he depicted Japanese character’s appearance as ridiculous ugly face as well as described Asian people as they cannot independently act by themselves and they need Western hero to protect them from harm.

According to Mountfort (2012), “in a pivotal set of panels (43 f1−13) where Tintin rescues a drowning Chang from the Yangtze River, the bewildered boy asks Tintin, ‘But … why did you save my life?’ The pair then go on to trade their respective cultural stereotypes” (p.40). As can be seen, not only Western people have prejudice towards Asian people, but Asian people themselves also biased towards Western people that Westerners will deny them even though they are in danger.

In conclusion, although Herge encourage other Western people to get away from the Asian stereotype through releasing his album, still it is biased. In terms of race, by drawing Western people as predominant characters whereas Chinese people depend on them, and by describing Japanese people as typical, exaggerated Asian face of what Westerners was thinking, it represented that Herge was not threw away his stereotype towards Asian people at all. Since there is neither predominant race nor inferior race on Earth, Western people should respect Asian people as independent race with their unique culture, not having sympathy on them. Also, Asian people should be proud of themselves – neither overwhelmed by the Western people nor aggressive towards them, but embrace them and attempt to communicate with them as the same ‘human’ to ‘human’ as well as respect Western culture.

References:

Assouline, P. (2009). Herge: The man who created Tintin. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Laser-Robinson, A. (2019). An analysis of Hergé’s portrayal of various racial groups in the adventures of Tintin: The blue lotus. [online] Tintinologist.org. Available at: https://www.tintinologist.org/articles/analysis-bluelotus.pdf [Accessed 16 Sep. 2019].

Mountfort, P. (2012). ‘Yellow skin, black hair … Careful, Tintin’: Hergé and Orientalism. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 1(1), pp.33-49.

Week 5 & 6 Responses

Week 5

Wilcox and Lavery (2002) identify 9 defining characteristics of “quality TV” – can you apply any of these to other television series that you have viewed recently? Are there any other characteristics that you could add to their list?

According to Wilcox and Lavery (2002), there are nine characteristics of quality TV.

Before analysing those characteristics, I tried to figure out what is the definition of “quality TV”. Quality TV is a term for describing a genre of television programming that considered as a high quality piece owing to its content, style or subject matter to television scholars, broadcasting advocacy groups, and television critics (Caldwell, 1995). Since I used to watch Korean drama in my spare time, I found out that South Korean woman script-writer, Jae-Jung Song’s drama, Memories of the Alhambra contains some of these characteristics of “Quality TV”.

The reasons why her dramas are considered as a quality TV with regard to Wilcox and Lavery’s (2002) defining characteristics of quality TV:

Jae-Jung Song’s filmography

The first characteristic of quality TV is that the script writers have their own filmographies that had succeeded before (Wilcox and Lavery, 2002). One of Jae-Jung Song’s recent dramas, Memories of the Alhambra (2018) was highly expected among K-drama lovers since her last dramas such as W (2016), and Nine (2013) became popular since the subjects were extremely impressive as her drama always interestingly demonstrate the world that people can travel through time and space. People who loves her dramas were impressed by the shocking reversal and plot lines that lingers in their mind.

Large amount of budgets and non-appreciative audiences

Although most of audiences were interested by her drama’s quality statistically as Memories of Alhambra’s highest rating was 13.592 percent (AGB Nielsen Media Research, 2018), not all of the audiences were enjoyed or entertained by her drama. Especially, those audiences who were not satisfied about this drama said that the ending scene was confusing as well as the foreshadowing of this drama had not explained properly enough through it. Wilcox and Lavery (2002) said that acceptance of criticism is one of the behaviours that quality TV should do. Also, the production team had budgeted 20 billion US dollars on producing Memories of Alhambra (Top star news, 2018). Therefore, despite its popularity, the production team had to search the best way to satisfy audiences’ demands to be entertained by the drama as well as the profits which has been expected to exceed the budgets they had spent. The quality TV also care about generating the profits (Wilcox and Lavery, 2002).

Different characters and Casting actors and actresses

The quality TV casts many actors and actresses who play the important role (Wilcox and Lavery, 2002). Memories of the Alhambra casts the famous South Korean actor, Hyun Bin as Yoo Jin-woo, the CEO of investment company called “J One Holdings; Doctor of Engineering who is talented at developing games” (Memories of the Alhambra, 2018). Moreover, Park Shin-hye as Jung Hee-joo and Emma (the key character to solve the mysterious VR game’s violence and danger). The female protagonist, Jung Hee-joo is the owner of Bonita Hostel. A former classic guitarist who came to Spain for further studies, but took on several jobs there to sustain livelihood following the death of her parents. She has artistic sensibility but zero financial sense. Her brother, ‘Jung Se-joo’ is also the important character in this drama although he is not considered as a main character since he is the fountainhead of the whole situations to be happened which means he was the mysterious VR game developer. The actor of Jung Se-joo is a K-pop idol, and this was the hot issue of this drama as well. There are antagonists, other supporting characters, and even cameos from previous dramas that Jae-Jung Song wrote. Like this, the casting of the show is the important part when considering it as the quality TV.

“Quality TV has a memory” (Wilcox and Lavery, 2002).

Latest episodes of the quality TV are throwing back to the past episodes that had reminded audiences of current situation is happening now to protagonists because they did something in the past. It is pretty much like cause and effect. Memories of the Alhambra also throwing back to past that why Se-joo created the character of Emma who has exactly same appearance as his sister in the game as well as every time when Francisco Tárrega’s eponymous classical guitar piece Recuerdos de la Alhambra has been played, the virtual enemies of the games appear and actually fight with the players in the real world and they are actually damaged by the virtual enemies. (Cho, & Kim, & Ahn, 2018)

Most importantly, “quality TV creates a new genre by mixing old ones” (Wilcox and Lavery, 2002).Memories of the Alhambra is the genre of fantasy, suspense, sci-fi, romance, as well as melodrama. Besides, all of those genres are harmonized in the drama quite well. As mentioned, the script writer of this drama played an important role. However, she said that the VR game, ‘Pokemon Go’ inspired her to set the basic plot line of this drama (Kim, 2019). Therefore, although Wilcox and Lavery (2002) argue that literary and writer-based sources can influence the quality TV, I could say that trendy entertainments could also contribute to produce the quality TV.

References:

AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). (2018). AGB daily ratings: This links to current day-select the date from drop down menu. Retrieved from http://www.nielsenkorea.co.kr/tv_terrestrial_day.asp?menu=Tit_1&sub_menu=3_1&area=00

Caldwell, J.T. (1995). Televisuality: Style, crisis, and authority in American television. Rutgers University Press (p. 67).

Cho, H., & Kim, S. (Producer), & Ahn, G. (Director). (2018). Memories of the Alhambra [Television series]. South Korea: Studio Dragon & Chorokbaem Media.

Kim, M. (2019, January 15). [N interview] ‘알함브라’ 송재정 작가가 밝힌 #증강현실 #느린 전개 #현빈(종합). Retrieved from http://news1.kr/articles/?3525060

Top Star News (in Korean). (2018, December 12). Memories of the Alhambra, 20 billion US dollar of budget… The existence of original work receives an attention since it’s got the highest ratings (in Korean). Retrieved from http://www.topstarnews.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=544106

Wilcox, R. & Lavery, D. (2002). Introduction, in R. Wilcox & D. Lavery (eds.) Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.

Week 6

What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples.

According to Hill (2004), there are three characteristics that can define cult TV – firstly, textual analysis; secondly, inter-textual analysis; and lastly, fan audiences. The author especially emphasized that the particular fandoms of cult TV thoroughly influence on its success. Those fandoms are somehow similar to soap fans. However, while soap fans are into industrial genre such as romance comedy, cult TV fans are focusing on the genre of ‘cult’ itself. Cult TV fans are not just simply watching ‘TV’, but they are actually love to criticize it, write a fan fiction about it, as well as inspire cult TV’s producers with their thoughts. Therefore, the plot of cult TV is written with the engagement of the cult TV fandoms (Hill, 2004).

Before I analyse what new media does to focus on this phenomenon (fans role of media production), I wonder what is the definition of ‘new media’. Southeastern University (2016) cited from Robert Rogan that ‘new media’ is “digital media that are interactive, incorporate two-way communication and involve some form of computing” (Southeastern University, 2016). Therefore, the importance of ‘new media’ is linked to ‘interaction’.

Like new media itself significantly cares about interaction between individuals, it also cares about the fandom of cult TV (Hill, 2004). They are more like maniac than fan because the genre of ‘cult TV’ is sometimes hard-core and cannot understandable as well as most people either like it or not. There are few people who take a neutral attitude, but still, as cult TV’s plot is written to suit the tastes of fandoms (Hill, 2004), the people who are not in the fandom cannot understand or enjoy the story at all.

Once, I went to the movie theatre to watch “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)”. I could say that I enjoyed the movie although I am not a big fan of the “Sherlock Holmes” series. However, I could not understand the special post-credit scene because it was added for the Sherlock Holmes fandom. It was not interesting at all as well as overall impression of that movie was slightly looking downward for me because I could neither laugh nor impressed by that scene. However, Sherlock Holmes series’ fans seemed like enjoying it. Thus, cult TV is definitely focusing on interacting with its own existing fandom rather than conquering new fans. Personally, I guess bringing the new fans is also difficult for cult TV since there are many seasons and episodes which had already released long time ago, and it is impossible to watch those episodes all together at the same time for new fans. It takes time. This phenomenon similarly occurs to those fandoms of “Doctor Who (2005)”, “Star Trek (1966)”, and “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (1997)” et cetera.

de Kloet and van Zoonen (2007) suggests that fandom “constitutes an alternative economy outside the mainstream” (p. 328). As I mentioned, fandom is necessary, especially for cult TV producers since they introduce their productions in various ways such as writing a fan fiction of it, or just simply involve their friends into watching it together. Cult TV is obviously maniac as well as the producers of cult TV are targeting the previous fans rather than gathering new fans. However, those ‘previous fans’ could help cult TV industries to be paid enough for their efforts to satisfy their fans and even introducing them the new fans.

References:

de Kloet, H.J., & van Zoonen, E.A. (2007). Fan culture: Performing difference. Media studies: Key issues and debates (1st ed., pp. 322-341). London, UK: Routledge.

Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences, in R. C. Allen & A. Hill (eds.) The Television Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Southeastern University. (2016, February 15). What is new media?. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from https://online.seu.edu/articles/what-is-new-media/