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/

Week 4 Horror Responses

Question for Torture Porn:

According to Carroll (????), what is the role of torture in the torture porn franchises Saw and Hostel? Using references, explain this in your own words. How do you think these purposes might relate to the socio-political environment of that time period and such events like 9/11 and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal?

According to Keetley (2016), James Wan’s Saw and Eli Roth’s Hostel are certainly remarking on September 11th’s terror as well as both of the films were filmed in the devastated factories and warehouses. Moreover, both of the films were focusing on manifest the men’s tortured bodies and death (Keetley, 2016). Similarly, Reyes (2012) cited Noel Carroll, and suggested that the genre of torture porn could create “fear, shock and disgust” without a monstrous figure (Reyes, 2012, p. 6). Therefore, I personally believe the role of torture in torture porn is to stimulate primitive fear by demonstrating mutilated or disfigured human body.

Moreover, according to Reyes (2014), “Claustrophobia” is underlined by the continuous “close-ups on the bodies of the victims” (Reyes, 2014, p.136). When it comes to the meaning of somebody tortured by something, the victims are usually locked up in a room or tied up somewhere which made them feel like psychologically unstable. Thus, people could get claustrophobia by either directly or indirectly experiencing this kind of torture. In addition, in the torture porn, claustrophobia could play its role by giving a tension before something is actually revealing its intimidate figure.

Since thousands of American people died or injured, lost some of their body parts because of the 9/11 terror, damaged body became the material of horror film because people were could not get away from the fear of terrorism. No one knew that the biggest aircraft terror will be happening in the peaceful morning. In addition, Hilal (2017) explained that the Abu Ghraib notorious torture scandal was committed by U.S. prison guards there who were brutally torture the Iraq prisoners’ bodies and took the videos of woman prisoners’ bodies while they were raped by the prison guards. The humiliation of Abu Ghraib prisoners happened because of “Islamophobia” which was occurred after 9/11. American people wanted to revenge the Muslim (Hilal, 2017).  Then, the fear of immoral torture of body scared people since ‘damaged’ body was a kind of trauma at that time and still, it is. Therefore, the genre of torture porn became a franchise.

Socio-politically, the capitalism was affect early 21st century world such as the political establishments’ rampages by using their asset (Piketty, 2014). They instigated gangsters to destroy their enemies. Similarly, the movie Hostel, the psycho, rich clients pay some bills to torture and kill the tourists for fun. Therefore, the fact that mysterious disappearances might be related to someone who have absolute power also might have accelerated the birth of torture porn.

References:

Hilal, M. (2017, September 28). Abu Ghraib: The legacy of torture in the war on terror. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/abu-ghraib-legacy-torture-war-terror-170928154012053.html

Keetley, D. (2016, November 15). Saw, Hostel, and the Death of Manufacturing. Retrieved September 8, 2019, from http://www.horrorhomeroom.com/saw-hostel-death-of-manufacturing/

Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the 21st century. Inequality in the 21st Century, p.8. Retrieved from https://dowbor.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/14Thomas-Piketty.pdf

Reyes, X.A. (2012). ‘Beyond psychoanalysis: Post-millennial horror film and affect theory’. Horror Studies, 3(2), pp.243–261. https://doi.org/10.1386/host.3.2.243_1

Reyes, X.A. (2014). Body gothic: Corporeal transgression in contemporary literature and horror film. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Question for Post Horror:

In this lecture, I have briefly outlined how Hereditary contains elements of folk horror, cosmic horror and family drama. Using examples from your own readings and the film, describe how you feel these elements make up the film Hereditary and how it might fit into the larger canon of “prestige horror” from Rosemary’s Baby to today.

Rose (2018) describes post horror as the new horror genre that have replaced jump-scare feature in the previous horror genre and added more realistic figures such as the different kinds of relationship between family members. Also, the young auteurs are finding the way to impress the audiences with the low budget (Rose, 2018).

I believe that the definition of “prestige horror” could differ depending on how audiences and critics are impressed by either different and new way to scare people. Ari Aster’s Hereditary (2018) contains those new features such as cursed family, tragic family tradition, as well as even unknown, supernatural threats which can be included into cosmic horror. Hereditary also has earned $44 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.3 million in other countries which is total gross of $79.3 million, while a production budget was $10 million (Box Office Mojo, 2018).

Therefore, Hereditary deserves the title of “prestige horror”. Besides, Hereditary hints audiences by using frequent foreshadows such as close-up towards pigeon’s decapitated head which was the foreshadowing of Charlie’s death – I did not realise this as the foreshadowing when I first saw this movie, because I thought Charlie will be the main protagonist who will solve this mysterious and dismal family atmosphere. Therefore, I still cannot forget Charlie’s dreadful death. Idika (2018) analyses Charlie’s death as “orchestrated” because the demon, Paimon was inside Charlie’s soul and body at first. However, Paimon wanted the male host which explained as the reason why Charlie’s brother, Peter goes through a ritual to be the real Paimon itself, one of the 72 demons appear in “Lemegeton” at the end of the movie. I did not recognise Paimon has its own sigil, and this signature was engraved on the telephone pole. This scene also proves that Charlie’s death was scheduled by demonic being. Moreover, Charlie’s grandmother’s and her mother’s necklaces symbolises the Paimon’s mythological character. Besides, Charlie’s clicking sound of her tongue is known as the tick of Paimon. Idika (2018) cites Ari Aster that “the headless body” belongs to no one but Paimon. That is why Charlie’s grandmother’s body was in the attic as well as Annie’s (Charlie’s mother) body which was floating towards the place where the ritual for Peter (Paimon) was enacted (Idika, 2018).

These features enhance the quality of horror movie not just by jump scaring people to make them tense and feel uncomfortable, but make them lingered by the contents of the movie by using the mythological materials as well as stimulating the fundamental emotion towards family and family bond.

References:

Box Office Mojo. (2018, June 8). Hereditary (2018). Retrieved September 10, 2019, from https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&id=a24horrora.htm

Idika, N. (2018, June 19). 11 Horrifying clues and hidden meanings in ‘Hereditary’ that you 100% missed. Retrieved from https://www.popbuzz.com/tv-film/features/hereditary-meaning-paimon/

Rose, S. (2018, February 22). How post-horror movies are taking over cinema. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/06/post-horror-films-scary-movies-ghost-story-it-comes-at-night

Week 3: A History of Modern Horror

Q. Carroll (2003) and King (2010) discuss how the “monster” is really a defining feature of a horror story. Using references, explain in your own words how a monster in horror differentiates from monsters in other popular genres.

King (2010), by asking himself what the exact meaning of the monster is, he figured out himself that the monsters are “symbolic” especially when it comes to horror genre (King, 2010, p.11). Apparently, horror genre cannot be explained without the monsters; the comprehensive meaning of the monsters such as ghost, devil, and other awful-looking creatures. He also stated that the genre of horror is different from science fiction or fantasy. He defined that the “horror film is an invitation to indulge in deviant, antisocial behaviour by proxy – to commit gratuitous acts of violence, indulge our puerile dreams of power, to give in to our most craven fears” (King, 2010, p.12). Like this, the monsters in horror genre are basically stimulating our fear rather than any other feelings.

However, the monsters in other genres such as science fiction or fantasy are sometimes awakening us to get away from the stereotype that ugly creatures always harm innocent people, or even they can touch our mind emotionally. The monsters (alien and beast) in Steven Spielberg’s ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ or Gabrielle-Susanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are the examples of not-harmful monsters. The cute alien, E.T. has broken down our fears of unknown creatures in the universe, showing that the alien can be friend of mankind. For the beast, he was just a lonely and handsome prince who was waiting for the true love to kiss him. Those monsters are totally different from the monsters that appear in horror genre.

Similarly, Carroll (2003) stated that “the monsters can be of either a supernatural or a sci-fi origin.” (Carroll, 2003, p.15). This author argued that whereas science fiction genre has given us opportunity to explore the alternative societies and technologies in the holistic view point through depiction of the new world, the horror genre is solely focusing on the depiction of dreadful monsters. Following quote is supporting this argument:

“Boreads, griffins, chimeras, baselisks, dragons, satyrs, and such are bothersome and fearsome creatures in the world of myths, but they are not unnatural; they can be accommodated by the metaphysics of the cosmology that produced them. The monsters of horror, however, breach the norms of ontological propriety presumed by the positive human characters in the story. That is, in examples of horror, it would appear that the monster is an extraordinary character in our ordinary world, whereas in fairy tales and the like the monster is an ordinary creature in an extraordinary world” (Carroll, 2013, p.16)

In other words, the monsters in horror genre are from the unknown world which will make us tremble with fear, while the monsters in other popular genres are just from ‘another world’ which co-exists with ‘the normal world’ in ‘the same planet’. In other popular genres rather than horror, the monsters are also the ordinary creatures although they are not human.

For example, my favourite video game, ‘Undertale (2015)’ can explain this. Before explaining why monsters in this game is different from the horror genre’s monsters, I want to introduce how to play this game and two different routes differentiated by whether game players choose to kill the monsters or not. Basically, the players can start the game by controlling a child who has fallen into the Underground. The players meet monsters during the way back to the surface. While meeting monsters, the players can pacify or subdue monsters to release them instead of killing them. As I mentioned, these choices affect the game, with the dialogue, characters, and story changing based on outcomes. Some monsters keep attacking the players although they choose to pacify the monster.

However, the players themselves could feel warmth at the end if they keep on choosing the dialogue not to kill the monsters. By contrast, if the players choose to kill the monsters, they might feel guilty. The reason why the players could feel guilty is, in this game, these monsters keep notify us through the dialogue that they are our friends who just live in Underground world. Mostly, the monsters in the horror genre is horrifying because they will harm us. However, while playing Undertale, you could be attracted by those adorable monsters who have will to become friends with human.

To sum up, although the monsters’ appearance is disturbing in the horror genre, the characters of monsters could be differentiated by which genres they are from. Moreover, monsters’ character also could be differentiated by how human beings respond to them. Their character might be perverted because they are craving for human friends’ concern.

References:

Carroll, N. (2003). The philosophies of horror: or, paradoxes of the heart. New York, NY: Routledge.

King, S. (2010). Danse Macabre. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Undertale [Video Game]. (2015, September 15). Boston, MA: Toby Fox.

Week 1-2 Horror Response

Q. What is the philosophy of cosmicism and how is it used to convey a sense of dread in both The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Void?

According to Wiley (2017), the concept of “Cosmicism” was derived from the H.P. Lovecraft’s idea that the human beings are nothing at all if they are compared with the infinite universe. The author also added the quote that “the cosmos is wholly indifferent to us”. (Wiley, 2017). Therefore, I believe that those kind of fear that emerged from imagining what is happening on the unexplored space has created the horror genre of cosmicism.

Then, what are the features of cosmicism? Mesick (2015) stated that the cosmic horror are often emphasized from not telling the reason why the unknown terror had happened which remains mystery. In addition, the cosmic horror makes our lives meaningless and describes the gods that exist as the uncaring or even dangerous beings (Mesick, 2015). In other words, the humanity can be easily trampled by indescribable, and “supernatural” power of gods (Stableford, 2007, p.66). The mental status of human characters can, therefore, be easily broken down. The monsters and the story that only can be described with pseudoscience are also the features of the cosmic horror (Mesick, 2015).

To summarize, cosmicism makes us feel panic and the fear of death. In other words, the fear that occurs by losing a mediocre life as a human and butchered or distorted human body are commonly described in the cosmic horror. By setting the basic plot line that the fate of humankind is to be doomed by unknown creatures which have similar or better intelligence than human species that we have not seen yet, the readers or the audiences could find the weird subtlety of reading or watching the cosmic horror stories.

Now I am going to analyse how these features have been set in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ and “The Void”.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth:

Lovecraft (1939) described the fictional town, ‘Innsmouth’ as “Devil Reef” (p. 12). From the beginning of the story, eerie and ominous atmosphere have been created through these kinds of word choices. Moreover, the protagonist depicts the driver who helped (or in another word, neglected) him to arrive to Innsmouth as this following quotes:

“He was a thin, stoop– shouldered man not much under six feet tall, dressed in shabby blue civilian clothes and wearing a frayed golf cap. His age was perhaps thirty–five, but the odd, deep creases in the sides of his neck made him seem older when one did not study his dull, expressionless face. He had a narrow head, bulging, watery–blue eyes that seemed never to wink, a flat nose, a receding forehead and chin, and singularly undeveloped ears. His long thick lip and coarse–pored, grayish cheeks seemed almost beardless except for some sparse yellow hairs that straggled and curled in irregular patches; and in places the surface seemed queerly irregular, as if peeling from some cutaneous disease. His hands were large and heavily veined, and had a very unusual grayish–blue tinge. The fingers were strikingly short in proportion to the rest of the structure, and seemed to have a tendency to curl closely into the huge palm. As he walked toward the bus I observed his peculiarly shambling gait and saw that his feet were inordinately immense” (p. 10)

As can be seen, even the bus driver of Innsmouth has creepy appearance which reminds me of stinky, fishy monster. Through reading this whole story, I was obviously overwhelmed by the atmosphere of Innsmouth and those fish-faced monsters. I felt myself as meaningless while I asked myself; in this universe, does the town, ‘Innsmouth’ truly exist?; if I am the descendants of the Deep Ones, what shall I do? – I will definitely lose my mind if I am in these situations. Apparently, I can tell Lovecraft’s cosmic horror got me insane.

The Void:

‘The Void’ is the supernatural horror film (Gillespie & Kostanski, 2016). Since I consider myself a horror fan, I thought this film will jump scare me, and I personally think jump scare content in the horror film is juvenile. Because mostly, I can predict when the monsters will pop up. Apparently, this film jump scared me.

However, it went against my expectation, as well as the characters who have been possessed by the devil are nauseous. I enjoyed this film but at the same time, I felt disgusted. Although this film is a B grade film, it made my skin crawl and I could not get away from the ending scene for a while.

The monsters appear here have Cthulhu myth’s ‘tentacles’, and just like other horror films, it shows a lot of blood. The fear of death, unknown devils from mysterious world which have been appeared and destroying people’s lives for no reason are showing that this is the cosmic horror.

References:

Gillespie, J., & Kostanski, S. (Directors). (2016). The void [Motion picture]. Cave Painting Pictures.

Lovecraft, H. P. (1939). The shadow over Innsmouth. Everett, PA: Visionary Publishing Co.

Mesick, D. (2015, November 29). How to use Lovecraftian horrors in your stories. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://mythcreants.com/blog/how-to-use-lovecraftian-horrors-in-your-stories/

Stableford, B. (2007). The Cosmic Horror. In Icons of Horror and the Supernatural. (Vol. 2, p. 66). Wesport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group

Wiley, C. R. (2017, August 24). Lovecraft’s cosmicism: What it is, how it works, and why it fails. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/gloryseed/2017/08/lovecrafts-cosmicism-works-fails/