What If It Ended?

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

This tweet struck me hard.  It made me think about my talks of Media Gray Goo.  I realized that age plays a role in my concern that our media is becoming dull and repetitious, that there are things we do over and over and over until they loose all meaning.

Here we see an example of that in discussing Batman, the ever re-invented character who bears both the burden of the past and the burden of endless re-interpretation, all fused into a kind of incoherent and re-invented continuity.  We’re always re-making Batman while acting like he’s the same, which in time seems to whittle the character down, despite some spectacularly well-done takes.

Batman is endlessly stuck at 35, even when authors temporarily play with him until someone presses the reset button.  How many fan arguments are based on what Batman “should be,” even though he’s both out of date and remade?  How much of him has become Gray Goo?

Above, the author gives the example of Deku of My Hero Academia.  He has a story, he ages, he grows, and in theory his tale may end, though as we’ve seen from One Piece, some manga and anime do go on.  There’s no plans to reboot him, remake him – indeed, the entire My Hero Academia universe presents so many options why would you want to remake it – there’s so many other stories to tell and explore anyway.  And if it ends, then it ends – there’s plenty of other cool stuff.

In fact, if a story has a good tale and a good arc, why not enjoy a good end?  Maybe follow up with the rest of the setting, other characters, and so on.  Let things grow – and if you miss the old tale, then re-read it or re-view it.  You can discuss something in context, while also acknowledging all its flaws and places in time.

So I want you to imagine a different world, where superheroes had their stories and they ended.  Where we dig up reprints of old Batman comics, with their starts and endings, and if Batman is remade then it’s a remake of a tale with a start and a finish.  Imagine being able to enjoy Batman in context and history, not as ever-remade battles of marketing and reboots and a return to zero?

Maybe we need to let things end or pass on.  That’s what’s life about after all.

Steven Savage

Fanime 2018 Observation

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

It may seem odd that as of late I’ve posted about animation, but my recent activities have put me in touch with some worth discussing.  My recent speaking engagement at Fanime 2018 gave me a lot to think about – because there’s some insights into where anime and animation may be going.

One of the things I do every con is scope out what’s popular in cosplay and the artists alley.  It gives me an idea of what’s going on, what’s popular, and what we may want to pay attention to.  What I saw has me thinking about a few shifts in anime, animation, and gaming.

My Hero Academia

This superhero show – deserving the praise it’s received – was huge.  Plenty of cosplayers.  Plenty of merchandise.  It was pretty much the dominant anime at the convention.

This has me wondering if the show gets a wider distribution or viewership if it’s going to be the new gateway anime.  I can’t think of anything that truly fit that definition for years (but see below), but MHA could well be it.  If we actually have a new gateway anime that’s a cultural game-changer, meaning more people get interested in the broader anime-and-related scene.

Land of the Lustrous

I only just started watching this gorgeous, hard-to-describe show about living gemstones in a strange world.  I have had friends recommending it, but started watching it because it was far more represented at Fanime than I expected.  I had been concerned that the “limitation” of being on Amazon would affect it, and apparently I was wrong about that or the word “limitation.”

If this representation indicates penetration, that’s excellent news for both Amazon and for unusual anime – because LotL may look like a CGI action anime/magical girl thing but it’s certainly not.  I have trouble describing it.  At this level of attention I suspect it’ll remain a fixture for awhile and shows there’s an appetite for more unusual things out of Japan.

Yuri On Ice

The famous skating sports drama/romcom was less represented this year, but still holding on in cosplay and merchandise.  Considering how it’s been represented in the Olympics, it still reaches people.  I consider it a minor gateway anime if only due to exposure.

But it’s not going away at least in American fandom.

Video Games

Overwatch was still well-representated in both areas, though I saw slightly less Cosplayers.  I think Overwatch is not only popular (in a justified way) but clearly its cast, its character designs and character “skins” encourage cosplayers.  Anyone doing a game wanting mindshare should keep cosplayability (which is now a word) in mind.

Fire Emblem, the game series, was also very well represented.  With a huge cast over many games, and a prominent current one, I met many cosplayers who’d dressed as characters from the series.  Again cosplayability and interesting characters brings mindshare.

Of course back when FFX-2 came out, it was clearly cosplayable.  This is just following in those footsteps.


So there you have it.  I think we have a new potential gateway anime, Amazon’s investment in LotL seems to have brought interest and passion, and characters and cosplayability produce some real passion.

– Steve

More On Her Eternal Moonlight!

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

Just got back from Con-Volution, and wanted to round up some of the reviews and podcasts about  Her Eternal Moonlight:

I hope to post more in a bit (and get back to my Civic Diary, which went a few places I didn’t expect).  Just got some Con Recovery to do!

– Steve