What’s east is west and that’s okay!

So degenerate underlings of our most evil council, what is it we shall infer on this most pernicious of occasions? How about some quality culture stuff!!! Yeah, that sounds good!!! Let us talk about this subject. It sounds particularly malevolent….. Now, where to begin???

   A few days ago I started to think about what really drew me towards anime and manga in the first place. What is it that makes it draw my attention more than other forms of media? Why does it have such a profound effect on many other people, not just myself? It isn’t that anime and manga are the only forms of entertaining media. There are plenty of good Western media outlets. Western comics have a distinct flavor of their own. The west also puts out a lot of great movies and music amongst other fantastic entertainment sources. The conclusion I saw myself trying to reach is that in the East there seems to be no boundaries or restrictions on what one can do in the entertainment industry.

   Genre meshing is almost as common as breathing in Japanese and other Eastern media. Manga and anime are will blend goofball comedy with action seamlessly without making the story seem awkward. They will blend these with aspects of mystery, high fantasy, or just about any other genre you could think. Often times they can pull this off with mature and fully realized characters and story arches. Shows like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun are just two examples that follow this route. Not all anime has to be action oriented, in fact I am a large fan of what is known as “Slice of Life” anime and manga. “Slice of Life” is just a terminology for everyday life type shows and comics. A lot of them are romantic comedies, but there are a good many dramas and even regular comedies as well. The first show to popularize this genre in America was Maison Ikkoku.

   Speaking of popularization, I figured I would talk about how anime and Manga got grounded here in America. Astro Boy, Gigantor, and Speed Racer were in America during the 60’s, but they weren’t exactly distinguished as being from Japan. Fast forward to the 80’s and you really start to see where anime was starting to come into it’s own. Dragon Ball, Robotech, and Voltron finally graced our screens as well as major movie releases in Akira and Ghost in the Shell. These movies also laid the foundation for much more mature animated content to gather a following in the states. In the 90’s Viz Media started publicizing a magazine called Animerica which helped popularize the term “Anime” which we use to categorize Eastern animated shows. This did a lot in the way of getting good content out to the masses in America. This was only stimulated by the rise of Toonami on Cartoon Network, which aired many animes starting around 7:00 right after dinner time. Shows like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z gained a large amount of popularity in the late 90’s due to this. In the early 2000’s we saw manga begin a huge surge of popularity due to Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. These were both monthly comic releases that included 5 or 6 different mangas in them. They also had bunches of articles on the culture and language in Japan. Now a days we are seeing streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Anime Network take up the reigns.

   Japanese music has also been largely popularized by its use throughout most anime’s. They tend to mix genres just like they do with other media. If I had to choose one song off the top of my head it would probably have to be Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui. This was the intro to Watamote. It has EDM dance like beats with a J-Pop vocal element that turns into this grinding deathcore song. You get so many unique and distinctive sounds from Japanese music.

   All of these elements compounded with many other things left unmentioned compile down into what makes Japanese media feel so refreshing. It is always new and different, and rarely gets pigeonholed into specific genres. Even when it does, it is almost always different enough to keep it interesting and new. I recommend you give it a chance. Hit me up on twitter at https://twitter.com/BilboBatten if you are looking for a recommendation. I will be more than happy to help, also if you are looking for a good side note to this blog then stay tuned on 5/17/2014 for our newest episode of the podcast! Have a good day evil doers!!!

Hello everybody! My name is Vince Batten, but on the interwebs I am more commonly known as Bilbo Batten. I’ve been a huge nerd since the day my brain could grasp arts and media. My mission here is to give you some personal insight on some new and old gaming and nerd culture material that interest me, and may interest you as well.

I grew up playing video games since I was about three years old. My first memories were playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis, back in the early nineties, with my sister. I soon started playing other games on other consoles as well. If you name the console, chances are I still have it, and I still play it. I fancy myself as a vintage video game collector. I will always enjoy a Nintendo system, and that hasn’t changed as of late. The Wii U is a fantastic system, and I hope that Nintendo really runs with what they have. It is a strange console with lots of features, but it always gives me a fun experience and the hardware is actually good. I won’t gush about that too much yet though. I love all genres from JRPG’s to puzzle games. I will talk a lot about my all time favorites, and also the new games I am looking forward to.

Video Gaming is not my only love, though, I am also a huge cinephile. I’ve always loved going to the movies. The whole experience is just truly amazing. You wouldn’t necessarily believe it right off the bat, but you are in a huge room with people who share similar interests as you, seeing as you all came to see the same movie, getting ready to see a new movie on the biggest screen you can view it on. I love classics and I will always go for those Indie hits. The Independently created movies from small publishers are always great because those film makers and actors are not constrained by what they are told needs to be a part of the movie. It’s true art at it’s finest. I won’t lie, though, I do enjoy a good summer blockbuster as well.

Speaking of summer block busters, the best ones tend to be comic book related ones. This isn’t always true, I’m looking at you Iron Man sequels, but most of the times now a days the directors like to stay true to the comic book material rather than throwing the character into some random story line. The story feels right, and the character doesn’t seem like a fish out of water. I grew up reading comic books a lot, both eastern and western, and it is nice to see mainstream media pick up the subject matter and make descent material with it. Edgar Wright, Joss Wedon, Zac Snyder, and Christopher Nolan you keep doing your thing!

Anime and manga are something I also plan to talk about a great deal. I have always been a fan of eastern media since I first watched Dragon Ball as a kid. Toonami was amazing in the nineties. Once Shonen Jump made it’s way to the states, I immediately jumped at the chance to subscribe. Once I was older, and I saw movies like Akira and Ghost in the Shell I started to segue into more mature content in manga and anime. It is awesome that there is enough older audiences who enjoy animation and want to see mature content in that format. Not everything mature has to be filmed in live action. Japan understands that more than the U.S.

I follow science a lot as well. So I will most likely be talking a fair amount as well. I guess it wouldn’t be a nerd culture blog if I didn’t add actual nerdy content in it. I guess I have always been more of a geek than a nerd, but I do enjoy science so I guess that qualifies me enough, lol. If you haven’t watched the new Cosmos with Seth Macfarlane and Neil Degrasse Tyson then you should definitely do so.

So that is a little bit of info on my interests and what I plan to talk about in this blog. I am a regular host on the Evil Council Podcast as well. We plan to start up a full website soon. Please stay tuned, and give us feedback there as well.