J-Horror and Japanese Folklore: The Image of the Onryo [OWLS Blog Tour August 2020: Folklore]

This month’s OWLS topic was inspired by the name of Taylor Swift’s new album, Folklore. Yet rather than using her conceptual definition of what “folklore” means, we are going to use its original meaning: we are going to explore the traditions and cultures of a specific group and community within pop cultural texts.

Whether you’ve watched a Japanese horror movie (also known as J-Horror) or not, I’m pretty sure you know of or have heard of the characters of Sadako and Kayako from Ringu (The Ring) and Ju-On (The Grudge) respectively. In Japanese folklore, both Sadako and Kayako would be considered Onryo (think of the classic ghostly figure of a Japanese woman with long, black hair and a white dress, like the featured image of Sadako). In Japanese folklore, Onryo are vengeful spirits who were wronged in their lives (mostly by men) and come back to exact vengeance on those that wronged them or who unfortunately come into contact with them. As we’ll see later, both Sadako and Kayako were wronged in their respective lives and came back as Onryo and despite exacting revenge on the men that killed them, their curse lives on to haunt those that come into contact with them.

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Akira: A Dystopian Vision of the 21st Century [OWLS Blog Tour 2020: Visions]

Happy New Year! Since it is a new year, it’s a new you! This month we will be talking about various pop culture mediums that focus on envisioning “the future.” What type of future do we want for ourselves, our communities, and the world? Also, we will be sharing our goals and plans for the new year. Once again, happy new year!

Long time, no see, folks and welcome to my first post of 2020! I am terribly sorry for going radio silent over the past few months as I have been extremely busy with work and other things in Japan (more on that later). One of my wishes and plans for this year is to start writing more again on this blog.

Many of you, I’m pretty sure, have watched or, at least, heard about Akira, often regarded as a seminal and influential anime film for both anime fans and creatives alike (it’s also regarded as one of the films that gave anime its broad appeal to the West). I have watched this film many times and every time I watch it I learn something new that I didn’t catch the previous time. With that in mind, it’s interesting, yet scary, to notice just how much Akira predicted how the world was going to go in the 21st century (heck, it even predicted that the 2020 Olympics were going to be held in Tokyo) and this is a film that was made more than 30 years ago.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service: The Miracle of Self Belief [OWLS Blog Tour December 2018: Miracles]

Tis the season where miracles happen. For December’s theme, we will be exploring faith in anime and pop culture. We will discuss some of the miracles that enter a character’s life during their darkest moments. Some of their questions we will explore is how does a “miracle” change a person’s life? How do we define miracles? Can miracles only happen due to a legend or a mystical being? Or do miracles happen every day, but we just don’t see it? We hope that you enjoy this holiday season! Happy Holidays! 

When one thinks of Miyazaki, apart from his themes of flight and nature, the three films that come to mind are Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbour Totoro. This is not to say that Miyazaki’s other films aren’t good or memorable, but these are the films even non-anime fans are able to recognize, mostly, in part, due to their impact on pop culture.

What also separates Miyazaki from most other anime directors is his depiction of the shojo (which has been well documented by scholars, such as Susan Napier, over time), who were mostly depicted as passive and helpless in other mediums at the time. Most of Miyazaki’s films have female leads and these characters are often depicted as strong, active and independent figures. One of these female figures is Kiki, a teenage witch who moves to a seaside town with her cat, Jiji, as part of her witch training.

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“You Talkin’ To Me?”: New York and Mental Illness in Taxi Driver [OWLS Blog Tour September 2018 – “Self-Care”]

In favor of positivity and good mental health, we will be exploring the importance of self-care. Sometimes, we are lost in our thoughts and emotions that it can cause a negative impact on our lifestyle and our relationships. For this month’s topic, the OWLS bloggers will be exploring the mental health of pop culture characters and how their mental health affects their environments. We will explore the dangers of mental health illnesses and how it might lead to self-destruction and/or how one has the power to overcome their demons. In addition, we will share our personal stories and struggles about mental health and discuss positive ways in handling mental health issues.

The concept of self-care is twofold: while the word literally means taking care of one’s self, it also involves taking some sort of action when doing so. Whether these actions are positive or negative, there will always be consequences. However, there is also the grey area of whether an action can truly be seen as good or bad. Suicide, for example, can be seen as an example of an action that may fall into the grey area. While, for the most part, suicide is considered a bad decision due to the fact that the person committing it will leave behind their loved ones and their dreams and aspirations, in the mind of the victim, suicide may be the only choice they have left to receive “self-care” [NOTE: I am not advocating for suicide here. As a person who has had suicidal thoughts in the past, I am talking about what thoughts could potentially go on inside a suicidal person’s head]. This idea of what constitutes as “good” or “bad” is one of the driving points of Martin Scorsese’s seminal film, Taxi Driverwhich also featured a young Robert De Niro in the titular role.

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5 Centimeters Per Second and the Pain of Holding On to the Past [Spoilers]

Love doesn’t win; reality does

Holding on to someone you truly love, even when you know that you can never be together with them, is one of the most painful things in the world. Whether it is because of physical distance, growing apart with time or even both, holding on to the past can sometimes cloud your vision of everything happening to you in the present. That is the crux that makes up 5 Centimeters Per Seconda tragic, yet realistic story about loving someone you cannot be with and the pain of holding on to the memory of them. This is something that I’ve been personally dealing with for a while now, so I thought it would be appropriate to write about this film in relation to my own experiences on this.

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[Guest Post] Death Note – A Deplorable Attempt at Adaptation

Death Note

Hello everyone and welcome to That Baka Blog’s first ever guest post. Today I would like to introduce you to Stephen Nagel, a filmmaker and blogger from Cape Town, South Africa. When he’s not talking about film, he’s probably off writing or shooting one. If you enjoy reading this post, please make sure to catch more of his ramblings on his blog, BTG Lifestyle, or on Twitter at @thesnagel. Without further a do, here’s Stephen’s review on the Death Note anime and Netflix film.

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Ghost in the Shell: A Stylish, Surprisingly Good Live-Action Adaptation

Like most of us, when we heard this film was being made, I was quite skeptical as to how this would turn out since Hollywood has a tendency to turn every adaptation they touch into shit. On top of that the film also received harsh criticism for its casting, accusing it of “whitewashing”. After hearing mixed responses I decided to go watch it myself and create my own opinions about it. I initially went into this film with low expectations and came out very impressed with what I saw. I did not go into this film with any sort of agenda, I went to watch this film with an open mind and as an anime fan.

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Logan: A Bloody Farewell to the Wolverine

Suitably Bored

For 17 years, Hugh Jackman has graced our movie screens as one of Marvel’s most badass superheroes. Starring in nine X-Men films over his career, if you count his cameos in First Class and Apocalypse, it’s hard to think of anyone who could replace him as Wolverine. That’s why we have Logan; a fitting farewell to the badass X-Man and boy does the film go all out in making this, possibly, the best X-Men movie of all time.

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Is Old School Cool Again?

Suitably Bored

When one mentions the term “old school” you would usually think of music back in the day. You know; the Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Dire Straits and the list goes on. I know some people, such as myself, have an appreciation for old school music and sometimes prefer listening to it rather than the music we hear these days. Lately, however, there seems to be a resurgence of “old school” inspired music. But old school goes further than just music; films and television series from the 80s and 90s are being remade as well as video games. Yes, I know hipster culture exists, but I’m looking more at the media resurgence of old school in this post.

old-school

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