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.

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

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.

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

“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.

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

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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