Spotted Flower 24-25: MORE! THERE MUST BE MORE!

Well, it didn’t take long for !Saki to find out what’s going on. Dammit, !Hato, you forgot to wash his house sweater too? No way you’ll be the perfect hus- er, wi- er, spouse at that rate! Well, !Saki knows what !Mada’s been up to then, just not who. If he gets lucky, she’ll think it was with some woman she doesn’t know, there’ll be a talk about it, and a nice and easy reconciliation, right? Wraps it all up in a neat little bow.

Whatever you do !Madarame, don’t let her know that she got beat by a trap!

Er, wait a minute, why am I rooting for them to stay together? Isn’t the better turn of events here that she finds out it was !Hato, gets pissed the fuck off that !Mada’s been having gay sex (See: Traps are gay), divorces him, takes the baby, and then !Mada’s left with an open, vulnerable heart for !Hato to fill! And it’s not just his heart that they’re filling, naw’m sayin?

Shit! This is great! Is it possible that I’ll be fulfilled not just by a legendary one night stand but a literally universe-altering romance? I had immediately dismissed it out of hand, but here… I could see there being a real chance with this! Maybe just like, 1% chance, but I will fucking take it.

So, to answer your question from last time, yes, !Madarame,  you were cheating on her. You slept with somebody else. That’s what cheating is. If it makes you feel better, !Hato got more time on page with their dick in you than your dick in them, so if !Saki asks, you weren’t *really* fucking someone else. They were fucking you!!! Heh. Heheheheh.

Well, unbelievers, I think this is fact! Some of you all were hoping it was a dream or just in somebody’s imagination. The proof is here. Get fucked. Please, scram from this masterpiece in art that is HatoMada. You cannot turn back.

If you can’t tell, I have very little of substance to say, but I can still gloat plenty.

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Embrace The Cringe

Upon taking a detour to review my past writings, it’s astonishing how bad I was just a couple of years ago, or hell, even six months ago. Yea sure, maybe that’s because I’m still a smol bab but yeesh, I didn’t think of myself as being that incompetent or poorly spoken! What happened to all those teachers from high school who told me I was such a talented writer? What happened to generic compliments from my parents about how well I write? I tremble to think of how this must reflect past me as a person. Woe is I, filled to the gills with cringe! And moreso in the future— just think of how I will view this in a couple years. The naive ramblings of a small child!

But, you know what? That’s a good thing. If I’m looking back on myself six months ago and thinking, “Damn, she’s a shitty writer,” then it means I’ve gotten that much better in six months. On that side, I’m doing pretty well eh? Sure to all you mature adults of this world I must seem like every other annoying teen who because they are / were / will soon be a senior in high schoola senior in high school! So old! So prepared for the outside world! or even worse, a freshman in college you’re still so, so mature though, right? Legally an adult*! You make your own decisions now!

(*Or perhaps you graduated early and therefore are annoying all your peers with your added year of inexperience (or subtracted year of experience?))

So you know what? I’m gonna treat it as a good thing that I was a brony in middle school, that I read manga now, and everything else that’s cringey in my world. That way, when I grow out of it (fuck man! I don’t wanna grow out of liking anime! My mom’s boyfriend’s like 50 and he still likes anime! He’s fucking awesome! Y’all need to drag me back into this shit if I ever try to run away from the world of contemporary Japanese visual culture.) I’ll be able to look back and be like, “Yea, look how much I’ve evolved as a person now!” That’s pretty cool, huh? Sure I started way back at -1000 goodness points, but now I’m all the way up at -100! It’s not long before I become a good person now, right?

So you know what, future me? Please, find me now as cringe as you can. That’ll mean I’ve come a long way.

Thanks!

Transistor – Cool Girl Games

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 14.20.16.pngHaving played this game immediately after playing Bastion, I can definitely see the trademarks of Supergiant Games across what they’ve done. That said, whereas Bastion I found myself engaged only by the gameplay itself and not by the outright bad dialogue and boring story and aesthetic, Transistor fixes up all these things.  I wasn’t 100% following the story until the end, but you’ve got this Blade Runner-esque world and it’s got this underlying love story between the character you play as, Red, and her partner who got killed and whose soul is now trapped in her sword. That’s pretty cool! Admittedly, it is an “Oh boy, another female character who’s only being a badass for her boyfriend’s sake” game, but she’s still being a badass, and there are critically few games with girls being a badass in the first place, so I will take it. It does feel though like it takes itself a little too seriously, especially for a relatively light-hearted and simple game.

Most of the games I’ve really loved to play are isometric real-time games— Starcraft, League of Legends (yea yea, I know I’m trash… it’s still fun though), and Transistor definitely follows suit in that pattern. It definitely seeks to put its on twist on the style of RPG game it is— rather than a default basic attack, you get four (I think upgradable to five) slots where you can put all your moves in, and you can upgrade every move with every other move, giving you a pretty huge realm of possibilities with your load out, and it makes you think strategically about how some upgrades may stack with one another. Then, it’s got this time-freeze instant action-y thing like Bleed, which especially at later stages becomes pretty vital for surviving some of the enemies. The parts that made Bastion an enjoyable game were the simplicity of the controls, but wide opportunities for customization, and Transistor definitely replicates that.

As in Bastion, the main flaw with Transistor is a lack of variety of baddies. The thing people often praise the Dark Demon Blood games for is how every enemy has its own attack pattern that you have to learn, et cetera. Transistor has maybe a dozen enemies you will fight, I think that’s total, including all the bosses.

I’m sure if I looked around I could find another isometric RTS RPG that does it better than Transistor, but you know what? It was $5 for a pretty fun game.

(Edit: I found out it’s also available as a mobile game. Honestly, I’d recommend that over the computer version. It seems pretty appropriate for that. I’m just a casual ez game gamer.)

Princess Remedy in A Heap of Trouble – Cool Girl Games

Sadly due to to my preference of Apple products over Microsoft, I can’t review the original Princess Remedy game, but this one’s pretty awesome. The thing that first drew me so strongly to Undertale was really just its tagline: “An RPG where nobody has to die.” That sounds great! That’s what Princess Remedy does too. Sure it’s a bullet hell game and you’re firing bandaids, needles, or frogs? at your enemies, but what you’re killing is the bacteria, and you’re doing it to heal the people! Isn’t that cool? Sure it’s all a matter of framing, but simple things like that make the game feel more lighthearted and enjoyable.

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I Am Hato

Why do I like HatoMada so much? Why do I relate so much to Hato? Maybe it’s just that Genshiken hit me at the right point in my life. I had started questioning my gender identity thanks to Hourou Musuko, and Hato became a source of comfort and possibility for me. Regardless of their gender identity, they’re able to become the perfect girl, and, unlike how (heaven forbid I use the word) traps are portrayed in most manga, Hato puts in the effort. They do voice training for like, three months, wear makeup even when going for a “plain” look, and ruthlessly epilate their body to the point where they’re freaked out and embarrassed by the idea of the girls seeing a single facial hair pop out.

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Still Not Done With HatoMada

I think in order to truly be HatoMada fan, you really have to embrace brevity and transience. The gratifying moments of a fan of this pairing are short, far between, and riddled with “ifs” and reasons why they shouldn’t happen. I think that’s partially what makes them so wonderful together— they’re such an unlikely pairing. Two individuals who, by default, had assumed they could never be attracted to someone who is biologically male (Madarame may be fine with “traps” (quotes because it’s kind of an offensive term but also that’s what they’re called; it’s distinct from being trans or being a crossdresser so you gotta call them that) but he obviously has to come to terms with the gap between what he sees in fiction and in his imagination, and the reality of the nearest approximation of this), both find themselves forced to acknowledge the fluidity of their sexuality. They’re the underdog pairing without a doubt, which just makes the few moments of sweet, sweet relief all the better.

To the two years I’ve spent already shipping HatoMada, it was my assumption that the goal was them to, naturally, be in a relationship. Obviously in an ideal world all time would cease and they would be together in this way— the part about their relationship that is so, so viscerally affecting is how perfectly I can project myself onto Hato and feel the desire to care for somebody and find appreciation in traditionally negative qualities (lack of self confidence, poor life decision making skills, etc), feel the desire to care for somebody outside the gender of people I had thought myself to be attracted to, all of this I can do because yea, Madarame is so perfectly and lovably that, and Hato is the true appreciator of this, and, conversely, I can completely relate to Madarame— why is this person interested in such a loser as him? Hato picks up on all of Madarame’s wonderful qualities instantly— his acceptance of others no matter what, his legitimate caring and traditional, borderline chivalrous romantics, his entirely self-serious humility. He’s really a great guy underneath this guise of “loser,” and Hato invites the reader to appreciate all of this about him. Through it too, though, we see all there is to appreciate about Hato. Their ability to notice these things and take the steps, the painfully slow and realistic steps natural for such a person, their commitment to changing and overcoming how they previously viewed themselves. Not many people even with all the time in the world could come to accept not just being attracted to a man as an otherwise straight-assumed person, but being attracted to this man for some of his masculine qualities and being willing to take on a (admittedly binary) traditionally feminine role to seduce this man. Hato is the ultimate temptress, but they are a temptress that I can’t not see myself in. If the world were perfect Hato and Mada would be happily married and settled down together, but in the reality they live, this idealized and romantic lifestyle must be replaced with the sensual, pheromone (and alcohol) induced peaks of pleasure, so their connection resonates not as a flowing stroke of a bow, but the quick, staccato motion of a plucked string. If it were not for all this, the poignancy of their relationship would be lost, and seeing !Hato and !Madarame having sex in Spotted Flower would be turned to mere fan-pandering from this intimate, meaningful intent. And, that’s why I’m entirely satisfied with them having sex and there being few hopes for a relationship that lasts beyond this. Hato, the ultimate temptress, has led Madarame down the path of adultery. Their purpose has been fulfilled.

The All-Gender Gaze (also Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower)

I’m sure somebody has made this point before, but I thought of it on my own so whatever. Genshiken the original focuses more heavily on the male gaze and how the largely male cast observes female anime characters as objects of lust. It doesn’t take long for Ohno to be introduced, but she’s kind of the outlier as a general nod to “Not all Otaku are male guys!!” Then we get Ogiue, who really expands the perspective of Fujoshi and clarifies that it’s not just how this one creepy girl really likes butch men but still lets herself be objectified to fit in with the dudes. By the end of Genshiken the original there’s a pretty even split between showcasing the straight(?) male and female gaze while still existing under the construct of a male-dominated Genshiken where by default, the girls are being objectified most (see: cosplaying).

Genshiken Nidaime initially sets itself out as “just a reversal” of this by having the female-dominated Genshiken where by default, the male are being objectified most (see: literally the entire fucking manga they’re shipping the past male members of Genshiken). We’re given our token male character, Kuchiki, who, while happy to view himself as the member of a harem (ironic, isn’t it, that he’s the only “male“ character of the Genshiken who doesn’t in Nidaime?), is only viewed a component of the fujoshi’s shipping. (As you totally-not-alt-right youngins would say, get cucked!) But besides this and a fu”danshi”, it’s just doing the opposite of before, right?

Heh. Heh. Time to pull out my large, round spectacles and kale smoothies, my friends. It’s queer time. I’ve probably said it before, think about it for two seconds and you can understand, but Hato exists largely as a fujoshi, not as a fudanshi. It’s fucking spelled out for you by like, the fourth chapter or something, I’m sure you know the explanation by now. If not just ask me and I‘ll make a separate post on it. Anyway, Hato kind of is this catch-all of gender and sexual exploration. Don’t say they aren’t… come on. They literally prefer to live as male and female part time in Nidaime and !Hato presents as female in Spotted Flower and has gotten a boob-job to boot. There’s your gender exploration. Now how’s about the big question that becomes the central plot of like, a few volumes of Nidaime about how the fuck is it possible for somebody who reads that much yaoi to not find themselves a little bit attracted to men. Tada!! Queer representation, guys! Y’all straight people can do it too, you know? Just don’t make it a super negative representation and have a good grasp on how pronouns work… maybe have done some research about discrimination queer people face… yea, okay, fair enough, I see why you don’t, but Kio did and it makes me happy (disregard the pronouns bit; I’m not sure how common gender-neutral pronouns are in Japanese so he gets a pass). Anyway though, Hato’s purpose is largely to demonstrate how fucking interesting a queer perspective of traditionally binary objectification in manga can be. I know it takes some research, but it makes your story so much more interesting.

Spotted Flower, I don’t even know what the fuck it does. It’s 4D chess or something. (It doesn’t help that my translation of what Chapter 22 says is provided by Google Translate.) Muda-kun has probably covered this better than I can already, but lemme do my best. I’m only like, four months late to the hype train. We were talking about the objectifying gaze, but let’s just address the elephant in the room.So basically !Madarame is making !Hato an option, he’s letting himself be seduced by them, because he’s been weighed down by all the responsibilities of marriage and having a life and garbage like that. He says (according to Google Translate anyway), that he doesn’t want to make his wife embarrassed by his childish interests and behaviors, but also how this in itself is childish behavior, letting himself be changed by his desire to please the woman who pleasures him. And Hato, ever the beautiful succubus, asks if he wants to become a dirty adult. Not only this, but they’ve prepared. They’ve always been waiting for this moment to happen (and they fucking say it too). They’ve researched all about how two penis-havers actually do it (not like all that yaoi shit). Madarame (shit, sorry, I meant !Madarame) realizes partway through that he really is a sou uke at heart (It was always meant to be HatoMada. You know it. MadaHato was just the excuse so he could maintain face of still being straight. Now that Hato’s got boobs though, he can handle getting fucked in the butt.) and Hato’s TRUE POWER LEVEL IS FINALLY SHOWN. YEAAA!!! They become God, literally, and satisfy the dream they’ve had for like, the past 10 years or however long it’s been since Genshiken (shit, they’re separate timelines guys, okay?!) about being THE REALEST BOI!! Google Translate may not be much, but I understood the part where they say “I will love you with all my body and mind… relax and let me do it… (p 25).” I don’t think there’s much lost in translation there. (Also in the next chapter they literally say they did more giving than taking. I’m pretty sure it was Hato’s dick in Madarame, okay?)

Um, was I going to analyze something here? Oh, right. So Spotted Flower said fuck you to the traditional notion of male / male yaoi (Imean, they are both biologically male, but that’s about it). Instead it embraces the more gender-neutral satisfaction of shipping two characters, not to appeal to fujoshi, but to appeal to fans of HatoMada. Actually, let’s be real, it’s probably just to piss everybody else off. I’m sure some HatoMada fans are pissed too since their love is only satisfied in a kind of disgusting affair (dude, your wife just gave birth and you’re cheating on her. That’s pretty fucked), but you know what? I was depressed on a likely clinical level after it dropped that Madarame wasn’t going to pick Hato and once again when Madarame picked that fucking bitchass twat Sue. So to see HatoMada come to fruition in any extent pleases me greatly. Not to mention, this is undeniably Madarame’s fault here. Like, say what you will about Hato being guilty for preying on him, but Madarame called them over, Madarame asked them for sex. It is his fault 100%. And you know what, I’m not a fan of HatoMada because I sympathize so deeply and truely with Madarame. It’s because of Hato. Even beyond this too, Hato makes the extra good boi move of telling Madarame he shouldn’t and that it’s betrayal et cetera. So, you know what? I’m pretty happy with this.

Also, you know what, fuck you Angela! FUCK YOU! You said that Madarame sou uke was fiction and this was reality, but you know what the real reality is? IT‘S MADARAME GETTING THE D BOIIIII!!!! AHA!!! I WIN! HATO WINS! IT’S THE BEST!!!!!!! Madarme fucking asked for it. HE ASKED FOR IT. All you faithless, weak-hearted sorts didn’t believe, but I did. I never stopped believe in HatoMada. Ask my friends, even, I’ve had debates over death of the author being used to the extent of not accepting the last volume of Genshiken as canon. I ALWAYS KNEW AT HEART THAT HATOMADA HAD TO BE TRUTH.And if this is all that happens— if the two never fuck again, I’m still satisfied. I don’t need a relationship even. I just needed to see HatoMada be true once. And oh boy it was, in gratuitous detail. The irreverent, non-hyper-sexualized, non-pornographic even, tone that it takes only makes it better. After all, I’m too much of a queer boi to be turned on by such normal interests as penis-in-butthole sex pumping back and forth.So basically woohoo! We’ve got our queer representation of sex in !Genshiken. Something about the queer gaze … I guess it goes that Hato is queer and they lust after Madarame, male (though as the traditionally feminine role in yaoi, which in itself is interesting, since the original intent of yaoi was for the uke to be relatable to the female reader and further satisfy the male-dominant, female-submissive cultural notion where the man takes what he wants and the female is helpless, but here Hato is, undeniably serving the  role still as a fujoshi and yet lusting and relating to the dominant position… is it somehow because they were assigned male at birth?), but also after women (as evidenced by the fact that their partner is Yajima), but they kind of exclusively read fujoshi-oriented manga i.e. male-male yaoi. It’s almost as if Kio knew about how the uke is supposed to be what “straight” women “project” themselves onto and also about how fujoshi really don’t project themselves onto either character per se but rather just take the truly position of power by being just an observer, a powerful observer, who derives sexual and non-sexual pleasure just by seeing how it all goes down. And also about how by fujoshi sharing their fantasies they occupy this virtual lesbian state (see: Akiko Mizoguchi’s “Reading and Living Yaoi”). And also about… you know. Point is he gives a good representation of fujoshi and shit. It’s pretty cool.