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Ani-Gamers Podcast #032 – The Art of Active Viewing (ANext2010)

Left to right: Karl (aka Uncle Yo), Evan (aka Vampt Vo), and Ink. Photo taken by Chris Cimi.

Hosts: Evan “Vampt Vo” Minto, Karl “Uncle Yo” Custer, Ink
Recording: A panel called “Fandom & Criticism: The Art of Active Viewing” at AnimeNEXT 2010

This episode isn’t quite a typical Ani-Gamers Podcast episode, in that it’s not a couple of geeks chatting on Skype about silly Japanese cartoons or video games. Instead, this is a recording of a panel that I ran with Uncle Yo and Ink at AnimeNEXT. The audio quality isn’t great, so I apologize upfront for that. (And yes, Uncle Yo had to leave before the end without saying a word, which I forgot to mention in the podcast’s foreword.) If you have any feedback regarding the episode, though, feel free to let us know in the comments or at our e-mail address we’d love to hear you chime in on this interesting subject!

Show notes and links are, as usual, after the break.

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(Runtime: 1 hour, 2 minutes)

[00:00] Opening Song: “R.O.D. Theme” by Taku Iwasaki (Read Or Die OAV OP)[00:16] Evan’s little foreword. You know, for people who don’t read show notes (i.e. not you).

[01:31] Panel begins with some introductions.

[02:29] First question: “How exactly do we define a good anime versus a bad one, and should we even define a line between them?”

[07:51] “What IS active viewing, and what separates it from the typical viewing that most fans go about?”

[15:48] “How does the social and critical context around a work affect [what kinds of expectations we go in with]?

[21:32] “Can questioning the content of a [work] ruin your enjoyment (or someone else’s enjoyment) of the work?”

[27:47] “What purpose do you think negative comments and reviews serve in critiquing and discussing? Do they help or hinder our discussions?”

[33:28] “How can suspension of disbelief help and hinder critical thinking?” (We bring up “Fan-Wanking.” Hilarity ensues.)

[40:26] “Since anime and manga are foreign materials, how do those cultural differences (and also aspects of translation) factor into how we watch and judge things? A particularly interesting question is ‘Are we reading good translations of Japanese or translations of good Japanese?'”

[49:59] “A big hurdle for young anime critics and people trying to become anime critics is the dated visuals. [How can we convince them to look past dated visuals and storytelling styles?]”

[1:00:10] The critic Ego’s final review from Pixar and Disney’s Ratatouille (as referenced by Ink in the panel). Here’s a link to the YouTube video of the clip.

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