Re: Martian love, or lack thereof — you want me to wear what kind of goggles!?

You may recall my glut of posts on Aria the Animation, some of which ended inconclusively. Now that I’ve read Aqua, the ten-chapter beginning of the Aria manga, what is there to do but grab those loose ends that dangle annoyingly before me and tie them together with the wrath of an angry god?

Let’s start with this one, both because it proved most frustrating, and because this post promises to be fun.

Try as I might, I could not come up with a truly good reason for Aria’s noticeable and seemingly deliberate lack of romance, given that it had plenty of (what I thought were) good setups to exploit. I even diverged into absence causation, the results of which led me to the conclusion that — no, actually, I didn’t even reach a conclusion, lacking the numbers to assign to enough of the variables, so to speak. But maybe Aqua will provide the answers I seek. Let’s find out.

Aika admires Alicia — That much is obvious in the anime, and there’s nothing strange about it; Alicia is a top-class undine, as Aika aspires to be. So what if Aika’s a bit…stalker-esque? I mean-

Alright, that’s weird, but-

Oh, come on! As if it wasn’t enough to infuse Aika’s admiration for Alicia with romantic overtones, the above panel further opens the doors to speculation by having her quote Romeo and Juliet to Akari’s window!

But what of those “good setups” I mentioned? Well, Aqua deals largely with the period prior to Aria the Animation, so Al is nowhere to be found. Akatsuki shows up, and he’s still mildly endearing, I suppose, but he’s little more than an annoyance in this iteration, and his “feelings” for Alicia are made obviously impure, particularly in his arguing with Aika on the subject. Because, you know, maybe Aika has a thing for Alicia, too, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Aika is set up as the one we’re supposed to sympathize with.

I can’t deny it: Aria lacks visible romance to make yuri a tantalizing possibility. Those romantic voids are gaps, if you will, or they result in gaps.

How awesome is that!?

Er, ahem. Sorry. What I meant was, this revelation makes Aria a much more robust experience for me. It’s not as if the potential for straight relations is annulled by the potential for gay relations; rather, both are possible. I suppose I should’ve gleaned as much from the anime, or from my subsequent overlong rambling about the show’s romance, but at least I realize it now.

Fortunately, my exploration of absence causation wasn’t for naught — I can bring it in now, in fact. To be brief, absence causation refers to the idea that an absence of cause can result in an event as surely as a tangible cause, though it’s less established fact and more ongoing debate; some argue that a “non-cause” isn’t an absence of cause, per se, while others claim that absence causation is impossible altogether. Given that “absence of romance” was the (non-)cause I dealt with in the previous post, and which I’ve addressed here, it seems as though the complete cause-effect relationship would look something like “if absence of romance, then yuri subtext/speculative gaps.”

But that doesn’t sound right. Remember, the absence of romance alone was not enough to reveal yuri subtext to me, and it only allowed me to see those speculative gaps seated well within my sphere of life experience — that is, as quick as I was to draw conclusions about Akari, Akatsuki, and Alicia, it didn’t occur to me to pair the women together. Only when Aqua made the yuri subtext obvious did the fog lift, which leads me to espouse a causal relationship more along the lines of “if absence of romance and yuri subtext, then [more] speculative gaps.” We can’t really apply that to the anime, with its lack of yuri subtext; in the case of Aria the Animation, it’d be more apt to say that “if absence of romance (but no yuri subtext), then less speculative gaps.” Given that yuri subtext was well and truly absent in the anime, or from my reading of it, this seems to support the view that absences — not conspicuous absences, but “true” absences — can’t serve as proper causes in narrative art. Which, in retrospect, seems pretty obvious.

Whatever their quantity, speculative gaps universally seem to be the “effect” I was searching for when I wrote about Aria’s absent romance previously. It’s interesting that, in both cases, an absence-cause resulted in or contributed to resulting in gaps, which themselves can be characterized as absences — though, in this case, they’re absences which can be filled as seen fit by readers and viewers. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the romantic ambiguity in the text becomes the speculative absences when translated by reading into a form the reader can work with, that it’s the potential of the absences and not their quantity that increases when things like yuri subtext are added — but, lest I frighten you off, I’ll leave the authorial shell out of it this time.

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68 Comments

  1. Reeeeally, Pontifus? Really?

    *shakes head sadly*

    How are any “absences” in Aria at all similar to —

    Oh.

    Yumi -> Sachiko
    Aika -> Alicia

    Yumi isn’t a lesbian; she’s a “fan.”
    Aika isn’t a lesbian; she’s a “fan.”

    Lesbian clit-tease? More like not lesbian. Admiration is admiration, over-dramatic fans are over-dramatic, and how does that PRESENCE of one kind of relationship signal to you that there’s an intentional ABSENCE of a very different kind of relationship?

    Fuck “gaps.”

    Idiotic Erica Friedman-level fanboys look for “real” yuri in shows like Marimite (ignoring the one actual lesbian relationship between side characters); for everyone else it’s either “lolololol catholic lesbian school girls” (for those who seek to ridicule everything) or “pure sisterly love” (for the target demographic of young Japanese girl) or “hey! admiration! I know that feeling!” (for those who look at the show without goggles and actually try to think about what the character relationships mean).

    Yes, Aika is like Yumi in her admiration for a female senpai—
    No, that doesn’t make her a lesbian character, or a “pointedly non-lesbian character.”

    You can’t very easily say that an absence of yuri in Aria is the creator’s marked attempt at making the fans’ imaginations go wild. What, are Akatsuki and Woody potential lovers now? Should the lack of cars in Aria signify some sort of weird… car-fetish?

    The show merely spends most of its time handling things other than romance. Yes, there is romance in Aria… and it’s not just hinted at… and it isn’t construed from a lack of romance. Same in Maria-sama ga Miteru. Oh. Em. Gee.

    In short, cuchlann’s Marimite post is bullshit (EVERYTHING gives rise to shipping and fanfiction), and this post fails for referring to that as though it meant something.

    Not to hate–but uh, saying “gaps” and then orgasming as though this were some humongous revelation is kinda… unfortunate.

    Just um. Look at the facts next time. … Yumi and Aika are both self-professed fans, and they both admire the person they’re a fan of, and they both have rosy delusions regarding that fan-target… but that’s all.

    Cheers,
    -dr. lolikit

    Reply
    • For the record, I was covering my ass by refuting what I -guessed- was the point of your post.

      TBH, I have no idea what if anything of substance you were actually trying to say.

      Reply
    • Pontifus

       /  15 January 2009

      Just let me remove the flute from-ah, there. That’s better.

      I’m going to do this out of order, so bear with me.

      The show merely spends most of its time handling things other than romance.

      Yumi and Aika are both self-professed fans, and they both admire the person they’re a fan of, and they both have rosy delusions regarding that fan-target… but that’s all.

      This is how I prefer to look at it, to be honest. But I also like to consider other ways of looking at it; it’s nice to have a repertoire of points of view from which I can draw depending on what kind of mood I’m in or who I’m talking to. Also, yuri is just fun.

      …how does that PRESENCE of one kind of relationship signal to you that there’s an intentional ABSENCE of a very different kind of relationship?

      You can’t very easily say that an absence of yuri in Aria is the creator’s marked attempt at making the fans’ imaginations go wild.

      To clarify, the absence I’m referring to is the absence of romantic development in general, and it’s not the presence of anything that gave me the idea, it was the tendency of the anime to say “look, here’s a potential romantic relationship…let’s ignore it for the remainder of the season!” And I use “intentional” here loosely. “Meaningful” is probably a better word, as it really has nothing to do with intent; authorial intent is irrelevant.

      Either way, it’s not the absence of yuri that lets the imagination run wild, it’s the absence of any romance and the presence of yuri overtones combined.

      Yes, Aika is like Yumi in her admiration for a female senpai—
      No, that doesn’t make her a lesbian character, or a “pointedly non-lesbian character.”

      Aika is neither lesbian nor “pointedly non-lesbian” in Aqua. I don’t think she’s pointedly anything. She’s well and truly ambiguous, which is the whole issue here. In trying to assign her some kind of orientation, every little thing stands out. Such as quoting lines from one of Shakespeare’s most famous romances spoken by the male lover. That panel is a little between-chapters thing, and maybe not “canon” — but it’s there.

      In short, cuchlann’s Marimite post is bullshit (EVERYTHING gives rise to shipping and fanfiction), and this post fails for referring to that as though it meant something.

      What Cuchlann did, I believe, is not say that only a certain set of things leads to shipping and fan fiction, but suggest that certain things give rise to it more than others, and try to figure out why. I’m trying to contribute to that discourse in whatever way I can, given my experience. And as far as I’m concerned, either all interpretations are bullshit or none of them are, so I choose to be optimistic and call them all valid, as long as they’re honest.

      …saying “gaps” and then orgasming as though this were some humongous revelation is kinda… unfortunate.

      It’s not a matter of whether they’re there or not, it’s a matter of how they work.

      Look at the facts next time.

      I’m trying to look at all of them — and that’s assuming there’s such a thing as “fact” when it comes to reading, which is debatable.

      What, are Akatsuki and Woody potential lovers now?

      Hahahaha…oh God, I hope so.

      Reply
      • Either way, it’s not the absence of yuri that lets the imagination run wild, it’s the absence of any romance and the presence of yuri overtones combined.

        But they’re only “yuri overtones” if you’re A) looking for yuri overtones, AND B) blind to—dare I call it—fandom (Aika’s fandom).

        In trying to assign her some kind of orientation, every little thing stands out. Such as quoting lines from one of Shakespeare’s most famous romances spoken by the male lover.

        First, let me just say that I think you’re trying too hard.

        Why make something out of nothing? I can only think that you’re trying to perpetuate my idiotic defensive here!

        As for quoting that line, like I said, over-dramatic fans are over-dramatic. Look at Yumi in Maria-sama ga Miteru… she doesn’t wax shakespearean, but she exhibits much of the same behavior.

        Also, lol.

        “Yuri is just fun.”

        it was the tendency of the anime to say “look, here’s a potential romantic relationship…let’s ignore it for the remainder of the season!”

        Did it really do that? For that matter, did the manga?

        I always interpreted the “potential romantic relationship” more as, “there are these people, and this is how they see each other, and [daily life] goes on around them in [place], and this show is about that [daily life] in that [place].”

        If you need a “reason” for Akatsuki and his relationship vectors, he serves as an example of how the people of Neo Venezia love Alicia and how Akari warms people’s hearts. Is there more? Not that I could pick up on in 52 episodes. Is that an intentional/meaningful lack of romance?

        If there’s meaning in the lack of OMG LOVE in Aria, I find it likely that it’s simply “people get along and like each other and sometimes there isn’t more to it than that.” A nice balance to the average shitty anime where EVERY GUY IS SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO EVERY GIRL unless it’s a single-sex cast in which case EVERYONE IS GAY.

        But I putting that aside–did Aria REALLY ever say “look,” about anything other than how cute Aria was, how wonderful the characters are, and aside from trying to focus on the messages about how to live?

        Did it? :|

      • Pontifus

         /  15 January 2009

        But they’re only “yuri overtones” if you’re A) looking for yuri overtones…

        Or, I submit, if you’re receptive to yuri overtones at all and don’t really mind if they’re there or not. I don’t feel like I dug for them intentionally…I mean, you could argue that that’s what this post is, but I think of it as documenting and exploring something that just happened when textual bits bonded with certain areas of my experience. Maybe that’s a semantic quibble.

        …AND B) blind to—dare I call it—fandom (Aika’s fandom).

        Like I said, I prefer not to read it with yuri goggles on. I just acknowledge that as a possibility. What that possibility requires Aika’s fandom to be in the eyes of the reader…hell, that topic probably warrants a post of its own.

        First, let me just say that I think you’re trying too hard.

        Why, sir, there’s no such thing as trying too hard!

        Why make something out of nothing?

        Because that’s what critical reading is. I mean, I’m not saying yuri in Aria is fact; I’m saying it’s one possibility out of a number of possibilities that’s probably too high to fathom. It may seem like I’m getting hung up on trivialities here, but I try to be comprehensive.

        Did it really do that?

        Alright, to be fair, Al shows up twice. But it’s always very briefly, and one could interpret that as the show visibly refusing to delve into Aika/Al twice.

        For that matter, did the manga?

        The manga didn’t really have romantic relationships at all.

        If you need a “reason” for Akatsuki and his relationship vectors, he serves as an example of how the people of Neo Venezia love Alicia and how Akari warms people’s hearts.

        If there’s meaning in the lack of OMG LOVE in Aria, I find it likely that it’s simply “people get along and like each other and sometimes there isn’t more to it than that.” A nice balance to the average shitty anime where EVERY GUY IS SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO EVERY GIRL unless it’s a single-sex cast in which case EVERYONE IS GAY.

        Yeah, I like this approach. A lot, actually. But it’s not the only approach. When I said “this revelation makes Aria a much more robust experience for me,” I didn’t mean that I had found an interpretation that I preferred over the one I was using already; I just meant that I had found another interpretation, period. Another weapon in the arsenal, so to speak.

        Is there more? Not that I could pick up on in 52 episodes.

        I only have the first 13 episodes to go on at this point, but the yuri goggle reading is limited to the manga anyway, as I see it.

        But I putting that aside–did Aria REALLY ever say “look,” about anything other than how cute Aria was, how wonderful the characters are, and aside from trying to focus on the messages about how to live?

        Maybe. I mean, it said to me, among other things, “we’re going to show you some romance, then promptly refuse to delve into it, whether for some overarching reason, or because we just have other things we’d rather devote our time to,” but it’s going to say something slightly different to everyone (in the manner of any very good story), and I subscribe to the philosophy that says that if even one person sees something in a story, it’s effectively there. Granted, that person may be an anomaly, but still; the only objective measure we have to go on when it comes to readings of fiction is that they happened at all, or didn’t happen.

      • Your definition of “critical reading” seems to be to look at a white wall and say “there could have been a nail sticking out of this wall, so there is significance in the lack of a nail.”

        But it really could be anything, and it seems like rather than covering possibilities in analysis you’re just writing your own “fiction.”

        I love analysis and I love critical reading, but anything can be taken to ridiculous extremes…

      • Pontifus

         /  15 January 2009

        I’m not seeing the possibility of a nail. I’m seeing a little hole in the wall, and wondering why there isn’t a nail or anything else in it. When I equate critical reading to making something of nothing, I’m referring to texts being empty hulls that we fill with meaning as we see fit. There’s nothing inside, and we literally turn that nothing into something.

      • I’m seeing a little hole in the wall,

        I see, I see, said the blind man—I see the hole in the wall.
        You’re a liar, said the deaf man, for you see nothing at all.

        There’s nothing inside, and we literally turn that nothing into something.

        But not everything is derived from gaps. For the most part, there are things in the text that are signals to us. Because words, no matter ho arbitrary they are in origin, mean something to us. Texts aren’t actually empty. Maybe you mean “devoid of inherent meaning,” but really? _Empty_? There’s so much there that serves as a guide to comprehending the work…

        And if I’m wrong about that, then fuck, every story ever written is the same story because they’re all empty (0=0 etc.).

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        The way I think of it is, the physical text, the words/pictures/etc. themselves, contribute to the building of a kind of semiotic shell, and while the shell is “something,” so to speak, and we fill the shell based on what we see on its surface, there isn’t anything inside until we put it there. The problem is, the part of the shell that isn’t composed of textual cues is made of personal experience, which leads to irreconcilable differences when it comes to reading experiences.

        I saw what to me are sufficient textual cues in Aqua to not necessarily wholly justify a shoujo-ai-based reading to me, but that give me the impression that such a thing might be a possibility. Thanks to the general response to the idea I’ve gotten here, I can see that it’s apparently an approach with questionable social value — but social value is not literary value, as literary value does not have levels — it either is or it isn’t.

      • “Questionable social value” seems a bit extreme given that you’ve had two negative responses and one of those is just, as I said, an automaton of mine. I see what you mean with the shell; interesting way of looking at it.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        You’re right about that. But it’s more up in the air than if I’d gotten a bunch of “OMG U R SOOO RIGHT PONTIFS, YURI LOLOLOLOL” comments, which are pretty boring.

      • Alright, to be fair, Al shows up twice. But it’s always very briefly, and one could interpret that as the show visibly refusing to delve into Aika/Al twice.

        SPOILERS
        or it could be the show taking things slowly
        /SPOILERS

      • Pontifus

         /  15 January 2009

        Exactly; it could be either. We’re both right — or, to be more accurate, both our readings exist, and that’s all we can say because there is no right or wrong.

        And if something does happen, well, I wouldn’t know. I’m looking at the Animation as complete in itself.

      • I’m just surprised, I guess, that you saw “romance” when it showed you [what it showed you]. Were you looking for romance?

      • Sorry — lack of edit button strikes again —
        Just wanted to add that I thank you for your patient attempts to wade through my oft-abrasive comments to explain your post in more detail. Even if I still think you’re dead _wrong_ (in methodology and in hedging) I at least now know _why_ instead of it just being a guess :P That is to say, I understand what you were trying to say in the post. So yeah. Thanks.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        Yeah, I always like going back and forth about things like this. It’s pretty clear to me now that I’m willing to create possible meanings at the drop of a hat, no matter how vague the cues that inspire me, because, hell, why not? This isn’t science; it’s too personal, and too nonphysical. There is no objective right or wrong. So, I figure, why not allow for as many readings as possible? Doing so doesn’t hurt anyone, it makes fiction more useful, and to not do so, I think, would be doing fiction an injustice.

        But even if no one could ever wholly share a reading experience with another, we can talk about it in whatever way we can, and maybe learn something about the way we experience art. We don’t have to agree — total agreement on something like this is impossible anyway — to gain something.

    • Pontifus

       /  15 January 2009

      Also, let me reemphasize that I don’t see the yuri in the anime at all. I’m only inclined to lean that way where the manga is concerned. And not even the manga proper, which I haven’t read, but Aqua in particular — so I’m limiting the yuri interpretation quite a bit.

      Reply
  2. lelangir

     /  15 January 2009

    hmmm, DOTSUKI GOGERU?????

    Reply
  3. Yuri is nonexistent in Aria. END OF THE BLOODY STORY.

    Reply
  4. “I can’t deny it: Aria lacks visible romance to make yuri a tantalizing possibility. Those romantic voids are gaps, if you will, or they result in gaps.

    How awesome is that!?

    I love you. Even if you’re just joking around. :3

    My take on the matter has always been, “It’s there if you want it to be.”

    Do I want it to be yuri sometimes? Of course.
    Do I know that it’s not? Of course.

    I think the problem is when you try to force it, and I think that’s what people Erica does (to lolikitsune’s and Os’s annoyance, I know). At the same time, there doesn’t have to be a shoot down of people who decide who have viciously yuri-tinted goggles, so I wonder why icystorm (lk’s always a wild-card in these things) is taking it so seriously. :P

    Reply
  5. One can shoehorn readings all the time. Hmm, maybe I can read Aria as a clarion call for subjugation of Terra(Man-Home) by Mars by use of Giant Mecha using Beam Paddles with LOTS OF TEH YURI.

    I would read Ponti’s post, and Cuchlann’s by extension, as speculative adventures rather than discoveries. They didn’t ‘discover’ yuri in the texts. The wrote a Yuri experience from the texts.

    Reply
  6. Pontifus

     /  15 January 2009

    @everyone

    My take on the matter has always been, “It’s there if you want it to be.”

    I would read Ponti’s post, and Cuchlann’s by extension, as speculative adventures rather than discoveries. They didn’t ‘discover’ yuri in the texts. The wrote a Yuri experience from the texts.

    THIS

    Reply
    • That’s like saying, “I READ FAHRENHEIT 451 AND I THINK CAPTAIN BEATTY IS GAY BECAUSE HE WENT INTO MONTAG’S HOUSE.”

      Reply
      • “It’s there if you want it to be” kinda allows that. No, that’s fucking stupid. There is no yaoi in Fahrenheit 451.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        Right, because there is nothing inherently in a text at all. Texts are empty of meaning, and we fill them with it. Or, to be specific, we fill the mental text-constructs we derive from them when we read with meaning. It’s hard to account for what knowledge and experience readers will bring to a text, so who knows? Maybe someone’s reading of Fahrenheit 451 does include homosexuality.

      • I think the thing is that every conclusion you draw from a text needs to be drawn from something… your example seems like an example of weak reasoning to me. I don’t buy it from that alone, etc. Similarly, Ponti’s reasoning seems very weak to me, having the understanding that I do of fangirl behavior in JL comics/cartoons and being able to interpret Aika’s/Yumi’s behavior as [not at all lesbian].

        I do believe in the idea of people getting different things out of a text… but I think for everything you get out, you need some reason that can hold up to inspection.

        All this said, re: “it’s there if you want it to be,” delusions are delusions, etc. Perhaps all of critical reading is one big one but you could apply the same logic to meatspace. “There’s a cat here,” alternate perceptions of reality, blah blah blah, people see different worlds and experience different things, blah blah blah.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        I think the thing is that every conclusion you draw from a text needs to be drawn from something… your example seems like an example of weak reasoning to me. I don’t buy it from that alone, etc. Similarly, Ponti’s reasoning seems very weak to me, having the understanding that I do of fangirl behavior in JL comics/cartoons and being able to interpret Aika’s/Yumi’s behavior as [not at all lesbian].

        But see, that’s the thing — we’re bringing different experience to the table, so we’re going to read it differently, and I don’t think either of us has a lack of experience, per se; we just have different experience. Just as your approach doesn’t let you accept the yuri angle, my approach doesn’t let me accept that it’s impossible; in the face of evidence in the text, your objections aren’t enough. It’s easy enough for both of us to say that the other has a shaky foundation here, but the fact of the matter is that we just have different foundations.

        I do believe in the idea of people getting different things out of a text… but I think for everything you get out, you need some reason that can hold up to inspection.

        I agree with the provision that your reasoning only needs to hold to your own inspection, given the personal nature of the reading experience — but, with that said, I’m all for people challenging my readings, as I’m wary about espousing untested opinions. When I argue in favor of a reading or approach, I don’t look at it as arguing against the challenger so much as using the challenge to test the shit out of what I feel to be true or logically acceptable. I think it’s possible to call other people on what seems to me to be faulty logic with the intention of giving them tools by which to strengthen their readings, but with the underlying knowledge that it doesn’t matter anyway, as it’s all subjective.

      • “There’s a cat here,” alternate perceptions of reality, blah blah blah, people see different worlds and experience different things, blah blah blah.

        Pretty much. And reasoning for those decisions are important, even if they are something simple like “the blush on her cheeks” or “the space of seconds before so-and-so speaks” and so on. That being said, more blah blah blah with how one’s reasoning probably won’t be accepted by others, who’s inspection are we talking about, is there an objective standard…

        “It’s there if you want it to be” kinda allows that. No, that’s fucking stupid.

        What’s wrong with allowing that? If you don’t like it and think it’s stupid, fine, but at least let people have flights of fancy lol. “Anime is serious business” and all that, what what.

      • It’s not that. It’s like saying Azumanga Daioh promotes the use of handguns on little children while biking in Vietnam. It’s there if I want it to be?

        No, ‘cuz it’s not there.

      • “It’s like saying Azumanga Daioh promotes the use of handguns on little children while biking in Vietnam. It’s there if I want it to be?”

        If someone can somehow see that and provide reasoning to “justify” that claim, than that idea is there when they want it to be. This doesn’t mean that the idea is correct or right or not. It’s just saying that there’s more than one way to interpret something, and that just because you don’t see it doesn’t that everyone doesn’t see it. It’s up to you to determine what is or isn’t there for you, but keep in mind that it’s not the same for everyone, whether you consider that stupid or not.

        I assure you, I believe that someone who does believe that Azumanga Daioh promotes hunting small children while biking in Vietnam is a little off of their rocker (now shoes on the other hand I could get behind). But it doesn’t mean they can’t believe that, and I find that okay. It’s not that serious.

      • Also keep in mind that my perspective with is relegated to things that I don’t think are really that important in the long term, like anime. :P

  7. lelangir

     /  15 January 2009

    dissonance (flutes) between modern and postmodern take?

    Reply
    • FUCK FLUTES.

      YOU CAN FORCE MEMES AS EASILY YOU CAN FORCE YURI READINGS.

      The question is: FORCE = RAPE?

      It’s an interesting plot development in this conversation no?

      Reply
      • lelangir

         /  16 January 2009

        lol…no idea…..I just saw this as lolikit et al. not being able to accept the postmodern reading because, inasmuch as your taste in anime constitutes your identity in the anisphere, those that challenge the meaning of the anime of which your identity is constituted would pose quite a threat to one’s own authority on their identity. Then again, the easy way to avoid it all is not get so butthurt in the first place i.e. don’t bother trying to synthesize or debate between two nearly irreconcilable hermeneutic views.

      • Er… that’s confused, I think. For one, no one’s “challenging the meaning of [Aria]” (unless they are and I don’t feel threatened in which case, more power to me?). Also, butthurt over Marimite? Lawl. It has little to nothing to do with what anime is being looked at, and more to do with Ponti’s methodology.

        Lastly, not bothering to synthesize or debate (no matter the topic at hand) is counter to lolikitean understanding. Are you telling me to just think Ponti’s wrong without engaging in some sort of discussion to bring our views closer together? Dipcrate!

      • lelangir

         /  16 January 2009

        For one, no one’s “challenging the meaning of [Aria]”

        My experience constitutes Aria. I find Aria to be yuri, ergo Aria is yuri. There. I challenged its meaning.

        Also, butthurt over Marimite? Lawl. It has little to nothing to do with what anime is being looked at, and more to do with Ponti’s methodology.

        Well, perhaps I should thank you for reiterating my implicit point.

        Lastly [...]

        As far as your debate has progressed, I can’t see the point in trying to reconcile these fundamentally opposed hermeneutic paradigms. “Aria is everything” vs “Aria is only Aria”. No point. You can discuss Aria within one method of reading, but trying to discuss Aria between methods of reading is futile, phyrric at best. Whatever tenuous conclusion to which you two arrive, it will probably be you two saying “ok, your method of reading is legit in its own right, I realize that now, my bad” rather than “well, what exactly is Aria?” Of course, if you indiscriminately value discourse in its own right, have at it. Guys can discuss hermeneutic paradigms vis-a-vis elegant sea urchin bukakke for all it matters.

      • My experience constitutes Aria. I find Aria to be yuri, ergo Aria is yuri. There. I challenged its meaning.

        You’re lying through your teeth, mofo. I have evidence on teh interwebs to prove it.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        As far as your debate has progressed, I can’t see the point in trying to reconcile these fundamentally opposed hermeneutic paradigms. “Aria is everything” vs “Aria is only Aria”. No point. You can discuss Aria within one method of reading, but trying to discuss Aria between methods of reading is futile, phyrric at best. Whatever tenuous conclusion to which you two arrive, it will probably be you two saying “ok, your method of reading is legit in its own right, I realize that now, my bad” rather than “well, what exactly is Aria?”

        This is pretty much the basis of my entire approach. Nobody’s right, so everyone’s right, etc. etc. Though I wouldn’t say trying to discuss Aria between methods of reading is entirely futile, insofar as it lets us throw our methods of reading against each other, and what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.

      • lelangir+ponti, Is it really so much “different methods of reading” as it is “different methods of acceptance” ? In the end I think we’re evaluating the same content in similar manners… just, Ponti is going out of his way to entertain possibilities that I find irrelevant.

        If you’re saying [the shell/what you're reading] is in part formed from experience, then that explains discrepancies in interpretation. That’s not a matter of reading method, it’s a matter of your parser.

      • Pontifus

         /  16 January 2009

        Yeah, if we can generally agree on the role of experience, then we can call it a matter of the parser within that overlapping methodology.

      • ghostlightning

         /  16 January 2009

        You know I just realized that a lot of the dismissals of shows by reviewers, anibloggers, etc. are possibly due to a lack of awareness of the plurality of readings – which is a postmodern idea – I think.

        Identity in the anisphere = taste in anime… oh lol. OH LOL. This is a well of drama that I don’t think will ever run dry, if indeed the case.

      • You read a lot of dismissals by relatively intelligent people, then. Of all the reactions to shows I’ve seen in blogs or comments or IRC channels or forum threads, be they positive or negative, the percentage that incorporates any kind of critical examination is exceedingly low. Most people don’t even generate their own reading… they just look at surface stuff for the most part.

        Which kinda makes sense, in a way, ’cause most anime isn’t, um, to reopen a can of worms, “deep.” Not only does this discourage critical analysis of the dumb shows but it disarms people going into intelligent shows, etc.

      • Depth is an illusion. All sorts of readings can be made on anime shows. ‘crap’ is a reading. Judgment: dismissal, praise, recommendation always follows some level of analysis – however ‘flawed’ (which is a reading/imposition of values in itself).

      • It’s only rape if there’s penetration involved.

  8. Some final (from me) (hopefully) thoughts here:

    Yumi could be a lesbian;
    Aika could be bi/bi-curious (see: ED)/change sexuality at some point;
    The entire Aria cast could be gay, save those we know to be straight—

    These are simply things we don’t know. Same as, Akari might have a boyfriend back on Earth. We don’t know. Possibilities are endless, but as I understand, that’s different from subtext. Unless I see a concrete reason to believe something is a certain way, or unless someone presents reasoning I can understand in an attempt to convince me that things are a certain way, I usually don’t develop an opinion on that matter.

    Does Naruto drink 1% or 2% milk? I dunn fkn care.

    Reply
  9. This exchange is a market. The currency is ‘belief’/’acceptance’ and the tools for selling include rhetoric, knowledge of theory, level of education (to a degree NICE PUN), Aria-fu, etc.

    The interesting thing is that nobody buys. The Aria can be anything readers won’t invalidate the non-yuri reading, but won’t buy it because they will prefer their own, and the Aria is not-yuri reader won’t buy the theoretical ‘sophistry’ of the other group.

    Reply
  10. I don’t think Aria is yuri at all, it’s all very innocent like a fresh loli or shota. Consider the loli or shota, would you want to pervert an unperverted human being? In which case you would have the dichotomy between innocence and darker knowledge. People who say Aria is yuri are trying to take away the innocence of beautiful minds, just because they can. Why do they do this? Is it because they are cynical having lost their own innocence?

    Reply
  11. what the fuck

    Reply
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