Code Geass vs KONY2012

This contains spoilers… So if you’re interested in watching this anime then DON’T read this!

My wife’s cousin is a bit of a nerd and he’s the awesome kind of nerdy older relative that buys me game consoles and new video games, stops by once a week to drop off fresh issues of JUMP, burns me DVD’s of DBZ, and he’s always awake at late hours of the night so you can call him drunk and incoherent and he’ll cruise over in his Skyliner GT and pick you up.

He also tells me what animes he thinks I should be watching and what mangas he things I should read. Now our taste for such things differs ever so slightly. As a lit major in college I have trouble just appreciating stuff without over analyzing it in a pretentious condescending way. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy anime and manga.

I bring up my wife’s awesome older cousin because he made me watch an anime called Code Geass. This was way back in 2008… but I was reminded of it last week because of the KONY2012 movement that has taken the world by storm.

CODE GEASS

It wasn’t even that popular in Japan…

Code Geass is a depressing fucking story and the ending is kind of terrible (more on that later). But if you’re a fan of mecha and emo-level depression, then this might be for you. (Think Machiavelli meets Gundam meets Evangelion)

Have you ever noticed that if you add “ian” to any philosopher’s name and then use that word in conversation you come off as an a$$hole?

This is an anime set in a sort of parallel universe where the evil empire, Britannia, has rolled over Japan in the year 2010 and stripped the Japanese of pretty much all rights and freedoms. To top it off they’ve renamed Japan “Area 11” and the people are called “elevens.” (How that’s worse from being called Japan and Japanese, which are also not in the Nihongo lexicon, I don’t know)

The brown haired one is the Japanese kid…

The protagonist of this story is an anorexic exiled prince of Britannia with a tongue twister name: Lelouch Lamperouge (it’s even worse in Japanese, レレーシュ Lehlehhhshu). His father, Charles zi Britannia, is the evil douchebag running the show, and his mother was “murdered” some time ago. As a character he’s pretty well constructed, not an idiot, and a bit of a tragic hero, which I dug. He’s motivated by his desire to protect his sister Nunnally, who for most of the show is confined to a wheelchair and blind; trying to figure out what happened to his mother; and his intense desire to personally destroy his father and the empire of Britannia.

Story takes place in 2010, the weapons take place in 3010, and what the hell is up with that hair…

Lelouch and his sister live in Japan at a sort of boarding school for social elites and royal leftovers. On his way home in the first episode, Lelouche happens to meet up with a green haired witch girl who enters into some sort of “contract” with him which grants him the power of “geass.” There are several characters with geass and like snowflakes, no two geass are alike. I think they’re determined based off of the owners personal disposition or something like that.

And they have roller blading mobile suits!

Lelouch’s geass grants him the ability to command people to do whatever the hell he wants as long as he can come into direct eye contact with them. His first use of this power is ordering some Britannia soldiers that are trying to kill him to shoot themselves in the face while he watches.

Would be a very easy power to misuse..

Then, Lelouch hooks up with some resistant fighters called the Black Knights. He becomes the leader pretty much right away and adopts an alter ego named “ZERO” that is a mix of Darkwing Duck and Voldo’s mask when he’s wearing his really gay outfit.

You either die a hero… or…

There’s a lot of cool battles and one-on-one fights. The nightmare frames are updated more times than an Apple product so the action sequences manage to keep an edge without getting repetitive, plus the introduction of different and unique geass keeps things fresh. The geass are also not without weakness, which is a nice touch.

Now for some spoilers.

Continue reading “Code Geass vs KONY2012”

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New Math

Don’t be wasteful.

  • 12 rolls of toilet paper is enough for 1000 trips to the bathroom.
  • 10L (2.6gal) of gasoline is enough to transport 4 injured people.
  • 1 loaf of bread is a meal for 1 family.
  • 1 small can of gas cooks enough rice for 10 people.
  • 5kg (11lbs) of rice feeds 120 people.
  • 1 battery powers a radio for 100 people to use.

I’m sure more than 100 people might be able to use the radio, but you get the point.  Re-evaluate how you use supplies from dog food and AAA batteries to the miles you drive and the food you throw away.

There are some amazing stories that are coming out.  Like the baby that was torn from her father’s arms by the tsunami, but was later found alive and reunited with her parents.  A man was rescued on top of a floating roof miles away from shore.  But the stories of joy and happiness only breaks up the sobering reality that thousands of bodies are being found floating along the coast, people are starving, Japan is combating a nuclear disaster.

But we’re helping.  We’re working together to support the people who need to be supported.  Life here in Fukuoka is seemingly business as usual for me.  I go to work, I eat, I sleep.  Someday life in the Tohoku region will go back to normal as well.  But not for a very long time.

Help if you can and if you have already thanks.

Now We Help

There’s not much left to be said that hasn’t been said or thought already. Even as I write this the ground from Tohoku to Tokyo still trembles with aftershocks and the tsunami swept land is still wet with salt water. The ramifications of the largest earthquake to ever strike Japan will reverberate through this island nation for many years to come.

Events like this strip away everything. Politics, religion, class, nationality, and ethnicity, it’s all gone and we stand looking at each other’s naked humanity and suddenly things that seemed complicated are simple, things that were muddled become clear, and we take stock of the binding reality that ties us all together on this shared journey we all make.

I watched the Twin Towers fall not knowing if my cousins had made it home from work that day. I stood on the Mississippi beach after Katrina, amidst the wreckage that the onslaught of wind and water had left behind. There’s a feeling of helplessness, grief, and anger. But more than that, there’s a deep burning desire to do something, anything, to help ease the burden off the shoulders of those who have lost the most.

This is a beautiful thing about the human condition. We may fight fight fight and argue about stupid shit like trickle down market strategies, which side to butter our toast, and fashion. But as this resounding shock hits us all we stop the bickering for a moment, shut up, and listen. Listen to the cries for help, to the strangeness of this eerie silence, and to the voice deep inside us all.

People are dead. People are hurt. People need help. We can sit idly by watching Youtube videos of cars being tossed about like toys or we can roll up our sleeves and pitch in. No matter the gesture, no matter how small, believe that it will be appreciated. We’ve compiled here multiple ways that we all can help even a little. Stand up and be counted along your brothers and sisters, your flesh and blood.

Thank you.

A 4 month old baby girl was ripped from her father’s arms by the water, only to be found days later and reunited with her parents. Thank you world.

Resources:
Fukuoka Now Lifeline: a new site I’ve helped produce with resources and information for donating, volunteering, and local fundraiser events.

After the Quake and Rising Sea

now comes the hard part

It’s now Sunday…the day after tomorrow.  I never really liked those disaster movies because they seemed like bad karma to me.  Some people were comparing this disaster to the terrorist attacks on September 11th and saying Japan is lucky the death toll at the time was only 1700. To the people trying to strike up comparisons stop…  There’s nothing to be gained.  It’s all terrible.

A girl in quarantine because of the radiation leak.

I remember 9-11 well.  I wrote an article that day that became a chain letter, it was pretty angry and a little uplifting.  I wanted to hurt the people that had hurt America and I wanted to stand up and be counted along with firemen and policemen as a human, as a hero.  I was just an angry and scared 17 year old.

Who do we get angry at now?  Nature?  What can we do?  Flip off a dolphin?  Pour motor oil down a storm drain?  Punt chinchilla?  Go buy an H3?  We’re already doing all those things, but we know that this isn’t nature getting back at us.  This is just the earth doing what comes natural.  I’m sure someone somewhere will find someone or something to be angry with.  The Westboro Church will probably blame gay soldiers and thank their “god” for dead Asian babies.  Scan the comments on Youtube and you’ll still see plenty of hate.  And that is yet another tragedy upon a time of tragedies.

A man looks at what’s left of his home in Soma-shi, Fukushima-ken.

I spent my 21st birthday on the Mississippi coast cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.  I went there to see with my own eyes true human suffering.  But I got there too late.  It was April, months after the storm had passed.  The people were suffering, but they were spirited and encouraging.  They smiled.  The world around them consisted of toppled buildings, large shards of wood and metal, and dead sea creatures miles away from the ocean.  But they were living, they were more alive than I was most of the time I was in school, they were rebuilding, replacing, while still remembering.  I didn’t come away with what I was looking for there, but I did come away with more than I could handle.  And my Katrina experience still replays through my head from time to time as I try to wrap my head around the conflicting concept of the human condition.

Earthquake, fire, and tsunami all on top of each other.

There are cities gone.  Not just gone, but completely missing.  The only things left are the foundations laid out on the ground like they were stenciled from Google Maps.  And the occupants of those cities are largely missing.  In one city of 17,000 there are 10,000 people whose fates remain unknown.  Some seven thousand made it to safety, but the roads are now gone and the only thing we’ve seen of the city are videos of vast stretches of wreckage shot by helicopters surveying the damage.

Some places got hit by the quake, that then started fires, and then washed away by 10meters of ocean.

What do you say at a time like this?  “We’ll survive”?  Well, some will, some haven’t, some won’t.  What encouraging words can you find for people whose homes and families are gone, claimed by the earth being the earth?  “God works all things for good?”  It’s hard to see much.  There’s an outpouring of sympathy and aid that’s coming from all corners of the world.  What Japan needs right now is money.  Rescue cues and foreign volunteers are hindered by their inability to communicate efficiently, and right now Japan is just asking for financial support to pay for the relief, rescue, and repair of their home.

If you are able please help.

Google Crisis Response Resource

Or donate through your local Japanese government offices.