Glad to get back to you, my peeps. Even on the steamy main island, one can feel the summer wearing itself out as he sips a Shirley Temple by the poolside, or sashays about summer festivals in his stylish yukata for his purely cultural observance of Bon. There has been much good reading to do, so much so that I, Atobe, am compelled to prescribe some of it for you. As my dear fans know, despite the abundance of Catholic imagery in manga and anime, serious evangelization efforts on these sacred islands get little press. Thankfully, there was a break in that this summer. Your American district of the Society of St. Pius X posted an interesting three-part interview with Fr. Daniel Couture, head of the Society's Asia district, last month. All three parts are recommended, nay insisted upon reading, but especially Part II, which speaks about the Society's small presence in Japan, which has recently borne some fruits.
Please continue to pray for the conversion of Japan to the Catholic religion. Every soul brought to the Lord Christ helps. I, Atobe, will focus my efforts on converting the remaining pagan members of the old Hyotei Gakuen tennis club.
Given the stormy weather as I, Atobe, head out this morning, it does not look a good day for sunbathing, though. Happily, the days itinerary is looking up. My plan, see, is to take the train into Akibahara--I, Atobe, can brook public exposure every so often; no need to helicopter in; must be green you know--and visit Cure Maid Cafe, which is running a special menu based on the comedy anime YuruYuri. Looks tasty, doesn't it? Too bad, ye Anglos. America is sadly devoid of maid cafes, minus one on the Left Coast, which does not count because it is more a center of degeneracy than of things cute, as such dining institutions ought to be.
The benefits of the cult of cuteness in modern society cannot be underestimated. Other required reading is the fabulous Wikipedia article, Cuteness in Japanese Culture. Even our guardrails are cute. Are yours? Oftentimes, adorability counterbalances the excessive cult of Eros. Take this anime that started just weeks ago. While Leslie crazes over Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise, which fails to connect with me, I, Atobe, much prefer Dantalian no Shoka, or The Mystic Archives of Dantalian in English. Though it is almost purely a a copy off last season's Gosick, it has already distinguished itself as a wonderful and unparalleled anime six episodes in. Perhaps the clearest sign of how much it stands out is the clothing designer. Even though it's just animation, the production company Gainax went the whole nine yards of lace and had Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, a lolita fashion outfit, do the costumes, as you can see in the opening. Baby, which actually runs a respectable establishment in San Francisco, is selling a positively kawaii Bibliotheca Mystique de Dantalian line of clothes in conjunction. Yes! For but $150 (plus tax) you--or perhaps just I, Atobe--can acquire a stylish Hugh "Huey" Anthony Diswald bowler.
Why should traditionalist Catholics appreciate the fashion, and the anime that promotes it like none before? First, I must point you to the magnificent opening, "Cras numquam scire" (yes, we Japs now have a fuller appreciation of Latin than the West). It's fine listening, and look at the pretty imagery! And look at all the traditional imagery shown to such advantage. The best part, though, is within the anime itself. In episode 3, Huey and Dalian encounter the former's old friend Camilla in a bookstore. Though Dalian is bribed with scones and agrees to have tea with Camilla, she insults her "hysterical clothing." Though the flashy blue outfit is technically long by today's standards, it is obviously meant to reveal rather than conceal, and looks timelessly radical.
At the tea, Camilla gladly explains, "This outfit is the work of a French fashion designer. It's all the rage in New York." Unconvinced, Dalian rebuts, "Your hair is absurdly short. And you are wearing an obscenely short blouse with pointed sleeves. Have you no common sense?" After Camilla gives the usual "But these clothes are very comfortable to move around in. I'm sure that they'll catch on soon enough," Dalian laments, "If so, there is no hope left for this world."
If only someone had said all this before 2011! Had liberation from decency not prevailed in the 1920s (like Gosick, Dantalian no Shoka is set after the Great War, but this time in England rather than the fictional Saubere), perhaps such manifestations of decay as legalized abortion (which was "all the rage in New York" even before Roe v Wade) would not have come to pass in turn.
Truer words were never spoken by man. But unlike your Western period animes, which feature superior styles of the past for petty nostalgia, or even to show contempt for "stuffy" Victorian and other old European sensibilities, our shows, so far from holding the past in contempt, feature amply virtue'd, hem-carrying females as protagonists, and even devout Christian believers (Dalian does have hope for the next world; after a couple dies in episode 4, she says, "Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon them" over them) as protagonists. Note, too: it is not Camilla's fad fashion that is on sale. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is offering Dalian's lovely outfit. If you have $1,388, plus tax.
Be awed at the sight of my prowess!
P.S. I, Atobe, am almost not awed by the sight of, etc etc. I just found an embarassing high school video were my Hyotei pals and I mimicked our favorite anime, Lucky Star!