Remembering 2017: wrapping it all up

Corner

The good…

Well, that’s another year over! It’s certainly been one of the craziest I’ve ever experienced, even though I did not achieve as much as I would have liked, both in real life, and in relation to my contribution to the fandom. Unfortunately, these two issues are probably related, but more on that in a bit. First, I’d like to thank everyone who’s been my friend or otherwise just supported me, especially when I needed it most. Most of you know what I’m referring to, so I won’t rehash it, and I have to admit that there were times that I was frustrated that it took so long for some of you to react or respond.

But the reason I survived with my love for the show—and for anime in general—intact is due to those of you who generously lent me your time and your ears. I’ve always enjoyed writing for the opportunity to just share my love of the anime I watch and the manga I read; but this is the first time where I’ve really felt grateful for the connections I’ve gained as a result. Last year was difficult in ways I never expected, and I feel immensely privileged to be able to call many of you my friends.

…the bad…

On a slightly more negative note, 2017 was the first time I found myself really, really angry over something. I’ve had fandom disagreements before, but since those were generally about specific shows, I was always able to remove myself from the conversations in question. But in the last year, I’ve encountered people who keep trying to deny who I am: a migrant from Southeast Asia living in a Western country. Here’s how they do it:

“This is the only way you can read this story/character/scene.”

When I see or hear a line like that, I find myself struggling to hold my anger in check. “The only way?” According to the invisible historically-determined institutions that frame the way you see the world, you mean?

I have never been able to say such a line about anything I’ve seen or read. As someone sitting between two very different cultures, I know all too well the challenges of understanding something grounded in a different cultural perspective. My own family was very nearly torn apart by this, because my Westernised siblings and I did not comprehend some of the values that the more traditional of our parents held. We simply had no idea, until someone explicitly pointed out to me several things that most of my cousins never had to be told.

Hence, to me, declarations like “this is the only way you can read this (text)” smell of cultural imperialism. It tells me that the speaker or writer privileges their own perspective, a perspective born of their specific background (typically one grounded in American society and politics), over that of anyone else. And it makes my blood boil. I have yet to figure out what is the best way for me to react to those statements, and to the people who make them, but for now, I just hope that none of you who read this will ever say or write such a line again.

I’m sorry, it’s been eating away at me for the last half a year, so I just wanted to put it out there. One day, in the future, I will be calm enough to write more about this issue. Until then, I’m sure I’ll be apologising several more times in certain private forums.

…and the future…

As for the upcoming year…well, for the moment, I’m sorry to have to say that I’m going on hiatus. Given my intermittent output over the past year, especially over the last month, this probably won’t come as a surprise to many of you. A few years back, I set myself the target of writing one post a week, and though I didn’t clock in as regularly as I would have liked, until last year, I always found a way to make that target. Similarly, the first year of my On Anime ‘Writing’ project also went relatively smoothly, but for a number of reasons, it stalled several times early in 2017 and then slowly ground to a halt over the last 6 months. I still enjoy translating, and intend to keep working on commissions as well as the interviews I’ve been collecting for both my current projects, but I simply cannot promise regular posts on my own blog, be they editorials or translations, until I’ve handed in the biggest project of my life thus far.

Until then, most things I translate will be on Twitter, either at my normal account, or posted as a draft translation at the private one that I’ve set up for that purpose. I will contact those of you whom I think might appreciate a particular interview I’m working on, but if any other mutuals want to know the specifics, please DM me.

I do want to stay connected, so I’ll be on twitter as usual. In particular, I want to stay connected to the little production-focused AniTwitter community that I’ve become a part of over the last few years. Without the “you need to write!” gauntlet hanging over my neck, I suspect that I’ll be a bit more diligent about adding links to WhiteBoxTreasure, so I hope some of you will still find it useful. I’ve started paying for hosting, so there should no longer be any annoying ads!

More importantly, though, if you’re a friend who’d like my feedback on a translation for some reason, I WILL make time for you, commission or not. The thing I worry about most is whether we’re representing creators accurately, so more than a bit of extra cash, I just want to do everything I can to ensure that we are. As those of you I’ve worked with would know, I make it a point to check anything I’m unsure about with several friends who are native speakers or at that level, and I’d like to pay that forward as much as I can. And whilst I hate to say it, we need it more than most people probably think we do.

So that’s it from me for 2017. My apologies to anyone I’m disappointing with my decision to step back from the fandom, at least for the moment. I’m also not sure when—or perhaps even “if”—I’ll be back in force. But I still hope to see you around, whether on twitter, or on your own blogs, which I’ll probably have a bit more time to visit!

Rakugo-2

Before I go, though, here’s the list!

Series/Shows that ended in 2017 (season/s)

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. (Winter)
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (Fall 2015—Winter 2016, Fall 2016—Winter 2017)
Rakugo Shinjuu: Futatabi-hen (Winter 2017)
Scum’s Wish (Winter 2017)
The Eccentric Family 2 (Spring 2017)
The Royal Tutor (Spring 2017)
Land of the Lustrous (Fall 2017)
Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Fall 2017)

Feature length anime/OVAs seen in 2017

Napping Princess
Lu Over the Wall
The Night is Short, Walk on Girl
In This Corner of the World
Blade Runner Black Out 2022

ACG-related Live Action seen in 2017

Nigehaji: We Married as a Job (NB: The manga is released as “The Full-time Wife Escapist” in the West.)
Ghost in the Shell 2017

Older films/series that I watched for the first time

My Neighbour Totoro
Kiki’s Delivery Service
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (+ accompanying documentary)
Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Flip Flappers
Free! — Iwatobi Swim Club
Free! — Eternal Summer
From the New World [Shinsekai Yori]
I’ve Always Loved You
KonoSuba S1
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Lupin the Third: Part 4
Michiko & Hatchin
Puella Magi Madoka Magica + movies
Space Dandy
Tamako Market
Tamako Love Story

Older films/series that I rewatched

A Silent Voice
your name.
Ghibli showcase
Howl’s Moving Castle
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away
Whisper of the Heart
Yuri!!! on ICE (dub)

Commentaries

Madoka Magica
A Silent Voice (film)

Continuing

March Lion (Fall 2016–Winter 2017; Fall 2017–Winter 2018)

Dropped (episodes watched)

Re:Creators (1)
Kabukibu (1)
Welcome to the Ballroom (1)
Princess Principal (1)

Western Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Spiderman: Homecoming
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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