The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

The Infinite Mirai’s Mail Sack: August 30, 2014

Today’s Mail Sack comes a little later into the day, where trends continue, and I busied myself with purchasing some fall attire for the new academic term (especially since the upcoming winter is projected to be long, dark and cold) and enjoyed Bourbon chicken on noodles for lunch. When I got home, I was already quite tired; motivating myself to blog today was quite challenging, but after taking a short break, I’m in fine spirits to finish a few blog posts (having some fried chicken in me helps substantially, too). As the last of the weekly Mail Sack posts, today, I will answer two questions, one each from Vimitsu and Ninetybeats.

Question One

What do you think would be different about your life if you had never watched anime? —Vimitsu

Watching anime, re-watching series, episodes, movies and OVAs I thoroughly enjoyed, writing about it and talking to friends about it, has impacted my worldview to a non-trivial extent and ultimately, shaped me into a more open-minded individual than I otherwise might have been. By nature, I am quite comfortable with routine, doing things according to a schedule and usually, in a certain way. For instance, I always arise early to lift weights, then go to the research lab or class, and come home after classes are done. Deviations to my schedule were quite rare until I began watching anime (especially slice-of-life), which encouraged me to explore new horizons and try new things beyond what I’m comfortable with. Through watching the characters in anime broaden their perspectives and persue new experiences, I felt that this was an admirable way of thinking and wondered how it could apply to my life. I only began watching slice-of-life en masse after I reached my second undergraduate year, and my program had been one that was very close-knit. As a consequence, I gradually became more sociable and attended more events, whether it be open house events, presentations, parties, pub nights, karaoke, ad infinitum.

  • If I didn’t watch anime, I probably wouldn’t have been as sociable as I am now, although still reasonably sociable; my undergraduate degree led me to give numerous presentations at open-houses, research symposiums and even a thesis defense, so I became quite comfortable with speaking and answering questions. I probably would not appreciate cuisine as much had I not watched anime, as well.

Besides the bigger-picture impact that anime has had on my worldview and corresponding lifestyle choices, watching anime also inspired me to try different foods and drink by raising my awareness of them. For instance, I tried Blue Mountain coffee after hearing about it in GochiUsa (it’s got a earthy flavour), and similarly, enjoyed a cup of Darjeeling tea (Girls und Panzer) at a friend’s place after a pub night. Similarly, Tamayura sparked my desire to try Okonomiyaki, and last week’s Japanese Omatsuri provided a prime opportunity to do that: it is very savoury and delicious. A few months ago, I tried takoyaki, which is oft-mentioned as a popular food item at summer festivals. Through trying Japanese cuisines and enjoying them greatly, I’ve also grown to doubly appreciate cuisine from my own culture (Cantonese food) and homeland (Canada), recognising the differences in preparation methods and the unique flair in the end products. Suffice to say, were it not for anime, I probably would’ve missed out on trying new foods.

Question Two

What is your favorite YouTube channel? —Ninetybeats

The position for favourite YouTube channel is actually a three-way tie between TheRadBrad, Cr1t1kal and Ross Scott’s Accursed Farm. Each channel has their unique points, and are channels I’ve subscribed to because I find their content to be unique and worthwhile. Consider that I’ve only subscribed to twelve channels at the time of writing: each channel I follow is something I am genuinely interested in, and from that collection, the three aforementioned channels are the cream of the crop, so to speak. For TheRadBrad, I found his channel two and a half years ago, while I was looking for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 videos to see if the game was something I was interested in. His casual commentary in his walkthroughs are both amusing, as he reacts to what’s happening within the game, and also provide his thoughts into a game. With the way he plays through and presents a game, TheRadBrad has a knack of conveying his enjoyment for the game through his commentary, turning even what might be a below-average game into something that looks fun and worth playing. In one of his Halo 4 videos, he mentions how he finished a college degree and was set to join the workforce, but found that he was happier with doing video game playthroughs. This is a fine example of someone who does YouTube playthroughs because it’s something they thoroughly enjoy doing, rather than something they do purely for profit, and although such a topic is hotly-contested, I find that TheRadBrad’s approach ends up being admirable and respectable.

  • I choose my favourite YouTube channels for their content; just from watching them, I can tell that TheRadBrad, Cr1t1kal and Ross Scott put in their fullest and best efforts into making their videos fun to watch. While not mentioned here, I also like LevelCapGaming and Marble Hornets.

Cr1t1kal takes a different approach towards gaming, playing everything from well-known triple-A titles to obscure games that are ill-conceived and manages to produce a brilliant, deadpan delivery of his experiences. Despite being filled with explictives and obscenities, his videos are downright hilarious and reflect on his talent for being able to improvise humourous dialogue in response to things happening within the game (memorable examples include the Chemical Spillage Simulator, Burger-making simulator, Schippers van de Kameleon). As for Ross Scott, his channel hosts his creations, Freeman’s Mind and Civil Protection. I’ve been following these since I began my undergraduate program many years ago, and his videos are both smart and funny, for lack of a better descriptor. Like TheRadBrad, I greatly respect Cr1t1kal and Ross Scott; they are creative, honest and genuinely interested in what they produce.

Closing Remarks

With this, the weekly Mail Sack segments come to an end, leaving me a little melancholic now that August is over. The Mail Sack was intended to encourage a bit more personal interaction, and proved to be quite interesting; some of the questions led me to think about anime in new ways I never really thought of before. I offer my sincere thanks to Vimitsu and Ninetybeats for stepping up and providing thought-provoking questions pertaining to anime. Receiving questions by email and the comments section, I looked forward to seeing what readers had to ask. With this said, I was hoping that the silent readers who visit would also have questions, but this turned out not to be the case. However, even if the readers aren’t interacting frequently, I know that there are some occasions where the contents here have been helpful to other readers, and that alone is more than enough to make blogging a meaningful pursuit. For the future, the Mail Sack will be reregulated to being a monthly section that I will write on the last Saturday of every month, if questions are submitted during that month (if there are no questions, there’s no mail to answer). Over the next week, I will finish my talks on the Battlefield 4 campaign and move on to do a discussion of the multiplayer. In addition, I will do a pilot post whose contents will be revealed when I publish the post, recount my experiences in Titanfall (which was remarkable), and do two talks on Tari Tari by mid-September. As September draws to a close, I’ll write out final reflections for all of the series I’ve followed during the summer.

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