Monday, December 30, 2013

Comic Fiesta 2013 Day 1 & 2

The annual ACG event of the year has reached an unprecedented close to 40,000 attendance! Congratulations to Comic Fiesta committee as managing that big a crowd really couldn't be easy. Kudos!

This year, the event was held on 21 & 22 December 2013. Despite having pre-ordered tickets, I went to the event late. On both days. Which means I did not get the loot bags we normally get upon entering. Which means I felt sad (still do). Which also means I don't have the booklet to scan this time =( (But that's okay. Karyee has pictures of the schedule ^^)

On both days, I entered at around noon.

Day 1: There was a career fest that I promised my mom I would go to
Day 2: My parents and my brother were busy with their Singapore trip so I looked after the house for a bit and finished some work before going out

Which is why I have asked and obtained the kind permission of my CF Nakama, Karyee so that I can post her pictures here too!

Credits: Karyee

Nothing much happened, except the confusing queue and directions got me in pretty later than I should have. I mean, I was there at around 11am but a misdirection had me waiting outside at a queue meant for normal tickets and half an hour later, I got fed up and asked someone else and was finally pointed to the right direction and claimed my tickets:

I really, really love their ticket design

Since I missed the countdown, I didn't have to squeeze myself in this:

Look at the crowd queuing! It's not even the main entrance!
Credits: Karyee

Which I'm glad for, but sad too.

I was in a rush, to be honest. The only thing I did on that day was drop by Kyu-erien(キューエリエン)'s booth to buy her stuff (as support and I like her stuff anyway) and to see her cosplay, in addition to watching the group cosplay competition. And hang out with CF nakama.

I missed out on this:

Awesome intro! Credits: Karyee

Comic Fiesta gets even more epic each year. Big names coming in this year such as Ikkyu-sensei, Vofan, Yuegene Fay and the returning ones like Redjuice (famous for Guilty Crown), Danny Choo (Culture Japan) and many others. ^^

So here are the schedules for those 2 days:

Credits: Karyee

Credits: Karyee
< (Left) Of course, it's not Comic Fiesta without Coffytiam!

And here's the main stage for CF2013! (Below)

Credits: Karyee

They even have an epic trailer. Please go here to view it. It is awesome.

I don't have pictures of the group cosplay photo taken by myself but here's the loot I got from Kyu-erien(キューエリエン) on Day 1 =)

It's going to be necessary for me to put this at my door prior to recording/dubbing sessions

However, the only photo of a cosplayer on that day that I managed to get was the first picture I took on that day:

Isn't he just soo huggable!

Anyway, I was rushing on that day so I left after group cosplay competition. I heard Danny Choo talking during his slot at 3.30pm though. =)

Just a fun fact: I wore a complete formal on this day. With blazer. It was for the potential interview. Some people might have thought I was trying to cosplay a character. Haha. Either that, or someone might have thought I was sneaking off work attending CF. =P

Credits: Karyee
Since I missed out on quite a lot and didn't take much pictures despite being there, my CF nakama, Karyee, allowed me to post the pictures she took on that day. *Standing ovation, all applause!*
Credits: Karyee

< (Left) This awesome intro to the group cosplay competition just got the excitement mounting.

And these were the judges! (Look right) >

The group cosplay wasn't really memorable but I salute them for trying their best. They're braver than me! (See below)  

Some of the group cosplays. Credits: Karyee

I didn't stay back for the rest since I went to PWTC instead. Ya know, career and all that. pffft. haha

So now we're on to Day 2. (Notice that I didn't cover the performance? I'll do that at the end of the post).

Credits: Karyee

One word to describe Day 2.


I didn't have a problem with the queue this time. Improved from Day 1. Much relief, thank you!

For the first time, I stayed until around 6pm since my family's off in Singapore enjoying the USS.

Pictures galore!

< (Left) I got this from Mori Mori booth. This is a phone strap of my zodiac. She has lots of other cool stuff and I would really like to own her Steins;Gate items. Perhaps next time!

I got this for free. They were giving these away so I'm gonna give it to Jian since she couldn't make it this year. (Right) >

This is my CF nakama, Karyee. She's good at drawing.
She's also the one taking most of the pictures I am unable to take
and therefore has given me permission to post here. ^^b
Here's a closer look at her drawing:

Isn't she talented?! Me is jelly (Bad grammar intended).

I haven't been drawing for quite some time so all I managed was the bad chibi you see in the picture giving an eye to her pretty fairy (or a pixie?). I'm bad at it but I'm slowly improving. I'm getting better at photoshop painting, though.

Which reminds me that I promised Karyee I would digitally paint this doodle of hers (which she did while we took a break. haha).

I like this drawing. Once I finish my assigned work,
my brain's screaming to draw something. Suenaga Mirai, to be specific.
First, I need to paint this.
Anyway, the following are snapshots of the solo cosplay competition. It was hilarious!

I love the Assassin's Creed cosplayer, Altair. Death by song indeed!

This one is Altair in his first skit. He was singing a song for his Maria.
Then, the finals for solo.

Altair unlocking achievement: Killing 100 bunnies - With a song, apparently.
Credits: Karyee
Altair clutching a bunny on his left and playing his guitar, ending his song with: "Oh bunny, the man who killed all your friends with a song ... is right next to you". Rabbit died.

As the emcees say, 'It's CF. Nothing makes sense.'

I totally agree!

*clutches stomach, rolling in laughter because of his creativity* (I am sad because I love bunnies though).

So the rest of the solo cosplayers in the competition are here:

By the way, the Assassin's Creed cosplayer won. ^^

If you want to catch it (or missed it and want to watch it), watch part of it here.

Did I mention we had Thor and Loki in the house? Only my friend had a picture of Thor only.

Credits: Karyee
As for the rest of Day 2, it was all about taking pictures with some cosplayers. Was it my imagination or did more cosplayers turn up this year on Day 2?

Credits: Karyee
*I'm gushing over Mephistopheles*
I cropped some so that I didn't appear in them. Haha.

And I took the opportunity to take pictures of the displays =)
(Karyee's are included)

A collection of nenderoids, etc. available on display at CF2013.
Some credit goes to Karyee since I compiled hers with my photos.

Before I ended the day, I managed to snap a photo with Danny Choo himself! He was very friendly and sporting about it.

Finally! After so long ^^
Thank you, Danny Choo!
And that was the end of my CF2013 experience.


I promised to cover some performances didn't I?

Alright, I really, really enjoyed the performance this time 'round. 
The usual and we have a new one: One Piece!

Here are snippets of the performances:

*I will upload here once I have time to edit the videos. They're upside down at the moment. For now, I have to focus on editing, translating and dubbing videos assigned before my deadline. Job calls.*

I didn't get to record the whole thing, so if you want, you can catch it on YouTube. I'll be nice enough to provide some of the links =P All these links DO NOT BELONG TO ME. I am only providing them to you so you can easily find them. Please open them on a separate window, please.

This link is obtained from and is available on
Harmonia ACG YouTube account.
Be sure to check them out!

The band One Piece performed quite well. They're an amateur Japanese band. Had fun with this one. =)

They sang songs from One Piece. Please support the uploader 
by visiting his youtube and watching it there.

Here are a few more links:

5 Minute Harmonia - Guren no Tsubasa [LIVE] @ Comic Fiesta 2013
LOVERIN TAMBURIN (I really loved this one!)
Ashita E No Sanka - Bin Yun & Shiomaru (Comic Fiesta 2013) (I really, really loved this one!)

There's also Livetune, which you can catch on YouTube also. I've embedded the YouTube video of ENDGAME Day 2 ft. Livetune here. You can open it on YouTube instead where you'll find CF2013 related videos. ;)

Here are some pictures of the performers:

Bin Yun & Shiomaru

One Piece

So that's it for Comic Fiesta 2013. Now I'm going back to work and hope to see all of you again next year!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013: An eventful year (Literally!)

So I said 2013 has been eventful.

I meant it literally as many things went on this year.

2013 means many things to me:

1) The end of university life
2) Commencement ceremony of Class of 2013 in December
3) Worked briefly for a broadcast system company from August thru October while waiting for December
4) Sat for JLPT (despite not really studying for it - I'm a self-study candidate)
5) Went for an interview (then called for the second interview) and secured a job starting in 2014
6) First alumni reunion since graduating from university
7) The annual Comic Fiesta
8) and whatever I missed out. Which turns out to include the double wins I got from Animax. Thank you!!

I wrote about 1 & 2 in one post previously.
I'm not going to go into specifics about 3 & 4 (let's face it, it'll be a miracle -and awesome- if I passed it since I didn't do much studying and I didn't attend classes and neither did I hire a tutor).
5? It went pretty well. I had a non-generic interview and I felt like I was having a lengthy conversation with the GM instead. =)
However, my future post would include 6 and 7. Since 7 is the most recent, I've decided to tackle that first. Mainly because I had the most fun in CF for the first time as I got to enjoy the whole day instead of rushing about on Day 2 this year. So the vote for the next post goes to Comic Fiesta 2013 Days 1 and 2. Pictures galore! (although there are about 30 of them only. I'll try harder next year!)

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UIU Malaysia, Graduating Class of 2013. "What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does."

The beginning of a new chapter of our lives. Before we knew it, another year has ended. Four years of university life has officially concluded. We'll then walk our own paths, carve our own future. When we walked down the path accompanied by the bagpipe, when we turned our tassels to the left, when we screamed 'Go Peacocks!' at the end of the valedictorian speech. When the valedictorian quoted Albus Dumbledore and almost made me cry at her anecdote. It shall always be etched into our memories. 

8th December 2013. Mine and my mates' commencement was scheduled for the afternoon session.

I guess two words could describe this moment: pride and happiness.

I am exceptionally proud to call myself a member of the vibrant gang of the graduating Class of 2013. I know I've officially ended my studies in August, but the commencement is held once a year. So, it was a major celebration for us. 

I would've cried, but I didn't. 

It felt final, but I won't let it.

Because we'll always stay connected to one another (Note: please reserve yumcha sessions!)

I could write about many things. How I've already got a job come January, how I spend my months post-college, pre-commencement working my butt off, etc etc. But I won't talk about those.

I will, however, write about our memories, about our day, about our lives.

The day before commencement, I attended the alumni reunion (Presidential Reception), mainly because I actually graduated in summer. The day prior to that, I attended the ADP annual dinner. Those were, to put it simply, the finals days of university life.

Things went a wee bit crazy at the ADP Annual Dinner 2013
So here's another photobomber. =P
The beautiful emcee, Phoebe.  You dressed up! ^^

I don't know what went into our minds...

Walking down that path during commencement made me wonder: In 20 years, nay 5 years from now, how will we look back at our lives, what do we think of the times we've spent together, was there any point of being where we were?

My friend, Joshua, rightly put it this way about commencement:
We're lucky because we could. 

Many others aren't as fortunate as us, to graduate and leave college with jobs. Many of us can't afford the extra penny to pay for fees to attend college, to attend commencement ceremonies that celebrate their achievements.

We're lucky. Indeed we are.

For so many of us, we were told we couldn't do it. Only a select few believed in us - and guess what? We did it.

Lending Mr. Ismael Betancourt's words about learning: it doesn't end here (I put it here in my own words), not with just finishing a Bachelor's degree. (Wait 'till you do a Master or PhD - I certainly will!)

I believe so too.

Learning is a continuous process. You learn not only from academic institutions, but also from life itself.

Those 4 years have taught me so many things. From philosophy to research, from a rather shy person to a more outspoken one, from trudging the halls of academia alone to making meaningful friends. Most importantly, the role that support can bring from various sources. The meaning of standing up again when you've fallen so deep. The meaning of finding hope and happiness where you could and where it matters.

Dear friends,
I believe our journey doesn't end here. I believe our friendship doesn't end here.

The time we've spent will always leave a mark in our lives.

I would always remember proofreading papers, I would always remember the peers who were always so supportive and funny (and did such great jobs!), I will remember Joshua who pats my head occasionally and I'll never forget the people who always tried to fatten me up! You know who you all are!

[Insert more picture here once I get their permission! Haha]
Glad it made you laugh, Gita!
By dad's request, I've removed the family photos. Sorry.

And who could resist the macarons and cakes by this lovely girl? - my sis, ahem ahem

Oh and this girl (Fifi) stayed up all night with me while I worked on my final paper.

Remember how we raced to that 8am class? 
Remember how sleepy we were once evening class ended at 8pm?
All those sleepless nights for fundraising campaigns?
Sitting on the floor outside the exam halls, arriving much earlier to cram something last minute in hopes it'll stick?
Recording and editing videos for our assignments?
Rushing to the printers to get our newspaper/newsletter/reports printed and bound on time?
Double-checking, triple-checking group assignments?
Feeling nervous before our oral presentations/viva?
Getting funny participants and bemoaning the mountain of paper on the desk?
Getting nervous and cursing it when there's a pop quiz?
Eating in between classes, nervously checking the time...
Dreading a 14/20 for mid-terms despite it all...
And there are so much more that can be listed here...

Those are memories we will re-visit and we can't take back.

Also, I will always remember the encouraging instructors. It's a humbling experience to be under your guidance and tutelage. We went from knowing zero to actually knowing something. For that, we thank you.

By the way, Ms. Sam, thank you for leading PSYCH Club when you could, you guided us to your best ability despite your busy schedule.

And it is such irony that the book I was moved to pick post-commencement was this:

Cecilia Ahern's The Gift
Because not only does it sum up time as something to be shared, most importantly, it is time that we can't take back. We can't rewind the clock and redo our lives. If you could, what would you have done better?

As for right now, all that comes into my mind is this:
We are all connected -one action, even a small one, will trigger a course that we'll never predict. Sometimes one small deed seems trivial because you did it not for the rewards, yet you'll be reminded of it when someone else comes and bestows almost similar deeds to you. With time, we cannot bestow, we cannot give as a gift to another person like a pretty box with a tied bow as Cecilia Ahern wrote. It can, however, be shared. Things like going to the orphanage together, eating lunch/brunch/dinner/brunch together, watching a movie together, spending the day at the park together, or perhaps, browsing for books at the local bookstore together. Those are the times one should cherish.

A job can fire you, but guess what, families can too. Great words, Ms. Ahern. My parents, my siblings, my relatives, they are all my immediate families. However, the graduating class of 2013 and the rest of UIU community are also my family. We'll always be connected.

Cecilia Ahern, The Gift (2009),
"A lesson finds the common denominator and links us all together, like a chain. At the end of the chain dangles a clock, and on the face of the clock the passing of time is registered...each second makes its mark on every single person's life; comes and then goes, quietly disappearing without fanfare..."
So as the passage of time trickles when we often pay nary an attention to it, here's a quote from J.K. Rowling (through Rubeus Hagrid) about facing our future:
"What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does."  ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Psycho-Pass - of legal, ethical and moral judgement - an analysis (PART 2)

Rumor has it that a second season of Psycho-Pass is slated for 2014. The songs are still my favorite and they make me wonder about Kogami and Akane. (By the way, the opening songs really feels cool when you're driving, honestly. haha.)

*I did promise a 2nd part of the ethical analysis. It's way overdue but here it is!

Alright, first up, I am really sorry the 2nd part is only available now. Most people would be having a summer break or something in May/June... but I was busy doing my 2nd (and last) Senior Project during the Summer Semester (or term, if you will). So my paper was on Friendship between International and Malaysian Students and I had a tight deadline (yup.. less than two months.. I finished it within a month, give or take).

So there you have it... the reason why I didn't post anything... and I also worked for a while (on a tight schedule) after I finished my studies so I really couldn't post anything.

So for this part, we'll discuss Aristotle, Mill and Bentham and Relativism

Before that, let's revisit the different types of ethics:
*Yup, I copied it from the previous post so that you'll stay on track here (including the explanations as indicated below).

Teleological ethics - telos (purpose)
Purpose/Consequentialist: Utilitarianism, for the greater good. You sacrifice the minority for the good of the majority.
Famous theorists: Mill and Bentham - Minimize harm and maximize happiness.

Deontological ethics - deon (obligation)
Duty oriented: . Whatever decisions you make, you have to consider others' rights and your duties.
Famous theorist: Emmanuel Kant.

Virtue ethics - what we ought to be, moral development
Virtue ethics: Who you should be, your morals.
Famous theorist: Aristotle - The Golden Mean.

So in this part, we'll talk about Aristotle's Golden Mean and Mill and Bentham's Utilitarianism.
(If you're still lost, please go to Part 1)

Since I mentioned teleological ethics first, I think I'll start with Mill and Bentham.

According to Mill and Bentham, the greater good is important. As long as happiness is maximized and you reduce harm, you're good to go.

Let's go back to Sybil System. I believe it was created with the purpose of reducing crime, thus less worries and stress. The original intention was good; it's conception seemed perfect. However, one can't help but notice the flaw in it. A system ruled by a collection of brains, incapable of emotions and these sets of brains include criminals (though they don't call it that)?

How does that even work? Normal, ordinary citizens who aren't much of a genius but getting stressed out or just a normal guy... are potential victims of the system. Children getting their potential robbed like Kagari, is one of them.

I said 'victims' because the decisions are pretty much taken out of their hands once their 'hue' is clouded and their Psycho Pass is at a certain level. It can be affected by stress.

I believe that eustress is a good thing. It motivates us. It only becomes bad when that distress overwhelms us. In the society depicted in Psycho Pass, it is easy to assume that these people rarely experience stress and things are forced upon them (though they may not think that way).

In my humble opinion, they rarely need to make decisions. Please correct me if I'm wrong. =)

For example, in our reality, a person who is capable of becoming a dentist can make the decision to become a chef. Now let's compare with the Sybil System. It basically tells people what they can do, and what they aren't capable of. In a nutshell, you don't worry about screwing up. At all.

As J.K. Rowling once said,
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”
J.K. Rowling
But I digress. The conception of Sybil society was so 'perfect' at face value but once we're invited to view the dark side of it, it changes our perception.

People seemed happy with the Sybil System but once they were given the opportunity, they rebelled against the system. Take a look at the scenario when they were provided a helmet that prevents their hue from being read. Very telling isn't it?

And how about the warning that it would cause an uprising (I'm using this term loosely), so to speak, if people ever found out the real face of the system?

So this makes me question if the majority are really happy, or are they just ignorant. Maybe not ignorant by choice... but to be honest, the harsh truth would be quite hard to swallow.

Now let's move on.

What about Aristotle's Golden Mean? How does it tie with Psycho-Pass?

The Golden Mean advocates morals and virtues, and more importantly, balance.
"It must not be confused with carnal or material pleasures, although there are many people who consider this to be real happiness, since they are the most basic form of pleasures. It is a way of life that enables us to live in accordance with our nature, to improve our character, to better deal with the inevitable hardships of life and to strive for the good of the whole, not just of the individual." 
- Golden Mean -
I believe that all our experiences, both good and bad, forms the person we are. We've all gone through hardship (unless you've been living in a glass castle) and each of these experiences help mold our perception and once we come out of it (and learn from it), we'd be able to better deal with similar experiences in future. Hardship in life is inevitable.

In Psycho Pass, I find that balance lacking. Yes, the Sybil System strives to make it the perfect society, for the good of the whole. However, if that is just the case, we'd only fall back to utilitarianism. It's as if the Sybil System is shaping people into those incapable of balance and handling hardship (I'm not talking about choosing which job they offer - really). We're looking for a society that can improve themselves and as Cecilia Ahern wrote in The Gift (2009),
"One thing of great importance can affect a small number of people. Equally so, a thing of little importance can affect a multitude."
Look at the girl who was manipulated by Makishima because of her anger at Sybil System. Her father turned into a barely functional person at rehab only because he was stressed and his hue was affected. Whatever drugs they gave him, I have no idea and he was like a shell of a person until he died. A very sad ending.

It may seem of little importance at the beginning, but once Makishima latched on to that hatred, it manifested and consumed her to her demise (and whoever else she killed).

Look at Makishima also. Makishima belongs to the minority of 'criminally asymptomatic'. These people are forcibly taken and their brain harvested for the system. The system chooses you. Being criminally asymptomatic is a big 'hush hush'. It is a national secret (like, if I tell you, I'll have to kill you - e.g. Kagari died - with the exception of Akane). Now that's something big that affects a small number of people relative to the population.

Remember in episode 20, the flashback of the conversation between Akane and Kagari.

Kagari: You're like all those folks who lived in the days before the Sybil System was created.
Akane: Yeah, it's incredible, isn't it? Everyone used to fumble around, blindly choosing what they're going to do. I can't believe that was once our natural way of life.
Kagari: Nowadays, the Sybil System reads your talent and tells you the way of living that will bring the most happiness. And you're talking about purpose? The reason you were born?

Much of this section can be found on episode 20. It's really worth re-watching.

Then, we also have the Relativism Theory. What's good for me, might not be good for you and vice versa.

Well, it can be argued that the Sybil System might be good for some, it might not be so for others. In Kogami's point of view (and Makishima), it basically spells doom. One is demoted and sentenced to a life of misery with no freedom to enjoy life (except enforce and execute others... and being called dogs), the other is ostracized (and we know how that ended!).

It worked for Akane, however. She's smart, she has a hue that is always clear and things usually work in her favor according to the Sybil System.

I'll leave it up to you to decide whether Sybil System is good for you or not. After all, it's relative.

I also mentioned previously that I would look into civil disobedience as (if I'm not mistaken) Saiga Jouji mentioned that Makishima's actions are considered as such.

Remember Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience?

So if we were to examine Makishima's actions in terms of Saiga Jouji's interpretation that it is indeed, civil disobedience, then yes, I think we can agree or disagree on that as well.

In Thoreau's essay, it was mentioned that one should do what one believes is right, not follow the law to the letter (if the law is unjust, one should dissociate themselves from it. In Thoreau's book, I think it was more on dissociation from an unjust institution, which I think was what Makishima did. Only, Makishima went much more than that. He goaded people into committing murder and violence that, I think wasn't Thoreau's aim/intention. Probably too extreme for me too). 

You may ask why unjust is mentioned here.. I think it has more to do with his feelings of being excluded for being different. Think about it, his psycho-pass cannot be read. He was treated differently as a result. So he might think that the society ruled by Sybil System is hardly fair because everyone is judged by their hue and the system tells you if you'll succeed or you won't.

Additionally, Marx was mentioned in the story so I'm going to dabble on that too. In terms of Psycho Pass, the idea that can possibly involve Marx would be hegemony, in my opinion. That's right. As puts it, "leadership with the consent of the led".

So which kind are we talking about? Is it through:

1) force


2) ideology

That, my dear readers, is up to you to find out. I'm maxed out for this post. Might dabble on this next time if I suddenly feel like it! hahaha.


References should be acknowledged here, I think. My classes used Mitchell's Roots of Wisdom (Intro to Philosophy) and Day's Ethics in Media Communications: Cases and Controversies (Communication and Media Ethics). Whatever theories I said here may be mentioned in those books and my instructors' notes.

Additionally, I credit the section on Civil Disobedience to Thoreau's essay "Essay on Civil Disobedience" as it was renamed. I also have to credit SparkNotes for making life easier on me because it would really take a longer time to post this without the help.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Psycho-Pass - of legal, ethical and moral judgement - an analysis (PART 1)

Psycho-Pass is like a mash of philosophical and ethical issues with some bad-ass songs, which makes for an interesting analysis I should say (and a good anime). Prepare for a long post, dear readers. And this is what happens when you think a lot of things along the lines of philosophy.
*For the sake of my dear readers, I will split this post into two. This is the first part.

Let me be frank. I really, really like Psycho-Pass. Despite the explicit depictions of murder, the psychopathic antagonist and revenge-obsessed protagonist... yeah, it's the only anime I am religiously following this season. Because Sr. Project just doesn't equal social life - at least for me.

I took Philosophy as a freshman. It was one of my first subjects in university. Back then, we used the term system. So on my first term (Fall Term), I took Basic Composition 1 and Intro to Philosophy. My instructor was a cool guy who made me fall in love with philosophy. He was so passionate about the subject and he seemed like he knew what he was talking about that I was hooked.

In Plato's 'The Republic', he discussed justice, forms of government, etc... and of course, the famous 'allegory of the cave'. Plato and his 'allegory of the cave' was one of the things that stuck with me. You only discover the truth when you free yourself, when you look for it. Take Narayan Shankar's 'The Village' as an example.

Those exposed, seen 'the ideal' society, the 'perfect' (in a sense) world, would be responsible in educating those who haven't. To rule, you have to know what is good (in what may be the truest sense).

Then when I was a sophomore, I took Sociology to fulfil my social sciences core requirement. I think it was a good eye opener. I expanded my knowledge from previous classes like US Government, Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology - I learned more about different forms of government, the philosophers behind such styles of governing (take Marxism for example) and I think it was fun (doing the research, not at the history) when my group was randomly picked to do a presentation on the Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution.

Much of my junior year was spent finishing up my major requirements and taking up electives in art. Yet now as a senior, my last subject is on Communication and Media Ethics. With 2 Sr. Projects.

Yes, I began university studying philosophy and will end it with something similar.

So what about ethics? We have teleological ethics, deontological ethics and virtue ethics.

Teleological ethics - telos (purpose)
Deontological ethics - deon (obligation)
Virtue ethics - what we ought to be, moral development

These three (and their proponents) can be clearly seen in Psycho-Pass.

Purpose/Consequentialist: Utilitarianism, for the greater good. You sacrifice the minority for the good of the majority. That's Mill and Bentham. Minimize harm and maximize happiness.

Duty oriented: The theorist famous for this is Emmanuel Kant. Whatever decisions you make, you have to consider others' rights and your duties.

Virtue ethics: Who you should be, your morals. Famous theorist: Aristotle. With what? The Golden Mean.

So what do these philosophies and ethical theories have to do with Psycho-Pass?

Let me begin with the analysis of the series. Psycho-Pass' premise is a Japan years into the future (2113?) where they are cut off from the rest of the world and are ruled (as we find out much later into the series) by a system of "brains" connected to each other comprised of people who are "criminally asymptomatic" in which we call the Sybil System. Yeah, the Sybil as in 'the prophetess' I imagine.

Why is it 'the prophetess'?

Because it 'predicts' people's tendencies to commit crime - so called Psycho-Pass (which by the way is installed in each of the citizens). -- and I think predicting/prophecies reminds me of Sybil Trelawney from Harry Potter.

What's more, the Sybil System tells you that you will do well in certain things and you don't have to worry about what jobs you should take or even your future. Your only job is to remain 'healthy' as in your Psycho-Pass is a clear hue. The bad thing about this is that it creates a society that doesn't manage well with stress or just doesn't know how to handle or face stress. In psychological term, we have eustress and distress. Too much of either isn't good for you. In Psycho-Pass, people seem to end up in hospital a vegetable from too much eustress. Why? Because if your hue gets muddled, you're supposed to go for therapy or if you've become a latent criminal, you should be institutionalized (meaning meds and confinement) or become an enforcer (hunting down other criminals but at least still be able to move around although it's just within the Public Safety Bureau or accompanied by an inspector) - not much of a choice eh?.

So your choice boils down to these:
Become this?
Rikako's father seems stoned.
Too much psychotropic drugs, I think.
By the way, he died later on.
Clouded hue? So clouded you're a latent criminal?
Oh, get yourselves institutionalized.
You can't possibly recover from that. =.='

Enforcers in episode 1 (shown here are Kagari and Kougami)
At least you can move around. But you get treated like dogs.
Not much of an alternative either... but what can they do?

Now getting back to the main point. Let's do it according to philosophers/theorists, shall we?

In the 'allegory of the cave', the person isn't aware of the outside world until one day, he decides to venture out. Essentially, the person lives in a 'sheltered' sort of way until he searches for the truth.

To connect with Psycho-Pass, I'll take Akane for example. Akane (a main character and protagonist) is an inspector at the Public Safety Bureau. Like all others, she doesn't know the true face of the Sybil System. I'm sure she doesn't know what the outside world outside Japan looks like either (unless she Googles it, though I doubt it won't be monitored).

Sybil System reveals itself to Akane.
Yeah, Choe Guseong saw this before
his head was blown to smithereens.
In episode 20, she was shown the real face of Sybil System. The reason why this happened is because the system believes her to be another pawn for their use. In Akane's words, the system believes that she felt it important that the system be upheld, otherwise society will crumble. The very foundation of the society relies on their belief on the Sybil System - that it is absolute. If society finds out that they are controlled by a collection of brains, and said brains still have some people that which they cannot read (criminally asymptomatic) because they believe their actions to be right... then people will start having doubts against the system.

As for Akane's case, episode 21 seems to show that the knowledge of the true face of the system weighs heavily on her.

And how about the Sybil System? Are they really the ones who can do no wrong? Are they the absolute good and know what is truly good?

Now that, is something worth thinking about. I think we can analyse this based on Kant's idea of moral duty or rather, the categorical imperative.


Kasei firing an overidden dominator at Kagari.
I was like: a friggin' cyborg?
Based on Kagari's demise, the Sybil System itself isn't morally right if Kant had his say. I'll explain in a little while.

Kant has an absolutist point of view. Black is black, white is white. You don't have a grey area. Period, full stop. You also need to remember the following:

1) If whatever decision you make, a maxim, cannot be universalized, the answer is simple: You SHOULDN'T do it.
2) If it can be universalized, then moral agents should do it.
3) The ends don't justify the means - the results don't matter, what you do to arrive at the outcome is what matters.
4) Everyone has moral dignity, everyone should be respected.

Kagari's last moments before his death. I cried!
So getting back at the Sybil System: they killed Kagari simply because he found out about the system and they really don't need him (he is of no use to them as a pawn). In essence: they treated him like a disposable means to an end.

According to Kant, that's not ethical. Kagari should be accorded his moral dignity and be respected as a human being.

Yet one issue stands here: Sybil System itself is legal. It is the judge and executioner. They could do whatever they want if they wanted to and no one can say anything about it. It can eliminate threats to their existence even if it means killing a few citizens. Based on their logic, if the system is destroyed it could cause public uproar and civil unrest. So they took on the utilitarian concept. For the greater good. The ends justify the means. Heard of Bentham? Makishima mentioned his name in one of the episodes, probably episode 19. I'll explain this later when I explain about Mill and Bentham.

Back to Kant. In his perspective Kougami would also be wrong. He can't kill Makishima just because he killed many people to reach his objectives. Because killing people can't be made a universal maxim, killing Makishima would be wrong. Lets not forget: Makishima had killed so many people brutally to destroy the system and yet the system treated the criminally asymptomatic guy as a prize (because they wanted to harvest his brain for the system). This paragraph could explain Akane's line of thinking, which would be in line with Kant, I should say. Remember when she said this to Kougami: "I don't want you to become a murderer." If we think the way Akane thinks, well... Kougami shouldn't kill Makishima because killing is wrong. Like Kant would think.

Aristotle, Mill and Bentham and Relativism
Will be explained in Part 2.

Yes, I realize that this has gone on long enough so I decided to break it here and continue in part 2 sometime later. I will edit later to add the link to the next part.

*Update: Link to part 2 is here.

Footnote: Yeah, Makishima mentioned some philosophers like Marx and Bentham. That made me more interested in the series. More interesting is the mention that Makishima's actions are considered civil disobedience. Hmm... perhaps a further look into that in part 2?

References should be acknowledged here, I think. My classes used Mitchell's Roots of Wisdom (Intro to Philosophy) and Day's Ethics in Media Communications: Cases and Controversies (Communication and Media Ethics). Whatever theories I said here may be mentioned in those books and my instructors' notes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Of philosophy and ACG

Somehow, I kinda love some of the philosophies that are explained in some anime...

It's been a while, yes... I know. So Junketsu Kareshi's 6th volume [純血+彼氏<6>] came out in January. As I was in a state of "broke" in a really, really critical monetary sense, I only bought it earlier this month. Haven't had time to properly thumb through it, just skim it. 

Judging from what I've just read in passing... yes, it gets interesting, but I shall put this forth: I'm already losing track of the story. It's kinda like the time when I read Vampire Knight and I went from 'ooh nice!' to 'what the heck is this?' to 'ooh, now I get it' to 'okay, you've lost me'. Speaking of VK, yeah, it's ending in the April issue but I just don't have the energy to follow it again. Hopefully, I don't lose the vigour while reading Junketsu Kareshi.

Now that J+K is out of the way, there are other books I bought this month (and probably burned through my savings, but that's okay):

1. Japanese Grammar Dictionary N5~N1 with annotations in 3 other languages
2. Psycho-Pass Pt.1 Light Novel
3. Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou <4>
4. Super Darling! <1> and <2>
5. Easy Statistics in Psychology

Now you're probably wondering about the other books... so let me just go through them for a little bit.

1. THE grammar dictionary
Quite okay... me and my friend bought it because we were planning to sit for JLPT after we graduate (which isn't too far off). For her, she's finally sitting for N1 so ganbatte ne! She's been my 'tutor' in Japanese, helping me learn some of their culture and is always kind enough to help me understand my books. Thanks!

2. Psycho-Pass Part 1 (Light Novel)
Ever since Psycho-Pass first aired, I was hooked. Not just for the action and the plot, but also for the philosophies mentioned in the series. I have a soft spot for philosophy and sociology (those were some of my favorite classes in university). In fact, this semester, I'm taking media ethics, which also revisits philosophical ideas and theories as well as looking at the masses in that sociological stand point.

The novel's quite thick and probably bit more to handle than Saimono, but I'll find the time. The cover's quite nice too!

3. Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou <4>
Okay, I admit that it's been long overdue. Everytime I visited Kinokuniya in Kuala Lumpur, they seem to be out of stock. Imagine my joy when I saw the copy on that trip! It made my 2 1/2 hours bus-LRT journey worthwhile, I'll say.

It's also nice that they're putting the promo for the drama adaptation where there usually put other promos on the jacket of the novels. If you haven't watched it, go ahead! Although I am disappointed that the girl doesn't have long hair like in the novel, I can still bear with it simply because the premise is good.

4. Super Darling
This. This one! Well, I wasn't expecting much and I personally liked the drawings. Since it's from the same mangaka as Junketsu Kareshi, I wasn't surprised at the artwork. Pretty nice and kind of funny for me. Don't know about you lot! =P

5. Easy Statistics in Psychology
So how on earth did this book become part of this lot? One explanation: Senior Project. Which kind of explains why I'm behind in the books I've bought... but that's okay. I'll go through them during spring break.

And now comes the point of the next post: Anime

Yeah, I did say I was busy with senior project and all... but that can't stop me from enjoying a few anime a week! =P So what I'm following this season?

1. Psycho Pass (22 eps) - and one I'm religiously following this season.
2. AMNESIA (13 eps)
3. Hakkenden Touhou Hakken Ibun (12 eps)
4. Ore Shura (12 eps)
5. GJ-bu (12 eps)

and an outlier here: a drama - Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou.

Hopefully I'll find some free time sometime this week and post up some reviews now that most of the shows I am following are ending soon. With Psycho Pass having 2 eps left, AMNESIA (3 left), Touhou (3 left), Ore Shura (2 left) and GJ-bu (3 left) all nearing the end...

Looking forward to the new season after this!

P.S. A translation of a chapter from a Psycho Pass novel can be found here:

P.P.S. If you love Psycho Pass, might as well have a look here. It's pretty amusing haha:

Maybe I'll edit this post later to include the covers of the books... =/

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Interlude (including spoilers of last 2 chapters of Vol.5 Junketsu Kareshi 純血+彼氏 manga)

Just a bit of interlude from my normal post.

I really really hope that my goal to provide a summary of upcoming chapters of Junketsu Kareshi will come true. So I hope I can brush up on my Nihongo and do more. I am hopeless in real translation at the moment (too busy with upcoming Sr. Project and I just skim and understand) so all I can do is give something, a taste, to readers of Junketsu Kareshi (純血+彼氏)who cannot get their hands on the manga (and maybe some translations wouldn't be amiss! If they're off the mark, I'm sorry and please correct me. My Nihongo still needs brushing up.). Currently, I have read and re-read volume 5. Waiting for 2013 release of volume 6. I shall need my trusty friend to help me out though, as she has a much, much better grasp at higher level Nihongo as well as their culture.

So for now, I shall put a small SPOILER here. Please drag your mouse and highlight to read as I won't spoil you unless you want to be:


Okay, this volume is mostly about Kana's memories towards the end. I think she is finally remembering them.

In Volume 5 - chapter 21( 過ぎ越しの祭 - Passover), we find out towards the end that the cross that Aki wears originally belonged to Kana. In this chapter also, Kana was introduced to her class as a new student. Little Kana was alienated upon the discovery of the cross she wears around her neck (which Aki later on possess). It has a significance (which I forgot. I'll go dig it later...). Poor her... So Eriya (we see him in this chapter) was the only one who spent time with her. 

We also got to know that the Tsubakiin clan goes way deeper with the two brothers, Aki and Eriya. Also- from what I can understand (later in chapter 22), Eriya seems to grow up relatively alright but Aki had the opposite (but that's just my conjecture). He was swathed in bandages that covered his eyes and various parts of his body. But that may be because of the beliefs of people at the time that twins are bad omens.

At the end of the chapter, Kana and Aki meet for the first time.

Then in Volume 5  chapter 22 (Longing), we continue where we we left off in the previous chapter. Kana's first meeting with Aki.

When Kana first met Aki, she was on the ground having fallen after she absently kicked a rock. Aki helped carry her. When they arrived at the brothers' home, he unceremoniously dropped her on the ground (ouch!). Eriya welcomed Aki home. He seems like he is quite protective of Aki and cares about him.... but I'm not sure if the affection is genuine, whether it is brotherly love or possessive.

Anyway, as Aki nonchalantly walked away (presumably inside the house), Eriya spots Kana on the ground. When she asked him about Aki, Eriya's answer (and the artwork showed him to to have this glassy(?) eyes), was that Aki is his older twin. 

Shall I get you say 'why? oh why??' if I tell you that Kana said she likes Eriya and then gives the cross to Aki? Well, it happened after Eriya kissed her (while Aki was still trying to find her). It's suspicious, actually - why she suddenly said that after she was kissed by Eriya. Just a few frames before, she was talking about 'kiss' and 'Aki' along the same lines.

Oh and the incident had upset Aki. Then megane-kun made an appearance. He said something that shocked Aki. Notice that he's also playing on words. Here it is:

"アキ"とは 衿夜様(えりやさま)の」


I think it can be translated into (taking into account the relationship between the two sentences): 
"Aki is Eriya-sama's...

"I should say.. you are meant to be his empty vessel"

Either that or both sentences put together would mean something like, "Aki is Eriya-sama's empty vessel." Looks like I'll wait for the official translation from turtleparadise.

The final page of this chapter shows Kana finally awake. 

Here's a transcript of the last page:

(Top frame) Kana:


(Bottom frame) Someone who looks like a Kitsune yokai:

「おや やっと 目覚(めざ)めたか」





That was...

My memories...?

"Oh! You've woken up at last..."

"Princess of Slaves."

[To be continued in Volume 6]


So that's it! I guess I spoiled you enough.... but we'll wait for turtle paradise's official release, ne?

In case you need to refresh your memories, the volumes of the manga are as follow:
Volume 1 - Chapters 1 - 4
Volume 2 - Chapters 5 - 9
Volume 3 - Chapters 10 - 13
Volume 4 - Chapters 14 - 17
Volume 5 - Chapters 18 - 22
Volume 6 - 2013 release

Until next time! Ja ne!