I watched Tekkon Kinkreet, then I met Susan Napier and asked her a question she couldn’t answer

MIT and Harvard have this program called COOL JAPAN (I’m sure Marxy loves this name) in which public events such as movie screenings and the like are held to promote Japanese pop culture. These events usually have some kind of academic context, with Q&A sessions and discussions being held along with the various events. Last Wednesday I decided to drop in on their screening of Tekkon Kinkreet. I’d been wanting to check it out, and this was the best way to see it for free, and legally, which was a pretty good deal.

Before the film, the four panelists that were there gave a short spiel about themselves and the movie. Notable ones in the bunch were the screenwriter for the film, whose name escapes me at the moment and Susan Napier, who apparently teaches at Tufts which is so close to me it’s scary. After about 15 minutes of that, a short Q&A session was initiated in which people shot off questions about Japan and anime in general. Susan went off on a tangent about moe (she called moe anime “distorted anime” since she forget the word moe) and just as I was about to fire a question about Akiyuki Shinbo at her, the MC declared it MOVIE TIME.

The movie itself was just ok. I had heard mixed reviews right from the start, and most of them were pretty spot on. The animation is great, and some of the characters are kind of interesting, but on the whole the movie failed to engage me. Arias’ direction is extremely amateur and the English sub script was at times laughably bad (I so wanted to call the screenwriter out but I didn’t have the balls.) If I didn’t know what this movie was about from reading all the reviews beforehand, it would have taken me a while to figure out just what the fuck it was about. But maybe that’s just because I’m dumb. Either way, it could have been way better.

There was a Q&A afterwards in which people shot off questions about the movie. Some were good, and some were really dumb. One guy who was more Wapanese than even me got on the screenwriter’s case for some minor translation quibble, and the screenwriter summarily put him in his place. After the main Q&A was done the panelists invited the audience down for some light chitchat.

I went down and reminded Napier of the existence of moe and then asked her opinion of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ and various other SHAFTXSHINBO masterpieces. She had no idea what I was on about, the jotted all my blather down. She then asked me if Haruhi was good.

Then I went home.

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