This Week in Moe Shit: Helpful Fox Senko-san

Okay, I’m super behind the times on this one.

But I think it’s a truth that at the end of the day, working adults still want a housewife to come home to. Heck y’all, I want a housewife to come home to, and I barely qualify as a working adult.

It puts me in mind of something I read about the survival factor of the Donner party seems not to stem from the number of young male workers, but whether or not they had an older female social lynchpin. In other words, survival is society, and society is den mothers.

I mean, there are shitloads of problematic things in here under the surface of this anime, the least of which is the loli being 800 years old expressly so you don’t have to put your dick in jail. Granted, most of the otaku-bait loli shit is performed by Shiro, while Senko is mostly our repository for the Jungian mother archetype (with some veiled ecchi moments I find fairly easy to ignore and by God I am going to ignore them.)

Another reviewer already said something about how he appreciates that Senko is grounded in the reality of the shitty working adult experience, and I feel that. I do want to build a community with a den mom and maybe we can all live in a sharehouse and pay our den mom a salary so that she can continue to den-mom to us without burning out. Because late-stage capitalism is getting to me, y’all. And if she wants to cosplay as a Taisho-era housemaid, I am a-okay with that (deffo superior to the overused generic maid outfit.)

Heck, you could sum up my feelings about Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid in much the same way.  Gimme a cute, quirky den mom.

Almost Reluctantly Team Benno, but like, not for Myne

Ascendance of a Bookworm is my shit, y’all. Put it in my veins. Savin’ that isekai with niceness and brains and DIY. And super grounded worldbuilding that makes me fall into the wiki-hole to learn shit about shit. I’ve bought all the light novels currently available on Kindle and the anime has made it onto my short list of things that I will probably end up owning at some point.

(I fell in the clickhole about medieval European bathing culture. They actually did have bathhouses and it’s more than likely even poor shits like Myne’s family would have visited a bathhouse, but they were still somewhat sketch because that was where the prostitutes plied their wares, which is why they were shut down in Europe circa a the Renaissance-ish to early Industrial era, when clean linen carried the social weight that actual bodily cleanliness should have. Or where consumption started carrying water for actual good habits on a larger scale.)

But as far as the waifu wars go, I’m shipping for myself, not for Myne. Out of anyone, the sheer organic development with Lutz puts him at Only True Waifu status, with Gil as a distant second. I can’t in good conscience ship Myne with anyone older, because Myne even as an early twenty-something otaku stuck in a child body is still pretty immature compared with any of the adults in this world who had to earn their livelihoods with bared teeth and claws and a touch of emotional constipation.

The deep-buried niceness of Benno, Ferdinand, or Fran is some fine-aged, full-bodied gap moe that hits me on a not-altogether-mature level that my adultier consciousness needs some time to catch up to.

Fran is a precious cinnamon roll who is super capable and responsible and only needs some dedicated loving to make blossom. He’s a bit young for me, tho.

Benno is kind of an asshole, but he’s mostly an asshole for reasons that relate to needing to grow up fast and earn a living for his family. He does not seem to be an asshole for shits and giggles. But he seems to like arguing, and at the end of the day, I do not actually like argument from my family circle. Discussion yes, but not argument. So whether Benno argues with his family circle for sport or turns on his deredere side for emotional support is the difference between happy waifu fantasy time and whether I would smother him in his sleep within five months.

Ferdinand is physically early twenties, mentally thirty-something, but (from mostly light novel evidence) seems emotionally stuck at an particularly stunted fourteen. I get that he grew up in a society where he has to hide his real feelings in order to protect himself, but he also represses them from himself. Understandable, but super annoying. Like, after I get over the charm of the gap moe, do I actually want to do the work to pry to real but undeveloped person out from underneath both his societally imposed and his self-imposed armor? Probably not.

TL;DR: I’d (tenderly) f*ck Fran (possibly marry), marry Benno (but possibly kill), and definitely kill Ferdinand.

Unsolicited opinions on Stardew Valley waifus

Abigail: Top-shelf. Cool, fun girl, and gives you useful gifts like bombs as a spouse. The only annoying thing is tracking her down to woo her with gifts and finding the right situations to trigger her cutscenes.

Alex: Boring.

Elliott: Okay, I definitely have a thing for luscious Fabio hair. Instinctive first choice for a male waifu, but I get a little annoyed with him for being unreachable before you level him up to enter his cabin.

Emily: Fukken loveable weirdo. Not as compelling as others, but an understandable choice. Would definitely share her edibles.

Haley: Mostly boring, but I find her somewhat redeemable with her artistic hobby. But I’m only dating her as part of my lesbian slut playthrough to trigger that special cutscene discussing Marnie and Lewis.

Harvey: Mostly boring, but I’ve slowly warmed up to him because he is pretty adorkable. I hope he gives useful gifts like energy tonic once I get around to marrying him, but I’m still hesitant because I’d have to look at that mustache everyday.

Leah: Free-spirited crunchy granola wholesomeness. Actually appreciates my foraging gifts.

Maru: Another A-list waifu. Smart, cool, capable, and also gives you bombs as a spouse.

Penny: My first waifu. She’s too precious and gives me an outlet for my misplaced savior complex, tho maybe what she really needs is a bus ticket and a loan for a deposit on an apartment in Zuzu City. But yeah, cutely sexy bathhouse cutscene.

Sam: Initially boring skaterboi, but I like his jam and he has another cutely sexy cutscene in his bedroom. I went doki doki, wondering just how spicy it was gonna get.

Sebastian: Another instinctive pick for male waifu, once he fukken left his room long enough for me to level him up. Misunderstood precious emo boy with a motorcycle. Also a bit of a sarcastic fuck, and I love it. That is definitely not tobacco he’s smoking.

Shane: No. I guess I understand the appeal, but even if he is a heartstrings-tugging sadboy and another outlet for a savior complex, but he ruined it by being too much of an asshole for too long in the beginning. Not worth it.

Gender: WTF

Basically this is a reaction to Contrapoints’s video “Men,” and also some stuff she’s talked about in her previous posts.

Mostly my thoughts are about the idea of narrative: that now that society has changed where traditional stories about protectors and providers are either irrelevant or unremarkable (because women do it, too, I guess), these young dudes have no narrative on which to model their identity as men.

But my first problem is that I don’t even know what the fuck “identity as a man/woman” is supposed to mean. IME, what it boils down to is bullshit stereotypes. I am AFAB, but I guess I’m mostly okay with it now that I have feminist vocabulary to torch down the bullshit stereotypes.

My positive experience of my femininity is basically one of reclamation of things I was taught to despite because they were girlie: I learned to like pink, I learned to treat traditionally female artforms like sewing and knitting as artforms rather than inferior domestic fluffery. I’ve learned it’s okay to dabble with makeup and not a sign of horrible shallowness, vanity, and deception.

Going back to the protector role, I’m actually pretty glad that it’s largely irrelevant in daily life. I like not having my safety dependent on the whims of male randos. But nowadays we are inundated with stories of female warriors and fighters after many centuries of sausage parties in the genre. And young dudes are probably feeling at loose ends about that.

Will it just get better if they’re no longer raised with that expectation? Prolly not. I still think that the identities of provider and craftsman are still relevant. I don’t know why it would spoil it if women are doing the same thing. Y’know, besides latent sexism about girls getting their cooties on everything.

Contrapoints doesn’t offer a solution in her videos (which I appreciate), but I think what my solution looks like is just to abolish gender (besides as a medical condition). And I understand why people don’t like that solution, because Contrapoints has told me so. Maybe it would be better to have a few intermediary steps in there, but it seems to be the thing most likely to resemble a solution.

Knitting a kimono, Part 2

Because great weebs knit alike, of course there is someone who’s published books on the idea of knitting your own kimono. Twice.

Knit Kimono and Knit Kimono Too by Vicki Square, lays it all out with about ten times the historical research and technical vocabulary that I managed. I just want to knit a sweater out of rectangles, but Square has patterns for all kinds of shit based on historical wear, with some yofuku (western clothing) ideas thrown in for good measure.

Knit Kimono is mostly about shape, while Knit Kimono Too is mostly about color. Since I am fairly shit at color schemes on my own, I will totally steal ideas from a thousand-year-old tradition made by people way more sophisticated than I am.

“Stealing the best ideas wherever they come from” is the working definition of multiculturalism that I like best.

Knitting a kimono

“Kimono” in Western fashion basically means “relatively unstructured sweater without fasteners.” But being weeaboo hipster trash, I actually mean kimono when I look for kimono patterns (or at least a haori). I get disappointed a lot.

But at one anime con, I found a fellow fiber weeb who did a short demonstration on how REAL kimonos looked and were assembled, and I felt two steps closer to Enlightenment after it. (Her pro-tip was to buy one and disassemble it yourself.)

Traditional kimonos are pretty cleverly designed for maximum efficiency of fabric use, which is a long goddamn lost priority for Western fashion. I can’t be too angry about it, because I do like tailored clothes that are easy to move around in, but there is a sort of practical elegance to kimono and bog coats (no, Google, I don’t mean dog coats, jeebus).

Continue reading

Reviewing ‘200 Crochet Blocks for blankets, throws, and afghans’

“200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans” by Jan Eaton is another one I found in the library and that I’m probably going to own at some point.

One thing that bogs me down about motif projects is when the thing happens where you go oh gawd I have to make fifty more of these gawdforsaken exact same things. I get tricked into thinking that motif blankets have to be made up of all in one or two motifs. Or that only motifs worked in the round are the what “real” crocheters do.

Thankfully that is a dirty, filthy lie, and “200 Crochet Blocks” reminds me of this.

200 crochet blocks quilt logic.JPG

This is an excellent example of what I’ve come to call “quilting logic.” You can do something as simple as turning your blocks to get sawtooth, diamond, or windmill patterns just like in quilting. Or you can make geometrics within the geometrics of the squares by using corner blocks, borders, and bands. Or mix busier or more intricate patterns with plainer blocks of color. Mix open work with tighter textures.

One thing I haven’t seen much in other books (at least not for blankets) is incorporating bobble or popcorn stitches. Not just adding a row or two to a stripe pattern, but using the popcorns to make shapes like diamonds or arrows within a solid-colored square. Or maybe that’s sweater logic rather than quilting logic.

In conclusion, good book, creative stuff, and yay libraries.

This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Umamusume’

High school girls — animal-eared girls, no less — with an earnest transfer student who wants to Be the Best. And they race in stupidly kawaii outfits that probably create a lot of wind drag. And at the end of the races they have an idol-style concert. This feels like the Triple Crown for moe trash.

All that actually doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that horses’ ears do not work like that. I don’t know why the hell the animators insisted on having the girls’ horse ears squinch at the middle. Horse ears swivel at the base and tend to point more out than down.

horse ears

Sadly, this sample is missing the most popular moe expression, “kawaii dismay.”

But this series DOES actually have something resembling a character arc for our main girl Special Week and a few other characters. Especially since this seems to be based on a mobile game. They doubt themselves and get disappointed and we’re shown and not just told how much hard work they do rather than stupid random power-ups.

Still good for happy nice time watching, but still…

umamusume ears