Nine Years and Counting: The Null Set Keeps Blogging On

Steelbound has one of the longest running aniblogs on WordPress. He just posted on the occasion of his blog’s ninth anniversary. Be sure to check out his posts!

The Null Set

A little more than nine years ago – January 21st of 2008 – saw the first piece of writing published on The Null Set, and, thus, began a slipshod experiment that I’m shocked has continued for as long as it has.

I’ve yet to question my desire to continue blogging because, even in this recent time of diminished output, I still feel like that I get more back from my blog than I put into it. One of the reasons for this comes from the feedback I get from people who take the time to leave comments.

So, to my readers and commenters, Thank you! I want 2017 to be a better year for The Null Set than 2016 was.

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Medieval Book Review: The Wars of the Roses

Dan Jones covers a superlatively violent period of British history: 1420 – 1525.  This period sees the death of King Henry V, the loss of English land in France under Henry VI, a period of Civil War which only ended for good with the ascension of Henry VII, and the reign of Henry VIII before his troubles with the papacy.  Most writers describe the Wars of the Roses as a conflict between two rival houses (York and Lancaster), which only ended when Henry VII married Elizabeth of York in 1486–thus combining them.  Even so, many of the events following 1486 have to do with Henry VII and Henry VIII either dealing with attempts of pretenders to the throne to invade England or killing off everyone with Plantagenet blood in his veins.  And so, it is fair to say that 1525 marks the end of English internecine conflict and the threat posed by people who might claim succession to the throne.

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This history is every bit as violent as the preceding paragraph makes it sound.  Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry VII all won their crowns on the battlefield.  Henry V bequeathed his subjects a stable and prosperous kingdom, but died while his son and heir was a mere infant.  The clashes between aristocratic families over who held the reigns of power during Henry VI’s infancy led to England becoming every bit as turbulent as France during the Hundred Years’ War.  (Maybe more violent.  I don’t think that France can point to a Battle of Towton, which left 28,000 casualties…all killed.)  The usual story of two rival houses needing to unite in order to end this strife, popularized by authors like Shakespeare (Henry VIRichard III, with Romeo and Juliet offering a tragic version of the same), found acceptance among earlier English historians.    Dan Jones challenges this notion by pointing out all the political problems caused by Henry V’s death.  His history shows that England’s civil strife was hardly that simple.

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10 Reasons Why It Sucks To Be An Anime Fan

Fujinsei Kempo posts are always great fun to read. See how many of these points relate to you. 🙂

Fujinsei

FUJINSEI KEMPO
Achieving Enlightenment the Otaku Way
~Cross-shishou

Osu!  Greetings, shokun! It is I, Cross-shishou, back as promised for the last part of this 2-Part Lessons Series. Last week, you learned “10 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be An Anime Fan”. But like I always say in my Fujinsei Kempo lessons, everything has a dark side. Today, I’ll be teaching you “10 Reasons Why It Sucks To Be An Anime Fan”. As much as I would like to turn a blind eye to this dark side of the fandom and bury it into oblivion, it is my responsibility as your Otaku Master to inform you about it, so you don’t find yourself corrupted. So are you ready? Let’s start. Osu!


10 Reasons Why It Sucks To Be An Anime Fan

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Excaliber and the Second Meaning Behind Advent

Let Christmas count as the end of this blog’s hiatus.  The cause for me taking breaks likes this lies in the components of my writing, which I have compared to the hurricane cocktail in an old post, being out of whack.  These are still not in perfect proportion–especially the passionfruit ingredient; yet, so many ideas have come into my head during this time that I must open the floodgates of my imagination.

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The present article was one such inspired by my thoughts on THE SCENE in the film Excaliber and the Advent season.  If you have never seen Excaliber, by all means stop reading now and watch this cinematic classic.  Those of you who prefer to pass over this pleasure may get a sense of what I shall write about below by watching THE SCENE and the events immediately preceding it:

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Medieval Otaku Says “Saraba ja!”

Well, my dear readers, it’s time for me to take another break from blogging here.  Also, my column “Examining Light Novels” on Beneath the Tangles will be put on hold for the time being; though, I intend to write one article for their “Twelve Days of Christmas” series.  It’s a shame that this hiatus comes before the end of National Blog Posting Month, but so be it.  Medieval Otaku will return at some point in January.  In the meantime, I might write some articles on my two other blogs which I have neglected in favor of this one in order to keep the writing muscles in shape.

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Saraba ja or Saraba da is an antiquated Japanese term for good-bye which I learned recently.  The closest expression in English is “Godspeed!” and the Spanish “Adios!” might be even closer in meaning.  Apparently, the samurai used to wish each other good-bye with Saraba ja, and, if blogs are to be believed, it’s Buddhist in derivation and wishes “eternal wisdom” on the addressee.  (Kodansha’s Essential Kanji Dictionary gives the kanji in the valediction two meanings “yes” for zen pronunciation and “nature” for nen, but I am certain this is not exhaustive.)

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Happy Thanksgiving and saraba ja!

The Black Cat Takes A Stroll

A great review of a flawed book. Stephen King says that aspiring authors should read bad books now and then to build confidence that one can get published, and this book sounds perfect for that.

Contemporary Japanese Literature

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Title: The Black Cat Takes a Stroll: The Edgar Allan Poe Lectures
Japanese Title: 黒猫の遊歩あるいは美学講義 (Kuroneko no yūho arui wa bigaku kōgi)
Author: 森 晶麿 (Mori Akimaro)
Translator: Ian M. MacDonald
Publication Year: 2016 (America); 2011 (Japan)
Publisher: Bento Books
Pages: 146

Let me preface my review of The Black Cat Takes a Stroll by saying that this book is misogynistic pseudo-intellectual garbage.

I’ve tried to keep my tone sane and reasonable, but I don’t want to mislead anyone into wasting their time reading about something that celebrates notions of male dominance and superiority. If you know this sort of thing won’t appeal to you, it’s probably best to skip this review.

The Black Cat Takes a Stroll is a collection of short horror-themed mystery stories centered around “the Black Cat,” a genius 24-year-old professor. The narrator is a first-year PhD student specializing in Western literature. She became…

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Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 9 Sub/Dub Comparison

Fiddletwix puts up some great sub vs. dub comparisons. This post on episode 9 of Tokyo New Mew is no exception. You’ll be surprised at what the dub took out or flat out changed.

The Anime Madhouse

tmmep9stitle Anime: Because where else can you get a massage from two monkeys in a hot spring?

Plot: Lettuce wins a free trip to a luxurious resort and brings the other mews along for a much needed vacation. However, they find a boy named Aoyamada who looks exactly like Aoyama and has a rough first confrontation with the girls. They soon find out that the free pass to the resort is dated for next year and the resort hasn’t even been built yet, but it’s well into the process. Aoyamada is hell bent on stopping the construction, but things get more complicated when Kisshu decides to use the boy’s pure spirit to make a chimera animal.

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(I apologize that these screencaps are lower quality than I’ve been putting out. I can’t find a copy of the cleaner version. If anyone can point me to a better quality copy, please tell…

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Inkling Movie Review: Perfect Blue

Inkling Infornography

At any moment throughout the day, do you ever think about what distinguishes fantasy from reality? What you perceive with your eyes, hear with your ears, touch with your fingertips, the smell of the fragrance of your surroundings, are those real? You can experience all these sensations in a reverie or a vision. So, what sets them apart from one another? If the dream world suddenly begins to feel like more than just a simple caricature of your inner thoughts and feelings, how would you discern the difference of what’s real and what’s not? For today’s Inkling Movie Review, I will be focusing on Perfect Blue.

Perfect Blue is the directorial debut of Satoshi Kon, who sadly passed away in 2010. It’s a nerve-racking psychological thriller that showcases a more foreboding and nightmarish view on Japan’s pop idol music industry, which is often romanticized in anime and seen…

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Cardinal Zen’s plea to Vatican: accepting China’s ‘fake bishops’ would ‘destroy the Church’

Cardinal Joseph Zen in St Peter's Square (AP) Cardinal Joseph Zen in St Peter’s Square (AP)

From the Staff Reporter on THE CATHOLIC HERALD

Cardinal Zen said the Vatican’s plan would be a ‘surrender’

Cardinal Joseph Zen, China’s most senior cleric, has made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Vatican to call off its agreement with China.

A deal between Rome and Beijing, in which the Vatican will acknowledge state-appointed bishops, is reported to be near. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Zen calls the plan “unacceptable” and a “surrender”.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) was established under Mao Zedong as a state-run replacement for the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was driven underground by persecution and Catholics remain marginalised, hidden and frequently persecuted.

The Vatican has long been hostile to the CCPA and regarded its bishops as illegitimate. But according to recent reports, the Vatican could soon accept four CCPA-appointed bishops…

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A Brief Introspection on Remembrance Day

Great Post for Veterans or Remembrance Day. It’s easy to forget that Canada contributed significantly to both World Wars. The one film which comes to mind which documents the courage of Canadians in the Second World War is “The Devil’s Brigade.” A great film, which I encourage all my dear readers to watch. So, here’s to all veterans this day, and an especial thanks to our neighbors to the north for standing with us on so many critical occasions!

The Infinite Zenith

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

— Ed McCurdy, Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

A century ago, Europe was deep into the First World War; the French recaptured most of Saillisel and repulsed a German attack at Deniecourt. In the Egyptian theatre, British forces launched air raids on Beersheba and Maghdaba. Seven days later, the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1, 1916, came to an end. Marking the first time tanks were used in warfare, the Battle of the Somme also saw contributions from the Canadian armed forces: in September of 1916, they participated in operations to recapture the hamlet of Courcelette, repelling German forces repeatedly. Sustained artillery shelling and effort from Canadians eventually drove the Germans back, marking a victory at the cost of 24049 Canadian soldiers. By 1917, the…

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Reblog: The Inevitable Fight Against Evil – And Vampires

 

Here is a great post about vampires and fighting evil.  Josh W explorers Christian themes within video games for Beneath the Tangles.  The articles on his personal blog, Res Studiorum et Ludorum, contains posts on many subjects ranging from anime and movies to science fiction and religion.  Please check out the post linked to below!

The Inevitable Fight Against Evil – And Vampires

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Izetta: The Last Witch – Episode 6: On a Quiet Day

A Journey Through Life

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Izetta has not failed to deliver so far, and the intrigue is starting to match that of a military/political thriller. But let’s be fair, it can be written as such. I wonder if the source material has been licensed and translated to English. I’m already starting to collect the source material for Black Bullet as well as Log Horizon, I might as well add another one.

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Anime and Answering Our Call – Choosing Truth or Myth

An excellent post on stories and how even anime possesses the same paradigms found in myth. This might be the first time I’ve seen Joseph Campbell mentioned in a blog post.

Otaku in My Veins

The Hero’s Journey archetype has influenced our culture more then we realize. This isn’t just seen in our culture, but every single culture, people group, tribe in the world. And in my opinion, most of the otaku community. Humanity is connected to each and every individual God created because of our deep love of story telling and myth making. The deepest cries of our hearts all sound the same. These cries are the constant search for truth and they are heard through story telling of marvelous heroes and journeys far and wide into the world.

Ancient stories such as the Odyssey, King Arthur, and Jonah and the whale all have a common formula. Modern stories like Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, Naruto, Bleach, Noragami, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and so many others reuse that formula for a new audience. The first part of that formula…

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Genkina hito in Akihabara

Genkinahito

Akihabara – this is a long and rambling post so feel free to just look at the pictures. If you’re feeling brave you can listen to this music while you read:

Akihabara (Electric Town as it’s also known) is billed as the electronics and nerd-culture centre of Japan. If you like anime, manga, computers, video games, cameras or any other types of electronic and otaku goods then this is the area that you need to visit. I have been aware of it since at least my high school years when I heard of its legendary collection of video game and anime goods. I had pictured a densely packed warren of streets containing arcade dens full of herds of video game nerds clustered around classic beat-em-up game cabinets while anime fans pored through second-hand book stores and cute guys and gals cosplayed colourful anime characters and the scene was complete with…

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Shelter: Reflections On A Collaborative Music Video Between Porter Robinson and A-1 Pictures

A nice and detailed review of Shelter. This very short anime is worth watching if only for the beauty of the animation, but it has a tragic beauty as well.

The Infinite Zenith

“Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” —Don Tapscott

Shelter is a six-minute short that illustrates a small section of seventeen year-old Rin’s life in a simulated reality. Although her life is one of infinite tranquility, it is also an immensely lonely experience. As she creates worlds through a tablet, the simulator gradually exposes Rin’s own memories: she was seven when a moon-sized celestial body is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. Her father, Shigeru, constructs a spacecraft to preserve Rin’s life, while making the most of their remaining time on Earth together. Despite its short length, Shelter is quite haunting: this effect is a consequence of…

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Life and Times Of Croatia’s Blessed Alojzije Stepinac – A Robin Harris Book

This sounds like a fascinating book on Bl. Alojzije Stepanic. He’s one of the more controversial candidates for canonization because of accusations of cooperating with fascists during WWII. In that regard, he’s very much like the much maligned Pope Pius XII. In either case, one will find that the accusations are part of the communist plot during the Cold War to discredit the Church. I’m happy to see that a scholarly work has come out on Bl. Stepanic’s life which addresses this issue.

Croatia, the War, and the Future

From left: Robin Harris (historian and author), Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatian president) and Zeljko Tanjic (Rector, Croatian Catholic University) PHOTO: predsjednica.hrFrom left: Robin Harris (historian and author),
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatian president)
and Zeljko Tanjic (Rector, Croatian Catholic University)
PHOTO: predsjednica.hr

It was Friday 21 October 2016 when in Zagreb Croatia, accompanied by the Croatian Catholic University rector Zeljko Tanjic, the well-known British historian, publicist, writer and an important adviser to the former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – Robin Harris, presented a copy of his new book “Stepinac – His Life and Times” to the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

“Stepinac – His Life and Times” is the first all-encompassing biography of Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII whose deeds and persona have been subject to controversies ever since WWII, mounted and perpetuated by the communists of Yugoslavia and their friends.
For the last seventy years—ever since his show-trial in 1946—Alojzije Stepinac, Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb, has been the subject of controversy. In this…

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Examining Light Novels: A Bored God

Here is the most recent installment of “Examining Light Novels,” a column I write on Beneath the Tangles.  I must say that I was not too impressed with volume 12 of Spice and Wolf and did not even read half of the novel before penning the post.  Writing from hindsight, one can safely skip volumes six and seven.  After completing volume twelve, I’ll make a judgment on that one too.

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Anyway, below is one remark which caught my attention in volume twelve.  God is great, and having even the slightest understanding of God makes one a great theologian, as one of the saints mentioned in the Greek Orthodox Philokalia wrote.  One of the most important things to understand about God is that He is fascinated by His creatures, not bored of them, which is fortunate for us: we exist because of God’s creative word.  If He really became bored of us, He might stop thinking of us and speaking that word, which would cause us to cease to exist.

I suppose we have difficulty imagining God as interested in us, because we have difficulty imagining a humble God.  That God is humble boggles the human mind.  Part of the reason Christmas is so popular is because the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God comes to us as a small, helpless, and speechless infant.  This great miracle of humility so astonishes the mind that even non-Christian cultures feel compelled to celebrate it in some way.

May you enjoy the article linked to below!

Examining Light Novels: A Bored God