I’m back! Last month I made my first attempt at taking part in an OWLS blog tour and you, yes you, were your usual super supportive and wonderful self, so now I’m back. This’ll learn ya.
You’ve of course been following the tour very closely so you already know all about this month’s topic, but here’s a refresher for your convenience and not at all to pad the post…
November’s topic: Diplomacy:
“Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening. For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.”
Man, LynLyn sure knows how to pick them. A great subject like this practically writes itself. It conjured up images of Terror in Resonance, Time of Eve and Psycho Pass. I kicked around notions of exploring the value of diplomacy in a supposed utopia, or its importance when trying to integrate an emerging culture to an existing one, or even looking into its ultimate role in creating and sustaining dystopian systems. All of these could have been thought-provoking essays inviting actual intellectual debate. I decided to go another way.
I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what digital boys want to hear. After a long day at work, what better way to unwind than to pour yourself a small fishbowl of wine, gather up the puppy on the couch, bury yourself under your softest blanket and pretend to be intellectually challenged so as not to spook a virtual boy with emotional baggage? It’s rhetorical, there is no better way.
If you’ve never played an otome, I’m a little jealous, you have such wonders left to discover. For the most part, they all tend to play out the same way. A simple and very “pure” heroine gets contrived into a situation where she’s surrounded by pretty, sensitive, boys who want to touch her… soul. One of them will be tsundere. Despite being love at first sight, girlfriend is gonna have to single-mindedly change everything about herself to allow the poor boy to acnowledge his feelings. One of my faves is Otometeki Koi Kakumei Love Revo!! You literally have to diet and exercise until he loves you….It’s surprisingly fun.
Whatever other mechanics may be present, the bulk of the gameplay always consists of dialogue/action choices which will pretty much always include a doormat response, an independent, stand up for yourself answer, and a neutral option which strives to make as many people as possible happy or at least avoid being downright mean to someone. What the “right” answer is varies from game to game. Traditionally you had to pretty much strip yourself of all personality and become a Stepford Girlfriend but happily otomes have branched out lately, and some games will encourage you to be independent or even downright sadistic (I’m looking at you horrible butler themed yaoi game I most certainly didn’t enjoy and complete all the routes of…)
I can almost hear you begging me to get to the point. It must be your first time here…. Alright alright, we’re almost there. Otome’s have taught me a lot about life and one of their most important and consistent lessons is: the diplomatic choice is always the worst possible option! No matter how you look it, trying to please everyone is a sure-fire way to die alone.
Not convinced? Let me elaborate. First if you want something, it’s important to be clear about it. How are the poor simple people around you supposed to understand your desires and values unless you’re completely and vocally closed off to all potential alternatives. If two boys wanna grab coffee, the only viable course of action is to enthusiastically accept one invitation and loudly reject the other, in front of everyone. If you’re mindful of someone’s feelings then certainly you must love them. Are you trying to have it both ways? Or maybe you’re just leading the poor schmuck on! Harlot!
Besides, diplomacy is for the weak. A person of character must have the strength to stand by their convictions. We all have ideals we believe in and preferences we hold dear. Trying to soften our views by allowing that your favorite may not be the objective best, or that other people may feel differently, merely cheapens them. For example: you and I both know Uta no Prince Sama is the best anime of all time. If the peasants around us don’t have the prerequisite refinement to see it, well that’s very sad for them. Although, it’s not your job to make people around you better, you’re certainly not helping by coddling them. Can you really tell them another anime is just as good with a straight face? Lying to people by pretending all options are viable is frustrating for all involved. How can you expect people to believe you, or even take your thoughts into account, after something like that. And of course, how can anyone ever love you if they can’t trust you?
And do you know what happens if you keep on picking the wussy middle ground? Nothing at all. Unless you can pick a direction to move in, you will stay in place. Have you ever noticed how projects grind to a halt once you start asking people for their opinions? It’s the same for otomes. You’re never going to unlock those route specific CGs unless you get your butt on a specific route, and to do that you’re going to have to break some hearts. Too bad so sad, but thems the breaks kids. Because decision-making by its very nature is an exclusive activity. It means throwing out all possibilities except for the chosen one and shutting down any possible negotiations. You can try to dress it up with as much gentleness or tact as you like, but it will never be diplomatic.
We all know this if we are really honest with ourselves; Nice girls finish last. You want to get ahead in life, you have to push everyone else out of our way and go after your goal (boy) no matter how many eggs you have to break.
These are not the nicest truths to realize. We like to imagine that we exist some magical fantasy world where everyone can have their way. We do not! It can get too real for some folks! Thankfully, we have otomes to warn us of the dangers of diplomacy.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this. If you agree with me, please let me know in the comments and don’t do anything until I get back to you, k?
The post is finished and now you don’ know what to do? Maybe you’ve had a crazy week and you missed out on some of my fellOLWS’ posts (please don’t kick me out for this…), well I got some great news for you, you can catch Moonid’s post on the fantastic Log Horizon here or Matt’s intriguing take featuring Tokyo Ghoul. If you actually wanted a smart, insightful, thought-provoking essay then you very much should go read those.
Next up…it’s Takuto. You know, I’m not even going to be embarassed about being shown up by this guy. Make sure not to miss his post on Friday. Make sure don’t miss any of his posts, ever.
And keep up with the tour this month:
The privilege of drinking with friends is that, we can talk nonsense all the time… & the best thing is that nonsense is understood, discussed & respected…
Suggested drink: Diplomat
- Every time someone has amnesia – drink
- if it’s you – drink moar!
- Every time a boy has a tragic past – drink
- Every time a boy tells you that you really understand him – stare blankly
- Every time them other b*tches be jealous – drink
- Every time everyone suddenly relaizes you’re beautiful cause you got a new dress/hairstyle/makeup – blush!
- Every time a boy reminds you he’s still a man – drink
- Every time you remain oblivious despite how obvious the situaion is – water!
- Every time a boy tells you you belong to him – thank him
- Every time anone warns you not to associate with your boy – ignore them while you drink
- Every time someone calls you stupid – drink (that should help)
- Every time you remeber how much you love otomes – raise your glass!