Dilettante Fascination

Main themes of this blog: ANIME and SCIENCE. Although I like plenty of things which may show up from time to time. Like Doctor Who. Or Sherlock. Or Supernatural. Or Steins;Gate. Or Persona 3/4.
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This shelf is very me.

2008 was a very eventful time period with respect to my little anime hobby. Whereas the first half of the year was marked by genre discovery, the tail end of the year could be summed up as opening myself to varying opinions. A lot of my anime history is interwoven with the influence of numerous anime blogs. It’s only fair I give credit where it’s due.

The selection of titles I watched after CCS was based on whether it had appealing artwork and could keep my interest. Since I had never been exposed to such a media before (and didn’t really watch many movies or television shows in general), I was able to accept a lot of things at face value and regard their quality as “the norm”. This explains why I could tolerate fanservice harems like ToHeart2 and Zero no Tsukaima. I never really pondered over the fact that there was very little plot progression or coarse character development. The importance of having such qualities was something I learned from reading other peoples’ opinions, and it’s this very act which led to follow anime as they air in Japan.

This is not a review or recommendation of series past. It’s simply a retrospective post. It’s opinionated. It’s long.

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Every anime viewer has their own method of discovering and watching their anime. What makes my entry into the anime realm unique is the fact that I wasn’t directed to a particular genre by popular opinion—there was very little external influence on my selections. I never interacted on online forums or perused any blogs for opinions; I never talked about the interest in my daily life, nor did I ever set foot in my high school’s anime club. What I did have was the rather loose footing set by the series I completed at the end of 2007; it was a period of blind picks. In a sense, the anime I chose to watch (of my own volition, mind) during 2008 mirrors a lot of unfounded desires as a romantically starved high school student. It wasn’t the predominant reason for choosing the shows I did, but when the selection was based on shows like Da Capo and ToHeart2 (which, as discussed in the last post, was inspired by a broken heart), it all sorta ties back. That said, it goes without saying that my motivations diverged into many genres as a result of growing knowledge and curiosity. It’s all part of the entry into Level 3.

This is not a review or recommendation of series past. It’s simply a retrospective post. It’s opinionated. It’s long.

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Ah yes. 2005. The year I discovered what “manga” was.

It was also the same year I learned that some girls I knew like to peruse the porn section of the local bookstore. Causally linked event, but I guess that’s besides the point.

My preference for manga most likely stems from my inherent love for books. After all, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon the manga section of my local bookstore if I hadn’t frequently visited the bookstore in the first place.

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Cardcaptor Sakura was my very first gateway anime. However, that doesn’t make it the only gateway. I perceive Japanese anime as having various levels of gated sects. In the broadest sense, I can define three levels:

  1. Anime licensed and dubbed/edited for a Western audience, most likely syndicated on television networks.
  2. “Retrowatches” of anime which have aired recently in Japan but haven’t been licensed or widely distributed in the Western market.
  3. Currently airing seasonal anime, aired in one or two cours. Subbed by licensors such as Funimation or Crunchyroll, or fansub groups.

Mind you, this is a subjective classification. The categories aren’t even clearly defined at times. However, in my story I can at least recognize series’ which started particular viewing trends. CCS was Level 1, alerting me to the existence and potential of anime that never properly reached the Western market. This story details Level 2.

This is not a review or recommendation of series past. It’s simply a retrospective post. It’s opinionated. It’s long.

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(Screw it. I’ve put this series of posts off for a year and a half now. They were supposed to accompany the reboot of this blog as a bipolar animu/science thing from photography waaayy back when, to flesh out the “about me” section. Let’s say…one of these a month? Let’s see what ends up happening.)

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My blog tends to revolve around anime, science and photography. Two of which are understandable. Science? Okay, I’m a biochem major. Seems fair. Photography? It’s a nice hobby (which has sadly been on the decline since 2010, but I’ll save that for another day). But anime? Where’d that come from?

Ever since I repurposed this blog with those three things in mind, I’ve had time to sit down and just think about what makes me “me”. Anime, for better or worse, is intertwined with at least three generations of my life so far, from junior high to high school to college…although you’d never know that if you met me in real life. I don’t sing its praises as loudly as others. I don’t think I ever will.

But where’d this interest come from? Why do I enjoy reading english subtitles on a Japanese show with animated characters following ludicrous plots? I’m not quite sure myself; it just sorta accumulated over time, and the reasons have changed over time. I can at least attempt to answer that question by starting from the very beginning. As far back as Pokemon and Yugioh. And one more

This is not a review or recommendation of series past. It’s simply a retrospective post. It’s opinionated. It’s long.

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My blog is centered around my top interests: anime, science and photography. I think it’s about time I actually write about where each of these interests came from. Will I finish this set of posts in a timely fashion? Considering that college starts in a week, probably not. But I figure I’d get the longest running interest out of the way first. Yes, surprisingly, anime beats out science by at least 2-3 years. Photography is fairly recent, starting around 2010. I could argue that Doctor Who and gaming can fall into my list of interests (they both came up around 2010 as well), but for the sake of being concise I’m keeping it to the top three.

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Part 2/? of my about me/interests posts. I think I’ll be focusing on anime first (which is undoubtedly the longest) before I move on to science and photography.

The usage of “nighthart001” originates from my anime history, which is a bit difficult to explain without getting complicated, but I’ll touch on that later. More specifically, it’s intertwined with my love for 5pb x Nitroplus works, something which I didn’t imagine would happen when I first used it.

The name is derived from a series called “Chaos;Head”, a Japanese visual novel released in 2008. It’s a story about a string of serial murders and a high school student in the middle of it all who can’t discern the difference between delusions and reality. The main character, named Takumi Nishijou, uses the screenname “knightheart” in online chat rooms. 

Of course, mine is a bit of an alteration. Mainly because the subs back then subbed the name as “nighthart”. Furthermore, the name had already been taken in numerous places, so I arbitrarily stuck a 001 at the end.

Does that plot synopsis sound a bit vague? Well, it’s the best way I can put it. The visual novel was apparently very good, but the anime adaptation which was released at the end of the year left much to be desired. When I watched it back in 2008, it started off as really promising, but it left me mostly confused by the end. I was able to understand the main message of the plot, but the execution towards the end with its messy attempts to focus on specific heroines while addressing the main plot just created more questions than answers.

I wasn’t a big fan of the show by its end, nor did I picture myself as anything similar to the pathetic, delusional protagonist. So why did I choose to use nighthart001 as my username? It was more of a representation of the anime which influenced my thoughts the most during the time than anything about the show itself. The Fall season of 2008 was the first anime season in which I picked up anime to watch which was airing at the same time in Japan. Prior to then, I had only been watching shows which had aired years ago, like Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006). 

Chaos;Head, while not the best show I saw up to that point in time, was also much darker than most of the other shows I had seen. Most of my shows of choice during that time period were either lighthearted slice-of-life or romantic comedies. The whole serial murders case plus a main character who was thrown over the edge by all the insane stuff happening to him certainly left an impression in my mind. EDIT: Forgot to mention, I really like the OP. And Kanako Itou in general. This is where it all began.

The username gained a boost in meaning with the recent airing of Steins;Gate. Since Chaos;Head is a prequel (technically; it’s set in a different setting, Shibuya, whereas Steins;Gate was in Akihabara, but it’s the same universe) to the critically acclaimed Steins;Gate, it makes me grateful for having checked out 5pb x Nitroplus works to begin with. Of course, it also symbolizes how I sorta gave up on Steins;Gate at the beginning because I thought it would fail like Chaos;Head, but it ended up proving me wrong.

It defines my respect for 5pb/Nitroplus, N+ especially with their work with Madoka and Fate/Zero and 5pb and MuvLuv/MuvLuv Alternative (a game I haven’t had a chance to play, but the storyline as adpated by the manga is amazing).

While this may come off as a bit hubristic, it also cements the fact that “I watched 5pb x Nitroplus anime adaptations before they were cool”.

As far as personal usage of the name is concerned, I think I first used that name on PlayStation Network as an alternate name to my main account. Mostly for use with Modern Warfare 2, when I just wanted to pick on noobs.

TL;DR—nighthart001=Chaos;Head. I don’t recommend watching it, but it meant a lot to me back then.

About Me

Name’s Rob. Native New Yorker; I know the city like the back of my hand.

I attend college out on Long Island as a Biochemistry major, which is one hell of a track to fulfill. Sometimes it makes me want to rip my hair out, but I actually enjoy the facts I learn about in class.

  • Science

My interest in the sciences is vast and bottomless. I have an inherent desire to learn about what makes everything “tick”, and I can find an interest in almost anything. Give me a topic, be it organic chemistry, meteorology, or geology, and after a while I’ll find something which motivates me to want to learn more about it.

There are some specific genres which interest me more than others, namely astronomy and chemistry. Other sub-sects of general studies which pique my interest include psychology and philosophy. Biology and physiology are also slightly appealing, but I can’t see myself invested enough in the human body to want to become a doctor or go Pre-med. This doesn’t mean that the life of a biochemist isn’t any easier. I tend to become inactive for long periods at a time throughout the year because of studies, projects, or work.

Outside of studies, I also enjoy photography as a sort of hobby. I won’t be as egotistical as others and call myself a full-fledged “photographer”. I never took any classes on the history of the genre. Nor have I been taught any particular styles or done any paid jobs. I am knowledgeable to the point where I understand the importance of every function of a DSLR (shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, metering mode, etc.) as well as how to judge the relative quality of hardware (such as determining which lens is better in terms of size, ergonomics, or situation based on glass elements such as a lens’ maximum aperture, etc.). I’m also familiar with some concepts such as the Rule of Thirds, or the Sunny 16 rule. In a nutshell, I find the title of “photography enthusiast" to be more fitting.

I love shooting with primes. For what it’s worth, my camera gear, in order of most used to least consists of:

  1. Canon Rebel T3i
  2. Canon S95
  3. Canon 35mm f/2.0
  4. Canon 50mm f/1.8
  5. Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6
  6. Joby Gorillapod

Another one of my interests also includes the world of Japanese media. There are many ways to categorize people who watch anime/read manga; if I were to describe myself, I would say that I’m a post-2000 enthusiast who primarily watches currently airing anime and reads currently publishing manga. I respect all anime/manga series as a whole, especially the “mainstream” shounen ones (ie. DBZ, Bleach, One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tale, FMA, Evangelion, Death Note) since they are the entry level stories which have become resounding successes worldwide and have more or less transcended the test of time; however, my personal interests lie more in the stories which aren’t met with instant universal popularity (or haven’t yet). My way of “rooting for the underdog”, if anything.

No genres are off limits, although I show particular favor towards series with romance, drama or thriller elements. The only reason I wouldn’t watch something would simply be because of lack of free time (or alternatively, if a series literally wastes my time with fanservice and no plot). It’s the main reason why I don’t retrowatch many series nowadays.

  • Tumblr Philosophy

There are many ways to “curate” a blog; some people opt to make long journal posts detailing their daily life, some write informative posts about an object pertaining to their own interests, others reblog beautiful pictures or write short posts about what they’re currently doing or thinking. There is no one “right” way to blog.

Personally, I tend to reblog things rather than create original content (but I do, on occasion. Especially if it’s on a topic I’m passionate about). Half the reason might just be laziness, but my thoughts tend to flow easier once I see something interesting in my Dashboard. This leads into my main principle which is that I always inject my opinion and, by proxy, my personality into anything I reblog. (This thought process actually originates from realcleverscience, who made this a big deal quite a few times on my dash over the years). I use the particular subject as a platform to introduce my thoughts on a subject, whether it’s adding additional details as a sort of fun fact or tacking on my opinion on it. Doing so also ingrains my comprehension of the topic into my head, not unlike how writing a word  five times on a piece of paper aids in memorization. Of course, I don’t always do it, but for the most part I try to at least write five words on it.

I also enjoy having a flow of counter-current exchange on my blog. I don’t post stuff for “likes” and popularity” (and that’s my philosophy on all social networks I’m active on, not just tumblr). I do what I want because I find it fun, and I especially enjoy interacting with other people, whether I know them or not. It opens my mindset towards other peoples’ opinions, something I crave for as a guy who likes learning about the world. Occasional conversations with people just to hear their opinion beats having 100 likes on a post any day.

I also check on the blogs of people who follow me or like my posts frequently on a regular basis. It’s an extension of my desire to learn of other people’s opinions (FYI, The reason I don’t always follow people back isn’t because I dislike their blog. I appreciate the followers. I just can’t follow everyone because my Dashboard gets too full of information. I don’t want to have to take 15 minutes to go through content I missed in a half hour. I’m also not a fan of the whole “follow for follow” schtick, so never ask me that. It’s happened before >.>).

I also end my posts with TL;DR a lot. That’s just for the sake of convenience and courtesy.

So…TL;DR—The three purposes of this blog

  1. Learn
  2. Exchange thoughts
  3. Share what I like with the rest of the world
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This post is only the tip of the iceberg of a series of “About me” posts. There’s no possible way for me to fit all that information in one blog post without coming off as confusing. I’m planning to go more in-depth on the origins of each interest next.

Also, fun fact: I actually do wear clothes like this in my day-to-day life. My avatar looks the way it does for a particular reason, after all XD Hair’s a bit longer than usual, though.