So, you may have noticed that it’s been a little longer than usual between entries for Up to Snuff. That’s because I’ve decided to go with a bi-weekly schedule for now. Why? Because so many of our regular writers have intense RL demands this season, and watching enough series on a weekly basis to vote has been a challenge.
That makes this a two-week poll, and any time Dororo doesn’t take the top spot it’s an upset. Kimestu no Yaiba poached the prize this time (I might have had it on my ballot but found this most recent episode to be a bit of a step down). This poll seemed to draw votes for more series than any so far (maybe because of the schedule change) and of course I was pleased to see Kono Oto Tomare! get some much-deserved love.
What of “Ask the Writers?” This one comes courtesy of Choya, and it proved to be a pretty challenging one to answer.
Weekly Staff Poll
Ask The Writers
“If you were elected as your nation’s president/prime minister and were forced to solemnly swear on a manga of your choice at your inauguration, which one would you choose?” (optional bonus question: which character would you choose to administer the oath?)
- Stilts: A stack of assorted doujinshi, both lewd and otherwise, in a variety of genres. That ought to keep people guessing long enough for my machinations to commence.
- Stars: After thinking it over, the manga series I would like to swear would have to both represent my ideas and be long enough that my opposition would be checking their watches and groaning towards the end of my inauguration, because I fully intend to swear in on each manga volume separately. With that said, there is no manga that better encapsulates the persistent idealism I would like to emulate than Fullmetal Alchemist. Although most of the main characters have been dealt a bad hand, they learn to make the best of it. Instead of giving in to despair, they grow, change, even becoming strong enough to challenge the rules of their reality. Rather than giving as much as they take, they choose to give more, and thus begin the first steps of a journey that will gradually make their world a better, kinder place. It’s a story of hope and unity, where anyone who wants to change can, and I can’t think of a manga series that better represents my ideals than that.
- Choya: With many politicians gravitating towards books that have moral or ethical significance to them such as a Bible or a law book, a manga with that same level of gravitas would be an ideal choice for a swearing-in. That’s why I couldn’t think of a better selection for my hypothetical inauguration than a volume of Saint☆Oniisan. Alongside the overall whimsy behind the friendship between this manga’s two main characters, it also encapsulates an overall ethos of working together regardless of differences in philosophy, ideology, or personalities. To be able to find a mutual understanding through what we are able to enjoy could help us ideally create meaningful connections and ties with valuable allies and ultimately push the world towards prosperity. That, and making it my top priority to provide delicious food and a decent internet connection for my nation’s people.
- Zaiden: Not like I’d bring in an 8000 page tome. But one volume in a long-running series is a drop in the ocean which can’t do justice in representing what it’s about. So for me, it’s a toss-up between two relatively short titles. I’d opt for the all in one tankoubons of Planetes and Jumyou wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen ni Tsuki, Ichimanen de.. The first suggestion explores themes of space, the environment and international cooperation in seeking peace. The second suggestion examines the value of life in the context of money, happiness and how these things are so hard to properly measure relative to one another – but that we should nevertheless endeavour to find meaning in life. Both would make good volumes to swear on at a prime ministerial inauguration, because they’d adequately express the ethos behind my personal vision for a government. I’d have Yang Wenli swear me in, since I just remembered LotGH got a manga adaptation. Although I personally prefer Reinhardt von Lohengramm as a character, Yang’s belief in democracy is one that I share on a personal level. Though unlike him, I do view the hypothetical concept of a perfect ruler as the delicious meat (autocracy) that tempts me away from being a devout vegetarian (democracy).
- Enzo: This is, to repeat an oft-used phrase in this space, tougher than it seems to answer. After some waffling, I decided to go with Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. Why? There’s no one manga I consider “better” than all others, but YKK is pretty singular in its grace and simple, honest truth. And yes – there is something almost holy about it.I could as easily have chosen Vagabond or Spirit Circle or Cross Game or A Distant Neighborhood, but something in Choya’s question made me think of YKK. As to who I’d have administer the oath, I’m going with Nanba Mutta from Uchuu Kyoudai, because if he were Chief Justice of any high court I can’t see him ever selling out the truth in the name of cowardice or greed.
- Pancakes: The only choice is The Ride-On King, because if I’m going to be taking an oath of office it’s on the bible of the most manly of men possessing a heart of gold and street smart skill. The fact Purchinov also gets a thrill riding everything in sight might also have something to do with it, because I’ll be damned if I’d let the chance to ride, drive, or otherwise utilize any man and machine under the sun for my piloting pleasure pass by unnoticed. President Pancakes going space shuttle driving in the name of getting kids dreaming: has a nice ring to it don’t ya think?