It takes a ten minute video for professional John Lennon crossed with Sasquatch impersonator/Youtube anime critic Digibro to grope towards the same idea as Damon Knight managed to express in one simple sentence: “science fiction is what we point to when we say it”. In other words, that on a certain level the quality of a given anime is determined by the sum of opinions about said anime and that as opinions shift, the critical consensus about this anime will also shift. Not the most stunning of insights, but anime criticsm is indeed roughly on a par with science fiction criticism fifty years ago.
Seeing New York be blown up by aliens, London submerged under glaciers in a new Ice Age or Tokyo trampled by Godzilla is old hat, but seeing your own neighbourhoods being smashed by the after effects of a comet hitting Earth, that’s something else entirely. On The Edge Of Gone is Corinne Duyvis’ second novel, an apocalyptical survival science fiction story that takes place in and around Amsterdam. As such it’s an entirely different feeling when it isn’t people desparately trying to escape the Bronxy to flee for the safety of New Jersey, but rather have the heroine trying to make her way from Schiphol to Gorichem and the dubious safety of the shelter they were promised a place in…
It’s also interesting that Duyvis has chosen to set her novel here in the Netherlands when she’s writing for a mostly American audience; I don’t expect many readers will be familiar with Amsterdam outside of the tourist hot spots, if at all. Thomas Olde Heuvelt meanwhile has rewritten his fantasy novel Hex to move it from the Netherlands to upstate New York to make it more accessible for the US market. Two different strategies from two Dutch writers looking for foreign success. Duyvis held a book presentation a few months back at the ABC here in Amsterdam in which she explained her reasons for writing her novel the way she did, as shown in the video above.
Taberu (Eating), Tsukuru (Cooking/Making), Warau (Smiling), Futari (Together) Doo bi doo ba.
The preview bits from Koufuku Graffiti without the talking, just the singing. Twee as fuck and guaranteed to make you hungry.
If My Boyfriend is a Pilot had existed outside of its Macross context, it would’ve been the sort of summer song picked up on holiday abroad, something you’d hear in every disco until you got sick of it, then when you hear it years later on the radio, get an incredibly nostalgic flashback from. It’s not a particularly good song to be honest, just annoyingly catchy, but in its proper context it is something special, as iblessall tries to explain:
It’s just a singer describing her plane-loving boyfriend (an idol wishing the robot-obsessed fans of her franchise would pay attention to her). And because it is not special, it endures. It is a song that exists throughout franchise iterations, all the while unbound to specific events.
The Doylean explanation as for why My Boyfriend is a Pilot is so important would be just because it’s repeated over and over again, first in the original Macross saga, then as explicit callbacks to it in the sequels. But that’s a boring explanation. Far more interesting to present a case for why it became not just popular but a symbol that still resonates some sixty years later.
Which got me thinking. My Boyfriend is a Pilot is a song that in normal circumstances would’ve never become a hit, at best a minor curiosity. But then the SDF Macross found itself on the far end of the Solar System laden with some 70,000 refugees from Macross City who needed distraction from their circumstances, while Lynn Minway wanted to become an idol, with her not quite boyfriend Hikaru Ichijyo enlisting to join the ship’s defence forces and become a Valkyrie pilot. It’s because of her circumstances she can put the right emotions into what’s otherwise an ordinary pop ditty and it’s because of the circumstances the Macross finds itself in that it becomes a hit, resonating with its population. And when Zentradi infiltrants come across it, unaccustomed as they are to any form of culture, it hits them hard; smuggling it with them to their mothership it becomes a hit with the enemy as well. Hmm, that sounds a lot like a certain WWII love song…
Lili Marleen became a hit with both Axis and Allied soldiers because it spoke directly to that sense of longing for normality, nostalgia for home and girlfriend that’s universal among soldiers of any nation. The same goes for My Boyfriend is a Pilot in a sense, but its importance is even greater because it is literally the song that ended the war. It’s no wonder it stayed relevant all those years after it; they probably teach it in school. And what with the near-destruction of Earth and humanity at the end of Macross, it was pretty much Year Zero for culture as well, which means most of the Macrossverse pop culture is built on Lynn Minmay and My Boyfriend is a Pilot anyway…
You expected maybe a Prince video here, considering he died today? Too bad, it’s Victoria Wood, who died yesterday. 2016 has been a hell of a year for seeing your old heroes die. An underrated comedian I only got to know because Sandra liked her a lot, especially this particular song.