Old Notes regarding Zip Drives from 1997

Below are notes that I wrote regarding Zip Drives in 1997. This information was on my old website before it was revamped. I am only reprinting this for archival purposes. The information included below should be considered subjective observations by a non-technical person trying to make intelligent analysis–You have been warned!

Notes regarding Iomega’s Zip Drive
Author:Dan Kanemitsu

Introduction

        Iomega’s Zip drives were able to achieve remarkable success as mass storage devices.  The 3 1/2″ floppy disks are still great for storing and transporting simple text files and crude graphics, but can’t do much else anymore.  Its capacity is too limited in an age when the average size of image files are around 100KB and video files are each at least each several MB big.  The other option was the tape, but backing up on to tape media is a slow and cumbersome process best reserved for backing up entire systems and large data libraries.  Tapes are not very suitable for incremental archiving and another big problem with them is that there is no straight forward standard like the floppy, where almost any other machine can read a floppy your machine wrote.  There are QIC and other standards but a lot of the tape backup system uses proprietary media and/or data storage scheme.  And you gotta keep in mind, not every body has a tape backup unit.

 

        The Magnito-Optical Drive (aka MO drive) became the standard in Japan relatively easily, but in America, where tape backup units had already been prevalent, the high cost of MO drives detracted from the attractiveness of the devices, especially when compared to the tape backup units.  The fact that SCSI was not a popular standard in America also worked against the MO drive, but in any case, Iomega’s Zip drive filled the void that could have filled by MO drives.

        The market was screaming for a fairly reliable, relatively inexpensive mass storage device that could work like a floppy but had a storage capacity that was far greater.  Iomega’s Zip drive that can store 100MB on each disk (actually after you format it to MS-DOS, it comes out to more like 95.7MB) was the right device at the right time.  In America, Iomega’s Zip drive has become the defacto standard for medium sized removable storage.  SyQuest’s EzFlyer with 230MB each and Imation’s LS-120 120MB next generation floppy drives are still strong but for the moment it seems that the Iomega has been able to push aside the competition thanks to the (relatively) low cost of storage media and the drive itself.
 

Zip Drive Variations

        Iomega currently (12/97) makes 5 different versions of the Zip drive.  All the five different drives use the same media but each connect and interface with the host computer system in a separate way.  It was considerate and ingenious on the behalf of Iomega to market all these different variations.  People can thus choose the drive system that best fits their needs.  The problem is that not all the devices handle the same way.

External Parallel Interface Zip Drive [EPI Zip]
        These are the easiest to maintain and configure.  The one great advantage of the External Parallel Zip drive is that it can interface with nearly any IBM clone system.  As a rule, if the machine has a printer port, then this baby will work.
        Now there are some important prerequisites:  The printer port must be a bi-directional parallel port.  Some of the older systems don’t have this but anything that’s half way not obsolete will have this.  One thing they don’t mention in the documentation but something I have learned from personal experience is that the speed of the UART chip and/or the CPU can make a big difference in the performance of the Zip Drive.  If you have a slow computer (486SX25Mhz or 486DLC2) then be prepared for a long wait when you backup your HDD.  It took me some 3 hours to backup a PS/V’s 200MB HDD.  The same back up will take less then 20 minutes on a Pentium200.
        The UART chip is the chip that controls the flow of information going through the serial and parallel ports.
        You can play games off the Zip drive.  I have copied the various versions of ID software’s DOOM and DOOM2 onto the Zip and played it off the disk without any significant problems.  The game will take a little longer in loading while it’s loading the levels, but once the fighting begins, you should not suffer from any performance setbacks associated with the Zip drive.  Duke Nukem 3D, Rise of the Triad, Wolfenstein 3D have all been tested.  Blood will probably run but some of the newer games that require more then 90MB might not.
        Overall the external parallel version is the best is you are looking for the widest possible compatibility.

External SCSI Interface Zip Drive [ESI Zip]
        I haven’t had the chance to play with this one yet, but if the EPSI Zip drive (see below) running in SCSI mode is of any indication, these are true screamers.  Hard drive like performance coming from a removable storage medium.  My strong impression is that the EPSI is much faster then the III.  See below in my notes about EPSI Zips for more information on the performance of the ESI Zip.
        Interestingly enough Fry’s in Southern California was selling refurbished ESI for $10 below the refurbished EPI’s price.  Does this mean there is not as strong demand for the SCSI units?
        I don’t know if there is a significant difference between the Apple/Mac version and the IBM version of the EPSI Zips.

Internal IDE Interface Zip Drive [III Zip]
        Many pre-packaged systems sold from large OEM’s feature this version of the Zip drive.  The greatest advantage of the internal IDE version is that it is fairly fast and you can easily added to your existing hardware structure.  It will write and read off the disks at speeds that feel like old MFM or ESDI hard drives so it’s pretty fast.  The disadvantages to the III are that there are hardest to incorporate into a multiple partition hard drive environment and they seem to be most prone to breakdown due to the nature of the unit being internal.  Now I know it’s hard to believe that the internal ones are more prone to breakdown but all the experience that I have had with III indicates that they are.  More on this in the “Problems” section.

Internal SCSI Interface Zip Drive [ISI Zip]
        Probably the fastest of the Zip drives right next to the ESI and EPSI Zips.  All the SCSI interface Zips don’t have as many bottle necks in the flow of information.  There is no slow UART chip that might slow performance as in the case of the EPI Zips and we all know that SCSI is usually faster then E-IDE.  Rumor has is that the Zip drive was designed first and foremost as a SCSI device and Iomega added the parallel port features in order to expand its sales prospects and market share for removable mass storage.
        Of course the ISI suffers from the same limitations that the III are faced with regarding breakdowns.  Look below in the “Problems” section for more on the nature of the internal Zip drives.

External Parrallel/SCSI port Interface compatible Zip Drive [EPSI Zip]
        This newest addition are being marketed as the ZipPlus but from what I gather there has been no break through in the performance of the Zip drives themselves.  The speed is the same and the capacity is the same from what we had before.  The advantage of the EPSI Zips are that they can double as EPI Zips or EPSI Zips.  The EPSI Zip drive will automatically detect what kind of interface you are using and accommodate to that interface.  Very handy.
        The writing speed of an EPSI Zip in SCSI mode can go anywhere up to 1MB/sec in writing time.  A far cry form 0.5MB/min (18KB/sec) average performance of the EPI Zips.
        EPSI Zip drives are great for those of us that want to take advantage of a SCSI card in our system, but don’t want to forfeit the advantages of the parallel port.
        The ZipPlus comes with a whole bunch of software.
 

Problems

Disk comes flying out when ejected from the drive:
        This seems to be a problem that is associated with all the external versions of the Zip drive.  The spring seems to be a little too strong, resulting in the disks being catapulted out of the drive.  The problem seems to be the worst when the drive is placed horizontally.  The best you can do is to place your hand over the insertion slot and prevent the disk from plunging toward its death.  A friend of mine nearly lost all his hard earned data when the disk flew out and smashed on the concrete floor, cracking the disk into two.  Luckily, he could make another backup easily.

Internal IDE Zip always wants to be the D drive:
        The internal IDE (III) Zip seems to have a peculiar tendency of reporting itself as always asserting itself as the D drive with MS-DOS 6.22 and Win95.  No matter where you attach the III Zip along the E-IDE drive, it always wants to be D.  I’ve once I talked to the technical support people of System Commander and he also reported hearing that there is no way around that in DOS622/Win95.
        This peculiar phenomena does not seem to manifest itself in WinNT but be rest assured, WinNT has its own share of problems with III Zips.

The Windows NT internal IDE Zip drive nightmare:
        To be blunt, normal people are not suppose to install the drivers of the III Zip in WinNT.  Or at least it seems that way.
        Windows NT 4 seems to have a difficult time recognizing the internal Zip drive.  The problem is so bad that WinNT4 will stumble on the III during installation.  The III seems to emulate an IDE hard drive in order to interface with the system.  The problem is that it emulates it so well that the WinNT4 installation program thinks that the III is a hard drive.  A hard drive with no boot track.  With no media in the drive, the installation program cannot go on because it keeps looking for the MBR that it thinks is there.  You end up having to insert a disk so that the installation can go on.  The problem is now that the OS is under the impression that the III is a real hard drive.
        Under these circumstance, Iomega’s Guest program cannot find the Zip drive.  Without the Guest program there is no way to properly interface the Zip drive.  Well it also happens that the necessary Zip Setup program for WinNT4 is in the ZipTools disk that comes with your drive.  What does this mean?  The very program you need is stored in a form you do not have access to.
        Let’s review.  You need the WinNT4 Zip Setup disk to get the III Zip working, but that very program is only available on a Zip disk,  and the program that’s suppose to temporarily bridge this gasp does not work.
        Most people would call tech support at a point like this, but being the stupid and adventurous hacker-wannabe, I proceeded to find another way to counter this obstacle.
        For me, the solution was relatively simple.  I transferred the necessary Setup files onto my MO disk and installed it off of there.  After the necessary reboot, NT recognized the Zip drive like how it should.  Everything worked fine, until I wanted to remove the III drivers software.
        Below I discuss the problems with having two Zip drivers in one system.  In any case when I bought the ZipPlus (EPSI Zip), I needed to remove the drivers that were on the system already.  I figured that IDE drivers would not work well with a SCSI device.  To my horror I discovered that there was no uninstall program.  Furthermore, there was no documentation regarding uninstallation.
        Will the nightmares ever end?

Why do internal Zip drives suck?:
        I have noticed that internally mounted Zip drives are more prone to breakdowns.  I have no statistics to back up opinion up, but I have overheard others talk about how the internal sucks.
        I have had my internal IDE drive malfunction on me three times in 18 months.  Two of the malfunctions would be classified as “critical malfunctions” as the drive could read no information off the disks, and furthermore, destroyed the information on any disks that were inserted.  In the case of the third time, the malfunction did not last long and it fixed itself.  It was only a minor inconvenience.
        However the fact that the drive malfunctioned and destroyed information on disks when it was only reading data made me feel real uneasy about using a Zip drive as a backup device.  But these experiences also prompted me to think deep and hard about what is going on here.
        I considered the possibility that my room was too dusty.  But dust alone could not explain what was going on.  A friend of mine also owns a Zip and his place is far more dusty then my place.  The only difference between his Zip and mine was that mine Zip was an internal (III) and his was an external (EPI).
        The key to this mystery is to understand how the Zip drives physically work, and I’m under the impression that Zip drives are remarkably similar to hard drives.  So similar enough that Zip drives are prone to suffer from the same draw backs that are commonly attributed to hard drives.
        Hard drives read and write data on to the hard magnetic surface of the platter by having the read/write head float amazingly close above the media.  The distance between the head and the disk is so small, if the drive head was the size of a jumbo jet (Boeing 747), the distance between the head and the disk is about the size of a match box on its side.  When you have something comes in between the two objects, you have a physical head crash.
        Normally hard drives don’t have to worry about problems like this because the insides of the hard drive is hermetically sealed to prevent the introduction of foreign objects into the environment.  This is not the case with Zip drives.  Those units are less then air tight.  They have to be, or else there is no way to insert and remove the disks.
        So it makes sense that the Zip drives are a lot more susceptible to head crashing due to dust, but why are the internals more vulnerable than the externals?  The key word here is airflow.
        The internally mounted Zip dives have considerable amount of airflow coming through them.  Or at least it should.  That’s because the fans inside the power supply pull air in through the front and pump it out the back.  This seemingly innocent feature in the cooling mechanism of PC is the spells disaster for the internally mounted Zip drives.  That’s because all that air that’s being pulled in also pulls in lots of dust and it all accumulates along anything that partially blocks the flow.  In my system’s case, the Zip drive acts as a filter and lots of lint and dust manages to attach itself to the insides of the drive.
        This is not the case with external units.  These is no airflow in them.  This is why I believe the external Zip drives are a lot more reliable compared to the internal drives.  Let me know if you have any theories.

What is the deal with faulty Zip disks?:
        To my knowledge, there are no “bad” disks.  As I have described to you previously in section above, when a Zip drive breaks down, the consequences can be devastating upon any disk that is inserted into the faulty drive.
        Let’s say that the drive fails at one time.  You might dismiss it that the disk is bad and set it aside, through in another one and keep on working.  At this point, you probably have destroyed the data on the second disk.  The malfunctioning drive head will destroy the file structure in the MBR, preventing you from ever accessing the information on the disk.  If you hear a repetitive clicking sound (sounds something like “Ka-Chingk Ka-Chingk Ka-Chingk”), then the drive is choking on the disk and it might be a goner.

Two Zip drives in one system:
        So far I have not been able to find the secret to configuring multiple Zip drives in one system.  The Guest (Guest95 in the case of Win95) program seem to stop looking after it find the first drive.

Miscellaneous Notes:

Early production runs of the Zip drives went bad?
        This is not a rumor that has been confirmed but this news got a lot of attention in the English speaking newsgroups.  It seems that the production of Zip drives were taking place in the Philippines, and according to the sources on the newsgroups, there was short fall in the quality control for a time.  Supposedly, this happened in the early initial stages when they had started manufacturing Zip drives and there were suffering from problems that related to simplification and efficiency management of the production line.  Rumors are that there were fairly large number of individuals who bought the Zip drive in the early days that consequently discovered their Zip drive to be malfunctioning.  It has been reported that Iomega sent out instructions to retails to exchange any drives that are reported to by the user to be faulty.

The Tragedy with SCSI Zip drives forced to become IDE or Parallel device.
        Reports indicate that the Zip drive was designed initially as a SCSI device.  This makes sense considering the fact that the Zip drive’s performance is at it’s best when operating as a SCSI device.  But SCSI is not a protocol universal in America.  I mean a lot of people have SCSI but everybody has IDE.  Fearing that the American consumers might not find a device dedicated to the SCSI format to be as enticing, Iomega worked on the Zip drive so that it could be compatible with other protocols.  Iomega might have feared of the fate that MO drives suffered from as the MO was a dedicated SCSI device.  (However Ultra33 IDE compatible MO drives were released in Dec. 1997.)
        You can see the SCSI legacy alive in the other versions of the Zip drive, as even the external parallel Zip interfaces through a pseudo SCSI driver software.

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The Dentists are in the House

A new title is always exciting to work with, and if its a new title from Studio khara, the powerhouse that produces the new Evangelion rebuild series, I don’t think I need to impress upon you just how much more special the occasion is.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to participate in Japan Anima(tor) Expo, an experimental short film series made possible by the partnership between khara and DWANGO. I provided translations and subtitles to about over 1/2 of the episodes that required subtitles. (Some episodes where just songs or “making of” type episodes that didn’t have any English subtitles.) I just looked back at the list and I did episodes 1, 2, 4, 11, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 30, 32, 34, and Extra, which was the Patlabor short.

The first episode was the The Dragon Dentist. It was a unique and bold title. It tool me some time to figure out different things, since this was so new and original.

And here I am, two and a half years later, coming back to this wonderful gem.

I supervised the English dub version of Dragon Dentist that will air on March 18th and 19th of 2017. Anyone overseas should be able to watch it, or so I have been told.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/…/…/special/episode/201703180810.html
http://www.nhk.or.jp/anime/ryu/en/index.html

I supervised the acting, edited the dialog and verified various aspects of this project. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for all the staff and crew that made this project possible.

I talked to Mr. Tsurumaki and Mr. Maijo about this title to get a better feel for how the translation should be conducted, and therefore I can say with some confidence in stating that this English dub captures the spirit and direction of the original title to the best of my abilities.

I chose the terms carefully, trying my best to balance the needs of making the title accessible to wider audiences, while at the same time maintaining the nuances of the original. I personally oversaw the acting of the primarily voice talent and tried my best to steer them toward performances that I felt best matches the expectations of the original creators.

We invested a lot of effort in this project, so hopefully the response will be strong. Please remember that it is very expensive to do something like this and if the response is weak, that will make it all the more difficult to put together international releases within Japan.
I think the best thing to do is to respond to the following NHK twitter account if you want your voice to be heard.
https://twitter.com/nhk_anime100

They won’t be able to respond in English most of the time, but they would still appreciate to hear from everyone about the project. Please let them know what you think!

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英語における兵隊の呼称

日本語で「兵士」・「兵隊」といえば軍隊全体に通用しますが、英語では
それぞれの軍隊にあわせて個別の表現があります。

米陸軍、米陸軍州兵、英陸軍:ソルジャー soldier
米軍愛称:グラント grunts
英軍愛称:スクワッディー squaddie

米海軍:セーラー sailor
米海軍愛称:ブルージャケット bluejacket
英海軍:シーマン seaman(セーラーも可)
英海軍愛称:ジャック、ジャック・タール Jack, Jack Tar

米海兵隊:マリーン Marine(頭文字大文字)
米海兵隊愛称:ジャーヘッド Jarheads
英王立海兵隊:ロイヤル・マリーン Royal Marine
英王立海兵隊愛称:ロイヤルズ Royals、ブートネックス Bootnecks
英米海兵隊共通愛称:レザーネックス leathernecks

米空軍:エアマン airman
英空軍:アイクラフトマン aircraftman
英陸軍航空隊:エアトルーパー airtrooper
注:パイロットと搭乗員は通常、pilotsとaircrewなどと呼称します。aviatorという表現もあります。

兵科別—
騎兵、機械化騎兵(戦車部隊の一部):トルーパー trooper
戦車兵:タンカー tanker
竜騎兵(跨乗歩兵):ドラグーン dragoon
砲兵:ガンナー gunner
擲弾兵:グレネディア grenadier
戦闘工兵:サッパー sapper
等々……

servicemanという全軍に通用する一般的な表現がありますが、日本語で言
えば「兵員」が最も近いかもしれません。即ち一般論などでは活用できる
方言ですが、軍隊内では決して用いない表現です。

上官が部下たちに呼びかける場合には所属している軍隊にあわせた表現を
用いるのがもっともそれらしい表現になるので可能な限り活用したいです

もちろん非軍人が兵士を総てソルジャーかセイラーと呼ぶことは珍しくあ
りません。

Posted in Japanese, research, translation and intercultural issues | Leave a comment

アメリカでのマンガとアニメの存在感

新聞の影響力が減退しているのは紛れもない事実ですが、アメリカの大都市の新聞の影響力は一部ではまだまだ非常にに大きいです。ワシントン・ポスト、シカゴ・トリビューン、サンフランシスコ・クロニクル、ロサンゼルス・タイムズとアメリカにはいくつもの大都市新聞がありますが、その中でもっとも存在感が大きいのがニューヨーク・タイムズです。

今なお、平日に100万部以上売れ、日曜版はその1.5倍の160万部以上売れるニューヨーク・タイムズはニュースや論評に加えて、特集がとても豊かであることから評価が高いです。この特集を購買するのが目的で日曜版んしか買わない人が多いくらいです。さてこの継続的に掲載されている特集の一つがブックレビュー(書評)でして、その知名度と格式の高さから全米で抜き出る存在となっています。「ニューヨーク・タイムズのベストセラー・リストに載ったよ!」と言えれば作家としては一つの金字塔を達成できたと思う人が少なくありません。

さて日本ではあまり知られていませんが、実は2009年から英訳された日本のマンガのベストセラー・リストが掲載されています。アメリカは娯楽においてはかなり排外的で、外国産のメディアが注目されることがあってもそれは流行の流れ次第で一時的に終わることが珍しくありません。そんなアメリカで日本のマンガがニューヨークタイムズで継続的に注目され、その人気のバロメーターが掲載されていたことにはわたしはかなり驚いていました。

しかしコミック弁護基金のニュースサイトによれば今年で日本マンガと米国コミック単行本のベストセラー・リストの掲載は打ち切られるそうです。

コミック弁護基金はアメリカで販売されているコミック形式の作品であれば国産であろうと外国産であると追求や規制から守る姿勢を打ち出しているのは大変殊勝だと思います。コミック弁護基金は日本のマンガ、アメコミの素晴らしい作品を啓蒙する大きな放送塔が失われるのを残念に感じていますが、同時にニューヨーク・タイムズの書評で認められてるという法廷でマンガやアメコミ作品を弁護する際に活用できる論点が失われると憂慮しています。

今回、ニューヨーク・タイムズ書評からマンガとアメコミのベストセラー・リストの掲載が打ち切られることは両者の存在感の減退を示すものではないと私は信じたいです。アメコミの市場も日本マンガの北米市場も今なお成長し続けています。2014年に日本マンガの北米市場は8%成長し7000万ドル(大よそ78億円)となり、2015年にはさらに13%成長し、8500万ドル(大よそ95億円)と推測されています。

これは北米の総合的なコミック市場が2015年に10億ドル(大よそ1118億円)到達したとされていますが、日本マンガはこの1/10弱の大きさであるというのは驚異的な数字だと思います。[:北米の日本マンガ市場が絶頂期を迎えた2007年は2億ドル市場に達した時期がありました。まさにバブル状態で2008年にバブルがはじけ、2012年に6500万ドルまで下がり、それ以降再び成長し続けています。]

業界紙ICv2もコミック弁護基金と同じように今回のニューヨーク・タイムズのマンガとアメコミのベストセラー・リストの掲載の打ち切りを嘆いていますが、ご覧頂けた通りマンガとアメコミの市場が冷え込んだ結果ではなさそうです。

ここ数年、何度も海外のアニメ・マンガファンを中心としたイベントに参加してますが、相変わらず日本のアニメ・マンガキャラの侵食はすさまじいように思えます。中国、台湾、タイ、シンガポール、マレーシア、インドネシアをはじめとした多くの国々で日本作品の二次創作作品が取引されるイベントが複数開催され、日本の作家に引けをとらない素晴らしい才能が開花し続けています。フィリピンと韓国については同人誌が取引されているファンイベントの話はあまり聞きませんが、突出した技術と感性を備えた作家やイラストレーターが世界を舞台に活躍しています。

北米でも「アニメ的絵柄」の浸透はかなりの進んでいます。普通のデパートやスーパーでも日本の美少女マンガ画風やBL系の絵柄を見かけるようになりました。北米のどの日本アニメ・マンガファン中心イベントに行っても現地の方々が生み出した日本の作風の作品が沢山見れます。しかも本来はアメコミの中心イベント、コミック・コンベンションでも若い作家の間では日本の作風が過去の作風よりも大きな存在感を占めている印象が強いです。普段の生活でも日本のアニメ・マンガの絵柄はYouTubeのアバターで見かけたり、米国社説マンガでも活用されたり、学際でメイドカフェが登場したり、改造車PR用のTシャツに美少女キャラがお邪魔していたりします。現地のクリエーターが作るオリジナルアニメでも日本の絵柄は大きな影響力を発揮し、あまり喜ばしくないことですがオンライン掲示板には大量の画像が無断転載されています。終いには俳優ロビン・ウィリアムズが自ら出演する映画の画面の片隅にエヴァのフィギュアをわざわざ配置したそうです。

ところが興味深いのは日本の作風や絵柄に強く影響されていても日本自体に対して関心が薄かったり、日本の作品に興味がなかったり、日本の感性に敵意を示す例もあります。私はこれは悪いことばかりとは思いません。日本でも作風とメッセージ性は十人十色であり、色々なリミックスが行われています。日本のアニメ・マンガ独自の演出技法や記号が新たな文化で新たな意味を得ることができるほどの次元に成熟している表れだと思っています。

飽くまでわたしの主観ですが、日本のアニメ・マンガ界は世界でもっとも競技人口が多く、競争も激しく、多様性と豊かさでは抜き出ていると思っています。それゆえ、記号としても作風としても演出でも突出している要素が多く、一旦のその基礎知識と論理を理解できれば創作においては非常に使い勝手の良い武器となるのでしょう。物語を提供する手法の一つの標準として日本のマンガ・アニメの絵柄と同じように世界中に浸透した古典的ハリウッド映画演出論と同じような完成度があるのかもしれません。

ベネディクト・アンダーソンやディック・ヘップディッジの影響ですが、わたしは文化・思想はモジュール化されて、国境を越え、生み出された当初はまったく予想されていない別の形で活用され、それ自体独自のアイデンティティを獲得し、変化・成長することがあると思っています。この流れを最も端的に説明できる例は「カレー」でしょう。そもそもインドで生まれた料理ですが、インドで大多数を占めるヒンズー教では牛は聖なる存在とされているので殺したり食べたりするこはタブーですが、日本では「ビーフカレー」というものすごい矛盾した料理があります。ところがビーフカレーがものすごい物議を醸すような料理と言う印象はあまりありません。少なくとも日本では。

今後もアメリカをはじめとした諸外国で日本のアニメ・マンガの文化がどのように変化・発展していくのかを見守りたいと思います。

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The Dangers of Fictional Human Rights

I have written in the past about some of the seductive qualities of suppressing unpleasant speech in my entry titled, The Seduction of the Thought Police.

Below are some points that I made in that entry:

“…when faced with realities that seem unforgiving or complicated, fiction quickly becomes a tantalizing target to control and punish.”

“Regulating fiction and art is never effective, and it never addresses the causes behind violence, but it makes us feel better. We feel we have done something, even if it is futile.”

“Thought policing never stops a person from having evil thoughts. Thought policing makes us feel better. It does not make us safer.”

I would like to add a few more points, specifically about the dangers of introducing real life rights into the realm of fiction and how that can be a losing proposition for everybody.

How would you respond to the following claim; “We should be willing to surrender elements of free speech when it involves protecting children in how they are depicted in fiction. We are dealing with the most vulnerable elements of society, therefore society should make special provisions to protect their sense of well-being and discourage any narratives that suggests they can be sexually exploited.

I have already stated the logical fallacy in the belief that children can be better protected by restricting fiction in my bilingual essay Thought Police Can’t Protect Real Children but the claim that I listed above directly targets a caring person’s heart, making it more difficult to question it validity.

In fact, we must be particularly careful in examining claims that are highly emotionally charged. Merits of a claim over emotionally charged issues must be found valid even when devoid of the emotional sentiments involved. Murder is criminal act because a life has been taken, and while the loss of a popular individual may incur more anger and sadness, this does not mean murder of an unknown individual should legally be treated as less important just because fewer people are emotionally invested in the victim.

When it comes to protecting children, few can argue the fact that they deserve special treatment. This is the very reason why we restrict certain forms of free speech from being accessible to children. We do not allow children to engage in certain forms of behavior involving risk as well.

Free societies places high value on an individual’s ability for self-determination, diversity and freedom of choice. Because we appreciate that certain risks are involved in a free society, we have various safety mechanisms in place to insure informed decision-making can be conducted, and for those members of society that cannot make informed decision-making, we restrict their access and freedoms. This does not only to protect those who are vulnerable, but it also protects a system that requires participants to be responsible for their actions.

Free speech does not compete against human rights so long as its creation nor distribution of free speech does not directly involve hardship against an individual, e.g. reproducing someone else’s material without their permission, harming someone during the creation of the content, threatening individuals with harm or violating their privacy, or making false claims against an individual, etc.

While opinion pieces and news coverage have to be careful in balancing the needs involved in respecting the rights of individuals and institutions with the needs related to the right to have free and open public discourse, fiction stands in a unique position. By their very nature of being a completely imaginary narrative, fiction can be easily identified as material that does not interrelate with circumstances of real people.

Attempting to introduce the concepts of human right violations into the realm of fiction makes the definition of human rights less concise–Are we concerned about protecting people or should we be concerned about making people feel they are protected? Not only that, the issues of human rights already can involve contentions issues, e.g. historical and/or cultural sensitivities versus changing concepts of human rights, or competition between the desire to preserve group identities that conflicts with aspirations for individuality. Debating the merits of human rights in fiction makes these discussions needlessly complicated and can contribute toward apathy spreading in the public regarding concerns over human rights. Apathy and indifference toward laudable ideals are likely to expand when some feel those ideals are discriminatory or meaningless.

Few would argue against abolishing abuse of people, but what about making the claim that people depicted in fiction should be free of abuse? The former statement it easy to understand, but the later statement is a minefield for misunderstanding and confusion. Why do we need to protect people who don’t exist? Who are we protecting? Are we going to be selectively reflecting our real life ideals in fiction? Why?

And yet, there are instances when some feel their sensibilities (however well-meaning they may be) must be righteous over your assertions that human rights and free speech do not compete. In circumstances when you need to match someone’s emotionally charged sentiments with something equally strong, then consider asking the following question to them; “Would you sanction the use of torture of adults by the state for information that may safeguard children?

Asking people to choose between the torture of adults against the rights of children is extreme, nevertheless, this is the same logic behind calls for restricting depictions of minors in fiction in order to expunge society of “unwholesome and dangerous fantasies.”

If one feels debating a willingness to subject of torturing adults to protect children is preposterous, then why are we debating the application of real life norms in the world of fantasy. And why should the rights of fictional children be protected, while other groups are not? Do children deserve more protection then any other demographic? Why not introduce the concept of hate speech in fiction?

I do not support the contention that it should be legal to conduct torture to protect children, or for any other reason, not because I do not value the lives of children, but because I feel human rights are universal. Rights should apply to everyone equally, and the state must not be allowed to be in a position to place priorities regarding which lives deserve more protections than others.

As individual human beings, there may be instances where we may have to make difficult decisions, but we should never enter a situation where the government is entrusted to create a hierarchy regarding the worth of human beings between different groups of people.

The universal respect of human rights is the cornerstone of a free and equal, democratic civil society.

Another important cornerstone of free society is free speech, a right that enshrines diversity and tolerance for even unpopular speech.

Freedom of expression should not just tolerate unpopular speech, but it should be its patron saint. Remember, the voice of the rich, powerful and the majority will always dominate due to the authority it enjoys and the popularity that makes it ubiquitous. Those voices do not need free speech for them to be protected. Speech that maybe unpopular, ideas that challenge the status quo, concepts that might not be refined need protection the most. The success a given work can enjoy should be determined by the open marketplace of ideas, and not determined by how the state looks upon it as favorable or unworthy.

And while I have stated this many times already, I will repeat some important core principles of artistic freedom once more. Forcing art or popular fiction to fulfill the role of textbooks for moral education is counterproductive and misguided. Entertainment exists to entertain. Art exists to enlighten. Education exists to inform. Just as it is dangerous to mix fiction with reality, it is dangerous to introduce the legal requirement that art or fiction should be educational and conform to moral guidelines of the state.

Nevertheless, there are those that feel the protection of free speech should be applied narrowly toward material that serve a social benefit, or help achieve a laudable goal. This line of thinking assumes that free speech must be justified through social considerations, and while this sounds plausible, it is actually very dangerous. If you reverse the logic, it means your right to say something must be approved by others who are willing to validate your ideals and goals.

Calls to qualify free speech is nothing less than making calls to limit your own right to engage in free speech. It is dangerous and this must be pointed out accordingly.

If you are an advocate for free speech, if you support free manga and anime and other forms of popular culture,  if you oppose those that insist upon censorship–If can feel very frustrating that you must engage people those who are blasé about curving artistic freedom. Nevertheless, you must patiently and repeatedly point that “A culture grows richer through addition, not through subtraction,” “Freedom of thought and free speech may protect speech you disagree with, but it also protects your right to criticize such speech and protects your speech as well, and therefore you should not be willing to surrender your rights in piecemeal so easily,” and “Human rights must be respected equally.” These are ideals that must be tirelessly advocated as being both meaningful and universal.

Lastly, for those who wish to come to the defense of creators, publishers, and genres which are threatened, I would like to point out that there are simple things you can do. Buying their products, sending letters of appreciation, and/or singing  praises of their creations publicly on any medium will keep people encouraged and emboldened to create more, even in the face threats of censorship or strangulating  regulation. Loss of income and interest will do more harm than any regulation could hope to achieve.

Also, please consider giving donations to any local bodies that help protect free speech. For those in the English speaking world, I highly recommend the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. While their ability to come to the aid of those overseas is limited, keeping the United States a thriving land of free speech for comic books and cartoons, which includes manga and anime, will play an important role in indirectly keeping creativity unhindered and channels of distributions open in many others countries as well.

Posted in censorship, child pornography, harmful material, public morality and media | 4 Comments

『トブルクの魔女』委託情報

嵐のような2016年も終え、時はすでに2017年に突入してしまいました。本来は年始のご挨拶をしかったのですが、年末に溜まった疲労で正月はずっと休んでいました。この時期になってようやく元気が戻ってきた体たらくです。大変申し訳ありません。

2016年の冬のコミックマーケットも無事に終了し、当サークル「第8装甲連隊」は会場販売分が完売するという予想外の事態に恵まれました。これもひとえに皆さんのご支援の賜物です。本当ありがとうございます。

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『トブルクの魔女』の委託販売は現在とらのあなで行われていますので、もしご興味ありましたら是非ともご参照下さい。大変ありがたいことにWeb特設ページを設けて頂けました。
http://www.toranoana.jp/mailorder/article/04/0030/49/27/040030492728.html

『トブルクの魔女』の詳細についてはこちらをご覧下さい。

委託販売告知だけではややつまらないので、水無月十三さんから頂いた挿絵を映画の一場面のようにアレンジした画像集をお送りいたしますね。

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既に今年2月に開催されるサンシャインクリエイション、SC2017 Winterと今年に4月に開催されるComic1☆11に申し込みました。当選したら順次報告する予定です。

今年も商業活動、同人活動、国際交流など色々な形でがんばりますので何卒よろしくお願い致します!

Posted in 8th Panzer Regiment (doujinshi circle), doujinshi, Japanese, Land battle witches projects | Leave a comment

『トブルクの魔女』C91冬コミ情報

2017/1/10追加情報:
『トブルクの魔女』の委託販売は現在とらのあなで行われていますので、もしご興味ありましたら是非ともご参照下さい。大変ありがたいことにWeb特設ページを設けて頂けました。
http://www.toranoana.jp/mailorder/article/04/0030/49/27/040030492728.html

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執筆作業が16ヶ月以上渡ってしまいましたが、なんとか完成させました。伝説のトブルク戦をモチーフにウィッチたちが存分に活躍する枠組みを試みました。

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新しいウィッチを17人以上登場させました。トブルク攻防戦の緒戦の緊迫感を少しでも感じ取ってくだされば幸いです。

当同人サークル「第8装甲連隊」は三日目、土曜日12月31日の参加で、スペースはY-13aとなっております。

『トブルクの魔女』の版形はB5で、総ページは168ページとなっています。今回はカラー口絵を6ページ追加しました。

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トブルク攻防戦を舞台にした陸戦ウィッチに焦点を当てた物語で主役は当然アウストラリス人!しかしこの他にもブリタニアや空戦ウィッチも沢山登場します。企画・キャラデザ・原作は小生、兼光が担当し、水無月十三さんが素晴らしい挿絵をご提供してくださいました。062tow-novel_ap325102tow-novel_ap345

表紙は水無月十三さんの線画を古川ヘッツァーさんが彩色。裏表紙はトキ兄さんが担当されました。

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総参加者リストは大変ありがたいことにかなり膨大です(汗)。
(掲載順・敬称略):
水無月十三
みこやん
Ein Lee
トキ兄
古川ヘッツァー
サンクマ
兼光ダニエル真
A士
長谷川竹光
おおたたけし
吉川和篤
おひるねカード
清水清
迂闊十臓
VT
TYPE.90
紗汐 冴
蒔野靖弘
こいでたく
久彦
大田和寛

碧宇
逢摩文七朗
神宮小川
もず
高永浩平
カクガリ兄弟

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今回は会場限定の本を用意できました。『トブルクの魔女』を会場で購入すると『トブルクの魔女副読本』を無償提供します!つまり二冊セットで2000円です。

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『トブルクの魔女副読本』は12ページの折本ですが、かなり濃厚な軍事考察や設定説明、それに登場キャラクター相関図も掲載しました。

表紙は古川ヘッツァーさん、裏表紙はダルシー研Q所さんが担当されました。

それでは当日よろしくお願い致します!

当同人誌にご興味を感じつつも当日会場に立ち寄れない方はもしよろしければとらのあなでご予約を下さい~
http://www.toranoana.jp/mailorder/article/04/0030/49/27/040030492728.html

Posted in 8th Panzer Regiment (doujinshi circle), doujinshi, Japanese, Land battle witches projects | 6 Comments