DIGC330 Individual Project Discussion Blog

Hey guys! It is a time to share your individual idea, autoethnography study, and reflection about your personal interests.


Hidden details in Ghost in the Shell 1995

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 2.40.31 PMGhost in the Shell 1995, is always a classic Japanese animation? The post cyberpunk world is adapted with a sense of Hong Kong cityscape as a futuristic cosmopolitan.

Was the futuristic cyberpunk world created with imagination? No, Ghost in the Shell was created with detail research and studies. The details of “Hong Kong" city was created by no accident. Buildings, stores and signages have reference. I believe even local Hong Kong people may skip these details.

In the animation, there are lot of signages, wall paintings, and billboards. Hundred of Chinese characters listed on there signs. Are they real store-names? Some are made up but at least one, I discover an interesting brand in the animation.

There was a scene at 34:40. A red fashion boutique store is shown as a background. There is a brand name, “Walter Ma", set on a red window display. Who is Walter Ma? Is it a fashion brand? Yes, Walter Ma is a real fashion designer. The fashion brand, Walter Ma, was one of the most famous local fashion brand in Hong Kong from mid 80s  to early 90s. Walter Ma, the store, was located right in Tsim Sa Tsui in 90s.

I am so amazing that even I watched GITS many times. That little details could be discovered after all these years. Masamune Shirow must do a detail research of Hong Kong before he penned GITS. That makes GITS so timeless and visionary.

Walter Ma still runs his business as usually today.


Why did some technologies fail under the globalisation?

Swatch, the Swiss watch maker, introduced .beat to the market in Oct, 1998. It is a reckoning of time by eliminating the concept of time zone and centralized the concept of time with one system,  by dividing 24 hr into 1,000 beats.

Why did this idea fail? It seemed like a good idea. The benefit of .beat is to link to people around the world

I guess that it was designed under a colonial mindset. Using Europe as a centre point, all other people from the other side of the globe followed this system. People easily lose their sense of time that detached with the nature environment.

BTW, the old social media, such as ICQ, MSN, the online stability was not as stable as nowadays. People keened on chats with others. Type and reply were doing simultaneously. Keeping the time and schedule to chat was very necessary.

However, nowadays, the technology is more advance. Messages could be kept for years. The internet linkage is more stable and we always keep our devices online. Read and write do not have to be made simultaneously. Then, we lose the interest to keep reckoning times. Beat loses its ground to define a new way of living.


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Battle Royale II: Requiem

Battle Royale, one of the most visionary films in Japanese film history, set a new ideal of blending real life with virtual reality game.

In BR2, the identity of Shuya Nanahara (by Tatsuya Fujiwara) and Noriko Nakagawa (by Aki Maeda) have been changed from various perspective. Motion pictures, aka film or movie, is a form of art. It is a type of myth.

Lets try to count how many identities do these 2 characters have.

Individual Project: Mythologies in Anime – Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師) has animated twice in 2003 and 2009. Though both of them adapted from the original manga by Hiromu Arakawa (荒川弘) in 2001, yet the 2009 version is much directly following the original events of the manga. In this circumstance, the following study would be only focus on the 2009 anime version as the analysis.

The story happen in time after the European Industrial Revolution, about 2 young brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are alchemist and searching for the philosopher’s stone to fix the mistake that they have made when they were kids. They paid for what they have done, a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy, they lost their body part, they believe in the power of philosopher’s stone, they could restore their bodies back.


The setting of Fullmetal Alchemist is in the period of Prussia, it shows that the author, Hiromu Arakawa, yearn for the days when Japan was in the Meiji Restoration. That is the time of Japan was changing from sinology, as known as kangaku (漢学), to early westernization. The Japanese societies was adopting western culture and reformed in areas like economics, militaries, politics, clothing, language, religion, and philosophy etc. According to Fukuzawa Yukichi, he believed that was the civilization from the feudal society pattern, not only on the physically and materially changes, but under the education system, the value also was getting tend to modernize.

Back in those days, Japan paid highly attention on science development as the societies’ basis, like physic, chemistry, mathematic and so forth. One might wonder why the author would choose to use something seemingly unscientific to portray the modernization of Japan. In fact, modern science, especially chemistry and medicine, is highly influenced by alchemy and some might even argue that alchemy constitutes the basis of science.49e5cb301910c In Fullmetal Alchemist, alchemy and science are interrelated, alchemy is the ancient metaphysical science of manipulate and alter matter by using natural energy. The “transmutation" (錬成) process in steps by comprehension, deconstruction and reconstruction, in order to transmute properly needs full understanding of chemistry and ancient alchemical theory. For those individuals who have the unusual intelligence and aptitude to study and practice alchemy are known as “Alchemists". Since alchemy is a science and so to certain laws and limitations, which under the concept of Equivalent Exchange, ‘alchemy is science not omnipotent, cannot create something from nothing’, from the opening of episode 2 to 8 in 2009 version of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Based on this golden rule, Hiromu Arakawa implants his interpretation of bible into the world of Fullmetal Alchemist step by step. In the story, transmute human is forbidden, one of the reason is because alchemy cannot be create a soul from nothing. Another reason is because of the bible, according to Genesis, after Adam and Eve tasted the fruit, they have realized the sexually differences between them, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain", this shows the creation of life is a ability and knowledge between a man and woman sexual relationship. Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 4.29.37 AM.pngTherefore, in the episode 11, when Edward witnesses the newborn baby, ‘This is a birth of new life. Alchemists for centuries, but still not able to that, a person’s creating another person‘, he said to Winry. Furthermore, based on the same idea that shows transmute human from dead back to life is forbidden, besides quote from the bible, ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul’ (Genesis, 2:7), so it seems when life comes to an end, human return to the ground where we belong.

Characters – Homunculus

Apart from the “life and dead" concept from Genesis, not to mention the villains, Homunculus, who named and psyched after the seven deadly sins (Pride, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony and Envy).

Homunculus, meaning ‘little man’ in Latin. It first appears in alchemical writings associate to Paracelsus, Swiss German philosopher. During the renaissance, the idea of creating little humanoid creature has already appeared. In use of science, which in the anime is referring to alchemy, to create a human by human. According to Campbell, an undated Arabic work called the Book of the Cow, the materials required for creation of 14bf9659dbfc171ac368933ef0f2d95bhomunculus include animal blood, to be fed with blood of its decapitated mother so that it can become fully-formed (Campbell, 2010).

In the story, the very first homunculus, Father, was made by Edward’s father, Van Hohenheim, he was ordered to help the king to find a way to be immortal, and use his blood to fed it. It wanted to give thanks to Hohenheim for giving him life, so that it taught him alchemy in return. One day, it helps Hohenheim to finish his task, to transmute the philosopher’s stone, to let the king to become immortal. Yet, it transform the power of philosopher’s stone and transmute it into its and Hohenheim’s bodies, so that both of them can have immortality and it can have a human form from him outlook. Time flies, the homunculus removed his 7 emotions and transmuted 7 more homunculus, which are the seven deadly sins. As early mentioned, human to create another human use be a man and woman job, create homunculus have no doubt is up against the natural rule and god’s will, therefore in this anime Hiromu Arakawa brings an argument, because of the power of creation so is that mean it is okay to sacrifice the other’s life for “science"?

Moreover, in the view of Hiromu Arakawa, he believes science is the way that human try to understand of god, as the story mention, alchemy is the way to understand the “truth", people want to fully understand it, as the perfectly existence and become god. Yet the existence of human is limited, which refer to the seven deadly sins, so he believes people cannot be replace of god, that is the rule.


Not to mention the symbols in the anime as the key message of the world in Fullmetal Alchemist. ce3714f40f44fcaeb05396cf29ed5c2eFirst of all, the Gate of Truth. The tree pattern on the door, in fact that is the Sephirothic Tree, as known as ‘Kabbalah’ or ‘Tree of Life’, the tree that first described in Gensis 2:9, as being planted with the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Kabbalah is the ancient wisdom in Judaism that reveals how the universe and life work. The tree formed by 10 septhiroth and 22 paths, is a set of esoteric teaching aim to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal, and mysterious infinity and the mortal and finite universe (God’s creation).

Another iconic symbol in Fullmetal Alchemist, is the one that a snake on the cross. To be exactly the refer to the name of Crucified Serpent, Untitled-1or the Flamel. This was one of the central images features in the alchemical manuscript in 14 century, by Nicholas Flamel, the one who developed a reputation as an alchemist have discovered the Philosopher’s Stone and achieved immortality. Original one was simply a snake that crucified on the cross, moralistic as the crucifixion of Jesus. As stated in Bible, “A curse on everyone who is put to death by hanging on a tree", snake is cursed by god, and Jesus die on the cross to replace us for the curse. In the alchemy theories, snake is representing the imperfection state of the material. Similarly as Jesus resurrect after his crucifixion, the raw material before the transmutation from imperfect to a perfection, it needs a process of corrupting.



Arakawa, H. (Author) & Irie, Y. (Director). (2009). Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST) [Anime Television Series]. Japan, MBS: Mainichi Broadcasting System.

Campbell, M. B. (2010). Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus. Republics of Letters. Retrieved from: http://arcade.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/article_pdfs/roflv01i02_02campbell_comp3_083010_JM_0.pdf

Fukazawa, Y. (1875). An Outline of a Theory of Civilization (文明論之概略). Japan: (n.p.).

Hayes, C. (2012). Introduction to the Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press.

The Kabbalah Centre. (2016). What is Kabbalah?. Kabbalah Centre International. Retrieved from: https://www.kabbalah.com/what-kabbalah

Draft for Assessment 3 – Digital Artifact from 90’s disco music to MIKA Waves 2016

As I talked about Western music in the blogs before and  I’m interested in all types of Western music including classic,Jass,Pop and of course I’m a “Die hard" MIKA fans,I may use Prezi to show you his Asia Tour 2016,how did his fans act n what other interviews or activities he did in Asia…

    1/How the Western music trends from 90’s to now n what makes MIKA becoming popular in Asia

    2/Introduces the schedule for his Asia tour in different countries

    3/What he had done during his Asian tour n any special activities Vs When he is outside Asian e.g.

    Korea:The blue paper aeroplanes made by fans

    Japan:video interview on YouTube

    Hong Kong: +Interviews from TV,Magazines & Newspapers e.g.Prestige,tvb,apple daily etc.

    China:MTV Asia,EllenMen,CCTV etc.

    Say something from different angles such as,

    MIKA:How he felt about countries in Asia n Asian fans

    Audiences:How do u feel that MIKA had taken the Asia tour n what is the situation when fans joining his gigs

    Media/Platform:How media talked about MIKA & his fans n what are the different on the venues or size for a gig inside Asia Vs Outside Asia

    Some references from the reading FQS Autoethnography : An Overview Part 4 mainly + little bit part 5

    FQS 12(1), Art. 10, Carolyn Ellis, Tony E. Adams & Arthur P. Bochner: Autoethnography: An Overview