Friday, July 18, 2014

Origins: Blogs (Part 3—Conversational Writing and Conclusion)

This is the last of a three-part series on the history and nature of blogs. In the first post, I wrote about blogs' early history and popularity growth. The second post included research from linguists (language scholars) about blogs' genres and grammar. This last section, excerpted and slightly modified from a research paper, covers the conversational elements of blogs before, and then concludes the series.

- - - 

Blogs are more personal and casual than most printed work. They are also more interactive, which is why many bloggers and academics refer to "conversation" in the blogosphere. Eric E. Peterson, a professor of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine, finds this description troubling. He explores the topic in his 2011 article for Language@Internet, "How Conversational are Weblogs?" He acknowledges that bloggers often use a conversational tone, but cautions that the interactions on and between blogs do not truly constitute conversations. [Because, obviously, there is only one definition of "conversation," and we all know that the meanings of words are set in stone and never evolve at all… oh, wait.]

Unlike face-to-face conversations, blogs are non-linear and discontinuous in contact (Peterson). Responses to posts and comments are not immediate, and certainly not simultaneous. Bloggers write their posts uninterrupted by their audience's feedback, and if clarification is needed, it must happen across posts. Similarly, the context around posts is not immediate, but instead something that "both writers and readers must work to produce," usually by writing and reading serval posts over time.[I'd like to add that, in the aniblogosphere, our context grows with anime, other blogs and news sites, Twitter, and whatever else we share in our online experiences.]

While blog content is not a conversation, it is still conversational. Bloggers are writing to a large audience, but by using a conversational tone, they reach individuals in a more personal way. This attracts and keeps readers. It's not a new strategy, as Peterson points out. For decades, radio personalities have amassed listeners by speaking in a "for-anyone-as-someone" way, as if they were sitting down with each listener individually. Bloggers adopt an informal, frank style that readers perceive as "authentic, direct, and truthful" (Peterson). Of course, frankness, whether spoken or written, does not automatically confer honesty. But the popular perception remains. As a result, blogs attract millions of readers, many of whom feel a personal connection to their favorite, conversational bloggers.

The blogosphere has come a long way since the first online diaries of the 1990s. They vary widely in genre, purpose, and author. Blogs, though clearly a written form, have aspects of speech in their language. They are informal, even conversational, in style. They are not subject to the standardization process experienced by most published material, and their syntax and grammar reflects that.

- - -

So, there you have it. As bloggers and blog-readers, we're part of a form of communication so interesting, it's a topic of much conversation study and discussion among linguists. It took a while before they could all agree that the "blog" is a medium, not a genre. But even the slowest of them eventually arrived at that conclusion. And some of them think our often unconventional grammar is fascinating. Basically, they recognize that all of us in the blogosphere are part of something linguistically awesome. Or something like that. 

- - - 

Sources:
Peterson, Eric E. "How Conversational are Weblogs?." Language@Internet 8 (2011): n. pag. Web. <http://www.languageatinternet.org/articles/2011/Peterson>


Friday, July 11, 2014

Rewind: Tonari no Seki-kun

Throughout the Winter Season, and half of Spring, I looked forward to Sundays because of Tonari no Seki-kun. It was my 7-minute break between homework, my guaranteed chuckle in an evening otherwise spent on neglected (or just plain big) assignments.

It's a simple anime. Each short episode follows Yokoi Rumi, a well-behaved student, as she's distracted by the antics of her classmate Seki-kun. Seki-kun doesn't say anything or even make much noise. He just spends his class time on elaborate games and activities. Rumi tries to stop him at first, but she ends up following his play closely. She becomes sympathetic to perceived characters in his games, and eventually, sympathetic toward him.

I can't remember why, but in episode 6, Rumi decides to take
custody of Seki's robot family for a bit. 
Really, it's all quite amusing. I gave Tonari no Seki-Kun 5/5 stars on Anime-Planet, because there isn't much they could do better with this comedic short. Sure, the animation isn't stunning, but stunning animation would be out of place in this show. 

There's not much else to say, except that I recommend you check this out. Tonari no Seki-kun is one of those simple pleasures that can brighten your day.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Origins: Blogs (Part 2—Linguists, Genres, and Grammar)

Over a month ago, I posted about blogs' basic history. Most of the post was excerpted from a research paper I turned in last semester, called "The Linguistics of Blogs." You might want to check that out before reading this, but you don't have to. I'd like to share more of the same paper today. Did you know that, in the past, some linguists tried to shove blogs under the diary genre? I think that they all know better now. It's interesting to read their studies and articles—they think so hard about blogs, which I now consider to be a natural part of my life.

The rest is excerpted, with slight edits, from my essay.

- - - 

Blogs meld historical means of communication with modern technology. The result is unique, but some have still tried to fit it in more traditional categories. Many, especially in the blogosphere's early days, considered blogs to be a development of the personal diary. Laurie McNeill's 2005 article "Genre Under Construction: The Diary on the Internet" is based on the premise that blogs are "simply another kind or function of the diary genre, one particularly well-suited to contemporary diarists" (McNeill 6). Certainly, there are similarities. Like diaries, blogs have dated entries, which usually appear in chronological order. And many blogs do fit into the diary genre. In 2006, David Crystal wrote that the genre, which shows "a narrative account of events in a blogger's daily life… has been the fastest area of blog growth since 2001" (Language and the Internet 242).

However, blogs cannot be confined to a single genre. Crystal proposes a spectrum of blog purposes, with personal diaries on one end and corporate or institution-based blogs on the other end (Language and the Internet 240). Blogs can be written by one person or many, and some are run by companies. They may have no central theme, or they may focus on certain hobbies or political positions.

[At this point, most of you are probably thinking, "well, duh." But stick with me. A group of academics recently completed a study to prove that there are multiple blog genres… yes, it sounds like proving that  not all fruits are apples, but they took it very seriously. Read on.]

Last December, Dr. Alex Primo, Gabriela Zago, Erika Oikawa, and Gilberto Consoni of The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul published a blog theme study in Discourse and Communication. In this study, they developed 36 subcategories of themes found in a sample of almost 7,000 posts. A few of the most common themes were technology, politics, mass media, and visual arts (352). The study only used Brazilian posts, but its broader conclusion applies across cultures in the blogosphere: blogs are more varied in theme than ever. "The online practice of self-expression" is no longer a sufficient model for explaining blogs. Further, "The view of blogs as a genre is also misleading, as it confuses medium and genres" (Primo et al. 355).

While blogs cannot be confined to any genre, the diary genre does show its linguistic freedom most clearly. Unlike traditionally printed work, blogs contain "freely written prose," untouched by standardization and editors. In his Internet Linguists: A Student Guide, David Crystal notes that syntax online is generally the same as offline, which some evolution according to the new mediums, or "outputs," as he calls them. He does, however, single out blogging as an output  where "some interesting syntactic developments could be taking place" (67). 

Crystal writes, "It is a syntax that reflects the way writers think and speak." Standard sentence divisions rarely come naturally in thoughts. Thus, "there is the unconstrained use of the dash to mark a change in the direction of thought, ellipses to show incompleteness, and the use of commas to mark pauses in rhythm" (68). At the same time, bloggers may leave out punctuation they consider unnecessary or troublesome, such as apostrophes. The grammar is unconventional, but present (69). A few similar styles appear in literature, such as James Joyce's stream of consciousness writing, but that is the limit. 

Even Joyce's work endured a level of editing and standardization. With blogs, however, there is no filter between author and reader except what they put there themselves. This kind of free, unmediated publication was normal in the Middle Ages, before standardization. In Language and the Internet, Crystal refers to "the spontaneous letter-writting of the late Middle Ages, for example, or some of the manuscript accounts of law-court proceedings…" Then, in the later part of the 1700s, grammar and usage manuals rose to power. These institutionalized "standard language," which became totalitarian "when publishers developed copy-editing procedures to ensure that their newspapers, magazines, and books conformed to an in-house style" (Language and the Internet 245). Of course, bloggers are not free from the influence of standardized English, and even the least conventional posts contain elements learned in school and recreational reading. And there are bloggers who "would be mortified if their text appeared in the blogosphere with a missing apostrophe" (246). Still, no matter what kind of grammar bloggers use, blogs, especially personal ones, stand separate from printed work in an important way: they are "a variety of writing intended for public consumption, which appears exactly as the author wrote it, which is not constrained by other genre conventions, and which privileges linguistic idiosyncrasy" (246). 

- - -

There's another small section of my blog linguistics paper, but this is enough for now. When I first researched this, I couldn't help but think of my own blogging habits, as well as some of the blogs I like to read. A lot of what Crystal said about ellipses and dashes is right on track. He didn't mention strikethrough, a formatting device that I've seen bloggers use for a humorous touch (or other purposes), and which is not replicable in spoken communication. But I can't expect his books to cover every cool way bloggers communicate. 

And so, another Origins post is finally done and posted. I hope you find this information at least half as interesting as I do.

- - -

Sources:
Crystal, David. Language and the Internet. 2 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006. Print.
Crystal, David. Internet Linguistics: A Student Guide. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. Print.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Introvert's Guide to Boundaries and Friendship Behavior

I've mentioned this before, but friendship isn't exactly my area of expertise. For the several of my teen years, I was pretty lonely. Not friendless, but lonely. My longtime close friends lived in another town, and I was convinced it was impossible for me to make new friends, or to deepen the friendships I had at school. It took several years and three semesters of dorm life to gain the relative confidence I have now.

Of course, I'll always be an introvert, and I'm still clumsy when it comes to friendship. So I guess it's no surprise that I liked The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, an anime about Usa, a normal guy, and his introverted senpai, Ritsu.

Usa is on library duty when he first sees Ritsu in episode 1.
It's a rather affirming anime for me, as an introvert. It gives assurance, through the kind Usa-kun, that a friend (even, maybe, a potential love interest) could care enough to work with my need for quiet time. It also gives a lesson on how to draw boundaries and retain sanity after making friends. I've learned some of this through my own experience with the wonderful people I've met at college. So I know that, as ridiculous as Kawai Complex can be, it's not wrong about basic friendship things.

That's one reason that I like Kawai Complex so much. But there's one other thing: this anime portrays introversion extremely well. Each introvert is unique, because we're each a unique person. My needs and comforts are slightly different than Ritsu's. I don't always hate events with lots of people. But I'm still just as introverted as she is, and I feel like this show might advocate for introverts a bit.

[Before I write more, a disclaimer: there's a lot of sexual "humor" in Kawai Complex. In fact, there's so much of it, I'm surprised Hulu doesn't show it as TV-MA (seriously, though—Hetalia gets the mature rating, and Kawai Complex doesn't? That ain't right). I don't like any of the sexual humor, but I like Usa and Ritsu well enough, so I watched all 12 episodes.]

What's so great about how Kawai Complex portrays introversion and friendship?

First, they emphasize the difference between being alone and being lonely. Ritsu loves reading by herself, and she doesn't necessarily want to be interrupted, even if there are people having fun nearby. I can identify with that. Sometimes, at big events, I like to just sit to the side and observe, write, or read. And I'm content.

Of course, introverts can still get lonely, and we appreciate friendship. I think Kawai Complex shows that well. It includes the "what not to do" approach to friendship in the eleventh episode, when Rit-chan seems to make a new friend.

My fellow introverts, in the last two episodes of Kawai Complex, we learn a valuable lesson about boundaries. Boundaries can be hard, especially if you want people to like you, and especially if you finally have someone who's pursuing friendship with you. However, boundaries are necessary. Without them, we may go insane and lose our ability to be good friends to anyone.

For example, I dislike holding any significant conversations over text. It's cumbersome, even though I have a full keyboard, and I don't like feeling obligated to answer immediately. So, when I give my number to a friend who might be a texter, I say something like, "Just so you know, I'm not a big texter. I like texting about little things, since it's convenient and efficient, but it's not my favorite way to talk. I do better with chatting online or on the phone."

If I don't set boundaries with my phone, I feel exactly like Rit-chan
looks in this frame from episode 11: worn out and annoyed.
If I get sucked into a texting conversation anyway, I first consider my friend's feelings. I don't want to hurt them. Sometimes, I'll suggest that we move the conversation to chatting online. If I do stick to texting, I purposefully space out my replies, so they don't get used to my immediate response. I don't want them to get worried when I don't respond for over an hour.

And sometimes, whether it's by text, internet, phone, or even in person, I simply say, "Okay, I should really go now. I have things I need to get done (including recharge with alone time)."

There were times, especially when I lived in the dorms at school, when I didn't know how to set the boundaries I knew I desperately needed. There were girls in my hall who I really did like. They had tender hearts and a lot of conversation and emotion to share. But eventually, I ended up like this:

Ritsu complains to Usa in ep 12.
I called my parents one afternoon my freshman year, and I said something like this: "I love this girl, but I can't handle her coming by my room all the time! I don't want to cut her out completely, and maybe we can have lunch in the dining hall sometime, but I'm stressed out, and I need to be alone and at peace!"

Actually, I'm pretty sure I've called my parents with similar problems on multiple occasions, but that particular call to Dad sticks out to me. With his encouragement, I knew I needed to gently draw the line. The other girl was as understanding of my need to be alone as any extrovert can be. At the very least, she understood that too much interaction could trigger my anxiety.

For my part, I filled a couple pages of my journal with prayer, Bible verses, and problem-solving. I knew that, at times, I needed to give up my alone time for the sake of another person. My well-being was important, but it was neither more nor less important than my friend's. I asked God for help loving my friends and, at the same time, finding balance. When I drew a boundary between me and another person, I didn't want that boundary to leave them completely in the cold.

Exuberant, extroverted people occasionally struggle to understand our needs, and, sometimes, friendship with them doesn't go beyond surface-level interaction. In Kawai Complex, Ritsu started to make friends with a fellow book-lover… but the other girl was far more extroverted than she was, and was utterly exhausting to be with. She wasn't considerate of Ritsu's feelings, and she didn't take the effort to understand when Ritsu explained that she didn't like certain social events or too much emailing. Instead, this other girl dismissed Ritsu and went back to friends that were "on the same wavelength" and enjoyed nearly 24/7 interaction.

Later in the twelfth episode, Ritsu stated that she couldn't make any friends. In the screenshot below, her reasoning is shown in blue letters: "I don't think I'll ever find someone on my wavelength!"



It does get discouraging. Ritsu isn't just a little bit introverted, and she's not just a casual reader. She seriously can't handle too many people, or too much time actively hanging out with anyone. And she seriously loves her books. How will she ever find someone who needs and likes the same things she does?

I've wondered the same things. I'm not just a little bit introverted. I need more than a few hours to recharge each day, and I often go weeks before I need to hang out with a friend. And I don't just kind of like anime… I really like it. Most of all, I like being an aniblogger. Writing and my time online (limited as it my have to be, when even social media becomes too social for me) are important to me. How will I ever find a friend who shares both my introversion and all of my hobbies, a friend who knows me both online and off?

The answer is that I probably won't, and Ritsu won't, either.

So, people are exhausting, and we'll never find anyone that's exactly like us. Thus, we can't make friends. Right?

No. That's an easy statement to say, with reasoning that we can hide behind, but it's just a coward's shield. Here are some other lines I've said:

"None of the other girls here need friendship like I do. They already have good friends, so they don't need me. I'd just take their time and energy unnecessarily, and they'd share their hearts with the friends they already have."

"We all graduate and go to different colleges in less than a year, anyway. That's not enough time to make a good, lasting friendship."

"I don't have the energy to make friends, and I don't know how to anyway. Putting myself out there anymore will just worsen my anxiety."

If friendship is impossible, then we don't have to try, and we don't have to be hurt if we're rejected.

But it's not impossible. And if we don't try, it still hurts.

One of Ritsu's older housemates had a great response when she despaired of ever making friends. She told Ritsu that it doesn't matter if you match wavelengths. What matters is whether you can get along anyway.

And that's true. I had a great roommate last fall, the last semester before I moved out of the dorms. We were pretty different. She needed a fair amount of people time, while I couldn't get enough alone time. Our hobbies overlapped, but only barely—she still hasn't seen any of my anime. But she was sweet and considerate. And now, I consider her to be a dear friend. Sure, we didn't start out on the same wavelength. So we kind of made a new one between us. I enjoyed listening to what was important to her. And, after I moved out, she actually said she missed listening to me talk about anime.

Friends help each other grow. They learn to appreciate, and even enjoy, the things that are important to each other.

When someone shows any level of interest in what's important to me, I'm happy. If they start investing time and effort in me and in learning about my interests, I'm thrilled. That's why I love Usa-kun so much; he invests not only in an idealized version of Ritsu, but in learning about the real her. He doesn't ask about her books just because he wants to win her over or even, as he said, "to make her feel better. I'm genuinely interested. I want to learn to enjoy the things Senpai enjoys."

Of course, Usa is interested in Ritsu as more than just a friend. But he's starting out that way, and I expect their relationship will slowly develop, even if we don't get to see it on screen. Since their relationship is potentially more than friendship, I have even more interest. Because if a girl questions her ability to make friends, she's definitely going to question the idea of anyone pursuing her as more than a friend. But that's a bigger, more vulnerable topic. So I think I'd better end here.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Schedule? What Schedule?

It's Saturday night. I only worked six hours today, but the accumulative effects from this week (scratch that—this month!) have me exhausted. I lounge on my bed, watching TV, browsing a few posts on Beneath the Tangles… and then I realize: It's Saturday. Yesterday was Friday. I should have posted a Rewind or Origins post!

Here's the deal: I'm busy, and it's not like during school, when I look at my planner multiple times a day to see what homework I have and what I'm supposed to do. Thus, I don't write "blog post" in a slot for Friday evenings, and I definitely don't check to see what I planned to write.

I want to write. I need to write, for my sake. And I have written a little. In fact, I started a post related to The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, and I hope to finish it soon.

But I haven't figured out how to make writing (of any type) a priority in my already full schedule. And that's not the only thing I've left out. I haven't spent much time with God, or doing chores. I don't particularly like the messy state of my room. In some ways, my scheduling is worse than during the school year. I'm used to my college life, including the stressors involved. I'm not used to balancing work and internship stuff.

While I'm working, I help customers best I can, smiling as much as appropriate. I move almost constantly at the store and try to let my mistakes roll off my back. When I work for the publishing company, I sound professional on the phone and generally do what I can, learning all the while. But when I come home, I collapse.

For the first time, my summer is more about work than play or writing. This marks another step into adulthood, and I'm scrambling to keep up.

To all the (older) adults who work full time (particularly at retail stores) and live balanced lives: you are amazing. Someday, I want to be like you. And by someday, I mean next week, not in five years. In five years, I want to write or edit all day.

To said workers who also have kids: …wow. Just… wow. You are heroes.

It's not that I dislike any of my work. I'm just slow to adjust, and I'm clearly disoriented when it comes to days of the week. Sorry about that.

I'll post something more substantial soon. I think. No promises.

And no promises about Friday, either.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Internal Calendar Broke in the Swamp

Oops. It was Friday a couple hours ago, wasn't it? I'm sorry. My internal schedule is kind of messed up right now. I worked last weekend, so I lost track of the days. I knew it was Friday because I knew when to show up at work. I also knew that I needed to plan some internship-related stuff around the incoming weekend. Somehow, I didn't connect those facts with the fact that it's Origin/Rewind/Blog post day.

Welp, it's already Saturday. I missed my window of opportunity, and I need to sleep a while before going to work. So, instead of an Origins post… I'll give a quick update on me. This summer is a lot busier for me than last summer was.

First, I was blessed with an internship at a small publishing company. As my regular readers probably know, I am a creative writing major. I like to write, edit, and generally work with words. So this is a wonderful opportunity. And they're willing to work around my work schedule, which is great.

A screenshot from Servant x Service's OP. This show and Working!!
have been on my mind a lot lately, for obvious reasons. If those
characters can hold a normal job, then so can I. 
I spent several weeks job hunting, filling out applications, and waiting for phone calls. Finally, we finished the application process at a retail chain store. It's a part time, seasonal job… but I started out at 40-hour weeks (mostly for training purposes, I think). I have less hours now, but I'm still working five days out of seven.

The other cashiers tell me that my feet will eventually adjust to this work. I'm trying to believe them.

I like my job. My coworkers and customers are all wonderful. I've only encountered one or two grumpy customers—and I didn't even realize one of them was grumpy, because a coworker spotted the signs and came over to help before it got bad. People are generally kind and understanding when they realize that I'm new… and that's a really good thing, because there is a lot involved in cashiering. I'm slowly getting better, but I still ask a lot of questions and make mistakes. And some of the mistakes make me want to crawl into a nice, cozy hole for the rest of the summer.

Since I'm down to part time hours now, I can do more for the publishing company… like make phone calls. Phones kind of scare me. My first fear comes before I touch the phone: What if it's a bad time? Then, as I start dialing: Careful, I don't want a wrong number. Let's triple check this. Then: Okay, don't fumble the words.

I have a script, which helps (I rarely make any kind of phone call without planning what I say first). It also helps to know that I'm helping the people I call. And I have pretty good phone skills, even though I get nervous about it.

Basically, I have a lot of opportunities to grow this summer. I'm working hard, facing my fears, and learning. It's good for me, and often fun. But school is starting to look more relaxing… no, I take that back. April was stressful. I might be busy this summer, but at least I always get more than two hours of sleep at night.

Speaking of sleep, it's way past night-night time. G'night! Good morning! Next Friday, remind me what day it is!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rewind: Attack on Titan

Last spring and summer, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) captured countless anime fans, including me. Everything, from the beautiful animation to the frequent horrors, demanded our weekly attention. And so we watched. And now, every Saturday, we get to watch Toonami Tweeters react to the same heart-wrenching moments we endured last year.

I like Attack on Titan a lot, and I look forward to seeing another season. But does it really deserve all this hype? I think so.
Eren and Mikasa in episode 11. 
When I watched the first episode, I immediately noticed the animation. Scenes set late in the afternoon were particularly potent: the lighting and color palette beautifully reflected both the fading sunlight and the endangered state of the human race. Black lines of varying thickness outlined the figures in a way that reminded me a little of American superhero comics (not that I've actually read any). It took me a few minutes to adjust to them, but I soon embraced the lines as part of the show's character.

This lovely art, combined with many murder scenes, produced an interesting effect. I admired the way the artists depicted horror and gore, even as my gut clenched and my hand covered my gaping mouth. Beauty and shock are powerful enchanters on their own. When they team up, few viewers can escape their grip.

But Attack on Titan had more on its side than emotional highs. The entire premise was fascinating: giant, mysterious, human-like Titans eat so many humans, they threaten our race's very existence. Humans barricade themselves behind three walls, and for a hundred years, that is enough. Then the outer wall, Wall Maria, is breached. The nightmare resumes.

Eren, the primary protagonist, is the typical tragic hothead. At a young age, he watched a Titan eat his mom alive, and by the time we reach the meat of the series, it's been years since he last saw his dad. He is dead-set on vengeance, and only his strategizing weakling friend, Armin, and his loyal friend/foster sister/girl Mikasa keep him from going completely off the deep end.

Like I said, typical… right?

A special Titan in episode 11. I'd explain, but I want to avoid
big spoilers. Note the person climbing up his face.
Actually, I have a hard time writing the main characters off as mere archetypes. That's only part of their makeup.

Yes, Eren is a vengeful hothead. But it's realistic. It's hard for anyone, let along a youth, to process such overwhelming horror, grieve, heal, and grow into a balanced person.

And Armin? Is he just a smart scardey-cat? Nah. Some people were annoyed at his "wimpiness," at how he'd freeze up in the face of a Titan attack. But how many of us could do better? And he grows throughout the series. He unlocks his potential as a valuable strategist, and he's determined to help his friends in their fight against the Titans. He's probably my favorite character.

Mikasa… well, I don't want to spend too much more time on this, so I'll keep this short. I like her well enough, and I enjoy watching her fight. I think it's interesting and sad that, as far as we know, her mother was the last full-blooded Japanese.

Jean, like Armin, grows a lot in the series, and I enjoyed watching his development. He turned from one of the least likable guys in bootcamp to an admirable leader among the recruits.

So, character development was good. Plot was interesting. On a slightly less thoughtful note, the OPs were amazing.

On a more thoughtful note, Attack on Titan brought up an important question, one that must be pondered in all human conflict: Is it okay to abandon one's humanity in order to save humanity? I'm not just talking about physical transformation into a non-human.

I'd like to examine that question more as it relates to this anime, but I think it's worth its own post (one I may never write). For now, it's enough to point out that Attack on Titan gets a tad philosophical. It's not just a beautifully animated thrill ride, and it definitely deserves the hype.