Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ya know what's really wrong with this "you can't make a Superman movie like a Batman movie" nonsense?

I did a post on this topic way back in 2015.  That was back before BvS came out, now my relationship to that film has become much more complicated but I remain ultimately a defender.  That post was about the Comic Book precedent for specific stuff, this is a about something deeper.

The problem with the way people are saying "you can't make a Superman movie like a Batman movie" the way these Snyder haters are is that they're saying it in a way that implies doing the opposite would be equally wrong.  And yet it's clearly not, even according these same people.

Batman stories that are not dark and in fact pretty light have been incredibly popular and successful.  From the Adam West Batman, to Batman: The Brave and The Bold to the Lego Batman movie and Batman Unlimited.  And I should remind people Batman Forever was until 2008 the second highest grossing Batman movie.  Not to mention that the comics themselves were consistently kid friendly for 30 years from 1940 to 1970.  And along side Denny O'Niel and Frank Robbins work there was plenty of goofy Batman stuff still being made in the Bronze Age thanks to writers like Bob Haney.

There was a time when these not Dark takes on Batman were considered inherently offensive by many loud fans, insisting being not dark was the reason Batman and Robin failed.  But the success of the Brave and the Bold cartoon has largely marginalized that mentality.  And now the people whining "that's not my Batman" are saying it about him killing or using guns, or being too paranoid, and these people will with a straight face say Batman and Robin is a better film then Batman V Superman. Today the Bright Knight is considered equally as valid as the Dark Knight.

So no, saying "you can't make Superman like Batman" isn't sufficient reason to say a darker (emphasis on "er" since I don't actually consider Snyder's vision that dark) take on Superman is inherently wrong.

Since the Golden Age comics are the justification for saying Batman was Dark originally, here's something I'd like to point out, the very earliest Siegel and Shuster Superman stories had the same tone as the earliest Batman stories.  Those stories dealt with very real issues of the time, and their Superman did not have any kind of no kill rule, they modeled him after Samson remember.  And also frankly those early Batman stories weren't actually as Dark as they're made out to be, stuff happens that seems like gritty subject matter on paper, but it's actually treated about the same as the Silver Age treated it's subject matter.  Don't judge a book by it's cover, the most popular Golden Age covers to Dark Batman Fanboys was on the inside a pretty ridiculous story.

And I think it's more valid to use the original creators vision as an argument for how to do Superman then it is Batman because originally Batman was a cash grab derivative character.  Superman was a passion project of struggling artists who's run away success was why Batman was created to begin with.

But even if it was true that from their inception Superman was the shining hopeful one and Batman the utterly dark one.  Why should a light take on a dark character be considered inherently more acceptable then a dark take on a light character?

If the objection is fear that parents and kids will assume something is okay for them based on the brand name alone.  That again goes the same both ways, in fact making a kids show from a property that's dark in origin should be worse, because even as I kid I was interested in things like continuity, so yes if you show your kids a 70s Godzilla movie they might wind up asking to see the original Godzilla movie.

The fact is, lots of kids grow up to desire seeing the shows from their childhood grow up with them.  There has been a backlash against Dark Magical Girl shows kind of comparable to we're seeing with Man of Steel's rejection.  But the thing is Gundam was a darker and grittier take on a genre that had previously been consistently for children also.  And thus that backlash has not been nearly so seemingly universal.

For me, the show from my childhood that I sometimes turn to preciously because I can count on it to be optimistic and fairly consequence free is Pokemon.  But sometimes I myself imagine what a truly darker take on that premise could be like.  It's of course already had moments that can be dark in the same way a Disney movie can sometimes get dark.  But at the end of the day, no, I don't want it to get any darker then the darkest moments of the first 5 movies.  However if a Dark and Gritty Pokemon movie becomes inevitable, I'll either not watch it, or give it a chance and not re-watch it if it fails to engage me.  I'm not gonna go around saying "that's not my Pokemon".  My problem with Mystery of the Mirage Pokemon is not that it's arguably dark, it's that it failed to even try to be entertaining.  Meaning it'd compare it to Superman Returns before I would Man of Steel.

The difference between Superman and the Magical Girl Warrior genre is not that one is a single character the other an entire genre, Superman has produced more content then some entire sub genres. The main reason I find the people whining about Dark Magical Girls so annoying is that there is no shortage of the traditional stuff still coming out.  We still have nearly 50 episodes of PreCure every year (that alone dwarfs the amount of Dark Magical Episodes we get each year) and two movies, plus during this time we've had a Sailor Moon revival, a Cardcaptor Sakura revival, and new stuff like Twin Angel Break and Hina Logic.  And then there is stuff that tries to find a balance between these two extremes, Symphogear, Fate/Kheliad Liner Prisma Illya, and we've had new installments of the Nanoha franchise.

The problem with Superman is DC's been failing to give the traditionalists what they want anywhere.  The Comics will often forget that Clark Kent is a thing, in Animation he stopped getting solo projects for a long time after MOS came out until they finally decided to take a second shot at the Death of Superman, I love that story-line but shouldn't we actually show this Superman alive first?  And in Video Games it's primarily been Injustice.

The Supergirl TV show was the best the Michael Baily style Superman fans have gotten, being a mix of early Post-Crisis and Donnerverse sensibilities.  But Superman himself only occasionally shows up on that.  And I don't know if it's still good, I stopped following DC TV shows early in it's second season.

So I think there might have been much more acceptance of Snyder's Superman if we'd had an Animated TV show in the vain of Batman: Brave and The Bold, maybe give that show's Superman a spin off.  As me, I still judge Snyder's films on their own merits, and issues aside I think it is a valid take on Superman.  Here's a good video essay I watched recently.

If your objection to the title of this post is that, "those light takes on Batman aren't exactly the same thing as a Superman story" then you've invalidated this as an argument against MOS in the first place.  No MOS is not exactly like a Batman movie either, BvS gave us some scenes of what a Snyder directed Batman movie would be like, and there was nothing like that in Man of Steel.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Anime Weekly Update: Spring is finished, now Fall can fully begin.

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-San aka Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood’s second episode was also a lot of fun.  I have decent hopes for this one.  Perhaps a good shorthand for it would be Ms. Vampire.

Episode 8 of Attack On Titan season 3 was pretty good again, this is dwarfing the entertainment value of season 2.

Something I wasn’t aware of last week, the official episode description for the pilot of Release The Spyce began with “The Spyce must flow” in the English version at least.  So they definitely know what they’re doing.

Episode 2 was a pretty good follow up, it explained some more about how this world works.

Now to talk about SAO Alicization.  Because of the double length premier I have no idea if this episode I just watched will ultimately be numbered as 2 or 3, but it’s title was The Demon Tree.

I thought Alicization was getting a full year because it’s an arc that spanned like 7 Novels.  But I’m now starting to suspect that it won’t actually do much more than a usual SA arc and they’re just really stretching it out.  I know that Digibro accuses all SAO sequel arcs of having slow starts, but you see I don’t mind a slow start to a certain extent.  Three episodes into Alfheim and Gun Gale I felt definitely gave me an engaging set up to what we were starting.  Here I feel like I’ve just watched three different pilots to three different shows.

I don’t think I can get used to Kirito’s Japanese VA.  For one thing while both VAs I’m pretty sure are older then Kirito’s actual age, the Japanese one does not sound like a Young Adult at all IN this episode especially if I heard that voice in a Hentai I’d assume it’s the rapist teacher who’s about to NTR a character Kirito’s age. 

Bryce Papenbrook might be easy to write off as the generic Senian Harem king with a Hero complex Dub voice.  But while Eren, Shiro and Kirito all clearly have the same English voice I can still clearly tell them apart.  Kirito is the most mentally stable of this Triumvirate and Bryce thus plays him in a much more subdued way.

Episode 36 of Hugtto!PreCure was crossover madness.  Not a lot for me to chew on with the four teams I care about the most being missing.  But next week is looking to be quite a treat.  Which reminds me, I've been meaning to do a blog post on how the first three PreCure Allstar movies were better crossover films then the first Avengers movie.

Steins;Gate 0 had a pretty dope ending. I’ll give the show a 9.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

My advice to Universal for reviving it's Monster franchise

I did a post abut my thoughts on where the Dark Universe could go last year called The Temptation of Frankenstein.  Now it seems like the Dark Universe is clearly dead.  So I have some new advice that complements that post pretty well actually.

My advice for how to start a New Universal Monsters Shared Cinematic Universe is, don't.  You don't need to start one, just make new movies in continuity with the classic 30s and 40s films.

I know you're concerned it won't be comparable to Marvel if it isn't pre-planned from the start, and those old monster movies don't have a very consistent continuity.  But the MCU does have continuity issues of it's own.

Universal should take advantage of the fact that they already have a popular shared Cinematic Universe.  Don't listen to the people who say DC failed cause it didn't start with Origin stories, DC's issues are deeper then that.  Plenty of fans are tired of Origin films.

"But won't following the canon of the 30s and 40s movies hinder the ability to make things more diverse?"  No it won't, I'm saying make new stories bringing that canon into the present.  There is still room for new characters including new Monsters.

You can actually address the fact that Lucy was never dealt with in Universal's Dracula movie.  And fix the issue of Karloff's monster being able to survive the end of Bride but not the titular Bride.  And you can bring back Dracula's Daughter and explore her psychology including Bisexuality even deeper. And this time cast actual Coptic actors to play the Egyptians in the Mummy movies.

I would be fine with having a new character be the Werewolf of this saga.  Lawrence Talbot is the one character where, in the same continuity, I'd have trouble with an actor other then Lon Chaney Jr. playing him.  Let Talbot keep his happy ending from House of Dracula.  The guy who wrote The Wolfman was an immigrant fleeing the Nazis and that influenced him allegorically.  So in a modern setting have the new Werewolf be Mexican.

This is kind of the same advice I'd give Toho now that they've announced plans to make an MCU style shared Universe after Legendary finishes theirs in 2020.  Don't start from scratch, Shin Godzilla was special but for the most part I liked them always at least keeping the original Gojira as canon.  But now I'd say go further then that and outright revive the Sowa Universe.  Or if you don't want to bring back a full heroic Godzilla, make Godzilla Vs Mothra the break off point.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I've watched Shin Godzilla twice

Both subbed and dubbed.  I watched the Dub first with my family since they can't really watch stuff subbed like I can, and watching something subbed is easier for me if I've seen it before.  I then watched the Sub.  I'll get to comparing them later, first a more general review.

It's good, I liked it and highly recommend it.

As many know, Godzilla was originally just an English pronunciation of Gojira, to the Japanese it never had a theophoric name.  Though they've been aware of implications of the English pronunciation long enough to use it to mock the 98 Godzilla in Final Wars in 2004.  This movie chose to flat out make that a a theme putting it right in the title, Shin is another way to say Kami, the Japanese Kanji commonly translated god/God.

This movie was directed by someone most known for directing Anime, most famously Evangelion, music was ripped right from Evangleion.  The Godzilla franchise was arguably an influence on the first episode of Evangelion to begin with, so it all kind fits together.  And I think that's part of why they went with letting FUNimation localize it (the Dub has some VAs in common with the Rebuild of Evangelion films).

Also two of the female characters in this film seemed like Anime Girls, which is why I think they're much better written then we usually get from female characters in Godzilla films. Both Ogashiro and Ms. Patterson were pretty cool characters.

I don't really want to say much about the Fukushima commentary since Pause and Select did a great video on it, and Digibro and Tommy Oliver discussed it.   I hope the guy who does Dark Corners will consider doing a video on it as a follow up to his video about Gojira being a truly unique film.

And as a Pokemaniac I love how the Atomic Breath is basically Hyper Beam now.

I'm disappointed to learn that there won't be a direct sequel to this, the next Japanese LA Godzilla will be a another MCU style Shared Universe experiment.  I would have liked to see a sequel exploring the Humanoid Godzilla offspring and perhaps also continuing the Shin theme more by having actual cults worshiping Godzilla.

As a major enthusiast of Anime Dubs, I'm also well aware LA dubbing is different.  With campy movies like most Godzilla films or Italian Sword and Sandal films that obviously dubbed awkwardness can add to their charm, but this is a serious Gojira film like the original and the 84 film.  You should watch this movie in Japanese if you're at all able, but I know some people can't handle watching stuff Subbed at all and I understand that.

That said, this Dub was good, Erwin Schmit as Hideki Akasaka worked very well.  Maybe it's just cause I've developed a unique fondness for the VAs FUNimation usually uses.  But they know this is a serious film they're dubbing, they did take it seriously.

And the character of Kayoko Ann Patterson kind of does inherently work better in the Dub.  Her backstory says she should know English better then she does Japanese, her father's a US Senator, she says she's not good with Honorifics and she intents to be President some day.  But her Japanese actress can't sell that, when she's speaking English she obviously sounds like she has no idea what she's saying.  It's a shame this one issue hinders her performance because she seems like a perfectly fine actress otherwise.  Her Dub actress is really obviously Kirisu of Steins;Gate and frankly that choice worked perfectly, I just learned she's also Mikasa Ackerman of Attack on Titan, I didn't even know they were the same, I'm impressed.

As far as the translation goes, the exact wording is different but the Sub and Dub are always saying basically the same thing.  If I wanted to get nit picky with it both have examples where I'd say the other seems more natural.  I of course am not qualified to judge the accuracy of either.

So whichever way you prefer to watch your Godzilla films, this one will be enjoyable.

Monday, October 8, 2018

October's first Weekly Anime Update

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-San aka Ms. Vampire Who Lives in My Neighborhood had a perfectly adorable pilot.  There was a period where Vampire based fiction was a top obsession of mine, I started this blog when that phase was winding down. I wish I could have seen this show and Tsukihime back then.

I know I said last week I was gonna include Slime and Goblin Slayer in the simuldubs I was gonna watch.  But with both I’ve since heard a lot of things about them being Dark and Gritty in ways I prefer my Isekai to not be.  So I probably simply won’t try them after all.

The first episode of Release The Spyce was fun.  Since I first heard of it I’d been joking about the title making me think of Dune.  But it turns out the titular Spyce does kind of the do the same thing Melange does.

Attack On Titan season 3 episode 7 was pretty darn good again, season 3 is easily proving to be way better than season 2 was.

The premier of Sword Art Online: Alicization was 47 minutes, I suspect MAL will ultimately classify it has two episodes.  The first half was not to exciting but has me curious.  The Gun Gale Online segment was fun, I had no idea how much I wanted to see Sylica manning a machine gun.  It seems like they might be planning to play even more into the Gnostic themes I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on.  This is my first time watching this cast with their Japanese VAs, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get used to them.

Hugtto!PreCure episode 35 was okay.

Steins;Gate 0 episode 22 was very good, I’m quite excited to see the ending now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

An update on my Black Coat Press and Tales of The Shadowmen interests

Been a while since I said much specifically on that subject.  It'll be awhile before I can contribute to the Tales of The Shadowmen anthology series since the story ideas I've been having lately haven't been on that subject, Anime has taken over my imagination.  And of course I always have trouble getting my stories actually written down anyway, having an explicit deadline helped motivate me when I was writing TOTS stories.

I also feel bad that I still haven't finished The Companions of Silence, I bought the book early this year and started it, I like it as much as I do most Paul Feval stuff, but my mind has been fixating on other things.  This February The White Wolf is being released, it has had English versions before but they're rare and hard to find.  I hope they follow that up with The She Wolf.

I spent a good deal of time last year recommending Princess Principal to fellow Shadowmen fans.  It's set in an alternate Steam Punk version of Victorian England, but a lot of it's themes feel more appropriate for post-Revolutionary France.  But regardless plenty of the French novels we like used Britain as a setting, from The Mysteries of London to the last three Rocambole novels to John Devil.

I bring it up again now because it's Dub has finally dropped.  Now I haven't watched said Dub yet, I know from the trailer they actually went with British Accents which is a decision I'm actually rather skeptical of.  Noir's Dub worked great without any accents, I love Anime dub VAs but accents aren't their strong suite.  Still I will give a shot eventually.

The show is legally streaming on both HIDIVE and Amazon Prime, I think only HIDIVE has the Dub but I'm unsure, it may be you need to buy the DVDs for the full Dub.  Either way neither can be streamed for free, they are not making it easy for me to show this show to outsiders.

Something else about Princess Principal is I feel the episodes should be watched in Chronological order.
2, 3, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12

A lot happens in Anime that reminds me of my Francophilic tendencies.  This coming Fall Season will have yet another Anime version of Jeanne d'Arc in a show that's also about Alchemy.  We also had more Lupin III Anime this year, I won't be watching Part V till it's Dub airs however, which based on the time-frame for Part IV I suspect will be next year.  All the main Lupin III shows are on Crunchyroll Subbed right now, but suddenly The Woman Called Fujiko Mine isn't streaming anywhere.

Thanks to Hulu dropping most of what it had, Rose of Versailles and Revolutionary Girl Utena can't be legally streamed anywhere now either. That's really frustrating.

Lastly I want to talk about an observation I made about Pokemon Heroes: Latios & Latias, the Fifth Pokemon movie.  This observation can only be fully understood by others who have read Knightshade (Brian Stableford's translation of Paul Feval's Le Chevalier Ténèbre), including it's introduction and afterward material.

I feel that Annie and Oakley can be thematically compared to the Ténèbre Brothers.  They are called sisters in material I've read though I don't recall that being explicitly stated in the Dub.  Oakley is definitely Avarice.  Calling Annie "Lust" may be a bit more of a stretch since it's a kid's movie and all, but she is very vain and likes pretty shiny things, and is officially described as the prettier one.  This parallel is most likely a coincidence, but I enjoy making parallels between the works of this semi forgotten author and modern Nerd media.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Anime Weekly Update, Summer Ends and Halloween Season Begins

Besides the currently airing shows I’ve been mainly watching old Pokemon Stuff still.  Sometimes joining one of the TwitchPresents streams which were covering Master Quest this last week and are now starting the Advance Generation, sometimes watching old Pokemon Chronicles and Diamond and Pearl episodes on my favorite non legit site.  And also revisiting various movies.

Happy Sugar Life had a fairly unsatisfying ending, they didn’t quite go all the way either way with the different routes they could have gone.  I gave the show a 8 on MAL for now, I may change my mind later.

Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight has also ended.  This show started out great but got pretty dull, really losing me with the pointless time loop twist, and in time I mostly felt like I was forcing myself to finish it, and maybe I wouldn't have if the Summer had more shows I really got into.  It gave us a happier ending then Ikuhara usually does so that’s a plus, but not enough to make up for how dull it got.

And of course in the last episode they decided to get really on the nose with the meta commentary they were never actually making.

Attack On Titan season 3 episode 6 was pretty good, lots of interesting reveals of the show’s lore that I’d been waiting for.  I know a lot of people are gonna see revealing the Royal/Noble bloodlines to have some secret magical powers as endorsing a Feudal worldview regardless of if it’s depicting them as depraved and corrupt.  But maybe it makes more sense to look at it as the families with special powers are the ones who naturally would have taken power in the distant past in a fantasy setting, like the Targaryen’s ability to control Dragons on Game of Thrones.

Episode 34 of Hugtto!PreCure was pretty amusing.  I was late in seeing episode 33 or I probably would have commented on it in last week’s update, with that episode I think the show might have gotten its groove back.

Episode 10 of Food/Stay Night was fun as usual.

Episode 21 of Steins;Gate 0 was awesome, this is what we’ve been waiting for.

Looks like my Anime of the year is still likely to be Katana Maidens.

For the coming Fall Season, the FUNimation Simuldubs I’m likely to try are That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime, Goblin Slayer, Ulysses: Jeanne D’Arc and The Alchemist Knight, and maybe a few others when I learn more about them.  Sentai/HiDive is doing Release The Spyce, I’ll wait till the Dub starts this time and then if I don’t like the voices I can just catch up on the Sub.  SAO season 3 I may try to follow Subbed since I know it’s Dub will take awhile, there are other shows I may try like that Vampire Yuri one.

And of course I’ll be continuing AoT 3 and what’s left of Steins;Gate 0.

For October I was earlier in the year planning to do some project related to Horror Anime, but due to certain events in my life I’m not the mood for anything too dark right now.  So my Halloween Anime recommendations remain the same as they were last year in my Top 5 post and the follow up.  I did make a new Higurashi post on another blog.

Update: Okay apparently I was mistaken about which show Sentai is simuldubbing. I guess I'll have to sub Release The Spyce.