Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WWE's GImmick PPVs

This is the first Wrestling post on this blog.  My interest in Pro Wrestling tends to fluctuate.  The last time I was following it even close to regularly was the year of Daniel Bryan, the build to Wrestlemania 30 and the month of so after it.  Because my Wrestling memories are often the most compartmentalized from the rest, I was kinda surprised when I did the math today and noticed that was before I started this blog.  Shouldn't have been, as I obviously would have blogged about it if I was blogging back then, in fact this very subject was on my mind then.

Since then I've checked in here and there, but didn't feel compelled to stick around.  The last week or so however I've been getting into it again.  Yet not to able to get into actually watching and WWE programing.

Many have been complaining about doing Gimmick PPVs, but my take is a little different.

On the issue of the Gimmick PPV cheapening the match itself, I'd say that applies mainly to Hell in a Cell.  Hell in a Cell should be a feud ender, not something that happens just because it happens to be October, and so we sometimes wind up with HiaC matches between people who barely met before.

If they want to happen to write the story-lines so that most of the time a Feud reaches HiaC capacity in October, that's fine, I can suspend my disbelief for that, in 2003 and 2004 we had HiaC in the same month two years in a row and I didn't complain.  But actually calling the PPV Hell in a Cell means they don't need to justify the match in the writing at all, some happen to have fit, but most don't.  And doing more then one in the same event is overkill.  Call the October PPV Bad Blood, like the event that introduced Hell in a Cell.

Other matches simply don't feel interesting or Epic enough to carry a PPV.  Like Ladder matches, as awesome as they are, none of the great Ladder matches were the actual Main of Event of their PPV and there was a reason for that.  So that there have been two PPVs based on a variation of the Ladder match just shows how much that kind of match has become a crutch, especially in the PG era with it being the most exciting gimmick where a lack of Blood doesn't feel like a disappointment.

However I am perfectly fine with Elimination Chamber having a PPV built around it.  See any Gimmick match where the Gimmick requires more then two competitors I feel can have a PPV built around it.  Feuds may be developed in the match but don't need to be the reason the match happens. Remember, two of WWE's big four PPVs were built around gimmick matches.  Though one sadly often ignores it's founding gimmick.

My problem with Elimination Chamber is when they;re doing it.  I hate it being between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.  I would like to go back to no PPVs between those two at all.  But I especially hate having it almost guaranteed the Title will change hands (rarely does a defending Champion retain in an Elimination Chamber match).  I want the Title Match of WM to be set in stone as soon as Royal Rumble ends, if a PPV has to happen in-between let it be something that puts WM opponents on opposing teams or something like No Way Out 98 did.

Maybe put Elimination Chamber a month and a half before SummerSlam, and make it not for the Title anymore but for the Title Shot at SummerSlam.  Or put it in September, where WCW wound up settling on putting War Games for 93-99.  Or make it the October PPV if they really want a guaranteed horrifying Cage match for the Halloween season.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm pretty Easy to Please

That's one of the main areas where I don't fit in among most people who feel the need to express themselves on The Internet.  I don't think most of what Hollywod produces now is garbage, I don't think modern Anime is being ruined by Cute Girls, and I don't think Pop is destroying Music.

I have enjoyed the vast majority of fiction I've consumed.  And I've fallen in love with a pretty large percentage of that.  And I aboslutly hate only one particular movie that I do not wish to name.   Most of the other things I may complain about have some significant redeeming qualities that I have no hesitation to acknowledge.

Of course maybe it only seems that way because I'm unintentionally good at avoiding what I wouldn't like.  As much as I've been mostly only watching Anime lately, I'm not like an Anime YouTuber who feels the need to try at least the pilot of every new show.  Over 100 new Anime come out every year and I've probably still seen less then 100 total.

There is no particular rhyme or reason to what I decide to check out.  Maybe it was something in the description, maybe it was recommended by someone, maybe I saw a glimpse of it in a random YouTube video.  Maybe it came from the same creators as something else I liked.  It's pretty much all decided on a whim.

Still there are lately plenty of Anime I've started and not finished.  But I have no hate for those anime, or even a strong dislike.  They just didn't compel me enough.

Sword Art Online does a lot I really like, and a lot that really bothered me.  The Mother's Rosario arc was the best, it had none of what generally bugged me about it.

You might think the point of making a post like this is to say it should really mean something when I do dislike something.  But I'm not that presumptuous.  The one movie I hate has it's group of defenders, in that past when I less mature that bothered me, but I've grown up now and don't care.

I guess my point is I wish more people took my approach.  If you can tell an Anime is the kind you'd hate from looking at the poster then don't watch it.  If you hated the original movie don't watch the Sequel unless you feel you have good reason to expect it to be different.  I have my own issues with Batman V Superman, but I have no interest in seeing it critiqued by people who spent 3 years hating Man of Steel, a movie I loved.

I've seem people make YouTube videos to specifically defend their Hate Watching of certain shows.  And it just comes off as petty.

I realize professional critics have a perception that their reviews won't mean anything if they only give positive ones.  But a traditional review is less then a page of text or a less then 10 minute video.

What really bugs me though is how many Positive reviews nowadays are based on constantly referencing how something else was bad.  The famous "Everything Wrong with" videos now have a channel doing the opposite, "Everything right about", CineWins rather then CineSins.  In concept that should be right up my alley.  But the one on The Force Awakens is 50% "ain't it great how this isn't like The Prequels", which as anyone who knows me knows is the easiest was way to turn me off.

And that's why simply telling me "don't watch/read the negative reviews" won't solve my problem, because internet negativity makes it's way even into positive reviews.

I guess the only point of this post is tell people where I'm coming from.  I'm a pretty easy person to satisfy, and I will never take that as an insult.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I’m tired of people only seeing the worst of Internet comments and message boards.

Note for context, this is copy/pasted from a Tumblr post I made.  BUt this version will be better proof read.

As a veteran of IMDB since 2003, I’ve had a lot to complain about, and did some of that right here on my Tumblr.  But when I read TMS and Gawker pretty much agreeing with “Nothing of value was lost” I get offended. 

I’ve met important Internet comrades there.  I’ve learned much and had all kinds of fun conversations.  And It’s played a role in how I’ve become a more liberal person.  The beginning of the journey that lead to me creating my “The Bible does not Condemn Homosexuality” dissertation was in an IMDB thread.

And YouTube comments are frequently valuable too.  Every successful YouTuber is thankfull for the community that exists in their comments section.

Now as far as the desire to politicize this goes.  I’m a little annoyed at all the Conservatives who act like censoring dissenting comments and justifying it with talk how petty hateful trolls is an inherently Liberal thing.  There are Christian blogs I’ve been blocked from commenting on, and Forums and Facebook groups I’ve been kicked out of for expressing my dissenting view of the Bible passages presumed to condemn Homosexuality.

And as far as mocking people for being “Triggered” goes.  That’s not uniquely liberal either.  In one of those Facebook Groups there were literally people acting like they’re traumatized by my opinion of Homosexuality being allowed to stand as long as it was.  They may not have used the same terminology but it was absolutely the same thing.

So no, you’re not actually gaining any SJW cred by being all for the shutting down of Internet discussion for fear of “Trolls”.

Friday, February 3, 2017

When They Cry/Higurashi the ideal Horror Anime

Strictly speaking I'm not a Horror fan.  I've never been truly scared by any fiction I've consumed, nor have I ever sought that reaction.  So the presumed main appeal of Horror stories does not apply to me.

But I have enjoyed many stories in the Horror genre for other reasons.  I'm interested in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy elements they sometimes use, which overlaps with my interest in mythology and folklore, both real and fictional.  I enjoy mysteries and thrillers and Hitchcock style suspense.  And I can enjoy psychological horror because I like character pieces, I like exploring and developing interesting characters, and something like telling a story from the POV of someone slowly going insane from Paranoia can be an interesting way to do that.

But my lack of interest in most modern Horror tends to come from a deteriorating appreciation for the idea that "less is more".  I get tired of endless Jump Scares and gratuitous blood and gore.

I'm also someone who has spent the last few years increasingly turning almost exclusively to Anime for my entertainment media.  I haven't much Horror anime yet, a few that have horror elements but are still not chiefly about being horror, like Future Diary.  And yes even the Zombie anime I talked about last year was not really a horror story.

But this last week I decided to check out Higurashi no Naku Korro ni (sometimes just shortened to Higurashi) rendered in English as both When They Cry and The Moment the Cicades Cry.  This Anime has much of why I'm interested in Horror stories, and none of what commonly bugs me about them.  And It's also had positive reviews from people who are Horror fans much more so then I am.

The show has some of the most notoriously gory scenes in all of Anime.  But it uses those moments sparingly, building up to them and earning them.  And it has exactly 1 scene that could qualify as a Jump scare, and even that is perfectly executed.

I'm not the only one who was reminded of The Wicker Man at certain moments (the original, I haven't seen the remake).  And I suspect it has some Twin Peaks influence too.  It is very much the Japanese version of a Gothic Novel.  But it's also very creative and original, and non-linear.  It's a period piece set in June 1983 but not constantly trowing the 80s in your face the way western TV shows set in the 80s do.

And that is my Spoiler Free recommendation.




Spoiler Warning.



I'm someone who often doesn't mind being spoiled, I'll intentionally read a book's afterward before the actual story.  But if there is anything I've watched where I'm glad I wasn't spoiled going in it is this Anime.  Because I was born in 1985 people don't believe me when I say I was surprised by Vader begin Luke's father when I first watched Empire Strikes Back.  But my family didn't have access to the Internet till like 2000, and my parents were not into Star Wars, and I didn't have friends back then.  But I can say being surprised by that scene did not effect my overall enjoyment of that film nearly as much as not knowing what's going on in Higurashi matters.

So I'm going to give a second spoiler warning, if you think you don't mind being spoiled, think really hard about that before reading on.


Spoiler Alert.



If you find the main character bland, don't worry, he's not the real main character.  He's the POV only for the first 13 episodes.

The story is based on a visual novel, as such it begins by depicting three alternate scenarios for how these events could play out, before sometimes going into the past to start explaining some of the context.  The first arc/four episodes are a perfect example of what I said above about Psychological horror.

The first two arcs/eight episodes have the combined effect of giving a very skewed perception of certain characters that will later be corrected.

The arc told from Shion's POV is probably the highlight of Season 1, but you can't fully appreciate it without seeing what we were shown before.  It's basically an alternate POV for the second arc.  The first few episodes however are a prequel that should apply to the continuity of all the arcs, and is arguably particularity relevant to the third arc.

That Shion gets labeled a Yandere is misleading.  Her madness is partly driven by her love for Satoshi.  But she's not eliminating romantic rivals, or acting out of possessiveness or a perceived rejection.  When she starts her killing spree you are kind of rooting for her because it starts off as a simple Revenge fantasy, like something Paul Feval or Alexandre Dumas could have written.  But she crosses the line when she kills Satoko, and remembers exactly when it's too late what she'd promised Satoshi.  And then in the end she learned she was wrong (but refuses to accept it).  It is a true tragedy.

The last arc was the perfect way to end Season 1, as it puts certain key puzzle pieces into place.

The second season is Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. Another thing different about Anime is how it can span genres.  Kai is not really a Horror story anymore, now that we know the gist of what is going on.  For that reason some fans of the first seasons might be disappointed, but I liked it because it was a great thriller.

And if you want the answers to what Season 1 left unanswered it won't disappoint.  It's not like some mystery shows where the "Season of Answers" was mostly.

Till the season finale.

It answer lots of questions.  There was a scene that as it began I figured was gonna be a casual exposition scene laying out what I already knew, but it wasn't, it provided answers I hadn't deduced yet, maybe I should have but I hadn't.

In the end a few things are arguably not directly answered but should be simple enough to figure out with everything we now know.

There are more installments of the franchise that I haven't watched yet.  But the first season alone was enough to recommend it, and the second more then worthy of mentioning.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I got used to the new title pretty quickly

The Last Jedi should be fine.

To an extent I think how I finally feel about The Force Awakens will depend on how I feel about it's sequels.  Not unlike how BvS has effected my feelings on MOS.

I have feeling people are going be combing over this movie's Crawl to see what key phrase in it will turn out to be the title of Episode IX.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This is the first Star Wars title I dislike

Every Prequel title felt perfect to me from the announcement.  The Force Awakens I pretty much always understood.  And Rogue One was Rogue One.

But now Episode VIII will be

The Last Jedi

Number 1: Jedi has already been in a title, just two epsisodes ago they returned and now they're on the last one?

Number 2: The middle film title should be very verby, The Something Somethings, or The Somethinging of the Something.

Number 3: The middle film should also reference the villains in some way.

The people at GreedoSHotFirst seem to have a patter, no matter what they'll be snarky haters of the spin offs but blindly loyal to the Post-Lucas Episodes.  All while being not Prequels haters but still annoyingly dismissive.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Another post on Noir.

Last year I mentioned my revisiting of Noir, and then on Tumblr I went through it in Japanese with Subs for the first time.  I did all of it but either I forgot to post about the rest on Tumblr or forgot to Tag them.

One thing I forgot to talk about was how Noir anticipated not only my interest in Anime, but also my French Pulp Fiction fascination as well.  It was years after I already loved Noir that I first stumbled upon Paul Feval, and started reading articles on CoolFrenchComics.com

And the Les Habits Noirs lore with the emphasis on Corsica made me think of Noir, but so did the Secret Society themes in other works like those of Sue and Dumas.

Something else I want to comment on is how Noir is an interesting Anime to watch as a Christian, and I'm one who's views have changed over the years, but certain core points have not.  I've become is a Universalist, the unchanging core is that God's Love is Unconditional.

Many times my fellow Evangelicals like Chuck Missler like to observe how The World often seems to understand the Problem, the Bad News, but is just lacking the Solution, the Good News, The Gospel.  He likes to quote Socrates though I've yet to find this quote verified.
"It may be that the Deity can forgive sins, but I do not see how."
The thing about Noir, and it may spoil it somewhat to say this.  Is that the original Soldats and Altena seem to to be well aware of the Problem, but are seeking a Solution that is totally twisted.  This aspect of Noir is I think a major part of why it appeals to me personally, though that was probably not the creators' intent.  But that is the nature of Art.

If you're curious what my view of The Gospel is you can watch the video below.