Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Arwen and Aragorn's romance is important to the story of LOTRs

I rather commonly see people saying it is not, criticizing the Peter Jackson films for giving so much screen time to an unimportant side story for the sake of making the movie less of a Sausage Fest.

The Lord of The Rings trilogy of novels are nor structured like most novels.  They are six prose narratives and a collection of Appendices published in three volumes.  A lot of important scenes are in the books revealed as flashbacks, which adaptations tend to show when they actually happened, like Gandalf going to Isengard where Saurman reveals his betrayal.

So yes, in the proper narrative of LOTR, Arwen appears in only a few scenes.  However Aragorn also comes off as a pretty one dimensional character in that proper narrative.

The Appendices reveal the history between Aragorn and Arwen, and it becomes clear his Love for Arwen is the primary thing that was driving him.  A fact that was talked about in the specials features of the DVDs for the films.

Tolkien wanted Aragorn and Arwen to be as important as the Man+Elf Maiden pairings of the First Age, the first of which was Beren and Luthien.  So I really get annoyed at supposed fans of Tolkien diminishing it's importance for the sake of criticizing a trio of movies that yes, took a lot of inevitable liberties, some I'm more fine with then others, but overall they were perfectly enjoyable films.

The previous adaptation of LOTR, the Ralph Bakshi animated movie, also replaced Glorfindel in his role in the journey to Rivendale.  Since Glorfindel doesn't appear again in the main narrative, (given the continuity issues his presence in LOTR causes I suspect Tolkien picked the name at random).  So replacing him here with someone more important to this narrative is a perfectly valid decision.

The Bakshi film replaced him with Legolas, which bugs me only because I feel Legolas, Gimli and Boromir should all be introduced at about the same time, the Elf, the Dwarf and the Gondorian of the Fellowship.  So Jackson's decision to use this opportunity to introduce Arwen is a far better decision in my view, and her Bad@$$ moment in the movie helps make her a more worthy successor to Luthien, who defeated Morgoth.

Now the Hobbit films' approach to providing more female presence was much more questionable.  I enjoyed Tauriel, but the actress originally took the role being promised there wouldn't be a shoehorned in romance, then they changed that on her.  What bugs me most though is how in the final battle scene she ultimately gets sidelined for Legolas to take the mos impressive action again.  I wish she had killed the Orc who killed Kili.

Arwen in the LOTR films I think was handled perfectly fine.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hayao Miyazaki has clearly been an influence on Video Games.

When I covered Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind I talked about it's possibly influences on Video Games.

Last night I watched 1986's Castle in The Sky.  And I noticed more.  For one thing during the opening credits we see a Goddess in the sky blowing wind who looks a lot like how the Goddesses of Hyrule were depicted in the Instruction Manuel of A Link To The Past.

I also can't help but suspect Miyazaki's love of Air Ships helped inspire the popularity of Air Ships in Video Games, from Super Mario Bros. 3 to the Final Fantasy games.  The Airship idea was of course invented by Jules Verne, and the Airship in this film were more Verneian then the ones in Nausicaa.

People have comment before on Castle of Calgiostro being an influence on Spielberg for the Indiana Jones films.  This movie definitely felt like an Indy film at times.  Some people criticize how Castle of Calgiostro feels more like a Miyazaki films then a Lupin film.  But this movie felt like it could have been a Lupin film.

Going the other way however, there were definitely moment in Castle in The Sky where I went "Well Miyazaki definitely saw saw Empire Strikes Back".

It's a good film, I just gave a 9 on My Anime List.

I've liked every Miyazaki film I've seen so far.  But I still doubt I'll get to all of them, some the plots simply don't interest me.  But based on his track record so far, I'd say he's definitely worth checking out if any of those stories interest you.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wrestlmania XXX was the greatest Worked Shoot in wrestling history.

Everyone just accepts the official story that the main event was supposed to be Orton vs Batista and Daniel Bryan was only added because the fans demanded it.

I feel like to any Savy viewer of Wrestling Tropes, it should be obvious that they were building to Bryan becoming champ at WM30 all along.  Yet everyone including the WhatCulture people have been dupped.

First of all if it had simply been Daniel Bryan winning the Royal Rumble, that would have given us just Bryan vs Orton, a match we'd seen several times already in the previous year. 

If they really wanted to give Batista a title reign to correspond with Guardians of The Galaxy, they would have saved that for Summer Slam, much closer to when that movie came out.

Triple H knew this story-line had a Meta Quality to it, and so he pushed that aspect of it hard.

Part of why people still buy it, is that WWE apparently made the same mistake gain the following year and this time didn't back down.  But that's the key difference, they didn't back down.  Vince is very stubborn.  

P.S. I have some advice for WWE if they want it, on how to get people behind Roman Reigns.  Reform The Shield, the fans love for The Shield would be strong enough to override their hate of Roman.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fate/Stay Night is the best modern take on Grail Romance

I have tags on this blog for Grail Romance and Arthurian Legend.  And I have a tag for talking about the Fate/ franchise, the centerpiece of Type Moon’s Nasuverse.  It’s surprising that this is my first post with all three of those tags, since the Fate/ story is technically all about the Holy Grail and King Arthur.  But I wanted to talk about other aspects of what I like about it first.  

For people who want a summary of how the Holy Grail War works in Fate/, I recommend OtakuDaiKun’s lore videos on YouTube, though they will spoil the shows if you haven’t seen them yet.  The Lore of Fate/Stay Night Part 1: The First Four Grail Wars, and The Lore of Fate/Stay Night Part 2: The Fifth Grail War and Hollow Ataraxia.

Needless to say, at face value it seems like a pretty loose take.  And it might seem outright hypocritical for me to express annoyance at how unresearched Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade seemed, and then call Fate/ the best modern take of Grail Lore and Arthurian Legend.

For one thing, as I’ve noted elsewhere, the original Grail Romances were connected to Arthur merely as a framing device.  So to someone in the know Arthur seeking the Grail herself is almost as shocking as Arthur being a Woman.  Meanwhile it seems like Perceval has still never become a summonable servant, even in Grand Order which seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

First from a continuity standpoint, it seems unclear to me whether or not the Grail being sought in these Grail Wars even is the same one sought in Arthur’s time.  Meanwhile Artoria is currently seeking the Grail because of how her reign ended in tragedy.

Conceptually however, I feel like Illyasviel and Irisviel von Einzbern sort of play the role of the Grail Maiden, a role often forgotten in modern takes on Grail lore.

There is no denying that the people at Type Moon did their research far more than Lucas and Spielberg did for their movie.  Everything different in the Nasuverse is a conscious decision, not a result of ignorance.

The themes of Grail Lore are echoed in Fate/ far more than in The Last Crusade.  Fate/Stay Night is about Shirou’s Hero’s Journey, Lucas told his Hero’s Journey story in Star Wars, Indiana Jones is about someone whose origin story in well in the past, and not really much of a Hero anyway.

I know one blog online that is particularly interested in fiction about King Arthur’s Children.  He might enjoy Fate/Apocrypha, where it turns out Mordred is also female, or at least assigned female at birth, how they identify gets a little confusing.  The one backstory flashback Mordred has had so far (in episode 6) was pretty interesting.

My knowledge of Grand Order is still very limited.  I’ve watched a little bit of Live Stream footage of it.  I’ll be watching the First Order OVA when it’s Dub drops in late October.  As I already mentioned Percival doesn’t seem to be included yet, but Galahad is, and is apparently fairly important.

Another reason why I think it’s best to start with Fate/Zero is that it explains right in the first episode that this Grail was not the Cup at the Last Supper.  This helps makes the story less potentially offensive to Christians knowing this Grail has nothing to do with Jesus.  And it fits to me on a meta level because the Grail was just a Christianization of a Pagan concept to start with, the mythical Cauldrons of Celtic Mythology.

Thanks to Grand Order however, three Biblical Figures are summon able Heroic Spirits now.  
David is an Archer Class Servant, which is a decision I agree with, if throwing swords at people through the Magical gateway to your infinite Treasure house can qualify as being an Archer, then certainly using a Slingshot can, since i grew up with Ocarina of Time where the Slingshot and Bow are treated as counterparts.

Solomon is a Caster, largely because they’re going off Kabbalistic and Masonic lore about King Solomon controlling Shedim.  I would have made Solomon a Rider because of his Chariot mentioned in the Song of Solomon.  It’d be funny to me if eventually the game has Salmoneus as a separate servant.

Martha, the sister of Mary of Bethany, is summonable as well.  But the myth this Heroic Spirit is based on isn’t anything Biblical but about her traditional activities in Southern France according to the Golden Legend.  (I added a reference to this tradition about Martha to my Apostles of Ephesus post because I’d read up on it after watching a Grand Order livestream).

If they ever add Joshua, I would make him a Lancer based on Joshua 8:18-26 (Psalm 35:3 is also interesting here).  Though I suspect they’d want to base Joshua’s Noble Phantasm more on the Fall of Jericho.  

Characters known mostly for their Brawn tend to become Berserkers, which wouldn’t be a good sign for Samson.

Well I’ve technically rambled off topic now.  So I hope my observations proved enlightening.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm really enjoying Fate/Apocrypha

It's start is rough, I will fully admit that.  And it's not likely to appeal to people who aren't already deep into Fate via at least watching the UFOtables Animes.  It even helps to be familiar with other Nasuverse works, like Tsukihime (who's Anime adaptation isn't great, but more enjoyable then Deen/Stay Night) and Kara no Kyoukai which also has a great UFOtable Anime.

A lot of what happens in the early episodes will hopefully be easier to follow once it's Dubbed.

But it really picks up with episode 8, I'm writing this after just finishing episode 11 and it's getting really good.

I like that there is no clear main character, and that it's not easy to pick a side in this war.  At the moment I feel more invested in the Black team, which is interesting given how at the start it seemed like they were setting them up to be the villains.

Astolfo and Jeanne are the best characters so far.  Astolfo is the number one Trap.  And I seem to love every Anime take on Jeanne d'Arc (That no one seems to have fan translated the Madoka Magica Tart manga annoys me).

Spoiler Warning.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nostalgia Goggles

When I criticize someone for being blinded by Nostalgia, it's never to criticize them for liking something.  I completely disagree with the whole "people only like it because their Nostalgic for it" attitude.  Any movie or TV show or song or Cartoon or Game has to do something right in order to become something people will be nostalgic for.

There seems to be an attitude that kids will just enjoy anything, and then Nostalgia will make some unwilling to see it flaws as an adult.  Well I can tell you that is false.  I have Anti-Nostalgia for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I was made to watch that in school (I still don't see how a movie about a magical chocolate factory was educational) and I hated every minute of it.  Now I am willing acknowledge it must have done something right if lots of other people like it, but whatever it did right is not something I can relate to at all.

There are other things I failed to enjoy as a kid that I can appreciate now.  Like ironically enough The Lion King, I was a hater of that movie when I was little.

If you're Nostalgic for something, that is proof it was good.  Your inability to enjoy it now that you're older doesn't invalidate it, it just means what you enjoy has changed, and that's fine.  I personally however think it's a good thing that I can still enjoy just about everything I liked as a kid, and that maturity has only increased and never decreased what I can enjoy.

So when Digibro says something like 'I enjoyed Sonic Adventure 2 as a kid, but I know it's a bad game now".  I just laugh at him.  If anything, when it comes to media made for kids, you should perhaps consider that their opinion on it is more valid then an adult's.  I however still like the Sonic Adventure games.

The Nostalgia Filter is a bad thing only when it causes people to constantly trash what's new in comparison to the equivalents they grew up with.  Constantly being annoyed at tolerance of weakness in modern media that absolutely existed in what they grew up with, but are selectively ignoring that.  We see this Star Wars Prequel haters, and with lots of other nerdy media.

Popcorn action films have always been ridiculous.  Mainstream Hip Hop has always included a lot of songs that don't hold up well under lyrical scrutiny.  SciFi has always tended to be more Fi then Sci.  And Anime has always been pretty formulaic.

Pro-Wrestling is the one form of entertainment media where I fear that I have or will become what I hate on this issue.

I'm Nostalgic for plenty of other stuff.  But no where else do I fail to see the value in what's new.  With Music I feel I have definitely become less harsh of a critic.  My preferences with Anime are very much post 2000, I am perhaps the Anti-thesis of ThatAnimeSnob even more so then Digibro.  My favorite Live Action Western TV show is one that just ended, Pretty Little Liars.  And Superhero movies have definitely only gotten better.

Now with Video Games, I'm definitely a Retro-Gamer, I like 8 and 16 bit the best. But it's never with a lack of ability with get why people would enjoy newer fully 3D stuff.

But Pro-Wrestling, especially the WWE, is something where I can rarely get why anyone still tolerates it.  Now there are lots of things you can point to as objective evidence that the quality has gone down, Raw's Ratings have been consistently low.  And I've seen on YouTube lots of Wrestling fans younger then me, who wouldn't have grown up on the Attitude Era in the same way, expressing similar frustrations.  And the Crowds in the arenas mostly seem apathetic to what is going on.

The thing is, to some extent I've been feeling this way since 2000, since we were still in the Attitude Era, a year many people think was the WWF's best.  But it's gone up and down.  The last time I was truly excited about Wrestling was in 2013 and early 2014, the year of Daniel Bryan.  So it's definitely at it's worst now, I feel like I was being a stupid picky douche for not getting the Ruthless Aggression era, when I compare it to what's going on now.

And meanwhile the Pre-Atitude area periods of WWF where they weren't doing that well, from 92-96, are periods where I enjoy most of what I've watched from it.  So I still fear my Nostalgia Goggles are a major factors in why I can't enjoy it now.

But at least I'm self aware about it. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Animatrix and Batman:Gotham Knight

I added these to My Anime List recently though it wasn't recently I watched them.

My earlier declaration that besides a few Saturday Morning kids shows I'd seen no Anime before I first watched Noir around 2005 or 2006.  Where neglecting to include The Animatrix.

You see, I thought both these projects where just Anime inspire and wouldn't really have pages on MAL.  But I discovered recently that they do.

The Animatrix I remember enjoying, but I'm not sure I can give a solid score to it.

The problem with Gotham Knight first that it was too short as most DC animated films were.  But also that it's pretense of being an expansion of the Nolanverse never felt valid, because Nolan had nothing to do with it.  It was a cheap attempt by Warner to cash in on The Animatrix's success that missed the actual point.

I think I have a review of Gotham Knight still up on IMDB, but my perspective then was not the same as it would be now.