Monday, June 18, 2018

More Pretty Cure coverage

I said I’d start this week with finishing the first Glitter Force. And I did, it was pretty good, I think the Superbot episode may be my favorite. 

I decided to watch some more Pretty Cure movies before going to another series.  The Smile and Doki Doki films and then the 6th Allstar film.  And they were all pretty good.

And then I finished the Canadian Dub of the original Futari Wa Pretty Cure.  It was pretty darn good. 

Hugtto! PreCure episode 20 was quite worth it’s build up.  I then watched episode 2 of Go Princess which was good.

I watched the first episode of Pretty Cure MaxHeart.  Main reasons I want to watch at least some of this before the relatively stand alone movies (I already downloaded the two MaxHeart movies) is to get to know Shiny Luminous.  I’ve seen her in the Allstar movies but she hasn’t done much, she gets the least attention being seemingly just the OG Duo’s third wheel.  Heck the ending CG dance sequence practically symbolizes that as she just stands there while the Duo jump all over the place doing their iconic poses.

And as of the first episode I still don’t know her much, they’re holding off on the formal introduction.  But I was quickly able to guess that she’s the Queen’s reincarnation or has her Heart or some such mystical BS.

There is also a point where the MaxHeart ED song has me thinking of a very specific 50s or 60s American Pop Song, but I can’t put my finger on it.

After the second episode, it’s clear that it’s gonna take a full Arc for HIkari to awaken as Cure Luminous. If the Canadian Dub had continued into MaxHeart, I wonder what Western name they’d give Hikari?  Given her mysterious vibe maybe they could have decided not to change it similar to Hotaru in Sailor Moon S, the Blonde being the only one with a Japanese name would be kinda funny.  It might be she was drawn as Blonde because they wanted her to seem vaguely foreign.

Episode 3 goes for a pretty blatant Omen homage.  On the subject of Cure Black’s costume redesign.  I don’t have any problem with covering up the midriff, but the additional Pink splashed onto it is really jarring.

Having finished episode 5, there is an observation I need to make.  It might be controversial since Pretty Cure is a Shoujo Anime presumably not meant to be Otaku driven at all.  But Hikari is the embodiment of Moe.  I read an analysis of Moe once that linked it feelings of Nostalgia, and the word Nostalgia is being linked to Hikari quite a bit.  She is a quite adorable innocent younger girl that the protagonists are driven to “Protecc”.

Friday, June 15, 2018

#MahouShouJune & #PrideMonth week 3: Currently airing shows plus a lot of Pretty Cure.

Hugtto!PreCure episode 19 was surprisingly relevant for Pride Month, I liked it.  I also notice how it looks like PreCure has been influenced by the recent trend in Western Superhero tv shows and movies to pretty much just have all the supporting cast be in on it.

Katana Maidens episode 19 was pretty interesting as well.

Legend of The Galactic Heroes episode 8 does provide us with some Yaoi.  Literally, there is no heterosexual explanation for him playing with his hair like that at the end.  That said I’m also not opposed to a threesome including the Blonde’s sister.  In case you can’t tell, I’ll probably never memorize these characters names.

Steins;Gate 0 episode 7 put some more focus on Ruka.  Some might not get my repeated references to Steins;Gate’s handling of Ruka’s gender identity being a confusing problem.  Their being groped for comedic effect from time to time is just a surface evel aspect of it. 

The issue is the original show went down the route of suggesting Ruka’s preferred gender identity was Female, but then implies they just felt that way because of their attraction to Okabe.  The sentiment that Gender doesn’t ultimately matter I can support, the issue is how dismissive that can seem of Trans Women.  I guess I would like to ultimately think of Ruka as Non-Binary or something like that, which is why I’ve been using they/them.

I’ve been revisiting some Pretty Cure pilots with the help of Rabbit.  This franchise was super Gay from day one. 

And I’ve now seen the first episodes of every season but the only two that continue a prior continuity.  None of them are bad, but I seem to be the only person who finds Heartcatch the least compelling.

I also watched some more of the movies.  I have now seen the first 5 Allstar movies, the first Yes 5 movie, and the Suite movie.  The movies are all pretty fun.

And then I finished Glitter Force Doki Doki.  It reminded me of a lot of similar themes from The Last Jedi, Batman V Superman and The Dark Knight “there’s not gonna be any fireworks”.  And while the part of me sympathetic to the critics of those films kind of wants to go “look how this show for little girls handled them better”, I ultimately view it as a vindication.  Clearly those things aren’t so inherently dark and nihilistic as Snyder haters think, it’s just harder for some people to see the hopeful optimism in them if it doesn’t have the color pallet of a cartoon.

And I also feel like saying that the Yuri ultimately is not very subtle.  What really grabbed me was how it kind of even addresses the “girls do it to practice and then grow out of it” when Regina says things like “I was a kid then” but ultimately the love between does prevail.

Magical Girl Site episode 11 was pretty intense.  My final verdict on this show utterly depends on how it ends.

Next I’ll probably finish the first Glitter Force, then focus on either Symphogear or the Canadian Dub of the original Pretty Cure for awhile.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Star Wars

I know I just said on Tumblr that I don't want to talk about my dissatisfaction with Disney's Star Wars anymore.  Well I'm not doing that here directly at all here, this is just me talking about what could have made a good way to follow up ROTJ.

The scenario that would have interested me for a post ROTJ Galaxy is something similar to what we have in LOTGH.  The Empire and the Rebels now on somewhat equal footing.  But with the situation complicated by the New Republic having it's own Fascist tendencies and good people being allowed to exist on the Empire's side.

This post can also be a viewed as a bit of a follow up to Legend of The Galactic Fascists.  At first Episode 8 (who's Dub just dropped so that's how far I am currently), had me thinking that this Empire is more like WWI Germany that Nazi Germany (with the use of Kaiser a clue that was the case all along) a system where a good chunk of Feudalism still exists.

But then they reminded me of the "inferior Genes act".  Of course it's implied that's not the law at all anymore.  Perhaps Rudolf was a sort of Hitler but under successive Emperors a Nazish reign morphed into something more Feudal.

Going back to the Fascist tendencies shown on the Republic's side.  I can't help but wonder if maybe the Empire is more Nazi and the Fascists in the Republic are more Mussolini style Fascists.

Again, it would have been refreshing to see a Star Wars saga where the objective was for the two sides to find peace, and not simply a continuous cycle of needing to wipe out mustache twirling villains.

The more I think about it, the more purely Superficial the Fascism of the Empire in Star Wars always was.  The things it had in common with Fascism or Nazism it also shares with other Totalitarian regimes like North Korea, of the USSR, or the old British Empire, or Napoleon's and of course Ancient Rome.

The Empire had no Nationalism, it may look like the ruling class is all one species, but a Nationalist Empire wouldn't neglect to include the name of the Fatherland in how they refer to themselves.    It really always was just Totalitarian for Totalitarinaism's sake.

Friday, June 8, 2018

#MahouShouJune & #PrideMonth week 2

Following up where I left off last week.  I enjoyed Mikagura School Suite which I watched Dubbed, I recommend it.  Sasami-San doesn’t have a Dub so that may take me more time.

Hugtto PreCure episode 18 was great, a lot of fun.  This Lulu Arc has been quite the ride.

Katana Maidens episode 18 was also pretty darn good.  I hope this show can live up to the hype I’ve been trying to give it.

I decided to watch the rest of the Project A-Ko franchise.  As much as I was annoyed by the attempts to straighten the girls out starting with the third movie, they remained entertaining.  But only the first movie is a masterpiece.

I was trying to be optimistic about Steins;Gate 0’s handling of Ruka.  But here they are getting molested by curious scientists for comic relief again in episode 6.

Legend of The Galactic Heroes episode 7 was pretty good.  It maybe be the least relevant of shows I’m following during Pride Month.  It has some Yaoi potential, but it’s not guaranteed to show up every week.

Magical Girl Site episode 10 was a pretty decent bridge between the preceding episodes and the closing ones.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Legend of the Galactic Fascists

Lindsay Ellis just did a video on the ideology of the First Order.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAVeyXwy3BE

Right from the title it had me thinking of my own attempt to deconstruct Star Wars vilification of Fascism back in late 2016.
http://jaredmithrandirolorin.blogspot.com/2016/12/star-wars-is-about-fascism-but-is-it-so.html

Lindsay's point much more so then mine was on the ideological vagueness of The Empire/First Order.  And considers that maybe that's the point, real world Fascism is often pretty Vague, or at least we like to define it vaguely, some would argue Mussolini did have more of a philosophy then Lindsay's source gives him credit for.  But that's not an argument I want to have here.

The thing is, I can't help but feel that even with that excuse for the lack of well defined in depth ideology there is still and always has been a key element of Fascism missing from Star Wars.  Even in the Prequels which I like to praise as being more thought out then the rest of it.

Legend of The Galactic Heroes is an Anime franchise I've been hearing about for awhile before the Reboot allowed me an easy way to start actually consuming the story.  And every glance I got had me going "well that's sure trying to be Anime Star Wars".  (Gundam is also called the Star Wars of Japan, but I've come to genuinely think of Gundam as more analogous to Star Trek.)  In Digibro's old video about Strong Presentation in Anime he talks about how it used Classical Music, and that was exactly why Lucas hired John Williams.

But now that I'm actually watching a version of it.  I feel this very issue is what it's doing better then Star Wars did.

Episode 4 features characters on the Republic side talking about how the first Emperor rose to power.  And that might have been more profound to me if it didn't feel so overplayed, it's easy for me to imagine what may have looked like, I saw it in Revenge of The Sith.

But then in Episode 5 we suddenly see Fascist tendencies in the Republic, on the side we would have assumed up to this point were the good guys.  The tension caused by our main character refusing to stand was one thing.  The really import event later in the episode was this image.
It looks kind of like the KKK doesn't it, but this group is analogous to a lot of things.

One important thing Folding Ideas video on Triumph of The Will emphasizes was that the massive "army" of Nazis in that film were NOT the official sanctioned Army of Germany, at least not yet.  Even before Hitler was appointed Chancellor this "army" existed acting like a vigilante Mob in the streets harassing Jews and others.  This was pointed out in a recent Albert Einstein biography.

And that's what makes the violent behavior at Trump rallies back during the election so relevant.

This is why the Superhero genre has long been plagued with Fascist implications.  The Graphic Novel of Watchmen features an in universe article from the conservative magazine Rorschach reads comparing Superheroes to the Vigilante activities of the KKK with the intent of defending both.  Another little known fact about the Klan, they actively tried to enforce Prohibition during the 20s.

Of course what this episode did is bound to make some American Liberals uncomfortable, because it associated Fascists with those wanting War with the foreign totalitarian state, not those who think all the Bloodshed isn't worth it.  The people who are usually the most Anti-War people in America will still look at the 30s and 40s and see anyone opposing War with Nazi Germany as Nazi sympathizers and bigots.  But the truth is, the real KKK were the earliest and most hawkish of America's War Mongers in 1939.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/14/confederate-flags-and-nazi-swastikas-together-thats-new-heres-what-it-means/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.962c401829a9

One of the pillars of Fascism is Nationalism.  And that is why no, it's not absurd to depict Fascists as in conflict with each other.  Mussolini personally hated Hitler.  And many of the same OSS agents who fought Nazi Germany wound up working with European Fascists against the USSR during the Cold War.  And that's why I actually would like to see a good story exploring he Fascist implications of the Captain America character and am sick of seeing it written off by "he punched Hitler", but I don't trust any of these in continuity Marvel gimmicks to do it well.

But back to the main topic.  This is what is missing from attempts to make The Empire or First Order like Fascists in Star Wars.  The Storm troopers of Star Wars whether they're manufactured Clones or brainwashed child soldiers are not what they were named after, the actual Storm troopers and Brownshirts were volunteers from among ordinary citizens, not unlike the KKK.

As I've said before, in Audio Commentaries George Lucas talks more about Napoleon III then Hitler or Mussolini.  That makes a huge difference.  Hitler and Trump never had real popular support, Hitler actually lost his election, and Trump failed to win the popular vote, and even the person with more votes then him couldn't get over 50%, and the Election itself had a very low turn out.  Napoleon III didn't need goons acting like terrorists because he really was Popular, he got 75% of the Vote in an Election with 75% turn out among those eligible to vote, America hasn't seen a turn out like that in ages.  I highly recommend Mike Duncan's Revolutions Podcast's episode on Napoleon III's 1848 Election.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I have an issue with how Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are often depicted.

I don't know to what extent this can apply to Asimov's own stories.  This is the perspective of someone interested in the concept but who still haven't read Asimov directly yet.  His Laws of Robotics have been used by other writers a lot.

For anyone out of the loop, here is what the Laws are.
The Three Laws, quoted as being from the "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.", are:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.[1]
What I like about them is how there is no pretense to pretend the laws are equal to each other.  The first law has no qualifier, and each subsequent law has a qualifier defining the prior laws as overruling them in any potential conflict.

This should be a worth while concept to keep in mind even when trying to create moral or civil law codes, much less laws the it's outright impossible for a certain lifeforms to violate because of how their artificial brains work.  That's why my personal attitude towards the two Commandments Jesus defined as the greatest Commandments is that if your attempt to obey or enforce some other law puts you in even apparent conflict with either of those then you should rethink what you're doing.

If I were to criticize the laws themselves, it'd be that Robot obedience is placed above their own self preservation.  That is what shows how they were designed to make them slaves.  A more benevolent programmer would switch the second and third laws.

But my subject today is how these laws are depicted in some stories.  Because some writers seem to forget that the qualifiers on the second and third laws exist.  For example, take the scene in The Forbidden Planet that KyleKallgrenBHH says demonstrates Asimov's three laws.

https://youtu.be/Za50E46Z87Y?t=361

For now I'll take Kyle at his word that that is the scene's intent.  It bugs me that this near meltdown of Robbie happens, that meltdown would make sense if the three laws were treated as equal.  But the qualifiers should guarantee that Robbie would simply not obey the command to kill and be fine.

I get that writers want to explore areas where this system of laws can be imperfect.  But that can be done without ignoring the qualifiers.  Heck the first command alone can create a conflict if the Robot is in a situation where the only action that can prevent one Human from "coming to harm" is to injure another human.