Saturday, January 31, 2015

Animes depicting the French Revolution

I have seen both Rose of Versailles and Le Chevalier D'Eon.  The latter makes far more egregious historical liberties.  If you view them as reconcilable with each other however, it could be viewed as a prequel to the former.

Both shows likely take influence from Alexandre Dumas.  If not his own fiction depicting the French Revolution and it's lead in history, then his Swashbuckling adventures in general.

RoV had 40 episodes spanning 20 years.  What struck me when I was done and looked back is how they managed to make it so, like in real life, you don't notice the characters ageing as it happens.

RoV leaves Cagliostro out of it's depiction of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.  D'Eon however prominently features Lorenza and Balsamo, as well as other figures prominent in the history of esoteric conspiracy theories, like Saint-Germain and sir Francis Dashwood.

The title character of d'Eon de Beaumont didn't have a sister historically, and was probably a Trans-Woman.

Both give historical villain upgrades to a number of figures.  They have in fact similar approaches to the Duke de Orleans.  There is an endless debate over whether the Duke was a true revolutionary or just seeking to make himself King.  I don't see why he can't be a little of both.  Theoretically the two Animes are not depicting the same Duke of Orleans, but historically Louis Philippe I was not tied to revolutionary movements. D'Eon is simply being anachronistic.

D'Eon contains supernatural elements which RoV does not.  It's interesting because Dumas did not originally want to explain away the supernatural aspects of Joseph Balsamo, but editorial pressure made him.

Most of the Psalms recited in D'Eon are not true Biblical Psalms but constructed together from pieces of Biblical references.  I recognized some of Psalm 2 at one point.  Of course hearing a bunch of made up Bible passages about Vengeance set up an @$$kicking scene made me think of Pulp Fiction and Samuel L Jackson.

What's particularly interesting about D'Eon is what it does with Maximilian Robespierre, which I do not want to spoil.

RoV is in many ways most infamous for it's relationship to the Yuri Genre.  Part of why overall I still like it better.

Friday, January 30, 2015

La fillette révolutionaire Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is an Anime I discovered fairly recently, and it has quickly become my favorite Anime.  For a very long time that title was held firmly by Noir, and I didn't think it possible any could take it.

It has a few themes in common with the Girls with Guns trilogy, a relationship between two girls that comes just short of being outright stated to be romantic, a confusing conspiracy, and even at times seemingly similar music (but not as similar as Madoka's).  Also reflects Japan's French fetish.  But these are girls with swords rather then guns.

However Utena also shares clearly relations to many more Animes as well, Rose of Versailles, Sailor Moon and Evangleion.  And ChuChu gives it a little taste of Pokemon.

It also shares a great deal of what I love about Sucker Punch, but does it much much better.  And it shares some themes with Pretty Little Liars too.

I'm not nearly smart enough to do an in-depth analysis, there are many online already.  But I will likely be doing more Utena related posts in the future.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another PLL TV reaction

I don't feel as compelled as to react to this one.

The show's dynamic is very different now, in the past no matter certain they thought their false theory was the Liars never acted like the mystery was solved.  Now they seem so unwilling to accept that Ali could be innocent.

We the Audience meanwhile feel certain Ali can't be guilty.  Yet no character in the show is willing to take the position.

It really hope this current status quo ends soon, because I feel it is kind of taking some of the fun out of watching the character themselves are no longer looking for -A with the audience.  And no looking for who they think is Ali's glorified Lap dog isn't the same.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gotham Flass TV Reaction

When I first heard the name Bob I immediately thought of Bob form the 89 Batman movie, but it turned out to clearly not be that Bob.

I can't guarantee I'll continue to Gotham consistently every week, PLL is greater priority.  It depends on if Gotham does something to really blow me away.

I enjoyed this Episode, but nothing I see as really Epic went down.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My thoughts on Gankutsuou

Gankutsuou is an Anime that is based on The Count of Monte-Cristo, but which adapts the plot to a distant future setting with various Sci-Fi twists to the story.

I have recently watched it.  The English Dub only, I prefer to avoid Subtitled versions if I can.  It can be viewed for free on Hulu.  Now all I need is some kind of western release for the Anime version of Les Miserables, and I'll have a pretty good handle on the history of Anime directly drawing on French literature/history.

I enjoyed it a great deal, all the voice actors were great, it shared a lot of common voice actors with the dub of Code Geass.

I like that it starts with when Albert and The Count meet.  I feel that is ideally how modern versions of the story should start, all three Hollywood films I've seen spend half the movie on the origin story.  Which in a two hour movies leaves little time for what we actually came to see.

I feel a serialized format is best for adapting something like The Count of Monte-Cristo, it was a serialized format originally, but people forget that.

It does follow the common rout of adaptations making him save Mondeago for last.

The biggest problems I have all come down to Eugenie Danglars.  I enjoy this take on her character in many ways, but it takes away her being a Lesbian in favor of making her and Albert the romantic endgame.

Her Lesbian affair is frequently dropped from adaptations partly because of it being censored from the earliest translations, and partly for the same reason it was censored.  I can't even decide if including Eugenie but changing her sexuality is worse then most adaptations that don't even include her.

In addition to the issue hurting the potential LGBT representation.  I also consider it interesting how in the original novel the Junior Lead doesn't wind up with either of his love interests.

Eugenie's Lesbian history is possibly homaged by the fact that she at times has somewhat of a Bifauxnen look.  I don't think the writers were ignorant of it, because the versions that censor that tend to also censor the opium sequence, which is referenced in a sense in this Anime.

It disappoints me because I felt it lent itself to an Anime trope quite well, the Yuri or GL genre.  But I guess they felt Eugenie's seeming coldness to Albert lent itself to another romantic Anime trope, which I'd probably screw up the name of.  Perhaps it didn't seem like a good Yuri story to them because of Eugenie being younger even though she would have to be the Seme.

The loss of a Lesbian character is perhaps counter acted by the fact that Franz is clearly in love with Albert.  And also Peppo being some kind of either Trans or Intersex person.

But another problem with what ultimately happens to Eugenie is her becoming ultimately a Damsel in Distress.  And experiencing something very disturbingly similar to a Rape.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How do conservative and liberal writers write women?

I want to preface this by saying that I myself while Theologically Conservative have become increasingly socially and politically liberal (a left leaning Libertarian as opposed to most American Libertarians) and I certainly consider myself a Feminist.  So please do not interpret these observations as an endorsement of conservatism.

I had a post early in this blog's history where I discussed the strong women of French Pulp Fiction, (I've recently added to that post, and will add more).  I had promised back then that I would make more posts on that title subject.  And I still intend to do so, but this post is more so a follow up to a different aspect of that post.

The centerpiece of that post became my observation that.  "the two who were the “Conservatives” in the context of post Revolutionary France (in being devout Catholics and Royalists) Feval and Ponson. Seem to me to have over all been more inclined to write surprisingly strong independent women."

I want here to speculate how this trend might exist beyond simply the comparing of those 4 writers.

What I will say first is mostly that male authors who are liberal and feminists often fail, (not without successes to praise of course, my favorite characters in anything tend to always be the women) while if women are actually involved in the writing, like on a show like Pretty Little Liars  then women as characters and the handling of gender issues are each done much better then usual.

Hollywood writers tend to be liberal, many are not the Hollywood Liberal caricature Fox News pundits imagine, but they are liberal.  As are Comic Book writers and so on.  Yet that doesn't stop the handling of female characters and gender related social issues in those writings from being problematic.

The LadyGeekGirl blog deals with a lot of those issues, as does I don't always agree with them but their articles make good eye opening reading.  But two posts from different blogs are the center of my thinking here.  I hate Strong Female Characters and this post which follows up on that.

I'm also intrigued by something I read on TVtropes about Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
"As a review pointed out: Its kind of ironic that Phillip Pullman labels other works like Narnia as sexist and full of class snobbery, when Will the male hero, is the one who gets to fight the most and even becomes The Chosen One in control of the mystical Subtle Knife, meanwhile Lyra's greatest feats are accomplished by "feminine" wiles like lying and manipulation. "
Narnia (written by the very traditionalist C.S. Lewis) meanwhile is definitely not a work of Feminist literature, but it's handling of female characters is surprising.  The Pensvises are 2 girls and 2 boys, and A Horse and his Boy is also.

In the first book when the kids are given their weapons by Father Christmas he tells the girls that theirs are "Just in case" and doesn't intend them to be in battle.  But they are in the battle at the end, and it's Aslan who brings them there.  Also A Horse and His Boy criticizes the practice of arranged marriages.  Though admittedly by that time few even radical Christians stood by that practice, thought even today you'll find some defending it in concept.

Susan's fate is the main part of the Criticisms of Narnia as sexist.  Three things.

1. She did not go to Hell, Lewis himself said she could and probably will go to Aslan's country later.  In fact she's the one character still alive, in a story from her POV everyone else was fridged.

2. The negative things said about her are not really by Alsan or the narrator but other characters, her siblings.  Maybe their perception of things is flawed.  Remember Lucy had her jealously issues with her in Dawn Treader.

3.  It seems Lewis felt someone had to be left behind in The Final Battle for some thematic reason, and process of elimination left Susan the only logical choice, for reasons not related to gender.

You can validly look at it as Susan was the only one who Grew Up.

I'm the kind of person who rarely discuses Lewis without also discussing Tolkien.  But in this case I feel a discussion of Women and gender issues in Tolkien could be another post.

The Apocalypse series of Christian straight to Video movies from the the early 2000s were definitely made by Christians with highly conservative political values, and some disturbing homophobic implications.  But Hellen Hannah is the main hero of the series, and is very well written and acted.

The creator of Attack on Titan has gotten in trouble for defending Japan's actions against Korea and China during WWII.  Yet his handling of female Characters is among the most progressive of any Anime

So this clearly doesn't always happen, but it happens enough to warrant some wondering.  Maybe male liberal writers are sometimes more concerned with making their female characters Feminist friendly then with actually making them characters.  That wouldn't quite explain Pullman though.  Sometimes it may be simply that to men no matter how Feminist they are other liberal agendas are more important.

I think even the most Feminist viewer of media would agree that a female character who's traditional but well written with depth is better then a "Strong" woman who has none.

Why are some "Conservative" writers surprising in this area?  My argument is not just that the women are well written regardless of being traditional.  Rather it's that sometimes they do defy gender norms without being vilified or even criticized for doing so.

Maybe sometimes the criticism is so subtle I mis it simply because I don't agree with it.  But if the writers who wrote Helen Hannah agree with many Baptists that women shouldn't be pastors, then their choice to write a woman as the leader of these End Times believers is odd.

Maybe it's the subliminal influence of ancient source material that isn't as "Traditional" as modern "Traditionalists" think they are.  Chief among those being The Bible. Deborah was likely the model for Helen Hannah, yet many "Conservatives" preach on Deborah blind to how her very existence in the Biblical narrative undermines their patriarchal assumptions.

In the case of the ones who are truly believers (I am an Evangelical Christian in case you didn't know) maybe The Holy Spirit worked through them in-spite of themselves.  And yes I think it's possible for even Catholics like Feval or Tolkien to be saved in-spite of their Catholicism.  I was Saved for awhile before I fully accepted that the Roman Church I grew up in was incompatible with The Bible.

Maybe some of it is hypocritical, being selectively okay with women doing a Man's job if she does so in the name of some other Conservative cause.

Or maybe sometimes we should just see this as a reminder that people are complicated, and being conservative in one area doesn't mean conservative in others.  Or that believing in traditional gender roles as the norm doesn't always have to mean refusing to accept those who defy the norm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

PLL " #WhatsinTheBarrel " TV Reaction

So I tried my hand at some real Live Tweeting for once.  I don't know how other people type so fast.  Few of my tweets got any reactions o I'm not sure they're worth it.