Friday, August 28, 2015

Sailor Moon S 90s Dub

I've been rewatching online lately the old Dub of Sailor Moon S.  As I said before I'm very nostalgic for the classic Dub (which we default to calling DiC even though DiC wasn't doing it anymore by the S season) in-spite of it's many problems, and S was the best season in my opinion.  And with the Viz Dub starting S soon, I figured it'd be good to freshen up on it to compare.

Besides censorship issues the biggest issue with the old Dub for S is that Amarra(Haruka)'s voice sounds very robotic.  I generally think the old Dub voice actors did pretty well, so this one really stands out like a sore thumb.

On the censorship issue.  It's interesting because S has the single most notorious change of them all, making Haruka and Michiru into Cousins as Amarra and Michelle (that was the easiest name to westernize since it is just how the Japanese spell Michelle).  But outside that it does not seem very censored at all.

In the first season anytime the Scouts costumes got ripped up revealing even more skin the Dub wouldn't show it.  All that leg is fine, but anymore skin is to much to handle it seemed.  But at the end of S Uranus and Neptune get theirs tore up and it's unaltered in the Dub.  Meanwhile it leaves the suggestive game of Twister the villains played.  But most shocking of all is Hotaru on a Cross, that is some pretty edgy stuff for a kids show.

The Dub of R felt the need to censor Serena falling to her knees in episode 80.  Some, not even all, but some adults will read that as suggestive of something.  But the idea that it's something you need to censor from kids is ridiculous.  With S plenty of things more suggestive got past them just fine.

Sailor Moon S is the darkest season and all that darkness seemed to get past the Dubbers just fine.  But something that could have sent a positive message they had to censor. I assure you anyone who'd object to Amarra and Michelle being Gay on religious grounds would have eventually turned the show off anyway once Hotaru was on the Cross.

I also suspect the voice actors didn't much care that their supposed to be hiding that they're in a relationship.  Well Amarra sounded so emotionless that there is no way to tell, but whoever voiced Michelle was definitely thinking of herself as playing a Lover.  The dialogue may have told us they're cousins almost every episode, but the performance didn't seem to care.

I remember back when I had no idea about any of these dub change controversies.  First time I went on a Sailor Moon website I thought "who the heck is this Usagi they keep talking about".  But strangely I have no memory of ever NOT knowing Uranus and Neptune are Lesbians.

Maybe the fact that I've never agreed with there being anything wrong with relationships between cousins effected my perspective.

At any rate, let's hope the new Dub does justice to to how awesome S is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sailor Jupiter and Gender norms

One thing I've been observing on Tumblr is Japanese Feminists getting annoyed at Western Feminists for interpreting the Magical Girl genre as Feminist when in Japan that genre is perceived as being all about reinforcing traditional gender roles.

I'd like to think this problem with the Magical Girl genre and how it's perceived now doesn't really apply to the original, Sailor Moon.  Naoko Takeuchi seems like a Feminist from what I've heard she's said.  And apparently Sailor Moon was partly inspired by Wonder Woman, which is as Feminist as you can get.

As someone who's by no means an expert on these issues, I think a key factor in this analysis is the character of Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter.  Haruka is a "Masculine" woman, but being being in a Lesbian couple kind of only makes that even more stereotypical.

Lita (I grew on the DiC dub, so while it's censoring of LGBT characters infuriates me I'm also very nostalgic for it, in a special place in my heart the character will always be known as Lita first) was always my favorite of the Sailor Scouts, but it's only fairly recently I've been able to put a finger on why.

She is an interesting mix of gender related stereotypes, she is fairly tomboyish (especially by Japanese standards) she's the one who knows how to fight before she becomes a Senshi.  But she also really likes to cook, as a guy who likes to cook a select few things (Pasta!!!) and is quite a Romantic, I identify with her the most.

I have still never read the Manga, at any rate Crystal is supposed to be more directly faithful to the Manga. Makoto's introduction episode is my favorite to re-watch in each incarnation.  That episode is one of the few I've watched Subbed.

My Nostalgia for the old Dub doesn't prevent me from liking what I've seen of the Viz Dub so far, I'm fascinated by how they've managed to give the voices a 90s vibe in spite of it being recorded now.  And the voice actors all fit their roles, but I can't help like feeling that the one voice where the DiC dub is still far better to me is Sailor Jupiter.  Does my Nostalgia cloud my judgment more with her because she's my favorite?  Maybe.... but it seems to me like Amanda simply doesn't bring the energy and enthusiasm to the role that Susan Roman did.

Comparing the old Anime to Crystal.  I like Makoto and Usagi's meet cute more in the old Anime, with her beating up those guys, compared to just saving her from getting hit by a car.  And also later getting in a fight with Zoisite.  Both episodes are good though.

What I'm a little bothered by is Makoto's introduction episode in the Live Action series PGSM.  It's good over all, and the Actress, Mew Azama, fit the role perfectly.  But I get a vibe from it that I never got in the Anime that Makoto is very uncomfortable with how boyish she's perceived as being, Usagi at one point apologizes for having called her Boyish earlier.  And her Feminine cooking is cited as a redeeming quality almost.  I hope that hasn't clouded how people since have viewed the character.

Update 12/21/2015:

Now that the Viz Dub of Crystal has started and reached this episode, I feel Amanda has improved, but still no Susan.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So Charles is revealed

It wasn't who I'd been doubling down on.  But I had discussed this option before.

Feel free to look at my Tweets.

Why Kyubey is Evil

This post is for people who are familiar with the Aime Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

I want to start by sharing a funny little video I put together with Window Movie Maker for my Youtube Channel.

I want to give my perspective on the debate of if Kyubey truly qualifies as Evil.

I apologies that I shall do some defaulting to masculine pronouns for a technically gender less life-form, I don't feel comfortable calling any sentient being "it" however reprehensible it is.  And the only way to truly interpret Madoka as Feminist is to see Kyubey as a powerful man taking advantage of underage girls.

First of all, if his being presumably emotionless and logical is an excuse or even a valid explanation for his insistence on not revealing all the facts before making his contracts?  Would Spock consider it Logical to not tell people what their getting into?  I think not.

Is it valid to say he only reveals what he's directly asked because he just genuinely doesn't get that people might want to know?  Episode 9 refutes that idea.  His answer to Kyoko about if Sayaka can be saved really pushes the line of the claim that he never blatantly lies, because the deception here comes from what he adds that he did not need to say.  And when Homura (whom he has decided to become brutally Honest with) asks the same question he answers it incredibly different "of course not".

And then in Episode 11 he eagerly reveals to Homura what he has just deduced, without being asked.

But the final question is.  How accurate even is the assumption that he's emotionless?  Homura never says he lacks emotions but says "that THING doesn't understand human values".  His description of his species is not that they are incapable of Emotions but that it's considered a mental illness.  We in our history have had a tragic tendency to label things mental illnesses that are not at all uncommon.

He does show emotion actually, a few times he is surprised, shocked even, at least once shocked with a slight sense of horror in the timeline where he doesn't figure out Homura's deal till the very end.  And he also gloats, in the main Timeline we're following, every time he figures out more about Homura.  And especially in Episode 11, when he finally finds Humora's Achilles heel.

It's not Emotion he lacks but Empathy, Empathy for Human beings.  Because of that he seems like a Sociopath.  Now I am often annoyed about how loosely the term Sociopath is used of fictional characters (like when it's used of Joe Pecsi's characters in Goodfellas and Casino, or BBC's Sherlock).  It doesn't mean insane, it doesn't mean being a jerk, it doesn't mean a lack of impulse control.  And not all Sociopaths become criminals or evil people, plenty become productive members of society.

But if you combine being a Sociopath with an "ends justifies the means" morality and highly "logical" philosophy, you can wind up with someone like Kyubey easily.

So as SFderbis likes to say "Bunny-Cat's a Dick".

PLL mid Seaon Finale tonight, Charles will be revealed

Just a reminder about my latest theories.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Evangelion and Shintosim

Spoiler Warning!!!

Also an "I myself am new to Evangleion Fandom" warning.

Neon Genesis Evangelion, or as I like to affectionately call it "The Anime that has the Staypuff Marshmallowman nailed to a Giant Cross", is an Anime known for it's use of Judeo-Christian imagery, not in a strictly Biblical sense but in a sense filtered by KabbalahGnosticism, Jungian psychology, and general Anime weirdness.  And endless debates on if that imagery means anything, I think it does, but I think the meanings are layered.

Rarely is the subject of Shintoism, the native "religion" of Japan possibly being an influence brought up.  None of the names come from Shintoism, but we in the West often explore Christian themes in fiction that replaces all the familiar names with more exotic sounding ones, from Tolkien to Lewis.  But even also sometimes in more contemporary settings, Shakespeare had to get around the Law itself not allowing him to depict The Bible directly.

Maybe I'm able to notice this because I had already noticed just from studying the use of Mythology in Final Fantasy games how easy it can be to construct parallels between Shinto cosmology and Gnosticism.  Like comparing the Hitorigami and/or the "Seven Divine Generations" to the Gnostic Aeons.

The gist comes down to suggesting that the being SEELE calls "Lilith" is really Izanami and the being called "Adam" is really Izanagi.  For starters independent of bringing NGE into it those two can be viewed as the Adam and Eve figures of Shintoism.  Their names essentially mean Male and Female, and they are essentially the ancestors of everyone, human and Kami alike.  In a Gnostic or Kabbalistic analogy they'd be Sophia or Lilith and Adam Kadman or the Cosmic Man.  Even the issue of Izanami speaking first in the Mating Ritual could be viewed as paralleling Lilith's desire to be on top.

Izanami is currently supposed to be trapped in the Underworld unable to leave, not unlike Persephone or Eurydice from Greek Mythology.  In Evangelion "Lilith" (If you're reading this even though you're not familiar with NGE, Lilith is the Staypuff Marshmellowman I refereed to above, though it was originally misidentified as Adam) is being held by NERV literally underground.  If I've followed the geography correctly, NERV headquarters is a huge Pyramid built beneath New Tokyo-3, and where Lilith is being held is in a basement deep beneath that.

Also Izanami and Izanagi had a special Spear linked to them, called the Amenonuhoko.  Which could have something to do with the Spear in NGE which is refereed to as the Spear of Longinus.

Also there are two characters in NGE that are effectively Human Avatars of the beings known as Lilith and Adam.  Ayanami Rei is Lilith and Nagisa Kaworu is Adam.  Who's names, have a plausible phonetic connection to Izanami and Izanagi.

Maybe none of that means anything.  But it's interesting to think about.

As a little humorous bonus, here is a Meme I made.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

PLL Tweets, Charles reveal is coming

  1. That was fun
  2. Clark is a Cop
  3. Liar moms experiencing what their daughters have been up to. Priceless
  4. was that reese or Jason?
  5. Is that a Halloween Prom????????
  6. Veronica be spillin
  7.   retweeted
    Sheriff Troy Nehls of Fort Bend County says he must enforce the law, but he personally opposes current marijiuana law.
  8. Punch Bowl, lol
  9. Ali looked directly at Aria