Friday, November 17, 2017

Washio Sumi gets a Recap Episode

A recap of Season 1 of Yuki Yuna.  It was a good recap, if you want to see a half hour summery to prep you for season 2, check it out.

The Justice League movie was a Ten out of Ten

I know I don't exactly have a reputation as someone who's praise for DCEU films means much.  But I did have conflicted feeling towards MOS and BvS.  That conflict is gone here.

They finally got Superman right.

Wonder WOman was still awesome.

Batman was dope as usual

The Flash was used pretty well, since I gave up on the TV show, Ezra is my Barry Allen now.

Aquaman and Cyborg weren't bad either.

Stay thorough the credits, DC finally did a full all the way after the Credits scene.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fall 2017 Simuldub Three Episode Test

There are five shows I decided to give the three episode test to via their Funimation simuldubs.  I'm afraid I don't feel like I have any super extreme opinions on any of them yet.  I may of course try more shows later.

Code:Realize

A Reverse Harem Visual Novel adaptation that also appeals to my Tales of The Shadowmen related interests.  It was the one I was most guaranteed to check out.

The show is not possible to imagine as compatible with the original literary canons of the characters.  But it has been fun so far, and so I will definitely watch episode 4 tomorrow.

Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World

My knowledge of the original Kino's Journey Anime is mostly only via watching SFDebris reviews of it.  I learned about the Gender Ambiguity of Kino's character when I read Vrai's piece on the pilot back when only it's Sub was available, so I knew the plot of episode 1 going in.

I have enjoyed all three episodes, and it may please Vrai to know that the Dub has not used any Gendered pronouns of Kino so far.  Still, I generally don't think this is my kind of show, so I have my doubts I'll stick with it.

Anime Gataris.

This is the least likely show I'll drop, it's not on par with Lucky Star but it's still a pretty fun Anime about talking about Anime show.  If Lucky Star and Yuru Yuri are the main kind of Anime you like, this is your show for this season.

A Sister's All You Need

Now if my blog has any followers, you may recall me explicitly telling people NOT to watch this show in my post titled It's Americans who don't know what real Teenager look like.  That was advice for normies, I'm not a normie, I watched all of Eromanga-Sensei and found some value in it, though I couldn't make it three episodes into Oreimo.  So I did decide to give this show three episodes to see what I think.

So far, I'm still unsure about much of it.  Nothing has been on par with the opening fantasy in over the top creepiness.  I like the MC's two females friends and their interactions.  What really confuses me is the MC's younger sibling.  The plot description says they're female, they have a female voice actor.  But all the MC's friends seem to think they're a boy.  If all this dodging leading to is a generic "Samus is a Girl" moment, I'll be fairly annoyed.  But I can't help but suspect it's that rather then any attempt to really explore Gender Identity with the character.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

This show is interesting, I have no particular thoughts yet.

Off Topic Post Script


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cinemanarrative Dissonance and Anti-War films.

So this is my second post on Cinemanarrative Dissonance, a term I didn't coin but want to help popularize.

In the first post I talked about how this related to the Male Gaze, which was the context of the example provide din the Folding Ideas Video I got the term from.  Anti-War films didn't come up in that video but did in the comments section.

I discussed the issues that Anti-Wars films often have in my post about Kong Skull Island.  That was my knew jerk reaction to expression my general enjoyment of that film, so I may have gone over board, it too has ways you could interpret it as being Pro "the right kind of War", via the Island needing Kong to defend it from the ugly less human looking lizard monsters.  Still, I definitely stand by the Gundam franchise being the best Anti-War genre fiction.

It basically comes down to how much the need for the violence to be entertaining, undermines the objective of making it horrific.  Again, this too is perhaps easier to do allegorically with some Sci-Fi or Fantasy horrificness.  When it's Lovecraftian Elderich Abominations or Giant Robots destroying buildings and lives, out subconscious is less likely to decide that looking cool makes it good in real life cause we know it presumably can't happen in real life.  Examples of this can go from how the original Gojira works as an allegory for Nuclear War, to how good Miyazaki is making things looking unnaturally ugly in films like Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke.

Still, the main suggestion I want to make today, is that if you really want to have a completely realistic Anti-War film.  Maybe the solution is not to go the Gritty front line horror route.  But rather to, and this will offend the-fanboy-perspective blog endlessly, not seek an R rating.

When you're depicting the people on the front lines, you're depicting the people who even the most already inclined to be Anti-War viewers are naturally likely to sympathize with.  There is a desire to view the brave warrior on the front line as worthy of respect, maybe as a victim rather then a hero, but still worthy of respect.  And I think that really lies at the heart of how Anti-War films unintentionally undermine themselves, even if it doesn't directly seem like the main reason.

Maybe it's better to focus more on the people who aren't on the front lines, the people who aren't directly risking their lives as much, yet are much more the reason the Wars happen to begin with.  The politicians and really high ranking generals.  Show their cold detachment.  Much of Lawrence of Arabia does this, which is why I like that film so much. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cinemanarrative Dissonance, the Male Gaze, Megan Fox and Anime

The Folding Ideas YouTube Channel did a video a few months ago on Ludonarrative Dissonance.

In it he references an earlier video that coined the term Cinemanarrative Dissonance with the intent of mocking the idea of talking about Ludonarrative Dissonance.  But he does so going on to say he thinks Cinemanarrative Dissonance is a thing that should be talked about, even if the examples are in general less common then in games.

He cited Megan Fox's character in the Transformers movie as a good example.  The character is a well written not very stereotyped character, who has a solid arch, and is well performed by Megan Fox.  But the camera treated her like a piece of meat, and that is how fans, both casual and even more savvy ones, saw her.

He's not the only person to observe this, it came up in a recent article on The Mary Sue.  I haven't seen the Transformers films myself yet, but I can say as someone who was on Internet Forums like IMDB back then, the perception of the character and of Fox herself was what Folding Ideas says the Cinematography presented.

Now, why is Anime in the title of this post?

Because a lot of female Anime characters have kind of been given the same Cinemanarrative Dissonate treatment.  Characters who are well written, have agency, and depth, and are relate-able.  Yet the animation constantly objectifies them with a lot of the Anime Style Fanservice that I dislike.

The difference I've observed is which way of viewing the female character prevails in the general perception of viewers.  With the Anime I'm thinking of this use of fan-service is criticized, but it does not control how the characters are perceived.

Highschool of The Dead is a good example, reportedly most of it's fans are women.  What's empowering about the characters' managed to not be completely drowned out by all the uncomfortable panty shoots and ridiculous boob physics.

But with Transformers, both Megan Fox's character and the actress herself were slut shamed by society, including Feminists, with websites like TheMarySue not feeling the need to stick up for her till fairly recently.  People somehow saw it as her fault that Bay objectified her.

Now in some Anime this contrast is intentional with a feminist commentary in mind, like The Woman Called Fujiko Mine or as I've been told Kill La Kill.  Those I would not compare to Transformers.  But their Live Action Hollywood counterparts seem to have more trouble obtaining artistic respectability, like Jenifer's Body (another Megan Fox film) and Sucker Punch.

Why is the general viewer reaction to this contrast so different?  Shouldn't it be easier to see the humanity of the character when it's a flesh and blood human being?  Is it harder to view the actress herself as culpable when she's not physically there?  Is it related to how Anime is inherently more abstract?

Maybe it's because the audience for Anime is more Niche, and so a larger percentage of viewers are inclined to read deeper. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Washio Sum is Mimori Togo

As a final verdict, I feel this Yuki Yuki prequel story is good.  But not like the Star Wars Prequels or Fate/Zero in that I'd recommend watching them in chronological order.  The major reveal is comparatively quite underwhelming in it's execution in the Prequel.

Next week, Yuki Yuna season 2 should begin.  Hopefully that will wild new ride.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Washio Sumi is still Sad

Last week ended with a Knife to the Gut.  This episode was about twisting it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 2017 may wind up being Magical Girl month for me

The Fall Simuldubs have started, I may post something on them once I've finished the Three Episode test.

I'm hoping on Thanksgiving to continue a tradition watching Nanoha seasons 1 and 2 for it every year.  It happened to be that day I watched them for the first time last year, and I quickly decided I'd like to make that a personal Thanksgiving Tradition out of it, but family obligations could make doing that complicated.  Maybe it's more important I watch A's that day and watch season 1 before.

The Viz Dub of Season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal just dropped, and I still need to finish the Viz Dub for Sailor Moon S.

And my Isekai research may lead to me checking out Magic Knight Rayearth.

Between those and my continuing to follow Yuki Yuna season 2, that's a lot of Magical Action action this month. I could throw in some PreCure time, and watch more of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.  And hopefully the 3rd Nanoha movie and the Prisma Illya movie will go online sometime before November's over.  And that could make this a pretty Magical Girl filled month.

Which is a good time to remind people how strongly I recommend Twin Angel break from the Spring Season.  It's also about time I finished the earlier installments of that franchise.

And I also want to read some more Madoka Mangas, Maybe I'll find Tart being sold somewhere, it has a legal release but I can't find it online.

I want to make a Zelda related post for Zelda month.  But I'll need to get some inspiration first.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Washio Sumi is Sad

And this is the episode we're reminded this is part of the so called "Sad Magical Girl" genre.

It's a good episode.

Hopefully I'll have more to say as the Prequel wraps up over the next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jeanne d'Arc in Anime is too Gender Normative

I can accept that it's unreasonable for me to want every Anime featuring her to follow the theory she was a Lesbian that I favor, or others that she was Trans or Non Binary.

But there is no dispute that she did dress like a man, and cut her hair short to fit that.  Whether or not that was motivated by anything more then what she said it was we'll probably know for sure.

Jeanne appears a lot in Anime and Manga.  But I haven't seen any reference to her cross dressing, in fact she tends to be the feminine women in the show.  And it's not like this is alien to Anime, there is a long tradition of female Anime characters who look and dress rather boyish, the Bifauxnen.

It's like Japan simply didn't get the memo on this part of Jeanne's story, they just think female saint equals perfect embodiment of Christian Femininity.

In Fate/Apocrypha it could have created a nice contrast with Astolfo, a guy dressed as a girl, especially since they seem to be being set up as romantic rivals.  And both are French.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween Anime viewing Update

At the start of the month I gave a top 5 Halloween Anime recommendations based on what I’d already seen.  Here I’m gonna talk about what I’ve been watching.

I will talk more about Fate/Apocrypha at the bottom, after a spoiler warner.  The other stuff I’ll talk about here I’ll try to keep Spoiler free.

I’m not watching Code:Realize yet since I’m waiting for it’s Simuldub.  But it’s worth noting that it also has characters from both the Dracula and Frankenstein novels.

First I watched the Netflix Castlevania series as I said I would, even though it’s not technically Anime.  The four episodes up now are basically an extended prologue, but they were fun.  And Gaius Frakking Baltar is voicing Alucard, that should be a treat.

I watched Kyoufu Kaiki! Frankenstein (also known as Monster of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Legend of Terror).  An Anime movie from 1981 based on Frankenstein.  I watched the Dub that was made in 1984, so one of the older Dubs out there.  I gave it a 7, it’s the subject of my first My Anime List review.

I much later watched the 1980 Tomb of Dracula Anime (based on the 70s Marvel comic book series), which I can’t really recommend.  The Music was cool, but it felt like a decade of comics storylines crammed into 90 minutes.  And as someone notoriously easy on Dubs, it’s Dub was one of the worst.

Then I watched the first three episodes of Dusk Maiden Amnesia.  Which were kinda fun.

I watched the Fate/Grand Order: First Order OVA Dub as I said I was going to.  It was pretty fun, and for Halloween relevance, there is a sort of homage to certain classic Christopher Lee film.

I’m also revisiting some of what I already recommended. 

Back in September I watched the first 2 episodes of the Dub of Testament of Sister New Devil.  The rest of the Dub will drop on October 31st, but I probably won’t be able to get to them till after.

Fate/Apocrypha Spoiler Warning

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Waship Sumi is a Fascist

Well, I've just seen episode 3 of Washio of Sumi.

Again, I knew what to expect.  I should be made more uncomfortable by how far they go with Washio's Nationalism, given the escalation that has happened in my country since I saw the movie version.

But the fun Slice of Slice comedy and Yuri Bait makes for it pretty well.  It's a fun episode.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I enjoyed the new Mummy movie.

I want to say that upfront since I'm going to express some frustrations here.  It was enjoyable, trying to be less Indiana Jones then the 99 film, but still more Popcorn fun then the original.  As the launch of a Shared Cinematic Universe, I like it more then Iron Man or Godzilla 2014.

And to people complaining about making these movies action movies at all.  The 40s Universal Monster Mash films were even for the time definitely more Pulpy adventure films then true Horror. And they had self parody moments as well, especially in Bride of Frankenstein.

There will be Spoilers by the way.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

The second episode of Washio Sumi

I have a concern my ability to comment on these episodes will be disappointing for the Washio Sumi ones.  Maybe I should have just talked about the movies while they were fresher in my mind.

If you didn't see the movies, these TV episodes well be the preferable way to experience the story.  The movie experiment I think would have been better if they made one full length movie.

This episode is still establishing our characters.

Next episode will I think not even include a battle, it'll be a mostly comedy episode. 

So yeah, I don't have much to say besides, it's still pretty good.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Temptation of Frankenstein

My desire to spend this month watching a lot more Horror Anime lead me to watching Kyoufu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein, which I wrote a review of for MyAnimeList.  That movie felt very inspired by the Universal Frankenstein films, so I felt like watching a few of those again.  And I just re-watched Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman.

A movie that arguably marks the birth of the first Shared Cinematic Universe.  And with Universal now seeking to launch a new MCU style shared universe reviving their old monsters.  It definitely put thoughts in my head.

If there was any type of overarching plot thread to the old Monster Mash saga.  It was the idea of other Scientists being tempted by Franenstein's secrets when an opportunity to follow in his footsteps is provided, like it's an irresistible forbidden fruit to them.

Even Henry's actual children in Son Of and Ghost Of resist it at first but give in, with Ygor serving as their Serpent.  But this movie marks the beginning of other, sometimes at first perfectly normal, doctors following this arc.

But of course like many of the interesting things about these early films, it's not quite explored as in depth as it could be.  So that's something I'd like to see revisited.  Don't find some excuse to make Victor just as immortal as his Creation the way a lot of recent works have done, like Penny Dreadful.  Let it be other scientists playing that role each film after somehow stumbling upon Frankenstein's records and/or the Monster.

I know some might complain about the idea of repeating the same arc over and over again.  But just like how the One Ring's temptation of different people is different depending on that individual's personality, there are a lot of different characterizations this premise could explore.

Take Dr. Manning in this movie for example.  What's interesting about him is starting out as a normal medical doctor.  His decision at the end might have seemed less inexplicable if they actually verbalized more the subtext that he was basically being pressured into violating the Hippocratic Oath.  Talbot very explicitly wants to die, so that could have been easy to accept, but The Monster is basically a child who doesn't understand what's going on.

Anyalizing this movie as Hollywood's earliest example of a film that is a sequel to two originally separates films continuity wise is also interesting.

As a Sequel to The Wolfman it works great.  As a Frankenstein movie though, it has unavoidable continuity issues from being torn between two different approaches.  There clearly was a draft of the script that tried pretty hard to work as a sequel to Ghost of Frankenstein, Lugosi's monster even spoke originally.  Yet there are also moments that just want to treat it as if this old castle was where the Monster was originally created.

Of all it's connections to Ghost.  The easiest to miss yet most important is that the man who's reputation lead Maleva to bring Talbot to this town was Ludwig Frankenstein's from before Ghost's story started, as someone who'd helped people.  She did not think "the guy who made a monster from dead bodies ought to know how to deal with a Werewolf", though that's what a viewer who watches the movie out of the context of the saga is inclined to think.  So that other scenes of the film seem to forget Ludwig existed, makes that confusion even worse, and unfortunate.

Now people complaining about the new Shared Universe trend like to emphasize how it's more important for a film to work on it's own then tie in with other movies.  That's all well and good.  But this movie's inability to decide if it wants to be a sequel to Ghost or some unflimed Frankenstein reboot, made it inconsistent with itself.  And that causes the main flaws of an other pretty good movie.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Last Jedi trailer was very RED

I'd comments briefly on how the red dust in the Teaser had me thinking of KyleKallgrenBHH talking about Kurosawa's use of Color in his latter film, in the video on RAN.  In the new Trailer it was more then just a little, the sue of Red in this Trailer was very striking.  It's like a Live Action Miyazaki film.

The trailer feels designed to miss lead.  Still I do think Leia was always gonna be killed off, they just acted like her involvement in Episode IX was an issue so no one would figure that out.

I don't think Rey is gonna turn to the Darkside.  I have a feeling by the end of this film Rey and Kylo will both be left sort of abandoned.

So the Porgs suggest to me that maybe Pokemon could work in Live Action.

It's Americans who don't know what Teenagers actually look like.


A lot of Anime does a lot of creepy stuff that is designed to appeal to Ephebophiles, Hebephiles and even Pedophiles.  This post is not my attempt to deny that.

What grinds my gears however is this accusation that Anime constantly makes High School and even Collage aged female characters look younger then they should, "infantalizing" them.

The reason a lot of American Anime critics are saying this, is because American television has given American society a distorted idea of what High Schoolers look like by spending decades having the characters on Teen Dramas constantly played by actors in their 20s, frequently late 20s, even well into their 30s sometimes.

I make a habit of noting when an actress on some show I'm watching turns out to have been born the same year I was, 1985.  And there have been actresses born in 1985 playing High Schoolers all through the time I've been watching television.  But only 1 got to do so while we were actually High School aged.  Michelle Trachtenberg actually was supposed to be playing her own age on seasons 5-7 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  But both the script and fans constantly treated her like she was an infant compared to the other characters, because she practically was to the other actors.

The thing is, I have noted this fact, and complained about it, since long before I got particularly into Anime.  If i recall correctly I'd reblogged posts on Tumblr about how damaging it is to American teenagers that the people representing them on TV look so much more mature and developed then them.
phantasticphil-know-whats-real-f---ed-every
"Know what’s real f---ed? Every other age group has the correct aged actors representing them except teenagers. Adults play adults - children play children; but teenagers are played by more adults. Why? Because apparently our body changes from puberty are too ugly for TV. So what happens? We go through those years looking at the perfect “teenagers” and wondering why we don’t look like that."
And that's part of why I started really falling in love with Anime once I started watching more then just the obvious nerdy stuff.  I started watching High School Anime and went "wow, fiction where Teenagers don't look like fully grown adults".

It's easy to forget what real Teenagers look like.  We all were them at one point, but memories are not as reliable as you think, when I remember my teen years, I always recall myself looking how I do now.  So many people wind up just depending on all the TV they watch to a get reference point on how Teenagers should look.

Fortunately my extended family keeps reproducing, so there have always been current teenagers around.  So I can tell you that Anime teenagers look like teenagers.  They still often have the problem of looking too flawless, but compared to western TV, yes they absolutely look their age.  Likewise in what I've seen of Live Action Japanese media, the Teenagers look younger compared to American TV, because they are cast closer to their age.  Even Canada is better on this, some crossover stars graduate from playing High Schoolers on Canadian TV to start High School on American TV.

So when I then saw that it was really common for American Anime critics to complain that Teenagers in Anime look too young.  I was enraged, but for whatever reason held off ranting about it on this blog till today.

Now, the recently started airing Anime A Sister's All You need, is from the looks of the pilot another creepy Imouto Anime, the heir to Eromanga-Sensei (Heiromanga-Sensei), I would not recommend anyone watch it.  But what set me off to finally write this post was one review describing two 18-20 year old female characters as "looking like they're 12".  Here is a Screencap taken from that very review.
(The Context of the Subs is a homophobic comment being made, which makes me cringe.  So again, don't watch it.)

These girls are not short, and they have fully developed breasts. What in the world looks 12 about them?  Is it just the big eyes?  All Anime characters have big eyes because of a design choice Osamu Tezuka stole from Walt Disney, seriously look at the Dwarves in Show White, they have total Moe Eyes.  So thank you Walt for cursing all Anime Girls to be eternally accused of looking like children no matter what.

Also since this criticism is also couched in gendered terms, saying it's mostly women this is done to.  Would any unbiased observer not assume all three of those characters are the same age?  They clearly look the same age, the dude just has a more severe expression, cause he's another Stoic Light Novel protagonist so he's required by law to try and out brood Kirito.

Now some Anime characters are within the story meant to look young for their age.  (Which can happen, I spent most of my 20s being constantly mistaken for a middle schooler.)  Those characters generally look notably shorter then everyone else, and if female are always flat chested.

I could also add that  a lot of what's called High School Anime is really Middle School, Yuru Yuri is Middle School, in which context I think some of them look rather old.  So yes, some characters in what you see called High School Anime are pretty close to being 12.

Anime has always, even Miyazaki style Anime, tended to use Height as the default way to communicate age differences.  So kids always look way smaller then their parents, even if the kid in question is 18 and so about as tall as they'll get.  So that also complicates this issue a bit.

So we Americans should fix our own issues about how Teenagers look on television before we complain about Japan's.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou Episode 1

I plan to post on each episode of the new Yuki Yuna season.  I can't guarantee they'll be very good posts.  At any-rate Yuki Yuna will be a regular presence on this Blog for the next 3 months.

For the Prequel half, I'm re-watching since I saw the movie.  I have to say it's not proving as re-watchable as the original Yuki Yuna Anime.  Though it may simply be that I enjoy the Dub voice actors more.

I wasn't super-impressed with the movies to begin with.  Perhaps It's good to show I'm not always blindly thrilled by Prequels.  They were by no means bad, only a sequel would ruin Yuki Yuna and so that's what I'll be more on edge about.

I was again reminded of how I feel the Vertexes are kind of like the Angels from Evangelion.  I know some people really get offended every time someone alleges an Eva influence on something.

This first episode is still a perfectly adequate set up for our three Heroines.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Generational perspectives and Star Wars

In my ongoing war with Star Wars Prequel haters, I respond to all the "they ruined my childhood" nonsense by explaining that the Prequels are my childhood memories.  The Phantom Menace is to me everything A New Hope was to those people who fell in love with it in 1977.  When I watch it now it's one of the few things that make me tear up.

And I'm not along, the Prequels have plenty of fans on Tumblr and Wordpress.  And Facebook groups dedicated to them. 

And when saying this on a message board, I inevitably get a response from someone saying they were a youth in 1999 and they hated that movie too.  As if that proves something.

My mother was of the same generation as the original Star Wars fans, being a late Baby Boomer.  She's told me about how she and a boyfriend went to see it in 1977 and walked out of the theater.  The movie also got a fair share of less then glowing reviews at the time. 

But there is a difference between failing to fall in love with a movie that is an established franchise and one that isn't.  The people for whom A New Hope wasn't their thing weren't invested in it, they just moved on, when it became a big thing later then went "huh", but felt no emotional need to be offended by people who liked it.

But for people who kept hearing about Star Wars all the time, who were told it was a classic before they had the chance to make up their own minds on it.  When the movie made for your generation doesn't appeal to you, you may become unwilling to consider that it was simply not your thing.

Digibro, an Anime YouTuber, got into trouble once for complaining about boring tastes in 3x3s, for questioning if there really are so many people who's personal favorites happened to be all these "Elitist" Anime.  And I think for a lot of people of my generation or younger, movies like the original Star Wars trilogy, or the first two Godfathers, are in the same boat.  A lot of people convince themselves they like them because they feel they have to.

Am I saying anyone born in the 80s who didn't love TPM wasn't meant to be a Star Wars fan?  Not necessarily, there are plenty of differences between them to explain why one would appeal to you and not the other.  For me, the OT has a limited appeal, I appreciate them same as I do Evangleion as an Anime fan, but they don't speak to me.

Digibro said in a podcast once that he thought he simply didn't like Space Operas because he didn't enjoy TPM.  But then played Mass Effect and loved that, and then watched the RLM review and "realized' TPM was simply a bad movie.  Well a youtuber named SaganFan1983 has a video totally destroying Plinkett's TPM review.  Meanwhile Mass Effect may also be a Space Opera, but it's basic appeal is still massively different from Star Wars.  Based on Digi's taste in Anime, Star Wars simply isn't for him, after all he said in the Kill La Kill video he hates orchestral scores.

Digi isn't quite my "Generation" in the sense I mean here though anyway.  Five years younger might not seem like a separate generation at first, but in the context of how quickly Hollywood and Anime trends have shifted in the New Millennium, they are a world apart.

I was 13 when TPM came out.  For awhile I'd been making the argument I summarized in the first paragraph of this post thinking of myself as the oldest end of the generation the Prequels were made for.  That it's odd to say I grew on it when I was already a Teen.  But lately, I've noticed how in most old footage I see of people in 1977 gushing about the original film just after leaving the theater, they were mostly Teens and early 20s, I see no real little kids.  So I now realize that I am rather the youngest of the Prequel generation.

So Digibro and EndlessJess and the other PCP members, like the other rising stars of YouTube right now have a much younger perspective then I do on fiction.  The time when people my age would have been the core of YouTube, was a time when the Internet assumed only negative reviews were marketable.

People of Digibro's age have stuff from 1999 they are Nostalgic for, but those are shows and movies that were aimed at a much younger audience.  I was into Pokemon at the time they were super popular, but it's that fandom I was definitely arguably too old for.  It caught my attention because I was a Nintendo freak who'd spent 5 years being into Mario and Zelda already.  I think many Nintendo fans my age resent Pokemon so quickly becoming equal to them.  I fortunately have always been pretty accepting of new stuff.

We have on YouTube now a generation that grew up at a time when the Internet was ruled by those Nostalgic for the OT.  And for whom Star Wars films made for them didn't start till 2015.  No one denies TFA was a BO success, even though financially it really didn't do any better then TPM.

It used to be you wouldn't really get to be a famous reviewers until your personal golden age was already over.  But people born in the 90s have had the opportunity to become famous praising their favorite shows while they still aired.  If more people my age had that opportunity during the Prequel era, things might be different.

However I still believe it's only a loud Minority.  Plenty of Prequel defenders exist in every generation of Star Wars fans.

But the Internet is still somewhat a place where negativity trends more, as much as things may have improved. So the first YouTube videos to come up on a google search for them, are often saying "not THAT bad" at best.  Because that's what trends.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My plans for The Fall Anime season.

First of all I'm continuing Fate/Apocrypha, it's second Core started with episode 13, which was pretty fun.  As well as the Simuldub of In Another World with my Smartphone, which has a few episodes left.

I will be watching season 2 of Yuki Yuna is a Hero.  I'm planning to cover all 12 episodes on this blog, even though the first 6 are repeating the movies I already saw.

After that, I will probably wait till the Simuldubs start to add any more shows to the list.  That doesn't mean it'll only be shows getting simuldubbed, just that I want to wait.

The only other show I already knew I would try, is one I now already know is getting a Simuldub, Code:Realize.  Which is another addition to the Anime legacy of Arsene Lupin.

Now for Summer what my plans originally were got completely derailed.  If Digi and Nate do another Podcast on something I'll probably watch it too.

But for now, this is the plan.

Since I'm pretty sure non of the Simuldubs will start till November.  That gives me plenty of spare time to in October to watch old Anime, both rewatching and trying new stuff.  I'll try to give priority to stuff that has a Horror or Gothic slant, to then perhaps make a follow up to my Halloween recommendations before the month is over.

Update October 13th:

Well it turns out the Simuldubs are starting before Ocotber ends.  I may wait till November to start them anyway.

 For the Winder Season I started watching the shows I did when the Dubs already had 4 episodes up.   I didn't premeditate that, I really wasn't interesting to trying to follow currently airing shows yet.  But it was nice to not have to get the 3 episodes test out of the way as soon as I started.

Monday, October 2, 2017

You can Westernize Anime adaptations without actually Westernizing them.

What I mean by that is, you can change the setting of one that was originally set in Japan to America or Canada or Europe or wherever, without changing the storytelling sensibilities from Japanese ones to American ones.

For one thing lots of Anime are set outside Japan, or at least include lots of Non-Japanese characters, to begin with.  As I've said before I wish those would get the priority in terms of making Hollywood or other Western adaptations of Anime.

But I am also all for re-imagining stories, and retelling them in different settings.  I like when Anime gives a distinctly Japanese twist on a popular story of the Western Tradition.  And so I think it's valid to also do the reverse.

The basic themes and questions dealt with by Death Note were perfectly universal in my opinion, so I felt you could retell that story in America without needing to change it's social commentary to something more American.  Mother's Basement in his video on the Netflix Death Note movie says the original Death Note Manga and Anime was a commentary on "Japan's harsh stance on Crime".  As if the attitude of being harsh on crime is somehow uniquely Japanese.  Even California still has the Death Penalty.

Death Note is a story that had a pretty broad reach in America because it is frankly an ideological critique of the very impulses that Death Wish appeals to, and that makes my parents cheer on Rorschach when he says "you're trapped in here with me".

If they wanted to use an Anime adaptation to talk about American interventionism, plenty of Anime is already about that.  They could have done Canaan for example.

Basically I'm saying a lot of Anime is as naturally adaptable and culturally universal as Shakespeare, where many adaptations change the period and setting often without even changing the script or dialogue at all.  But even an adaptation that isn't going to be retelling the exact same story, even more so needs to keep in mind why people like Anime to start with.  Taking that away won't make it more appealing to broader audiences, what we've seen with Comic Book Superhero movies is that if the target audience doesn't like an adaptation, the general public won't even care.

And even plenty of Otaku Centric Anime are among those in my mind.  American Otaku call themselves that because of how much they identify with that Japanese subculture.  Because we feel just as out of place in our society as they do in Japan.  The American version of Lucky Star has been in my head for awhile now, I just need to get myself in a position to pitch it.

The Wachoskis are the most notable when it comes to Hollywood directors influenced by Anime.  The specific Anime they draw on is rather out of date compared to what the current generation of Otaku would like to see brought to American Cinemas.  But still they are an example of making things thought to only work in Anime work in Hollywood.

I think their best movie is Speed Racer, the only one adapted from a specific Anime.  Speed Racer keeps getting overlooked when people act like there are no good Live Action Anime adaptations.  The movie flopped when it came out but has become the very definition of vindicated by History.  But it was also an adaptation of Speed Racer's Dub.  But even that Dub was still distinctly Anime, and this movie arguably is even more Anime.  The way it's non-linear at times, the way the tone shifts, the way the visuals go all out.  The way it'd bold and unapologetic about what is is.

It failed at the time it came out only because it was ahead of it's time.  If it came out now when the MCU rather then Nolan is dominating the Superhero film market, the story may have been different.

Digibro has expressed support for Abrams doing Your Name. I haven't seen Your Name, and my opinions on Abrams films are complicated.  His main argument is Abrams is a more accomplished director then most making Anime adaptations.  That reminds me of my suggesting Zach Snyder for making some Anime adaptations.  Digi had also compared Zach Snyder to the director of Death Note and Attack on Titan, I think Attack on Titan would be more Snyder's style.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mithrandir’s Halloween Anime Recommendations.

I’m by no means the first Otaku to provide some Halloween season Anime recommendations in October.  So why care about mine?

October 31st happens to be my Birthday.  So even though I’ve defined myself as not a Horror fan in the strictest sense (in that I’m not looking to be scared by any fiction I watch) I have other reasons for enjoying a lot of stuff in the Horror and Gothic genres.  And I have a lot of memories of enjoying such fiction during the Halloween season.  

I love the classic Universal Monster movies, I’ve also enjoyed many Hammer films.  And other more obscure horror movies, like those Public Domain ones you sometimes find in DVD box sets selling 50 for only $10.  Slasher films I’ve tended to not be fond of, but I do enjoy Halloween 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.  And some of my favorite episodes of Western live Action television have been Halloween specials, from NCIS episodes like Witch Hunt to Pretty Little Liars‘ epic trilogy of Halloween specials.  Plus I love the first two Ghostbusters movies, and I don’t hate the reboot.

Since I’ve become mainly a Anime watcher over the last couple of years.  It’s overdue that I make some Anime Halloween recommendations.  Though I feel kinda like I haven’t watched enough Horror centric Anime.

I listened to about like an hour of the Podcast that Mother’s Basement did with Digibro, Gigguk and BestGuyEver about their Halloween recommendations.  And really none sound like they fit what I look for this time of year, but they might for others.

One thing Gigguk said that rubbed me the wrong way, was that he doesn’t like how Anime Horror is too “aesthetically pleasing”.  I don’t like how western horror in recent years is so obsessed with being Aesthetically ugly.  I like the first two Saw movies as Mysteries, and that’s about it from the Torture Porn genre.  And I like none of those movies that revolve chicks crawling out of caves all slimy and muddy and dirty.  Classic Horror, like Universal and Hammer gave us, was very Aesthetically pleasing, it was simply a Gothic Aesthetic.

These recommendations are largely for people relatively new to Anime in general, if you have a respectable MAL already you’ve probably at least tasted all or most of these.  If however you consider yourself a hardcore Otaku and you’ve missed any one of these, you need to reconcile that immediately.

Why give Halloween themed recommendations to Newbies?  Maybe Horror or Gothic romance simply is your favorite genre and so Halloween fitting Anime would be the best entry point possible.  Or maybe now simply is the time you decided to finally give Japanimation a shot.  Or maybe you’re already at phase 2 or 3 of burrowing down the Otaku rabbit hole and are looking for new routes to dig into.  Perhaps specifically saving the Horror Route for October.

One more note before I start.  I haven’t watched the Castlevania series on Netflix yet.  I’ve decided to wait till during this Halloween season (and thus after I’ve already posted this) to watch it.  Then I might talk about it somewhere if I feel compelled to.  (Turns out it’s not actually Anime.)  I don’t want to include in this list something that hasn’t already stood the test of time somewhat anyway.  And it gives me something new for the season to enjoy myself.  It annoys me that the Godzilla Anime doesn’t drop till November.

  1. I’ve already declared When They Cry/Higurashi the ideal Horror Anime.  If you haven’t seen it yet, don't read that post past the Spoiler Warning.  In summary what I’ll say here is it has very much the Japanese equivalent of a Gothic Aesthetic.  And it makes an engaging mystery, with well done shocking moments.  And never abuses the Jump Scare.  

    But one thing I forgot to mention in that post was the Score, the Music in this show is perfect at setting an eerie mood.  If you can find the music on it’s own, it’d be excellent for a Haunted House.  

    Another note before moving on, for the numbered entries here I’m not recommending entire franchises but single series that might be part of larger franchises but still have a distinct entry on MAL or most Streaming sites.  For Higurashi it’s really only season 1 I’m recommending for October viewing.  Season 2 is perhaps better for early November, when you’re kinda still in a Halloween mood, but want to phase yourself out of it before Christmas.  (Don’t expect Christmas recommendations BTW.)

  2. Vampire Princess Miyu, the 4 episode 80s OVA.  This would be best if you want something shorter to get your feet wet.  It’s probably the only pre-2000 Anime I’ll recommend here.  It similarly has the Japanese equivalent to a Gothic Aesthetic.  And I really like it’s use of sound effects.  I also like the 90s TV series, but that’s better watched in the context of how to make a darker Magical Girl show.

  3. School Live I now consider the best Zombie Anime.  Highschool of The Dead still has value, but if you’re gonna watch only one watch School Live.  Don’t let the cuteness fool you, it gets pretty scary.  And isn’t filled with tasteless fanservice.

  4. Witch Hunter Robin.  I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this on this blog more yet, since it’s about as ancient as the BeeTrain trilogy in my development as an Anime Fan.  It’s use of its horror elements is pretty interesting.  It's also got intrigue.  And is one of the best examples of why I love the 26 episode structure.

  5. Hellsing, (the original Anime not Ultimate).  Is a satisfying Anime spin off to the legacy of Bram Stoker’s novel.  While all of the above 4 have Dubs, and the Dub is what I watched, this is the only one I feel confident in calling a top tier Dub, after all Alucard is Crispin Freeman.  Though I will say for Miyu not to write off the OVA’s dub on how the 90s show’s gets called one of the worst of all time, it’s a very different kind of Dub.

The only honorable mention I shall provide is the Fate/ franchise as a whole, it has Horror elements but that is not quite it’s main appeal.   But since the mythology/folklore is a large part of why I’m into Horror in the first place, it does overlap well with part of why I like Fate/ so much.  From the quasi Lovecraftian quality of Fate/Zero’s Caster, to the Fate/Stay Night:Unlimited Blade Works Caster’s berserk button being when she’s called a Witch.   Those are as I’ve explained before the best entry points to Fate/.  

Heck, Rin Tosaka is pretty much always dressed like it’s Halloween.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, is the worst entry point only appealing at all if you're really into the niche it’s made for.  I am, so I enjoy even it’s much maligned Dub.  But as the ultimately least dark version of the Fate/ universe, it still has some solid Halloween season material.

The Grand Order OVA’s Dub becomes available this October, so I’ll also be watching that before the month is over, I can’t comment on it before then.  But on the subject of single episode OVAs, Fate/Prototype can be a spooky quick Halloween viewing experience.

But another reason I couldn’t leave Fate/ out of this post is that Fate/Apocrypha is a currently airing show that includes the characters of Vlad The Impaler and Frankenstein’s Monster, and also Jack The Ripper.  So if any currently airing TV Anime this October needs to be mentioned it’s that one.  The tone however doesn’t fit Halloween as well as the other shows from what I’ve seen so far, unfortunately.  Maybe they’re saving the scarier bits for the Fall, either way it is again not a good entry point for Fate/.

As of episodes 8 and 9, Vlad and Frank’s characters are finally getting some good exploration.  And as of episode 11 I’m very into it.

Normally a list like this doesn’t end on the honorable mention.  But I organized this from the top down anyway.

It turns out this year’s October 31st will be the last day the legal streaming site www.Daisuki.Net operates, it’s being shut down.  So this month is your last chance to watch any Anime there.  But it has none of what I’ve recommended so that’s not actually helpful here.

Vampire Princess Miyu and Witch Hunter Robin had past legal western releases, but I can’t find them currently legally streaming anywhere.

School Live, Hellsing and Fate/ should be easy enough to find legally, between Crunchyroll, Funimation’s Website and Netflix.

Higurashi I was having trouble finding on any legal site, but then I found HIDIVE.  You can watch stuff free with ads, but need a paying subscription to view the Dubs it has.  For Higurashi the Dub isn’t that well received anyway, I was okay with it mostly but I can see why others wouldn’t be.  School Live is also on that site.  And it has some Fate/ stuff as well.

Friday, September 29, 2017

So I forgot some pretty obvious Pre Narnia Isekai novels

When I wrote my Isekai, In Another World with my Smartphone, Why Wish Fulfillment is Art blog post.  Talking about western works of literature you could apply the Isekai label too.

Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, plus their sequels and stuff.  Ya know, it's amusing that this genre seems to begin with female protagonists and then Males take it over later.  I don't know enough about George MacDonald's works to know if any of them can be labeled Isekai.  What I mainly know is that he is cited as an influence on Lewis.

I still think the Narnia books are more analogous to modern Anime Isekai then those.  Especially as I've watched more now.

So it occurred to me that I'd forgotten about Oz as I was watching No Game No Life.  I'm aware that a key difference between the book and the infamous 1939 film is the whole "No Place like Home" part.  In the book Dorothy wants to get back home to see her family again.  But the overall attitude towards Mid Western Rural America that Baum was expressing was rather cynical.  So the movie saying "There's no place like home" went quite against the themes of the books.

So all that popped into my head as I watched this Anime about two Siblings with absolutely no desire to return to modern Japan, since they are stereotypical Neets.  And then I slapped myself that I just did a blog posts acting like I didn't know about any major Pre-Narnia Isekai stories.  Then I thought of Alice in Wonderland also.

Overall though, No Game No Life still feels much more analogous to Narnia.  Well a very different attitude towards religion and spirituality of course.  But it's about Siblings who become King and Queen in their new world.

Speaking of which.  The most awkward parallel No Game No Life holds to Narnia is the tendency for some of the fandom to engage in Incest Shipping.  Now knowing Otaku culture, that was probably a little bit intentional with NGNL.  While Lewis certainly did not intend that.  Also I don't think any Narnia fans ship Peter and Lucy, which is age wise what Sora/Shiro is more analogues to.

NGNL is a very good show, I highly recommend it.  I'm a fan of stratagey based Anime like Code Geass.

If I hadn't recalled Alice In Wonderland already, I would have when I started Problem Children, where the protagonists are brought to this world by a Bunny Girl called Black Rabbit.

Problem Children shares NGNL's Gaming theme.  But not executed nearly as well.  Problem Children also feels like it's trying to copy Fate/ with all the re-imagining Classical Myths as Anime Girls.

But Problem Children might feel the most like Narnia in terms of being about a group of kids.  And Asuka seems to have been taken from the WWII era, and so almost looks like she's a Susan Pevensie cosplayer at the beginning.  Problem Children is a fun show, but isn't gonna come off well comparing it to others.

One big advantage protagonists in modern Otaku Centruic Isekai Anime have over more old school examples, is they tend to be, or at least include an Otaku who is very genre savvy about the world they've been taken to.  The Pevensies don't even seem to figure out that Aslan is Jesus till the third book when he finally spells it out to them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is still my favortie Miyazaki film.

I have only seen four.  But those four are the primary ones that interest me Genre wise.  And further I consider Nausicaa my favorite Anime film, period.  In fact it remains the best even if you include only one of the qualifiers calling it Anime implies, it's my favorite feature length theatrically released Animated movie, and my favorite Japanese movie.

Basically, it's The Dark Knight alone that prevents it from being my favorite movie period.

Now Miyazaki is not someone about whom it's common to say he peaked early.  (Nausicaa was his second feature film, first that is fully his original creation).  In fact some films common for people to cite as their favorite were after he was supposed to retire.

Every Miyazaki film I've seen I've given at least a 9 on MAL, that means I think it's Great.  So there is no insult in my placing a Miyazaki film below Nausicaa.  But Nausicaa speaks to me personally in a way few things are able to, and is the only Miyazaki film to make me tear up.

The primary film some are compelled to compare Nausicaa to negatively is Princess Mononoke.  I gave Mononoke a 10 on MAL, I posted about it twice on this blog already.  The breath of subjects it touches on may make it the movie I'll talk about more often on this blog.  But I still don't get why to others this film seems to spoil Nausicaa for them.

Unshavedmouse said because he saw Nausicaa after Mononoke, Nausicaa felt like a dress rehearsal for Mononoke.  Miragephan said on the Neotaku podcast that she hasn't seen Nausicaa yet because JesuOtaku called it an inferior version of Mononoke.

My confusion at this perspective has less to do with my finding Nausicaa better but more to do with my not seeing these films are even that similar or comparable.

My love for Nausicaa starts with the fact that it's a story that played out the Messianic Archetype with a female character.  The title character is not a Messianic Archetype in Princess Mononoke, nor is she the main character.  If any human in Princess Mononoke is a Messiah of some sort it's the male MC, who I just recently called the Superman of Anime. Among other things, that difference should make Nausicaa the preferable film for Magical Girl fans, Princess Mononoke isn't magical, she's Tarzan.

I think a lot of people are just seeing another Miyazki film named after a "Princess" and with an Environmental message, and deciding there is only room for one. (Cue someone to make fanart of them in a Steel Cage Match.)

Mononoke easily comes off the most Disney like of all Miyazaki films, which might explain why it's Unchavedmouse's favorite.  But I think most Weebs prefer it for being about old timey Japan.

While Nausicaa is more like a Star Wars film that never goes into Space.  So it's perhaps telling that I've been into Star Wars longer then I have Anime.  Remember, Nausicaa is the Hidden Fortress to TFA's ANH.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Isekai, In Another World with My Smartphone, Why Wish Fulfillment is Art.

The Isekai genre is arguably more purely escapist wish fulfillment then most, being literally about escaping this world, going all the back to C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The With and The Wardrobe.  It may not quite be the first Isekai story, but it is the most important in popularizing it.  And it was translated into Japanese as early as 1985.

It's not common to use this Anime term to describe western novels like the Narnia series.  No one would deny that the term applies and so they are technically the same genre.  But the development of Isekai in Japan, in Otaku centric media, has been very particular.  With increasing nods to Video Games of the RPG genre, (making them perhaps feel slightly more Tolkien then Lewis).  But also filled with Anime cliches, including the influence of Anime's most dreaded genre, The Harem.

I haven't watched a lot of Isekai Anime.  I tried both Konosuba and Re:Zero in 2016 and wasn't able to get into them.  If you count trapped in an MMO shows as Isekai, then I've seen 2 seasons of SAO and will see more when it's dubbed.  My onions on them are complicated.

Right now I'm currently watching In Another World with my Smartphone, via it's simuldub so I'm a few episodes behind most watching it, episode 8 I finished recently.  I'm really enjoying it, the number 1 of the Summer season was Princess Principal, but this show has been fun.

I never thought I would be this into a Harem show.  I've liked other Anime with the harem stuff going on, but never all that much liking it for the Harem, but rather preferring to imagine the girls kissing each other.  In this case I like that the show is seemingly building to a non monogamous resolution, as of episode 6 four of the girls have basically already agreed to share the main character.  And it helps that I kinda see why they like him, he is nice, clever, has a sense of humor, and I'm not afraid to say he's kinda pretty.  So not as Bland as the usual Harem protagonist.

The Haremness isn't the only thing that's blatant wish fulfillment about it.  He is also really OP, but in a way that is fairly well explained in the story and so doesn't come off as inexplicable as Kirito or the MC of Log Horizon.

This show, and the two 2016 shows mentioned above, are Light Novel adaptations, and so as expected are very Meta, but in different ways.  Those twoy were a Pardoy and a Deconstruction, two things that kinda overlap sometimes.

The Meta in a parody and/or deconstruction involves a scenario not playing out how you expect, or playing out fairly straight but in a way that seems designed undercut the idea that this fantasy is a desirable situation.  Something deconstructive can have an ultimately optimistic ending, concluding it's worth it, but is still all about the price.

This show is Meta, it's definitely winking at the audience subtly at times.  But rather then spoofing or criticizing it's own genre, it seems to be an unashamed unapologetic wish fulfillment fantasy.  And I actually find that refreshing.

Today critics of fictional media are growing more and more obsessed with rejecting wish fulfillment.  Praising every deconstruction that comes along.

Of course a lot of shows criticized for being pure Wish Fulfillment are ones perceived as putting on a pretense of being something more, of having something deeper to say, but seemingly in the end don't really.  I think that's what a lot of the hate SAO has received comes down to.

This show has no pretense, it does not want to trick anyone into thinking it's deeper then it is.  And yet that does not result it becoming pure memetic trash like Eromanga-Sensei.

Digibro has expressed the view that Meta in Anime is lazy if it's not in some way subverting or rejecting the trope being referenced.  That simply telling us you know what you're doing doesn't make it okay.  Well I agree it can come off that way sometimes.  I haven't seen the main shows he was attacking in that video.

But I do see value in being meta in a way that purely and unironically celebrates the fantasy the show is indulging in.  And that is what appeals to be about In Another World with My Smartphone.

We definitely need art with messages and deeper meanings.  Including that fiction that warns us to be careful what we wish for in-case some cute silver tongued BunnyCat offer you a contract.  But I think Art that's pure wish fulfillment is just as artistic and worth praising.

Isekai is a wish fulfillment fantasy going back to Narnia, which was about escaping war time England.  But Lewis did have messages he wanted to send, and for fans who don't quite share his peculiar brand of Christianity, those messages sometimes become the story's weakest parts.

So an Isekai story that is unafraid to simply be about the fantasy of being sent to a High Fantasy world with your smartphone and demigod like magical abilities, and meeting a bunch of cool cute chicks to hang out with, is exactly what I need right now.  So in a way I like it similarly to why Digi likes Ponyo.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Princess Principal was great

It ended today.  It didn't do one of the few things that could have completely ruined it.

It was a fun cute Yuri show, with a lot of appeal to New Pulp and Steampunk nerds.

I highly recommend it to Otaku and Normies a like.  So I hope it gets Dubbed, and that Amazon fixes it's problems.

There is room to continue.  Plus room for more episodes set between what we already saw based on the Case numbers.  So show it your support.  If it's the only reason you're paying for Anime Strike, make sure Amazon knows that.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Superman of Anime

To quite Unshavedmouse's review of Princess Mononoke.
"Ashitaka is probably the most purely moral hero of any movie I’ve reviewed. He’s utterly selfless, kind, compassionate, fearless, unprejudiced, polite, respectful to both men and women and only uses violence as an absolute last resort. He sounds like he should be as boring as a workaholic mole but he’s actually a very compelling protagonist thanks to Miyazaki’s skill as a storyteller and also the fact that the dude is a STONE COLD BADASS. Yeah, I said he only uses violence as a last resort. But when he does, shit gets resorted, yo (I don’t know what I’m talking about)."
In fact lots of people have said this about the character before me.  The character seems like the ultimate Jesus-Kun, Such a character should come off as annoyingly bland and perfect, especially when they're a Cis-Het Male.  But Miyazaki makes the character work, as do the Actors who have voiced him.

What's interesting is how strongly I agree with this aspect of how others review this movie, even though I didn't quite think of it on my own as I watched it (what I knew about the movie going in was mostly people talking about Lady Eboshi).  I started the movie accepting this male lead as I waited for the women I'm watching it for, and found myself increasingly enjoying his presence.

Superman is a notoriously difficult character to get right.  I get crap online constantly for being just okay with Zach Snyder's take, much less saying I prefer it in many ways to Donner's.  But rest assured I still think we are far from having the ideal Superman movie, animated or live action.

A lot of Snyder's haters have been pointing to the MCU's Captain America as a not official Superman character who shows how to do Superman right.  I enjoy those films and Evans performance, but I'm not that impressed.

So once again, as I often have over the last couple years, I find myself turning to Anime for the answer.

Before I saw Princess Mononoke a few days ago.  The main Anime character I would point to and say "That's how you do Superman right" is Yuki Yuna, the title character of Yuki Yuna is a Hero, why?  Well for starters read the title.  That Anime is one of my favorite anime, the most underrated of the 20tweens, the dawn of the new golden age.  And probably my personal favorite Magical Girl Anime.

Why she's like Superman comes up interestingly enough when the show is criticized, when people complain that there isn't enough of a reason for Yuki Yuna's drive to be a Hero.  Essentially the exact same thing as the "Superman is unrelatable" nonsense.  She wants to do good for the sake of doing good, if you can get behind that you're probably a Superman fan, if not, then stick with the Bat.

Speaking of the Magical Girl Warrior genre.  I have compared Sailor Moon to Superman in terms of creating a new genre.  But as far as comparing a Magical Girl as a character to Superman as a character, none beats Yuki Yuna.

But Superman comes in variations, they all have the same Origin (Kaa no Kyoukai reference), but are a little distinct.  Yuki Yuna is somewhere between Christopher Reeve and the early Post-Crisis Superman, Michael Baily's favorite version of Superman, and possibly also mine based on the overall quality of the Comics.  Which shows you can have a Superman as ideal as Reeve's even in a story that gets pretty dark.

I however am someone who prefers George Reeves to Christopher Reeve.  But even more then that, I want a return to Siegel and Shuster's Superman, who was called The Champion of The Oppressed.  And that is what I got from Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke.

And now, I notice how his colors seem to be Blue mainly with a little red and yellow.  And find myself thinking "was this similarity intentional?"  Was Miyazaki drawing on Western influences in his most aesthetically traditionally Japanese film?  I feel like there must be a Japanese mythical of folklore present for a child raised by Wolves, but I haven't found it yet, first and foremost being raised by a She-Wolf is a Roman thing. 

There is nothing new to Superman influencing Anime.  It is well known the original Fleischer Superman shorts were an early influence, the second one arguably created the Mecha genre.  They are in the Public Domain now, so they should be easy to find online if you haven't seen them.

For the record.  The Lex Luthor of Anime is Giovanni, the Boss of Team Rocket.  As he appeared in the first series of the Pokemon, the prologue of Mewtwo Strikes Back, and especially Mewtwo Returns where he finally truly got to shine.  Since 2006 I have been pointing to Giovanni as how to do a CEO Lex Luthor right.  And in 2016, I still feel the need to.

So I had basically finished structuring this post in my head.  When I remembered that the big Internet Meme is saying Goku is the Superman of Anime.  No, he is not.  Not even close.  Maybe in the creating a genre comparison where could then also throw in Amuro Ray of Gundam.  But you're not Superman just cause your home planet blew up.

Speed Racer 2008 is a great movie.

I just saw it and I loved it.

It's a movie that mostly flopped when it came out, but has become a cult classic, more and more people, especially people into Anime, have praised it, sometimes seemingly calling it the only Western film they really like.  And some people liked it at the time, I remember relatives of mine talking about it that Christmas.

What I love about it has a lot in common with Digibro's praise for it.  He did his main review of the movie, and touched on it in the Tone Shifts video.  This movie is also a great argument for the point of my Live Action Adaptations of Anime should be Colorful post.

I didn't see it when it came out.  My Anime fandom was in it's infancy then, mostly revolving around Noir still.  My nerdiness was mainly about Comic Book adaptations, so The Dark Knight and early MCU dominated the year, though I did find time for Prince Caspian.

Overall, 2008 was definitely a great year for movies.  Jut try to pretend Frank Miller's The Spirit didn't happen.

As much as I'm into Anime now, I still haven't seen any Speed Racer anime, since my taste in Anime is mostly modern.  But I do have fond childhood memories of old Wackey Races reruns.  And I love Mario Kart.  And I love the Pod Race in The Phantom Menace.  And I like Pro-Wrestling.  Speed Racer is like all of those merged together in a perfect Hot Mess.

Ya know how some Comic Book films try to merge the modern/futuristic with a 30s/40s aesthetic to make them timeless?  Starting with Batman89?  Well this does the same thing but with the 50s/early 60s instead.

John Goodman is great in it.  Matthew Fox has a very George Cloony vibe.  And Trixie was fun, she's totally worthy of being called an Anime Girl.  And the villain was exquisitely British.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I just watched Princess Mononoke

If I had a time machine, and could arrange to have Akira Kurosawa direct a live action adaptation of an Anime with all the advantages of modern technology.  This is the Anime I would choose.  It's a 10, I recommend it.

There are a lot of analytical things I could say about this movie, others have said a lot already.  But the main thing on my mind right now is this.

It's set in medieval Japan (The late Muromachi Period, 24th through 16th centuries).  Of the different Human clans depicted in the movie, the one most ancestral to the primary population of modern Japan (the ones associated with The Emperor and Samurai), are the most villainous.

The might seem strange at first.  But we do the same thing in the English Speaking world, in works based on Arthurian Legend, where the Angles and Saxons are depicted as savage marauding pagan barbarians.  Or even more generally when the Vikings are depicted that way.

I've seen in some Disqus comments sections people being confused by Saber in Fate/Zero talking about Britain falling to ruin, since it looks to them like Britain is still there.  But the population of modern Britain mainly descends from people who were King Arthur's enemies.  They took over the island and started calling Arthur's people "Welsh" which meant foreigner in the Saxon language.  Then later we Anglo-Saxons traveled across the Atlantic and did the exact same thing to the Native American, massacred them, raped them, and appropriated their culture.

Similarly is how the movie actually refereed to the Samurai as "Samurai Thugs".  Not the opinion we're used to Anime having of Samurai.  But remember, the Samurai are often compared to European Medieval Knights, and plenty of modern Western Fiction sometimes acknowledges that they were really the Gangsters of their time.  Like in The Tudors and Game of Thrones.

Perhaps this is not an appropriate observation for a Western viewer of the film to make.  Though it would arguably take a Western perspective to make the comparison to the Saxons in Arthurian Legend.  I wonder what Gaijin Goomba would think?

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.