Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hayao Miyazaki has clearly been an influence on Video Games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wrestlmania XXX was the greatest Worked Shoot in wrestling history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm really enjoying Fate/Apocrypha

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

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

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

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

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


Spoiler Warning.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nostalgia Goggles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But at least I'm self aware about it. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Animatrix and Batman:Gotham Knight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Netflix Death Note Movie

There were things good about the movie, DeFoe as Ryuk was a treat, and at some points it felt like maybe Mia has more agency then any previous woman in a Death Note story.  All the actors did well with what they were given.

The first thing that annoys me is that the point of my defense of Light being White, the reason I still think Light can only be White in any future attempt at another American set Death Note.  Was completely undermined by having him be this obvious potential school shooter.  Light is supposed to be privileged.

I had also already talked about how Death Note should be done as a series, Netfix is specializing in TV serises right now, so that makes it doubly annoying.

The first scene between Light and his Dad just had me thinking "setting it in America shouldn't mean shoehorning in American cliches".

All the characters and dynamics felt different.  Again they made light too sympathetic.

It bugs me even that they never included a defaulting to death by Heart Attack.  Clearly these people were more interested int he excuse to do Omen/Final Destination style death scenes.

The thing is, I can forgive a lot of liberties if I feel like in some weird way it still captures the spirit or the gist of what Death Note's real appeal was.  I've even said that all things considered the Super Mario Bros movie is a good Mario movie.  It's not by the book faithful, but it's a fun wacky goofy colorful self parody with some heart to it.  That's what the best story driven Mario games are like.

The number one thing that I wanted from Death Note, was a battle of wits, I wanted it to feel like two characters constantly trying to out think and out smart each others.  I wanted the tension of Light and L trying to read each other.  This movie was ultimately too rushed to ever pull that off, or seem like it was trying to.

At the very end we a get the typical "here's how he did it all" sequence.  And the Death Note Anime also did that revealing it latter thing.  But it still felt consistent with the character we had been following.  I felt the 2015 Light Yagami was being too stupid early on, but at least there was some build up there.

One final little thing.  Does the Death Note Anime exist in this movie's universe???  There are several reasons why it clearly doesn't.  But why else would Light Turner expect Mia to be able to see Ryuk form just touching the Death Note?  There is really no logical reason to assume that, Light in the Anime had not at all suspected that could happen before Ryuk warned him.  That scene is clearly just there to tell the audience "hey we changed this rule, for no plot relevant reason".  This is why I hate the "Show don't tell rule" because we get scenes like this that look stupid and awkward instead of just simple exposition.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

DC making a Flashpoint movie

I'm awfully late in reacting to this.  It apparently became known back in July.  I would have commented on it in the Zack Snyder post I did last month if I'd known about it, as it's further evidence DC probably isn't going to involve him their films anymore anyway.

The overall reputation of Flashpoint is that people love the story itself, but hate the New52 that it in Kayfabe created.  I actually have my issues with the Flashpoint story even as a stand alone, chiefly how I feel it assassinated Diana and Arthur's characters.  But there is good stuff in it, and I hope Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Thomas Wayne again.

I have enjoyed every DCEU movie so far.  But I have issues with it, and a lot of that is it's New52 influence.  Maybe the movie Flashpoint will be like the opposite, it'll change this depressing New52 inspired universe into the DC Universe I remember.

Some people think part of the plan is to replace Ben Afleck as Batman with someone younger.  I'm tired of always getting young Batman.

I also would have liked to see an Ezra Miller solo Flash film.  But I get that they are not going to be able to complete with the TV Show in anything other then having the resources necessary to do Flashpoint more accurately.

It could go either way.  We'll have to wait and see.

Fate/Feminism

Fate/Stay Night, like other Visual Novels/Animes with Harem aspects, has a male main character and so the extent to which the story seemingly revolves around him can be seen as undermining what Feminist potential could come from having such a large cast of female characters.

However I think there is a lot of Feminist potential in the Fate/ franchise, maybe not always intentional from the original creators, but it’s there.


Spoiler Warning here, since I can’t really talk about any of this without spoiling stuff.


One of the reasons I don’t mind the supposed spoilers that come from watching Fate/Zero first is because I really see no downside to knowing Sakura and Rin are sisters from the start.  I watched Unlimited Blade Works not knowing and just wondered why Sakura got so much attention early on only to be mostly forgotten.  (I also didn’t really know the whole it’s only one route of the Visual Novel aspect.)

I think it majorly helps to watch Unlimited Blade Works Episode 0 knowing about Rin and Sakura, because then you fully get that the reason Rin saved Shirou is for Sakura.  The love one woman has for her sister is why the male MC is even alive.

And that’s just one of a few reasons that Shirou’s importance to the story is seemingly only because he happens to have connections to all these important women.  While in a more typical Fantasy/Harem hybrid it’s more like the women only matter because the super special Jesus-Kun main character likes them.  Indeed you’ll notice in Fate/Zero that all four major Waifus of Fate/Stay Night were part of the Holy Grail War story well before Shirou was, they are all in the first episode of Fate/Zero while we don’t meet Shirou till the last one.

Outside of the main four, I find it interesting that the other two female servants, Rider and Caster, are both women from Greek mythology who have been the subject of a lot of Feminist criticism.  Their stories are pretty clearly originally based on Misogynist archetypes, but women have sought to reclaim them.  A YouTube channel specializing in Nasuverse Lore videos has done videos on Medusa and Medea.  I feel like Fate’s takes on them definitely draws on the Feminist analysis of them.  I can’t comment much on Medusa yet having not gotten to see a version of Heaven’s Feel.  But Medea in Unlimited Blade Works is pretty interesting, calling her a Witch seems to be her Berserk button, and in her flashback episodes she laments being again passed around, vilified and discarded by men.

Fate/Prototype is a short OVA that is based on what the original idea for Fate/Stay Night was before it evolved (makes me think it’d be cool to see some Cartoon based on the abandoned versions of Star Wars).  It’s notable that it had a female lead and a male Saber.  This female lead seems more like a proto-Rin then a female Shirou.  But it’s definitely interesting that that is where the idea for Fate/ started.

I have praised Fate/Zero a lot, including calling it the best entry point into Fate/ for potential new fans.  But my one issue with it is it’s not as good at it’s handling of female characters.  It’s cast is overall much more masculine, with Saber herself being the only female Servant this time.  And worst of all there is a lot of fridging, the worst of it being how we’re supposed to sympathize with Karia after he strangled the woman he claims he loves.

But Saber/Artoria is still great, and I love Irisviel.  And I also like Maya, and I like that Irisviel is okay with Maya and Kiritsugu's relationship.  And I think you could definitely see a Feminist commentary in Caster’s obsession with Jeanne d’Arc.

The currently airing Fate/Apocrypha is difficult to comment on, I think I’ll understand it better once I can watch it Dubbed.  

I don’t know a lot about Grand Order, I’ll be seeing the OVA when it’s Dub drops.  What I do want to comment on briefly is that I heard it has Chevalier d’Eon, and depicts them as Non-Binary.  I would prefer d’Eon be a Trans-Woman as she was historically, but that is definitely better than what the Le Chevalier d’Eon anime did, pretty much removing the Queerness altogether.

I really like Fate/Khalied Liner Prisma Illya.  I know it’s very fanservicey and trashy (I hear there was less Lewdness in the Manga).  But it’s still a Magical Girl show and does what we western Feminists like best about Magical Girl shows.  I’m going to quote a comment from that Dark Magical Girl article on AnimeFeminist, left by a user named GreyLurker.

"Fate/Kalieid liner is one of my favorite series in part because it has it's feet set in both sides of the issue. As part of the Fate universe it's naturaly stuck with a lot of dark elements but the Magical Girl elements directly oppose that. For a lot of things Illya can achieve the impossible because she believes in the ideals of a Magical Girl. She flies because Magical Girls fly. It's just obvious to her even if other characters tell her it's not possible.

Confronted with morality choices like "You can save your friend or you can save the world. Which will you choose" She essentially says "Screw that, I'm a Magical Girl so obviously I'm gonna save both and get the happy ending" She will save everyone because that is what Magical Girls Do.

and that faith lets her achieve the impossible."

Prisma Illy is also predictably subject to the most Yuri Shipping of any Fate/ show, because Magical Girls and Yuri naturally go together.  But in the original VN Saber/Rin is technically canon thanks to to the Threesome Ending.  And there is a solid basis for shipping Rider and Sakura.  And in Fate/Zero we have shipped Saber/Irisviel.

Other Nasuverse franchises like Tsukihime, Kara no Kyoukai and Canaan are also worth discussing.  But that would make this post way too long.

So, the Fate/ franchise has it’s issues.  But there is definitely a lot of value in it.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why Kyoko Sakura is the most important character in Madoka Magica

That title is a bit of hyperbole, but it got your attention.  Also this is an analysis based on the Canon as limited to the original 12 episode series, before we had the expanded universe and various stories set in the abandoned timelines.

It’s easy to think of Kyoko as inherently less important than everyone else.  She may be in more episodes and so probably have more screen time then Mami.  But she’s not in the opening episodes, and is killed off before the end.  So it’s easy to write off her importance as just being her relevance to Sayaka’s arc.  I think even most people who’d say Kyoko is their favorite character aren’t likely to argue that she’s super important to the plot.

I’ve long liked to note that in Episode 10, at the end of the 3rd timeline, what Madoka actually asks Homura to do is make sure she doesn’t get tricked again.  Homura technically succeed at that by early in episode 9, by then Madoka knows the major dark secrets.  Homura doesn’t think of her mission as being that, but that is why the story has its happy resolution, because Madoka was able to make a fully informed choice to make the contract.

Kyoko’s involvement in this timeline is largely why all the secrets come out.  Her fighting with Sayaka is why Madoka throws Sayaka’s Soul Gem.  And while the writers said Sayaka always becomes a Witch (if she doesn’t die), Madoka may likely have never known about it if Kyoko didn’t take Sayaka’s body.

Now you may be thinking, “in a well written story everything that happens should be relevant to the resolution”.  That is true, but this is why thinking about the other timelines is interesting.

Homura’s actions aren’t quite the only reason things play out differently each time.  Some small things do randomly happen differently, right in the first episode Homura didn’t expect the Witch to attack that soon, or Sayaka to have a fire extinguisher.

It’s established in episode 6 that Homura has encountered Kyoko before.  But from what we see in Episode 10 that could have been from the 3rd timeline alone (Kyoko may have been called by Mami when Homura started saying she knew things Kyubey was keeping secret, something Homura doesn’t try on other timelines).  So my suggestion is, maybe Kyoko coming to Mitakihara at all wasn’t common?

The end of Episode 4 implies Kyoko came to Mitakihara because Kyubey told her about Mami’s death.  Homura’s behavior in the Charlotte situation implies to me it’s not the first timeline where someone was killed by her.  But it may not have always been Mami.  And even in other timelines where Mami dies who knows what small things may have affected Kyubey’s decision to get Kyoko involved.

The Different Story Manga involves Kyoko in one of the abandoned timelines where Mami doesn’t die, other EU works probably did too but I haven’t read them yet.  But what I can say about The Different Story is it’s explanation for why Kyoko came even though Mami didn’t die feels rather forced.

So there is good reason to suspect Kyoko’s very presence in this timeline is a big factor in why it plays out differently.  Small things making a big difference is a common theme in fantasy, like The Hobbits for example.

One of the reasons I think Kyoko is interesting is that she’s a Christian.  Christians are a minority in Japan so it’s interesting when they show up in Anime.  And I’ve become an increasingly unconventional Christian.  Even in the prequel story we’re given about Kyoko and Mami we still don’t know exactly what controversial doctrine Kyoko’s father was teaching.  So I’m free to use my imagination if I want.

Kyoko’s arc is partly about how she lost her faith after her family died.  Then finds it again in episode 9 before she dies.

Christian imagery popping up in Magical Girls shows isn’t exactly uncommon.  (In fact it’s Shintoism being relevant that is rather rare. Having only Rei’s Miko duties in Sailor Moon and Yuki Yuna is a Hero) Haruka is a Christian in Sailor Moon, and lots of Christian imagery is used in Wedding Peach and both of the 90s Magical Girl Thief shows.  And elsewhere in the Madoka EU there is a Manga focused on Jeanne d’Arc, this one doesn’t seem to have been even fan translated yet which annoys me, I really want to read it.

That is kinda funny given how the Magical Girl concept isn’t exactly compatible with Christian theology.  But whatever, I know some pretty radical Christians who are also into Star Wars.  Kyoko however is different from most of those others in that her faith partly is her arc.

So how is this ramble about Kyoko’s faith relevant to the main thesis of this post?  It’s not really, more like an epilogue.  But it means a Christian viewer can say a Christian saved the day if they wanted to.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What do I find Sexy in Anime?

Both Digibro and Mother's Basement have done videos where they express an opinion that Anime shouldn't try to be sexual or fanservicy unless it goes all out with it.  That there is no point is doing it at all unless you go "Ball to the Wall" with it.  That it's insulting to the audience to pretend it can have "good taste".

But I can't disagree more on that.

Now I firmly agree with Digibro's philosophy he's expressed in some of his recent Let's Plays that society needs more normalize talking about sex.  My Sola Scirptura Christian Liberty blog is partly dedicated to Biblically arguing for more healthy attitudes towards sex.  So I don't want to shame people who are turned on by stuff that is very raunchy and not at all subtle.

And I don't want to imply my tastes are better then anyone Else's by calling it more "tasteful" or of higher class.  And I'm just arguing that lots of stuff they may write off as "half assing it", or "coping out", are exactly what turns me on the most, and I'm sure there are others similar to me.

And plenty of what they complained about at the same time as making this statement also kind of annoys me too.  So what I mean is pretty nuanced.

What I find Sexy, like my preferences in movies and Anime in general, are very reflective of my "Less is More" and "What you don't see can be more impactful then what you do" philosophy of fictional story telling.

The sexiest scene I've seen in 2017 Anime, including the actual Hentai I've watched, is in the first episode of Masamune-Kun's Revange.  When Aki Adagaki walks into Makabe's classroom, first sits on his desk, in a way that shows off her legs, then finds the boy she actually came for, sits on another desk and crosses her legs.   It has a lot to do with my being a Leg Man, but I also like that she was clearly intentionally showing off her legs.  She was confident and in control and I'm into that.

Unfortunately, as the show progressed it did not allow her to maintain that.  I realize the premise of the show implies up front we can expect the tables to be turned on her at some point, and I can be turned on by scenarios like that.  But they choose to "defrost" her with the typical Harem Anime cliches.  So I dropped it after episode 7.

Kampfer is an Anime I really enjoyed.  It has a lot of the Anime Style Fanservice I find annoying.  But also scenes that do appeal to me.  Shizuku is a great character, very cool and sexy.  And *Spoiler Alert* is one of the best Femme Fatales in Anime.

The scene in the second episode of the OVA where Shizuku uses her foot to play with Natsuru under the table is the Hottest thing I've ever seen in any Anime.  And in the main series there are good moments too.

Aria of the Scarlet Ammo is mostly stuff I don't like in it's fanservice.  But some scenes with Riko Mine really appeal to me.

So, hopefully that should give you a taste of what my taste is, if anyone has any similar recommendations I'd greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I'm not the only person who calls themselves both an Otaku and a Christian.

First I found the Otaku in My Veins blog, and then Beneath The Tangles, both earlier this year, and I've read some pretty insightful stuff on each of them.  I'm still not aware of any in the Anime YouTube community however.

I have always been, but am especially now, a fairly unconventional Christian.  I consider myself a Fundamentalist on the grounds that I'm a Six Day Young Earth Creationist, as well as a Premillennial Futurist in my Eschatology.  And I firmly believe in both a literal Virgin Birth and a literal Bodily Resurrection of The Dead.

I could also justify calling myself an Independent Baptist, Pentecostal and Hebrew Roots based on the most baseline definitions of those terms.  Three things that are not generally viewed as going together, but are regardless commonly viewed as conservative brands of Christianity.

But I've increasingly become very Liberal when it comes to matters of politics and morality.  I've also recently become an Evangelical Universalist.  (If you're curious my view of The Gospel is laid out here.)

However the view most likely to get me excommunicated from all three above mentioned forms of Christianity, is one I've held for a fairly long time now.  A view that is the basis of the oldest and still most important piece of Online Content I've created.

The Bible does NOT Condemn Homosexuality or Homosexual Acts.

I'm not the only or even first person to argue that.  But I do it in a very different way, a way that is very strictly sticking to the text of what The Bible says.  Some others address one of the passages similarly to how I do but not the rest.  Because you see I view most of the relevant passages as being about basically the same thing.

My advocacy for this position has gotten me banned from forums and groups. Which annoys me considering these same groups did tolerate dissenting opinions on issues The Bible says far more about, and are far closer to effecting one's overall theology.

I was hoping that an Okatu-Christian community would be more tolerant of this.  Since Yuri and Yaoi shipping are such a big part of Otaku Fandom.  I understand why many in the LGBT community do not view our interest in same sex-love as actually helpful, for a variety of reasons, I have and will continue to engage with that nuanced issue.  My point here however is that it seems unfathomable to me that anyone can call themselves an Otaku and think same sex-love is outright wrong.

And yet that hope has disappointed me once again.  I haven't been banned yet this time thankfully.  But Otaku in My Veins actually attempted to argue Yuri on Ice isn't Gay.  And Beneath The Tangles has ignored the Yuri subplot of episode 4 of Classroom of The Elite (I do appreciate it being one of the few sites covering that show).

I don't judge fellow Christians who disagree with me, if I can still respect  and learn from Chuck Missler and Rob Skiba, I can certainly find endless value in these sites.  But it's disappointing.

Though maybe some of them simply need to be exposed to a good argument to see the light.

The Anime YouTube Community has a few people who've talked about coming from Christian backgrounds but being Atheists now. So we have people who had to leave the Faith to become Otaku, and Christians who have to reject a core part of Otakudom because they cling to Augustinian Morality.

So in a sense I'm the only true Christian-Otaku, I'm the Rickest Rick there is.

But that's partly because I was unusual before I even got that deep into Anime.

I have on this blog generally avoided bringing my faith into discussing Anime.  It came up in one post about Noir.  In the near future, I'll be doing a few posts that bring it up more.  But in general things will remain the same.  As a Universalist I don't want to force my faith on anyone.  What I think about The Bible is there on other blogs for people who want to know, but mainly I try to Be A Witness by setting a good example.

P.S. If you feel compelled to ask if I've seen the Ghost Stories dub, the answer is, a good chunk of it.  I'm willing to laugh at unflattering Christian caricatures because I know we've done a lot to earn it.  And Monica Rail is hilarious.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer Season update

 Other people might have done this at the 6 episode mark, but I'm weird.

I've dropped Hina Logic and Vatican Bros.  There wasn't any real change in their quality, I just don't feel I need their novelty as much anymore.

Princess Principal keeps getting better (and keeps making me think of Les Mis).  It is the best show of the season, and so for now the one I have the least to say about, what I have to say is simply Watch It.

Fate/Apocrypha took it up a level in episodes 8 and 9.  If you're into Fate/ it is worth it to stick this one out.

I started following the Dub of Lupin III Blue Jacket on Adult Swim.  It's fun, I love Rebecca.

Classroom of The Elite is intriguing, it's kept me engaged.

In Another World with my Smartphone is surprising me how fun it is.  It's Meta but not in the obvious way something like Knoosuba and Re:Zero are.  And it has me starting to think I don't hate Harems as much as I thought.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

My advice to Zack Snyder.

First off I want to offer my condolences on the loss of his daughter, Autumn earlier this year.

Chances are because of that he won't be directing any new movies for awhile.

But my advice is that if and when he does return to directing, he should take a break from Comic Book Movies and try doing some Anime.  I feel like Snyder's style is better suited to adapting Anime into Live Action, he's clearly been influenced by Anime already.  I did a post on wanting LA versions of Anime to be Colorful, and Snyder I feel would do that, the muted coloring in Man of Steel was the result of Nolan's influence, Watchman shows he is great at directing vibrantly colored films.

He got attached to a adapting Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead at some point, who knows if it's actually still in active production.  I think doing something with no SciFi or Fantasy aspect is not going to be Snyder's strong suit at all.  Either way as a former Libertarian-Capitalist and current Libertarian-Communist the last thing I want is more exposure for Rand's so called Libertarianism.

I have enjoyed every Snyder film I've seen except Dawn of The Dead.  And all things considered I greatly appreciate what he's done in establishing the new DC Universe.  But Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman better reflect where I want that universe to go moving forward.  And Justice League will finish Snyder's vision effectively being the third film of his Superman Trilogy.

Snyder's approach of being visually experimental while also having a dark tone isn't what audiences expect from Comic Book Movies.  We're more used to Dark=Gritty and Realistic for those.

Not every Anime would be ideal for Snyder, I feel like Nolan would be best for Noir, and Gundam by the same people handling Star Wars.  And I'd overall prefer Women be entrusted with Magical Girl adaptations.  However....

Madlax, Lupin III depending on which kind of Lupin Anime they're drawing on, Future Diary, Attack on Titan, Kabenari of the Iron Fortress, maybe Code Geass.  Are examples of Anime where if a Western Live Action version is ever green-lite, I think perhaps Snyder might be the best guy for the job.  I would also sorta add just about any Nasuverse story, including Canaan which may not actually count as Nasuverse.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I want to make new Anime Fans

And that is why I can't agree with Pedantic Romantic's opinion that Netflix is worse then Amazon.  Netflix's treatment of it's exclusives may not be the most convenient for those of us already into Anime.  But lots of people have Netflix for other reasons, so it can help grow the Anime community when I can just tell someone they already have access to a bunch of Anime.  I don't want to recommend a show to a Normie till it has at least a full season.  And a newbie is going to watch them Dubbed so Digi's complaints about Netflix's subtitles aren't relevant to that either.

Meanwhile Amazon's exclusives are not only stuck behind a double pay wall, but it seems like they don't get Dubbed.  And this season they have at least one show that I think could be a good show to get people into Anime with, (I won't know for sure till it's done).

Now some people might disagree with my desire to bring in new fans.  Digibro has expressed a few times the mentality that it hurts a Niche property for it to become more mainstream, it dilutes the purity of it.  There are lots of things I could say to counter that, like how new fans are needed for something to survive at all.  But mainly the reason I can't see it that way is this.

I was incredibly late in getting into Anime.  I'm about 5 years older then Digibro, but based on when I finally got full time into Anime I might as well be 10 years younger.  That means there are at least 15 years of being an Otaku I missed out on.  Yet lots of things about me show I was an Otaku at heart all along.  I was definitely a Yuri shipper before I knew that word.

Now some Anime I was familiar with during that time.  Pokemon, Sailor Moon and DBZ were part of my childhood to varying degrees.  Then I fell in love with Noir and it's sister serieses, plus Witch Hunter Robin during the period of my life that mostly revolved around waiting for The Dark Knight.  Then after that I randomly got into Code Geass, Gundam 00 and Death Note.  Thing is, those mostly don't reflect well what my current taste in Anime is, half of them I probably only still like because of Nostalgia.  Lucky Star is now my second favorite Anime, yet I didn't watch it till the summer of 2016, when it was nearly a decade old already.

The lack of easy accessibility to Anime is the reason I missed out on it so much.  (Noir is a show I've still never watched streaming online, I found it via Digital Cable's On Demand service, and then bought the DVD.)  So I want to expand the reach of Anime so more people don't miss out like I did.  If someone gives Anime a chance and they don't like it, that's cool.  But I want to get more people to give it a chance.

The one thing Netflix needs to do to help it serve this purpose is increase it's selection.  Though I'd prefer it not make anymore exclusive.  For this season their exclusives aren't the best entry points anyway.  Fate/Apocrypha is for people already into Fate/, (but fortunately they have UFOtable's Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works), and that gambling show is not exactly going to refute negative perceptions of Anime.  Doesn't mean those shows aren't good, they just aren't good places to start.

But Little Witch Academia can work, it's like Harry Potter meets My Little Pony.

Since a lot of what Netflix currently has seems to be Aniplex stuff, I feel like recommending they work with them to dub the Kara no Kyoukai films.  But I haven't seen those yet and so don't know how good of an entry point Anime they would make.

SFdebris is good proof that Madoka can make a good first impression for Anime.  It seems the only people who have a problem with Madoka are old fashioned Magical Girl fans.

For others who want to make new fans.  I'd recommenced trying to stick to legal streaming sites (like HIDIVE) to introduce people to Anime.  People who are entrenched in the community seem to underestimate just how much outsiders are not likely to be comfortable using a technically illegal site.

So for the rest of this post I want to help explain which Anime are better for introducing new people to Anime.  These "rules" aren't universal however, sometimes what I think is the worst Anime to make a first impression with may be for some weirdo exactly what gets them into it.  So keep what you personally know about a person in mind.

Try to avoid ones that engage in Anime Style Fanservice.  Doesn't mean excluding shows that are Sexy, just try to avoid ones that feel creepy.

It's also important to understand that many Americans who aren't in High School anymore don't wanna watch fiction set in High School.  (Though someone who still enjoys Spiderman or Buffy or Smallville may be an exception to that.)  That is part of why Fate/Zero is the best way to introduce someone to Fate/.

Steins Gate is a good show to recommend to SciFi fans, as is Gundam 00.  For a Fantasy fan have them start with Nausica of The Valley of The Wind.   The original Gundam film trilogy is a good recommendation for people into Space Operas.  I wish I knew more about what Anime to recommend to people into Westerns and Neo-Westerns, the only thing in that category I've seen much of is El Cazador, and I love it but it may not be the best to get someone started with.

Noir is something good to recommend to people who are into Film Noirs, or are in general Francophiles.  Especially the kind of Francophile who buys BlackCoatPress books.  If you happen to know someone specifically into Paul Feval's The Blackcoats series, recommend Noir to them and tell them that I have a fan theory that the Bouquets are related to the Bozzo-Corona clan of Corsica.

Related to that, let's talk about Lupin III for a minute.  My first exposure to Lupin III was The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, for most people I don't think that'd be the best impression to lead with, but for the kind of person who loves Noir like me it might be.  In General the two 70s Lupin movies make great introductions. So could some of the TV specials that got dubbed, of which I've seen five.  Blue Jacket, who's Dub is currently airing on Adult Swim can also be a decent enough place to start, though you may have to warn people that some key characters are unique to it.  But absolutely do NOT use any 80s Lupin work as an introduction, the 80s was the worst era for Lupin.

If you know any Pretty Little Liars fans, recommend them good Magical Girls shows like Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, Madoka and Yuki Yuna.  Or shows like K-On.  If they are specifically a BooRadleyVanCullen type of PLL fan, then you have a potential Yuri Fanatic on your hands.  Meanwhile from what I can tell so far Princess Principal could be a very good show for PLL fans, but unfortunately it's trapped by Amazon.

Any Feminist has who hasn't seen Utena yet needs to fix that immediately.

Likewise, anyone who's into Slash and/or Femslash fan fiction, is a potential Yaoi and/or Yuri fan.

Yuri is one genre where I'm not sure where to start, so much Yuri Anime has never been Dubbed. But I know you should NOT ever start with Kannazuki no Miko.  Yaoi actually has a pretty definitive entry point now with Yuri on Ice.

This October I will be a making a Halloween themed recommendations post

I would not recommend someone start with Sword Art Online.  Which is ironic because it has already been the first for many.  I think the SAO haters wouldn't be nearly so upset by it's rather standard Anime flaws if it hadn't become one of the most mainstream Animes ever.

The thing in general about the really mainstream shows of the last 10 or 15 years, (SAO, Attack on Titan, Death Note and One Punch Man), is they have probably already brought in all the new fans they're going to.  So there isn't much point to recommending them now.  If you know someone who's watched those shows and nothing else yet, perhaps you can use their opinions on those to get an idea of what to recommend them next.

Evangelion is not something to recommend to newbies, someone has to be very into Anime already to in 2017 tolerate it's many many many many many flaws.

Monday, August 21, 2017

HIDIVE is a Legal Streaming site I want to recommend.

www.hidive.com

 It allows you to watch stuff for free with ads.  A paying subscription allows you to watch ad free, at 1080 quality, and Dubs for stuff that has Dubs.  And a few shows aren't view able for free because of Ecchi content.  A paid Subscription is $3.99 a Month.

My main constructive criticism right now is that I wish they'd allow Dubs to be watched free with Ads.  It may be the companies that own the rights to the Dubs that are demanding they not be given away for free.  But the purpose of Dubs is mainly to help bring in new fans.  When I recommend an Anime to someone, I want to link them to a Legal site that will let them watch it for free.  And Ideally that should include a Dub.

I'm weird in that I'm willing to watch Subbed when I have too but still prefer Dubs.  I, as much as I want to recommend this site right now don't have the means to pay $4 a month for it.  So I'll be using this site a lot in the near future, but sadly their Dubs I'll still have to look for elsewhere.

That desired improvement aside, it is a site that runs smoothly for me, even on my cheap laptop.  And the Subs are pretty easy to read.  A note before browsing the site, the section called "Movies" includes the OVAs it has, like Gunbuster.

This site is the only legal site I've found Higurashi on, though it's not listed as an exclusive so it must also be somewhere else, but I'm happy to have just found it here.  I looked for a legal option for it before and kinda gave up when neither Crunchyroll, Netflix or Daisuki had it.

They also have exclusive legal streaming rights to Legend of The Galactic Heroes!!!!!  Yes, you heard that right, the most notorious "Elitist" Anime is finally legally streaming in the West.  It's being added one episode at a time, so only 33 are on there at the moment, but that's still something.  Similar to when Sailor Moon was being added to Hulu.

They have Girlish Number and K-On if you're a Digibro fan, also Canaan and Angel Beats.  And Hidimari Sketch, which I'm gonna need to look into what the proper order of it's seasons are.  And Ghost Hound which Digi recently praised.  And they got Log Horizon, which Digi says you should watch instead of SAO.  And Chivalry of a Failed Knight which he recommends as being better then the Asterisk War.

If you're a Fate/ fan they don't have any UFOtable/Aniplex stuff but they do have Deen/Stay Night, the Unlimited Bladworks movie and the first three seasons Prisma Illya.

They have Engaged to the Unidentified, a personal favorite of mine.  And they got Flip Flappers which makes me happy.  And Kampher, something I've been writing a piece on but keep putting off.  And Clannad which I've enjoyed so far.

And all that's just the tip of the Iceburg, lots of stuff I haven't heard of before which I may use this site to check out for the first time.

They also have some Live Action stuff.  Including 4 Godzilla movies (Smog Monster, Sea Monster, Gigan and 1984).

Current Simulcasts include Action Heroine Cheer Fruits.

Akko isn't as Sexy in the series as she was in the movies

It can be difficult to explain what I mean by that, all incarnations of Little Witch Academia are free of the Anime style fan-service that I've complained about before.  And Akko's character design and wardrobe are identical.  I think a lot of it has to do with how her Legs are animated, I'm a Leg Man so maybe most viewers aren't paying as close attention to that as I am.

This isn't a criticism, I liked the LWA movies and I'm enjoying the series so far (I'm 9 episodes in as of deciding to make this post).

The theory I'm going to present here, that many may find truly shocking, is that the reason for this is that the TV series is more concerned with appealing to Male Otaku.

The way Akko is sexy in the original movie is kinda of like how Sailor Moon was sexy, and other Shoujo Anime.  LWA may not be officially marked as a Shoujo Anime, but it feels more like a Shoujo Anime then an Otaku anime.  In other words, yes Women do like being Sexy in their wish fulfillment fantasies, just as male leads are generally attractive in stuff marketed to men.

Meanwhile Enchanted Parade was crowdfunded mainly by Western fans which is why it actually premiered in America first.  So it was made perhaps more so then most Anime with a concern for appealing to a Western audience.  Really playing up how the premise is basically Harry Potter meets My Little Pony.

But the TV series aired on regular Japanese television.  And so had to be concerned with keeping actual Otaku hooked more then any prior incarnation.  Hence getting in episode 8 the first really blatant Yuri Bait moment.

And here is the fact so many critics of Cute Girl shows and their fanbase overlook.  For better or for worse, stereotypical Otaku actually don't want their Cute Girls to be Sexy, they want them being totally pure and non-sexual.  Contrary to what you may have heard, including from Otaku themselves when we're making fun of ourselves, most Otaku consider sexiness and cuteness mutually exclusive.  Even Digibro included no "Lolies" in his list of the Hottest women in Anime.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tsukihime is the gender flipped Twilight

I recently watched the Tsukihime anime.  It's in the same universe as the Fate/ franchise.  The existing Anime from 2003 is generally not well thought of by Type Moon fans, but I enjoyed it.  However I hope Tsukihime gets it's own UFOtable reboot, perhaps once the Heaven's Feel movies are done.  In Fate/Zero season 2 the first episode of Kritisugu's origin story ties into the Tsukihime lore.

I was big into the Vampire craze for awhile, I was someone who did not particularly like Twilight but was far more annoyed by the Twilight hatedom. The Vampire Diaries was my favorite Vampire TV show airing at the time.  I had a past complicated history with Buffy but that's a different matter.  I also read the books from the 90s that TVD was originally based on.

I was interested in what little was written that attempted to be a gender inversion of the typical Vampire YA romance formula.  (This was well before Meyer made her own Gender flipped version of Twilight, that was rather lazy.)  Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series also known as Thirst, was the primary example I could find of a Female Vampire falling in love with a boy in high-school.

And what I noticed from that is the female "Good Vampires" are much more morally ambiguous.  Sita was very much an Anti-Heroine rather then a Heroine, and Lesbian Vampires tended to be modeled after Carmilla.

That's not exactly what I would expect based on the prevalence of the Madonna-Whore Complex.  I would expect it'd be Female Vampires who had no choice but to be either complete Vamps or totally pure angels.  But perhaps it's a product of the belief the ancient Greek philosophers had that women inherently can't control their passions, and therefore only male Vampires could be "Vegetarians".

Eventually I got out of Vampires for the most part.  Lately when I do watch something Vampire related it's checking out Anime Vampires.  I was never able to find a story about a Female Vampire refraining from drinking Human Blood, who falls in love with a High School Student.  Not until I was long done looking and decided to watch Tsukihime because I'm growing increasingly obsessed with Fate/ and didn't even know it was a Vampire show going in.

There were no Werewolves though, the Jacob in this case is a sword wielding Vatican Assassin who's name is pronounced C.L. (in the Dub at least).  First time we see her in action she has those same wanna be Wolverine claws Kirei uses.

Meanwhile, we also have a "Little Sister" who in every conceivable way seems like an Older Sister.  And Red Headed Twin Maids.

It's fun, I may check out the Manga, and I rarely read Manga that isn't a Yuri Doujin, so that says something.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My review of two Lupin The Third movies

Below is from a project I was going to do, possibly as a YouTube video, called "Top 5 Anime Films according to someone who hasn't seen many".  I've canceled that project for a few reasons.  One being I've seen more Anime movies now, enough to totally re-calibrate what that list would have been.

The section on two Lupin III films was all I ever actually wrote before abandoning it, and I want to preserve those thoughts somewhere (The top 4 would have been the Gundam 00 movie, The K-On movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Pokemon The 3rd Movie Spell of The Unkown.)  The fact that I consider those two the best Lupin movies is possibly still dependent on me having not seen many, I recently saw Gold of Babylon which came no where new surpassing these, I may comment on it more in the future.  The biggest out of date detail is saying it's the only Miyazaki film I'd seen.  As you'd know if you're following this blog, I saw Nausuca and The Valley of the Wind at the start of June.

So, enjoy.

Number five is…. A tie between two Lupin III films, The Mystery of Mamo and The Castle of Cagliostro.  This will be the only tie on the list, but still it means I’m technically discussing 6 movies.  These are also the only Lupin films on the list, so they are also the best Lupin movies in my opinion.

My interest in Lupin III overlaps with my interest in the original Arsene Lupin and in French Pulp Fiction in general.  And now I shall reveal that these are not traditional objective consumer reviews, but my being analytical about why these films appeal to me.  

Both are perfectly stand alone stories.  But Mystery of Mamo may make a better entry point into the Lupin III saga, since it was the first Lupin III movie and so definitely felt designed to be an entry point on many levels.  And Castle of Cagliostro has odd qualities that resulted in a fan theory that it may be the chronologically last Lupin III story.  

If you’re into the Lupin III saga mainly for Fujiko Mine then that would also make Mamo the preferred choice for you, she is very important to that story.  She is in Castle of Cagliostro, but is not the main love interest.  I do however quite like the fact that she never shows any jealousy towards Clarisse.

Mystery of Mamo’s other big advantage is having a more interesting main villain.  I can’t help but compare him to the character of Colonel Bozzo-Corona from Paul Feval’s Les Habits Noirs (The Blackcoats) series.  But that is probably just me.

Castle of Cagliostro is also currently the only Hayao Miyazaki film I’ve seen.  I have several of them on DVD but haven’t gotten around to watching them yet.

Castle of Cagliostro draws on specific classic Lupin stories more than most Lupin III stories do, a fact probably owed to how well read Miyazaki is.  The connections to La Comtesse de Cagliostro (available in English from BlackCoatPress as Arsene Lupin Vs Countess Cagliostro) are largely in name only.  The Lupin novel that fans of this movie really need to read, is unfortunately not easy to find legally in English.  It’s original French title which I’ll probably mispronounce is La Demoiselle aux yeux verts, the literal English translation of that title would be “The Damsel with The Green Eyes”, but the existing English translation is a volume titled Arsene Lupin Super Sleuth.  If you know Japanese or Korean it’s interestingly easier to find in those languages, if you know French it shouldn’t be a problem at all, everything LeBlanc directly wrote is Public Domain now.  The Clarisse of this film may be named after the Clarisse of the Cagliostro novel, but her personality and situation is more like the title character of the latter novel.  And there are other parallels too.

There is good reason this is often considered the best Lupin film, I might be the only person who thinks the Mamo film is equal to it.  It is a very well directed and beautifully drawn film.  It’s also been very influential in both Japan and the west.  The climactic final confrontation inside the top of a Clock Tower would be homaged in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, and in the first Clock King episode of Batman: The Animated Series.  I could have mentioned this in my The Mysteries of Gotham blog post, where I talked about how the roots of Batman directly or indirectly often go back to French Pulp Fiction.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wedding Peach and Yuki Yuna is a Hero

Every Magical Girl Warrior show owes a debt to Sailor Moon, just as all Comic Book Superheros owe one to Superman.  Sailor Moon invented that genre, or Sub-Genre rather.  Things existed before that you could compare it to (Cutey Honey, Mary Marvel, the 70s TV Wonder Woman and Isis), but Sailor Moon was the proper genesis of the Magical Girl Warrior.

But none is stuck in the shadow of Sailor Moon more directly then 1995's Wedding Peach.  It's a show that's easy to glance at and see it as the most generic and egregious Sailor Moon copycat.  But that is unfortunate because I think the show does plenty of distinctive interesting things.

First of all is the fact that the Mascot character is a minion of the enemies who changes sides when Momoko helps her.  The fact that Momoko's father does eventually learn what's going on.  And I feel like noting that this show predates certain western shows that did a similar, Heroine's Boyfriend has an evil demon alter ego twist, including Buffy.

I haven't finished Wedding Peach yet, I'm close to the end, but going through 50 episodes is a slog.  And given the nature of Anime adaptations I'm not even sure I'll get a satisfying resolution to the story.  It's far from being my favorite Magical Girl Show mainly because it manages to be the hardest to read any basis for my Yuri shipping into.  But I've found a lot of it's character arcs interesting.  And it's the only Magical Girl show that surpasses Sailor Moon in how sexy I think the girls look in their uniforms.


Miragephan has alluded to plans to do a negative review of Yuki Yuna is a Hero eventually.  That seems to be the magical girl show that most enrages her.

It comes from a place of her not liking the Dark Magical Girl trend in general, which is odd to me given how she said in the Madoka isn't a Deconstruction video that she doesn't like limiting what a Magical Girl show could be, but whatever.   If it's the darkness trend she doesn't like I feel like it should be the show that started the trend she is more mad at.

Meanwhile Magical Girl Raising Project is the show that takes the darker and edgier trend to it's most extreme conclusion.  And from what I've heard the Light Novels get even worse in the future arcs where it eventually just becomes the bad guys winning all the time like on Game of Thrones.

But even from the point of view of liking Madoka and being annoyed by shows perceived as being pale imitations.  I couldn't see why Yuki Yuna would be the one to single out.

Then I recalled how Digi placed Yuki Yuna on his Beginner's guide to Magical Girls chart "I want something exactly like Madoka".  (Other things that bug me on that chart are including Utena at all, failing to include Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne in the Thief section, defaulting to HeartCatch as the entry way for PreCure, and not starting either column or even sub-route with Sailor Moon.)

Given how I recently said that Madoka was basically also the birth of a new Sub-Genre.  It seems Yuki Yuki has become the Wedding Peach to Madoka's Sailor Moon.  

Shows like Raising Project and Wixoss have their unique gimmicks visible right up front, one is Magical Girl Hunger Games, and one is the Trading Card Game show version of Madoka.  (Only thing we're missing is a darker revival of the Magical Girl Thief sub-genre)  While Yuki Yuna is the easiest show on the Madoka bandwagon to write off as failing to do anything unique or distinctive, when in fact it does quite a bit, and is in my opinion far more imaginative then either of those two shows.

Sometimes I outright consider Yuki Yuna better then Madoka (which would make it my favorite Magical Girl show period).  Especially now that I know the whole one character being stuck in an endless time-loop twist had been done in Anime before, something I didn't know in 2014 when I first watched Madoka.  Two Fat Guys Talk are a pair of YouTubers who unlike me flat out hate Madoka, but are also big fans of Yuki Yuna, it's biggest fans possibly, they are for Yuki Yuna what Digibro is for K-On.  So clearly Yuki Yuna has an appeal independent of simply wanting more Madoka.

The thing is, much of what's distinctive in Yuki Yuna are twists, twists I don't want to talk about without a Spoiler Warning.

But besides the spoilers, I do find the characters distinctive.  Toga gets compared to Homura but that is totally unfair.  The only criticism I've seen of Yuki's character is practically a word for word repeat of the common ignorant reason people "can't relate to Superman".  Fu like Mami can be compared to Manga Minako, but in a very different way, since the point with Mami was she never to be a team leader even though she was meant to be one.  Fu is my favorite character from Yuki Yuna.

Actually that the show is set in the future not the present isn't supposed to be a spoiler, it's just something people often miss at first.

And I also feel like no other proper Magical Girl show is nearly as rich in Shintoism.

Most importantly, Yuki Yuna like Madoka (before the movie) does have a happy ending. A Happier ending arguably.  Maybe Yuki Yuna will repeat the mistake of ruining that with the sequel, we'll see this fall.

AnimeFeminist has an article on Dark Magical Girl shows.  The author of the article was quite hostile to the genre, but what I like is it's comments section.  A lot of perspectives come up there, people who only like Madoka, people who like Yuki Yuna the best, and at least one person who hates Yuki Yuna the most.  That person's issue had a lot to do with comparing it to military propaganda, which I think is unfair, no one hates military propaganda more then me.  It even has someone defending Raising Project.  It's a pretty insightful comments section.

Here is another really good positive review of Yuki Yuna.

I don't expect everyone to like Yuki Yuna as much as I do.  But don't dismiss it.  It is far more unique and special then many would have you believe.


Spoiler Warning!!!!!!!!