Thursday, March 30, 2017

An American Light not being White would be Alt-Right propaganda

This is a follow up of sorts to my earlier post I'm Fine with a Westernized Adaptation of Death Note.

But there is a second layer to the issue of White Washing Light, which is saying "why does American Light have to be White? not all Americans are White?".

I read a LadyGeekGirl article.  The author seems to think that because Japan isn't as "Racially" diverse as America that it has no concept of some people being more Privileged then others. And I find that offense.  It doesn't matter how much you think everyone there looks the same, every society has some classes or demographics who are more privileged then others.

Light Yagami is absolutely a privileged person in all Japanese set versions of Death Note.  He's a Police Cheif's son, he's an honor student, he's someone women seem to throw themselves at.  And he absolutely flies under the radar of the police because of that.

So if any Anime character has to be White in an American setting it's Light Yagami.

In fact I will go so far as to say it would be White Nationalist propaganda to have an American Light be a minority.  It will play into their desire to deny White Privilege while delusionally claiming political correctness is allowing minorities to get away with things, to have an Asian American, African American, Latino American or Muslim fly under the police radar the way Light Yagami does.

Light should be an irredeemable villain with no sympathetic qualities.  If he's not that I"ll consider it a failure no matter what he looks like, that's my issue with the 2015 series, trying to make Light more sympathetic. So it'd actually be much more problematic for such a character to be a POC.

Some other claims from this article I want to address.
"However, (spoilers for a decade-old manga) L dies. Light outmaneuvers him"
1. We don't know the adaptation will end that way, the first Live Action adaptation in Japan had L win.

2. Light is eventually defeated by Near and Mello, who interestingly were White men in the Manga/Anime but played by a Japanese actress in the 2015 series.  So if this version carries the story to include them, we'll have to wait and see how they're cast.
Aside from the phrasing of “Justice of Kira” not sounding like fluent English, the original Japanese used Kira as Light’s serial killer identity because “kira” (キラー) is how the word “killer” is written/pronounced in Japanese. Why on earth is this white boy from Seattle calling himself that?
Light is not the one who coined the name Kira in the Anime.  Also what country Light is from being known was itself a product of L's deductions.  So we have to wait and see how the name comes about here.

Watari is made Japanese in this even though he was British in the source material.  I'm curious how they're going to make sense of that.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Everything Great about The Star Wars Prequels

I feel bad I didn't watch these videos as soon as they went up.  I got the wrong impression of what this guy thought of the Prequels from his TFA video.  As a long time Prequel defending these videos mentions subtleties even I hadn't noticed yet.

Okay, I can't get the Revenge of the Sith one to show up here the way I could the first too.  If you go watch the videos on YouTube directly you'll find it easily.

He's still more critical of em then I am.  I have a post dedicated to the Taxation Dispute issue.  And Padme is the main character of Episode I as a stand alone film, not Qui-Gon.

But these are good video, a short quick and easy way to start sticking it to Prequel haters.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sword Art Online was never a Death Game anime

I want to start by saying there are lot of valid reasons to dislike SAO.  I enjoyed the Aincrad arc though it was flawed.  I had a lot of problems with Alfheim and Gungale though there were also good moments.  The two arcs that made up the second half of season 2 were great, Mother's Rosario especially is my favorite so far. I haven't seen Ordinal Scale yet, I will be waiting for the Dubs to watch either it or season 3.

A common theme I've seen among critics of SAO, especially those who hate even the original arc, including Digibro himself in the PCP Podcast on "Plebs", is a notion that it was somehow supposed to be a Death Game Anime, and that the show then ruined it's own sense of urgencey.

Mirai Nikki was a Death Game anime, Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero are Death Game animes.  Magical Girl Raising Project is a Death Game Anime (I just watched it and am still processing my thoughts on it).  It's a genre that has an inherently limited appeal to me.  I watched RP because I'm into Magical Girls, Mirai Nikki for the Yandere and Fate/ because I'm into Arthurian Legend and other mythologies.  But if SAO had been structured like a Death Game then it'd have had almost none of what I like about it.

A Death Game Anime is one where the situation encourages or forces the players of the game to kill each other.   The situation Kiba created encouraged working together and for the most part they did.  The people who became murderers were ones who had those tendencies already.

I don't care that character use the words "Death Game" in universe to describe their situation, that is irrelevant to what it means as an Anime sub genre.

Digibro said in the last episode of the DigiBros Super Mario 64 let's play, when they were speculating on Zelda BotW (it was recorded before the game came out) that he doesn't like when Video Games have a sense of urgency.  I agree with him on that, and that is why I like the very parts of SAO he considered the most useless.  Every Video Game he could praise for not having a sense of urgency still has a theoretical sense of urgency, if Link doesn't get to the end and defeat Ganon eventually then Hyrule is doomed.  And that is all the opening episodes of SAO were meant to do, establish a problem that they need to solve, eventually.

But the appeal to me was always about these character living in a digital fantasy world, not about them getting out of it, it appeals to me in a way that connects to how I feel Caprica was such a missed opportunity.  So my favorite episodes were largely the "Filler" which apparently came from the second Light Novel.

Digibro most hated the Murder Mystery two parter.  I loved those, for the most part.  As a fan of Holmesian stories I enjoyed seeing this speculation on how you'd apply Holmsian deductive reasoning in an MMO world.  And when they figured out the deaths had been faked I was quite satisfied.  Then the story dragged on adding some more twists and I soured on it a little.

I also agree that like in the original web novels Asuna should have killed that one guy.

Mother's Basement did a video on SAO where he said it was ruined by the Yui character turning out to be an AI, which he said destroyed the sense that anyone can die.  I have come to be quite personally annoyed by shows wanting to create that illusion, and viewers who ever buy into it.  If you're paying attention you can easily tell who isn't eligible to die on Game of Thrones, or the books it was based on.  Ned Stark was a character created specifically to die early on creating that illusion, and Mami Tomoe was Ned Stark as a Magical Girl, in more ways then one.

And I'm annoyed by the people who want a show where anyone can die.  Whenever I'm watching something and a character death happens that did not feel sufficiently built up to, it simply comes off as bad writing to me, even when it's a character I didn't much care for.  This is part of what slowly soured me to The Vampire Diaries, a show I loved at first.  And when it's done to a character I love, like my Waifu Anna (played by Malese Jow), it just enrages me.  I hate when shows do things just for shock value, and plenty of my favorite moments have been completely predictable ones.  And that is Why I Like Prequels.

As a Christian I like Adoption themes in my fiction, something I talked about in a Force Awakens post last year "Rey is a Skywalker but not by Blood".  So in this setting I quite like the idea of our protagonists adopting an AI character.  So Mother's Basement desire to say Yui ruined SAO by being an AI offends me, just as it offends me when people say Dawn (also my Waifu) ruined Buffy.

That is all for this post.  Expect maybe something in the future about SAO as a Gnostic Allegory, the first two arcs anyway.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Well I just watched The Force Awakens for the third time.

I was listneing to Digibro say how sometimes it takes three viewing to fully gauge your opinion on something.  Or atleast that if you find yourself liking something less the second time to try the a third.

On my second viewing TFA did hold as well I'd hoped it would.  But on this third viewing it was pretty fun again.

I still don't like it as much as the Prequels, but I can say I like it about the same as the original Trilogy.

Also, this was my first time watching it since I got into Lucky Star and Haruhi.  So when we learn BB-8 had answered Rei's question with "Classified" I couldn't help but giggle.

Zelda BotW also kept popping into my head.  Because that Game managed to make it's Landscapes just as awesome as anything in a film that was filmed at real locations.

Also this time when Han fell after being stabbed I thought "is he falling into a Mako reactor".

Friday, March 24, 2017

I hope a Fantastical Alternate History version of WWI or WWII is a staple of every Anime season now

Last season we had Izetta The Last Witch, which gave us basically WWII, but with a lot of cosmetic influence from WWI.

This season we have Tanya The Evil.  People have had a lot fun calling it a show about a "Loli Nazi", but really the War we're currently watching is more of a delayed WWI.

But.... a theory I've seen presented in the comments section of the site I've been streaming the Dub on is that basically Tanya will be the Hitler of this alternate history.

Imagine it, this season ends with the Empire being defeated, lots of climatic stuff happens.  Then the final after credits scene is a jump several years in the future, an teen Tanya gives a rousing speech to disillusioned veterans.  Ad it ends with them raising their hands saying "Hail Tanya".

That would be chilling.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I am fine with a Westernized adaptation of Death Note

There is nothing wrong with retelling a story in a different cultural context.  We've seen Anime based on stories of Western origin, and I'd like to see more.  I'd like to see Annie on My Mind re-imagined as a Yuri Anime or Manga, replace the role played by the Egyptian section of the Museum with a Shinto Shrine.

My problem with White Washing in Anime adaptations is when that seems likely to be the only Live Action version that property will have since Japan's film industry can't afford to do justice to many of these stories.

Death Note however has had two Live Action adaptations made in Japan with mostly Japanese casts.  Including characters who were heavily implied to be White in the Anime, like the clearly British Watari, or Near and Mello who seemed to be Germanic.  L himself is more controversial as some think he may have been part Japanese, but the name usually revealed to be his real name is a European one.

This Death Note adaptation has some diversity to it, with L being African American.

So I really don't have a problem with the ultimate privileged entitled misogynist douche who thinks he deserves to decide who lives and dies being White.

And I frankly would have liked Misa to be able to Blonde in live action for once, but instead we're still not getting that.

There are other issues I may have this show.  Mainly I'm really annoyed it's going be on Netflix.  But I'll have to wait till I know more. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'd like to see the BBC do a Live Action Hellsing

So we've seen Anime adapted into Live Action in it's home country of Japan with varying degrees of success.  And We've seen it adapted into Live Action by Hollywood with so far no undeniable success.

But what about giving the BBC a shot? Looking at some of the the shows they've had including SciFi ones?  And You'll be surprised how many Anime YouTubers have British accents, so there is an Otaku audience there.

Hellsing would be my first choice for this.  It's set in London, and inspired by a classic work of British poplar fiction.

I'm of a course a Hellsing fan who hasn't read the manga, but really liked the first Anime yet totally hates the art style of Ultimate.  It bums me out that the original Anime didn't get a second season as there was clearly more story to tell.

Hellsing has the potential to fit in right alongside Doctor Who and maybe even fill the void left by Sherlock.

After Hellsing the next Anime franchise that involves a lot of British characters is Fate/Stay Night, especially in Fate/Zero.  But that's still mainly set in Japan.  Maybe I could be okay with a Localized adaptation, it's not nearly Shinto driven as something like Higurashi, another Anime adapted from a Visual Novel.  But you'd have to be very careful about it.  Or that could make like a Fate/ spin off, just depicting the Mages Academy and other Nasuverse drama.

So Hellsing is definitely the best bet for giving the BBC a shot at adapting Anime/Manga.

Update August 31st 2017:

Thanks to Princess Principal we now have another Anime sorta set in London, and alternate history London.  I like it, but it's still airing so who now how it'll turn out.

The BBC isn't likely to do something with an all female cast, yes they just finally committed to a female Doctor Who, but that will still have male characters.

And it's best not to adapt something till it's stood the test of time somewhat.  If I revisit Princess Principal in 5 years and still care about it, and others do too.  Then we'll see.

But for now Hellsing is still the best bet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I'm going to Backlash against the Madoka Backlash

Lately there's been a backlash against Madoka, one that reminds me of the Backlash against Nolan's Batman films from a few years ago.

Madoka is not an anime I'm certain I consider one of my top favorites, it probably was when I first watched it mainly because there was so much I hadn't seen yet way back then. There are two Anime pretty easy to write off as copying Madoka that I'd now say I possibly like more, Yuki Yuna is a Hero and Wixoss.  And there is an older Magical Girl show with some of the same people behind it I would now say I like more, Lyrical Nanoha seasons 1 and 2.

It's partly Rebellion's fault, for playing into a wrong perspective of the show.  People constantly saying it was Dark for the sake of being Dark, or "Tragedy Porn"

I now somewhat more strongly agree with those who say it's not a Deconstruction.  My post on the subject from late 2015 was kind of a bait and switch to begin with, ending by calling it a Reconstruction.

What's really interesting to remember is how in his reviews of the original series said he didn't even find the show that dark.

I still haven't seen Raising Project yet, from what I've heard it's more like what people keep writing off Madoka as.

I of course cited Madoka as an example in my The Night is Darkest Just Before The Dawn post.  And Mentioned Madoka in my Yuki Kajiura post.

The Show hasn't been at the top of my radar as much as I've discovered more Anime to watch.  But every time I look back on it I remember it fondly.  The characters were pretty well developed, not as one note as Digibro tries to write them off as.  And it's 12 episodes were perfectly structured to tell their story.

Much of the Backlash comes from my fellow Feminists.  The show isn't seeking to send a Feminist Message in the same way Sailor Moon is.  But the perception that it is rejecting the empowering Magical Girl message is tied to the wrong perception that it's a Deconstruction.  I have trouble being critical of Magical Girl shows on Feminist grounds since the least of them I still feel does better then Western Superhero Comics, even female lead ones.  Maybe it's just because Japan's gender issues are different so they quite unintentionally give Western Feminists what we're looking for, but I'll still take it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Could the Gerudo have been based on The Gorgons?

One of the many things that excites me about Breath of The Wild is seeing the Gerudo finally being given some attention.  I have been fascinated by them for many reasons, like my general interest in Amazons as a concept.  I suggested a theory on a Zelda forum once that they might reproduce by Gynogenesis.
Here, offspring are produced by the same mechanism as in parthenogenesis, but with the requirement that the egg merely be stimulated by the presence of sperm in order to develop. However, the sperm cell does not contribute any genetic material to the offspring. Since gynogenetic species are all female, activation of their eggs requires mating with males of a closely related species for the needed stimulus.
Since we were told in OoT (in the most kid friendly way possible) that they do have sex with males to reproduce.  Yet they seek these males from totally different tribes, and their distinct ethnic features remain un-distorted, most of the time.  Rarely in a Gynogenesis species a sperm will actually contribute, that could explain characters speculated to be part Gerudo (like Telma in Twilight Princess), as well as a male being born every 100 years.

But let's get to the topic I want to discus today.

You might be thinking "aren't Gorgons ugly monsters with hair made out of snakes?".  Traditionally yes.  But Diodorus Siculus claims in his account of Myrina and the Libyan Amazons, that the Gorgons or Gorgos were another Matriarchal Tribe who Myrina encountered before reaching Egypt.  Which would seemingly place them somewhere in the Sahara Desert (Though the Geography of this account doesn't exactly hold up under scrutiny).  As a Creationist interested in this subject, I've speculated they could fit into Genesis 10 via being of the Girgashite tribe of Canaan.

Scholars who think there might be some truth to this claim, have speculated this tribe maybe worshiped a Snake Goddess and that is why they became Snake monsters.  Inside the Desert Colossus/Spirit Temple of OoT, the inner statue of the Desert Goddess has a Cobra wrapped around her.

It may be this is just a coincidence, influenced by my own personal interests, like my tendency to see Solomon's Temple in the Temple of Time.  But it's an interesting comparison to make.

The common tendency to see the Gerudo as being like Arabs could make my Feminism of Pre-Islamic Arabia post interesting to look at.  [And I have since considered reasons to relocate the geography of Myrina's story from North Africa to Arabia.]

I can't play Breath of The Wild anytime soon as I'm so far behind I still own neither Console it's playable on.  But I've been watching others play it on YouTube, and I just love the detail put into creating it's world, it's mind blowing.

I'd love to see this new kind of engine applied to a revisiting of the concept of Majora's Mask.  Bring back all 4 of the original transformation masks, plus add three more.  A Gerudo Mask, a Sheikah Mask and a Rito Mask.  And maybe this Majora's Mask sequel could star Linkle rather then Link?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Making it up as you go along isn't always bad

Isaac Asimov's three laws of Robotics are probably the single most highly revered set of rules for a fictional universe ever conceived.  Before he started trying to connect the Robot universe to his other fiction they always were depicted consistently.  They're so highly revered that other writers have used them (not always correctly) as if they are just a given, from The Forbidden Planet to the Megaman games (in Japan).

This blog post isn't about that however.  It's about the fact that Isaac Asimov did not pre-plan them, they were not in some secret Universe Bible he constructed before he wrote his first piece of Robot themed fiction.  He started just writing stories about Robots how he naturally felt inspired to write them.  And then someone else, his Editor I think, told him "ya know your Robots seem to function on three basic laws" and then Isaac ran with it.  This observation being made opened the door to stories he would never have written otherwise.

There is a common perception out there that serialized fiction always works best when the writer has everything carefully planned out in advance.  Even though in the case of anything that has lasted more then one season or trilogy, that's never actually been the case, however much they may want their fans to think otherwise.  These fans may admit it's unrealistic to pre-plan every scene of all 154 episodes of a 7 season show.  But they think it's important to know where the show is headed, and to have a "Show Bible" that lays out all the key rules and lore, even ones you're going to wait years to mention onscreen.

Some fans of the Wheel of Time series are obsessed with a belief that the books are still playing out according to some master plan the original author laid out decades ago.  I have no idea whether or not that's true, I haven't read any of it yet.  But I find it amusing.

If Joss Whedon had refused to leave his original plan for Buffy Season 2, Spike would have died in episode 10.  But Buffy wound up feeling like it could have been pre-planned, buy in it's closing seasons cleverly drawing on what came before.  So basically I'm saying I do not think Joss planned for The First to be the final season's Big Bad when he wrote that Season 3 Christmas special, but it sure seemed to fit once that was how it all played out.

The average person does not know that Alexandre Dumas novels were written in a serialized format.  Among us who do know a perception exists that Dumas stories were more pre-planned then others.  And maybe he tried to be that way, but given what I know about how that industry worked, there is no way he wasn't subject to editorial whims based on reader feedback.  But Dumas and his rivals in that field like Paul Feval laid the foundations of modern genre fiction.

Telling a story that is carefully constructed from start to finish is of course often great.  But that doesn't work for something ongoing.  Madoka Magica was 12 perfectly executed episodes.  Then they decided to milk it some more.  If you want something to last years, it's best to allow it to be flexible.

Some shows seem to have poor endings because the creators wanted to stick to an ending they envisioned at the same time they wrote the Pilot, even though the show had evolved.  Star Trek Voyager was a victim of this.

You may think "Mithrandir, isn't this odd coming from someone who seems to believe George Lucas about how pre-planned Star Wars was???".  All I believe is that Vader was Luke's father by the time A New Hope was filming, I don't care how many early drafts don't fit the final product we got.  In SFdebris series about the development of Star Wars he delights in trying to refute the idea that Vader meaning father means something by going over these early versions. Yet Father-Son dynamics (with the father still alive) are all over these abandoned concepts he talks about.  Darth Vader is several of those concepts merged together, thankfully Lucas noticed that Vader means father at some point.  To me the big proof of this lies in how Anakin is never mentioned in Vader and Obi-Wan's conversation, yet their backstory as presented to Luke revolved around Anakin.

Plenty of other things clearly did change.  The Emperor was originally envisioned as just a puppet/figurehead according to the Novelization.  Yet the Novelization also proves something like the Taxation Disputes with the Trade Federation was always part of the Republic's fall.  I think Luke and Leia were already siblings when Empire was filmed, because it's ending makes no sense if they aren't, but I don't know about ANH.

So, my point is.  It's about the journey not the destination.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Most critics of fiction seem to believe strongly in Nuture over Nature.

You may or may not know that within the world of psychology there is an ongoing debate about why people are the way they are, called Nature vs Nurture.  Are we who we are because of what we've experienced, starting with how we were raised? or is that simply how our Brains are wired?  Or is it a combination of both?

And even though most people take that third option, they still want to debate whether it tips one way or the other.

But the way fiction is critiqued seems to show a clear bias towards Nurture from critics and anyalists.  Now in fairness this largely starts with how many successful and influential writers have clearly strongly advocated for Nurture in their writing, and their writing is what many critics are taught as examples of how it should be.

This kind of overlaps with the over reverence for Deconstructions.  Which comes from the philosophy that certain unconventional character traits can only be the result of some kind of trauma or abuse.

This is part of why I'm so often at a disconnect with critics.  I'm seeing people criticize something I like by saying "they never explain why these characters are this way".  Or praising something that I feel wasted to much time on backstory by saying "It's so great to see this character trait being given an explanation for a change".

Though perhaps it's unfair for me to bring this debate into it.  Because even if I fully agreed with Nuture over Nature I'd still be like "THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS STORY IS ABOUT, WAIT FOR THE DAMN PREQUEL!!!!".

In fact given my history of praising Prequels as an art form, you might be surprised to see me be so critical of the Nuture argument.  But the Prequels I like reflect a decent balance between Nuture and Nature.  Anakin Skywalker was influenced by his experiences, but he did not start out a blank slate.

And then there is Lupin III The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.  What I love about this Prequel is how it starts out seeming like your generic Deconstruction, "obviously a woman would only behave like a Femme Fatale if she was horribly victimized" to in the end say, "NOPE, she was like that all long, deal with it".

I watched a video on YouTube praising how Lucky Star deals with familial relations.

Lucky Star is one of my favorite Animes, and I do like how it depicts all it's relationships, so for that I like and recommend the video.

But this video also expresses an annoyance at how other High School set Animes write around the parents (western shows will also do this, "Out of Town" is a meme in the PLL fandom).  I have always been fine with that, a tv show only shows us 20-40 minutes a week of the characters lives.  When I was in school I had no friends and still spent way more time then that away from my parents.  The parents aren't who I watch Cute Girl shows for, in fact I like them best when it's possible to imagine that the male gender doesn't even exist.  (Yet SciFi stories explicitly based on that premise tend to bore and disappoint me.)

This video and even more so it's comments talk about how important it is to show how our families shape who we are.  And that annoys me, who I am can't be logically explained by my parents.  My ideology doesn't resemble theirs enough to say I simply became them, but isn't opposite to theirs enough to say I'm just rebelling.

But this is at it's most annoying when it's applied to the Anime Tsundere, where I see comments like "the tsundere schtick is handled well when the trope is treated like a mental hangup bordering on mental illness."-a YouTuber calling themselves Char Azanbel.

You see, I've paid enough attention to the world to know that the Tsundere isn't unique to Anime.  It can be traced back to Shakespeare at least.  Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing describes Beatrice's feelings for Benedick thusly:
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think
of it but that she loves him with an enraged
affection: it is past the infinite of thought.
Skye Sweetnam had a song called Tangled Up In Me where she was basically singing about being a Tsundere.  That whole common idea you've heard that if a girl was picking on you on the playground it probably means she likes you, is exactly what the Tsundere is based on.  It's only become so well categorized in Anime because we Otaku obsess over categorizing everything.

It is common in fiction because it is a damn near universal experience.  We've all been a Tsundere towards something at some point, before I started writing blogs I would hide much of the fiction I enjoyed.  Frankly I think Digibro is a Tsundere towards Sword Art Online, I think secretly he loves it, but can't admit that to himself because it breaks those writing school rules he worships.

So Asuka from Evangelion keeps getting praised as the best written Tsundere. I was unable to find her likeable regardless of her backstory, and that's as someone who's bias is always to favor the female characters.  So I get sick of seeing Asuka praised for being Traumatized, while Rin Tohsaka is considered just a visual novel cliche by "educated" critics. And Kagami ignored for being from an Anime that isn't story driven at all, but that's what I like about Lucky Star.

What amuses me most however.  Is when these critics who are generally just as Liberal as I am are applying this Nuture bias to every character trait but sexual orientation.  But remain deeply offended at any suggestion that Homsoexuals aren't born that way.  My position on being "born that way" or not is first that it should be irrelevant towards Gay Rights, or whether they are viewed as human beings, or whether it's a Sin or not (I strongly believe it is not).  But I firmly agree we can't control who we're attracted to, but that goes right down to an individual basis. And every sexual preference I have also has it's exceptions, from gender to hair color.

So my point is.  Quit caring so much about why a character is who they are.  And just enjoy them for who they are.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gundam The Origin

As an advocate of Prequels in general, I wanted to try watching a Prequel to something I don't know the original story for.  I heard of this recently and that it was pretty good.  As you may know the only Gundam series I was previously familiar with is Gundam 00 which is not part of the Universal Century continuity.

Four Episodes are available, only the third has an after credits scene.  All four are Dubbed already, which is good, in Japan some characters are still voiced by the same actors who voiced them 40 years ago even though they are younger here.  I don't want to deal with that.

After watching them I learned that this isn't really a Prequel to the existing continuity but more of a Reboot that starts at an earlier point.  Still a similar concept.

Overall I like it, the first episode is difficult to get into at first.  What it needed was some narration set up at the beginning, like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th episodes had.

From the vague knowledge I had of Gundam going in.  I was easily able to guess who was supposed to be Char.  Gundam gets called the Star Wars of Japan, and Char the Darth Vader of Japan.  In some ways I think how this handles Char is how many Prequel haterss would have wanted Anakin to be written, someone introverted who doesn't much express his emotional angst.  But Lucas had a specific point to make about Anakin not being cut out for the Stoic philosophy of what the Jedi Order had become.  And in the OT Darth Vader was not exactly someone who restrained himself.

I think this could be a good introduction to the franchise for new fans.  I don't think I could ever watch the original Gundam, I simply don't like how most 70s Anime looked.  Here, it is hilarious how some characters look obviously like their original character designs were made in the 70s, but others not so much.

Yuki Kajiura is the John Williams of Anime

There are a lot of potential candidates for the title of all time best director or best actor in Hollywood. But I think few would dispute that the all time greatest composer of Film Scores is John Williams.

Between Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter, he's made most of the most Iconic film scores of all time.  Harry Potter is the only of those franchises I haven't seen, but I still recognize the Music when I hear it.

Who are the top composers of other mediums?  Back when G4 still existed and still had more then just one show about Video Games.  I watched a half hour biography they did of the main Composer of the Final Fantasy series.  He seems like a good candidate, but to me the most personally Iconic video game music is definitely the music from Nintendo first party titles.

But I think easily the John Williams of Anime is Yuki Kajiura.

She did Noir, my favorite Anime, largely the reason I got into anime.  It's soundtrack is still the only Anime soundtrack I've ever bought on CD.  And to this day it holds up, I can put that Music on my not quite an IPod and go weeks listening to no Music other then it.

After that she's done it's sister series, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja.  Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero and Sword Art Online.  And many others I still haven't watched yet, some I intend to try soon.  There is some where her Music is the only nice thing some people have to say about it, not unlike how SW Prequel haters feel about their Music.

Can any other Anime composer compete?  Lots of Anime have memorable opening and closing themes, but nothing epic in terms of score.  Death Note's score is memorable mostly for how obviously it's going for an Omen vibe, and that's fine, it works great for what Death Note was doing.  And you've got lots of Anime where the characters are making Music in the show.  Evangelion is an anime who's most disappointing quality was it's music, I love that Bohemian Rhapsody AMV because I feel it tells the story musically far better.  The music of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works does as well as it does largely because it's following Fate/Zero's lead, knowing Yuki will be back for the Heaven's Feel movie has me even more excited for it, it's too bad the Dub probably won't get a theatrical release.

The only Anime who's score can compete with Yuki Kajiura scores is Revolutionary Girl Utena.  And it had two composers, the Duel Themes were done by a different composer then the rest.  And neither had done anything else I'm currently familiar with, partly because not much else that is considered a must watch.

So for the time being I feel there is little competition for Yuki Kajiura as the best Anime Composer.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Lion King is more like Horus then Hamlet

First I recommend you watch this video on YouTube from KyleKallgrenBHH.
I have long felt that The Lion King's connection to Hamlet is overstated, and on that subject this is a great video.

He also laments how we commonly fail to look for African inspiration for the story.  The African legend he talks about, Sundiata, is pretty interesting and I think may well be relevant.  But there is another Nation in Africa who's mythology has long been what the story of The Lion King first makes me think of.

Egypt, which called itself Kemet.

Simba = Horus
Mufasa = Osiris
Scar = Set
BTW, Scar is depicted as arguably vaguely Homosexual and Set's stories also have some homoerotic undertones to them.

Now we should remember that Set wasn't so firmly vilified originally.  But because the Hyksos foreign occupiers favored him so heavily, Set's reputation took a nose dive during (most of) the New Kingdom.  And in The Lion King the Hyena's could perhaps be viewed as representing those foreign oppressors.

Of course Egypt being one of the most Ancient nations on Earth, and which had long periods of influence and contact with other regions, means that this pattern was mimicked elsewhere quite frequently.  And perhaps even Egypt didn't do it first, but from what we can verify their version was probably the first written down.

In Greek mythology there was Perseus who it seems may have originally been fathered by Proteus, the brother of Acrisius, not Zeus.  Which in turn influenced Herodotus's version of the biography of Cyrus.

Kyle talks in the video about how every work has many ancestors.  I feel like noting how a writer may not always be consciously aware of what's influencing them.  I know because of who I've spent my time with I've spent a lot of time seeing and hearing movies and TVshows I would never have chosen to watch on my own.  And I have vague memories of things I do not remember the name of, or maybe never knew.

Kyle chose Moses as a potential Biblical example.  I would have picked David as a future King who spent time in Exile, though there is also Hadad of Edom in 1 Kings 11.  And then Athaliah as a blatant Usurper. I also have a tendency to suspect Jehosheba and Athaliah are echoed in the tale of Snow White.

But also as a Christian I could compare this pattern to The Bible's overall depiction of Satan as the current Archon of the Kosmos and god of this Aion, having stolen the Dominion from Adam.  And Jesus as The Son of Adam who will restore everything.

While Shakespeare's Hamlet fails to be like The Lion King or the story of Horus due to how Hamlet never takes the Throne or cares to.  In the original Danish legend of Amleth he actually does become King.

Other plays of Shakespeare also echo this pattern.  You can see it somewhat in the Henriad as Kyle points out.  Macbeth, Richard III and King John are all plays where the title character is the Set figure.

Paul Feval novels where this pattern is reflected include Revenants, and the DeClare story in The Blackcoats: Heart of Steele.

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the original backstory we are given made Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader kind of surrogate brothers, students of the same master.  In which case Anakin becomes Osiris, Vader is Set and Luke is Horus.  Later when we learn the truth this analogy doesn't really change, Osiris and Set simply become two sides of the same person.  Even the Dismemberment theme may go back to Horus castrating Set.  So yes you can say that the voice of Mufasa had previously voiced Scar.

In Super Mario RPG The Legend of The Seven Stars, Mallow is a rightful prince in unknowing exile while Valentina is the usurper.

Recent takes on Snow White try to play up how she can be viewed as a female version of Horus, and the Evil Queen as a female Set.  I think there is a lot more potential to be had from taking that approach.  There is also Ashe in Final Fantasy XII.

So, those are my elaborations on Kyle's thoughts.