Friday, June 23, 2017

The difference between doing a Mystery in a Stand Alone format or a Serialized one

The thing about great mystery movies, or movies with a good shocking twist like The Sixth Sense or the original Scream who's mystery element I feel did work really well.  Is that when you look back and re-watch it you think "how did I not see that?".

If your consuming the entire story in one sitting.  You don't adequately have the time the time to aynalize everything.  And if they story in good and engaging you'll be to engrossed to put things together.

However if The Sixth Sense had been broken into 6 smaller films you watched separated by a week each or even a day.  You would have thought about all those things you noticed on the re-watch.  And someone would have predicted the inevitable twist.

Therefore serialized mysteries simply can't recreate that.  Either the right answer will be guessed by some faction of the fan-base, or the key to the mystery is something not adequately revealed to the audience(and sometimes even then those factors might be guessed at).  To me it is always the second option that feels like a cop out.

Or the third option is to pull an answer out of your @$$ that makes no real sense. And even then someone probably guessed it.

And even if you are in the future binging the entire series in only half a day.  You're still taking breaks however short.  Hence comments sections of Anime streaming sites are filled with speculation on each episode by people as if they were watching it new even though the comments were made years later.

All that can apply just to a miniseries, or an Anime that was only ever meant to have one season.  Where it is plausible the writers actually planned everything out in advance. But if something is going to be ongoing, then all of that is compounded even more so.

Now I as a fan of serialized fiction in general can enjoy a show with mystery elements in-spite of all those factors.  I have loved almost unconditionally the entire nonsensical ride that Pretty Little Liars has taken me on.  With any ongoing show it's about the journey not the destination.  I've seen a lots of Anime critics especially going on and on about how an ending can make or break a show, and I couldn't disagree more.  My mixed feelings to how Smallville ended does not take away what that show once meant to me.

However, the thing is, this is why the whole "Mystery Box" approach to Star Wars rubs me the wrong way.  I'm not like other people saying Star Wars shouldn't even have mysteries.  It's that we now have a movie series forfeiting the one and only advantage movies have over TV in telling a mystery story, because this Trilogy was started by someone who's biggest success was launching a hit TV series.

There are plenty other examples of films planned to have sequels leaving things open for them.  But here the whole "Who is Rey" question is being treated as central to the entire story.  And yet equally central is the assumption that we probably know the answer till Episode IX.  So that it's dominating the conversation of the build up to Episode VIII feels like a waste.

We have trailers spending two minutes not clarifying something the movie will equally not clarify in two hours.  I tolerate that fine when normally a week is what I have to wait between episodes.  But now it's two years between episodes and my ability to care is running thin.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

This episode was a little disapointing.

Spoiler Warning!!!!

I predicted Mark Drake would take the fall of Dunhill's murder, but I neglected to say that on this Blog so I can't prove it.

The ending scene from the 6A finale turned out to be just a dream.  I kinda stopped awhile ago thought.

Mainly what bugs me is hat they seem to have confirmed Charlotte is indeed dead.  I really wanted that to not be the case.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sailor Moon, is the 90s Anime better then the Manga? It Depends

Vraikaiser has talked on their Blog about why they feel the Anime was better then the Manga, and so Crystal being more faithful to the Manga means nothing to them.

I Missed This Show, and You Aren't Helping.

Pretty much all stuff I can agree with.  Valuing the Zoiscite/Kunzite relationship, and also Naru and Nephrite.  And lots of other small character moments, to which I'd add also preferring Makoto's introduction in the 90s Anime.

Thing is, that's all mostly applicable to just the original arc, The Dark Kingdom.  There the Anime version was definitely way better.  The only downside being Minako, 90s Anime Minako is as charming and fun as she can be, the least interesting version of Minako.  I like the idea of the main character not being the team leader, and I really like the more serious Minako of Crystal and PGSM and the Codename Sailor V Manga (only Sailor Manga I've actually read).  I love Mami in Madoka and Fu in Yuki Yuna partly because they are in different ways like Manga Minako in a very different situation.

Outside the Dark Kingdom, comparisons become not as easy.  I personally have never been all that interested in the even numbered seasons, so I have no major opinions of R and SuperS.  And that I haven't read the actual Manga means I have no direct knowledge of what it does after the Infinity Arc right now.

But thanks to JosieNextDoor I know I'm not the only person disappointed by the Anime version of Stars.  In-spite of the Anime always having more time to work with, the Anime version of the final arc dropped many layers to the plot.  I know many in the LGBT community value the Starlights physically changing genders, but the show never actually explored their gender identity at all, it was basically another Gender Bending Anime gimmick.  So I'm really excited to see how Crystal handles it, but I have to wait through SuperS first.

I did enjoy both Filler Arcs.  The Doom Tree arc while branded as part of R felt more like an epilogue to the Dark Kingdom.  The Monsters of the Week were still after "Energy", and Mammaru was forced back into the mysterious knight role.  The first 6 Episodes of Stars could have been a movie, they were great.

Where comparing Manga to Anime gets really complicated however is with S.  It is there that both versions have major strengths and weaknesses, and I feel like an ideal version is waiting for someone who knows how to learn from both.  But in either case it is my favorite chapter of this saga.

Crystal definitely benefited from having Hotaru, Chibi-Usa & Diana, and the Witches 5 there from the start.  And HaruMi were done no favors by the added story-line of searching for McGuffins while being unable to act their own, but rather having to wait for the villains.  And then the lame resolution that they had the Talismans all along, who sent them on this stupid quest?

However at the same time having the whole routine of everyone thinking Haruka's a male going on for multiple episodes instead of just one felt really annoying in 2016.  And that the Witches 5 only get one episode each is a major disappointment.  And given some of the reasons I like Anime in the first place, the villains being less sympathetic and redeemable in this version doesn't appeal to me.

Of course the biggest factor is, the Anime had more episodes.  But by meandering failed to fully take advantage of that.  Because they waited a mini-arch to even bring in the Witches, there was only room for two of them to shine as recurring threats, the rest got wasted.  In the 90s Anime Mimette was the best, in Crystal it was Tellu.  Yet still in the 90s Sailor Moon S most of my favorite moments came from all that filler.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I have watched Canaan, The Anime

Canaan is the main Girls with Guns show Digibro praised in contrast to BeeTrain's trilogy, which he dislikes but I love unconditionally.  Well he also liked Gunslinger Girl, but I dropped that after two episodes because it's not a Girls with Guns show, but a Lolicon show.

It's a good show, I'd recommend it.

I watched the Dub, which was interesting since it has some actors in common with Noir's.  Most noticeably Mireille as the title character, which is great, her voice is Music to my ears.  And now that I know Hilary Haag doesn't usually sound like Chloe, I was able to recognize her as Maria Oosawa.  For a long time I thought Mireille was the only Noir Dub actress I ever heard popping up in other stuff.  Then I tracked down Chloe's actress on MAL and learned that Chloe's actress usually has a completely different kind of voice.

How do I compare the show to BeeTrain's stuff?  Well It's probably better written then Madlax, and certainly more engaging then Avenger.  But next to Noir it is inferior in every way they are even remotely comparable.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wonder Woman lore and Greek Mythology

I love the Wonder Woman movie, faithfulness doesn't equal good, and unfaithful doesn't equal bad.  This analysis of how Wonder Woman comics and their adaptations handle Greek Mythology should in no way be seen as a criticism of the film or the comics.  I simply like talking about these things as a Nerd of both Mythology and Western Comics.

The first change in how Wonder Woman lore uses Greece Mythology is in basically treating the Amazons as Greeks, when the Greeks saw them as the ultimate antithesis to the Greek way of life.  I'm the kind of person who does want to be believe real Amazons actually existed, and on my Revised Chronology blog I've recently speculated some on that very topic.

For a long time Wonder Woman lore at least depicted the Amazons as favoring female deities, even if which ones they got wrong (ironically in Greek Mythology Aphrodite was an enemy of the Amazons more often then Ares was).  It's the New 52 trend of making Diana another offspring of Zeus that has caused this to change.  And now the Wonder Woman movie never even mentioned any Goddess by name, it was only Zeus and Ares.

Wonder Woman Comics have at least never been guilty of what TVTropes calls the Hijacked By Jesus trope.  The movie however seems to have fallen into that area.  Is it because an Israeli actress is playing Diana? who knows.

 "But Mithrandir, didn't just argue the Amazons were Israelites"  yes, Danites after they fell into Idolatry and became devotes of Anath, so still not Monotheists or even particularity Henothesitic.

However I can say as a positive, making Ares the Lucifer figure fits far better then Hades.  The Ancient Greeks did tend to view Ares as necessary evil at best (Ironically the Amazons were often depicted as Daughters of Ares, though I think that came from them being daughters of Anath).  It was their greatest contrast to Greece that Rome viewed Mars as their patron deity.  And the Roman cult of Mars continues today in America, commemorated on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

The movie arguably makes Wonder Woman herself Jesus.  And having a female as the Messianic Archetype is interesting to me, with my arguing a Biblical Example of it in the Song of Solomon itself.  And was part of my recent praise of Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind.

There is a point in the film's backstory where the Amazons seemed effectively like Tolkienian Elves, with the biggest difference being the Elves are usually older then Humankind.

The gods all being dead now feels like a huge waste.  But I have a hunch we may learn in the Justice League film, or it's sequel, that the New Genesis gods are basically the Olympians reincarnated.

Some people are upset that Ares doesn't look how he usually looks in Wonder Woman Comics, or the 2009 Animated Movie which I hated.  I for one hate that look for Ares, the Greeks took great pride in that their gods looked human.  Olympians being British always works for me.

I have posted before on The Titans of Myth, how on the Titans at least DC Comics is better then other modern depictions of Greek Mythology.  The main thing that is off about the DC Titans is they pair all of them together into 6 pairs while in actual Mythology only 8 of them were paired up.  Kronos&Rhea, Oceanus&Tethys, Hyperion&Theia and Phoebe&Coeus.  Iapetos wasn't married to Themis but rather a daughter(s) of Oceanus and Tethys.  Krios married a daughter of the primordial sea gods.  Themis and Menemosyne either never mated or were among the mothers of Zeus's many demigods.

If the Wonder Woman solo sequel focuses on non Mythological Wonder Woman antagonists like Cheetah or Dr. Psycho, it might work out, but would feel like a step down in scale.  However nothing in the movie rules out Circe or The Titans still being around.  But the Titans in like best in Teen Titans stories.  I would love it if Troian Bellisario got to be Donna Troy.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My personal favorite Indiana Jones movie is Kingdom of The Crystal Skull

Saying my "personal favorite" is not the same as saying the best.  The best is probably still Raiders of The Lost Ark.

It being my favorite may just be because it's closer to being made for my generation, same year as my absolute favorite movie The Dark Knight.  And I'm also a well known Star Wars Prequel fan.

But a major factor is that in general it feels like the only Indy film that actually researched it's subject matter.  It's fringe history research mainstream historians and archeologists don't take seriously, but the 80s Indy films didn't even really do that.

Maybe it's simply because in 2008 with the Internet it was harder to get away with shirking on the research.  But the fact is if you were looking into real theories about the Crystal Skulls and related topics during the build up to the film, that effort felt like it paid off.  And it's the only movie where the character of Indiana Jones actually seemed to me like a well read educated collage professor and not just a dumb action hero.

For The Ark they just went with the most boring theory, Shishak took it, Shishak is assumed to be Shoshenq so it winds up in the Egyptian city with a Libyan name, Tanis.  Only Lucas and Spielberg could have made such a great film out of such boring starting premises.

Temple of Doom isn't based on a real mystery at all, other then Colonial fear mongering about Thugges (who probably didn't even really exist).  It's the worst Indy film for a multitude of reasons.  In fact the absolute worst film either Lucas or Spielberg were ever involved with.

But it's with The Last Crusade that this issue really caused disappointment for the 2017 version of me.

The Last Crusade was once my personal favorite Indy film, way back before KOTCS existed, and before I was very informed on actual Grail Lore.  But now I've written on that topic extensively on this blog and elsewhere.

So the other day I watched The Last Crusade again, and It's still a very good movie, very fun, it stands the test of time in all of those ways.  But it's use of Grail Lore feels like such a major missed opportunity.

The key exposition scene early on name drops Arthur, but the history for the Grail it goes on to build actually totally precludes Arthur or any contemporaries of his having anything to do with it.  Instead we get this completely made up story of Three Brothers.

It's such a missed opportunity because I feel they could easily have used real Grail Lore in a way that kept the same basic sequence of events for the... present isn't the right word, 1938 narrative of the film.

The valley of the Crescent Moon, filmed at Petra, but implied to be located in or near the Republic of Hatay, 1938-1939 (that part of modern Turkey that looks like it should be part of Syria), they could have called Sarras.  And instead of this lame Three Brothers story that Knight guarding the Grail could have been Sir Galahad.  And then the Tomb with the Shield could have been Sir Bors.  Then you'd have a fun modern Adventure film that also works as a sequel to Medieval Grail Romances.

It doesn't make the movie bad, but it makes me feel like they could have done better.  KOTCS feels like the best version of that story they could have told on every level.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Wonder Woman movie was Great!!!

I decided to not say much right after watching it, cause sometimes my opinion on a DC film will not remain as enthusiastic after a few days of thinking about it.

But now that over half a week as passed, I can securely say Wonder Woman remains as great as I thought it was initially.

So everyone see this movie, please, it is important.

The only complaints I've really seen are some people were disappointing slightly be Ares.  But I wasn't, I have no attachment to how DC Comics usually depicts Ares.  What this movie did was much better.

I give a 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pretty Little Liars has it's spark back

Janel Parrish singing Jail House Rock.  Need I say more?

And Nolan North is still great as Peter Hastings.  These closing episodes will be fun.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Zombie Anime 2: Moe Boogaloo

Last November I discussed the first well known Zombie Anime.  And for context talked about my relationship with the Zombie genre in general.  Last night I watched the other more recent one, School Live.

School Live is not a major offender in the Anime Fanservice department.  And in general more fits my taste in Anime by being Cute Girls doing Cute Things, with plenty of Yuri subtext.

But also compared to other Zombie fiction.  While HOTD repeats one of my issues with the Dawn of the Dead remake.  School Live is more like the appeal of the original Dawn of The Dead, these character make the School their Castle.

My favorite character is probably Kurumi, she's the muscle of the group, distinguishing it further from HOTD where everyone happens to be a Bad@$$.

That's about all I can say without spoiling it.  Well it technically spoiled the first episode to reveal it's a Zombie show up front, but that effect only existed on it's actually debut day, if ever.

I gave it a 9 out of 10 on MAL.  And I definitely like it more then High School of The Dead.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

I've seen my second Miyazaki film now, and first Gibli film.

I watched the Dub, because I am an unapologetic Dub Scrub.  This Dub was dubbed by Disney so it doesn't have your typical Anime Dub cast.  Instead it has Patrick Stewart, always a treat, coincidentally I watched Logan on Thursday.

I just gave the movie a 10 out of 10 on MAL.

So during the scene where they explained the Prophecy of their expected Messiah the first thought I had about him being associated with the Color Blue was "kind of like Vishnu and his Avatars in Hinduism".  A few minutes latter I noticed "hmmm, our title character seems to be wearing Blue a lot".  Then I thought "why didn't that occur to me immediately, I'm a failure as a Feminist".

I was watching this movie because I was hoping for a Messianic Archetype with a female character type of story.  But I'm so used to being disappointed by stuff I hope will do well by it's female characters, that as soon the people in the story assumed the Gender of their Messiah my brain got distracted for a little bit.

Now even if I watched a Sub I would probably have still needed to ask this.  But I'm wondering about the wording of the Prophecy, does he Japanese use more gender neutral pronouns here?

This movie has clearly been very influential.  It's influence on future Anime I'm sure has been talked about endlessly.  So I want to comment on other things.

First is Video Games.  I believe I'd seen this mentioned as an influence on the Final Fantasy franchise before.  The air ships, Talmecia rhymes with Palmecia, the environmental theme in general.  Since Breath of the Wild is still a current hot topic in Gaming, the Valley of The Wind itself looks kinda like a city visited in BotW.  And I'm pretty sure that little Fox like animal was a direct inspiration for Evee, a first general Pokemon.

But what really took me by surprise, was when we finally saw the fully formed Giant Warrior.  First good look at it's face I went "The Anitmonitor, that's the Frakking Anti-Monitor, Marv Wolfman and Geroge Perez were while writing the single most historical Storyline in all of Western Comics, influenced by a Japanese Cartoon."  That is Awesome.

So, It's a movie I recommend.

Friday, June 2, 2017

It's been a Feminist Friday for me

I saw Wonder Woman which was awesome, I highly recommend it.  Best DC film since 2015.  It's almost as good as Anime.

And speaking of Anime I watched the new episode of Twin Angel, the current Magical Girl show.  I still it's the best Anime this season.

I may also latter today finally watch Nauska and the Valley of the Wind.

I may have more in depth thoughts on Wonder Woman in time.  But for now I'm speechless.