nenena: (Default)
So, Makoto Shinkai. I used to not be a fan.

My first encounter with Shinkai was Voice of a Distant Star, which was based on a thought-provoking and utterly haunting premise (the length of time it takes to send and receive messages across the vast distances of space) but executed in the most anime-cliche-riddled, ridiculous way possible (cute teen girl in a cute school uniform fighting space aliens in a giant mecha and hallucinating the shit out of all of her emotional revelations really Shinkai?!?!). Then there was The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which was unbelievably stupid on almost every possible level - the characterizations sucked, the characters acted like plot-puppets instead of real people, the science-fiction elements were so stupid and poorly thought-out so as to be almost insulting the intelligence of the audience, and the dénouement of the film was anti-climatic yet at the same time utterly ridiculous. Yet for some reason this was the film that seemed to give everybody and their dog a massive throbbing boner for Shinkai and he was being praised left and right as "the next Miyazaki."

Well, I will say that Early Days was a very, very pretty film to look at. Gorgeously animated and just dripping with beauty from every frame. But the story and the characters and the sci-fi elements were just. so. bad.

I was so disappointed by The Place Promised in Our Early Days that I admit I decided not to waste my time on 5 Centimeters per Second.

But a lot of people whose taste I admire were gushing about Shinkai's latest film, Children Who Chase Lost Voices Deep Below, and the film was specifically recced to me as a film that was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE any of Shinkai's previous films. Well heck, I didn't like Shinkai's previous films, so as far as I'm concerned, "this movie is absolutely nothing like anything Shinkai has made before" is a good enough reason for me to try it.

And wow, you guys. This film. I have a lot of feelings about this film. More behind cut. )
nenena: (Default)
Kathryn Hemmann writes about Bunny Drop, realism, "literature," and feminism. Great essay but I think that she gives waaaaaaaaay to much leeway to Bunny Drop's ending (which, BTW, is NOT spoiled in the essay, in case you're concerned about that sort of thing).

2011 comic book movies reviews vs. revenues. Lose your faith in humanity in one handy infographic.
nenena: (Soul Eater - FACEPALM)
I never really understood how a potentially great movie could be killed by terrible, terrible cinematography and visual effects until I saw the new Sherlock Holmes.

And sorry RDJ, but Jarred Harris and Stephen Fry are totally the best actors in the movie.

Had to sit through seven godawful previews (Battleship? Really?! And the Jack and the Beanstalk movie which looks so ridiculous it almost seemed like a parody of a real movie preview straight out of a Simpsons episode) to finally see the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. It looks good, but it also looks like a straight-up rehash of The Dark Knight. Which, you know, was really good, but do we need to see the exact same movie again with the Joker just replaced by Bane? I mean, I know that it's waaaaay to early to say whether Rises is going to be a repeat of the same film again or not, but the trailer makes it LOOK like a straight repeat, which is not encouraging.

On the way out of the theater, Mom regaled us with the True Story of the time that she actually shoved one of Micheal Bay's body guards out of her way when said bodyguard tried to prevent her from walking on the sidewalk near Bay's limo. Ladies and gentlemen, my mother.

Get home to find out that LJ release 88 the LJocalypse has been pushed through despite massively negative feedback for the beta. I doubt that the 6500+ comments on the relevant lj_releases post is going to change anything, b/c Ilya Dronov and Mark have made it pretty clear that they assume that LJ works just like Facebook - namely, that they can change whatever they want, and even if tens of thousands of users complain, eventually the complaints will stop and people will just get used to it. Frankly I can live with the fugliness, BUT the lack of comment subject lines in default style, the loss of the comment preview function, the asinine bandwidth-eating method of LOADING EVERY USER PIC IN PREVIEWS, and the refusal to fix the DB error that makes using third-party archiving software impossible has officially rendered this site pretty fucking useless to me right now.

Dammit LJ, I stuck with you through all the censorship shit and the DDOS attacks. I WANT to keep using and supporting this website. But if you take away basic functionality for comments and then make it impossible for me to backup my own journal, what am I supposed to do?

(I know, I know. I have a Dreamdwidth account already. But I am loathe to export my complete journal to DW because I have yet to find a DW journal layout that doesn't, you know, completely suck floppy donkey balls.)
nenena: (Homestuck - glow baby glow)
The Big Lebowski homage in this week's My Little Pony.

Read or Die homage in this week's Thundercats.

Little Old Lady actually having a role in this month's Soul Eater.

Homestuck reboot being all kinds of delightfully awesome.

Anne (metaphorically) slapping Chris in the face with some long-overdue brutal honesty in Parks and Recreation.

Abhishek Singh's new graphic novel is "just around the corner."

So happy right now about so many things.

ETA: And HOLY SHIT I totally forgot but LES FREAKIN' CREPUSCULE DES DIEUX dropped on Thursday and I won't have my copy for another month. But still. So excited!!! It doesn't even matter that I can't read a whit of French, since I know enough of the Ring Cycle to bumble through anyway. And I heard that there's an English version in the works now, but I already blew my money on the French editions so oh well.
nenena: (MLP - rainbow dash)
So, My Little Pony did a Halloween episode last night. Which in and of itself was pretty awesome.

The episode was all about Luna. Which in and of itself was pretty awesome.

The ponies were all dressed in costume, which gave the animators a million opportunities to add meta-humor to the episode, some of which was incredibly unsubtle (Twilight Sparkle being her usual nerdy self and acting annoyed that nobody recognized her costume of an obscure historical figure; Spike wearing a costume of himself) and some of which was more blink-and-you'll-miss-it (i.e. that egg popping out of Pinkie Pie's butt when Luna scares her).

But the best background joke of all?

THIS PONY, who is wearing a costume of "Steve Zissou being eaten by a shark."

This show, you guys. This show.
nenena: (Devi - Isana)
So I realized that I've had this narrative kink for a while, but only just recently did I figure out how to articulate it. (Thank you, Thundercats reboot!)

I have this inexplicable love for stories in which the heroes find themselves possibly doomed to re-enact the tragic lives of their ancestors and/or past reincarnations, but then find some way at the last minute to reverse that fate.

I remember that Sailor Moon hit this kink in a big way when I was a teenager. Come to think of it, this trope shows up a LOT in other shoujo manga as well. Homestuck sets up the trope in the most literal way possible by having the trolls grow up in a culture where they're encouraged to follow the same life paths as their ancestors. There was even a thread of this in Avatar with the Roku/Sozin and Zuko/Aang parallels.

The 2011 Thundercats reboot is clearly moving in this direction as well. And yes, this post title is a direct reference to the way that Tygra's character arc is being set up to parallel both Tygus in the distant past (who is the only other tiger in the series so far) and Grune in the immediate past (who is a saber-toothed tiger, a fact that admittedly it took me a while to pick up on - and it's not like the writers were even being subtle about it, either!).

When I think about this trope, though, I can't help but notice that all of my favorite examples of it come from decidedly kid-oriented media. In fact, I'm having a really hard time coming up with any examples of it in sci-fi or fantasy stories geared toward an adult audience. Homestuck may be a possible exception, as it doesn't seem to be deliberately aimed at any age group in particular and has attracted a mixed teen and adult audience, but at the end of the day I still think it's a deliciously juvenile story that revels in its own immaturity, and it's definitely not "more or less for grown-ups" the same way that, say, something like Star Trek or a George R.R. Martin novel would be.

So... why is that, exactly? I dunno. Maybe it's inherently a juvenile trope?

Can anybody else think of any examples from not-so-kiddie-oriented media? The best that I've been able to come up with is possibly the original Star Wars trilogy, but it doesn't quite fit the bill because a) Luke struggling to not repeat his father's destiny is not the same as struggling to not repeat his distant ancestor and/or past reincarnation's destiny, and b) Star Wars was intended to appeal to both a kiddie and an adult audience at the same time, so it's not quite as "adult-oriented" as I'm looking for.
nenena: (Default)
So my sister recently loaned me the soundtrack for the Legally Blonde Broadway musical, and I liked it to much that I ended up watching the entire show (which was filmed and aired on MTV last year and easily available on Youtube, etc.) this morning.

And let me tell you guys, this musical. I have so many feelings about this musical.

Which definitely stem from the fact that I deeply love the movie, and probably like every other person who has seen the musical ever, I couldn't help making constant mental comparisons to the film as I was watching the musical. There were some pretty significant plot differences in the musical as compared to the film, and some of the changes that the musical made were... well...

Wait, let me back up. I want to talk about the film for just a second. I remember that when the Legally Blonde film hit theaters in 2001, I just sort of rolled my eyes at it, because all of the trailers and commercials that I had seen made the film look absolutely terrible and atrociously sexist as well. But then my mom, of all people - who is a lawyer herself - convinced me to give the movie a try, because according to her the film was not only truly funny but actually had a righteous feminist message as well. If the film was intended to be feminist at all, that was definitely not coming across in any of the marketing that I had seen. But I decided to swallow my skepticism and give the movie a try anyway.

And I'm glad that I did, because my mom was so right. The movie was both funny and genuinely smart in the way that it framed and called out all sorts of different sexisms, in both subtle and unsubtle ways. Of course it was a mainstream comedy film so of course it was neither perfect nor completely sexism-free (is anything really?), but overall, it was just a righteously awesome movie.

It is also, as of now, a righteously awesome Broadway musical.

But in the transition from film to musical, there were some pretty significant changes made to the story that I feel really undermine the feminist message of the film. For example... )
nenena: (Homestuck - Kanaya/Rose)
I thoroughly enjoyed X-Men: First Class.

Having said that, though, this is an excellent dissection of how badly the film portrays all of its female characters. (The blogger somehow missed that "the nameless mutant woman with dragon fly wings" was Angel Salvadore, but that doesn't actually detract from any of her other arguments.) To say nothing of the racefail.

And no, the issue is not just that "women dressing sexy = bad." The issue is that out of all five major female characters, all of them were excessively sexed up. Even Moira was scantily-clad because she was undercover at the Hellfire club! Yes, Moira McTaggert! And the costumes are hardly the only thing sexist about the film, as Sherry astutely points out - even things like how the male characters were shown honing and developing their powers while the female characters just sort of had powers demonstrate how the female characters in the film were much more window-dressing and afterthoughts than the male characters. Sherry's blog post also doesn't bring up the (not gonna spoil it too much so let's be vague here!) thing about Xavier and Moira at the end of the film, but that was also super-creepy, sexist, and gross.

Also, why did the film make the only latina female character a stripper? Who turns evil. WHY. Angel was never a stripper in the comics. WTF, movie. WTF.

Speaking of X-things, I just spent the morning re-writing the opening to my now-long-overdue fic for [livejournal.com profile] help_japan AGAIN. Two months along now and the damn thing is still kicking my ass. (*headdesk*) NOTE TO SELF: Deus ex machina is bad. Bad Nena, bad! Fix that shit and re-work the ending and then maybe we can be happy with it?
nenena: (Default)
So my [livejournal.com profile] help_japan fic auction winner basically gave me the most awesome prompts for an X-Men fic ever but unfortunately I'm now two complete drafts into the darn thing and I'm still not happy with it. :( Arrrrrrrgh, fic-writing! I feel like a tool for not having finished the fic yet despite having thrown so many words into it. I'm starting to get a bit happier with the way that it's going now, though, so I hope hope hope hope hope to have it finished next week.

On the positive side, however, writing X-fic has given me an excuse to brush up on current X-Men canon after having taken a break for over a year and oh my god why did nobody tell me that the current X-canon is so sparkly and wonderful and awesome and a thousand times better than the grimdark depressing mess that it was when I last stopped reading it? Storylines that are actually fun instead of just relentlessly depressing? Check! A whole bunch of the most awesome characters from the 70's and 80's re-joining the active X-Men roster and getting tons of screen panel-time and awesome character development? Check! Epic Magneto redemption arc? Check! 4th-gen X-Men characters taking starring roles in the main series instead of just being shuffled off to the sidelines the way that the 3rd-gen characters were? Double-check! Rogue fucking FINALLY in control of her powers? HELL YEAH!

Also, the new crop of "character trailers" just released for the X-Men: First Class movie have utterly and completely sold me on the film.

[formerly embedded link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty-iLRR2Pt4]


More behind the cut. )
nenena: (Default)
Sooooooo Saumin Patel worked on part of the comic book adaptation for Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu (AKA "that epic Disney-produced Telugu fantasy film") and just posted an amazing collection of his comic book artwork to his blog (NSFW!!!).

ETA: For the clueless, here is Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu:

nenena: (Default)
Chris Sims writes 1500 words about the new My Little Pony cartoon.

This show, you guys. This show.



Yes yes yes I am working on SE recaps right now. But since it was asked in the comments on my previous post... Yes, THIS is what Soul Eater Not! was referencing this month:

WARNING: SERIOUSLY TRIGGERY VIOLENCE AND ABUSE IN THIS CLIP


And you guys keep saying that there's nothing dark or nightmare-fuely in Not! this month.
nenena: (Default)
HYPERDEFENSIVE LIT NERD: "Henry Miller was a true poet, the James Joyce of obscenity and smut, and those of us who write both owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing the wild and woolly and truly passionate side of sex out into the open."

MULTIPLE COMMENTATORS ON MULTIPLE POSTS: "No, James Joyce is the James Joyce of obscenity and smut."

PREACH IT.

And no, that's not just because of his filthy letters to Nora Barnacle. Have y'all ever read Finnegans Wake?! We're talking about a 600-page book that averages at least twenty sex puns per page.

(Although for the record I think my absolute favorite thing about Joyce's letters to Nora Barnacle is that the smuttiness was never one-sided. Nora's side of the correspondence is probably lost forever, but we know from reading Joyce's letters that at least on one occasion she wrote him detailed instructions as to how he was to masturbate himself while reading her letter. And he followed her instructions faithfully. OMGtheirloveissoscatological.)

Clearly this is an excuse to post some Ewan McGregor as James Joyce:


REPRESENT.
nenena: (Default)
David Brothers has some wise and true words for y'all.



...Also, Summer Wars was passed over for an Oscar nod. WTF? Did it not get a wide enough release early enough before the end of the year or something?
nenena: (Haruhi - To the Haruhimobile!)
If you want to see the first official photos from the upcoming X-Men: First Class film, here they are.

Really, though, there are only three things that you need to know about this film:

1. It is going to be 60'S FABULOUS.

2. The main villain will be Sebastian Shaw, who is played by The Goddamn Kevin Bacon.

3. Alex Summers is supposed to be one of the main characters.

There's already some headdesk-worthy crap coming out of the film - namely the producers repeatedly stating that they based Magneto's character arc on the beliefs of Malcom X (really? really?!) and January Jones kvetching to the LA Times that the initial costume designs for Emma Frost were ridiculously, stupidly sexist - but other than that, it looks like it's shaping up to be an awesome movie.

Speaking of comics stufff, here is a comics-themed Zodiac. I'm a Bulbasaur.

And finally, the world's first Sanskrit Book Fair was held in Bangalore last week. Well, that only took four millennium to get off the ground.
nenena: (lord krsna)
18 Days is available on Amazon for a sweet discounted price of only $17 for a hardcover edition with 120 pages of Mukesh Singh artgasm. A 47-page preview is available for free on Scribd.

I am looking forward to enjoying the Mukesh Singh artwork almost as much as I am looking forward to laughing really, really hard at the "Grant Morrison writes about the Mahabharata" sections of the book. Actual quotes from the preview pages:

Snark behind cut. )

Meh, enough snark for now. The artwork by Mukesh Singh is OH MY GOD ABSFUCKINGLUTELY MINDBLOWINGLY GORGEOUS and makes the entire book worthwhile, especially if you ignore the pages full of Grant Morrison's braindroppings.

Wait, that book was listed on Amazon all the way back in July?! How did I miss that until now?! Oh yeah, the semester from hell. That's why.

Meanwhile! The Liquid Comics website is showing new artwork for Ramayan 3392 AD in several places (check out the front page and the Ramayan gallery under "Titles"), yet no new issues are available on either the Liquid website or on Scribd. Hmmm. Yet Liquid is apparently finishing some of Virgin's unfinished projects, as Buddha was finally completed last summer and is now available in graphic novel format.

Liquid is releasing all of the old Virgin titles on more digital devices now. For the iPad, you can now get the entire Ramayan 3392 series for $9.99, some parts of Reloaded for free, and all five issues of The Tall Tales of Vishnu Sharma for $4.99. Of course you can still download good old-fashioned PDFs of all of the previous titles plus the entire rest of Liquid's line from their Scribd website and import the comics to your e-reader that way, too. ;) Which is how I got Devi on my iPad right now.

UNIVERSAL FORMATS: DOIN' IT RIGHT. Thank you, Virgin/Liquid! Manga publishers, are you paying attention?!

Speaking of Virgin Comics alums, Abhishek Singh is up to awesomeness, with art shows in New Delhi and Los Angeles.
nenena: (Soul Eater - Have a nice dream!)
One Piece is the topic of this month's Manga Movable Feast. There are a lot of great posts so far, but my favorite is the most recent one from David Brothers. Kate Dacey also has some very insightful things to say about the artwork and Erica Friedman presents the most intelligent defense of Mr. 2's character that I've read yet. Which still hasn't convinced me that Mr. 2 isn't a grotesque, offensive stereotype or that his death wasn't incredibly problematic, but at least I can respect Friedman's take on the character.

The Microagressions tumblr puts a lot of this "privilege" business into perspective.

Ragnell is blogging again!! This post dissects one of the clearest examples of sexism in Hollywood that I've heard of in a long time.

Girl-Wonder.org is holding a membership drive as a precursor to electing a new Board of Directors. As someone who was on the original Board I can say that it was not only tons of fun and a great way to meet and network with new people, but it was also incredibly satisfying to be part of an organization that actually got stuff done. If any of y'all reading this have an interest in comics and Making the World a Better Place and finding ways to combine the two, then I'd urge you to at least enroll as a member of the organization, if not consider volunteering for an official position or even running for the Board. Ragnell has some good advice for those of you thinking about stepping up to the plate.

Niall Harrison is asking readers to submit their lists of the best Science Fiction written by women in the past ten years. Today is the last day to submit your list (oops!) but even those of you who don't submit your picks can enjoy reading the lists that others have compiled.
nenena: (Default)
Tell me, Marie: have the lambs stopped screaming? You'll let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won't you?

In other words, finally Noah is scary again.

And Cthulu is not. )
nenena: (Default)
HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS

THIS SHOW

THIS SHOW

THIS IS THE BEST VERSION OF TRANSFORMERS EVER

Argument this First: Because Megatron and Starscream are finally written as an emotionally co-dependent bitter old married couple as they always should have been, and it is fucking HILARIOUS.

Argument the Second: The starring humans are characters of color! Yes! In a Transformers cartoon! And the "main" human character IS A GIRL! And instead of being a helpless damsel that the robots always have to rescue, she gains cyborg powers and SUPER KICKS ASS!

Argument the Third: This version of Optimus Prime has an actual PERSONALITY! And he's adorkable and totally awesome!

Argument the Fourth: Because this is an ACTUAL LINE OF DIALOGUE from one episode: "I may be able to control this circuity by using my Cyber-Ninja-Processor-Over-Matter technique!" FUCK YEAH.

Argument the Fifth: I'm pretty sure that the writers of the series actually both passionately love and passionately hate the Transformer's frothing internet fanbase at the same time, and that shows through gloriously in certain fourth-wall-breakage moments.

Argument the Sixth: Because this is an ACTUAL DESCRIPTION on the Transformers Wiki of a live script reading/side story performed at BotCon 2008 based on the Animated continuity: "Despite having a cold, Pr. Sumdac was in an unusually good mood and 'remembered to wear pants' the morning he showed Sari, Bumblebee, and Optimus his new Bi-directional Unified Transit Terminal, but no doubt lost his good mood when his BUTT backfired with such power that it flung Sari, Bumblebee, and Optimus into Axiom Nexus."

Argument the Seventh: FUCK YEAH this opening theme song for the Japanese version:



Argument the Eighth: The extra DVD-exclusive animated shorts like this one. I TOLD Y'ALL THIS WAS THE BEST OPTIMUS PRIME EVER.

So in sum: HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS

THIS FREAKIN' SHOW

BEST. AMERICAN. TRANSFORMING. GIANT. ROBOT. KID'S. CARTOON. EVER.

I think of what those godawful Micheal Bay movies could have been if they'd had writing and characterization even a quarter as good as what this low-budget little cartoon show has, and I weep for what might have been.