nenena: (Devi - Flaming Tara)
Thursday evening reading: Doujinshi Nation

In which Heidi MacDonald connects the dots between current legal shakeups in the American comics industry, how this compares to the Japanese publishing model, and what all of this has to do with Ghost Rider/Star Wars crossovers, the Static fan movie, and the Shocking True Story of what happened to that guy who drew the Wolverine ABCs.
nenena: (Default)
The internet presents: Star Wars Uncut: The Director's Cut.

I'm just going to let 4thletter explain what's going on here:

The idea is that several hundred groups had been tasked to recreate Star Wars: A New Hope… 15 seconds each. Each party is assigned a specific 15 seconds and has to remake the scene however they see fit. Then all of it is stitched together to form a completely bizarre and hilarious interpretation of the full movie.

You’ll go from seeing someone’s kids dressed up as Stormtroopers to trippy animation to special effects and acting out of Be Kind Rewind to claymation to silent film to puppets to someone talking upside down with eyes drawn on their chin. There’s plenty of gold in there, such as Lady Gaga Darth Vader, C3PO getting way too sexual, a basket of ferrets reenacting the garbage scene, an Anti-Monitor action figure playing the role of R2D2 and my new favorite impression of Chewbacca. Sometimes the footage will go into completely different universes, like turning into a Disney movie, World War II dogfights, a western, The Seventh Seal, Tron, Yellow Submarine and even at one point The Big Lewbowski.

Yes, at one point, Chewbacca is played by a dog.
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: (Tsubasa - Please stop)
Saying that this epilogue is "better" than last week's ending is like saying that Star Wars Episode II is "better" than Episode I. Trufax, yes, but an utterly meaningless comparison as well. Shit is still shit, even though it may seem preferable when compared to runny storytelling diarrhea. At the end of the day, it's still shit.

Right, so let's recap.

Baby, you look hawt in that silly, silly hat. )

So like, I just heard that CLAMP got nominated for a Lulu award. I think they definitely deserve a spot in Lulu's Hall of Fame, if not for Cardcaptor Sakura alone, then at least for their phenomenal commercial success. However, I reeeaaaaally wish that the timing were different, as it's hard for me to root for CLAMP getting such an award at a time when they're basically at a creative nadir. It's kind of like Martin Scorsese getting his Best Director win for The Aviator. That movie didn't deserve the recognition, but Scorsese certainly did. The same could be said for CLAMP and the Lulus right now. Tsubasa is a pile of shit, xxxHolic is far from their best work, and Kobato is just silly fanpandering layered on top of silly fanpandering. At least Kobato is fun to read, though. Not like Tsubasa, which in its final hundred chapters wasn't fun to read at all. It was downright painful to read, actually. The final hundred chapters of Tsubasa are practically a literary colonoscopy.

Oh well. Here's hoping that CLAMP's next work will be better.

Edited to add: Once again, the master list of plot holes and critiques is here. Like, only one minor plot hole was actually resolved in this epilogue. Wow. That's pretty bad. I mean, wow.

Edited again: This is the most reasonable and intelligent defense of the series that I've seen yet. And of course, I waded in and disagreed. (*slaps self on wrist*)

Edit the third: Best. Summary. Ever. Seriously.
nenena: (Default)
Avatar FAIL Bingo Cards and Links Roundup:
Icons! (Warning: fail in comments.)

Avatar is one of those things that I fangirl hardcore - like, HARDCORE - but I never really write about it in this journal, or participate in the fandom. I'm not sure why. It's not that I don't like the fandom, or that I think it's scary, or anything. It's just... There are certain shows that may be dear to my heart, but that for some reason I never feel any desire to interact with, either in terms of fandom, or just in terms of writing out my thoughts/reactions to things in this LJ. The X-Files and the Buffyverse would fall into that category, too, I guess. X-Men and Marvel comics, too, although G-W has helped me start thinkifying and writing about them more than before. (But in general I have to restrain myself in that regard, because too much headdesking, it is not good for the brain. Latest headdesk-inducer: Magik and "Infernus." Oh goddammit, Marvel.)

But either way, in terms of Avatar and fandom involvement... This is one of the things that I think it's time to get *involved* with. I don't know and I don't care whether anything about the movie itself can or will be changed. The important thing is to get some voices out there, to counteract all of the stupidity and racism that's being shouted at an equally loud volume. That crap needs to be CHALLENGED.

Speaking of Avatar and challenges...

Anonymous Kid fangirl brings lulz, story at 11.

One of the things that I love about Avatar is the totally awesome and realistic military strategies that the writers have injected into their fictional, fantasty-world civil war. I AM a combat/military strategy buff. I have been since I started fangirling Star Wars when I was in middle school. It's also one of the reasons why I love to squee over the Mahabharata and KMHK. I love military history, fictional war epics, or just plain individual-level martial arts. But, you know, because my brain is so pickled in that stuff, it's kind of hard to turn off the "strategist" part of my fangirlism when I'm watching shows like Soul Eater. And yeah, I get frustrated when a character that Ohkubo has built up as "intelligent" and "a competent fighter" (i.e., Kid) keeps making stupid, stupid, STUPID combat mistakes. And it's not just the big mistakes, but all of his little mistakes as well. Like just standing around and letting Hiro take the high ground during his brief duel in episode 32, despite the fact that Kid had the ability to get airborne. Or letting the Fisher King outdraw him. This from a character who otherwise has shown moments of totally awesome brilliance during fight scenes? It doesn't really add up.

On the other hand, though, it is hella amusing to keep watching a character who's supposed to be smart consistently making stupid mistakes. Frustrating, of course, but also entertaining.

Which makes me thing that Ohkubo is being deliberate with reveling in Kid's stupidity. Most of the time, when fictional characters engage in bad combat strategy, I tend to chalk that up to the writer being stupid about things. But with Ohkubo, I think it's a different story. Ohkubo does seem to have a decent grasp on combat strategy, and he writes characters like Sid, Nygus, Stein, and Azusa beautifully in that regard. Heck, even Black Star and Tsubaki have developed kick-ass megastrategy at this point in both the anime and the manga. So when Ohkubo writes Kid doing stupid things in combat, I'm fairly certain that it's not because Ohkubo himself is being stupid about the combat situation, but because he's deliberately writing Kid as doing stupid things in combat.

Which is hilarious.

But also frustrating.

In other news, I'm sitting on several fics for [ profile] 42_souls that are soon to be badly in need of a beta, and since I've been far removed from the anime fanfic scene for so many years, I'm... not sure how to really go about trawling for one. (*flails*)
nenena: (Tsubasa - Attack of the Clones)
Just saw Clone Wars, finally. LOVED IT. Now this is what a Star Wars movie should be: lots of action, just-barely-developed-enough-to-be-tolerable characters, at least minimally passable acting, lots of yay neato sci-fi space opera stuff, and lots of nifty Jedi Force-fueled shenanigans.

Granted, as with previous prequel films, the villainous "plot" was poorly thought out, and the military "strategy" employed by Anakin and others made no sense. I.E. the opening scene of the film. Unless I missed something, Anakin and Obi-Wan's BRILLIANT STRATEGY was to... attack the droids... and then attack the droids some more. Uh, that is not "strategy."

Anyway, things about the movie that rocked:


Ahsoka's backhanded lightsaber grip!!!

That vertical battle on Teth! Freakin' awesome! Reminded me Dead Fantasy II.

Badass Ventress was badass.

Cute baby Hutt was cute.

Non-wooden Anakin was non-wooden.

Rocking score by not-John-Williams was rocking.

Gay Hutt was... purple? Okay, seriously? There was a flaming homosexual Hutt with a lisp, a nasal effete Southern drawl, a feathered headpiece, and a purple body?!


Oh, Lucas. That's almost as bad the Gungans.

Unrelated: I really really really need to catch up on the Expanded Universe again. Tahiri grew up to be a badass?! Freakin' Tahiri?! Awesome!
nenena: (Tsubasa - Please stop)
A week late, but hey, I was on vacation. In this chapter... )

Aaaaaand that's it for chapter 191. In tiny text at the bottom of the last page, CLAMP announces that they're taking a five-week hiatus for "research" purposes. I'm sure that "research" is probably code for "desperately concocting some sort of plan to write ourselves out of all of these irreconcilable plot holes." But! Come volume 31 of Shounen Ace, there will be a super-sized chapter complete with color illustrations! Hooray!

Okay, now for something completely unrelated: This looks really awesome. American gag doujinshi! Who knew?
nenena: (Default)
Code Geass R2 episode 05. Tsubasa chapter 189. Just when I thought that the WTFery could not be topped, we get Code Geass R2 episode 06.

I'm going to do what I did last week, and just quote Jason again:

If the end of Empire Strikes Back was a ten on the “I am your father” scale, this was clearly a negative fifteen.

Even if the revelation was "uncle" and not "father," this still merits a Quote for Truth.
nenena: (KKM - Wolfram smug)
So, the bonus drama CD that came bundled with the second Kyou Kara Maou sountrack...

Hehe, WOW.

I have to admit, however, I am always annoyed when major plot revelations like this are confined to tie-in media. I mean, if I'm watching the anime series, then I'm watching the anime series. I shouldn't have to buy all of the artbooks and soundtracks and other related media in order to piece together a huge freakin' part of the plot. I prefer it when tie-in media enhances the experience of the watching/reading the primary source, so to speak, but not when it becomes essential to understanding the primary source. Side note: Another reason why the Marvel/DC model of super crossover events annoys me, and that's also the major annoyance that I had with the Star Wars prequels. But that's a rant for another time.

On the other hand, though... squeeeeeeeeeeeee! Vague spoiler! )

Edit: As long as we're talking about plot bombs, try this one on for size: Code Geass R2 episode 5. Which perfectly distills everything that I love about this series, namely, it's unabashed awfulness. Money quotes from Jason:

Consider: this episode’s climax involved C.C. trapped in a tub of tomatoes (being used to make the world’s largest pizza) with Kallen (in an animal costume) desperately chasing after her. Shirley (dressed up in a waitress / swimsuit combo that the Umisho girls gawked at) is chasing Kallen, and the giant tub of tomatoes is being transported by a mecha piloted the third most awesome knight of Britannia (who apparently has nothing else better to do with his time). Meanwhile, the seventh most awesome knight of Britannia is chasing after a cat that almost got run over by said mecha. And I haven’t even gotten to the star of this show, because he ran out of breath and is on the verge of collapsing, his “brother” who has basically pledged to kill for the sake of their love, and mobile suit pilot turned housewife turned Duke turned teacher turned pin up model. And all of that connects back to Japan’s fight for independence from America.


Code Geass R2 is awesome.


I’ve been thinking about the next level after train wreck. Code Geass R2 is definitely pushing that envelope. When one character wearing a ridiculous costume trips and falls because a giant pizza baking contest got screwed up and is seen by another character wearing a bikini and fishnets is considered a major plot point, it’s almost beyond train wreck status. Generally, a plot train wreck is something disastrous yet inevitable or awful yet fascinating. Maybe an earthquake? The G.W. Bush presidency?

I should stop myself before I quote Jason's entire entry.
nenena: (Default)
In honor of my and [ profile] aster_dw's fabulous trip to the Sakura Cafe in Tokyo;
In honor of the fact that the Sakura Cafe is closing forever on March 30th;
In honor of the fact that the franchise just refuses to die;
And in honor of the fact that I just feel nostalgic,

I hereby declare this to be SAKURA TAISEN APPRECIATION HALF-WEEK in my livejournal.

Why is Sakura Taisen (AKA "Sakura Wars" in the English-speaking world) so awesome? Because it features one of the greatest casts of kick-ass women ever featured in a combined video game/anime/manga/novel/stage musical franchise. Because it spread Japanese visions of steampunk to other countries a decade before steampunk really exploded in the English-speaking world. Because it made Hidenori Matsubara a star. Because it proved that an FPS game played almost entirely on horseback could be awesome. Because the theme songs are so damn catchy.

And because it is absolutely, utterly, completely batshit INSANE.

How insane? I will illustrate WITH VIDEOS. )

Coming up next: You know what would be awesome? So we've got this series of video games, and a bunch of animated adaptations, about a fictional theatrical troupe that's actually a group of psychic-powered giant robot pilots who save the world from demons like, every Tuesday. So you know what would be awesome? If we made a REAL theatrical troupe of REAL women, had them dress up and pretend to be Sakura Taisen characters, and then have them dress up as Sakura Taisen characters dressed up as other fictional characters, and have them perform musicals! Just like in the video games!
nenena: (Default)
1. I can't believe that we've had three chapters in a row that ended without somebody getting stabbed, maimed, or killed.

2. I'm disappointed that Kurogane apparently isn't going to go all Tenel Ka on us. (Because, really? Tenel Ka lost her [spoiler spoiler], and had to learn how to use her other [spoiler spoiler], and became that much more of a lightsaber-weilding badass because of it.) On the other hand, this lovely new Fuuma-delivered deus ex machina plot device has served the purpose of ensuring that Fai and Kurogane are a) bound together forever and b) thisclose to having a makeout session any day now, so I guess I can forgive CLAMP for that.

3. Alternative Universe Not!Evil Fuuma is way too much fun.

4. Hello upcoming resolution to dangling Seishirou plot thread! I was hoping that CLAMP would get around to solving that soon, since they're tidily wrapping up every other subplot in the series.
nenena: (Default)
I was tagged by [ profile] goldenflames!

1. List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.
2. Tag seven people to do the same.
3. Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag whoever wants to do it.

My answers behind the cut. )

I tag [ profile] atelierjoh, [ profile] carbonicgirl, [ profile] evercool, [ profile] evil_authoress, [ profile] furikku, [ profile] meiousei, and [ profile] novel_tea!
nenena: (Default)
Holy shit.

That was a beautiful moment of WTFery. It was a transcendent moment of WTFery. It was like jumping a shark on waterskis made beautiful by the addition of giant robots and Pizza Hut and a machine gun.

This is why I watch Code Geass. I don't care about any of the characters. I stopped caring about the plot ages ago because it's so damn poorly written. What I do care about, however, is the sheer entertaining awfulness of the whole thing. At first, I thought that nothing could top the insanity of Episode 5. Then I thought that nothing could top the giant-pizza-tossing robot in Episode 21. And then said sheer entertaining awfulness is taken to brilliant new heights in this episode. Just brilliant I tell you.

One reason why I classify this as a WTF moment is that it completely derails the story. It's one of those moments when the metaphorical train that is the plot of the series is chugging along all nice and good, and then all of a sudden it jumps the tracks and plunges off a cliff and explodes in a big fireball of firey doom. And now the rest of us who are watching the series are left thinking, well, where does it go from here?

To illustrate what I mean by "derailing the story," let me give a few hypothetical examples:

Imagine if in the middle of Attack of the Clones, Anakin Skywalker had suddenly been eaten alive by a velociraptor.

Imagine if in the middle of an episode of Ah! My Goddess, Belldandy had dumped Keiichi, confessed her love to Aoshima, and run off with him for a Vegas wedding and a honeymoon in Tijuana.

Imagine if, during the pre-war council at Hastinapura, Yudhisthira had suddenly walked in carrying an AK-47, proceeded to mow down Duryodhana and all of the Kuru elders, and then shoot Krishna just for good measure.

That's what I mean by "derailing the story." In all these instances, we, the audience, are left scratching out heads in the aftermath, asking ourselves, "Well... What now?"

Yeah. That's kind of like what watching episode 22 of Code Geass felt like.

In other news, here's a little something from people who actually know how to write a decent epic story:
New Fate/Stay Night Realta Nua opening!
nenena: (Default)
Today I totally heard background music from Tsubasa Chronicle being used on a television news program.

To put this in context: The news program was one of those human interest stories about a woman who got a blood infection from her dead toenail and ended up having to get her leg amputated at the knee.

As I actually have a dead toenail on my foot right now, I found this program slightly disconcerting, use of recognizable anime music or not.

Oh Japanese television, please never change.

PS, for those of you watching Code Geass: Most hilariously awful love confession since Star Wars Episode II? I think a solid case could be made.