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Summer is the time when I always try to catch up on all of the shows/books/movies that I don't have time to consume during the rest of the year, and this summer I decided to buckle down and marathon the one show that nearly every single person that I know IRL already watches: Game of Thrones.

Now I have to admit, before I even started my marathon of all four seasons back-to-back, I wasn't exactly coming into this experience as an unspoiled virgin. Like I said, nearly all of my friends watch this show, and I already knew quite a bit about it from simple social and pop cultural osmosis. I knew that I was going to have to brace myself for a lot of rape and incest; I was already spoiled for the Red Wedding before I even started watching the first episode; and I knew more about author George R.R. Martin's astoundingly tin-eared, sexist defenses of, well, the rampant sexism and misogyny in the books than I ever cared to know simply from reading about the internet wank that resulted every time he opened his mouth. In fact, I even tried to read A Game of Thrones once, waaaay back in 1996 when it first came out, but I quit halfway through the book because it was too much of a sweaty neckbeard fantasy even for 13-year-old me to tolerate, and that's really saying something because 13-year-old me uncritically devoured a LOT of terrible fantasy books without really picking up on any racist or sexist content that was in any of them.

But yes, despite not liking the first book when I tried to read it many years ago, I was still tired of being left out of This Supposedly Awesome TV Show that most of my friends were absorbed in, so I did it: I watched every single episode of Game of Thrones.

And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even though it was kind of terrible. And when it was bad, wow did it get bad. But when it was good... WOW was it good.

A very, very long review under the cut - with the obligatory warning for spoilers, of course. )
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Uchouten Kazoku / The Eccentric Family

I didn't have time to watch this brilliant gem of a show when it was airing in Japan last season, but I heard only good things about it. And boy am I glad that I finally got around to watching it now. It's funny, it's sweet, it's moving, it's gorgeously designed, and there are only a few spots where the family melodrama crosses the line into eyeroll-inducing cheesiness. And for a Japanese dramedy that is really saying something, because eyeroll-inducing cheesiness is normally the name of the game in this genre of shows.

The Mindy Project

Oh hey look the second season of this show took everything that I liked about the first season - namely, the fact that Mindy had a lot of female friends and that her supporting cast was really funny - and, well, got rid of it.


This used to be the show I looked forward to the most every week. Now it's just become a pain to watch. Don't get me wrong, I love all of the humor from Mindy's serial dating escapades, and yes, I WOULD expect a show about a single woman's quest for love to be mostly centered around the heroine interacting with men... but that can't be the ONLY thing going on every. single. episode. What happened to all of Mindy's girlfriends? Why does Mindy have only one female co-worker whom she barely interacts with? (Technically there are three female co-workers in Mindy's office, but Betsy and Beverly have gotten so few lines this entire season that they might as well be non-entities.) And whose idea was it to transform Ed Week's hilarious character from Season 1 into the sad, unfunny schlup that we've got in Season 2?

Hey, you know what makes a sitcom funny? There has to be more than one source of situational humor built into the cast and the setting. The first season of The Mindy Project accomplished this brilliantly by givings its lovelorn heroine MORE than just her lovelorn escapades to get entangled with. Now the show has boiled entirely down to only two jokes: either Mindy conflicts with her male co-workers over some stupid sexist Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus bullcrap, or Mindy dates some dude and it's a hilarious disaster. Again, both of these things ARE funny... But they can also get very tiring when there's nothing else of interest happening in the show.

I still really love Mindy Lahiri as a character, but boy has this season been painful to watch so far.


First off, somebody needs to fire Disney's entire marketing team.

Frozen is not the film that it was advertised to be. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Frozen should definitely join the pantheon of other great Disney films that were marketed absolutely horribly (Brother Bear still being the worst victim of Disney's flubbed marketing of all time, with Princess and the Frog and its terrible teaser trailer being a close second) because I am absolutely in awe of the way that they managed to take such an endearing character as Olaf and through the power of terrible trailers alone turned him into such an obnoxious twatcharacter that months before the release of the film he was mocked not just on the internet but on primetime television with a level of vitriol that I haven't really seen leveled at a CGI comic relief sidekick since, well, Jar Jar Binks.

Forget the trailers, though. Here's what you need to know about Frozen:

1. It's a much welcome, long-overdue return to the Disney films of my childhood. Like the best of the Disney Renaissance films, Frozen is scored by Broadway composers (with none other than The Book of Mormon's Robert Lopez writing the song lyrics) and cast almost entirely with powerhouse Broadway singers.

2. By the way, the songs are fantastic. Absofuckinglutely fantastic.

3. It is a beautifully, beautifully, beautifully animated film.

4. The story is all about the bond between two sisters and there is a stunning, brilliant twist at the very end of the film that completely deconstructs everything about the usual Disney Princess narrative and that sends a powerful, positive, and much-needed message to all of the little girls in its target audience.

5. And really, seriously, DO forget everything you saw in the trailers: Olaf is freakin' great. I mean, he's basically Ray 2.0 (sweet, brave, endearing comic relief sidekick who saves Our Heroes from several bad situations and who suffers from a quirky delusional belief that nobody else has the heart to correct him about), but hey, Ray was a great character too, so I'm not complaining. It also helps that Olaf is voiced by The Book of Mormon's Josh Gad, and since it's basically the voice acting alone that makes Olaf so utterly endearing instead of utterly grating, well there you go.

Of course the film is not without its flaws. Like nearly every other reviewer has pointed out: The costume designs are fantastic but the character designs are really blah, the songs are waaaaaay too front-loaded and the very noticeable lack of a finale song is actually kind of jarring, and - most unforgivably in my humble opinion - there's no villain song, despite the fact that the film had a PERFECT moment for there to be a villainous reprise of "For the First Time in Forever." But alas, the moment was wasted.

The most unflattering thing I can say about the film is that it really does feel like a not-quite-finished, workshopped version of a future Broadway musical. Not that Frozen being someday turned into a stage production is a bad thing - and heck, it's practically inevitable at this point - but what I'm trying to say is that it feels like maaaaybe this time Disney had their eyes on the Broadway prize from the beginning, and the animated film was treated like a stepping stone on the pathway to a lucrative Broadway megahit, rather than as an end in itself. That would explain why the score seems unfinished, why the settings and action sequences all seem carefully calculated to be executable onstage, and why it appears as though there was a ton more care and effort put into the costume designs than into the designs of the characters' faces. BUT that might also explain why Disney got Broadway composers to write the score and mostly Broadway singers to act and sing in the film, which were both A++++ MOVES WELL DONE DISNEY WELL DONE, and to be fair the film IS already perfectly situated to be expanded into a brilliant stage musical, so... I dunno.

But anywhoo, I really loved the film and y'all should go see it!!
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...and I reading over the Wikipedia entry for the TV show and now really, really looking forward to watching this. Because it's definitely not going to be the same experience as reading the book - like, at all - and as far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.

Don't get me wrong. I loved every minute of reading that book. It was fast-paced, epic, sprawling, and utterly horrific in all the right ways. But the producers of the show are smart to recognize that a straight adaptation of the novel definitely wouldn't make for a good TV; if nothing else, the ending of the novel is far, far too grimdark for network television. So I'm about to head into this TV show fully expecting that the plot will be changed significantly, that most of the novel's cast will be reduced down to amalgam characters, and that the gore (not to mention the body count, especially where cute kids and the heroic elderly are concerned) will be toned down significantly.

And yet still I'm reading the character list on the show's Wikipedia page and

Phil Bushey, a popular radio DJ



HA HA HA HA HA HA HA (*gross sobbing*)

Peter Shumway, Julia's husband

wait what


On the other hand, I am really, REALLY looking forward to watching Dean Norris as Big Jim because a) it's The Goddamn Dean Norris and he is absofuckinglutely incredible in Breaking Bad and b) Big Jim is in so many ways the evil mirror of Hank Schrader, so this has got to be one of the most inspired bits of casting I've ever seen. If Hank's character arc is all about a man wrapped up in blustery arrogance and self-delusion who slowly discovers humility and the strength to be honest with himself, then Big Jim's character arc is all about a man wrapped up in blustery arrogance and self-delusion who slowly discovers that he does, actually, have the strength to murder whoever the fuck is standing in his way. At least, that was his character arc in the novel, that is. I guess I'll just have to wait and find out whether Big Jim in the television show bears any resemblance to Big Jim in the novel.

On the other other hand, though, I've heard that Horace the Welsh Corgi isn't in the TV show. And if this turns out to be true, then goddammit, Steven Spielberg and Brian K. Vaughan!! Because Horace fucking rules.
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So this is officially the best version of Sherlock anything that I've ever seen, ever. Not hyberbole. It's that awesome. And that's not just because it has probably the best Watson of all time, either. I love this Sherlock, I love the complex relationship he has with his Watson, I love the mysteries, and I love everything about this show.

Damn, what can I say about this show that hasn't been said already? The casting is fucking amazing, the horror elements are incredibly disturbing and incredibly well-executed, the characters and their interactions are deliciously complex and complicated, and the atmosphere and cinematography oh my god. I don't care how many times I've seen it every episode, that shot of the swiftly-moving grey clouds on top of EVERY BUILDING that the characters ever step foot in never gets old. What I'm actually torn about, however, is whether this show is treating its viewers like they're smart... or like they're really, really stupid. Honestly, I think the answer is that it does both. On the one hand, it's a show that very deliberately broadcasts the fact that it wants its audience to feel like they're smarter than the average television viewer. Between the subtle acting, the dense visual symbolism, the refusal to neatly tie up subplots or character arcs in single episodes and let them simply percolate in the background until they show up again several episodes later, and the constant references to classical music and food porn (admit it, you've Googled some of those episode titles because you didn't know what they were, I know you have), it's a show that's meant to make you think as you watch it, and it's meant to make you feel clever and sophisticated if you really appreciate all of its layers, its nuances, its refusals to conform to the usual storytelling rules of serial television. BUT, on the other hand... It really is a show that you have to turn off part of your brain to enjoy. Half of this show wants you the viewer to know that it thinks you're smart and you should feel smart for watching it, but the other half of the show is also trying desperately not to reveal the fact that it also thinks that you, the viewer, are very stupid. Stupid enough to believe that Hannibal Lecter can teleport himself from Maryland to Minnesota faster than a speeding airplane (HOW????), stupid enough to believe that a teenage girl can sneak out of a mental hospital in Maryland and dig up a body in Minnesota and then be back in said mental hospital in Maryland in one night (again, HOW?????), and just in general stupid enough to believe that Hannibal Lecter can get away with his crimes for so long despite the fact that the show is set in contemporary times and that we constantly see the FBI applying modern forensic science to the murders. There's a LOT of suspension of disbelief required to really enjoy this show. And that's kind of disappointing considering that the show seems so invested in making you feel like you're a clever, smart, sophisticated television viewer when you watch it.

The Wind in the Keyhole
It's been a long, long time since I sat down with a Stephen King novel that was anywhere near as engrossing as this one. I know that Stephen King loves his high fantasy, but so rarely does he actually pull it off as beautifully as he does in this book. Plus there's actually a lot of interesting gender and sexuality things woven into the subplots of both of the meta-stories, and thankfully these themes are approached with a lot more maturity and sophistication than King usually exhibits, even despite the medieval setting. But really this is my favorite thing that King has written in a while just because it's everything that makes the best of King's writing great: great characters, creepy buildups, epic payoffs, and of course, interwoven stories that echo and mirror each other in very, very intriguing ways. I'd easily rank this one up there with Hearts in Atlantis as my favorite of King's novels, with the happy caveat that Keyhole is actually far better in the way that it handles sexism in its setting than Atlantis is.

Ava's Demon
I started reading this because friends were raving about it, and I love it. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters are intriguing, and the setting is pretty interesting so far, even if not terribly coherent. Yes, some of the writing is amateurish and some of the info-dumps are awkward. But I really do feel like the writing is showing signs of improving already. So this one is definitely a series that I'll be keeping up with.

Gunnerkrigg Court
Just to put things in perspective, this is a comic in which a non-sequitor gag about an octopus jumping off a cliff is presented as a visual metaphor for one of the two main characters finally becoming comfortable with embracing her homosexuality, and it's STILL by far and away the best comic that I'm reading right now, hands-down.

Steven Universe

Aku no Hana/The Flowers of Evil
I'm sticking with exactly four shows from the spring anime season: Attack on Titan, Hataraki Maou-sama, Precure, and Aku no Hana. Of the four, Aku no Hana is by far and away the best of the lot, even accounting for the difficulty of comparing apples to oranges. It's not just good. It's fucking great. I already wrote out my opinions about the animation style, the sexual politics, and the overall themes of the show on tumblr and I don't feel like repeating myself here, but I will say that the animation gets more and more gorgeous (and the actual message of the series harder and harder to ignore) with every episode.

Soul Eater
So we are now two chapters from the end and DAMN, this month's chapter is fucking finally doing what a big series-finale climatic battle chapter SHOULD be doing. Main character gets a badass powerup, supporting characters get their chance to shine with individual Crowning Moments of Awesome (even Gopher!!!), there's significantly less dumbass screaming about order and chaos than we've had to suffer through in previous chapters (man Ohkubo you actually used to be interesting in your treatment of those themes what happened?!), and wow some of those panels of Maka building up toward her finishing move are just fucking spectacular. My threshold requirements for What Would Make a Great Soul Eater Finale were basically "Maka should be awesome" and "it shouldn't drag on forever to the point where it gets boring," which are admittedly low expectations given how great Soul Eater was at its peak a few years ago, but hey so far the finale is delivering so I'm happy.

So obviously I'm not going to be recapping these chapters anymore - not for lack of interest, but lack of time, especially now that Attack on Titan has exploded all over the internet and I can barely keep up with that one fandom. I WOULD like to say that I really want to take time to recap the final chapter in August, but to be honest that's not terribly likely to happen considering that August 12th will be right smack in the middle of my last few vacation days of the year and I'm already making plans to spend that week visiting friends out-of-state. Plus I think that maybe like five people have actually been reading my recaps for the past few months, and although I appreciate the support, let's be honest, writing a recap post is a LOT of effort for little reward, and frankly I'm having more fun spending free time that I would previously have devoted to recapping Soul Eater to catching up my summer reading pile and to-watch list. So for those of you who enjoyed the recaps, thanks for sticking with me for all these years, and I'm sorry that I don't have time to see it through to the end!

But by far the most important thing here is that the Soul Eater ending is actually REALLY FUCKING AWESOME so far, so here's hoping for two more months of this level of FUCK YEAH from Ohkubo.
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Parks and Recreation is still easily the best goddamn thing that I watch every week. And it's been holding that position for a solid two years now, so. I don't think I've written about it yet on this blog and frankly I don't have a lot of things to say about it that haven't been said before (and likely better) by others, but: it's brilliant television and if you're not already watching it, you should be. (I'm of the opinion that the first season is totally skippable though.)

It took a few episodes to warm me over, but I am now officially in love with The Mindy Project. I think in many ways it's the spiritual successor to 30 Rock but (and please don't shoot me for saying this because I LOVED 30 Rock) in some ways done better. The lead is still a smart, successful woman who is damn good at her job even though her personal life is in shambles, there's still a wacky cast of co-workers (and a secondary male lead who gets his own secondary character arcs) that are in turn funny and/or poignant, and the style of humor is still that particular blend of surreal absurdist mixed with so-true-to-life-that-it-hurts comedy that seems to characterize all the best of the most recent television sitcoms. Where I think The Mindy Project improves upon 30 Rock's formula, however, is a) the fact that our heroine Mindy has more than one close female friend and that Mindy's interactions with her diverse group of female friends often play an important role in most episodes, and b) there's an awful lot less of the gross femininity-bashing and wink-wink-nudge-nudge-we're-only-doing-this-because-it's-ironic sexism that 30 Rock so often indulged in. Mindy is the character who would have been the butt of the jokes in 30 Rock (see: Jenna), but in The Mindy Project everything that she is and everything that she stands for is unabashedly celebrated without ever denigrating other flavors of femininity as being less desirable, less progressive, less feminist, less whatever.


Recently watched and now firmly in the why-the-hell-did-I-wait-this-long-to-see-these-films-because-they-are-GREAT category: Pitch Perfect, ParaNorman, and Amour. "Great" isn't really an adjective that comes anywhere near close to doing Amour justice but hey, let's just roll with it.

Seen recently in theaters: Admission. Loved it. Tina Fey is always great, of course. But in the theater where I saw the film the audience actually burst into applause the moment that Lily Tomlin's character first appeared onscreen. Because Lily Tomlin is legitimately just that awesome.

On a recommendation from a friend I recently indulged in both of the Lyrical Nanoha movies, which at first I was skeptical about because I was mostly lukewarm on the series, but oh my god, these movies are really fantastic. Taken together they're five solid hours of gorgeously-animated magical girl badassery full of female friendships and family relationships driving the entire plot and just wow. Of course I share the same criticisms of the films that nearly everybody else in the universe has expressed so far: yes, the films are both so much more about Fate than Nanoha that they really should have been named after Fate instead of Nanoha (not that I don't love Fate but come on it's almost disingenuous to name the films after Nanoha when Fate is the real star of both), and yes, the transformation sequences with the detailed nudity on underage female characters (nipples and all JESUS CHRIST) are pretty damn inexcusable. Thankfully, however, the transformation sequences only happen once per each film, so they're easy to fast-forward through. And other than the transformation sequences there's basically zero fanservice on any of the underage characters, which is pretty damn refreshing to see in a magical girl franchise intended for an adult male audience.

Also, I saw this one months ago but have neglected to rec it here: A Letter to Momo. Everybody should see this film. It's weird and beautiful and moving and funny and important in a way that I can't really describe in words. It may be sacrilege to say that this is an improved, better version of My Neighbor Totoro but... it really is. It deals with the same thematic setup (children move to a new rural home, encounter nature spirits, and deal with a crisis when one family member gets sick and another appears to be in immediate danger) yet in a deeper, more mature way that still manages to be appropriate for and accessible to a child audience. But the nature spirits in Momo are an entirely different breed than those from Totoro: much more in keeping with Japanese tradition, Momo's supernatural creatures are alien, dangerous, and frightening, even when they're trying to help out the human characters and/or providing comic relief. These are not the cute, fluffy, cuddly forest gods from Miyazaki's nostalgia-tinted view of Japan in days gone by. They are much stranger and darker but also much more interesting to watch, not unlike the human characters in the film as well. Anywhoo, this film is finally starting to garner some critical attention in the English-speaking world (I think it's playing in the Boston International Childrens' Film Festival this weekend?) so if you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check it out. It is so, so worth it.

Relatedly: Little Witch Academia is basically perfect. Just perfect.


Zahra's Paradise is a graphic novel that deserves waaaaay more attention than it's getting. Of course it's a politically important book (Iran! Democracy! Political dissidence! Women fighting against oppression!) but in case you're the type of person intimidated by reading a "political" comic let me assure you: The pseudonymous authors use a brilliant, expressive, cinematic art style that makes the complex narrative accessible to any reader without ever once compromising the story or dumbing down anything for the benefit of knowing-approximately-jack-shit-about-the-Middle-East readers. In other words, even if you know approximately jack shit about the Middle East, you can and you should still read this book. It's a beautiful, painful story that will stick with you for a long time and it will be impossible for you to walk away from the book without a much deeper and better understanding of Iran than you had before opening its pages. Which is really the whole purpose of the book in the first place.

The Flowers of Evil continues to impress me with its so-true-it's-painful dissection of the wannabe-edgy, alienated teenage mind. Whether you think it's a "good" manga or realistic in any sense of the term (and I'm on the fence about both to be honest), it's still totally different from nearly every other shounen manga out there, and a fascinating read for that reason alone.

Hawkeye is still the reason that I give Marvel my hard-earned money every month. Young Avengers... not so much, not anymore.

Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin. Cripes where do I even start with this one. For a long time it's been clear that this isn't really a story about plucky humans fighting evil man-eating giants, the same way that Eureka Seven was never really a story about cool rebels fighting an oppressive government in giant robots (even though it took the main character half the series to reach that realization), and the same way that Evangelion was never really a story about plucky humans fighting giant aliens (even though in its original incarnation the stuff that Hideaki Anno intended for the series to really be about was so poorly-executed that yeah the giant robots and aliens really were the point by the end, hence everybody hating the original ending, okay this is a really bad example I should stop now). So then what the hell IS Attack on Titan really about? Without giving too much away, I'm going to riff on Batezi's brilliant post about the series and say that thematically it cuts straight to the heart of our two deepest fears in the modern age: the power of bass-ackwards organized religion as a force for regressive social stagnation, and the mindset that drives those who have been wronged to justify acts of mass terrorism as a way of striking back against the faceless enemy "other." In exploring these themes, of course, Attack on Titan dives into all sorts of dark territory about how the human mind and the human heart works, in a way so visceral and real that in terms of thematically-similar media I can come up with few truly comparative examples save for perhaps The Snowtown Murders (particularly with Bertolt's story jesus christ dude) and Harvest of Empire ("all of humanity is your enemy" until you get to know them and then they're not faceless others anymore and then uh-oh). But of course on top of all of this there's also badass giant-slaying action and fucking awesome characters all of that great bloody, gory fun every chapter. Attack on Titan is that rare, rare series that manages to do awesome grimdark bloody action horror really well AND blend it successfully with complex psychodrama that ISN'T shallow, pretentious, or poorly-written the way it so often is when clumsy attempts at human psychodrama rear their ugly head in your usual run-of-the-mill survival horror stories. Isayama isn't a clumsy writer, and Attack on Titan continues to be a brilliant series. Go read it now and spoil yourself silly before the anime starts airing this weekend. If you can stomach a story where most of the main cast gets eaten alive by giants, that is.
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James Purefoy just reached into a refrigerator and pulled out graham crackers and marshmallows.

Show. Show. Show, you're not even trying anymore.

Then again the whole smores-making sequence that follows (in which making smores is legitimately a part of Carroll's most diabolical plot yet) has got to be one of the absolute best so-fucking-stupid-that-it's-actually-kind-of-brilliant sequences that I've seen in a long time.

This fucking show, man. This fucking show.
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First SVU, then Shingeki no Kyojin, and now Batman Inc, which I somehow managed to stay totally unspoiled for and which thus subsequently basically emotionally punched me right in the face.


And if I'm counting categories then it goes: television-check, manga-check, comics-check, and now the only medium left in which one of my favorite characters hasn't been killed and/or revealed to have been evil all along is webcomics.

Homestuck, you'd better not pull any of that shit before tomorrow.
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So lately I've been asking myself: Self, why are you wasting time watching "The Following" when it is so clearly awful on so many levels?

The answer is because it is so, so bad that it actually manages to punch through the metaphorical wall of television badness and into something resembling pure, undiluted awesomeness.

In other words, it's like FOX decided to take every terrible shounen thriller animu from the past five years, distill it into its purest form, and air it on primetime television starring Kevin Bacon.

That's right. "The Following" is basically JUST LIKE MY KAWAII ANIMES and it is glorious.

To wit, we have:

- maniacal supervillian with insanely convoluted, cartoonish revenge plot,
- most shocking reveals accomplished when characters sit around and try to out-exposition each other,
- a genuine real-life moe moe yandere female lead character, and
- beautiful tortured gay pretty boys
- who are serial killers
- whom the audience is supposed to empathize with the most (even though they're serial killers)
- whose interpersonal drama and romantic relationship take up most of the airtime in each episode (even though they're serial killers)
- also there are no less than two ongoing love triangles so far
- no seriously most of every episode is like romance/romance/love triangle and the serial killer characters doing cute everyday slice-of-life things
- but with occassional ridiculous shock deaths
- and then there's also the adorable precocious genius kid
- and Shawn Ashmore bishounening up the screen as the prettyboy rookie cop
- and lots of pretentious literary references and ~*deep*~ intellectual posturing on the part of our aforementioned maniacal supervillian
- and on top of all of this, the goddamn Kevin Bacon.

So basically it's like if Death Note and Future Diary and Psycho Pass and oh EVERY OTHER terrible shounen thriller anime that you can think of had a lovechild that somehow mutated into a live-action American primetime drama.

This is the show.

This is kawaii murder animu brought to life.

Like I said, it is glorious.

(Oh, and spoiler alert: The black cop is the first cop to die. Good job, FOX. Way to be twenty-first century right there.)
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Shingeki no Kyojin chapter 42 is released on 2/9. In which my favorite character has a sobbing breakdown and confesses to [insert horrible spoiler here].

Law and Order: SVU episode 309 is aired on 2/13. In which my favorite recurring character has a sobbing breakdown and confesses to [insert horrible spoiler here].

Wow self way to pick 'em.
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Bob's Burgers is well into its third season now, so I figured it's about time I made a post about how awesome this series is.

Reasons why y'all should watch Bob's Burgers:

1. It's not a typical FOX animated sitcom.

If you're like me and you shunned Bob's Burgers during its first season because it looked too much like (and was marketed as) just another Seth McFarlane-flavored animated sitcom, well then you're as wrong as I was. The tone of the show is much closer to The Simpsons in that most episodes end in affirmative, heartwarming moments. There's also a definite lack of the "ironic" racist, sexist, ableist, and homophobic humor that McFarlane shows rely on. Having said that, though, the verbal humor flies fast and furious in most episodes - and H. John Benjamin's deadpan delivery of some of the funniest lines in the show makes them somehow that much funnier.

2. The main cast is perfectly balanced as comic foils for each other, and most of the humor is character-driven.

Bob is the straight man surrounded by over-the-top personalities. He takes burgers very, VERY seriously. His wife Lynne is dramatic, theatrical, and not unlike Suzumiya Haruhi is constantly on a quest to make her life more exciting. Their oldest daughter Tina is an awkward teenager who has no idea how to appropriately express her budding sexuality and the show treats her sympathetically. Middle son Gene is a wannabe comedian who's actually as funny as he is obnoxious. And youngest daughter Louise (voiced brilliantly by Kristen Schaal) is a too damn smart for her age so she channels her bored genius into becoming a manipulative, Machiavellian sociopath. The family is surrounded by a growing cast of characters that are all equally hilarious, although Bob's supervillain landlord voiced by Kevin Kline and the delusional school counselor deserve special mention.

3. Tina.

At first glance Tina seems like just another Meg Griffin-type character: She's a teenage girl, ugly, socially awkward, uncomfortable in her body, and desperate for popularity and a boyfriend. Does the show milk her pubescent awkwardness for humor? Yes. But is she constantly the butt of every joke the way that Meg Griffin is? NO. Like I said before, the show treats Tina sympathetically; we laugh at her as much as we root for her. Most episodes give Tina a happy ending and the show constantly validates her in going out of its way to show us that she DESERVES the things that she wants in life but that it's also OKAY for her to BE HERSELF. One of the best examples of this is in the season 1 episode "Cab, Bob?" in which Bob and Lynne go to extreme lengths to throw Tina a super-special thirteenth birthday party. Despite the fabulous party, Tina is depressed because all that she wants is to share a dance and a kiss with her crush Jimmy Pesto Jr., the son of Bob's archnemesis. Jimmy Pesto Sr. forbids Jimmy Jr. from going to Tina's party just because he hates Bob's family THAT MUCH. Without Jimmy Jr. at the party, Tina falls into a depressed funk and the party spirals into a disaster. Finally, however, we get the happy ending when Bob finds a way to blackmail Jimmy Sr. into letting Jimmy Jr. go to the party; the entire episode builds up to the triumphant moment when finally Tina and Jimmy dance beneath a disco ball and share their first kiss. Okay, so, how many other animated sitcoms (other than The Simpsons) actually have episodes like that in which all of the characters WORK HARD TOWARD, VALIDATE, AND ROOT FOR a teenage girl's fantasies to come true, rather than just using the teenage girl character as the butt of sexist jokes and tearing her down at every opportunity? Not that many, unfortunately. And that is one of the reasons why Bob's Burgers is consistently so fucking great in the way that it treats its female characters.

4. Louise.

The "precocious sociopath" is a tried and true staple sitcom character, and for good reason. Because smart, evil children are funny. And Louise is no exception to the rule, although she IS portrayed in a much more realistic way than many of her sitcom peers. The show is very clear in presenting her as a bully. We laugh at her antics but we're not supposed to want her to succeed, UNLESS it's one of the episodes in which Louise uses her schemes to protect/save her family from outside threats (which are really the best episodes). I hate to say this, but I see a lot of kids who are just like Louise in some of the classes that I teach: Hella smart but fundamentally insecure, and masking their insecurities by using their smarts to bully and manipulate others. Yep. I'm sure you all know people like that in real life, too. But again, the show is just great in the way that it presents Louise's character to the audience. Yes, we're supposed to be feel sympathy for her when we're finally shown how insecure she is or how frustrated she is when her intellect is devalued all the time. But no, we're not supposed to feel sympathy for her all the time, especially not when, you know, she's being a legitimately horrible person. Louise's real saving grace, however, is how loyal she is to her family, even if her loyalty often manifests itself in her extremely unhealthy quest to bully Tina and Gene into becoming better/stronger people. It's impossible not to see echoes of Vriska and Tavros in Louise's relationship with her shy, awkward older sister Tina. Louise is frequently horrible to Tina but in her mind she's just helping Tina become more self-confident. And you know what? This is hilarious to watch. (It's made hilarious because, as I mentioned above, Tina usually ends up having her true personality validated/having a happy ending, unlike poor Tavros.) But I feel it's also worth mentioning that in season 3 Louise finally gets a worthy opponent and a true character foil with the addition of Logan, a spoiled but intelligent bully who can actually match Louise scheme-for-scheme. Louise is great and all, but all quasi-evil protagonists need a good foil to keep their quasi-evilness in check, and it's about time that Louise got such a worthy opponent in her show.

5. "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene."

This episode is so great that it deserves special mention here. So the plot starts out with standard sitcom fare: Gene has a secret admirer at school. The secret admirer turns out to be Courtney, the most obnoxious girl in the entire school: loud, awkward, and absolutely torturous to be around for more than a few moments. Courtney literally corners Gene and asks him to go out with her, and Gene is too cowardly to refuse her. Bam. So they start dating, and Gene hates every minute of it. So you'd think, at this point, that the rest of the episode is going to be standard ha-ha-look-at-this-horrible-overbearing-girl-torturing-this-poor-put-upon-nice-boy fare, right? WRONG. Gene's family is horrified to find out that he's dating Courtney despite not really liking her, so what do they do? They put the responsibility on HIM to break up the relationship, they blame HIM for stringing Courtney along, and they tell HIM that Courtney deserves better than a guy who doesn't really like her and that he'd better break up with her soon goddamit. WHO'DVE THUNK, RIGHT? I mean, our television and movies are FULL of examples of female characters being blamed and castigated for "stringing along" those nice well-meaning guys that they're just not really that into. But how often do you see the opposite, a male character being (rightfully) blamed for stringing along a girl despite not really liking her? And the show is very clear that Gene is the one who's really doing something "wrong" in the relationship despite also being clear that Courtney is a completely, totally obnoxious girlfriend. Courtney's only crime is being herself, whereas Gene's crime is lying to Courtney about his feelings. The show is very clear as to which crime is worse. And things take a decided turn for the horrible when Gene meets Courtney's father, who is a really awesome cool guy, and Gene decides that he wants to keep the relationship with Courtney going so that he can hang out with her dad. WHOA. Again, Gene's family is horrified to hear this and they VERY clearly call him out on his behavior. And, as predicted, things finally reach a climax when Courtney annoys Gene so much that he completely snaps and dumps her in the most humiliating way possible... at her own birthday party. Which causes Courtney to have a literal heart attack. "Um, do you think I ruined her birthday?" Gene asks as Courtney is loaded onto an ambulance. YES, GENE. YES YOU DID. But in the final few moments of the episode we get a) Courntey exacting a hilarious revenge upon Gene and b) Gene laughing sheepishly and agreeing that he deserved that (BECAUSE HE DID). Everyone reconciles, Gene learns his lesson, happy endings all around. And again: WHOA. How many other sitcoms with a storyline about one of the main male characters agreeing to date an obnoxious female character actually blame the male character for stringing along his girlfriend when he clearly doesn't like her? How many sitcom storylines about the "obnoxious girlfriend" let the girlfriend GET REVENGE on her crappy boyfriend and VALIDATE HER AS DESERVING SAID REVENGE while the male character actually hangs his head, laughs at himself, and agrees that he deserves it?!

Oh Bob's Burgers, your unabashed feminism makes me so happy. And it is definitely no surprise that the most female-positive episodes of the show are all written by women. The show actually draws from a diverse pool of constantly-changing episode writers and directors, and that diversity of creative voices is clearly paying off in terms of just how goddamn great all of the episodes are.

Recommended episodes

Season 1: "Sexy Dance Fighting" (a great Tina episode), "Bed and Breakfast," "Burger Wars"
Season 2: "Beefsquatch," "Bob Day Afternoon," "The Belchies" (easily the best Louise episode to date)
Season 3: "The Deepening," "Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks," "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene," "Broadcast Wagstaff School News" (a fantastic Tina/Louise episode and featuring some of the most erudite poop jokes ever put on television)

In short, you all should watch this show because IT'S REALLY GREAT.
nenena: (My Little Pony - Rainbow Dash)
A Brony explains why fans say 'neigh' to Princess Twilight:

Shortly after EW broke the news of Twilight’s transformation this Tuesday, the fan community exploded into a flurry of commentary — most of it negative. [...] The backlash has been even worse on fan sites like Equestria Daily (where the original post about Twilight’s princessification has drawn over 2,500 comments) and Reddit’s pony-centric message board (where hundreds of fans have expressed fervent hopes that the royal metamorphosis isn’t permanent).

So why, exactly, are bronies getting their bridles in a twist? “It’s just your typical overreaction to something changing in your favorite series,” Equestria Daily founder Sethisto (real name: Shaun Scotellaro) tells EW. There is, however, a little more to this specific outcry: “I think the main thing is that it’s happening to a character so many people connect to. Twilight Sparkle, she’s more of a nerd. She’s like all of us, that geeky nerd who reads books and gets all excited about stupid stuff.” The prospect of the show’s audience surrogate getting all gussied up, then, sort of feels like a slap in the face to MLP‘s grown-up fans.

And that's it.

That's the meat of the entire article.

That's the reason.

So this is what it boils down to: Bronies identify with Twilight because she's nerdy, but princesses are terrible, therefore Twilight turning into a princess is terrible.

Because princesses are terrible. No other reason given. LITERALLY NO OTHER REASON GIVEN other than "princesses suck and we hate them." And why do Bronies hate princesses so much? Why is their favorite pony turning into a princess somehow the equivalent of getting a slap to the face?

Because princesses are girly things, and as we all know, girly things are just terrible.

Like I said before, there is literally NO OTHER WAY TO PARSE THIS BACKLASH other than to see it for the astounding misogyny that it truly is.

Over 2500 comments on the Equestria Daily article and not a single one of them gives a reason to hate the princess transformation other than princesses suck and we hate them. Not a single one of the comments gives a reason any deeper than that. Not a single one.

The EW article linked above goes even further in depth covering the backlash against Princess Cadence's appearance in the season 2 finale. And why was there complaining about Princess Cadence? According to Sethisto:

“Cadance was a pretty pink alicorn princess. That’s, like, the exact opposite of what we wanted.”

And why, exactly, would a pretty pink alicorn princess be "the exact opposite" of what Bronies want? Sethisto doesn't say, but I'll bet money it's because traits like being pink and being pretty and being a princess are (*gasp*) GIRLY!!!!1! Never mind the fact that Cadence is a fantastic character who was clearly set up as being powerful, important, and central to the story of the season 2 finale well before the episodes aired on television. In fact, I think that's what made the backlash against Cadence all the more vehement: How DARE a new character who's clearly set up to be super-powerful in the MLP fictional universe and super-important to the plot of the show be (*gasp*) pink and pretty and a princess oh noes!!!!

In short, Brony fandom has once again established that it is firmly entrenched in the mindset that all things girly are terrible and gross and wrong. Which is REALLY UNFORTUNATE considering that this is a fandom for a cartoon for girls.
nenena: (My Little Pony - Rainbow Dash)
Unless you're living under an internet rock, you've probably heard by now that the upcoming season finale of My Little Pony features our heroine Twilight Sparkle powering up to her alicorn form. Which means, in MLP terms, that she becomes a "princess."

Hasbro wisely chose to let Entertainment Weekly leak the news first instead of giving the exclusive to any of the Brony news outlets:

But don’t worry, Pony fans — though Twilight will undergo a physical transformation, her personality will remain the same. “What we didn’t want to do was change who she is as a character, because she’s certainly someone that everyone’s proud to know and love,” McCarthy says. “I don’t think becoming a princess really changes her; I think it’s going to introduce some new challenges for her.” Those challenges will include living up to that lofty new title. In MLP‘s Equestria, “princess” is a designation that’s earned, not freely given — and though princesses have specific leadership roles in pony society, being one really means “being a good pony who shares the gifts that they have been given with others,” according to McCarthy. “We’re building a very unique mythology around being a princess,” she continues. “Every little girl wants to be a princess, and not everybody can get to be a princess — but you can live up to the ideals that should come along with being a princess.”

The amount of raaaaaaaaaaaage that this news has generated from the male-dominated Pony fandom spaces astounds me. I mean, just look at the comments on the EW article for starters. Or better yet, don't look, if you don't want to raise your blood pressure. The comments on the promos that the Hub has posted to Youtube are hardly any better, and the comments on Equestria Daily are even worse. Over and over again we get: Twilight is ruined by becoming a princess, princesses are icky and gross, the only reason this is happening in the show is because Hasbro just wants to sell princess toys to little girls, and it's sexist for MLP to be selling the "princess" shtick to little girls. The fact that this last objection is so far coming EXCLUSIVELY FROM MEN trying desperately to appropriate feminist arguments in order to conceal their misogynistic revulsion because of the whole but-princesses-are-a-GIRLY-thing!!1! mindset makes it all the more hilarious.

But what really floors me is how many Bronies seem surprised by this - and how many of them decried the EW article as a "fake" when it first hit the internet earlier this week. Twilight becoming a princess should have been an OBVIOUS plot point from the first episode of season 3, if not all the way back in the very first episode of season 1. This has been foreshadowed for a really long time and it's the logical result of three seasons' worth of actual character development for Twilight.

But leave it to Bronies to have an internet conniption about a My Little Pony character getting an actual power-up. I mean there's just almost no way to parse the backlash against Twilight becoming a princess that doesn't immediately reveal the sticky, writhing mass of misogynistic goo underlying all of it.

Man, remember three years ago when Bronies were like, cool? And not disgusting?

I miss those days.
nenena: (Default)

Lego Clay Davis = best Clay Davis.

PS: The video is spoiler-free.

And now, this next one has a major spoiler for the series finale, but it is too awesome not to share: Micheal Williams, Sonja Sohn, Andre Royo, Larry Gilliard Jr, and Felicia Pearson in The Wire: The Musical!

nenena: (Default)
Yes. Yes, I did.

I remember watching bits and pieces of the first season of The Wire when I was in college. But "bits and pieces" is definitely not a good way to watch The Wire so I was mostly just confused and unfortunately aware that I was missing out on something great. But I also knew that (at the time) I just didn't have time to sit down and watch the show the way that it needs to be watched: paying attention to and absorbing every intricate little detail of the stories that David Simon and co. tell.

I remember hearing at one point that The Wire's fourth season was about Baltimore's public education system, but by 2006 I was neck-deep in my Americorps year teaching in Minneapolis public schools and the last thing I wanted to do was watch some cheesy (or so I thought) television dramatization of what I was already doing every day. So I gave the show a pass. I did, however, add "the Wire season 4" to my Television To Watch Someday checklist. And there it stayed for six years.

So there I was last night, giving myself a break from doing prep work for next year, when I decided to choose something from my perpetual Television To Watch Someday checklist. (Hey, I only make a dent in this thing during the summer, okay? Such is the life of a teacher.) And I choose The Wire, season 4. I only intended to watch one or two episodes and then get right back to work, I swear. I swear!

And now here I am, thirteen hours and a lot of tears later, trying to calm myself down enough to get some sleep. Even just a little bit.

I don't really have any coherent thoughts to write down right now, other than that:

1. It was really good,

2. It was impossible to stop watching once I started, and I attribute that to a combination of characters that it was impossible to not care about and a multilayered, thirteen-episode-long, epic trainwreck of a tragic story that it was impossible to look away from,

3. Pryzbylewski was me six years ago, that was ME six years ago, and I thank my lucky stars every fucking day that now I live and teach in one of the few states in this country that has made actual headway in eliminating the problems of segregated and impoverished urban public schools, and

4. All of the stuff about teaching to the standardized tests and how that's such a massive waste of class time was so true to life that it hurt to watch. It actually hurt.

There was only one moment in the entire season - only one moment - when Did Not Do The Research reared its ugly head and I was briefly thrown out of the story. That was when Pryzbylewski sent one of his students to the principal's office by writing him a hall pass and sending him on his merry way. And the kid actually went. Oh my god lol no. I've never taught in a school where it was okay for a teacher to just send an angry, worked-up kid out into the hallway without an escort. (And I've taught in three states!) But other than that one nitpicky moment, everything else about The Wire's depiction of the how the combined forces of No Child Left Behind and the outdated public eduction funding system just endlessly shit on both students and teachers in urban public schools was painfully, horribly true to life.

Okay. Need to get some sleep now, then do some more work, then watch season 5 of The Wire all in one go tonight. No spoilers please.
nenena: (Default)
Thing the first: If you aren't watching The Disney Channel's Gravity Falls, you should be watching it. It's gorgeously animated, genuinely funny, surprisingly self-aware, and it has an amazing musical soundtrack. It's definitely a show with that particular sense of humor that makes it feel like it belongs on Cartoon Network much moreso than it belongs on The Disney Channel. I mean, just look at this opening sequence:

Thing the second: Here are some more comics that are good!

The Legend of Bold Riley: Princess Rilavashana SanParite is one of the best adventurer-princess characters I've encountered in a long time, the artwork by Vanessa Gillings and Kelly McClellan is incredible, and this book overall is just so. damn. good. By the way, here's a free 55-page preview.

Ntombinde, the Girl Who Loved Danger: This comic is one of the rarest of the rare, a page-length weekly newspaper comic printed in independent weeklies across the United States. Fortunately, even if you don't have access any of the newspapers that print Ntombinde, you can still read the (uncolored) version of her weekly adventures at Sterling Clark's website, or you can buy her collected adventures in graphic novel format. I'm having a hard time finding where to buy the Ntombinde graphic novel online, but I bought my copy directly from Sterling Clark when I met him at DCCC, so if he or Studio S is appearing at any comic conventions in your area you should definitely check out his books.

Battlepug: This comic is exactly what it says on the tin, and it is glorious. It's clever, irreverent, a helluva a lot of fun, and beautifully illustrated by Mike Norton (whom you may remember as one of the best artists on Marvel's Runaways). Plus I think that this page just kind of speaks for itself. ETA: And Battlepug just won the 2012 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic!! AWESOME!!

Monekybrain Comics is a new imprint that just launched with five amazing-looking titles, three of which have female protagonists, all of which you can check out extensive previews of here.

The Whole Story is a new comics website that lets you name your price to download beautiful DRM-free, high-quality PDF comics. You can find new comics by Ryan North (Adventure Time, Dinosaur Comics), Meredith Gran (Marceline and the Scream Queens), Katie Cook (Star Wars), Shaenon Garrity (Smithson), Ryan Estrada (Aki Alliance, Flight), David Hellman (Braid), Andrew Hussie (YES REALLY), and Nam Dong Yoon. In addition to about a dozen other talented artists and writers. So trust me when I say that this site is really, really worth checking out.

Speaking of indie comics! Love and Rockets is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary at Comic-Con this weekend. And if you've never read anything by the Hernandez brothers before, you are seriously missing out.

And now, our concluding link for this post, for all of you writers out there: Five Ways that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Can Make You a Better Writer.
nenena: (KKM - She blinded me with science!)

There's a lot of truth to that old joke about Tumblr users having LOL NO LIFE SKILLZ, and the 6800 people (and counting!) who reblogged the "jello soul" post are living proof of that.

I can't believe that anybody who looked at that photograph would believe that the candy pictured was actually molded jello.

I can't believe that anybody who read those "instructions" could actually think that it would work.

Then again the Soul Eater fanbase on Tumblr seems to have a majority in the 13-to-16-year-old age range, so maybe they haven't had that much experience in the kitchen or have never made jello before, I dunno. (*shrug*)

Anywhoo, the original "jello soul" post (complete with "instructions" that are made-up and actually QUITE DANGEROUS) has now gone explosively viral. If you can, please reblog plushabilities's post with the correct, SAFE instructions for making soul candy along with a small bit of text along the lines of "reblogging for safer, corrected instructions!" or something. Adding the text will make your reblog stick out amongst the notes (at least for a few minutes) and the extra text will also function as a clickable link (especially important in crappy layouts!) so that more people can see the corrected instructions.

I messaged foreveranimeobsessed with a polite request to edit her original post with a link to plushabilities's instructions, but instead she did this (warning: music autoplays at link) so, argh. Not that editing her post would have helped much anyway since edits don't show up in reblogs (goddammit Tumblr), but it would have helped somewhat. Some people do like to go back to the original source for any cool stuff on their dash that they want to reblog, so there's that at least.

The moral to this story is: Never post "instructions" for something that you haven't actually tried, done, or accomplished. Because your followers might very well have LOL NO LIFE SKILLZ and reblog your post trusting that you know what you're doing. And the next thing you know, your post has gone viral and you're in deep shit.

Somehow I am reminded of the King of the Hill episode in which Peggy wrote a newspaper "home tips and tricks" column, and decided that it would be a good idea to tell her readers to mix bleach and ammonia because THAT WILL MAKE A SUPER-DUPER CLEANING SOLUTION. Whoops. Thankfully, telling Tumblr users to pour jello into glued-together pieces of plastic isn't nearly as high on the scale of Dangerously Bad Ideas To Do In Your Home Kitchen as mixing bleach and ammonia would be. But it's clearly a stupid idea, since not all types of plastic are safe to be used as molds, and it definitely would never result in the lovely candy pictured in [profile] plushabilities's photographs anyway. Anywhoo, the moral of the story is the same: Don't tell people about this totally awesome how-to idea you've had until you've actually tried it yourself. Unless your idea is to mix bleach and ammonia. DON'T TRY THAT.

Or, you know what... I think the moral of this story is even simpler than that. Don't post pictures of other people's food with a bullshit "recipe" that you made up yourself. If you see a picture of something that you want to make, find the recipe used by the person who took that photograph and actually made the food, and post it. Common sense, people. Common sense.

But then again this is Tumblr. I probably shouldn't expect common sense.

ETA: foreveranimeobsessed's post and all resulting reblogs have been bahleeted off Tumblr. I guess somebody must have reported the post for a TOS violation, because that's the only reason I can think of why all of the reblogs would have vanished as well, although I cannot for the life of me figure out what part of Tumblr's famously laissez-faire TOS the post violated. Anyway, Plushabilities now has her own post about the Soul Eater candies that you can reblog here:
nenena: (Default)

Sailor Avengers by nna. (Click through for full size!)

Hat-tip to [personal profile] shanejayell for that one. Now we just need somebody to make an Avengers/Pretty Cure mashup and my life will be complete. Er, not like I've actually put any thought or planning or detail into an Avengers/Pretty Cure mashup fic that will never be written or anything.

Other Links of Interest:

David Brothers on why DRM is beneficial to exactly nobody.

Al Jean (producer of The Simpsons) and fifty other animation producers protest Community's eligibility in the Emmy animation categories. I'm sorry, I love Community, I really do, but it does not belong in any of the Emmy animation categories. It just. does. not. And Al Jean is absolutely correct to point out that if Community can be considered in the animated Emmy categories, then why can't shows like The Simpsons, Futurama, South Park, and other animated sitcoms be considered in any of the Emmy comedy categories? Because animation ghetto, that's why.

David Brothers (yes, again!) on why Anno Moyoco's Sakuran reveals how sexism in the past still influences how we regard "willful" women today. (Do not read the comments.) Sexist expectations of how women should behave is a common theme in Anno's work - just look at Sugar Sugar Rune, which used magical girls to deconstruct those sexist tropes in really interesting ways - but Sakuran is a decidedly more adult take on the same themes for a decidedly more adult audience.

Meanwhile, Naruto is coming to an end. I don't think that anybody has yet expressed any reaction to this other than "Finally!" And that includes those of us who are actually fans of the series. It's about time we got a decent climax and conclusion! For the record, I felt the same way when Inu-Yasha finally ended. No matter how much fun your manga is, you just can't keep dragging out the same basic conflict without any meaningful conclusion for years and years and years without people getting tired of it.
nenena: (Default)
First Mysterious Cities of Gold is getting a continuation thirty years after it originally ended. Not a reboot, not a remake. A genuine continuation.

And now? Dallas is getting a continuation, twenty-one years after the original series went off the air. Not a reboot, not a remake. A genuine continuation.

The new Dallas will officially count as Season 15, for those of you keeping track at home.

Oh, and Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman are reprising their roles as Bobby Ewing and J.R. Ewing, respectively.

And I cannot stop laughing at the delightful shamelessness of this hilarious promo image.

Personally I kind of hope that this is the start of a trend. I know that everybody and their dog has been rebooting/remaking old 80's properties left and right, from cartoons to adult dramas to comics. But the idea of continuing a story rather than remaking the original is pretty cool on a lot of levels, even though we all know the risks inherent in making poorly-thought-out sequels. Bonus points for including a timeskip the way that the new Dallas apparently will. A timeskip allows the show to focus primarily on a new set of characters while still providing plenty of opportunities for the much-beloved older set of characters to make audience-pleasing appearances. This way the new show can account for the fact that the original cast has aged significantly, and account for the fact that not all of the members of the original cast are available to reprise their roles (hence the whole focus of the show shifting away from the original cast in the first place). From a storytelling perspective, it allows the original cast of characters to be minimally involved in the continuing plot without messing too much with how the storylines in the original series concluded, so that the real melodrama can be focused around the new set of characters. This neatly sidesteps one of the biggest problems with sequels in any medium - namely, that audiences don't like to see beloved older characters suffering through tons of retcons and ridiculous melodrama if we're more-or-less satisfied with how their storylines and character development arcs concluded twenty-some years ago - while still allowing the new cast to wallow in all of the ridiculous melodrama and cheesy plot twists that we love in a soap opera like Dallas. In short: Timeskips! They are almost universally a good idea in long-running soap operas, especially when a particular soap opera is about to get a new season after being off the air for over twenty years. ;)
nenena: (W.I.T.C.H. - Irma rocks)
Here it is, holy shit, the actual fucking trailer for Mysterious Cities of Gold Season 2:

I know, it's in French. I know, the Golden Condor still looks ridiculous and Mendoza is still ridiculous and the parrot is still annoying. I know, the flash animation that worked so beautifully for Wakfu and My Little Pony just looks weird and awkward when combined with Cities of Gold's retro, rounded, semi-realistic character designs. I know, I know, I know.

And yet.

When that theme song starts playing at the end of the trailer. Oh my flash animation-loving God. I hear that and suddenly I'm three years old again, sitting on my dad's lap, either crying because the aliens in this cartoon are terrifying the shit out of me*, or freaking out because for some reason my dad (who is from South America) has the brilliant idea to attempt to EXPLAIN THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THIS SHOW to his toddler daughter and I'm just like WHUT WHUT what do you mean that Zia was sold into slavery and what do you mean the Spanish dudes and the native people didn't get along and what do you mean that Tao isn't even a "real" native because his entire race is fictional. I mostly didn't get any of what my dad tried to explain to me. I didn't get it at all. But I did pick up the word "conquistador" from those conversations. My dad was super-proud when he finally taught me how to say that word, even though I didn't really understand the meaning or the weight of the word. All I knew was that my dad called Mendoza a "conquistador," therefore he was a conquistador. Whatever that meant.

I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that some of my earliest memories are of watching this show. Heck, I barely remember anything about preschool, but I remember watching this show with my dad. And being mostly confused about the historical context and the conflicts between the Spaniards and the Incas and the Mayans and the Olmecs. And being completely terrified of those scary aliens that showed up in the final episodes. Hey, I was three years old, okay?

But despite being confused by some parts and outright terrified by others, I still loved that show. Oh my God, how I loved that show. Maybe it's because I was three years old at the time and I didn't have much in the way of discerning taste, or maybe it's because I just loved having that bonding experience with my dad, I don't know. But I definitely remember that I freakin' LOVED that show.

Oh, and if Cities of Gold returning to television later this year isn't enough of a nostalgiagasm for y'all, check this out:

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is getting a reboot in DC's new Sword of Sorcery monthly.

Hell. Fucking. YES.

* Looking back now I have no idea why I was so terrified of the aliens in Mysterious Cities of Gold. I mean, they were just pointy-eared little bald men. I do remember having a pretty horrifying nightmare about them, though. In my nightmare they had red glowing eyes and were definitely a lot scarier than they appeared to be in the cartoon. So I think it's possible that my three-year-old brain confused my nightmare version of the aliens with the cartoon version of the aliens, and then got legitimately scared whenever the cartoon aliens appeared onscreen. I dunno.