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)
[ profile] earthy_dreamer has a PSA.

[ profile] arionhunter has a roundup of early reviews.

[ profile] racebending has a long and juicy discussion post about their reactions to the prescreening that Paramount gave them.

unfunnybusiness has a roundup of sneak peek clips and a video of Shyamalan shooting himself in the foot on national television in this post and its comments.

My favorite comment thus far:

Comparing this movie to Syfy movies is an insult to the careful consideration of casting Dinocroc vs Supergator. At least that show differentiate between large mouth reptiles and doesn't let those Tyrannosaurs Rexes take up all the major parts like some other dinosaur themed franchises.

I agree. I actually watched Boa vs Python. At least the entire movie was tolerable enough to sit through, which is more than I can say for the short 1:30 clips from The Last Airbender that you can see on Youtube.
nenena: (Disney - SQUID?!)

I know that I don't post much about the gawdawful The Last Airbender film, mostly because by this point the number of epic, jawdropping failures that the film has managed to pull off before it even hits theaters has become too large to count. Still, this one REALLY leapt out at me:

Look at the way that Katara, Yue, and Suki's clothes are folded.

Look at the way that Katara's clothing is folded.


The next thing you know, they're going to have Suki sticking her chopsticks out of a ricebowl.

(By the way, in the animated series? They did the clothes-folding correctly. And if you were paying attention during the "Ember Island Players" episode you would have noticed that Jet's clothes were deliberately folded backwards in order to indicate that he was DEAD.)

ETA: Look, everyone! A dumbass came to play in our sandbox! How pwecious.

ETA 2: This comment sums up pretty well the astounding level of failure on display in the costume department.
nenena: (Default)
Grad school applications: 2.5 out of four complete and submitted. The .5 would be the NKU app, which unfortunately is a two-part process. Yes, that's two steps in paper submission before you even get to the interview stage. Thank goodness they have a final application deadline in freakin' June for the fall semester.

Reading: Tsubasa (this week's chapter actually made me cry!!!), Ah! My Goddess (HOLY CRAP you guys this story arc is getting awesomer by the minute), and catching up on the past two years' worth of X-Factor. Oh, X-Factor. You are so, so good. Even with your insistence on revolving entire storylines around Sparklepunk Mary Sue Layla Miller, you're still so, so good.

Linky-links: Derek Kim on the Avatar movie. Read it. NOW. Derek Kim is an amazing writer, and if his words can't convince you that "racist" is exactly the right word for this shit, then nothing can. Also: It just keeps getting worse. However, there may be a way to make lemonade from all those lemons.

Doing: Yes, I am scanning stuff. Hold yer horses.
nenena: (W.I.T.C.H. - Irma rocks)
Went to the bookstore today. Hooray!

I picked up Ah! My Goddess volume 38, with Chrono on the cover. In the manga canon, I guess she's officially strawberry blonde, now.

So I guess Crono is important enough to rank among Rind, Chihiro, and other supporting characters who have gotten their own volume covers. I'm... not sure how I feel about that. I mean, Crono is just so... stupid. But oh well. There are enough better characters in the cast that I really don't care whether Crono deserves her moment in the sun, or not.

The big surprise was an announcement in the back of the book: the Ah! My Goddess "Total Illustration Artbook 1998 ~ 2008" hits the shelves on Christmas Day! Holy crap!! I can't believe that date wasn't announced in last month's Afternoon. Uh, way to advertise your release dates well in advance, guys. Or not.

Speaking of release dates... How to Make Deathscythe was supposed to hit the shelves today, too. But of course, Squeenix has yet to ship any copies to any bookstores in the southern Nagano area. Of course. This always happens, argh! But that's what I get for living in a backwater.

Oh hey, and since I do live in a backwater, today was the first day that I found a copy of Mutuality on the bookstore shelf. Of course I immediately bought it. ;) Yes, yes, I know, the book has been out for three weeks already. But hey, backwater living! Gotta love it.

Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar, Mutuality is the big giant artbook collection of all of CLAMP's illustrations for Code Geass. And it is, absolutely, in a word, stunning. Worth every single penny. Say what you will about Code Geass - and you know I'm not shy about repeatedly stating that I think that it's utter shite, albeit extremely entertaining shite - but it's impossible to deny that CLAMP's artwork for the series, both production designs and promotional materials, really do represent the pinnacle of modern manga artistry. (If you can stand how overwrought they are, that is.)

Anyway, the book is gorgeous, almost mind-blowingly so, and contains many paintings so visually complicated that I could stare at them for hours and still not be able to appreciate every single detail. The best part of the book, however, is an extensive section of all of the early, rejected character designs that CLAMP churned out. Some of them are outright LOLarious. And some of them are extremely... telling. I know that I've written about this phenomenon before, when the original Lelouch and Suzaku character designs were first revealed in an issue of Newtype. But it still *fascinates* me to observe the process that CLAMP applied to evolving those two character designs from their rough versions to their final versions.

Really long entry in which I ramble about anime character designs, racial coding, and yes, I actually tie Code Geass to Avatar and all of the ugly racewank it's generating. )

Edited to add: Now with visuals! Hooray!

Edit again: Another thing just occurred to me. I originally wrote this post with the intent to debunk the "Aang looks white" meme, but there's a more insidious meme out there that can be addressed here as well. That would be the "Avatar characters are raceless" meme. The most common justification for which seems to be the idea that because the main Avatar characters have such varied facial features, they aren't meant to all be of the same race! Mai and Ty Lee look so completely different, that they couldn't possibly both be of the same race, right? WRONG! This is a stupid idea, because it assumes that there's never any physical variations between people of the same race. It is an insidious packaging of the same old racist belief that a) only white people have varied facial features and b) all Asian people look exactly the same. Oh, barf. The character designs in most anime series, as well as in Avatar, directly defy that idea. But, you know. Viewers are still people, and people are still stupid.

Edit the Third: Just added a bunch more images, including scans of CLAMP's original character designs for Lelouch and Suzaku.

Edit the Fourth: Ampersand links an old essay by Matt Thorn about the same dealio, and a fascinating discussion ensues in the comments.
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: (Devi - Is it stupid in here)
What the hell, M. Night Shyamalan?

What. The. Hell.

See also: 21, Wanted, The Prince of Persia, the Dragonball movie, and Speed Racer. Just off the top of my head and in the last year alone.

What the hell, world?

What. The. Hell.

Edit: Letter-Writing Campaign, GO!!!


Oct. 30th, 2007 11:54 pm
nenena: (Default)
I was looking back at my anime year in review post, and I realized that most of the shows that I recced (and ALL of the shows that I uber-recced) were from the spring 2007 season. There was almost nothing that really pushed my buttons in a good way from the fall 2006 season. I mean, I enjoyed Hataraki Man, Red Garden, and Kanon (the latter despite the I-knew-it-was-coming-but-still-hated-it ending), and I enjoyed Code Geass for all the wrong reasons, but... The fall season definitely didn't IMHO produce any truly great series like Seirei no Moribito, To Terra, or Romeo x Juliet. Looking back, I definitely felt like the fall 2006 season was a mushy pile of generic harem shows stacked on top of generic harem shows, but the spring 2007 season felt like a breath of fresh air to me. I mean: Juliet, Seto San, Balsa, Swena, Clare, Nadie, Nia, and Yoko were all on TV at the same time, and how awesome was that?! I felt like anime was finally moving beyond the moe moe moe moe moe moe endless trend of generic moe moe moe moe generic shows. Which isn't to say that moe shows stopped altogether - there was plenty of moe in the spring 2007 season - but that we finally got a variety of shows other than just endless episodes of moe moe and more moe.

And now, what does the fall 2007 anime schedule look like?

Yup. We're back to square one. It's almost nothing but generic harem comedies, and endless amounts of moe moe moe moe.

In case you haven't guessed, I'm annoyed that other than Shakugan no Shana (which YES contains moe but at least it has a PLOT and awesome female characters) and You're Under Arrest, there's almost nothing good on TV for me to veg in front of this season. Or at least, nothing "good" for me, as I have very little interest in harem comedies or moe.

On the other hand, American television is currently exploding with awesome (Avatar, The Boondocks, American Dad, South Park, The Simpsons, and Robot Chicken), so that at least makes up for the dearth of good animated television on this side of the Pacific.

Here's hoping that the spring 2008 anime season will bring back the bucketloads of win and awesome that the spring 2007 season provided. Isn't Haruhi Season 2 supposed to air in spring 2008?
nenena: (Default)
I woke up this morning to discover that both premieres Avatar and Metalocalypse were now available for me to watch. Also, there was a giant stack of freshly-shipped Amar Chitra Katha comics sitting on my porch.

Thank god the weather sucked today!