Friday, March 20, 2015

Fandom Friday: ANIME

Anime is Awesome, Neat, Interesting, Magnificent, and Exciting!

 For those of you who may not know, or fully appreciate the Japanese cultural phenomena that is anime; here are five reasons why you should be watching it.

Every anime that I have seen or heard about tell the most interesting, action packed, romantic, or crazy stories.  The story lines are so well written, that people are always begging for more.  No matter how outrageous or just plain weird an anime is, the story is compelling enough to keep you invested.

When watching an anime, you not only get invested in some pretty epic stories, but you also get a sense of the Japanese culture through their storytelling, character design, dialogue, and animation.  I am not an anime "purist," I watch anime that is dubbed in English, not the ones with the original Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.  No matter how you watch it, you pick up on the Japanese language and culture in a very fun and unique way.

 I can't tell you how much I absolutely love several anime characters!  Every character is complex and complicated, but in the best way possible.  Also, anime loves to play with gender and stereotypes.  Don't be surprised if your watching an anime and you come across a character that is transgender or agender.  And since anime characters are written so well and so realistically, it is easy to become very attached to if anything happens to those characters, you feel it too.  I have cried so hard, so many times over the trials and deaths of my favorite characters.  So many feels! 

The imagination and the clear dedication that goes into making a whole new world for each anime to take place is absolutely astounding!  No two anime worlds are the same.  Each one is unique, no matter if the anime is fantasy based, action/adventure based, or  romantic based.  From all the anime that I have seen or heard about, each one takes place in a special, remarkable world and it is so much fun learning all about those worlds and how they work.


Alright, let's talk about the animation for a minute.  Each anime has its own unique animation style, but what makes anime fun is that the animators are not afraid to break from that style for the sake of humor.  There are definitely some animation stereotypes like line blushing and glasses flashing white when the character moves, it's all fun.  Even the more serious anime will have moments of absolute absurdity and it will be intensified by a slightly more cartoon-like animation style. 

 So the anime/manga fandom: or otaku is one that is dedicated, loyal, obsessive, weird, and hilarious and being a part of it is just so much fun.  It is like being a member of a secret club, especiall ywhen you make specific anime references...but it is like that with every fandom.  Anyways, have you watched any anime?  If so, which one(s) or if not WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GO WATCH SOME ANIME!  Keep an eye out for my next post and I will see ya when I see ya!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Fandom Friday: Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time...

Greetings!  Happy Friday!  This week I am going to delve into the world of Disney movies and talk about the wonderful show Once Upon a Time and why you should watch this amazing interpretation on the classic fairy tales.  These two things actually go together, at least in my mind, because a lot of Disney movies tend to reinterpret fairy tales, which is what the show Once Upon a Time accomplishes too.  How they go about interpreting and representing these fairy tales or legends is pretty different, so it should be fun to discuss who tells the more compelling story.

Disney Makes Everything Better!
Alright, so I am a little biased when it comes to Disney movies.  I grew up in the 90;s during the Renaissance of Disney movies, so my absolute favorite Disney movies tend to be from that decade.  Not all of them are, but several of them definitely make my list.  I think the best way to go about this section is for me to list my favorite Disney movies and to tell you why they are my favorite, and if I happen to know the original story the movie is based on, I will rate it based on the source material as well.

The Lion King: So this is probably one of my favorite movies of all time, not to mention one of my top Disney favorites.  What is there not to love?  The characters are fantastic!  I love the voice work accompanied with the characters themselves; it all meshed together perfectly; which is key in an animated film.  The music is amazing, such great and memorable songs that can never be forgotten!  On a side note, I may or may not have this entire movie memorized...don't judge me.  The dialogue is well-written and the story is totally worth mentioning because the day I learned that this movie was Hamlet but with lions, I was so blown away!  Adapting a Shakespeare tragedy into an animated children's movie is no easy task, but I think considering the circumstances, Disney did a fantastic job retelling the epic tale.  I wold like to take a moment to acknowledge the brilliant sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride which was based on Romeo and Juliet, also by Shakespeare; fun fact.  This movie kept up with everything that made the first movie magical and I am not just saying this because I personally know the people who wrote the sequel.  The second movie was able to maintain some of the key elements of Romeo and Julie, but again, made it kid-friendly and a lot less tragic.  Anyway,  both movies get two big thumbs up in my books! Great stories and great interpretations of the source material!
The older I get, the more I think Hades is the best character.

 Hercules: One of my favorite movies from when I was younger, I was wooed by the catchy songs, the epic tale, the fun characters, and the hilarious comedy.  However, if you have been keeping up with my blogs, you may remember a few weeks ago I mentioned my love for Greek mythology.  And Heracles is definitely a Greek myth, one that I have pride myself with knowing fairly well.  In the first few minutes of the movie, there are so many inaccuracies between the myth and what is happening, I can barely stand to watch it quietly without pointing out all the things WRONG.  Let me just give you a brief glimpse of what I am thinking about when I am watching the movie.  His name is Heracles and he is the son of Zeus and a mortal woman, he was not born a god.  Heracles means famous for Hera in Greek and he is named this because of the epic hatred Hera has towards him.  She is not his benevolent mother.  What the, ugh, that is not how Pegasus is born.  He was created because Poseidon and Medusa had a thing before she went all Gorgon, and when Perceus chopped off her head, Pegasus sprung forth from her blood/body.  He is not just some cloud bird-horse Zeus whipped up.  Oh look, there's Megara the woman you will marry and have children with...why are you doing your labors now?  Those 12 labors are your penance for Hera messing with your head, making you go crazy and killing your wife and children.  Don't even get me started on Hades and the titans! least they got his strength right.  So yeah, you could say I am a bit of a critique when it comes to the mythology in this movie.  Don't get me wrong, I will always love this movie for the same reasons I always have, but I cannot just overlook the mythological inaccuracies.  I am forever torn on this movie between love and irritation.  It's the curse of knowing mythology.

Peter Pan: I have fond memories of watching this movie when I was very young.  I always wanted to go to Neverland and fly and fight pirates and go on all sorts of adventures with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  I would try to be Wendy and even would mimic her accent.  Yeah, I was a bit of a dork stuck in a fantasy world when it came to this movie.  As far as the source material, the book by J.M. Barrie, I am actually currently reading it, and I can tell you the movie did a decent job with interpreting what happens pretty well, but I am not very far in the book, so my opinion might change as I keep reading.  The story itself has always fascinated me, and I was one of those people who watched a live action interpretation, Hook, with Robin Williams and loved the story even more.  The movie is and always will be magical and I will always associate it with my own feelings towards childhood and not wanting to grow up.

Honorable Mentions 
Best All Around: Aladdin and Beast and the Beast 
Best Story: The Little Mermaid and Tangled
Best Music Tarzan

Once Upon a Time
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the show, Once Upon a Time, allow me to try and simplify the basic idea for you so you can understand where I am coming from when I start talking about the show.  The main character is Emma (one reason I love this show is because it is the first time I have had the same name as a main character in a show) and she is living in New York when her son whom she gave up for adoption finds her and convinces her to come to Story Brooke to save the town, which is full  of the characters from all sorts of fairy tales.  The people of Story Brooke do not remember who they are because they are from a different world, but thanks to a curse put on them by the Evil Queen, they were transported into this world, where there is no magic and their identities and stories are thought of as make-believe.  The show progresses as we discover that Emma is the lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the show loves to weave together characters together in ways that make the whole show more interesting.  

The unique story lines that derive from this show's main idea is not the only reason to love this show, but the characters themselves are so complex and are constantly shifting and changing, keeping the show interesting and engaging.  Emma is definitely one of my favorite characters because she is tough and brave and smart, but she is also lonely and self-conscious about her true identity and role in Story Brooke.  Snow White was not on my list of interesting princesses growing up, but how her character is written makes her infinitely more interesting than her Disney interpretation.  She is not a damsel in distress, she can handle herself and she has had a complicated and hard life.  Rumpelstiltskin is another one of my favorites because his character pretty much defines "gray area." He's not always a good man, but he is not always a monster.  Speaking of Snow White, Regina (the "Evil" Queen) is probably my number two favorite female character.  She starts off as the antagonist in the show, but as her story comes into the light, it is hard not to sympathize with her.  She has had a hard and tragic life and she is still dealing with a lot, even though she was the only one who kept her memories of her real life before Story Brooke.  She changes throughout the show and takes strides towards becoming a better person, and stumbles sometimes, which is why I think I like her so much.  She is clearly try to change, and witnessing a realistic interpretation of how that would look, it is powerful to witness a character slowly changing in front of you.  He rocks back and forth between someone people can trust and someone you do not want to mess with ever.  His story is also so complex and twisted, that it is so interesting to learn more and more about his long and dark and mysterious life.  Finally, this list would not be complete without mentioning my character crush on the show: Captain Hook.  I know what you're thinking, "You literally just said a little bit ago that you love Peter Pan, how you could you ever say that you prefer Hook instead?"  My friends, Hook is not some old guy with long hair and a creepy mustache who is evil and obsessed with a little boy in this show.  Now he doesn't start off as a good guy though, he is the rebel you can't help but root for because he is "devilishly handsome and charming" thanks to the Irish hunk who portrays him, Colin O'Donoghue.  He is like Regina in the sense that he starts off as a guy who is portrayed as the bad guy, but again as his story is revealed, we empathize with him more and more and cheer for him as he strives to become a hero.  especially since his change of heart is thanks to Emma; my otp of the show: Captain Swan.  Overall, the show sticks to the source material a little, but mostly decided to use the source material as a spring board into an idea that connects these stories in a way that is fun for everyone to witness.

So, what is your favorite Disney movie?  Who is your favorite Disney character?  Which fairy tale is your favorite?  Comment down below and I will see ya next week.  


Friday, March 6, 2015

Fandom Friday: The Whedonverse

Joss Whedon Ruins Lives

Happy Friday everyone!  So for those of you who don't know, Joss Whedon is a writer and has made and directed some pretty popular TV shows and a couple of movies, and he is a life ruin-er.  Right now he is most known for his work with Marvel; The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Agents of Shield. But before he struck it big with the comic book nerds, he had a couple of other TV shows that gave him some serious nerd cred.  The two shows I want to draw attention to today are arguably his two most beloved shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

Buffy Summers: Vampire Slayer 
This show, created back in the 90's, introduced viewers to a cast of characters that would live on in pop culture for years to come.  I stumbled upon this show on Netflix not too long ago and found myself engrossed in the world Whedon created.  I had always heard people praising the show for its great characters and interesting story line, but I didn't believe it until I witnessed it myself.  Buffy was a surprisingly complicated character, she is not just girly and can dust some vamps, but she is a leader and she developed wonderfully from the normal teenage girl (besides the monitoring of the hell mouth) to a strong and independent woman by the shows end.  She had some love ups, some soul crushing downs, and died twice and she proved time and time again that she could handle herself in almost any situation.  She would have not have made it nearly as far as she did without her Scooby Gang.  She had Giles: her British father figure and watcher, Willow: best friend, talented and powerful witch, and computer nerd, and Xander: her close, funny guy friend who could always see everything for what it was.  Some other characters worth mentioning are Buffy's vampire hunks: Angel and Spike.  Angel was Buffy's boyfriend for awhile and he has a soul, but really while he is gorgeous, he is there to brood.  This was enough to land him his own TV spinoff called Angel that followed him around while he brooded and felt sorry for himself and helped people.  My favorite character in the entire show,hands down, was Spike!  Spike was interesting and complicated.  He's funny, honest, cunning, sassy, brave, selfish, British, and so much more!  He could steal the scene by just being himself, and I just love him for sticking to who he is and for developing a great deal as the show went on.  Anyways, this show developed pretty much all of its characters wonderfully and kept the show interesting by thinking of new ways to torture the poor people in Sunnydale.  If you are looking for a show that is cork-y, somewhat scary, has compelling characters, and will occasionally make you bawl your eyes out and wish you no longer had emotions, then this show is for you!

Finding Serenity
After the success of Buffy, Whedon created a new show that was a beautiful combination of science fiction and western called Firefly.  However, for whatever reasons, this show did not have the best of luck while it was on air.  The episodes weren't shown in order and due to low ratings, the show was cancelled before the first season could even end.  This left 14 episodes to its name, but eventually a movie was made to tie up the loose ends a couple years later, called Serenity.  I am sure by now some of you are wondering why a cancelled TV show with a movie be worth mentioning, but since the show's tragic demise, it has been raised to a cult status and has millions of fans around the world weeping for the show that never continued.  Let me tell you some cool stuff about Firefly.  First, its shiny; the show is set in the future and humans have been settling on different planets across the stars wherever they can.  Some of these planets are well-off and advanced in technology while some are poorer and force their inhabitants to live almost like the the days of the old west.  So Firefly is a cargo ship and the ship is named Serenity.  The captain, Mal, leads his crew on adventures to get money by working whatever jobs they can find, often smuggling things illegally.  Second in command is Zoe and her husband, Wash, is the pilot.  Kaylee keeps the ship flying, and Jayne helps out on most of the job.  Inara is a companion who owns her own part of Serenity ans will accompany the crew whenever she is not busy with her own work.  Then in the first episode we are introduced to the other eventual members of this rag tag crew, Shepherd who is like a priest, Dr. Simon Tam and his sister River; stowaways on the run because of some program that messed with River's brilliant mind.  Together, everyone tries to survive whatever situation their jobs get them into and it is all like cowboys in space!  The show itself is well-written and creates such an interesting universe with such empathetic characters.  In the movie though, things got serious and the fandom is forever scarred by the emotional trauma caused by the cruel storytelling of Whedon.  Really though, this show is amazing and the movie is fantastic! take the time to watch both the show and the movie on Netflix, it's not like it will take that much time (just typing that made me die a little inside). 

Well that is all for this week folks!  Have you seen either of these shows?  Have you been personally victimized by Joss Whedon?  Comment down below your thoughts and I will see you all next week!  Have a great weekend!