redwoodalchan: Artwork lifted from Pokemon wiki; character belongs to Pokemon (pic#4865891)
 This is something that's been on my mind for a little while now, and has been on my mind even more since I watched this video (warning: "Family Guy" spoilers, blood content). The video makes a good point about the growing trend of fans apparently thinking it's okay to kill off a character just because they're annoying or not particularly liked, and how troubling this trend is. What's even more troubling to me is that people say the same sorts of things about real people some of the time. I'm sure we've all seen examples of this. "This fan wrote a bad story whose message I don't approve of, therefore they should die." "This celebrity was mean to another celebrity I like, therefore they should die." "This person killed someone, therefore the death penalty is the only way justice could possibly be served." And whether the people saying these things mean it literally is not the point; the point is it's considered perfectly acceptable to wish death on pretty much anyone who does something unpopular or morally wrong. I wouldn't necessarily say our entertainment (with its focus on standing up to, beating up, and/or killing physically-stronger opponents) is entirely to blame for this, but I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg problem, and I don't think it's an accident that there's so many parallels between what people say about characters that aren't particularly liked and what people say about real people who aren't particularly liked.

Admittedly you do get into more of a gray area when you're talking about people who do morally-reprehensible things. This is why people can sustain debates about the morality and efficacy of the death penalty. But it's one thing to have a death penalty, and quite another to justify or glorify the mere act of killing "bad" people, even in fiction or throwaway conversations. One of the things that most impressed me about the anime "Birdy the Mighty: Decode" is that it went out of its way, particularly in the second season, to point out that there is NO such thing as a justifiable murder, EVEN IF THE TARGETS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE.

But some people don't even stop there. There was an article on LiveJournal a few weeks ago about how the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon had been tried and sentenced to death for killing so many people. Now, I'm not someone who has any sort of objections to this per se (though some people seem to), but what troubled me the most was that there were at least one or two comments on the article about how these men ought to be tortured to death. I repeat: these men had already been sentenced to die at the time. That was not up for negotiation or debate. Yet you still had users essentially making the case that, oh, merely killing them isn't good enough, we had to make sure they suffered horribly before they died. But why?! Torturing these men before killing them won't bring their victims back to life. And if the argument is that it will enable them to feel the pain of their victims, or the victims' families, well, here's the thing. Back when I was sporking some of the paratext about that book-which-must-not-be-named I expressed glee at a picture of the main character being tied up and abused, because I hated him so much. But one of the comments pointed out that what would be better revenge would be to dispose of him quickly and quietly, denying him the flashy, torturous deaths he was so fond of dishing out. And that's kind-of how I feel about these guys. The best thing to do would be to simply kill them with no fanfare, and have everyone get on with their lives. If they actually were tortured to death it would cast them as victims of America's criminal justice system on the one hand, and make it acceptable to descend to their level in the name of "justice" on the other.

It feels vaguely "Black Lagoon," actually. Everyone kills, so killing an opponent is to be expected, and the only way to show someone as particularly awful, or punish said person, is to make the death extra torturous, humiliating, or widespread. But is "Black Lagoon" really the world we want to live in?
redwoodalchan: (pic#7834867)
 So apparently there exists in the Pit a fanfic crossover of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and "Xam'd: Lost Memories." Oh, yeah! Why anyone would think it would be a good idea to combine a series for six-year-old girls about ponies and an adult anime series that prominently features such delights as a teenage boy eating his own head and parents lamenting the disappearance of their children, I have no idea. I've briefly read through the three chapters or so of the fic, and...it seems that it basically follows the storyline and even the script of "Xam'd" pretty much line by line, only the "Xam'd" characters are replaced by characters from "My Little Pony." Did the author even watch "Xam'd" past the first two or three episodes? Did they just assume that friendship was as important in "Xam'd" as it was in "My Little Pony" (which isn't true, BTW, or at least not in the simplistic "Friendship can do anything!!" way I commonly see it touted in children's entertainment)?

In short, what the fuck?!
redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Baccano!" (pic#5236477)
 So just last week, I finally realized, definitively, just how much I hate dead baby comedy. It just hit me. I don't know if it was all the soul searching I'd been doing, or the time I'd spent in sporking circles, or watching internet reviews; but finally I found myself confronted with it. I'd seen plenty of examples of dead baby comedy before, and I remember finding them uncomfortable; but I'd mostly just assumed that I was overreacting, or lacked a sense of humor, or something of that nature. But just this past week, I came across some of it courtesy of a few friends, and was finally forced to acknowledge just how very, very much I hate dead baby comedy.

Contains discussion of extreme violence and disturbing concepts (not depicted) )
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 It's obvious that whoever wrote those pages is a completely obsessed fan (or most likely fans) who worships the ground they walk on and probably thinks beautiful white chrysanthemums and monkshoods grow from between their toes. Pretty much every other thing that finds its way onto those pages somehow leads back to how totally awesome and special Iron Maiden are, and how they pretty much define CMOA, and how everything they do is amazing and wonderful and perfect--to the point of absurdities like praising a band member for striking a guy with his car because he was running late to a concert as an "Awesome Moment," despite the fact that a moment's logic and reason would tell you that striking someone with a car for any reason is bad, no matter who's doing it!

Look, I make no secret of the fact that I adore Iron Maiden. I think they're a great band and in some respects a very admirable one--but there is a limit to the amount of praise even they are entitled to! I'm just worried about what'll happen if someone tries to mount an honest, reasonable criticism of them or anything they've done on TVTropes. Will Iron Maiden become the next Harry Potter, with people making excuses for EVERYTHING they've ever done wrong, and expecting the worst of anyone who disagrees like they currently do for people who find Snape more sympathetic than Harry and his ilk?

Before anyone asks, yes I've edited those pages. But I haven't been responsible for the more insane bits like the aforementioned car thing.

redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Shiki" (pic#5113210)
 And I can't even watch the far-superior "Shiki" afterwards, because I left it at home! Sigh....

Ahem, I first watched this show when I was a teenager, and I remember liking it but not thinking it lived up to my expectations. As the years have gone by and it's processed further, though, I've become quite angry with it. So I decided to tune in again, to see if it still holds up, and maybe redeem it in my eyes (though frankly, that almost certainly won't happen at this rate).

At the current rate, I think it's a dead ringer for a sporking. I've actually been compiling notes of things to talk about for a sporking of this show, in fact. Since it's an incredibly violent show I figured I'd pitch it to Mervin first to see if she's okay with it (obviously I wouldn't show any pictures of naked people or violent scenes) and if she doesn't give me the green light I'll probably still spork it on my own journal or something. I've got a bone to pick with this series, and truthfully it goes beyond the story's actual quality and content (though they both suffer from obvious flaws). I'm just so sick of people treating it as some sort of high water mark of mature anime, while series that can do the exact same thing it can and be smarter and more mature about it languish in the shadows of obscurity!
 
redwoodalchan: (pic#7810517)
 Why? I mean that. What actual reason do you have for thinking the OVA is better? I'm just dying to know, because I cannot for the life of me engineer any reason that makes sense.

Birdy is awesome in both so that can't be it. Is it Tsutomu? Tsutomu actually strikes me as less of a wimp in "Decode" and more of a normal high school boy. He's certainly no less helpful to Birdy than he is in the OVA. And if you liked the balancing act of the OVA where Tsutomu was the brains and Birdy the brawn, well, "Decode" doesn't do that because it's reductive, and both Birdy and Tsutomu have to feel like people and not just constructs that compliment each other.

As for Tsutomu's high-school friends, they're so much more likable and interesting in "Decode" that there's no comparison. The boys actually have hobbies and personalities that don't revolve around porn, and he's got more friends who are girls, and they too have hobbies and personalities that are actually relevant to the story--it's not like in the OVA where Tsutomu had one female friend who existed basically to be his love interest. His love interest in "Decode," for that matter, is clearly shown to be a nice girl who seems good for him and the things they bond over are actually explained.

Is it the villains? I fail to see how that could be it. Geega and Bacillus are, if anything, actually more interesting and fun in "Decode" than they are in the OVA, and better integrated into the overarching plot. As for Shyamalan, he's easily more threatening than Hikawa ever was--and is more complex to boot. It is true that the OVA gives much more screentime to Christella Revi herself, but even in the original OVA Christella Revi didn't have much of a personality other than being a generic supervillain, so it's not like it's a great loss to have her mostly in the background. And once again, "Decode" if anything expands upon her more and makes her more interesting because she's actually shown to have a history of wanting to use her skills to make things better for her own people, something the OVA version conspicuously lacked. Or are you one of those people who thinks that bad guys who have tragic or sympathetic pasts or motivations are inherently weak and wimpy, and would rather your villain be a two-dimensional cutout than show even a hint of vulnerability or sadness?

It's true that "Decode" has very different art and music than the OVA, but it's not inferior on that score, just different. I know some people get nostalgia kicks from the 90's animation of the OVA, which I can't say for myself because I'm not old enough to remember most 90's anime. Still, nostalgia alone is not a good reason for declaring something objectively better--Pokemon fandom is a testament to that. And as for English dubbing, there is no comparison--"Decode" has the superior dub, all the way.
 
The one criticism I hear of "Decode" that seems actually somewhat well thought out and that I might actually be able to understand is that it's slower-paced than the OVA. This is perfectly true--certainly the OVA was able to tell a story in four episodes the equivalent of which took "Decode" thirteen episodes and change. However, the reason why "Decode" is slower paced is because it actually takes time to introduce and develop the characters and set the scene, and flesh out its themes. The OVA barely bothered to do any worldbuilding or give its aliens any sort of culture or background, and all the characters, human and alien, were painted in broad strokes. As a result, it doesn't have the well-developed alien worlds and histories or the deep, rich, nuanced characterizations that make "Decode" so enjoyable for me.

So is it just personal preference? Then why in the hell would you try to argue that the OVA is objectively better? Why do so many of you hate on "Decode" when "Decode" is the one that gives us an alien world that's actually developed, characters that are actually complex and nuanced, and surprisingly on-point social commentary? I'm really starting to think that you're just like the nostalgia whores from Pokemon, and are bashing "Decode" because you were already a fan of the OVA which it dares to deviate from.

Whatever.

redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
...and a call to be more creative with Freudian excuses.

Cut for length, again )
redwoodalchan: (pic#4920144)
H-have I mentioned how much I hate it when people act like humans are the Devil and anything not human is good?

This got loooooong )
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 I want to save the environment. Because I'm a selfish prick who can't stand the thought that I won't be able to enjoy it anymore, or else that I'll die of a climate-related catastrophe. I don't want to endure food or water shortages, I don't want to be infected with a rare tropical disease in my New Jersey hometown, and I don't want to lose the simple pleasures associated with the change of seasons that I love so much. Besides, how will I ever make it around the world if every country below the 49th Parallel has been rendered unlivable by climate change?

There, I said it. End rant.

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