Warrior Women & Lady Scientists! Talking about the women of Thor: The Dark World at TDF today:
Since I’ve been posting a lot from it today… Here’s my quick opinion.
Epic is a movie that had the potential to be really great. The animation is nice. The characters and costume design are gorgeous. It is incredibly PRETTY TO LOOK AT. Without spoiling it, it has a couple of nice narrative choices that are unusual and refreshing. It has some neat concepts introduced. The characters of Tara, Ronin, and Mandrake are actually very interesting. The biggest problem of the film is, the movie tends feel flat, trite, and wooden around MK and Nod (and MK’s father). Our primary narrative focus is on these two least interesting and most woodenly executed characters in the film. Add some plot holes, and that is the big failure of it.
Watch it for the pretty and the side characters though. That stuff’s really quality.
Edit: In case you hadn’t caught on, add #Epic to your blacklist to hide my posts on it.
To say that this show was “Highly Anticipated” would be just as much of an understatement as saying that there are a couple drops of rain in a Typhoon. This show had established fandom before it even existed, meta theories about the characters before they even had names, and from the moment it was announced everyone knew exactly what it was going to be… Except that, and actually turned out to be a little bit different than our expectations. This is the Iwatobi Swim Club - Free!
Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku
Servant x Service
Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen
Gifuu Doudou!! Kanetsugu to Keiji
Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3
I’m really enjoying reading your reviews! This is like, the only thing I’ve read so far that’s actually made me thing Free! might be worth watching at some point.
This is a pretty accurate commentary on Free! and female-gaze versus male-gaze fanservice in anime. It also gets part of why I’m enjoying the show, low expectations combined with surprisingly good female characters for the genre. Of course, it’s probably still going to be problematic queerbaiting, but it’d be nice if they actually bothered to make some of it canon.
But the show is some fun self-mocking sports anime — if that’s what you’re interested in I think you’ll enjoy — and a bit above the average for it’s type.
“Free! is shaping up to be one of the lease problematic queerbaiting series of all time. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be for everyone; just because it’s treating its female characters well doesn’t change the fact that it’s still of romantic comedy sports show, and even if you ignore the queerbaiting, the genre isn’t going to interest everyone. If this sort of thing sounds interesting to you then you’ll probably like it. If you’re still on the fence then go ahead and give it a try, since it does have a lot of good gags and unlike some shows it doesn’t really take itself very seriously at all, which works to its benefit.”
Thoughts on The Hunger Games movie. (Sorry, my cut isn’t working I’ll try to be pretty spoiler free.)
- Obviously we lost a lot of details. Book to movie, that always happens. A lot of what was lost was some of the more detailed and pointed social commentary of it.
- I was really disappointed with the primary character Capitol Fashions. The District 12 Chariot outfits were great, Cinna was fine, generic Capitol folk were fine, Effie was reasonable… although I had hoped her clothes would be a bit more over-the-top — nothing else lived up to expectations. The interview clothes (for all of the tributes), chariot outfits for the other districts, Seneca, Cinna’s team… none of it lived up to expectations. When the Capitol was meant to be fashion and decadence taken to extremes, so many of the styling choices seemed to be “safe”.
- Gale’s acting fell pretty flat. Which is a shame since I loved Gale.
- Katniss & Peeta were acted well.
- I found Prim’s acting pretty generic, any young girl with minimal acting training could have pulled it off.
- Haymitch’s first scene was perfect. The rest of the time he seemed far too sober.
- Cinna and Effie were acted wonderfully. Oh god, Effie with the “That is mahogany!” and “Manners!” — spot on. I am unable to not love Ciinna. [Worth noting: while I didn’t pick up on it to be bothered, the girls I saw the film with felt that Cinna was a little too touchy with Katniss to the point they thought it seemed like an inappropriate romance being heavily hinted.]
- Rue was perfect.
- Thresh, I’m kind of torn on. His wordless expressions and demeanor were perfect in the training hall. He emoted beautifully and you could see his protective side towards Rue without a single word being said. A lot of actors can’t pull that off. Then, the way he delivered his parting lines felt a little less noble decision and more like a kid trying to fake Hollywood-esque “gangster street cred”. It broke the movie magic for me a bit because the delivery of those last couple of lines seemed jarringly out of place for Thresh and the world he lives in. His lines had been fine up to there, and I hate that it broke the characterization for me in the last two sentences because I really admired Thresh’s choice in the books.
- Plotholes like whoa with certain character knowledge and missing details from the books not being explained clearly.
- Really good action.
- Why Katniss mistrusted Peeta’s declarations was not as clearly shown in the movie as I would have hoped.
- Gamemaster Seneca Crane and President Snow was really interesting to see, considering their interactions at this point were unseen in the novel.
Overall, good and fun movie. You’re definitely missing details worth having without the novel though.
Knight in the Area [crunchyroll]
The Knight in the Area tells the stories of middle and high school students as they grow up through their soccer clubs, compete in national tournaments, and strive for world titles. Main character Kakeru, his respected elder brother Suguru, and childhood friend Nana Mishima, along with all the teammates, rivals from other schools, and world class soccer players around him radiate their own brilliant light as they face adolescence with all their strength. The story also incorporates the strong bond between Kakeru and Suguru, the love of their family, the friendship of their teammates and rivals, and fleeting first loves… all coming together to ignite passion in the hearts of all viewers.
The soccer depicted in The Knight in the Area does not rely upon the efforts of “super athletes” or nonsensical “special techniques,” but illustrates “fanciful play” as an extension of reality. Viewers will be drawn to this reality-based anime and its powerful scenes unfolding in realistic settings. Explanations of soccer rules and fundamentals are carefully presented as the story develops. It attempts to raise interest and understanding of elements such as formation diagrams for those unfamiliar with soccer, while depicting soccer in a way that enthusiasts can appreciate as the story of Kakeru’s growth unfolds. The Knight in the Area appeals to a broader range of viewers than any anime ever has before.
[spoilers for #1-9 below]
Thoughts. [Under the cut for spoilers.]
Okay. So personal opinion on Grimm. Relatively spoiler-free.
I’m enjoying it, not a best-ever series by any stretch of the imagination or really going to be anything particularly long-term memorable yet. However, it is starting to do some pretty interesting things.
The Grimm (ugh, why can I not remember names ever, hold on, lemmee Google — okay back), Nick Burkhardt, is really dull. I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s on purpose. I believe that Nick is supposed to be Joe Normal and our almost paper doll window into the world. He reacts a little too newbie-hero-stereotype to situations, and he hasn’t really evolved much of a personality. I mean, I don’t even know what his interests were pre-Grimm-inheritance aside from his job as a cop, and there has been one line that hints he might be a little geeky for old cars. 7~8 episodes in, and that one line is all I’ve got to differentiate him from a completely generic viewer proxy. I hope that changes. (His girlfriends/fiancee isn’t particularly memorable yet either, but she hasn’t had much screen time to work in.)
I think we would’ve done better had they kept Aunt Marie around, because that little old lady had some SASS, even from a hospital bed she’s talking back to “monsters” and scaring them when she does. I liked her.
wolf Wieder Blutbad, Monroe, is in practically every episode so far. Some more, some less. He’s a character with depth, personality and history, and he’s a lot of fun and we learn more about him every time he’s on.
Additionally, you have two regulars on the police force with Nick. His partner, Detective Hank Griffin, like Monroe has been shown to have a fully-fleshed history and personality. He’s not stupid either, he can tell something’s up with Nick, and that fool needs to just fill his partner in instead of sending him off on something every time he wants to call Monroe in. Hank is getting increasingly less willing to just let Nick go haring off. The latest (Rapunzel-themed) episode just really dug into his past and, can we just make him the lead? Additionally, they seem to be starting to develop beat cop(?), Officer Wu, and he seems like a promising detective-in-training. Although I do fear they’re setting him up so either Nick can go entirely solo and cut back on Hank’s screen time (which will bore everyone) or to kill off Hank as a season finale which would not be acceptable.
Aside from the supporting cast being good, you have “villains” set up in interesting positions of power. The episodes are increasingly starting to explore the cultures, traditions, and what I’ll tentatively call racial divide parallels of the “monsters”. The episode “Three Bad Wolves” (the gifs above are from it) basically focused on Monroe’s recent past, Wieder Blutbad(Wolf) philosophies/lifestyles(?), how they relate to other “monsters”, and how the world they live in is changing and they have to either adapt or not participate in society at all. It suggested that not only the “monsters”, but the Grimms too, must also change how they operate and see things. The addition of showing how the “monsters” (and I keep putting that in quotes because a large part of the show seems to be that while there are a few bad apples, they are as a whole, not simply monsters) are mixed throughout society in every level of work and income.
I have 2 main warnings I would give to my more socially conscious followers. 1) Women are far less than 50% of the cast of this show, guest appearances included. On the up side, where they do show up, they don’t do weak, and with the exception of the girlfriend/fiancee, exhibit strong personalities. 2) The show is overwhelmingly white. Something Tumblr has made me increasingly conscious of. Although it’s worth noting that of the 3 memorable, interesting, regularly recurring, characters I listed above though, that Officer Wu is of Asian descent and Detective Hank is African-American.
It’s Wayback Wednesday!*
Austin Grossman’s novel Soon I Will Be Invincible is a fun romp through every super-hero cliché ever invented over the history of the genre. Time-travel, cyborgs, telepaths, aliens, evil geniuses, legacy heroes, secret identities, heroes going bad, villains turning good — everything. It’s an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek parody of the tights-and-flights set.
The book is narrated in alternate chapters by Dr. Impossible, a mad scientist who has held the world in his grasp a dozen times, only to be defeated by his arch-nemesis CoreFire — whom he inadvertently created — and by Fatale (as in “Femme”), a small-time cyborg hero who has just been invited to join the world’s premiere super-team, the Champions.
* (I was going through the site cleaning up links recently and found some old posts that I thought might be worth a second look. Enjoy!)
Actually listened to this book a few months back on SpeedForce.Org’s recommendation. It has some definite weaknesses, namely that spandex superheroes really are best in a visual medium, but it’s an interesting read for those that already have a general familiarity with superhero comics.
[I understand what you meant now.]
So, Xaynie and I watched episodes 5 through 8 last night. (One more Wednesday anime night and we’ll finish the show.)
I just… I cannot even.
Cut for spoilery thoughts and screencaps. Please do NOT tell me anything that occurs after episode 8. I’m not watching the final 4 until next week.