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Below are the 3 most recent journal entries recorded in martikhoras' LiveJournal:

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
1:21 am
You say DEM I say Surprise
This is a response to a fair exasperation to thecakewasalie, another Zutaraian refuge center that when forced to do something but bash and hate the creators, opposing, fans, and etc has little of substance and has a community mandate everyone being free to rant without criticism...and then only vents about "sexism" (Katara being domestically abused by Aang/thecreators), Garystus (Aang and Bryke, again,), Mai sucking (so its sexism when Katara is knaved into a relationship with Aang but not when Mai is bitched at for having her personality and reduced to spoiled rich girl),  and horrible writing (read Zutara not happening).  I'm all for venting.  I've made venting threads, myself.

But after the initial transgression I want to learn and at least deconstruct something from top to bottom even my own viewpoint.  If you're not careful you'll end up being like those guys who are so scared of "tokenism" they forbid any deviance from straight white males in comics.  Or hate misogyny and "moe bullshit" that fear Cmdr Shepard wearing heels to a formal gala/engagement as she chooses.

Watchmen holds up because its not just smashing the silliness of superheroes but deconstructs the mentality as to what makes them and what they'd be like and what they would face and how dangerous and ill equipped a mindset that is.  Namely what happens if you don't have people who only exist to get pummeled, they reflect the human complexities beyond crisis fighting or bleached and stark judgement followed by execution.  How they are reacted to and what part do they play in society as whole.  What if the common conceits and protections are off, what would happen.  Admittedly any story follows the directors of its tellers and is geared to an audience.  But while there is some transgressiveness there doesn't seem to be a malicious intent and it honestly works for NOT having just two sides (a very relevant point) or one voice that is one to one (Section III Line 10) with all wisdom.  The point isn't The Bad Guys win.  Its that 'you can't pummel or bamboozle, nuclear crisis, social upheaval, moral decay, sexuality, technological shock, and society's problems like some greater than plebian man who answers to no censure but his pure conscience. Too bad we keep doing that anyway and watch as slightest niggles undo our orthodoxy and egotism"

This is why, I've learned, I don't like Embers the destruction as to analysis, the condescension, the opinions and etc disguised as clarity, but I REALLY hate the people who parrot it.  That and I don't need yet another how I'm smarter than my Sunday School lesson rebellion (no you're not you just missed the point as brick to the house of you).  And its why I feel the community as a whole is disturbing, creating an echo chamber and then pretending you've made viewing room or even a place of freedom makes me unhappy with the Internet and its delusions.  But there does seem to be something besides the usual haters on their hate wanting to feel valid.  First the most recent topic of of this posting.  And this one.

This question came about as a result of a mini-convo with 
[info]dietotaku at Capslock Zutara...

Personally, I think the Lionturtle development is one of the worst examples of WTF storytelling ever (because one of the rules of good writing is that you never, EVER introduce a character or concept in the last chapter and expect it to not seem completely coincidental), but there are apparently claims that the LionTurtle and energybending concepts were introduced at some point before the finale.

Anybody care to help me dig for this foreshadowing? Know any episodes? Quotes?

Dunno why I made that bold. Eh, it's late. :D


I consider that some honest venting, Katelyn.  I don't know whether you'll agree with me or be convinced, but I can really respect where you're coming from.  You're at a limit and exasperated but asking for, inviting some help and understanding.  In the damned echo chamber but still.  I think its great question and sets a great mood.  You should be rewarded in your spirit of unification and personal frustration followed by a want to analyze.  It is FUN to consider.  You disagree, but ya know you want to at least understand these other thoughts and you aren't insulting about the people in the concept just the concept. 

Now ultimately I disagree as I don't think the Lion Turtle is the most egregrious (as to bending is powered by moon and sun that is accepted due to sheer grandfathering in and mainly this crowded for the juicy dualistic symbolism this still doesn't cover Toph overcoming Earthbending's greatest weakness with sheer determination being cheered and energybending as I'll point out setup getting out everyone's yellow eye evil face ) and is the best example of them applying what they've learned to the story.  ITs a revelation, as at first I really disliked it and then went back and went all ... oh OH OH I get it now.

Its sudden surprise, true, much like anything related to Seige of the North and Yue or any Season Finale of Avatar but this condemned the sort of understood narrative in our heads and what we wanted/expected (especially raised on the diet of anime).  It isn't totally out of left field though, especially considering Firebending Masters and Zuko's spiritual sickness.  But it terms of setup its better if you go back some.  Its established Aang and certain people have spiritual powers and that this is a world where that matters.  Burn a forest and forest spirit rampages.  Moreover spiritual powers matter and its not just feel good philosophy to direct yourself (this is why Ozai who is thoroughly devote in his belief to the point the world is an intrusion and Azula who believes in power, fail so much)

  The means that Fang communicates with Aang is used by Aang to communicate with HeiBei.  After that Aang channels massive power with the Ocean spirit (being the only waterbender when the moon is slain), he does something with the Banyan Tree that lets him see through it, receives visions, and then the real kicker is Guru Pathik.  When he does that emotionally thing with Appa that allows him to more or less cure his growing loss of self.  Afterwards he does something manipulating Appa's energy because "the two of your energies are mixed" bending/manipulating it so Appa can find Aang though they don't know where each other is (and before this Appa and Aang share the same dream).  Ty Lee herself even helps establishing this as she can touch someone leaving no damage and not even paralyze them but disable their bending (Return to Omashu)

Firebending Masters helps establish the importance of spirit in bending as not just superstition but something with exact and temporal effects.  Zuko is able to Firebend the previous episode and Aang prior.  But simply acheiving a goal and changing mindset has snuffed his power to near nothing.  After dancing and working in harmony they feel renewed purpose and energy and come to a greater understanding of bending and themselves and their powers grow immensely.  This even ties into previously established matter of bending lightning requiring awareness of energy about them and emotional stillness to separate the energy and vent the distortion out leaving no distortion left.

The Lion Turtle then teaches Aang an esoteric (pure, no matter) version of something like this, demonstrates it, and then Aang connects with Ozai using the same means as with Heibei or Pathik did with Appa.  Only instead of bending the energy to unify he seperates and channels it while remaining firm able to whether the illusion (world) to reach past something to grab something and separate it. This even relates to the Chakras and Jins (establishing the greater philosophy of energy as something within you that takes certain forms and has certain effects).  Effectively Aang discovered (well was taught really) a form of bending that utilized his channeling ability and combined it with the energy dedication/manipulation for a greater effect than Ty Lee imitating condition in Firebending Masters (you can lose bending and an outside source can establish/restore it).  Note Aang's been growing spirit powers from the beginning of which the Avatar State was merely the most particular and was a "mechanism" made of channelling and manipulating energy.  Instead of concentrating all the energy in him he flushed just the right kind OUT of Ozai.

So yes it is there.  And it is a surprise.  And the Lionturtle is a deus ex machina but it was foreshadowed and set up as important and even the events of the encounter (it even follows rule of three, first Toph-Badger Moles, second Zuko/Aang- Dragons, last the lionturtle.  Fourth if you count the legend of the first waterbender, fifth the dragon dance) and what can happen are established.  It is however a sudden shock that it is happening.  Not every surprise in the narrative is a sign of flaws and failure though yes I can understand wanting more personal effort and the victory the sole result of Aang's actions. I even asked for it.  I'm annoyed that by plot fiat Aang lost the Avatar State, took no action to reclaim it in the specific, and then simply regained it.  That struck me as more discrediting to the narrative (along with Zuko's Redemption Now With Less Time on the Clock Just Because).  Day of Black Sun fails because the magical plot device superpower was taken off and Day of the Comet succeeds as it is restored.

While I'm not hot on Aang must give up Katara for superpower (first it didn't work that way, hell if all arguments for aang to "sacrifice" and "grow-up" deny it) it would be an action of his and a sign of his own character resulting in acceptable trade off.  Only it seems.. well excessive.  He already did that, it failed.  So it would end up being just as arbitrary to do it again, if the point is Aang detaching himself for enlightenment thus allowed to use great power, to succeed.  Now if the point is that Aang must give up on Katara so his romance with her is not there anymore, because it is disliked or judged as bad, that is another matter.  In which case it makes sense the whole "Aang is keep Katara against her will and controlling her and forcing her" narrative some buy into persists.  All he had to do was tell her about the Avatar State and she would leave him or choose it and he'd leave her.  I mean its not like he could choose it, regret it, and then want her back.  With this crew I strongly suspect he'd be condemned just as contrarily for daring to give her up meaning he doesn't truly love her and thus not deserving of Katara.  As such its more not likely the relationship. 

Now some really are disturbed by it.  They see squicky twelve year old macking on someone who doesn't even love him back.  Fair enough and agreed.  I am not Mai's and Zuko's relationship biggest fan and would want to alter things some before accepting it as interesting.  Let alone good and health.  Others just as rightly not interested.  I'm disappointed but I know the feeling.  Particularly as the good well written Kataang is thin and most is too defensive (there is even less friction and emotional interaction as to bland fluff to combat Zutaran assault or from much younger less ... able writers). so I wish I could show what they are missing but they aren't.  Moreover they are just as entitled but I'm sad though I suppose like being invested in, say, the N64.  Overall yeah it was a screw up but it had some nice peices.  I'll defend the Gamecube though its main issue just seemed to be a lack of software/3rd part support crippling kiddie identity.  This, more than anything, is why Nintendo fanboys are such assholes about Wii success we were out ofthe ghetto and telling everyone else how to act.  Still I three way tie seems fun though the honeymoon is long over and the PS3 is totally proving the better LT console that's affordable now.  I guess I'll just hope for Tenzin being Kataang's Wii.  Not that there isn't a guarantee he won't be a villain or badguy.

But mainly I want to point this out.  Energybending isn't the asspull of the finale.  The Avatar State's return by rockpoke that was there all along is.  (its even is near the tailbone)  Moreover I wish people took this same critical eye to Zuko's redemption and even Katara's liking him (and goddamn stop making it seem Zuko's enabling of revenge and murder as bribe was good and empathetic and adult and ethical and etc while in the same breath condemning Aang for the death of Fire Nation rank-and-file and opposing its as self righteous and vulgar)

I'd say the biggest issue is people aren't upset about the things they claim.  And the problems that do exist are blown waaaay out of proportion for maybe they took as more real than reality.  As such we've been stalled in exploring everything in order to fight off or concede points or take as a given the proposals of people who take Zuko as the central character and Katara as his destiny.  This more than anything with the Avatar fandom flooded with shipping fics is why Embers rides so high.  Its one of the few that dares and has sliver of the background and technical execution to try to be a decent general fiction.  And I'll give it this its managing to illustrate what's wrong with all the damned Zuko love by arguing for it so viciously.  I do hope something else steps up.  But if I can make it I'll see Zutara ground to powder by sheer contuinity drift.  Just as moon powers waterbending will become utterly accepted soon so with Tenzin.  And with that the relationship of Aang and Katara and soon they'll be relegated to the people who cared about Little Women or Ranma and Akane (relics, irrelevant) for the new thing.

I have not love for the spirit of Zutara only bitterest hate because it pops up so much without need.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
12:25 pm
We need to stop ripping from the headlines so clumsily
How can I put this.

You know how all fundamentalists are gay bashers who if not directly attacked your best friend-who-*finally*-found-the-one-like-ten-years-ago-and-wanted-to-declare-so's wedding were totally encouraging those who *did* do that as morally upright and are thus just like the nazis?  All of them?  Yep even my parents.  OR how liberal means enlightened society that doesn't need any policing and not just a different emphasis on policing tactics (even in extreme cases like drug legalization) or political and military acts?

That is the dime store *duuh-ee* morality play version of each (always more distinct and easily IDed than modern sports teams) idealogical groups. Rightwingers are fascists.  Liberals create a perfect world where your burdens are lifted (or to be negative no one is responsible and get brought down by red-blooded guy with stick).
Check any major comic morality tale.  Chances are the evil fascist is evil because he's denying people they right to have consequence-less sex or enforces the law without making an exception for people who it shouldn't apply, who incidentally the reader will greatly be intended to identify with.

If not clear by now, and I hate such asides as anyone really offended won't be listening/believe and anyone not may or may not get the clarification but I'm arrogant and like being understood, I hope I can marry a man in my state someday.  Democrats can be policemen, ex or CURRENT military soldiers who know what the hell they are doing and support troops with veteran donations and well shit tons of things.  But as Michigan attests, the state that has Democrats running against Democrats and STILL asserted its marriage is between man and a woman law, alot of the insane stereotyping and specious presentation of groups really skews things.

THE quickie view of politics and modern situations is well not very good.  It often takes a complicated, nuanced, historically dynamic and not easy situation and making it plot to showcase soap operatics and ignoring basic stuff.  BSG, does this in a rather poor way, often (the infiltrator Cylon/models/any political storyline).  Comics are often ham-handed and can't handle such politics because IRL that the current methods to fight terrorist groups are not working doesn't mean there are no terrorists OR the second we switch to more Blue thinking the situation will just heal itself.  Or that anything can be quickly lain at the feet of villain with no shared culpability.  Or that its all a goddamned conspiracy.  No, the scary part is there is this MASSIVE threatening problem, and the solution isn't to vote Democrat because obviously only Republicans are fundamentalists with homophobic issues who are bleeding the country dry for their sponsors.

In comics what happens to any story element once the immediate purpose of it, to supplement the conflict, is resolved it disappears.  Buildings don't just crumble and there are no sideeffects and etc.  In comics you regularly don't deal with a situation after you've had your wham, bam, thank you ma'am.  Yeah, even mature titles and this extends to manga too, though there is no avoiding that on average manga takes more complicated view but that's more related to J-culture and how it likes its stories told.  The overall structure of mainstream superverses undermine direct-er attempts to rip-from-the-headlines, which means even an accomplished decent writer will flounder with.  See serial media needs that rush of oh-wow-gee.  Older readers know every burst of color or motion in superverses so now its a matter of plotting.  Ripped-from-the-headlines... well lets face it.  Rescue Me, L&O, CSI, its a reliable tactic.  Worse its grown up and more mature brother, a nuanced and well researched take with developed antagonists, protagonists with all sorts of associates akin to The Wire?  It's fucking hard to write and takes so much goddamn time as well.  Not to mention is not suited for superhero storytelling which tends to need a fight every issue.


Just a rant  

Current Mood: frustrated
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
8:55 pm
How to wash the bishie from your eyes
(originally posted here)

Yeah chances are you might be finding yourself less than inspired with anime lately

Not that surprising turns out most of it is for young people and if you have enough experience with it this stuff begins to look cliched and terrible.

There have been complaints that lately anime or at least the anime that influences fandom for americans has become stale, lifeless, and lacking.  Though it isn't their or even their fangirls fault for me this can be summed up by an element I hated before I knew what it was.

Growing up I hated the fawning for the villain types and though I've grown up a lot more dirty (I just watched and went gaga about a gay yakuza flick with two old people having incestous breast play) I hated how it seemed how a person looked or appealed in the immediate and attractive not only made up for moral failings but justified them having people jump to glorify the faults of a character and demand they stay and take over the narrative *cough* Zuko*cough*Spike*cough*.  Even after the testosterone began to flow I still preferred good and mighty as to just mighty.

And one fateful day I found the thing that would encapsulate all my hate for the worship of evil as justified and laudable.

Bishonen.

Okay technically Sephiroth.

But ultimately my feelings extended to bishonen.  Its not that I hate a blending of genders in characters in design or execution.  Its that bishonen are ultimately so pretty they immediately elicit sympathy and easiness and justification for everything. I was more than a little put out how Barret in online FFVII fandom was nothing, despite being black, built, militant, a father, and alot of things over well Sephiroth who everyone kept drooling over and overanalysing and feeling sorry for and ressurecting to the exclusion of the character that interested me.

Bishies to me epitomizes that style over substances, looks over behavior, image over truth that I hate in humankind turned up to eleven.  That is drawn ones.  Men who actually look like that just look like that and I have no negative reaction whatsoever to them...okay I'm lying alittle I don't prefer them as much but to the point Bishies just hit so many buttons for me.  but just as moe grils aren't often just young girls who happen to be pretty bishonen are more than just boys who happen to have long hair and smooth faces.

Worse they've become prevalent along with  commonly weak-character interaction and traits as standbys using the pretty to cover the banal or nonsensical

It's our own fault.  artists go with what works and thanks to bishi-lust we have had an arms race of pretty men.  Admittedly it seems the pendulum is, thankfully, swinging the otherway (bara finding a comfortable medium, and though many character look like bishonen they can just as likely be Kyon as they are Tamaki)

But man compared to 'back then' on order of magnitude the men are just hella-smooth and chicklike.  I mean I don't think anyone in Gintama is meant to be a bishonen character (to be fair I'm misusing the term not just to refer to objective traits) in and of themselves but they still look prettier than actual classic male characters ones of back in 1996! 

Admittedly how much of this is "the material we are seeing now favors more smooth and pretty character designs and such," and thus its *always* been this way we stupid american fanboys are just noticing and how much is this an actual change is impossible to accurately say.

Still, having a like for big jocular characters and them being allowed to be competent and badass, or just lovable, or anything besides stupid, slow, and strong then obsolete (because as the slimmer dexterous characters advance so long as it isn't moving a boulder by hand chances are their strength with subtly surpass the strong guy), is something I like.  Bishies tend to suck the story, characterization, plot, and competence outta the room and right to them.  This isn't unique to bishonen characters but it is such a common characteristic that points out the flaw in fiction of what is appealing having the most functional effect than what rationally should.

So we all hate bishies, well I do and anyone still reading. Hirai Hisashi's character designs are driving us mad and one more X-boy secrely loves y-boy as they angst and try to kill each other with lame and overly familiar characterization and storytelling held aloft only by how this time its redhead and blonde might just drive dear readers to murder.

There are somethings to wash the unforgivable bland bishiness from your eyes.

Seinen/pulp/jigoku manga.  This is some old stuff.  The men *are* good looking.  The seinen mangaka king is Ryoichi Ikegami and even his ugly guys are not bad for the eyes.  Before anime and manga exploded beyond the point of no return from ghetto to more mainstream than American comics volumes such as Mai the Psychic Girl, Benkei in New York, Sanctuary, and Crying Freeman almost had a destructive hold as the face of manga in the US.  Now *I* look back at them fondly.  At least it ain't another dating sim.

Pulpy plots that carry themselves with a vermisu...internal reality with primetime drama meets ripped from the headlines feel with some extra pulp thrown in for good measure.

Again there can be bishies but as the characterization and plots are slightly different as well as the conventions you just might be surprised.  Oldboy, the manga, falls under this category.

Revolutionary Girl Utena.  Is here mainly because I feel I have to point to one bishie caked work I LOVED LIKE HELL as manga or anime and even the movie.  It has the Bishonen-portrayal that finally broke me into having to not react in ignorant seething pure HATE whenever one appeared.  Akio Otohori OWNS bishonen and even evil but supposed to be sympathetic characters everywhere.  Hell after his full ass deconstruction of the character-type and several genres, and that's pretty much what he is, as well as ditching any pretense and being the tortured sex-addict badboy adherents think they want its hard for me to like any "straight" takes on the character or to be teased by such plays unless there is something else.  All that and the lines and the goddamn car. 

He's as intelligent and captivating as it gets and hot as hell too.  Also he doesn't just flip his hair and make people love him.  He's skilled, charismatic, and actually written to be seductive.  IT takes skill and class to be the top bishi in a setting overloaded with them, say nothing of media,  But he does and actually comes off as manly while he does it and a sexual being as to just object too.  Due to his revolutionary design and characterization even Square copied the guy when creating their ultimate crossover series villain Ansem/Xenahort.

The series is also here because I think it as a whole deconstructs alot of the stuff that goes into bishi-ness as well as by throwing you so much excessive pretty makes you inured if not bored with it.  I mean really Not even the Ouran boys can keep up playing it straight thank goodness they are such meta-comedians.

I still consider Akio more Bara than Bishi but  that's really due to mere comparison with his competitors and his voice and there are plenty of jeunes stories that have guys that make him look like crossdressing little girl.

Sakigake!! Otokojuku.  You know Cromartie High?  This is the series that series is totally ragging on. Jigoku manga for kids.  Its basically the same premise.  THIS SCHOOL? Everyone is the unruly bigass meanguy type or deliquent if you will. I've just seen the first episode.  Its hard to believe there is a viable gay porn manga line in Japan if this is what they sell to kids back in 1988.  TONS of big, mean looking guys in longcoat leather school uniforms (that look kindalike dresses).  Stubble, muscle, and bad hair abound.  The most unfeminine bodies ever and before the ten minute mark in episode one?  They are asked to drop their pants for an underwear inspection.  In addition there are about four spanking scenes and the guys strip to wrestle.  Again in merely the first episode.  The only thing manlier is Mad Bull 34 and new scanlations aren't forthcoming, yet.

Yes this is the point of the article.  Me recommending a 20 year old series about deliquents.  The animation will *hurt* (its worse than older eps of Dragon Ball) and the premise is so damn ridiculous its embarassing.  It doesn't take itself too seriously but compared to Cromartie its almost a heavy drama.  Well sorta, one of the guys sings a pop song when roll called so its not serious at all just very very corny and less absurd the CroHigh.

Its not perfect there is already a rivalry set up and classification of characters.  These two are the best, this one the lame ass, and this one the accomplice. And again this was made back in 1988 and not exactly by the most prize studio guys or anything.  The kitsch factor on this one is through the roof and the main guy is sorta pretty.  The bodies are a little off and lumpy aesthetically.  and there are just cultural context stuff I guess you're meant to know and understand.

But really this is an overwrote drama of spirit, justice, honor, where boys become men to lead the true future of Japan (of 1988).

The other cool thing is being able to watch the anime and see artifacts of the time as well as as the origins of some others.  I mean seriously Tekken's Heihachi (though I suppose the look predates if THAT character its likely off of some demonfaced buddhist statue or something).  Still for a series set in a school with a primarily male cast about social interaction (with action) its sure as hell not Gakuen Bell or fuckin' Loveless.
BT here.  c'mon ya just might like it

Current Mood: dirty
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