Friday Ramble

I have been kind of low on morale lately, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been a cute, stres-free source of joy, and for this I am grateful. It’s funny because I originally dismissed the show, based on its trailer, as yet another comedy about an obnoxious manchild in a will-they/won’t-they relationship with an uptight female career woman. I was wrong! Sure, Jake’s a manchild, but he’s not disrespectful, inconsiderate or spiteful towards the other characters. And Amy is career-oriented, but far from a humourless killjoy. She’s an awkward weirdo in her own way. Brooklyn Nine-Nine even does the impossible: put Jake and Amy in a relationship – and it’s drama-free, just two grown-ups in a relationship, still being themselves. The weirdest thing. On top of that, B99 also has a great ensemble cast, is socially aware (kids these days call it “woke”, I guess) without being preachy, and it’s also really funny. And even when it’s not funny, it’s fun. It’s my feel-good show.

That having said, I do not understand the AVClub reviews of this show. I don’t really understand AVClub anymore, period. But this morning I was reading the review of the S4 finale and managed to pinpoint my issue: These reviews are anxiety-inducing. They have this undertone of doom, of future calamity. I just don’t have the energy to vague-worry about whether a 20-minutes-long sitcom episode took full advantage of the entire ensemble cast. Or if the cliffhanger’s stakes are believable enough. It’s a sitcom. I’m not saying don’t analyze it, but there’s this weird disconnect between what the show is and what some reviewers treat it as. But maybe that’s AVClub’s thing. The Elementary reviewer still complains about the show being so episodic. It’s a CBS crime procedural. Of course it’s episodic. Are there really no pop culture journalists who understand episodic television anymore?

What else? Videogames.  I’ve no idea why I’ve basically been stalling on Dragon Quest VII. It’s like I’m cursed never to finish a Dragon Quest game (except DQ9;  which – why?) and that’s awful! I am beginning to panic because next month will see the release of Ever Oasis and RPGMaker Fes. At once! I really need to finish DQ7 before I start another new game, but … I’ve not really been able to focus on RPGs at all.

I’ve been playing Pullblox (Pushmo in North America), though, and that’s been great. And the first 3DS game where enabling 3D actually makes sense! It makes it easier to play. I love puzzles.

I’ve also fallen behind on my manga blogging, which is dumb. Must. Find. Motivation. I actually have a half-finished post. Tomorrow.

And I’m currently wondering if I should just give up trying to find an English-language manga fandom. I read manga in French anyway, the French manga market is way better than the US one! But I’ve always done “fandom” in English, it’s what feels most natural. I just wish English-language manga fandom was more … interested in things beyond their horizon.

 

 

Itty bitty Thursday rant

The Blade of the Immortal live-action movie was shown at Cannes Film Festival, so there are a couple more reviews. At this point, I am 98% pessimistic about this movie. Nothing feeds this pessimism more than Rin being described as “prepubescent” and a “little girl” in several reviews. She is sixteen – or at least the manga character is; it’s true the movie character looks much younger. It’s a shame none of the reviewers seem to know the manga, so they can’t talk about the changes, and whether they work. It pains me to read The Hollywood Reporter‘s review, because it praises Takashi Miike and the film’s screenwriter for the story’s moral complexities but completely forgets to mention Hiroaki Samura, the person who actually came up with this stuff. I hate seeing mangaka underappreciated like this. Give credit where credit is due, and the things the article mentions were in the manga, not invented by the screenwriter or the director 20 years later.

Sometimes, I wonder if that’s an American thing, I mean, if it’s related to how the US comics industry is run. Specifically the big superhero franchises, which seem to rotate and change writers as they see fit, but the franchises and characters themselves are owned by corporations. In Japan, a mangaka has much more control over their own work, and the publisher can’t take the story away from them. I am almost certain a lot of people aren’t aware of that. I’ve come across so many garbage “rumour” articles claiming Shueisha was going to fire Yoshihiro Togashi and hire another artist to finish Hunter X Hunter. But that’s just an impression.

 

Why do book series go bad?

It‘s come to my attention that there is a new (seventh) book in the „James Asher“ series by Barbara Hambly. I registered this information with a sort of … grouchiness. This weird mix of disappointment, envy and schadenfreude that I feel towards TV shows and book series that I dropped. The truth is that I really didn‘t enjoy Darkness On His Bones (#6), and judging by the plot description of the new installment, it doesn‘t seem that this was a fluke. The things that vex me about this series are, in fact, intrinsic to its concept and „direction“, and won‘t go away. (Spoilers)

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Videogame music analysis!? Be still, my heart.

Great news! I stumbled across a fairly new Youtube channel, Game Score Fanfare, which is dedicated to analysing music in videogames. Awesome! I’ve been waiting for a channel like that! There are only four videos so far, but among them are an analysis of “You’re Not Alone” from Final Fantasy IX and an analysis of the use of character themes in Bravely Default. (Both videos contain spoilers.)

Memories! Back when I had just finished FF9, I asked a friend about his own progress. He replied “I’m at the part with the really awesome music!”, and I knew exactly what he meant. Even though the soundtrack of Final Fantasy IX is generally excellent, You’re Not Alone somehow stands out as something very special.

As much as I love videogame music, and thinking and talking about videogame music, I am really noticing my own lack of education in this regard. :/ Recognising theme repetitions and instruments … It’s not that I am totally deaf to that stuff, but I am still capable of missing the obvious. It is probably a matter of training, but in the meantime, I enjoy listening to someone more knowledgable explain these things!

Rurouni Kenshin Reread: Part 1

In preparation for the upcoming Hokkaido Arc, I am going to reread the entirety of the Rurouni Kenshin manga! This should be a lot of fun! :D It’s actually been a long time since I read the entire manga – and there are obviously portions that I tend to reread more often than others, which skews my general perception of the series. Reading everything in order, without skipping ahead, is just a different experience.

In this first post, I’ll discuss the first 14 chapters, which roughly corresponds to the first two volumes of the original release, everything up to and including the Jinne story.

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Blade of the Immortal Reread: Volume 12+13

This is going to be the last Blade of the Immortal reread post for a bit. I will probably tackle the next arc eventually, but right now I’m just not in the mood for something so dark! But it’s never too late to make helpful changes, which is why this post doesn’t strictly cover one volume of Blade of the Immortal, but more or less one and a half. This covers the entire finale and ending of the Kaga arc! Spoilers follow. (Also spoilers for the entire manga’s ending!!)

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