Spartan Girl!


I'm a journalism freshman at MSU, and I hope to eventually publish my own novel one day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Anime, and how I got addicted to it

For a while, Japanese anime was something that only my brother liked. Oh sure, there was that period when he and I couldn't get enough of Pokemon *gag*, but after a while, the animals stopped being so cute. How anyone can stand watching a creature that says nothing but its own name, over and over and over again, is beyond my understanding.

So my brother used to watch Dragonball Z on Cartoon Network, usually when it was time for dinner. He constantly asked Mom if he could watch while we were eating. At first, I just ignored it, like I usually ignored everything my brother watch. What I like, he doesn't like, and vice versa. But I couldn't help overhearing the dialogue of the characters, and eventually, the story got kind of interesting.

Needless to say, it was a bit embarrassing to ask my brother questions about the show, like who the Saiyans were, who was related to who... When I finally understood everything that was going on, I became a big fan. It was the first show in a long time that my brother and I enjoyed together. However, as much as I liked the action, I tended to like the character dynamics even more. And being a female, I couldn't help but notice how many cute guys there were in the show, not to mention how scantily clad they became as their gis got torn from battle...but I digress.

After Dragonball Z ended its run on TV, I got some of the DVDs. I was shocked to discover that the subtitled dialogue was much better than the dubbed dialogue, with a few minor exceptions that I'm too embarrassed to get into. Soon, my brother and I found other animes to watch, which consisted of the following:

Yu Yu Hakusho- My brother saw this first on Adult Swim before it went on Toonami. The story was very interesting, as were the characters. I became a big Yusuke and Keiko fan because they reminded me so much of Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter. I liked the characteristics of the male characters; although they come off as evil, dumb, or sometimes perverted (in the case of Yusuke and Kuwabara), they turn out to be loveable. Those who follow the show know that it now airs 5:30 in the MORNING on Saturday, which is a travesty since most of the shows on Toonami aren't that good anymore. Still, I both set my VCR to tape the new episodes and go on the Internet to get spoilers. I can't wait for the last episode to air next week, because Yusuke and Keiko finally kiss.

Rurouni Kenshin- This is another show that Cartoon Network needs to bring back. Its story is very sad and complex: an ex-samauri goes into exhile, vowing never to kill again, though he manages to use his skills to defend the innocent. I also like its strong female characters--Kenshin and Kaoru are again one of the best couples in anime. I was kind of mad that in the last episode Cartoon Network aired, they didn't get to admit their feelings for each other. I know that it's obvious in the way they act around one another, but still...

Princess Mononoke- My brother and I actually saw this last night. It was better than I thought it would be--I was kind of creeped out by the movie poster showing San/Princess Mononoke with blood all around her mouth. It made her look like Hannibal Lector! All the same, San kicked plenty of butt in that movie, and I admired her devotion to protect the environment. The only thing that kind of pissed me off was the ending. I understand that Ashitaka looked at the situation without bias--even though those stupid humans were destroying the forest and its guardian out of their own greed, they were helping the lepers and former prostitutes by giving them jobs. But at the end of the movie, they don't even learn anything! After the spirit of the forest god almost destroys the world because they stole its head, they're STILL going to rebuild their polluted city! It would have been better if they just left the forest completely! And San and Ashitaka can't techinically be together since San won't abandon her wolves and Ashitaka won't abandon the humans! What a jip!

Dragon Ball- The prequel to DBZ. The dubbed dialogue is slightly better in this show, though they still manage to censor out some of the action.

That's all I can think of for now. As Princess Mononoke proved, I'm still willing to try new animes, or at least ones I've never seen. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Darker Side of Fandom

There's nothing wrong with fandom. Most of the time, it's harmless fun in which people share a common love of something popular entertainment. Sure, it gets a little weird when people dress in costumes for conventions and/or parties. People devote websites, radio programs, and possibily their entire lives to Star Wars, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. But all in all, it's supposed to be good, clean harmless fun.

And then there are people who take it too far.

For example, when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was released, there was some outrage among the fans, particularly some shippers. "Shippers" refer to a group of fans that strongly believe two specific characters will end up together as a couple. (I might add that some of these couples range from normal to weird. I'm not biased, but does anyone really think that Harry Potter will end up with Snape? Or Draco Malfoy? Or even *gag* Voldemort? Seriously...)

Anyway, some shippers were upset because their particular couples were officially declared to be not in canon. In lamen's terms, the characters didn't end up with the people they wanted. Some fans went as far to write angry threatening open-letters to J.K. Rowling, basically criticizing her for writing out what she had apparently planned all along for the story, accusing her of "misleading" her fans.

I knew some people would be miffed, but this was just downright mean! I think it's obvious that although Harry Potter is loved by many fans, it is still her own story, and she has the right to do basically whatever she wants with it. Who are we to criticize her story just because it doesn't go in the direction we want? If you don't like it, then don't read it; it's as simple as that.

Besides, J.K. Rowling gave some people fair warning. Before the book's release, she did mention that some people wouldn't like what happened in the book. Personally, I did like the outcomes--not just because I liked who ended up with you--but I wouldn't force my views on anyone, no matter how strange or silly I think theirs may be. She knows people have their opinions, yet in the end, whatever direction she takes with the series is how the story will be. She shouldn't let other people push her around, even though they are her fans.

Fandom should be fun for everyone, only it shouldn't go to a point where it leads to obsessive behavior. When I heard some of my friends lamenting what would happen after the last Star Wars prequel would be released. "It will be all right, there's more to life than Star Wars, you know," I couldn't help pointing out. They just stared at me and asked, "Are you crazy?"

You see what I mean? If you get too caught up in fandom too a point where you'd bully the author/creator into changing the story, then you are no different than Annie Wilkes in Misery. Come on, does anyone really want to end up like that?

My advice to some fans is to lighten up. I understand your feelings, but don't let fandom take over your life. Enjoy real life. And if you, by any change, don't like how the story plays out, then that is what fanfiction is for. Peace out.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Academy Awards 2006

Typical: I was finally able to stay up late enough to watch the entire ceremony of the Oscars last night, and the majority of nominated films I couldn't care less about.

The ratings for the Oscars slipped about 10% lower than last year's Oscars. And would you like to know why that is so? It wasn't the host (I thought Jon Stewart was pretty funny)--it was because practically no one except the Academy saw most of the movies nominated, aside from maybe Brokeback Mountain.

Let ask you something: have any of you seen Crash, The Constant Garderner, Capote, or any of those movies?

I actually saw an article in MSU's The State News stating that Crash wasn't good enough to get nominated for Best Picture. No offense to anyone that saw it and liked it, but I wasn't too keen on seeing that one because it looked like one of those movies that made no sense, aside from the racism theme. I still can't believe it won that award, yet Brokeback Mountain didn't. Honestly, I didn't see that one either, but I read the story and I believe it probably was better than Crash. I can't believe it won only three or four of the many Oscar it was nominated for; I thought it would really clean up.

But that's the Academy for you. These days they nominate the movies no one has seen or has any intention of seeing.

I know that the box office this year was dominated by remakes and sequels, but why did the only original films seem so dull and boring? There had to be more interesting movies worthy of Oscar material...

Nope, I'm drawing up a blank. The Harry Potter and Narnia movies that I liked this year always get brushed off unless for awards under makeup and special effects. It isn't fair!However, I am glad that King Kong won three Oscars, even if they were all for special effects.

Still, what happened to the Oscar material that everyone had seen? Almost everyone saw Oscar winning movies like Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Shakespere in Love, Amadeus, Gladiator... Not everything that's good has to be a low-budget independent movie. Not to be biased, but when the filmmakers focus on cinamatography and symbolism more than actual plot, indepedent movies can make no sense whatsoever.

My only hope that the MTV Movie Awards will have more well-known nominations (other than the completely bad sequels/remakes or movies in general). Perhaps if there were less sequels and more INTERESTING original movies, there will be better movies nominated for next year's awards.