Watched Recently–quick rundown

I started reading books again, mostly romance. Mostly disappointments. Luckily, I’m not paying for most of them. Watched a lot of movies, some of which might not be listed. Any of this will be revisited for further details in the future. Thinking of getting an account at The Artifice to write about things I watch and meander over.

Anime:

  • Dimension W— Liked this one quite a bit.
  • Dantalian no Shoka
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Anne Happy (Did I mention that I watched this a few months ago?? Revisited it when I wanted something cute to watch.)
  • I’m not sure I wrote a post about D. Gray-Man but I liked that enough to write a three fan fictions about it.

Movies:

  • Deadpool, despite my better judgement. It had its moments. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was a plus.
  • The Last Witch Hunter (I like seeing Vin Diesel in this kind of role *shrug*. Though his character was patronizing to witches though, in that kind of “Let me tell you who you are after I’ve been slaughtering your kind for centuries” way.).
  • Central Intelligence (I want to call this movie everything but what it’s called–National Security, Redacted–I keep forgetting what this movie’s title and had to go to Dwayne Johnson’s wiki and look at his filmography to get it. I liked Dwayne Johnson’s character. Overall, for a movie I walked in on, I thought it was pretty funny, thank you, Kevin Hart.).
  • I saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Tim Burton might be the reason I didn’t hate it. Loved the ending credits song by Florence + The Machine, “Wish That You Were Here”–even if the chorus had too much “lift” and noise for the rest of the song to me.
  • Solace, starring Anthony Hopkins
  • I revisited Phantasm, which I think either earned its cult following or I’m deluded because I saw this when I was a kid and thought it was pretty good. I didn’t know there were so many sequels. I think I watched four them.

TV/Shows:

  • Couldn’t watch Hand of God. It felt too much watching Sons of Anarchy all over again, and not just because of the leading actor.
  • Caught up on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and watched Slingshot.
  • I tried to watch The Leftovers, it was uncomfortable and took too long to get to the point.
  • Rotted my brain with such pop media gems as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Once Upon a Time.
  • Some Jessica Jones, and a little Luke Cage, some of which was appreciated but too dark and graphic and I’m sick of 100% contrived for entertainment, dark and graphic “gritty” pretenses in my life.
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Recently Seen

I have watched several anime and movies recently. The anime may need its own post. The movies, I won’t waste too much time discussing.

I tried to watch Iron Man 2. While I think Robert Downey, Jr. is a little handsome and I like his character’s facial hair, I have the same problem with his portrayal of Tony Stark that I have with his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. I don’t like arrogant privileged assholes. Meh. I got bored with him, turned off the TV, and went to bed.

Watched Ant Man. Even with Hope van Dyne  (portrayed by Evangeline Lilly) painted as having antagonistic daddy issues and being unreasonably angry and abrasive like most female characters who aren’t completely passive, it gets a few points because it had its funny moments and I really enjoyed Michael Pena’s character, Luis.

Anime: Little Witch Academia. Shiki. Angel’s Egg. Suki Ii na yo. Magic Knight Rayearth. Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Noblesse.

I’ll comment on Shiki. It is morbid, depressing, gory,  and a little creepy at times. Originally by Fuyumi Ono, it is a pretty good vampire story about a small town where people start dying off one by one when new and mysterious neighbors move in there. I like the whole score of characters; a lot of viewers would likely complain but as long as I can figure out who’s who and the producers/artists/writers are making an effort to make it clear, I’m good and I find it interesting to follow. I like all the opening and closing theme songs–“Kuchizuke” by Buck-Tick is my favorite. Once I got over some of the characters’, er, interesting bed hair, I honestly got into this anime enough to watch some it again.

I thought less of other things such as Little Witch Academia. It has some potential but falls short of its magical school and magical girl ideas.

Angel’s Egg was so weird that I liked it. Its something you have to watch for yourself. Besides, I’m not exactly even sure what I just saw. BUT I like it!

The Suki Ii na yo manga rubbed me wrong after a few chapters but I watched the anime anyway. The issues I have carry over into the anime: I can’t figure out whether Yamato is just trying to fix the broken antisocial girl or not. Which I don’t like. But I love his hair.What kind of message is the mangaka, Kanae Hazuki, trying to deliver to girls who might be like Mei Tachibana? I find it suspect. I get the fantasy of an unpopular girl magically falling in love with the most popular boy in school. But is Mei only a social pet project to Yamato?

There isn’t enough of Noblesse for me to watch in order to comment though I like the artwork, style, and animation.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica  hurt my feelings, it made me feel so many emotions. Sort of a departure from Sailor Moon’s brand of magical girl. I think it was worth watching. Maybe I’ll write more later.

Magic Knight Rayearth–I haven’t gotten the chance to finish but I believe its intentions are pure. Thank you, CLAMP!

murderers today, saviors tomorrow

I used to like Roy Mustang…but, ya know, now that I’ve seen the 2009 FMA anime, the whole I’m-going-to-help-murder-most-of-you-Ishvalans-now-so-I-can-become-Fuhrer-and-be-the-savior-of-the-handful-of-you-that-are-left-later thing is fucked up to the maximum. Totally unforgivable.

Its just the kind of whacky, racist, multiculturalist-nutmeg-fantasy bullshit I’ve come to expect.

And get this, get this, y’all:

They’re also going to use the Philosopher’s Stone that they created by murdering and ripping hundreds of Ishvalan souls from their bodies to heal Roy even after he slaughtered and burned their people to a crisp during the war.

It seems their country will always be run by war criminals, who kill and brutalize first then try to apologize later. Hmm…wonder if anybody can think of any real-life examples of this in history? ^_^ I desperately wish we could blame these kinds of atrocities on homunculi in real life and unite against them; however our “sins” remain inside of our bodies and apart of us so we can’t blame it on creatures materialized from the other side of the Gate. My wrath and envy are not okay with this.

Of course, the Ishvalans don’t use alchemy, but there’s the question of why a Stone they created using the lives and souls of Ishvalan people would remain in the hands of their murderers for personal use without even asking the Ishvalans (who are underrepresented in the series as a whole except in war scenes where they’re being blown up, shot down, and generally slaughtered)? With the exception of “Scar” and Miles (who is pointedly identified as racially mixed).

Who gets “inner tube” lips, and who gets nice, polite “full” lips

I’m watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as evidenced by my last post, another instance of racialization that’s irritating me, which is a common characteristic for both racist white comics and Japanese manga artist obviously:

So Olivier Mira Armstrong–yet another (for all intents and purposes) white, blue-eyed, blonde-haired character– is portrayed as having clearly defined “full lips”, while the few characters that can be mistaken for Black or otherwise Of Color (all of which appear to be male officers in the military), are drawn with racist caricature “inner tube” style lips. Its at least two or three of them. And that’s enough of this racist caricature.

Another example of this is seen in Tite Kubo’s Bleach in many scenes of the anime with Yasutora Sado (clearly and  purposefully part Mexican), who is sometimes depicted as having thick inner tube style lips with little to no definition.

Scar & the Rockbells

Its no secret that Japanese manga artists are apparently well-entrenched in glorifying eurocentricism and whiteness.

That being said, as much as I enjoy the nuances of the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood storyline/plot, I’m just at a loss for how Scar and the Ishvalans are treated. There are very clear racial messages and undertones in this series, most likely inspired by real-life historical atrocities and realities.

Scar and the Ishvalan race are consistently described and set apart from the Amestrians in appearance as having “brown skin” and “red eyes”. By comparison, Winrey Rockbell–for all intents and purposes, the epitome of a well-off, blue-eyed, blonde-haired white girl–deserves total vengeance/justice for the murder of her parents but the genocide of a huge chunk of Scar’s entire race, including his family by the military of her country, is swept under the rug continuously.

I know–Scar killed Winrey’s parents; even he feels he has gone against the teachings of his people and wishes to pay for his wrongdoing. However, the trauma that caused him to do something so horrible is blatantly ignored, even by Scar himself, who refuses to even try to tell Winry exactly what happened. I’m sure that if he hadn’t been in a state of rage, confusion and unbelievable agony after the trauma of waking to realize what happened to him and his family, Scar never would have willfully killed two innocent doctors who were helping his people.

Just goes to show that two white people’s lives are still valued as worth more than the lives of an entire race of brown folks, even in fiction written by someone who isn’t even white.

And I am still confused on whether or not “full metal” is a compound word or not. Never mind, I’m sure its a compound word….

Killer B, ‘Naruto Shippuden’–I am beyond how to deal with this mess

Despite how abrasive I find the racial/ethnic mess of presentation that is the character of Killer B, I managed to catch up with the subbed episodes of Naruto Shippuden.

I just have so many issues with Killer B. He
is
a
total
racist caricature
I can barely stand to listen to him so its hard for me to watch the newer subbed episodes of Naruto Shippuden.

There aren’t many clearly brown people in this series. But you just cannot ignore the racism present in a character like Killer B.

Here’s most of my beef:

  1. Killer B is called ‘Killer’ B and happens to be a big brown dude.
  2. Can we have a brown character that doesn’t have blonde hair?
  3. What’s with the rapping, posing, giving concerts, and doling out dap? That’s what really bugs me about B and what I feel undeniably marks him as a caricature of Black hip-hop culture, which the Japanese and whites are known for making fun of. Eminem was enough.
  4. Standing with the Raikage, bursting through walls, popping with muscles, and acting all aggressive doesn’t help.
  5. He is bestial, unrealistically oblivious, and unrealistically unphased by his situation. Like he’s just stupid instead of wise.
  6. Laconic comic relief (another stereotype)
  7. Yeah, the whole getting along so well with animals and being so “dark-skinned”, masculine and “in touch nature” is yet another stereotype.
  8. His hair is unmistakably fashioned in imitation of corn rolls–’nuff said
  9. When I think about it, I think I actually might have liked Killer B as a character if his crafting had been a little more subtle and careful. But the core of his character relies on too many racist, shorthand stereotypes for me see any depth or originality.

urrgghhhh!!!!

~Tavia

Masashi Kishimoto’s Female Characters in ‘Naruto’ Revisited

I’m sure I’m not imagining things now, or overanalyizing.

Naruto is a boys-will-be-boys, fraternal love shounen anime. I don’t think that the manga is so different from the anime arcs that it can’t be compared, so I’ll judge the thing as a whole and offer more of my critique.

Of course, Naruto is doing a few things with homoromantic/homoromantic asexual love (?)–that is affection between two or more people of the same gender that is affectionate, sexual, and/or nonsexual–that many fighting anime meant for male audiences does not do. But the rub is that female characters, no matter what positions of power they might hold, are on the periphery as things that need to be protected, mothers, the love interest of male characters, violently irrational maniacs, boy crazy goofs, healers and nurses, spiteful deceptive vipers, canon fodder for male ignorance and sexism perpetrated by male characters.

After watching the most recently subbed episode of Naruto Shippuden (episode 247, “Target: The Nine Tails”), and seeing Kushina’s portrayal, I’m really frustrated with Kishimoto and the animating staff. The mangaka’s resolution to Kushina being brought to the Village Hidden in the Leaves to be a vessel for the Nine Tails, and how she dealt with it, is that she “filled herself with love”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? She got a boyfriend, is this the answer to sexism and making women’s bodies vessels and weapons of political warfare? That’s the resolution to this horrible thing that an entire village and it’s political leaders decided to do to her? And then they told her not to be too loud while she was giving birth to a f**kin’ baby??? 0_0

That’s got to be one of the most horrible and the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. He chose to present her as yet another passive, maternal, my-boyfriend-fixed-the-horrors-of-my-life kind of female character. Another passive, motherly (albeit with a fiery temper) kind of female character, using her inconsequential, passive magical girl powers to save everyone except herself. I’ll tell her the same thing I’d tell Sailor Moon: She would get punched in the face and murdered if she tried to use the power of love to stop a fist from coming at her and to stop someone trying to kill her. I think Kushina’s plight could have been presented, at this point, as more realistic.

It’s really sad because several of Kishimoto’s female characters have a lot of promise and potential, but despite that the anime/manga is ongoing, it’s clear that these characters as strong female heroines are being poorly executed/portrayed. I definitely think that Kishimoto’s inability to craft 3-dimensional female heroes is a reflection of how he probably thinks of women and interacts with them. It’s the same hurtle that female viewers and female players such as myself run into with both anime and manga and furthermore the gaming industry.

Art is not separate from those who create it, it comes from within them.

Evermore,

Taviante Queens

Kunoichi/Female Characters in Kishimoto’s ‘Naruto’

I think one of the biggest issues with Naruto, for me as a female viewer of color, is Kishimoto’s/the animators’ treatment and portrayals of female characters. Even if you were to argue that the target audience is mostly male, this should not excuse or validate sexism and, in some cases, misogyny.

Some of these point may be overlooked but it’s worth saying anyway in terms of how I view the roles and typecasting of female characters/kunoichi in the show.

  1. There is a strict gendered separation of male and female characters that is maintained throughout the series.
  2. Females are members of the team but there’s no way to really say that these male characters are actually friends with them. They are typically either 1) villains, 2) love interests/mothers, 3) team members/colleagues/comrades, or 4) sexual objects. I definitely think Kishimoto and the animators are more interested presenting fraternal relationships.
  3. With the exception of Ten Ten who is rarely seen in the main story arc, many of the primary female characters may be fierce fighters but Kishimoto has firmly seated/stereotyped them as nurturing and motherly with the concept of medical ninjutsu and chakra control. As if females are natural healers and nurturers with natural propensities towards innate chakra control. It’s a useful skill to have but this idea is nonetheless sort of problematic, because it presents female ninjas as natural healers and softens their strength and abilities by placing them in the mold of “the healer type”, as if to cater to a largely male audiences needing motherly figures/nice girls to not feel emasculated. How many male characters do you see presented as healers, with the exception of Kabuto (a villain) and nameless medical nin who appear throughout the series? Because, obviously, guys’ chakra control is too poor so they get all the cool physical/flashy jutsu, yeah. So Kishimoto definitely plays to heteronormative gender roles, albeit in a way that can be overlooked.
  4. The only brown female character so far is presented as a brute (Karui of Kumogakure). Nobody can tell me that two or three or more of the ninjas from the Village Hidden in the Clouds are not racist portrayals, and that includes Killer B.
  5. Ten Ten is the only openly feminist-like character, or at the least the only person inspired by successful, powerful kunoichi (not just their beauty), in the whole series and it seems she gets the least airtime out of the Konoha female shinobi. (And there’s going to be some people who pop up and argue that Sakura’s also an exception but, just to let you know, I’m tired of Sakura, honestly.)
  6. Is there any female ninja whose beauty or big breasts isn’t the focus of what’s great about her?
  7. Many female characters are presented as sacrificial lambs, so to speak. For example: the f*king 5th Hokage, in all her years of combat, training, and experience, never developed a justu that could protect the entire village or kick Pain’s ass (one of Pain’s asses at least). Not that it’s something to be overlooked, but she instead protects the villagers by nearly sacrificing her own life with a passive justu that used her chakra in conjunction with Katsuyu. Annnd then…Naruto swoops in to save the day.
  8. Of course there’s only one female shinobi per team and she will always need a male shinobi to save her at some point.
  9. The younger female characters of the main cast are presented as boy crazy! Ten Ten and Temari, probably less than others but it comes out sometimes.

Additional Relevant Thoughts:

  • Are there no females who have the sharingan?
  • How is it okay for Jiraiya to invade women’s privacy in hot springs and this is largely treated as it is supposed be funny? I like Jariya as character—without the peeping. It’s really starting to bug me. You could have made him an imperfect character without that extent of perversion and sexism/objectification.
  • Is it too much to ask for a cool fat female character who’s not presented as a complete joke?

Black Butler, European British motif

So I picked up a new anime today, Black Butler.

The truth is I kind of think its funny, occultish, and interesting, despite its exaggerated, supremacist European motif. I’m not surprised because many Japanese manga and anime artist seem to think anything white/European is the best thing on the planet. What I can’t stand for is the ever-present supremacist British attitude of Ciel as the main character.

Reading the English subtitles, which may or may not be accurate, I noticed in episode 13 that Ciel described the men from India as “Indian savages”. Considering all this bullshit talk coming out of England about Black folks and western Europe/Britain’s history with colonialism and their use of this word towards people of color, I wasn’t happy or impressed with its use in the subbing or Ciel’s attitude towards the Indian immigrants.

The funny thing about this show though is that they take hits even at other white people. So far they’ve made Italians and Irish out to be villians while Britains remain pure of Englishmen…smdh.

Japan needs to work ont their issues with racism towards [other] people of color so it stops popping up all over place or at least represented in a light that makes me believe their aware of what their doing.

~Truly,

MsQ