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….

Naruto’s dad is the 4th Hokage?—kinda of a letdown….

Sorry is this is a spoiler for anybody who didn’t know, but I’m sure most people who have been following the series know this by now… ~MsQ

One of my primary reasons for continuing to watch Naruto once I picked it up years after it came out was the fact that I believed Naruto was a common kid who happened to be an orphan. Come to find out his mother is from some gifted, old-blood type family and his father was the uber-talented, genius Fourth Hokage.

This premise of the show gives into the old orphan fantasy of discovering that their parents were millionaires or superheroes or government spies.

The producers of the anime and the manga artist Masashi Kishimoto spend a lot of time dancing around the fact that Minato is Naruto’s father. They tried their best to draw attention away from the fact, but the resemblance is apparent. I believe that this was to build Naruto’s character apart from his famous deceased parents. However, hardly anyone in anime/manga seems to be from a ordinary working class family. Everybody is from some well-known clan of super-ninjas. With the exception of Rock Lee–we don’t even know who his parents are….

The theme is this: Everybody is [secretly] a princess or prince or related to one from the past or something. Everybody’s from a privileged, wealthy and/or renowned family or something.

Bleach the animation is even trending towards suggesting that viewers feel sympathy towards wealthy/uppercrust characters like Byakuya Kuchiki and Rurichiyo Kasumioji because of their positions in society, their gilded cages. The truth is that I do sympathize…but only to an extent. The people suffering in poverty in the Rukon district (Rukongai) are treated like background noise for much of the show. Though Rukia and Renji are both from the area, they are both either elite Shinigami or adopted into noble families; even Toshiro Histugaya is genius-boy captain.

In the same vein, many of the Naruto movies are all about princesses and other nobility.

As a continuing theme in movies, shows, anime, and manga, the message that this sends to me as a working class member of an oppressed race is disappointing. Furthermore, people with these backgrounds aren’t the only ones who are interesting enough to be main characters. I do not want to pretend to be a princess or fantasize to that extent outside of my class and lived reality all the time.

A real challenge and lovable manga or anime would be one that doesn’t play to the princess/prince theme.

for real,

Ms. Queenly

Most Recent Bookstore Trip

Nowadays when I enter a bookstore, presumably Borders, I’m just terrified of what I might find there. That’s no way live, especially as a writer and otherwise artist, but nothing suits me anymore in a way that I find fulfilling. The book publishing industry has failed me, I feel. I fear being unfulfilled and that is why I hesitate to purchase books. Luckily, I escaped fairly unscathed during my most recent book trip.

During my most recent trip to the bookstore, a Borders in Downtown Decatur that was closing (lawd, help us all if Borders goes down even though they said they’re not. Borders is my preferred location for all things surrounding books, magazines, and Paperchase), I purchased several books and I’ll write my thoughts on some of them as I embarked on reading.

  • Vassalord, Volume 4 by Nanae Chrono

What I hate about a lot of the yaoi that I’ve read is the latent and overt misogyny that I’ve noticed is sometimes exhibited among men in the queer community. The presentation of Eva or Eve, better known as Rayfell, is particularly disturbing although I understand the biblical connections and implications. The story and the guys—Rayflo and Chris intrigue me and their story is very sweet when they’re attitudes towards women don’t smack of misogyny.

  • Never After by Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Majorie M. Liu, Sharon Shinn

I don’t want to judge these writers solely by what I read in this book but here’s what I think: I actually had to go dig this book out of the box of stuff I’m giving away to the Salvation Army. I’m sick of this 1-2-3, A-B-C white-princess-heroine bullshit. It’s just not my cup of tea these days. I read Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Can He Bake a Cherry Pie?” contribution in the anthology and I liked what she was trying to do with the story and paused over her skill, but all-in-all I wasn’t in the mood for the heroines in the book, no matter how unconventionally contrived they were.

  • Finder: Finder in the Target, Volume 1 by Amano Yamane
  • The Book of Murray: The Life, Teachings, and Kvetching of the Lost Prophet by David M. Bader

Loved it! Laugh out loud hilarious for me. I love this biblical parody. I haven’t experienced anything this funny concerning the Bible
since, like History of the World (film).

  • She’s On Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel

The story I enjoyed the most so far (admittedly I’m not done reading yet and have been skipping around) is Room 2201 by N.T. Morely. Something about that got me going, I’ll tell you. I’ll finish reading this and add more comments later. I guess I haven’t finished reading yet because I want the getting to stay good.

Reading on,

Ms. Queenly