Sailor Moon Fans – Someone Call the Whambulance


As some of you know, I’m a Sailor Moon fan, a pretty big one actually. I recently did a video showing the new designs for the 2014 Sailor Moon Reboot that I’m really excited about. I think they’re very good and I said that much.

With one small critique, I was surprised the line art was so sloppy.Because it’s very sloppy.

I don’t know whether it was resized improperly or if it’s just concept art. But it’s messy and uneven, so much so it’s a little distracting. The video itself is actually very positive, my only real complaint was, “I’m surprised that this made it all the way to debut” given that it is some of the first art we’re seeing for a highly anticipated series. Especially since the poster art was so gorgeous. The degrade in quality is a bit jarring.

Sailor Moon Reboot Art Critique!

I had forgotten that fandoms can get a little…irrational when it comes to critique. Mainly because I’ve actually experienced very little of it myself. So let’s set the record straight: I’m right. I’m not trying to say I’m a better artist than the Naoko Takeuchi, because I never said that or even alluded to it. But some of you have said the reason for the difference is because it’s supposed to “look more like the manga” and “maybe you just haven’t read the manga”. Bitch, please.

Would you like a side by side comparison? Here’s one anyway. Because I’m right. My artist ego doesn’t make it look sloppy. VISION makes it look sloppy.

Takeuchi’s style was often very free and the lines could shift in width- but it was deliberate. Most of her lines was thin and wispy, giving the scenes as sense of movement that the thick, blunt lines in the new designs fail to capture. The new designs DO look more like the manga and I’m very happy about that. But the line art in these particular images was poorly done. I actually doubt it’s representative of the animation at all given the high standards anime has today.

Plus look at Rei’s leg in the top image…knees don’t do that.

fu_fandom

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Why does the Internet hate TumblrKids?


I’m not sure if it’s ever been verified statistically that Tumblr is made up primarily of teens. But that’s definitely the story we tell ourselves.

“They’re just stupid kids. They’ll grow out of it, preferably before they can vote.”

There’s plenty of things to hate online, but the social justice tweens seem to bring a lot of focused ire. Why? We know NAMLBA is still a thing right? Well I have a theory…

They’re obsessed with labels.
When we were younger there was boys and girls, gay and straight. Most of us had very little understanding, if any, that a broader spectrum existed. Now we do and exploring this has been a really positive experience for many. Cis or nonCis? Cool. Trans, gender queer, asexual, pansexual, non-binary etc. We’ve discovered a completely new language to help people feel more accepted in society.

The problem is teens seem to ruin everything. Whenever a group starts to become larger and more accepted, inevitably smaller groups begin to splinter off. The labels obsess over minutia and eventually we get things like “demisexual” to refer to someone who only likes to have sex with people to whom they are emotionally involved. Well grats, kiddo, you’re fucking normal.

(edit: I’ve been corrected on Twitter by someone explaining that Demisexual is someone who can only be aroused by someone who they are romantically involved with. This is however, the way someone claiming to be Demisexual explained it. Which actually shows how much people minced these labels.)

This practice seems bizarre to us because our teen years were all about rejecting labels. At least we thought they were. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

You’ll never convince them they’re wrong
The internet is a double edged sword. On one hand it’s allowed disenfranchised groups to finally have a voice. People of color, trans individuals, and the LGBT community now have a platform to speak out against bigotry. They can also give people an insight into what it’s like to live in their shoes. Visibility matters.

On the other hand, it allows people to cloister themselves within an echo chamber wherein they are never challenged. Allowing naïve and shortsighted ideas to fester into full blown movements. No one is talking to each other, everyone is talking at each other.

You’ll never convince these teens that screaming at people wont solve anything. For some reason this is something one has to come to understand on their own. And most importantly, it’s not really about solving a problem, it’s about the righteous feeling they get from aligning themselves with a movement.

They’re stupid and we know it
One of the most frustrating things in retrospect for a lot of adults is how ignorant we were as teens. The world was a sea of adults telling us we were stupid. The harsh reality being of course that most of us were stupid. We had over-simplistic and self absorbed ideas about the world. But as we grew up, we put away our war drums and found ourselves with a deeper understanding of events. Most of us, at least. Some of us are still beating at “9/11 was an inside job” drum.

It’s really hard to watch someone go down the same road and hit the same embarrassing bumps as you did. They embarrass us by proxy. Especially since the internet allows all of their social justice ramblings to be preserved eternally as a testament of their teenage angst. And that’s really all it is: ANGST.

The self centered angst of the Social Justice movement
I’d like to go on record saying I think social justice is a good thing, nay, a great thing! Bringing attention to people who are under represented is important if we’re going to move forward in society. Calling out bullshit in the media that reinforces racism, sexism and homophobia is good.

What’s not good is co opting a movement and using it like fashion accessory. Appropriating words like “trigger warning” and using them to describe anything that makes you uncomfortable or upset. Demanding everyone accept you for who you are while screaming at everyone else about who they are. Throwing textual tantrums at anyone who challenges you and calling it oppression.

This is where most adults begin to see red.

These kids… these young, mostly white, and despite their best efforts straight kids don’t know anything about oppression. Furthermore they don’t care about actual oppression, the type that you read about in the news. They only care about the madey-uppy oppression that they feel is thrust upon them unfairly.

There must be thousands of Tumblr pages by now but no matter how they spin it, the underlying theme is the same: YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME.

This is where we pull back and reflect.

It’s a phrase we’ve heard before. One we screamed at our own parents. Somewhere down the line we lost sight of the fact that these are kids. Young people who are grappling with the age old dilemma of wanting to be part of a group while remaining different and special. And in their quest to do so will take labels and movements to the most fanatical extreme.

This is why we hate them… because we were them. Sure, it was a different flavor in the 80’s and 90’s, but the fool’s quest for self validation still rings true. I predict that a large portion of these teens will eventually grow up, as we did, and realize how self absorbed and petulant they were being. They’ll keep their core values of social justice and acceptance. But they’ll drop the self centered tragedy and focus on more productive writing.

Most of them, at least.

Just as we have a few stragglers who never really left the teenage cave, they too will have the awkward experience of running into someone from high school whose still on Tumblr calling people “cisfags”. It is an inevitable, surreal experience.

So let us end here on this note, give them their time and space. Yes, they’re annoying. But so were we once. Hopefully we’ll meet again someday. Preferably not on Tumblr.

Silent Hill – Fan Interpretation and Theory


SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t played Silent Hill this post will not make any sense and will most likely be very boring. Frankly I’m not sure why you clicked on it. Spoilers, y’all.

 Silent Hill- why is it so popular and why do people spend unhealthy amounts of time theorizing about things that we’re never part of the original games? Sometimes I feel silly writing about the subtle nuances of a video game universe… then I remember I’m on the internet.  All systems GO! 

There are fans who like to focus more on the cult aspects of the story, whereas as others see the cult as a symptom of a larger issue. I fall into the latter category. In fact, I actually prefer to ignore the cult business as much as possible as I really felt Silent Hill didn’t hit it’s stride until Silent Hill 2. A game in which the cult is mercifully absent. So here is my interpretation of Silent Hill- don’t like it? Get your own damn website.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

There are allusions in the series of a nebulous force that pervades the area. This indicates that Silent Hill isn’t in and of itself evil by nature. But only a place of unprecedented psychic energy…

Native Americans conduct mysterious and religious rituals here. The land is valued as a sacred place to the Natives. They revered the town as “The Place of the Silent Spirits”. The land is known as a holy place and seems to possess a mysterious power. – The Book of Memories.

The idea that the Native Americans practiced rituals there also supports the theory of it being a more neutral power. Like a base that one must add intention to in order to render it good or evil. Further history includes the Natives being removed from the area for white European settlement. And this is where things start to go a little batshit. The area is repopulated with a culture completely ignorant of the town’s abilities.

[I’d like to note: I sense some stereotyping about the corrupted Europeans that usurp the good and altruistic natives that of course never ever did anything wrong and are totally peace-loving tree spirits crapola. But that gets into privilege, white guilt, and other topics entirely.]

One of the reasons Silent Hill is such a powerful idea is because it’s very old and represents something intrinsically frightening to just about everyone on Earth. Namely, Judgement. Entering Silent Hill is like looking into a mirror that shows you your true self in agonizing detail. You are set on the scales of judgement and must face all your inner demons brought to life. But I would argue that this not a sentient entity, but a reaction to a stimuli. James is a murderer, but he also hates himself for it. He’s drawn to the town because he knows on some subconscious level the town will make him face what he has done. It will make him suffer because he feels it’s what he deserves. Angela Orosco even says so implicitly.

Silent Hill was inspired heavily by the 1990 movie Jacob’s Ladder which involved a man coming to terms with his fate. This particular quote from the film is very telling,

The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you”, he said. “They’re freeing your soul. So, if you’re frightened of dying and… you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. – Jacob’s Ladder

Although it’s not exact, there are a lot of parallels between the two narratives. Both men are hiding from some truth they refuse to face. And an outside power forces them to face their demons who manifest themselves physically. We also see that relatively innocent characters are left alone and don’t experience the violent nature of the town. Case in point: Laura. Laura is… well, she’s a brat. But she too young to feel guilty about it. Laura is consistently confused by James and Eddie’s concern over her wandering around alone. Because she doesn’t experience any of the town’s judgement. It’s as if the negative emotions of those dealing with severe guilt serves as a bee sting to Silent Hill, and the surge of violent psychic energy is a form of anaphylaxis. The area swells with power depending on the particular “poison” that’s been introduced.

The idea that the power is neutral is a little problematic. This point on it’s own would infer that someone who is just and righteous might step into Silent Hill and it would suddenly be raining teddy bears and kittens. That’s not what I’m saying. It may be that the presence of the evil cult has permanently tainted the town’s energy, that the once neutral force is too heavy with the stench of sacrifice and sin to ever be used for good ever again. It could be that the town is highly conductive to negative energy and not so much to others. But I think the most important thing to remember is that the details don’t really matter. The town is only a symbol, a means to an end to make the protagonist face themselves head on.

In conclusion, Silent Hill is cool and I don’t know how to end things.

Welcome Back, Ami Picture Contest!


PGSM_ACT_28Sailor Mercury is back! This week’s contest is pictures only! The theme is “Welcome back, Ami” to celebrate Sailor Mercury’s deliverance from evilness. This includes drawings, photos, signs, you pick! The winner will receive volume 2 of the Sailor Moon manga. Contest ends July 21st, 2013. So get crackin’! Post a link to your entry in the comments or tweet it to me @nyceasummaries . The winner will be announced on my Youtube channel. See you in a week! ❤

 

Game Review – Fez and “Mature” Gaming


Just played Fez. Well, got the demo, tried it, BOUGHT THE SHIT OUT OF IT and then played it.

Oh look, a bunny! TANGENT!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “mature games”. I think a lot of the time, we forget that mature has two meanings. Mature as in: fully developed adult, and mature as in: having violent or graphic content that is not suitable for children. Gamers can sometimes subconsciously confuse the two, and begin to conflate gritty violence and sex with maturity. Now, that’s not to say a game that includes these factors can not also be mature, Silent Hill 2 is a perfect example, Metal Gear Solid is another. But for a demographic that loves to mock directors like Micheal Bay for his masturbatory use of explosions, violence and hyper sexuality- they seem to rabidly defend gaming’s right to be just as vapid. When I log into steam or XBOX Live to browse new games, all the games seem to blur together in one long log of sameyness:

  • Military Man Shoots Brown People
  • Hulked Out Muscle Man Fights Monsters
  • Badass Shoots People ‘Cuz Vengeance also Boobs
  • ALIEEEENNNS!
  • The Zombie Apocolypse Scenario We All Want to Happen for some reason
  • …and a JRPG and underage tittays.

I’ve played these games, I’ve played ALL these games. I’m bored with these games. As I get older these “gritty, realistic” games appeal to me less and less. There are a variety of reasons, but the biggest one is that so many of them are immature power fantasies.  Now everyone has guilty pleasures. There are movies and games I know are brainless and yet I enjoy them. Just because something isn’t mature doesn’t automatically mean it has no merit or isn’t a great game. But so many games rely heavily on gritty realism and shock-jock antics in order to grab attention in a over saturated market. However, not a one of these games is an immature power fantasy for me. Not a one, is a over-the-top power fantasy for a girl.

And so, feeling bored and cock blocked from the boys club that is popular gaming, I often turn to indie games.

Yes, I remembered what I was talking about.

Fez_cover

I previously reviewed Benjamin Rivers indie game HOME, and I praised it for it’s unbridled radness. Fez is to platform gaming what HOME is to indie horror. You play Gomez and adorable 8 bit sprite to navigate a brilliant 3 dimensional world in order to collect cubes. The game itself is aware of it’s roots, I giggled when I noticed the constellations in the sky looked like Tetris pieces. You don’t shoot anyone, there are no monsters. It’s you against the world- just like real life. It’s the kind of game you can come home from a long day at work and play to relax. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about screaming at 14 year old boys who are teabagging my corpse  that really doesn’t help me unwind.

The gamers who first picked up a light gun to shoot  at ducks in Duck Hunt or race through Sonic are older now, and a lot of us have kids we’re hoping to introduce to gaming as well. This is a game you can play around your kids.

“No baby girl, look away when the half naked woman gets shot in the face. And that one… and that one…and that one.”

I highly recommend Fez as a game for anyone bored of shooting people.

New Holiday Cards and Sale


Getting ready for Christmas a bit early, I’ll be having a baby in a couple weeks and I heard a rumor that it effects your productivity.

Also, I’m having a Holiday Mailing Special through December 31st! All cards bought can be mailed to your address as normal, OR, they can be mailed to the recipient in an attractive holiday envelope (photos to come!). It may also include an optional message on the back if you like.  This is a great option for people who are overwhelmed with Christmas plans and need a little extra help. Also free shipping on all orders!

Order one, or you can get 10 for $10 at the Jellyfish Station Etsy Shop.

You can choose to include an optional message of your choice on the back on the card. If not, if will just be blank.

 

You can choose to include an optional message of your choice on the back on the card. If not, if will just be blank.

HOME: the PC Horror game you’ve never heard of and should play


Prologue:

Despite my sugar pink exterior I am actually a huge fan of horror. I don’t know, maybe I just like contrast. But as someone who grew up with a love horror movies, literature, and cinema, I have acquired the same general sense of disappointment as many fans. The unrelenting march toward mediocrity: torture porn, jumps scares, and well, the new Silent Hill 3D movie just about sums it up. A once subtle and nuanced series swallowed and then regurgitated by a company that understands  about as much about horror as I do about quantum physics.

More and more fans are forced to turn to indie games made by small companies, or in this case, one person- Benjamin Rivers. He’s the creator of HOME and with a few minor complaints I would say it’s a huge success.

HOME: I almost forgot what subtlety looked like

The player starts the game as a man who wakes up in an unfamiliar house and it’s clear that something pretty terrible has gone down. He has no memory of how he got there. The player is then taken on the man’s journey as he tries to find his way back home (get it? hur hur) to his wife, Rachel. As you progress, you discover more about whats going on as he does.

The interface is extremely simple, which is great. When it comes to horror I will always prefer a game with a simple control scheme, having to memorize or fret over countless buttons can suck the atmosphere out of the room. The music is quiet and doesn’t get overly dramatic.

I feel like bigger companies have forgotten- or never hired anyone who knew- what is really genuinely scary. You can put 1,000 different filters on your stupid alien monster, I don’t fucking care. I’m not scared of your high poly zombie or your over designed boss battle. It’s. Not. Scary. And that is coming from someone who is scared of everything. No, seriously. I’m a big sissy, ask anyone.

What’s truly terrifying is the unknown. Losing your mind, accidentally making the wrong choice and getting yourself killed, or the slow and terrible realization that things aren’t what they seem. HOME takes a swing at this and for the most part succeeds. With a few minor slip ups, that is.

It’s not all rainbows and teddy bear smiles

Home isn’t perfect, one issue I found being that there is no save function. In fact there is no inventory, map, menu, or status screen on any kind. This was intention as the game is short and intended to be played in a single play through. But the problem is that this game has multiple diverging paths, and your actions effect what ending you get. When I got to the end I really wanted to go back to a previous save and try a different option, but I couldn’t. You need to replay the entire game from start to finish in order to make different choices. I was also wishing I had some way to re-read notes, letters, or scraps of evidence I picked up. For a game so focused on story and plot, it’s sorely lacking in any way to review the evidence you’ve found. The mechanics are sometimes iffy as well, the game does not always recognize when you’ve triggered an event, and sometimes that leads to some confused dialogue.

And I think the biggest complaint for those who have played it is how ambiguous it is. The ending, depending on your choices, can be nebulous and leave the player confused and disappointed. HOME regards itself as a game that doesn’t hold your hand, and requires the player to meet you half way in order to fully enjoy the story. That attitude is extremely refreshing in an industry hellbent on believing we are all drooling idiots who are incapable of connecting plot points, and would prefer it spoon fed to use- bib and all. Whether it succeeds at that is somewhat debatable. I would say it does- mostly. Because even though the ending I got was lacking, I found myself in bed later that night going over it again and again with my boyfriend.

“Maybe it was like THIS. Or considering this evidence, like THIS!” This went on for about two hours, and despite any mechanical issues or fuzziness of direction- there are few games today that are capable of triggering such an in depth analysis. We had as much fun after the game was over trying to work out different scenarios as we did playing the game itself. And shit, that’s worth a measly 2.99 on Steam.

Recommend it?

Yes. If you like horror, you will at the very least appreciate the valiant effort of HOME. If you roll your eyes at the latest movie trailers, if you think Resident Evil stopped being scary years ago, and that Silent Hill was better before the damn sexy nurse thing became a thing. Then yes, give Benjamin Rivers 3 dollars and play his game. If not, stop reading because we’re not friends anymore.

XOXO –  Maggie