I don’t think I’ve ever read the whole way through Les Misérables—once I reach a certain point, usually before everyone dies, I put the book down and call it quits. The musical is sad enough for me; I don’t need more sadness. That said, every once in a while I do check what kind of fanfiction there is out there, because hey, if any canon has death, fanfiction will fix that right up. That’s how I came across A Reflection of Starlight by AutumnGracy. Taking place, sadly, after the barricade, the fic starts with Javert jumping off a bridge. This time around, though, Valjean witnesses his fall into the Seine and rescues him.
Trigger warning for discussions of suicide follow.
I looked forward to Civilization VI for months before it came out, and on its release day, I was more than happy to drop $60 for a great gaming experience. After all, I liked Civilization V, and despite Civilization: Beyond Earth’s problems it was still an okay experience. The first couple weeks with Civ VI, I had a blast figuring everything out, but there were a lot of little things in the gameplay that lessened the experience, and unfortunately, nearly half a year later, they have not improved.
Magic and sci-fi don’t have a great track record when it comes to pregnancy. I already talked about this in a previous post a while back, but thanks to Shadowhunters, it’s time to talk about it again. Shadowhunters is not a bad show. It’s not good either, not by a long shot. It’s based on a subpar book series, and although the show has taken a lot of creative liberties—most of which are for the better—the acting’s awful, and the story’s pretty campy. That said, it’s still a lot of fun, and as Noodle has pointed out, it’s giving us some great LGBTQ+ representation. It’s even used magic in some unique ways. All in all, it has my approval. At least, that was until I starting catching up on Season 2 and reached the episode “Dust and Shadows” and Shadowhunters went right into one of my more hated tropes—the mystical pregnancy.
I hate this trope so much. It’s steeped in rape culture, has numerous implications for worldbuilding, and is rarely handled all that well. Shadowhunters may do a really good job with some things, but this is not one of them, and it’s one of the few instances where the show is actually worse than the books.
Spoilers and a trigger warning for sexual assault ahead.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have much hope for the latest installment in the Star Ocean franchise. I wanted to be optimistic, the same way I wanted to be optimistic about the Assassin’s Creed movie or Final Fantasy XV—but near every time I go for optimism, reality has its ways of disappointing me. Integrity and Faithlessness came out after The Last Hope, and The Last Hope is anything but a good game. The plot made no damn sense, the characters are all unlikable, and the massive amounts of sexism and rape culture on top of everything made the game more than unenjoyable.
The Last Hope’s failure ensured that the budget for Integrity and Faithlessness was small, and it sure as hell shows. We only get to visit one planet, the monster designs are all reused from previous games, there are hardly any cutscenes, meaning that it’s possible to walk away from important dialogue, and the plot itself is a little lackluster. It’s not hard to see why the game only has three stars on IGN. Despite all that, though, Integrity and Faithlessness did a really good job with what it had. A lot of effort went into its characters, and following a group of well rounded people more than made up for any of the game’s other shortcomings.
Rebels’s third season wrapped up just a couple weeks ago, and yet the trailer for Season 4 has already dropped. Sadly, as much as I love this show, this is going to be the last season, which is probably for the best. Season 4 should end right around the time Rogue One starts, and unless something drastic happens to Rebels’s main characters, their absence in the original trilogy will be a pretty big plot hole. After all, at no point in time did anyone go up to Luke and say, “hey, here’s a couple other Jedi you might like to meet.”
Final Fantasy XV has been out for a while now, and I only just recently got around to playing it. The game is open-world, and while that is hardly a new concept for Final Fantasy, the current technology and graphics allowed for some really impressive visuals, as well as a large number of fun side quests and optional dungeons. And… that consists of the good things I have to say about this game. Final Fantasy XV was in production for a long time—I remember first seeing videos and articles for it back in 2009–10. In the past decade, the story definitely went through a number of weird changes, and it sure as hell shows. I was aware of some shitty things about FFXV even before it was released. The game writers decided not to include playable female characters because they thought having them would change the dynamic of the male characters as they take a road trip across the world. Literally every Final Fantasy game is about a bunch of characters traveling the world, but this time, there’s a car involved, so I guess it must be different.
But the problems in Final Fantasy XV go well beyond blatant sexism—although there’s plenty of that to go around too. I hardly thought the story would be perfect, but this game was a decade in production. I expected it to at least have some solid characterization and worldbuilding, but even that seems to be too much for FFXV to handle.
Spoilers up ahead.
The other night, I managed to drag myself to the theater for Power Rangers. Honestly, I was not expecting the movie to be anywhere near as enjoyable as it ended up being. If Saika hadn’t recced it to me, I wouldn’t have gone at all, but I am so glad she did. Watching the movie, however, just left for eager for more, so I rushed home for fanfiction, where, to my great surprise and excitement, I learned that most fics are Kimberly/Trini. And it didn’t take long for me to find You’ll Always Paint My Sky by clarkes_murphy.