We’ve recommended a lot of online web series in this column through the years, but not all of them have been fully accessible to people with disabilities. For example, audio description of what’s happening on the screen is important for blind or low vision people, while captions are important for the d/Deaf or hard of hearing. Yet neither of those things are often found on independent web series (ie, series which aren’t made by big companies like Netflix or Hulu). While a lot of the things we’ve recced here do have captions, a lot more of them don’t have any. Many online creators either don’t think they’re necessary, don’t know how to add them, or just don’t think about them at all, leaving their fans to subtitle things for them or even put together their own collection of transcripts for other fans. Today’s web crush focuses specifically on captions for web series. Captioned Web TV spotlights web series and YouTubers who feature closed captions on all their videos.
It doesn’t take much for me to be intrigued by any piece of media. If a book has a nice cover, I’m probably going to want to at least read the description on the back of it. If a movie has a good soundtrack, I may be convinced to watch it. And if a game has interesting graphics or some gameplay gimmick that stands out, I’ll be more inclined to try it on my own time. The latter is where I found myself a couple days ago. One of the streamers I watch more regularly plays a lot of weird games from all corners of the internet, and in this particular video he happened to be playing one simply titled Everything is going to be OK. With a title like that, accompanied by distorted graphics that look like they could come from a horror story, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that no, everything was not going to be okay. Yet though I expected a creepypasta-esque game in which there’s a cult and everything is terrible forever, the game itself had none of the horror trappings that I had grown so used to from staples like “Ben drowned” or even the Silent Hill series. Upon downloading and playing the early access version of the game myself–I stopped watching the stream so I wouldn’t completely ruin the experience–I found I was completely wrong altogether. Everything is going to be OK isn’t a horror game. It’s more like slice-of-life, and its message is ultimately positive.
TW for cartoon gore and discussions of depression and anxiety beneath the cut. Continue reading
Back at the start of 2016, I spotlighted a little webcomic called Always Human as my web crush of the week because it featured a lovely queer romance and some fantastic art and music. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite web crushes (next to The Adventure Zone and They Call Us Bruce) not only because of the relationship between Austen and Sunati, but also because of the way that diversity of all sorts is seamlessly blended into the story. Always Human is set in a future version of our Australia, and while future Australia of course has various technological advances, it’s also filled with racial diversity, different sexual orientations and gender identities, and both polyamorous and monogamous relationships. I’m always excited to read more of Austen and Sunati’s slice-of-life adventures, but perhaps my favorite thing about the series is author Ari’s depiction of disability in a fantastical world.
Spoilers for Always Human below, as well as a trigger warning for discussions of ableism and fatphobia.
After Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out, a good number or people looked at how Newt talked and acted and started to believe that he was autistic. It’s something that many people seem to be discussing and enjoying as a headcanon, and that’s great. But if Newt is really autistic in the movie, is he good representation, and how would this expansion of the Harry Potter world deal with an autistic character?
Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts below.
I love me some musical theater. So while I had heard from a friend that Dear Evan Hansen had a deeply unpleasant storyline, when my mom offered to buy me and my brother, who was visiting from my hometown, tickets, I figured I’d give the show the chance to prove itself. I headed into the theater last Saturday night knowing none of the music and with only my friend’s brief synopsis of the plot to go on. What followed was two and a half hours of the most disgustingly tasteless story I have had the misfortune to experience in a theater. I spent the entire first act feeling like I was actually going to be sick to my stomach, and found no real solace in the second act, which was frustratingly absent any repercussions for the title character’s reprehensible behavior.
Spoilers for the show and a trigger warning for discussion of ableism and suicide after the jump.
The newest season of RWBY was, in my opinion, one of the better seasons: the animation was beautiful and the characters continued to grow in impactful ways. There were unsurprisingly a few missteps, but one of these missteps almost ruined the entire season for me—and while it didn’t, it certainly took me out of a couple episodes. Before this season, RWBY didn’t offer too much in the ways of characters with physical disabilities, but the characters they did show were pretty badass. Torchwick’s right hand woman, Neo, managed to be intimidating, skilled, and infuriating (in a good, villain-y way) all without use of her voice, and Cinder’s companion, Mercury, used his prosthetic legs as naturally and dangerously as any trained warrior would. Their disabilities didn’t define either one or hold either of them back, it was just a part of who they were. Which is why I was disappointed and frustrated that in RWBY Season 4, the characters now learning how to live with their new physical disabilities weren’t given the same sort of narrative support—a problem most heinously shown through the character Yang.
I wrote a review for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children a while back. In it, I went over some of its problems—it panders, has too many characters for its running time, and breaks its suspension of disbelief more than once. I also briefly touched on Cloud’s depression, which I plan to talk about in more detail today. Advent Children has a lot of things wrong with it, and as a whole, the movie simply does not work. Cloud’s character arc is one of those things. The movie doesn’t know how to handle mental health issues, and that makes Advent Children more than a little painful to watch at times. Cloud suffers from depression, but his depression never contributes to his character arc in a way that matters. Advent Children uses it to set up his internal conflict, but it never resolves his issues. Instead, Cloud’s depression is little more than a gimmick, and the way the movie handles it really drags on the story.