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.
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.
Also, calling Yang’s power a “temper tantrum” was like, really shitty, too. Taiyang’s definitely not getting any “dad of the year” awards any time soon. (via Reddit)
I wrote a review for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Childrena 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.
Upon finally finishing Mystic Messenger, I’ve come to one conclusion: I’m dead. Emotionally dead. As far as otome games go, Cheritz’s Mystic Messenger has some of the best writing I’ve ever seen, and a plot full of more twists and turns that I would have ever thought possible from a freemium-styled mobile game. While the game does have plenty of cute moments and funny interactions, as well as drama, these are all to be expected. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was a deeper look into the tragedy of mental illness, and how even the best intentions can lead to an ultimately harmful ending for more than one person.
Major spoilers for the game, especially both of the secret stories, beneath the cut. Additionally, a trigger warning for mentions of suicide.
A lot of exciting things happened to me this Christmas—I saw Star Wars four times, got a Lego Millennium Falcon, and went into anaphylactic shock. Twice. It was an eventful time for me that I thankfully survived, and as my break started coming to an end, APerigren told me about this amazing scary movie called The Babadook that came out in 2014 and was both written and directed by Jennifer Kent as her directorial debut. Despite hating horror films because they give me nightmares, and disregarding the potentially fatal medical issues I just suffered through, I decided to traumatize myself even more by giving The Babadook a watch. This was a bad idea.
Regardless of my low tolerance for scary monsters and the subsequent nightmares the story gave me, I will concede that The Babadook is one of the better movies I’ve watched. The Babadook is a psychological thriller about a monster called the Babadook who terrorizes and possesses people. It’s also a giant metaphor for depression and grief.
When I was watching Avatar the first time, I was probably in middle school or high school, and I remember getting into it just for the bending. Each form of bending is based on a different form of Chinese martial art, and because my family is from Taiwan and I grew up in a household where we watched Jet Li movies just as often as any Western action movies, the idea of martial arts giving the martial artist control of the four elements was extremely compelling to me. Upon rewatch, though, I realized that as a kid, I somehow missed a lot of the diversity of the Avatar universe. Though bending is such a physical act, the Avatar universe also went out of its way to showcase many characters with physical disabilities and mental trauma.
Spoilers for all of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra after the jump.
Ah, Big Hero 6. We wrote about the trailer a while ago, but never came back to review the movie. But, as I’m sure you already know, there’s no need: this movie’s awesomeness is clear to anyone who’s seen it. Big Hero 6 is about a young robotics prodigy, Hiro Hamada, who only wants to use his smarts to design robots for illegal robot fights. His older brother Tadashi, however, manages to steer Hiro toward using his talents for good by introducing him to his university, the San Fransokyo Institue of Technology (SFIT). Hiro meets all Tadashi’s friends and Tadashi’s robot creation, Baymax, a robot that’s designed to diagnose and cure the sick, and after seeing everything, he’s inspired to apply to SFIT himself.
As a protagonist, Hiro’s young enough that the audience can quickly tell Big Hero 6 will be a bildungsroman of some sort—how will Hiro grow up and come into his own? But in telling Hiro’s story, Big Hero 6 also managed to send a compelling message about grief and mourning. Spoilers for the whole movie after the jump.
I’ve wanted to write a post about how OCD is portrayed in pop culture for quite some time now—but to be honest, there really aren’t that many obsessive-compulsive characters out there. Off the top of my head, I can name the Riddler from DC Comic’s Batman and Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh. Rin tells me that Pearl from Steven Universe also suffers from OCD, but I don’t watch that show and therefore cannot comment on it. So that leaves me with the Riddler and Rabbit, which are not that many characters at all.
Unfortunately, despite being one of the more well-known mental disorders out there, OCD is sadly not that well understood by people at large. I think this helps contribute to the lack of representation—and what representation us OCD sufferers do get is normally not that great either.
An imperfect God is easier to believe in. Just as a mystical pregnancy that doesn’t result in special children (because statistically, so few people are likely to become Great; why should children of mystical pregnancies be any different from typical humans?), and the death of a son of god being much more personal than a momentous world-saving act is easier to believe in.
However, there are a few canonical instances where wizards do actually practice (Christian) religion in the series. St. Mungo’s, the wizarding hospital, is actually named for a real saint. St. Mungo, also known as St. Kentigern, was a Christian missionary who performed miracles and founded the city of Glasgow. The Fat Friar is the ghost of Hufflepuff House and was a monk in his former life.
As a genderqueer person I’m fairly certain that my own experience with slash fanfiction differs somewhat from the norm. Only recently have I begun reflecting on how formative both writing and reading fanfiction was at a time in my life when I felt isolated and frustrated by my own seemingly incongruous feelings. Knowing now that there are a surprising number of people for whom the gender binary doesn’t hold true, I like to think that for some small portion of the fan community fanfiction has been an important tool for self-discovery, as it was for me.
Lycanthropy also serves as a metaphor for the inherent state of physical transition and transformation that is a defining part of puberty. For most able-bodied, non-chronically ill people, puberty is the first time we actively feel out of control of our bodies (potty training notwithstanding). The changes are sudden, violent, bizarre; simple changes in height are nothing compared to the fundamental, irreversible changes to the character and nature of our bodies that happen during puberty. It’s rooted in the same basis that makes all body horror so terrifying—the involuntary changing of and lack of control over the body.