I smoke tobacco pipes. I’ve enjoyed them since I turned 18 and even make them. So, I am pleased when I see television or movies including characters smoking their pipes. You’ll never know where pipe smokers are going to turn up in these things, from Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds to Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. Even the First and Fourth Doctors in Doctor Who were seen smoking pipes. However, I’m almost always infuriated when I see how they smoke them. This is because many times the characters smoke their pipes wrong. Typically, these characters seem to be most interested in making as much smoke as possible. This isn’t wrong because of arbitrary etiquette, but rather is wrong because it ruins the taste of the tobacco, burns the mouth, and can ruin a pipe over time.
Tsunderin: In recent years, Studio Ghibli has become one of the major players in the American animation circuit after getting picked up by Disney, and why shouldn’t they? Their films are for the most part innovative, have great characterization, and are just plain lovely to look at. There’s a certain charm to them that cannot be defined as belonging solely to animation’s realm nor to the Japanese culture—though there are several Ghibli movies that deal solely with Japaneseness. Instead, they transcend to their own setting with their own fanciful, but still relatable and realistic stories. With movies from American cinema attempting to expand into more female-centric stories but at a stand-still with how they should proceed, and those efforts receiving general confusion and even negativity from the movie critical audience at large (Brave anyone?), what is it that we as a film- and entertainment-devouring culture can take from the popular and largely female-centric stories released from Ghibli?
In attempts to answer this question and many others—but mostly because we just felt like it—Ace and I have dedicated this month, and probably part of the following month as well, to examining all of the Ghibli films: the dubbed and the subbed, the Miyazaki and the Takahata, the Disney and the… not Disney. If there’s anything you think we should discuss in a certain film or something you think we missed, leave us a comment. We love Ghibli and their movies and we hope that you, dear reader, can get excited about them as well.
Whereas many of these films are both a big part of Ace’s and my (but mostly Ace’s) childhoods, I have to admit that I’d never seen our first movie. I’ll probably have to turn in my anime fan badge, but this is my first time watching Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Technically, this movie shouldn’t even be in this series of articles since it was created before the founding of Ghibli earnest, but fuck it; it’s well known enough and associated with the studio enough that it would be negligent to pass it by.
[NOTE: This is my first time using the delayed publish feature, so if this shows up any time other than 12:00 PM on Friday, July 29 I apologize]
Today I’m bringing another fic from the author BehrBeMine, this time a “Supernatural” story. This is a oneshot and it’s the story that really made me love her as an author. It’s titled “The Good Son“.
Now, before reading this you need to think back. Remember the Winchesters as we knew them in the first season, when this story was written. Sam and Dean had a strained relationship due primarily to their issues with their father, and Sam in particular seemed to internalize the conflict the most.
This was one of the things which kept me interested in the show. I was already drawn to it due to the supernatural, horror movie aspect of it and the fact that Jared Padalecki was starring, but this family drama which hit incredibly close to home for me was a big part of why I continued tuning in. I really identified with Sam and this story captures exactly why and I truly have never been so personally touched by a fanfic since. The story isn’t too long but in the concise work the author is able to wonderfully explore and express Sam’s emotions while telling his back story in a somewhat nonlinear method.
The story definitely feels like it was written during the first season since Sammy has changed so much over the course of the show, but I don’t think that makes this piece any less worthwhile or true in its characterization, it’s just that it explores a Sammy who is very much of the past so it can feel somewhat dated.
I recommend this story for all “Supernatural” fans, especially those who connected with Sam from the beginning.
Bioware is a game company that is responsible for some great characters in this generation of gaming, both female and male. They have this way of fleshing out everyone so that they are complex and interesting to learn about through gameplay. Even the player-controlled characters fall under this routine. However, as in everything good and holy, there are times when characters are treated unfairly based on circumstances that the audience chooses to ignore partially or entirely (such as Queen Anora from Dragon Age: Origins) or on extenuating circumstances outside of the game and its universe. This latter portion is what I hope to be exploring in part today.
Recently, Bioware released a downloadable content for one of their newer games, Dragon Age 2, called ‘Mark of the Assassin’. This DLC stars a new character named Tallis and, from what I have seen, she has met with an overall chilly reception. Accusations fly about how this character is a Mary-Sue. This was my first impression, but in reality, how well do theses assertions hold up? And why is this character considered any worse than other DLC characters, such as Mass Effect 2’s Kasumi Goto? Note that this comparison is not only one concerning the two’s character quests—despite the fact that they are by and large the same quest in a different time period, and the comparison between the two could make an article in and of itself—but also a look at the motivations of each character and how she deals with the problem presented in front of her. It should go without saying but here is your spoiler alert.