Happy Halloween, everybody! Sadly, this will be the last post of the year. I know, it’s awful, but we writers have been working hard, and we need a longer break than usual to recover.
I do hope you have all been enjoying yourself, because I have not. October has been a rough month for me, and my quest to find something to watch to fulfill my Halloween needs hasn’t helped much. Lord knows American Horror Story is, well… it’s something. And the original 1990 It didn’t do much for me either. It was halfway through It that I realized Stranger Things’s second season was out—excited, I forced my sister-in-law to quit It with me and watch it. And oh, thank God. Stranger Things was the pick-me-up I needed. It is so wonderful watching a story where the good outweighs the bad. I hope my love for this show hasn’t been influenced by the shit I watched before it, but Stranger Things’s second season was awesome.
With the second season of Syfy’s creepypasta inspired show, Channel Zero, well into its run, I figured it was finally time to sit down and watch its first season. You know. For science. Last year I showed off the trailer and addressed some of my worries surrounding this leg of the series, but I’ll give a quick recap. First of all, for those perhaps a little less internet-niche-y, “creepypasta” refers to short, scary (or attempting to be scary) stories that get passed around the internet until they become ingrained in that niche’s mind—or in the case of less serious creepypastas, they enter more mainstream meme status, such as the lines “who was phone” or “man door hand hook car door”.
Channel Zero’s first season, Candle Cove, was based off a well-beloved creeepypasta of the same name which, through forum posts, shows a short interaction between people remembering a children’s show from their past that may not have actually existed. As far as creepypasta-based media goes, Channel Zero is nowhere near the worst thing I’ve ever seen. However, it was disappointing to discover that most of my fears from my earlier post were well-founded, and that even though the creators had a clear love for the creepypasta itself, Channel Zero seemed to forget what made the story scary in the first place.
As much as I want to play Mystic Messenger’s newest route, the better part of my mind is annoyingly making a pretty convincing argument for not completely trashing my sleep schedule for the time being. So, I’m left getting my visual novel fix from other sources. Luckily, I stumbled upon one before the urge became unbearable.
Despite sounding like something I would name a fake game as a joke, Team Salvato’s Doki Doki Literature Club takes the typical slice of life school romance plots and uses its medium to make something truly memorable. While every dating sim and visual novel can be interpreted as a small, in-depth exploration of human (or human-like) nature, Doki Doki Literature Club uses its story to explore the extents of kindness and humanity, and if it can or should cross the boundaries of the narrative fourth wall, leaving players evaluating and re-evaluating their first impressions of the main characters. Before you continue on, reader, I highly suggest you experience everything DDLC has to offer before I spoil it for you. Team Salvato is offering the game for a “name your price” cost on the game’s itch.io page, as well as for free download from Steam. The first run will more than likely take around four hours to complete, but in my opinion it’s entirely worth it. One more thing: please, please heed the content warnings on the game’s page—they aren’t fucking around.
Screenshot taken by me
Massive spoilers below! Trigger warning for depression and self-harm.
Yes, readers, this is what I have been reduced to. September will soon become October, and it’s still hot as balls outside. I am unwilling to give up on the idea of the possibility of a more temperate autumn, though! So this week I went all the way–from cute magical anime to B-grade horror flicks.
After watching the 2014 Ouija movie, I basically lost all hope of there being a good horror movie concerning Ouija boards ever. (Not that I was expecting that movie to be great, it was just so, so much worse than I could have ever anticipated.) And on starting the 2013 indie film The Ouija Experiment, I didn’t expect anything amazing either. In fact, I almost didn’t watch it until I realized that, shockingly, most of the main cast wasn’t white. While the diversity was enough to initially draw me in, and the movie’s determination to not immediately fall into the typical tropes of Ouija bullshit kept pulling me along, in the end The Ouija Experiment’s casting did very little to save it. In fact, the diverse casting seemed to only exist so the writer, Tony Snearly, had an excuse to whip out a bunch of racist jokes.
It’s now officially Fall! …Or that’s what the calendar tells me, but the unwelcome persistence of 80 degree weather (that’s 27~ degrees Celsius to you Celsius-using folk) is weaving a different tale. In an effort to prove that temperature doesn’t rule my life–even when I’m dying and making offerings for those crisp fall days to come the fuck on already–I’ve started to dive into that good seasonal content. Of course, that means witches and magic!
Back in March of last year I talked about how excited I was for the upcoming anime adaptation of the manga The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and just recently the three part OVA, Those Awaiting A Star, finished airing in Japan. Despite being unaware that an OVA was even happening, I eagerly dove into the three 25 minute episodes. It was advertised as a prequel story, so I was a bit hesitant that the OVA would be focusing mostly on the situation that brought heroine Chise to her living arrangements with her fiance, the titular ancient magus; doing so would almost certainly mean focusing on the neglect and abuse Chise suffered, and three episodes of that sounds kind of like the worst thing ever. It’s impossible to avoid that completely, as the episodes focus on Chise’s childhood, but if you share my concerns, I’m here to tell you that the OVAs didn’t turn into the Chise torture hour. More importantly, Those Awaiting A Star subtly shows off the environment Chise comes to thrive in as well as her relationship to Elias (the magus) in a way that quells the worries I, as someone who hasn’t read the manga, had about that too!
They’re so cute and good, you guys. (Screenshot taken by me)
You’d think that by now I’d realize that Facebook is dangerous. No, I wasn’t drawn into a debate with relatives who don’t seem to understand that being an awful, ignorant person on all facets should not be a viable political platform. I was drawn, instead, to watching an anime. Usually those ripped video clips stuck between two white bars that say something to the effect of “When you break up with a girl in anime😂😂” don’t grab me, but this video did. Here, let me show you. (Content warning for child abuse and bullying.)
These are the first nine minutes of the 2013 anime Kotoura-san, and immediately after watching this I knew I had to look up the summary to see if it was worth investing any more time in. I had no interest in watching a series devoted to the further torturing of its protagonist; however, the summary wasted no time in saying that this series was a romantic comedy (what?) that focused on the titular Kotoura-san making friends and healing from her childhood trauma. What followed was, yes, that in generous helpings. But Kotoura-san was also filled with, in equal parts, a bunch of uncomfortable sexual harassment and an unsatisfying narrative resolution to parental negligence which only served to undermine the actual good things going on.
Spoilers below the cut. All the previous warnings still apply, with an additional one for incest.Continue reading →
I can’t deny that Sailor Moonwas my heart growing up. In the wider scope of cartoons/anime aiming for a younger demographic American audiences weren’t so readily exposed to these shoujo magical girls and doki doki gakuen series as they were shonen series like DBZ and its ilk. So, while I often liked to fight in the name of the moon, I ended up much more well acquainted with the hand motions to perform a proper spirit gun technique or trying very hard to ignore that Goku had been on the same battle for four days in a row.
These days, however, audiences have grown restless in their consumption of the same old tropes. We want more. When an anime comes out that attempts to deconstruct the genre, audiences flock to it hoping to gain some great knowledge from it, or some sense of satisfaction. When I started watching Mob Psycho 100, I wasn’t expecting anything mindblowing (despite claims from my friend otherwise), and it wasn’t. Don’t take that as a negative thing, because it’s certainly not. Shonen series are all about the capacity for audience’s minds to be blown, so much so that every arc tends to follow the pattern of the hero needing to get a ridiculous new power to defeat the new powerful enemy. Mob’s deconstruction of the genre comes from its refusal to bend to the shonen tropes that define its world, and the result is something purely human; nothing more, nothing less.