Web Crush Wednesdays: Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural

Fandom secret: I actually really like a lot of Buzzfeed’s content.

I know it’s the cool thing these days to shit on everything that happens to carry the name “Buzzfeed” on it, and yeah, some of their videos and articles take a full dive into “what the actual fuck”, but if you think there’s not a single interesting thing on there, then I have to believe you’re full of shit. For me, the prime time for watching Buzzfeed videos is the same sort of time period where one may be drawn into watching things from the creepier and weirder side of YouTube–some nebulous time at night where there may be something better to do, but who knows what that is. Thankfully Buzzfeed has a series that covers both of those categories; one that I hope continues to flourish.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Zombillénium

“Do you have a demonic side? Have we got a job for you!” claims the trailer for Arthur de Pins’s big screen adaption of his graphic novel, Zombillénium. The irony is that they probably don’t have a job for you. Why? Let’s just say you don’t have the right credentials. From the graphic novel’s teaser:

Francis von Bloodt, a vampire and good family man, operates the one-of-a-kind theme park Zombiellenium. But this unique amusement park doesn’t just hire anyone: mere mortals need not apply—only genuine werewolves, vampires, zombies, and other citizens from the undead community are employed.

This certainly sounds interesting in its own right, but the movie’s synopsis gives newcomers a deeper look into the darker aspects that will be showing up in the film.

In Zombillenium, the amusement terror park, monsters have the blues.

Not only zombies, vampires, werewolves and other demons are real monsters, whose souls belong to the devil forever, but they are tired of having to entertain consumerist, voyeuristic and selfish humans…

However, when little Lucy, a nice 7-year-old girl looking for her dad, is found by the skeleton Sirius and quickly adopted by all monsters, she will reveal their humanity and give them a good reason not to give up.

Souls sold to the devil? The negative impacts of consumerism? Those sound like pretty intense issues for what’s being advertised as a children’s movie, but I can completely get behind a kid’s film that’s willing to tackle said issues.

What do you mean kids can think critically about things? Preposterous!

What do you mean kids can think critically about things? Preposterous! (Art by Arthur de Pins)

Any movie touted for children that doesn’t treat their younger audience as idiots is a blessing. And this isn’t me being selfish—I’m probably going to end up watching the movie for pleasure, along with a sizable portion of older viewers, regardless of the film’s intended audience. This is about raising standards of children’s media in general. The point of media should be to challenge our ideas while simultaneously bringing new ideas to light, an aspect that many companies seem to have forgotten—or are all too ready to ignore—when it comes to children. So if zombies are going to be taken once more from their tired and trite grave to get little ones thinking about important things à la ParaNorman, I’m ready to wholeheartedly support that.

Basically me. (art by Kate Beaton)

Basically me.
(art by Kate Beaton)

Beyond my high hopes, the animation and artistic style for this film are beautiful. Lineless cell-shaded art is my weakness and ugh, everything is so fluid I might just shed a tear. I’m furious that I have to wait until August at the very earliest to see the film—as if I needed something else to add to my “I will sit here consumed with lust anticipation” list. However, I have heard nothing but good things concerning the source material, so I have high hopes that Zombillénium will be well worth the wait.

Manga Mondays: Kon Kon Kokon

Once again we’ve reached the ‘2spooky’ month of October and I have another awesome excuse to break out my horror manga and share it with you guys!

As much as I love gore, possessions, and stuff like that, today’s manga has more to do with spirits rather than straight-up scares. Adorable spirits.

Kon Kon Kokon is one of the many series penned by the lovely Koge-Donbo, who works for the Broccoli company. You may know her from earlier series such as the popular Di-Gi Charat, and even if you don’t know her series directly, you’re probably familiar with her distinct art style. As such, every single character in this manga looks like they’re about ten and have huge, shiny eyes. Kon Kon Kokon focuses on the young cool kid, Ren, who just recently moved from the country to the big city. Embarrassed at his nerdy persona, he makes a point of changing his image from a bumpkin to an aloof ikemen (good looking dude)—or as ikemen as a ten year old can get. To be expected, this is to gain the favor of classroom cutie, Himeka. His resolve is tested, however, when Kokon arrives.

No one understands how Kokon comes to be at their school—nor do they seem to question why she’s wearing shrine maiden garb—but she has a mission: to repay Ren for something that he doesn’t seem to remember. He tries to send her back home, but after he finds out her secret he is stuck between keeping his façade or fully taking advantage of the opportunity he is presented with. You see, Kokon is a fox spirit and Ren is a paranormal otaku. And what did Ren do to earn attention from such a being? When they were younger he saved her life, so Kokon promised herself to Ren as his bride. Hijinks ensue.

I really adore this series for its simple and accessible explanations of some Japanese spirits. However, I don’t exactly believe the conflict of main character, Ren. If there was any indication that he may be unfairly treated for his hobby, then I may be more willing to be invested in his plight, but everyone’s so nice that I have a hard time believing that anyone would turn on him if he showed to be strangely passionate about something. Hell, even Himeka, when faced with chasing down a potential spirit, seems excited by the prospect and even says she looks forward to searching for one with Ren at a later date. The stakes are virtually non-existent, so I can’t say it’s exactly an exciting read. Hopefully it gets better in the later volumes (I haven’t been able to find any, nor have I felt particularly inclined to look). If you want something cute to read or are interested in Japanese mythos, I would say give it a shot.

Give Up The Ghost

I like ghost shows. There is nothing I like to do more in the winter than to make some popcorn, snuggle under my electric blanket, drink hot cocoa, and watch people run around with night vision cameras yelling “What was that?” and “SOMETHING JUST TOUCHED ME!” Though I myself have never seen a ghost or a demon in real life, I still believe that they could exist. What could be better than the unknown becoming known? At first I was excited; more shows equals more time spent capturing paranormal footage right? Not so much. The shows are often well…silly and not in the “we are in on the joke” silly, more like “very annoying, want to punch you in your stupid face” silly. Arming them with flashlights, cameras, tape recorders, and E-meters (which are supposed to track electrical something or other) they throw these people (who literally make their living from investigating paranormal activities) into an abandoned building and tell them to find a spirit. Of course things hardly ever pan out, half the time they catch “orbs” (that look suspiciously like moths) or their equipment malfunctions. They attribute all of this to ghosts. The other half of the time if they actually feel, hear, or see something that is possibly paranormal the audience suddenly hears them scream bleeped out obscenities and we get a lovely view of their feet running out the door. YOU ARE INVESTIGATING THE PARANORMAL AND HAVE AT LEAST FOUR CAMERAS BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAMERAMEN, VIDEO TAPE IT YOU IDIOTS!

Before, the shows would either involve people who had studied the paranormal for many years and had done extensive background research on the place they were investigating, or the show was reenactments of actual paranormal experiences, it concentrated more on the personal effects of the haunting on the people involved. Best of all, the shows were only usually half an hour, unless it was a special episode. Listen TV executives, I’m glad you are beginning to cater to my generations macabre needs, however if you want to make money, you have to pick people who are actually going to do their job right. I watch these shows to be scared, to be enthralled in the story, to see people put aside their fears and face the darkness with a hunger to learn what lies behind it. If you can’t find them, at least hire someone who has an actual personality. These current people are boring. Oh, and History channel? Go back to talking about old guns and Hitler. You are not the prophecies, paranormal, and conspiracy theories channel. You are the History channel, talk about history. If I wanted to watch a show about what might happen in 2012 I’ll watch the channel where that belongs: SyFy.