Web Crush Wednesdays: Spirits

Web Crush Wednesdays

Mythology is super fun—though this is easy to forget when most of our access to it comes in textbook form. I’d love to soak up as many legends and stories from around the world as I can, but Wiki-walking can only get you so far, and often you can get lost in those walls of text and the academic language. Plus, how do you know where to start?

These epic tales of heroes, gods, demons and magical shenanigans were often meant to be told out loud, spread by word of mouth for the purpose of entertainment. A podcast, then, is the ideal modern medium to get yourself into these ancient tales. Today’s web crush Spirits is exactly that, and it comes with a bonus dose of friendship, feminism, and alcohol!

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Magical Mondays: Beyond Good and Evil—Spirits and Demons in Dragon Age

I’ve always found magic within the Dragon Age universe to be an interesting topic—perhaps strangely so, because the magic itself isn’t groundbreaking and neither is the treatment of the universe’s mages. In the end it’s another universe where a seasoned mage can influence anything and many non-magical people, in turn, fear these mages. These fears are then exacerbated by the religious institution the Chantry with their twisting of the prophetess Andraste’s words. What I can point out as being particularly interesting, however, are the magical beings that loom ominously beside both mages and non-mages alike, only separated by a thin metaphysical wall called The Veil. In general, these beings are called spirits, but there are two specific types that are spoken about most commonly: spirits that aren’t hostile towards mortals (denoted henceforth as Spirits, with a capital S) and Demons. Though the Chantry places Demons squarely in the “evil” category, can the omission of Spirits be taken as an implication that they’re “good”? It could, but such an assumption would also be incorrect; despite their objective differences, Spirits and Demons don’t fit so squarely in human morality and roughly have the same function as all spirits.

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Magical Mondays: Ghosts in Geek Culture

Ghosts are a common feature in many speculative fiction stories, from Harry Potter to Supernatural to Saga and a million things in between. They can be scary, or silly, or solemn, but they tend to have one thing in common: ghosts cling to the mortal plane because of some sort of unfinished business in our realm. Because of this, ghosts are often used in one of two ways in storytelling: either as a horror trope, to pop up and say boo and scare you, or as a way to teach the living characters something about themselves—namely, how to avoid the circumstances that led them to being a ghost. And while there can be something tragic or terrifying about the horror type of ghost, I think that ghosts are more effective as a storytelling trope when they’re used to teach a lesson.

Speaking of ghosts, can anyone explain why this creepy little fricker was so popular?

Speaking of ghosts, can anyone explain why this creepy little fricker was so popular?

Spoilers for Hikaru no Go below the jump. Continue reading

Everything You Need to Drool About Book Two: Spirits

Happy San Diego Comic-Con, freaks and geeks! If anyone reading this is there right now, know that I’m very jealous and that I hate you. As I write this, it is Day 3 of the con and it looks like things are in full swing, and people are having a blast.

Anyway, something lovely came across my feeds yesterday, the official trailer for The Legend of Korra Book Two: Spirits.

There are no words, just a lot of interest-piquing badassery over lovely music, like the classic montage of an old Chinese film. It’s very well done, and the instrumental adds a certain gravity to the very cool happenings on screen.

Now, we already know that Book Two is going to deal more with the Spirit World, Korra having already defeated the opponent who seems best equipped to defeat her. The trailer shows some action which is explicitly Spirit World, and then others which I can only presume are also happening there (like at 1:20 when Korra seems to be struggling in a rushing waterfall, without the aid of her bending). We get a couple of cool shots of past avatars, including Aang, Roku, and Kyoshi, and some exciting shots of Mako. And one scene of Bolin running next to him.


tumblr_mq6ab4zAO71r5dzxeo2_500 (1)You also may have noticed some cuts where the animation style seems to reference a more old-school (and I mean old-old school) Asian art, woodblock prints and all. The young man in those scenes is the first Avatar, as discussed at the Comic-Con panel yesterday. They talked about episode direction, the recently released Book One soundtrack, showed off some cool fan-art, and among other reasons that I hate people who had the chance to attend, showed the whole first episode.I’m not going to address how jealous and hateful that makes me feel other than to say that I would likely sell my closest friend to be in San Diego yesterday to watch that.

yuenReturning to the subject of the first Avatar, it seems that he will be voiced by Steven Yeun, who you may know as Glenn from The Walking Dead. That early agent of worldly balance was named Wan, and is a great example of the show’s creative team reaching way back into the history of their world, something that they are very good at.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. Wander around the site this week for more good stuff, as it turns out we’re pretty Comic-Con-crazy over here at LGG&F.

Fanart via orenoturn

Ghibli Month: Spirited Away

Spirited-Away-spirited-away-452416_1024_768Tsunderin: Outside of Princess Mononoke it’s clear that Spirited Away leads the pack of most well-loved Ghibli films in America. Certainly with an Academy Award and several other honors to its name, the impact of this film upon animation as a serious genre in filmmaking on an international level cannot be ignored. But on a slightly less foundation-shaking level, the film is just plain enjoyable to watch. So much so that I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t seen the film or at least knows the story on some level, even among my non-anime watching compatriots.

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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.