Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Lion King vs. Kimba

I just got done arguing this point with particularly rabid anime fanbrats, so this is going to be a bit of a rant.

Now, I'm not one to fan hate, but by damn, sometimes certain fanbases it make it easy to. VERY easy, and very tempting. Look, particularly obsessed anime fanbrats, slinging mud in The Lion King's direction over the whole Lion King vs. Kimba nonsense has accomplished the grand total of one thing over the years: you've made people like me dislike Kimba and even bristle at the very mention of the show's name. Look, I'm not going to to argue Lion King's case. I've done that millions of times over and never once received an acceptable counter argument.

I might have liked Kimba: The White Lion. I really might have, but all the slander directed at one of my all-time favorite Disney movies have convinced me not to touch this show with a twenty foot pole. Well, that's not entirely tue, I did try to watch the show and found it to be a subpar opus, at best. Seriously, THIS is the work that has you all up in arms?! Give me a break. Granted, I went into it with a less than positive attitude, but still... Okay, so they have lions. Okay, so the father dies. The latter is typical of many "coming of age" stories and Disney cites Hamlet, among other things, as source for Lion King. Everything IN The Lion King is very general to most stories of that kind, and the similarities between the two are very superficial.

Seriously, we may as well complain about Superman's backstory being Moses with aliens.

My point: give it rest. You're not doing Kimba any favors by introducing people to the show in the worst way you possibly could. Look at it from a Disney fan's point of view. Let's pick a show, shall me? Ghost in the Shell. Alright, you're enjoying yourself on a GitS board one day when suddenly some prat shows up with righteous indignation and starts slinging insults and claims that Ghost ripped off another work (let's just pick Blade Runner or The Princess of Mars hypothetically). Now tell me, would you view what he's claiming is the "superior original" very kindly? No, you wouldn't. And that's how it is for us. I cannot stress enough that you're not doing Kimba any favors by dombarding Disney fans with all this ire. You're making us groan at the very mention of your beloved show's name. I can't imagine you want that to be our reaction anytime Kimba's brought up.

And another thing. Let's say Disney comes out and admits it, and I'm proven wrong. Alright, what do you want me to do about it? The film is going on 20 years old in a few years. So what exactly are we supposed to do about Lion King and Kimba's similarities, I wonder. It's too late to boycott the movie (too late five or six times over now, in fact), and I've already bought the dang thing on home video twice (VHS and DVD).

Now let's look at the things that are different
-Simba knew his father, Kimba didn't.
-Mufasa was killed by his brother, Ceaser was killed by a hunter.
-Simba grew up with Nala, Kimba met Kitty later.
-Simba grew up, Kimba didn't.
-LK's plot is Similar to Hamlet, whereas Kimba seems to have just about everything short of alien invasion.
-Scar is a constant antagonist, Claw isn't.
-LK has set characters, Kimba has a lot of one-offs.

Also for plot points:

Kimba's father is the king of a jungle
Simba's father is the king of a big patch of savannah

Kimba's father is killed by a hunter (apparently) for stealing domestic cattle off human villages.
Simba's father is killed by his brother out of greed.

Kimba is shipped off with him mother to a zoo while still in her womb, but escapes when the ship founders in a storm.
Simba is chased off alone by hyenas (after birth, obviously), but escapes when he falls into a field of thorn-bushes.

Kimba nearly drowns at sea, but is taught to swim by fishes and guided to land by butterflies.
Simba nearly dies in the desert, but is rescued at the last by Timon and Pumbaa and manages his way home without asking for directions.

Kimba is raised by two humans somewhere in the Middle-East.
Simba is raised by Timon and Pumbaa in an African Jungle.

Kimba is eager to get home.
Simba is not eager to go home, and is only shamed into it eventually by Rafiki.

Kimba brings the wonders of human civilisation to his jungle home.
Simba overthrows his tyrannical uncle to allow his land to regenerate.

Do any of those actually sound similar to you? They certainly don't to me. It would be like claiming that The Lord of the Rings is a ripoff of Babylon 5.

Next, you DON'T have to validate your love of anime at all, and picking fights with fans of other works isn't how to do it. Stop getting so desperate to be accepted and proven acceptable for liking anime by targetting and tearing apart as a "ripoff" anything Western that remotely resembles an anime. I also love anime, but I also love opuses that are made in the Western part of the world.

I don't need to point at Treasure Planet and call it a rip off of Outlaw Star to prove that what I like is acceptable (for one thing, I'd have to completely ignore the existance of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island). At the end of the day, nobody cares. Or the only people who do will be the fans of the work that's being accused and slandered, and the only thing they'll be feeling is anger and annoyance right back at anime fans. Stuff like this and the Atlantis vs. Nadia thing doesn't reflect well on anime fans as a whole.

One thing I would like to remind anyone to prescribes by the "Lion King rips off Kimba" mindset: Both Europe and China have their own version of the Cinderella tale, and both were developed independently. So yes, different parts of the world CAN create two very similar stories purely by chance.

Also, the only difference between a movie not based on anything particular and a remake is that the remake is just more blatant about being an old idea.

Now, I'm not saying all or even most anime fans are like this. I'm just talking about the prats that do act like this.

Anyway, sorry, I just HAD to get this off my chest. Seeya all later.           

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I've Never:

Disclaimer: I do not own "FullMetal Alchemist".

Note: In this tale, I make no attempt at being serious, so please do not be offended.

Edward and Alphonse Elric, Winry Rockbell, Roy Mustang, Hughes, Hawkeye, Armstrong, Envy, Lust, Greed, Wrath, Rose, Scar, Ling, and Izumi all sat in Mustang's office.

My Review of the Gameboy Advance rendition of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

This game is an abomination and I regret every cent of the five dollars I spent at the bargain bin. I've played and beat this game through trial and (t)error, because I bought this game at a time in my life when I didn't have much money. I beat every game I bought so my purchases wouldn't go to waste.

Einherjar Fates: Belenus

Einherjar Fates:

            Sweep, sweep, sweep. Asaka’s broom went left and right, stroking away the dust and other imperfections lining the floor of her little house.

Einherjar Fates: Kashell

Einherjar Fates:

Disclaimer: You see Valkyrie Profile: Hrist anywhere?


"Dinner's ready," a young woman called from the kitchen.

"Coming," a young man called back.

With a grunt, he was up from his chair as he hobbled over to the dinner table. His name was Roland, and he had a lame leg which forced him to get along by way of crutch. Not long ago, he was still living with his older brother, who was a mercenary. He worked to support them both while Roland had always felt useless, but it couldn't be helped. He was left small and frail from being unable to do any physical work, which was what was largely called for in a struggling country like Artolia. Thankfully, he had left that country behind months ago.

Valkyrie Profile: Of a Mercenary and a Princess

Valkyrie Profile:

Einherjar Fates:

Summery: This will be a series of One Shots that covers what the einherjar Lenneth collected did next after she attained Creation. This is to help set the stage for a fanfic I'm working on that takes place after the end of the original Valkyrie Profile. Read this first if you want to know why certain einherjar was either present or absent in that fic.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. We'd have had Valkyrie Profile: Hrist by now if I did.
Arngrim and Jelanda

The wind rustled tree branches and leaves and whistled through opened windows as the form of a young girl walked the grand halls of an enormous castle. She searched for something. No, someone. For the life of her, she couldn't find him. Down one hall, she checked all the rooms. Then another, and another. She wondered if she were lost a few times, as the castle's gray stone walls and ceiling and red carpeting all looked the same. A servant passed her and there, but offered no assistance. She may have been a princess in her old life, but here, a soldier to be sent off to die if need be.

Her name was Jelanda, former princess of Artolia. Died age 14 at the hands of the one she now sought and one of few she trusted completely and utterly.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Demyx: The Fall (One Shot)

Disclaimer: I do not own any Square-Enix titles such as Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. If I did, do you think I'd be writing here? Hell no, I'd be trying to get FFVI remade on the DS.

Author's Note: While replaying KHII once, I notice something about the scene in which Demyx faces Sora and company for the final time. When he steps out from the portal, he stumbles, as if someone pushed him out there, as if he had been forced out against his own will. This is my idea of what transpired.

I loathe elitists.

Remember what I said about fan hating being bad? Well, that's very true. However, there's another kind of fan that also needs a swift kick to the rump:
Elitist Anime Fans.
Who are these people? Fans who prefer the original voices but with subtitles? No, that's far too reasonable for me to be writing this. Oh, I know! Anime fans that proclaim any and all attempts to translate anime into the English language as "tarnishing the art"! You know, the type that:

1) hate all dub voice over artists, even the really good ones like Vic Mignogna, Crispin Freeman, Wendee Lee, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Laura Baily, and more (even the ones that actually hand-picked by the original Japanese creators, no less).
2)fan hate on people who prefer watching works in their native language and call them unrefined illiterates (yeah, I would to see just how many of these guys have read the complete works of Tolkien, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, countless mythologies from all around the globe, AND Wars and Peace, like I have.)
3) frequently start flame wars over the Sub vs. Dub issue and aren't content to let other fans have their own opinions on the issue.

There we go!

GAAAAAAUUUUUURRRGGGHHH! Alright, look, I get wanting to watch and appreciate something in its original form, I really do. In fact, I also watch subs sometimes, but largely, I prefer dubs, because I prefer to enjoy my anime in my native tongue. Sorry if that offends you, but I'm not about to change how I enjoy anime because you get your panties in the twist WAY too easily. I don't mind that you prefer to watch it subbed, I just ask you don't care what I like it dubbed right back.

Dubbing has gotten A LOT better over the years to the point where even the original creators will sometimes prefer the English voice actors over the originals (Cowboy Bebop and EL-Hazard coming to mind straight off). Look, I'm not going to deny dubbing disasters like what DiC did to Sailor Moon or the early days of U.S. broadcast Dragonball Z. What I'm also not going to do is pretend that every case of dubbing is like that. They're not. They're really not. In fact, a lot of dubbing is almost precise with what was originally intended with some very competent talent going into it. Just watch one of the more beloved dubs that even has staunch Sub lovers grudgingly admitting are good with an open mind. You might be surprised.
Food for thought: Hayao Miyazaki actually recommends people watch his movies in their native tongues and even supervises the English Dubs that Disney (now Disney-Pixar) produce. He's even on very good terms with John Lasseter and some of the others guys ar Pixar. So obviously, dubbing is the Devil.

Lastly, no, I'm not saying that you're wrong for wanting to watch anime in its original language. I cannot stress this part enough. Just leave me alone when it comes to the issue if it ever comes up. I'll debate you on the matter civilly, but the instant I get the impression that you don't respect me for my opinion on the matter, I am through with you. The point is: there is no right or wrong way to watch anime. Just different ways to appreciate it. Just do what you want to do, and be content to let others enjoy it their way. This doesn't always have to end with a flame war and mass bannings from whatever anime fan chatroom you go to.           

Fan Hating and Why It's Stupid

"To some people, there is only one thing worse than anything they consider horrible — people liking it.
In a nutshell, a Fan Hater is someone in a Hatedom, who hates not only the work, but also the fans of that work." -TVTropes, Fan Hater article.

I hate this mentality. It's rude, time wasting (not in a good way, either), wasteful, stupid, needlessly judgmental, close-minded, and insane.

1. It is none of your business what works of fiction someone else likes.
2. They are not stupid for liking something that you, personally, hate. Everyone has their reasons for liking or disliking something, and you just have to deal with it as long as they're also minding their own business.
3. Personal taste is fiction IS NOT and WILL NEVER be a measuring stick for intelligence or common sense. Sure, I might think that James Cameron's Avatar is a preachy, expensive Dances With Wolves knock-off with a nonsensical videogame-like setting and bullshit philosophy, but those are just my personal feelings. If you like it, I'm not going to judge, because it's not my place to.
4. Your opinions ARE NOT FACT or any more or less valid than someone else's.
5. Just because they like it does not invalidate your opinion, so you don't have to feel threatened by differing opinions.

You are not stupid for liking Disney. You are not stupid for liking any Final Fantasy game. You are not stupid for liking Nintendo. You are not stupid for liking Eragon. You are not stupid for liking Harry Potter. You are not stupid for liking Tolkien. You are not stupid for liking The Irate Gamer. You are not stupid for liking Michael Bay movies. You are not stupid for liking Tron Legacy. You are not stupid for liking My little Pony. You are not stupid for liking Star Next Generation over the original. The only person who is patently stupid here is the jerkass calling everyone names for their differing, oh...excuse me, "misguided", opinions.

Just how arrogant does someone have to be to immaturely look on someone else and see a sub-human mongoloid for preferring Mario to Mass Effect? Listen, with all the other problems our world has, the last thing we need is a bunch of basement-dwelling self-entitled cretins picking internet fights over whether Nintendid or didn't. So if you have a problem with that bloke over there who just put Kingdom Hearts II into his console: save it. I assure you, no one wants to hear it, and no one cares what you think once you've started throwing the words "noob", "moron", "scrub", or suggested that anyone who likes Final Fantasy X needs to torn apart with a box cutter. Don't try to tell me how I should be having fun with MY time and probably MY money!
Oh, and those consoles or PC and their games you take as serious business: glorified toys!

My point: mind your own damn business, and I'll mind mine. You and your opinions are not better than me or mine, or anyone else's. Good day, and goodbye.           

I Really Get Tired of Old vs. New Arguments

Now, I'm not just talking My Little Pony G1 vs. Friendship is Magic. I'm talking Old vs. New in any medium.

"They don't make movies like they used to!" "Hollywood too obsess with remakes!" *sigh*

Being of the mindset that not all of the greatest movies have been made yet, I have this to say: shut up. Hollywood has always made remakes and adaptations. Hell, some of the greatest films in history are either historical or based on a book. Ben-Hur, any well-made Shakespear movie, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Lord of the Rings, and many others. My point is, you're obvious accentuating the negative here. Bad and/or uncreative films are made now, and as Mystery Science Theater 3000 has proven, they were also being made when your granddaddy was a kid.
I'm not saying that remaking movies isn't out of control: it is, and always has been. Period.

"All kid's shows are mindless and safe fluff!"

EH, maybe earlier in the 2000s, but cartoons are definitely coming out of that. Just take a look at Avatar: The Last Airbender, the new Thundercats, G.I. Joe Renegades, MLP:FIM, and others. There is nothing pandering or overtly safe about any of these things. Between them, we've had on-screen killings, issues that would never have been touched on before...being touched on, biohazards, human experimentation, loss of limb, genecide, brain-washing, and torture.
Take off the nostalgia glasses and actually take a look at what is being made now. You'll find Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles aren't among the few big boys in town anymore. That said, both of those will ALWAYS be among the big boys.

"TV needs to stop making new incarnations of old franchises! They're raping my childhood!"

With exceptions, most of these arguments that pop up are completely unfounded (Faery-Star being one of the exceptions for having the understandable desire to see more new things get made). Your childhood is untouchable. It was what it was, yesterday, was what it was today, and will be what it was tomorrow. If the foundations of your precious childhood memories are so easily shattered by Lion-O and Tygra being brothers, well need to get out more. Plain and simple.
Frankly, I don't mind G.I. Joe, Thundercats, and other old properties being brought to newer generations. Would anyone other than you and maybe your parents even remember them without their respective companies bringing tham back and renewing interest in them?
Oh, and old does not always equal better.           

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm back, bitches!

I'm back and I'm ready to rant as never before!

If the children of the 80s share one thing in common, it's that our parents fervently hated our favorite cartoons. Whether they were pursing their lips when transforming robots took to the screen, groaning audibly over the Transformers theme song, or extorting us to "go play outside" while G.I.Joe was telling us about half the battle (the other half is blowing shit up), disapproval radiated from our progenitors every Saturday.

"Thirty minute toy commercials," our parents complained. Rainbow Brite, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Care Bears, Thundercats . . . every popular kid's show was a waste of brain cells with no redeeming qualities, decieving the naive youth into believing happiness was just one Transformer or pony away. Despicable!

Things are not much different these days. Substitute Pokemon for He-Man and Digimon for Strawberry Shortcake and welcome to the 00sand 10s. Well, I've taken enough grief from mainstream America. I ENJOY those thirty minute toy commercials! LONG LIVE CARTOONS!

True, the "thirty minute ad campaign" criticism is somewhat justified. Most cartoons are marketing tools on some level. How convenient that after watching Spider-Man web up the Big Man, we can buy a nice spidey plushie, eh? Critics of commercial children's TV point to this and claim that cartoons are created to push toys on the naive, unsuspecting youth of America, children who are young and therefore vunerable to marketing.

To these critics, I say . . . get real.

Firstly, most toy-based shows are based on toys that are ALREADY popular. Transformers didn't get its own TV show and comic book until it was clear that the toys were flying off the shelves. Same thing with any other franvhise--first popularity, THEN a show. That's not "poor widdle children being twicked into buying toys"--that's kids influencing the companies' decisions by buying toys they LIKE. Here's a hint, people--kids like toys. Kids will ALWAYS like toys, beg for toys, and buy toys, even if they never see a toy-based cartoon.

Of course, the ironic thing about the "naive youth" argument is that it doesn't take into account that adults are also influenced by advertising. Twenty-six percent of any half-hour sitcom is dedicated to advertising. Obviously the various skin cream, car, food, and battery companies are buying up thousands of dollars of commercial space because advertising doesn't influence adults! Yeah, THAT'S it!

While some people rant about the advertising influence of animated television, others reject the whole genre, citing inadequate storylines and substandard plots. Again, this is true in some cases. These days I find it hard to stomach some of the worse aspects of the old My Little Pony and Transformers cartoon, which often had scripts hammered out with little attention to continuity or quality. (Best quote from a Transformers scriptwriter: "To be honest, when I watched the show - even though I wrote it - I had a hard time figuring just what was going on!") But consider the audience. These are shows aimed at children. They don't have to be Emmy-winning shows; they just have to appeal to their target audience. To expect every kids cartoon to live up to adult expectations is like complaining that "the cut scenes in Sesame Street featuring the ABCs broke the flow of the show, distracting the viewers while adding nothing to the plot." This would be a problem on Seinfield, but consider the age bracket.

(Speaking of sitcoms, I really don't think that anyone who watches them with any frequency has any room to complain about the stupidity or simplemindedness of cartoons. Okay, I'm going to do my impression of the average American sitcom. Are you ready? Here goes . . . "Sex! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Bodily functions! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sex! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" (Repeat for twenty-two minutes.)

That's one of the nice things about kids cartoons . . . no matter how stupid they are, at least the swearing and sexual content will be minimal. But in fact there are many well-written cartoons which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Cartoons shouldn't be rejected out of hand because they're cartoons. Animated shows can produce just as much drama and depth as any live-action feature, and I'm not just talking about those fancy-smancy animes,either. I'm talking about your standard, run-of-the-mill comes-with-a-related-toyline cartoon. For every horrific episode of Captain Planet there's a fantastic episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and when an animated show is well-done, it really flourishes. Or these days, for every terrible episode of Dan Vs., there's an awesome episode of Transformers: Prime.

Anything can be brought to life through animation, and without a huge special effects budget. (I wish the movie moguls would wake up and realize that animation is the ideal medium for Batman.) Fond as I am of the 80s, the late 90s and 00s are surpassing the cartoons of my heyday. Digimon has transformed from an entertaining, if average, cartoon to a well thought out show with a great plotline and in depth, entertaining characters. Justice League is a fine action/adventure show, beautifully animated. Powerpuff Girls is brilliantly funny, unafraid to poke fun at itself and everything else. Batman Beyond returned us to dark and gritty Gotham. Beast Wars, an excellent sci-fi series that happened to promote a toyline, was noted not only for its stunning computer-generated graphics, but for the depth of its characters and the intricacies of its plot and actually WON AN EMMY. Justice League has inspired to a whole new generation of comic geeks. This is quality TV.

But the old stereotype is hard to combat. I tried to convince my parents to watch Justice League and got nowhere. I went on to buy the Beast Wars and found Amazon's reviewer complaining about "the way the filmmakers trot out every toy in every episode", as if that had anything to do with the quality of the writing. (It's an inaccurate critiscism in any case, since only half the toys, possibly less, ever appeared in the show. CGI models are expensive to render.) Despite the reviewer's Righteous Indignation(TM) at the thought of mere TOYS being used as characters (GASP!), my thirty-two year old brother (who, unlike me, is no toy geek) was enthralled by the show when I popped in a Beast Wars video a few weeks ago, to the extent that I finally had to stop the tape lest he continue staring at the screen and occassionally doubling over with laughter instead of fixing my computer . . . yess. ^_~

The plea here is familiar; don't judge a book by it's cover and don't judge a show by it's medium. That "thirty minute toy commercial" could provide thirty minutes of entertainment (and increasingly rare sex-free, non-cussing entertainment, at that!) Quality animation is a joy forever.

And the additional bonus to watching cartoons? No Carrot Top commercials. Now that is the icing on the cake!