terça-feira, 22 de julho de 2014

April Ludgate - from Parks and Recreation - is (one of) the worst comedy shows character ever.

This was originally going to be me analyzing some aspects of the series Parks and Recreation, but instead I just crammed what I intended to say into one piece, and if you already read the title you know what it is about.

I wanted to say that, while characters - especially in comedy series - have the prerogative of being annoying and irritating sometimes, I believe that there is a limit to it, be it an ethical, a charismatic, or whatever you care to name it, so it can become a character that we can, for the most of times, root for.

Comedic characters specifically, tend to get mixed in this confusion. But sometimes it is justified. Nobody is going to take a look at what Cartman´s character in South Park does as serious, because the show is so outright crazy it is very hard to do it. The Three Stooges brings another example of comedic, main characters that are just downright bonkers, and though I have never seen much of their episodes (and I don´t find their slapstick comedy in the least charming or appealing) at least is honest: you turn on to a Three Stooges episode and you know what you are going to get.

Adam Sandler´s comedic characters get flak for the surly way they are portrayed, and with good measure. For me, Adam Sandler´s character don´t have the charisma to lead a movie or whatever, because his characters are outright insane.

Also, to make comedy work, at least for my taste, the character has to have some flaws, that the writers and the in-universe characters recognize as such. Those flaws make the balance if the character decides to take advantage of some other character and don´t leave the viewer worried, because we know that the character will in turn be annoyed by some other problem in another instance. This provides for balance, and beauty, and thus provides for art, and in this case, untainted comedic value.

When a character is protected, as such, by the writers and the producers of the story, it creates an imbalance. The whole point of a character in a comedy show is that they are going to be made fun of, played with. If your character is protected in a way that s/he is not made fun of, while making fun of everyone else, then the show creates an imbalance and the character is not a comedic character anymore, nor the show a comedy, but a grotesquerie.

Take Friends, for example, a comedy show that is renown worldwide - it had amazing characters all balanced out and full of flaws that everyone in the cast made comedy to. Their characters are a) main characters because though they are flawed, they try to represent some ethic stance; it may be very feeble and weak, but still is a higher moral ground than most comedic characters before and after them. And B) they are comedic balanced characters because everyone has flaws that is used to be made fun of everybody else, drawing - or at least trying to - some kind of balance. It is true that this balance may not be done mathematically, and thus, not really balanced, but you have a sense of equality regarding everyone. Everyone makes fun, and everybody gets made fun as well. A balance.

After all that, now we can discuss the object of this. Enter April Ludgate, from Parks and Recreation.

This is for me the most mysterious aspect of this show. How did this character ever become so popular? Why this character enjoy this much protection from the writers and producers of the show? Nothing bad ever comes to April, she gets out of every situation without so much a glare to the screen. She´s just spoiled and generally disgusting. Every time I hear her slow dragged out voice, I just want to pull the hairs I have left in my head. She is outright bad to people, a thief (she freaking stole wallets from people, twice that I have seen so far in the show), she put honey on the purse of another female character, and she generally do stupid, absurd, out of the top insane stuff and doesn´t get anything in return!

I get how the CONCEPT of the character maybe APPEARS interesting. She´s a different kind of girl, who is sometimes justified about being sad in life - though she is a terrible person to almost EVERYONE she meets. And the worst part is, she almost never gets any comeuppance for it, like most of the other characters. It´s almost like the writers and producers and telling us that it´s alright to a sad, haughty pathetic excuse of a human being. 

To me, April Ludgate conjoins some of the worst aspects of female personality in one girl - the stupid bouts of self-centeredness, the vanity, the arrogance, the rolling eyes,... You name it, she has it. Not only of girls, though most of her traits are because she is a girl - but from people in general. She is just a horrible, horrible character. And the most surprising thing is that, were she real, she would be berated by practically everyone of her colleagues' real counterparts for being a bitchy, stupid, self-centered, lost and confused human being. 

But she is revered and excused, by the characters in the show, the writers, and also by the fans. Yes, she has fans. Unfreakingbelievable. Just type her name on your preferred search engine and you´ll see. 

She actually says that she stole the wallets of two freaking differently people, in their faces, and doesn´t get any kind of flak for that. None of the characters in the show acknowledge that she is freaking insane, though this happens to a lot of other, specially minor, characters. Generally characters like her, if they should exist at all, should be relegated to being a supporting role, much like Ron´s ex-wives!

There are crazy, stupid, and outright offensive characters in comedy works all the time - the thing is that they are supporting roles and/or antagonists, you mo-flucking writers!! Learn the freaking deal!

Once the actress who plays this character said that she toys with the character in a way for people to be confused about liking or hating the character. I, for one, am completely decided on the matter: I hate the character's innards with a passion.

I´m glad the show is finishing, but if it wasn´t, I would ask that her character be killed or something like that. She´s just a terrible, terrible character. 

But, at the end of the day, this is just a TV show, and the only concern I have is that people don´t take its characters at face value (least of all April Ludgate) and to think a little more about they are, and what they signify, and what are they being fed through the media before starting virtual web based cults about them.  

segunda-feira, 16 de junho de 2014

[First Impressions] Selector Infected WIXOSS


This anime is one of those that is a darker version of animes of yore made with the intention of bringing a cool, gritty concept, to an otherwise "common" genre (here being the card game or game battle animes). And boy, does it succeed. It starts with the name, right? Selector Infected Wixoss... Infected... and what are selectors?

Selectors are girls who are able to hear the voices of the avatar of their card decks. Basically, it introduces them to a world where the battles can provide for a wish - like a miracle - that they fight for. Of course, being the dark version of card game battle animes, there´s a downside to all those things. 

I wasn´t going to watch this one, really. And the excuse was pretty much the same as for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I thought that I could never interest myself in an anime made with girl protagonists in mind. And though I don´t know if I will watch it to the very end, the first impression I got of it is very good.

There´s a lot of ambience in this one. Good, atmospheric tension. Top notch animation. 

And be noted once more that this reminded me very much of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The tension, the creepiness, the feeling of abandon of the girls is almost the same from the very start. To me, this is the spiritual sucessor or PMMM. 

As for first impressions, this was very nice. It´s basically a card game anime, but, like PMMM, it has that creepy twist wherein the girls are fighting for more than just their lives, and putting them on the line, while entering a world that creeps both them and us as viewers. 

For now,





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DISCLAIMER: THE FIRST IMAGE IS COPYRIGHTED AND IT, ALONG WITH ALL RELATED NAMES, WORKS AND PICTURES ARE NOT MY PROPERTY. IT IS BEING USED HERE IN AN ILLUSTRATIVE ASPECT ONLY.

LIST OF MOVIE REVIEWS

1408
The Prisoners.

sexta-feira, 13 de junho de 2014

[Not exactly an] [Anime Review] Black Bullet - First impressions.

Black Bullet is an adaption for anime from a Light Novel of the same name - one such trend that is getting more and more common nowadays, instead of the old, renown path of adapting manga to anime. 

Black Bullet has a lot of strong points going for it. First of all, it has all the coolness and zest from anything that begins with "black" on the title. As seen from the latest trend for example in SAO (Sword Art Online) where the main protagonist is a black clad badass, everything that has black in it, it´s just plain cool. Search for the latest cool protagonists and antagonists in japanese animation and art, and you´ll see what I´m talking about.

After this first impression we get to the premise, which, on the superficial side, seems to have been done to death already. Humanity has been fighting [insert menace here] for [insert years, or even decades or centuries, here] and after [insert some more years here] the protagonist is ready to kick ass. Yeah. I think there are about 276198 animes that have this similar premise. On any given year. 

I´m just joking, of course, the premise, on a first look, is not exactly new per se, but it has it´s charm. But once you get past the premise and experience the show, it´s not an understatement to say you are in for a treat. 

The show is gorgeous, it is really dark, and it has this apocalyptic, end of times feel. But at the same time, while I said the premise it´s not exactly the most original, it touches on some points that ARE ORIGINAL, or at least not that well explored in most art forms. Which is, what would happen if society kinda-breaks-down-but kinda-not scenario, when attacked by a biological agent.

This is my opinion alone - we have many of those apocalyptic scenarios, where it is all or nothing. Or the apocalypse quite doesn´t happen, or it happens, and now we are dealing with empty ghost towns, a band of vagabonds, and no government and/or laws whatsoever. In this one, we almost have that, but we have in that sense of that last breath before the fall kinda thing. Humanity can go extinct, but it can also fight back, and even win. So we have this take on this work, which is a kind of a breath of fresh air. Not that is exactly new, as I said - since Evangelion, and lately, Shingeki no Kyojin, can be said to explore this theme as well.

But we have a different palette here, and the anime reminds much more of Sword Art Online than Evangelion or SNK. We have the apocalyptic theme, but we also have kawaii moments brought on by what has been called the "loli moments" of the anime, wherein the deuteragonist, a little girl displays her charm and silliness to the audience. So we don´t have the perpetual existential gloom from Evangelion, or the brashness of SNK, but we also have our dark and bleak moments in this one. In fact, much of it goes on in conversations and perceptions, rather than displaying some gory moments, which is another breath of fresh air. The anime has good points, is what I´m saying.

It has its silliness, though. For one, the "loli" moments, the moments with the little girls. Yeah, like this wasn´t enough with this anime alone, we have another top-tier this season (No Game No Life) with the same thing - a smaller, sister-like, almost lover, companion of the older protagonist. But in Black Bullet, this evolves into a harem, of sorts, which is as good as you are imagining right now (hint - it´s not), for older audiences. I think, maybe, anime production companies may take their main watchers as some sort of sexual deviants. Maybe. Right? Anyway.

Also we have the catchphrases by the main character when he fights. Ok. This one is a bit of a downer. They don´t make it seem like it´s such a bad thing, like the character is just reminding himself of  some of the strikes he learned while taking martial arts lessons, but who in the hell fights like that, yelling the name of their punches and kicks? In an anime that dubs itself seinen (and not shounen, mind you!), this should be absent. To my mind, seinen anime brings images of more serious, philosophical animes, and name of blows, punches and strikes are one of the things that should not be anywhere near that. If you can transport an anime into a movie almost completely - just drop the whole anime into a movie roll, and the thing magically turns out with real actors, and all, that is where the anime can be considered seinen. Now, where was the last time you saw any actor fight in a movie - that wasn´t brought up from a comic book or anything - saying the name of his attacks? It just doesn´t make sense. 

Other than that? The anime is solid, and I´m going to keep on following it. People complained about the pacing, but I really don´t care. As long as I´m getting story, and good one at that, they can pace it any way they like.

So far... 

Rating - 5 crows! 




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DISCLAIMER: THE IMAGE AT THE TOP IS NOT MINE, NOR DO I CLAIM ANY RIGHTS OR COPYRIGHTS REGARDING THIS WORK. ALL WORK IS PROPERTY OF THEIR OWNERS.

terça-feira, 10 de junho de 2014

5 black clad badasses from ANIME

5. D from Vampire Hunter D



Vampire Hunter D brings the titular character, a damphir (an offspring between a vampire and a human), to light. D, as he is called, is one of the most badass damphirs and supernatural creature on his universe. Other than that, the guy is incredibly powerful in vampiric sorcery, carries a huge sword, and has a parasitic monster of a left hand. You can´t get much more badass than that. 

4. Kirito, from Sword Art Online.


Kirito is a nickname of a guy who can only be understood as one of the luckiest and/or most adept anime characters to date. On the outside, he is just a regular human, but he is a badass worthy of many songs. Inside the virtual reality of the games he plays in, he is one of the strongest there is, always. You can always count on him, and even when he is not fighting per se, he just oozes this confidence and charisma, and you just feel the guy knows what´s up. Nicknamed "the black swordsman" for his prowess (as another one character we´ll get to see) with swords, he is surfing the top of the wave right now because people all over the place are expecting to see more badass stuff coming from him in this year´s expected new season of SAO. 


3. Sakanoue Gammon from Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle. 



This guy deserves the entry because he is badass. He starts of as a rival to the protagonist of Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle, and develops from there. You always feel that sort of rival vibe, that he is always against Kaito, but at the same time, he is almost a friend. A friendly rivalry? That´s Gammon. Plus, he is a genius puzzle solver. And also a maker (a Giver, inside Phi Brain´s universe). He is intelligent and quick witted, and is dressed from neck to toe on biker gear. Yeah. He drives a bike. Like Wolverine. Yeah. Did I mention he is a badass?

2. Kazuya Shibuya from Ghost Hunt.



Ok, for some people, Kazuya may not be the badass type they are used to. But the guy deals with paranomal phenomena on a daily basis, on a world such as ours. Just a regular human guy, tackling on supernatural sh*t. Last I checked, that was one of the definitions of badass. 

1. Guts from Berserk. 


Carries a huge sword? Check. Is quick-witted? Check. Tackle supernatural sh*t? Check. Is a huge shallow individual until we get to know more of him and see that he has such a sad and filling back story we can´t help to root for him? Double check. Guts is an anti-hero, on a world that being an anti-hero is the highest moral ground there is. But he is not a jerk, he has standards and principles. He even tries to contain himself when his inner demon comes about. He is friends with a new party of individuals (as of now) and tries to lead them one to a path of righteousness - or what passes for it, in his universe. Plus he had the nickname "the black swordsman" before Kirito. So if Kirito is a badass with a sword... well... Guts more than deserves to be mentioned here. 

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I hope you liked this list, and if you did, please share it, and subscribe to the blog, add it to your favorites and spread the word, if you want to see more lists like these in the future.

What are your black clad heroes or villains from Animes in general? Did I forget anyone? Tell me below!

Cheers.

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NONE OF THE PICTURES BELONG TO ME, OR ARE MY WORK, AND ARE BEING USED HERE ONLY AS ILLUSTRATION AND NOT FOR PROFIT.