All posts by gimmesamich89

About gimmesamich89

Ben is an alias, but technically it is part of this WordPress user's name (middlenames, gotta love them). Ben is studying environmental science and has a deep love for fiction. Although his degree is Ben's top priority he is very fond of literature and hopes to have some of his work published one day. Ben is also an active painter and drawer. You can view his artwork at hope84point5.devientart.com

Doctor Who ‘Rosa’ Episode Review

Most episodes of the current season of Doctor Who were kept under wraps for various reasons (new Doctor, new showrunner, no idea what to expect), however one (confirmed) rumor caught my attention. The revelation that an episode would focus on the civil rights hero and activist Rosa Parks. The plot filled me with curiosity and excitement; I have looked up to Rosa Parks since I was seven years old so hearing that she would be the focus of a Doctor Who episode was more than enough to grab my attention.

But what would happen in the episode I wondered; will she be running away from aliens? Will there be spaceships in the Alabama night sky? What would happen? However with the announcement that Doctor Who would partially return to its ‘educational television’ roots (yes Doctor Who was originally educational television) I began to get an idea of what would happen (and hoped there would be no giant spaceships with Daleks chasing after Rosa Parks).

Minor Spoilers from this point on

The episode actually toned down most of the science fiction elements of Doctor Who where the most that is mentioned are specific particles around Rosa Parks and the Doctor wondering why Rosa has these particles in the first place. Some mention of time travel, and a few high tech devices that are disposed of with ease, but as stated before, science fiction takes a backseat for most of this episode.

The episode actually does something not seen in previous Doctor Who episodes. Fully addresses the issue with time travel and race. While the Doctor has previously had two companions of color onboard the Tardis, the subject was more or less glossed over; Martha Jones saw that race wasn’t such a big deal in the time of WIlliam Shakespeare (allegedly) and had to put up with being a ‘servant’ in victorian times (I think it was victorian times) and bit her tongue while most of the cast treated her as a servant. With Bill there is some racism, the Doctor initially tells her to not take it so personally, but then punches a guys lights out for making a racial slur at Bill’s expense (the rest of Bill’s tenure on the Tardis are either in present day, the future, or more fantasy based).

Here Ryan and Yaz experience the racism of Montgomery Alabama first hand with no glossing over anything with Ryan even being referred to as a negro in one scene and Yaz being called ‘a Mexican girl’ just because she’s brown. The Doctor doesn’t even consider risking the lives of Ryan and Yaz ordering them to go back to the Tardis for their own safety.

Some scenes were very chilling to watch, with one scene in particular where our heroes are having a personal conversation at a diner table turning out differently than they expected. Where in the Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat era, the conversation would have gone on uninterrupted with nothing big happening, the whole restaurant goes quiet as the Doctor and her friends slowly begin to realize they’re being watched and that people are listening in on their conversation before being told to leave the restaurant.

However the relationship between Ryan and Graham is strengthened with Graham immediately jumping to Ryan’s defense and refusing to allow any harm to come to his step grandson. We also continue to get reference to Grace whom Ryan and Graham are still mourning for.

I continue to be impressed with Jodie Whittaker’s acting as the Doctor, there were many scenes in the episode where she had the same strength and character as David Tennant and Peter Capaldi and could see previous incarnations of the Doctor within the performance.

While the ending is a little bittersweet with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Doctor informing her friends that just because history was preserved and Rosa was still a hero remembered in positive light in history, life would only become harder for her during the civil rights movement, it really does have it’s strong moments and concludes with the Doctor reminding the viewers and her friends that Rosa Parks will eventually receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and that her actions would cause waves of goodness throughout the universe.

I give Rosa, the third episode of season 37/11 of Doctor Who five out of five asteroids.

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Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review

After what feels like an eternity, Doctor Who is back with a new series, new Doctor, new companions, new showrunner, new sonic screwdriver, new tardis, new composer for music, and various other new things. Honestly I was worried, not about the Doctor being portrayed for the first time by a woman (I don’t really care the Doctor is a woman now), but from previous episodes by new showrunner Chris Chibnall I feared the show would be boring, and that with BBC marketing the show like crazy focusing primarily on the Doctor now being a woman to the point where I was nearly convinced the Doctor was now a woman primarily as a publicity stunt.

My personal fear was that if Chibnall’s writing was boring, then all of the hype and marketing focused on Jodie Whittaker would blow up in the face of BBC and rather than blaming the show runner, history (and some negative portions of the fandom) would place the blame solely on the casting of a female Doctor.

But yesterday came, fans gathered in excitement to see how the new series of Doctor Who would turn out. And the episode was…okay.

Spoilers from this point on, I don’t have the money to throw you out of a tardis to the ground so you can briefly have amnesia.

The episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but I am delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed it and wasn’t bored at all watching the episode. The episode focused on introducing our new protagonists and allowing us to get to know them as people. Instead of using little quirks and ticks our characters are fairly normal everyday people. We have Ryan Sinclair, Yazmin “Yaz” Khan, Grace Sinclair, and her husband Graham O’Brian.

Ryan is a young man who has dyspraxia and kind of reminds me of both Mickey Smith and Rose Tyler. Like Rose and Mickey, Ryan is a good person and does come from a very loving family, but isn’t fully satisfied with life at time and has trouble functioning at times with his dyspraxia condition preventing him from doing activities that seem trivial like riding a bike.

Yaz is a police officer who knew Ryan previously in life and is a toned down Judy Hopps. Despite working in position for over a year, she is still assigned mundane assignments such as being a traffic cop, meter maid, and settling minor disputed among citizens.

Grace is Ryan’s grandmother and the wife of Graham. They met while Graham was going through chemotherapy via Grace being Graham’s nurse during the treatment. Grace is kind, loving, adventurous, and honestly too good for the at times depressing universe of Doctor Who (thank goodness there’s The Testimony from last christmas…). Graham is not as adventurous as Grace, but a good man who does love his wife dearly.

Our new incarnation of the Doctor is….fairly quirky. It was interesting seeing Jodie Whittaker, and actress normally cast as “a woman mother going through a personal struggle,” “a woman who’s not in the best relationship with a man,” or both at the same time do a more heroic role where instead of seeking someone to save her, Jodie is the one saving the day instead.

Get to the F***ing Episode

In contrast with previous showrunner Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall focused more on characters rather than having characters be established by a select few lines and doing one really badass thing, they’re established by their interactions with the current situation and how they treat each other and people who aren’t important in the episode. The episode actually felt like a mash up of Chibnall’s previous television show Broadchurch and the Netflix original series Stranger Things (especially with the Stemza targeting citizens at random and having them mysteriously die horribly).

I was actually happy to see that Chibnall channeled his experience with Broadchurch more than his work with Torchwood and Doctor Who.

Our antagonist for the episode, the Stemza, is kind of a bounty hunter who is treating earth as fair game to hunt for humans. He is menacing, collects teeth as trophies from his kills, and plants DNA bombs into our protagonists, and isn’t intimidated by the Doctor (atleast not until the Doctor shows him who has the true upper hand.)

We don’t get any crazy big musical scores for the episode that were present during the Steven Moffat era, nor does the Doctor give one big damn speech to talk down her antagonists. We see all the characters mentioned pulling together to defeat the threat opposing them. Which sadly results in the loss of Grace by the end of the episode who dies in a selfless act of protecting her grandson.

I liked seeing the Doctor openly welcoming the help of civilians rather than scaring them off and warning them “don’t get involved” unless the danger is really there to worry over. She’s without her tardis or her sonic screwdriver and even without them she is able to figure out how to save the day. She uses some earth technology to fend of tentacle monsters and creates a new sonic screwdriver from using both human and alien technology.

Finally our Doctor’s new look; I don’t hate it and the look has grown on me over the months, but there are times it is very ridiculous.

Thirty godamn Minutes of Commercials!

There was one big problem about the episode that wasn’t actually in the episode. Despite the episode airing in multiple countries at once, BBC America chose to place thirty minutes worth of commercials in the premier of the episode (something BBC America has done with previous Doctor Who premiers and Christmas episodes shamelessly). Three fourths of the entire run time were dedicated to commercials causing the episode to conclude a full thirty minutes before the BBC America finished the episode. This problem caused significant disruption within the episode and even gave spoilers concerning the end of the episode before the episode even concluded concerning the death of Grace. This same problem has been present in christmas episodes previously aired on BBC America and I think after the negative backlash of fans from this airing, BBC America may rethink how they treat season premiere episodes of their shows.

I give The Woman Who Fell to Earth three NEW sonic screwdrivers out of five.

Remembering Teen Titans

So I like many other people between their mid twenties/pushing thirty grew up watching a lot of weird stuff on tv, I’m pretty sure I watched a lot more weird stuff than most of my friends (minus some of the anime friends). One of these weird shows that most of my peers that watched cartoons was Teen Titans.

Teen Titans was about the adventures of the team known as the Teen TItans (shocker) consisting of Robin (Dick Grayson), Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven who all had super powers and used them to defend the innocent, fight crime, and beat up bad guys. I remembering having mixed feelings about this show both as a teen and admitting to liking it as an adult because I’m not as insanely anal as I was concerning what is and isn’t anime (boy was I a nutjob).  I did like it as a teen too though, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today; remembering teen titans because I don’t really have the time to sit down and watch each season and do a review them individually. Plus the series hasn’t been sold on DVD in ages and I think only the first two seasons were released.

First Impressions

So unlike most of my peers I was fairly familiar with the DC universe beyond the Justice League cartoon and kind of knew who the titans were besides Robin; I knew Starfire was an alien, Beast Boy was actually named Garfield and went by Changeling, Raven was kind of the antichrist, and Cyborg was sometimes a member of the Justice League. When I saw previews for the show I thought ‘oh sweet, we’re finally seeing what Robin is up to when Batman is hanging out with the Justice League,’ and I was sorta right.

I liked the first episode aired where the Titans took on students from HIVE academy; it was a good way to introduce the team and give enough depth of their personalities to where viewers could get a general idea of the team. I will admit part of me was disappointed because I thought the series would start with an origins episode like Justice League; the first part would be the team meeting up, getting properly introduced and facing a big problem and not having the best team skills. Then in part two they learn to work as a team, save the day, then go out for pizza. I rolled along with the series though because I liked it.

Criticisms

Before I start, it is possible to have criticisms of something and like it at the same time; there are times I will critique Star Wars and Doctor Who over things I don’t like featured in the series/franchise, the same extends to Teen Titans. I do not hate the series contrary to what this portion may make it seem.

I’ll get this out of the way; from age thirteen to nineteen I was very convinced manga and anime were the epitome of entertainment and anyone who disagreed was ‘uncultured about how badass it was’. So seeing western animation mimic anime was off putting at times. While some series did a fair representation of it (Avatar the Last Airbender, W.I.T.C.H., and oddly Totally Spies), other series overdid it (HiHi Puffy Ami Yumi…). As a kid I felt Teen TItans was trying too hard to be anime at times and while I’m significantly more relaxed about it as an adult, some of the more zanier moments are a little off putting.

I also didn’t like how seasonal arcs were treated where three to five episodes of the season were devoted to the arc and the rest of the season was devoted to filler episodes and episodes with character development. While the later is important to have in a series, it is possible to tie in development with the plot of an episode. I do also understand that at the time and even now syndication was taken more seriously so ‘filler’ episodes had to outweigh the arc episodes so anyone just turning on the tv would be able to sit down and enjoy and episode instead of having to freak out over not being sure what is happening in a ‘animated soap opera’ (which is sadly my complaint of Young Justice).

I also felt the second season arc could have used the filler episodes to a better advantage with the character Terra and at least had two filler episodes have her be an active part of the team just to make her betrayal of the team a bigger impact. Same goes for season four (which was almost the show’s final season) where Raven is revealed to be the portal to the end of existence (it could be argued that all of her character development episodes from the previous three seasons could be added to her arc admittingly). I do wish characters outside of the main titans popped up more frequently outside of the final season where the team expands beyond the core five, but I’ll get to season five later.

What I Liked About the Series or That’s So Raven

It was fun and shockingly relatable despite the show being primarily light hearted and the target audience ranging from seven to thirteen. Despite the above criticisms of filler episodes devoted to character development, I did enjoy the character development of the series and feel that it is the strongest part of the series, particularly Raven.

I argue that Raven got the most focos in episodes of the series because she in a sense was the most relatable character. Despite being seen as ‘the goth girl’ of the group, she was designed to have viewers relate to her even if socially they were more along the lines of Starfire or Beast Boy. She had her problems about her feelings and emotions in the sense that she couldn’t express her emotions or lose control of them or bad things will happen. The solution to her episodes concerning expressing herself may seem like they’re easily resolved by Raven being honest with both herself and her friends and talking about her problems and feelings, but let’s be honest, that is a really hard thing for any teenager to do.

My personal relation to the character was tied to my sexuality (shocker x2). While Raven is portrayed as a straight female with a close friendship with Starfire, she did constantly have worries about herself. She worried that her friends would hate her if they found out the truth of her existence, would doing good things be enough to undo her evil ways and make up for her existing, was she ‘evil’ despite all the good she did, did her mother regret her existence (Raven is a product of rape in the comics and it’s heavily hinted to be the same in the series)?

While my teenage problems at the time are not as extreme, I did often wonder along the lines of ‘am I evil for being gay? Would me praying and doing good things in the world make up for my existence? Would all my friends hate me if I told them I was gay?’ plagued my mind at times and little did I know at the time the series was airing sitting down and talking with my parents, being honest with myself and conversing with my friends would also be the solution to some of my internal conflict in life. Also we both read a lot of books, listened to Evanescence like crazy, and wore lots of black and blue.

No Raven isn’t the ONLY relatable character; I have friends from different countries who felt they could relate to Starfire who was the fish out of water for most of the series doing her best to fit in with her new friends on earth and slowly learning the customs of the planet, poor thing also went through puberty. I’ve had goofy friends that related to BeastBoy and sometimes even friends that related to Cyborg and Robin.

While I was disappointed that the series was not officially part of the DCAU of Justice League, I was very relieved to see that the art of the show shifted away from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Where Justice League had near cookie cutter character designs for all of it’s male characters (so many broad square shoulders….), Teen Titans gave varied body types for all the characters and presented most of its cast as actual teenagers.

I also have my own favorite episodes beyond Raven centered ones; my personal favorites being Switched (Raven and Starfire switch bodies and become bffs for the rest of the series), Cyborg the Barbarian, and all of season five because the whole season is arc centered. Also it was always cool that there were immensely silly episodes right before a season finale multiparter.

Season Five

I liked season five since it was what I had wanted from the series, an arc! As I mentioned above the series was originally going to end after season four, but Cartoon Network requested that Teen TItans go for another season and the creators figured ‘let’s go all out!” Past allies of the titans were brought back, new heroes were introduced and brought onto the team, the brotherhood of evil is playing the long game against the titans only giving the illusion that the titans are constantly victorious. We have the villain Jinx switch sides because Kid Flash is just that dreamy of a guy every girl (and some guys) watching the series wanted.

Then a crazy thing happens and all hope seems lost for all the teenage heroes across the world, but Beast Boy steps up and uses his resources to save the day (along with his other teammates outside of Robin also bringing along a few allies to save the day)! That should certainly be a good series finale right? Well it is, but oddly it isn’t.

The final episode to the series is Things Change and boy did it drive fans crazy. The synopsis is that the Titans are fighting a new villain and struggling while Beast Boy is distracted by a girl who strongly resembles a character thought dead named Terra. Beast Boy spends the day with this girl hoping to awaken Terra’s memories and continue his life with the girl he loves. Beast Boy is let down to discover that this mysterious girl doesn’t have Terra’s powers and is cryptically told ‘the girl you’re looking for doesn’t exist anymore.’ The girl in question requests that she be allowed to continue her life as an ordinary girl and leaves Beast Boy to continue his life as a hero with his friends.

Fans were…pissed to put it mildly. Trust me, I frequented tvtome/tv.com forums alot at the time of the series finale; they weren’t happy for the following arguments. Starfire should have had her own seasonal arc, Beast Boy already had a seasonal arc (some fans argue that season was Terra’s arc), and that Things Change was a weak series finale compared to Titans Together. While they have every right to these arguments, I am satisfied with season five and the series finale.

Yes Starfire didn’t really have an arc of her own, but her ‘arch nemesis’ of a sister had already been taken care of and her issue with being a princess from another planet was already solved. No crazy big arc to be solved. I mean I guess you can consider the direct to dvd movie Trouble in Tokyo her arc since she and Robin finally do get together. Okay fine Starfire got screwed over.

In terms of Things Change being a bad series finale, maybe? I saw it as appropriate for the character of Beast Boy who was booted out of the first superhero team he was part of for choosing to save his mother figure of a teammate over finishing the mission, joined the Titans and spent most of his free time goofing off, then proved to his former teammates that he was a competent hero and faced the Brotherhood with his own ‘team’. Change had Beast Boy attempt to revert to his previous self rather than continue on with his character development and be told by ‘Terra’ that he needed to move on in life. (Concerning the mystery girl in the episode, it is meant to be ambiguous the true identity of the girl who Beast Boy hangs out with. From what I’ve heard in the comic book counterpart to the series that is indeed Terra who was apparently restored to human form after Raven restored the earth in the season four finale, but just doesn’t have her powers anymore and desires to just live a normal life as a normal girl).

I think Teen Titans is a great show from my teenage years and really wish they reran it more often on tv. Who was your favorite Titan? Who did you relate to? What was your favorite episodes? All the questions and more will be answered in the comments of this blog! 😛

Teen Titans Go to the Movies review

The superhero film to end all superhero films (hopefully)! Yes I know that the internet hates the Teen TItans Go animated series for various reasons (fans blame it for the reason Young Justice and Green Lantern The Animated Series got cancelled along with the DC Nation block ending in general; it’s a abomination of the original Teen TItans animated series; Cartoon Network shows it way too much killing the spotlight for other cartoons shown on the channel; the only good episodes feature Lady Legasus; etc).

And of course it is a little disheartening to see that the Teen Titans Go animated series has surpassed the original five seasons of Teen Titans in terms of length so I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of the original series developed four red eyes from anger upon seeing that Teen Titans Go got a theatrical movie release while the original Teen Titans only got a direct to DVD series finale that only resolved the Robin and Starfire relationship.

But is this movie bad? I mean it can’t be as bad as the Green Lantern movie or the Orphan Fight 2016 right? Turns out, it was pretty good.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, spoilers for Teen Titans Go to the Movies won’t ruin your day and you can’t kill me for them. Maybe for ruining a few jokes though.

I think what helps the film is the obnoxiousness associated with our poorly designated heroes of Teen Titans Go is toned down significantly; we don’t have Robin as a action obsessed hero causing unnecessary collateral damage, Raven isn’t a pessimistic heroin who will banish someone to a garbage dimension for spits and giggles, Beastboy and Cyborg are still pretty silly, Starfire is the same, but is willing to give Robin a chance in this movie rather than designating him to the friendzone where he belongs.

The movie focuses on Robin’s attempts at getting his own superhero movie because everyone has one, which is kind of an interesting subject; literally everyone is getting a superhero movie despite the genre being popular longer than most movie genres tend to last (just look at the rise and fall of vampire films and film adaptations of paranormal YA novels). But no I am not joking about everyone getting superhero films, while the films plays it for ridiculous levels of laughs, a lot of the b listers featured in the film have gotten their own movies (yes there is a Jonah Hex movie, and Zatanna almost got her own movie too!)

Okay so the movie has pretty general messages; remember to always give full credit to your team when you accomplish group goals together and you don’t have to be super to be a hero. Oddly the strong point of the film is it’s comedy and the approach to said comedy; it’s nearly the same as it is in the cartoon on tv, as stated above I feel it’s more bearable due to our heroes being closer to their more heroic personalities from the original cartoon.

The plot is actually kicked off because the Titans are called out on their shenanigans with all the superheroes stating that it’s because of their immaturity that none of them take the Titans seriously. I am aware that this is the plot to a few episodes of Teen Titans Go (one where the Young Justice cast calls them out, one where they’re put on trial for causing unnecessary damage to the city, the episode that showed they were more competent at heroics when they became the League of Legs) and the plot isn’t resolved or their universe is just rebooted back to the universe’s previous condition.

Unlike the animated series, the Titans pull through because it’s Robin’s dream to have his own movie with Robin constantly switching back and forth between ‘this is my dream’ and ‘we have our own movie!’

I’ll say it was a nice relief to see a 2D animated movie in theatres again; while I have nothing against 3D movies, I did grow up with 2D animated films and wanted to go into animation as a kid because I liked 2D animation (alas not all dreams come true kids, points to me for having good foresight as a teenager though when looking at colleges and fields of study).

Fair warning to parents, the humor is pretty dark with the worst being that the Titans are guilty of vehicular manslaughter and running away from the scene of the crime during the film.

If you want a funny film, this is a pretty good one, some viewers may want to wait for dollar movies with this one though. I give Teen TItans GO to the Movies thre SlaaaaaDe (emphasis on the D) utterings out of five.

Also just to get your butts into the theatres, based on the performance of the film, we may get a sixth season of Teen Titans original according to all five voice actors of Teen TItans.

Th1rteen R3asons Why season 2 Review

Not going to lie, I am a little reluctant to review the second season of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why based on the novel by Jay Asher of the same name. Mostly because I didn’t review season one of the series or the novel it is based on, I’m going to get onto my reasons now.

Why Didn’t you Review the First Season and the Book?

So there are things called art, censorship, and shoving my foot in my mouth. Last year I had seen trailers for the show 13 Reasons Why and thought it was genuinely interesting and sat down to watch the first season. While I do admit it has its flaws, it was something I enjoyed watching and thought was worth watching.

Then came the controversy of how the series (probably poorly) handled the portrayal of mental health and was accused of “romanticizing suicide.” while in a sense I do agree the writers of the series cold have handled things better, I thought the idea of ‘getting creative with ideas about suicide from a tv show’ was moronic and only a complete idiot would copycat the audiotape suicide note There were indeed morons who copied the idea and sadly took their own lives.

I took the side of the writers and the tv series because I don’t like censorship of art, even if I don’t like or agree with what was presented (I didn’t like the approach they took to Hannah taking her own life, or an unnecessary rape scene from season two I’ll get to in a bit.)

In short I couldn’t review season one because at the time I was in a mental bias for the show and would have claimed it’s a work of art despite content of the story.

Okay Let’s Talk About Season Two and How Much I Hated the Ending, spoilers from this point on.

When season one of Thirteen Reasons Why aired it was hard for me to believe they would be able to adapt a second season from a stand alone book. My friend and I guessed that season two would be from the perspective of Hanna’s peers on the tapes and their sides of the story. We were mostly right; season two is more like an episode of Law and Order SVU, except Olivia Benson doesn’t come out victorious by the end of the episode.

Alongside the courtroom drama there is also the continued school life of the cast from the previous season; Clay is trying to move on from Hannah, Tyler is making new friends and doing his best to keep them despite the clashing personalities, Tony is questioning his morals and trades in his white boyfriend for a black boyfriend, Justin having even more internal conflicts, Jessica and other girls raped by Bryce struggling to come forward about their rapes in order to get him arrested, and many other things. Also before the start of season two, there is a PSA from the cast of 13 Reasons Why talking of mental health and suicide and encouraging viewers feeling thoughts of depression and suicide to seek help and discouraging them viewing the series.

To continue with the usage of old tech in a modern world, polaroid pictures were the nostalgic item used for evil this season as evidence that Bryce and many generations of the baseball team used as “trophies” in their sexual conquests.

To be honest I felt this season (like season one) dragged on and aside from a few select episodes (Courtney deciding to come clean about her true relationship with Hannah and come out as a lesbian at the same time is my favorite episode of the season). I do like that along with characters telling their sides of the story of the tapes, many characters who were seen as antagonists previously (the above mentioned Courtney, Ryan, and kind of Tyler) chose to do a heel face turn and aid in the courtroom battle against the school telling the truth of what happened on the tapes and admitting they were in the wrong.

The main character Clay struggles with his feelings towards Hannah, and as a result is seeing Hannah in front of him either as a hallucination or as Hannah’s soul aiding him in his journey (I see it as the later and I’ll explain why). Clay starts off the season dating Skye and suddenly having abs and trying to function without thinking of Hannah, but he can’t bring himself to do so. His character arc is learning new facts about Hannah that he didn’t previously know and questioning if his feelings for her were authentic.

We are also given some revelations about Hannah’s life and how she wasn’t the as unguilty as she claimed. She had been a bully at her previous school, but upon realizing what she was doing tried to stop and changed schools for the sake of a fresh start. I like that it gave more depth to her character, showing that she was trying to change herself for the better and still had flaws as a person and didn’t know how to handle it.

Poor, Poor Tyler

A Lot of my hatred for this season comes from the treatment of Tyler; throughout season one the character Tyler is treated like shit. While some of it is deserved from select characters (Courtney had every right to hate and mistreat him due to him outing her as gay when she wasn’t ready), the escalation gave the impression he was going to shoot up the school.

And he didn’t. Instead Tyler starts a questionable friendship with an individual named Cyrus, who although is ‘punk’ is a pretty cool guy who isn’t crazy enough to shoot up the school. Tyler goes through ups and downs, but it seems he nearly gains forgiveness from most of the cast. Then fucks it up because he didn’t want to be embarrassed for ejaculating in public from a kiss.

This all escalates to a horrifying and unnecessary moment in the show where Tyler is raped in the boys restroom.

It’s a disgusting scene, very unnecessary like Hannah’s suicide from the previous season and I strongly suspect the scene was only thrown in for the sake of possibly having a third season to the show just to resolve the Tyler conflict when it could have easily been resolved this season (I mean they solved the primary conflict of Hannah Baker’s suicide, no point in continuing the show after).

An alternative to the scene to wrap up his arc (and the series) would be that upon returning from rehab, Tyler would discover although he won’t gain back some of the friends he alienated, he could still have Clay and maybe get punched in the boys restroom rather than sodomized with a mop (why are so many adults useless in this show?)

God

So originally I was typing this review after I had finished viewing season two (about two weeks after it premiered on Netflix), but due to life events at the time I couldn’t devote my time and attentions to this little blog I do.

Last year when I was watching Thirteen Reasons Why my dad would join me because he thought the show was fairly interesting. He told me two things; the first was a reminder to always listen to someone when they’re calling for help regardless of how trivial it seems, the second I’m shocked was approached in the show itself.

My dad had asked me ‘what did you notice about all those kids on that show?’ I replied with ‘it’s a racially diverse cast.’ He responded with, ‘they don’t have God in their life.’ And while I wanted to argue that even if one of those kids was religious, that wouldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t be part of this problem (I’d still make the argument), I was shocked to see that the Olivia Baker asked a priest “could all of this have been avoided if we were had ‘something’?” in terms of a belief system.  My thoughts were ‘holy crap, religion in a modern YA show portrayed in a positive light.’ Complete with a priest stating that he didn’t believe Hannah went to hell despite dying from suicide.

My reasoning for believing during the season that Clay was speaking with Hannah’s soul rather than a hallucination created from his guilt is maybe the wanting to believe that Hannah didn’t go to hell for dying from suicide. Maybe it is from the observation my dad made and his feelings that “if those kids had been taught about God and how to be good people, none of what they were going through would have happened.”

I’ll end this blog post by thinking that as Hannah’s soul left the church, she went to heaven, just as the show should have ended at that point (I’m not watching season three, this show is going on longer than necessary).

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is the story of a Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two teenage students in Japan who for unknown reasons switch bodies at random points in the week. What seems like a unique happy go lucky romantic comedy takes a striking turn in terms of genre and tone to science fiction and time travel.

Spoilers from this point on, something tells me your memories may or may not be erased from this experience.

As mentioned above Taki and Mitsuha are two teenagers who switch bodies. While the initial concept of a boy and girl switching bodies is already fairly entertaining with obvious physical differences between boys and girls (gotta love boobs and peeing with a penis for the first time), the personality differences between the two adds more to the story.

Mitsuha comes from the near rural town of Itomori and feels isolated from the rest of the world with no bookstores, no malls, and her go to ‘cafe’ being a outdoor vending machine. Mitsuha is a shy girl who feels trapped in her town and in the traditions of her family longing to escape the simple life shouting ‘in my next life I want to be born as a boy in Tokyo’.

Taki is a loud boy with typical boy ways of being into older women and each time he woke up would take time to grope and appreciate Mitsuha’s breasts. Despite these typical traits of a teenage boy Taki does have depth; on the days that he is in Mitsuha’s body he stands up for her own sake calling out bullies who normally pick on Mitsuha and her friends and genuinely growing to love Mitsuha’s family and friends (he even builds a table and chairs for Mitsuha’s go to cafe).

On the other side of things Mitsuha enjoys time in Taki’s body, but is still fairly respectful to Taki’s life (outside of spending a large amount of his earnings on giant pastries). It’s actually pretty humorous to see how the friends and family of Taki and Mitsuha slowly begin to piece things together on their own concerning the two switching bodies.

I was actually a little disappointed to see that Mitsuha’s sexuality wasn’t really explored. It’s very brief, but there is a scene where she sets up a date for Taki with an older woman hoping she would be the one going on the date rather than him. Taki still has a strong attraction for girls in Mitsuha’s body gaining Mitsuha large amounts of attention from female classmates.

The twist halfway through the movie actually did shock me significantly with the revelation that Mitsuha’s life was happening in the past while Taki’s life was taking place three years in the future. Taki then discovers that Mitsuha and most of the population of Itomori were killed in a accident via a piece of a meteorite falling off and hitting the town.

In an effort to change the future Taki drinks sake from a shrine (I don’t know the Japanese religion of Shinto well enough to go into depth about it, forgive me). Contrary to what one would expect, instead of choosing to save just Mitsuha, Taki takes time to formulate a plan with Mitsuha’s friends to prevent the catastrophic event from taking so many lives and getting the town to evacuate in time.

I really did like the film and feel the hype surrounding Your Name is well deserved. The film takes time to explore both big and small elements of life like the relationships among friends and family are still important to each person while in the grand scheme of things are very miniscule in the grander scheme of things and life would easily continue on for the rest of the world while a whole city were to be destroyed. It’s also very heartwarming to see that although Taki seems like a generic guy who’s more interested in girls, keeping his part time job, and saving money, grew to genuinely love the people in Mitsuha’s life putting the effort to save her town rather than being selfish and choosing to just take Mitsuha to a safe area area from disaster.

I give the film four sharpie messages on a hand out of five.

Your Name is produced by CoMix Wave Films and is distributed by Toho.

The Day of the Doctor and Rose Novelization Review

Doctor Who is a long lasting british science fiction television show I’m a pretty big fan of (enough to have five different costumes of the Doctor) and in celebration of the fifty fifth year of the program and thirteenth year of the rebooted show on television we have been presented with two episodes of the reboot series written by Russell T. Davies (Rose) and Steven Moffat (The Day of the Doctor).

Spoilers from this point onwards, I think with psychic paper or Silence, or maybe a crack in the universe the memory of said spoilers can be taken care of.

The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat

The first of these two adventures I listened to was The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; in comparison to the televised fiftieth anniversary special, the novelization gives a little more backstory to events happening and some clarification to questions some fans had been wondering. We get some more depth on just how dire the Time War really is/was with many species and entities blinking in and out of existence on a regular basis and a plethora of split timelines being created and destroyed in the battle between the time lords and the daleks.

While I did enjoy the novelization, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the emphasis on the ‘timey wimey’ attitude of the narrator of the novel (The Curator), but this may be because I’ve moved on from the Eleventh Doctor, embraced and mourned the Twelfth Doctor and look forward to the Thirteenth Doctor.

What I did enjoy were the perspective of the Zygone characters and how they felt about the situation as victims of the Time War losing their home planet and being forced to go to earth as refugees of war and even though they would rather not invade the earth under such circumstances, they have no choice, so this allowed more sympathy for me to feel for the Zygone’s than I originally did.

There’s also an explanation for why the Osgoods are so close to each other, but I won’t go into that since I feel that was one of the stronger points of the novel. Speaking of strong points, oh my goodness chapter nine! I just couldn’t believe any of it! There was laughter, tears, and moments where i couldn’t help but blush in embarrassment of what I was reading and the intimacy printed (well in my case with the audiobook, being read out loud).

Also I was very satisfied to see what each incarnation of the Doctor was up to during the final battle between the daleks and the Time Lords and seeing each incarnation going off to save countless citizens of Galifrey in its moment of extreme crisis. We also see what the Twelfth Doctor was up to in all his badass glory during this time as well.

There is finally a small sneak peek to the Thirteenth Doctor that I’d rather readers (and listeners) go explore on their own rather than yap on about it.

Rose

Something I’ve talked about with friends lately is how much I enjoyed the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who (Ninth and Tenth Doctor). While I have nothing against Steven Moffat (Twelfth Doctor dethroned Tenth Doctor as my favorite Doctor), there was just something I liked more about the RTD era of Doctor Who, and listening to this novel allowed me to pinpoint it fairly well.

The background of Rose, her mother Jackie, and boyfriend Mickey are given more detail in this novel. We learn that it was Rose’s own fault that her life was mediocre rather than her mother’s influence and that Mickey wasn’t the pathetic person that the Doctor unintentionally made him out to be and is actually a very kind young man who finds ways to cope with his life despite some of the more depressing aspects of it. Jackie Tyler is essentially the same as she was in the tv series, but has a little more heart.

Rose, though shorter than The Day of the Doctor, was the story I found myself enjoying more. The expanded upon backstories of Rose, Mickey, and Jackie are just a portion of what made the book enjoyable. We also see characters that were unheard of and even more backstory to minor characters from the episode and their perspective of things like Clive (the man who was gathering data on the Doctor via the internet) lost his dad in Remembrance of the Daleks and desired to go on one adventure with the Doctor (even sacrificing his life for his family by gaining courage from the stories he had read about the Doctor).

What I really liked about the novelization of Rose and the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who was the humanity in it. The moments where the novel steps away from Rose and focuses on minor characters reminded me that despite the big bad things happening in the universe that the Doctor and his companions faced there was still the ordinary life of ordinary people.

There were good and innocent people who lost their lives in the chaos of the Auton attack along with people who weren’t good, or kind, and were just really bad people. There are also characters who weren’t even named, but filled with joy over surviving the impending doom of the situation and that when all the chaos was over and the day was saved got over their fear immediately and started aiding those injured in the attack.

It isn’t necessary to read these two novels to enjoy the episodes of Doctor Who, but I found myself really enjoying them and will probably buy and read the hard copy editions as soon as they are available.

I give The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat three out of five Fez’s (is that how you do the plural to fez?) and Rose by Russell T. Davies four out of five Tardises (Tardi?).

I Love you Dad

There is so much I want to say about my dad; I want to say he was the best dad in the world despite being a flawed person. I want to say he knew the answer to so many problems despite him seeing practical solutions that people would overlook and telling me “just pray to God and everything will be fine.” Most of all, I really do want him here now.
On Sunday June third at 15:33 my father was called into God’s kingdom. What had started as a simple colonoscopy and lead to the removal of a tumor with six months of chemotherapy ended with a two month hospitalization and the loss of my most favorite person in the world. This whole experience is still a shock to friends and family who were close to my dad, but instead of focusing on the sadder parts of the experience, I wanted to focus on something important to me that my watchers probably gathered that is closely tied to my relationship with my dad, God and the Catholic religion he left for me.
When I was little one of my first memories was my dad telling me one day I, and everyone I know and love, will die. Death was okay though, because so long as you were a good and kind person, you went to heaven. From there he taught me about God and Jesus and with his humble ways he taught me Catholicism.
He wasn’t like other men in the sense that “emotions and intelligence are dumb,” and while he did teach me skills he felt a man needed to know, my dad did things most men wouldn’t do with their sons. When I was seven and didn’t want to learn to shoot a bb gun, he asked me why. I stated that from what I saw on tv guns were used to end life, my dad accepted this reasoning for not wanting to learn to use a gun and never brought up the topic again. The main thing my dad did, that most fathers don’t do with their sons was that he was very open about loving me and my brothers.
Everyday when I was dropped off to school he told me he loved me, every night before I went to bed he told me he loved me. Every phone call I had with him ended with both of us exchanging “I love you.”
As I got older things started to get complicated; I had been assigned two Sunday school teachers that were homophobic in eighth and ninth grade that stated no matter what I tried I would go to hell for my existence (don’t worry, they have been asked to resign from ever teaching sunday school again). However because of that and many trials in life (well highschool) I felt the need to join a statistical correlation concerning gay youth.
My dad noticed something was wrong though, I call it having the best love a parent could ever have. When I was seventeen planning to become a statistic I decided to tell my dad I was gay just to give a reason for said statistic to happen. I expected to be thrown out, condemned, beaten, but I wasn’t. He smiled, hugged me tight, and said he loved me anyways.
From that point on I decided I would stay in this religion to honor my dad for his unconditional love.
While my dad did have flaws (he didn’t realize that me being gay also meant I would date and have a boyfriend at some point), he was still someone I loved (and still do) greatly. It’s hard to think properly right now, it’s hard to type the sixty four pages my dad deserves and more about how awesome a parent and person he was. It’s hard to breath for various reasons and type on this keyboard (mostly because of allergy season,) but for now I continue to be with my family and pray for him. I’ll try my best to continue his legacy. I am taking a break from blogging as well, to recover and regain the ability to read books and listen to audiobooks.
Be kind.

A Hero and a Chosen One Walk Into a Bar

In every story there is a protagonist, the protagonist can either be a primary character, someone the story just so happens to follow, or in some creative cases the enemy of the “protagonist” should the story follow a villain rather than the hero (think Invader Zim). In many stories a a protagonist will more than likely be labeled a hero and in some cases even a ‘Chosen One’. Now a Hero protagonist and a Chosen One don’t have to be one and the same, but in some cases both will be merged into one character for convenience or lack of creativity. There is nothing wrong with having a Chosen One or a hero, but one can’t help but admit that it may be done a bit too much at times.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is pretty self explanatory, but just to give a little more detail as to what goes on is that your protagonist goes on a journey and through a series of events has experiences that cause change in his character which may result in heroic deeds.

I’m going to go farther back than I normally do with my references to pop culture and media and reference the poem known as Beowulf. Yes that long poem you had to read in twelfth grade english class will be talked about a little today, no I’m not talking about that weird CGI movie that came out ten years ago. Beowulf hears of the troubles the monster Grendel is causing because the tenants above him won’t turn down their partying resulting in Grendel  killing citizens under the land of Heorot. Grendel and Beowulf do battle, Beowulf rips off his arm and Grendel dies at home. His mother gets pissed.

Grendel’s Mother gets her revenge, and Beowulf travels to put an end to her too. For these two battles Beowulf is more or less just being a nice guy and is very confident in his abilities. He’s a hero because it’s the right thing to do. After fifty years and becoming a king himself, Beowulf takes on a dragon, but thanks to old age isn’t as confident in his abilities and is mortally wounded while dealing with the dragon.

The story itself isn’t too thrilling, but we have the basic hero of Beowulf who technically does go through change in his story of heroism from confident man who defeated two monsters to a king who wasn’t so sure he could defeat a dragon.

The subject of change for the hero can vary from the confidence of the hero regardless of it being a lack of confidence at the beginning to having confidence at the end or vice versa in the case of Beowulf.

There is also the ‘Zero to Hero’ story where Disney’s adaptation of Hua Mulan (just Mulan for the film) is a good example. In the original story Mulan wanted to join the army in place of her father (after she dueled him for permission and won) and was already a skilled martial artist and capable with a sword and after gaining much credit for her work returned home in retirement accepting no compensation for her work in the military.

The Disney adaption keeps Mulan replacing her father as a soldier, but takes away her badass combat abilities. She instead has to learn and earn her abilities as a soldier with the stakes increased in the film that should the Chinese military discover that she is a woman she will be executed for daring to break social norms by entering the army. Mulan is discovered, but is spared because Li is probably very relieved that Mulan is a woman meaning he isn’t gay. For all her efforts Mulan returns home a changed woman with a better understanding of honor and very happy to see her family (and is even hugged by the Emperor after she blew up his castle and earning the highest headcount of her Disney Princess counterparts).

It could be argued that the Disney film Hercules released a year before Mulan has the same Zero to Hero format and technically it does, but the character Hercules is doing it for selfish reasons at first rather than the selfless reason of Mulan and only learned to be a hero after Megara dies and the gods are freed. Technically Hercules didn’t learn a damn thing in the movie (Hades wasn’t such a bad guy and was just keeping his end of the bargain, Hercules is an asshat).

From the three examples above it could be argued that Mulan is the best example of a hero due to her compassion and will to sacrifice herself for the needs of her loved ones (and a cricket for good luck) while Beowulf was just being a nice guy and Hercules had no idea how to be a hero outside of getting a merchandising deal.

The Chosen One and The Special

What do Harry Potter and Star Wars have in common? Well besides the hero and villain relying on the color scheme of red and green to help the audience determine who is good and who is evil, not that much. Both DO have a Chosen One and do indeed play with the idea of a Chosen One. Normally a Chosen One is someone who is predicted to “save the day and put an end to evil!” Because destiny said so.

While this isn’t a bad plot device for a story, I chose the topic of Star Wars and Harry Potter because most audiences are familiar with these two franchises when it comes to having a ‘Chosen One’ despite the actual label of Chosen One being played with. In Harry Potter, Harry is known as ‘The Boy Who Lived’ and after a run in Voldemort his first year at Hogwarts is the only wizard who can defeat Voldy after Dumbledore himself. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5/the one with the blue cover for you muggles) after being responsible for the death of a student and his godfather Harry demands answers from Dumbledore as to why this is happening to him.

Dumbledore explains that because of a vague prediction that Voldy knew of Harry could have been living a normal wizard life while his classmate and friend Neville Longbottom could have been the one with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but Voldy picked Harry because he felt Harry was his equal. Dumbledore mentions that Voldy didn’t HAVE to actually listen to the prediction and could have gone on causing problems in the wizarding world, but because of knowledge of said prophesy didn’t want to take risks and decided to go after baby Harry setting the story into motion.

In Star Wars we have the Skywalker family; this starts off with Anakin Skywalker who has a special talent with the force and is prophesied to bring balance to the light and dark side of the force. Anakin is a gifted padawan despite having temptations from the dark side of the force. In the tv series Clone Wars he is shown to be a competent general, but it’s all for naught when in Revenge of the Sith he falls to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader putting an end to his Chosen One status. For the original trilogy audiences figured Luke was the actual Chosen One, and the force even had a back up plan with Leia, but in the end it’s Vader who puts an end to Emperor Palpatine.

In recent movies and spin offs though in the Star Wars universe things are shifting away from having Chosen Ones save the day to a bigger picture type of story I’ll get into a little bit.

The alternative to The Chosen One is ‘The Special’ as The Lego Movie puts it. As the name suggests, the Special is someone who is special, they can be someone immune to most vampire abilities, a vampire with empathic abilities, or in the case of The Lego Movie, someone who will be the best master builder ever! I do like that The Lego Movie also plays with this with the character WyldStyle hoping that she is the special, but discovering it’s a guy who thinks inside the box in contradiction to the outside the box master builders and saves the day more frequently because of it. It is revealed that the Special is completely made up for the sake of one of the protagonists buying time earlier in the movie and that all the protagonists in the movie are ‘The Special’.

Born for the Job

A variation for ‘The Special’ is literally being born into the job. Very good examples of this are Avatar The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. In these cases our protagonist is born into the role of hero due to being reincarnated in the case of Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), and the light spirit of Raava being transferred into each life and incarnation of the Avatar.

The approach of being a hero is taken to two different extremes with the Avatar series; in the first series Aang is just child when he is told that he is the Avatar and has to defeat the Firelord to restore balance between the four nations. Aang flees resulting in the mass genocide of Airbenders and has to clean up the mess later. The first two seasons of the series Aang focuses more on having fun since he is still a twelve year old, but grows to understand the seriousness of the situation with the Fire Nation and realizes that he is the only one who can fix his mistake. While the first two seasons are more lighthearted, the third season takes a darker approach with the final batch of episodes focusing on the conflict between Aang’s personal beliefs that killing is wrong despite his position of being the Avatar and needing to protect and bring balance to the world and that he needs to kill Firelord Ozai (he takes the third option).

In the sequel series Legend of Korra, Korra is the opposite of Aaeng, when she discovers she’s the Avatar, she’s excited and spent her whole youth training to be the greatest fighter mastering all bending outside of airbending. While Aang was primarily a defensive fighter who went to great lengths to avoid violence as a solution to a conflict, Korra was ready to kick ass and chew gum. Korra’s constant conflict throughout the series is being told that she as the Avatar is not needed anymore. It starts off small when Amon of the Equalist movement tells her she is no longer needed because ‘benders shouldn’t be superior to nonbenders.’ this continues onto the second season where her uncle tries to replace her as the dark avatar, and comes to a tragic level in season three where the radicalist Zaheer wants to kill Korra and end the Avatar cycle for the sake of chaos and anarchy. The tragedy comes at the end of the season where Korra is damaged physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and is told by her mentor Tenzin that the newly formed air nomads will aid the people of the four nations further pushing the message that Korra isn’t ‘needed’ anymore. In contrast with most tales of the Hero’s Journey, Korra realizes that in contradiction with Aang needing to resort to violence to save the day (he technically didn’t, but there was still fighting), she needed to rely on pacifism and talked her final foe down without resorting to what she believed was needed in the form of brute force and skill to save the day a few years ago.  

Now there’s Sailor Moon; many people see it as the one of the girliest shows out there. They might be right, but who says a story aimed for girls can’t have depth? Compared to the previous two examples, Usagi Tsukino almost had to be dragged into heroics kicking and screaming. The manga, nineties anime adaption, and live action tokusatsu series do a decent job of Usagi’s growth into a hero from her usual cry baby antics (the first episode of the nineties anime is literally named Crybaby Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation). What convinces her to go out and become a hero despite being a crybaby with zero combat ability? Her friend Naru is in danger (she never turns her back on a friend, she’s always there to defend, she is the one on whome we can depend), so she leaps into action without a second thought to save her best friend. As the series continues it is shown that what Usagi lacks in heroism (there are times where Luna and Tuxedo Mask have to talk Usagi into believing in herself to beat the bad guys), she makes up for as a people person genuinely liking most of the people she meets and standing up for oddballs and social outcasts that would later become her dearest friends.

By the third arc of the manga Usagi admits that she has accepted her fate to protect the earth from all who want to do harm to it and it’s people. In the final series arc she even gives a pep talk to a future incarnation of Sailor Moon known as Sailor Cosmos that even though the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, she can’t destroy the Galaxy Cauldron because then there would be no more life and that even if the fight against Chaos seems hopeless, it’s no reason to give up.

The Legend of Zelda

Why is The Legend of Zelda getting its own portion to this essay? Because it’s just that amazing. In nearly each Zelda game, there is one constant. There’s a Link, and there’s a Zelda. Things got a little interesting a few years ago with the release of the Hyrule Historia finally placing some clarity to many fan debates of how the series worked concerning our two main heroes.

Our heroes Link and Zelda are both subversions and straight examples of a hero and a Chosen One (this can vary from game to game). Each Link is a hero earning the Triforce of Courage for their courageous deeds (and in two cases getting the complete triforce). Many fans wondered how each Link was connected, and the only connection between them outside of the green tunic was bearing the Triforce of Courage, thus being the subversion of a ‘Chosen One’.

The multiple Zeldas in the series are an interesting approach to being a ‘Chosen One’ and ‘being born into the job’. It was revealed in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword that there was indeed a fourth goddess for Hyrule known as the goddess Hylia born into a human by choice into the first incarnation of Princess Zelda. From that point onward future Zeldas are by technicality a Chosen One in their adventures not because they are royalty, but because they have the blood of the goddess Hylia flowing through their veins and with this power are trained and obligated to protect the land of Hyrule.

In the most recent game in the series Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, this incarnation of Zelda can’t connect with the power wielded by her ancestors and doesn’t like the pressure of being needed to protect Hyrule due to her inability to connect with these spiritual abilities and would rather be a scholar aiding in the research of past technologies. In contrast the Link of the game is a stern soldier fully devoted to Zelda and to the land of Hyrule ;Zelda laments that Link may have chosen this path because his father chose it and asks him what if he had chosen a different path mirroring his own situation with her own.

Unlike the Zeldas, most Links don’t have the baggage of having a duty to protect the kingdom and are just someone who stepped up to the plate to save the day for various reasons either to save a friend, sister, or because a tree told them to do it.

Subversion of Everything I Just Talked About

I have some issues with Chosen Ones; not that a story is bad for having a Chosen One, but that in writing once you set your protagonist as a Chosen One, you wrote yourself to rely solely on a protagonist. First let’s talk about destiny.

Destiney can tie into having a Chosen One because they’re destined to be chosen (so shocking). Back to Star Wars, in 2003 the video game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic was released; it is one of the only GOOD Star Wars games out there. You can literally make your Player Character have decisions that affect their affiliation with the Force (as in you gain light side points for giving a man money, or can earn dark side points for mugging that man instead). You can also strike up conversations with crewmembers of the Ebon Hawk, one of them being Jolee Bindo. Bindo provides some insight and an alternative perspective to  the way the Force is seeing as he isn’t on the best terms with the Jedi Order.

One story is how a force user named Andor Vex who is told that the Force has a strong interest in him. Andor takes this as a sign that he will be a great hero and is cocky, this eventually leads to him confronting a villain and is taken captive. Andor begins to mouth off and brag about his destiny, resulting in his neck getting snapped and his body tossed down a hole that leads to his captors getting blown up. The lesson from this is pretty obvious that  just because you are told you have a big important destiny, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a delightful one.

To continue on with the thought of destiny there is Steven Universe; in the later portion of the series the main protagonist Steven begins to think he exists and was created for the sake of a big fancy destiny, possibly from the influence of his friend Connie.

Steven is a unique entity on his show where he’s half gem and half human. He was created because his mother, Rose Quartz, was so intrigued by humans and their ability to choose their own destiny, decided she wanted to have a child so that said child can choose their own destiny. By the episode Lion 4: Alternate Ending, Steven becomes obsessed with finding out more about his life and what his mother wanted for him only to be told by his dad that nothing in Steven’s life was planned and that everything that has happened so far was by pure chance.

Philip J. Fry

Philip J. Fry was the protagonist (sorta) to the animated scifi comedy series Futurama! He was a delivery boy from the year 1999 who got frozen and now lives in the year 3000 (sort of) as a delivery boy. As the series goes on it is discovered that Fry is a very important and special (no not that kind) person.

Because of time travel it is revealed that Fry had a one night stand with his grandmother and is his own grandfather. It seems like a throwaway gag at first, but this makes him the most important being in the universe; because of Fry’s ‘nasty in the pasty’, Fry lacks the delta brainwave making him immune to mind control and having his own mind read.

This doesn’t make him a Chosen One and Fry does qualify as a Special, but his importance is never really brought up. While the Nibblonians were aware of Fry and his importance, once his job of defeating the brainspawn is done (twice) he lives an uneventful life most of the time when he isn’t saving the universe by dumb luck alone.

I really do like the approach to Fry in Futurama since his character arc was planned from the start of the series instead of thrown in out of nowhere as the series went along. Futurama is also filled with constant subversions of science fiction and fantasy tropes that inspire the show and treated with love and respect.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Super heroes, they’re not exactly chosen to do the job of being a hero, but they do a good job of doing it. I like comicbooks, The above title for this part of the essay comes from The Amazing Spiderman as something Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben tells him shortly before being killed. And this quote does indeed echo not only through the Marvel Comic universe, but the DC universe as well.

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of superheroes drawn and printed onto comicbooks once a month that range from being a mutant, alien, gifted with powers, and so many origin stories of how they became heroes.

A common plot involves the hero getting the power by sheer accident (like Spiderman or The Flash), they then proceed to use said power for the sake of doing good. In the case of Spiderman, it was originally just to find the crook who killed his beloved uncle (like a more sarcastic and middleclass Batman), but Spidey decided to keep on saving the day.

Honorary Mentions

  • Once Upon a Time- the first six seasons of this series followed Emma Swan and her adventures in the small town known as Storybrook as she slowly begins to understand and accept her life as the Savior with constant forks in the road of her eventual destiny of saving everyone (even the villains)
  • The Hunger Games trilogy-I’d Argue that Katniss Everdeen is only a hero because her sister just so happened to be selected to participate in the games. Had neither of their names been selected Katniss and Prim would have just continued on their lives and no big rebellion would have happened.
  • Battlestar Galactica-holy crap this series is all kinds of weird “because God wants it this way” going on.

They All Said Ouch

The hero protagonist has been here a long while and is here to stay. The same thing goes for being a Chosen One. The story of a hero can and has evolved though from basic stories of individuals doing good deeds just for the sake of doing them to complex prophecies saying ‘someone will save the day’, and even stories both real and fictional bringing in a protagonist who came from nothing and caused many great and good things to happen.

Ready Player One Review

At the suggestion of a friend I listened to Ready Player One (narrated by Wil Wheaton). I wasn’t really expecting anything amazing, and I wasn’t expecting crap. I got neither, but I am underwhelmed.

Spoilers from this point on.

Ready Player One takes place in a near dystopian future where humanity spends most of its time playing the video game The Oasis. The Oasis is the online RPG where most of the art, culture, scientific knowledge, and anything else you can think of is stored on there with countless people playing the video game at all times. The Oasis was created by James Halliday who was both eccentric and obsessed with pop culture from the eighties ranging from cheesy sitcoms, videogames, blockbusters from the time period, to even Japanese anime and Tokusatsu.

The plot follows Wade Watts, a Gunter (low level Easter Egg Hunter) on his quest to find the three keys that lead to the Easter Egg left in the game data by Halliday in order to gain his company and fortune in a contest to find an heir (kind of like Willie Wonka). Things in Wade’s life begin to change when he discovered the first key leading to the Easter Egg by accident causing a chain effect of many other players in the Oasis video game to discovering that the Easter Egg quest is not a hoax after all.

Along with regular players in the game, Wade also has the competition of the Sixers; employees of the IOI company who aim to win the Easter Egg contest to apply the usual capitalism to The Oasis game and ruin it for everyone. The Sixers have countless resources at their disposal and are willing to even resort to homicide in the real world killing both their targets and innocent civilians that are in their way.

While I didn’t hate the story, I feel like much of the story was devoted primarily to exposition of the world of the Oasis and explaining real life secrets in video games and pop culture with the most obscure references known to only a handful of people at most. After most of the exposition is done the story flows fairly well though; Wade becomes famous by accident, goes from living a shitty home life to a more decent life, gets the girl and loses her (it looks like he eventually gets her in the end though), has a heroic blue screen of death, and saves the day by accident.

My complaint is that we don’t really learn much of the real world beyond the video game (which kind of makes sense because the novel wants us to focus on the game and Wade and his friends defeating big evil capitalists). We don’t know just how awful the real world really is; are all the animals dead? Is there no plant life? How is Saturday Night Live still going into the 2040s, how is the Wil Wheaton administration going? We never get those questions or answers in the novel outside of some minor mentioning from the character Art3mis (the “girl I gotta impress” of the story).

The strongest part of the novel is the pop culture references primarily from the eighties. I was a little shocked that I got more of the Japanese culture references in the book instead of the eighties  culture reference (the writers of Glee would be devastated how little I know of Rush). There really is a little bit of everything the reader can relate to even if the reader isn’t into video games or nerdy related content. If they’re into movies, there’s movie references, tv shows, there’s a reference!

Wil Wheaton’s narration for the audiobook was a nice match for the book; he always kept a humorous tone and was serious when it needed to be. I highly recommend anyone interested to listen to the audiobook.

Views on the film adaption

I was vaguely aware of the film adaption of Ready Player One until recently. I can’t help but feel that Steven Spielberg was going for the last breaths of the dystopian “teens gotta save the world” movie trend that was started by The Hunger Games. Obviously the film adaption can’t stay true to the source material (no chance of getting Super Sentai Spiderman Mecha in this film), but it does look nice to look at so I might enjoy what will be presented to the audience.

While I wasn’t too impressed with Ready Player One, it was a fun and exciting listening experience. I give Ready Player One by Ernest Cline two out of three keys.