Big Hero 6

Sun, Nov. 16th, 2014 04:07 pm
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I feel with this, Frozen, and Wreck-It Ralph, Disney is really entering another golden age (I know, all the critics say that...), which makes me happy despite all my issues with Disney because Disney is so much of my childhood. I was afraid Big Hero 6 was going to be too pop-culture-referencing and wink-wink-nudge-nudge, as well as being afraid that the main character would annoy me (that's my biggest issue with How to Train Your Dragon) and that the blend of San Francisco and Tokyo would feel pasted on and Orientalist. Instead, it's a really good movie that made me cry more than once, has some great relationships, and did what I thought was a pretty impressive job of balancing gender roles and portrayals as well as having POC representation.

(That said, Disney, I will be so happy if you make your next geek-oriented movie with a female lead!)

Also, the marketing department did a really good job with the trailer; I think it only goes into the first half hour of the movie and doesn't let on to some pretty big things while keeping the overall tone of the movie.

What most impressed me about the trailer was how the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie completely recontextualizes a lot of the scenes, so even if you've seen them a lot, there's more there when you see them again in the movie. As I mentioned, I was worried I would be annoyed at Hiro, and I kind of was... and then they introduced another character that helped a lot. Then when something happens and Hiro gets acquainted with Baymax the robot, it adds a new emotional layer to all the boy-plus-robot scenes from the trailer. Also, Baymax is hilarious and adorable, as the best companion robots seem to be. (Are there any girl-and-robot stories that mix coming of age with teaching your robot how to be more human or something? Boy-and-robot seems to be a distinct subgenre, with this, The Iron Giant, Terminator 2, and probably more I can't think of right now.)

Cultural appropriation, gender, and other considerations )

I am talking a lot about the more political aspects of the movie and not focusing on just how fun the movie is, I think partly because so much of it is in the background and not that noticeable if you aren't looking for it. I thought this was a really great example of how to have diverse characters and places and make it feel organic and not the central issue of the story, and it's what I would love to see more of, especially in genre stuff.

A lot of the reviews I've read were tired of the whole superhero thing, but I did not realize it was a superhero movie going in (I had it more pegged as an Iron Giant thing), so when Hiro starts seeing everyone as a superhero team, it totally cracked me up. Because if you are a boy with a giant robot and a 3D printer, why not?

And finally, I LOVED how the entire movie was a celebration of engineering and science and making things; one of my favorite parts is Tadashi showing Hiro his "nerd school" and how clearly he loves it. I feel I should say so much more about this, because it was a huge part of why I loved the movie so much (that, and the Tadashi-Hiro relationship) and I've spent so many words on the background stuff. Except I don't really have anything outside of how much I love it and how much they made an effort to show that the whole maker culture thing isn't solely a white guy thing.

On a completely random note, I'm amused by the Disney-Pixar-Marvel mashup so that the movie has the now-famous animation short a la Pixar and the post-credits scene a la Marvel.

Gotham 1x01-1x03

Tue, Oct. 7th, 2014 11:57 pm
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So far, I am still watching because I am a sucker for Batverse, but I haven't really hit it off with any of the episodes yet.

Spoilers )
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Hello, show! I missed you in all your cracktastic glory!

Spoilers )

(no subject)

Mon, Sep. 8th, 2014 09:16 pm
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I feel kind of stupid posting this right now, but I haven't been checking stuff online even though I was posting the daily happiness posts, and I just found out about [personal profile] delux_vivens.

I met her online when I was first figuring stuff out about race and racism, and she and Dead Bro Walking opened up so much to me and introduced me to so many people. She took me to my first powwow and shared a fry bread taco with me and laughed when I insisted on getting another fry bread for dessert (she was right, that was a bit too much fry bread for my stomach...). She shared details about her regalia and her beading projects and braved the dread lack of transportation to have craft circle in South Bay and meet CB. I was really nervous around her at first because I wanted so badly to not look stupid, and I felt she kind of took me under her wing and watched out for me. I hadn't seen her for a while, even though CB would sometimes ask, because he only met her once but thought she was awesome, and now I wish I had reached out more.
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Much like [personal profile] umadoshi, I was super excited when Chromatic Press started and cheered on the development of something akin to an English-language shoujo magazine, though I never got around to subscribing. Anyway, apparently the numbers are much worse than I had thought, and I was incredibly amused by the descriptions of various series that sound like a fun blend of female-friendliness and idtasticness. So I have subscribed!

And I apparently get a one month free trial I can give out! So, if anyone is interested, comment between now and Friday 8/29. If there's more than one person, I'll do a random number drawing.

Also, check out their membership drive and assorted prizes for hitting various levels.


Thu, Aug. 7th, 2014 12:04 am
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That meme where you pick up the first book next to you, flip to page 45, and use the first sentence as a summary of your love life:

"After configuring the devices necessary for connecting to the Internet, tap 'Internet Settings' in the System Settings menu."

(courtesy of the 2DS manual)

... I find this eerily accurate.
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Flora 717 is a lowly sanitation bee, but instead of being mute like the other members of her caste, she can talk and apparently make Flow to feed the larvae in the nursery. The sisters of the Sage clan (the priestess caste) take note and let her work in the nursery for a bit, since the hive is going through rough times and there aren't enough workers. Soon, Flora is experiencing things far outside the lives of the other sanitation bees, and she eventually realizes she is even more different than she realized, for she can lay eggs when it is a crime to challenge the Queen's fertility.

I keep seeing this described as "Watership Down with bees," which mostly seems accurate? Although I find it curious that Watership Down tends to be classified as fantasy while this is slotted under "science fiction" in Amazon, possibly due to the rural setting of the former and the more urban-esque landscape of the hive for this book. I'm also not sure I find it as political as the reviews comparing it to The Handmaid's Tale, possibly because the point of view is so alien in some ways. It's something I'd rather tease apart at a Wiscon panel or in discussion, because while some reviews have been classifying it as dystopic, I don't quite agree. There is too much actual bee biology for it to feel completely dystopic to me, particularly since the book is framed by a prologue and epilogue from the point of view of the humans who own the orchard the beehive is in; it didn't feel so much like it was comparing the human condition to the bee world and more as though Paull were focused primarily on fleshing out the bee world properly. I have to noodle a bit more on this, because I haven't thought it out enough.

She does a great job detailing her particular bee society and making it feel like a complete world, from the way the bees communicate via scent and chemicals to their worship of the queen to the foppishness of the drones. From the bit of browsing I did, it seems like most of the information is fairly accurate, except a spoilery bit in the end and the fact that bee roles are not nearly so harshly delineated irl. (Also, one beekeeper wrote a review in which they felt very put out about the negative depiction of beekeepers as the theives of the bees' carefully made honey. I have to say, I laughed.) I particularly loved the way religion and government are mixed up in the hive, and the look at the various castes and clans.

I did have some nitpicks, because it wasn't always as alien as I wanted it to be; Paull refers to things like bees bleeding or having their intestines torn out, which made me wonder if it were just a figure of speech or...?? Ditto mentions of things like goblets of nectar or plates of pollen. I also thought the prologue and epilogue should have been cut, because I am not here for human context and thoughts! I want weird alien life forms that are actually from this planet!

Anyway, this was a really fast, immersive read, and I still feel like there might be creepy-crawlies on me randomly throughout the day. (For insect-phobic people: I am pretty grossed out by bugs in real life and in pictures, but I'm mostly fine reading about them in books, from fictionalized bees to real-life parasites, so YMMV? I wasn't creeped out while reading, but my skin does start to itch when thinking about it afterward.)

oyceter: (dramas dramas dramas)
Potentially spoilery trigger warnings )

Spoilers )

Now I need more people to watch so I can flail about the gender role reversals re: manpain and how JIN-YI IS BETTER THAN YOU.


Tue, Jun. 3rd, 2014 01:25 am
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Flight Rising registration opening in about four hours! Friend me if you join (and let me know if you want a dragon)! I'm oyceter (lair id 35180) there as well, and a lot of us are also on [community profile] flight_rising as well.
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[personal profile] inkstone was brainstorming non-Western media panel ideas for Wiscon 39, and so many people got into the conversation that I was using 3/4 of my allotted characters just to @ them! Ergo, post.

(Also, this makes me so happy!! I am going to sound like such an old fogey, but *shakes cane* I remember the days when we didn't have any anime/manga programming at all and [personal profile] coffeeandink and I had to organize "spontaneous" programming so we could talk about it!

(I was so sad to see I missed panels on Utena and fairy tales in shoujo and was kicking myself for somehow skipping those panels until I realized that was one of the years I didn't make it to Wiscon.

(It has also been really nice seeing younger people in the audience in the past few years; hopefully I will be more encouraging next year and get them on panels too. My goal: having non-Western fannish panels that are not entirely populated by the same six people, myself included, even though I love you all a ton and love hearing what you guys say.)

Anyway, my goal this year is to organize a book club for F. Compo + Hourou Musuko (and/or other works with trans protagonists? Specifically, canonically trans, as opposed to genderbending or crossdressing.), esp. since [personal profile] jiawen has been trying to get a trans people in anime/manga panel for forever. That way even if it doesn't make the cut due to lack of panelists and/or audience members, we can do spontaneous programming. And I really like panels that focus very specifically on one or two works.

Also, AMVs in playlists for the vid party that aren't specifically being "The AMV Playlist"!

Other ideas I vaguely remember from Twitter:
- Bollywood
- Magical girls (and Sailor Moon Crystal!)
- Women in shounen
- AMVs and vids
- Moe
- POC in SFnal music (+ weird over-the-top fantasy CPop music videos?)
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This is my playlist for the Wiscon 38 vid party. Er, and for anyone who was there, I embarrassingly sent the wrong link to the organizers, so this includes the actual link to the Utena vid I was planning on showing...

Next year: more AMV playlists, including playlists that just include AMVs as part of a theme!

General warnings: I think AMVs tend to do much more visual overlays and faster cutting than media vids in general, so I hope I managed to give enough notice re: flashing lights and strobe effects, but not sure! Also, I worry a bit that I underwarned for the vid show because I have a hard time figuring out the line between action movie violence and disturbing violence so I am adding some just in case.

Magical Girls: Sparkles and Subversion
(or: morally ambiguous dark-haired girls and the pink-haired girls who love them)

  1. Hika Yagami - Magical Girls Take a Stand! (multifandom)
    no warnings
    (stream/download | subtitles)

  2. Moezy-chan - Red Star (Sailor Moon)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    Psychological warnings: horror imagery
    (stream | subtitles)

  3. WUNETTI Productions - The Utena Symphony, Part II: Rosa Infinita (Shoujo Kakumei Utena)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    (stream/download | subtitles)

  4. Chiikaboom - Devil's Game 2.0 (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    Psychological warnings: horror imagery (also I find this series creepy like whoa and have a hard time with scenes in the vid, but I don't know if it's as creepy if you haven't seen the series? Comments?)
    (download | subtitles)

  5. Tidirium Studios - Hold Me Now (Princess Tutu)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    (stream/download | subtitles)

Random commentary )

Anyway, I hope people enjoyed, and if anyone wants me to flail at them re: the various series and why you should watch them, I am more than happy to do so! (Except Madoka. Madoka continues to terrify me.)

(no subject)

Thu, May. 22nd, 2014 07:42 pm
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Hi! I have not been posting about Wiscon because I have been too busy with Wiscon prep (6 vids subtitled, whoo!).

Anyway, will be arriving some time on Friday, leaving at some time on Monday. Hugs ok as long as it's not randomly from behind, she/her, and I forgot to print my icon for my badge, oh well. Also, I am crap at checking anything outside of email though I will try my best to keep an eye on Twitter messages.

(And will definitely be at the vid party, whenever that is! Come by! See my magical girls AMV playlist!)

Subtitle help?

Thu, May. 15th, 2014 04:17 pm
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Would anyone be up for helping me subtitle the AMVs for my Wiscon playlist? Trying to get them in by tomorrow...
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This is a 2006 drama about the life of Hwang Jin-Yi, a Joseon period gisaeng who was famous for her poetry, art, music, and dancing. We begin with wee!Jin-Yi, who has been raised in a Buddhist monastery, as her mother, a gisaeng herself, wanted Jin-Yi to be able to escape gisaeng life. Unfortunately for the mother, Jin-Yi ends up watching the performance of a gisaeng troupe and immediately deciding that that is what she wants to do.

So far there are:
  • Dance training sequences involving being hung upside down by the foot

  • Steadfast friends who matchmake

  • A demanding taskmistress who feels that suffering pain will only make your art greater!!!, and whatever, what is life being married on a farm when you could be MARRIED TO YOUR ART?!

  • A rival troupe, lead of course by the old rival of Jin-Yi's troupe leader (aforementioned demanding taskmistress), who is determined that she will BEAT HER FINALLY! And if she can't do it, she will get in the way of anyone else who tries to!

  • A rivalry between the most promising girl of the rival troupe and Jin-Yi, in which the rival girl is horrified to hear that Jin-Yi is too sick for a competition because she wants to beat her fair and square as an accurate measure of their talent!!

  • Societally forbidden love with a yangban boy

  • The tragedies of gisaeng life and having to sleep with whatever man has enough to purchase you for the night

  • And I can't even describe how much costume porn

There is so much costume porn I would probably watch this solely for the costume and dance scenes even if the rest of it weren't good, but the rest of it is very good!

Jin-Yi herself is awesome and as stoic as only Ha Ji-Won can be and firmly within the shounen sports manga school of "I must perfect all the dance by any means necessary!" and I'm also enjoying how they're slowly fleshing out some of the other gisaeng as well.

Spoilers )

And on a totally random note, I am amused that a ton of stuff in this drama and in Arang (and possibly most sageuk?) is filmed at the 한국민속촌 and that it's always attributed as such!

Daily happiness

Wed, Apr. 30th, 2014 12:19 am
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Oops, apparently I wrote yesterday's and then forgot to post!

1. Wow, it got really warm. That part is annoying because my apartment gets so hot in the evening, but it's really nice to be able to wear skirts without tights or leggings again! And sandals! Also, sun, yay.

2. Yeesssss, I got my Shadow dragon that will soon be a spiral! And then I will only have one dragon left to go until I have a collection of elemental spirals.

3. Child of Light comes out tomorrow! And found a deal on Lifehacker that says if you preorder on Amazon, you get and extra $5 of game credit.

And for today:

1. Pearl milk tea on a hot day is so nice!

2. CB brought over the TV cabinet he got from someone in his company, and they ended up giving it to us for free! He just spent a ton of time (and lots of swearing and sweating and banging) putting it together, and now everything looks organized and beautiful AND the cats can't get to the wires.


3. Going to see a really nice apartment a block from BART that was also the size of my bedroom makes me feel like my apartment is super big right now.

4. Cold blueberry-currant juice. Also cold water. And cold ginger beer.

Flight Rising!

Fri, Apr. 11th, 2014 12:43 am
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Flight Rising, aka that dragon game I keep talking about, is opening registration for April 14!

I haven't been playing it as much lately, but I am having fun collecting assorted pretty dragons and scavenging and opening treasure chests. I'm Oyceter there as well, and this is my lair (id: 35180).

Also, a few of us show off our dragons and complain about site downtime (it's getting better!) at [community profile] flight_rising.

I found tips and tricks for beginners, tips and tricks for beginners 2, and an unofficial FAQ really helpful.

Lemme know if you have questions! Also if anyone joins, I have some dragons if you want ^_^.
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Initial random thoughts! (With spoilers for the comics arcs as well.)

Spoilers )
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Philip and Elizabeth Jennings look like your normal suburban couple, complete with two kids and a sedan, but they're actually Russian spies. Things get complicated when a counterintelligence FBI agent moves in across the street, especially since Cold War tensions are only getting worse.

So I love spy stuff, but there's a serious dearth of awesome female spies who don't play second fiddle to their male counterparts. I was hoping this series would be an exception, since Keri Russell is billed as the lead, but so far, it doesn't look very promising. I love her character, who is ruthless, incredibly devoted to her mission, and pretty badass, but the narrative keeps undercutting her and giving more weight to her husband and to Agent Beeman. Boo.

It does have less gratuitous female nudity than Game of Thrones (I realize this is a low bar), but we're introduced to Elizabeth when she's seducing someone for spy purposes, and she's repeatedly put in more sexualized situations than her husband is.

On the plus side, there are multiple female characters, and I'm pretty sure the show passes the Bechdel test in each episode.

Spoilers (TW for rape and dubiously consensual situations) )

So. I do like the spy stuff and all the 1980s stuff, but the gender and nationality stuff is too off-putting for me right now. Anyone knows if it gets better in this regard?
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Spoilers )

And now I shall look forward to the exhibition programs.


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