kaigou: this is what I do, darling (1 kusuri-uri contemplate)
[ ETA: to clarify a term I frequently use (but may be unfamiliar to some), "animanga" is a portmanteau of "anime" and "manga", meant as a shorthand for "the Japanese illustrated-story publishing/production industries, including manga (graphic novels), illustrated 'light' novels, four-panel comics, animated television shows, animated miniseries/OVA (Original Animation Videos), and animated theatrical releases". Because there's often a great deal of cross-pollination between the two types (printed vs. moving), I tend to use "animanga" to refer to the entire ball of wax in one easy word. ]

We all know (and likely loathe, at least given the posts I see go past from most of you) the damsel in distress: she does something stupid, gets captured/hurt, has to be saved by the hero, and usually ends up clinging to him. I've been browsing some of the manga that readers have classified (on reader-tagging database sites) as "strong female lead" or "strong female character", and I think we need an intermediary.

Something like, "female character damselfied by the author", or "damsel with fighter tendencies," for a less anti-author spin on it.

The so-called "strong female characters" usually go like this: she's relatively outspoken, strong-willed, and ostensibly very good at whatever she does (even if in some stories we never see her do anything, we're at least told she's good). She's independent, and a common expression or thought among the transistional damsel is that she wants to 'stand on her own two feet'. She'll often explicitly state that she intends to fight [the big bad], alongside the hero, as his team-mate or equal. She doesn't see him as her rescuer, but as her mentor or her role model (and sometimes as the person she aspires to equal). )

All these are just more reasons on the list of why I love Balsa and Gen. Oliva Armstrong so much.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 love the stars)
A few months ago I was reading an article on Gegege no Kitaro, or more precisely an article on the first live-action film adaptation of the classic, and I figured, this is a classic. I should see this. All I can say is: it's so endearingly charming, with just enough kookiness. Scary enough to frighten the under-four-foot crowd, but never sustaining that scariness long enough to do more than give them a slight jump, and almost always followed up with either humor or similar to make it clear the good guys are still good and in one piece... but with enough Shinto-elements that the bad guys don't get their comeuppance in the Western tradition, but are forgiven and given a chance to start over. (I'd say the resolution is a deus ex machina, but more like a deus ex vulpina.)

Okay, okay, so there's a good-sized dose of overacting, but hey, this is a kid's feature -- but it's also got what has to be one of the largest budgets for CGI that I've seen in a Japanese film. Really, it's up there with Pixar/Hollywood levels, spare no expense, even if that meant purchasing extra sets just for some of the actors to chew with wild abandon. And chew, they did! But still, so much fun. No, the acting is not Oscar-level, but -- kid's film! -- and enough of the actors are clearly having fun along the way, and there are enough nods here and there to classic yokai that it's almost like spot-the-cameo.

(My personal favorite was the Tengu King and his guards -- and when the tengu police come for Kitaro is an awesome scene.)

After that, I tracked down the sequel -- Gegege no Kitaro and the Millennium Curse -- which is a slightly darker storyline that also tried to cram in as many yokai as possible (past the point where the budget could CGI all of it, it seems), but hey. Again, kid's movie, and one point in its favor is that the female characters hold their own better than I'd expected; even Sunakake Baba takes out her share of the bad guys.

Unexpected crossovers of an unexpected houseguest, the origins of manga, and making it all new again. )

The last few paragraphs aren't neatly argued, are even more disjointed than usual, because I kept interrupting the writing to go do woodwork... so I guess I'll either revise later or we can all do the happier usual and discuss it in comments. Besides, this is actually just a stop on the way to where I eventually ended up while pondering this, but I'll save that for the next post.


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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