I’ve watched all of Zyuranger… now what?

As you all know, I’ve been into Sentai and Tokusatsu lately.[1]

I spent most of my last couple of weeks watching a series called Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, which anyone who sees it will immediately recognize (assuming they’re old enough). Just take a peak. Watching this was kind of weird for me, because I grew up with its American counterpart… which used footage but generally not the plotlines, so I would see familiar scenes but in a completely different story. Imagine finding out your dad is actually a super-awesome robot spy from Space and the version you’ve been living with your whole life is an emasculated clone created by mixing his toenails with frog DNA, and you get the idea.

I wanted to do a video about this show, but I want to give it time to gel in my mind first. For the moment, I want to avoid more Sentai shows because I don’t want a lot of similar premises to overload my brain.

But there’s non-Sentai Toku, such as an interesting one I discovered today, Space Sheriff Gavan. Watch the first episode (with subtitles) here. Seriously, by the time we got to the heroic Cylon fighting the rubber monster in the LSD Dimension, I was completely sold… and then I found out that only the first five episodes had ever been fansubbed -__-. So I’m gonna have to learn Japanese if I ever want to see this entire series (or for that matter, the entire Metal Heroes series, which to be honest looks like it has the potential to be the best Toku franchise ever)

… Hey, maybe I can somehow use this blog as a medium for furthering my Japanese studies. What do you guys think?

[1] TO RECAP: “Tokusatsu” means “Special Effects” and generally refers to live-action kids shows that have TV-budget special effects and generally sci-fi premises. Ultraman, Super Sentai (and its American counterpart, Power Rangers), VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetleborgs, Kamen Rider (Masked Rider), Android Kikaider would all be examples. In a stretch, I’d even say that the 1970s version of Battlestar Galactica could be called a Tokusatsu. “Sentai” refers to a specific sub-genre which focuses on a color-coded team (ie… Power Rangers basically), though can also refer to anime with a similar premise (such as Sailor Moon or Voltron).

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Problems with Watchmen – Final Comic Book Ramble

One thing that occurs to me is that people might miss the message because they’re too distracted by Yoyo. That suits me just fine! Anyway yeah, this is a followup to this which is in turn a followup to this, and as I said I’m done talking about comics after this post.

In other news, yesterday I was at Goodwill and… well, I got lucky. Goodwill had the following:

(these are all PC games)
Star Wars: Dark Forces
Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (plus an expansion pack)
Hexen II (plus an expansion pack)–this is one I wanted for awhile
Heretic II–I just grabbed this because it was there

They also had anime, both DVD and VHS, and some of their VHSes were subtitled editions. I didn’t buy any of the VHS tapes (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVA, first two volumes of Fushigi Yugi, and “Macross: Clash of the Bionoids” if you were curious) but I did buy a tape they had of VR Troopers… which, surprisingly, I still enjoyed.

I bought all three of the anime DVDs I saw though, which were:
Inuyasha Movie 4 – Fire on Mystic Island
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1
D.N.Angel volume 1

All three were… fresh. The Inuyasha movie included a playing card, the FMA disc included a kinda-thick booklet, and none looked like they had been watched.

So much for my plans to save up for a Neo-Geo, eh? (I might still be able to do it…)

Anyway, enjoy the video, enjoy Yoyo’s cuteness, and I’ll go enjoy Hexen.

Oh, incidentally I also saw the movie “JAKQ vs Goranger” yesterday… its a team-up of the first ever Super Sentai teams (and apparently “movie” means something different in Japan as its less than 30 minutes long). It’s… so seventies, but worth watching just for how silly the villains look. I mean, look at them! Oh, and this is their leader. Ah, the seventies.

Problems With the Video Game Industry

I don’t do the “reblogging” thing since that can confuse the issue of authorship, so I’ll just link:

http://thewrathofseven.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/a-few-problems-with-the-videogame-industry/

This article was written by a friend of mine, and I think he makes a lot of good points. In fact, his blog in general is worth reading–he’s more politically-minded than I am but he makes lots of wise points.

In other news, I *had* recorded a third (and final) video about comic books, this one specifically talking about Watchmen, but I can’t post it today–I tried to but something went wrong in the uploading. I’ll have to upload it tomorrow.

I feel like I’m focusing too much on comics lately, so sometime later I wanted to start focusing on non-comic-book stuff that needs to be taken down a peg… or raised up a peg.

Here’s a brief list of subject matter I’ve considered:

for the “Needs to be taken down a peg” side:
– Miyazaki movies
– Cop shows
– House (the doctor)
– the Fantasy novel genre
– American morality
– American animation
– Tekkaman Blade, one of the worst anime I’ve ever seen.

For the “needs more love” category:
– Sentai shows
– classic PC gaming
– My cat, Yoyo
– the original, PSX version of Medal of Honor
– video game versions of Go
– Cardcaptor Sakura
– He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (the original, not the crap remake)
– the USA Network Street Fighter cartoon
– any anime I happen to have on hand.

… And I might accept requests, if the alignment of the stars allows it.

My Weekend

So, all of you who had been waiting to hear from me these last three days… I was at a friend’s house all weekend.

It was awesome. The highlights were:

1. Getting him hooked on Hikaru no Go.
2. Going shopping and finding a used (and virtually untarnished) DVD of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress for $3.99
3. Co-opping through Raiden II.
4. Talking for an hour or so about how Nazis are overused in video games… and then I wanted to play Medal of Honor.
5. Playing the best game of Dungeons & Dragons ever with his wife as the DM. Seriously, now that I’ve seen what its like in the hands of a not-shitty DM I suddenly like role-playing.

One plan that kind of got nipped in the bud was we had intended to marathon through the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Since he has neither cable/satellite nor home internet, he had never seen most episodes before. But we ran short on time and decided to skip right to the season finale, which I considered the only “must-see” since it’s a huge turning point in the series.

And, ummm… I recorded their reaction:

Yeah.

I was actually kinda scared. I thought I was gonna come back here and find tons of comic fans had spammed the “Why I Hate Comics” entry, and was pleased to find that there hadn’t actually been that much activity.

Yoyo missed me though. Poor kitty.

Anyway, back to gaming! (I hope…)

Why I Hate Comics

This is a thing I wanted to explain for awhile–since back when this blog was known as “jispylicious” in fact–but just, I could never find the words for it.

You see, I’ve touched on some of the more obvious issues comic books have–continuity problems, retcons, macho attitudes, pithy attempts at “maturity” that are little more than hormone fantasies, writers who don’t understand that its a visual medium and they don’t need long paragraphs explaining what we see in the panel or metric tons of dialogue balloons, the amount of times I’ve had to re-read panels and even entire pages just because they were arranged in a counter-intuitive order rather than according to the natural flow of one’s eye–but all of these are basically, chocolate chips. They’re not the cookie.

If my problem with comics was just a few clueless writers, I’d eventually find one I liked. I’ve come close a few times, but its never lasted. But I’ve never been able to find a way to explain why, never a word that would sum up what the problem is.

A conversation last night revealed to me what the full extent of the jam is, and helped me find that word.

The word is introverted.

I’m gonna have to use a few examples to illustrate, so bear with me, even if it seems like I’m off on a tangent at times.

During the development of Resident Evil 4, one of their early plot ideas involved an actually paranormal threat, and was more psychological horror akin to Silent Hill. Now, there are plenty of people who saw previews and actually liked this direction, but even so, series creator Shinji Mikami vetoed it because he realized it was so out-of-touch with the series identity. (And while I have criticized RE4 in the past, I can not ever deny that it is a legitimate continuation of the series).

In one episode of Sailor Moon, the story involves animators who are working on an upcoming “Sailor V” movie. One of the animators gets possessed by one of Nephrite’s youma, and on the spur of the moment decides to change the movie’s ending, so that Sailor V dies. Everyone else is horrified, and tells her, “would you really crush children’s dreams?”

Now, for contrast:

The first (or maybe second or third) issue of the MLP comic has Queen Chrysalis killing a kitten, specifically to traumatize the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Everyone I’ve talked to who ever defended this scene said “I liked this direction,” or else “It made sense from the story’s internal logic.”

That.

That right there.

American comics are written in a vacuum. They care only about themselves. They act like the world outside does not exist.

You.
Can’t.
Do.
That.

A person who does that is a sociopath. A story that does that is equally sociopathic.

STOP RIGHT THERE!!!

If you reply WITHOUT reading the part below, I will delete your comment without hesitation

I know what you’re gonna say. People on the internet always reduce a person’s meaning to the barest, most simplistic concept they understand. In doing so, they often miss the point entirely.

What you’re thinking right now, is “Oh, so Moe is totally against individual creativity and completely in favor of charts, trends and focus-tests.”

No. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is understanding how it will come off to the people you’re showing it to.

For example, Back to the Future part III had a deleted scene where Biff Tannen’s ancestor (I forget his name) shoots the sheriff dead in front of his son. Director Robert Zemeckis realized that upon seeing this scene, audiences would expect Tannen to die in the film’s climactic showdown, and would feel cheated if he didn’t. Since that wasn’t the movie Zemeckis wanted to make, he instead just excised the scene in question.

It’s the same principle, really, as any sort of social tact. Its all about listening to yourself, understanding what you’re saying, and understanding what the person you’re talking to is gonna hear.

And its something comic book writers just don’t get.

In fact, to a large degree most American media just doesn’t get it. Sadly, America has been too indoctrinated with Public Relations spindoctoring that tries to tell you that crap is actually quality, just misunderstood. We get “it’s originality” or “I’m doing my own thing” from people who are too lazy or egotistical to actually try to improve. We get “art is subjective” from terrible artists who want so much to believe the problem isn’t that their painting sucks, its that the rest of the world isn’t open-minded enough to appreciate them.

America does have artists who know what they’re doing, just not in the comics field. That field went to madness and insanity long ago, and there’s no hope in sight.

If I haven’t been clear enough on any point, feel free to ask.