Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Furthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle): Closing thoughts.



Warning: I am writing this on the assumption that the reader has read and completed the first three Earthsea novels. If you have not and do not wish to have the story spoiled for you CLICK AWAY NOW! You have been warned.


Cob as he appears in the animated film
Tales from Earthsea (2004).
Well, I finally finished the Furthest Shore. Now as promised I'll talk about it a bit more. And honestly, I don't know where to start. I will say that the book didn't hold my interests as well as it probably could have, but that could just as easily be chucked up to my not reading a lot of Young Adult Fantasy. But anyway, where the book started to lose me was toward the end. Up to that point, Ged and Arren had been on several seemingly unrelated adventures, most of which involved gathering clues as to why Magic is disappearing from the world, but the other half, a large chunk of it anyway, involved Arren experiencing the world, i.e.: almost getting sold into slavery, experiencing other cultures than his own in the form of the Raft People ect, before finally introducing the villain when there is maybe four or five chapters left in the book. Oh, Ged did mention the villain (a Wizard named Cob) before then. But it wasn't until the end of the book that we got to actually see him and then his motivation is explained all in a rush. Essentially, Cob was looking for a way to escape death and become immortal, but in doing so he left the door between the realms of the living and dead open and this upset the natural order of the world. To me, that doesn't make a very compelling villain, And I understand that he can be seen as a counter- point to Ged and Arren, I.E.: Cob was so afraid of death that he missed out on life, unlike Ged and Arren who lived their life to the fullest. But when you distill him down to his core, is just a sad vain man who wants power. And although his character does help illustrate the themes of the book. I just found him kind of boring.
Ged and Arren
from the animated film
Tales from Earthsea.

As for Ged and Arren....honestly, Ged just started to get on my nerves after a while. Why? Well because he's way to damn cryptic half the time and he kinda turns into a half of a Mary Sue after a while, ya know the kind of character who nothing can happen too and is never wrong? Now, I understand that the context of the story that Ged is searching for the reason why Magic has disappeared from the world and therefore doesn't  have all the answers yet. But I swear to god there are times when you can just tell he knows more than he's letting on and he isn't telling the rest of us for some reason. It's infuriating. And I say that he only turns into half of a Mary Sue because bad stuff actually does happen to him. He gets hurt, he gets sick, and by the end of the book....he loses all of his powers. Yeah, reversing what Cob did literally sucks the magic right out of him. I gotta admit, I didn't see this coming. But it does solve one major problem from of the book. Ged's character arch was complete after The Tomb of Atuan,  he's full developed. But now that he's lost his powers, a new story can begin, and his character can develop in ways that he hasn't so far.

Now as for Arren. I just found him annoying. Maybe its Le Guin's writing style for these books not
Arren
put the thing away before
you hurt someone.
doing much for me. But I was not convinced that Arren grew up at all by the books end. This a character in where the symbol of his adulthood is that he now has the courage to wield a sword that he's kept stored away till now. Like I said, I understand that this is supposed to be symbolic of him passing from boyhood to adulthood. But dude, didn't you say at the start of the book that you don't actually know how to use a sword? did I dream that? So why by Godzilla's radioactive green testicles are you putting it on now? You're no swordsmen, what are you going to do with it? Cut your foot off? Oh, and did I mention that the sword is the same sword that his legendary hero-king ancestor used.  

Now I suppose that that last part isn't that big a deal. Legendary magic swords are all over fantasy literature after all. But Arren's lineage is actually one of the few things that stand him out from the other characters. And it's brought up through out the entire book. Hell, Ged even makes a big deal out of it when he's negotiating with one of the other characters, one of the Dragon's I think. Ged tells this character that Arren IS said legendary hero. When Arren rightly calls him out on this later, Ged says that Arren has the spirit of this hero inside him or something to that effect.    

I guess you could make the argument that Ged was trying to inspire Arren to be like his legendary ancestor, but it still leads to some very uncomfortable questions and implications (given the target audience for these books). Ok, so what bearing does Arren's lineage have on him as a person now? Does it automatically mean that he's going to be a great hero AND a great King? Ged, don't you think that's an unrealistic expectation? That's like assuming that Michel Jordan's cousin thrice removed is automatically going to be legendary at basketball. Actually, come to think of it, doesn't that kind of contradict one of the major themes of  The Tomb of Atuan?  That who you are, and who you want to be isn't dictated by anyone or anything? That it doesn't matter what religious tradition you belong to or who your 15 times great grandpa was, You can choose who you are and who you want to be, not them? Soooo, why is Ged telling the exact opposite thing to Arren? Now granted that Ged could be trying to inspire Arren when it comes to the kind of ruler he'll be someday (he is a prince after all), but regardless these mixed messages are there, and they are worth thinking about.

But now let's wrap this up. I don't hate this book, but it's certainly not my favorite either, and it's probably not one of Le Guin's best in my opinion. But with that said, I am glad that I read it. And I still do want to find out what's going to happen to Ged, and I am kind of enjoying exploring this universe.

So yeah, if you haven't already, check it out.

And I'm out.
Later guys.             
 

     

Monday, September 19, 2016

Technology hates me/ life update/why I haven't uploaded lately.









A little video explaining why I haven't uploaded any new Let's Play videos lately and what's been going on in general.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Random Musings: Anime Talk: Hayao Miyazaki VS the fans.

The meme in question.
Well, this day could be going better. One of my external hard drives became corrupted and is now yammering on about the benefits of the Dark Side for hours on end. So I installed some program to see if I can fix it, but its taking forever. So in the meantime, let's talk about something completely irrelevant for a while.

About a year or so back on Facebook I shared a meme that had four or so pictures of 3 girls from three separate anime series and under each picture was written the words "like", "comment", "share" written in big letters, and the fourth pic was written "Ignore if you hate anime." Honestly, the only reason I shared it is because I thought it was mildly funny, and a friend of mine had used a picture of one of the girls as her Facebook avatar for a while. I wasn't trying to start anything....But another friend of mine (let's call him "Edward")  decided to start something anyway. For no reason other than he was irritated at something, he decided to leave a link to an article from Kotaku called One-Punch Man Shows why Manga Still Matters.

The article was more or less an opinion piece, but I didn't understand why he was posting it when manga (Japanese Comics) was never even mentioned. So when I asked him, he said this (and for the sake of brevity, I'm paraphrasing):

I'm not a fan of Otaku culture, or the mainstream agenda of anime as a product, neither the over-saturation of the Anime industry being filled with Loli/Shotacon garbage or tween romance with a twist in highschool etc[...]I share (Hayao) Miyazki's sentiment on anime[...]I try to be as moderate and understanding in all my views as possible, but I have very little respect for the anime industry at the moment, and other then a handful of good ones, most are just more of the same with a twist. 

Clearly, anyone who knows anything about anime can tell that Edward doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. Especially when you consider that both "Loli" and "Shotacon" are genres of pornography of questionable legality-Seriously, Edward, what the ***ck have you been watching?- And never mind the fact that there is a LOT more to anime than what he's suggesting. Yes, a lot of anime (particularly the anime that gets released in the west) does feature teenagers as their central characters -probably because a lot of anime and manga is actually targeted at teenagers *ahem*- but dude, how can you say what you said with a straight face when anime like Akira, Attack on Titan, Tokyo GhoulBerserkMirri Nikki, Ghost in the Shell , Fairy Tale, Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist , Gurren LagganNeon Genesis Evangelion, and the way to many to count Moble Suit Gundam shows exist? How?!

But what does this have to do with Hayao Miyazaki? Well, he said that he shared Hayao Miyazaki's sentiment on Anime. But reading his reply, and knowing what I know of Edward, I don't think he understood what Miyazaki actually meant.

Alright, for those who don't know, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and film director who is often considered to be the anime industries answer to Akira Kurosawa. Anyway, sometime in 2014, Hayao Miyazaki said in an interview that he didn't like a lot of modern anime and supposedly ended his comments with  "Anime was a mistake."  Now, because this is the internet, this got blown out of proportion and many interpreted this as Miyazaki, well, calling the very medium he himself  help legitimize as an art form garbage, and was disrespecting anime fans. This outrage might seem justified...until you realize that Hayao Miyazaki never said that. And this is where the confusion lies. What Miyazaki actually said was that modern anime was:

"[...] produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otakus!

The video I posted above sums this up better than I can, but basically what Miyazaki meant is that he feels that the quality of anime has gone down in recent years because many of his modern contemporaries are obsessive anime fans who don't know how real people act. In other words, the people making anime nowadays don't have the real world experience or people skills to make compelling narratives or believable characters, and instead rely on cliches and archetypes that they grew up watching on TV (well that and the whims of their bosses). Now, whether or not he's correct is up to one's own interpretation of the medium. And, in my opinion, that's something that needs to be taken on a case by case basis. However, I do agree with him on the point that one must be as well rounded as possible to create something compelling. But it's also important to note that Miyazaki didn't grow up watching anime. His interests always laid elsewhere, not just in animation, hell I'm convinced that if he didn't make movies, he would have found another way to express himself and be just as famous and influential. And his style of making films isn't exactly copied by the industry at large.  So this could just as easily be a case of an old man saying "Back in my day we didn't blah blah blah!" Whose to say? I don't know the guy, so all I can do is speculate.

And what I speculate is that I don't think that Miyazaki hates anime (Hell, one of his best friends in the industry is Hideaki Anno, the guy who created Evangelion, think about that for a second), or its fans (so long as they are sane) or anything like that. He loves animation, he loves filmmaking, he just wants to see more good anime than bad. And that's something I think everyone can get behind.

And I'm done for now guys. See you next week.

   

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No post today.

Hey guys, sorry but no post today. I have to deal with some business related stuff. I'll have one for you next week. later.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Xenogears Part Twenty Eight: Stealing Goliath. Part 1 (reupload)









Sorry for the double posting guys. I had to fix and reupload this because some a-hole at Sony Music decided to content ID the original video and wouldn't release the claim. And it just wasn't worth possibly getting my channel shut down and possibly sued. So *shrugs*. Enjoy.