Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cowboy Bebop Spoiler-Free Anime Review


being a STEM major and taking midterms is awful but i'M BACK with a marginally less horrible workload
so let's talk about anime because to help me fall asleep and stop the equations churning through my head I've been watching an episode or three of something. Lately that something has been Cowboy Bebop, a singular early 90s anime that was only around for a season and still reruns on adult swim to this very day.
It is a gateway drug to the world of anime. It's even better that the episodes are standalone. You can pick a random episode and not get lost.
It's pretty (dear god those ship designs), clever (explores a lot of philosophical questions) and has both well-developed characters and a consistent plot. It references a lot of things, but you don't need to be the literary type to pick up on all of them. It's rather adult, there's a lot of realistic gore and death and violence and mafia doings (the show IS about bounty hunters) but it's worth it and rarely overdone.
One of the things I love most is its main-character equality- while there aren't a whole lot of named girls in the series, 2/4 crew members are ladies. Faye Valentine in particular is incredibly well-written, she's definitely flawed as are all the main characters but she's never vilified for any sort of 'feminine weakness' and often saves the day by herself or greatly assists.
While you can and should buy the DVDs, the episodes are available on many free anime sites- subbed and low-quality but free. Meet Faye in Session 3 and Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV in Session 9. Session 19 is by far my favorite.
Do you like film noir, Westerns, music, dystopia, utopia, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly (watch this especially if you love Firefly)? Watch Cowboy Bebop.
Swordfish II

Monday, September 16, 2013

Spoiler- Free Movie Review: Angel's Egg

 

I am really glad I clicked that tumblr link in a fit of boredom while pretending to do my calculus homework, because it led me to the 1985 hand-animated film Angel's Egg. 

tumblr user transmissiondream said "It feels like a very...very old dream." and I am inclined to agree. It will spark deja vu at the strangest moments and is strangely familiar and very surrealist in the purest form of the word. It is also rather unsettling, and uses negative space like nobody's business to feel incredibly vast. 

The animation overall is INSANE, particularly the hair, water, and hair-in-water animation. If you thought Ariel or Rapunzel's hair was amazing, the otherworldly, watery hair of the female protagonist is mindbending. The very Gothic, grotesque sensibility is heavily visually symbolic, but while you can indeed read deep symbolism into many things/actions, it's difficult to say whether they form a coherent, understandable whole. This is the kind of film that doesn't really have a theme. It just is. It is also the kind of film that left me sitting through the entirety of the credits trying to wrap my mind around it. 

The one very minor and American issue I took with the film is that it is very slow. The first major conversation and the second sentence takes place at the 24-minute mark, and the whole thing is mostly wordless and really shows not tells. I'm not sure if I would ever watch it again, but I am definitely better off for having watched it. 

While you should legally acquire the film and buy art not drugs etc, I should mention that I watched it for free. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trigger Warning: Tauriel

Thanks to tumblr user chervenkotka for their permission to use their art!
As ladies who love sci-fi and fantasy, we’re often judged before we have a chance to speak. The vast majority of us have had run-ins with stereotypical guys in trilbys and/or ratty t-shirts demanding we ‘prove’ our nerd cred. Likewise, if there is a female character, there will be hate for that character just for being female. Pepper. Arwen. Sansa. Chell. Rose.
Shockingly, given the intense feminist presence in the Lord of the Rings fandom, we are doing the exact same thing to Tauriel, wood-elf captain of the Mirkwood guards. The female archer will make her debut in the next installment of the Hobbit franchise, in theaters December 14th.
The character has received a mountain of hate to rival Smaug’s hoard- dammit, Jim, her movie isn’t even out yet and Evangeline Lilly is bracing for the backlash.
Now, if you voice opinions on movies or characters until they come out, you will often be surprised (I said Paranorman would be horrible. It wasn’t. I thought Frankenweenie would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It wasn’t.). However, there is no arguing with opinion and opinions cannot be wrong, only the way in which they are expressed. So to clarify the point of this entire article, I’m not upset with anyone for disliking a character, I’m upset at the extreme and bombastic manner in which some dislike is expressed.
For example, this brings joy to my heart:
Thanks to tumblr user faramircaptainofgondon for their permission to use this example!

Editing her out from the cover of Empire magazine ‘because I refuse to acknowledge her existence’ does not.
Tauriel has been hated for all the reasons real-life girls are hated- appearance, romance, and mere existence.
She doesn’t look like an elf! If this is just because you hate redheads, you are bad and you need to feel bad. Not all elves are pale and dark/fair because My Little Genetics, DNA is Magic! Deoxyribonucleic acid encodes genetic instructions, including but not limited to controlling hair color. Wood-Elves are not the High Elves we saw in LOTR. They are “more dangerous and less wise1” as Tolkien himself said. They are very nearly a different species altogether.
She’s a threat to my Legolas/Gimli or Kili/Fili/Thorin or [obscure] ships! If you are against a character because it prevents your ship, that is neither a mature nor well-thought-out argument. Instead, this is reducing a character to their genitals. This is patriarchy at its finest. Great job, we’re all very proud of you. Congratulations on taking a progressive fantasy series and reducing the well-written, complex characters to who you want to see bone each other. (Remember before when I was talking being proud of you? That was sarcasm. I was actually talking about you being a misogynist. And I’m sorry. You didn’t react at the time, so I was worried it sailed right over your head. Which would have made this apology seem insane. That’s why I had to call you a misogynist a second time just now.)
She exists. I understand this point of view from book purists. I really, really do, being one myself. However, Jackson took the largely unfilmable LOTR, adapted it, and walked off with 249 awards. Jackson has more than earned our trust. While Tauriel is not named in the book, her role is, because she’s genderbent!
“Then Bilbo heard the king’s butler bidding the chief of the guards good-night.
‘Now come with me,” he said, ‘and taste the new wine that has just come in. I shall be hard at work tonight clearing the cellars of the empty wood, so let us have a drink first to help the labour.’
‘Very good,’ laughed the chief of the guards. ‘I’ll taste with you, and see if it is fit for the king’s table. There is a feast tonight and it would not do to send up poor stuff!’”
Likewise, many of the characters’ roles are changed because this is a modern adaptation. Remember Radagast? Guy with the hares everyone loved? He has one line in the book, not a ten-minute extravaganza with lapines.
“‘I am a wizard,’ continued Gandalf. ‘I have heard of you, if you have not heard of me; but perhaps you have heard of my good cousin Radagast who lives near the Southern borders of Mirkwood?’”
Remember the orc captain Azog, the big scary fellow with an Extended Battle Sequence and Action Weapons? He has one line in the book.

“‘Your grandfather Thror was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin-’”
Remember Legolas, star of the new trailers? He isn’t even in the book.
Remember Galadriel, so far the only named female character we’ve seen in the Hobbit trilogy? She isn’t in the book either. Neither is Rivendell.
If you’re complaining that by her very existence she cheapens all the other female warriors, by other female warriors I suppose you mean Eowyn. Tauriel doesn’t cheapen them, she adds to them. Not only is there is a long and proud tradition of elvish warriors, Tolkien was writing from a specific point in time. Furthermore, in no way does having more female soldiers in modern-day armies cheapen their predecessors OR their male counterparts.
She’s a girl. Shut the bleep up. (HOW IS SHE DOING THAT WITH HER MOUTH?) This is 2013. Stop hating half the human population because they possess different genitals. I will burn the patriarchy out of your trilby. The Hobbit, the canon book, has no named women characters. You cannot make a movie today with zero ladies. Not only is that horrible, horrible filmmaking and writing, nobody would go see it because you cannot make money by alienating half of all potential ticket-buyers. This is simple economics.
She pulls away focus from Bilbo with her overblown rebel dwarf sympathies. We have barely any information on this character. Stop blowing everything out of proportion. Nobody complained about Galadriel’s long spiels in the Council. In fact, it was a relief to NOT focus on the comedic dwarvish shenanigans for a scene or two. In the end, the focus of The Hobbit will not always be on Bilbo, just like the focus of LOTR was not always on Frodo because movies are adaptations.

Tauriel is a fabulous insertion because she sympathizes with the dwarves. Middle-Earth politics are byzantine, labyrinthine. It is one of the most well-imagined, complex and dynamic imaginary worlds in the history of fantasy. So much outside material is being pulled from all the unfinished works, the bits and pieces and snippets of things Tolkien scribbled down to come back to later.The Hobbit is leading up to LOTR, which can be comfortably contained in 3 movies. It’s telling us much more backstory and setting up many of the bigger issues like Rivendell politics. Because every other person is immortal or so long-lived as to be essentially immortal, politics are complex, far-ranging, and long-lasting. Grudges stay alive for centuries, if not millennia.That’s why Legolas’ and Gimli’s friendship in the books was so major- it represented a swinging back towards peaceful unity among the races.
Tauriel represents that minority of elves who did not support their leader’s decision toward animosity with dwarves. She provides a different perspective. If one hates a character for adding depth, subtlety, and political and gender representation to a fictional world, one cannot be considered a very good fan of said world.
TL;DR: Wait until the movie comes out to judge a character with such killer lines as
"When did we allow evil to become stronger than us?" and  "It is our fight.”
Footnotes
1Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. p. 116. Print.
2Ibid, p. 123.
3Ibid, p. 85.
4Ibid, p. 22

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Female Fan Story

The name's Bros. Kay Bros. 
I'm incredibly honored to have been invited to The Female Fan Force and really look forward to writing here. 
Both a staunch feminist and an outspoken advocate for LGBTQA* rights, I will pretentiously and confidently state that I have a strong literary background. This includes but is not limited to my high school and college lit mags, reading everything I can possibly get my hands on, and taking both English and all History APs. I have a rather formal, deeply sarcastic writing style that I will never apologize for. 
Major fandoms include Star Wars, history, mythology/fairy tales, and most sci-fi and fantasy series. I read DC, I read Marvel, I read weird indie webcomics. I have no brand loyalty whatsoever and will give almost any fandom a try but I have limited knowledge of anime, manga and video games.
My fan story starts out sad and rather triggering, but we'll ignore that part and focus on the present day. Star Wars inspired my major choice (astronomy), most of my college essays revolved around Tolkien's The Silmarillion or Star Wars, and I can confidently say that fandom as a whole has significantly improved my life for the better.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Star Wars Celeb Round Up!

I get asked a lot what Star Wars celebs I've met. I've met a bunch so I couldn't possibly post them all, but I will post my favorites.

The one and only Luke Skywalker- Mark Hamill.  Mark was so much fun when I met him.  A warm guy who really lived up to the expectations.  He even did the Joker laugh for my little brother when he asked.


Carrie Fisher- I've actually met Carrie twice, once at Celebration V which this is from and after her broadway run of Wishful Drinking where I didn't get a picture with her but she did sign my playbill. She's just awesome, so funny in person and just... Princess Leia.  I love her. 


Dave Filoni- Dave is just a great guy who I've met countless times.  I encourage all fans to approach him if you see him since he's like... the bomb.

Not a picture, but Dave drew this for me.  It's still on my wall, so freaking beautiful and I still tell him thank you every time I see him.


Last picture for today is of our (secretly favorite but don't tell anyone) fangirl- Ashley Eckstein.  Can't tell her thank you enough times.  This is one of my favorite pictures of us since we have Rotta and his Her Universe mouse ears. 



That's all for now folks, if you'd like to see my pictures with Cat Taber, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ray Park, Ben Burtt, Nick Gillard, Bonnie Piesse,  Amy Allen, Orli Shoshan, Jeremy Bulloch, and like so many more people just let me know.



Alright, Alright, Stop emailing me!

I'm alive!

I am very sorry everyone for the lack of posts of recent.  College class got ahead of me (Calculus III) and I have neglected you all and you all have let me know that you noticed.

To say I'm sorry I'm going to be holding a giveaway. You can enter 1 of the following ways. You may only do each once, but you may do all of them.

1) Email me at trainspotting0@gmail.com
2) Tweet @laregista "I want to win Padme'!" and the link to this page.
3) Share on your own blog/Tumblr/Facebook page - if you have a private Facebook just screen cap it for me.  You must tweet @ me or email me that you have done this one, since I won't know.

And.....the prize.


What's a fan girl give away without a fan girl prize? This Padme' refugee action figure is from last year, has a lot of articulation and really doubles for both Padme's outfit in the Naboo senate and on the refugee transport when talking to Anakin. 

Best of Luck!  I will announce the winner on August 10th!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SWAT is live!

Del Rey, the publisher of Star Wars fiction, has come up with this really cool site that allows you to earn rewards and cool prizes!  I'd check it out if you are a fan as some of the prizes are very cool!

http://delreystarwars.fancorps.com/headquarters/

Friday, June 28, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel *Spoiler Free*


This is just a press shot but I really wanted to highlight this on the blog.  Look at Lois' stance. She is strong and is not looking at Clark. Clark is mirroring her pose, not the other way around. So often in these things you see the female character hanging off the male leader looking distressed while the male looks like he's ready to go kick butt. Not Lois Lane and not Man of Steel. Thumbs up there!


     Man of Steel is big, loud spectacle. The two worst things you could do to Man of Steel are walk in and expect The Dark Knight or walk in and expect your traditional Superman film. Both of those ideas of Man of Steel are completely incorrect which is pretty evident from immediately in the movie. The opening "scene" if you will on Krypton is more JJ Abrams' Star Trek than The Dark Knight or Superman in general. However, I felt once the movie hit it's stride (and Clark Kent got his suit) that the movie became the Superman version of Batman Begins. While perhaps not as strong as Batman Begins, it is certainly more tailored toward an audience (and a sequel). My only true complaints with Man of Steel are it's over extended battle sequences, which is a complaint I had about the Avengers as well. The final fight, which in my opinion drags the most, does have a wonderfully done conclusion. Many lines are a bit wonky in this film, which I think was intentional at times.   
   The acting in Man of Steel was above my expectations as well. Henry Cavill brought a sense of human emotions to Clark, but with a very strong sense of being an outsider that was crucial to his characterization. I am glad Cavill was not cast in Superman Returns, as his acting seems better suited to something like this. Amy Adams' Lois Lane was just a wonderful, wonderful surprise in my opinion, although I could tell from the press junket photos of Lois something was up. I liked their bantering, it felt organic. I will further divulge into this character in a later post along with the rest of Man of Steel's female characters, but they made Lois smart (like I'm sorry it's 2013 she can't not realize Clark/Superman are the same person) and witty and therefore, likable. Michael Shannon's Zod is certainly impressive. That character seems hard to put a finger on and his characterization was perfect and believable. He had so much yelling I was waiting for his KHANNNN moment but it never came. The ensemble cast of Russel Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Ayelet Zurer, Lawrence Fishburne were also wonderful. Crowe brings a sense of hero to Jor-El that I think has been missing. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner both give wonderful performances as the Kents and it is probably one of the highest points in the film. If Man of Steel got anything right, it was Costner's wonderful characterization.On the lady fan front, Man of Steel provides a decent amount of strong female characters with Lois Lane being at the center.  Adams' characterization of her feels less damsel in distress and more of the sharp as a tack Lois we are told she is.  Faora Ul is a decently cool female character who kicks a TON of butt in this film. Although not necessary deep, her inclusion is well received. On the mother front, Martha Kent is pretty awesome. She tells an alien military leader with a gun to go to hell to protect her son. And...She's just pretty cool. Lara Lor-Van doesn't get a ton of screen time, but for the screen time she gets we get a glimpse of a strong woman. Lara is the one that shoots Kal-El to Earth while Zod begs her not to. Her emotional scenes were wonderful.        Some critics seem to think that Man of Steel never feels like a Superman film. I can see why they say this, but this is honestly the first attempt at rebooting Superman and the departure in tone of Man of Steel is felt. Superman Returns was very much a sequel to Christopher Reeves' Superman. Gone is Superman the boy scout, All American football player. In addition, many critics called Man of Steel "gloomy" and "brooding". While there certainly is some gloom and brooding, I didn't feel that. It certainly is darker than any previous incarnation of Superman but that does not inherently make the film total gloom. In conclusion, I thoroughly liked Man of Steel. I had such low expectations for this film so perhaps that is why. First off, I was never a big Superman fan and I loved comic book heroes. Superman was just too much campy for me. The other is Zack Snyder, whose films I have just never connected with before. If you like superhero films, Man of Steel is your current go to. I liked it better than Iron Man 3. Other than very long, involved action sequences and some odd writing I can't see what there isn't to like. It is not as profound as Nolan's Batman in any sense, but it certainly is a fun ride and a refreshing departure from Marvel's film making if you will. 8.2 out 10 from me

We are Back!

Hey everyone,

This is Jess, the original creator of the Star Wars Female Fan Force.  While we have been down for about a year now I have been seriously considering blogging again.  Would anyone still be interested in reading?  I would be expanding outside of just Star Wars, although we will certainly still be talking about it, and adding other "geek girl" things.  I will be posting over my review of "Man of Steel".  Over the next few days the blog is going to see a few asthetic changes and perhaps a name shortening/change.  Hope you all like and welcome back!

All the best,
Jess