Monday, April 18, 2011

Blablathon episodes 9 & 10

Hey Aaron, why are you writing these tedious, impenetrable descriptions of a cartoon you don't seem to like much?


Good question. I think it's because we recently finished Lost, which like Rahxephon is an overcomplicated scattershot techno-mystical soap opera. OTOH I preferred the way Rahxephon grew as it accumulated.

Ep. 9. There's a Magic Temple on an island, with a door that opens or closes at narrative convenience. Heroboy and Quon the Mysterious Red-Braid Girl go inside because the other Mysterious Girl, Mishima the Deus Ex Machina Ghost in the Rahxephon, appears in it. Heroboy thinks Mishima is dead for some reason, so he goes ghost-chasing with Quon in tow. They stumble around inside the shrine while Herogirl hangs around outside, worrying about Heroboy.

Subplot: Ponytail Science Guy yearns to pilot Rahxephon himself, and Evil Albino Guy razzes him about it. Ponytail tries to get inside Rahxephon, but ghostly Mishima appears and rebuffs him.

Back in the Magic Temple, Heroboy has visions of Home in Tokyo Pooptrumpet, thereby meeting his fixating-on-the-past quota for this episode, while the two Mysterious Girls meet by a big black egg that they seem to think is a terribly important big black egg. And they talk about how music is the true shape of what the world can be, or something.

Herogirl, who's all worried about the duo in the now-closed temple, rescues them by playing some cheezy old pop song that she likes. Inside the Temple Heroboy and Quon hear the song and magically escape the Temple, so I guess the true shape of the world is cheezy pop music.

Also: lots of gratuitious fanservice.

Ep. 10. First act=lousy. Lot of vamping and boxstepping, but all that really happens is that Quon hangs out at the home of one of the middle-aged commander guys while playing fiddle music, to the consternation of various guys who have the hots for Quon and fear she's an item with Commader Guy. Weak humor about this; the show seems to be channeling Tenchi, a dire humor anime from around the same time. And I'm the guy who renamed Tokyo Jupiter "Tokyo Pooptrumpet," so when I say the humor is weak, you know it's weak. Also there's about a million shots of the commander's bluebird in its birdcage, cuz SYMBOLISM. Commander fixates on a videotape of an unseen little girl playing the violin and asking Commander to come to her recital. Say, Quon also plays violin; the same tune, even! And the tune has magic miracle-gro qualities, making flowers bloom real good.

Act Two is mostly timewasting and padding and exposition. Beyond that, Commander was once underling to a soldier who ordered him to bomb Tokyo, turning it into Tokyo Pooptrumpet (which, remember, is my conceived-at-2-A.M. joke name for Tokyo Jupiter, which is Tokyo with a Jupiter-lookin' shell over it) and that soldier is now squirreled away in TokPoop, working for Heroboy's Evil Mom. Commander meets his estranged daughter, who wants closure before she leaves Japan, so she gives him the Missing Last Page Of Sheetmusic For That Magic Tune. Turns out daughter isn't the little girl in the videotape, but that little girl wrote this magic tune despite being ten. The little girl herself is dead, and Quon is exhausted by playing the tune because it's so spiritually, rather than technically, taxing. Then Commander visits the dead girl's grave and tells her she won't be lonely for long. My bet is the girl in the grave'll turn out to be Mishima, the ghostly Deus Ex Machina Girl.

Friday, April 15, 2011

If I Can't See You, You Can't See Me

One bad habit of shy bespectacled people: keeping their frames between you and their pupils. Speaking as one such shy glasses-wearing person, I didn't realize I was doing this until I was rehearsing a play and thinking about the importance of eye contact with my scene partner. I realized I was lining up the curve of my opaque frames with the eyes of the other actor, using the thin plastic to shield me from the full force-or full commitment- of eye contact. I could still see the person, and the person could still see my eyes, allowing us to maintain the fiction that I was ocularly engaged, but I was censoring our pupils from our gazes, using an instrument of vision to block vision. And I realized I did this all the time. It was time to stop, so I did. I catch other people doing it to me, though.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Maison I Cough oooh

It's 3:22 in the morning. I can't sleep, because that would involve relaxing, which I can't do because letting myself go slack makes my as-if-mosquitobit uvula bounce off my postnasal drip, jarring me into a manic coughing fit. So instead of trembling next to my Wife and keeping her awake the day before she has to teach class, I'm in the office thinking about Maison Ikkoku.

Maison Ikkoku is a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, the artist responsible for the comic fantasies Ranma 1/2 and Inu-Yasha. Ikkoku, by contrast, is a more or less reality-based romantic comedy. I was obsessed with it post-college. I identified with the clueless underambitious male lead, and I was enamored of a woman who strongly resembled the comic's female lead. Since my doltish efforts to woo the real woman were all abject flops, I turned to the comic for comfort. It seemed like a more hopeful retelling of my misadventures. Every month I bought the new issue and depended on it for pretty much all the pleasure I ever got out of this thwarted-love dynamic.

Obviously I got over this unrequited relationship, but the other day I reread the last issue of Maison Ikkoku, totally out of context. It's (spoiler warning, I guess) the big wedding between the protagonists. As with most real weddings, one's emotional response is likely to be tied to one's emotional attachment to the people involved. Reading it now was like attending the marriage of someone I vaguely remembered from school.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Now We Are Sick

My Wife is recovering. I am in the thick of it. I seem incapable of doing anything rigorous, like synopsizing cartoons I mildly enjoyed six years ago.

However I have written a story I'm proud of. I'm trying to get feedback on it prior to shopping it around, but this is oddly difficult. Most people I know are too busy or perhaps too shy about dropping criticism on my work. I found a message board devoted to connecting aspiring writers with other aspiring writers for mutual criticism, but I haven't connected with any fellow New Weird stylists; I'm playing bop, while most of them want techno or metal or something. Not that I object to them liking whatever they like; just that I'm not finding many fellow travelers.

So if you'd like to read and respond to a fantasy short story, drop me a line in the comments and I'll send it to you. I'm particularly concerned with making sure it make sense, given that it's a fantasy.