This was my busiest month ever, with a slam-packed November holiday schedule leaving me at work or asleep way more than I’d have liked. I also did a lot of rewatching and stuff, so in this post I’ll be including media which I’ve already seen, or am continuing to watch, which I didn’t cover before. (For instance: MLP is back, but wasn’t on when I started the journal, so I’ll be talking about it here; but I won’t talk about the still-running Game Grumps, because I talked about it in September.)
I watched most of this when it was on TV and greatly enjoyed it—even put it in my canon—but strangely never finished it. When I started up Aoi Hana as part of my Secret Santa recommendations, I decided to rewatch and finish Hourou Musuko with a friend (which we ended up doing in one sitting). Having seen it again, I think it probably belongs in my top five favorite anime (if such a thing were to become a thing again).
Gender identity is a fascinating subject to me, and no series handles it better or more thoroughly than this one does. Most of my fiction writing contains exploration of these themes, and this series had a big influence on that since as far back as when I read a bunch of the manga, long before the anime came to be.
Just as important as the themes and the fact that it’s an air-tight, beautifully constructed show, is the fact that it has one of the best casts of characters in anime, ruled over by the unforgettable Saori Chiba, who provides most of my favorite scenes in the show, and many of my favorite lines in anime. (“That’s because I’m a depressing person!”)
Mario Power Tennis
This game. This fucking game. Mario Power Tennis is, to me, the ultimate example of how something totally simplistic can be fun and exciting, and is one of my favorite multiplayer experiences in gaming. My brother and I used to play it a lot when we were younger, accompanied with long-winded conversations by myself (according to him).
This month we played a doubles match with my brother and I against our friend and a computer player. It was 5 sets at 6 games a set, so we ended up playing one match for well over an hour. It was amazing because it was such a massive battle of attrition, with all of us wanting to be done, but not wanting to lose, and playing mind games with one another—taking advantage of things like when our friend would start texting and we’d get pissed and score on him ruthlessly.
It was a loud, hilarious, amazing game between three utterly tired people, and it inspired me to conceptualize a video series which would take the form of a videocast played over games of Mario Power Tennis. If I get this to come together, you’ll be seeing it soon!
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Season 3, and Foreign Versions
It’s back, folks! There’s no question that I’m a bigger fan of MLP than I ever have or likely will be a fan of anything else. Don’t think that just because I didn’t post about the show in the interim between seasons, I wasn’t still a part of the fandom. I’m a pretty avid redditor, and I basically only follow the MLP reddit. At least some part of my everyday life involves looking at pony shit on reddit, and often on tumblr and other places.
But nothing could’ve sent me into fandom overdrive more than season three finally coming to a start. And oh my god, has it ever sent me into one of those.
The season three premiere was the highlight of an otherwise horrible week for me, and writing about it was the best I’d felt about blogging in a very long time. I almost didn’t publish my “Detailed Report Of Last Week” post (and the post is indeed much shorter than it was supposed to be), because the premiere left me in such high spirits for the remainder of the week that I really wasn’t that upset anymore. (Plus I got a three-day weekend afterwards thanks to schedule changes, which placated me nicely.)
What really sent me into overdrive, though, was Too Many Pinkie Pies, which is one of the best episodes in the series, and prompted me to write a really excellent analysis of it. I felt so good about that analysis, and the fact that I’ve got a top-tier commenter (Misfortune-Dogged) responding to all of my posts, that I decided to start up my episodic analysis again. I’m in awe of how much I’ve done so far.
In the wake of Too Many Pinkie Pies, I started listening to more pony music again (besides SoGreatAndPowerful, whom I listen to almost every day regardless), and went out more actively in search of fanmade content than I had been in the past few months. At some point, I stumbled upon a bunch of videos comparing different-language versions of MLP, and then guess what happened? I started watching full episodes of the show in other languages. And I’m enjoying it a lot, so I don’t intend to stop, even though it’s one of the more mind-boggling exercises I’ve undergone.
Another thing that happened was I bought the new album by Tarby, who wrote one of my favorite songs in the fandom. One of the big reasons I looked forward to having a disposable income is that I looked forward to actually paying for music on bandcamp, and it’s really cool that I not only got to do that, but got to put the money into pony fandom, for an album that I genuinely enjoy.
An instant favorite. I loved everything about this series—all of the characters, all of the dialog, everything in it. It reminded me of so many good things, and I kept trying to place it. Where is the feeling coming from? Shades of Homestuck, FLCL (especially the manga), Sundome, many other things… but I think it was really just the feeling of something awesome and perfect. Perfection just has this air about it.
I can see rereading this many times in the future. It belongs with my favorite things, like MLP and Homestuck. I just finished it so I can’t get my bearings to say more, but Knives, Kim, Steven Stills, oh man so many great characters. I’d go gay for Wallace. No question.
Found this when I randomly decided to search the word “nigga” on youtube, and was not disappointed. I’m not gonna lie, I watched all three of the Assassin’s Nigga videos four times this month. This is my favorite kind of completely stupid humor. Modern War Negro’s videos range from being good, to moderately entertaining, to flatly terrible, but as far as I’m concerned, the Assassin’s Nigga videos are classic youtube poop.
(Play here.) I learned about this game and Mainichi from a post by Errant Signal. Dys4ia is a very brief game, meant to convey the feelings of its creator about their experience as a trans-gender person, and it’s brilliantly put together. It comes in the form of Wario Ware-style mini-games, with a text overlay telling the story. The player has little control over what happens, but the point of the game is to have the player experience slices of the author’s emotion better than explaining them ever could. I have a lot less faith in narrative in video games than many other game reviewers do, but when the narrative is so intrinsically tied to the mechanics and conveyed so well, I think it gains a lot of weight.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The first thing I watched this month, it was a fun movie. I like that while it tells a meaningful story, it’s also a batshit fantasy comedy with a tone that I’ve never seen in another story, save for maybe Happiness of the Katakuris. The characters are relatable while being over-the-top badasses (and did I mention, foxes?), and the ending is immensely satisfying.
Friendship Is Witchcraft
I’ve decided to talk about this series along with my episodic blogging of My Little Pony, because it was a big part of my early fandom of the show. While I don’t love it as much now as I did then, it’s still a series with enough of its own greatness that it steps out of the shadow of MLP, despite being made of footage from that very show.
Green Lantern: Rebirth
The first graphic novel that I’ve read as part of my cultural exchange with Brandon Tolentino. I enjoyed this story, and I found the deep lore very engrossing, despite the fact that the volume itself was pretty much nothing *but* lore and exposition. It sums up all that leads into it, so that it can mark a turning point into a future laid before it, and it does this with enormous strength of pacing and art. I look forward to more Green Lantern books.
Couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Unfortunately, this is one of my Secret Santa shows, so I’m not allowed to talk about it until Christmas Eve!
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Comic #1
Wow. The official MLP comic is like nothing I would’ve expected. With an artstyle that calls to mind the likes of King of Bandits Jing, and a plot that largely centers around action scenes, this is an entirely different experience from the show. Instead of bright, brisk, and breezy, the comic is heavily detailed, surprisingly dark, and a good deal action-packed. It feels like the author of Hot Blooded Pinkie Pie was writing this.
I bought this electronically through Comixology, which doesn’t allow a download, but has a pretty nice e-reader, which has a cool panel-by-panel mode that made it easier to read. Nonetheless, I have to get a physical copy of this. It’s too nice looking and too cool to not own in print. I just hope I can find one, since the preorders were apparently insane.
Shadocon Egoraptor Panel
This panel was so entertaining I actually watched it twice. I adore Egoraptor, and I’m glad he’s entered this period of high visibility thanks to Game Grumps. He’s gone beyond being a content producer with works that I enjoy, and has become someone I look up to and enjoy as a great creator, like how I feel about Yahtzee Croshaw.
Trapped in the Closet
Why in God’s name did I enjoy this so much?! R. Kelly’s batshit insane, horribly intricate and strangely brilliant R&B opera escalates from being merely strange into an epic clusterfuck, and while parts of it are just awful, it’s the kind of thing you can’t turn away from. And it has OMAR!!! I talked about it at length in the second episode of my podcast, but one thing I wanted to mention is that I find R. Kelly’s extreme adherence to realistic diction very interesting. Recently I read that R. Kelly is actually illiterate, which might have something to do with his dialog style. The result is something like nothing else.
Because this is another of my Secret Santa shows, I can’t talk about it at length here. I will say that the show reminded me a lot of what it was like to be fourteen and kinda gay, and I appreciated that about it. Nevertheless it was largely boring and went nowhere.
(Play here.) This game is incredibly brief, and is built like a basic dialog-driven RPG with sprites and design reminiscent of the SNES era. It’s meant to convey the everyday frustration of being a transgender person, and as such is rather subtle and innocuous (hence the title, “everyday”). It certainly conveyed what I think it was meant to convey, especially through its cyclical structure (finishing it puts you back at the beginning) and the fact that the basic decisions made at the start effect the way the day plays out in small, but significant ways (after all, the story is about the little everyday things).
It was a long time before I was willing to watch the .MOV videos, being as they are a violent and gross-out take on the My Little Pony characters, but the fact of the matter is that they’re really well-made videos with an actually decent canon. Hot Diggity Demon isn’t just picking the low-hanging fruit with these videos, but is genuinely conveying his sense of humor, springboarding vaguely off of basic elements of the show. I don’t like every episode, and even the ones I do like, I don’t find hilarious, but there’s something to be said about the very unique sense of humor here.
This movie is a clusterfuck. The pacing is all over the place, and it seems to follow a lot of tropes in ways that ultimately prove meaningless. The real meat of the movie is how it takes this super-hot girl, kills her boyfriend, and impregnates her with an alien. She then performs an abortion on herself, everyone else in the movie dies, and she flies off with a severed robot head to be the last hope for humanity. That stuff was awesome.
Others I Tried:
These are mostly things which I played/watched anywhere from ten minutes to several hours of and couldn’t get into them. I probably won’t pick any of them back up.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – As far as being a Batman story goes, this game really sells it, and I loved the tone and portrayal of the characters over the four hours or so that I played. Unfortunately, the game is boring as fuck to play, and just couldn’t make me care about the mechanics enough to continue.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – A lot of people still consider this to be the greatest RPG series of all time, and after being a big fan of Mass Effect (and with a big enough rest period before going back in time), I had to give it a try. I bought both games on Steam for five bucks, and I have to say, it is the worst thing ever. The controls are shit, it’s ugly as fuck, and it has a fully-fledged D&D RPG system—something that I hate having to keep up with even when I play D&D. I dropped this in about twenty minutes, and there’s probably no way I’ll ever pick it back up.
Not Yet Qualified: These are all the media that I’ve consumed to some degree and am not yet done with. They might fall into any of the lists above on my next journal post. Any media from last month’s post which aren’t in any above category still apply to this list.
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (awesome so far)
Only Revolutions (what the fuck have I gotten myself into?)