ToraDora #16: “Can We Agree That Duels Are Dumb and Immature?”

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Look, there’s politics (even if they are only on a high school council level) and a literal fight in this episode, I had to make a Hamilton reference somewhere.

So this week Kitamura drops some more Drama Bombs re: his romantic feelings, which is something he’s gotten very good at. This time we see a lot more of the melancholy and raw side of him that’s hidden beneath his bravado, as the poor boy crumples and confesses what he’s been keeping as an embarrassed secret from even Ryuji, his best friend: he’s in love with Kano. The militaristic and terrifying student president lifted him out of his heartbreak after Taiga rejected his confession of love, and throwing himself into student council work at her side made Kitamura feel alive, productive and happy. Somewhere in there he fell for Kano hopelessly, but considered himself unworthy since she’s so powerful and great, so he was going to wait until he’d been elected as/promoted to president before he asked her out. But… Continue reading

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Lucky Star: A Masterpiece, for Some Reason

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Lucky Star is, on paper, potentially a recipe for disaster. It is very much a show just about the daily lives of high school students, not even following any coming of age arcs or concrete plotline, and mostly just features its characters talking about everyday stuff. It’s full of pop culture references and nods to otaku culture from its time of print, which was the year 2006. And… like, literally nothing happens. If you asked me to tell you the “plot” of Lucky Star I wouldn’t know where to start—it’s not even dramatic enough to root itself in a “four friends in their last year of school” framing device. Stuff just kind of happens. This show should be a boring pile of ridiculous, but it’s not—it’s hilarious, compelling, and has held a special place in my heart for years. Why? I’m not sure I can tell you, but I’m going to attempt to crack this mystery for the ages. Continue reading

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ToraDora! #15: Illegally Blonde

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Despite beginning with a parade of double entendre and Kitamura having a breakdown in class, yelling for all to hear that he’s not going to run for student president… this isn’t a particularly exciting episode. Like the one before it it’s a collection of quiet and thoughtful scenes strung together a tad clunkily that spends most of its time hinting at deeper goings-on and doesn’t actually get to any sort of plot action until the very end. Which is entirely frustrating because the show is dangling the promise of actually understanding Kitamura in front of me, but is dragging out the mystery of his inner self for as long as it possibly can. Come on, guys, my crops are dying. Continue reading

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Moana the Mythic Hero-King

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Moana was several different brands of delightful, but one aspect that captured my heart is that it draws its inspiration from mythology rather than from fairy tales—something Disney hasn’t really done since Hercules, and something that gives its heroine a very interesting dynamic. The movie features the trickster god Maui as one of its main characters and incorporates other elements of Polynesian folklore, but I was especially interested—and pleasantly surprised—to see that Moana herself has quite a traditional mythical hero’s character arc.

She is a leader, chosen by nature and destiny, who sets out on a quest surrounding an important magical object, where she ventures through the realm of the supernatural and tangles with gods. When it’s over, the balance of nature is restored and she returns to her people as a wiser and more capable ruler. It’s a quintessential hero-king quest narrative, which, incidentally, is also a quintessentially male narrative. But without so much as a shrug, Moana gives this archetype to its female heroine and sends her on her journey.

Remember how I said I could write a whole post gushing about Moana? I did, and you can read the full thing over at Lady Geek Girl!

 

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The Strange Case of Spoilers

[This is a post about spoilers. It will contain spoilers]

Remember when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince first came out, and yelling “Snape kills Dumbledore!” being something like an evil meme? Something you would yell to ruin people’s lives, an attack reserved for the most devious of tricksters or most obnoxious of bullies? Wasn’t that a wild time? Do we still, collectively, feel that way about the tricky and weird business of “spoilers”? Continue reading

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ToraDora! #14: Wish Upon a (Wrestling) Star

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This is a weird episode to review because not much… happens. There’s a lot of day-to-day activity padding interwoven with subtle hints at deeper emotional subplots, and it feels rather like a breather episode (can you have those non-action genre series?) where they felt so much happened in the previous arc we need some downtime, lowkey filled with intrigue. So here’s what you missed on not-Glee:

Taiga’s class managed to win the beauty pageant, talent act, and race to crown the queen of the school all pretty much thanks to her, so the girl who was once terror of the corridors is now held in high regard. That, and a rumour started during the wrestling match’s performance run that if Taiga touches you your dreams will come true, earning her the title “Palmtop Tiger of Happiness” and a whole lot of personal confusion. Ryuji wonders if there’s any truth to this new weird tidbit of schoolyard superstition—after all, Taiga’s touching him all the time, be it slapstick violence or otherwise, so shouldn’t he be the happiest person on earth? It’s not like he’s unhappy, he just isn’t feeling any of the ‘love of your life confesses’ or ‘a rich estranged uncle you never knew drops dead and leaves you a fortune’ side effects that are promised. Continue reading

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The Hero’s Journey, Abridged and with Gifs (Part Three)

I realise that last time I totally forgot about the Atonement with the Father chapter, for which I apologise. But, well, the title is fairly self-explanatory—there’s a father figure, there’s some conflict, be it low-key emotional like him not supporting your dream to be an inventor, or something more epic like getting mad about that time you drove his sun god chariot and set everything on fire. You resolve it somehow. Freud is probably there.

Now, your archetypal Hero has left home, been through a hell of a time, and now it’s time to return, completing the cycle, and filling in the last leg of their adventure…

The Magic Flight

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So you have The Ultimate Boon, and it’s time to come home. If Your Hero was destined for greatness and their quest was supported by, say, the gods, their journey home to renew and help the ordinary world will be smooth and wonderful. A neat example of this is Disney’s Moana—once Moana has restored the heart of Te Fiti and thus restored balance and life to the sea, Te Fiti rewards her by magic-ing her a new boat and sending her on her way. (As well as drawing heavily from mythology, Moana is very cool in that she has quite a traditional heroic arc, in that she is a warrior king who crosses into the world of the supernatural, has all sorts of adventures with monsters and trickster gods, then returns to her people wiser and stronger to govern them—which is also a traditionally male heroic arc, but I’m already writing a whole post gushing about how nifty it is that that’s been gender-flipped, so for now I digress). Continue reading

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