Some positive things despite the insanity of the world: African travel vlogs, traditional Burundian drumming, and Hikaru no Go song covers

 

I know things are still very intense in this world. I’m not ignoring them at all. This is just a slight change of pace. I had some rough emotional moments earlier this week, but I’m better now. It’s been amazing by getting some encouragement from offline and online friends recently. Here are some things that I thought were fascinating recently.

 


I’ve been getting into Miss Trudy’s videos a lot over the past few weeks. Miss Trudy is a Kenyan YouTuber who makes travel videos mainly of different African countries. I checked out some of her videos on Sierra Leone and Liberia among other countries and I was astounded by the beauty of those nations. That’s the Africa they NEVER show you especially in the West. Here’s one of her videos where she’s in Freetown (the capital and largest city). Also, did you know Freetown was actually created by freed African slaves from America, the Caribbean, England, and Canada? I thought that was very fascinating.

Burundi has been one country I didn’t pay too much attention to, but I have to thank Miss Trudy as well as Dr. Y. for exposing me to more things about that country. One cultural tradition in that country is their drum corps. These drummers carry on a legacy dating back centuries when Burundi was a kingdom. The drummers would play for the king and they had their own unique rhythms. This was wonderful and I even picked up the live album of the Drummers of Burundi on Bandcamp where they played at Real World Records which is owned by Peter Gabriel.

I got back into the anime and manga series Hikaru no Go this year. It was one of my favorite series during my high school years, and after rediscovering it, HNG still holds up. Seriously, if you think all anime is nothing but martial arts ultraviolence, collectable monsters, or hentai, then please rethink your priorities. I found a cover of the 2nd opening theme “I’ll Be the One” by HAL that was performed by this Thai singer named MindaRyn. I thought she did a great job at singing this song. This was almost as good as the original in my opinion.

Besides all of that, I’ve been having some thoughts about what to post, but I’m debating about having it here or on my other blogs involving different topics.

Hope you all are doing well today.

Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. III: Rise of the One True Emperor

Lyrics:

[Swahili]

Tazama! Mfalme anainuka!
Tazama! Ukweli utatawala!
Tazama! Hatutakubali wafalme bandia!

Father, I hear your voice in the eastern sky
Mother, I hear you from the constellations
I will make you both proud in being the one true emperor
As I express myself in this human song,
I will right these misdeeds
I’ll still have unity with mankind and the wildlife in my kingdom
I’ve survived capsized ships, weapons, and bigger animals, and I’ll survive this

(Japanese backup vocals: Taitei o nagaku ikiru.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Mfalme ni bandia. Wambariki mfalme wa kweti.)

I hear the cries from Kinshasa, Toronto, Saitama, Grimes, Kigali, Kampala, Dodoma, and Nairobi
While I fight for peace and make sure my kingdom has dignity
I have to address the king who swindled me

You wouldn’t exist without me, but you’re so full of pride
(Japanese backup vocals: Kare wa honto shishi desu.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Ukweli unaishi ndani yake. Akawa ukweli!)
Like uncle, like nephew
You enjoy usurping the throne
Your gods had no worries
Profiting and suing others
For cultures they don’t own
Much like your father you dreamed of
Devastation and deceit
Have you seen a human before?
Have you found a way
To punish without genocide by starvation?
Shame on those humans who are allured
By your mate’s bedroom eyes
Was she your sister or your cousin?
You vagabond in denial
I never ran away when my parents died
Artifice flows through you
And permeates every time that you breathe
You tried blocking my existence
And denying it, too
You’re a false king
I’ll break your deception (X3)
Cause I’m the one true emperor

Copycats get no mercy!


I wasn’t originally planning on writing a song based on this anime when I was coming up with Dear Innovare. However, with everything I know and have learned last year with this and other cases, there was no way I could avoid talking about it especially when a good portion of this concept album involves plagiarism and theft cases. Also, there’s a contest that I have for the fun facts section if someone wants this song for free if they don’t have the album already.

If I could base songs on the Paprika/Inception controversy and the Battle Royale/Hunger Games controversy, then I’d be a fool not to talk about what one could make a strong case to be THE biggest film plagiarism issue of all time. Well, there’s that and having a couple of friends who actually wanted to hear an Ospreyshire track about the first anime series to be created and broadcast in color. One of those friends would be one of my college buddies Drew and the other is my Scottish mate Dave from ZAP Records himself.

[sigh] Here we go.

For those of you who don’t know anything about this song or anime series, this involves Osamu Tezuka’s creation Jungle Emperor Leo AKA Kimba the White Lion. This was a manga made in 1950, but it got the anime treatment in 1965, so this is older than Speed Racer. Tezuka is also known for creating Astro Boy, Black Jack, Metropolis (no, not the German film), and Dororo which got remade last year. This story is about the life and adventures of a lion cub prince named Kimba (I’m going to refer to their English names from here on out). His goal is to have unity between the animals and the humans, but he has to take responsibility to lead his kingdom after his father Caesar (the original king) gets murdered and…

You know what? I don’t need to go further with a synopsis.

Related image

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you want to know my full thoughts on this issue, then check out my Lion King rant post I did last Summer. You can also check out my review of Kimba the White Lion on my other blog. If you really want to get in depth with this insane film plagiarism controversy, then check out this link. I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.

This is infuriating how Disney even to this day have never owned up to stealing most of it’s characters, storylines, and even scenes that were shot-for-shot from Tezuka’s work. The reasons why Tezuka Productions haven’t sued Mickey Mouse are because Osamu mentioned on his will not to burn bridges with Disney (context: he died in 1989 during production of The New Advantures of Kimba the White Lion which would be 5 years before The Lion King was released) and because they don’t have as much money to take them on in court. I disagree and they should’ve sued The House of Mouse. Disney even tried to block Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 from North America at the Fantasia Film Festival in Canada back in 1998, for crying out loud! Simba was originally going to be a white lion in pre-production. Roy E. Disney called Sarabi “Kimba’s mother” in the 1993 Prodigy Q&A Transcript which can be seen in one of the links above. They would have so many strong cases for copyright infringement. Here are examples of these various characters:

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 11.52.44 AM.png

Comparisons from the first picture and this screencap:

Lion prince: Kimba=Simba
Deceased father lion: Caesar=Mufasa
Comic relief hyena henchmen: Tom and Tab=Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Wise, yet eccentric baboon advisor: Dan’l=Rafiki
Major-domo bird who gets into prat falls: Pauley=Zazu
Major villain that usurps the kingdom: Claw=Scar (BIGGEST RIPOFF VILLAIN EVER!)
Girlfriend lioness who becomes the prince’s mate: Kitty=Nala

Bonus examples:

Lion queen mother: Snowene=Sarabi
Daughter of the main character: Lukio=Kiara (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion King II respectively)
Son of the main character: Lune=Kion (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion Guard respectively)

Even The Simpsons made a joke involving this plagiarism controversy. Yes, that’s James Earl Jones doing all the voices in that scene!

Enough of me ranting here. I felt like I’ve done a bunch of it on two of my blogs already. Hahaha! Let’s talk about the music. This is actually the longest Ospreyshire song I ever written and recorded and has more instrumental layers than anything else. I had three different sounds from one keyboard, bass, acousmatics, African percussion instruments (fair trade, FTW!), and my little mbira. I felt so compelled to use both Swahili and Japanese lyrics which was a very nice touch and I wanted to be respectful to those cultures. The lyrics use a TON of Kimba and Lion King references. I won’t explain them all, but here are a few and the meanings therein.

Kimba references:

“Father, I hear your voice in the Eastern sky. Mother, I hear you from the constellations.” This represents the death of both of Kimba’s parents. The Eastern sky also references an opening lyric in the Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 ending theme “Wind Song”. That and he sees the spirits of his dead parents in the sky in the original show (SOUND FAMILIAR?).

“…this human song” This references the Kimba song “Sing a Human Song” in the English dub.

“Saitama…Grimes” Those cities have major significance to Kimba. Saitama, Japan has a baseball team called the Seibu Lions who use that character as a mascot even to today. Grimes refers to a town in Iowa referring to Right Stuf and their anime distribution subsidiary Nozomi Entertainment who have the license to the original show.

Top Lion King potshots in my opinion in no particular order:

“Was she your sister or your cousin?” Who is Nala’s father? No Lion King fan has ever given me a straight answer on that issue, so I directly referenced that infamous incest theory in this song! Do the math.

“Your gods had no worries profiting and suing others for cultures they don’t own…” Three words: HAKUNA MATATA TRADEMARK!

Note: I reference capitals of countries where Swahili has official language status with Kinshasa (DRC), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Nairobi (Kenya).

“Have you found a way to punish without genocide by starvation?” This line calls out Mufasa’s severe protagonist centered morality of the Elephant Graveyard. Starving and isolating others is genocide. Just look at Shark Island in Namibia, the several Native American tribes who were subjugated by the pilgrims, and The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi to name a few. Also, I have to give props to Croatian blogger Vigour of Film Lines for noticing that severe flaw of the Mufasa character and for calling the Elephant Graveyard a concentration camp, too!

Fun facts:

I namedrop the title of my other song “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit” in the lyrics. It’s even more appropriate when you consider the subtitle is (Circle of Lies).

Lion King fans! I actually parody two songs from that movie franchise from a musicality standpoint. The intro should be obvious and the other parody aspect kicks in when I start singing halfway through the song. The first person who gets the answers right gets this song for free if they didn’t buy the album.

Hope you liked my somewhat lengthy backstory on that song. This concludes this song/poem trilogy.

The picture of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion is from Fandom and is property of Tezuka Productions.

The screenshot of Mufasa, Simba, Caesar, and Kimba is from Mashable and they are property of Disney, Tezuka Productions, and Nozomi Entertainment respectively.

The character comparison guide is from the Internet Archive. All characters are property of Tezuka Productions, Nozomi Entertainment, and Disney respectively.

The video clip is from The Simpsons and is property of Fox.

Ospreyshire Origins: Soshi-sha Ja Nai. Anata Wa Akumu Da!

Lyrics:

Stop believing that you own all the dreams
2010 degrees of lies aren’t fooling us
You don’t need a DC Mini or an appealing alter-ego
To shatter deception or the world around you
We’re not ghosts though we can float in hotel hallways
We made the spice to delve into dreams within dreams or converging reality
Years before you had a thought
The mass’s perception is flawed
Because they see your take on caped crusaders
We’ll keep the real dreams alive though our creator passed on
Awards won’t save you, deluded thief
You’re another soul in the demented parade

[Japanese]
Soshi-sha ja nai. Anata wa akumu da.
Soshi-sha ja nai. Anata wa akuma da!


To all my otaku friends and followers, REJOICE!

I, Ospreyshire made a song about an anime movie! [M. Bison Voice] YES! YES!

For those of you know know about my tastes in Japanese animation, this probably shouldn’t surprise you, but having a song about Paprika made way too much sense given the concept of the album even though I didn’t want to make an anime-based song so soon. I hope I did it justice with the dream-like aesthetics how it feels hazy and otherworldly with the effects on the instruments and my voice for this one. Also, Satoshi Kon, FTW!

If you don’t know anything about Paprika, let me give you a brief synopsis. Paprika takes place sometime in the near future. The main character Dr. Atsuko Chiba is a psychiatrist who is typically cold and has a lot of deadpan snark. In her industry, there’s a brand new machine called the DC Mini used for patients to try and understand their mental health issues. The DC Mini is a machine that people put on their head which allows them to go into the dream world of sorts. Dr. Chiba does this and crafts a bubbly an extroverted alter-ego in this dream world called Paprika. Unfortunately, the DC Mini is stolen and it is used for heinous crimes, so it’s up to Dr. Chiba/Paprika to save the day in both the dream world and real world. Also, the concept of dreams converging in reality comes up including the ability of dreams happening inside dreams happens.

DOES ANY OF THIS REMIND YOU OF A CERTAIN MAINSTREAM MOVIE?!?!

Image result for inception

Christopher Nolan, you are a freaking hack! There is no way he made this movie without watching the final film from one of the most innovative animators in Japan, dare I say the world. The concept of it being Kon-sensei’s final film is important because Paprika came out in 2006 and Inception came out in 2010…the same year that Kon died of cancer. To this day, Nolan has never ever owned up to plagiarizing major concepts from Paprika. Okay, he didn’t rip off any characters like a certain other anime that got plagiarized by Hollywood (Don’t worry…we’ll talk about that series in a future post when it comes to Dear Innovare), but he couldn’t possibly steal scenes from Kon’s last movie and…

Oh, who am I kidding?

https://i2.wp.com/thumbpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/funny-gif-Paprika-Inception-movie-scenes1.gif

Does anyone else think this is some fluke that Nolan would do this? This blatant thievery needs to be called out. I saw Paprika first and I then saw Inception, so the similarities were blatantly obvious when I was in that movie theater. Stop giving this guy a free pass just because he made The Dark Knight trilogy or Memento. How would you feel if the situation was reversed and if Kon stole from Nolan? Yeah…that’s what I thought.

Fun Facts: The title and lyric translates to “You’re not an originator. You’re a nightmare!” from Japanese. The final lyric is switched from “akumu” to “akuma” which means “devil” or “demon”.

Also, if you want my full thoughts on this experimental/sci-fi anime flick, then you can check out my review on Iridium Eye.

The Paprika poster is from Minitokyo and is property of Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, and Sony Pictures Classics.

The Inception poster is from CBS news and is property of Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers.

The Inception and Paprika GIFs are from thumbpress and are property of Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures Classes respectively.

Double Neat! I was nominated twice for the Real Blog Award!

Here I go again with these delayed award posts! Sorry about that. Recently I was nominated by two different bloggers for the Real Neat Blog Award. They are AK from Everything Is Bad For You and Red Metal at Extra Life. Thank you so much, guys!

real-neat-blogger-award.jpg

Here are the rules:

1. Display the logo
2. Thank the bloggers for the award.
3. Answer the questions from the one who nominated you.
4. Nominate 7 to 10 bloggers.
5. Ask them 7 questions.

Here we go now, and I’ll start with AK’s questions first.

1) Is there a game, book, or other work that you’d like to experience but that you can’t because it’s untranslated, not ported, or otherwise inaccessible?

Good question. It would be cool to play Dance Dance Revolution Club Version for Dreamcast.

2) What’s one work that really affected you or stuck with you in the last year, and why do you think it did?

Since discovering Ousmane Sebene, his debut feature film Black Girl really affected me. As someone with a film background, I was angry not knowing about this director. This work was incredible as it had great metaphors about neo-colonization and some of the most realistic displays of racism with various dog whistles from the French people against the Senegalese main character and the story was so believable and still relevant despite being made in the 60s.

3) If you could revive one series of works that’s been abandoned or dropped by its creators for any reason, what series would it be and why?

Despite the stream of remakes going on over the past few years, I would actually like to see a remake of Shinesman. I know the manga went farther and the satire could still work especially with the glut of superhero media even if Shinesman parodies Power Rangers/Super Sentai. If that got dubbed, then need to get the original English VA cast for it if they can still pull off the voices.

4) When it comes to music, do you prefer songs with vocals and lyrics or instrumental pieces, or do you have a preference at all? If you prefer one type over the other, why do you think that is?

I don’t have a preference at all, actually.

5) When was the last time you bought a magazine, newspaper, or other form of print media?

This was months ago and I bout a book from Dr. Amos Wilson. I’m glad to discover his work on anti-racism and black psychology last year. I’m also not counting e-books, by the way.

6) Is there a holiday you don’t get to celebrate/take off because of family or work reasons but that you wish you could?

Depends on my schedule with work. I know I get Christmas and Easter off which is guaranteed. I’d say Juneteenth would be excellent having that off on so many levels.

7) If you had to create a new holiday, when would it be and what would it involve?

I would make a commemorative holiday for Black Wall Street. This will be a federal holiday where schools and businesses will close to honor those that were affected by that horrific attack. Next year will be the 100 year anniversary. NEVER FORGET!
Now for Red Metal’s questions:

1. What is your favorite variety of meat? Or if you don’t eat meat what is your favorite meat substitute?

Seitan. News flash, I’m a vegetarian! Most of you didn’t know that fact about me.

2. If you could permanently remove one installment from a series you like (which would erase its existence from everyone’s memory), which one would you choose?

I do like Ghost In The Shell. As much as I was disappointed in the GITS sequel and some of the Arise prequels, but at least they offer decent elements to the overall story. If there was one thing I could erase from that series, then (to the surprise of no one) I would erase that live-action remake. Shame on the directors and shaming on the casting agents who thought it was a good idea to let Black Widow play the Major. #Whitewashing

3. If you lost a bet, would you rather read the worst book, play the worst game, listen to the worst album, or watch the worst film that you know of?

I’d say reading the worst book because I’d likely forget about it the most out of those options.

4. If you won a bet, what kind of punishment would be in store for your friend?

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If this was a good friend of mine, I would be a bit soft by making them do 100 pushups and then a mile run. Side note: I did 100 pushups a day all throughout December. If this was a frenemy, I would have them be a part of a pro wrestling match against “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Here’s a sample of what would happen. #PounceParty

5. What is your favorite month of the year?

October. I’m biased since I was born that month.

6. What is a piece of obscure trivia you like to mention during social gatherings?

I’m full of obscure trivia. Hahaha! I think the ones I mention somewhat frequently are smart apartments in Kenya that use iPads to control the AC, kitchen stoves, ovens, lights, etc. It’s great mentioning facts that destroy stereotypes about Africa.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? In this hypothetical situation, assume your choice would grant you complete fluency in the area’s official language.

Speaking of Africa, one place I would like to live would be Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. I have a bit of fluency in Lingala, but being fully fluent in that and the other Congolese languages would be sweet. I saw very fascinating things in pictures and video, it’s quite modern, and there’s lots of things to do in the country.

8. What is the longest amount of time you’ve ever driven a car or other vehicle in one sitting?

It was en route to Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. That’s a 4.5-5 hour drive despite being from the same state. I’m from the Northern part of the Land of Lincoln and Bushnell is a tiny farm town in West Central Illinois. The closest city to it is Macomb which is 20 minutes away and there’s nothing major besides Western Illinois University. Driving can be a bit easy once you get outside the Chicagoland area, but it can be tiresome seeing cornfields and farms for most of the scenery.

9. What is the most annoying fictional character you can think of?

I can think of several. Haha! I think a ton of the Disney Princesses are annoying to me with most of them being Mary Sues, spoiled brats, get helped by too many plot coupons/plot conveniences, and I can’t see how people can relate to them.

10. What is the most underrated fictional character you can think of?

Yugo Beppu from Yugo the Negotiator.  I like how he’s intelligent, culturally aware, and has an extraordinary level of toughness despite not being a violent person. However, there’s one superhero I want to check out called Mr. Terrific. I heard he is good in the comics and that his character was butchered in Arrow.

11. With the decade coming to a close, would you say this was a good period for films, comics, animation, music, literature, or video games?

It was good with the indie and international films I saw, more or less. It was the decade of mediocrity and a tremendous lack of originality in Hollywood with pointless sequels, prequels, adaptations, and of course…so. Many. Freaking. Useless. REMAKES!

Alright. Here are my 7 questions for my nominees.

1. If you’re favorite band’s lead singer quit, who would be a good replacement for them?
2. Who is a supporting character in a movie or TV series that should get their own spin-off? (this can be live-action or animated)
3. The world would be a better place to live in if…?
4. What was the biggest fact or story that really opened your eyes about reality?
5. Which language would you want to learn that isn’t an official tongue in your nation and which places would you visit that uses that language?
6. What is something that you wished never got ripped off or stolen?
7. If you can give great advice in just four words, what would they be?

Nominees:

Rodrovich
Al’s Manga Blog
Kreb
David Boone
Bill Ziegler
The Alchemist
Nesie’s Place

DEAR INNOVARE IS HERE! You can stream and buy it now!

It’s finally here!

My first full-length album “Dear Innovare…The Souls Of Ignored Pioneers Shall Be Ignored” finally drops. It’s only $7 for 41 songs. If you pre-ordered it, then you should get the whole album now.

If you didn’t buy it, then please support me whenever you can. Regardless if you do or not, you can stream the FULL ALBUM on my Bandcamp page or this album player on this post. This thing was a fun experimental genre roulette while making songs involving various inventions, artwork, medical breakthroughs, music, film, architecture, and even anime. This is a unified theme of creators who were overlooked for their creations and/or had their works stolen.

Feel free to check out this album!

Representation Matters Pt. III: My thoughts on anime (How I got into Japanese animation, what I think about it, and how it could be better in regards to representation)

Welcome back to my Representation Matters series! For those who are new to my blog or only occasionally read my posts, you can check out the first one here and my second one about me creating my own characters here. Now we’re going to get into part three.

This is no secret, but I have an appreciation for Japanese animation. I’ve talked about that subject a few times on this blog and I have a whole separate blog called Iridium Eye Reviews where I critique that form of animation in addition to obscure movies, short films, and documentaries from all over the world. My first exposure to it was when I was very young and saw Teknoman (the English-dubbed edited version of Tekkaman Blade) on UPN. I thought the show looked really cool and wondered what that kind of a cartoon it was. I watched more of the stuff that was on TV back then and when I was in high school, I got into renting and owning various DVDs of certain series. What I liked about some of the anime that didn’t get played on Toonami or the other channels was the uniqueness of the stories, finding pieces of animation with actual artistry, and finding different stories I would never get from Western animation. If you think all anime is just DBZ, Pokemon, Naruto, or god forbid anything that’s hentai, then please slap yourself. There’s so much more than what the mainstream talks about.

One thought that I had during my teens was that some anime was a bit of a consolation prize of sorts for me. Because these series were made by nonwhite animators and featured characters who would be considered POCs in different contexts, I subconsciously settled for this despite not being of Japanese descent let alone Asian. It’s probably no wonder I was a Japanophile during my high school years not just because of some shows I thought (some I still think are) were legitimately good, but it even got to the point where I took Japanese classes at a community college during my last two years of high school. I can still remember numerous words or phrases to this day and would technically be my “2nd best” language next to English. Sure, I didn’t always think “Most of these characters aren’t white, so I can find them to be more relatable!” all the time, but I can’t lie to you that it was something in the corner of my mind at times during that point of my life. That interest faded out later in college and I had a hiatus of sorts until not long before I started Iridium Eye a couple of years ago.

While I still like certain anime series and movies, the Japanese animation industry has been marred with racist aspects, too. As much as I give a ton of crap to Disney and other American media companies for their bigotry and they deserve to be called out on those things, I can’t pretend that even the Japanese companies don’t do anything like that. Sure, they’re not going to do racist things against their compatriots or even other Asian ethnic groups most of the time, but they’ve had very questionable things go on. There’s obvious examples like Mr. Popo from the Dragon Ball franchise, Jynx from Pokemon, or even Pyunma/008 from Cyborg 009. The backlash got so big that the creators eventually changed their character designs by changing skin colors for the first two and for 008 shedding the sambo imagery into a more realistic African man (okay, I think the Call of Justice version looks like an anime version of Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, but I digress). This problem hasn’t gone away. There’s a more recent anime called The Promised Neverland which did look like it had an interesting plot, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it when I saw pictures of one of the characters called Sister Krone.

Image result for sister krone

I felt legitimately uncomfortable and that’s one of the less offensive images. She’s shown as this unstable psychopath while at the same time being subservient to a white woman who’s one of the villains in the show. Her character design is much worse in the original manga. This anime came out in 2019 and there is no excuse for this. If you don’t see what’s wrong with this kind of imagery, then let me remind you of this.

Those would be mammy figurines from the Jim Crow museum. This is the same kind of garbage that permeated the imagery of black women being servants, stupid, and being undesirable. That imagery has been around since even before the Emancipation Proclamation, and this is the same kind of stuff that people bash a certain Tom & Jerry supporting character or Gone With The Wind for. I know the creators of The Promised Neverland know better than this and they would NEVER write a white or Asian woman that way.

Here’s how anime can do better. They can write characters who aren’t Asian or Caucasian into characters one can take seriously across the board. They need to consult other ethnic groups for making certain characters. Don’t make race their only defining characteristic. They can also ask themselves this question: How would they feel if someone incorporated Japanese stereotypes in a character?

I know there are some anime series that are better at positive representation than others which I do appreciate, but I’d be lying if I said there was no bigotry in Japan. I’m not into anime as much as I used to even though I still review it. I think it can be sad that I do a better job at positive representation of multiple ethnic groups compared to animators on both sides of the Pacific at large.

All photos are under “fair use”.

The photo of Sister Krone is from The Promised Neverland and is property of Aniplex of America.

The photo of the mammy figurines is from Wikipedia.

 

Fandom As Idolatry

Cel-created characters and comic strips have become gods
To those begging for heroes in their psychological wanting
Living vicariously through fiction
When it caters to those who look like them (the most)
Schisms erupt between various incorporated sects
There is no reformation in those attempts
Theme songs become worship anthems
Movie quotes become scriptures
Cons become congregations
Regardless if the followers believed in an Elohim or not
The irony is strong for different reasons
Even when it comes to real people, they become deified
Not realizing they would soon prove to be quite mortal in some time
Who knows? Maybe what I’m saying is blasphemous.

Iridium Eye ends its hiatus!

Hello, everyone.

I thought I would give you a quick reminder that I have more than just one blog. There’s another page of mine that delves into reviewing indie films, international cinema, short films, anime, non-mainstream animation, documentaries, and other obscure movies called Iridium Eye. I hadn’t posted on there in months, but I now have three reviews up today on that page. If you’re sick of whatever Hollywood has been spoon feeding you, then I suggest you check out that blog. Interestingly enough, Iridium Eye is my most-viewed blog of all time.

Feel free to check it out.

This week I have reviews involving movies from Senegal, the DRC, and Uruguay up there.

http://iridiumeye.wordpress.com

How I Learned to Utterly Despise that Expensive Ripoff, Overrated, and Bigoted Movie Called The Lion King (And the Existence of Kimba the White Lion Isn’t the Only Reason)

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[Warning: This post contains a very contrary opinion to most people and will contain controversial content. Read at your own peril]

I’m sure some of you are probably sick of me at this point bashing this Disney movie if you’ve read earlier posts on this blog or saw certain reviews on Iridium Eye. I’m not sorry for what I’m about to say on here. This frustration has been building up for the past couple of weeks and it’s something I need to vent about on this blog of all things regardless if people agree with this post or not.

[sigh] Here we go.

For starters, I didn’t always hate The Lion King. If anything, it used to be one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. This is going to partially give away my age, but I saw that movie during it’s first theatrical run when I was very little. I even saw the stage adaptation in Chicago at the Cadillac Theatre when I was a bit older. One of my favorite soundtracks back then was the “Rhythm of the Pride Lands” which was the companion soundtrack and it was also the first time the song “He Lives In You” was used. Not Lion King II or the Broadway version. I saw the original VHS tape probably a hundred times during my childhood. I used to know the words to most of the songs way back when. However, I stopped paying attention to Disney during my teenage years because I was really into anime. Okay, I still like Japanese animation, but I was nowhere near as much of an otaku as I was when I was in high school.

It was also around this time when I first heard about Kimba the White Lion. I heard that The Lion King ripped it off, but I thought it was shallow with just the main characters. Flash forward to my adult life when I saw a Cracked article involving childhood icons you didn’t know were shameless rip-offs, and the memories came back again. This piqued my interest, did more research and started to rent the DVDs on Netflix after Kimba stopped airing on Hulu (Disney is a partial owner of that site, so I don’t know if it was because of them or not). While it has it’s issues and has aged animation since it was made in the 60s, I enjoyed that anime for it’s usage of subject matter, originality, and seeing how much Disney stole from it. If you don’t believe me, check out this link. I couldn’t believe the scenes of Caesar (AKA Original Mufasa) consoling Kimba from the beyond in the night sky. I couldn’t believe the scene where the villainess Belladonna tried to kill Kimba by pushing him off a cliff. I couldn’t believe one of the major villains (Claw) just happened to be a scarred lion usurper with a black mane, dark fur, and had hyena henchmen with him. Every character not named Timon and Pumbaa in that movie is a copy of someone from Tezuka’s manga/anime series. Seriously, shame on Disney for stealing from this classic anime and for trying to block the Jungle Emperor Leo ’97 movie from North America. Trust me, you won’t be looking at The Lion King the same way again once you see the obvious similarities. I can’t see how any sane person could watch Kimba and not think that no one from Disney saw this. Why does The Lion King get a free pass in plagiarism when other media like Yuki Yuna is a Hero gets lambasted for having similarities to Madoka? You know if the situation was reversed, then all you Lion King fans would scream bloody murder that your favorite movie got plagiarized by a foreign (majority non-White) country if Kimba came afterwards. It would be amazing if Disney admitting to stealing from Tezuka’s creation, paid royalties to them, or got epic backlash for their thievery, but I know that will never happen because wishes never come true.

This segues into my next point. I wasn’t aware of this as a child, but growing up, I realized how racist the implications were with the hyenas. Have you not listened to how they talk? They straight up talk in stereotypical African-American Ebonics (Shenzi) and an exaggerated Mexican accent (Banzai). What ticks me off is when Disney fans don’t call their depiction racist or handwave it because you have Black cast members voicing some of the heroic lions namely James Earl Jones playing Mufasa. No, just because you have Black people playing both sides of the good/evil paradigm, it doesn’t make it bigotry-free. It’s the equivalent of a racist claiming they have a Black best friend or family members to prove they aren’t racist. That or saying slave owners can’t be racist because they have Black people around them. Let’s not forget Disney has a history with using animal characters as POC proxies with racist undertones. Look at the crows in Dumbo and the lead one’s name was JIM! You know, like the same laws in America that involved having enforced segregation, lynchings, or it being legal for White people to rape African-Americans? There’s also Siamese cats talking in broken English in Lady and the Tramp, Aristocats, and even an episode of Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers for crying out loud. You could even throw in Tito from Oliver & Company as a slap against the Latino community. Coincidentally enough, Cheech Marin would voice both Tito and Banzai in his voice acting career. Is this why so many Americans falsely assume that Black people let alone other ethnic groups act like the hyenas all the time? If you think so, then you need your head examined and we should question if you’re a bigot.

Extending onto that point is how the hyenas were treated with the Elephant Graveyard. Besides the name being a blatant carbon copy of the place in Kimba where the animals had to rescue Roger Ranger in one of the later episodes, I found the place to be disturbing, but not for the same reasons as it was portrayed in the movie. As an adult, I had this realization that this punishment against those animals involved isolating the hyenas in a barren wasteland and they’re forced to starve. It hit me when I researched lesser-known aspects of history: Mufasa was committing genocide against them and I was sickened by it. Scar did bad things, but his big brother is not much better if you really think about it; he’s just applauded for his actions. If you think I’m being crazy, then maybe you should read up on the Congolese Genocide under King Leopold II or the Namibian Genocide by Germany’s 2nd Reich. The former had a body count of 10 MILLION Congolese and Leopold never got punished for it. If you take away the hand chopping, guns, and mass rape, then it would be the same thing. The latter had a concentration camp called Shark Island where the Germans starved out the Herero and Nama tribes and there was a valley of bones left behind. By the way, one of the perpetrators was General Franz Ritter von Epp who would eventually employ Adolf Hitler and Hitler said he was influenced by this general. LET THAT SINK IN! It’s as if the animators were aroused by putting anti-Black racism with that act as they believe melanated people don’t belong in their circle of life. Come on, if those hyenas talked in Yiddish accents instead of stereotypical Black and Latino accents, then the ADL would’ve thrashed Mickey Mouse in a heartbeat and everybody knows this. But because it’s happening to the bad guys and because they talk in a racially-coded way, it’s somehow justified in the animators’ and fans’ eyes. No, that’s protagonist centered morality on Mufasa’s part (saying nothing how that punishment contradicts his circle of life speech), and it’s propaganda in a form of G-rated White Supremacy. In my adulthood, I’ve seriously pondered if White people actually saw me as one of those hyenas in the past before. I’ve been discriminated against, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s hard to watch that knowing about the genocides against Black people, the 1994 crime bill which overloaded the prison-industrial complex (while being soft on Caucasian offenders, let’s be honest), Apartheid South Africa, and gentrification to name a few things to punish them. Do you enjoy Black people or any other POC group getting punished or afflicted at all costs and is The Lion King your film of choice of vicariously having that joy in a supposedly “innocent” way? Are you more offended by me pointing out the racist implications of this Disney movie than the millions of dead bodies from those aforementioned genocides let alone other atrocities?

Let’s also talk about the depiction of Africa. There are no humans in it! Was there some extinction of Africans before the beginning of the story? Disney sucks at this fact and Tarzan is another example of this when that continent is shown without Black people. So people who look like me and darker shouldn’t be seen? Is this a wish fulfillment about depopulating Africa in animated form? Think about it. They wouldn’t try it with Europe or America. Even if they do have furry characters (don’t lie. furries love The Lion King and you all know this. Also, how come that movie doesn’t get called a furry film with all the anthropomorphic stuff in it?), they make them upright, clothed and human-like in attitude like Zootopia or DuckTales for example. Are they insinuating that Africa should just be one giant savanna or natural utopia without the humans who would live in that part of the world? If not, then they’ll show it as one big piece of poverty porn and/or a giant war zone. It’s as if the animals are treated with dignity if something happens to them than the humans who live there. Cecil the lion? I rest my case. Screw stereotypes. Those furries and their sick fantasies can go away.

Those are some of my main points that have angered me. Disney needs a moral overhaul. Was it enough to steal from a 60s Japanese anime and from millions of Swahili-speaking Africans by trademarking “Hakuna Matata”? I could go on about the plot holes such as the Nala incest theory, how much that movie ripped off Kimba, how heredity monarchy is not always a good thing, how that movie isn’t that deep/meaningful, or how The Lion King or it’s fanbase avoids being called furries when other movies get labeled as such, but I think you get the point. Even I’ve had enough from defenders of this movie franchise and for people trying to shame me not liking that film, let alone bullying me for my ethnic background or even what media I like. You’re only proving me right that way. It sickens me how there’s that remake coming out (it’s not live action, people. it’s just realistic looking CGI) and for people making fun of me for not liking it anymore. You all have no right to moralize to me especially with all the things that have happened in American history let alone what happened to the African diaspora. I’m not saying you’re automatically evil if you’re White since that would be very stupid of me to insinuate that of one’s skin color. Spare me from your attempts of putting words in my mouth or for strawmanning my arguments. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t take movies at face value and assume everything is innocent just because it’s family-friendly from a content standpoint. For one, I’ve become offended the more I’ve learned about history, part of my culture, and with storytelling techniques. I’m sick and tired of being a scapegoat because of the color of my skin and my heritage. I would never even imagine doing the things done to my ancestors to anyone regardless of race. Not everyone is going to like what I typed, nor am I begging people to like it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to real artists from the continent instead of that artificial crap from Hans Zimmer and Elton John.

All images and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

The fan art is property of WhiteLionWarrior at DeviantArt.

Kimba is property of Kimba the White Lion and Tezuka Productions.

Simba is property of The Lion King and Disney.