Semi-Hiatus in April

Here’s some important news. I won’t be posting as often on this blog for April. This is going to be a crazy busy month since I have some creative priorities going on especially with a certain annual challenge I do multiple times a year with April being one of those key months. Normally, I post on here Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but I may post once a week on there assuming if I have time given my other priorities.

However, I do have some good news. Some of you are already doing this, but I will still have things going on with Iridium Eye which is my film/anime/documentary blog which you can check out here. I have reviews set up for the month including a Top 7 list that I’m sure will get some attention. Feel free to check out that blog if you want to see my thoughts on obscure movies, foreign films, documentaries, short films, lesser-known anime, art house films and even some non-mainstream animation.

Hope you’re all doing alright.

Let the spectrum in! The Colo(u)rful Stories Tag!

It has been a long time since I’ve been tagged on this page, but it has happened. I was tagged by 7mononoke from Anime Rants. Thank you very much! This sounds like a very unique tag to be a part of. Also, bonus points if anyone gets the music reference in my title for this post.

Here are the rules for this tag:

#1 Share your favourite stories—movies/books/anime/manga/drama/songs—by classifying them on these seven colours’ traits:

  • red: passionate, exciting, invigorating
  • blue: peaceful, calming
  • pink: romantic, caring
  • orange: warm, motivating
  • black: mysterious, thrilling
  • green: fresh, unexpected
  • white: random

#2 Send this challenge invitation to at least one of your friends. Let them fear your superiority, as you—decide their fate.

#3 Link back to the original post here! And, enjoy!

Alright. Let’s do this!

RED

Paprika


This would be my pick for red. Paprika is certainly experimental like most of Satoshi Kon’s work, but it’s very exciting and passionate with the imagery and multi-tiered storytelling. Some of you know about my strong feelings when it comes to an obvious film plagiarism issue associated with this movie, but I’m going to focus on the obvious original factors. Paprika also plays with passion or in Konakawa’s case lack thereof and the journey between dreams and reality is surreal, but forces you to pay attention.

BLUE

Alamar


This is more of a recent-ish watch since I first saw it a couple of years ago. There’s certainly lots of blues since most of the movie takes place near or on the ocean, but this really was a calming movie. Alamar wasn’t some deep watch, but it was very relaxing with this father and son bonding near the water. I first saw it during the winter when it was insane with the extreme polar vortex and with tons of snow on some days. It was a peaceful movie of characters just living life and there’s a healthy family relationship that doesn’t involve family drama nor does the father die in this film.

PINK

The Place Promised In Our Early Days


This one was tough because I’m not a fan of romantic movies. The closest thing to a romance work that I really like is Makoto Shinkai’s first full-length film. The Place Promised In Our Early Days would be far closer to describe as a war drama with some sci-fi elements given the concept of the parallel universes playing a major role in the plot. This has one of the best love triangles I’ve ever seen in movies and there was some great characterization. Of course, most anime fans will Stan harder for Your Name, Weathering With You, or (GOD FORBID!) The Garden of Words, but The Place Promised is still an impactful watch even years later.

ORANGE

Hikaru no Go


Hikaru no Go is one anime and manga series I’ve enjoyed since I was in high school and it still holds up. I’ve certainly praised it for it’s originality, believable characters, and destroying multiple shonen anime tropes. Heck, this series was a major inspiration for the last single and video I made (notice the go imagery) late last year. This was a motivating series to watch not just with learning about the game of go, but it also shows perseverance in a non-cheesy light while being genuine about it.

BLACK

Maasai: The Rain Warriors


Even more recent than watching Alamar, I discovered this Kenyan movie not too long ago. I don’t want to just put anime on this list even though I certainly have a reputation for talking about that subject on one of my other blogs. Maasai: The Rain Warriors was a very fascinating watch with it using actual Maasai actors, using the Maa language as opposed to English or even Swahili, and incorporating Afro-fantasy with a low-key magic realism to it. There’s mysterious aspects with the adventure to stop this demonic lion from cursing the land with drought. There were some nice twists and turns while being respectful to this indigenous tribe in Kenya. No, there is absolutely no pun involving the choice of movie with this color, so calm down.

GREEN

Lunch Time Heroes


This is the first Nollywood movie I have seen! I know there were some pacing and plotting issues, but Lunch Time Heroes was one movie that I thought was better than what most critics said. It was fresh and unexpected with how much I enjoyed this movie. Sure, the plot is simple with a teacher thrust into a classroom full of troublesome students while taking part in an academic competition against other schools in Nigeria, but how they did it was entertaining and in some cases deconstructive. I’m not a fan of “save our students” plots, but this was done right. Lunch Time Heroes was also the 2nd “save our students” movie I’ve seen in my life that DIDN’T resort to white savior tropes (the 1st is Stand and Deliver) even if it was due to the geographic location. Not only that, but it’s an African movie that takes place in a middle-class setting which is something Hollywood wouldn’t dare show that side of the continent. Lunch Time Heroes was a simple, yet very unexpected watch for me.

WHITE

Shinesman



You know, my interests can be quite random. I can delve into avant-garde and arthouse works, but at the same time I can watch something wacky from time to time. I’m not always this super serious or highbrow person, everyone. I do have a sense of humor and a sense of levity. Shinesman is one of my favorite anime comedies and parody works in general. When I tell other people about this, I mention that Shinesman is like a mix between Power Rangers and The Office, but that’s scratching the surface. It has one of my top 3 dubs that are better than the original Japanese version. The humor consists of over-the-top tokusatsu spoofing, low-key zingers, and even makes some cheeky jokes about anime fandoms. This still makes me laugh to this day seeing this obscure 90s OVA series. I would also like to see a remake and if they could get as many of the original dub cast members to reprise their roles, I’d be elated.

I will nominate the following people:

Never Argue With a Fish

Fiddletwix

Traditional Catholic Weeb

Aizen_Kuro

James Humphrey

Red Metal

Scarlettiger

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

Paprika is property of Satoshi Kon, Madhouse and Sony Pictures Classics. The GIF is from Gfycat and is property of Satoshi Kon, Madhouse and Sony Pictures Classics.

Alamar is property of Film Movement. The screenshot is from Cinema Tropical and is property of Film Movement.

The Place Promised In Our Early Days is property of Makoto Shinkai and ComixWave. The screenshot is from Madman Entertainment and is property of Makoto Shinkai, ComixWave, and Madman Entertainment.

Hikaru no Go is property of Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata, Studio Pierrot, and Viz. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Studio Pierrot and Viz.

Maasai: The Rain Warriors is property of ArtMattan and Facets Video. The screenshot is from ArtMattan and is property of ArtMattan and Facets Video.

Lunch Time Heroes is property of PHB Films and FilmOne Distribution. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of PHB Films and FilmOne Distribution.

Shinesman is property of Production I. G. The Japanese DVD cover is from My Anime List and is property of Production I. G.




Contradictions by a Brow

Avant-garde art and experimental films one day
Indie BritWres matches the next
Anime after that
Historical documentaries the day after
Sprinkling some nonfiction books in between
Before delving in manga pages
After writing haikus and fiction concepts in a notebook

Why am I a walking contradiction with these hobbies?

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.