labingi: (riki)
Thanatos, or Peace in Death

I've just rewatched Texhnolyze. I enjoyed it the first time, but this time it walloped me. At some point, something clicked, and it struck me that Texhnolyze is a happy story, yes, a happy apocalyptic, dystopian, end-of-the-world story. This is not immediately evident because our expectations are so geared toward valuing survival/success/progress that we automatically read the reverse as "bad." Texhnolyze, however, finds fulfillment in the death drive. Like The Left Hand of Darkness (but more so), it emphasizes positive value in the "yin," if you will: in darkness, passivity, surrender, end.

Spoilers Follow )
labingi: (Default)
Slash in the Jeremiah-verse

This installment of my Jeremiad is on its slash fandom and my own perspectives on slashing the series. The impulse is understandable. In "Fathers and Sons", Aaron Severson describes the female characters as "comparatively colorless," and with the exception of Theo, he's not kidding. They're not bad, mind. They're just not very present. So you focus on the men, but getting them together is trickier than it sounds (and trickier, I think, than most of Jeremiah's slash writers give it credit for).

Read more... )
labingi: (rakka)
I have now finished watching Jeremiah and will probably make a series of meta posts. ([ profile] ewans_gal_4ever, I have also watched three episodes of Jericho.) I heartily wish I had gotten into Jeremiah fandom in its heyday. It looks to have been a very special fandom with a high degree of communication and collaboration between the producers and fans and also a lot of high quality fic (a lot that is high quality, not a lot of fic per se. I wish I could find more.)

I have really enjoyed this show. I want to state that clearly as I begin my meta foray with a certain degree of complaining about...

Ecological Discourse in Jeremiah )
labingi: (ivan)
Jeremiah: God Talks to Mister Smith

I was reading a review of Jeremiah the other day in which the commentator expressed some discomfort with the way Mister Smith is depicted as hearing the voice of God. The commentator stated that the effect was to make the existence of God a fact in Jeremiah canon in a way that left no room for diversity of nuance in belief. I understand this frustration, yet, curiously enough given that I'm a life-long agnostic, I don't share it. In the main, I have no problem with the depiction of Mister Smith's relationship with "God," and here's why...

Read more... )
labingi: (Default)
Two Apocalyptic J Shows

At the suggestion of [ profile] ewans_gal_4ever, I started watching Jericho recently. It put me in mind of another post-apocalyptic J show I missed during its original run. Thus, I've been watching Jeremiah too. I far prefer Jeremiah, which fascinates me because one could make a good case that Jericho is the better show. My response (and the reasons for it) remind me of the Firefly/Crusade comparison I've made in the past.

Review and Ruminations with Light Spoilers )
labingi: (anotsu)
"The Raskolnikovian Anotsu"

I figured I should follow up my Makie essay with an Anotsu essay, probably the first of a series. Here, I'll argue that Anotsu is a spiritual cousin of Ivan Karamazov (The Brothers Karamazov) and Rodion Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment). These are all men whose passionately defended philosophy of defying traditional morals is somewhat at odds with their instinctive morality. If I placed these three on a continuum running from thought to action, I'd put Ivan on the "thought" end, Raskolnikov in the middle, and Anotsu on the "action" end.

Spoilers )
labingi: (Default)
"In Defense of Makie"

As I have been familiarizing myself with Blade of the Immortal fandom, the friendliness and intelligence of which I really admire, I have noticed a running strain of dislike for Makie. Since I love her dearly, I wanted to respond with a manifesto on her awesomeness. Now, I'm happy to say that Makie does not seem to be hated. Most comments are along the lines of "I'm sorry to say she annoys me." I understand where the annoyance comes from and I'm comforted that the fandom is not volatile in its dislikes. Yay, BotI fandom! And now, on with the defense...

Spoilerific through volume 24 scanlated version )
labingi: (anotsu)
"Anotsu/Makie: One of Those Love Stories"

I'll preface this post with an apology as I'm about to commit the error of writing meta about a series I don't know very intimately yet. Having been firmly schooled over my early misapprehensions about Mirage of Blaze, I'll approach Blade of the Immortal with a healthy degree of disclaiming: everything I'm about to say could be wrong or wildly incomplete. (I have only read brief summaries of the last 5 or so volumes.)

There's much to love about BotI, but I'll focus here on the relationship between Anotsu and Makie, which has peaked my fannish interest more strongly than any text I've encountered for quite some time. Their relationship, for me, has become part of a triad of related love stories. Compared to Naoe/Kagetora in Mirage of Blaze and Cathy/Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, the Anotsu/Makie subplot of BotI may be a junior sibling, but a sibling it is. Each of the central relationships in the triad resonates with the others. MoB and WH resonate along the axis obsessive love that transcends everything. Anotsu and Makie aren't quite there; rather, they resonate in terms of interpersonal dynamics.

Fairly Light Spoilers for BotI )


May. 8th, 2010 03:09 pm
labingi: (ivan)
I have been reading a lot of Nabokov lately, and think I have enough now to fix on why--though he is very, very good--he will never be one of my favorites. What is most compelling for me about narrative is the emotional force of psychologically realistic characters' love for each other, and despite the dazzling variety of his works, Nabokov seems to eschew this mode. His stories repeatedly meditate on emotional distance. People love--but through a glass darkly. Their default state seems to be encasement within their own minds. This places Nabokov squarely in the 20th-century Modern/postmodern tradition: alienation, confusion, isolation, etc. It may be paradigmatic of 20th-century (literary) experience, but for me, it disregards so much of what is human.

Some examples... )
labingi: (Default)
I want two Gungrave vids:

1) Brandon to Harry, using Sarah McLachlan's "Path of Thorns (Terms of Endearment)"
2) Harry to Brandon, using Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know"

Sadly, I cannot vid, so I'm just going to discuss it instead. And I'm going to quote full lyrics (repetition of choruses omitted) with no copyright infringement intended. I mean it as an aid to an analysis of a narrative, which I would like to think is fair use...

Gungrave spoilers )
labingi: (Default)
My AnK fic was nominated for an AnK prize at, and thus, I was asked to contribute a statement about AnK. I thought I would post it here as well. It ended up being basically an analysis of AnK as tragedy:

AnK Spoilers if one can spoil a story from the 1980s )
labingi: (r2dvd)
I had an all-around good Thanksgiving. (Happy evening of Thanksgiving, all.) Good food and good company all concluded by around 3 p.m. Having successful negotiated the social adventures of the day, I got to lift the weight from my shoulders and bum around in the fannish labyrinth of my mind for several hours. Now, that's a holiday.

And having a day off, I'm going to do a fannish roundup:

Old shows I have been revisiting:

Babylon 5, season 5 )

Blake's 7, series 4 )

And then, the new:

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars - light spoilers )
labingi: (Default)
I have been rediscovering Tori Amos lately through Venus Orbiting, which has a fantastic re-visioning of the song, "Waitress." And it came to me that this song is just about the perfect L and B song, that is, B's POV of L.

Lyrics and Further Thoughts )
labingi: (ivan)
SPOILERS for the end of MoB...

I am a little brain-addled from movie-making logistics, but that's not going to stop me from trying to articulate some Mirage of Blaze thoughts inspired by the fascinating commentary on Buddhism that has been going on here. We've had lots of discussion of whether MoB is, in fact, anti-Buddhist. I don't think it is; however, it may be antithetical to Buddhism. As [ profile] skinintheway has observed, Naoe's avowal that he'll remain alive forever to celebrate his love for Takaya almost reads like a parody of a Bhodisattva's vow to remain in the mundane world to ease the suffering of others. The former vow is personal, the latter impersonal. The former is connected to a particular love, the latter to universal compassion. The former rejects enlightenment (rejecting reincarnation and clinging to attachment); the latter is based on having achieved enlightenment. Put simply, Buddhism is based on rejecting attachment; Mirage of Blaze is, perhaps, the ultimate celebration of attachment.

Read more... )
labingi: (ivan)
Thank you, Soseki Natsume-sensei for reminding me of what it's like to get lost in a really well-written book--and it feels like it's been a very long time. Kokoro, written in 1914, is a collection of three connected novellas, detailing the lives of a university student and a melancholy older man he assumes as a mentor. The translator's (Edwin McClellan) preface tells us that the dominant theme is loneliness, and I guess I wouldn't disagree. All three stories read as very real, very human, and fascinating depictions of the interplay between traditional Japanese culture and emerging western values in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Thoughts that actually don't have much in the way of spoilers )


labingi: (Default)

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