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Jumping into Day 11 with apologies for not doing the whole thing in order. I just don't have time to do the whole thing properly.

Day 11
In your own space, talk about a creator. Show us why you think they are amazing. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I think this means fan creator? I want to extol several.

The amazing [ profile] astrogirl2 is the one who introduced me to LJ-style fandom in 2004. I came across her site somehow in searching for Blake's 7 fandom and was captivated by the wonderful community (doing B7 and Farscape RPGs at the time). Astrogirl herself--still posting regularly on LJ and still with quite a following--has always been such an intelligent, balanced, caring, engaged fandom presence, as well as a dashed good fan fic writer. (Alas, we are no longer in the same fandoms, but my admiration remains.)

Apart from Astrogirl, I want to use this space to praise some of the amazing people who have brought Mirage of Blaze fandom into English because I have been revisiting Mirage with much enthusiasm lately.

One of the first Mirage fans I ever encountered was [personal profile] petronia, first on her website, later through LJ. I long considered her--and pretty much still consider her--a celebrity I am rather shy about talking to. As far as Mirage goes, it does not get better than her humorous summaries. Across the years, I find I would usually rather read her account of Kotarou being mistaken for [Spoiler] than read the original. She captures very much the tone of Mirage itself when it self-satirizes with just a nance more meta and comedy. Utterly delightful.

The most professional-like of the many wonderful people who have taken a stab at translating the 40 volume epic of Mirage is Asphodel. Check out her amazing site of Mirage and other translations, complete with giant glossary and numerous hyperlinked footnotes. She is still at it! She has been at it for ten years or more now. The going is slow. (This is not her day job.) But the product she posts is always exceptional.

Also an excellent and voluminous translator is [personal profile] quaint_twilight. She is no longer active on LJ or DW, which I totally understand but makes me sad. I miss her wonderful translations and her enthusiastic fan presence, and I applaud her for keeping her account active so that we can continue to access the fruits of all her hard work on Mirage.

Other folks who have put in many long hours of translating work include [ profile] 99me, [ profile] tasha_poisonous, and [ profile] demitas, as well as many others who have translated some wonderful bits in English and other languages--and round about 10 years ago, a whole host of people doing amazing multi-page meta. I can't name everyone, but I appreciate it all.

As for traditionally published creators, hands down the most influential in my life over the past eight-ish years or so is Yasuhiro Nightow. I must admit, I don't really relate to his latest work, Kekkai Sensen (3B), but both of his two major earlier works, Trigun and Gungrave, have been not only big fandoms of mine but have transformed my life. Each has been a means of profound revelation about myself, my patterns, and how I can better address my life. I am extremely grateful for that. It's a rare and precious gift.
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Reading over summaries of anime on Soul-Anime, I came across a fascinating summary of Gungrave, one of my favorites. I don’t know if this was written by one person or edited after the fact, but it feels like a quintessential example of what I think of as the “non-narratable,” that is, a story that is so outside our cultural conceptions of what’s possible that we lack the concepts to speak about it or really understand it. (I gleaned this term from narratology, but some quick reading up suggests my use has diverged from the more standard use.)

Here’s the summary:

Brandon Heat, a silent and passive man, is living a laid back life with his friends. He's got his eyes on Maria, but her uncle forbids their relationship. After the brutal murder of his friends and Maria's father, Brandon is on the run together with the only friend he has left—Harry McDowell. When he finds out custody over Maria has been taken by Millennion, the largest mafia syndicate in town, he and Harry decide to join the syndicate. He goes through many hardships after joining the syndicate but he is willing to risk everything as long as he can be close to Maria. The plot is more about the relationship between Brandon and Harry not as much about Brandon and Maria as the current plot is describing.
--From Soul-Anime

There are some factual errors here: Brandon and Harry do not decide to join Millennion directly because Maria is with Millennion. Harry decides to join because he is ambitious and sees it as a path to power. Brandon does join, in part, because Maria is there but also because Harry is joining. The story, as the last line notes, is more about Brandon and Harry than Brandon and Maria. Indeed, it is cardinally the story of the fall and reconciliation in Brandon and Harry’s friendship.

This writer knew that; they say in black and white that it’s more about Harry and Brandon. And yet the summary describes the story as about Brandon and Maria.Read more... )
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I have reviewed Gungrave at the Geek Girl Project. Now, I've written many abstruse posts on this series, but this is legitimate, basic review (with pictures), so if you'd like an overview of the anime, check it out!

The Review:

This month I’m an evangelist for Yasuhiro Nightow’s 2003 anime, Gungrave. Disclosure: this is one of my favorite stories ever, so your mileage may vary. Based loosely on the video game of the same name, Gungrave is a seinen anime following some thirty years of the relationship between two orphans, Brandon and Harry, who become best friends and join the mob together in a fantasy America, where tragic missteps ensue.

Gungrave has two distinct modes, which might be described as “video game” and “human drama.” In its video game mode, it has lots of “necrolyzed” people (i.e. zombies), who are in need of being shot. And at its dullest, it levels up through a series of boss battles that are probably more exciting to play than to watch. This is the weak side of Gungrave, but I, for one, can brush it off–because Gungrave is about the human drama, and the human drama is almost perfect. Spoilers follow for the basic story structure…

Read the rest at Geek Girl.
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Of course, it's not really my fan vid. I just lounged in my proverbial easy chair and made suggestions about clips while Demitas did all the work--she's amazing with timing, coloring, fading, etc. I'm quite proud of the final product: two years to vid 2 minutes.

Fandom: Gungrave
Song: "Friends" by Flight of the Conchords
Summary: Harry and Brandon: Friends
Genre: Comedy (in a Gungrave sort of way)

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Exhausted but have to write something about Trigun. Now that I've seen the whole anime, I understand why people have been telling me for years that it's awesome. It is; it just takes about a fourth of the series to get there. For anyone who has been as under a rock as me since 1998, the series is... hard to summarize without spoilers but about an action hero on Tatooine a desert planet grappling with moral problems. It starts as typically broad anime action-comedy (though the main female characters are never typical anime babes) and proceeds to become rather dark philosophical drama.

Thoughts & Spoilers )

Trigun and Christianity )

vs. Gungrave )
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Gungrave as an Asexual-Positive Text

The anime, Gungrave, offers a refreshingly balanced view of sex. While acknowledging sex as important, it is a rare example of a text that does not exaggerate the importance of sex within a healthy society. (Mind you, Gungrave in no way presents a healthy society, but its narrative stance does show healthy attitudes toward sex.) In addition to modeling balanced attitudes toward sex as an aspect of human society, the anime provides a strong asexual role model in the character of Brandon.

Spoilers Follow )
labingi: (riki)
I've finished my rewatch of Gungrave and am now feeling depressed and angsty for want of something to fan over. I have gotten some good suggestions though in comments to my previous post, and since my DVDs of the second half of Blood+ arrived today, I'll probably fan for a little while by rewatching some of that.

I think I've spent all my deep Gungrave thoughts for now except to say that every time I watch this show I see more structural resonances. Everyone pretty much foils everyone. The effect is to demonstrate with an enormous iterative weight how different people face the "same" conflicts but make different moral choices according to their personalities, backgrounds, and what all. Here are just a few pairs who act as foils for each other:

* Brandon/Harry
* Big Daddy/Harry
* Brandon/Big Daddy
* Brandon/Bear Walken
* Maria/Sherry
* Maria/Mika (a little)
* Brandon-Harry/Bear-Sid
* Brandon-Harry/Lee-Bob/Big Daddy-Jester
* Brandon/Bunji

In other viewing news, I'm in the midst of converting my old VHS tapes of Space Island One to DVD. I don't know why this show has been so totally forgotten. It may not have as much charisma as some other sci fi shows, but it's very solid and often very entertaining. I feel like I'm preserving a precious relic--though I note that it apparently is online. That's a comfort.
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The Gungrave rewatch continues with thoughts on Bunji's first showdown with Brandon. In a part of the series that is generally its weakest (the boss battles part), this episode elicits some very sound character and theme development.

Different Understandings of Betrayal--with Spoilers )

[Bunji side note: I love Bunji's response to Mika's shrieking at him, which is in essence, "Shut up, shut up, shut up!!! I'm going to unload twenty bullets in your general direction!" At no other point do I identify so deeply with Bunji.]
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Title: "Advantage"
Fandom: Gungrave
Characters: Tokioka, Brandon
Rating/Warnings: R for themes.
Summary: Tokioka spent thirteen years alone with an unconscious Brandon.
Genre: Humor, crack
A/N: I'm assuming the Land of the Yule is a parallel universe to ours close enough to have some of the same books, etc. Apologies if this fic comes off as homophobic in a Robert Holmesian vein. That's not my intent; it's just where the material went.

Advantage )
labingi: (riki)
Continuing the Gungrave rewatch, I have brief thoughts on Lee and how Harry (inadvertently) broke him.Spoilers )
labingi: (riki)
On watching Gungrave again. This must be my fourth or fifth time through, and as with the best stories, I’m still spotting new things--and am aware I’m missing others. Below the cut, Harry observations with rampant spoilers, including substantial Iliad comparison.

More Iliad Comparisons and Other Character Bits )
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It is time for a Gungrave post in honor of my latest rewatch. This time, another literary analogy, Gungrave’s intriguing echoes of Wagner’s Ring.

In particular, Brandon shares some notable themes with Brünnhilde. Both are highly skilled, powerful, moral people in the unenviable profession of bringing death to designated individuals. Despite their personal power, both are absolute servants to the will of the “Father.” Both come from a family/culture in which betrayal is the highest crime. Both are required to take lives they would rather save. Both run into conflict between their duty and their heart. Both fall from the grace of the family by following their hearts.Read more... )


Jan. 2nd, 2012 10:45 pm
labingi: (inu)
[ profile] ewans_gal_4ever put me onto YouTube's Epic Rap Battles of History videos. She recommended:

Kirk vs. Columbus, which I greatly enjoyed.

I also quite liked:

Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking
Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers

For Mirage of Blaze fans, a pretty picture of Nagahide by Jillia.

And a Naoetora video.

For Gungrave fans (I know 1 or 2 of you exist), an excellent Harry and Brandon vid.
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Rambles in which Gungrave and the Iliad are a central examples for thinky thoughts on the nature of narrative, archetype, modal displacement, history, and personality typing.

Now that I've lost all my readers...

Gungrave has made a whole lot more sense to me since I figured out that its theme can be summed up as Achilles and Patroclus if they broke up. Of course, Achilles and Patroclus don't break up. Why? This begs comparison between ancient Greek epic and contemporary seinen anime.

Enneagram, Wheel o' Modes, Nature of Tragedy, Tori Amos, with Spoilers )
labingi: (riki)
I've just finished rewatching Gungrave with [personal profile] sixish and must hold forth. Almost no one I know gives a flip about Gungrave, which is understandable given that the anime is based on a video game about shooting zombies, but it's a shame because it is not only one of the best anime I have ever encountered but possibly one of the best stories.

The Friendship Tragedy--Spoilers Follow )
labingi: (riki)
Title: "Brandon's Essay"
Fandom: Gungrave
Rating: PG for themes
Characters: Brandon
Spoilers: All but the very end of the anime
Summary: I don't know why Brandon would write these essays (except maybe the first for school), but apparently he did.
A/N: The other day, I spotted a post-it in my notes that said, "Brandon's essay," a reminder about a student's paper. But such is the nature of my mind that it immediately went to Gungrave. So here is Brandon's response to one of the scholarship essay prompts my students had to write on this term.

Prompt: Describe a challenge you've faced and what you learned about yourself.

Four Short Essays at Four Life Stages )
labingi: (Default)
Title: "Bondage"
Fandoms: Gungrave, Kino's Journey
Characters/Pairings: Brandon/Kino, Harry, Bunji
Rating/Warnings: R for sex, swearing
Summary: When Hermes breaks down, Kino is forced to find a job in a mafia-run country.
Disclaimer: I own nothing as usual.
A/N: I'd abandoned this story, but my latest trip through Gungrave inspired me to finish it up. Meanwhile, I'd cannibalized part of it for "The Hammer," so apologies to those who've read both for the repetition. Kino, at this point in time, is 23.

Bondage )
labingi: (riki)
I have been back in Gungrave headspace, all the more so as I've started to rewatch it with [personal profile] sixish. Gungrave is almost completely unficcable, but I had a song list revelation last night. Below the cut are some additions to my Gungrave songs, with a spot of explanation.

Vague Spoilers for Trajectory of the Series )
labingi: (riki)
Title: "The Hammer"
Fandom: Gungrave
Words: about 600
Characters: Brandon, Harry
Rating/Warning: PG-13 for angst, mild sexual humor, swearing
Summary: Brandon ponders Harry and their respective love lives.
Disclaimer: I do not own, only love.

The Hammer )
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 )


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