I love the comparison between these two scenes because as small of a detail as it is

Jean’s Minimized Role in the Most Recent Chapters and Some Predictions About Where his Character Will Go from Here

Chapter 83. Jean reacting to Cartman’s sudden appearance while Mikasa fires a warning flare in the background.

I really should just change my blog title to long-ass-Jean-metas-unlimited.

So this is not exactly a timely meta: perhaps I shouldn’t dredge up chapter 84 and the “serum bowl” after the fandom seems to have finally recovered (I wasn’t really here as it was happening: I had just caught up with the series and was lurking xD). This post doesn’t touch on any part of the main controversy though, so no need to fear! I was just looking back through some of the more recent chapters for a completely unrelated project and I was reminded of a few observations I had about Jean’s (rather limited …) reactions to the events of that rooftop. I guess I can make this a timely meta by looking ahead to how Jean’s character might develop further as the narrative continues on–although the four-year timeskip makes me feel a little unmoored when discussing characterization. Who are the 104th now? I guess we’ll find out next month! *crosses fingers* 

I’m one part excited and two parts terrified to see adult!Jean.

Jean’s kind of a hard character for Isayama to come to grips with, I think: on the one hand, Isayama’s created a very human character with a complex personality who undergoes realistic growth. He clearly likes Jean and has invested a lot of thought into his portrayal. On the other hand, Isayama just can’t decide if Jean’s a main character or not. Case-in-point: the serum bowl. Although Jean is a compelling presence throughout the Uprising, the lull after the Uprising, and the Battle for Shiganshina, he only gets about four reaction panels in the serum bowl–the same amount as Connie, who, for all that I love him, is significantly less important to Attack on Titan in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, all of these panels are quite small–I had to zoom in quite a bit to get a good look at his expressions, which are actually very detailed, despite their size.

Isayama’s choice to minimize Jean’s presence here doesn’t quite make sense to me, especially because Jean’s best friend Armin’s life is on the line. Jean’s reaction is so in character and recalls the scene where he finds Marco’s body after the battle of Trost; considering all the other parallels between the Trost and Shiganshina arcs, I think Isayama could have spent more time capitalizing on this particular link and I wonder why he didn’t. Futhermore, in a departure from tradition, Jean doesn’t have much to say post-”serum bowl”; perhaps he is subdued and still processing, but Isayama usually includes more Jean in an arc wrap up, and it makes me a bit nervous that he chose not to this time. 

However, as much as this sidelining of Jean during these crucial moments is worrying, I think Jean will still be an important character in the final arc based on some of the events immediately proceeding the serum bowl!

More under the cut!

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Malik Ishtar's Relationship with Atem After Battle City (Character Analysis)

So something I realized about Kazuki Takahashi’s work is that Takahashi is very fond of giving away a lot of background information on characters from very small details. Many of these details are only seen in one or two panels out of an entire page, but give away ample information about a character.

One very good example of attention to detail is Malik’s kohl. In the manga, Malik never wore kohl as a child. It was only after the ritual that Malik walked out of the chamber wearing the kohl. Given that his father wore kohl in the same way, we can gather that this style of wearing kohl is only allowed by the leader and heir of the Ishtar Clan. By way of giving Rishid the right to wear his kohl, Malik is showing that he holds Rishid in extremely high regard as both a member of the Ishtar family and as his right-hand man. All of this information was gathered only by just looking at a few individual panels. Admittedly, this one took me three reads through the manga to actually pick up on it. These details are important to these characters, but can also be easy to miss.

So where am I going with this?

I believe that there are hints in the manga and anime to indicate that Malik Ishtar does not truly wish to be friends with Atem and the rest of the group. The fandom is very quick to assume that Malik became a completely “good” person after Yami no Malik no Jinkaku was banished and that now he’s all about the “friendship.”

My analysis is here to offer a different perspective on this belief. As it stands from my analysis, there is no canonical basis in the original Japanese for Malik to desire genuine friendship with Atem.

I’d like to draw attention to Malik Ishtar in this scene.

Notice that everyone else in this scene are either crying, looking on in dismay, have their eyes shut, or are looking elsewhere. Take a look at Malik’s expression in comparison to everyone else.

While everyone else is trying to cope with the eventual loss of a friend, Malik looks completely neutral. He is staring directly ahead at Atem’s back as Atem is walking through the door.

In addition, Isis and Rishid are bowing their heads out of respect while Malik is not. Even while Malik is the leader of the Ishtar Clan, he is still considered a servant of the Pharaoh. The fact that he’s directly staring at Atem without showing regard to hierarchy is very interesting to note.

This could imply Malik’s blasphemous attitude (similar to how he made illegal copies of Ra knowing that it would be disrespecting the Gods) or just a general lack of respect for Atem.

Later on, in these panels, you see everyone staring at Atem as he’s heading through the door. Malik is included in this scene. This means that while everyone else was looking elsewhere or pleading with Atem not to leave, Malik was watching Atem’s back in silence the entire time.

This leads me to wonder, just what the hell was going through Malik’s mind during this scene?

Knowing that Kazuki Takahashi loves putting in small details to give insight into characters, I assume that showing Malik as the only person continuously staring at Atem’s back has to be a deliberate choice on his part and could possibly be significant to Malik’s character. The expression on his face isn’t happiness or sadness. To me, it resembles something close to intense scrutiny or seriousness. It could mean that he’s very neutral towards Atem? Perhaps Malik wants to burn this image into his memories for his own purposes? After all, Atem’s death is important to being the final step in freeing the tombkeepers of their servitude to the him.

I am also drawn back to this brief exchange between Malik and Atem after the events of Battle City.

Just for transparency purposes, I will include the VIZ translation:

VIZ Version:

Marik: Pharaoh and Yugi… If you ever visit the Land of Egypt… I hope you will see us again. This time as friends.

Atem: We will!

Now, this sentiment implies that Malik wants to be friends with Atem. VIZ even overemphasized this by literally putting the word “friends” in bold in the manga. However, this is off from the Japanese in the original. VIZ definitely took some liberties with their translation to emphasize the theme of friendship. In addition, Malik says “if” here as if to imply that he’s not sure whether or not Atem will need to visit Egypt to put his soul to rest. This situation is one of those times in which the original nuance was very much needed to capture the full context of the situation.

Here is a more accurate translation:

Malik: Pharaoh…and Yuugi… When the time comes for you to visit the Land of Egypt… At that time…I hope that we can accompany you as friends.

Atem: Of course!

The first thing I want to note here is that Malik has certainty in the original Japanese. He knows that Atem will eventually have to return to Egypt and that he and his siblings will have to help him be put to rest at that point.

I’d also like to point out the use of the word 「仲間」 (なかま) or “nakama” in this phrase. This is important to note because instead of using 「友達」(ともだち) or “tomodachi,” he instead uses a word that can be seen as lacking intimacy. While 「仲間」 can mean “friend,” it is also often times associated with “colleague,” “associate,” or “fellow.” Coupling that with “I hope that we can accompany you” is actively putting himself below Atem in speech which is something he has never done before.

So, what is my point here?

I think Malik’s statement in the original Japanese was purely political in nature. It was an offer of truce. Now, could that allude to friendship in the future? Possibly. However, in the context here, Malik is simply saying that he will no longer pursue Atem and that their goals are now aligned. Malik will fulfill the rest of his duties as tombkeeper to help Atem to the Afterlife.

Even if Malik was implying friendship, I will note the “when the time comes” for emphasis. He is putting a time limit on when they can become friends. Basically, he’s saying, “When I know you’ll come to Egypt to die, then we can become friends for the time being.” Either way, the implication is that Malik is not necessarily trying to make friends with Atem or his buddies. He was just being polite and recognizing that he should return the favor to help Atem since the Pharaoh spared his life.

To really drive this point home, we also have this panel with Anzu.

Again, here is the VIZ translation:

Anzu: “The souls of mortals all have a place to return to.” That’s what Ishizu said… Does the Pharaoh have to return to Egypt?

I get the feeling that there isn’t much time left… Oh, Yugi…

Again, my issue with the VIZ translation is that Anzu is still puzzled over whether or not the Pharaoh will have to eventually return to Egypt. By making her and Malik both seem unsure, the time limit and certainty are diminished and Malik just appears as if he’s offering friendship to Atem.

Here is a more accurate translation:

Anzu: Egypt… The place where the Other Yuugi has to return. That’s what Isis-san had said. The Land of Egypt…

Mou… There’s not much time left… Yuugi…

In this translation, Anzu knows that Isis had mentioned Egypt. She knows that Atem and Yuugi will have to eventually go to Egypt. With both Malik and Anzu being aware of this, Malik’s statement becomes much more calculated and neutral.

Now, I’d like to go back to the Ceremonial Duel with all of this in mind.

One last thing I’d like to note is Malik’s extreme lack of participation during the Ceremonial Duel.

This is Isis and another tombkeeper explaining to Atem that the Millennium Items must be set in the Stone Tablet of Memories after everyone is inside of the temple.

This is Isis explaining to Atem that since he’s lost the Ceremonial Duel, the Eye of Wadjet has seen the truth of the Pharaoh’s soul and he’s ready to pass into the Afterlife. She also instructs him to speak his name to the door.

Even as they’re walking down the steps into the temple, Isis is taking a clear lead over the rest of the group while Malik is notably behind her and a few of the others.

Hell, the only time Malik speaks during this entire duel is to point out that Yuugi might possibly lose to Atem.

Malik: No way…! If the God attacks, Yuugi will take 3000 points of damage! The duel will be over!

I think this particular panel is interesting because Malik clearly looks panicked. It becomes very evident that he wants Yuugi to win the duel.

What I’m wanting to illustrate is that Malik is very silent throughout the entire duel and the only time he speaks up is when Yuugi looks like he’s about to lose. Considering how many lines the other characters get during this duel, there was a definite purpose to giving Malik only one line here. By only giving him one line, it places emphasis on the one line he does say. It’s especially interesting given how we know that Malik is not usually one to be reserved in his speech.

I also find it very strange at how Malik is allowing Isis to handle everything at this stage. Malik is the head of the Ishtar Clan. It’s namely his duty to see to it that the Pharaoh’s soul is sent to the Afterlife. While Isis is also a tombkeeper, I still find it odd that Malik would give her all of the responsibility to explain rules of the rite that he already knows on his own. This gives off the impression that Malik is not properly performing his duty as head of the clan and is pushing his responsibility onto Isis. Yes, he showed up to the event, but he’s not doing the work involved. It’s like a kid showing up to school, but not doing any of the classwork.

Even in the anime, we have this scene where Isis and Malik are meeting up with the group to inform Atem about the Rite of the Duel. There is also this emphasis on letting Isis do most of the talking.

The only line Malik gives in this scene leading up to the boat ride is the line in the subtitles of the above image. Then, they both turn to each other and give mutual nods before Isis explains more details. It seems to imply that Malik and Isis have already discussed how they would share the information and he’s giving her full authority to explain things on his behalf. It is also very telling that the only line he gives in this scene relates to their duties being over which implies a vested interest on that topic.

Perhaps in both the anime and manga, Malik is wanting to wipe his hands clean of the ordeal and is just letting Isis handle the rest of the work? He just showed up to watch Atem pass on to tie up the loose ends? It really calls the amount of respect he holds for the Pharaoh into question.

From what I can draw from my analysis is that Malik Ishtar doesn’t necessarily want Atem as his friend post-Battle City. He may play cordial and work towards a common goal, but he’s clearly there with his own agenda. That agenda is to see to it that Atem gets to the Afterlife and end his own duties as a tombkeeper. In that sense, I feel that Malik may even feel entitled to Atem’s death because without Atem crossing over into the Afterlife, Malik and his family cannot end their duties. They are bound by the Gods to serve Atem and Malik does not want that life for them anymore. This causes me to ponder a rather decent question:

While Malik has withdrawn blaming Atem for the murder of his father, does Malik still dislike Atem for the pain that the Pharaoh’s family has caused him and his people?

Is this question something that Kazuki Takahashi purposely left ambiguous for the fans to decide on their own?

now I think the whole point is that even though he is cruel he is still loved

I just finished my last re-watch of the series before *~the final~*, just so I could finish my thoughts on everything before knowing how the ending will to turn out. I spent this rewatch really focusing on Yurio, since I felt like I didn’t understand him as fully as I am supposed to.

And I guess I should just share my thoughts now! Before tomorrow comes and then it’s too late for me to have an opinion on anything!

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The curious ASIB opening scene

And a really wild theory.

I have seen many people (myself included) confused by the the way events take place in the opening of A Scandal in Belgravia, so I decided to watch extremely thoroughly and then try to make some sense.

This meta is about three things:

  1. The weird timing of the events when the client of the hiker’s case arrived at Baker Sreet.
  2. The curious case of what the heck is going on with John.
  3. Two particularly interesting details that led me to the wild theory (and let’s be honest, this is mostly the reason I’m writing this.)

I didn’t want to write about each of them seperately, because they are connected. 

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Let's talk some more about the tarmac scene.

Can we just take a minute to realize that regardless of what was actually said, even if Sherlock was setting up the joke the whole time (I mean, that’s not really the case, but let’s play pretend for now), we were supposed to expect some sort of declaration here. They intentionally shot this scene to make everyone, the audience and John himself, assume a huge emotional reveal was coming up.

If they wanted to they could have set this scene up to look like nothing more than two best friends saying goodbye to each other for quite possibly the last time. Think, for example, of the scene in The Return of the King when Frodo leaves Middle Earth. That scene is heartbreaking and it makes me cry no matter how many times I’ve watched it. But you don’t watch it and expect some big romantic gesture between Frodo and Sam; it does not come across as a romantically charged goodbye scene. It’s simply two best friends who know they probably won’t ever see each other again. I’m no where near talented enough to explain the minute details of the differences between these scenes, but in my own amateur opinion, it just feels completely different. 

The tarmac scene, on the other hand, as we all know is basically a carbon copy of Casablanca. But let’s talk about another comparison. This scene is almost identical to the Doctor and Rose’s goodbye scene in Doomsday.

  • After some small talk, the one being left behind doesn’t know how to continue the conversation. “I can’t think of what to say” / “I can’t think of a single thing to say”. Not because there isn’t anything to say, but because there’s too much. When you have just two minutes to say goodbye to the person you love most in the world, where do you start?
  • Then we have the Doctor telling Rose that she gets to have the “one adventure I can never have” and Sherlock assuring John that “the game is never over” even if Sherlock won’t be there to play it anymore. They try to make sure they understand that their lives aren’t over just because they won’t have their daft alien/consulting detective to look over anymore. Because the very last thing they want is the ones left behind to stagnate without them.
  • Then comes the question. Rose asks “What are you going to do now?” while John wonders “So what about you then, where are you actually going now?” Because they know how much they need companions. Someone to hold their hand or make them tea. And the thought of them being alone is almost worse than the pain they are feeling for themselves.
  • And then of course… The emotional climax, the moment that has been building not just for the last few minutes, but for seasons. “And I suppose, if it’s my last chance to say it…” / “There’s something I should say. I meant to say always and never have. Since it’s unlikely we’ll ever meet again, I might as well say it now”. It’s so obvious what that next line is, but in neither case do we actually get to hear them say it. One runs out of time, the other deflects with a bad joke.

All I’m saying is that no one ever questions what the Doctor was going to say to Rose Tyler. Rose knew what those unspoken words were, and so did we. And it seems silly that even though their conversations are almost completely identical, people say that it’s absurd to think that a declaration of love was what Sherlock always wanted to say. And if it was just a big set up for the punch line, why make it so romantically charged? Surely there were other ways to deliver a similar joke that would not have been so obviously an aborted love declaration. Unless, of course, it was done so we can see just how obvious their feelings really are.

Mofftiss are intelligent and talented enough to make us feel and experience things the way they want us to. So, the logical conclusion is that they want us to expect “I love you.” 

Arrow - 3x2 - Sara

Sorry I haven’t done this sooner guys, but this is my second time writing this, since Tumblr froze on the first one.

This was a particularly difficult episode for me to watch considering anyone that follows me knows how firmly invested I am in three characters on Arrow: Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle. These are the characters that I connect with. They draw me in each week and I eagerly anticipate each and every opportunity to see them. Without that investment, a show falls flat. Because action alone is not enough to sustain my viewership. So imagine my surprise when I was unable to connect emotionally with my beloved characters during this episode that was developed to be so emotionally charged. It was as if I didn’t know these people I was watching. It seemed everyone was out of character, except for Felicity Smoak.

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Napoleon/Bottom!Illya Smut - You’re Welcome!

Rating: Explicit / NC-17

Pairings: Napoleon/Illya

Warnings: (slight) D/s dynamics, edging/orgasm denial, soft bondage (handcuffs and blindfolds), Napoleon being a little shit, virgin!Illya insinuated, slight PWP

Word Count: 5.7k

Links: AO3

Summary: Does it need to have a summary? - Napoleon has some fun with his favorite Russian. The end!

Teeny Tiny “Epilogue”/ Extra Scene Thingy


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