(All gifs are mine. They took forever and they’re Not Good, and I’ve developed such a massive appreciation for everyone who spends the time making these things.)
1. Root’s view of the universe (317)
scene perfectly encapsulates Root’s misanthropy. The idea that she presents
here is Camus’ Absurdism, which describes the conflict between the universe’s inherent
meaninglessness and our need to find a purpose. Camus argued that the only true
way to resolve this conflict is by embracing the Absurd – acknowledging the
chaos of the universe while defiantly searching for meaning anyway. This
episode, which is the springboard to Root’s redemption arc, concludes with Root
doing just that. The Machine gives Root’s life meaning, but She encourages Root
to make her own choices. Root also admits that she cares about Shaw, Finch and
even “the helper monkey.”
2. Shapes and symphonies (510)
Can you believe that Root discussed philosophy and metaphysics and made a joke about Shaw’s glorious
ass all during a lethal shootout? Legends only.
This entire speech was great, but I particularly like the lines in the
gif above. It’s such a contrast to Root’s previous thoughts about the universe
being “infinite and chaotic and cold.” Instead, she indicates that we forge our paths in the universe – which, as I discussed earlier, sounds very
similar to the idea of “embracing the Absurd.”
I also appreciate how meta this
line is. Root and Shaw, aren’t real, but they still mean everything to me, both individually and as a
couple. And even though they are no longer on our TV screens now that POI has
ended, we can still keep them alive in our imaginations through our fics, art, gifs
and so on.
3. Root’s newfound sense of belonging (510)
spent the majority of her life alone, shunning humanity. This moment in which
she admits to Shaw that she’s finally found a family and a sense of belonging
was hard-fought, which makes it all the more gratifying. She had to earn Team
Machine’s trust. She risked her life for them repeatedly and even endured brutal torture. But as she said, she
wouldn’t change any of it.
4. Root and the truth (301)
I loved Root from the moment that she pulled a gun on Finch in 123, but this is the scene where she became my favourite character of all time. This monologue is incredibly chilling and really conveys Root’s power. Her voice shakes from the thorazine that she’s being forced to take and from rage (at her confinement and at this psychiatrist, who easily fits her definition of bad code). It’s a tremendous performance by Amy Acker.
5. “Maybe someday” (411)
Prophets (405), Root says that a good end would be a privilege for her. Here,
she gets what she would probably feel is a “good end”. As Root knows that she is about to die saving
the world, all she wants is confirmation that there could be something between
her and Shaw someday. The way her face lights up at the mere possibility of them having a future
together absolutely breaks my heart.
As a general rule, I dislike flashbacks, because many of them stall the plot instead of moving it forward and are just plain boring. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Tips to help you create more interesting flashbacks…
1.Leave the reader intrigued. Flashbacks work in your favor when you use them to create suspense. Instead of flat out explaining something happening in the present, make the present more interesting by giving hints about things that are currently effecting the main story, while leaving some things to be revealed later.
2. Don’t just backtrack to backtrack. Anything worthy of a flashback should develop into something bigger and more interesting during the course of the main story. If you can remove the flashback from the story, and the story itself still makes sense and is just as suspenseful, your flashback shouldn’t be in the story to begin with.
3. Emotions are your best friend. If the flashback doesn’t create an emotional response in the reader, then you’re just using a lot of extra words to describe something that could have been better revealed through an intimate conversation between two emotionally vulnerable characters.
4. Keep it short. The reader should be intrigued by the flashbacks, but they should still be thirsty to return to the present time. Don’t linger for so long that they become detached from what’s going on in the actual story.
5. Think outside the box. Characters experiencing their past through dreams or memories is a typical way to introduce flashbacks, but there are many other, more versatile methods. Break up the flashback into single pages or a few lines at the begin of chapters or book parts? Tell the memory from a side character’s POV? Compare it with the memories of an ancient historical figure who experienced the same thing? Consider the effect a variety of unique methods might have on the reader’s interpretation of the flashback before committing to the more common ways.
Please keep in mind that this is my singular opinion on what makes me personally enjoy a flashback. My opinion is not the opinion of every reader or writer in the known universe; for that matter it might only be the minority opinion.
The most important rule is to flashback the way you enjoy flashbacking, if you feel the need to flashback in the first place. Don’t let my opinion persuade you otherwise.
really appreciate that the writers gave Shaw this outstanding sendoff. They could
have easily written Shaw out of the story to accommodate Sarah’s pregnancy by
having her leave for Barcelona with Tomas in 407, but it wouldn’t have been
true to her. Instead, Shaw chose to stay with the team and in particular, Root.
Shaw’s defining trait is her unwavering loyalty. So when the team found itself
in a dire situation, of course Shaw came to the rescue (and of course their
odds improved dramatically; Shaw is such a bamf). Shaw immediately understood
what needed to be done and didn’t even hesitate as she sacrificed herself for
her friends and for the world. Everything about this scene was hauntingly
beautiful – the blue tones, Root’s agony, the devastating music, the slow-mo,
and Shaw’s defiant smirk in the face of death. What a hero.
2. “You were my safe place.” (504)
I spent the entirety of this episode whispering variations of “I love you so much” and “Oh Shaw, my darling smol child.” Because we were deep in Shaw’s mind, we got to witness her at her most vulnerable. Her confession about Root being her safe place was so powerful, and, in addition to the fact that she killed herself 7053 times to keep Root safe, conveyed the profoundness of her feelings for Root.
3. “A good soldier does both.” (216)
This is essentially Shaw’s mission statement and summarizes her actions not just in Relevance (which is still the best character introduction I have ever seen), but throughout the show. Again, Shaw’s main quality is her loyalty. She is a soldier and will always do her job. However, she is also true to her friends. After completing her main mission (protecting the program), she avenged Cole. It’s striking to me that Shaw only killed Wilson, who had placed the hit on her and Cole and was therefore most directly responsible for the latter’s death. Shaw never takes lives needlessly.
There was an interesting parallel to this scene in 513 as well. Shaw temporarily put aside her hostility toward Blackwell to guard the Machine as She was dying, but found him later and killed him. Therefore, she both protected the program and exacted her revenge.
4. “The voices are there. You just have to listen.” (305)
This scene gave us insight into how Shaw feels things and emphasized that there is, in fact, nothing wrong with her. It was a lovely quote, and I was thinking about it heavily during the scene in 507 (QSO) when Shaw deciphered Root’s coded message hidden in the static. In that moment, Shaw quite literally listened to the faint static, and in turn, figuratively listened to her muted feelings. The fact that she quickly realized what 4AF meant indicated that she, like Root, had constantly been reminiscing about their last private conversation together before Shaw was captured.
One of the reasons why I think Root and Shaw’s relationship works so well is that Root recognizes that it has never been a question of “turning up the volume” on Shaw; rather, it’s simply about listening and encouraging Shaw to listen as well. It’s about Shaw tuning into the noise and hearing an underlying “symphony.”
5. “If you were a shape, you were a straight line. An arrow.” (513)
This was such a deeply moving message of unconditional love. POI celebrates Shaw for exactly who she is - an arrow. She is emotionally and operatively constant, unwavering in her purpose. She’s perfect, and I love her with everything I have.
Okay, so whether or not you agree with how subtle Leighton Grey & Co. went with representing Damien’s trans identity, his story arc/ending was a great, subtle way in representing the difficulties and nuances of performing vs. over-performing his gender (with Damien’s goth identity acting as a metaphor).
Damien feels “embarrassed” at showing a part of himself that isn’t stereotypically goth, like many trans people feel uncomfortable or up for ridicule if they showcase interests or present in such a way that is like their gender assigned at birth. He feels that in order to be validated, he needs to act as goth as he possibly can 24/7– like how trans people feel pressured to overperform their genders.
Even though his goth interests are a huge part of his identity, and he originally entered the goth subculture to make himself happy, he soon felt like the goth stuff was the most important thing about him.
The player character’s interest in Damien despite his “normal” behaviors is what causes him to reflect on WHY he felt the need to perform goth to such an extent, in a way that made him feel uncomfortable expressing parts of his real self.
Through this reflection (and not, may I note, the PC’s love alone), Damien concludes that he would live a fuller, happier life if he allowed himself to be a three-dimensional human being instead of just manifesting one character trait (goth, gender).
This is not a pitch-perfect metaphor– for many trans people, performing their gender “perfectly” is often a matter of life and death– but it is useful for those in the nonbinary/trans umbrella who feel the need to embody only masculine/feminine/androgynous/whatever traits in order to be respected as their gender (even if they’re in a relatively safe environment).
And it was just a really cool, subtle way to tie goth/trans stuff together???
Honestly, really good representation all around, in my humble opinion.
EDIT: tumblr user supergaysatan (who I can’t tag for some reason) pointed out this article on the difficulties of being both goth and trans, which adds a deeper layer to this analysis… just gotta figure out how to word it, and then I’m going to probably make another edit to add more thoughts no one asked for (but y’all should read it)
How do you spot someones dominant function in real life?
(Gif: James Norrington, PotC. ESTJ.)
It’s not easy in introverts, but the extroverts on the other hand…
Te-dom: direct, forward, authoritative, blunt and objectively logical. Tends to correct other people’s facts / logical fallacies without even thinking about it. (TeNi: inclined to talk about future outcomes and patterns; TeSi: more laid back and interested in present concerns and ‘how the world works’)
Fe-dom: warm, personable, and emotionally demonstrative; very forthcoming in their opinions, sometimes with a slight inference that you better agree. (FeNi: intense and focused on future patterns, inclined to immediately read behind-the-scenes or assert their intuitive conclusions as facts; FeSi: concerned with everyone’s present needs and sensory stability)
Se-dom: eager to experience everything life has to offer, inclined to follow new and interesting pursuits, change professions, jobs, etc; willing to ‘get physical’ and push people out of their comfort zones, emphasis on sensory pursuits (art, sports, fashion, global events, hobbies, experiences). (SeTi: detached, logical, but external warmth through Fe, a general desire to get along / willing to sacrifice to keep the peace; SeFi: more intense, driven to accomplish things, can express strongly disapproving Fi judgments from time to time.)
Ne-dom: excited to discuss abstract concepts (theories, psychology, religion, philosophy, etc) at length; inclined to rapid changes in mind / approaches; often argues both perspectives at once, as if they can see three different conflicting arguments at the same time; frequently reads too much into things / has strong instincts about people, but not always certain of the outcome so they seek “proof” to back up their suspicions. May have an opinion 100% different from the last time you spoke to them. Five hours ago. (NeTi: detached, logical, more interested in systems and concepts than people; NeFi: people-and-relationship centric, driven to accomplish things, can express strongly disapproving Fi-judgments from time to time)
And the introverts, which will take way longer, since they tend to ‘hide’ their introverted dominant function:
Ti-dom: detached, logic, with a desire to categorize or systematize everything, often emotionally laid back / unconcerned with causing offense in favor of digging into the truth. (TiSe: physically active and engaged, inclined to favor ONE specific point of view, developed over time; TiNe: incredibly abstract, vague, generalizing, curious about abstract concepts / theories.)
Fi-dom: sensitive and easily hurt, but private in their feelings; makes decisions based on personal values / ethics / how it impacts other people / animals. Finds it difficult to verbalize intense emotions, often finds it easier to ‘write them down’; not inclined to offer immediate emotional judgments on important things. (FiSe: physically active and engaged, inclined to have a singular focus and/or reach firm conclusions; FiNe: abstract, interested in intangible things / psychology / concepts / theories / etc, inclined to change their minds a lot and often second-guess themselves)
Si-dom: comfortable with routine, takes things at face value / tends to self-reference a lot (personal experience), can be sentimental or have an archetype way of looking at reality; not always comfortable with too much change, very good at catering to their own internal sensory needs / comforts, eager to involve their hands, somewhat frustrated by too-abstract things. (SiTe: focused, often good with practical / business ventures, detail-oriented; retains lots of facts, logical and direct in their assessments; SiFe: emotional, easily hurt, makes decisions on how it impacts people / animals, able to share their feelings in easily understood ways once they are ready)
Ni-dom: continually reads behind what is there / interested in high abstracting / theories / futuristic patterns, somewhat detached from sensory reality / poor at interacting with the sensory environment; inclined toward theories, asserting hidden truths as if they ‘know’; often disinterested in changing their mind after they have pondered on it and reached a conclusion. (NiTe: detached, logical, wants to get things ‘done’; sees things in terms of business / rationality; good at reciting logical things or giving facts to back up their arguments; NiFe: emotional and articulate in sharing their emotions, inclined to forming moral and ethical judgments, and trying to ‘figure out’ people’s motives)
Do you mind if I ask what's this anime you're talking about? Because so far from you you've blogged about I'm digging the lack of fanservice and moe face!
Hmm…. it depends on what you perceive as “the moe face” because that term is so nebulous and up to personal interpretation, unfortunately. I tend to define it as “characters looking much younger than their actual age, with typical anime style of drawing” not characters that are just as young as they’re drawn thus the designs are simply “cute” not “moe”. :v
In this case, I’m pretty sure you could enjoy:
LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA
It’s a very lighthearted show about a school for witches, that’s sure to give u a Harry Potter childhood nostalgia ;D. It actually feels exactly like a cross between this and Ghibli movies = cute, super cool action and absolutely no fanservice. Also female protagonists because that’s …. an all-girls school. The animation is so beautiful u want to eat it and the show is very funny but can be pretty emotional at times as well!
Addition: If you love Mabel Pines - you’ll love Akko - the main character, as well!!
MOB PSYCHO 100
There’s also Mob Psycho 100 which… hmm I personally wouldn’t say qualifies as “cute” at all, unless some specific scene calls for it (mostly as a joke lmao).
Extremely good animation - seconded! It’s not only insanely fluid but also uses SUCH UNIQUE TECHNIQUES, Yes you’re gonna see full sequences made via paint on glass or charcoal, pencil etc. This is… kinda an action show but it’s ABOUT action, it’s central theme is kindness. However unlike in other shows with the same theme it doesn’t feel forced. It’s so natural and all characters are so real and you’ll end up loving them all! This show’s not only super hilarious but it brought me to tears more than once… I’ve never seen anything so accurately showcasing character’s emotions through just the visuals.
So yea it basically has it all: almost no romance, amazing plot, animation and characters, humor!
Additional bonus if you’re a Gravity Falls fan: it has a conman character with a hidden heart of gold that actually cares about the main character that’s a middle school kid = so if u love Stan, you will love him! :D
Well, I’ve already talked about why this show is great [HERE]!
Then there’s a show that’s pretty heavy and entirely psychological, meant for the mature audience. - and yes there’s no fanservice here either. If u dig diving into twisted mysteries that make you question what’s real and what’s a figment of the character’s tortured psyche’s - Paranoia Agent is the show for you.
^^^ extremely creepy in context/paired up with the soundtrack = the intro is characters laughing in dangerous/deadly situations… the song is sickeningly joyous… you see nuclear bomb exploding, flood, war… and they laugh
It deals with so many kinds of mental illness or very serious horrible situations life puts us in, that make us feel trapped, absolutely lost. It can get VERY visually abstract and this gets more prominent as the show goes on so I won’t post any screencaps of this to not to spoil too much.
The best thing is that despite dealing with very dark matters… the show does allow the viewer to draw some positive lessons from it. So you won’t just feel crushed after all that heavy stuff going on, more like… enlightened, emotional and utterly fascinated. I think it’s most helpful for someone with suicidal thoughts.
I’m yet to see enough anime to make a comprehensive list of those “safe to watch”. I realize there are way more out there but I’ve decided to only talk about those I’ve seen personally.
But in general other movies made by Satoshi Kon (who made Paranoia Agent) are just like that show so go watch them too! Just as all of the Studio Ghibli movies are very fun, beautifully made, devoid of “moe face” and esp fanservice since this company is kinda like the Japanese Disney = keeps stuff kid friendly (but still some of the movies really do deal with heavy real-life matters like war or destruction of the environment! so it still stays very intellectually satisfying).
Other shows to consider:
Terror in Resonance: The designs are one foot in the moe and one in a more grounded style so it’s for you to decide if this sits right with you. There’s not really any fanservice except one scene where a female characters simply takes a bath, it’s not sexualized… but u can see the boobs so… yeaa be vary of that. But overall it’s a fast-paced mystery-driven show about serious matters such as terrorism, childhood trauma, how WWII affected the Japanese society and so on… Plus it has really really unique and great soundtrack! It ranges from fast-paced jazz to stuff resembling Sigur Ros… (and I love this character on the right so much > . <)
This is, a very chill show about a group of friends hanging out and solving small mysteries in their school and outside of it. The mysteries aren’t that important but still they got this kind-of Sherlockian vibe? (later on those books are referenced just as Christie’s). The mysteries are fun but most of all it’s about watching these high schoolers grow as people. I mean that’s not the most ambitious premise but trust me, this is incredibly pleasant to watch, it always made me feel so relaxed, at ease. It’d say it’s quite beautiful! And yeah the design is meant to be cute and typical “anime style” but, uh, characters look their age (I suppose) so in my opinion that’s not moe.
One could argue they got just one “fanservice episode” but I personally disagree - I mean if just simply showing characters going to a swimming pool and one wearing bikini… and the guy who has a crush on her getting subtly flustered at her getting close is fanservice??? then probably all of the healthy romance is. Idk to me it wasn’t over the top but very natual and tasteful. Plus this show isn’t romance focused - rather is centred strongly around friendship and opening to others.
I’ve started this show recently, I’m 6 episodes in and so far there’s been no fanservice and I wouldn’t say the style is the typical “moe”(… but it kinda is… it’s complicated: character design is moe but how they are handled isn’t), esp if u take a look at how original the environment where the battles take place looks!
Beware though - it can get pretty bloody and the show spirals into darkness further and further as it proceeds… straying continuously from the usual cutesy “magical girl anime” tone (=it’s not afraid to brutally kill off its characters)
Queer Self-Presentation and Burlesque Auto-Sexuality in Yuri Plisetsky’s “Welcome to the Madness”
PHEW! It’s finally ready for ya!
Thanks to everyone for patiently waiting. I was overwhelmed with the response to my teaser post about this meta. I’m sorry it took so long to finish… I had to write the academic version for class, then rewrite it to be tumblr-appropriate (I’m still not sure that it is, constructive criticism is welcome!)
I’m hoping that this will contribute to the ongoing conversation about underage characters in fandom, and am looking forward to your asks. I’m a little nervous to be tossing my hat into the Otayuri discourse, but I hope I won’t catch too much hate.
I took out footnotes but included the bibliography at the end. If you have any questions about specific references, send me an ask or DM :)
our gender identities do not exist on a binary and neither do our personalities. it’s okay if your personality, interests, and presentation don’t seem to 100% ‘go together’. people are complicated, we’re allowed to like and be many things. you don’t have to sacrifice or deny one aspect of yourself because it seems to be the opposite of another. let yourself be complicated and accept your own individuality. even though some parts of you may not seem to fit with others, they still manage to form something amazing–you.