reflections arc

The Adventure Zone expectations:
- standard fantasy with elves, dwarves, and such
- lots of just back-and-forth battles with dice
- just four guys talking, not serious characters
- something fun to listen to while I do crafts and stuff

The Adventure Zone reality:
- a complex plot with well-fleshed out main characters
- hilarious moments in and out of character
- lovable NPCs like Angus MacDonald
- floating moonbases, Mad Max style road races, murder mysteries on trains
- Groundhog’s Day style time loops
- inter-dimensional/space travel??
- a running gag where a more competent woman appears and saves them
- many of the competent women are lesbians
- well-paced and authentic romantic subplots between those women
- literally pacing around my room while I listen because it’s SO GOOD
- ”Okay, I’m bored of this fight. I’m going to turn into a T-Rex.”
- very few black and white moral issues, just people trying their best
- wildly tragic backstories played with very genuine emotion
- killer soundtrack that changes styles to reflect each arc

instagram

Gorgeous series of Aurora Borealis arcs over Tromsø, Norway - and I think based on the waves that all these clips are real time.

There totally needed to be a time jump at some point because 5 or 6 years of this living situation would have gotten boring, but I was hoping it would happen mid-season 5. Now I’m just praying that we get copious amounts of flashbacks. Because there is so much stemming from this setup that I want to see play out.

I want to see Clarke finding Maddie and taking her under her wing. I want to see them relying on each other for company and finding a way to survive the post-apocalyptic wasteland. I want to see Clarke develop into an adopted mother.

I want to see Gaia and Octavia spending more time together and becoming friends rather than rivals, so Indra can be a mother to them both without conflict. I want to see Gaia and Indra growing back together, more emotional hugs plz. I want to see Octavia flourish into a confident leader under Indra’s tutelage. I want to see this Miller/Jackson dynamic play out and find out if it is indeed as gay as it looks. I want to see Niylah banging caring for Octavia and being a touchstone of emotional support.

I want to see Echo and Emori adjusting to life in space and bonding over their shared experience of feeling like outsiders this season yet being brought into the fold. I want to see Emori and Raven become the disabled WoC besties they should be. I want to see Murphy and Raven continue to mend their relationship - it was one of the most interesting dynamics this season. And I want to see Bellamy and Murphy finally bury the hatchet. 

I want to see Raven and Bellamy working together as the new head/heart combo, leading the space squad like he and Clarke led the delinquents. I want to see Echo win back Bellamy’s trust. I want to see her open up to characters other than him, and I want to see her embrace her own humanity instead of suppressing it. I want to see Echo allowing herself to love and be loved. I want Becho. But more importantly, I want to see Becho develop.

I want Monty and Murphy to become buddies. I want Harper to develop relationships with people other than Monty and Bellamy. She has such a big heart and I want to see her share it with others who have suffered. Raven was also drilled at Mount Weather. Echo was hung from her ankles and drained of her blood in the harvest chamber, stuffed in a cage for god knows how long. Harper can relate to both of them. And I want to see her and Emori become friends, because Emori is a smol puppy who deserves all the love in her life she can get. I want Marper and Memori to be like the neighborhood couples that barbecue together and shit.

I want more and more and more development for Harper and Echo and Emori. They are three female characters who were introduced as potential love interests and could have been one offs, but were brought back. And I am so glad they were, because each of those characters had her most prominent season yet and they were, in my opinion, three of the most interesting characters in season 4. They all had these self-reflective arcs where they had to deal (to some extent) with the trauma they have suffered and grow from it. But there is so much more growing to do, so much more pain to be addressed and worked through. I want the three of them to finally be happy and feel safe and loved. I want Chelsey and Tasya and Luisa to become regulars (credited ones, in the opener) in season 5, moving beyond love interest guest star status. They were all fucking fantastic this season and they deserve it.

And I want space babies.

so much moon pony…

Anyway, I did this mainly to have more images of mirror verse Luna for roleplaying icons. And nightmare was because I couldn’t resist the temptation of drawing her on the style from the comics so… I know some proportions and parts of her are not so well drawn… but anyway…

Have a good dosis of Moonbutt goodness with some extra Nightmare.

Ok so, I'm gonna tell a few things about jjba's part 5 for anime only watchers

I’ll avoid spoilers and won’t be mentioning names. I’m just gonna write down some things about this part’s overall feel. Here we go…

- part 5 is dark. When i say that, its not that this jojo part is completely sad or edgy, but the story, context and situations that the characters have to face are not light hearted. It feels like the opposite of part 4 in that aspect.

- Also opposing part 4, part 5 is fast paced and extremely dynamic. There are no filler arcs. It is a heavily battle focused manga and most characters give their all in fights, risking their own lives all the way. There are no cowards in this part of jojo and all the characters oozes badassery and have “manly” moments.

- It has some of the most awesome stand battles and stand abbilities in the whole jojo franchise. And many of those battles happens on board of moving vehicles, which symbolizes the fast paced story arcs.

- none of the characters is moraly good or pure. Its not that the main crew is made of bad people, but people who won’t hesitate to do hideous things in order to achieve their goals.

- the word “resolve” and the criticism of the “ results are the only thing that matters ” are key ideas brought up in this part. Also they bring the concept that nobody is able to overcome their fate or choose their own origin, but everyone has the ability to use the time they have in this world to try and accomplish great things despite the horrifying and unavoidable destiny that awaits them in the end of the road.

- jojo part 5 has one of the best written main crew of characters in an rpg plotline of a shonen manga. Im not even kidding, they put the crusaders to shame. Speaking of stardust crusaders, vento aureo does everything sdc did but way better and in a more interesting way. The cast of villains feels deep and memorable and the main characters form a way more balanced team with better bonds, personality and backstories.

- the fights in this part are really extreme but its not only that what makes the stand fights in part 5 so memorable. Its the fact that, for the first time in jojo, both the villains and the main characters do not fear death and they wont hesitate to kill the enemy. Also, some of the most dangerous fights in this jojo part are solved with double battles, being the duo made of the main crew, the villains or both at the same time with an example of a four way battle at one point of the series.

- its in this part that araki goes full fabulous with both the characters design and their fashion. He wanted to make the characters the most androgenous and bishounen-ish possible to convey what was popular among manga readers back in the days of vento aureo’s publication. The feminine designs of the main characters form an interesting contrast with how brutal they actually are. So the characters for this part are mostly androgenous and have no chill. Also the homoerotic jokes and scenes you missed since sdc? They are back here but in contexts you would never expect.

- shit hits the fan pretty quickly in vento aureo and each arc is well tied up with the arcs before and after it. It will make vento aureo a difficult part to adapt for anime and its gonna be challenging for david production to set the pacing for the main story just right.

- araki wrote this part of jojo during a hard time of his personal life, so the dark and sad aspects of this story arc reflects his state of mind during those days. But araki revealed, years after completing this part, that he decided to write off a good chunk of the story he had planned because he couldnt get himself to draw such heavy handed scenes. He decided that he wouldnt let the characters go through all the pain he first planned to do and felt that those characters helped him overcome his emotionally broken state of mind back then.

- overall, this jojo part is really great. Dont listen to people who sounds unexcited about it and claims that part 5 is the worst one. Vento aureo is the jojo part that has suffered the most thanks to bad scans and translation. The fact that there’s still no complete well translated version of this jojo part around the web doesnt help people who read it for the first time without proper guidance. Most of the mixed opinions on part 5 comes due to bad unnoficial translations, which made this part of jojo seen as underated or even controversial by the western fandom. Vento aureo is the second most popular and beloved jojo part in japan, only second to the ever hyped stardust crusaders. If we westerns have had the experience of reading this part well translated from the begining, it would be one of the most popular among the non asian fandom as well.

- if you are an anime only watcher and will wait for a vento aureo anime to come out so you can watch it blind, i recommend that you keep in mind that this part is a wild ride. If part 4 felt like a pleasant picinic at a park, part 5 feels like a roller coaster of death. Keep that in mind and take a deep breath before starting when the anime comes out.

And now im out. Bye~

The regal line of succession in the world of Hamilton got a heck of a lot more complicated the other week. That’s when Brian d’Arcy James put himself back under King George III’s crown — making him not only the first person to play the monarch in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical back when it debuted Off Broadway, but now the latest actor to play the character in its smash Broadway run.


[…]


Not much changed in terms of his songs or the way he plays the character, said d’Arcy James, who also appeared recently in Netflix’s buzzed-about series 13 Reasons Why. But what has changed is the feeling inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the kind that comes after tremendous buzz, countless fans (celebrities and otherwise), and a slew of accolades. “The context is different because people were just starting to discover it [when I was in the show at the Public Theater] and sense it becoming what it has become back then, both in the cast and in the audience. And now, it’s undeniable, and it’s such a phenomenon and you can feel a different kind of vibe in the house when you start the show.”


He’s also performing alongside a different cast this time around, including Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart (the former Genie in Broadway’s Aladdin), who began his Hamilton run as the Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson on the same night d’Arcy James re-donned his King George robes.


“I’m in awe of this cast,” the three-time Tony nominee said. “I’ve been away from it long enough to have completely fresh eyes on the show and I’m just like anybody else. When I watched the show before I came back in, just to get primed to go back in, I was astounded by everyone’s performances. There’s such intricacy and there is such power and physicality coming from everybody in that cast that I have this great opportunity to just slide in [during] the show — I have my little things, my little surgical strikes if you will, and then I can just watch everybody do the extraordinary things they’re doing.”


And as the newly crowned (and also original) king across the sea, d’Arcy James was able to see the show’s success from off-stage, while still an integral part of the musical’s origin story. Asked to reflect on that arc, he said, “The first thing that comes to mind is a sense of pride in having been there. After that, there’s the sense of knowing the journey that cast took was so extraordinary and to watch it evolve from outside rather than inside is an interesting perspective — knowing what the work was, because the work didn’t change, and everybody’s putting all their effort into making the show as good as it can be. What changed was all of the people that would come and give it this air of being something different — a destination. Getting the stamp from senators and heads of state and icons in the entertainment industry, rock and roll legends, pop singers, all those people that were coming — the gravy, the gravy was fun to see and imagine what that was like. I got a little bit of that at the Public, and mind you, this is just the fun stuff. Because like I said, the work is the work, but the experience of sharing that with people that you admire and adore is a different thing altogether. And thankfully, that continues too. So I guess that’s my take on it was it was fun to watch my friends get to experience the biggest birthday party every night for however long they were there.” […]

anonymous asked:

This may be a weird ask but what did you think of the VFX used for Wanda's powers in Civil War compared to Age of Ultron? Was there any reason given as to why it was changed?

For reference:

In Age of Ultron, it’s aiming for ethereal. You can see the energy going up her wrists and out of her fingers in delicate lines. It has a smoky quality, and sometimes, it covers her hands. Towards the end, we get her starting to remote control things with balls of light, which is what she does in CW.

In Civil War, you can’t see the magic inside her body. It’s more something she’s working with than something that flows from her. It becomes spherical, instead of moving in streams. There are no more tendrils. It’s mostly balls of light, and they’re harder and more complete, suggesting more control.

I don’t think anyone has commented on the change, but the CW version is a more advanced take on what we see in the final fight of AOU. She’s holding it in her hands, not letting it flow. It’s less beautiful, but more sure of itself. The power is centralized outside of her, rather than beginning in her body and branching out. It feels like a maturation, and I’m interested to see how it changes going forward. 

Compare the choreography we’ve seen on the IW set with what was in Age of Ultron. It’s the same idea, but it feels like a different person. There is an otherworldly tranquility to Wanda in AOU (see also: the infamous “calm face” debacle), and there is no tranquility in that IW set video. The movements are rapid and forceful. There’s no attempt to convey ~calm beauty~. Both of these things, the difference in the movements and the difference in the shape of her powers, are reflections of her arc.

anonymous asked:

If you've seen Moana, could we get a character analysis of Tamatoa?

Well! There’s not much to say about him, all things considered. He’s got a wonderful singing voice, a tremendous ego, and debilitating vanity. What I think is the most interesting about him though (and which was kind of blatantly stated in the film itself) was that Tamatoa serves more as a reflection of Maui’s worst character traits rather than as a character in his own right. 

This isn’t the first time Disney’s done this. For example:

Mushu’s a character who has a similar purpose to Mulan’s character arc. He reflects her feelings of inadequacy, clumsiness, shame, and lack of self-identity. Rather than try to demurely mask it the way Mulan does at the beginning of the film, Mushu’s primary method of expressing his feelings of inadequacy are through feigning grandiose powers and abilities. He boasts and shouts and does everything in his power to make himself seem bigger than he really is, because he doesn’t want to accept that he’s just not cut out for the job he really, desperately wants. Which is a perfect way to reflect Mulan’s own attempts at getting the job/gender role/culturally acceptable use toward society that she desperately wants, for the sake of her family and her sense of honor.

Tamatoa is a reflection of Maui in a similar way, but ultimately a shallow one that kind of falls flat, as unlike Mushu he isn’t there as a major character, nor is he a reflection of the main character. Tamatoa is a side character to reflect the negative qualities of a secondary character, and as a result he’s not really that interesting to me.

But on the bright side, Maui himself? Fantastic character, very deep. A little sad for me that we didn’t follow his character arc through the story as closely as we followed Moana’s. I would have loved to see what made him change his mind and come back to help Moana in the third act! But otherwise, he’s just great. A beautiful love letter to polynesian folklore and mythology with tons of respect and tons of creative liberties in the right direction to help him be an interesting character for the story as well as the mythological hero figure he is in real life. 

anonymous asked:

Ohhh can I ask what do you like about kiibo? He's one of my faves but I don't see many people talk about him

I absolutely would love the chance to talk about Kiibo again! The biggest piece of meta I got to write on him was quite a long time ago, and it really is a shame that people don’t talk about him as much. It’s not as if he’s unpopular, exactly, but it seems like most people are only interested in the “cute robot” aspect rather than the things Kiibo actually represents in the game and the things he accomplishes in Chapter 6.

Obviously I’ll be discussing Chapters 5 and 6 pretty in-depth, so there’ll be massive spoilers for the whole game. Please only read if you’re comfortable with that!

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

How do you feel about when Arc V fan care more about the Dragons than humans that they become the PETA of duel monster spirits? Because there are some that believe that the dragons were forced to forgive the humans in the end, and the humans in the original dimension deserved what happened to them, while hating Yuya "forcing" them to entertain and Ray for "hurting" them with the en cards and forcing them to become good.

I… Can’t say I have seen lots of this behavior around, although considering I’ve distanced myself from most disscussions forums and that I’ve seen people clutching on anything in order to hate on Yuya and Ray then it’s honestly not hard to believe.

(Although you may want to do some research because PETA is not the best example for this topic… Unless that was your intention)

I like the dragons and I like many of the monsters in the series and i’m aware that there are lots of people who base their opinion of the characters solely on whether they like their monsters or not, I have no problem with that… But again by the way the ask is worded it seems like nothing but another excuse to hate on characters.

And I’ve already made my opinion about that behavior pretty clear 😒

Moriarty is Still Alive, and He is Mary Morstan

     One thing I really love about this show is how many detailed connections there are to almost everything. Parallels and foils are what I live for. Having trouble seeing what’s going on in Sherlock’s mind? Take a look at Moriarty, or how Irene behaves around her girlfriend. Want to know what John’s feeling right now? Here’s a similar situation with Molly to compare it to! Context is nothing and yet everything! You can cut a pointless line of dialogue from a simple transition scene and paste it in the middle of one wrought with tension and emotion, and suddenly it takes on a thousand different meanings.

     There have been sooo many posts and metas and analyses on the parallels between Johnlock so many of the shows’ background relationships (Molly/Greg/Tom, Mummy/Daddy Holmes, Irene and her girlfriend, the Hound Innkeepers, I could go on…) and even how Moriarty and Mary are the dark versions of Sherlock and John (but we’ll get to that later). It’s a very interesting concept to see a show’s major romance arc reflected in so many places, but one mirror I have noticed lies in the similarities between seasons one and three.

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     In the first season, we meet the infamous Holmes villain, James Moriarty. It is well-known that Jim is intended to be Sherlock’s intellectual equal, but who uses his skills for evil instead of good. Jim’s mind cooks up the crimes, and Sherlock’s solves them. It’s always a constant dance between the two of them, neither one quite succeeding because they’re so evenly matched. It’s a dance that inevitably leads to both of their deaths.

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     Their dynamic makes it very easy to imply relationship potential. Just take a look at all the Sheriarty shippers, and even the nod they got in TEH. Basically everything Jim does in this season is a screaming plea for Sherlock to notice him. “Look at me, Sherlock! I’m so clever! Look at all the clever things I’ve done! Don’t you love all these mysteries I’m making for you?”

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     By the end of the first season, Jim is so insistent that Sherlock drop what he’s doing and join him that he straps John to a bomb and offers him a choice: choose me or Johnny goes boom. Dramatic much? Sherlock chooses not to blow up his BFF, nor to run away with a psychotic consulting criminal, leaving Jim with no choice but to do away with Sherlock. For some reason, this situation reminds me of the Jealous Girlfriend trope that makes many appearances on other dramas: “If I can’t have you, nobody can!”. No wonder Sheriarty isn’t canon.

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     As for Mary, well, she’s not very well-known in ACD canon. We learned next to nothing about her and she vanished without so much as a single tear from Watson. She served almost no purpose, except maybe to perhaps help ACD deny the accusations that Holmes and Watson were gay bros. “Watson’s not gay! He’s got a wife, see?”

     (Similarly, Moriarty is actually not mentioned as often in ACD canon as people would think, despite some reincarnation of him reappearing in almost every adaptation of the stories. Every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain, right?)

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     Back to Mary, since she was his wife in ACD canon, it makes sense to place her as the same on BBC. John meets the character of Mary Morstan in the time after Sherlock makes his fall. John is alone and mourning his BFF/not-boyfriend and Mary is exactly what he needs, playing the Shoulder to Cry On. She lifts John up from the alcohol-drenched abyss of his “unrequited” feelings for Sherlock and makes his life worth living again. Hooray! Except Sherlock comes back, so now what purpose does Mary serve? None! Oopsie! Looks like the Jealous Girlfriend trope is resurfacing…

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     Mary’s character on the show has a lot more depth than her ACD origin does, making her into a sort of villain for the season. Many might argue that CAM was the antagonist for the third season, but he was only introduced in the last episode…BBC Sherlock is hugely known for it’s intricacies and connections, so where is the continuity in that?? The answer is Mary. (I mean, Moriarty got at least a name-drop in his preceding episodes…CAM just came in out of the blue.)

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     In the last episode of what I’ve elected to call “Mary’s Season”, we see many very interesting things happen, the most interesting of which, I believe, is Mary shooting Sherlock. There’s just Something About Mary that she’d rather not let out, and that she’d literally kill for to keep from her husband. It seems a bit counter-productive to shoot a man’s BFF when your goal is to stay in a happy marriage with said man, until you remember remember that Mary was most useful to John when he was mourning Sherlock. Hmmmm. Interesting.

     She was willing to kill one of a duo to be with the other. Sound familiar? (*ahem* Moriarty in season 1 *ahem*)

     Since these situations are so similar, it’s an easy conclusion to make that Mary and Moriarty essentially play the same role (trying to separate John and Sherlock), making it almost 100% plausible that they are “darker” versions of Sherlock and John. Not to mention the fact that neither of these characters actually revealed who they really were the first time they were introduced. (Jim from IT/AGRA)

      From these comparisons, it’s not hard to deduce what will happen next. To make the points above easier to understand:

S1: Jim Moriarty is introduced and his desire to be with Sherlock acknowledged; villain standoff at the end of ep3, John is willing to die with Sherlock

S2: Sherlock’s rejection of Moriarty in ep1; emotional Johnlock UST roller coaster until ep3 tragedy, Sherlock appears to die

S3: Mary Morstan is introduced and her desire to be with John acknowledged, villain standoff at the end of ep3; Sherlock is willing to kill (and condemn his life to MI6) for John

In season one, the villain attempted to separate the pair by luring Sherlock away. But he wouldn’t budge. After some turmoil over this decision, there is another attempt to separate them, this time by Luring John away. Still, it doesn’t work. And so, by this logic:

S4: John’s rejection of Mary in ep1 (/ShSpesh?); emotional Johnlock UST roller coaster until ep3 (/finale?) tragedy, John appears to die

S5: John and Sherlock’s desire to be together is acknowledged, emotional standoff at the end of ep3, JOHNLOCK IS CANON

Therefore, we can expect a lot of emotional turmoil on John’s behalf in the next season, followed by their long-awaited and inevitable relationship. Because there’s only two of them, and it would get kind of old if the pattern just repeated itself a thousand times over. Everyone would stop watching because it would be predictable. Dull. Not clever.

     All of this is extremely plausible, especially paired with wellthengameover’s Season 4/5 predictions.

     In short, tl;dr: If Sherlock/Moriarty isn’t canon, John/Mary can’t be either. John is in for one hell of an emotional ride next season, and Johnlock is endgame.

     (feel free to add any additional thoughts!)

anonymous asked:

Why are people so hypocritical towards shivaay I mean om is exactly doing what shivaay did but why not the same bashing? It pisses me off 😞

Hi anon! 

Shivaay did receive quite a lot of flak on tumblr for his actions, way more than I saw on other platforms like insta/twitter. So I’m not really sure why you feel like people are just letting Shivaay’s actions slide. It’s only now that he’s made it through his redemption arc and is being a stand-up husband to Anika/big brother to Sahil, that I (+everyone else) have come around to Shivaay. (However, as always, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Such is my distrust of men; real or fictional.) Om is being particularly mulish and awful right now, so people are expressing sentiments towards that. It’s natural. Public sentiments will reflect the character arc. When he redeems himself, people will come around to him too. 

Another reason could be that Omkara was always seen as the best brother of the three - smart, sorted, level-headed, the one that stood for justice and truth. And so for the character to act as the exact opposite of everything that we know him to be from Ishqbaaz is an extremely rude shock. Shivaay was written as unlikable in the start and is now extremely lovable, so of course his character is going to get love. That’s not to say that his shitty actions have been forgotten, it’s just that he’s shown character GROWTH. Which is how a story is supposed to go. The Beast is supposed to turn into the Prince. Whereas w.r.t. Om, the opposite seems to be happening. The Prince just keeps getting beastlier by the episode. There’s zero “justice” in the way he’s acting right now, and so for the character to act against the very principle that was established as his biggest personality trait is hard to digest.

It’s funny, this is a damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t situation, really: I once said Shivaay was a misogynist for rhetorically threatening violence against Kamini, and I received a bunch of comments about how I was being too harsh on him (and I guess according to them she “deserved” it? They’re entitled to their opinion, but I disagree. There’s something very squicky about male on female violence to me, EVEN IF the female character is negative and “deserves” it. Call it “misandry” or “militant/radical feminism” or whatever… Just… NOPE.) 

I can’t speak for anyone else, and not to sound too defensive, but *I* think I’ve pretty much always called out all the men on ALL THE SHOWS when they’ve been terrible, and Shivaay the MOST of all. Even in yesterday’s lb, I had a passing reference to how he threatened rape/kidnapped Sahil to get Anika to marry him. It’s something I bring up pretty regularly, coz as much as I love his character now, I can not get over the fact that he did those things. I never will. It will always be an unsightly blot on his character to me. 

ETA: Turns out I actually misunderstood the ask. Follow up here.

anonymous asked:

So I guess(Maybe) your analysis on how the spilled coffee that slightly resembled root a's blood on the ground was something connected to yoriko and touka's friendship rather than touka and kaneki(atm). It's probably trying to parallel the loss(possibly) of a dear friend like what happened with kaneki and hide, but they're not actually entirely dead(with hints around hide and this is the moon arc where yoriko is associated with the sunflower).

Since the anime is so far outside the manga canon, if it is a reference I’m not sure it’s more than just a nod of the head on Ishida’s part (since this is a reflection of that arc in the original manga) - but I think it’s more likely that it’s hinting at the bloodbath that’s going to follow. Still, whether intentional or not this is a very cool analysis on your part, gj. Touka and Yoriko are clear parallels of Kaneki and Hide so the focus on them in this arc matches up with the importance of Hide at the end of the Anteiku arc. 

Whether this genuinely is the Moon Arc or not, I’m not sure. The theory that places us there is very convincing at some points (the Tsukiyama Tower matching up with the Tower Tarot for example) but I’ve also heard a Tarot-by-volume theory that places the Rose Arc as the Moon Arc (since it begins with a shot of the moon and the focus is on the Tsuki-(Moon)-yama family). One argues that the Fool’s Journey lasts through the whole manga, the other argues that it lasts until he becomes the One-Eyed King as the manga up to that point has been training him for that role. Both are pretty convincing, so I’ve adopted the passive approach of waiting to see how it all pans out. Who knows, maybe they’re both right.

sweet ophelia (an elizabeth midford fanmix)

i. state of dreaming - marina and the diamonds | ii. carousel - melanie martinez | iii. bodyache - purity ring | iv. you the starry eyed - beats antique | v. bird in a cage - spelles | vi. 9th pawn - oho | vii. warrior - aurora | viii. sweet ophelia - zella day

{listen on 8tracks}

Last thoughts for today on this week’s episode: possible unpopular opinion here, but I’m beginning to get a sense that we’re coming full circle on some overarching series themes? It’s a been a little ‘”Turn Turn Turn” with the Upside Down that was The Framework, a little “What They Become” both with the contrast of Daisy actively taking on her Inhuman powers this time and the idea that our characters are different people within the Framework. And then with the LMD “you’re more than your programming” thing. I don’t know how to properly articulate it, but this ragtag group of people who were either lone wolves, woefully unprepared for the field or complete outsiders to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. (shout out to hacker Skye) were all called up as part of Coulson’s team in 1x01 and despite all the challenges and plot twists and sometimes ridiculously contrived roadblocks (oh hey there Fitzsimmons) they became a family that has saved the world many times over. They became more than what S.H.I.E.L.D. or they themselves expected, and this show became more than what I had expected. Even though it’s been a rough ride, I can see how this can be a theme we can potentially go out on, and I actually kinda like it.

Reiner, Annie, Bertholdt: A Villainous Parallel

Originally this was just gonna be a comment on a reblog, but I got a tiiiiiny bit carried away and it became an essay. Oh well. Also, I know this week is SNK Crack Theory Week but I would like to clarify - this is not a (deliberate) crack theory. Okay then folks, brace yourselves.

For me, one of the most striking features about SNK is the humanity of its major antagonists. Typically, even when a story wants its villains to be sympathetic, their redeeming features are usually locked away in a tragic backstory to explain their depravity. But Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt aren’t doing such terrible things from any inner malice or from any defect in their moral fibre. In fact, they behave in a remarkably similar manner to our heroes.

One might even say… a parallel manner *cough*.

That is to say, the three major antagonists of SNK act as parallels to its three protagonists. Reiner parallels Eren, Annie parallels Mikasa, and Bertholdt parallels Armin.

In the case of Eren and Reiner, they are both alphas with an ability to inspire those around them. Both are so completely committed to a cause that they are willing to stake their lives on it, and both are very taken with their duties and responsibilities as soldiers. Furthermore, both are excellent hand-to-hand fighters (we now know Reiner was holding back during training), only surpassed by their female comrades.

(Determination..)

(…and duty.)

Mikasa and Annie are both cold and emotionless to the naked eye, both loners who are deadly in combat, and both especially feared by the rest of the 104th. But on closer inspection it’s clear that they care very deeply and passionately for their loved ones, and that they use this icy demeanour to drown out their emotional trauma. 

(So cold…)

(Aww!)

Armin and Bertholdt are both quite timid and so spend a lot of time around their alpha friend for security. The two have low self-esteem, consider themselves cowards, and are prone to crying in stressful situations, but they have a hidden strength to them.

(Expressing their supposed weakness. Can we also appreciate how in the above panel Eren and Armin are in a mirror position to their parallels? K thx)

(And here, their hidden strength shows, flying directly against their claims about themselves in the first two panels.)

Reiner, Annie and Bertholdt are just like Eren, Mikasa and Armin - childhood friends who would risk life and limb for each other and dream of changing the world. The similarities are remarkable and clearly intentional. But why has Isayama created this parallel? The answer is that the parallels presented by RAB are an integral part of the manga’s main thematic subject - the deconstruction of black-and-white morality. Supposedly they’re the villains of the piece, so…why are they so much like our heroes? Could it be that they are simply the heroes of another story?

This is why I’ve no doubt that the warriors wholly believe that their cause is just, regardless of the bloodshed necessary to achieve it.  After all, the Survey Corps doesn’t exactly have clean hands either, what with the extraordinarily high death tolls, the suicide missions for the sake of reducing the population, and the butchery of the Titans themselves, who we now know to be human. The warriors want to kill every human just like the humans want to kill every Titan.

(Seem familiar? Bertholdt here uses the same logic as his parallel…only for the opposite cause.)

Yet still, RAB’s cause clearly requires more destruction than EMA’s. This is because the parallel aspects of the two trios are more pronounced in RAB, shown explicitly in them so that through the parallel we may see what is show implictly in EMA. The stronger manifestations of these qualities in RAB is perhaps what makes them our antagonists - the very qualities that make EMA heroes could, if only they were a little stronger, make them villains.

Eren’s emotional trauma in trying to reconcile his role as saviour with the number of people he has to let die on his behalf in order to achieve his goal is exaggerated in Reiner, who has literally developed a split personality to deal with the exact same problem. Furthermore, the Armoured Titan is tough as nails and its own incredible endurance despite the amount of punishment it takes (see: the whole Return to Shiganshina arc) reflects not only Reiner’s but Eren’s own tenacity in the face of immense adversity.

(Their minds are pulled between compassion and duty…and Reiner’s has been torn.)

Meanwhile Annie’s crystallisation abilities not only reflect her habit of shutting herself off from the world and numbing herself to pain, but in turn reflect Mikasa’s own such habit. Furthermore, the ruthless abilities of the Female Titan within her foreshadow the supernatural nature of Mikasa’s own ruthless abilities, vis-à-vis her Ackerman bloodline.

(Are these two images all so different? Both brutal killings of another human fighting for a different cause than them, even using the same move. The Female Titan is not the only one called a “monster”.)

Finally, much attention is paid throughout to the series to the fact that, although Armin acts weak on the outside, on the inside he is perhaps the strongest character in the series. As for Bertholdt, although he is meek and reluctant to take charge on the outside, within him is the ability to transform into literally the most powerful creature in the series. The subtle is made explicit, the psychological made physical.

(Appearances can be deceiving.)

It’s no co-incidence that the one who ultimately takes down Bertholdt is Armin; just as it is no co-incidence that Annie was defeated by Mikasa (although both with the help of Eren, with him being the protagonist and whatnot). As for Reiner, I have no doubts that Eren will be the one to take him down for the final time; Jean, Connie and Sasha couldn’t keep him down, Mikasa couldn’t keep him down, Hange couldn’t keep him down - because the villains of the piece can only be truly defeated by the heroes facing them in the mirror.

(Don’t these almost seem to reflect each other? Hmmm…)

Of course, the reflection goes both ways. If Eren, Mikasa or Armin were ever to die, it would have to be at the hands of their doppelgangers. Such is the case with Armin - if he dies, although I don’t think he will.

But RAB are older than EMA. There’s no reason why EMA’s traits can’t amplify over time to reach the level of RAB. And in fact…this process has already begun.

Eren’s consumption of the “Armour” vial in Rod Reiss’ crystal cavern has already made his physical abilities far more like Reiner’s, symbolically reflecting Eren’s own personal development in Reiner’s direction. In fact, it’s looking like the latest chapter, 83, will be the threshold point of EMA’s transformation - Eren is now being tested more than ever between his personal wishes and his duty, and a fully-fledged psychological split akin to Reiner’s is entirely possible. 

(Eren, the second Armoured Titan)

(That dilemma again…tugging, tugging…torn?)

In this latest chapter it is also very likely that Armin will receive the serum, eat Bertholdt and gain his power, symbolically becoming more and more like Bertholdt just as with Eren and Reiner. In terms of personality, Armin may well have a “fuck it” moment like Bert in Chapter 78 wherein he becomes increasingly ruthless, as has been hinted at for ages with his parallels with Erwin, as well as his timeline of deception (chapters 31, 49, 82), being the first of the 104th to kill another human (while knowing that they’re human), and of course his deeply foreboding statement that “They are those who can even abandon their humanity if hard-pressed to outdo monsters”.

(Armin, the second Colossus Titan?)

(Acting as there are no alternatives allows for a ruthless course of action - this goes through both the mind of Armin and of Bertholdt.)

Mikasa is currently the wild card on the table (as ever) and I’m not so clear on her direction as I am with the other two. If she is becoming more like Annie, it is entirely possible that she will actually side with Levi and put her duty above her personal feelings (although how Armin will receive the serum with both Levi and Mikasa against him is a mystery to me); such a decision would make Mikasa more withdrawn than ever, and as lonely as her counterpart as she distances both Armin and Eren. Her Ackerman abilities may be close enough to act as a “power” parallel to Annie - her immunity to memory wipes being similar to the crystallisation which makes Annie immune to damage -  but it is still completely possible that she will somehow gain a new ability with semblance to the Female Titan, although it does not have to be a specifically Titan ability as it currently is with Eren and Armin.

(Annie putting her duty before her feelings…)

(…But where is Mikasa putting her duty?)

The two sides of the same coin are merging. In their efforts to defeat RAB, EMA are becoming increasingly like them. “Ye Who Fight Monsters” indeed. Hopefully this development acts as a mid-story low point for our protagonists, and by the end of the series, they will have recovered enough of their old selves to use their new powers to save humanity.

Hopefully.

But hey, hope is what SNK’s all about.

The Theme of ‘Watching’ in Yuri on Ice

in Yuri on Ice, the focus of one character on another character’s performance is the most profound bond in the YOI ‘verse. In YOI emotions are expressed through skating: what they want, who they are, and how they work through their feelings. So another person watching them is the ultimate form of conveying how they feel and the other character accepting it via viewing.

Yuuri wants Victor’s sole affection (as the man who stole him):

he is talking in absolutes (’ever’) and notice the intense eye contact.

later on, Yurio wants Yuuri K to not retire, and in truth, admire him

Yurio’s is a question, as Yurio and Yuuri as it is about uncertainty, who will get the gold medal is up in the air and so is their in-process journeys toward connection. Yurio is no longer demanding, but asking Yuuri for something, a reflection of his character arc toward humility and vulnerability

Yuuri’s first phrase is a statement, this is his arc of self-actualization, he is not doubting himself (like how gold was in question), but making something a reality with his own will power. He wants the attention of his idol and won’t let his own feelings and needs go ignored anymore

Both instances are about connection (the Yuri’s journey’s parallel each other) through the physical and the nature of performance: sport here is a form communication above all else. This sport is actualized and made meaningful only through being viewed by others (instead of say, field goals). Just as the skaters make themselves and their wants meaningful through being watched intimacy and fulfillment are created through viewership

The physical is made emotional and the abstract tangible