So it's apparently really, really bad for me to actually read the emails TOR.com sends me. Thanks to today's email alone, I read at least thirty articles. Not short two-paragraph articles. Okay, there were like three of those. I mean like three-page articles.
Do I regret the entire experience? No, not really. The articles were very interesting and informative. I learned a lot about current news, genre writing, literary analysis, and writing as a style. Also about human generosity, kindness, and hilarity(?).
My only real regret is that I didn't do any LSAT work. Which cuts down the time I have to spend on my next lesson's homework and the second half of my previous lesson's homework to tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Considering that apparently most of tomorrow is going to be spent driving or with family, Saturday I'll be moving a lot of crap with my dad, and Sunday I'll be seeing a movie... plus eating, sleeping, trying to spend time with my mother and taking care of my cats, working out, moving around to avoid the cleaning people... and the fact that LSAT homework sucks. A lot. Like I'm pretty sure I spent at least two hours on the first half of one night's homework. I'm not entirely sure I was even halfway through. And I could have spent three or more hours... I'm not entirely certain, because I had breaks.
Going back to the TOR article spam. The email is basically a page of recently published articles on their website. So from the email alone I opened at least twelve articles from that. And then these articles made references to a bunch of other articles and blogs and such. So I opened even MORE articles from there. And then I scrolled down the email and opened yet MORE articles. And when I was reading through the second round of article links, I was linked to MORE articles, and a short story. And articles on the articles. And it was AHHH.
They were all good. I liked them a lot. One of the articles was one of those "things you should read to prepare yourself for this movie coming out" around the next Batman movie coming out tomorrow. I actually... can't recall ever following those... but I have read a number of Marvel comics, and I like Batman, and I've read a few comics in that universe, and well... I figured that it wouldn't hurt to read through at least some of them. My library has a reasonable amount of those. I ended up checking out like fifteen graphic novels (like, three of which were on the list - I just thought the others looked interesting). Although one of them was apparently a volume containing this single issue I read years ago and never saw more of... So yeah. That was nice. Although it was marked as volume 1 and there weren't any more so... that's kind of annoying.
So there was one blog that seemed to be a critique website of anything written? I don't really know. It had a lot of interesting blog posts on it. A couple I still want to read - notably about the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I'm not all that impressed by what I read so far of the first one, and I'm mildly impressed by what I've seen of True Blood but uh... I don't know. I reserve judgement until I've seen and/or read the whole thing.
There was another blog that apparently received death threats and other threats for daring to comment badly on "A Song of Ice and Fire" in this rather humorous summary of the series... while remarking on how creepy the author is. And he is very, very creepy.
Before I go into a mini-rant on one of the reasons this interested me greatly... there's the feminism thing. A number of the articles were about women in science fiction, abuse towards women, misogynistic tendencies in some writing, hypocrisy, nihilism, women in writing, rape (principally against women, although there were at least one or two articles on rape in general)... Well... there were a lot of people commenting on these things. It was all very interesting.
Well, one of the reasons the commentary on ASOIAF interested me greatly (besides being one of the funniest things I've read in a while) was that I recognized certain things "I'd" thought about while reading. There were a couple comments about how Tyrion is basically EVERYONE'S favorite: the reading audience, the TV audience, and the author.
But there's a couple things wrong with this. Firstly, Tyrion was MY favorite character, from the little I've seen of the show, and from what I was reading in the book. He was my favorite character for a long time (although that's probably more because the actor did a great job). I'm going to say that this was because he was my favorite character from a distance. There is no character I actually LIKE in the series, when it comes down to it.
It's always sad when you have to do that. When someone asks you about a story and you say "yeah, I liked it" and then they ask what your favorite character was or what your favorite part was and you completely blank out. At least that happens to me a lot. Honestly, at the end of the day, you just have to take a step back from reading/watching/researching whatever, and think: is there anything specific I like about this? Do I actually like it? The answers could surprise you. It's one of the things doctors and nutrition people try to get people to do with food, because of habitual eating and eating from boredom. Thankfully no one's asked me about Ronin Warriors. That would be a VERY uncomfortable conversation.
I suppose that there are bits and pieces of some characters that I like. But anyway... I liked Tyrion because he was the funniest character. All of them are flawed - they're human, it happens - and a lot of them are downright vile in the worst way... but of them all, Tyrion was the funniest. Well... besides the Greatjon, Varys, and that dude who got killed beyond the wall that was a Wildling (for that short scene where he and Jon were exchanging alcohol, anyway), he's probably one of the four funny characters in the entire series.
He WAS. If I had to pick a favorite, he would still probably win out. It's the problem with not liking well, anyone in the series.
Well, the guy who plays Jon Snow is pretty attractive, physically, but beyond that...
So I like Tyrion. Was starting to not like him for a big reason... and then he strangled the woman who'd been sleeping with him for no other reason than she slept with his dad, too.
Well, that was the thing that was just... really weird. There were a couple other things. But this... I mean... it's bad enough he just strangled the woman because she happened to be sleeping with someone else (big shocker - she's a prostitute, it's kind of her job, plus Tirion was on the executioner's block, so she needs some new way to make money when he's no longer paying her). Besides the fact that it was hinted that Tywin blackmailed her into doing it... I mean, honestly. She's a commoner, and considered the lowest of the low, at that, since she's a lady of the night (at least in this world, prostitution seems to be the "lowest of the low"). If she were a noble or something who was indicating favor toward Tyrion initially, but secretly sleeping with Tywin behind his back, I could at least vaguely understand Tyrion's having an inkling of anger towards her (although even in THAT case, it should still be more of a feeling of "well-played, guess I have to redraw the court political map" and not "MUST STRANGLE TO DEATH"; even in court politics, unless she arranged for the grisly death of his person, close relatives, allies (and there was some insanity thrown in on Tyrion's part), she wouldn't deserve to be STRANGLED to death). But she has no pull in court, no money, no servants, no power whatsoever. Heck, she could be killed right alongside him for being even remotely related to him (and heck, she was publicly identified as sleeping with him - women have been sworn to die with their husbands in numerous historical cases, and there are numerous historical cases where people who were remotely related to a bad incident for killed off, too). And yeah, she was one of the "witnesses" speaking against him during his "trial", and she lied to some extent. But it isn't as if she made the case against him, or if her testimony was the most important part of it. Or even a minorly important part of it. Honestly, if her main and currently only source of income was Tyrion, who was almost definitely going to be executed anyway, she needs other options. Getting money for testifying against Tyrion was probably her best source of income. Heck, she might have gotten money from the Queen Regent, who's an heir to Casterly Rock! There's really nowhere higher to go! Tyrion also knew that she wanted the finer things in life: money, clothing, a nice mansion... and he WAS paying her (at least until he had to hide her, and even then she still had a job of sorts, and didn't even have to sleep with him nearly as often, to boot). And he spent the entire time strongly believing that she wasn't in love with him - that it was jut an act to keep his coin in her pocket.
And if anyone should have been aware of this, it should have been Tyrion, who is one of the smarter characters in the story.
But he strangled her anyway... I get that he narrowly escaped death. That he learned that his first wife was actually just in love with him. That he actually gang-raped a normal woman. That his brother helped in the deception, along with his father. That he's actually even more alone in the world than he was before (and he was pretty damn alone before).
But none of that REMOTELY gives him the excuse to STRANGLE someone to death. I get his killing his dad. Sort of. It fits with the whole "angry vengeance" thing that Martin is striking for here. Martin's PROBABLY gonna end up killing all of the Lannisters by then of this series, so yeah, whatever.
There was NO reason for him to kill Shae. If anything, according to his character, he should have taken her with him out of the city and at the LEAST released her out to find her own way, free of him.
One of the marked obsessions in this series is female virginity and where women are sleeping and with who. What do guys talk about before they fight? Who they'll rape after the fighting's over. What do they talk about during the fight to inspire others? Who they'll rape when they're done. Who do they talk about AFTER the fight when they're laughing and drinking with their buddies? Who they raped after the fight was over. What do they talk about x days/weeks/months later? Who they raped way back when. What do they do when they get drunk with their friends? Who they've raped and/or paid to sleep with them. What is the first/second question about a prospective bride? Whether she's been deflowered, either by some former spouse, or by any random men. Or whether she's flowered yet. What do they wonder when they're around a group of people, with a lot of women? What the women are like in bed. Or what they will be like when they're flowered, if they're too young.
A big part of the reason why I stopped watching the show extremely early on was the amount of blatant sex in it. I don't care for it and typically find it boring. Especially when I don't care for any of the characters. When that happens, and you don't really know where the story is going (other than towards more of the same), and all that seems to be happening is, well, incest, rape, pedophilia, slavery, selling your family, lots of prostitute buying up... Besides the fact that there are more naked women than attractive men. A a heterosexual woman, is there some reason I should watch this? Honestly?
I read the books because I wondered if the books would be less filled with the things they'll put in a TV show meant to attract viewers. And honestly, nothing attracts viewers more than sex and lots of skin. And I was... somewhat right. At least in a small respect. A very small respect. I also wanted to know what was going on without constantly staring at one or another person having sex with someone else.
The books are easier to bear. They aren't necessarily better. I've known that since I started reading book 1. Part of the reason I'm up to 4 is because the idea of watching the series is dimming ever more as I read, and I like finishing what I start. If I don't finish the series and I meet people who like it (it has a large following, so it's likely), and we get into an argument about it, I can't very well say "I only read up to book 4 and I just hate it". So.
It was bad enough that Tyrion gang-raped someone (yeah, SURE his father ordered him... if my father ordered me to gang-rape I MEAN WHAT? SERIOUSLY? NO. JUST NO! At that point, you WALK. AWAY. We know you're a nice guy Tyrion, and just because the woman was POSSIBLY trying to make a living (being hired by a noble, and one of the richest in the land, to boot) she deserves to be GANG-RAPED? WHAT?). Then we go on to Jaime and Brienne's stories. There's clearly some sort of mini-romance working up here. Sorry, but I don't really like Jaime. Maybe I'm knit-picking, but I don't have that much respect for someone who calls someone "wench" constantly. And then uses it as an endearment. The use of the word "bitches" as a term of endearment for friends is somewhat similar, in my opinion. She has a name. She is a person, not an object. Not scenery.
Do I think he deserves to die for that? No. But I don't think Brienne should suddenly fall in love with him because he's shown a few acts of kindness like giving her weapons and rescuing her. He still calls her wench. He still treats her on a standard in comparison with men, not as a person.
There was also the whole marriage to Sansa thing. I get that his father forced it on him, and Cersei backed it (as did Joffrey, no doubt). I get WHY the wedding happened. And I actually sort of understand the obsession with consummating a marriage. Hey, it got King Henry out of his marriage to Bloody Mary's mom, which led to, oh... a lot of death. It's pretty darn important, yanno. I also do understand that women married much younger back then. They still marry pretty young in some places around the world. Women could become prostitutes very young, way back when, and now. But uh... I mean, really? Getting a boner by starting at a 13-year-old girl? That scene was creepy to Mars, and he hadn't even taken his own clothes off yet! But then he did the noble thing, of course. He said he wouldn't touch her until she wanted him to, should it take years. And then of course the audience thinks Sansa's an ass because she says "what if I never want you to?" and we feel REALLY bad for poor Tyrion who's doing the NOBLE thing of not RAPING A CHILD (she didn't give her consent for any of this; she may be doing what "duty" is making her do, but "duty" for Sansa at that point was STAYING ALIVE, which means that she was threatened. Consent doesn't happen when you're threatened.. Gee, Martin. Really?
Then there's the male cast at large. While counting the number of rapes shown or alluded to in the series is extremely interesting (and sad), I think that counting the number of male characters who haven't threatened or performed rape would be an interesting find. I can think of three for certain. And only because the last is eight and kind of dumb, at that.
Did I mention the part where this one girl got raped by "half of Kingsport", as is often quoted? And then she basically gets blamed for it and ignored by society at general? Cersei actually says that she lacked the sense to avoid getting raped. As far as I can recall, she was one of the families getting held hostage in Kingsport. She didn't have a choice to be there in the first place. And as a lady in this world, she spent her entire life being pushed away from any form of physical combat protection. And even if she HAD any combat capabilities, how exactly was she supposed to fend a RAGING MOB off?
Oh, I forgot. Cersei, the only female fighting the system (other than Brienne, who seems to spend an awful large amount f time being ashamed of her ugliness rather than pretending she doesn't care and getting on with her life) is getting turned into a Lady MacbethxCleopatraxQueen of Hearts love child.
My point is that long before I read this, or anything related to the series in a review-sort-of manner... I already felt greatly insulted by the books as a woman and as a person. This is a world where women don't fight. They're discouraged from fighting. Which means that when their homes get sacked and all the men get killed... what, they just get raped and/or killed?
So then I read this. And, well... it's a lot funnier than anything I could have thought of. The summary of book 3 is simply hilarious. And it wasn't "well, I didn't think this before, but now that I read it I know this is how I think". I picked this up before I read this. It's rather interesting to see how deeply insulting and disgusting this series is. I just love learning about how many more popular misogynistic stories there are out there.
So that was interesting.
So I forget what else specifically I wanted to write about... but there was this crazy idea I have.
So I'm watching the Yoroiden Samurai Troopers sub. And golly gee, is it interesting. I've learned more about the boys from watching the first two episodes than I did watching the entire dub series.
So the sub is a lot better for a lot of reasons: a) the information reveals, b) the dialogue is more intimidating in Japanese and not in stupid random English accents (why was Shin British, and why were Touma and Ryo from like New York?) that make no sense anyway, c) it's interesting to see how much Japanese I can recognize, and d) I can ignore the bad art better if I focus on the text.
And then there's the things I realize about the series.
Firstly, the sub is worse for a specific reason that I've seen in a number of anime and manga. A lot of dubbers and translators are very good script-writers. It helps them get rehired. Being good as a script-writer for a translation typically means that you actually exaggerate what the actual writing is supposed to be. There can be a number of meanings used in translation (you know that plot where someone's using a translator to talk to someone else and they're insulting to person to their face, but the translator only says nice things? Yeah, that). The problem with reading any translation is that you're stuck with the translator's version of the story. Not your own. Translators in manga and anime tell you the story. While in an anime you theoretically have the ability to "read lips"... a lot of different things can be put to any character talking. Honestly, all most mouths in anime do is move up and down. They don't have all that much expression. Why? Because expression takes a LONG time to draw. When you have to create a lot of scenes and panels, using as little detail as possible to save time is the best option.
My problem isn't so much that the sub is bad because of the interpretation. My problem is the realization that, after reading the sub... the dub actually IMPROVED to a certain extent on the script because they had at least a semi-decent scriptwriter around. For most of it, I suppose. Considering how BAD the dub is, that's REALLY saying something.
Did I mention that Arago rules "The Empire of Doom"? Did I mention that? Cause it's kind of really really really funny and sad and when I saw that I thought "oh my gawd, you canNOT be serious."
He also uses "the power of doom". Yes. It's a thing. A commonly used thing.
And then, of course, when you have the Empire of Doom, you have Soldiers of Doom.
It's like the entire thing is one giant headdesk moment.
So here's my theory!
So much of this series is about cookie-cutter story design and cookie-cutter characters (damsel, at-risk child, brainy-but-useless female character, physically strong woman who secretly doesn't like fighting like all women because that's part of why women don't fight, Evil Empire, Evil Empire Soldiers, Evil Emperor, Evil Badass Soldiers, Angst-Wridden Hero Leader, Heroic Team, talking/friendly animal companion, World at Peril, Kidnap...) Um... Yeah. And even with a decent base premise, the series completely screws the pooch and never uses anything even half as decently as it could.
Since I haven't seen anything as poorly done as this series (at least with a premise this decent), and not serving as a member of a line of mass-produced genre similar stories that aren't typically meant to be remarkable in any way, and only serve as a path for merchandizing... I have only to assume that the series is made as a satire of these many devices. It's saying "look how much these ideas suck, actually!"
That's my theory. The ultimate-conspiracy-this-can't-honestly-be-as-bad-as-it-seems-for-no-reason. Of COURSE!
It's my only explanation for why the series is as bad as it is when it could have been so good. And it really could have been good. But then you have civilians hanging out by the rims of active volcanoes (without gear) and standing too close to battles so they get captured and then not RUNNING THE FUCK AWAY after they get rescued, and then you have random stops WHEN THE FATE OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS AT STAKE, to check up on some RANDOM KID WHO GIVES NOTHING TO THE STORY BUT IS THE AT-RISK CHILD STAND-IN's home, when we all know his parents aren't there. They've been kidnapped. By the Empire of Doom -snigger- for reasons unknown. I honestly don't recall why the... the Empire of Doom (by all that's holy, REALLY, Japan? REALLY? I thought only Americans were that stupid) did that. I guess just cause they're the Evil Empire, so they have to do Evil Things. The series does seem to have an obsession with damsels in distress. Ryo, Naste, and Jun trade off most of the time, but Byakuen also gets his moment in the light, along with the other Troopers. Why NOT just capture ALL of Tokyo to be one giant distressed... being. Of some sort.
You've got enemies who don't shut up and just ATTACK, or shut up and kill enemies rather than "holding them so they can watch their friends die, and then oh shoot! We lost and they got away, to fight us another day!" Really? REALLY?
Here's the a recent episode partial synopsis: Ryo was blinded. BLINDED. As in FULLY. BLIND. WITHOUT EYESIGHT. COULD NOT SEE. If he didn't have the vibrating armor-detecting swords (must stop reading into yaoi subtext), he would have been SCREWED. See, he's a member of a ninja clan. And for a sec, I REALLY thought he was gonna dip into that stereotypical pool of "sight beyond sight"-I mean, "seeing without seeing". But no. He kind of just fails.
But does he get killed by his near and completely uninjured-unencumbered foe? No. He gets rescued by his friendly white tiger, who carries him into the cave where Seiji is... and then the enemy buries the entrance under a rock slide. Because it's not like Ryo's demonstrated that he can demolish entire buildings or anything, right? I understand the sheer idiocy of trying to blow up an enclosed space (especially an underground complex) while you're INSIDE it... but they never explain it. Naaza acts like shutting them on the other side of a wall of rocks is going to make them die of starvation or something.
But that's all right. Because blocked entrances don't stop Soldiers of Doom. No, they just find other entrances in. So you say that negates the drama of BLOCKING OFF THE FIRST ENTRANCE? Psh. He's blind. He'll probably fall of a convenient cliff.
Well, he doesn't fall, but he sure does JUMP OFF OF A CONVENIENT CLIFF.
And what does Naaza do when he corners Ryo, who is STILL BLIND? Kill him fast, just to be safe - he got away once. It would be okay to be certain.
Oh no. That's in LOGICWORLD. The place that makes Paolinis and Charlaine Harrises and George R.R. Martins and Smeyers scream in fear.
What he does is he just stares and laughs.
And guess what? After what I can only presume is GETTING HIS EYES BURNED OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS (which we of course don't see, he just keeps his shut so we can see his abnormally large eyelashes; the type that you see some women wear that really creep the fuck out of you), he still gets his vision back. On top of surviving the poison attacks. Which were apparently just like... fire attacks. Maybe acid or something?
So there you have it. Ta.