Friday, May 22, 2015

Sour Apples

In other news, my wife has asked me to please please stop buying giant chipa off the street...she is convinced this has been the cause behind a recent waistline expansion. I've managed to cut back, but I still ate a couple this week...yesterday, I needed the "comfort food."

And that's because it was a helluva day. I only got a couple hours of sleep Wednesday night AND my day care provider was out half the day, so I was doing the kids thang on next-to-no-sleep up till the afternoon. Then I accompanied the wife to a work function where I drank gin and tonics and consumed piles of grilled meat till midnight.

And did I mention I'm sick to boot?

ANYway...that was yesterday, and it was my own damn fault I was tired, as I stayed up trying to catch replays of TV shows that I'd wanted to watch earlier in the week but hadn't managed to do...shows like Veep and Vice and Game of Thrones. They don't have On Demand in Paraguay, so waiting till 2:30am (Thursday morning) is the only way you can see something you missed the first time around. Well, if you want to watch in English...the Spanish-dubbed version of GoT was a little earlier (like 1:45am).

[the baby and me being sick together is what contributed to the rest of the sleepless night]

I also managed to catch the film Appleseed Alpha (while I was waiting for other programs to come on). I'm a rather lightweight fan of the Appleseed (I've seen three or four films, but that's about the extent of my involvement), but Appleseed has been a major source of inspiration for a couple of my more recent projects (including World War Borg and the recent revamp of Cry Dark Future), and I was pleased as punch to see a new Appleseed, especially one set during the "war days" before the show's protagonists make it to Olympus (the futuristic megacity where most of the 'borged-out crime drama of the franchise takes place).

[y'all know how much I like my cyborg-soldiers-stalking-through-the-ruins-of-civilization settings]

So, yeah...the film animation was mind-blowingly fantastic, and the 'borg-on-'borg violence was great (as always), and I have no issue with the minor rewriting of the Appleseed canon-backstory, and the new characters that were introduced were quite entertaining and well voice-acted (I especially enjoyed Two Horns who would certainly fit in the updated setting of CDF). BUT...

What the Fuck, writers?

The rewrite of Deunan Knute's character was f'ing atrocious. She's wimpy and soft and takes a backseat to Briareos through pretty much the entire movie. Briareos is the focus of the new film (whereas before he's always been Deunan's sidekick) and she was left hanging around as 2nd fiddle till pretty much the end....before getting (literally) dropped on her ass and the focus shifting back to Briareos saving the day. And then the movie ends with him counseling her. What the hell?!

It's mainly irritating because, while I love cyborgs and stuff, what makes the Appleseed series so cool is Deunan as the Alpha-Dog protagonist. She's the Point-Man, the Hot-Head, the Kick-Ass-And-Take-Names-Later character throughout the franchise with giant, uber-competent cyborg Briareos backing her up. She's the one who makes the plans, she's the one who charges first with guns a-blazing...all in a tiny, agile package. It's a charming bit of role-switching that makes the show interesting. There's a lot of cyborg anime out there that I don't watch and that I don't find worth watching (geek dude or not, I'm actually fairly selective about what cartoons I see)...but Appleseed always had brave little Deunan, the badass human who wasn't afraid to stand up to an over-'roided cyborg.

She's like the post-apocalyptic Annie or something.

Now I have no clue why the writers decided to take the character in this direction, but it's totally lame. It feels like the writers are telling Deunen to more-or-less "shut up" through the whole film (via the mouths of Briareos and other characters)...and more-or-less that's what she does. And so despite all the coolness on display, the movie felt slow, stagnant, and definitely anticlimactic. And every time Deunan was on the screen I found myself totally annoyed.

Oh and then her outfit: in what post-apocalyptic world does a merc-soldier bare her midriff like she's on Spring Break?

Glad you brought your kneepads, soldier.
I've been reading a lot of wundergeek's blog, so I suppose I'm a lot more cognizant of the sexualizing of fantasy characters in artwork, but coupled with the watered-down, passive attitude displayed by the protagonist...a character that has been around and beloved since 1985 (I first encountered Appleseed in manga form when I was in Japan, circa 1991)...I found it, well, repulsive.

Even this was better...Twilight 2000 chic.
And that's pretty sad. 'Cause if a lightweight fan like me (who happens to be a straight dude) found it such, what do the long-haul fans think? For me, it ruined what was otherwise a visually stunning movie. Sorry to say.

Totally not cool.

In still other, better news, I should be posting the first installment of my X-Plorers supplement sometime this afternoon. Stay tuned!
: )


  1. I completely agree. I really didn't like how they wrote her in that movie and that outfit was pretty lousy.

  2. i found wundergeek's blog through yours and i am very grateful i have!

    she's awesome!

  3. You found that picture too sexualized? Whoops. Burn those PDFs I sent you, brother! Burn them NOW!!!

    1. @ Venger:


      The main objection here is the watering down (in not outright change) of what has historically been a strong, interesting character in anime.

      Let me read your books before I start throwing firebombs, huh?

    2. It's the full context, not the outfit. If she'd still been a capable character the outfit wouldn't be a big deal. Combine it with taking away her agency and she goes from being the main character to decoration.

      Since this was a prequel I was hoping that maybe they were going to do character development, maybe show how she went from being a follower to a high-charger who calls the shots. But there was no character arc.