On the Importance of Quiet Kindness

Posted in video games with tags , , , , on 31/03/2016 by Pygmalion

So according to the helpful wordpress start page it’s been 5 months since I last posted. Sorry again. I really am coming up with the next on on desire demons. Really. It’s just. Oh my God.

I don’t like to talk about personal stuff a lot on this blog because well… it’s not really entertaining. Stuff leaks in, but in general I try to focus on semi-reviews of stuff. This post is going to be a mix of the two.

So I want to talk about three games in particular, Undertale, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, and Fantasy Life. The latter two are games released by Level-5, a company probably most known for the Professor Layton series, and Ni no Kuni is a collaboration with studio ghibli. The first one, Undertale, is a somewhat well known indie game that came out this year. I hesitate to say it was a breakout hit, or toby fox came out of nowhere – not because of some elitism but becasue I feel like that’s devaluing his work/talents, almost.

Regardless of the market forces and origins of the three games they all have something in common: they’re about kindness. I realize that sounds a little trite and vague but that’s the best way I can describe them. This kindness has meant more to me than I can probably vocalize or even care to admit.

For the past couple months I have been having a bear of a time handling my depression, mostly because, well. It doesn’t go away, it lessens, but you never really forget it. Ni no Kuni deals with this directly in a way I didn’t expect. I’m about to head into slight spoiler territory so I’m sorry in advance.

I lost my father at a pivitol age: around 18, when I was off to college, I lost my aunt to breast cancer a few years later, my grandfather a few years earlier, and more recently, two of my childhood pets. Why this matters is because within the first few minutes of Ni no Kuni, the protagonist, Oliver, loses his mother in a terrible accident. Oliver is overtaken by grief; and falls into a deep depression. I started weeping, because of how achingly familiar this was. Not just the grief but the deep set depression – and to my surprise the entire game is about this: the rise and fall of human emotions, and learning to forgive yourself and let go sometimes.

Mechanically, the game is an rpg with some slight pokemon-esque elements to it. There are the stock quests of finding items, but the hallmark is this: helping “broken hearted” people.  This manifests itself as a branch of a fetch quest type mechanic, but lorewise is something quite different. Lorewise, it is somewhat similar to the ancient belief of humorism; everyone has eight key pieces of heart: enthusiasm, kindness, courage, restraint, belief, confidence, love. Too much and someone might be…overenthusiastic, or erratic. Too little and they become brokenhearted; a shell of their former selves. The main crux of the game is you helping restore people – the point isn’t that negative emotions shouldn’t happen, a rarity in narratives like this. The key is balance is important.

The entire game is about kindness. About how you can help people even in your grief, about how you are not your disease, simply put, and that you will be able to overcome it. Nor does it pull the horribly reductive idea of “behind [mental condition] there is a person hiding inside” which is disgusting and dehumanizing. There are parts of the game i dislike – for instance Mr. Drippy’s tendency to yell at Oliver for crying, but overall the game is about kindness. Just be nice to each other – the world is cruel sometimes, and bad things happen, but that is not all it is. This is an undercurrent of ghibli movies that i’ve always liked, despite having…distaste for some of their other conventions.

The world may be bad. It is harsh sometimes, and sometimes your life will seem hopeless. Sometimes things happen and you blame yourself, and that’s fine. Grief is fine. Being sad is fine. But we, and the world can be good. Be kind the game stresses that being kind does not mean “be a doormat”,  but be kind. That is the most important thing you can do, even if its just for yourself.

Grief isn’t a subject that’s touched on nearly enough in games. Not in the small way that it is in Ni no Kuni – it is often used as a catalyst  (something Ni no Kuni is also guilty of), but never followed up on it. It is, most of the time a checkbox for cheap emotional stakes. The act of death or loss, isn’t what’s important: what is is the follow up and the unpacking. It’s part of the reason that despite me intellectually knowing that Dragon Age II isn’t the best game it means so much to me. Because of it I was able to cry about and process my father’s death in a real way. Aveline Vallen is a group of pixels but she did more for me and helped me understand and accept my own bottled up grief and sadness in a way that little else has.

“No one tells you how to mourn. And when someone says ‘move on’, you take their hand and tell them ‘my choice.’” is a quote that has stuck with me for more than five years. It has helped me not just understand and accept my grieving processes, but understand other people’s as well.

Fantasy Life is similar – the idea that humanity, at its core is kind. That we can be awful to each other, and we are. And life isn’t fair, and more often than not, it isn’t. More often than not bad things will happen. But talk to each other, understand each other, and be kind. Every “antagonist” set up in Fantasy Life, isn’t, not really. They are people who did what they had to and sometimes it wasn’t the best move. They are sorry when they cause harm and mean it.

A core aspect of fantasy life is the “job” system which functions much in the same way as other RPGs. Except in Fantasy Life you can choose seemingly mundane “jobs” such as cook, tailor, miner, and carpenter. Unlike most games which offer more mundane job classes you are never punished – I went through more than half of the game as a tailor and never had any problem defeating bosses. Every job is treated as being equally important and your superiors are always supportive of your rise through the ranks. You are treated with respect and kindness, regardless of your job. People who are rude to you aren’t rude because of your class/job, they are because they may just be jerks.

Again it comes back to a fundamental point: you are important. Even if you don’t save the world. Even if you’re not a knight. You are important: everyone has worth. Maybe you weren’t destined to change the world. Maybe you’re here for a smaller reason, and that’s fine. You are just as important as a king or a mythic hero.

When I finished and maxed out my job as tailor (and every subsequent job after) you have a celebration, where the resident cute mascots sing a song for you about said job. Everyone in your guild, all the npcs are there, and thank you for helping, congratulating you. The message is always: you are important. You  are valuable and wanted, no matter what you do. Each song, as well as the ending theme brought me to tears without fail.

Undertale is more recent, so I will skimp on the plot details, but it carries the same theme.  I am also going to be somewhat brief because a metric ton of really wonderful pieces have been written on it. I don’t have much to add to the pile, really. But again the motif is, that the world is cruel, but you are important. You are loved. Be kind, because being kind is the most important thing you can do. I’ve repeated this like a mantra because it’s the thread that  connects them all. And sometimes it isn’t other people you need to be kind to: it’s yourself.

In Undertale, the “correct” route isn’t playing a typical rpg – it’s just talking to the monsters and learning more about them. It’s about waiting to see their side of the story. It’s about faith and the idea that we aren’t doomed to make the same mistakes. And sometimes the person you need to be kindest to is yourself. I think this is why fan favorite Sans is so popular. A lot of people, myself included can relate to someone who has been resigned to failure and heartbreak but keeps going.

A key theme in Undertale is “determination” – every time you fail, you are told to stay determined. When you save you are told something fills you with determination. And it would be wrong of me to say that during the personal storms I’ve had lately I didn’t think to myself “stay determined”. It’s not “hang in there”, it’s perseverance. Stay determined. Be kind to yourself, because sometimes no one else will be. Stay determined. You can do it, little by little. With Fantasy Life and Undertale, there is a theme that even little changes are important. It’s okay if you fail; that happens. Surviving is important, and it’s something you can do and you should be proud of yourself for it, because sometimes its the hardest thing in the world.

If it seems like I repeated myself, I am sorry. But as I’ve gotten older I realized the value in games like this. I need games that are just about being kind, where the stories are about helping people. It seems silly, but you feel genuine joy when you help that little bunch of pixels. I think this is why things like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing remain popular; the fundamental quiet gentility and kindness behind them are surprising. I need that, I think. Even if it’s a moogle or a skeleton telling me that. I need to be reminded that even if I’m not doing anything earth shattering, I am important. I matter, especially to the people around me.

It’s rare to see that in games, and media in general, but I desperately want more games like this.

 

 

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sDragon Age and Character Design: Part I

Posted in character design, Dragon Age with tags , , , , on 22/10/2015 by Pygmalion

So I said I was going to follow up the previous post with more on why I take issues with the female characters. For this I am  going to briefly touch on things other than the games.

When said “reasons” in reference to the comic book panels I posted I don’t mean that as “I hate these characters”. What I meant was that I hate how they’re portrayed and drawn. In a visual medium like comics that’s a huge problem – if your audience is immediately turned off by a quick google search, you should be a little concerned. I mean, I literally bought Asunder entirely on the basis that it vaguely had something to do with Orlais and mages so I’m not exactly picky when it comes to Dragon Age media.

I’ve avoided the comics because of the panels I’ve seen and the terrifying wasp waist real dolls that women are drawn as from what I can tell. This doesn’t make a lot of sense considering the woman in blue that I referenced is a dwarf, a race that is modeled in the game as being distinct in body type and not just “short humans”. I’ve had several people go “wait that’s supposed to be a dwarf?” after linking that panel. That, right off the bat, isn’t a great sign.

The comics have a lot going for them: trans representation (which matters so much to me that thinking about it makes me want to dance), further backstories when it comes to Varric (a personal favorite), Isabela (another personal favorite), further extrapolations on Flemeth and her daughters, the continuing adventures of Alistair (if you’re into that). But I honestly cannot bring myself to care because of how turned off I am by the art. I admit it’s a little petty, and a little unfair of me to do this. After all, I like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and I’ll be honest the art for most of that is…rough. I’m a fan of X-Men and comics in general that have art I’m not a huge fan of, but at this point I just think I’ve gotten too tired of things I know will piss me off

(Though really, cards on the table, most people who know me will think that last bit rings a little false. Let’s just say I’m trying to avoid things that will piss me off lately.)

nope

not today satan

Now I, again, haven’t read the comics. Maybe they’re amazing! But I feel like the art style encapsulates the problems I have with character design. While it definitely lessens in later installments (the leap from Origins to Dragon Age II is incredibly and delightful), in Origins there’s a lot of issues. I touched on this briefly by talking about Morrigan and the Desire Demons’ character designs. So let’s unpack in this post why Morrigan’s doesn’t work and why character design is important.

First off, remember that Morrigan did not choose to dress herself. This is going to get a little redundant but I can’t hammer this point home enough: Morrigan is a fictional character who was designed by someone. None of her clothing choices are her, the fictional character, choosing to express her sexuality. I cannot slut shame Morrigan, because Morrigan didn’t dress herself.

Morrigan, as a character, is an apostate, an illegal mage outside the circle. She was raised in the wilds of Fereldan, with very little human contact outside of her mother, also an apostate and an extremely powerful. She speaks of it often, how she would steal away into villages and observe people from afar. How she would wish for more material things, like the golden mirror. She is someone who isolated and reviles but is fascinated by “proper” society.

That’s….not reflected in her character design. Her clothes are just too polished, and obviously created to appeal to what developers think is the target/biggest consumer (i.e. straight males). Her clothes aren’t really torn or patched, nor do they look threadbare and well-worn in a way that might explain away their scarcity. There are feather tokens on her shoulder and in her hair, but nothing really points towards a “witch of the wilds”. There’s not really a lot you can do to convince me that the concept art of her costume, specifically the detail that she wears a thong was absolutely integral to her personality or character.

this is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to her personality

this is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to her personality

The skirt sort of works- it looks cobbled together well enough, and the feathers on her single sleeve sort of support it, but little else works towards this. I don’t get the feel of someone who has lived in the wilds amongst the beasts and unrestrained magic for her entire life. At most I get the feeling of someone who read a couple pamphlets on how apostates danced “skyclad” under the full moon and who wanted to piss off their strict Andrastan parents. Before playing the game I had no idea what she was like beyond “she’s voiced by Claudia Black so I have to like her by law” and “apparently she’s a materialistic bitch”.

It’s distasteful for a lot of reasons, mainly that Morrigan, strictly based on her personality and dialogue isn’t hyper sexual. She knows about sex, yes, but has little interest in it beyond a means to an end. She even has a conversation with you about how she doesn’t understand all this touching in “civilized” society, such as hand shakes and hugging and is, in fact, sort of repulsed by it. Can people who are repulsed by physical contact dress like that? Well yes, of course, people can dress how they want and rarely the root of the way someone dresses has much to do with other people. but again Morrigan is a carefully designed character, not a living person.

Just looking at her character design I glean nothing about her as a person; most of the other characters all do wonderfully with visual language. Zevran’s armor and his tattoos tell you what you need to know about him, Alistair’s well-cared for splint mail and shield are lived in and simple enough to fit his background as a Templar turned Grey Warden, Leliana’s chantry robes are obvious enough along with her carefully braided hair.  The most I get from Morrigan is “IT’S NOT A PHASE, IT’S WHO I AM.” which, as anyone who has played the game can tell you, isn’t really her storyline. Morrigan is someone who is comfortable with herself, though not as much as she’d like to be. Her plotline is about her coming into her own as a mage and a young woman, but that’s not her.

It’s not that Morrigan’s character design is bad, per se, it’s more competent than things like League of Angels or higher level armor for female PCs in most mmos.

why (source: tera online)

This is heavy armor, somehow (source: Tera Online)

But it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the game – she stands out in the cast, and not in the way she’s meant to. It’s a leftover from the exploitative, cheesecake fantasy pin up roots. It’s a marketing gimmick that falls flat, since God knows I sort of wearily sigh every time I see it on the cover or used in marketing.  It’s a disservice to her character and a disservice to the game itself. It reduces her to “the hot goth chick” instead of the layered character whose storyline and declaration of “I’m glad to have met you” left me in tears.

Morrigan’s platonic route matters to me in ways I find hard to verbalize. I struggle with social cues, I struggle with being able to fully say “i love you, I hope you are okay”, or to apologize for struggles my friends go through, I struggle with personhood, and being an outsider. Morrigan is fictional, yes, but I saw so much of myself in her and her relationships with people. So it is slightly narcissistic of me to like her so much, but I do because I see my failings in her. The main thing I always remember is that in my first playthrough it wasn’t Alistair – ostensibly the “good”/kind person – to say “I’m sorry this happened to you, the blight, your family. Are you doing alright?”

It was Morrigan. Morrigan told me she was sorry, even though she had no idea what that could’ve been like, even though her words may have rung hollow. This is something I have said countless times to my friends, because again, I struggle daily with personhood and social interactions. Morrigan expects a lot out of you and expects you to measure up to her standards. Morrigan is cruel sometimes, yes, and sometimes unnecessarily rude. But she is someone who cares about her companions in the end, as well as Fereldan.

I understand the need for visual archetypes and easy signifiers for an outsider, but that doesn’t shine through with Morrigan’s design at all. Witch comes through, yes, but only through a modern lens, not in-game. Again, it’s laziness, rather than depending on the strength of writing or other visual cues.

After all of that we come to the second example: the Desire Demon.

This is going to take a while.

i like this because it implies lower level desire demons get a crusty sports bra and have to make it work

dies iræ, dies illa

Dragon Age Origins and the Uncomfortable Problem With Fantasy

Posted in Dragon Age, video games with tags , , , , on 21/10/2015 by Pygmalion

I guess the hiatus in between posts is getting better in that it hasn’t been two years. On the other hand it was March the last time I posted.

So I wanna talk about Dragon Age: Origins. Anyone who actually knows me beyond this blog knows that I…literally never stop talking about Dragon Age. I am in Dragon Age mode almost 24/7. Who wants to talk about Dragon Age? Me. The answer is literally always me. Let’s talk about Dragon Age.

That being said, I really need to talk about the less excellent aspects of the game(s). Mostly I’m going to talk about Origins, and there’s a couple reasons for this:

  1.  I finally convinced my long suffering bff to give the series a try
  2. Origins is the most fresh in my mind
  3. Origins is probably the most egregious offender in the “mainline series” (i.e. the main games: Origins, Dragon Age II, and Inquisition)

I’m not including things like the comics, because I haven’t read them for…..reasons…

pictured: reasons

pictured:  reasons

I am also not including the spin-off novels which I have read and which do count as “canon”, Heroes of Dragon Age, nor Dawn of the Seeker because I haven’t, at this time, been able to sit through it.

Fair warning, there’s going to be spoilers for a huge chunk of Origins. I’m also going to slap a huge warning on here that I‘m going to be talking about sexual assault and rape since Origins decided that was a thing that needed to be done. A lot. In addition to this there are passing mentions and references to suicide and self harm.

There are a couple of things I could start with, including but not limited to: the City Elf and Casteless dwarf origins, and 95% of The Nature of the Beast/Brecilian Forest quest line. I might extrapolate on them in their own separate posts, depending on how well I feel I can cover what is pretty dense text, not to mention subtext.

So first things first: Bioware as a company, has some…questionable sexual and gender politics.

pictured: questionable sexual and gender politics

pictured: questionable sexual and gender politics

Yeah I know that’s unfair. I know it’s really unfair, considering Bioware is a company, not three people and a room of servers. Bioware is made up of ton of people, on a ton of different projects, and with that comes people with different opinions and backgrounds. So yeah it’s a little unfair of me to generalize, but I feel like I’m justified for brevity.

It’s also pretty unfair of me to use a picture of an asari dancer from Mass Effect, a game from a completely different team and a completely different genre but to be honest I have a lot of beef with the asari. Also otherwise this post would be nothing but pictures of Yavana and me saying “don’t do this”. Breaking my rules a little bit by using both the comics and the mobile game but I need to make a point here.

sidenote: don't do this

sidenote: don’t do this

I feel like a lot of their problems with women in general crops up with…well honestly any female character in Origins. Morrigan’s character design, the way Shianni is treated, desire demons, everyone except Loghain and Morrigan’s reactions to the fact that a woman is a Grey Warden. Take your pick, anything is a great starting point, which says a lot in general. I’m going to follow up this post with a couple more simply because I didn’t cover enough with this one. So let’s dive in with the biggest, most obvious beef I have with Origins.

Point A: There’s a lot of rape. Like, a lot.

I struggled for about 10 minutes on how to word this more delicately, but I can’t think of one. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t try to make it delicate. The game doesn’t, after all, and I don’t think it should be something that’s taken lightly. I talked a little about rape as character backstory in a previous post, and while I do think I was a bit scattered I stand by what I said. This can be attributed to a couple of things:

  1. Rape has become shorthand for “dark fantasy” and an “easy” way to both garner sympathy and “set the stakes”
  2. Thedas was heavily inspired by Westeros
  3. Thedas and the writing team just weren’t that mature when Origins came out.

So the first reason: it’s become shorthand. Why? Why this sticking point? Well, part of it is the roots that the subgenres of dark fantasy and low fantasy have: Conan the Barbarian, Michael Moorcock, countless others. It’s a way to distinguish it from things like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis where battles definitely happen but it’s almost sanitized at times and mostly poetic. Dark fantasy and low fantasy have a lot less to do with lords, less “intellectual” things like wizards. Somehow this shakes out to “sexual assault happens like, on the daily” because it’s gritty. It’s also because Conan et all tends to be at least a little exploitative and revels in chainmail bikinis/pin ups.

I could go into this more, how this view is wrong and leads to misunderstandings. In the initial drafts of this I did, but I’ll just curtail the whole thing and cut to what bothers me the most: it’s lazy. This isn’t even touching on the awful implication that the victims (mainly women in Origins) are just walking plot points. I just think it’s lazy and bad. Crude wording, yes, but I can’t think of a better way to put it.

It’s lazy in the City Elf because instead of building up relationships with the supporting characters like in the Dalish and Mage origins, it relies entirely on the idea that “this woman you know got raped and now you know how dark and grim the world you inhabit is now.” It’s lazy because Shianni has no agency. She has no point other than your spunky friend who got raped because the world and the people – the humans- in control are corrupt. It’s lazy because there are a million other signals to how corrupt and awful the world is for elves in the game itself. It’s lazy because I’ve seen it done before, and I hate saying this, but I’m completely numb to it now.

It still hurts, it still makes me angry, but not for the reasons they think. Instead of going “I am really engaged with this”, I’ve since gone  “well I’m never making a city elf again”. I even had a pretty dim view of Origins and the series in general because of it. My first finished playthrough was still a city elf warrior, but I’m essentially never going to replay that origin, even if I’d glean more information about the world or make different choices; I have no interest in it. The other origins with the exception of casteless dwarf, I’ve gone through several times.

I’m not saying it wasn’t effective at the time: I remember thinking “this is stupid and awful but it’s okay because I’m going to gut Howe like a trout” and doing that. Now I just think “really?” and get angry that they decided that was the story they wanted to tell. That the great truth of Thedas according to the City Elf origin is that outspoken elves and women will be dealt with that way.

It’s terrible in the Nature of the Beast because again, it’s just lazy. It’s your second (or third depending on play order) major plot stop so you’ve had enough time to become immersed in Thedas. You’re finally getting a hold on everything, and engaged in the lore that Origins has built up. If you’re anything but Dalish, this is also your first exposure to elven culture firsthand, so there’s some excitement there. You’re finding out more about the world, you’re finding out more about the setting and the people.

I love that, I love how lived in Thedas feels, how it breathes and how it’s terrible and wonderful. I love every codex entry. I love the elven pantheon, I love Andraste, Flemeth, mages, the chantry, the countryside. I love that the actual plotline is elves vs. werewolves. Never in my wildest dreams could I think of such an absolutely absurd plot like “these elves and these werewolves are totally gonna have a throwdown”. I love the plotline, but I absolutely hate the execution.

Again there are two main reasons why I hate the execution:

  • The Lady of the Forest has a lazy, stupid character design and an entry level fursona
  • Seriously, the best motivation you could come up with for yet another elven character was “well his daughter got raped and killed herself”. That’s it? Not the baked-in fear and distrust of wolves in elven culture, or werewolves as the manifestation of the id?

None of this is to diminish the real world ramifications of sexual assault or the experiences of survivors. As smarter people than me have said, rape happens and it’s awful. The use of it so cavalierly in fiction is bad not because it rings false as an experience but because it’s the only motivation and reduces victims -mainly women in these cases- to plot points, not people with lives and motivations

The second and third reasons why this was so prevalent in Origins tie into each other, so I’m going to tackle them together. When I say the writers weren’t mature enough I don’t mean that the setting is lacking in originality or depth: it isn’t. I could wax on further about how much I love Thedas and it’s awful, wonderful people. What I mean is that there was caution to the writing – it took tropes that are common: elves, dwarves, humans, dragons, etc and subverted them….kind of.

In the years following Lord of the Rings, probably one of the most influential fantasy books, there have been several subversions of Tolkien’s work. Even just looking at the root story itself: The Hobbit is essentially Norse myth fanfic. A couple notable series that take inspiration Tolkien and change the formula are the hugely popular A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, Terry Brook’s Shannara Saga, and a series recently introduced to me by a dear friend, Steve Erickson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. All of these aren’t exactly new though most have installments that came out in the oughts.

There’s some hesitancy to Thedas, some old ground covered in Origins. You have stock characters and stock plots, but they do things differently, but not too differently. You can see a Martin-esque approach with how there’s, quite frankly, hilariously over the top gore and death animations and the political power plays. You can see their influences with Loghain Mac Tir: a character most people don’t get to know but is deeply fascinating and layered, but still falls on old archetypes. Everything in Origins is a little grimy, and has a tendency towards browns which makes for an ugly game sometimes for the sake of “realness”. There’s also shades of the more exploitative predecessors with Morrigian’s godawful character design (she looks like a rebellious mall goth rather than a young woman who grew up in the wilds learning illegal magic), several of the female robes, and the fact that despite a desire demon being a desire for everything, not just lust it is still a traditionally attractive female in gold nipple tassels.

However, with all that, all the characters/archetypes presented have their own unique personality and not for the sake of subverting conventions. Where Thedas differs and impresses me is that everyone is sort of terrible. And not in overt, offensive for the sake of “realistic” ways like they’re outspokenly racist or sexist though that does happen (see: most of the party assuming your elf warden is/was a servant).

It’s little ways, like how even though Alistair is very nice he’s kind of a self absorbed dick. One that will, in fact, thrown down and leave if you don’t agree with him or tell him that his views are wrong. Sten openly questions why and how your female warden is a warrior and a woman, Morrigan is beyond misanthropic, you have two actual assassins in your party, and optionally a genocidal rock monster who talks about crushing humans beneath their feet at length. But while they are sort of terrible, they are also wonderful. They are human, more human than is the norm in fantasy and video games. No one is wholly good or wholly bad. They just are: and the series is about shades of grey and how people can be terrible and great.

Morrigan, a supposedly a cold, harsh person quietly asks you how you’re doing and offers her condolences. Zevran’s suicidal ideation and lack of self worth beneath his playboy assassin front. Leliana’s quiet faith, and her despair as she wonders if she really could change; if she was kidding herself when she left behind her past as an assassin.

In Origins there are the seeds of something greater. They set up fantastical plot threads, groups, and people. They don’t look down on fantasy conventions, or think magic is silly or makes a story lesser. Instead they look at these tools and take a more sci-fi approach to it, where they question societal norms. Which is why it’s so disappointing that instead of thinking up creative plotlines that I know they have, they fell back on lazy tropes.

The cavalier use of sexual assault, the skimpy robes, and the over the top gore are all, to me, earmarks of a rookie writer. They wanted to set up the idea that “this ain’t Tolkien” but weren’t confident enough to rely on their world building and visual storytelling (which are both excellent) alone. This is a shame to me, because Origins has so much to offer, but I was turned off from the series for a while because of my first exposure to it as a City Elf. That’s a problem: your entry point shouldn’t be something that makes people go “maybe this series isn’t for me.” I’m more than happy to admit that I didn’t really “get into” Dragon Age until Dragon Age II because of this. As I personally am replaying, and I’m hearing my BFF’s exploits in her playthroughs I’m left with this sick feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop when plot points are hit.

That shouldn’t be part of the experience. I’m not saying that bad things can’t happen! Far from it, the awful things that happen in the series are important because they leave an impact and make for good writing. But I shouldn’t be playing it and thinking “oh God I really hope there’s not nonsensical rape I forgot about here”

jet pack blues

Posted in comics, editorial with tags , , on 03/06/2015 by Pygmalion

So it’s literally been two full years since I last posted – I wish I could say I was doing exciting things but most of it was wrestling with depression and graduating.  I live a thrilling roller-coaster life.

It’s also been two years since the first Avengers movie come out. In that time what feels like a million more Marvel movies have come out. I’m not gonna talk about Age of Ultron, not really because it’s only been a month and I’m many things but I try not to be a total jerk about spoilers. I’m also gonna admit that prior to the MCU’s proper premiere/renaissance with Iron Man basically the only part of Marvel I cared about or paid attention to was X-Men.

every moment of my life is waking agony

every moment of my life is waking agony


That being said, I have read scattered issues of just about everything because Marvel loves its series wide, reaching crossovers. I like the Demon in a Bottle arc, don’t like Civil War because I don’t hate myself, think the Extremis arc (what the first film is primarily based on) is alright. I tried a couple times to read literally Every Iron Man Comic Ever, but I have only enough time and patience. I mean I’m probably definitely a fake geek for this but what can I say, my bitter shriveled husk of a soul can only take so much horse shit from comics. Everything I just stated was for your benefit to let you, gentle reader, know I’m not entirely speaking from my anus.

All that being said, everything I just said doesn’t matter because “comics lol”. Also because the movies are now their own separate, proper universe with a number and everything.

So what I want to talk about is the status of and position of Tony Stark in the MCU.

I am so tired of Tony Stark.

To put it bluntly, Tony Stark is a giant chode. I feel like that’s about as controversial as saying “water seems kinda wet”, but hold on true believers because I have a point with this. Tony’s a huge dick in the comics too, like, Priapus looks at Tony Stark and goes “whoa there buddy calm down.”

I feel as though it’s sorta hard to exactly fault Tony from the comics though because Iron Man has been going on since about 1963 and like any comics character his actual characterization is about as reliable as wet gingerbread. To use another example, Captain America ranges anywhere from “cool dad” to “jingoist racist turtle” within the span of a year. The characterization spectrum in comics is a beautiful and horrifying entity, much like the fact that I found out there’s a separate universe where, and I quote “The Thing goes into a rage”.

The fact that I had to type that sentence absolutely delights me.

There's also a universe where he's a Japanese teenager who is really into card games.

There’s also a universe where he’s a Japanese teenager who is really into card games. This is absolutely part of the Marvel Universe and I will cage fight dissenters.

However there are three important factors in this:

  1. Tony isn’t as cavalier as his MCU counterpart or at least wasn’t back in the day
  2. “comics lol” which about sums up the previous paragraphs
  3. Tony is actually held accountable for his actions over and over again in the comics.

Because of the golden rule of “comics lol” point three can  probably be argued with. Tony Stark is a giant monument to being a capitalist, warmongering, industrialist dirtbag and actually treated like it. From his inception he was always meant to be this; Stan Lee flat out states he thought people were going to hate him. The comics do mess up, and he does fall into “dudes that are cool” a lot, but the general consensus amongst comic fans is “what an asshole”.

In the movies, Tony has an arc for approximately…..the first half of the first movie. In subsequent movies and appearance he’s completely forgotten this lesson and continues to treat everyone around him like garbage. This is what I really have a problem with – Tony is an asshole. He’s meant to be an asshole – yes, he’s likeable, but he’s unarguably a jag.

The narrative in every movie rewards him for this. It rewards him for being a bougie fratboy who treats everyone around him like garbage. It rewards him for dismissing people’s safety, it rewards him for being self absorbed. It rewards him for being glib, it rewards him for being misogynist and trenched in old ideals. It rewards him for all of this. It rewards him for potentially triggering a monster that could kill everyone, and then acts like this is Tony treating Bruce like a person. And the thing is, Tony with PTSD, Tony not working with others, Tony’s heart problems and alcoholism, all of those things are character moments. They could’ve grown into something. But they never do – at the end of each movie everything turns up Tony Stark. Everything is fine, everyone who called him out was wrong and didn’t understand.

For example, the writing on Pepper for Iron Man 2 is absolutely atrocious. It turns her into a shrill harpy who is just trying to ruin Tony’s fun and who doesn’t understand that boys will be boys. Pepper’s concerns are more than valid in the movie but the narrative tells the viewer that she doesn’t understand. She’s wrong, and Tony’s slap on the wrist is the only punishment needed. The same thing is done to Rhodey and I have a hard time divorcing that from the fact that they’re the two major non-white or non-male characters in the movie. The takeaway lesson in Iron Man 2 is that no one understands Tony, don’t you see he’s just too good.

A counterexample is Thor – Thor, I feel for all the faults with the movies, is done correctly. Thor learns – yes within 3 days, somehow – to be a leader. He learns not to be a hyper violent frat boy, he learns temperance, and humility. And it actually carries into the other movies – Thor is still a jerk sometimes, yes, but he cares about people. He cares about Jane, and even Loki, he cares about his friends on Asgard and Midgard. When he thinks he may have offended someone he steps back, apologizes or rewords what he said to get his point across. Thor is flawed, but called out on it, and ultimately becomes a better person. Thor continues to try and be a better person and a better ruler.

My problem is not with flawed people, or paragons or superheroes in general. I love all those things – my problem is that anyone who ever calls Tony out is rebuffed or discredited. He’s always right in the end.

This isn’t an original narrative device, nor is it rare for white male protagonists. My problem is that it’s ultimately very hard for me to care about Tony as a person because of it. He never learns a goddamn thing throughout 4+ (how I dearly want to talk about that fifth one) movies. He never treats anyone around him better, he never grows. He’s static. He has been and always will be the rich frat boy with too many toys. All of his weaknesses are strengths. Everyone else is wrong, not him.

This is so boring and frustrating for me. I’m so tired of Tony Stark. I’m tired of Whedon using him as an avatar for his stupid projects. I’m tired of him being the star. I’m tired of people unironically agreeing with Tony’s every move. I’m just bored. He doesn’t add anything except quippy (and again predominantly misogynist) lines; there’s nothing to him as a character. I should care about him – I’ve self-deprecatingly compared myself to him a couple times, but I just don’t. With each passing installment I find myself more bored by him, I find myself drifting off whenever he shows up on screen.

He’s not funny, he’s not charming, he’s not anything. He’s just filler. He’s the self-insert character that your friend who still thinks Firefly was a masterpiece made to go along on adventures with the Avengers.  The one with reality warping powers that make everyone agree with him and forgive any past sins, the one who has a line for everything.

I am so tired of Tony Stark.

I saw a film today, oh boy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 31/07/2013 by Pygmalion

I have been watching a lot of horror films in the past few days. Well okay, just two because I need background noise/something to not pay attention to while I draw/work on stuff.  (Also I’ve totally run out of survival horror let’s plays to run through.)

As a rundown this is what I’ve watched:

Cabin in the Woods

The Awakening

Last House on the Left

The Ward

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Recently, I’ve also watched Silent Hill: Revelation, which was such a cinematic masterpiece it really needs its own post. Sweet cherubim, does it need its own post.

Only one of these I really enjoyed (The Awakening) no matter how annoying/cliche towards the ending it got; it was interesting enough that I stopped doing what I was doing to pay attention to it, so that’s something at least.  Two out of the five were straight up slasher flicks (Last House on the Left and The Ward) which I’ll tackle later on, one of them was …well I’m not sure yet. I think I have to watch it again. The last was Cabin in the Woods. Before I talk about Cabin in the Woods I’m going to talk about horror movies and what I personally consider horror, or at the very least a well structured suspense and/or thriller.

I’d never seen the Scream films until this year, which I did because they were all conveniently on Netflix,  and I loathed them. They were a mess of storytelling, incredibly distasteful in a lot of ways, and did they ever think they were amazing. The latter is probably the problem I have most with them – they were so convinced they were clever and revolutionary. And I guess in a way they were but they really really weren’t – they used the exact same tropes and ideas and followed them to a T. There was no moment when I was thrilled, I hated all of the characters (ESPECIALLY YOU, JAMIE KENNEDY), and as I said the writing was just sloppy. Simply pointing out a common storytelling idea isn’t enough, especially if you just go on to do that exact thing.

Also by the Sodom Below, they way they handled Sid’s mom was a monolith of terrible storytelling and being awful about women.

American horror, to me , doesn’t tap into any fears, unless you count xenophobia, gynophobia, homophobia, etc as actual fears. Which I, unfortunately, do not. I kind of just think those things make you a complete asshole, which don’t worry, gentle reader, the slasher/jump scare horror genre is full of. There’s also a trend that I noticed, along with my huge portfolio of horror knowledge, of demonizing women and the mentally ill,  which is obvious and something else that is not so obvious.

Even in The Awakening, which I liked for the most part, and wasn’t American, it had the common idea of disbelief and skepticism as a great evil, that questioning is ignorance. By not believing in something there is no evidence for, you are somehow a lesser person, and that you are unenlightened. This is essentially also the problem I had with X-Files and why I haven’t gotten past episode 3 of that show. Mainly the one thing I took from X-Files is that I want to punch Mulder in the face until I have some nice tooth jewelry, and that Scully is too good for this stupid show. The entire show is basically telling us that being skeptical is, again, a great sin, and is being totally ignorant! Yeah man why can’t you be more like Mulder who is always right on his total bullshit theories because he ~believes~ and ~has an open mind~?

Listen, we all think Richard Dawkins is an asshole. We, as a people, can believe in that at least. But being skeptical is not a downfall, it’s not some great sin. You should question things, you should ask why and come to your own conclusions and actually think about things. You should do your research and know what you’re getting into.

It’s not to say that all of this isn’t clever – it is, in a way. It’s a way of going “TEE HEE THERE’S A GOD, STUPID NONBELIEVERS” without ever addressing the idea of God, and being controversial without being controversial at all, ever. All the entities are totally evil, but, if there’s a devil or demons there must be a God, right? It’s sort of the unstated conclusion that belief is important. Which, whatever. I’m not gonna rip on you if you believe in something. What I’m trying to say is that skepticism is, again, about questioning, weighing in evidence and making a choice.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

Onto actually talking about slasher films: I hate them. They’re lazy and terrible and have a weird puritanical morality of their own, i.e. again, women are all evil and their entire worth as people is based on how much sex they are or are not having. You are not more or less of a person for being a virgin. You are not less of a person for having sex. You are definitely not less of a person for gasp enjoying sex?!!!! GOOD HEAVENS!

cromwell was all for slaughtering the irish and yet that's not as popular

think of the children

So let’s talk about Cabin in the Woods. Yes, I know I’m pretty far behind, but I’ve been gnashing my teeth about this because Whedon for a couple years now. And it was finally on netflix and I’d heard it was passable. Obviously now, there’s gonna be MASSIVE SPOILERS for this movie, so if you want to skip to the end scroll until you see the second spoiler raven at the top of your screen.

spoilers raven

So the basic premise of the movie is that we continually sacrifice five archetypes to the Old Ones Elder Gods Ancient Ones, that it’s totally codified into ritual and bathed in human suffering. All of them are based off of common slasher film archetypes, and that there’s a whole secret society of people behind the scenes with rooms of common slasher/supernatural movie monsters that orchestrate the whole thing. These people are obviously pretty scummy and do some really charming things like drug a woman with magical bullshit pheromones into having sex with a dude so that she can become “The Whore” archetype.

So yeah about those archetypes. We have: The Whore (who must be killed first), the Athlete, the Scholar, the Fool, and the Virgin. The Virgin is totally “optional as long as she dies last”. Guess what gender the Whore and the Virgin are.

The Athlete, Scholar, and Fool are all coded specifically as male, the whore and virgin female. It’s not a case of “oh but they could be-” because no, the tablets have traditionally feminine figures with boobs and everything because boobs = female, right? And yes it’s supposedly a satire. I get that, because you’d have to be an idiot not to get all this subtlety they’re throwin’ in my direction. But they do they exact same thing Scream does, by presenting the audience (who are the Ancient Ones) with these tropes and then following them to a T. Recognizing a problem and just doing it anyway is not clever, it’s not even satire. It’s just lazy.

It wouldn’t bother me but they are so damn proud of themselves to conforming to the same gender stereotypes and tropes-  they don’t challenge them at all, and surprise a white hetereosexual dude saves the world at the end by killing that heartless bitch automaton leader.  A stoner who somehow has magical weed which interacts with their magical drugs they use to bring question into otherwise consensual situations.

Huge surprise here, Whedon : you work for the system you are condemning. You make it just as bad with your faux girl power schtick and being incredibly proud of calling a woman a “cunt” on the big screen and getting away with it. What a feminist you are, since you tell us continually how feminist you are and how you write strong women.

Instead of, you know.

Actually doing any of those things.

Now putting aside all that, and especially my Whedon rant because I can feel my blood pressure rocketing as I speak of Him, let’s talk about the ending.
It was terrible.  It tried so hard, and it was the dumbest thing – instead of saving all of humanity (not just the U.S.) they FIGHT THE SYSTEM and don’t complete the ritual. They even smoke some of that DEMON REEFER at the end because they’re like, totally like, rebels, man. I don’t need your rules.

I’ll state that again: their big moment of morality is not killing one last person. For all of humanity. All that humanity needs to continue, for planet earth to continue to exist and not be overrun by eldritch abominations, is to kill four people total.

Four people.

For all of humanity.

FOUR. PEOPLE. THAT’S IT. YES, OK the people behind it are scummy and terrible, and totally awful. BUT IT’S THE ENTIRE PLANET. Humanity doesn’t deserve to live because they keep sacrificing a handful of people? Are you kidding me, you are not morally in the right. It’s not even presented as being morally gray at all – they doom the entire planet. It’s not your decision, and yes it’s terrible that they play with people’s lives and kill them off for sport (again, really scummy, really corrupted), but four people. THAT’S IT. And yes, it goes on all over the world, but still it’s a pittance compared to ALL OF HUMANITY being tortured and killed by eldritch abominations.

spoilers raven

Now here’s time to get lonely, get real. I like horror films, and I want to continue to like them, but they’re not scary, They’re not entertaining either, unless you find women being abused in various ways your “thing”. There are some movies I like, that do still play on these stereotypes, but are actually interesting to watch. They’re super flawed but I can actually stand them, which is…something, at least. Not a lot, but it’s something I can live with – because it’s not enough to “try” – I am so sick of settling. Since I have a reputation for being hard to please and that I hate everything, I’ll list some of the pure horror genre movies/games I can stand, if not even like, with warnings applied. These are, again the traditional horror ones, not psychological or for comedy reasons (such as Jacob’s Ladder and the Resident Evil series respectively. If I did include them this list would be much longer.)

  • Silent Hill 1-3 (games) – Silent Hill 2 features heavy heavy abuse towards women (not glorified, but it’s there and quite prevalent). All three are gory and atmospheric as hell.
  • The Innkeepers (film)
  • Session 9 (film) – some violence against women
  • The Devil’s Backbone (film)
  • Fatal Frame (game)
  • Uzumaki (manga), Junji Ito This edges slightly into horror-comedy but it’s Junji Ito and I’m unsettled enough by most of I let the unintentionally hilarious parts slip. Whole lotta body horror in this one, folks.
  • Mimi’s Ghost Stories (manga), Junji ito
  • Voices in the Dark and New Voices in the Dark (manga) Junji Ito  a short story anthology by Junji Ito, so standard warnings for his work apply.  Skip Souichi’s Diary of Delights/Fun which is tragically unfunny to me and drags quite a bit.
  • Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (manga), written by Eiji Ōtsuka and drawn by Housui Yamazaki. Gore, obviously
  • Dark Water, Koji Suzuki (short story collection) – this is by the same author of the Ring series. I can’t remember most of these, but I enjoyed them and I’m going to issue a strong warning for possible sexual violence against women.

everybody wants to rule the world

Posted in editorial with tags , , on 27/07/2013 by Pygmalion

Ha ha look a fashion post, it looks like this blog is on the right track!

JUST KIDDING. LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOKS SOME MORE.

Warning: this is going to be incredibly long.

me too

me too

Like most people my age I grew up with the Harry Potter books, and I attended the midnight premiere for Deathly Hallows at my local Barnes and Noble when it came out. I even wore some home-made robes, and went with friends who were also in robes and dressed as Remus and Tonks. I liked the books a lot, I was sort of involved in the fandom (not really involved because honestly while I like reading fanfiction, the Harry Potter fandom was…sort of really insane), I was sorted into which house prior to the advent of Pottermore (Ravenclaw), and even had a wand picked out (dragon heartstring, ash, eleven inches, and unyielding.)

oh how times have changed

oh how times have changed

I was super into it, but I can’t help but thinking, especially with my recent realization that I hadn’t been “into” it since I was around 13, that I was more in love with the world. And for a while, that was okay, and I could live with that. After all, even though I like Star Wars, I care way more about the Extended Universe, and the universe in general than the movies. While a friend and I were waiting for Dark Knight Rises to start (it wasn’t a midnight premiere but there was a huge level of discussion in the theatre – i’m not that much of an ass) we had a huge discussion on it with another friend who hadn’t really read the books.

And I realized with a sinking feeling that, even the universe wasn’t something I was really that interested in. So fast forward to a couple weeks ago, one full year later where I was sitting thinking about how horrible James Potter’s group of friend was, and I decided that Pottermore was wrong. No way was a Slytherin – I’m not racist, I’m not horrible, or evil. I’ve never understood the cult around Slytherin, other than the fact that Gryffindor is kind of…made up of jerks.  It’s the same thing with INTJs – teenagers/people just want to be cool and edgy.  I do not want to be cool nor edgy. When I was younger, I thought Myers-Briggs was a legitimate thing and got terrified that I was in the same league as effing Moriarty.

So, against my better judgement, I went on Pottermore again, made a new account and got ready to get sorted into Ravenclaw.

did you know draco malfoy's wand core was unicorn hair?

goddamn it

The four house structure but mostly Gryffindor vs. Slytherin was something that bugged me even when I was into it. First of all, Slytherins are all uniformly cartoon villains. There is no chance for redemption for them – even Snape, creepy creepy creepy Snape, was only redeemed through being incredibly creepy about a Gryffindor. During the Battle of Hogwarts (oh how it hurts to type that) they hid, or just helped Voldemort. I want to remind you that again, 11 year old kids are super evil and uniformly racist – and instead of being told “ha ha no” it’s just “Well they’re evil.”

Gryffindors on the other hand are actually kind of jerks – Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are okay for the most part. And we have to remember that he too was 11, and that he could very well be an unreliable narrator. But when you go beyond that like, for example, the Weasley Twins, they’re kind of…jerks. And bullies – think about the pranks the Weasley twins pulled – can you imagine if any other house, particularly Slytherin pulled them how they would be bullies?

And when someone does stand up to jerky behavior like Neville it’s shown that he doesn’t “get it” and he’s essentially punished for it. Yes, they are on a quest, but he gets dismissed as being ridiculous.  From then on Neville is again relegated to a punchline until the last book where he gained some courage again.

For truly terrible people we need to look at the perennial fan favorites – Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Commonly called the Marauders though never having referred to themselves as that, they’re extremely popular.

I hate them. Well, maybe not Peter, and Remus gets a small pass, but James and Sirus? Holy crap let me count the ways.

James and Sirius are horrible bullies, plain and simple. Even when I was younger I felt incredibly uncomfortable with their reveal in Order of the Phoenix – they were awful. James was absolutely terrible to Snape, who definitely deserved it sometimes (RACIAL. SLURS.), Sirius was just as bad, and I couldn’t help but feel like they would probably pick on me had I gone to school with them. They certainly treated Peter like crap, Peter who did go on to betray them to Wizard Hitler II, but who just seemed awkward and weird as a kid.

I relate to Peter. Not that I would ever go to Wizard Hitler II, but I was weird and awkward and cried a lot and wasn’t very good at anything as a kid.

Now, Remus, I have some problems with because I relate to him a little bit too deeply. Rowling said in an interview that he was terrified of his friends leaving him. This, this I get – for a huge chunk of elementary school I was friends with a girl who consistently threatened to throw away our best friends necklace if I didn’t do what she wanted. Another thing to consider is the fact that the essentially emotionally blackmailed him – they knew he was a werewolf. That was bad news, and even if they did become friends for reals, that was always the start of, and key point in their relationship.

Add to this the fact that they actually put Snape near Remus while he was in werewolf form, you start to feel very little sympathy for James and Sirius.

Oh but it was a childish folly! And James and Sirius felt bad about it afterwards!

First of all, they literally put someone’s life in danger, as well as perhaps condemning him to being a werewolf at the very least. Second of all they took their “friend’s” greatest fear, and biggest source of self loathing and turned it into a joke or a weapon. They used him.

James and Sirius are horrible people – the only way James won out was by being better than a kid who blurted out slurs to his best friend. I continue to wonder how or why Lily even got with him. (Oh Poor Lily – maybe i’ll cover that another day.) And it wouldn’t bother me, but no one ever told Harry this. No one ever said “your dad was kind of an asshole” except for Snape who was just super jealous.

Maybe it was not speaking ill of the dead, maybe it was something else. But other than the flashback, everyone just tells Harry to forget it essentially and it’s never spoken of again. James goes back to being a glorious martyr, and Lily back to love interest.

I’m not trying to say that Slytherins are all martyrs and misunderstood because…well, they weren’t.  Snape was creepy as hell and kept his obsession with a dead woman alive for 30 years.  Draco was a spoiled, one-dimensional brat who Rowling attempted to give more depth but it didn’t really carry.  Everyone else was just evil, stupid, and ugly.

I honestly don’t think I have to cover the multitude of issues with Voldemort/Tom Riddle.

But the thing is that she tries so hard to cover it in things outside of the books that oh no they aren’t really evil, oh no it’s just Harry’s perspective. Except that there was never a moment when Harry had a Slytherin friend, or met someone from Slytherin that wasn’t terrible. Hufflepuff is generously called the Canon Fodder house, Ravenclaw is just there for love interests, and Slytherin was the other main house.

If she truly wanted to get across the feeling that all four houses are valid, or that Slytherin have more to them than Saturday Morning Cartoon villains, then she should’ve written it.

And that’s just a small part of the problem I have with Harry Potter.

i’m starting a new fashion trend

Posted in Fashion, Uncategorized with tags , on 26/07/2013 by Pygmalion

Let me start off by saying I fully intended to have illustrations with this post but I opened paint tool sai, stared at a blank canvas, sighed deeply,  and decided to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf (I AM THE MAYOR) for half an hour instead.

i *am* the mayor

Seen here with my proud town’s flag.

So the Hancock Fabrics by my house recently moved, and a couple weeks ago a friend of mine and I went there to get in on the cheap fabric and patterns. We ended up spending around three hours there, and looked at a bunch of patterns – she’s planning on doing a costume of her original Star Wars character and we talked a lot about what she wanted to do. It’s gone in shifts, from totally ridiculous and awesome super spacey look (sort of UFO and Star Trek inspired moreso than Star Wars costuming), to opera dress, to a modified rococo dress, and maybe finally to an art-deco inspired piece.

Maybe.

The reason I give this backstory is because we obviously found a couple “victorian” and “steampunk” patterns in the mix. Most of them were pretty horrible – a lot of them featured detachable bustles like aprons that made  both of us pull ridiculous faces.

tibetan-fox-square-head

i’ve been spending a lot of ill-advised time on tumblr so i feel like i need a reaction image here.

We got to talking about how we both really want to do a steampunk costume followed by where would we wear it (we both mainly have a history with anime, not general scifi cons), etc. This was followed by something I’ve complained about, at length, on this blog before: the lack of color in steampunk. I loathe it because it’s lazy, she loathes it because she’s sort of naturally a really bright colors type of person. She loves color, and part of the reason she wasn’t a big fan of steampunk is because EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS DULL COLORS. We kept talking for that whopping three hours straight and decided on a really straightforward traditional Victorian costume….but in rainbow animal print.

I call it…Frankpunk

exactly like this

it’s exactly what you think

But what are you hoping to accomplish? Won’t you just be shunned? First of all, steampunks, they’re not all that concerned with historical accuracy in the first place. Second of all, who cares?  It’s fun and it’s different – nerfpunk is something I adore, and it’s along the same lines as that. I’m really geared up to sew now, and I’ve got more confidence, as well as a really nice pattern.

The only thing standing in my way, as always is me. But that can change, I can change, or at least I want to. I’ve been doing little fixes with clothes lately, and I’ve got patterns and fabric. Yes, I’ve finally given into the machine and decided to sew with patterns, because how else am I going to learn.