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on the final frontier

Saw The Martian last night. Absolutely loved it, the best time I've had in a movie theater in a while. Okay, I'm on board with anything that has astronauts and scientists as Big Damn Heroes, but it's a great film all around.

More review, minor spoilersCollapse ) Flawless entertainment, four stars, would recommend to everyone!

Was in a particularly good mood for it because on naye's recommendation we've been watching the anime Space Brothers, which feels like it could be in the same universe (except there's no Japanese astronaut on Mars, but maybe Mutta was on an earlier mission!) I also recommend that to anyone interested in space exploration, or who'd like a story about someone in their thirties going ahead and pursuing their crazy childhood dreams - it's a slice-of-life anime about a salaryman who loses his job and enters the astronaut application and training program, following his younger brother who stayed committed to their childhood ambitions and is already a successful astronaut. (I admit, the running theme of being an older sibling surpassed by their younger sibs as adults plays very close to my heart, and it's not someone there's a lot of fiction about. And Mutta and Hibito have one of the most normal and healthy sibling relationships I've seen in anime or most other fiction, they're close but not dependent, competitive but loving even if they're both bad at staying in touch.)

The show is set in the near future and the space and technology details are meticulously researched; they consulted with NASA and it even featured the first voice acting ever done in space (a Japanese astronaut recorded a few lines on the ISS for the show.) It has that particular sort of pacing that most eps feel, if not slow then sedate, sweet and low on drama, and yet just enough happens that it's hard to stop watching - you get so wrapped up in the characters' lives that you want to know what happens next. And occasionally it will get unexpectedly intense. We've been burning through episodes and I'm going to be sad when it's over (onto JoJo's next, I suppose~)

Gintama fancomic!

An amazingly ambitious artist is embarking on a fancomic adaptation of my long Gintama fic Pandemonium. The first five pages are up here:


Check 'em out! Sadaharu is especially adorable. :)


on completion


From the Ground Up (157104 words) by Xparrot
Chapters: 32/32
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Carlos/Cecil Palmer
Characters: Carlos (Welcome to Night Vale), Dana (Welcome to Night Vale), Original Strex Characters, Kevin (Welcome to Night Vale), Cecil Palmer
Additional Tags: Drama, Angst, Drugs, Dystopia, Strexcorp, Present Tense, Memory Alteration, Canon Divergence

"The colloquial name is bloodstone," says the man from StrexCorp's Acquisitions division. "Heard of them?"

Carlos shakes his head. "No, but I'm not a minerologist. Are you certain this wasn't intended for the geology department?"


Carlos is a loyal company employee, who has never been to any place called Night Vale and never met anyone named Cecil…which doesn’t explain the mysterious woman appearing in his lab, or these dreams he’s started having…

a bit of rambling on the writing of it, mostly for my own recordCollapse ) ...Actually, according to my stats, I've written more words for WTNV than any other fandom (the majority in this fic.) Wow, how'd that happen? (Don't kill me, gnine! *hides*)

Now it's time for the regular sit-here-and-compulsively-check-email-for-comments-as-I-stress-about-everybody-hating-the-ending! (I can't be the only one who finds posting final chapters stressful...)

--I got a comment! They liked it! \o/

on J-drama

So gnine and I just finished watching the Japanese dorama Ouroboros, which came out earlier this year.

In the end I can't honestly recommend it, though I really enjoyed a lot of it. The concept (adapted from a seinen manga I might have to look up) is compelling - two orphan boys witness the murder of their teacher/foster mother and vow to get revenge; twenty years later, one of the boys has become a police detective, the other is a rising yakuza lieutenant, and they're still working together towards their vengeance. The plot spirals out from there into government conspiracies, secret agendas, and conflicting loyalties; the story has more turns than a Boston street, constantly leaving you guessing who's on what side and what's really going on. The violently codependent bond between the two main guys, with the added identity porn of their shared secrets, is pure fan catnip and milked for all its worth as only a drama can - it's often campy and cheesy and always over the top, but man do they deliver on the angst and h/c. Also I've finally gained an appreciation for Oguri Shun - never quite got the appeal before but apparently all it took was putting him in a pair of cool glasses and three-piece yakuza suits (and then repeatedly shooting him and beating him bloody. Mmm yeah Japan knows fangirls.)

...Then there was the end. Massive spoilers for the series finale; general content warnings that would be spoilery to specify.Collapse )

on recent anime

gnine is here for the moment, so we've been trying out some new shows! We've seen the first four eps of Sense8 (fascinating, can't wait to see more) and Syfy's Killjoys (want it to be better than it is, sigh) and a bunch of recent anime, two of which I have to recommend for anyone who's into that, or would like to be.

The first is Ore Monogatari!! aka My Love Story!! aka the cutest cute that has ever cutely cuted. This anime should come with a sugar warning for diabetics. It's a shoujo about a high school boy who is the polar opposite of the attractive shoujo hero, both in his colossal manly body and face, and his straightforward personality. Due to his looks, he's never had a girlfriend; they all fall for his bishounen best friend. Then one day he helps out a girl, and you can guess where the story goes from there. Except whatever you're imagining, it's cuter than that. It's a fun, sappy, quietly silly show focusing equally on Takeo, his best friend, and his girlfriend, and the relationship developing between them (don't worry, it's not a love triangle; not a threesome either, but equally about friendship as romance), and most of the stories are basically about which one of the three can be the sweetest (spoilers: it's all of them.)

Also the brother (who not-so-secretly enjoys school shoujo comedies) was honestly wondering about the gender of the mangaka - the writer is female, it turns out, but we guess she might have teenagers, because she captures a particular sort of low-key teen boy friendship in a way that felt very true to him.

If you like Ore Monogatari, I'd also recommend last year's Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun/Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, which has similar character dynamics, though is a lot goofier, more a straight comedy, bordering on parody - of the gentle and loving sort; if you're a shoujo fan I wouldn't miss it. Both are up on Crunchyroll.

The second is Ansatsu Kyoushitsu/Assassination Classroom, which has to be seen to be believed, but I'll try to explain why (and the summary is going to sound more spoilery than it really is - the basic idea is laid out in the first five minutes of the show - but if you want to watch it cold, go ahead, do it, you won't regret it. Provided you have a tolerance for certain shounen tropes, crack, and crack played straight(ish). And a basic grasp of Japanese schooling would help. But seriously, this show is amazing, I fell for it so much harder than I was prepared for.)

So Assassination Classroom is yet another take on that educational classic, the class of troubled teens getting an unusual new teacher who turns their lives around, à la GTO, Gokusen, etc. The twist - and it's a doozy - is that this teacher is a super-powered tentacle monster who blew up most of the moon and is going to do the same to the Earth in a year...unless this class of plucky young junior high students can assassinate him first.

This is quite the challenge, as he can move at Mach 20 (and the brother is thrilled by how cleverly and accurately his superspeed works), he's immune to most weapons, and also he's the best teacher the kids have ever had.

On the other hand, if they can kill him, they get a ten-billion yen reward from the grateful nations of the world. And (hopefully?) save the planet.

And if you're thinking this sounds completely absurd - absolutely yes! and yet the series makes it work. It's crack played straight - not realistically, and it's not a dark series; half the time it's a comedy and it keeps hitting the expected hopeful and triumphant chords of kids overcoming adversity with the help of a few adults who really care. But the emotional tension is all over the place and off-kilter from the tropes it's deploying, and that's deliberately and effectively done, often hilariously, occasionally disturbing. The kids are all the standard types of failures and delinquents, but they're well-sketched and lovable and you can't help but cheer them on...even when you're not quite sure you should.

(As a bonus Sugita Tomokazu is playing the PE teacher/special forces agent teaching the kids assassination skills and becoming way more attached to his students than he should be, considering the stakes. I apparently have a thing for Sugita-voiced characters who should never in a million years be mentors for kids and yet end up mentoring the hell out of them, though otherwise Karasuma-sensei is a 180 from Gintoki.)

The end of the season falls down a bit in how it goes more overtly action-shounen; but there's another season coming next year and I can't wait for it. Not the least of which because there are so many questions about the whole scenario, and it's offered enough hints to imply answers may come. In the meantime you can watch the first season on Hulu. And then come here and talk to me about it, because yes, so many questions!! (I'm debating whether or not to read the manga or be patient...)


on revisting old favorites

Playing/replaying Mass Effect got gnine and I in the mood for more space opera. So instead of watching all the anime and other shows we were intending to catch up on while we were together, we found ourselves rewatching Babylon 5 instead.

I was going to write a long rambling thing here on how B5 remains one of my favorite shows ever, but then I got sidetracked watching bloopers on youtube, and, well...out of everything I love, Londo and G'Kar are still and always the best thing in the show. Their performances are simultaneously completely over the top and yet spine-tinglingly nuanced; they have lines that give you chills, or reduce you to tears of hysterical laughter. And whenever they're together that impact is squared, the characters' relationship is so complicated, and the actors have so much chemistry...

...and then you have this outtake, and just, I can't even. "Great Maker, your eye...I have smuggled in some Wheat Thins for you. Wait, wait--and a banana!"


more on Mass Effect

gnine is here for the month, and with a little urging she re-played ME3 with the DLC. So I now have watched all the ME3 DLC, as well as the mShep romance with Kaidan. (Gnine was pleased to do so, as the main reason she played mShep originally was for the m/m relationship, which she screwed up the first time around by accidentally staying with Tali instead.) And most of the rest of ME3 again as well...random thoughts to follow.

Spoilers for all the games, including DLC, plus a few fan theoriesCollapse )

Gnine and I have done some other things, last week we went to Age of Ultron and Furious 7, but while I enjoyed both and have some thoughts I might get down later, my fannish heart is definitely still taken with ME.

(And whyyyyyyyyy are there no space operas on TV now? I miss them more than ever! If only it were possible to adapt ME...it has to be a game, it wouldn't be the same any other way, but there's several non-gamers I'd love to show it to. They could at least do a mini-series set in the same universe, the First Contact war with the turians, perhaps?)
I've been thinking more about the end of the Mass Effect trilogy, and by the fan reactions to it that I've encountered online as I look up vids and fanart. (Among other things, I found these essays, from a fan who uncompromisingly loved the original endings even pre-extended cut, a fascinating read. This post isn't anywhere near as thought-out or high-concept, and the way I fan is quite different, but it does echo some of the ideas mentioned in those.) Spoilers for the ending of ME3Collapse )

on voice acting

...In Mass Effect. (You weren't getting away that easily, sorry! :P) I do love voice acting, and this vid is a great example - it's a clip of Garrus's VA as a bit role on Castle, and it's awesome because he doesn't sound like Garrus at all...until the one minute mark when his voice drops and then he's instantly recognizable. Which everyone freaks out about in the comments, when they're not discussing Garrus chatting with Mal Reynolds... (I gotta say, I'm used to youtube comments being the bottom of the internet barrel, but for some reason a lot of the comments on ME-related clips are gold.)

on Mass Effect, redux

So I beat ME3 a few days ago. And then at the advice of sheliana and others I got the Citadel DLC and played that (thank you SO MUCH for the rec, it's amazing, epic fanservice in the best of ways!) And now I'm out of Mass Effect to play! Other than the other DLCs, but some of those (From Ashes, at least) seem to require replaying pretty much the whole game, so...maybe later.

For now - a lot (LOT!) more squee and rambling under the cut. Unlike last post this will be spoilerific for all three games, so I advise you don't read unless you've played them already or are absolutely sure you never will - otherwise I strongly recommend playing unspoiled.

Spoilers for ME1-ME3 (including the Citadel DLC, though for Gnine´s sake I´ll hide the main plot spoiler)Collapse )

And then, inevitably...I make no promises about completing it, but I have 3K words and counting of post-game fic. As I have said so often before: Whoops.

on Mass Effect

For years now, whenever I complained about the lack of space opera on TV (which is every other month or so - and right now is more just "why are there no shows in space at all, argh?!" - but glorious sprawling epic multi-world culture-clashing space opera is my joy) my brother's answer has always been, "PLAY MASS EFFECT!"

So last month I finally did. And now I'm a couple hours away from beating the third game, and. Yeah. This is where the space opera has gone, and it is amazing. (Doesn't hurt that of all ME's influences - which range from Star Wars to Niven's Known Space - the strongest might be my beloved Babylon 5.) Being a game, it has elements in common with both visual and literary scifi - while it has the cinematics like TV and movies, it also has a ton of background text that fleshes out the universe, explaining details of aliens and technology in a way TV can only do in tie-in books. And yes, I'm one of those geeks who has to read the entire Codex.

And it's worth it! The alien species are fascinating, and not just in the character designs - though those are great, being a video game they aren't limited to humans in makeup. (Actually the aliens look better than the humans, who tend to live in that point in the uncanny valley where their fixed-plastic features don't quiiiiiiite ruin the dramatic scenes, but it's close.) All the species have distinct, complex cultures, and the story manages that difficult trick of having alien characters who are representative of their species, and yet are also unique individuals - their personalities are shaped by the societies they were raised in, but not determined by them. More random babble, no real spoilersCollapse )

on Gintama

Sooner or later there comes a time when a fangirl must just sit down and acknowledge that yes, as ridiculous as it might be, Gintama is one of their favorite animanga series of all time. Such as when you hear the anime has been renewed (again!!!) and shriek so loudly you terrify your cat. (As opposed to Gintoki's reaction (no spoilers))

So yup, the Gintama anime is rising from its final ending yet again. (Apparently now called Gintama゜ because crack.) I'm even more excited about this than I am about Durarara!!! being back (and I'm thrilled about that!) So many things I can't wait to see animated - the Rule 63 arc (for the entire cast!) Bodyswap! *censored* *censored*!!

And then last night I went and caught up with the manga and...ooooooooooooh boy. Spoilers for the Gintama manga through ch. 525Collapse )

I love Gintama for its insane ability to switch from comedy to drama - I've never seen anything that goes from such extremes as Gintama can. There are a few things that come close. There are other manga like One Piece which are primarily action leavened with really silly comedy. Or there are comedies like Futurama, which is mostly wacky comedy that occasionally hit a genuinely dramatic chord, and it works in part because it's unexpected, because you're not ready to have your heart played like that. But Gintama is so ridiculous that when it does go dramatic-tragic, you're never prepared. Every single time it takes me off-guard.

Speaking of which - now to catch up with One Piece!

on endings

So Benedict Cumberbatch has put in the final performance of his greatest role. Which is to say, Cabin Pressure's finale has aired.

Spoilers for Zurich parts 1-2Collapse )

Happy holidays!

gnine is here for the holidays, and the household will be doing presents as soon as the brother arises. --and now I have a cat on my lap, oh dear, I was just getting online for a minute, kitty...

Merry Christmas to those who do that, and Happy New Years to everyone!

on the Dresden Files

sholio recently talked about Dresden Files: War Cry, an original comic story (by Jim Butcher, so part of canon), and as she mentioned it features Harry & Thomas snarking at one another (it's set a bit after Dead Beat), I had to get it.

I've been reading the Dresden Files since about book 7 or 8, and while there's a lot of the series I enjoy, Harry & Thomas is - not necessary my favorite thing about it, but it's the part that gets my fangirl heart pumping. The only parts of the series I've reread more than once are with them. Some general spoilers for the series; spoilers for the comic specifically will be spoiler-tagged as wellCollapse )

on WTNV Old Oak Doors B

Spoilers for the ep. Also flailing.Collapse )

Is the next ep here yet? What do you mean, TWO MORE WEEKS? D:

on the Warehouse 13 finale

Watched Warehouse 13's series finale.

[Spoiler (click to open)]My feelings are mixed, and not just because I had to say goodbye to a show I loved. This last mini-season has been mixed but most of the finale was great, entirely suitable to the show - I liked that it wasn't a crisis, that it was about an epic event but not one not yet come to past, nor one they had much part to play in, so ultimately it was a quiet character story. Most of the flashbacks were hilarious and perfect as "eps that could've happened but didn't" and about making the actors look as ridiculous as possible, which is totally in keeping with the show!

I loved the reveal of Artie's son, because it was something that could've been made into extra last-minute angst and instead was cute and sweet and, Artie being Artie, entirely believable that he'd simply never mentioned it before. Also his argument with the Warehouse and its thank you was maybe a bit cheesy but I liked it - the Warehouse's semi-sentience totally hits my kink for places-as-characters. Nice to have Leena cameo, and ahahahahah so petty and hilarious to have Mrs. Frederic telling Jinx everything off-screen, "Was that Mr. Frederic?" indeed! I do wish they'd gotten Abigail in for a bit (did she even warrant a mention? I missed it if so) as I really liked what we saw of her; but she was never a main character and I can see why they kept it limited. And the flashforward at the end worked well, left so much open while reassuring us of the status quo. Plus, Claudia as the Caretaker, hee and yay - I'm glad that she went through with it despite her doubts, it was the future I wanted for her.)

Actually, given Claudia as Caretaker, and that she didn't look much older, I was wondering if the reason the Warehouse rang a false transition alarm was to say a sort of farewell to Mrs. Frederic?

The one thing I could've done without, and which didn't ruin the finale for me only because they kept it small and open enough for me to fanwank over it, is the Pete/Myka. Why, why, why did the writers have to go there? Why couldn't they have left me that one, just that one, in the whole history of TV? I started watching the show because someone told me it had platonic m-f friendship, and Pete & Myka were one of my favorite things in the show. Moreoever, I loved the way Warehouse 13 showed them - and the other characters as well - that it outright stated that not only is romance not the be-all and end-all of happiness, but that you can actually find peace and happiness and family and love even if you're not romantically involved with anyone. That romantic love can be great but it's not absolutely necessary, not for everyone, not for all lives. Peter and Myka were the most important people in one another's lives, and they weren't romantically or sexually involved, and that worked for them, they were both better people for it, for having one another's back, for having one another in a way that was as strong and meaningful as any romance could be, just different. It felt like a punch to my fangirl soul, to refute that at the end - to say that the only way they could possibly make it work long-term is if they're in love and sexually attracted to one another.

(Not to mention, everyone knows the only real romantic OTP in W13 is Myka/HG - to have HG in the ep but not actually have a scene with Myka was fan-baiting of the cruelest sort! Even if it did make it clear that they're still in touch, and also that HG isn't as happily settled as she seemed to be. So there's always the hope that in a month Pete and Myka will realize that they were misinterpreting their partner-love as something else because they didn't have the framework to understand what they actually had, and go back to how they really work. And also maybe have a platonic no-sex baby together because I can't tell you how much I really wanted that to happen! And when HG breaks up with her current dalliance she and Myka can make a real go at it...)

So, yes, in the end the Warehouse 13 finale was mostly a good send-off, and I will fanwank the Pete/Myka away so I can still enjoy the rest of the show. I'm sad to see it go, but enjoyed it greatly while it was here!

Though now I need a new lightweight team-show to get my recommended dose of adorable! For most of the season I thought Agents of SHIELD was stepping up into that role nicely, should've known better than to cozy up to a Whedon show (I actually really enjoyed the end of the season and am looking forward to next year, but yeah, not quite what I'm looking for.) And Arrow is fantastic and team-y - its season finale wasn't quite as strong as most of the the rest of the season, but still left me wanting more - but while's it's often shamelessly comicbook-ridiculous it's not as joyfully goofy as Warehouse 13 could be...

(Meanwhile, if anyone is wondering, YES I AM STILL FREAKING OUT OVER NIGHT VALE OMG OMG OM(smiling)G!!!! It hurts so good and I'm loving it!)

on the latest Night Vale

Concerning Welcome to Night Vale ep 47, Company Picnic, all I have to say is,


*deep breath*


(where is Cecil!?!?!?!?)


on Night Vale: "Cookies"

Sooooo this latest ep of Welcome to Night Vale...! spoilers for ep 44 "Cookies"Collapse )

Ahhh this show! The problem with fanning on a canon this incredibly open and vague is that every new ep can shake the pieces up, entirely rearrange them on the board...my current WiP is not quite jossed yet but it's only a matter of time, I'm sure. Fortunately this is Night Vale, which has room and weirdness enough for a multitude of contradictory realities...


a long time ago, we used to be friends...

The worst part of the new Veronica Mars movie is getting the damn theme song stuck in your head for like 24 hours. Other than that, [Spoiler (click to open)]really enjoyed it! I'm new to the show - gnine showed it to us last year to prepare for the movie, and we didn't actually watch s3 as she said (repeatedly) that it was not worth it. And I didn't have any trouble getting the movie despite that. It felt a lot like the first season, decent mystery, good character beats, great lines, some h/c. Not enough Weevil (or Weevil and Logan) but otherwise a good time! And they definitely knew the audience they were playing to, without feeling entirely gratuitously fan-service-y .

(Not that there is anything wrong with gratuitous fan-service, such is what made the new Gintama movie one of the best based-on-an-anime movies I've ever seen...!)

Then there was the latest ep of WTNV, which judging by Tumblr and AO3, I think I speak for the whole fandom when I say [Spoiler (click to open)]AHHHHH KHOSHEKH STREX HOW COULD YOU?!!!?? Okay, you're an evil megacorp but still, here is a line, and it happens to lie before hurting an innocent spine-ridged venomous floating kitty cat. The show is often at its best when Cecil shows genuine feeling, and for all his building frustration with Strex we've maybe never heard him this angry before. I still am not sure where the Strex storyline is going (given the nature and style of WTNV I will not be surprised if the majority of it is resolved off-the-air and in passing) but the slow way they're building the tension - mostly background mentions but increasingly more often brought to the forefront - has been really effective so far. (All the more impressive because objectively speaking, Strex/Desert Bluffs is arguably no worse than Night Vale itself - that is, Strex is absolutely horrifying; but Night Vale might have an even higher mortality rate! But Night Vale and Cecil are the devil we know and have come to love, while as Kevin is just terrifying and wrong, and we want to see Strex go down as much as Cecil does...)

Then there's the question of what happened to Khoshekh. During the confrontation, the first sound is pretty clearly Khoshekh's growl that we've heard before, but then there are what sound like normal cat meows and it's hard to tell whether that's Khoshekh or the Strex-pet. Did removing Khoshekh from his fixed position also remove some of his more unusual attributes, render him more like a normal feline? And was this deliberate, Strex, bringing the bizarre and the unique down to a baseline, perfect normal, as they will try to do with all of Night Vale...

Naturally I had to write up some of these thoughts into an episode tag (me and half the fandom!) Mine is: Displacement, in which Carlos comes to Cecil, and to some realizations.

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