Neon Genesis Evangelion Episodes 9-11

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Things are going well at the Misato-Shinji-Asuka abode!

Things are going so well that, after failing a mission due to Asuka charging into battle against an Angel, she and Shinji discuss the ramifications of their actions in front of the entire NERV personnel. If “discuss” is an alternative word for arguing as if they were on the schoolyard. Professionalism!

And in case Neon Genesis Evangelion hasn’t reminded you that it is a very serious existential giant robo show, Misato decides that the only way Shinji and Asuka can learn to cooperate is through synchronized dancing. I mean, that’s practically in the manual for Gundam pilots.

Continue reading “Neon Genesis Evangelion Episodes 9-11”

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Neon Genesis Evangelion Episodes 9-11

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Does such a thing as “the fatal flaw,” that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs.

“Are you a student?” I am often asked by those observing me reading. They see someone hunched over a book, pen in hand, writing notes in the margins and underlining passages. And the first thing they tend to ask me is, “Are you a student?” Am I a student technically? No. Am I perpetual student who insists upon finding meaning in everything I read? I’ve come to believe that education is a forever thing and that one does not come out of college as a molded sculpture with selected qualities and personality. This is troubling in some regards in that my intellectual gains from reading cannot be written down as referential evidence for a possible career. Can a life spent as a student be considered a hobby then? When I was in a class on logic, I was told that the Ancient Greeks believed that one of the qualifications for attending college was that you were older and kept at education infinitely.

What I am searching for in reading is unbeknownst to me – meaning, certainly, but of what use it will have for me in the future, I am uncertain. It was for this reason that I connected with Donna Tartt’s Richard Papen, the narrator of The Secret History: being drawn to something savage and beautiful, not capable of understanding the reasons behind it. Doomed for not being able to understand it at the right time. His life is spent in servitude to order after he commits murder with a group of high-class intellectuals who place keeping up appearances over human life.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

No. 6

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When adoration for the collective works of a certain writer or studio is upon you and it can only end in you binge-watching yet another Studio BONES series, or greedily devouring another Angela Carter novel, you tend to notice similarities. No. 6 is yet another Studio BONES production that includes: 1. a city that is not as it seems 2. something (some supernatural entity) that calls to a character (ALWAYS BY WAY OF MUSIC, come on Studio BONES, change it up, no don’t I love you for that) 3. humanity must be purified through death 4. the world is recreated into a vision a character has. I’ve written about RahXephon and Wolf’s Rain to know this is true.

And yet, I am drawn to Studio BONES’ works like a wasp to a flickering flame. Perhaps this is because nothing is unintentional in their works. They consistently produce works that are thought provoking and interesting, despite the flaws here and there. No. 6 isn’t quite RahXephon for me, but there are many interesting ideas within it. And it’s impossible to walk away from this without loving the characters and their development. Continue reading “No. 6”

No. 6

An Avenging Angel

‘Who worked for Madame Schreck, sir? Why, prodigies of nature, such as I. Dear old Fanny Four-Eyes; and the Sleeping Beauty; and the Wiltshire Wonder, who was not three foot high; and Albert/Albertina, who was bipartite, that is to say, half and half and neither of either; and the girl we called Cobwebs.’ – Angela Carter, from Nights at the Circus, italics on my part.

Albertina, you say?

Any time you become enamored with an author’s work, you are bound to find similarities between their works. There are certain themes that appeal to them. There are certain settings they prefer over others. There are certain words – lugubrious, again (I love that word too). And as we all know, the more you read, the more you know. Of Angela Carter, I know more than I did than in 2009, when I was first introduced to her work through her second novel, The Magic Toyshop, in a course on literature about women in transition. (Short story, I learned I had to read it before the class started a week before, procrastinated, then sat down to read a library copy of it and spent the entire day glued to that seat until I turned the very last page).

And so much do I love Carter’s grotesque sense of humor, her vulgar approach to oft deified sexual acts, and her deconstruction of iconic female archetypes that I start to crave her work. There are very few writers out there who can make you laugh and then make you feel revulsion for the fact that you did laugh. But I get that certain feeling of meaning when I start to realize that each book has their own ambiguous catchphrase. For Nights at the Circus, there is Fevvers’ resounding cry of “Look at me!” as well as Nelson’s teachings to her of “Look, don’t touch.” In Love, brothers Lee and Buzz have to wear letters as children that spell out “DO RIGHT BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT.” And there are so many in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman that it would take too long to list them all, although my personal favorite is, “WHEN YOU BEGIN TO THINK, YOU LOSE THE POINT.”

So I decided that it would be in my best interests to list all of these similarities, as I will eventually write about Nights at the Circus and perhaps not have enough time to mention all of these. Granted, this is only what I’ve noticed in the first 90 pages of the book. But that is why I love Carter’s work so much – every sentence is brimming with ideas, thoughts, that can be extrapolated upon. Her books are like a candy shop for those who majored in English. So, onwards!

There will obviously be many Angela Carter spoilers after this cut. Proceed with caution. Continue reading “An Avenging Angel”

An Avenging Angel

Ex Machina (2015)

Could an AI be capable of integrating itself into society without a single head in the crowd turning?

Lately, it seems as though science-fiction films have been on a certain theme. All fully driven by female faces (or voice), all introspective about our relationship with technology, and all examining our very existence within the universe. It’s interesting to compare this with science-fiction films of old, perhaps best canonized by the emotionless yet highly threatening Hal of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. Technology back then had a male presence. And now, we perceive technology as having a female presence? Perhaps because a female face is less threatening and this is comforting when we realize that we have to live with technology 24/7 now. I’d be willing to argue that we’ve always lived with technology, since Prometheus stole fire and handed it to man. It’s only our perception of it that changes.

In the case of Ex Machina‘s AI Ava, sometimes all you have to do is change the environment, change the mouse’s labyrinth, and suddenly, what was non-threatening can transform into a very threatening force. It’s yet another reminder that the “deus” in this machina has been cleverly left off. Continue reading “Ex Machina (2015)”

Ex Machina (2015)