Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

For those of you who are unaware, Star Wars is very important to me. I saw the original trilogy (episodes IV, V, and VI) when they were released in theaters again, in the 90’s. This is a vivid memory for me, my dad driving while playing Cafe Tacuba in the car as we came into view of the theater, seeing the line trail around the theater building. I loved these films so much that I wanted my niece to experience them with me, and so we spent an entire day watching the original trilogy with a giant bowl of popcorn between us.

There are elements in these films that I see crop up in all things I love: countless father figures for a fatherless protagonist, a princess who takes no crap off of anybody, characters who are complex and conflicted, and a strong emphasis on Buddhism as the core of spirituality that binds the universe together. I’m not the kind of fan who has read the extended universe books or played any of the video games or has a wide knowledge of all things within the world of Star Wars. But I love the characters and the story. And it was the first time that I had seen a film where the director explicitly stated he had used a mythological/philosophical text (that of Joseph Campbell’s) to create the meat of the story.

I love these films so much that when a new Star Wars is released, I myself feel conflicted. There’s the memory with how much I hated Episode I: The Phantom Menace that I decided not to see another prequel film. I didn’t write about Episode VII: The Force Awakens when I saw it, simply for one reason: I was in shock.

I was in shock because I had so fully loved a film that was not a part of the original Star Wars trilogy. I loved Rey, Kylo Ren, and Finn immensely, I wanted to know more about them. When Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was released, I feared my reaction to it if only because there were so many reviews that expressed polarization. Especially considering how much I disliked Rogue One, I thought I was going to have a repeat viewing with Episode I.

Fear not, me.

I am about to say something that might be a little sacrilegious: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars film I have ever seen. Continue reading “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Final Episodes

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As much as I have loved watching Wolf’s Rain all over again and as much as I’ve been enjoying the ideas it presents, the ending leaves a rather sour taste in my mouth. So much so that I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this series. It’s almost like the first and second half of Wolf’s Rain are two separate entities. One is a journey laden with philosophical observations on human nature, the other is dripping with plot conventions, insisting that the characters must fulfill their purposes for the sake of the plot.

I’m not saying that I completely hated this series though. It’s just difficult when a series promises so much and ends in a rather weak fizzle. Emotionally, the ending is quite strong, but as far as closing all those ideas into a cohesive story, it fails.
Continue reading “Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Final Episodes”

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Final Episodes

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 23-26

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Sometimes, all it takes in the art of deception is a pretty face to carry off a lie. Kitsunes were known to take on the face of a beautiful woman to lure men in. And yet, they never knew that behind that face was nothing more than a fox. These tales about kitsunes or yuki-onnas, women who hide behind a human face, are often meant to warn men. But what is the warning? That women shouldn’t be trusted? Or is the fear set into us so that we always regard that beastly part of our humanity with trepidation? Humans are fond of covering over that essential part of our brain with layers and layers of civilization.

However, this is not a face one would use to lure, Cher.
Continue reading “Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 23-26”

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 23-26

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 11-14

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So, I took a long time getting around to this set of episodes. The last time I watched Wolf’s Rain, a dog was beaten horribly by a human and I was a little squeamish. Episodes 11-14 really made me want to finish the whole series. I think there should be a spin-off series just called Hubb and Quent, on the road, philosophizing about ladies and booze.

Also in this set of episodes, Hige hits on a lady by telling her that she makes him want to pee. This is how you flirt, apparently.
Continue reading “Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 11-14”

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 11-14

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 6-10

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A couple of nights ago, I had an interesting dream. I was in my room, minding my own business, when a spider came down from my ceiling. I was so taken by its beauty that I didn’t notice the markings on it. It had such an elegant shape and it dangled from its strand like a trapeze artist. Suddenly, I realized it was a black widow. Panic sunk in. I raced out of my room, slamming the door shut and created a barricade between the spider and I. Inside the room, the spider simply swayed, a danger to no one, but I was insistent on keeping it locked up. I ran to my dad and asked him to kill the spider but he told me, “You have to do it on your own.” And then, I woke up.

This dream struck me as quite apt, especially considering the book I’ve been reading. The spider is a symbol of the more primal aspects in my nature and I want to block it out. It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s always going to be there, swaying quietly, so I have to find some way to marry the logical side of me and the primal side. I bring this up because this seems to have been a theme in the last few episodes of Wolf’s Rain.
Continue reading “Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 6-10”

Wolf’s Rain a Second Time: Episodes 6-10