ariad: (dir en grey // my obscene sister)
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Agent Carter
Perfection. I had eagerly anticipated this show because Peggy Carter may be my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I admit I was concerned that her character might be developed in a way that I didn't like or that the show would not make use of the things I loved about her character, which has absolutely been a problem I've had with short-form-characters-turned-long-form-characters, as well as with the continuation of the Cinematic Universe in general.

Instead, I'm completely in love with the show. It reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the way it gives so many layers of character to a female protagonist. There were so many moments in the first two episodes, particularly Peggy discussing her guilt over endangering her roommate and Jarvis telling her she need not shoulder her burdens alone, that stood out to me because it had been so long since I had seen them belong to a female character.

I've seen someone else (on here, I think) take issue with how frequently the show points out sexism. Something about how you don't have to highlight sexism to have a strong female protagonist. And that's certainly a valid point. But there's value in having shows that do highlight sexism as well as shows that pretend it doesn't exist. I find pointing out the sexism works with this character and this show because:

1) the first time Peggy was introduced, she punched a guy out for disrespecting her for being a woman; facing sexism as an agent has always been a part of her narrative.

2) the show doesn't treat sexism as something tied to the time period, nor as something Peggy defeats by punching bad guys; instead the sexism Peggy and the female supporting cast members face has a timelessness and immutability that is very honest, which is what I ask for in a work that addresses sexism by showing it.

The character of Jarvis is delightful. Hayley Atwell is stunning. The only part of the show I do not care for is Howard Stark, which I suspect is a combination of the way he is written as well as the way he is acted.

Bakuman.
By Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. I started reading it because I like their work on Death Note, but I was apprehensive due to the genre, which is slice-of-life humor romance. I'm not generally into that kind of low-intensity story, but I actually love Bakuman. A large part of it is that the story is about two teenage boys who decide they want to be famous manga-ka and, as such, much of the manga shows the inner workings of the manga industry. I am always interested in inner workings of entertainment industries. Plus, the romance is both over-the-top and self-aware about it, so rather than turning me off, it just adds to the reading pleasure.

Carmilla
I watched the first 18 episodes of the YouTube series Carmilla. So far, I don't really like it. I find both the writing and the acting to be weak, and although Carmilla is sexy as fuck, I dislike her for her behavior in the first few episodes. I suspect that the goal is to have the audience dislike Carmilla at first, or at least relate to Laura's dislike of Carmilla, and then slowly see her as a person and sympathize with her, but I don't forget that shit unless there's evidence to show that the character actually changed, as opposed to the writing just focusing on different things. I feel similarly about the frat guys, who were initially portrayed as shallow and objectifying but whom I guess are good guys now?

I'm also just not into a certain kind of vampire fiction, which is gonna make this post real ironic.

Daredevil
I've been reading Marvel more-or-less chronologically for many years now, but lately, my affections for Marvel have cooled, by which I mean I don't even want to see Marvel or Marvel characters anywhere around me most of the time. (Agent Carter being an obvious exception.) I still love the characters I love, but I realized that for a person of my disposition who reads things and enjoys things the way that I do, the rewards of being a Marvel fan would never outweigh the frustrations. These frustrations come both from the Marvel Comics side and the Marvel Studios side. With a multiverse as expansive as Marvel's, the bigwigs' priorities in terms of which characters get developed and how are never going to align with my own in any satisfying way. Battleworld was just the nail in the coffin.

So my read-all-the-Marvel-things mission that I've been on since, what, 2009? is effectively on hold. I'm still going to read some of the series on my list that continue to interest me. One of those series is Brian Bendis & Alex Maleev's Daredevil. It has been amazing and dramatic and innovative since the start, and I will absolutely see through to the end of the pair's run.

I've just finished v2 #71-75 "Decalogue," which was interesting in that each issue was from the point-of-view of a minor character who had never been seen before or who had appeared only briefly. They all gathered to narrate their stories about Daredevil to one another, and as they each told their stories, the stories intersected. One of the things I love about Bendis' writing is how he can give life and a voice to a character in an instant, and this arc is a perfect example. I also love seeing Daredevil through other characters' eyes. When the story is from Matt's point of view, he is a pathetic, desperate, angry, heartbroken mess. When the story is from others' points of view, he is larger-than-life, terrifying or heroic, the worst and best creature to land in Hell's Kitchen and mark it as his territory. And all of those things are true. They're just not all true to every character.

Death Note
I'd read the manga years ago, but I decided to watch the anime because there was so much I had forgotten, and I ended up having such a Death Note situation to the point where I once asked my dad what Death Note was about and, based on my emotional ramblings in his general direction, he said, "It's about how Light and L can't be friends because Light is a serial killer and L is trying to catch him."

I am so, so, so, so fond of the Death Note characters, but I also am very conflicted about them, which is great. I've seldom gone from loving a character to hating them as quickly as I did with Light.

Overall, I think the anime was a good adaptation. It is overdramatic to the point of ridiculousness, but that's understandable when it's based on a serious about writing names in a notebook. I also think the anime producers probably shipped Light and L because I don't remember the manga being as homoerotic? (At one point, L essentially gives Light a foot massage, and I had to pause and leave my computer because I couldn't take it. Julie pointed out that it was probably a reference to Jesus washing Judas' feet, but Light also cupped L's face, so I just don't know, man.) But my one real issue with the anime is the ending. It's mostly the same on paper, but tonally, it romanticizes Kira in a way I don't like.

Much like the manga, the anime became significantly less interesting to me after episode 25/chapter 58, but it was still good. I admit I shipped L/Light quite a lot before episode 25. /o\

Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
This is an Iranian vampire movie that Meng and I watched at an indie movie theater in Oakland, the only theater in our area that was showing the movie. It was kind of a cross between an art movie and a narrative film. It was enjoyable, overall. Quirky, funny, gory. Interesting gender politics.

But the relationship between the human protagonist and the vampire deuteragonist was very much about the angst of living + the angst of being a vampire, which is a trope that just bores me. Maybe I've watched too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no such thing), but I'm pretty done with stories about vampires who are morally conflicted and the tortured/dissatisfied/misunderstood humans who are drawn to them.

The framing of a lot of the scenes was very nice. There were a lot of shots of a very attractive cat.

Mozhan MarnĂ² from House of Cards was in this movie. That was interesting.

Let the Right One In
ROFL SEE ABOVE FOR MY FEELINGS ON THIS MOVIE.

I watched this movie with Mie and Meng last night. I found it generally interesting? Except for, you know, the above. I enjoyed the gender ambiguity of Eli's character. I wish we'd gotten more insight into the relationship between Eli and Eli's caretaker, but I suspect that's something for which I'd have to read the book. I don't know that I'd watch it again.

LOST
Hahahahaha, I've been working on this show for over four years and am only on Season 3. I am Very Bad at Watching Television. It's just hard for me to watch more than one episode at a time or feel driven to watch more than one episode a week because, despite the large cast, I don't actually care much for any of the characters. I can recognize that the show is well-written and that the characters are well-developed, but any of them could die and all I'd care about is how exciting a death it was.

I am trying to pick up my pace for watching television in general, though, because it's just ridiculous that my dad started watching Breaking Bad a week ago and is on Season 5, whereas I've been watching it for several months and am on Season 3.

Parks & Recreation
Season 7 is happening! The timeskip was weird at first, but I really love the season so far. It's appropriately dramatic for a final season, and the opportunities for jokes based on the show being set in the future have been delightful. I get home around 7:30 pm on Tuesdays and Parks airs at 8 pm, so the moment I get home, I yell, "Parks & Rec?!??" and my sister comes downstairs and we watch Wheel of Fortune until it's time.

I love everyone and everything on this show. I'm emotional about everyone and everything. I'm so happy this show exists.
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September 2016

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