Favorite Anime

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Wed May 27, 2015 3:15 am

There's definitely a ton to love about Avatar. One of the first things that drew me to the show was the worldbuilding. The word "worldbuilding" gets thrown around a lot but it's very rare for me to feel to be able to take a fictional world seriously enough on its own terms to mentally slip in and explore it. This isn't simply a matter of consistency (ATLA has its share of issues on that front), but ATLA presents a world that is both broad and deep and indicates a much broader history and culture behind it. One of the most disappointing things about The Legend of Korra, to me, was their super-detailed explanation of the origins of the Avatar. It's not that this was handled poorly (it was probably the only good episode of season two), but it destroys the sense of this being a mythology that people believed in and that shaped the cultures we know. Same reason I don't want to see a Silmarillion movie about the Undying Lands, actually. Razz

Of course, the characters are probably the highlight of the show. It's really hard to pick a favorite; all of the major characters are memorable and the cast of supporting characters includes numerous gems as well. ATLA makes full use of the mixed episodic/serialized style to let the characters really shine in a way that epic fantasy movies almost never have time for. The plot of the show, on paper, is fairly generic (and awfully reminiscent of the original Star Wars trilogy, particularly with the roles played by each of the three seasons). In execution, however, it fires on nearly all cylinders, and finds numerous ways both large and small to subvert expectations and have establish its own identity.

When I was little (like 10 or 11), well before I made a habit of over-analyzing pop culture like I do now, I still used to try to make lists of favorites or categorize things. Call it an impulse to mental organizations. I realized at that age that of all the books and movies I had experienced, I kept coming back to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings. Those three excited me the most, were the launching point for countless flights of imagination, inspired me to want to learn more about their worlds, and were just the most fun to read/watch. It took me a long time to figure out what exactly it was about those three that appealed to me so much, but when I did (around the same time I started to learn what genres were), I tried to find similar things. I always went to the fantasy section of the bookstore when we visited and I watched plenty of adventure movies and I played D&D and read the spin-off novels. But of all the other modern epics I've read, it's the damn Nickelodeon cartoon that has most consistently brought me the same feeling as my earliest favorites. Razz

(Later on, I discovered the same feeling with A Song of Ice and Fire, though that attempts to deconstruct a lot of epic fantasy tropes and is decidedly adult rather than YA or all-ages, so it's a bit of a different experience. And it remains to be seen if either the books or the show will manage to pull off a satisfying ending. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that series as well when recounting fantasy favorites.)
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu May 28, 2015 12:22 am

It's interesting that you should point out LotRs, Harry Potter and aSoIaF as similar examples. Although I do see where you are coming from, and I would probably have picked those three out to. They all seem to share some quality, something that sets them appart from other more or less epic fantasy stories. And I do think there is a strong case for that being the worldbuilding, the immersive world you can lose yourself in.

As generic as the storylines might be though, and I guess at macro level the storylines must be quite sweeping, generic at it's root, I do think their conception and execution turned them into something quite special. When I think about it I keep coming back to Zuko's arc. His character getting from the place it is where the story starts to where it ends up is a "short" step from good to evil. You had all the build up for his redemption at the end of the second season, only to have him turn back to everything he needed to leave behind.. that's some heavy stuff. And they don't let either the character and the audience forget it, when the last season starts he is back where he started, and he is only slowly allowed to realize this is the wrong place for him to be. And even when he turns to the other side, he has to justify his change, redeem himself wth the people he hurt, and it's not until the finale that he really achieves the redemption that seemed to be the obvious direction he would take at the end of the second season. That journey was some masterful storytelling. And I think the way they handled the final battle with Aang and the Firelord, they went through the whole series establishing that Aang would need to kill the firelord, but he stayed true to his principles and ethics and found another way. Stuff like that turns something that could be quite mundane into something very special.

Tie that in with a charcter, rather than plot, driven story, that invests you in the characters and where they end up, and they ended up with something very special. Why? I guess that's a good question. Why do these four stories work? There's obviously a question of quality, but there feels like there's somthing more, I agree with that.

Comparing it with LoK could be quite interesting, as there you have a similar show, set in kind of the same world, by the same people. Yet, somehow, to me at least, it fails to capture the spirit, what was special about, TLA, all the while being a fairly good tv show on it's own merit. They did scupper a whole lot of worldbuilding from the original series with setting the story in the more modern/Republic City setting, which failed to immerse me in the same way the world of the original series did. Having a more cyclical, season by season, way of telling the story also made it feel quite different. The setting up of a new undefeatable villain, who then was defeated, got to feel, just that, a bit generic to me. And the storyarchs streching over the full four seasons didn't necesarily feel fullfilled. And the characters were a bit hit and miss, as in some were great and others failed to capture the imagination of this viewer at least. And I also felt they went to deep into the whole Avatar myths. There is somethng to, when telling everything limiting the ground for imagination. Limiting your story. In some cases writing something abstract into something very concrete fails to make it justice. I know they had issues with Nickelodeon and so on, but generally it felt.. yes.. more generic.

That's not to say TLA was always perfect either. There are episodes where they missed the tone of the series. Like The Great Divide or something, where there not only is no interesting story, but the characters doesn't drive the story in any interesting ways either. It gets the feeling of going through the motions, and fails to give the viewer anything. But that's like one of a couple of examples.

It just.. an example of when one of these epic fantasy stories really work. (And they certainly don't always. (I need to write my thing about the Wheel of Time at some point. I kind of ment to write something about just that.)) So, yeah, there is something special about it I agree. That's it's a Nickelodeon kids show becomes kind of.. an interesting piece of trivia in the big scheme of things.


Last edited by Bluebottle on Thu May 28, 2015 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu May 28, 2015 12:32 am

I'm not sure what this is from, but I think I need to see it. Razz



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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu May 28, 2015 12:07 pm

Howl's Moving Castle. Yeah, that was pretty cool actually. Nod

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu May 28, 2015 12:08 pm

God, that post was such a mess. Razz I kind of felt I had to rewrite it.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 30, 2015 6:09 am

I wish I could give your post the lengthy reply it deserves, but unfortunately I don't have the energy for that right now.  It's hard to put my feelings about all these series into words in a particularly rational manner. Razz I do sometimes wonder if my fondness for these series is because I discovered all of them when I was younger, before I had started to broaden my pop cultural horizons and consciously seek out new kinds of stories.  But I have still in more recent years watched my fair share of fantasy stuff so I feel that my list of favs comes from a reasonably informed place, even if emotion and nostalgia plays a big role there.  I know there's plenty more literary fantasy I still haven't tried (unlike the rather limited options for onscreen fantasy epics), but my disappointment at The Kingkiller Chronicle and The Stormlight Archive made me question whether I was being too picky, since those are so acclaimed.  But I think next time I try reading a new fantasy series it will be an older selection (Gene Wolfe and Ursula K. LeGuin are both intriguing to me).

NB to have been a Hugo voter in 2000-01, when A Storm of Swords was facing off against Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for Best Novel.  Two of the best epic fantasy series ever, each series putting forward its best novel (not that people would have necessarily known that at the time), but representing such different takes on the genre.  I wonder if it felt as exciting back then as it does in retrospect. Laughing I know GRRM carried took a long while to recover from the sting of that loss.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 30, 2015 6:29 am

One factor that I think helps certain series stand out is having a fresh take on some part of the genre.  This doesn't necessarily mean that the story is super-original (I don't want to provoke a Petty crabbit explosion about HP Razz), and on the flip side, a novel can be original and unique but still bad.  However, it gets old after a while reading so much generic fantasy.  I do worry that this led me to unfairly dismiss Wheel of Time and Stormlight because they just felt so samey.  I'm told that WoT, at least, develops more of its own identity later on, but I didn't feel like forcing myself to read on just to get to those parts (not knowing how long the series is).  And Stormlight felt awfully reminiscent of Salvatore (who I used to like a lot, don't get me wrong, but he's firmly middle-tier).

I feel really weird criticizing the worldbuilding since I know that's what Sanderson is feted for so often, but it didn't click for me.  I prefer lower-magic settings (probably a legacy of LOTR's impact on me), and while I don't mind having lots of magic (see: HP), endless descriptions of it just bore me stiff.  Which is strange cause I'm often down with endless descriptions of history and heraldry*, but I guess it's a matter of personal preference.  But more to the point, the pervasive magic and bizarre flora and fauna made the whole world feel unreal and distant, and jarred oddly with the incredibly brutal violence of the bridge crew chapters. That said, the biggest WTF moment for me was the idea that the main kingdom is this intensely patriarchal society but that only women are allowed to read or write.  Makes zero sense; reading and writing are power and it's mind-boggling that a chauvinistic male leadership would willingly surrender so much power.  I get that Sanderson was probably just looking for an unique spin on gender politics (and the whole men = meathead, women = bookish certainly ties into plenty of modern gender stereotypes, although not actual medieval ones), it comes across as a situation that exists only because the author thought it would be cool or feed into some thematic point, not because it's actually plausible.  This is fine for allegory (which wasn't what Sanderson was doing), but it's death for an epic fantasy setting.

*I take that back, there is a limit to how much backstory I'm willing to take in, even if that backstory is relevant to other interests of mine.  This was a big part of the problem with A Feast for Crows, and the prioritization of worldbuilding over plot has thwarted my efforts to read Steven Erikson.  So I suppose we need to credit those authors who are able to build a great setting that fits naturally into a great story, that feels real and expansive without being shoved in your face.  A very tricky balancing act to be sure.

But, uh ... to get back to my earlier point (and then go to sleep since I'm losing it here), HP was able to put a different spin on things by merging the LOTR influence with that of Tom Brown's School Days.  ASOIAF took influence from a later historical era and tried to deconstruct a lot of tropes.  Avatar ditched the medieval European model entirely and went for a mish-mash of mostly Asian cultures, which I still think is one of the reasons why it doesn't get its due as a great epic fantasy show (the other being that it's animated) and adds martial arts influences by working that directly into its "magic system".  Obviously these stories are all also just really well told, and it may be that they really are a cut above everything else, but I think it's easier to appreciate those qualities when you're not constantly being reminded that it's a clone of something that came before, even if it's a pretty good clone (eg, Eddings, at least some of the time).
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sun May 31, 2015 3:00 pm

Eldorion wrote:I wish I could give your post the lengthy reply it deserves, but unfortunately I don't have the energy for that right now.

Don't worry about it. I certainly get that feeling. Anyway, I enjoy getting to geek out about fantasy and adaptations with you, so appreciate the effort. I think I might have feelt a bit like you felt yesterday, so much so I didn't even get around to posting this short reply. Razz I'll try to get around to posting a proper one though. Wink

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 31, 2015 4:08 pm

Hope you feel better soon, Blue. It's always a pleasure to discuss fantasy, anime, and stuff like that with you. Thumbs Up
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:00 pm

Figured I'd move the ATLA discussion back over here to stop derailing the face app discussion. Razz

Bluebottle wrote:Nod


"The Headband" is great. Very Happy I'm impressed by how much sensuality they were able to slip into that dance scene in particular. "The Beach" usually gets the credit for pushing the boundaries of a kid's show with regards to sexiness (and deservedly so), but I think "The Headband" should get its due too.

Also undercuts the Zutaran complaints about Aang and Katara being artificial, though it pains me to play the role of Zutara buzzkill since I sympathized with that faction for a long time (at least until Jin came along Razz).
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:13 pm

Oh, I wasn't paying attention. Embarassed

I actually thought they were going to go with Zuko and Katara right up until the end. Razz Aang and Katara felt the more natural relationship though. Which is perhaps why people dislike it. It was too simple. And love isn't supposed to be simple, dang it. Laughing

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:14 pm

Aah, there's a lot of stuff in this thread I ment to respond to too. Embarassed I will. Nod

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:32 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Oh, I wasn't paying attention. Embarassed

No problem, I just get self-conscious about topic drift at the weirdest times. Razz

I actually thought they were going to go with Zuko and Katara right up until the end. Razz Aang and Katara felt the more natural relationship though. Which is perhaps why people dislike it. It was too simple. And love isn't supposed to be simple, dang it. Laughing

I was always confident that Aang and Katara was going to be the plan.  It felt fairly obvious the first time through and on rewatch, even before the show had concluded, the progression of their relationship is obvious.  Somewhere around the end of Book 2 though, the writers became aware of the concept of shipping and the fandom's very fierce shipping rivalries and they started working various teases of that into the show itself.  There was a time when it bothered me that they were using the show to "troll" people, but as I've grown up I can appreciate the various Zuko/Katara scenes for what they are without reading romantic subtext (or nefarious creator intentions) into them.  But that's more just how I've changed. Razz

Spoiler:
If you wanna talk about the creators trolling though, this definitely counts. Laughing


From the just...whatever thread:

Whaaa.. I like Avatar Day. Razz

The Rough Rhinos are a bit easily defeatable, and there's not much that happens, but I liked the whole putting the Avatar on trial thing. (Maybe that' the lawyer in me talking.)

The community service thing is really silly, but I can't help but laugh at it.

When the rewatch I was part of got to Avatar Day I was actually really surprised at how many people loved it. Razz I tried to be open-minded rewatching it but I found most of my old quibbles still there.  The Zuko and Iroh B-plot is great as always, but the main story just rubs me the wrong way.  It's strange cause there are some fairly silly episodes from Book 1 that I love (The Waterbending Scroll is one I can go back to over and over), but I think part of my problem with Avatar Day is that Aang is supposed to have grown up a little by now.  The thing that jumped out at me the most is that he was totally going to allow himself to be executed for totally bullshit reasons, which is fairly OOC itself, but even worse Katara was basically just gonna let him do it.  I dunno.  It's got some good moments, especially Aang in prison with the other tattooed dudes, but then we cut back to Katara smacking Sokka around with a pipe and I'm just like ... wat.

Edit: sorry if this is all a bit nofunallowed.jpg  Glad you like the episode though Wink

Yeah, as an idea it's great. I'm just not sure the content merits a full episdoe. But, true, it something different you do once. And as such it's a lot of fun. Nod

Fair point.  I really like that ATLA didn't feel compelled to make every episode about advancing the main plot (and I can't help but roll my eyes when people call character-centered episodes "unnecessary", which happened in a recent discussion), but I do see what you mean here.  The long wait to find out what happened to Appa probably played a role in my enjoyment of this episode, I'll admit, but I still think it's nice to get such a thorough answer to an ongoing mystery of the show.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:36 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:Oh, I wasn't paying attention. Embarassed

No problem, I just get self-conscious about topic drift at the weirdest times. Razz

Some of us have awards to loose, you know. Mad

Eldorion wrote:
I actually thought they were going to go with Zuko and Katara right up until the end. Razz Aang and Katara felt the more natural relationship though. Which is perhaps why people dislike it. It was too simple. And love isn't supposed to be simple, dang it. Laughing

I was always confident that Aang and Katara was going to be the plan.  It felt fairly obvious the first time through and on rewatch, even before the show had concluded, the progression of their relationship is obvious.  Somewhere around the end of Book 2 though, the writers became aware of the concept of shipping and the fandom's very fierce shipping rivalries and they started working various teases of that into the show itself.  There was a time when it bothered me that they were using the show to "troll" people, but as I've grown up I can appreciate the various Zuko/Katara scenes for what they are without reading romantic subtext (or nefarious creator intentions) into them.  But that's more just how I've changed. Razz

Spoiler:
If you wanna talk about the creators trolling though, this definitely counts. Laughing


That's certainly trolling. Laughing I don't know it just seemed like something that was a bit too straight forward, and for them then to subvert expectations and go in a different direction seemed a possibility.

I certainly didn't find the Aang and Katara thing unearned or artificial though, quite the opposite. I think their affection for each other were properly established as early as the first episode.  More that it was almost a bit too set up to work, if you know what I mean.

I didn't know they included hints just to troll their fanbase. Although you can't put too much weight on that. Just like when they say if you believe Zuko and Katara should be together then you are destined to a range of unsuccessfull relationships.  That might very well be what they believe, but that isn't really represented in the narrative. Neither is the fact that they were trolling. They did actually put hints at a Zuko Katara romance in the show. Viewer perception does trump writer intention, whatever the writer might have wished to present.

Eldorion wrote:From the just...whatever thread:

Whaaa.. I like Avatar Day. Razz

The Rough Rhinos are a bit easily defeatable, and there's not much that happens, but I liked the whole putting the Avatar on trial thing. (Maybe that' the lawyer in me talking.)

The community service thing is really silly, but I can't help but laugh at it.

When the rewatch I was part of got to Avatar Day I was actually really surprised at how many people loved it. Razz I tried to be open-minded rewatching it but I found most of my old quibbles still there.  The Zuko and Iroh B-plot is great as always, but the main story just rubs me the wrong way.  It's strange cause there are some fairly silly episodes from Book 1 that I love (The Waterbending Scroll is one I can go back to over and over), but I think part of my problem with Avatar Day is that Aang is supposed to have grown up a little by now.  The thing that jumped out at me the most is that he was totally going to allow himself to be executed for totally bullshit reasons, which is fairly OOC itself, but even worse Katara was basically just gonna let him do it.  I dunno.  It's got some good moments, especially Aang in prison with the other tattooed dudes, but then we cut back to Katara smacking Sokka around with a pipe and I'm just like ... wat.

Edit: sorry if this is all a bit nofunallowed.jpg  Glad you like the episode though Wink

Ah, so that's what you reacted too. Yeah, I do see your point . I think I just read it as Aang still growing up, finding his feet and realizing what it means to be the Avatar. For him what the Avatar should do is stand up for his actions, this is the ideal, right. But ideals shouldn't really be taken to extremes like that.

Aang finding his feet as the Avatar is kind of a theme for the season too. He kind of tries to adhere to an impossible ideal, while at the same time not really knowing what the ideal entails. Like wehen Aang vouches for Sokka in the spirit library, despite knowing he will brake the rules. Not really the thing the bridge between the spirit world and the physical world should be doing. And remember at the end of the season he basically fails. I just saw it as another sign of a still present naivety in dealing with his role and the world.

I can see your criticism, putting yourself at the mercy of a kangaroo court and  allowing yourself him to be boiled in oil on their judgement would have been a bit silly, I agree. (Whether they would have allowed that to happen, I'm less sure.)  Mostly though, I think it was just played up for fun and it didn't reaslly drag me out of the moment more than any other episode.

Eldorion wrote:
Yeah, as an idea it's great. I'm just not sure the content merits a full episdoe. But, true, it something different you do once. And as such it's a lot of fun. Nod

Fair point.  I really like that ATLA didn't feel compelled to make every episode about advancing the main plot (and I can't help but roll my eyes when people call character-centered episodes "unnecessary", which happened in a recent discussion), but I do see what you mean here.  The long wait to find out what happened to Appa probably played a role in my enjoyment of this episode, I'll admit, but I still think it's nice to get such a thorough answer to an ongoing mystery of the show.

Yeah, good points. Character centered episodes are certaily not unnecessary in nature. That still leaves the implementation though. That said, it's a fun episode and I never really minded it. It's just.. very different. I guess the ones I do have a bit of a problem with, The Great Divide, The Swamp, doesn't serve any great narrative purpose either, but what makes me struggle with them is the atmosphere the humour feeling a bit off, and I don't feel that way about Apa Alone.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:43 pm

I did get around to watching some of those animes. Some of the Miyazaki movies you mentioned in particular. As I said above I really liked Howl's Moving Castle. I thoguht that coupled great aesthetics with a very compelling story in a very good way. Spirited Away was.. weird.. Razz Not necessarily just in a bad way, but definitely weird.

I ment to get around to continuing the conversation on why these big fantasy series work too, I do find that a very interesting question, but perhaps it deserves it's own thread? I'll try making one.. when I can get around to writing a compelling opening post. Smile

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:30 pm

There. Back to an actual Avatar. Nod

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:40 am

Btw, Eldo. This is a bit embarrasing, but I'm not sure I know who your new avatar is. Embarassed

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:41 am

Favourite moments. Very Happy



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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:55 am

Bluebottle wrote:There. Back to an actual Avatar. Nod

Screenshot from The Blind Bandit, excellent choice. Wink

Bluebottle wrote:Btw, Eldo. This is a bit embarrasing, but I'm not sure I know who your new avatar is. Embarassed

Suspect Only the greatest one-off character in the whole show.

http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Jin

Spoiler:
Technically she shows up in one shot in "The Awakening" but it's a background appearance and has no dialogue so I still count her as a one-off. Sadly. Sad
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:07 am

Bluebottle wrote:I certainly didn't find the Aang and Katara thing unearned or artificial though, quite the opposite. I think their affection for each other were properly established as early as the first episode.  More that it was almost a bit too set up to work, if you know what I mean.

I didn't know they included hints just to troll their fanbase. Although you can't put too much weight on that. Just like when they say if you believe Zuko and Katara should be together then you are destined to a range of unsuccessfull relationships.  That might very well be what they believe, but that isn't really represented in the narrative. Neither is the fact that they were trolling. They did actually put hints at a Zuko Katara romance in the show. Viewer perception does trump writer intention, whatever the writer might have wished to present.

I agree with you about Aang and Katara. And I'm not sure how accurate it is to say they were using the show as a method of trolling. I don't think they were serious with the "unsuccessful relationships" line (that's more poking fun at shipping wars in which some fans did say shit like that unironically, though it came from both sides). We have no way of knowing if any of the Zuko/Katara scenes would have been different or even not appeared, but as it stands, I don't think any of them detract from the Kataang ending except through extreme wishful thinking by fans. Razz

Ah, so that's what you reacted too. Yeah, I do see your point . I think I just read it as Aang still growing up, finding his feet and realizing what it means to be the Avatar. For him what the Avatar should do is stand up for his actions, this is the ideal, right. But ideals shouldn't really be taken to extremes like that.

Aang finding his feet as the Avatar is kind of a theme for the season too. He kind of tries to adhere to an impossible ideal, while at the same time not really knowing what the ideal entails. Like wehen Aang vouches for Sokka in the spirit library, despite knowing he will brake the rules. Not really the thing the bridge between the spirit world and the physical world should be doing. And remember at the end of the season he basically fails. I just saw it as another sign of a still present naivety in dealing with his role and the world.  

I can see your criticism, putting yourself at the mercy of a kangaroo court and  allowing yourself him to be boiled in oil on their judgement would have been a bit silly, I agree. (Whether they would have allowed that to happen, I'm less sure.)  Mostly though, I think it was just played up for fun and it didn't reaslly drag me out of the moment more than any other episode.

These are some good thoughts on Aang as a character. Smile I think I get what you're saying about "Avatar Day". Thanks for explaining your thoughts on it!

Yeah, good points. Character centered episodes are certaily not unnecessary in nature. That still leaves the implementation though. That said, it's a fun episode and I never really minded it. It's just.. very different. I guess the ones I do have a bit of a problem with, The Great Divide, The Swamp, doesn't serve any great narrative purpose either, but what makes me struggle with them is the atmosphere the humour feeling a bit off, and I don't feel that way about Apa Alone.

I think "Appa's Lost Days" is a rather bleak episode in a lot of ways, though no episode of Avatar is completely without hope, of course. It is very different, and not 100% successful, but I think it makes a valuable contribution to the narrative. If one was so inclined, one could boil down the entire series to maybe like 15-20 crucial plot episodes, but it would be a completely different show and not one that I would like half as much. There are plenty of shows that I enjoy that are nothing but relentless plot, where missing a single episode will throw you completely off (Game of Thrones comes to mind as a recent example), but that's merely one style of show and is not necessarily better than shows that take more episodic approaches. Personally I tend to like having continuity and consistent character development in shows (not that that stopped me from loving The Simpsons), and I think ATLA blends the two styles really well. But that means there are a lot of episodes -- many of which I would call important episodes for the show -- that are not central to the main narrative.

Bluebottle wrote:I did get around to watching some of those animes. Some of the Miyazaki movies you mentioned in particular. As I said above I really liked Howl's Moving Castle. I thoguht that coupled great aesthetics with a very compelling story in a very good way. Spirited Away was.. weird.. Razz Not necessarily just in a bad way, but definitely weird.

I actually still haven't seen Howl's as I've been waiting to do a big marathon of Miyazaki's entire filmography, including the ones I have seen already. But he's definitely a great director. Spirited Away was the first anime movie I ever saw and I adored it at the time, though not quite as much on more recent viewings. My main misgiving about Miyazaki isn't his fault at all, I just wish that he didn't completely overshadow other anime directors in the west, to the point where some people will sometimes try to argue that Miyazaki isn't anime because they have some sort of antipathy for the "idea" of anime in general.

I ment to get around to continuing the conversation on why these big fantasy series work too, I do find that a very interesting question, but perhaps it deserves it's own thread? I'll try making one.. when I can get around to writing a compelling opening post. Smile

I'm glad you find it an interesting question too. Smile I don't think I really have an answer, but if you ever have any insights into it, I would be very grateful. Very Happy
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Eldorion
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:56 am

Eldorion wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:There. Back to an actual Avatar. Nod

Screenshot from The Blind Bandit, excellent choice. Wink

For some reason I always thought Aang looked better when he dressed up. Razz

Eldorion wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:Btw, Eldo. This is a bit embarrasing, but I'm not sure I know who your new avatar is. Embarassed

Suspect Only the greatest one-off character in the whole show.

http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Jin

Spoiler:
Technically she shows up in one shot in "The Awakening" but it's a background appearance and has no dialogue so I still count her as a one-off.  Sadly. Sad

Ah, she looked younger than I remembered in that screenshot. I figuered it had to be Meng with her hair straightened or something. Sofa Razz

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:06 pm

Eldorion wrote:I agree with you about Aang and Katara.  And I'm not sure how accurate it is to say they were using the show as a method of trolling.  I don't think they were serious with the "unsuccessful relationships" line (that's more poking fun at shipping wars in which some fans did say shit like that unironically, though it came from both sides).  We have no way of knowing if any of the Zuko/Katara scenes would have been different or even not appeared, but as it stands, I don't think any of them detract from the Kataang ending except through extreme wishful thinking by fans. Razz

I guess it boild down to the set up for something with Katara and Zuko being there, like I still could have seen the story going in that direction. I do really like the Katara Aang love story though, the fact that they obviously loved each other and still managed to make such a complete mess of things. I thought that was sweet. Razz

Eldorion wrote:These are some good thoughts on Aang as a character. Smile I think I get what you're saying about "Avatar Day".  Thanks for explaining your thoughts on it!

Yeah, I really like that on the one hand he's this incredibly powerful and important person, but he's also just a kid who doesn't know what he's doing. And despite him making plenty of mistakes I always thought him a good person with good intentions, but that doesn't mean he in any way was always right. You kind of start to realize you learn through mistakes and failures. And Aang did fail completely. If not for Katara he would have died. And that's kid of the story we are following a hero who in no way is ready, has no time to get ready for the situation he needs to face. I liked that he stayed true to his character all the way to the end, when everyone was telling him he had to end things in a certain way.

Eldorion wrote:I think "Appa's Lost Days" is a rather bleak episode in a lot of ways, though no episode of Avatar is completely without hope, of course.  It is very different, and not 100% successful, but I think it makes a valuable contribution to the narrative.  If one was so inclined, one could boil down the entire series to maybe like 15-20 crucial plot episodes, but it would be a completely different show and not one that I would like half as much.  There are plenty of shows that I enjoy that are nothing but relentless plot, where missing a single episode will throw you completely off (Game of Thrones comes to mind as a recent example), but that's merely one style of show and is not necessarily better than shows that take more episodic approaches.  Personally I tend to like having continuity and consistent character development in shows (not that that stopped me from loving The Simpsons), and I think ATLA blends the two styles really well.  But that means there are a lot of episodes -- many of which I would call important episodes for the show -- that are not central to the main narrative.

Haha, it's odd that that is what we ended up discussing, instead of all the episodes we would unequivocally laud. But I guess that's the nature of discussion. Nah, but I agree with you. I like that with Avatar you get both the quiet character and worldbuilding moments, along with the sweeping series long story arch.

I don't really mind Appa's Lost Day when I think about it. Actually, I think my major problem is the lack of verbosity and the usual humour. As a one time thing and something different it's actually quite cool.

As for seeing every episod of Gots I'm not so sure, there are some these season I would just as well not have seen at all.. Razz  

Eldorion wrote:I actually still haven't seen Howl's as I've been waiting to do a big marathon of Miyazaki's entire filmography, including the ones I have seen already.  But he's definitely a great director.  Spirited Away was the first anime movie I ever saw and I adored it at the time, though not quite as much on more recent viewings.  My main misgiving about Miyazaki isn't his fault at all, I just wish that he didn't completely overshadow other anime directors in the west, to the point where some people will sometimes try to argue that Miyazaki isn't anime because they have some sort of antipathy for the "idea" of anime in general.

Ah, well, you have something to look forward too then. Very Happy That's the one that really got to me. Not seen Princess Mokone yet, saving that up for a more special occasion.

I don't kow. I don't feel any hang ups on watching anime, actually this hint of cultural stigmatism strikes me as kind of weird, but perhaps that's partly down to not really seeing anime as a cohesive whole. It just means Japaneese cartoons, right? So, I don't really feel any predelictions on going past Miyazaki. I might keep to genres I like though. Like other fantasy things. And of course I have your list to go by. Smile

Eldorion wrote:I'm glad you find it an interesting question too. Smile I don't think I really have an answer, but if you ever have any insights into it, I would be very grateful. Very Happy

Yeah, me neither. Which I guess is why it's so interesting to discuss it. Smile Would be interesting to try to reason out some.. err.. reason in it. Razz

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:05 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Haha, it's odd that that is what we ended up discussing, instead of all the episodes we would unequivocally laud. But I guess that's the nature of discussion.

Well yeah, there's only so many times we can both go "wow, this shit is great" before it gets old. Razz

I liked that he stayed true to his character all the way to the end, when everyone was telling him he had to end things in a certain way.

Speaking of the nature of discussion.... Laughing I dunno, I though the energybending thing was bullshit when I watched Sozin's Comet during its first airing, and I still think it's an asspull, but from a character perspective I think they made the right choice for Aang.  But this is probably a discussion for another day.

As for seeing every episod of Gots I'm not so sure, there are some these season I would just as well not have seen at all.. Razz

Haha, I hope what I meant was clear though.  Most of the other examples I could give are anime series so I wanted something we'd both seen.  Although I think GOT probably has too many characters, since even though they didn't even try to fit them all into each episode, a lot of episodes still felt like very little happened cause they were jumping around so much (though this was better than in S4 since they did split up characters into different episodes).

Ah, well, you have something to look forward too then. Very Happy That's the one that really got to me. Not seen Princess Mokone yet, saving that up for a more special occasion.

Princess Mononoke is interesting because, in addition to just being a great film, it's also pretty firmly in the tradition of epic fantasy.  And was made during a time when screen fantasy in the English-speaking world was in a major downturn (not that even the '80s fantasy "boom" really touched the epic subgenre anyway).

I don't kow. I don't feel any hang ups on watching anime, actually this hint of cultural stigmatism strikes me as kind of weird, but perhaps that's partly down to not really seeing anime as a cohesive whole. It just means Japaneese cartoons, right? So, I don't really feel any predelictions on going past Miyazaki. I might keep to genres I like though. Like other fantasy things. And of course I have your list to go by. Smile

I think the stigma comes down to nerds' internal hierarchy so that even they have someone to look down on. Razz Fantasy suffers from this too in sci-fi fan circles.  You're right that anime isn't a genre and that different works don't necessarily have anything in common other than the fact that they're animated and their country of origin.  Even the supposed "anime art style" isn't a single style, nor are the famous wide eyes a Japanese invention.  They were borrowed straight from Disney.

Yeah, me neither. Which I guess is why it's so interesting to discuss it. Smile Would be interesting to try to reason out some.. err.. reason in it. Razz

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Eldorion
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:56 pm

Eldorion wrote:Well yeah, there's only so many times we can both go "wow, this shit is great" before it gets old. Razz

Can be fun to discuss why something is great though, but, yeah, hopefully more on that later. Wink

Speaking of the nature of discussion.... Laughing I dunno, I though the energybending thing was bullshit when I watched Sozin's Comet during its first airing, and I still think it's an asspull, but from a character perspective I think they made the right choice for Aang.  But this is probably a discussion for another day.

Energy bending? scratch Maybe I'll have to rewatch it. Embarassed I've been saving it up for a special occasion.

Haha, I hope what I meant was clear though.  Most of the other examples I could give are anime series so I wanted something we'd both seen.  Although I think GOT probably has too many characters, since even though they didn't even try to fit them all into each episode, a lot of episodes still felt like very little happened cause they were jumping around so much (though this was better than in S4 since they did split up characters into different episodes).

Yah, sure. Each episode isn't necessarily integral to the main plot. It's more of a background thing. Which is something I d really like about the Avatar series. There are certain episodes that are integral, true. But mostly it's about the character journeys.

I do get what you are saying about the amount of characters and storylines. It's not something I thought so much about in previous seasons though, so perhaps it also has something to do with whether the storylines they are telling are compelling enough for people to pay attention. Obviously it can be a hindrance, but it has't always been.

Princess Mononoke is interesting because, in addition to just being a great film, it's also pretty firmly in the tradition of epic fantasy.  And was made during a time when screen fantasy in the English-speaking world was in a major downturn (not that even the '80s fantasy "boom" really touched the epic subgenre anyway).

Yeah, I remembered you mentioning it in particular and it looks quite intriguing so.. Smile

I think the stigma comes down to nerds' internal hierarchy so that even they have someone to look down on. Razz Fantasy suffers from this too in sci-fi fan circles.  You're right that anime isn't a genre and that different works don't necessarily have anything in common other than the fact that they're animated and their country of origin.  Even the supposed "anime art style" isn't a single style, nor are the famous wide eyes a Japanese invention.  They were borrowed straight from Disney.

I kind of shake my head a bit at the whole nerdy thing, because people are nerdy about just about everything, whether it be sports or..I'm really nerdy about music, but I don't think anyone would call me a nerd for that.. But I guess your right in people liking having something to look down to. And the painting the something you look down on in your own image is a natural consequence. Social structures, group psychology and the patterns we seem to move in are pretty weird on the whole. I often wonder at the negativity people show for stuff. Not that I'm absolved from that my self. But why are human beings so negative in general? Why do we instantly judge everything? I don't know. It does seem pretty pointless on the whole.

And with something like anime, the truth is kind of.. it doesn't really exist beyond a very diffuse regional artistic direction.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:08 pm

Well this thread got real heavy all of a sudden. Laughing I dunno man.  Maybe cause it makes us feel better about ourselves if we're part of the elite with Good Taste(tm). Or any position that allows us to look down on someone, really.

NB I can't recall if the term was used in the show itself (maybe in Korra?), but: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Energybending
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