Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Adventure Time

While DS is at camp and the Old Man is driving down  to Tampa to see Black Sabbath, I'm left home pondering the existence of the animated universe.  Not to say I don't mind being alone - I'm on vacation and being on vacation from everything and everyone is pretty crucial, I'm realizing.  While I ache for my family, I also know that I need this time to myself.  'Nuf said.

It's about time I finally got around to writing about Adventure Time.  I realize that, as DS grows up, our tastes will diverge but for right now I feel somewhat vindicated for putting my foot down about watching vapid cartoons that had no redeeming quality (if you want a short list of those cartoons, message me - I'm not going to be judged for my opinions of what passes for children-oriented animated fare).  Even as I've recounted in the past that I've made some bad parenting decisions, I still feel at least like I steered the debate  to "why is this cartoon valuable to watch?" rather than "you can only watch cartoons I deem to be okay."  But out of it comes an appreciation of animation that is entertaining and trying at least to say something.  Adventure Time is one of those cartoons.

But while it's entertaining, Adventure Time is also pretty dark.  It's one of those cartoons that I saw a couple of minutes of and decided it was ground-breaking enough in its content that it would make up for the simplistic artistic style.  But the simplistic style is also a mask; the latest episodes tell more of the back story behind Ice King and Marceline, and the story of the world that became the Land of Ooo - I would write about the specific episode, but why rehash a good summary already with my own confused, theoretical take - and the story is pretty harrowing, but with the stylized character design, it seems less heinous, somehow.

If one were to look at the more recent dystopian worlds, they usually involve some kind of huge catastrophic upheavel; in Hunger Games, it appears to be the punishment of proles who dared war against the rich; in Adventure Time, it is the apocalyptic nature of the world inhabited by Ice King and Marceline a millenium ago.  So, is Ooo, then, a utopia?  No way!  Dystopia does not beget utopia, it only begets more of the same.  It negates itself, which is why Ooo is so non-descript (how many candy kingdoms have we seen rise and fall, my friends?) - Princess Bubblegum and the rest of the inhabitants of Ooo are mutants, facsimiles of humans, anthropomorphized objects that recall a past that is so far removed from the present as to not really exist at all.  This is the woo-hoo point where conspiracy theories dwell; DS watched the series Bravest Warriors and apparently there is a similarity to Finn in two of the characters so Finn is their offspring.  I don't understand!  But I just started watching Bravest Warriors - so far not as good as Adventure Time but I'm willing to give it a chance.

Anyway, so what?  It is not unheard of for a writer to string together different parts of the same universe and call the thing a narrative.  It would not surprise me that Adventure Time's creator, Pendleton Ward, has super-seriously thought the narrative through; it's just a matter of whether he can keep the show on the air long enough to unfold more of the story.

Swiped the photo for this post from Comics Alliance and their lovely selection of AT covers.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Of Bronies and Summer Vacation

So, I'm all about Bronies right now.  What? Why?  You may be asking yourself.  Well, after much careful consideration I've decided to out my son on this blog as a Brony.  The other day I asked a colleague of mine if he was a brony and he mumbled something about never doing anything resembling broniism (I made up a word!), and I blurted out, "my son is a brony and I don't know how to support him!"

It's true.  Last week he started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I've been watching along with him because I'm vaguely aware that MLPFiM is a thing.  He's hooked, man.  It's been fun to watch and I can totally see why it's garnered a much older demographic than intended.  It's also, in my mind, a recent example of cartoons that stand on their own, and aren't just vehicles to sell toys.

DJ struggles with his new-found status as brony, but I think that, ultimately, he will understand that it is not that the fact that the show is geared towards 6 year-old girls that attracts him to it, but rather that it's an inventive, ever-evolving narrative that seems to round-out the mythos of the MLPs.

This is the beginning of his summer vacation so I hope to post more about the awful, awful dreck we'll be watching, along with some good stuff (fingers-crossed).  Have a great summer, everyone!

Swiped the top photo from Beasprout Marketing and PR, and the bottom photo from ubuntuforums.org - And, because I couldn't resist, a youtube of the original theme song for MLP.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Angsty Bleach and the 11-year-old brain

I spoke about a year ago on watching the last episode of Bleach and my son walking in on the last couple of minutes and going, "what's that?"  I had never watched Bleach around him or encouraged him to watch it, mostly because I thought he should be a little older.  Well, this year he started watching Bleach and I figured it's good fuel for pre-teen angst (he's almost 11, now) so I let him watch it.  He inhaled about 4 seasons of it before he just suddenly stopped and I think it's because the show becomes a slog during the Hueco Mundo arc, which just seems to go on an on.  He simply got bored with it, like any 11-year old would.  Something to be said for being a die-hard fan to endure the endless fillers and alternative storylines, which were the bane of any regular Bleach viewer (yours truly included).

Now he's watching Codename: Kids Next Door with the same relish as he did with Bleach or Scooby-Doo. Just have to chalk it up to him being 11 and the content not being very heavy.  I'm kind of glad he didn't go for the angsty Bleach arcs; let him be a kid for a little longer.

Got the image from Porn1315's page on Deviant Art.