Category Archives: Story Pile

Here’s where you’ll find the blog entries that are about examining – specifically – TV, movies, and other forms of participatory media that interest me. This is the space you’re going to find talk of characters in TV shows, or specific moments in greater narratives, or why you might want to watch a particular show or why I love – or hate! – a particular movie.

Story Pile: Orson & Olivia

A recent conversation on twitter kicked around with the question of ‘hey, do you remember a television program that it seems nobody else remembers?’ and that led to a lot of people sharing the ways that television, for all that it’s this heavily documented and mass produced resource that feels infinitely replicated in our streaming now, is still a massive sprawling media space of things that didn’t necessarily stick to the culture at large. Of course, there are always some people who remember everything. The people who made works are often the people who will always stand by and recognise the part they had in the place of things.

For example, Orson and Olivia is remembered, at the least, because of the voice actors.

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Story Pile: The Irregulars

In 2016, Netflix announced that Tom Bidwell, the director of Netflix’s Watership Down was going to make a new series based on the Baker Street Irregulars. For those familiar with Sherlock Holmes stuff, that’s an exciting idea — the Irregulars is a term that Holmes used to refer to a group of youths around Baker Street who he could rely on to do all the tedious parts of investigation that he wouldn’t want to be caught doing. The premise, Bidwell described was even more interesting:

Sherlock Holmes had a group of street kids he’d use to help him gather clues so our series is what if Sherlock was a drug addict and a delinquent and the kids solve the whole case whilst he takes credit.

The idea of ‘Sherlock without Sherlock’ is a really cool one, and it’s not the only time this idea’s been floated. Gene Wilder made The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, which even used an actor who’d been renowned throughout the 60s for playing Holmes. The Great Mouse Detective has Sherlock Holmes in the literal background of its own story, and that movie whips. There’s a lot you can do around Holmes, right?

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Story Pile: House

One of the last television programs I watched, regularly, when there was a television in my house plugged into a plug in the wall that was connected to an antenna on the roof that pulled signals out of the air and converted one of five free-to-air channels, paid for with advertisement revenue of me watching the show, was House. I remembered thinking it was very clever, a very smart series, whose main character was very smart and clever and that justified such complex narratives.

I wasn’t quite sure what I expected when I rewatched the show. My memories of the show cut off at some point, which I assumed meant I just wasn’t that into sitting on my sofa to watch something far away from a system of videogames and music I had in the other room. What I expected to find in hindsight was a show that was probably really intelligent and thoughtful, and that I’d still find it annoying because I’d grown tired of dealing with dudes who fancied they were like House.

Turns out I was half right.

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Story Pile: Fullmetal Panic

I promise I’m not just an immense mark for millenial-focused high school alt history, it’s just come up twice.

Fullmetal Panic is kind of a greatest hits of 1998 to 2004 ‘anime’s subject material. It’s a highschool drama, it’s a gifted child narrative, it’s a mascot-based comedy, it’s a Highly Marketable And Merchandisable mecha and military kind of story that includes most of your greatest hits, including in a fairly economic way, the three flavours of Waifu; Big Sister, Little Sister, And Miscellaneous.

It tells the story of Kaname Chidori, an ordinary high school girl who has the Techno Renaissance in her head (but she doesn’t know that), and her new classmate, Sousuke Sagara, an ordinary highschool boy who’s a former child soldier transferred to the school to serve as Kaname’s long-term bodyguard because there’s multiple non-state actors (and state actors) that would use her head full of super-science ding-dongery to take over the world, deployed by the NGO Mithril, who are technically mercenaries, but the kind of mercenaries who seem to largely be paid in justice and are often scrabbling for money.

The mecha are detailed, the helicopters are realistic, the gun nerdery is (I’m told) extremely in depth and all of these components are brought together to tell a story that kind of runs in three basic lanes:

  • Super-science conspiracy stuff
  • Mecha battles with ‘small scale’ tank-comparable mech
  • High school comedy nonsense

Spoilers for the anime and light novels to follow.

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Story Pile: Brave Father Online: Our Story of Final Fantasy XIV

Some of the dates her are a little general, sorry, it’s just what you gotta deal with. Here’s the long walk version: Sometime, around 2016 by my best information, a Japanese blogger who played a character named Maidy Maidy in Final Fantasy XIV made a blog detailing his story of connecting with his father through both playing the game Final Fantasy XIV. Maidy’s plan was to get his dad into the game, and befriend him there, without his dad knowing his friend was his son.

This was successful in the way that autobiographical blog posts relating to videogames rarely are.

The real-life account of this was so compelling there was a book made (2017), then a TV series (2017), then a movie (2019), and at each step of this process, the original author, who was a real person talking about his real relationship with his real dad resisted changes that were suggested to make the story more tragic or heartbreaking or more classically dramatic. The movie uses in-game footage captured by an ordinary player account, though dramatically enhanced through crime programs, and Maidy ‘plays’ his character and his guildmates play their roles with him. It is effortlessly charming, very funny, classic to its form, and a movie I really enjoyed.

It is a personal story about a relationship and a videogame.

Content Warning: Cancer!

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Story Pile: Community

When Community was at its first wave of popularity, I remember reading a tumblr post praising it for its authenticity in comparison to the other, more successful and advertiser-prone alternative geeks-and-jokes series, The Big Bang Theory, which chose to describe the latter Bazinga-Em-Up series as nerd blackface. A phrase that at the time I thought ‘yeah, that’s a smart way to describe it’ and now I think ‘oh no, that’s a real sign of how brain-rotted I was to see geeks as an oppressed underclass.’

I think this helped to create a narrative about Community; that it was the ‘real’ funny sitcom about nerdy things made by nerdy people who were good, not like that other one, that was bad. And make no mistake: Big Bang Theory is extraordinarily tedious basic-ass sitcom made with a laugh track to prime delivery and a condescending view of nerds’ abilities to, like, respect women’s boundaries. By comparison and also just, on it own, Community is a really funny show.

Mostly.

In fact, so much so I’m just going to spend a few paragraphs here talking about things in it that I think are funny as hell.

The deaf girl and Abed rivalry. Troy embracing dance, but not the other thing, with the theatre. Jack Black showing up and making fun of retroactive continuity. Troy being a savant at Air Conditioning. The flag being a butthole. The pillow fort/blanket fort contention. Abed’s rap. The episode with the six rolls of the dice. Physical comedy on many levels. Dean Pelt’s many ridiculous outfits and the time when he burst out rapping even if sounded like he wanted to drop a hard n.

Hell, even just single lines are amazing and bring to mind an entire comic situation. Would that this were a Time Desk. You can excuse racism? Oh he’s too attractive, even the shadow. Football is in your blood. I’m a living god. I hope this doesn’t awaken anything in me. The professor was SO old. How about I pound you like a boy? My father held grudges and I’ll always hate him for that. This isn’t budget daycare.

Now I mean this is a series that I may have just praised but you’ll also notice that for example, Ben Chang doesn’t show up in any of those anecdotes, and Laverne barely does. It’s because Laverne’s a fucking homophobe and everyone around her is just okay with that because everyone else in that room is a homophobe, as you might note by the way they’re totally okay with one of their friends being a blatant homophobe. It’s a quirky belief, just like her antisemitism. Oh wait I’m supposed to mention something that’s acceptable. Her fondness for parental abuse?

I like this series. I like Community. There are a bunch of episodes that are funny and it has some great sequences of dialogue and some episodes A plot or B plot is really great and forms an enjoyable, thoughtful whole. Lots of plots resolve out cleverly, the reference pool is very relatable to me, and when the show dips into nerdy topics, I get the strong impression that I, as a white guy who is now approaching forty, am the kind of nerd they want to be talking to. It’s really good at being a funny show with a cynical edge.

But there’s always something that comes up, eventually, and ruins it.

If you want the short reason, before the fold, here’s the simple bit: Britta. But for more, we need to lay down a content warning for Child Sexual Assault.

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Story Pile: The Story of Tiffany Aching

I’ve said that the correct place to start with the Discworld books is to grab one that looks interesting and go for it. There is no need for the continuity of the story for it to work for you, they’re all contained stories that work well on their own and hold together without the need for knowing exactly what comes before and after. You don’t have to treat these books like they’re part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a reading order to tell you what you can or can’t handle.

This is not, however, to say there is no continuity in the Discworld. Instead, that continuity is much more about tracking the narrative path that follows something in the setting, whether it’s a character or organisation or country, seeing the way they change from one story to another, the way they grow or suffer, the ways their choices and jobs and circumstances shape them. It can be something like watching the Omnian Church arc from inquisatorial fundamentalism to its eventual representation by Constable Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets.

One of these stories is about a nine year old girl, and her arc from wisp to witch. It’s the story of the what it’s like to grow up and want to wrestle with the incomplete world the adults have given you, about how being smart isn’t the same thing as being good, and how being good is a thing some people have to practice. It is a young reader’s set of stories that come together to form darkest, most intricate Smurfs fanfiction you’ve ever read.

I want to talk to you about the story of one Tiffany Aching.

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Story Pile: Martian Successor Nadesico

Martian Successor Nadesico is a comedy-drama science-fiction space opera story with an enormous cast of characters that introduces a spaceship, recruits its screwball crew, goes to mars, then to the moon, engages in multiple sorties, defies the UN, deals with shadowy secret research, uncovers a conspiracy, grapples with questions of culture and media, wins a war, creates a peace, has a talent contest, multiple music videos, love triangles that go through the full typical mathematical configurations, is funny as hell and serious as a heart attack.

This popcorn anime of the late 90s is now a vintage classic.

The world was a different one, where anime were not being wholly produced on computers (yet), nor the natural end point for a churning industry of marketable light novels (yet), nor an endless filler spiral trying to maintain the presence of one of the big three shounen anime in the minds and charts of the viewing public (yet). It was a time when anime series were seriously grappling with just being too big to reasonably buy, where a 13 episode anime would still cost you $140 to buy, because you’d get two episodes per VHS tape, and each tape would cost you $20 AUD.

You had to pick dubbed or subbed when you bought the tape, and it was entirely possible that the track you wanted wouldn’t be available when you went to the store. An anime might sell out of like, volume 6 in sub or dub, and you had to wait literal years for the next reprinting.

It was a time when the medium was the message in a truly astounding way: when anime was competing for a small number of slots, for a small audience, and as a result, it was even more self-referential, trope-codifying and quietly impenetrable than you’d imagine. Right now, the main anime people know from this time, and I say ‘know’ in that they ‘kinda remember’ or ‘have watched some of,’ or think about it as a thing that’s important to ‘anime,’ is Evangelion or Pokemon, which you can definitely look at as two forking paths: one of mass-market popularity, and one of deliberately reflective genre awareness.

It’s one thing to be a leader. It’s another thing to be one of the first followers.

And it’s even more impressive to somehow follow both.

SPOILER WARNING: Uh, spoilers? Some? For stuff in the series that is why you should want to check this anime out?

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Story Pile: Flight of the Phoenix

What’s your favourite movie?

That’s one of those questions that we ask from time to time, a conversation starter. For me, I don’t have a good answer – like, I struggle to give a meaningful response that doesn’t involve explaining ‘I’m bad at favourites,’ which means that the conversation stops being about an interesting common shared media thing and starts, instead, being about my personal anxieties. They’re not fun to talk about. I mean I assume they’re not, I haven’t found anyone interested yet.

I do like asking the question, though, even if I can’t answer it for squat.

One time I asked it, and I got told amongst others, that my friend’s favourite movie was Flight of the Phoenix.

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Story Pile: The Gentlemen

Look, I don’t know Guy Ritchie. I don’t know the man, I don’t know his life. I can look up details in his backstory or read interviews or find out whether he’s a hash-tag-cancelled style dude, or whatever. I understand he was married to Madonna at some point, he’s made a bunch of movies, and people like some of them and make fun of others. If you want you can point to films you like that he’s made like Sherlock Holmes and The Man From UNCLE, or maybe if you want you can point to films that he’s made that you don’t like Aladdin or Swept Away.

I am never ever dealing with the whole of a man, and movies aren’t made, they escape. With that in mind, there is a prudent recognition that when I say ‘Guy Ritchie has done,’ with a movie, that what I really mean is that Guy Ritchie’s name is being filled in as the default answer to a host of questions about decisions for the crafting of a movie that has been released by a company that is itself composed of a small army of worker ants that then subsequently dismantle the company itself upon the completion of their task. It is always an inadequate term personalising an enormous communal task as if one guy did it, because hypothetically we can treat a movie as if a singular vision guided the millions of decisions that brought it into being.

Anyway, Guy Ritchie sure turned fifty, didn’t he?

Content Warning: This movie includes implied bestiality and sexual battery pending an assault. Basically, someone gets pinned to something and then it’s interrupted.You don’t see it, and it is brief, but it’s still feels pretty unnecessary to me.

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Story Pile: Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku (?!)

Wait, didn’t we do this a fortnight ago?

Yes.

Yes we did.

Because this series is that good.

See, I saw the opening to Wotakoi on Youtube. I went: Oh that’s really cute and the premise is fun. I should check this out. And then we cough watched the anime. I was smitten with it, I found it exciting and interesting, and started quoting things from it back and forth with Fox, and eventually got to the point where I was sharing bits of it with friends on Discord and eventually calling Hirotaka the one good gamer boy. I may have even tried a t-shirt design. Do you know how rare it is for me to shell out for volumes of manga? The last one I got was Monster, and before that? Ranma 1/2.

This is a really good manga.

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Story Pile: Flip That Romance

Wew lord, buckle the fuckle uple. I grabbed Fox and we watched all of a Hallmark movie, Flip That Romance, because, you know, it’s smooch month, so let’s watch a smoochy movie. Right?

Right?

If you want the quick summary, this movie is awful and talking about it for forty minutes with Fox was extremely funny. But for the full experience, here’s the audio!

Story Pile: Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku

Smoochy anime undeniably focuses on a narrow age range. I think of the vast majority of anime I’ve watched with a ‘romantic’ theme tends towards the romantic interaction between ‘the traditional’ anime protagonists, which usually means a pair of 14 year olds. There are of course, exceptions, but by volume, you’re going to see the Default, and that means that you usually see fourteen year olds.

This is not the way of all things, of course. If we cast our minds back to the works of Rumiko Takahashi, creator of Ranma 1/2 (oh no, is this going to happen all this month again?), she did a long-running slow-boil romantic comedy story called Maison Ikkoku. Basically, as long as there’s been rom-com anime, there’s been rom-com anime about adults.

And this is one of them.

And it’s really good.

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Story Pile: Are Columbos A Bastards?

Is Columbo, a cop?

And is that copness, itself, inherently transferring the property of being A Bastard?

And how does this apply to the narrative of the media that depicts notorious Short King and Actually Definitely A Police Detective Columbo?

Let us briefly examine the phrase All Cops Are Bastards and its cousin phrases No Really, All Cops and the subsequent phrase Even Whatever Dumb Bastard Cop You’re Related To.

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Story Pile: Star Trek Prodigy

I don’t know at what point in my life I went from ‘never watched any Star Trek‘ to ‘keeping up with multiple ongoing Star Trek shows,’ but here we are. And this time, rather than the seemingly divisive ‘comedy’ of Lower Decks that I definitely didn’t pirate or the equally divisive space-travel adventure of Discovery, I’m instead talking about the divisive children’s cartoon of Star Trek Prodigy.

If you want the simplest opinion on it: I like it. It’s very much a kid’s cartoon, and that means the central characters are kids, but that works out okay for the premise of the show. If you just want to know if there are landmines to look out for, I haven’t encountered any so far, and I like all of the show I’ve watched so far, even if it’s just cresting the heights of ‘pretty good.’

Now, on to more detail.

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Story Pile: Crackerjack

Okay, I need you to trust me on this one.

This movie is a sports drama movie about winning a tournament to save the clubhouse from a greedy real estate developer who wants to turn it into a casino. Uh, the sport in question is lawn bowls. And uh, the cast is primarily Australian and New Zealand actors from the 1960s, many of whom are unheard of outside of Australia even though they’ve done tons of work. Oh oh and the person who wrote the movie was primarily known at the time as a evening radio presenters.

Wait no, it’s good tho.

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Story Pile: Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is a 2018 anime about a young woman recovering from the experience of being one of the best soldiers in a war that doesn’t matter any more, and finding ways to fill the hollowness that follows. Based on a set of light novels written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase, it was turned into an anime by Kyoto Animation, written by industry veteran and kind of titanic presence, Reiko Yoshida.

This is really wild, by the way – this is basically the main work done by Akatsuki and Takase, but Yoshida wrote the screenplay for The Cat Returns, Digimon The Movie, the OAV series Saiyuki, Scrapped Princess, School Rumble, Genshiken, A Silent Voice and she was the script supervisor for K-On! and this is just the stuff I think you’re most likely to recognise by name. Like, this is someone’s first-major-success light novel that got picked up by a big studio for a Netflix release with the writing being handled by a twenty-five year veteran of the anime industry.

What resulted was a visually sumptuous anime, with worldbuilding that sought to explain uneasy peace between city-states negotiationg the aftermath of a war, and how people in those places were both affected, and unaffected by it. I found it challenging to watch, and even more challenging to explain — you might notice, so far, I’ve mostly pointed out things that aren’t very difficult to justify (this is an anime that has a lot of pretty visual work in it), or is just accounting the vital statistics.

One of the easiest ways to talk about media, especially in the format churn this blog asks, is to speak about what other people think as a thing to disagree with. To let people voice their opinions (as I curate them) and then speak against them, or concur with their better, more well formed words. It is an act of synthesis; to listen and to restate, perhaps with subtly different words, perhaps with violently different. It lets me turn a consideration into an argument, or an exhortation. Not just ‘here’s what I think,’ but ‘here’s what I think about what this person thinks,’ as opposed to spending my energy on stating wholly and sincerely what I feel, and letting these words impart in your mind my feelings.

It seems churlish to do that when it comes to this anime about a woman whose job is to do exactly that.

I wish to speak of Violet Evergarden.

And importantly, I want you to understand how this anime made me feel; what I thought of it; why I love it, even with the unpleasantness.

Nonetheless, a content warning for the series;

  • this is a series that overwhelmingly features grief and tragedy, in very personal ways.
  • There is parental bereavement,
  • dead children,
  • suicide attempts,
  • a number of episodes show clear violence with guns.
  • There is also a theme of age differences in romantic relationships, which while never sexualised (it’s kind of a sexless series), is still present in the series at several points and not exactly handled in a way that I would trust.
  • This is a series where people cry a lot.
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Story Pile: The Unpiled of 2021

Not everything I watch becomes part of the Story Pile. Sometimes, I’ll watch something and ask myself if I have anything interesting to say, and determine the answer to that is nah. I start things, decide I’m bored, and stop. While everything is interesting, and you can always connect things that don’t interest you into complicated, interesting, intersecting things, that doesn’t mean it’s always worth the effort, certainly for someone like me.

I’m still bitter that people seemed to think Schitt’s Creek was worth all that fuss after all.

Here then is a list of different stuff I watched that I didn’t think was worth a proper Story Pile article for some reason or another.

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Story Pile: The 2021 Summary

I’m not a movie reviewer, I don’t need a top ten, and I’m not doing anything in a timely fashion. When I write about something it’s almost always because I enjoyed it, or I enjoy talking about some idea in it, or I found something awful and I want to show it to you because it annoyed or disgusted me and I got to wave it around like a gross thing I found in the fridge and I want you to share in my pain or be deeply amused by my performatively flailing it around.

That’s what happens when I watch a movie like Now You See Me 2, which isn’t exactly an article I’d hold up afterwards as a great article. I mean you’re not going to get some sort of thoughtful engagement with the story and its themes, you’re going to get me mad about the way people fail to respect pretendy wizards. Which is fun, but it isn’t something I necessarily can read back, myself, now, without seeing the ways I just fall into a weaker writing style.

This isn’t just a review of what media I enjoyed the most this year. That list is a lot longer and a lot harder to manage, because, well, I like a lot of things. Instead what I want to highlight here is the ten Story Pile articles that I think make for the best reading this year, and why you might enjoy them. Presented then, in no particular order, and with minimal additional work, The Story Pile 2021 Top 10!

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Story Pile: Narnia, Pt 4 — The Magician’s Nephew

Before there were Pevensies, there was Digory and Polly.

Before there was Narnia, there was the endless forest.

Before there was a White Queen, there was Jadis.

I give prequels a bit of a beating, on principle, which I think is incredibly fair because largely, a prequel is about making the world smaller and more boring. It’s about stepping to a point in a story where we know the conclusion and trying to find stuff in that experience that needs explaining, and is interesting to explain. It’s also often a cynical effort to keep using characters you like in a way that doesn’t require you to confront how they’ve changed by the story that people liked (Man, Obi-Wan Kenobi was such a dickhead and then the prequel series he was in made him so much worse). I am, simply put, not a fan of prequels.

But this prequel rules.

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Story Pile: Narnia, Pt 3 — The Last Battle

With the core books that detail what we will gently refer to as the plot of the Narnia universe already laid out, a steady ramp upwards from dull to decent, it seems only fitting now to discuss the way that the series became actively traumatising.

For those not familiar, The Last Battle, the seventh book and last chronologically, is the next book in a series of honestly fairly inoffensive storybook fantasy stories. These stories have followed the lives of a handful of children, so far; The Pevensies, Lucy, Peter, Backup Peter, and that whore, and Eustace Scrubb and his unassumingly decent friend Jill Pole. There’s also another pair, Digory and Polly, and you’ll be left going ‘wait who?’ because they don’t show up until you read the last (first) book, but I’ve said too much.

Point is, if you were like me, you were reading these adventure stories that teased at the ideas of spaces of Narnia, of cultures and nations and magical powers and interesting questions, and each time you got a new book, you learned something new and had more of this beautiful country spread out before you. So often these stories would reward you not with some great accomplishment or demonstration of physical power, some great or heroic badass fight, but instead a bucolic, Hobbit-style scenario of going home and putting things in a tidy position. This was a world where great travails and missing heirs happened, but where the grand battles were often narrated over rather than experienced, and a late book narrative could divert into a conversation about how much centaurs liked porridge (a lot).

The narrative payout of Narnia was always dialled in to ‘oh, well, that’s alright then.’

This book, which you may as a child have picked up and read with the unassuming idea of oh, I like these, this is another one, I wonder which new human friend will learn about Narnia, kills literally everyone you know and destroys Narnia down to the very base foundations of the whole world, leaving behind nothing but a vast expanse of soulless, empty ice.

Then it tries to act like it’s a happy ending.

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Story Pile: Narnia, Pt 2 — The Eustaciad

Last week I wrote about the fantastically dull, chorishly written, monarchist crap that was the genesis of the Narnia series, where a twee fairy tale about how great it was to be a divinely ordained king and disposing of foreigners who weren’t adequately Christian. I lumped these stories together as ‘the Pevensiad’ because they were the stories primarily focused on the character of the Pevensies, four ‘characters’ deviating primarily from a mean of dishwater by dint of how they didn’t live up to the moral and ethical standards of that dishwater.

The start of Narnia was very much about Lewis talking it seemed to his vision of a specific kind of child who he wanted to give a good example of christian childhood behaviour, while offering them what we can modestly call ‘adventure,’ but it was in these books that the conventional isekai narrative of Narnia actually hit its stride and seemingly had some ideas. This is expressed in how the story introduced a character who actually had the room to develop and do something interesting, in the form of the best earth-native Son Of Man character in the entire series, the one, the only, Eustace Clarence Scrubb.

That is literally his name.

And he almost deserved it.

I’m not joking.

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Story Pile: Narnia, Pt 1 — The Pevensiad

There are seven books in the Narnia series of books, created by one C S Lewis. The books have a narrative order and a publication order, and they have a clear distinct arc from the beginning and creation of the world of Narnia and the eventual end of that world. They are profoundly Anglican stories, focusing on an alternate world, one of many, alongside our own, which is meant to have many of the same constants as ours.

Like our God and his incarnation, Jesus.

In this, he’s a lion, named Aslan, who is also sometimes God. Like I said, it’s very Anglican.

Odds are good that you haven’t thought much about Narnia much at all, as an adult. They’re works that have a lot of cultural presence and their metaphors and references work as sort of background radiation for my generation, especially thanks to them being widely distributed public library style books which even got TV Adaptations and big-name Disney movies (remember those).

They’re fantastically twee books, children’s books from a particular era of storytelling that kind of … don’t… like… children?

When you view the books series as a whole, I see five basic groupings in the story, starting with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the book that follows directly upon the end of that one, we have the first predominant chunk, The Pevensiad.

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Story Pile: Chainsaw Man

I don’t like when my writing on a subject resembles someone else’s too much. I feel a little bit like I’m really just better off providing a link to the other person’s writing. In this case, it’s Geoff Thew, of Mother’s Basement, who made an entire video with a comedic tone framed around You Have To Read Chainsaw Man. I watched that, I saw his description of Power as a mix between Walter Sobchak and Eric Cartman and went ‘well, I need to know what the hell he’s talking about, there’s no way this character actually delivers on that.’ And then I read it, and I shared pages with my friends and they went and read it and I was left with the frustrating impression that Thew pretty much hit on the perfect gimmick for this kind of article.

Holy crap, Chainsaw Man is really good.

I want to talk more about Chainsaw Man, but I don’t intend to ‘spoil’ it much. There’s not a lot of reason to talk about it in the context of specific incident or ideas, but rather about its tone and style, and why I think I like it so much. That said, this is definitely ‘content warning-y.’

Just a list off the top of my head, then. Content warning for extensive graphic violence, eye trauma, a lot of talk about guns and their importance, alcohol consumption, throwing up, puppeteering, implied child endangerment (sexual), actual child endangerment, blood all over the place, zombies, torture, cannibalism (both sudden and shocking, and slow and considered), existential horror, workplace anxiety, and it’s got a bunch of great characters in it, many of whom die abruptly.

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Story Pile: The Plagues Of Breslau

I’m guna talk about stuff to do with cultural lenses and background material, and I’m going to talk about a Polish movie and a Polish book series, as a non-Polish person who has almost no grounding in that space. That means that by necessity, the ways I discuss this are going to be from an outsider’s perspective, making comparisons to media I do know, and that’s how it’s gunna be. It’s also going to be about a serial-killer based crime drama with some medical trauma and poverty themes, so like, before we go on, let’s start with a big ole Content Warning.

Content Warning: This is a serial killer horror story, this is a crime story, this is a story with some graphic visual effects, and it’s a Polish movie being talked about by a dude who cannot reliably say he’d find Poland on a map.

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