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: Person Of Interest, Season 4

By this stage, Person of Interest is a full-fledged science fiction cyberpunk series. It’s cyberpunk in that the story requires interactions between technology and class, it’s about waste and destruction, it’s about the ways that technology allows us to make human mistakes faster, and it’s very cyberpunk because there’s a creepy child that speaks for an evil supercomputer.

While previous seasons were divided into single episodes with an ongoing mytharc, the story of Season 4 is very much the mytharc, a narrative where episode to episode, there are continuity changes and shifts of different status quos mean that you can literally lose track of what’s happening if you jump only two or three episodes ahead. The episodic stuff is less episodic, and there are even episodes where the B plot is very minor. This is where the show feels a lot like a more modern bingeable Netflix kinda story, set in a paranoid conspiracy almost-now.

Spoilers ahead!

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Story Pile: Person Of Interest, Season 3

Person of Interest is a show that started its existence talking about the hypothetical possibility of a mass surveillance state and the power that merely having your information in the control of a single consolidating source could represent. It started wanting to talk about the way that data aggregation, and even just the point of ‘here is where this data was collected’ was a powerful tool that could be used to extrapolate information you never meant to share. The world in which Person of Interest was conceived was one where the idea of imagine what a world with government surveillance would be like, and the terrors it could produce.

In 2013, Edward Snowden happened.

Spoilers ahead!

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Story Pile: Person Of Interest, Season 2

Season one of Person of Interest introduces the core components of the story and the basic premise of a story-of-the-week set in a world with a government surveillance system designed to prevent terrorism and how that same system would by definition fail on two dimensions. It would fail at keeping people safe by having to ignore non-terrorism based crimes (and therefore, it’d help people more if it was more fascist) and it fails at keeping people free (by, you know, the endless surveillance). It demonstrates a half measure, something so perfectly cyberpunk in its incompleteness, and our protagonists operate in a space where the world looks almost just like now.

Almost.

While Season One sets up the premise and introduces you to core players, Season 2 has to expand on that and create a different story than just repeating the first series. What we get then is a conversation about the world that the presence of the Machine implies.

Spoilers ahead.

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Story Pile: Person Of Interest, Season 1

In my teenager years, I came to appreciate the block of TV shows I thought of as ‘good shows’ in the 7:30 to 8:30 bracket. This typically took the form of a pair of back-to-back sitcom episodes, or, as I got older and the options got better (and my bedtime crept back), an hour long dramedy TV series, often built around a single high-concept hook, or even taped from late-night TV. A lot of these shows were, to my mind, ‘American Shows’ (and therefore good shows), were typically high-concept shows with sci-fi ideas in them that could be executed on cheaply with a small special effects budget, and included things like Time Trax and Pointman and, strangely important in my mind, a series called Fortune Hunter. I liked to refer to Fortune Hunter as a sort of example of forgettable 90s TV ephemera, a low-budget story about a wannabe James Bond type who was relaying everything through super-technology contact lenses to a nerd in a chair who could instantly relay everything to him. I, at the time, thought that Fortune Hunter was a great reference to make, like Street Sharks, which would make people in the same age range as I go ‘oh, yeah, that show, I remember that, kinda.’

Turns out that this was a terrible idea because, at the time I did not know, that Fortune Hunter aired for all of one month in America and only played out the full run of its episodes here in Australia because we were a dumping ground for failed attempted TV series that relied on high-concept sci-fi ideas that could be executed on cheaply with a small special effects budget. But those shows had some common traits, like Time Trax with its decreasing list of villains to apprehend, or Pointman with the fantasy of a strange billionaire appearing out of nowhere to save ordinary people, or Fortune Hunter with its gimmick of a super-nerd teaming up with a terrifying badass super-spy to save the day for single individuals.

I bring up this meandering reference to 90s television because these different stories with their modest production budgets and mediocre executions through actors who never quite got the respect they deserved are presented their absolute apotheosis in the form of the 2011-2016 sci-fi action series Person Of Interest.

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Story Pile: Call of The Night

This is the anime of a song. It doesn’t follow the plot of the song. It follows the vibe of a song, and that song inspired the manga, and then, the manga got made into an anime and that anime got to have the ending theme be the song that inspired it, and the same band made the opening theme, because they had already, in their music, defined this anime.

And damn if it don’t feel like a hell of a song.

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Story Pile: GGWP — Young Ladies Don’t Play Fighting Games

What if the prettiest girl in your school who nobody knew well was so aloof, so pure, so perfect, not because she was in fact, transcendentally perfect, but because she was an utter gamer gremlin who didn’t care about anything any other student was doing, since they weren’t pulling off sick combos and trash talking noobs in ranked ladder matches? And you could tell because you were an expert in the same kind of games, and now she wanted to fight you? To fight you? To fight you? To stay up late and fight you?

And you were both girls?

That’s the story of Young Ladies Don’t Play Fighting Games, which is a manga series about exactly what I just described. This is a Japanese story about a Japanese sector of life – about the pressures of school and the intensity of hobbies you wind up with if you have to have them in secret. It’s about social pressures on women, it’s about what is or isn’t acceptable for people to do and how an invisible online persona creates a space for people to become what they truly want.

It is also full of some of the sickest reaction panels of a girl power-posing over an opponent who isn’t even in the room I’ve ever seen in manga.

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Story Pile: Harrow The Ninth

Harrow The Ninth is the second book in the four-and-a-half-book-so-far Locked Tomb trilogy by Tamsyn Muir, a New Zealand author, and to get the box blurb copy out of the way early, it’s as intricate as wristbones, multi-layered, wrought out of several kinds of deliberate excellence and also extremely bloody funny. It commands its venaculars and surgical terminology alongside one another to construct a narrative puzzlebox of regrets and rage and guilt and violence and queer shit and I loved it.

There are these healing moments of emotionally satisfying contact between people who you can maybe let your guard down and like because they don’t have to suck just because this situation sucks and maybe that’s the important thing, maybe it’s the friends we made along the way. Or maybe it’s really, really not. You’d have to get to the end of the book to start to find out what you think. I know what I think.

Now, it is a slight problem that Harrow The Ninth is a book that builds directly on the previous book, which is a book with a very distinct conclusion that leaves you wondering ‘okay, now how does this proceed,’ and Harrow The Ninth doesn’t actually give you easy answers. As a matter of simple necessity, then, and in order to discuss ideas in this book and why I love it, I am going to talk – even a bit obliquely – about the stuff in the book. Therefore, if you’re the kind of person who wants them, I put here, a SPOILER WARNING.

And you may think ‘oh come on, it’s a book with a twist, you can talk about stuff around that,’ and like kinda no not really, it’s way more complex than that, and even just telling you that is enough to make the wrong kind of mind leap at shadows thinking every single thing you deal with in the book is The Twist. Good news, though, because in this situation, oh natively paranoid, must-not-be-surprised, solve-it-first readers, you’re right!

Everything in this book is The Twist.

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Story Pile: 15 Minutes

Way back when I wrote about The Beginner’s Guide, I wound up talking about a movie called S1M0N3. The basics of that article are that some gamers seemed to be fooled into believing the fictional story of a developer stealing work and putting it up on the internet for sale was a real thing, just as in the movie S1M0N3 people believed that a movie about a fake fictional digital actress was made with a real fictional digital actress. It still stands out to me as an example of the way that modern, immediate anxieties about our relationship to technology are not, in fact, new at all.

In 2001, another movie came out that had a similar vibe to it, a movie about a fear of the changing culture of the now in the light of emergent technology. The fear was about what people would do in a world where everyone had access to a camera, about what a culture of news of spectacle would do, and the assumptions we make about people’s ability to control and express themselves. The movie was called 15 Minutes.

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Story Pile: My Hero Academia, Season 5

Here we are, five years of watching into the story that is My Hero Academia, a story that took two seasons to get up to gear and then ran face-first into a pandemic making every part of its production slow and awkward and worse but don’t worry, they had a whole manga to build off. Which means that while the execution may suffer, there was at least a solid, robust spine of storytelling to build off.

Right?

Spoilers ahoy!

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Story Pile: My Hero Academia, Season 4

Alright, now we’ve hit our stride, we’ve done most of the set-up stuff required to have stories and character information all out there. The major characters are all laid out, we have a villain on the horizon waiting to happen to people, and we just had an introduction of some new boundary characters, so it’s time to immediately do something with all of those. This is a series that has got a handle on the basic ideas of what it’s going to do, and each season can be snapped apart into a few short story arcs you can consider on their own.

There’s something to the experience of enjoying My Hero Academia, season to season. It’s got all the joy of a catchy pop song, popcorn playful and full of classic shonen anime battle feelings, but this pop song also includes a few slurs? And probably says something condescending about women. Basically, I’m enjoying it but I’m sure as hell not going to defend it.

What we get in this season is some high drama with a big battle, one of those stories that focus on the characters in the setting dicking around with the infrastructure that exists to deal with the commonality of superpowers, and then an absolute top-tier banger of a story arc about excellent nearly-zero-stakes hero bullshit.

I’m going to talk more about it and that’s going to involve spoilers, so, below the fold!

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Story Pile: The Owl House Finale

Chances are good you already know what The Owl House is, and chances are even better, you’ve already seen the finale trilogy of episodes if you’re reading this. If you’re not, however, and if you’re just one of the people who likes hearing me talk about kid’s cartoons that you don’t watch, though, or if you’ve been holding back out of fear that the show’s conclusion is bad, I have good news! It’s good, I liked it, it’s charming and it’s very sweet and there’s a good conclusion that shows a respect for the stakes of the situation while also not closing the door on more stories for the characters you’re familiar with.

Basically, it’s a good ending and I liked it and it didn’t diminish my appreciation for the show. It plays fair, is I guess what I’d say. If what you’re looking for is someone to tell you you’re not getting your hopes up for no reason to set aside the time to watch it, yeah, it’s great!

Now let’s go a little more in-depth on the three episodes. This is your Spoiler Warning.

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Story Pile: Gideon The Ninth

Here’s the pitch; it’s a sci-fantasy magi-tech murder mystery story with sword fights and a ripped up muscle lesbian who wears makeup to look like a skull and mirrored sunglasses to look like a skull wearing mirrored sunglasses. Then with that kind of approach you’re left grappling with the question, okay, but how does it pull that off?

And the answer is with bombast and aplomb, two words that I think wouldn’t rate for this book’s love of linguistic particulars.

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Story Pile: Summer Time Rendering

2022 was a kind of terrifying year for anime.

Terrifying in the scope, the variety and the general quality, mind you. It was still a year with a bunch of movies and continuations of things I don’t care about, and it was also a year in which the anime industry kept reeling after literal terrorism and the results of a pandemic slowdown. Still, the thing is, even when you take that into account and also the burnout and stress the anime producers are under, 2022 was a year with a selection of anime that would, in a less busy year, be considered the best anime released that year.

You doubt me? Well, consider that across 2022, we got heavy-hitter franchise installations Spy X Family, Demon Slayer, Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War, Ascendance Of A Bookworm and the final season of Attack On Titan. There were also some pretty remarkable releases in the queer media space, with a mainline yuri production The Executioner And Her Way Of Life pushing into the isekai franchise space and The Witch From Mercury taking the lead of probably the venerable anime franchise machine that is Gundam. Looking at the lighter, shorter series, things that didn’t need a big backing from a big studio to get out the door, we got shows all over the genre space like Ya Boy Kongming, Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie, My Dress Up Darling, Akiba Maid War, Fuuto PI, Cyberpunk Edgerunners, Lycoris Recoil, Call Of The Night, Bocchi The Rock, Do It Yourself, Urusei Yatsuara, and oh yeah, did I mention Chainsaw Man up top because yeah, Chainsaw Man also came out in 2022.

That’s… one year. Any of those 21 series would be an all-star excellent show to be ‘the one great one’ of the year. For comparison, in 1993, when I think I can say I started really paying attention to anime (we called it Japanimation), there were twenty four anime series made at all.

And I bring this list to your attention, the scope, and the weight of that scope and hopefully also the number of highlighted links showing that hey, yeah, these aren’t just critically praised or noteworthy shows but shows I like, where I want to tell you about the anime that gets to be 22 on that list, and may, in my opinion, be the best one.

Summer Time Rendering is a 2022 anime based on the Shonen Jump+ Digital Manga series written and illustrated by Yasuki Tanaka who at least according to wikipedia has done nothing else. The TV adaptation is by OLM, long-standing anime industry juggernauts responsible for, amongst everything else, Inazuma Eleven, Yo-Kai Watch, Beyblade, Cardfight Vanguard, and, of course, the entire run of the Pokemon anime, amongst other less kid-oriented fare like Komi Can’t Communicate and Life With An Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated Into A Total Fantasy Knockout so we can mention an isekai genderswap anime as well, for the full bingo. As to what Summer Time Rendering is at its heart, is a mystery story, which makes it kind of challenging to talk about in a way that can both illuminate its virtues without dispelling some of the tension that people like to discover themselves, especially since one major component of the story is a time loop,

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Story Pile: Lycoris Recoil

Lycoris Recoil is a 2022 action thriller anime about a pair of girls working to prevent terror attacks in Tokyo, while they get to know one another and become GOOD FRIENDS, while a plot happens around them. You know the type, right?

I am going to talk about things all through the series, I am going to spoil major twists, I am going to Talk About This Show. This serves as a spoiler warning, but also a content warning; this is a show that features guns, lots of guns, police shootings, medical tension, terrorism, bad dads, and dead probably-gays. It’s an action thriller anime set in a terrorism-wracked Japan, don’t imagine you’re getting something else just because there are girls on the posters.

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Story Pile: Unseen Academicals

When considering the Discworld series of books, it seems at times that it’d be almost boring for me to discuss them, because they’ve been so important to my personal history and interests that it’d be a bit like ‘oh, hey, this thing I like, but obviously I would, wouldn’t I, because I’m that basic that I kind of got my personality from a series of fantasy novels.’ Every single one of the books that I love, I can almost hold up and say ‘this book was basically written for me, as a person,’ given my interests. And if I could pick the one Discworld book to hold up as an example of me in a book, the things and ideas and experiences that all hold together for me, I think there are definitely books that I think of as cooler and better and having amazing moments and important lines in them. I could name Men at Arms with its maxim that a good man will kill you without a word. I could name Hogfather with its line you have to believe in the small things that don’t exist. I bet I could look stylish as hell if I could invoke Feet of Clay‘s maxim that all days are holy or none are or Monstrous Regiment and you are my little lambs, so many cool lines that would flatter my ego to talk about how this book is a good insight into me.

But there’s a Discworld book that kinda, without meaning, hits me with both barrels, reveals a second shotgun, fires another pair of barrels, and then reloads both of them again.

Hi.

This is me, pretty much.

SPOILERS after the fold.

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Story Pile: Arrival

Arrival is a 2016 movie about the individual experience of a very thoughtful linguist lady as humanity contends with the first engagement with an alien first contact, not in the vein of guns and bombs and tanks and planes, the way Will Smith taught us, but instead, the high stakes, deeply intense world of complex linguistic deconstruction without an existing linguistic frame of reference. And it whips, but it’s also like being bathed in wax.

It’s a language nerd movie, but I’d leave the detailed considerations of that to other people, you know, people who are experts in language. I’d recommend checking out Lingthusiasm, which goes in on the movie in depth. I’m going to try and avoid replicating anything they cover here. The only thing I’d point to that stands apart is the way that this movie demonstrates how weak our language is to discuss language we don’t have.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk spoilers after the fold. There’s probably some generalities that can give away things ‘about’ the movie, but instead I want to talk about what this movie thinks is reasonable and normal.

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Story Pile: My Hero Academia, Season 2

You can tell the quality of a shounen series by how quickly it turns to a tournament arc in order to fill out its episodes. Tournament arcs are a break-in-case-of-emergency story beat for any game in the fighting shonen battle franchise, because while on the one hand, they give you structure, motivation, and a clearly defined sense of progression, they are also, ultimately, just a series of disconnected fights where you have to show characters being cool and explaining what they’re doing for mulitple episodes. I understand entirely why an anime might need to do a tournament arc; the manga industry is a machine that eats artists and shits manga, and when you’re doing a shounen battle series, having this kind of chained sequence of fights gives you an opportunity to fill out the audiences’ perspective and demonstrate a bunch of things like you’re filling out a guidebook. They are practical arcs, they are serviceable arcs.

You can also elevate a tournament arc! There are stories that weave (say) intrigue around a tournament arc, or where the rules of the tournament create a different demand on the characters, or if you follow only one character learning about the world through the arc — there’s a lot you can do with them… but they are also predictable and require you to set them up well with an interesting source of tension.

The first half of My Hero Academia season 2 is a single big tournament arc, and it’s shockingly mediocre.

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Story Pile: Eat, Play, Love

Alright, we’ve talked about some anime and some interesting indie media, why not talk about the most tedious, boring, mainstream thing in the world? I recruited Fox to talk to me about the movie Eat, Play, Love, produced by the Hallmark channel.

Just so you know: It’s not a good movie.

Story Pile: My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead To Doom!

This year has reminded me of something I truly, truly love about anime as a genre: You get a self-contained story idea, usually something with a bunch of familiar anchors, and then says ‘okay, now here’s the idea we’re working with in this space.’ You get useful, familiar tools for telling a story (so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to communicate ideas), and then that lets the story highlight what parts of it stand apart from the standard patterns.

Here’s your standard template: an anime that tells the story that plays out in your typical otome game dating sim, where the characters are divided easily into ‘the ones you want to have sexy stories with’ and ‘the ones who are rivals or hindrances to your sexy stories,’ set in a magical mid-fantasy kingdom where you get fancy outfits, princesses and magical colleges, but also there’s no conspicuous mention of plague or weird pooping habits. Then, there’s the also-standard form of it being a story focusing on a single individual who is from our world, an isekai story, or if you’re familiar with the Christian media space, Narnia-likes.

Here’s your twist: The world she’s in now is the world of a videogame she played when she was in our world, she knows how this type of game works, like the things that signal you’re on the wrong track, but she’s not in the role of the hero of the story like when she played it.

She’s the villainess.

And the villainess, in all the routes of the games, is screwed.

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Story Pile: Shikimori’s not Just A Cutie

2022 was a year for extensive arguing about different varieties of Best Girl, what with Yor Forger, Marin Kitagawa, Bridget and probably some more I’m not remembering right now. One of the dark horse entries, based almost entirely in my friendscape’s reaction to the thirteen seconds in a trailer where she pulls a mean face, is Shikimori-san from Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie.

People make fun of light novel anime titles having huge explanations for the entirety of the story you’re buying into but you know, I think that Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie is basically the same thing. It’s a romance anime from mostly the perspective of a tragically failure-prone boy dojikko (dojibro) who at the start of the series is dating Shikimori. She is a cutie, and also there’s a bit more to her.

Just a bit.

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Story Pile: There She Is!!

In internet culture times, there’s a timelessness and an immateriality that comes from being classic.

If you were on the internet in your teenage years in around 2004, you probably know something about a particular genre of animation that tends to get called ‘Flash’ animation. And there’s a lot to be said about how Flash animation worked, and the gates it left wildly open. Sometimes people get caught up on the techniques and what they permitted, and lose track of the compression, and how turning a long animation into vectors and math meant it could be more easily translated into an internet transmissable format. That format led to hosting sites, and those hosting sites led to communities and those communities led to trends and distribution, and that is how you get things that people knew, that seemingly everyone had seen, but couldn’t attribute to any kind of source.

Even if the thing everyone’s seen has source inside it, ‘cos it’s written in a different language.

Content Warning: Racism and a pet death

떳다 그녀!! There She Is!! complete HD :: SamBakZa official
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Story Pile: My Hero Academia, Season 1

Nothing quite like striking after the iron’s gone.

This is the last year in which My Hero Academia will not be an anime that ‘has run for ten years.’ Seems a fine time to get into this superhero comic book anime for tweens. Behold, beyond the fold, I will be talking about the first season of the anime and that means some spoilering.

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Story Pile: Children of Time

I understand that when I talk about movies I’m asking you to engage with me on my thoughts about a thing that’s ninety minutes long; a TV series is often something you can whittle away at over time and isn’t necessarily designed for a scope of attention that covers a lot of time in its narrative or a long time in its experience. I’m kinda a pop culture boy, I do the wham-bam-thank-you style of things for having fun and maybe I’ll try and recommend series of books to you like the Tiffany Aching series, I’m going to do so mostly because every part of that series is a book that’s pretty great and can be finished reasonably quickly.

Not so for Adrian Tchaikovsky (it’s a pen name) and his epic science fiction story Children of Time. This book is a juggernaut – the audiobook is something like six hours, and those are not a breezy set of page turners. If I talk about a piece of media it’s often with the tone of someone who’s very confident that you can go get that media and check it out and then use that media to contextualise what I think and feel about it. In this case, I think that’s a pretty big lift, since we’re talking about a doorstopper of a book and I have an audience who exist on the spectrum between ‘oo shiny’ and ‘books bore me because I can’t use them to open thirty-five tabs on which digimon have been shown wearing shoes.’ Knowing that I’m going to start off by giving you a broad overview of what happens in the story, without giving away specifics.

If you know this book already, if you want to approach things without any awareness of the plot, or if you want a push to check out some big-S big-F Science Fiction and all you need is someone recommending it, I do recommend Children of Time! I liked how it handled the scope of its stories, I liked the kinds of things it saw as solutions to problems, and it did some things that appealed to me in very specific, niche ways. Particularly, it appealed to me with its culture of sentient, cooperative cat-sized spiders, and the war they wage on the last vestiges of humanity and how that gets solved.

That got your attention? The book’s full of spiders.

Spoilers ahead, but most importantly, content warning: Spiders.

Oh my word, so much, with the spiders.

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Story Pile: Megatokyo

Throughout 2022 I made a bit of fun on social media by reminding people that Megatokyo, the webcomic, was still updating, and had through all 22 years of its existence, produced a plot that at this point spanned roughly a week. It’s one of those things that when you present it to people who remember reading it as literal children creates an interesting reaction that shows you what they remember.

But what of me? What did I remember? I thought that maybe I should go check it out, and see what I thought of Megatokyo, since after all, I’d stepped out well before the talking robot girl had made a schoolfriend who was also the avatar of female tragedy. What is Megatokyo now? And how has it changed? Is it what you remember? is it better? is it worse?

What would I answer to the question, What is Megatokyo?

Content Warning: Y’know, there’s a lot of pretty nasty misogyny in Megatokyo, though not anything I’d step up to the level of a content warning. What I would content warn, though, is the commonality with which they suggest an adult Piro date a fifteen year old.

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Story Pile: The Rendezvous

In 1976, Claude Lelouch, a french filmmaker, released a short video, about eight minutes long, which showed a single take of an anonymous driver driving ten kilometers through the center of Paris, at an average speed of 80 kilometers/50 miles per hour. You don’t see the car. You don’t hear talking. You don’t get any framing at all for the experience; you start in the car, as it leaves a tunnel, and then you have nothing to do but sit, like a passenger, as the car’s tires squeal, the engine revs, and the driver proceeds to break quite a few laws.

It is a real recording of a real excursion that really broke real laws: speed limits were ignored, eighteen red lights were violated and one-way streets were driven up the wrong way. While there’s no obvious danger to the public on the path, the fact that this was a real thing that was really done, there’s some inherent unpredictability about the things that could have happened, even at 5:30 in the morning in summer, where there’s not a lot of people going through the streets of Paris.

Now obviously, me being me, you might assume I’m pretty okay on some laws being ignored, and there’s definitely a case, though also, rich french dude who could afford a sports car getting away with violating a bunch of car laws isn’t exactly anarchist praxis as much as it is just what we expect. There’s not a lot of Being Gay in this Doing Crimes video. There’s also a potential angle you can take on this video about the way it’s a bit of a magic trick; we only see this version because this is the version where nothing went wrong, and we don’t know how many other versions of it happened, how many other versions of it could have happened, where things were a little different. We know there was a walkie-talkie and a spotter involved, even if it didn’t wind up being a factor, and regardless of the realities of how this video got made, as a text, you don’t get to know anything about that. With such a small, generic diegesis, you could dig into what it means, what the miniscule scrap of text really does explain.

I’m not going to do that, though.

I think this is a speedrun.

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Story Pile: Goncharov

Don’t worry, I’m not about to do an explainer on this movie, which does not exist. I cannot stress that enough: It does not exist. I don’t think I need to belabour that point, because it seems almost nobody’s trying to sustain kayfabe on this one. You’re not going to see a big, elaborate description of the critical analysis of a four hour long 1973 Mafia film starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd and Lynda Carter (in a minor role), with a great big twist at the end like hahah, surprise, got you, this movie doesn’t exist!

I know, that is the kind of joke I like to tell! I like walking you down a garden path, introduce a ridiculous idea, and then surprise you by revealing that it’s true (or not, I mix it up). But no, in this case, I’m not here to do that. I’m going to do something so much worse, I’m going to talk to you about my feelings, and they’re not going to be happy or feel-good!

Content Warning: I’m going to talk about Goncharov, which I hope is obvious, and I’m going to talk about being angry at people and the way I felt treated without any intention to change their behaviour or ask apology.

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Story Pile: The 2022 Summary

And here we are, on the last Story Pile day of the year. I would say ‘the last monday’ but honestly, I don’t know if it’s monday to you. It’s not monday to me. I don’t think I’ve ever written a Story Pile article on the monday it goes up. The joy of scheduling. Anyway, it’s the end of the year, it’s an arbitary cutoff point before I reorganise some stuff, what was this year like and also can I have a freebie sir thank you.

I watched a lot of stuff this year! I watched some stuff that kicked ass, some stuff that bored me, and some stuff I struggled to finish. This year featured a lot less hate-watching, and a lot more consideration of disappointments, with only a few Hallmark pieces to drag around because it’s fun to make fun of really bad media sometimes, and it’s easy, and it’s something to share with Fox.

One thing I watched a lot more of this year is anime. I feel like the past five years or so I’ve really fallen out of watching anime, something I used to love doing, and only this year did I really get back into the habit of trying to watch an anime on the regular — a single series a month, maybe, and binge on a few when I was of a mood. I joined a discord with an anime club channel. And the result is I watched a bunch of kick-ass anime! Not all of it got Story Piles this year. Maybe next year. I wound up weaving this into my organisation — every month, I would do one Story Pile on an anime.

But this isn’t about what I watched this year.

This is about what I wrote.

What articles did I write, in the Story Pile category, that I want you to look at? What are my top ten most proud of it articles I wrote? Let’s count ’em down!

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