Best of Gintama

Gintama is probably the funniest shounen, and its success is pretty interesting, but it’s also extremely long.  Unlike some other shows, it’s not complete garbage, but I wouldn’t say the whole show is good. It’s a shounen and as such has its fair share of multi episode boring long fights. So if you want to skip the boring bits and focus on the best part, here is my take on the subject. As usual, bold is the best of the best. I didn’t include any exposition because I don’t think it matters much, you can watch the pilot or read a wiki…

This is an excellent point to start, as Gintama’ has a lot less boring shounen “serious” content than the first iteration, and a lot more goofy comedy.

 

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Best of South Park

I once made a list of the most important/best South Park episode for a friend who wanted to see more but didn’t want to go through the whole thing, and I thought I’d share it here, kinda like I did for Supernatural. Contrary to SPN, South Park is actually a good show, pretty witty and sly, well written, not completely shit, so I highly recommend you watch it, but I can understand how a 20 seasons show can seem daunting, and how all the poop humor may obfuscate the brilliance of their nuance societal analyses, so feel free to use this list as a starting point. It should give you good insight on the most interesting and the most influential South Park episodes:

  • 1×01: Cartman gets an anal probe

 

  • 2×14 : Chef Aid

 

  • 3×06: Sexual Harassment Panda
  • 3×11 : Chinpokomon

 

  • 4×05 : Cartman joins NAMBLA

 

  • 5×04 : Scott Tenorman Must Die
  • 5×08 : Towelie
  • 5×14 : Butters’ Very Own Episode

 

  • 6×07 : The Simpsons Already Did It
  • 6×09: Free Hat

 

  • 7×01 : Cancelled
  • 7×09 : Christian Rock Hard
  • 7×11 : Casa Bonita
  • 7×12 : All about Mormons

 

  • 8×01: Good Times with weapons
  • 8×14 : Woodland Critter Christmas
  • 8×5 : Awesom-O

 

  • 9×4 : Best Friends Forever
  • 9×11 : Ginger kids
  • 9×12  : Trapped in the Closet

 

  • 10×3/4: Cartoon Wars
  • 10×6 : Manbearpig
  • 10×8: Make Love, not warcraft
  • 10×12/13 :  Go God Go

 

  • 11×10/11/12: The imaginationland trilogy

 

  • 12×06: Over Logging

 

  • 13×12: The F Word
  • 13×13: Dances with Smurfs

 

  • 14×03: Medicinal Fried Chicken
  • 14×04: You have 0 friends
  • 14×05/06: 200
  • 14×11/12/13: The Coon trilogy

 

  • 15×01: HumancentiPad
  • 15×07: You’re getting old
  • 15×13: A history channel thanksgiving

Most of season 16:

  • 16×01: Reverse Cowgirl
  • 16×03: Fath Hilling
  • 16×06: I should have never gone ziplining
  • 16×08: Sarcastaball
  • 16×12: A Nightmare on Face Time
  • 16×13: A Scause for Applause
  • 16×14: Obama wins

Most of season 17:

  • 17×01: Let Go Let Gov
  • 17×02: Informative Murder Porn
  • 17×06: Ginger Cow
  • 17×07/08/09: The Black Friday trilogy
  • 17×10: The Hobbit

Pretty much all season 18:

  • 18×01 : Go Fund Yourself
  • 18×03 : The Cissy
  • 18×07: Grounded Vindaloop
  • 18×08 : Cock Magic
  • 18×09/10: Rehash

Seriously watch all of season 19, but if you need a highlight:

  • 19×06 : Tweek x Craig

 

  • 20×01 : Member berries

 

  • 21×02 : Put it down
  • 21×07 : Doubling down

Please reach out to me if you think I forgot anything, this is highly possible 🙂

a very special supernatural special metapowerguide

Ok so disclaimer: if you absolutely love supernatural and it’s your religion, I do respect that but please DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE cause I’m gonna be harsh and you’re not gonna like it and it’s gonna be painful for all of us =p this is not for you.

This is for you who much like myself was intrigued by SPN and was like “meeh idk themed series were good when i was a child but nobody has the time to waste on that anymore I’m gonna skip“. This article is designed to tell you NO YOU’RE WRONG cause you’re missing out on one of the coolest work about subtext and metanarratives ever aired on TV as well as one of the most significant cultural phenomenon of our times. It started out as a plain boring show and then became self aware and turned into the kind of whatever-fest you can see in homestuck or on a lesser extent in the recent episodes of Sherlock. (that was the why should I care section) Also Supernatural is well known for having a gif for every concept so I’m gonna try to use that fact.

But the show is not everyone’s thing I mean it’s basically monster hunt each episode and I’m the first one to say how unbearable this is. Lucky for you I’ve got you covered: I’m gonna explain wtf is going on and what episode are actually interesting, so that you can power through the good parts and take advantage of me suffering to it all xD Needless to say that there will be major spoilers I mean thats the point. This guide is written from my own personal experience but also compiling several sources of ratings to narrow down the best episodes cause hey that’s what I do.

Ready ? Set. Go!

The basics :

<Carry on my wayward son>

Sam-and-Dean-supernatural-33642488-500-260

This is the story of Sam (the young and cute one) and Dean (the one who hits on girls and likes pies and strippers ) Winchester traveling in their  1967 Chevy Impala (the thing with the wheels) around the US (the country with the army), and who are apparently subtextly gay for each other. They do: the family business, hunting people, saving things. (yeah cause their dad was a monster hunter)

Season 1 :

Dad is on a hunting trip and he hasn’t been home in a few days.

The series starts off by Dean coming to get Sam, who has kinda sworn out hunting because of the mom dying thing. But his girlfriend Jessica dies the same way (like burning on the ceiling or something) so he changes his mind and comes with, following the footsteps of their father, looking for him. Also as time goes Sam kinda develops some weird telekinetic powers and premonitions. A recurring enemy in this season is a demon possessing a girl called Meg who’ll be on and off the show for a loong time. At this point you should watch :

01×12 – Faith

01×17 – Hell House

Notable mentions :

01×02 – Wendigo: pretty typical episode of this era quoted as an example

01×08 – Bugs: notably bad episode that the writers love to make fun about.

At the end of the season, they find out that a demon named Azazel is responsible for their mom and Jessica’s death. They go to an old family friend for help : Bobby Singer. With him they find their father.

Season 2:

Ok so the dad dies so that Dean could come back to life (#awkward ambiance). They figure out that Azazel feeds children demon blood and they end up fucked up. Turns out he’s preparing an army of psychic children for the coming war (?), also that explains Sam’s powers. Now go watch:

02×18 – Hollywood Babylon

02×20 – What is and What should never be

Oh yeah they learn that their dad was stuck in hell or something. Shit goes down, final battle approaches. Sam dies but Dean sells his soul to resurrect him, thus leaving him with only 1 year to live.

They get a kickass Colt gun that can kill almost everything and use it to kill Azazel but not before he opened a gateway to hell letting out tons of demons so that the series may go on. Also the father comes back and dies for realsies this time.

Notable mentions:

02×15 – Tall Tale: kinda cute and important for the future

02×16 – Roadkill: idk i thought it was influential and tolerable also typical

Season 3:

Dean resurrecting Sam creates tensions, and Sam starts hunting with a rogue demon named Ruby who encourages Sam to embrace his psychic powers. At this point you should probably watch:

03×02 – The Kids are alright

It’ll help for the plot ^^ A recurring character from this season is Bela, another hunter who steals the Colt at some point because she is blackmailed or has reasons. Now it’s time to watch:

03×11 – Mystery spot

03×13 – Ghostfacers

A demon girl called Lilith appears and organizes the demon forces. They track her down, she possesses Ruby’s body, and kills Dean who ends up in hell. Also turns out that Sam is immune to her.

You may also want to watch:

03×03 – Bad Day at Black Rock: kinda fun

Season 4:

Now shit’s really started to go down. Sam is badass and going out with Ruby. Dean is risen from the dead by Castiel, an angel and arguably the most important character in the show and also the dude with the best lines in the whole history of television and also Dean’s boyfriend. In this season he hangs out with an angel buddy called Uriel. A recurring enemy in this season is the demon Alastair. Feel free to watch

04×03 – In the beginning

as it presents neatly things about the Winchester family. Sam realizes that his demon-originated powers may be dangerous and struggles between trying to stop using them and getting addicted to drink Ruby’s blood to strengthen them. Meanwhile Dean is acting very tsundere about what happened in hell (drama queens). In this season, you may hear about Pamela, a psychic that helps them figure out stuff about Castiel and angels ?

But turns out Castiel mostly wants the Winchester to stop Lilith from releasing Lucifer by preventing her to break all the seals (the first one being Dean escaping from hell, oopsies). Now it’s time to watch:

04×05 – Monster movie

04×17 – It’s a terrible life

04×18 – The Monster at the End of This Book

OMG, amirite ? And also

04×22 – Lucifer Rising

because every once in a while it’s good to know how things end up ^^

You may also want to watch:

04×01 –  Lazarus Rising: historically significant as the first episode with Castiel

04×06 – Yellow fever: or maybe just the eye of the tiger scene

04×12 – Chris Angel is a douchebag: it’s about magicians so yeah

04×13 – After School Special: I have to mention it, lots of flashbacks of VERY CUTE winchester children

04×19 – Jump the shark: Another member in the winchester family?

Season 5:

05×01 – Sympathy for the Devil

Ok so now Castiel wants to find God to find out “what the fuck dude”. Enter old family friends, Ellen and her daughter Jo, hunters too. As for the boys, they’re trying to stop the Apocalypse by defeating the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But the only way to slay Lucifer would be for Dean to become the vessel of archangel Michael. More drama between the brothers, yada yada yada.

05×08 – Changing Channels

05×09 – The Real Ghostbusters

Jo and Ellen end up dying for the cause (idk they made a bigger impression on me I suppose) and by now you’re familiar with Crowley. As pressure is increasing, notably in the form of archangel Zacharia, and attempts to use the Colt against Lucifer prove stupid, Dean comes to accept that he’ll have to be the vessel.

05×19 – Hammer of the Gods

The knight of the apocalypse arc is kinda cute I mean Death is spreading pandemics through control of biomedical companies and stuff. They come up with a plan where Bobby pawns his soul to Crowley to get the location of Death so that they can use Death’s power to trap Lucifer.

05×22 – Swan Song

Additional viewing:

05×05 – Fallen Idols: the Paris Hilton episode

05×07 – The curious case of Dean Winchester: an episode about ageing

05×10 – Abandon all hopes: shit goes down, lots of intrigue progression I suppose

05×11 – Sam, interrupted: asylum episode

05×13 – The Song Remains the Same: if you’re into stuff that happens with the previous generations/time travel

05×21 – Two minutes to midnight: making the deal with Death

 

Season 6:

Ok so now Dean has stopped hunting since Sam was trapped in hell with Lucifer and his living with his family (Lisa and Ben from forever ago). But surprise! seems like Sam has returned since forever ago. Brama ensues (new term I just coined, fits so well). Crowley, newly appointed King of Hell, tries to coin them by keeping Bobby’s soul but they counter him by getting control over his bones (that’s important for demons).

Sam is all weird though so they finally figure out that Sam’s soul is still in hell. That keeps them busy for a very long part of the season.

At this point you probably want to take a little break and idk say brush up on the staff behind this cool series, creators, actors, this is the time to look them up and pay tribute, before going into:

06×15 – The French Mistake

Let us resume our activity flow. Don’t you think we’re lacking a nemesis? The new one is Eve, mother of demons.

06×17 – My heart will go on

Defeating Eve is going smoothly but oh! it seems that Castiel and Crowley are planning something fishy together (remember that adjective). Turns out that they wanna open purgatory and split the rewards of the souls that are in there. After doubts and hesitation they follow through, Castiel double crosses Crowley and becomes as powerful as a god.

Oh and also at some point they erase Lisa and Ben’s memories of Dean for their own peace of mind.

May want to watch:

06×05 – Live hard or twihard: twillight episode, cant go wrong with that

06×10 – Caged Heart: contains one of the best Castiel quotes

06×11 – Appointment in samara: Dean becomes Death. nuff said

06×18 – Frontierland: frontier time time travel

Season 7:

Of course this god business was all a ruse to keep the public hanging through mid season cause as soon as the show starts again Castiel kinda explodes because purgatory contained mythical creatures called Leviathans (delayed fish pun) that he couldn’t withstand. With Cas gone, the show kinda blows. However, it takes on a whole other dimension in self-mockery and irony as Leviathans can be destroyed by spilling laundry detergent on them and they organise under a leader whose name is Dick, Dick Roman. Knowing the homoerotic subtext tendencies in the show you can imagine how many epic lines this season contains.

Leviathans take over food industries and try to get humans to be apathetic and healthy to turn them into the perfect food. Meanwhile Sam starts to have hallucinations about Lucifer.

07×08 – Season seven, time for a wedding

Bobby dies in a battle against Dick and turns into a ghost cause nobody really dies in this show at least not on the first try. Winchesters want revenge and focus on work and denial. He starts to haunt them more and more and to be more and more aggressive.

Castiel finally returns as a powerless human, but sacrifices himself to free Sam from his madness right away.

07×20 – The girl with dungeons and dragon tatoo

A young brilliant student named Kevin enters the scene and turns out to be the new Prophet (succeeding Chuck or something ?). Bottom line he saves Cas and can read tablets left by Metatron, scribe of God who contains secrets about destroying Leviathans (not a giant washing machine). Ensue fights over the tablet and the shota. The good guys win but during the final confrontation when they go down hard on Dick, Crowley betray’s their tacit alliance and captures Kevin. Cas and Dean are sent on a honeymoon in purgatory.

You may want to watch:

07×14 – Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie: just cause we haven’t done many episodes this season and it has unicorns and clowns

07×17 – The Born-Again Identity: Castiel’s new identity

Season 8:

Dean manages to escape purgatory with his new vampire BFF, Benny Lafitte. Sam has meanwhile given up on hunting to live a normal life, falling in love with a girl named Amelia in painfully diluted flashbacks all over the beginning of the season. Normal life which he quits to go back to going back to hunting. Kevin’s mom (later referred to as Kevin’s mom) turns out to be awesome and badass. Also there is a tablet from god to banish all the demons and one against the angels so everybody fights over that. We hear back about Garth, a fellow hunter of the violent hardcore kind that noone really cares about.

08×04 – Bitten

Castiel mysteriously reappears and decides to join the team as a hunter (yay!). It has to do with a mysterious angel named Naomi that calls him every now and then and wipes his memory.

08×08 – Hunteri Heroici

08×11 – LARP and the real girl

08×12 – As time goes by

So we’ve won a new hideout, the base of the men of letters, a scholar-hunter’s association, and a new charismatic nemesis, demon from the olden times called Abaddon who will rival Crowley for the control of hell. Turns out there are three trials to close the gates of hell forever (from that tablet you know) : bathing in the blood of a hellhound, free an innocent soul from hell (they chose Bobby) and cure a demon by feeding them human blood (they chose Crowley). Sam is the one carrying out the trials so as in every season it takes quite a toll on him.

The boys are starting to get suspicious of brainwashed Castiel who still acts for Naomi who wants the control of the angel tablet and they end up distrusting him.

08×20 – Pacman fever

Crowley gets hold of the demon tablet and Kevin, so the boys hunt down the aptly-named archangel Metatron. Which is a bad thing cause as soon as he can he kills Naomi, takes away Castiel’s powers and seizes the control of heaven. Thousands of powerless angels also end up on earth.

Potential additions:

08×13 – Everybody hates Hitler: the nazi episode

08×16 – Remember the titans: cute episode about prometheus


Season 9:

Sam is kinda dying yet again from the trials but not really cause angel Ezekiel starts possessing him to fix his body. Castiel and the fallen angels start discovering the human world. Abaddon takes control of hell.

09×05 . Dog dean afternoon

As it always seems to be the case, the fallen angels are divided in a civil war between the factions of Bartholomew and Malachi. Ezekiel is revealed to be Gadreel, the guardian of Eden who let Lucifer in and betrays the party to join Metatron. He kills Kevin as a token of his good faith.

Meanwhile Crowley decides to help Dean get the Mark of Cain and the First Blade, only weapon capable to kill Abaddon but which leaves Dean with terrible bloodthirst. Castiel defeats Bartholomew who was after him and kinda steals his place.

09×15 – #thinman

After a disastrous attempt at a spinoff series, it turns out that Castiel has gained quite a lot of followers among the angels, which he looses quickly when he refuses to kill his boyfriend. The angels turn on Metatron when Castiel broadcasts to all the angels his plans to use them and make himself into God. Deans kills Gadreel and Abaddon, dies in the process and resurrects as a demon in the arms of his new lover Crowley.

To go further:

09×04 – Slumber party: an episode about Oz with Charlie

09×06 – Heaven can’t wait: a cute episode that puts in perspective point of view, suffering, etc

09×08 – Rock and a hard place: to see the brothers in a chastity group

09×18 – Meta Fiction: about stories and illusions

09×22 – Stairway to heaven: a destiel episode with a cool castiel quote

Season 10:

Ok so in this amazing season nothing happens, they all try to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean, Dean has a love affair with Crowley, Crowley’s mom has an important part and a truly awful accent, and Charlie dies at the end. They get rid of the Mark with the help of Cowley’s mom thanks to an old spellbook.

10×05 . Fan fiction

The 200th episode. A must see. Involves musicals

To go further:

10×06 – Ask Jeeves: vaguely funny episode following a murder in the manor style

 

 

So that’s about it up to now. They recently releases a documentary called “a very special supernatural special” which I recommend because it summarizes really well the highlights of the show as well at the point of view of the creators.

gosh I wish I had had something like that… this show presented like this is clearly AMAZING =o seriously DO NOT MISS OUT ON IT just because most episodes are bad. 

Big thanks to Dolkeem who helped a whole lot

dont judge a visual bird by its cover

Have you ever discovered something so extraordinary and surprising that you were like “OMG THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW” ?

Anyone having seen an episode of My Little Pony knows better than to judge by appearances, and anyone having read Homestuck knows that a dorky guy in his room can hide so much more…  Today I want to introduce Hatoful Boyfriend and try to explain without spoilers why it’s a pretty amazing example of what Visual Novel can offer as a medium and goes way beyond what you expect.

Ok little recap, Hatoful Boyfriend is a Japanese dating game where you play as the only human girl in a school for gifted pigeons and get to chose which… bird you wanna hang out with and date? You’d think it says it all, right? Much like everybirdy else, my expectations getting into this were to have a good laugh over ridiculous bestiality… Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did laugh a lot (though there is no bestiality) but that was only the tip of the iceberg. In a similar way to when I went to see Book of Mormon expecting a show making fun of Mormons by depicting them as ridiculous, I was about to discover something unexpectedly deeper (though less philosophical). Of course if you read this you will be less surprised by the game, but I’ll keep this spoiler-free.

katawa_shoujo_flow_chart_zps78ebbae5[1]Japanese visual novels are, if you will, interactive illustrated books which offer the reader a choice every now and there. Based on these answers, the story follows a different line (route) and leads to a different ending (and, usually, a different pairing partner). In a way, this genre leverages the interactivity offered by technology to shift from a purely linear narrative (books) to a complex multi-layered depiction of an ensemble of alternate realities. And Hatoful Boyfriend is a stunning example of the mastering of this at form.

  • First layer is of course absurd humor. The authors are aware of what they are doing. School for bird. Hilarity ensues.

 

  • I mean it’s really fun. Really

  • But then you start to discover that the characters are very well written, and benefit from a pretty brilliant character development. Moreover, their 9 routes cover a wide diversity of intrigues and emotions, from hilarious to heartbreaking passing by disturbing.

  • But as you keep playing, diving more and more into the secrets of the characters, you will soon discover that reality is not what it seems in the world famous St. Pigeonation Institute. As you progress from route to route, you will discover new elements that will totally shift the tone of the game, from slice of life to politics, mystery, thriller or supernatural. Hidden agendas, worldbuilding, backstory will progressively transform this innocent pigeon game into something much more… meaty.

Screenshot (111)

  • And then comes Hurtful Boyfriend, the well named bonus side story and the big finale, which ties it all up in what I can only describe as a brilliant science fiction story.

If that is not enough to convince you, I feel obligated to point out that the game is full of very cool references, and it contains amazing pieces of meta reflections and real-world integration, putting it at the cutting edge of transmedia experiences. Furthermore, it’s rather short (I’d say something like 5-8 hours) so you have no excuse.

I was far from prepared for such a rich and diverse story, playing with my expectations as well as with my emotions and its own medium. It went in a few hours in my mind from a joke to a truly impressive piece of art. It’s impressive how well each route gets their own genre and emotion tonality, and how the information you learn on your journey through these alternative stories will totally change the game. It will remain in my memory as an stunning example of what Visual Novels can achieve. I can’t recommend it too highly, especially since it will be released on Steam in August.

Why Evangelion is the greatest work of art ever

I’ve been wanting to share my amazement over Evangelion for a long time, so this awesome video by PBS Idea Channel is a nice occasion to do so :

shrek[1]

Although it is a great statement on authorship and the nature of a work of art, I think it only brushes why Evangelion is so great. The heart of this matter lays in the many layers of appreciation the whole Evangelion saga proposes (not entirely unlike ogres), so without further ado let’s jump into them without delving into too much detail. Also this is spoiler free (apart maybe for one or two white sentences):

battle_k_night_red_gundam_blue_lightsaber_metal-HD+Anime+Wallpaper+%5Banimefullfights.com%5D[1]

Layer 0: A mecha anime

If nothing else, Evangelion is a mecha anime where gigantic robots fight monsters and shit. Not my thing, but I know some people are into that. It’s kinda pretty too I guess ?

Layer 1: A rich anime ?

The mysterious plot and numerous endings and versions makes for very interesting analysis but let’s talk about the most interesting aspects of that more in detail.

Layer 2: A meta critical deconstruction of the established mecha genre

Literature is plentiful about how Evangelion takes all the well known archetypes of the mecha genre and destroys them thoroughly. All the cliches are present and crushed to ashes, all the stereotypical characters turn out to have a painful and tortured psychology. Exit the mecha babydoll, welcome darkness and depression… Everything in this series up untill its ending is a giant Fuck you to the basic otaku. More on that

Layer 3: An exploration of depression and madnessShinji

Because of that, and also because of the well known psychological difficulties  the creator Hideaki Anno had to face during the making of the original series, it is filled with the side effects of the psychological demons that were haunting him at the time (some even say madness). The whole series is tainted with the depression of the creator or the characters, so deep that it makes a neverending source for psychological studies. More on that

LayerNGE_-_Shinji_and_Eva01[1] 4: A question of self definition

As long as we are into psychology, let’s talk about why Eva redeems the whole mecha genre to my eyes. Giant humanoid robots are a scientific heresy and do not make sense from a logical point of view whatsoever. I cant stress that enough: Noone would ever build such an inconvenient shit. However the one thing they are good for is symbolism (this is the key word for the rest of the article). The fact that mecha is a human inside a human-looking shell allows some clever work to use this as an excuse to work on the difference between the inner-private self and the outer-public self. Under this light, you can appreciate how the insecurities of the characters are hidden from the public world to which they display this cold and reliable (and fake) image. It’s a lense I like to adopt while watching good mecha.

tumblr_ml0nr3KDVu1s6argko1_500[1]

Layer 5: A freudian/oedipian nightmare

But let’s face it, when you say Eva and psychology, the most interesting and richest part of it is the freudian mumbo jumbo. The whole dynamic of the show, hell the number one motor force is the relationship between Shinji and his father. The ambiguous and enigmatic nature of the evangelion robots make you wonder what exactly is Shinji getting inside of (get in your mom shinji, dad orders it). You could write books and teach class with the interaction between Shinji and his parents, but I don’t want to be too long or to spoil anything.

Layer 6: Symbolism, religion and human nature

téléchargementNow to my favorite part of it and the biggest. If you’re not into psychology, regardless of the intent of the author, there is more than enough philosophy in the original series to feed your curious mind. If you’re anything like me, Evangelion will leave you with a feeling of “dafuq did I just watch” and you’ll be looking for commentaries and analysis on the internet. The everpresent and often played-with christian mythology comes here as a vector to reflect upon human nature (yeah ok much like in Pullman’s His Dark Materials). Countless analysis provide for a very interesting litterature on the subject, centered around the nature of the angels and why are they attacking ? Why are they called angels ? What’s Seele’s project and who is even Seele anyway ? The number of lines you could write/read on these topics is unfathomable. Writing this article, I spent hours browsing the web to find the analysis I liked the most. I recommand this post, this, this…. the list is endless tbh. This is also a cool document. Anyway I said no detail and you should probably travel your own path as Hideaki Anno keeps saying ^.^ but I can’t help but love the analysis centering on self-awareness, innocence, abnegation….

Layer omega: A meta-meta post-post modern self deconstruction

And that’s where genius turns into the absolute best and my mind is blown to the point I have to write this article. Because this meta post-modern deconstruction of the meta genre now carries with it its self deconstruction, delightfully ironically entitled Rebuild. In this successful attempt to troll every-fucking-body, the creator Hideaki Anno took this whole mythology and huge work he had constructed and proceeded to tear it to pieces by wiping out symbolic aspects, messing up all the analytical aspects of the previous work (which makes it kinda harder to find good analysis of Evangelion nowadays). More on that

Conclusion: A delightful irony coating

Rich from all of these layers full of symbolism, of the original criticism of the otaku archetype, and of its self-reflective deconstruction, one can’t deny the artistic interest of this outstanding saga, probably in spite of all the efforts of its creator to diminish its work, making it the ultimate irony (yeah I do love irony).

Let me tell you about Homestuck….

Sooo… I’m back with another huge fandom to introduce to you guys : Homestuck. I realized while reading it that every introduction I had read before didn’t really tell me what it was about, so I made this. (TLDR : go to 3=>)

-1 => Suspens and spoilers

Ok so that might not be the most logical progression for a presentation, but that has to be at the top, right ? One of the thing that struck me the most while reading homestuck is the incredible ability of the writer to constantly leave you in a position where you know just enough about what’s going on to fully appreciate the work, to barely understand, speculate, wonder what’s going on, what’s real or not, what’s virtual, what’s dreamt… and appreciate both what’s shown and not shown. Pieces of a puzzle expertly drawn and falling precisely on place.

Therefore, I recommend avoiding every bit of spoiler you can, and taking your own notes about what’s going on while reading it. This introduction will be spoiler-free, but I may mention bits of informations (for instance the themes this work deals with) that one may want to be aware of. I’ll put them <in white>.

0 => Ok so what is Homestuck?

It is a kind of web comic which has been written over the last 4 years by Andrew Hussie. A very rough estimate told me that it is about 80 hours worth of content. It takes the following form :

flowRoot3784

Illustrations range from “stick figure”-y style (see above) to amazing pixel-art frescoes passing by very stylish game-like artworks. See a few examples below (anti-spoiler shrinking ^^):

homestuck

What is cool about it is that the readers could leave suggestions as to what the characters should do, rendering this work a close collaboration between the public and the author. That, the skill of the writer and the length of the work resulted in a work that exceed by far its form. This is what this article is about.

1 => What is it about ?

If you’ve seen Adventure Time, I can describe homestuck as : the mathest thing ever. It’s the very definition of rad.

To me, it felt very much like embrassing again the games I played as a kid, back when the floor was lava and I was a videogame hero.

It is sort of a mashup of all the coolest things in the world combined. All of ’em.

Themes like time travel (it is quite frankly one of the best things I’ve read/seen on the subject, and equals if not exceeds classic sci-fi), videogames, virtual reality, roleplay and LARP, programming, internet and messaging, psychology, dreaming…

The base of it sometimes kind of feels like but not quite : <Caprica, Greed Island from HunterxHunter, Yureka, Minecraft, Spore, Lucky Star, Adventure time…>

Hopefully by this point you’re so confused that this kind of list was spoiler free ^.^

A small word on the setup if interested : <Four friends who are regularly bothered by trolls on the internet are going to jump into the alpha test of some kind of virtual reality game which still keeps some parts of the real world. And basically, the stake of the game is much higher than conceived.>

2 => What is cool about it ?

  • The themes : see above
  • The art : had to be mentioned, there is also a very cool official soundtrack
  • The fandom : a piece I’ve yet to fully explore, filled with awesome artworks, musics, cosplays, etc…
  • The writing style : be it the pseudonymes of the character or the vocabulary invented or used, this work has a very unique style that I can only describe as : flippin rad. Very few texts have stricken me with such a meaningful writing style.
  • It is very interesting to see a work that is dialog-driven and not action-driven for a change. Lots of character development and details.
  • The richness : let’s just say that it successfully explores a lot of different narrative styles and arises a wide range of emotions
  • It gives you the feeling that I love, to be way bigger and more complex that what you can comprehend at a given time.

  • The interaction with the public : the implication of the public in the conception results in a very weird feeling that the character of the story behave somewhat like they would have if you controlled them directly like in a videogame, resulting in very original and weird narratives.
  • You may recall that one of the main interesting features of My Little Pony was the interaction with the fans. Well Homestuck is pushing it further, to a point where fanon and canon are deeply intertwined, going pretty much as far as you can get. I mean the fandom is basically inside the work.
  • The presence of this real time public resulted in a fairly awesome game between the author and the public. He plays very skillfully with your expecations, knowledge, suppositions, situation… Let’s just say it is a delight of information management (see -1).
  • He also plays on the pacing, showing situations in such a detailed way that it will seem the story progresses slowly when actually it does not and always leaves you longing for more.
  • Cat puns, nuff said.
  • CS lingo and jokes : couldn’t resist showing you a little piece from the very beginning, introducing the inventory system a character is using which relies on hashtables

2′ => What is VERY cool about it ?

Most importantly, it plays with all the cool notions we know and love :

the meta, oh god the meta ^^, <the meta-meta, even more meta :p,  liking things ironically, trolling,  Nicolas Cage, DOLAN before it was cool, passive-aggressive strives, shipping, meta-shipping, 4th wall, more-th walls ? Seriously if you like meta or 4th wall go read that NOW>

3 => So, should I read it ?

I’m not going to lie, it’s a big investment. I’m gonna say it’s not for everyone, although the writing style is definitely worth checking out. I would understand people qualifying it as too much, in the : i’m actually your hidden half-brother who travelled back in time to be his own grandfather and grandmother which makes me your great-uncle-kind of way, but it’s really not that bad at all. And I can understand people who’d be bothered by the narrative style, being like “why the flip would I care about what those two are saying to each other”.
However, if you have interests anything similar to mine, it is the coolest thing ever. No doubt it’ll remain as one of the most influencial works I’ve discovered lately, works who have deeply changed my life and become inseparable part of it like My Little Pony, Adventure Time or Doctor Who. Let me put it this way :

There are two main components in what makes Homestuck interesting.

=> One is an awesome complex story about all kind of cool themes.

=> The second one is an exploration of the relation between the author and the audience, the intertwined canon and the fanon, in the same way that the musical Phantom of the Opera did, only way bigger. It is a skillfully-crafted journey into levels of meta that you didn’t even imagine. Both will blow your mind.

Moreover, the constant interaction with the public create a never seen before type of work of art, enabled by the internet. By the way, the internet resonates everywhere into the work.
Therefore,  my take on this is that it will or should stay in history of art as a great synthesis of the possibilities and the interests during our current period of time.

Bonus :

Another great take on this matter, the PBS Idea channel : “Is Homestuck the Ulysses of the Internet ?”, which addresses a different perspective and overestimates the difficulty of reading it :

PS : the author uses tinyurl the same way I do : http://tinyurl.com/abouthomestuck, and that’s pretty cool ^^

A short guide to MLP : friendship is awesome

UPDATE : If you don’t want my own opinion, you can check out the actual scientific research answering the question : Why MLP ? (check out minute 21 and beyond).

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So people often ask me why I love this show (My Little Pony : Friendship Is Magic). Let’s answer, without any particular order, in a few words in order not to bore anypony. Hope it’ll help the newcomers to the Herd take full advantage of this awesome show 8D

1. The characters

They are all very different, they have rich developped personalities, and mostly : they are all pure adorableness and cuteness. Whatever your personnality, there is a (or several) ponies for you ! You can’t help but love them all :

Plus you get extra fun, randomness and awesomeness ! what more can one require ?

2. The storyline/The universe

Although the plot isn’t very intricate or mindblowing in general, it’s surprisingly good and it doesn’t dumb down anyone. It’s not stupid or anything. It’s kinda like the Disney movies : for EVERYONE, not just kids ^.^ Plus it’s so nice to see for a change a fair word where good deeds are rewarded, people are kind to each other, and everything turns out okay without being idiotic. Pure raw happiness.

The “life lessons” on the overall value of friendship might feel stupid but some of them are worth pondering. Just saying.

3. The jokes

I find the show, in general, very funny

4. The animation

Vectorially drawn ponies are beautiful and well animated (and well dubbed). What more can I say ^^

5. The awesomeness

Although I’d admit this point is subject to debate, I find the show pretty awesome and badass. Picture worth a thousand words

6. The memes

Because every episode contains at least two references with the potential to be memes, private jokes and macro images, and that’s kinda fun to joke around with those.

7. The fandom

You’ll see that the community of Bronies is the best ever. What I meant by this point is how much the bronies extend the show, by giving personalities to background ponies, thereby enriching the plot and giving us good laughs. There are also an impressive number of fanfics, or audiofics, and so on… They even do their own, very awesome and well designed, video games.

 8. The fanarts

Because, wow, the fanarts. DO NOT MISS equestria daily’s wonderful Drawfriend Stuff

9. The music

More than fanart and fanfictions, bronies do remixes and covers from the amazing soundtrack of Daniel Ingram, and some of them are pretty awesome.

More than that, the show has sparked original creation of all kind of music. Notable examples here and here. I also really liked this one.

10. The community

The cool part about bronies is that they all will be loving, welcoming and tolerating. It’s a very warm and understanding community, and you will always be fully accepted as you are. Plus they usually have a great culture and sense of humor. The community as a whole often contributes to charity events.

11. The community references

One awesome thing is that over the time Hasbro has come to know, accept and fully embrace the brony community, and now they give us tones of perks, private jokes, easter eggs… The most notable example is the character of Derpy, popularized by 4chan, that they integrated into the show :

12. The geek references

As they also write for the brony fandom, the writers now include tons of more or less elaborate references to pop and mostly geek culture :

Plus they tend to be of high quality, and so is the global culture of the community :

13. The awesome staff

Because they know what they are doing, and they tell us all about it on facebook and deviantart (yes, the private joke above about doctor hooves was on purpose <3). Also, Lauren Faust is a goddess ^^

Anyway let’s wrap this up because it’s getting long ^^ I hope to have shown you that there is more to the show that first appears in the girlish opening, and hope to make you want to join the herd. If it’s the case :

I promise you you’re gonna have the best times amongst us 8D.

If not, you know the motto : too bad for you, but

Finally, I hope this helped some new fillies get the best possible experience out of this… hell, let’s say it : amazing community phenomenon ! Don’t hesitate to ask questions and details 8D

I feel obligated to mention that John De Lancie has made a little song about this subject, kinda well done :

More on the subject :

Are bronies changing the definition of masculinity [pbs idea channel]

Rocketboom on My Little Pony and fandom interaction

Because KnowYourMeme is always a good way to explain memes ^^

Et pour les français, un petit reportage mignon de direct 8