Featured Articles

TV
12
Literature
34
The Fault In Our Stars
Literature
30
Film
33
Literature
38
Games
68
Literature
29
Anime
69

Latest Topics

0

The Success of Riverdale

Analyze the ways in which this TV series has successfully managed to go from an innocent and fun graphic novel to a dark TV series covering some graphic themes. Many people thought it would fail- what made it succeed?

  • I think this is a great topic, though it may be hard since the show only has one season under its belt. With the second season being recently released, you could also analyze reactions to the initial episodes and trailers, and how that feedback might compare or contrast with its success from the first season. – Noelle McNeill 1 month ago
    2
8

The Mythological and Folk Tale Origins of Classic Anime

Properties like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball Z have proven that anime influenced by Eastern myths and folklore can succeed on an international level. While these inspired stories gain fame, their source material often can go unnoticed in the West, or at least not be as well known as the anime itself. The purpose here then is to analyze what these influences are and to relay these influences so that their original stories can gain the notoriety that is due to them.

  • This is a great idea. I'm really curious about the mythology underlying a lot of anime and would love to know more. Some of them are really deep and gnarly, Paranoia Agent by Satoshi Kon for example. – albee 1 year ago
    2
  • an excellent topic idea! Eastern mythology is so prevalent within anime, more so than I realized when I initially began watching anime. Even very popular/mainstream manga and anime like Naruto is riddled with Japanese folklore that Westerners likely miss entirely. – ees 3 months ago
    1
  • As a writer with a keen interest in Mythology, both Occidental and Oriental, I think this is a fine idea for a topic. Sadly, many in the West are oblivious to the some of the ancient themes employed in cinematic storytelling (for instance) and far too often there is a stereotypical 'dumbing down' of our archetypes. Anime in particular is one of the Japanese artforms that still draws on mythological themes, which is one reason why I am drawn to it, but you're quite correct when you state that the source material often goes unnoticed in the West. Perhaps a way to approach this would be to draw parallels between similar mythological archetypes found in the East and the West (much as Joseph Campbell did with his studies of the heroic myth). Folklore is a joint heritage and one that we all respond to, albeit usually on the subconscious or even unconscious level. If I weren't busy with my own mythological analysis at the moment, I'd love to take this topic. A big thumbs up from me! – Amyus 3 months ago
    1
6

Should we judge remakes based off the original?

With the release of the live-action version of the popular anime based off a popular manga, and the negative reviews already flooding out, should we judge remakes off originals, treat them separately, or perhaps a little bit of both?

  • You could expand your suggestion for this topic to include a few examples (I'm sure you must have one or two in mind) and perhaps also include references to any particular genre (or genres), as we can't really place all anime features based on mangas in the same basket. One size doesn't necessarily fit all. It would also be worth considering what a live action remake might bring to the original story and whether some elements might indeed work better in a live action setting. There's also the sensitive subject of 'whitewashing' characters for a Western audience, such as Scarlett Johansson's casting as Major Kusanagi in the recent (and in my opinion, very poor) live action remake of G.I.T.S.. Compare this to the casting of Mana Ashida in the live action remake of 'Usagi Drop' (2011), which had been deliberately adapted to remove certain questionable elements in the original manga story. I mention these two remakes (or adaptations) particularly for the different approaches used by their directors - the former was heavilly scripted, whereas the latter had a loose script that permitted a certain amount of experimentation and ad-libbing from the actors, creating a more natural feel to the developing relationships. – Amyus 3 months ago
    4
  • I'm not sure if this is a case of "should we." People are going to judge remakes by originals, adaptations by books, and so on. It's human nature. I think the actual question, as you mentioned here, is *how* to best judge. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
    4
  • I think I agree a lot with Stephanie. My main focus for this question I posed revolved around the idea that people deliberately shy away from remakes if they are fans of the original. Different art forms allow for very different ways of telling stories, and I think a lot of the time (if not nearly all), remakes do do a poor job of retelling stories due to not finding the right balance of keeping original content and creating new content. Is it up to the audience to be open to new ideas in an already created universe or up to the creators to develop and expand on that same universe. – Zoinks 3 months ago
    5
  • We should because that is what it is based on. There are a lot of movies who do sequels and cant follow the original movie because of copyright laws. They should name it something different. – seniorhomecare 2 months ago
    3
  • I think for a viewer, it comes down to how they watch a film/show. Some people might not be familiar with the original property and will be unbiased going in while others who have seen it will have an expectation (maybe they want to see something that aligns with the original or a new take on it). I think for the viewer it's all subjective.For the creator of the new property, they need to know going in that this is a known story with strong supporters so justice needs to be done to the material (whether they take it in a new direction or not). I think this is most successful when the new creator has a connection with the source material, so they are the best one to be in the driver's seat. – jonj 2 months ago
    3
3

Broadening Representations of the Humanities in Film - Arrival

Humanities graduates get a bad reputation in this time of increased attention being placed on STEM fields that will surely drive our technologically-advancing economy. Mainstream U.S. films have been a contributing factor to this poor image in representing humanities graduates as aloof and/or struggling writers that are haunted by addiction and manic spurts of genius or inspirational educators that set the bar unrealistically high for actual teachers. Titles such as Stuck in Love and The Dead Poets Society circulate these narratives of humanities graduates, perpetuating a single image of what these graduates can actually do in society. Arrival was released in 2016 with great critical acclaim, and one of the most interesting aspects of the sci-fi epic comes in the form of a humanities vs sciences debate between the two leads – Amy Adams as the linguist Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly – a physicist. Banks makes it clear early in the film that they need to focus on learning to communicate with the titular arrivals before working out the physics of their space-travel, placing the linguist in a position of privilege, but does this narrative manage to correct the one-sided image of the humanities, or does it fall short of shedding a positive light on a field that has been traditionally relegated to narrow, stereotypical representations?

  • Though I get what you're trying to say, your argument is based on the flawed premise that "English majors" (or, more accurately, "scholars," since the term "major" typically disappears from self-identification after undergraduate study) and "Linguistics majors" are one in the same, despite being entirely separate fields with completely different subject matters and methodological approaches to such. Though it is not uncommon for Literary Studies and Linguistics do occasionally borrow ideas and practices from one another -- as was common in the Russian, Czech, and French schools of Structuralism in the early to mid twentieth century -- the disciplines themselves remain distinct. I had initially considered suggesting that this could be fixed simply by replacing the word "English" with "Linguistics," but the stereotyped image of English majors -- "struggling writers that are haunted by addiction and manic spurts of genius" as you've put it -- is not so accurate a description of the general societal impression of Linguistics majors. Honestly, I'm not sure if there even is such a thing as a mainstream personality stereotype of Linguistics students and scholars, aside from the occasional internet memes made by the majors themselves (https://i.pinimg.com/736x/64/52/db/6452dbbec053cf36476c1edfb68b68fd--linguistics-major-teaching-phonics.jpg). Perhaps a more accurate fix would be to replace "English" with the broader category of general "Humanities," since (as you've observed) the film's central question boils down to "Humanities vs Sciences." That said, being such a broad umbrella term for a vast array of disciplines -- from English to Economic, Geography to Gender Studies, History to Linguistics, etc, etc -- it might be difficult to represent that entire scholarly demographic with any one or two (or ten) stereotypical images. I'm just not sure what can really be done with this. Sorry. – ProtoCanon 4 weeks ago
    3
  • I understand the issues you bring up, and the phrasing was probably not the best. The subject is definitely a bit too broad for a focused study, but I was hoping to get some insight through notes to narrow it a bit. I realize that English studies and linguistic studies are separate fields, but I've personally seen the stereotype of those in the humanities who study language in some way being incorrectly lumped together under the umbrella of "English." This may be a personal experience that does not translate well for others, so turning our attention to the humanities in general may be a slightly more beneficial direction to take this topic. Having said this, I do believe that there is a trend in mainstream U.S. popular culture to view those in the humanities as the stereotypical "struggling artists" without taking into account the intricacies of the humanities such as linguistic studies, technical writing, etc. Thank you for the note; I believe you provided some very important clarifications to my initial topic. – Aaron 4 weeks ago
    3
  • Thank you *so much* for this topic. In an increasingly STEM-driven world, I sometimes feel as though everything I am passionate about is irrelevant. Sometimes I want to say to people, "You do understand you couldn't pursue STEM careers if you couldn't read, don't you?" And you're right, films don't help anything. I don't think I've seen a humanities-based film since Mona Lisa Smile, and that was what, 2003? Anyway...the topic should probably be narrowed down, but you have the seeds of something that will spark a great discussion. – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
    2
3

Do producers/writers feel the need to place minorities in their stories?

In 2017, whenever we watch a film and all the heroes are white-looking, and all the villains are black-looking, there is a problem. This is very racist, and not supported by fans.

We now see more minorities being the heroes of the stories or the "companion" of the hero. However, do people do this with a genuine intention? Or do they place these heroes strategically so no one complains?

We still see the main hero to be mainly white males in most stories, but there seems like there is a pressure to put minorities and I am wondering if these minorities were actually supposed to be there, and not placed there from pressure of current society. As a minority, I’d like to see stories where the main hero is a minority, but that these stories are genuine and that it was supposed to be like that from the beginning.

  • Having just graduated film school as a Producer, this discussion has come up quite often. There is no definitive answer, and yes, sometimes the minority is merely a marketing tool to broaden the audience of a film so that it grosses more money.Stereotypes are also an issue, case in point being the most recent Mummy remake. The actress cast as the mummy was in fact African/Egyptian, and people were up in arms that the film was "white-washing" the story. Something that happens in Australia (more frequently than I'd like), is that aboriginal actors will lose out on roles because they are "stereotypically" aboriginal - every race has various skin tones. Again, this all comes down to marketing - American distributors will take on an Australian film which asserts our "bushland/Dundee" ways, over something more contemporary. Knowing this, it is a grey area of racism. The creators aren't actively being racist, or placing a token (insert racial background here) character. What they're wanting is the marketing, which will allow them to get the notoriety to film something that is closer to their heart down the line.9/10 times though, a script is typical written without any racial descriptors because it is up to the director's creative vision to determine who the character can be best portrayed as. One thing I learnt from screenwriting is that this, along with age, is best left out.It's frustrating, especially as a fresh filmmaker who wants to make stories about a broad range of characters. But until you have funding, and interest in distributors, a lot of the time we have to bite the bullet. Funnily enough the largest demographic who still go to movies are white women between ages 28-45, so basically mothers. Marketing, it's what Hollywood is built on, nowadays storytelling is left to film students and indie cinemas. – Joshua Haines 19 hours ago
    1
2

Greatest Portraits of all Times

We all recognize Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci to be one of the most iconic portraits ever painted. But only the true art enthusiasts are aware of the greatest works of art ever. From the powerful Mr & Mrs. Clark & Percy by David Hockney to the Jan Six by Rembrandt, there are endless other portraits that are a treat for the eyes. In this post, we will enlist 10 of the greatest portraits of all times.

    6

    The Appeal of The Road Movie

    "It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses" (Elwood Blues)

    "Hit it!" (Jake Blues)

    That legendary quote from ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980) introduced the viewer to arguably one of the funniest and most notorious car chases in cinema history and exemplified the road movie as a metaphor for the desire for freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom from authority and the freedom of self-expression. The comically manic, self-destructive joyride of ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ (1981) saw the protagonist taking a thousand mile trip across New Zealand, in a progressively disintegrating mini, just to reconnect with his girlfriend, whilst David Lynch’s gentle perambulation that was ‘The Straight Story’ (1999) was based on the true story of Alvin Straight’s 240 mile trip on a lawnmower across Iowa and into Wisconsin to see his estranged brother. In more recent years we’ve had the eccentric British film ‘Driving Lessons’ (2006), the Bonny and Clyde-esque ‘God Bless America’ (2012), Inmtiaz Ali’s loosely scripted and superb ‘Highway’ (2014) and the somewhat off-kilter ‘The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun’ (2015)…to list but a few examples. What connects all these films is that each is ultimately a life-affirming experience, even if the journey ends in disaster. It is the process of self-discovery, but in these modern times of ultra high-tech surveillance and ever encroaching self-driving vehicles, will we lose that chance to push the peddle-to-the-metal and engage with our thirst for a fleeting moment of automotive freedom?

    • I'd be really curious to know how the road trip movie fits in different cultures' cinema - I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that it was a American connection. – Emily Esten 2 months ago
      3
    5

    Is the end of owning films on DVD fast-approaching?

    With the rise of digital retail services like the recent "Movies Anywhere," is the age of owning films in physical formats coming to an end sooner than expected? With services like iTunes and Vudu, no one needs to buy a film in a store like Best Buy anymore. Is it for the best? Does owning a DVD or Blu-ray come with benefits, or is it now unnecessary?

    • Ah, verrrry interesting. I have a DVD collection of movies I consider favorites, but now that Netflix, DVR, and etc. exist, I definitely don't watch them as much as I used to and maybe should. For a topic like this, I think you'd have to think carefully about the upsides of owning a film. For instance, is it just the idea of ownership that makes us shell out hard-earned cash, or is there something else to it? – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
      3

    Film

    Rise of the Remakes in Hollywood
    Rise of the Remakes in Hollywood
    Modern Villainesses: The Complex Personalities and Motives
    Citizen Kane: Isolation and the American Identity
    It Comes at Night: The Politics of a Contagion Narrative

    TV

    Is “Geek Culture” Embracing Our Inner Child, or Infantilising a Generation of Adults?
    Is “Geek Culture” Embracing Our Inner Child, or Infantilising a Generation of Adults?
    “Anne With An E”: Elucidating Light and Dark
    The Degrassi Franchise on the Teenage Experience
    The Nifty Fifty’s: An American Myth in the 1970s

    Animation

    Samurai Jack: Exploring the Newfound Maturity
    Samurai Jack: Exploring the Newfound Maturity
    The Double-Edged Stigma Faced By Western Animation
    Best and Worst Disney Role Models for Girls and Young Women
    Feminism and Disney: They’re Not As Different As You Might Think

    Anime

    Violence in Anime: Helpful or a Hindrance?
    Violence in Anime: Helpful or a Hindrance?
    Girls und Panzer: Deconstructing Gender with Tank Combat
    The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Journey of The Hero
    Why Western Culture is Beginning to Embrace Anime

    Manga

    One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
    One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
    Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions
    Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution
    The 5 Saddest Moments in One Piece

    Comics

    Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
    Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
    The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading
    What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
    Finding the Bridge Between Superhero Comics and Hip-Hop

    Literature

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Is Jane Austen Rolling in Her Grave?
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Is Jane Austen Rolling in Her Grave?
    Has Cliche’ in Young Adult Literature Decreased It’s Appeal to Adult Readers?
    Urban Fantasy’s Unique Female Hero
    Ready Player One: The Progressive Gaming Narrative That Could Have Been

    Arts

    Picasso’s Guernica: 80 Years Later
    Picasso’s Guernica: 80 Years Later
    Women, Culture and Politics: Buffy’s Critical Bite
    Enhancing Performance: Self-Care for All Artists
    Celebrating Finnish folk songs: Finland’s centennial anniversary

    Writing

    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
    Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference
    Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA’s Red-headed Stepchild
    Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?