I am a recent college graduate whose main focuses in subject matter include film, animation, anime, manga, literature, and the arts.
Studio Pierrot's Changes to Creators' Works: Good or Bad?
The anime company Studio Pierrot has been often recognized for the many instances where they take the manga of a creator and then change around certain details or even whole characters or plot points to suit their purposes. More importantly, Studio Pierrot’s changes produce very different reactions from creators and fans alike.
With Sailor Moon for instance, while some fans appreciated the extended filler episodes meant to make the one-dimensional villains like the Specter Sisters be more sympathetic and have them survive to be redeemed instead of being killed off like in the Sailor Moon manga; the creator herself though, Naoko Takeuchi, decried the changes made by Studio Pierrot as going against her manga’s characters by sexualizing the Sailor senshi as fan-service and altering their personalities to be less serious.
In the case of Masashi Kishimoto, on the other hand, he not only embraced the changes Studio Pierrot made to his manga Naruto, he even wrote out future chapters to have the characters Hinata Hyuga and Naruto Uzumaki become a couple; but because the changes made went against the previously established story, some Naruto fans ended up rejecting the manga along with the Studio Pierrot fan-service this time around.
Therefore, given these conflicting opinions, should Studio Pierrot’s changes be trusted or valued at all, even if they may be at odds with the original creators’ intent or fan approval potentially?
animeWrite this topic
Hetalia: positive or negative portrayal of nations?
Analyze whether the anime series Hetalia is a fun (sometimes educational) portrayal of nations around the world for anyone to watch, or a racist portrayal of countries’ worst stereotypes and prejudices while trivializing World War II, Hetalia’s main setting.
Specifically, this topic focuses on the idea of possible stereotypes, discrimination, and racism in general from Hetalia (whether from the original Japanese version or the English dub).
Death Note and Nihilism
The successful manga Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba is about what if one person (the main character Light Yagami) could kill anyone they wish by simply writing down a name.
Since that’s how the Death Note works, *spoilers* it isn’t surprising that Light loses not only his life but also any compassion he had towards the people he personally knew, including his own family.
As a result, the story of Death Note shares possible connections to the philosophy of nihilism by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Analyze those connections in the Death Note manga to nihilism’s definition and practice. Include also how Death Note has been mistaken like nihilism (link) as something to literally follow in real life (link)
Please note that this topic doesn’t focus on the Death Note anime/show but the original Death Note manga only (i.e. where Light was told early on that there is nothing after death by his Death Note’s shinigami owner.) Therefore, that aspect of the Death Note manga connects back to nihilism as an example since nihilistic belief is also about there being no afterlife.
animationWrite this topic
"Frozen-land:" is Disney overemphasizing Frozen at the expense of their other animated films?
After Disney’s movie Frozen came out in 2013, it quickly became one of the highest grossing animated films Disney ever produced, achieving financial, critical and popular acclaim from fans worldwide. In fact, Disney even announced that there was going to be a "5-year Frozen plan" until the inevitable sequel arrives in 2018. (link) However, Frozen’s fame might come at a price for Disney in the future. Despite Disney’s later film Big Hero 6 (2014) also gaining the same sort of acclaim Frozen did (even the same Academy Award for Best Animated Film), in contrast, Big Hero 6 doesn’t have anywhere near as much of the attention that Frozen currently gets from Disney (which ranges from cruises, theme-park attractions, as well as more advertisement in general). What could this all mean then for Disney’s future animated projects? Will the emphasis on Frozen for the next five years become a detriment for Disney? Or should it not be viewed as potentially problematic at all?
literatureWrite this topic
Writing Ugliness in Female Characters
In books, it is not too uncommon to find stories about the struggles of male characters with extreme deformities or other unpleasant features such as scarring that cause them conflict towards the outside world. Hugo’s Quasimodo and Leroux’s Phantom frequently come to mind as examples on the literary subject of beauty being found within.
However, it is uncommon to find such stories for a female character even from books that have female authors such as Bronte’s Jane Eyre where the title character is ultimately plain, not hideous. Is this convention of women having at least some physical attractiveness so unavoidable that a female equivalent in extreme ugliness cannot be reached in writing?
mangaWrite this topic
Yugioh as a horror manga
While Yugioh is better remembered and known as the franchise for the card game that catapulted it into the limelight, in terms of its story, there exist many darker elements behind the shounen facade. Even early on in Yugioh’s creation as a manga, there were depicted all sorts of "games" that would’ve been more at home in the Saw film series: immolation from ice hockey, a roller-coaster that electrocuted anyone who makes a sound and Russian roulette with a fatally poisoned dish to name a few.
And of course, the losers of these games were often depicted as suffering gruesome ends (sometimes censored even for the anime) that were initially caused by the darker half of the main character Yugi Muto. What’s more, all these examples of mortal peril, realistic or supernatural, existed on top of the suspense and mind games into the characters’ vulnerability, a noteworthy example being the character Mai Kujaku/Valentine’s entrapment in an hourglass of man-eating bugs while she was mercilessly taunted on her own self-worth.
Consequently, with so many sinister themes shadowing the lighter ones throughout, should Yugioh when treated as a story be recognized in hindsight as much of a horror manga as well as shounen despite its creator Kazuki Takahashi saying otherwise?
animationWrite this topic
The Good Dinosaur: signaling the downfall of Pixar?
While Pixar’s latest film Inside Out may have received near unanimous praise from both audiences at $40.3 million on its opening weekend and critics alike, their next project The Good Dinosaur is reported to be having problems. With almost the whole cast, the composer, the director, and even the color of the main character Arlo’s eyes replaced mere months before the film’s scheduled debut in November 2015 which was also pushed back from May 2014, it would be easy to question the business practices of Pixar itself. Could it be then that the studio’s success with Inside Out was only a fluke and that the troubled production of The Good Dinosaur is the true foreshadowing of Pixar’s future existence instead?
It’s all due to Hollywood, sad to say and how people assume that they’ve read the book as a result. Which is a true shame…
What’s said here about Big Hero 6 in your article and comparing it to The Nightmare Before Christmas in terms of becoming a “cult classic” at least from a financial standpoint isn’t truly a fair comparison. Big Hero 6 has become the “third highest grossing Disney film ever” so far at a domestic gross of $222,527,828m debuting at the top of the box office http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=disney2014.htm.
Whereas with The Nightmare Before Christmas, not only did it have an initial limited opening weekend in theaters (something Brig Hero 6 does not have), it also was released under a completely different studio owned by Disney, Touchstone Pictures, because of how little Disney trusted the film’s content as appropriate for the company (something that Big Hero 6 once again does not have in contrast) http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nightmarebeforechristmas.htm.
Furthermore, The Nightmare Before Christmas was only nominated for one Academy Award for Visual Effects while Big Hero 6 won the later Academy Award for Best Animated Film of 2014. Lastly thee have been comments in news articles like Forbes about how Big Hero 6 isn’t getting as much attention though it received a “record-breaking second weekend gross” as well as being the “fastest grossing Disney animated film” after the article’s titular Frozen http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2014/11/17/is-disneys-big-hero-6-the-years-quietest-box-office-smash/.
Therefore the fact that Big Hero 6 has been this successful can hardly have it be a cult classic since the term means “something, typically a movie or book, that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society” which doesn’t fit with Big Hero 6’s broad domestic gross rate which doesn’t count total worldwide gross and still far higher than The Nightmare Before Christmas easily https://www.google.com/#q=cult+classic+meaning .
Good point there. Maybe the “smug look” that’s so commonplace for main characters in western animation is to create a so-called “relatable” attitude to connect with a younger audience? That it’s an attempt to make the characters look confident when it just ends up coming across as “smug” (especially in DreamWorks’ case from their most of 2000s films after Shrek) like you mentioned? Either way, this trend towards main character smugness in western animation is definitely a problem…
Exactly, I couldn’t agree more with this comment here. Because of how gigantic Hollywood and films are in mainstream society, it makes it all the more crucial for the facts to be a faithful to the truth as possible. Unfortunately though, given that film-makers and producers are ultimately more interested in making money for the sake of entertainment, some cultures’ entire traditions, heroes, and stories (even historical events) too often get tossed to the wayside and may become even more misunderstood by those who fall under that so-called “lowest common denominator.” What was done to William Murdoch in Cameron’s Titanic, demonizing him for the sake of drama (while ignoring that he had survived the sinking instead of committing suicide) was probably one of the most blatantly unethical ways of doing so ever in a film that billed itself as being “historically correct” with its portrayal.
With Sade, it seemed (at least personally speaking) that the way he portrayed his own “literary terror” was more like foreplay for him; that he didn’t view its threat of torture and violence the same way as later commentators would now. But yes, stories like “120 Days of Sodom” or “Justine” could very well go either way in terms of their meaning since particularly with Justine, they could reflect Sade’s cynicism that following the chaste, morally pure path in life often makes you a target for deliberate corruption. So in that regard beyond the fatal fetishes categorized in his material, Sade is definitely fascinating for the many ways he can be interpreted (philosopher or pervert) and this article managed to convey both possible sides to the argument.
Edit: should be “…the trees for the forest” instead.
I think what Heim is trying to say is that Marvel films now only see “the forest for the trees” or that Marvel only sees the overall plan of including all their characters together in one universe they all share and not the individual characters themselves in their own films. That the only thing that people get excited for with a Marvel is how everything comes together in the long term and not for the immediate film (hence the preview “stingers” that clue into merely the next segment for the entire Marvel franchise. So it gives the impression that Marvel doesn’t stop to analyze individual films themselves to make each them stand alone in quality. In any case though, I agree with what you both said, regarding Marvel and how it’s become quite an obvious problem by this point.
This article provides an effective commentary on the seedy underbelly of the film/television industries’ imbalance of power towards women, to say the least. No wonder both films based on, say, the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov never condemn the character of Humbert Humbert for being a sex offender and child abuser just like those very men mentioned here. Why then would Hollywood criticize Humbert when there are already so many powerful men exist there who follow that same sense of justifying their exploitation of girls and women for their own personal benefit/ego? The same surely goes for why most of Hollywood continues to brush off what Roman Polanksy did to that girl he raped (to the point of even asking for Polanski to have all charges dropped despite him evading justice for so long). But again, agreed with the above comments that it’s great your article was so direct with your topic.