idleric

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics

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Samurai Jack Season 5 - how did it become more mature

So far, Samurai Jack’s Season 5 has been receiving positive responses. Despite it becoming darker in tone, the show contained the balance between seriousness and humor. Its transition to Adult Swim allowed more freedom in terms of subject matters, especially with violence. But the show retained the feel of the old seasons though it became darker. Jack killed a person for the first time, and he suffers from guilt and hallucinations. But despite the shift in tone, the audience can still feel that this is Samurai Jack they used to know and love.

It would be worthwhile to examine how the Season 5 of Samurai Jack retained its essence despite the change in the mood. For example, how does the violence in Season 5 compare to the old seasons? Was there a precursor to Jack’s dilemma in the old episodes? How effective was the transition?

  • I think it would also be interesting to contrast the shift in narrative between the previous seasons and season 5. We can see the maturation of the shows content and also of the protagonist. Jack is not the same person, but is the same hero/samurai, which represents a moral/warrior code that is alien to the futuristic settings at the beginning of the series. I think it would be a really interesting topic to write on especially with the introduction of Ashi, and her role as a foil to Jack. – JConn13 1 month ago
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Taken by aprosaicpintofpisces (PM) 4 weeks ago.
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Hyper Light Drifter and the Sharing of Personal Sufferings

Hyper Light Drifter’s game experience is inspired by the developer’s heart disease and his fear of meeting death at any moment. Death is constantly looming throughout the game as the protagonist continues to cough up blood. Players empathize with the fragile hero and the creator effectively shares his struggle

How effective is this channeling of personal fear in Hyper Light Drifter, and what other examples are in other games?

  • The title and article do not correspond. I suggest you either remove art from the title--the simpler revision--or include art in your topic. As it stands there is no aesthetic representation in your topic, though there are an infinite number of examples to choose from if you decide to include one, or more. – danielle577 10 months ago
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Political Satires - Old and New

The skepticism towards Politics is nearly as old as history of political system. Various literature throughout the history, including the Attic Comedy of Aristophanes, satirize the political systems and the prominent rulers.

In many ways, Aristophanes can still appeal to the modern audiences thanks to his unforgiving wits and humor against the leading politicians like Cleon. Comparing Aristophanes to the modern satirists such as stand-up comedians or cartoonists could help us understand which aspect of politics changed or remained the same since the ancient Athens.

For example, One thing to note is that Aristophanes frequently used ridiculous characters and exaggerated personalities to make this point. Has this been changed much? Does Aristophanes’ model lose its charm to the modern audiences?

Compare and analyze the characters, the comic elements, and the message of Arisophanes to the modern comedy(such as the Simpsons, South Park, etc) and others.

  • I really like the idea of comparing really old stuff to really contemporary stuff. Maybe it would be better to approach this as a comparative essay between, say, two well selected works, one from antiquity and one contemporary? Rather than a history, which just puts way to much on the writer's plate. – TKing 11 months ago
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  • This could be a great topic for someone knowledgeable. Maybe you could help by listing some of the connections you want to make with today's satirists. – Munjeera 11 months ago
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  • I think it would work really well comparing Atistophanes with a modern satire (I wouldn't worry about the distance in time you're covering, just state you're taking two examples and not attempting to track everything in between).Politics/satire is one of those things that never changes over a thousand years, so depending on your modern source I'd imagine that in core content and method there is little in way of 'advancement'. Perhaps a history of satire/explanation of two dominant schools Horatian and Juvenalian would be a good place to start your article (and help articulate your own direction in analysis).Other interesting areas to explore may be the production of these satires/risk posed in publishing or performing, popularity of approaches/reception to a particular style then and now, etc.I'm sure you'll have a lot to say when you get narrowed down to examples, especially with the current media circus in American politics which is almost satirising itself!! It reminds me how the writers of the British Tv series The Thick of It, in response to calls for them to do a referendum special, said that they wouldn't/couldn't because the political game playing and internal chaos they used to satirise is now fully exposed and playing out in front of us. – JamieMadden 11 months ago
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  • Ridiculous? Exaggerated? "Wag the Dog" is all of that and more. It's real "purty." – Tigey 11 months ago
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Resident Evil Remake: Does It Still Deliver Chill?

Resident Evil Remake and Resident Evil Zero were remastered recently. Resident Evil was considered the historically significant game which led to the immense popularity of zombie horror, and survival horror as whole. But is it still effective? Does Resident Evil’s formula still deliver tension and scare as it used to? If so, what does it say about the horror game genres of today? What can the current horror games learn from Resident Evil Remake’s strengths and weaknesses?

  • Well, that depends. Are you asking if it could scare somebody who played through the original, or somebody who is either new to the franchise or that particular entry? I think that the answer depends on who you are trying to scare. If you are trying to scare somebody who played the original, then no because they already played the game and know when the scares are supposed to happen and what they are supposed to be. However, if you are trying to scare somebody who has never played the original, then yes it would more than likely still manage to deliver the intended scare. Maybe this requires a bit more of an in depth look. – Aarogree 1 year ago
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  • In my experience, Resident Evil 4 was the last successful game in the RE franchise. This was largely because of the developers' new approach to gameplay and its emphasis on storyline. All titles that followed after were not as successful, because they did not build much further on this new formula. However, Resident Evil as a franchise set the standard for many of its contemporaries and developers that came later. Atmosphere and environment were always major factors. Resident Evil 4's new camera angle (as opposed to the traditional fixed angle), which followed directly behind the protagonist, allowed for the player to appreciate the environment more wholesomely and assume a more immersive role in the game. This new approach can easily be traced to more recent titles like the 'Dead Space' series and 'The Evil Within'. One aspect of Resident Evil 5 that substantially hurt its "horror factor" was introducing a multiplayer option. This significantly diluted the feeling of isolation and desperation that contributed to Resident Evil's success as a horror game. – DoultonSchweizer 1 year ago
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Protagonists of Historical Fiction: famous or less-famous

It is tempting to write a historical fiction from the point of view from the famous figures of the era. Many fictions wrote Napoleon, Elizabeth I, or Alexander the Great as the protagonists with their own voices. However, this poses danger of simplifying/glorifying/vilifying the figures and bend the historical details. For example, the author writing Napoleon as the heroic figure might purposefully ignore his atrocities in Haiti or other blunders, or even try to glorify his vices.

Some authors find it restricting to write on well-known figure so they create new characters or take on lesser known characters. Hitoshi Iwaaki, the manga artist who created The Parasite, had Eumenes, Alexander the Great’s secretary, as the main character of his historical comics "Historie". This provides more liberty for the author but may not attract readers’ attention or place himself in dangerous paradox by making supposedly "obscure" figures too good – if such a significant person had lived, why did historians fail to recognize them?

But which type of protagonist can provide more entertainment? What would be the good model to follow?

Which type of protagonist can provide more entertainment: famous, infamous, or non-famous? Which would be the best model to follow?

  • It is the author's responsibility to be very diligent about their research and fact checking in either case. Period. At that point, I think it mainly depends on what point the author is trying to get across. Maybe they want to justify or show a different side of a famous person in which case it may make more sense to use the famous person. But if they want a little bit more freedom, then yes it'd make more sense to use someone less famous. And if the writer isn't really concerned with history as much as the characters, maybe they don't really care about the facts and therefore need to toe a line between being believable and interesting. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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  • This is interesting! Comparing the portrayal of famous historical figures could be helpful for this topic; you could look at how widely they vary. I imagine that major historical figures may attract a wider audience, but I think that the fact that it's "fiction" would have to be taken into account. I imagine that each interpretation on the facts is entirely different from another. The interesting thing about an original character would be that we don't know the outcome; there is a sense of mystery as a reader as to the character's fate, whereas we go in knowing the fate of a historical figure. In that sense, I think you could make an argument for both types of historical novel being the best model. – laurakej 2 years ago
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Sengoku era and its influence on Japanese Pop Culture

Sengoku era, or Warring State Period of Japan, was the period of chaos before the foundation of Edo Bakufu. The constant chaos led to the lack of official historical record(ones produced by government), occasional brutality, poor lives of peasants, and many tales of heroism at the same time. In fact, some of the historical figures from this period appear in Japanese pop culture occasionally, especially Oda Nobunaga, who was voted as the most popular historical figure by Japanese. Considering this massive influence on pop culture, it would be interesting to observe the major figures in this period of Japanese history and see how their influences still manifest.

  • One thing to maybe look at is the impact certain historical figures had during the Sengoku Era i.e. the battles they took part in, the significance of the battle, etc. For example, one could look at the Battle of Okehazama and how that battle cemented Nobunaga's legacy in Japan. – Xperimance 2 years ago
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What makes the good historical figure for historical fiction?

To be exact, what kind of historical figure attract writers and audiences’ attention? There are plenty of historical figures out there with interesting life stories, but only portion make into history books, some into novels, and few into movies. What would be the standard? For example, has there been a movie about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of telephone? If there was, how many were there and how recent were they? Compare that to the life of Napoleon, or Elizabeth I. It may seem apparent that war heroes make into movies more than others, but even then there seem to be striking differences in the attention they receive. This could lead to the study of what type of individual people consider to be "hero", and examine the psyche of the society.

  • Absolutely this examination could lead to an exploration of the "psyche of the society" on the whole - you could even explore the considerations of the individual and how it relates to that of society for this topic (and many others in general). As for what makes the standard of what sorts of historical figures we tend to utilize for historical fiction, I think that you're on the right track. I would consider examining the personal lives of several specific characters (Freddy Mercury, Abraham Lincoln, TE Lawrence etc) as well as their renowned accomplishments. For Mercury, how his personal life influenced his music and made him such an endearing figure. For Lincoln, how his politics were effected (I'd even explore why he was fictionalized into a vampire hunter, as that is completely incongruous with the widely known President). For Lawrence, how his exposure to a different culture affected his decisions and why we would be intrigued by this (perhaps from a desire to escape from our own realities). There's definitely more that you can do with this subject, I think it's going to be a fun one to think on! – 50caliburlexicon 2 years ago
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What makes horror prosper?

Horror is one of few genres which the imagination can compensate for the lack of styles. For example, Howard Phillips Lovecraft may not have the best writer in terms of techniques, but his imagination made him the master of modern horror. Similarly, James Herbert’s The Rats was criticized for its overt violence and writings, but the image of man-eating rats turned it into a memorable horror classics.

On the contrary, some horror stories may have stylized writing, but it does not deliver the gut punch people are expecting.

Also, when you examine the history of horror movies, many "classics" were regarded as pure garbages by the critiques but endured such attacks. In many cases, the imaginations of horror movies later inspired many talented writers and led to the blooming of quality works.

So I was wondering, what makes a great "horror" literature/movie/etc? It is a simple question but hard to answer. What makes certain horror more memorable and enduring? For example, Richard Marsh’s The Beetle was said to be as popular as Dracula, but now it remains as one of forgotten works.

So what makes horror survive and prosper?

  • I think it's drastically different when it comes to horror literature and horror movies. A movie can be really horrifying merely because it's extremely gory and distorted and have really dark music going on the background - it does not necessarily have to be anything meaningful. However, since you only read a book by your eyes, all the horror has to be delivered by words, which is much harder. A writer has to know how to manipulate words to convey the horror to his/her readers.In addition, I think many people watch horror movies just for the excitement while the people who read horror books look for more than just the excitement. – JamesZhan9592 2 years ago
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  • I may write on this topic; I want to write about Poe and Lovecraft and the horror genre in literature so this topic might fit well with that. I think a good horror story has to tap into our fears: fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of pain, etc. In the original "Halloween" movie, which seems tame today in terms of sex and violence, one of the creepiest aspects of Michael Meyers is that we don't know why he is the way he is. There's no explanation for his behavior. – S.A. Takacs 2 years ago
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  • I appreciate this topic, nice one. Horror way back when Mary Shelley was doing work, was much different than what we have now. Saying that, the horror genre is pretty subjective. That said, many find Frankenstein to be a horror, many prefer to analyze it as a piece of science fiction. Even looking at the short story called "The Machine Stops", a piece written early 1900s describing the lives of people run by machines with nothing but buttons and screens (back when screens were just dream, crazy huh?), could be considered a horror when read- a horror of a possible future. So saying all of that, there isn't really a defined set of outlines for the horror genre, and so that's what brings us to the modern day movies, where there aren't really reoccuring guidelines that I can notice after each modern day horror film. A great horror plays on the fears that we all have, fear will always exist and thats why the horror genre exists- whether its a literal monster or a dystopia. – Arian 2 years ago
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  • This is a great topic. I think one way you could pump up this article, is perhaps adding several notes on the biology of the human psyche when exposed to horror, and the adrenaline thats released (many scholars have written on this). Also perhaps, examining what was considered scary in the 1940's, as opposed to which horror genre survives and thrives the most in 2015. Great idea, would love to read once its published. – Valeria Sharivker 2 years ago
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  • This is a good topic, and something I think about a lot. One interesting way to approach this may be looking at the way gore films seem to have become a larger point of focus in recent years, as suspense-centered films (like anything made by Hitchcock) have seemed to be made less often. Is this one of the ways horror is keeping up with audiences? Giving them something new? If so, what's the next stage? – KTPopielarz 2 years ago
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Latest Comments

I believe such terror-centric horror films like the Witch will do the genre more good and provide more diverse types of horror. Jump-scares and gores can exhaust the audiences, and by the time the movie reaches the climax they might be too tired to care.

The Witch: Yes, It is a "True" Horror Film

Lu Bu is supposed to be extremely difficult, because Koei always envision him as the mightiest warrior in their games. For example, in Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, Lu Bu’s Might stat (used for duels, or the army’s attack power), is always 100(max) in any series + hidden stat(privilege given to the few chosen characters such as Uesugi Kenshin in Nobunaga’s Ambition) + the bonus from his weapon which makes him practically unbeatable in duels.

So, it is normal that anyone, unless you are an expert player, will find Lu Bu unbeatable. He is just designed to be a juggernaut.

Analyzing Dynasty Warriors and its Spin-Offs: A Warrior Worthy Of Ten Thousand Foes

This is very well written article. Good work on the in-depth research.

What the West Learned About Japanese Culture from Anime

Animated films tend to give more chances for the fan favorites. Black Widow got her animated film(with the Punisher), and Wonder Woman had really good animated film too. I think the producers are too conservative when it comes to big films due to the budget/profit pressure.

Black Widow: Audiences' Expectations for Female Superheroes

I think the chief reason for these phenomenons is the fear of failure; while Marvel knows that more diverse characters can draw more readers, they are afraid that creating completely new characters may not interest them. So the safest way (in their mind, I imagine) to create “diversity” in their comics is to replace pre-existing superheroes with characters with different gender/ethnicity.

What Marvel Hopes to Achieve with the Changing of Race/Gender in Pre-Existing Characters

Another example (although non-Anime) would be 21. It is a movie based on true event, where the main casts were Asians, but they turned them into Caucasians, with Asian sidekicks. Of course, this stirred quite a bit of controversy.

Interestingly, Jim Sturgess, who played the main character(who was Asian in real life), played Asian character in Cloud Atlas, in which he appeared with make up to appear as Asian. This caused “Yellow Face” controversy as well.

Whitewashing of Asian Characters in Hollywood Anime/Manga Adaptations

I think one of the problems is that many of the characters’ stories are similar – Batman is famous for losing his parents in childhood, but how many superheroes have that same trauma? A lot. After few super heroes with similar backstories, or even power, the characters become indistinguishable, and become forgettable.

Killing Superheroes: What's Keeping New Superhero Invention?

Well, the distinction between super robot and real robot is…really thin, if you are to classify them based on few traits. For example, some argue that super robot is super-heroish mecha that fight outside the army. But Dancougar is a robot under the army’s command with the super robot like gimmick like Beast mode. While considered the fine example of Super Robot, Mazinger Z had strangely many “realistic moments”, such as Koji worrying about being killed when Mazinger Z was dropped from high altitude or certain parts being unusable by enemy’s tricks. And Nu Gundam pushing the falling colony away from the Earth by gathering the wills of other people? The list goes on. Some even say Zambot 3(which is usually considered super robot) to be the first real robot type because it depicted the war(albeit against aliens) in realistic ways and deal with trauma and tragedy of warfare.

There was a long discussion on 2ch regarding this, and they all gave up – there was no robot anime with purely super/real robot traits. Even if you want to have Votoms as the pure real robot…well, later the premise of the series becomes less “realistic”.

I think all this “super” and “real” distinctions were made popular by Super Robot Taisen(or Super Robot Wars) series which classified the robots according to the category for the gameplay’s sake. It might be better to put these terms as “tendency” – those which lean closer to “real robot” tend to focus on reality of war rather than the power of robot, while “super robot” tend to focus on morality play etc.

Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction