Sunni Ago

Sunni Ago

She/They Black Queer writer currently living abroad. Working on games and making art.

Contributor II

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    5
  • Featured
    2
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  • Ext. Comments
    65
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    87
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    10
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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    3

    "I Don't Like ****, I Don't Go Outside" An Exploration of Depression

    "I Don’t Like ****, I Don’t Go Outside" is the sophomore album by Odd Future Alum, Earl Sweatshirt. Despite maintain a level of darkness in his tone and instrumentation, Earl is distinctly alien from his former self. Gone are the edgy shock-lyrics of cannibalism and murder, replaced instead by a vulnerable young man drowning in depression reliant on drugs and alcohol to keep himself going.

    What is it to be a celebrity? A chosen one at that, to be the idol of millions of people you’ve never met while isolated from your friends and family. The album speaks to the thin veneer of happiness success can really be.

    Earl was often a center piece of the fandom from the "FREE EARL" days and yet it doesn’t seem as though the freedom was very liberatory. The lack of hope and overwhelming sense of abject bleakness from Earl speaks to the hollow nature of what was gained by his fame and his regrets seem innumerable as each song on the album falls further in further into an inky blackness of despair.

    That then begs the question, what does this album serve? Is it just a self-exploration or can there be some universal message garnered from the album? What can be said of Earl and his developments as an artist? What of the raised awareness about depression and how it can shape and distort a person’s view not just of themself but of the world around them.

    • Agree with first person. You do a good job summarizing what the album is about, but what specific question are you trying to ask? – Montayj79 1 month ago
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    2

    The Lighthouse (2019) and the nature of Hierarchy.

    *This can be argued from either Marxist or Anarchist perspective. As I’m not an anarchist I will present the topic from my perspective but the author is free to analyze with whatever school of thought they see as suitable.

    The Robert Eggers film, The Lighthouse stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as two men charged with the upkeep of a lighthouse. Throughout the course of the film the audience is shown the relationship of the two men, which is that of worker and boss. The Worker, Howard (Pattison) is younger and serves at the will of the boss, Wake(Dafoe) who is older.

    The division of Labor is shown to be highly unequal as Wake (Dafoe) works considerably less and does considerably easier work than Howard (Pattinson). This is exacerbated by the fact that Wake controls not just how much Howard will be paid at the end of their shift but also if he will even be paid at all. The dynamic is severely unbalanced and rigidly show, the boss is able to control the worker with the threat of starvation.

    The film explores other facets of domination, control, and but one key theme is liberation, that is escaping the need to labor and being free to exist. Wake has attained it, Howard seeks to reach that.

    This is echoed by the fact Wake, is the only one to work the light. While Howard is forced to toil below. Drawing parallels to the idea of skilled vs. unskilled labor.

    Of note, the two men share quite a number of similarities and it can even be said they’re the same man at different points in his life, but then what can be read from the text. The oppressed worker himself becoming an oppressor. Indeed when Howard lashes out at Wake and turns him into a dog, is he in fact liberated?

      2

      "This is The Police" and the Banality of Evil

      "This is the Police" was a top down simulation game, in the vein of Sim City where, you play as a police chief. It happened to be released during the rise of Black Lives Matter and Gamergate, but went out of its way to say it was "not a political game but a human one", or at least that is what the developers claimed.

      This is the Police, as game has a fail state, you have to make certain decisions or the game will end. In the case of your player character you are fired or killed for making decisions that could or would be read as moral, for example, not firing certain officers for their race or investigating crimes that mafia members don’t want you to.

      Hannah Arendt, wrote of Eichmann, how he wasn’t amoral, wasn’t a monster, and instead of how ordinary he was. How his motivation to send millions to their death wasn’t motivated by sadism but shallowness and carelessness. He didn’t think of the consequences of those actions.

      Within the narrative of This is the Police, the player is faced with various situations were their own morality may come into conflict with the story. And that should be examined as even if the game is "not political" it does reflect a volatile political situation.

      Why are you as a player character rewarded for being corrupt? Examinations of police corruption merit discussion but the game seems more than comfortable in presenting the idea of corruption without inspecting it. It’s the nature of the system and as such is immutable.

      This gives room for analysis of the actions the game forces you to take, why are those the only possible actions, why were some scenarios added and why not others? Moreover, what does it say about this "human game" as per the developers and its commentary on the nature of humans?

        5

        Akame Ga Kill and the apolitical revolution

        The world of Akame Ga Kill is one of the darker world to exist in fiction, if only due to the focus on the horrific nature of amoral and immoral aristocrats who exist disconnected from the masses they rule and their own humanity.

        The plot of Akame Ga Kill is one of a splinter cell, dubbed Night Raid, aiming to overthrow the corrupt prime minister and hoping to liberate their kingdom, they lose allies constantly, in the end only 4 members of the group survive. The Kingdom is overthrown but replaced with another Kingdom.

        The horror of the Kingdom can’t be overstated, but the decision to continue a monarchial system in spite of that is one that begs the question, what’s stopping the decay of the previous system.

          2
          Locked

          Ideology and a problem with Superheroes.

          Superheroes, are presented as by their nature disruptions to the "natural order" of the world. That is to say many are presented in worlds more or less analogous to that of the reader, either in the urban setting or something that perceivably realistic. But, this presents a disruption to the world they exist within.

          Many heroes are, in some interpretations, read as virtual gods amongst men, invulnerable, nigh unstoppable, with only "benevolence" as the check against them dominating the world. How does a world function similarly to our own while also inhabited by a living god or gods?

          Many exist only in reactive states, that is to say, many heroes and their stories are written to respond to "crime" or "disasters" but rarely are we presented with them proactively pushing for some sort of shift. How does this materially affect their world? How does a world of heroes and supervillains, one of constant impending doom have any sense of normality? How can that world even function?

          Part of this can be blamed on the medium, crime being punished is an easier comic to sell than crime never happens, but that reinforces the idea of crime without interrogating the why of crime. The material conditions, not to mention the motivations of criminals within worlds of sentient nuclear weapons is rarely examined.

          Returning to the core question, superheroes exist in worlds similar to our own, but how in fact is that possible? How is it that a world where Superman and Batman exist is virtually the same as a world where they don’t. How is the world of Marvel, with aliens and spirits, and devils, and sentient robots not dissimilar entirely to the world that exists today?

          How do writers square the circle that is the "status quo" ? Status quo being read as a world that has enough parallels to the real world to be read as similar to our own. A sense of normalcy that can allow for the reader to feel connection with the world of the heroes. How can you reckon with the fact that the existence of these walking myths has little impact on their worlds?

          The writer could interrogate the idea of the superhero as it compares to the prior age of myth, but the more challenging question would require some understanding of the main universes of some of the major comic book publishes and their distinctions and similarities from the real world along with speculation/analysis of why or even how those similarities exist.

          • One idea from the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD: organizations like SHIELD exist to keep the majority of the weird stuff away from the public, so the world will not change dramatically. Another idea: if the existence of super-people did change the world, the most likely result would be something like Injustice: Gods Among Us - the super-people ruling the world, whether the regular people wanted that or not. Many of the superheroes know this and willingly avoid impacting the world in such a way because free will matters to them. Also consider Watchmen, a fairly popular story about super-people very much changing the world. – noahspud 1 month ago
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          Taken by noahspud (PM) 1 month ago.
          2

          Fire Emblem and the "Justifiable Conquest"

          Fire Emblem, a pre-eminent franchise in the strategy RPG genre, has long worn its tropes. The rightful ruler in exile, fighting an evil empire with a color cast of allies and in the end bringing justice, order, and balance back to the world.

          Within the franchise however there have been times, were the player, knowingly or not has played less of a liberator, and more as conqueror in their own right. Notable examples of this are in Fire Emblem Gaiden and it’s remake Shadows of Valencia where the male protagonist Alm, settles the entire continent as its Emperor.
          Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest also sees the player character, Corrin, take the role of conqueror, at the behest of the Evil King/Slime Demon Garon. Throughout the story the player is constantly exposed to the truly villainous nature of the Nohrian conquest but at no point is their an option to rebel and the ending resolves with Hoshido, a now conquered land acquiescent to the new high king on the promise that relations will now be warmer.

          A key flaw in the narratives is the player’s agency is completely absent. To win you must conquer and while some justification are offered, it could be argued that they’re insufficient compared to the players actions. You conquer because that is the objective of the game, the impact of that on the people is immaterial, inconsequential and that’s an extremely interesting writing decision.

          Is there a such thing as a justifiable conquest?

          • Agree with first person; interesting topic; the only thing I would do is keep all wording in 3rd person. Take out you so the writer can remain objective in their writing. – Montayj79 1 month ago
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          • I would love to see someone discuss Fire Emblem: Three Houses as well. – Sean Gadus 1 month ago
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          5

          Happiness, a exploration of Nihilism.

          Happiness is a vampire manga by Shūzō Oshimi. While on the surface it is a supernatural story it delves quite readily into not just other genre conventions such as science fiction body horror and coming of age romance, but examinations on the very concept of humanity, the nature and purpose of suffering and if meaning can ever truly be garnered from horror.

          The protagonist is spared from death on the whim, his friend and his friend’s lover, not to mention her family, are much less fortunate. The protagonist and his love interest are subjected to grotesque trials for 50 years only for them to escape and resolve to live apart from humans, which begs the question, both textually and metatexually, what was the purpose of this?

          • I think the edits I made didn't process which is unfortunate. To clarify, Nihilism in the common understanding, is the belief that nothing in life matters, that nothing is really real. Within the plot of Happiness the Protagonist is subject to trials and tribulations that don't reveal a greater understand of the world to him within his story, his suffering doesn't better or worsen the world around him. Metatextually, the world of Happiness is similar and dissimilar to the real world, there are horrific science experiments done on people throughout human history that never yielded any medical insight. Suffering for the sake of suffering being all that was produce. What purpose does it serve to feature such a dispiriting element to the story when the ending amounts to, the main character being again isolated from humanity with the one who turned him into a vampire? – Sunni Ago 1 month ago
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          • A digestible yet philosophical dissection of Happiness would be an incredible read, especially if one takes the time to draw real world parallels--it is difficult NOT to feel nihilistic in this day and age, and tapping into that very real feeling of listlessness, one that inspired the concept of nihilism in the first place, and connecting it with the narrative of Happiness would underscore the humanity (both conceptually and literally) the series appears to be examining. – alliegardenia 4 hours ago
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          The "Actual" meaning of Encanto

          Encanto as a film was one of the better received Disney animation in recent memory, from the music, to the character designs, to the narrative resolution and heartwarming interplay of all of the characters in the family Madrigal.

          Though, for all of the popularity of the film there was a bit of controversy in the "proper" reading of the plot. While there is a clear examination of intergenerational trauma from Abuela to Mirabel and all of the family in-between, some have read the film with as allegorical to the experience some in LGBTQ community have experienced.

          This disagreement led to a decent amount of intercommunal conflict on many social networks about the proper way of reading the text, but is their an actual proper meaning to a film? Does authorial intent matter? Is it "wrong" to read the text in a way more relative to oneself?

          There is quite a lot of room to discuss the racial and cultural perspectives of the various angles of the argument of the actual meaning of the movie.

          • Death of the Author is essentially whats going on here. I like this topic as this is a reoccurring issue in the Anime community, as femboy/Trap characters are often read as trans by western audiences, while in Japan they are read as effeminate men. Even when authors directly comment on issues like this they are often ignored by fans and localizers. This often leads to heated debates online. I'm not a fan of the idea that text can be interpreted in any way possible, but that often becomes the case when authors note or thoughts are not available. It is why I believe whenever possible journals and notes should be preserved. But, in the event that evidence is not available, I was taught in my college classes interpretations of text need to be backed by evidence either from the author or evidence in the text, which is something that is often lacking in LGBTQ readings of text. An example that comes to mind is when Dreamworks Voltron was announced a lot of people assumed Pidge (Katie Holt) was trans. When the character was just pretending to be boy to find her brother. Same deal with Keith and Lance, as many people assumed the characters were gay, despite the show showing multiple times that Lance had feelings for princess Alura. – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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          • I don't disagree about it being death of the author I was moreso interested in the backlash the DOA side of the discourse received for subverting the "intent" of the movie. I also don't see an inherent flaw with queer readings of media, I myself am guilty of it with characters in some of my favorite shows. That said, I can't say I'm sympathetic to the idea of a culture being ignored for the sake of others reading themselves into a text. I do think it is a topic worth discussion. – SunnyAgo 1 month ago
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          • I just want to clarify that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with doing a queer reading of a text. My issue is as you put it "people reading themselves into the text" Another example of this is in My Hero Academia. Many fans believe Bakugo and Deku are gay for one another, despite the author clearly stating certain characters having romantic feelings for one another. Even without author input the text at certain points states how the characters feel about one another. This also becomes obnoxious to me, as often times these text actually have LGBTQ characters (Tiger and Magne are trans) in it that get ignored for fan canon. One theory that I've heard for why this happens comes from YouTuber Dimitri Monroe. They believe its not about whether or not a character is gay or Trans, but metaphorical point scoring. They believe the reason modern queer reading often alter characters is because some LGBTQ activist simply want a more prominent character as opposed to the side character (which Tiger and Magne both are.). Dimitri uses Astolfo from the fate series as an example, as not only in the lore Astolfo is canonically and stated multiple times to be an androgynous male who doesn't care about gender norms. Despite that many will say he's trans. Which once again fate does have actual trans/gay characters, Astolfo is just considered one of the more popular characters and that why he's often subject to this debate. You can see the same thing with P4's Naoto who states both their gender and sexual preferences, but fans created a mod to turn the character Trans. I think this more about politics as apposed to trying to understand the message of a story. (Also I might take this topic.) – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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          Taken by Blackcat130 (PM) 1 month ago.

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          Latest Comments

          The Northman and Cycles of Violence
          The Northman and Cycles of Violence
          Sunni Ago

          Confused about your usage of the word racist and your prescription of 75% of the Planeteers being socialists. Remember Ted Turner was a Billionaire and Linka was rarely presented as right in being so “haughty” towards Wheeler.

          That said you do bring up some good points about how poor environmentalism and other social issues are and were handled in animations of the 90s.

          The Complex Lessons of Environmentally-Motivated Animation
          Sunni Ago

          Not a fan of Stranger Things but your article is extremely well done. 👌🏾

          How Stranger Things' Most Important Licensed Songs Compliment Its Story
          Sunni Ago

          I suppose so.

          The Northman and Cycles of Violence
          Sunni Ago

          I thought there was room to expand some of the plot.

          The Northman and Cycles of Violence
          The Northman and Cycles of Violence
          Sunni Ago

          Your English is fine and I don’t disagree. Violence is used as a treat to keep viewers interested in a lot of films.

          The Northman and Cycles of Violence