Happy Birthday To Me

Yay. Can’t help but feel people are focused on something else today, though. Eh, whatever. It can’t be that important anyway.

Oh yeah, turns out the monthly posts thing also fell through. Who’d imagine that I’d have no motivation to write here anymore? If it doesn’t produce some kind of profit, then why am I even doing it?

I hate thinking like that, but it’s true. I’ve moved on to bigger things, and but this little blog was the start of it all, pretty much. I feel bad just leaving it here, and I also feel bad about the two or so folks that actually read it.

I might come back, if it strikes my fancy. If in the future writing without a paycheck in mind brings me peace again. If anything, thanks to those who stuck around. If you do so, you might get something eventually. It’s just not a guarantee anymore.

Later, guys.

Call Me By Your Name REVIEW


Oh god, Call Me By Your Name is so boring.

What the hell actually happens in this movie? Where’s the drama? Where’s the conflict? What are the characters? Where are they?

This movie is so empty. It’s just two flaccid people jostling around in some Italian countryside with no reason behind their romance, it feels like one of those ads for a European Vacation.

The tame-as-hell conflicts get revolved just as quickly as they’re brought up, and everyone is perfect. No characters have any real flaws at all.

But I bet people are praising this movie just because it’s about a gay couple. And, hell, I don’t even wanna go there, but like, even straight love stories can be as vapid as this one. It just comes down to execution. And I’ve seen so many better executed gay love stories.

This just feels… and I hate to say this: Pretentious.

The way it casually throws poetic, schmaltzy dialogue and phrases around, how it mentions classical musicians so nonchalantly, how it wallows in tear-doused emotions. It’s like, “Oh, we’re just hopeless romantics, we’re so in love with each other and everything around us, isn’t life awesome?”

Great, I’m so happy for you, but why should I care? There’s nothing for me to cling onto, nothing for me to worry about. No stakes, or climaxes, or hurdles at all.

You can say films don’t have to have conflict, but in that case, they’re arthouse movies. And even then, the best arthouse movies at least have a narrative thread to follow, some sense of drama surrounding the characters. But this? It’s such a lull, so bloated and stretched out. Like a piece of chewed bubblegum pulled from both ends. 45 minutes of this film could’ve been removed and nothing would’ve changed. Sure, you miss out on some potentially touching moments, and maybe have to take out some side characters and B-plots, but the result would be a much stronger and impactful presence.

What was even the point of Marzia’s character? She was paraded around, even appeared nude, just to be dumped unceremoniously? If the film was about how a young, impressionable man falls madly in love with a dashing foreigner, why was she even in the movie? For a full frontal? Pretty pointless if you ask me.

It’s not so much concept, but more so the construction and structure that really pisses me off. This isn’t a tight, carefully crafted artistic masterpiece. It’s a long, masturbatory (literally) dredge that goes on far too long for its own good. It’s not insultingly bad, like Phantom Thread, but it’s just so incredibly underwhelming and boring.

And I guess Sufjan Stevens did a fine job with the score. Didn’t stop them from pulling songs straight out of The Age of Adz, though.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri QUICK REVIEW


This is a very conflictive movie.

On one hand, you have this balls-to-the-wall plot that devolves into beautifully meticulous chaos, as people spiral downwards into madness, paranoia and violence. The story is very followable, with characters that show both sides of the moral coin and put front and center the sheer grayness of situations like these. Every character has a good side and a bad side, just like normal humans, and that’s worthy of praise. Not many films have the gall to explore the darkest ethical depths of their protagonists and make them so bluntly apparent. Also, the plot is incredibly interconnected, with devices that are set up and then paid off satisfactorily, as it moves along quickly enough to be wholly entertaining, but also never leaving the viewer behind.

At the same time, the film feels very unfocused and scattered, with characters coming in left and right that provide no actual advancement to the plot and only feel like add-ons, placed in the middle of this maelstrom purely for some cheap jab at a real-life social issue. No, it’s not about black people, or about women (like some folks are spouting), the problems with the plot mostly stem out of the ambition of the storytellers to try to make this feel as organic as possible. To show the onion-like layers of impact that a circumstance like the one in the film can have on a small community full of differing ideas.

In the end, if the film was tightened and they trimmed the fat off the script, focused on the cathartic essentials, and put a little more thought into the rational consistency of the characters, it could’ve been great.

As it stands, though, the movie isn’t abhorrent, as the plot makes sense, and it feels like a bloody chapter in the much longer life-book of its characters. ‘

It’s just a little skewed, that’s all.


The Ritual REVIEW


The Ritual is David Bruckner’s (of V/H/S fame) take on a Blair Witch-esque concept, and I’m happy to say that this one knocks it straight out of the park. At a breakneck 94 minutes, this deep dive into the blackness of despair is 2018’s best horror experience so far.

The film immediately instills a sense of creeping dread with the first scene. After some snappy character introductions, the unapologetic brutalism displayed is enhanced by the grounded dialogue and sheer sudden impact of the tragedy in the introduction. This is a fantastic start to the feature, one that begins pumping sizzling blood that carries the viewer through the subsequent tense establishing scenes of the group hiking through the breathtaking valleys of the Swedish Wilderness six months later.

After the gang builds a small shrine to their deceased friend (a shrine which pops us briefly in the foreground as they’re scampering to pack in the rain), they end up having to take a quicker but rougher route to the lodge due to an accident.

Paranoia seeps into our main character immediately, as things begin to take a turn for the gorey and bizarre as nordic runes carved on trees, gutted, hanged beasts and a piercing, inscrutable glare hang over the troop. They lose their way into a rotting house and decide to spend the night, and what follows can only be described as the utter meltdown of logic and trust. As the world around them begins to hideously morph into a plane of nightmares, will they keep their heads firm on their shoulders, or will their minds be swept away by the breeze between the trees?

The story does evolve as it goes, but it never drops the tension, as the mysteries get cleared up and we learn more about what exactly is happening to these unfortunate souls. The first and second acts are definitely the highlight of the film, though, as the questions surrounding the grotesque occurrences are left in the air the story can revel in the delicious madness that consumes the characters. The climax and subsequent ending can be mixed, as the ultimate secret is revealed and can be underwhelming if one’s expectations are too high.

I will warn that jumpscares are placed throughout, but they never consume the screen and only annoy in the audio department with sharp, ear-slicing blasts, almost as though they were added afterwards in post as a way to streamline the film. Other than that, the film relies heavily on drawn out, ever-so-slightly crawling shots and intense yet followable shaky-cam scenes that cement the voyeuristic and deranged tone of the film. It’s no It Follows in terms of flawless unease, but it definitely rattles the bones in terms of pure visual style.

One thing that might potentially break the experience for you is if you butt heads with thick Cockney accents, as they take over the dialogue and make up the essence of the cast’s interactions. Hidden in the wording, though, is well-crafted scene progression and characters that, for the most part, act pretty standard to what you’d expect of anyone in the situations presented in the film. They’re not incredibly complex or layered characters for the most part, but they never break consistency and would act as rationally (or irrationally) as most. This makes for simple but straightforward characters that don’t obstruct the tone and can actually be pretty relatable. Snazzy quips and friendly jabs are littered here and there, but they’re never bloated or forced, it all feels like a flowing conversation.

Speaking of the characters, the performances are top-notch, across the board. Rafe Spall, Rob James-Collier, Sam Troughton, and Arsher Ali truly display raw fear in their actions, as animalistic flailings, shocked jitters, and guttural voices dominate the darkest moments of this film. Very impressive.

Without going into spoilers, the main character does go through an effective character arc, one that ties into his motivations and ultimately pays off satisfyingly in the ending. The first scene and all the problems that arise later because of it tie into his development and fuel the spark that changes the character. It’s pretty straightforward, but it makes for a compelling narrative and a character worth rooting for.

Overall, The Ritual makes no mistakes in delivering a whiplash of heart-pumping terror, and it’s a good bet that you’ll be shaking as much as the characters in it.


The New Philosophy in Regards to Post Scheduling and Publication for 2018

As this blog has kind of devolved into sporadic posting and random shit, I’m going to be streamlining this much more for 2018.

This blog will have at the very fucking least one post per month starting in January 2018. That’s enough content to where I wont feel terrible seeing the post dates on the blog fly further away into history.

It will probably be these following things:

  • Seasonal Anime Rankings/Lists/Breakdowns

I watch nearly every new seasonal anime that comes out, so being able to write about these shows will encourage me to keep up with dates and with a weekly/monthly schedule, which fits perfectly into the timeframe of new anime releases. Expect a full seasonal retrospective at the end of every season as well.

  • Random, Length-spanning, Potentially Rambling Reviews or Analyses of Anime, Manga, Music, Games, Movies, etc. 

I consume a metric ton of media every single day, so much so that it would be impossible to write about all of it without it being passe and pointless. So whenever I do have something interesting to say about a particular piece of media I consume, I’ll post it here. They might be 100 words, or they might be 5000. They’re probably going to be mostly about anime, since it’s what I watch the most, but you might occasionally get a terrible album review or quick movie impressions, which come with all the previous warnings and health hazards included.

  • Even More Random, Potentially Aggravating Video Logs about Anything?
    • Subsection 1: Youtube Voice Over Re-Publishings
      • These will be videos summarizing or reading a previously posted blog post as a recording to upload to the Youtube account linked in this blog. I feel as though having a Youtube is useful for marketing and networking, so it’s purely there for convenience and practicality. Please never go to my Youtube.
    • Subsection 2: Late Night Vlogs about Anything and Everything
      • Recording myself and rambling is fun. No other reason.
    • Subsection 3: In Depth, Edited, Researched, “Capital-A” Analysis Videos (Expect 95% of these to be about Anime)
      • These will by by far the rarest and most out-of-the-loop videos, but they will contain at least enough editing to where I’m satisfied and there’s enough of a point to them to where I feel the video needed to exist. These will most likely come out at least once every couple of months. I don’t like editing and I only do it under infrequent spouts of GENIUS CREATIVITYStill, don’t expect anything particularly good, though that goes without saying with my writing.
  • Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
    • Twitter will be posted on more frequently than ever before. I’ve discovered the huge benefit it has as a networking tool and as a vomit-to-text transmuter. Also posts here will get retweeted there, so it’s also a way for more people to get to this blog. As if I ever fucking wanted that.
    • Tumblr is pretty certainly getting no activity from me whatsoever. It’s purely there for re-posting reasons. Sorry.
    • Google Plus, go fuck yourself.

Anyway, I hope this is a comprehensive list of my production philosophy for 2018. This will be pinned, or however WordPress does that shit.

See y’all then.

P.S.: Expect a blog post/vlog of my retrospective of Fall 2017 Anime Season and of 2017 Anime as a whole sometime soon. Fall posts will be most likely out in late December and the Year post will be in early January. 

Fate/stay night – A Narrative Retrospective [PART 1 – Fate]

Oneself as an ideal.

The Fate route in Fate/stay night is the first route available when you begin the game, and it’s purposes are the following:

  • To introduce the player to the world of Fate, the Holy Grail War, and the history that preludes the events of the Holy Grail War that takes place in the timeline of the game.
  • To introduce the key players in the story, their superficial personalities (with the exception of some), their stances on the nature of the war, and some of their ideals and wishes for the future, and most importantly, for the Holy Grail itself.
  • To explore Saber and Shirou as a character duo, their stories, desires, opinions, and relationship, and how they blend together to form one cohesive thematic structure.

We’ll start by introducing the main characters, all of whom play a pivotal role in the development of the story’s themes and serve as narrative vehicles in which to explore them. These are:

  • Rin Tohsaka
  • Emiya Shirou
  • Saber
  • Sakura Matou

Let’s start with Rin Tohsaka, twintail “tsundere” princess of the 21st century. Her no-nonsense and rather expressive personality is apparent from moment one, as we learn about her position as a mage, her relationship with those around her, as well as the summoning of her Servant, Archer. Certain subtle elements of her summoning particularly illustrate how she behaves in certain situations, often treating moments of objective negativity as non-impactful or otherwise reacting with an air of palpable positive charisma, despite her ability to make mistakes often and sometimes at the worst of times. She’s not very melodramatic, is what I’m trying to say, and she maintains a competent state of level-headedness even when accidentally summoning the wrong Servant, when getting grabbed by Berserker, or even when being nearly gored by Kotomine near the end of the game. She’s carefully prepared and always has something ready to get her out of a sticky situation, even if she is already a supremely capable mage. Regarding her social life, more so than just being “tsundere” towards other people, she shows herself to be a very emotionally disconnected person, with the exception of a few closer friends whom she spends time with occasionally. As she herself explained, her existence as a mage conflicts with her social life (since exposing herself as a mage to the public might not only cause outrage and controversy, but also allow herself to become the target of unwanted attention from the often violent and ruthless Mages Association) to such an extent that she has chosen to sacrifice human connections in order to preserve the Tohsaka name and to honor not only her own self-imposed pride and skill, but also the memory of her perished father. This adds an extra layer to her character, as she has a personal burden that she has placed on herself as a result of the situation she’s found herself in, in order to maintain her ideals untouched and to not falter from her goals as a mage as well as her outlook on the world. She hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst, and always tries to reach logical and strategic compromises whenever possible. All of this is apparent from these first three days, and all of this is delivered through inner monologue and through her dialogue, especially with her conversation with Archer upon their meeting.

Her stance regarding the Holy Grail War isn’t expanded on completely until her more in-depth exploration in Unlimited Blade Works, but we get the gist of who she is from this route enough to where we can understand her motivations and her basic personality.

If you remember from the beginning of this post, you’d recall that Sakura Matou also was one of our leads, on the same breadth as Shirou, Rin, and Saber. Sakura herself is almost completely absent during the first route, but that has a purpose in and of itself.

Sakura is a dependent and brittle girl, who is more like a ghost than anything else. Firstly, she constantly gets treated like utter garbage by her “brother” Shinji, is physically weak and unfocused, strangely quiet and not very apparent. I say “brother” because Shinji isn’t actually Sakura’s brother; she’s in fact a younger sister to Rin. Ever since she was small, she’s been not only abused by a complete stranger for coming into his house and taking the attention away from him, but also has been cowering under the shadow of her older, much more socially respected sister, who perpetually shines her blinding light down on her fragile eyes. She’s a see-through girl, almost completely transient and unnoticeable. She blends into the background, and during the story of the first route, her existence disappears completely. This is done to instill a nagging in one’s brain, a feeling that there was something there which was left without signal, something that simply evaporated; a tingly feeling of a human presence, yet nothing but fog when you reach. Sakura herself is the main love interest during Heaven’s Feel, and we’ll explore her more during her route, but don’t forget her yourself. She’s perhaps the most important player in this game in the long run.

Returning to Shirou’s personality, how does he fair out?

The idea behind Shirou is that he’s initially portrayed as a flabby, uninspired and hazy person, without much motivations or any weight to his opinions, but it’s the journey of the routes themselves that inform the player of his deeper reasons and ideals. Each route focuses on a potential outcome of his actions and how that reflects on his established personality, and form a narrative progression throughout the entire novel. I won’t point it out right now, seeing as we first need to explore the other two routes in order to comprehend it fully, so just bear with me here. It’s our job as the players to get to know him after following his actions throughout the routes.

So, after that has been established, let’s explore Shirou just during the prologue alone. He’s demonstrated as being a very nice guy (and all the connotations of the phrase), adept with mechanical constructions, and often behaving nonchalantly and absentmindedly towards most things around him. He might become overly anal or erratic in certain situations (like accidentally coming into physical contact with a pretty girl) but this is all due to him being a very hormonal kid despite having a relatively clear head and self-aware attitude. Being a mage himself, he tends to be very accustomed to pain (due to his nightly training sessions), even if his abilities are vastly inferior to possibly every mage around him. He holds his “father” Kiritsugu as his perfect role model and aims to be just like him, possessing a rather vague but nonetheless passionate goal of “becoming a superhero”.

If you haven’t noticed, my description of his personality doesn’t seem to give light to any particular reasons as to why he’s the way that he is (in contrast to Tohsaka’s reasons for being the way she is), but that was all intended. The journey that Shirou takes in the Fate route is to not only show to us, the audience, what caused those ideals and opinions of life that he has, but also to make him realize why those reasons are as flawed and as broken as the ideals themselves. It all returns to that one central theme, “oneself as an ideal”. Shirou himself is just a vessel with which to explore that theme.

We are still a long way away from revealing why Shirou is the way that he is, though, so be patient.

And with that, we can jump straight into Saber herself and her character throughout the story, from beginning to end. Let’s go.

Saber is, more than anything else, the embodiment of self-sacrifice and of youthful idealism. She was born as Arturia Pendragon, the daughter of the King Uther Pendragon, who himself was looking for a male son to make his descendant. Disappointed with Arturia being born a woman, he separated her from the royalty, giving her away to the mage Merlin’s care, enlisting her instead as a knight, taught to fight from a young age. Uther did this mostly because Saber was a woman, but Merlin cared not about this, and foretold that she would become a King in due time. Because of this, and her training as a warrior, she developed a concrete set of morals and ethics, all fueled by her desire to protect her country. “Only a king can save a ruined country headed for death”, she would say, motivated from her own pure sense of righteous abandon.

Hence the day came that the next King was to be chosen, she faced the mythical sword in the stone. As she stood there watching it, Merlin spoke words of warning: “Becoming a King means no longer being human”. With her own mental and physical strength, she succeeded in pulling out the sword Caliburn from the stone it was placed at, becoming King Arthur and ruling for 10 years before her death in combat.

To heavily summarize, she not only unified her people under her banner, but eventually, also caused it’s destruction.

During her rule, she was seen as something not human, unemotional, and almost deity-like. By her mere existence as a King, her constant self-imposed isolation and the fact that she was hiding her gender, the men serving below her turned against her, conspiring and eventually dethroning her by force after a series of idealistic disconnects. Her closest knights slowly lost their sense of agreement toward her, leading to what would be the end of her kingdom. Those last few men still loyal to her faced off against the subordinates which had betrayed her, and in one bloody battle known as the Battle of Camlann, only she remained, with a fatal would and with the men she called comrades laying dead by the hundreds. This tore Arturia apart, her spotless ideals now stained with the blood of her people. In her mind, she had been the sole reason for the destruction of her country, since according to her, if she had not pulled that sword out from the stone, none of this would have happened. All she wished for was another chance, an opportunity to turn back time and prevent her decision, to let another take the throne from her. She appealed to the world itself, and the world heard her. She would become a “Heroic Spirit” (an in-universe term for the souls of humans who have achieved impossible deeds during their life, becoming historical icons that are remembered across all of time as legends), and give her services to the universe in exchange for her wish. The universe told her that in order to fulfill her wish, she had to find the Holy Grail, or be stuck perpetually in her state of near death for eternity. When the Holy Grail Wars began occurring, she would be transported to the future, where the Holy Grail would appear, and where she could use it to achieve her desire.

That was pretty complicated in and of itself, and very heavily redacted for time, but what this boils down to in a narrative sense, is that Saber desired to escape from the decision she took on that day in which she chose to abandon her previous life and become king. Her ideals as a king had turned her into a figure of inhumanity, of righteous holiness that had become separated from mankind. She had stuck with her ideals for so long, that they permeated her emotions and became something essential to her very existence. She was treated as a king and made to live her life disconnected to humanity’s pleasures. Her dissonance with the feelings she felt against her kingship as well as her idealistic view of the world made her feel guilty, unable to accept the eventual tragic results that her actions had caused and was stuck in a mental loop of self-inflicted cause and effect. In her desperation, she failed to understand the error in her ideals and sought to change the past instead of changing herself for the future.

When she was summoned accidentally almost a century later, she came across a young man who, for the first time in her life, actively conflicted with her ideals and challenged her every step of the way. Her inexperience with any sort of emotion meant that she was susceptible to them in a way she’d never been before, and interacting with a man who fell in love with her and treated her first as a woman and second as a warrior was mind-blowing to her. She firstly disproved of it, stating her nature as a Servant (A Heroic Spirit summoned by mages to fight in the Holy Grail War) and closing herself off to him emotionally. But, as she spent more time with him, learning about his determination to always jump to save her, his endless devotion to helping people, and most importantly, his personal and romantic affection towards her ultimately proved challenging for her on a deeply impactful and psychological level. Her newly formed and confusing emotions regarding Shirou clashed intensely with her lifelong adherence to her strict and immovable ideals. Ultimately, she learned from him that oneself is not stuck absolutely to one’s own ideals, and forgives herself for the mistakes that she made during her life. She destroys the Holy Grail (after discovering that it was in fact a lie all along), confesses her love to Shirou, and disappears back into the past, having escaped from her loop, and finally dying the peaceful death that she desired for so long.

Saber’s story is one of coming to terms with the distinction between oneself and oneself’s ideals, and how following one’s ideals can lead to a path of never-ending conflict and inability to change.

[Hard Mode: The H-Scenes. Many people use the fact that the visual novel was originally an eroge to refute much of the thematic power that the series actually contains. I will agree that the actual inner monologue and dialogue used in the H-scenes themselves are extremely ridiculous and exaggerated (my favorite line being “her anus is defenseless”), but I believe that aside from inserting them there for marketing reasons and for a broader appeal, that they serve as major moments of development for the character of Saber. In the context of the story, Saber cannot absorb magical energy from Shirou since he is an inferior mage and does not have much magical energy of his own. She has used up a majority of hers in order to fight Berseker, another Servant, and now needs magical energy desperately or she runs into the risk of disappearing due to lack of energy. Because of this, during her first sexual encounter (which also features Tohsaka), she is in need of Shirou’s alternative source of magical energy, which is stored in his semen (The reason for this being that since Heroic Spirits are human souls, and they require consumption of other souls for magical energy, that semen is basically a pool of life juice, as human beings are formed out of semen in the first place. Genius, I know).

Anyway, this moment represents for her her first sexual experience, as she was too young to ever go through it before the took up the sword and became king. She’s deeply flustered during all of it, and basically has a meltdown because of it. She tries to justify to herself that her reason for having sex with Shirou is for her own wellbeing, but in the end, she is receiving so much pleasure that she simply gives in. After this point in the story, Saber develops a very obvious affection for Shirou, one that appears here and there in various moments, particularly during her date with him. That same day, when they argue about each other’s ideals, she ponders for five whole hours about what she feels for him, about his opinion of her, and about her own past. In the second sexual encounter, it’s only her and Shirou, and the lustful hunger is palpable. She tries to justify to herself again that it’s because she needs to recharge her magical energy, but ends up giving in to her desires and accepting her feelings for Shirou. It all culminates in the final moment right before she vanishes after defeating the Grail, when she tells Shirou that she loves him. It’s actually an integral part of her development as a character, and while the literal portrayal of the scenes is over-sexualized in over-the-top ways, the subtext of those scenes is still important for the overarching plot of Saber’s route.]

And that’s basically Saber’s character. In the 24-30 hours it takes to finish this route, it’s apparent that she is a layered, complex, and evolving character that has actual reasons for her actions, a meaningful emotional progression that has relation to her character and to those around her, and a solid, appropriate conclusion that marks the end of her journey in a satisfying way. But wait, there’s more.

We’ve been talking so much about Saber that we’ve skimmed over Shirou himself. And before we reach our final point, we need to talk about his development during the route.

As I’ve explained before in this endless post, Shirou is (superficially) a person with stubborn ideals. Now let’s take a look at the reason behind those ideals.

He was born in a family that has been lost to the passage of time, but in a more thematic sense, Shirou’s life doesn’t officially start until the great fire that destroyed his hometown 10 years prior to the events of the visual novel (the one that was caused by the Holy Grail War during Fate/Zero). This fire killed his entire family and all of the people in his town. He alone survived, walking aimlessly through the brimstone-laden remains of his life, the screams of the burned piercing his ears and branding themselves into his memory. He wanted to help all of them, but in the end, helped no one, because of fear and self-preservation. He was certain he was going to die, and when his body could not muster it anymore, he laid down and prepared for death. In the last moment, the mage Emiya Kiritsugu found him, the two sole survivors of the horrid massacre that occurred. Kiritsugu cried when he found him, giving thanks to the heavens that he could at least save one person from the disaster which he himself helped to cause. In this moment, Shirou found a reason to live again, to be able to do what Kiritsugu could not: To save everyone.

This is his primary ideal, but something that is left open to interpretation until the very end of the story is that Shirou is suffering through many of the psychological symptoms of a person with Survivor’s Guilt. He spends his time looking up to the figure that saved his life, yet always regrets the fact that he was the only one who survived that blazing night. He values other’s lives far more than he does his own, always aiming to save everyone, yet subconsciously sacrificing his own life (and humanity) for the potential safety of those whom he loves. Does this remind you of anybody else?

His reasons for his ideals are all rooted in an underlying sense of guilt that pushes him to disregard his own life; the ultimate “nice guy”. It’s rather sad, really, knowing that his good intentions are all due to a feeling of existential hatred.

It’s that propensity to act selflessly that also conflicts with Saber’s view of the Holy Grail War and of herself as a Servant. She knows that her purpose as a Servant is to die for her Master, but Shirou’s persistent resistance to that idea is what causes her to begin to think more deeply about her own ideals, and wether or not they are as different from Shirou’s as she thinks they are. Remember the fact that they argue restlessly throughout the whole story about what the best course of action is, about each other’s safety and how they matter to each other, and engage in awkward, emotionally charged scenes that make them spark and react chemically, something which they are not used to normally.

In the end, when the false priest Kotomine Kirei gives Shirou the chance to use the Holy Grail to reverse the events of the past, he refuses. By falling in love with a gorgeous girl, discovering her outlook on life and how much it reflects his own, he has surpassed his ideals and rejected them, realizing that the past cannot be changed and opening the doors for a brighter tomorrow.

In the end, this shows that both of them share the same childish ideal and spiral thinking. They both begin the story regretting the actions that they were thrust into doing, and they both want to (consciously or subconsciously) return to the moment it happened and do it differently, if even do it at all. After spending time with each other and sacrificing themselves for the sake of the other, their romantic love for each other and their eventual mutual understanding makes them realize the mistakes in their thinking and ultimately learn to move on from the burden of the past and become new people. It’s a message about compromise, opening yourself to the people around you, seeking salvation outside of your own repetitive mind. It’s about learning to accept and embrace the opinions and ideals of others, and for not only coming to terms with those of your own, but of those of the people you love. For Saber, it’s the end of her journey, and for Shirou, it’s the beginning of his.

And that is the story of the Fate route in Fate/stay night. The theme of “oneself as an ideal” blends perfectly into it’s two primary characters and uses their relationship as a device for the progression and completion of the theme. It’s a very optimistic story, as it starts with despair, becomes filled with love, and ends as a song of self-realization.

The overarching narrative strength of the novel is far from over, though, as there are still not only two more routes to explore, but also the entire story put together. Stay tuned for next week, as we will be diving waist deep into the neutral realism of Unlimited Blade Works.

Fate/stay night – A Narrative Retrospective [PART 0 – Introduction]


Fate/stay night is the story of a young man coming face to face with the nature of his ideals, those of the people around him, and of a situation far beyond his capability of understanding. It’s the story of emotionally charged, hormone packed children doing everything in their power to survive a deadly situation, and conflicting with their own feelings and those of each other. It’s brutal, passionate, silly, insane, poetic, animalistic, and endlessly memorable. And I’m gonna write about it!

Everyone and their mothers have watched Fate/Zero, a few less so have watched the 2006 Fate/stay night by Studio Deen, and even less so have watched the 2014 Unlimited Blade Works adaptation. Well, did you know that the original work that inspired this massive and super popular series was an eroge released in 2004?

The two men responsible for the entirety of TYPE-MOON and all of it’s games and franchises are the writer Kinoko Nasu and the artist Takashi Takeuchi, who published the Kara no Kyoukai light novels in 1998, formed the company in 2000, released the visual novel Tsukihime in December of 2000, and began working on Fate all the way until it’s release in 2004. Nasu had written the script for the Fate route in college, and developed it’s two alternate routes while developing the game.

A lot of people don’t know that, and it’s easy to find out why. Visual novels are a medium much more niche and obscure than anime, the latter of which has spread worldwide and has become a heavy hitter of entertainment much more than it ever was originally conceived to be.

Visual novels are a much longer and more hardcore type of storytelling, one more similar to long-form, multipart books than actual anime, which requires a lot more time and effort from the audience. Many who are curious about the Fate series tend to scoff at the length of the VN and watch the shows instead, but this is lowering the impact of the VN and how much of a fantastic piece of fiction it is.

It clocks in at about 64 hours for the completion of the three routes, and yes, that is a fairly scary amount of time necessary to play it, but it’s safe to say that most people who have finished will deeply recommend it from the bottom of their heart.

This series of posts is meant to be a retrospective on the entire original game, it’s themes, characters, subtexts, and more. With that said, let’s set the stage.

For those uninitiated, the novel divides itself into three alternate story paths, which are played in the following order:

  • Fate: This is Saber’s story, and serves as an introduction to the game’s characters, themes, mechanics, and plot elements, leaving much of the deeper secrets of the lore shrouded in mystery. The central theme is “Oneself as an Ideal“.
  • Unlimited Blade Works: This is Rin Tohsaka’s story, and also serves an an in depth dive into Shirou’s motivations and his inner struggle with his own views of the world and goals for his future. The central theme is “Struggling with oneself as an ideal“.
  • Heaven’s Feel: This is Sakura Matou’s story, and serves as a nihilistic breaking point for many of the characters and their tales. The central theme is “The friction between the real and the ideal“.

I will be doing one post a week, covering all three routes. The Fate route post will come out on the 25th of July, the UBW route post will come out on the 1st of August, and finally, the Heaven’s Feel route post will come out on the 8th of August.

Still, if you truly want to experience the story in the best way possible, find a link, download the visual novel, and play it yourself. Yes, it’s long, yes, it’s slow, it’s a metric ton of reading. You might have to step out of your comfort zone but do it anyway because you will not regret it. You have my word.

A Short Thought Train about the Term “Ignorance is Bliss”

When you’re stuck in your room most of the time, thinking and re-thinking about the nature of life itself, realizing the sheer lack of importance of people in general, it’s easy to spiral out of control into paranoia inducing nihilism and a crushing sense of pointlessness in life.  One that makes you reflect about the nature of the history of mankind, all of it’s origins, progresses, and uncountable, impossibly decipherable amount of human lives that were destroyed prematurely that lead up to our current society, and all of the ones that will continue to happen across all of mankind’s existence, is honestly haunting and downright terrifying.

It’s the ultimate “life is meaningless” tangent that gets made fun of all the time by people mocking existentialism, but when truly understood and grasped as a concept, is horror beyond the capability of perception and understanding. It’s the ultimate pessimist ideal.

So I actually kind of envy those that haven’t reached this level of insanity. Because they actually can enjoy life without thinking about the sheer pointlessness and weightlessness of it all, sluggishly dragging my feet through a life which I know is absolutely worth nothing.

Don’t worry. I still consider suicide the most distant thing imaginable. I want to enjoy the basic and bestial pleasures of live as long as I can before I ultimately kick the bucket in a less-than-stellar way. I love life, in all it’s wildly erratic and nonsensical simplicity and briefness. If the possibility for a longer life is developed by science in the coming years is achieved, that will be my purpose. To live longer. Because life is awesome and terrible and violent and comfortable and intense and peaceful and pretty goddamn fascinating. So I’ll keep going.

Good times.

How to Fix Pedophilia: A Defense for Animated Pornography and Sexual Deviancy (strictly for the sake of discussion)

As a fan of anime and manga, an inevitable aspect of it seeps into my life: the porn.

As a universal and eternal rule of the internet, if something exists, there is porn of it, and if there isn’t, it will be made. No exceptions.

The reason behind this is rather confusing, and speaks of the deepest, most specific tastes and desires that people can have, while at the same time displaying the lengths people will go to satisfy their desires.

If we take a look at regular pornography, it’s easy to understand the purpose behind it’s existence, and why it’s as big as it is. People are alone most of their lives, relationships being, in many cases, nothing but a dash of time consisting of weeks, months, perhaps a few years at most, then inevitably falling apart and resulting in both parties returning to their crushing loneliness.

This isn’t pessimism, though, it’s simply a fact of human interaction.

And so, since we are a sexual society, sex is a hunger that needs to be satisfied, just like any other necessity. This goes hand in hand with masturbation, and how most people nowadays resort to it. It’s an itch that needs to be scratched, and one that holds priority over most others, in some cases. After all, we humans are ultimately controlled by those hungers, and they drive us to do things we might originally not want to do.

So, the question is, what if we want something “perverted”? Something that regular society deems unholy, disgusting, and immoral? What if this hunger is so powerful that it leads us to commit acts of violence, to rape, murder, and even worse?

From anyone who hasn’t suffered through those types of hunger, the mere thought of such an act might be enough to cause physical nausea, but to those actually feeling that hunger?

It’s more powerful than any pain you can experience.

I’m not saying I have such desires, but some people do. And when your deepest, most intense want is not satisfied, but instead stepped on by society, what do you do? How does that affect the way you think and act?

If kept uncontrolled, it can lead to the destruction of many, many lives.

At most, I want to express my understanding for those going through these intense psychological dilemmas, and aim to pose an alternative that many people don’t really think about:

Drawn and animated pornography.

For those not familiar, perhaps the thought of it has caused some level of confusion, disdain or even disgust. This is due to how tainted our view of sex has become, and how society has imposed rules as to how sex is to be carried out, anything deviating from this standard to be of lewd, perverse, and animalistic qualities.

You can say all you want about homosexuals and how they’re accepted in society, but it’s not a lie when I say that the actual act of homosexual sex is still viewed in a derogatory way by most heterosexual people.

The idea of a man’s penis entering another man’s rear for the sake of sexual pleasure? A woman making her lover scream in delight as she performs cunnilingus? Fucking disgusting man!

I am describing it to this graphic degree to display that I have gotten over this sense of uncomfortable perception, and while I do have my own preferences (I am straight, after all) I can fully understand and accept that these things happen and that for those experiencing them, it’s a blissful and happy existence.

For hundreds of years, heterosexual sex has been hammered into humanity’s subconscious as “the correct way” of having sex. Why? It’s how human reproduction works, it’s a natural law of the world that a male organism has a need to procreate with a female organism. This might be true for beings of lesser intelligence (even if animals have resorted to homosexuality occasionally, although I deem this more of a pure, unadulterated desire to just fuck anything and everything if they’re horny), for us humans, that have given love and sex such an emotional and important position, we are likely to evolve our trains of thought into a more open and new perspective. At least, some of us do.

In the current millennium, younger people have all had a much more available knowledge of the world and how it works, thanks to the internet, books, word of mouth, and an increased sense of information and communication, to a level much grater than ever before. Because of this, the knowledge of different perspectives and alternate mindsets are right there for the taking, and with such young, malleable minds, change is prone to happen, even drastically sometimes.

Teenagers and young adults are in a new age of sexual exploration, one unseen in the world’s history. Because of the internet, people now have the ability to seek their fetish, their one dominating aesthetic pleasantry, the one they want to see the most.

Do you like porn where a 3 foot midget gets dominated by a 6 foot tall, muscular woman? It’s just a click away.

How about drawn porn of your favorite fictional girl, but now they have a penis for some reason! Hell, there’s a whole genre of drawings with that twist: Futanari.

Oh! Ok, what about turning food products and turning it into hot guys, and then having them fuck each other while being swallowed by a regular sized guy? That can’t exist, right? Yes, yes it does. And there’s probably someone paying some amount of money so more of it can be created, and of higher quality.

Well, then how about child pornography?

This is where I imagine most of you reading (probably all of you, if I’m being realistic) took a step back. “Ok, the joke stops here. You can say all you want about those other types, since they’re funny, but child porn is not a source of comedy.”

It is true that child pornography is something which I 100% do not abide by. It causes the children involved to suffer through an unhealthy, potentially traumatic experience, and taints their views of sex as something greedy, abusive and overbearing. That is the truth and there is no excuse for those committing acts of sexual violence towards children or anyone in general.

But that’s the thing: that’s if they’re actually committing it.

If you’re willing to hear me out, I want to propose a different perspective. It’s challenging, yes, it’s unlike anything you’ve probably heard, and I’m sure I’m one of very few to defend such things, but that’s why I write, people. I do it because sometimes, you need to step out of your comfort bubbles and view life a little differently.

While I am completely against the creation of actual, physical child pornography (with actual human children in them), the creation of animated, drawn, and virtual child pornography is something which I am completely in favor of.

Why do I say this? Let me explain.

Pedophiles are seen as the lowest scum of humanity. Murderers, rapists, and sometimes even the embodiment of evil himself, Adolf Hitler, get put above pedophiles in terms of social standings. If you ask anyone on the street what are the worst people on earth, I can guarantee you that the majority will think of pedophiles first (if Donald Trump doesn’t pop into their minds, but that’s a whole other can of worms).

In the most regular stance, yes, it would make sense why they would be so universally vilified, since they take something so pure, so innocent and so beloved, and see it with hungry, sexual eyes, turning a child into an object of carnal pleasure.

But what if I told you that you are more similar to a pedophile than you think? That the sexual attraction to children is nothing more than another taste, another fetish? That it’s the same as any physical aspect of another person you find attractive, but instead of mature people, it’s children?

This is about the point where anyone arguing with me digs up scientific “proof” that pedophilia is something that is objectively worse than anything else, with such reasons as:

  • 1. Pedophiles are that way because of past traumatic experiences, therefore pedophilia is a mental disease and should be cured.
  • 2. Pedophiles have a need to physically control and abuse children in order to be fully satisfied, because males are a psychologically dominant species, so they require an excessive level of need for control over people, and that is amplified by pedophilia.
  • 3. Pedophiles objectify and sexualize children, and therefore this train of thought is left uncured, the idea of children as sex objects could potentially become an accepted reality.
  • 4. The fact that there are pedophiles means that eventually children will suffer, since there is always going to be another pedophile actively looking to kidnap, rape, and murder children.
  • 5. By allowing them to exist, we invite the glorification of pedophilia and increase the potential chance of a crime actually committing.

So, as I am, I will be going point for point and debunking these arguments, and why, ultimately, a middle ground can be achieved.

  • 1. As is the truth for most things, the fact that pedophiles might become sexually attracted to children in the first place is dependent on the person, as every experience is different, and people can have more than one reason for liking something. I’ve spoken online with, and listened to recorded tapes of pedophiles who simply feel attracted to the aesthetic of children, purely in an attractive sense. It’s probably safe to say that most attraction is based off of this, and since preference from one aspect of the human body to the other does not have to do with trauma or past experience all the time, but due to random, genetic chance, it’s fully acceptable as simply another taste. For example, I am attracted to women with flat chests/small breasts. Why? I can tell you it’s not because I was assaulted by big breasts one time and it traumatized me.
  • 2. While it is true that males tend to be more physically dominant towards women in relationships, this is purely due to the nature of the male, and therefore has no direct effect on pedophilia at all. It’s merely a small side effect of being a man, and also a natural desire, that you might want to overpower small, defenseless being and dominate it. This has been true for the entirety of human existence, and even though it can affect pedophiles into criminal action, the same can be said of males who are attracted to adult females, only to end up raping them too. It’s something that affects all males to an extent, so the only course of action would be to exterminate all men on earth, which would be the end of humanity as we know it. Also, there are many cases of female pedophiles, both heterosexual and homosexual. So it isn’t an exclusive attraction just to males.
  • 3. The idea of sexualized children becoming an accepted social custom is so impossible, it’s bafflingly hilarious. It will never happen, not with the society that we live in, since people will continue to enforce against criminal activity. Pedophiles are a niche, their numbers are insignificant compared to other sexual deviancies. It would only ever be contained within that niche, those interested in it searching in their own ways and probably never telling anyone about it. It would be the same as watching animated porn, something people do, but not something people discuss with other people outside of the internet and it’s anonymity.
  • 4. By this logic, we might as well outlaw anything that has ever caused any harm or foul in the entire history of mankind. Cars? They kill people, so cars should be banned. Electricity? People die from electric shock all the time. You could use the argument that these inventions are overall beneficial to humanity. Ok, then how about movies? There have been lots of cases where movies have influenced people to commit crimes. Everything ever conceived or created has killed at least one person directly (except for marihuana. It’s true, look it up). So why consider all pedophiles as criminals before they ever commit any crime, or even if they don’t have the capacity to commit any crime? There are pedophiles out there not interested in searching for and kidnapping real children. They enjoy their animated porn just like any other person with a fetish.
  • 5. As with the 3rd response, the glorification of pedophilia is something that pedophiles will never do. They simply to not have the power to change such laws, and even implying a law that would directly cause harm to children will never happen, at least not publicly. If it is going to happen, it’s going to be because of normal pop culture glorifying over-sexualization while also condemning educational sex. Why do you think girls in their preteens are acting the way they are? Because they don’t get taught about sex, but they get told about it, by people who don’t have a firm grasp of positive sexual experiences.

So there we go, I have debunked the arguments, and while they are solid, they ultimately prove to be weak, judgmentally fueled and baseless.

And finally, after all this ranting, all this insane writing, I finally arrive to my final point. People, I’m almost done.

I have mentioned it sparsely throughout this whole essay, but now is when I’m going to fully reveal it. The answer that fixes all of this, and ultimately improves the lives of everyone involved: Legal animated and drawn child pornography.

Because adult animated porn is already legal. There’s no point in actually trying to prove it’s benefits since it already is legal. What isn’t legal is animated child porn.

And shouldn’t it be? Here are it’s benefits:

  • A mitigator between the real world and the 2D one. A pedophile would be able to commission from his favorite artist, about a very specific and exaggerated niche fetish he has, and he would be much more satisfied than with the risk of committing an actual crime. The real world isn’t ideal, and when idealism can be bought, it will be. This will make it so crimes of this nature will decrease, since those looking for those kinds of acts will be satisfied and contained by this pornography, and move further away from actual children.
  • As artists, people can be paid for their work and be able to afford living expenses, food, and many other useful things they need in their life. A person willing to pay an amount for a particular taste he was, will pay for it, and those being paid are being affected positively. Already artists that used to draw child porn are getting arrested, banned and had their work destroyed and discontinued. They can’t work anymore and many of them have expressed resentment against this baffling treatment against a form of entertainment.
  • A new educational system, one that teaches people about all types of sexual deviancy, so that eventually, a mutual understanding can be reached, and no longer are people persecuted for not doing anything to anyone, but simply for having a preference.
  • If you’re worried about children accidentally coming across it online, simply put all of it behind a paywall. Make it only available through active purchasing so that less of it is seen in the regular, free internet.

It’s as simple as that, people.

Criminal pedophiles are to be sent to prison for their damage to another human life. Anyone who commits crimes with the desire to directly hurt or destroy another should be reprimanded and punished. But if that’s never the case, if the desire is simply to be at peace with the tastes you enjoy, how is that a crime? Can’t we, as humans, come to an agreement and understand that everyone has important, singular desires? We can all come together to change how this world acts upon those who have not done anything wrong. Those who simply live and want to let live.

I hope that at least, with my words, I have made you think about something from a different perspective.

Thank you for reading.