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Utena: Crumbling Castle

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Self-Harm]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 38: "End of the World"

Zettai unmei!! We get one more! Utena opens the rose gate and, at the end of the song, takes Anthy's hand. A walkway appears and we see a decorative orb materialize upon which sits Prince Dios. Akio walks out and confirms he's the End of the World but says he's also her prince and the reason she came here. [Kissmate: "Ha! He's wrong and this 'memory' isn't right. He still doesn't have her figured out. She didn't come here for him. She came here for Anthy."]

Utena demands to know what he's doing with the school and making everyone duel. Akio says all he dreams about is the castle where a prince and princess will live happily ever after, forever and ever. He takes Utena's hand and says he's the prince and she's the princess. At this, Anthy collapses like a ragdoll, and disappears only to reappear at the base of the stairs at Dios' feet. Akio say she's done well not to lose her noble heart, and pulls a sword from her chest and transforms her into a pink Rose Bride dress. [Kissmate: "Wait! Usually the Rose Bride pulls it out of the duelist these days, but he's going back to season one where the duelist pulls it out of the rose bride!"]

Film Corner: Resident Evil 1

Resident Evil 1

KISSMATE: We're starting a brave and bold new project, my dear followers. Ana Mardoll and myself shall be dual-livetweeting a special series of movies. Resident Evil. All Six of them. Grab your sunglasses and cheesy lines, we're going in loaded! A bit of background: I know the games pretty well and know the main actress, Mila Jovovich, was married to Paul Anderson at the time. I haven't heard good reviews on this series (esp from the fans) so I know I'm going into a shark tank without a cage. Let's dive!

Already, the movie starts out like the video games (the newest ones especially). Text that floats across a technological background and talks about Umbrella Corp. and Raccoon City. Not too bad so far! So Umbrella is Amazon. It's everywhere and is almost all powerful. We see someone take a gun full of green science away, while breaking a blue science behind him. This causes a building full of scientists and office workers to be locked down inside. Panic ensues.

Utena: Every Girl a Princess...or Witch

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Self-Harm]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 37: "The One Who Brings The World Revolution"

We open with Utena looking at Anthy in the morning sunlight. Slowly, she takes her ring off and lets it drop. At breakfast, Akio notices that Utena's ring is gone. Utena asks him if he can meet with her after school. She seems chipper than usual.

At the council balcony, Saionji and Touga are on a bicycle together like they were as children. They've received farewell letters from the End of the World. Touga points out that Utena doesn't want to revolutionize the world and Saionji asks if that means Dios' power will remain sealed and the revolution won't happen.

Utena: Every Boy a Prince

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 36: "And Thus Opens The Doorway Of Night "

We recap the Saionji and Touga conversation from last time and how they're all trapped in their coffins. I'm a little sad that Touga didn't tie this back into the baby bird's shell (that it dies in if it doesn't break) but here we are.

Utena and Akio are out riding again. Kissmate notes the body language: Utena is riding side-saddle in Akio's arms, sheltered like a princess but huddled in on herself. She looks smaller and more helpless. He's boxing her in. He says she looks like a princess and pulls her in for a kiss; this time she doesn't resist him the way she did before.

Juri and Miki watch Utena walking across campus and note how she looks like a girl now, the way she walks: small, hesitant steps instead of her usual confident stride. Miki asks if this is a good thing, and Juri asks if he really believes that. She thinks the school is changing and the day of revolution coming, but wonders why she has a vague awful feeling.

Open Thread: Some Birds and Reflections


Picture taken on September 9th.

Sorry for the lack of open thread last week.

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We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Eternal Suffering

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 35: "The Love That Blossomed In Wintertime"

We open with the "once upon a time" spiel, but updated to reflect what we learned in the last episode. Then we're back in Akio's car while he and Touga talk strategy. Akio says the next match will determine who brings revolution to the world.

Utena watches Anthy in the rose garden as we get the sense that memories are starting to trickle back. [Kissmate: "She's holding water--her emotions--and they're suddenly so heavy she has to set them down."] Anthy asks her if she's been dreaming and Utena says she feels like she promised someone something very important. She asks Anthy to let her see her face and almost seems to recognize her until Akio interrupts them to take her for a walk. He asks Anthy if he can steal Utena from her. Anthy smiles and agrees, but her face falls when they leave.

Film Corner: Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water

Kissmate wants me to watch Lady In The Water, which I have avoided because I thought it was a horror movie about drowning. Kissmate has assured me there is no drowning in this one. I'm trying to make heads or tails of this movie description. "A building manager rescues an enigmatic young woman and learns that she is a 'narf', a character from a bedtime story, who is trying to return to her world." WTF is a narf? I thought I was fluent in fairy tales, but this just makes me think of Pinky and the Brain.

I'm a little worried because I see where it very clearly says "M. Night Shyamalan" on the image thumbnail, and Kissmate is treating this like he's about to watch an entertaining trainwreck. I'm pressing 'play' warily. I am worried. We get little stick drawings, like with the rusalka movie. A gruff man tells us that people used to be linked to "those in the water". Mermaids? Rusalka? Shark-people?

Utena: Drama Club

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 34: "The Rose Crest"

Akio tells Anthy as she dresses that he discovered a comet but that he doesn't plan to tell anyone else about it. He won't even name it. [Kissmate: "Didn't he promise to name one after Kanae?"] He says the feeling of discovery is amazing, like he owns it, but that stars belong to no one. [Kissmate: "He's Lucifer, the morning star, so that means *he* belongs to no one and everyone."] Anthy tells him goodnight and he asks if she has to keep torturing him. [Kissmate: "We're only getting slices here because there's things we don't know."] Utena, in bed, promises herself again she's going to become a prince.

The Shadow Girls, in the flesh!, try to convince Utena to join the drama club, promising that all she has to do is show up and people will throw flowers at her. (What was it Akio said about Big Brothers and Princes? They're useless with nothing to do but people feel better when they look at them.) They leave behind a ticket for Utena to attend The Tale of the Rose. Wakaba tells Utena to mark the pictures she likes for the yearbook photos, and Utena points out that Anthy isn't in any of the pictures. Seeing the ticket, Wakaba asks when the school got a drama club.

Utena: Her Nervous Babble

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 33: "The Prince Who Runs Through The Night"

We start with the "once upon a time" starter but everything is different: the monologue occurs over the lights of what look like a carnival with a red ferris wheel. [Kissmate: "The wheel is red, infused with a white light: this is Utena's center of self. She's centered herself around the light of the prince."] Anthy stands in the tower center and looks up at the projected constellations. She's watching all the characters rather than being one herself?

Anthy picks up the phone and says she was looking at the projected stars, that she didn't want to see the real ones. We see Utena stretching while enthusing about how much fun she had at the fair, and how she wishes Anthy could've come with them. I'm unsettled by how we don't see Akio in this scene even though that's clearly who she's talking to. It's like he's not really there with her, and emotionally he isn't. He wanted to separate his sister from Utena because they were getting too close. When he couldn't beat her in the ring, he seduced her in an attempt to extinguish Anthy's love for her. He doesn't care about Utena herself, or the fair, or having fun; he's doing this to keep Anthy alone and dependent on him.

Film Corner: VelociPastor

VelociPastor

I am lying in bed resting my chest (which is still twitchy and I'm a little annoyed at myself for not healing faster, but Kissmate keeps saying Healing Isn't Linear and is threatening to cross-stitch it at me) so it's time for Amazon Prime!

Several folks have asked for this one by name: VelociPastor. "After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a prostitute convinces him to use it to fight crime."

I have many questions, like "do people normally call a priest a pastor?" because those are very different sects of Christianity in my experience, and also questions like "will he be 2 feet tall in dinosaur form?" Please let him be a tiny feral lizard-chicken. The movie opens with screen-text which informs us that it's "Rated X by an all-Christian jury". Kissmate is struggling to breathe.

Utena: The Choice To Break Away

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 32: "The Romance of the Dancing Girls"

Before we start this episode, I want to gush about two things from the last one. One, I really appreciate that Miki was genuinely worried about Nanami when she asked to stay the night at his place and wasn't interested in taking advantage over her like Akio, Touga, and possibly Tsuwabuki. Miki recognized Nanami's request was highly unusual for her, realized that something was wrong, and was actively worried for her, like a good friend and genuinely nice guy. Considering that Miki has struggled in the past with Nice Guy toxic tendencies, this is delightful to me because it shows that people at Ohtori can improve and do better. I'm so proud of Miki.

Two, I love how Nanami is an actual character in this series. It would be so easy to make her the stereotypical "rich bitch", queen bee, socialite with the ho-ho-ho noblewoman's laugh and stop right there. Indeed, it's easy to think that's all she is the first time you go through the series because we've seen that trope so many times before. But it's here in season three that her arc really ramps up and I appreciate that she is the first one to see Akio and Anthy as they really are, laid bare before her. Our last shot of Nanami was of her fleeing in the elevator, still in her nightgown (so scandalous! so inappropriate for Nanami, who always looks her best!), just trying to get as far away as fast as she can. She's seen what Utena won't see for a long time yet to come and I love that Nanami is the narrative vehicle chosen to explore this.

Open Thread: A Storm Rolling In


Picture taken on August 25th.  The rain the storm brought with it was very welcome.  The world was too hot that day.

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We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

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Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

September Newsletter (2020)

September is here and that seems...kind of impossible? We've been in quarantine since March, which feels both forever ago but also yesterday. Kissmate and I have been surviving with the usual ups and downs for this time of year: allergy season, a minor bout of what seemed to be flu but turned out to be more allergies, and existential dread about the upcoming election. The normal stuff!

In writing news, I've figured out that the project I was struggling with is actually two projects, so that's been a big step forward in terms of planning. The second of the two projects is a collection of fairy tales that have been scavenged from the Brothers Grimm and have had queer people added to them. I've spent this week cataloging the collections on Project Gutenberg, tabulating the stories therein, and organizing them by known Aarne-Thompson type. Links, if you find this nerdily fascinating like I do:


The Grimms' stories suss out into several categories, only a few of which are really ripe for this project; the "Animal Tales" are mostly morality fables that either end in everyone gruesomely dead, or learning a moral that would clash with most modern sensibilities, or otherwise just aren't ripe for stuffing with queerness. (I adore the Bremen Town Musicians, but have no idea how to Make It Queer.) So I've been reading through the fables and setting aside which ones are most likely candidates for queering and which are probably not. All this probably sounds like slow going, but it's such a relief to be able to create again, even if it's just making a derivative work rather than a wholly new one.

In other news! We went to the post office today and mailed out books and bookmarks to patrons. If you're in a $5 or more tier and haven't gotten a No Man of Woman Born bookmark, please let me know and I'll mail one out to you! If you're in the $25 or more tier and don't have a copy of No Man of Woman Born, please let me know and I'll sign and mail out one to you. We'll go to the post office at the end of the month (we're trying not to go too often because of covid) so that should give everyone time to message me.

Patreon News

All Patrons: For your live-watching pleasure, we will be posting my-and-Kissmate's watches of the Resident Evil series. The first five movies are, of course, the pinnacle of human endeavor and the greatest art of all time, while the sixth and final film was a load of garbage and potato peels. We had such fun and I hope you will too!

$5+ Patrons: You're going to get some amazing fairy tales this month, I hope. Come hell or high water.

Older Links

My Ramblings Deconstructions: Here.

My YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

My Favorite Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

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Please take care out there. I know a lot of you have had to reduce pledges because covid is hurting employment and housing so much. Please prioritize your own self-care and stay safe. I worry about everyone. Love to you all.

Utena: Not Like Other Girls

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 31: "Her Tragedy"

We open with the beginning of how Utena met her prince, which I find very important in light of the previous episode and Kissmate's theory of why Utena is falling for Akio. In the Kiryuu residence, Nanami answers the phone and says Touga isn't there right now. She smirks when the girl on the other line hangs up, and muses how she's not like other girls: Touga is her brother and she's not just another disposable love interest. Girls on the wall play childish games, illustrating that Nanami is just playing her own childish game.

In the rose garden (an odd place to find him--is he going to be the Rose Bride for this arc?) Touga reassures a girl on the phone that she's the only one for him while he embraces another girl. [Kissmate: "Oh god, he's tending to all the roses."] Nanami watches from the outside looking in. That evening, she is confused by an article about blood type compatibilities, since she and Touga get along so well despite having incompatible blood, but he cuts her off saying he's not interested. He says he's going to take a shower and asks if she'd like to join him. There is a very pregnant pause while Nanami blushes.

Film Corner: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I figured since I'm sick and readying for my husband's surgery in a few days, today would be a great day for a #Kissmatewatches! Today's flick is "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (2017) directed by Luc Besson. I know nothing about this film. I hear it's pretty and the story isn't great. I know it flopped, but for what reason? Badly written characters? Horrible character design? Patriarchal desires to squash a positive feminist or queer film? I guess we'll see!

We start off with the late David Bowie's "Space Oddity" played over a small space station gaining more and more connections and astronauts over the decades until it's more of a space station Lego set put together in the most Frankenstein way. It goes from Americans welcoming other countries to the space station, to welcoming aliens to combine onto the station as well. We see the spreading of time with little year marks and aging/changing of captains. This is the perfect "show don't tell" opening.

Open Thread: Pink on White


With Greenish brown that fades to to orangeish brown.  This picture of a flower that's seen better days was taken on the 25th circa 5:20 PM.

Sorry this is so late.

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We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Sunday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so basically over, but you can still give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Forced to Dance

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 30: "The Barefoot Girl"

Tatsuya talks to Wakaba and he's still a compulsive liar, this time about first kisses. Utena reminisces about Dios and his kiss when she was a little girl.

Akio bakes a cake and the girls enthuse over him. Kissmate notes that Chu-Chu has been associated more with Utena of late. If he's associate with Anthy's emotions, does that mean her thoughts are with Utena these days? Wakaba, and then teachers, pressure Utena to act more like a girl and wear skirts instead of her boy uniform. Akio comes to her rescue, putting his arm around her and guiding her off before telling them to let Utena be more independent.

Utena: Trailing Miracles

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 29: "Azure Paler Than The Sky"

Mind the trigger warnings on this one, okay? It gets pretty intense.

We open with a recap of Ruka dumping Shiori. In the center of the school grounds she causes a scene, clinging to him and begging him not to leave. The campus consensus falls on Ruka's side, as these things are wont to do because of misogyny, and Shiori stops coming to class. Juri continues teaching fencing, and Utena approaches her asking if she isn't worried about Shiori. [Kissmate: "She's almost sitting in a throne while Utena is making her case. ...Oh my god, the chairs are arranged in a love triangle--and she's walking away from it."]

I do love Utena's continued flaw of innocently hurting people. "Don't you care about her?" YES, UTENA, THAT'S THE PROBLEM. [Kissmate: "In an anime about teenagers trying to be adults, she's the childish one but... in a wholesome way?"]

In bed, Utena and Anthy discuss Juri. Anthy says sometimes people do or say things they wouldn't normally. Utena asks if she ever does, and Anthy hesitates. Shiori stalks Ruka by phone while he rides in the car with Touga and Akio. He's hatching a plan to beat Utena that has to do with Juri. A distraught Shiori tells Juri to leave her alone when she checks in on her, saying she only despises her more. In desperation, Juri asks Ruka to take Shiori back--she wants to make her happy. Ruka taunts her, listing Shiori's flaws and asking who would want a girl like that.

Film Corner: Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest

[Content Note: Rape. Did not finish.]

I think I'm well enough today to live-tweet a movie, and I've really wanted to watch EUROVISION on Netflix. Kissmate has never seen the Eurovision song contest, and I've been trying to explain it as an American who only really got into it all about 3 years ago. "It's like normal pop music but with outlandish costumes and special effects, and also sorta like the Doof Wagon from Mad Max Fury Road" was maybe not the BEST way to describe the event.

Okay, we're in Iceland in 1974. I have *no idea* how much Eurovision was a thing in 1974, because I am an ignorant American. Please assume I know nothing. A family watches ABBA singing Waterloo at Eurovision, and a little boy who "misses his mother" is transfixed. Aww! Little Lars and Sigrit dance happily while the family jeers with varying degrees of affection. (Lars' father says he'd "rather be dead" than see his son dance at Eurovision.)

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