Inspiration Post VIII

Picture curtesy of Snow-Pictures.com

Picture curtesy of Snow-Pictures.com

It snowed very heavily last week, as if someone were trying to make up for the lack of winter in the past couple of years. I hate snow.

Deviant Art                 Judgment by Sandara

Song                             (Miss)understood by Ayumi Hamasaki

Song II                         Lacrymosa by Evanescence

Subject                         Effects of Solitary Confinement on Mental Health

                                      Effects of Solitary Confinement on Mental Health II

Subject II                     Forced Labor of Germans after WWII

Book                             The Pit and The Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe

Manga                          D. Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino

Writing Prompt          Write a dialogue in which one of your character is in a

confessions booth.

What do they have to confess? What would they hide?

If they aren’t Catholic, why are they there?

Deviant Art Pose       Pose Study 11 by Kate-FoX

Plant                                   Elderberries

Pilate went outside again and said to the people “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thornes and the purple robe. And Pilote said, “Here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priest aand Temple guardsbegan shouting “Crucify! Crucify!”

“You crucify him,” Pilote said. “I find him not guilty.”

John 19: 4-7

Character Spotlight ~ Kannagi

I don't remember where I got this... Sorry

I don’t remember where I got this… Sorry

I’m going to write this based on the manga as I’m not a fan of the anime. Arata Kangatari is a story about Arata, a boy from 21st century Japan who switches places with a boy from a fictional world called Amawakuni where he finds himself on the run as a fugitive accused of “Himeou’s” murder. For all intents and purposes Himeou is the government in this story. Each of her guardians or “shinshou” owns a “hayagami” which allows them each a different power that she keeps them from abusing. This Spotlight is about Kannagi, the initial antagonist of the manga. Let’s all look at his track record.

  • Attempted to murder Himeou (Who looks like a young child)
  • Blamed the attempted murder on Arata
  • Threatened Kotoha in order to flush him out (A teenage girl)
  • Sent Arata to Gatoya (A prison where human rights are nonexistent)
  • Other stuff that the reader finds out about later

To top off this list, he’s a good deal older than he looks, by about a hundred years at least. Obviously there’s nothing good to say about Kannagi at the beginning of the manga. But no one’s trying to fool you into thinking that he’s a decent human being either. Predictably he ends up joining Arata’s group… after being cut down to size. Of course this wasn’t Arata’s doing. This was one of the other shinshou, Akashi.

While Kannagi is busy wrongfully prosecuting and hunting down Arata, Akashi kills all of his workers, destroys his house and starts decides to torture him until he forks over rights to use his Hayagami because you need the target’s consent to take their hayagami. You can’ just kill them and take it. If they die the Hayagami picks a new user on its own.

Arata started acting all main charactery and stepped in to intervene. Akashi laughs, taunts and leaves. Kannagi takes the first chance to attack Arata anyway. Yet after this Arata still thinks he should join them. Kannagi beats him up, but joins anyway.

He doesn’t change when he first joins them. He’s about as obvious in his intentions as Starscream from Transformers.

In terms of character I compare him to Kadowaki. Kadowaki is almost a complete opposite in terms of his actions. He started out as Arata’s friend. In middle school they got along great until some event of really minor importance bruised Kadowaki’s ego.

Apparently this little bump to his ego was more important than his friendship with Arata ever was because rather than tell him that he was insulted he ran a whole campaign of making his life miserable. He spread rumors about him. He vandalized his desk and locker and pretty soon he had plenty of helpers that had little else to do but harass Arata by doing stuff like dumping trash on him.

Of course, we’re supposed to feel sorry for Kadowaki because his mother left him and his father slaps him for saying stuff that he deserved to be slapped for saying. This guy has such desperation to hang on to his own self inflated ego there’s no low he won’t stoop to for it. There’s so much self pity going on it emanates from the pages as you read. How do you get to killing innocent people over an incident that happened on your track team in middle school? Kadowaki was everything I expected Kannagi to be, and then less.

I initially disliked Kannagi but I got used to him being there. I still don’t like him. I still think he’s a jerk. But the character spotlight is more how the character works in the story.

At no point is his past used to excuse his actions. It shows it as why he does it but there’s no  “It’ must be so hard for you,” or other backwards logic that seems to hang around Kadowaki. Kannagi’s motivations are explained but not excused.

As the series went on he gained some respect for Arata and humility. He also admitted to the fact that he was the one who attacked Himeou and not Arata and he genuinely has his back even though he makes the occasional joke about betraying him that no one takes seriously anymore. In short, Kannagi is a good example of someone letting go of their ego and learning to respect those around him.

He’s not likeable but he doesn’t come on too strong and he completes the show. Every main character needs a right hand man.

Next character is Squid Girl.

Inspiration Post V

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Today is Veteran’s day!

Deviant Art         Mikasa by Alicexz

Subject I              Military Ranking

Subject II             History of the AK-47

Song                      Ash Like Snow by The Brilliant Green

Song II                  Conqueror by Mali Music

Reading                 War and the Soul

                               (I read this book at the library, so that’s always an option.)

Manga                   Shingeki no Kyojin by Isayama Hajime

Plant                      Garlic Chives

Picture Courtesy of Growingherbsforbeginners.com

Picture Courtesy of Growingherbsforbeginners.com

                                An invasive culinary plant that seeds in the Autumn

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13: 7

Character Spotlight ~ Jack Carter

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Jack Carter is the average-Joe sheriff in a town where everyone else is a genius. I’m quite used to seeing the opposite of this premise and being terribly unimpressed with it. The TV Genius is often a guy who speaks in sesquipedalian loquaciousness that hides simple but inaccurate formulas that if written in plain English could be disproved by a third grader.

I will admit that they have taken creative liberties in Eureka. However, they did this after showing their work and in cases where the plot hinged on it. They didn’t just throw out a “Reverse the polarity” in every episode to fix the problem.

I will admit, for some geniuses, they come up with some really horrible ideas but their genius is in their ability to execute the idea. Foresight is another area entirely. Foresight doesn’t get you an extra number on the IQ test. But Jack Carter isn’t one of these geniuses, he’s just the guy that cleans up after them, the sheriff.

Obviously, he is an audience stand in. I usually find these irritating. I prefer people just make a character. I’ve never seen an audience stand in I could relate to and it’s not because I’m black and female. It’s because I’m not there for other people to project their logic and opinions on to me which an audience stand in is frequently for. Jack Carter’s got his own opinions and his situation is relatable for me. I’m the below average child of “Mensa qualified” geniuses. Jack is a guy with an IQ score of 111 in a town where everyone else is Mensa level. (The Mensa cut off is 132.)

This is why Jack has trouble getting people to take him seriously as sheriff initially and when some part of their invention has gone wrong. He doesn’t understand their jobs or how most of the stuff works until you explain it to him in layman’s terms so people figure “Well if you don’t understand that much, you probably don’t know how it works,” or “I’m way smarter than you. How could you possibly correct me?” Fortunately, most of the main cast doesn’t act like that or it would make the show unwatchable.

In fact the characters that actually matter don’t see the intelligence difference as some huge divide between them understanding each other or being able to relate. They even treat him like a human being. And eventually they have a great deal of respect for him as he’s saved them from turning the town into a crater on several occasions with surprisingly simple solutions to the complicated problems they create.

My favorite example of this would be the time that Fargo accidentally set a nuclear bomb to head over to Russia via satellite and after spending the whole episode getting the answer out of the inventor who now had Alzheimer’s another one started up with a ten minute countdown. Cue the panicking. Jack might have been panicking himself. He rammed his jeep into it to change its course so it never reached the satellite that would have redirected it to Russia and started a nuclear war.

I probably wouldn’t have done that. I would have been under the impression that a bomb made to withstand exiting and entering the atmosphere before detonating upon its landing would have blown slam up from being rammed with a jeep. Of course, wording it like that might have dispelled the thought for me.

I don’t know the age of Jack Carter but it’s clear that his life didn’t just begin as the show started. He’s been in law enforement before. He’s been married and divorced before and he has a teenage daughter from that marriage who actually has her own character development and is a part of his life.

Even though she is a teenage delinquent in the beginning which must be embarrassing when you’re the sheriff, she’s just doing it for the attention and eventually shapes up. I saw a shift in her character when she refused alcohol from her aunt (the adult in the situation) on the grounds that it was illegal and she’d been taught better. It’s eventually found that she is every bit as smart as the others in Eureka and she gets into Harvard.

Of course the timeline for that may vary. Jack goes through several different timelines yet he always tries to create a safe place of semi-predictability. This safe, normal life is taken from him over and over again as inventions malfunction, people misuse power and their own intelligence and time pushes them in and out of the temporal paradox more than once.

Surely, by the end of the show he knows that he’s never going to find it, that things are never going to be normal that even when he settles down into one life he can wake up at the beginning of those four years or in an alternate timeline where Allison is still married to Stark and his daughter is in jail instead of college. Yet, in spite of this, he always keeps a spark of optimism that pushes him to keep trying even when everything he’e done can be snatched up from under him in an instant. Optimism is a good trait to have in a main character. 

My next character spot light is going to be on Rinoa Heartily from FinalFantasy VIII.

Inspiration Post IV

Picture courtesy of rural-revolution.com

Picture courtesy of rural-revolution.com

I seem to be on time today. This week’s Theme is Creativity.  I hear it’s National Write Month. I’m going to have to look into that.

Deviant Art         Light by GunnerRomantic

Subject                 Hypergraphia

Subject II             Surrealism

Song                      Sakura Drops by Ayumi Hamasaki

Manga                  Arata Kangatari

Plant                      American Beech Tree

“Can you hold back the movement of the stars? Are you able to restrain the Pleiades or Orion? Can you ensure the proper sequence of seasons or guide the constellation of the bear with her cubs across the heavens?”

~Job 38: 31-32

Character Spotlight – Shi-Woon Lee

the-breaker-new-waves-1528537I was disappointed when I started reading the Breaker and found out that Shi Woon was the main character instead of Chun Woo… It’s never a good sign when you think of Shinji Ikari from the original Evangelion anime.  Shi Woon was a wreck. He was beat up in school by a Chang Ho and his group, quite frequently.

His mother was too busy for his problems and his father was out of the picture. His childhood friend, Saehee was also a tad dense and unaware that these people fighting him in a four against one fight were not his friends whom he had a falling out with.

Eventually Chang Ho overplays his hand by demanding Shi Woon pimp out Saehee to him. Shi Woon even optimistically pondered that he might not do anything to her on the same school grounds where he and his group beat him up with no interference. But when it came down to it the answer was no. In fact, that was the last straw.

From that time he decided he was done being stepped on by Chang Ho and his groupies and that he was going to have to do what had to be done and after fighting back and losing, blackmailing His temporary English teacher Chun Woo into teaching him how to fight with some inconvenient footage of him in a bar fight seemed like a great option.

Chun Woo warns him several times that he doesn’t want what he’s asking for. I don’t think he became a substitute teacher at that school just to get in that other lady teacher’s pants.

But despite the obvious red flags Shi Woon follows Chun Woo anyway because he’s at the lowest point of his life he’s ever been in and he’s not thinking like a person in a normal state of mind. He just wants what he wants. This was not an easy process even with “dying will” in the form of a horse pill called the “Illwallsindan.”

Shi Woon has a surprising amount of nerve and he just gets bolder and bolder and he has to be. He has less room to let his guard down even after he learns how to fight.

Chun Woo was really vague about what the Murim was (as in didn’t tell him until after the fact) so Shi Woon got in a lot of trouble in a town that was practically crawling with Murim people. It doesn’t help that some people can’t keep a secret. I mean when your coworkers jump up all “Nine Arts Dragon! How are ya?” and no one wants to say why you’re called that, it gets suspicious… except to Shi Woon because he has to learn the hard way not to be so trusting of people.

But it’s hard to teach him. He has his own will and he is very stubborn. Even with the times he’s told “If you do that, you’re going to die,” or “there’s no way you can…” he does it anyway and even if he loses the dialogue in some variation of the following.

“I’ve been doing martial arts my whole life. This kid who’s been training less than a year and flattened an army of people with more training than him has no chance.”

“He blocked that! How could he with (Insert handicap here?)”

“I can’t believe I must use (Insert secret technique here) against a mere kid. “

“There’s no way he survived…”

“He’s alive?”

“Holy $#!+”

“How did he?”

“Phew! I nearly got my butt handed to me by a novice!”

Now as the reader I don’t even pat attention to the “Warnings” he gets. He’s already weighed his decision of “I know there’s a high probability of death but nobody lives forever and a coward dies a thousand times before their death.”

Besides, he recovers really quickly from injuries that would otherwise be crippling. He seems quite aware of this. What does he have to fear?

I like that they made being the nice guy work for him when he lives in a dog-eat-dog world that steps on people like him. He’s not a character I can relate to or understand well but I respect him as a main character for being out to do the right thing when there are so many easy ways out. Doing the right thing is what a hero needs to be about. If you don’t care what the right thing is, you’re not a hero. You’re just the main character.

~~~~~

This was actually the most difficult one to write. I guess it’s because of how long the series has been running and I’m trying not to spoil anything either. Unlike Zelda where if you click on something about Midna, chances are you know who she is and you beat the game. That’s how us Zelda players are sometimes.

Next week’s character Spotlight is Jack Carter from Eureka. I don’t watch much TV but I liked that show.

Inspiration Post I

Cactus Dahlia

I’m going with an October theme for the month… even though I’m posting these every Tuesday.

Deviant Art           Black Dragon by Sandara

Subject                 The Sedlec Ossuary

Song                      Show Me Love (Not A Dream) by Utada Hikaru

It’s on Youtube (for now) but if anyone knows

where to buy it please tell me.

Manga                   Cradle of Monsters by Sanbe Kei (Poseidon with zombies)

Plant                      Cactus Dahlia (In bloom June through October)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the king’s privilege to uncover it.”

Proverbs 25:2