Tag Archives: Neo

An AoE Grab Bag

You may have noticed that our content sections (Politics & Society for example) have been replaced with column titles. As part of a reformat, we’re moving The Cool Ship to a more author-focused approach to writing, set around a person theme or interest. In my case, I’ve commandeered “Area Of Effect” to tackle the space between politics, social structures, and escapism.

But since there was little in the way of geek related politics (unless you count how FUBAR Black Friday was), this week, I have three other things that deserve some attention. And since it’s my column, I’m going to write about all of them!

Missed Effect, Or Why Halo 4 Is The New Mass Effect

Something about the Halo 4 story (LOL, I know, who cares about the story?!?!) has been sitting weird with me. It was less like combat evolved and more like a reaper invasion.

For all the graphics improvements and combat upgrades (and you do get a lot of both), Master Chief has always been an enhanced dude in a suite of armor fighting aliens. He was never fated to be a Shepard or Neo.

And yet, it’s revealed in Halo 4 that Chief is actually an eventuality built into the human race after it took a beating from the Forerunners the first time it traveled to the stars. That’s right, humans have already been in space. We covered a huge swath of the galaxy until terrible aliens wiped out our civilizations and reset us to the stone age a la KOTOR, Mass Effect, and The Matrix Reloaded.

More than that, we’re destined to assume “the mantle” of what I assume is stewardship of the galaxy… or something. Can’t tell since words like promethium, forerunner, mantle, reclaimer, and on and on and on are thrown around, and I don’t remember a lot of what happened in Halo 3.

What I do recall from the previous game is that there wasn’t a singular, hardass alien villain that’s trying to re-annihilate human civilization by getting a bunch of Macguffins. *Cough Saren * And he has the crazy space armor that everyone, everywhere in Mass Effect wears.

He even narrates your fights with bullshit metaphors and wordy prose that are supposed to sound highbrow and elegant, but make no f****ing sense.

Watch the legendary ending, and listen to the shit he says:

In this hour of victory we taste only defeat. I ask why. We are Forerunners; guardians of all that exists [except humanity, apparently]. The roots of the galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun towards which all intelligence blossoms. 

And on and on he goes. What is he actually saying here? That the forerunners are better than humans even though they lost? That we got tricked and we’ll see in Halo 5? I don’t know, but using a paragraph that says nothing makes you sound dumb. And it’s something reapers did all the time when trash talking Shepard in ME 3.

Cost In Translation

I hate most anime. I used to love it as a teen, but now, I think it’s all awful. And I haven’t been able to put my finger on it until this week. For some reason, I purchased the first Vampire Hunter D novel on my Kindle and read it all in like two days. I recalled being fond of the movies as a teen, but reading a novel translated from Japanese to English makes one realize that some shit just doesn’t come across the language barrier easily.

Instead of trying to describe, I’ve found one of the many passages that made me, literally, roll my eyes while reading.

 The boy galloped off like the spirit of life itself. Doris turned to the still prone D and said, “Thank you. I know it’s the iron law of Hunters that they won’t lift a finger for anything but dealing with their prey. I’d be in a no position to complain no matter how you turned him down. You did it without hurting him… and he loves you like a big brother.”

“But I do refuse.”

“I know. Aside from you job itself, I won’t ask any more of you – what you said to him just now will do fine. I’ll handle my own problems. And the sooner you get your work finished the better.”

“Fine.” Not surprisingly, D’s voice was emotionless and bitterly cold.

Couple things. First, “galloped off like the spirit of life itself?” What the hell? Second, Doris is thanking this vampire hunter for lying to her brother about defending her from the villagers who are going to arrest her. How is that cool? How is it ok to lie to a child’s face about saving his sister?

Also, he’s totally lying about lying because he goes out, without hesitation, like three pages later and defends her from the mob. And he threatens to kill everyone in the village over it in the second act.

Apparently, Dan loves the hunter like a brother… but they met less than 24 hours ago. The dude literally met the kid yesterday afternoon. What is going on? Every page is a litany of awful phrases that could be replaced with a common phrase.

The killing lust in Larmica’s eyes was like a heat ray that flew at Doris’ face. Not to be outdone, Doris met it with a shower of sparks from her own hatred.

Um… what? The guy translating this does know English, right? Do you get these kinds of techniques from the Stephanie Myer school of writing?

And it occurred to me that a lot of this kind of clumsy translating comes across in anime as well. Granted, I also hate that every anime character has to explain their motivations to everyone – even and especially in mid-fight. Sometimes I just want people to do things and work it out for myself.

But the clunky translations are what really kill the genre for me. I think we need to get a place where translators imply cultural equivalents for the ideas and concepts the characters are screaming at each other, while they are hitting power level 1,000,000 or whatever. If J.K. Rowling can change a philosopher’s stone into a sorcerer’s stone for an audience that speaks the language she wrote the book in, can we get some of these translators to take these ideas we have no cultural context for and make them make sense?

Putting the DELETE in CTRL+ALT+DEL

This weekend, a web comic I’ve been reading for six years ended. Author and artist Tim Buckley concluded a near decade of character-driven narrative (interspersed with random gamer jokes and other oddities) with a definitive ending for his protagonist, Ethan, and supporting characters as part of a comic “reboot.”

Read the explanation here.

Mr. Buckley has, at times, been polarizing for his comic’s content, not the least of which included a story arc where Ethan’s wife has a miscarriage. Penny Arcade and others certainly do hate him for his work, but he’s been able to make a career out of a web comic…which is pretty impressive.

I thought it was worth mentioning because I’ve never seen that from a web comic before. And arguably, after 10 years, it was a more conclusive ending than Smallville.

If you can stand reading jokes about the original release of WoW or Half Life 2, I’d suggest going back and reading some of the series.

[[Featured Image from: http://www.zerochan.net/77223  ]]

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Keanu Wants You To Know That He Knows Kung Fu. Well…Sort Of.


Keanu says “Look at my hands!” [source: handson.provocateuse.com]

Whether you like him or not, just know that I don’t care what you think about him. I like Keanu Reeves. And in my honest opinion, he’s a fine actor and has done some amazing work. Yes, he has had his fair share of flops, but every actor has (I’m talking to you, Cage). So think what you want, it’s not going to sway my opinion.

With that being said, I’d like to quote The Matrix:

Neo: I know Kung Fu.

Morpheus: Show me.

And, if you’ve seen the film, he did show you that he knew Kung Fu. Or at least, the stylized Hollywood version of it.

Well now it seems he wants to continue to show you that he knows Kung Fu or some form of martial arts. He has two films set to release in the not-so-distant future, one directed by Keanu, both starring him, and both are martial arts films.

[source: Wikipedia.com]

The first is called 47 Ronina fictional re-telling of the real life story of the fourty-seven ronin. The story goes that a band of samurai, totaling 47, set out to avenge the murder of their master. Keanu plays one of those samurai. Yes, you heard me right, he plays one the samurai in the film. I was boggled by this as well, but then I thought that maybe his character would be like Tom Cruise’s character from The Last Samurai (which, by the way, is an outstanding flick) and I was okay with it. I didn’t know the story of the fourty-seven samurai before researching this film, so I wasn’t sure who his character was or how he actually fit into the story. Then I saw this on Wikipedia about his character, Kai:

“an outcast who joins the group of Samurai. Reeves’s character is half-Japanese and half-British; the character was created for the film.”

A-ha! He wasn’t even part of the original story. Someone was just like “Hey, let’s create a whole new character so Keanu can be in it. Who cares about historical accuracy? Psssh!” Or something of that nature, I’m sure. So now I’m kinda iffy about this film since Keanu isn’t depicting an actual samurai. I’ll probably still go see it. It is about samurai after all. Oh, and it’s in 3D!

[source: filmraps.blogspot.com]

The next film is entitled Man of Tai Chi.“In Beijing, a young martial artist’s skill places him in position to experience opportunities and sacrifices.” (via IMDB). Kinda vague, IMDB.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this film. I mean, it’s Keanu directing and supposedly starring in a martial arts film. Is he the “young martial artist”? IMDB and Wikipedia offer no clue as to what his part might be. [Editor’s note: He’s not playing the “young martial artist,” this guy is.] I was a bit worried the The Matrix had finally got to him and he thought he might actually be Neo. Needless to say, I was a bit skeptical. But then I saw this:

The concept is what sold me on this film. Using that sweet 360-degree rotating camera to get angles and views from the fight scene that they would normally have to create with CGI is a phenomenal idea. No more hokey-looking fight scenes done in bad CGI a la the second and third Matrix films and Blade 2. This could be really, really good. It could also be awful, but judging by the video, I think not. And the two guys from the video are actual martial artists, not Hollywood-types who have been loosely trained, so that’s a good sign.

I’m still a bit skeptical about both films, but I’m willing to give my boy Keanu the benefit of the doubt. I mean, they can’t as bad as the last Matrix film, right?

What do you think?

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