militarypenguin: (SJ - Ashi smiling gently)
Summary: Post-series. Ashi goes on a spiritual journey.
Content warnings: Exploration of death and existential angst.
Notes: Written for Jashi Week: Saving Saturday.

From the moment she summoned the power of Aku's essence flowing in her veins to form the time portal, Ashi knew she would not last in the Samurai's time. )
militarypenguin: (SJ - wolf friend)
Summary: A morning view like no other.
Content warnings: None.
Notes: Written for Jashi Week: Feudal Friday.

He stepped quietly into Ashi’s room where she was curled up in her futon, sleeping. )
militarypenguin: (SJ - surprised Ashi)
Summary: AU taking place during “Jack is Naked”; Ashi is a recurring assassin of Jack’s who finds herself in a situation where she may need to get intimate with her enemy before killing him.
Content warnings: None.
Notes: Written for Jashi Week: Wardrobe Wednesday.

Ashi summoned her kusarigama and peeked from behind the curtain to focus her gaze on her target.  )
militarypenguin: (SJ - you're next)
Summary: AU. Aku is a town legend embraced by the local high school. His lore inspires the creation of a band called the Daughters of Aku, and a student with a great loathing of him who nonetheless becomes infatuated with one of the band members.
Content warnings: None.
Notes: Written for Jashi Week: Timeless Tuesday.

Their school mascot was supposed to have been an eagle, but from the discussion whispered amongst students to the sheer amount of projects on display depicting the subject in question, it'd be easy to guess it was the demonic dragon-like creature called Aku instead. )
militarypenguin: (SJ - bloody Ashi)
Summary: Jack and Ashi aren't through with their inner demons yet. Takes place after episode XCVIII.
Content warnings: Violence, intrusive thoughts, suicidal thoughts.
Notes: Written for Jashi Week: Morbid Monday.

The journey to Aku had been peaceful one thus far, but unease stirred within the hearts of the two travelers. )
militarypenguin: (SJ - happy Ashi)
Give me a fandom, a character/pairing, and a cheesy cliche, and I will write a short fic. The cheesier the cliche, the better!
militarypenguin: (SJ - memories)
Summary: Ashi revisits the marketplace. Takes place in an indeterminate time between episodes XCIX and C. Jack/Ashi.
Content warnings: None, just some good old-fashioned fluff.
Notes: Special thanks to Annie for being my beta!

The marketplace was as colorful and bustling with life as it had been when she first visited it with Jack. )
militarypenguin: (Ace Attorney - handshake)
I've browsed through my Ace Attorney tag on LJ and, according to one of the entries, I finished the first game on June 17th, 2007, making today its tenth anniversary. I'm not sure what day was the day I "officially" joined the fandom, or what even qualifies as "joining" a fandom (is it expressing interest in the product? is it making fan material for it? It's still a mystery to me), but I think it's fair to mark today as the day that I've been in it for a decade.

There's been a number of fandoms I've joined over a decade ago, many of which are still important to me today, but I have to make a special mention for Ace Attorney. Not only is it the fandom I've been the most persistently involved in, but, well, it's probably the one that's changed my life the most. There's been many, many life-changing works I've encountered and will continue to encounter, but this is the one that helped me to clarify a lot about myself and shape the person I aspired to be. Through playing the games, through writing fanfiction, I learned so much about myself, and I think I learned a great deal about others as well. And it's given me so, so many good memories, I've no idea where to begin.

I suppose it's odd, because it isn't as though Ace Attorney is a deeply psychological work or character study (this is the franchise where you interrogate a parrot), though it certainly dabbles in those topics. Yet, I've seen others who've been similarly affected by it as I have. As corny as it may sound, maybe the franchise revealed a few Psyche-Locks within our own hearts in need of breaking that we didn't know we had.

Thank you for the memories, Ace Attorney. Here's looking to ten more years of it.

(It still feels weird to call it “Ace Attorney” and not “Phoenix Wright.”)
militarypenguin: (SU - I miss her)
I'm going to be leaving for work soon, and this has been weighing on me, so I'm writing this out in hopes of lifting at least some of the weight off my shoulders.

This is related to Samurai Jack, but it's happened for me in virtually every fandom of an ongoing/airing series (Steven Universe is another big one). I get into the series, I get excited and happy over it, and then a big, game-changing story development happens that fans will either vehemently agree or disagree with. And I get anxious over the ones who disagree. It's not that they have "wrong" points or anything of the sort (and I've certainly been in the position where I've disagreed with story developments in the past, so it's not as though I'm trying to condemn them), I just have a problem where I absorb negativity like a sponge and carry it with me for the rest of the day, while anticipating more negative reactions. I get so nervous I physically shake and feel ill for a long duration of time. The worst part is, I'm not even actively digging through fandom for this stuff--I keep a safe distance between myself and it so I can enjoy it to the fullest. But because I frequent microblogging sites like Twitter and Tumblr, it's nigh impossible to avoid it because anyone can bring it up at any time.

(And dammit, I also don't want to miss out on all the cool fanart! That's why I still stick to those sites.)

It happens, over and over again, and I think at this point I may just stick to checking out completed series rather than ongoing ones. I may miss out on some of the excitement but it's seriously not worth the potential anxiety I'll go through. It sucks to hear the announcement of a series' continuation and having that feeling of joy followed up with "Oh no, what if other people hate it though." It shouldn't matter, I know, my thoughts and opinions are my own and no other different opinions can change that, but I don't exactly have an on/off button for my anxiety, and I feel this is the best way to "treat" it.

I'll still be following the series I'm currently following, I'm too invested to drop and watch them when they've finished, but as far as recs for continuing series are concerned, I'm going to give a tentative pass for my mental health's sake.
militarypenguin: (SJ - hop)
I’d been thinking about one of the reasons I love Jack as a character is because he never mocks or looks down on customs, cultures, or speech patterns he doesn’t understand (provided it’s one that’s not harming others, of course). He may express some confusion over it, but he’ll always do his best to respect these customs and even adopt them into his own lifestyle. This makes perfect sense for his character, considering he’s been trained and raised in a wide variety of different cultures.

My personal favorite instance of this, however, is in “Jack Learns To Jump Good,” when he meets the Monkey Man who uses the titular episode’s phrase “jump good.” Jack never tries to correct the man’s grammar or even question it, even when he seems baffled by it. Instead, he takes the phrase into his own vocabulary, never changing it into something more fitting of his speech pattern (such as “jump well” or “jump high”). It’s a phrase he shows deep respect and pride for when using, both because it refers to a valuable ability he learned, and to honor the tribe’s way of living and speaking. It’s a very admirable and endearing character trait.

The main reason I’m bringing all this up, however, is because of this excerpt from one of the Samurai Jack books (The Legend Begins):

All this time I thought he went by “Jack” because he needed to think up a quick name to hide his true identity (to protect his family, because it’s the key to something important, something of the sort). And it turns out to be because he takes the street lingo of these kids to heart and wants to cherish it and Jack I love you.
militarypenguin: (SJ - cricket)
Give me a fandom and I'll tell you:

1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed
militarypenguin: (SJ - Jack)
Some of the most resonating demonstrations of altruism come from instances where one’s altruism isn’t required.

We see it in “Jack in Space,” where Jack gives up the chance of going back to save the lives of the scientists, as well as in “Jack Tales,” where he has his one and only chance at a magic wish to go back, and instead uses it to free the fairy who was going to grant it. Neither of these instances required Jack to put himself before others, because his travel to the past would ultimately undo any of the misfortunes that befall these individuals in the future. But he does, because it’s in his nature and the values he was raised with to be a compassionate and good person.

With such tales of altruism, there’s often the unanswered, haunting question of, “Am I a bad person if I’m not willing to make that act?” The former tales don’t entertain this line of thought, but there is the implied lesson of the importance in placing others’ needs above your own. A good moral to be sure, but how far should one go before one begins to neglect the care of oneself? (Especially when it’s, you know, preventing you from going home and undoing a cosmic evil.)

Enter “Jack, the Monks, and the Ancient Master’s Son.”

Read more... )
militarypenguin: (:^|)
Before I get into what I thought of the film, I think it best to begin by explaining my own relationship with the animated film it's based on (here on out going to be referred to as "the original," because while that's not an accurate descriptor--it's one of many adaptations of the story--it's the easiest way to refer to it shorthandedly). Mine isn't too different from anyone else's--I think it's one of Disney's greatest works (animated or otherwise), and one that I believe gets more impressive with age. The live-action movie was going to have a hard act to follow (not to mention the sheer concept of sentient moving objects is something that's arguably going to translate better to a fully-animated film), but not an impossible one--the Broadway version does it on a regular basis, after all.

Read more... )
militarypenguin: (Zero Escape - safety first)
I loved this movie. I saw it a second time today both to itch the scratch that wanted to see it again, and to double-check and see if I really did love it. To clarify the latter point: on my first viewing I seemed to be...determined? to love it, despite the many critics I trusted handwaving it as a mediocre rental-only viewing. But something about this movie grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I saw it and then whoops that only tightened its grip on me. I was completely sucked in from beginning to end and that didn't change on a second viewing--in fact, there were times throughout my second viewing where I needed to use the restroom but opted to wait it out, even though I already knew how the scene would play out.

Unlike many critics, even those who enjoyed the film, the movie didn't ever overstay its welcome for me. If anything, it left me wanting more. I'm chomping at the bit for a novelization or an art book or something to quench my thirst (...very purposefully chosen phrasing of words) for more material until the home release where it'll hopefully have some decent extras. I've seen many speculate that this may become a cult classic, and I really hope so because I am dying to discuss it and view others' interpretations of it.

It's disgusting and beautiful and endlessly compelling and absolutely not for everyone (dental horror, body horror, animal death, suicide, incest, and attempted rape are among some of the potentially upsetting subject matter). For me, it hit all of the right buttons hard, and I'm seriously considering a third viewing.
militarypenguin: (ToV - Yuri)
I’ve been watching Hercules: The Legendary Journeys since it’s leaving Netflix the 31st and it was a title that had been on my watch list for a while. I’ve been loving a lot so far; camp fantasy is my favorite kind of camp, and it’s more than fulfilled the quota.

What I like most about the show, however, is Hercules himself. Aside from being a pleasant, all-around likable guy, he’s surprisingly refreshing as a protagonist in a lot of ways.

The way it approaches the character seems standard at first, to the point it was kind of laughable to me--Hercules has his family killed off in order to fuel his angst and kick off his long tale of revenge against the one responsible for their deaths. Seen it done and deconstructed endlessly, but I was ready to give this one a go because it was an earlier effort and, as I said, I’m a sucker for camp fantasy. Except Hercules’s big epic revenge quest ends prematurely and permanently in the first episode. He learns his family is living peacefully in the afterlife, realizes just how little he’d be accomplishing in carrying out a revenge that might mean something to him but would mean nothing to them, and decides to lead a fulfilling life of helping others and doing good deeds instead-- something he knows they want and would be of meaning for them.

Hercules’s good deeds aren’t something snore at, either. While fighting monsters and defending the helpless would be more than enough to carry the show, and it does indulge in it, it also adopts a mature approach to Hercules’s character, focusing on his thoughtfulness and heart over his brawn. He only engages in fights out of self-defense, and still prefers to talk things out in the end. He swallows his pride and acknowledges when he’s wrong. He’s called a softy by one of the characters, to which he shrugs and accepts. He’s shy about sex, turning down far more requests than he does accept of even the most conventionally attractive of women, and expresses that he only wants to do it with someone he truly loves. He’ll hear out a criminal’s words of sentimentality before passing judgment on them. He respects and prioritizes the agency of others in making important decisions over himself making what he thinks are those “right” decisions for them. The one time he does implicitly make a decision for someone he loves, it ends up costing them their life, and when he’s given a chance to redo it, he lets them go, even if it means them living a life happily without him.

What’s really noteworthy about Hercules’s inner morality, however, is how deep his compassion runs when he approaches grief experienced by others. He's never patronizing when talking them through it; he’s frank, yet gentle. In one instance, a boy tells him “You've been through [the loss of a loved one] before, and you know nothing you say will comfort me.” and instead of frantically coming up with empty words of comfort, Hercules instead, very matter-of-factly, says he’s right. In another instance, when with a girl who’s lost her family, she tells him "I want to believe someday that the pain will go away. But I don't" to which he gives a sobering reply of "I won't lie to you. It gets better, but it never goes away." It’s really admirable how much he cares for people, but it’s even more admirable that he cares how people feel, allows them the catharsis of airing out their feelings, and understands how important it is to experience and express even the most painful, vulnerable kinds of feelings.

I didn’t come into this show with high expectations on a writing level, and while the show itself (as of season 3 at least, which I just finished) clearly prides itself more on being an enjoyable romp than something to be felt and thought about on a deeper level, I was pleasantly surprised by how this product of the 90s, a time where things were far less self-aware of storytelling tropes than they are now, handled what could have been little more than Not Another Male Power Fantasy character.
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