Category Archives: Eureka Seven

Everything Great About “Life is Strange”

Contains spoilers for Life is Strange.

Everything great about Life is Strange (in no particular order):

A Protagonist Who Isn’t Ellen Page

Ellen Page accuses ‘The Last of Us’ developers of ‘ripping off’ her likeness

Image result for the last of us ellie
The Last of Us (2014)
Image result for beyond two souls
Beyond: Two Souls (2013)

I have nothing against Ellen Page. I think she’s a good actress.

But: She seems to be the go-to woman when making movie-esque video games.

Which is why: I’m glad Life is Strange is blazing its own trail by — as far as I know — having a protagonist not based on a real person.

Image result for life is strange max
Max Caulfield

Choices That Matter

Whenever I heard this…

…a chill went down my spine. Even when (I thought) I’d made the most compassionate choice possible. I didn’t know how my choice could come back to haunt me. But it just might! Anything was possible when I saw that butterfly.

Not every action has consequences…

Image result for life is strange choices

…but the ones that do caused existential panic.

Image result for life is strange choices

Thank you, Life is Strange, for making me ask myself What am I doing with my life?

The Setting

Living on the west coast, the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, made me see my home in a new light, and appreciate it more.

As someone who is currently itching to put home in their rearview mirror and go out into the wide world…

…it did me good to realize that there is more to my home than I had previously thought.

On a related note: Against the Cult of Travel, or What Everyone Gets Wrong About the Hobbit

Lately, just sitting back and listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack reminds me that, currently, I’m exactly where I need to be.

That’s another thing that’s great about Life is Strange: The chances the game gives Max — and, thus, you — to just stop, sit, and think.

Image result for life is strange max's nightmare

Complexity

There is a lot of grey in Life is Strange.

Choices that I thought were right, and made with the best of intentions, came back to haunt me.

Image result for life is strange choices

Choices that I didn’t think much of at the time had consequences I didn’t imagine.

Image result for life is strange choices

And characters who, at first glance, I thought I had all figured out, revealed sides to themselves that made me go “Wait. What?”

Image result for life is strange taylor

I believe in good and evil.

But good and evil isn’t always as easy to tell apart as black and white. And I’m glad that Life is Strange acknowledges that reality.

Related image

Love

I’m glad that Max’s and Chloe’s relationship isn’t romantic.

Unless you allow it to be:

Related image

The reason I say that is: There is no shortage of stories about romantic love between two people. The first story that comes to mind is Titanic (1997).

Related image

And so I’m glad Life is Strange‘s story can revolve around a platonic — i.e., non-sexual –relationship between two people: Former best friends Max and Chloe.

Image result for life is strange max and chloe

Because: I feel like not a lot of love stories do that — explore love from a non-sexual perspective.

Image result for max life is strange you are all that matters to me

Tough Love

Near the end of Chapter 3, Chloe and Max get into a fight after a revelation about Chloe’s missing friend Rachel Amber.

I’m glad Life is Strange gave me the option to tell Chloe “Grow up. You’re not the only one with problems.”

This is why: I’ve run across a lot of people saying Chloe isn’t a good person. And such a view is justified. For example: Chloe asks Max to steal money from a fund for handicapped students so that she can pay off a debt to a drug dealer.

But the reason actions like that ultimately don’t bother me is: I don’t have to stand for it.

I can put my foot down and basically say “Chloe, you’re out of control.” Whether or not Chloe will listen to me is another matter. But at least I can make it crystal clear where I stand on her life choices.

Image result for life is strange max and chloe

Max’s Nightmare

Max’s nightmare in Chapter 5 is one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen.

Related image

Part of me is too scared to play through it again. At night, at least.

But another part of me wants to play it again purely for the sake of playing the Stranger Things theme as I navigate the endless hallway:

Image result for life is strange max's nightmare gif

This Scene

The Soundtrack

The more I listen to it, the more the Life is Strange soundtrack becomes one of my favorites.

For example:

Twists And Turns

“Predictable” is not the word I would to describe Life is Strange.

It’s the kind of story that made me think I’ve been playing for almost 4 hours, but this chapter isn’t going to finish itself!

It’s one of the few series I’ve binge-watched/played. (The others are: Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Eureka Seven.)

Image result for i don't need sleep i need answers meme

And lastly:

The Ending

Chloe’s realization at the end of Chapter 5 is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.

0:00 — 3:26:

It’s one of the reasons that I don’t believe the world needs more “Christian movies”…

Image result for war room dvd Image result for god's not dead dvd Image result for kirk cameron saving christmas

…the world just needs more goodness, truth, and beauty. No matter where that goodness, truth, and beauty comes from.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8

A man’s thoughts on “A Day Without a Woman”

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equality, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.
~  Women’s March website

Having recently learned about A Day Without a Woman, I have to say:

I’m disappointed.

This is why:

Women and minorities fear for their safety in a Christian-majority nation.

Image result for how much of the us population is christian

Christianity — the religion that says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28

‘Whatever you did to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.’
~ Matthew 25:40

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner…
~ Exodus 22:21

Why?

Why, in a nation that, judging by demographics, is supposed to exemplify Christian values, do people feel the need to remind themselves that their lives matter?

Because:

Many Christians aren’t acting in the image of Christ like they’re supposed to.

Christ — the man who said:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
~ John 8:7

Image result for jesus the woman caught in adultery

I support the women who march for the acknowledgement of their inherent dignity.

poster15

I just wish a march wasn’t necessary to acknowledge that which is obvious:

Women are awesome.

Image result for renton and eureka gif

How Can I Forgive Myself?

How can I forgive myself?

That’s the question I’m asking myself as I research college classes to take.

I hope to be returning to college this fall to study screenwriting.

And yet I can’t stop thinking about my previous experience at college…

During my second semester, I took classes that, I realized too late, I wasn’t prepared to take. In addition, for at least a week, I was as sick as I have ever been. (With what, and for what reason, I don’t know.)

As the semester ended, as it became clear that college, for the time being, wasn’t the place for me, and that there was nothing I could do to salvage my grades, the worst aspect of myself reared its ugly head — my anger.

I’ve struggled with anger since I was in Kindergarten. It’s just in my nature to, when stressed, instead of breaking down crying, get pissed.

I lashed out at people who were only trying to help — treated people like disposable objects: means to an end.

Then I came home and have been able to get my head on straight.

I couldn’t say exactly how, but I feel I am a different person now than I was when I came home almost 3 years ago.

There is more I wish I had done during my nearly 3 years home. But, as a whole, I feel that my time home has been good for me.

For example: I was able to accomplish a dream of mine: Establish a presence online.

This blog.

A place where, I hope, people always feel that their voice is heard. And if their voice isn’t heard — if I refuse to speak to them or refuse to allow them to speak by deleting their comment(s) — at the very least they know why. (If they want to know why.)

As corny as it might sound, I want my blog to be a Safe Space: An imperfect light in the darkness that is this imperfect world.

But:

For all that I feel I have accomplished and all the growth as a person that I feel I have gone through, I still find it hard to forgive myself for having to drop out of college, and for the way I treated people who were only trying to help: People who, circumstances being what they are, I am unable to reach.

I’ve accepted that me dropping out of college is something I’m never going to be OK with — it’s like Frodo’s wound from the Morgul blade in The Lord of the Rings: It’s a wound that will never fully heal.

I feel like Eureka:

Renton: “That’s enough.”

Eureka: “It is not! It is not enough…”

1:43 — 1:50:

One more thought:

Readers of this blog know that I write about nudity a lot.

The reason why is because I see the act of getting naked as more than the act of taking off clothes.

When I undress, I feel that I am doing more than taking off my clothes. I am “taking off” my doubt, fear, and regret, too. I am returning to the state of being that, as a Catholic, I believe God meant for not just me, but for every person: Naked without shame. (Genesis 2:15)

I’m not saying that getting naked is the be-all and end-all solution to my struggle to forgive myself. It’s not. And I never thought it was. But: I do believe that it is a step in the right direction.

Clothes always, eventually, have to come back on. But: When I’m naked, I feel that I am more able to be the person God wants me to be. Whoever that may be.

Which is why I always liked the below scene in Sword Art Online. I don’t want to consider it fanservice, because I consider it more than that. In Suguha, I see myself. A person struggling to know, and do, what is right. A person who sees taking off their clothes as a means of stripping away the negative aspects of themselves — their doubt, their fear — in order to say to themselves “___ is who I am. And ___ is who I am meant to be.”

Those are just some thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head, wanting to get out.

Thank you for reading.

Image result for where must we go we who wander this wasteland

Celebrating the March For Life

On January 27th is the annual March For Life. A celebration of the humanity of those in the womb.

Image result for ultrasound

I won’t be able to go to any of the rallies happening around the country. But since I’m in the mood right now, I’m going to point out examples, in popular culture, of the dignity of life.

Here I go:

“…there is honor in facing an enemy on the battlefield, but none in killing him in his mother’s womb.”
~Barristan Selmy, A Game of Thrones, page 353

Image result for a game of thrones book cover

“Human beings are really amazing. I mean, you can actually carry a whole new life inside of you.”
~Eureka, Eureka Seven

No automatic alt text available.

Image result for osono kiki's delivery service
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

LOL!!! :)

(Why include this scene from Battlestar Galactica? Because: The future of two races is hanging in the balance.)

Why I Am Writing “I Have Found It”

For almost 3 weeks, I’ve been writing a short story called “I Have Found It.”

“I Have Found It” — Chapter 1

With this post, I wanted to explain how I see “I Have Found It” — I wanted to explain why the story is the way it is.

Now:

Why is the main character named “Eureka”?

Eureka is the name of the love interest in my favorite anime, Eureka Seven.

Image result for eureka eureka seven

There is so much that I admire about Eureka. And when I was thinking of what I wanted my main character to be like, I thought I want her to be like Eureka.

The two have the same names, and do share one other trait — a desire to be “emotionally naked”: open and honest with themselves and others — but that is where their similarities end.

How did I decide who Eureka is?

Eureka from Eureka Seven was one source of inspiration.

When creating Eureka, I mostly drew from my own experiences. For example: Eureka wants to be naked. And being naked is something that I have done twice:

My Experience Being Naked

Getting Naked

In “I Have Found It,” I wanted to convey the experiences I had during those two times, to help describe what Eureka goes through when she is naked.

Another example of drawing from my own life: During my second semester of college, for a week I was as sick as I have ever been, and afterwards, for a few weeks, had to use an inhaler because I had trouble breathing. It negatively effected my grades and was, overall, to put it lightly, a bummer. I don’t know what I was sick with, or why I got sick.

One bad semester. That’s all it took. Hard classes and illness ended my dream before I could make it begin.
~Chapter 5

My third source of inspiration for Eureka is fellow blogger sunshine lou.

Her post Naked vibes are good vibes — where she describes the peace and freedom that being naked gives her — made me think Her story needs to be told.

What I mean when I say “Her story needs to be told,” is this:

After reading a number of sunshine lou‘s posts, I felt that I needed to do what I could to make people aware that 1) There are people who go naked, 2) People go naked for good, wholesome reasons (a person isn’t weird or scary for choosing to be naked), 3) The human body isn’t to be feared, but understood, and 4) Being naked can teach you about yourself and the world.

I wrote “I Have Found It” to say:

“Here is a person who wants to be naked. Don’t judge her. Understand her.”

Is “I Have Found It” supposed to make a person want to get naked?

“I Have Found It” is about a character who spends a lot of time thinking about her nudity — why she wants to be naked, where she wants to be naked, and what being naked will mean for her, her faith, and her family.

Eureka recently came home from college, after dropping out because illness and bad grades made continuing her education impossible. And now, feeling like life is passing her by as she spends her days at home, not knowing where to go or what to do now that her dream of a college education has been smashed, she is trying to find a new inner balance.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve applied for a job. I’m helping my parents with their work. I’m not being lazy. But… It’s not enough. I’m not enough.
~Chapter 5

Which is where being naked comes along.

One day, undressing in order to shower, Eureka decides to, instead of stepping in the tub, step into the hallway. Walking around her apartment naked is an eye-opening experience for her: When she is naked, Eureka doesn’t see her apartment the same way that she sees it when she is clothed. And that change of perspective — that new way of looking at her life — is what Eureka feels she needs in order to break out of the rut that she finds herself in.

“When I’m naked, I feel like I’m as you created me to be, God. I’m humbled. I see myself, and I see the world, with new eyes. I finally feel like I can understand myself better. When I take off my clothes, I feel like I’m taking off whatever it was that stopped me from being who I wanted to be.”
~Chapter 5

It is not my intent to tell people “You should see the world like Eureka does.” My intent is to, as best as I can, tell a story about a point a woman is at in her life.

Is “I Have Found It” an anti-abortion story?

There is a “pro-life” theme that runs throughout “I Have Found It.” What I mean when I say that, is this:

As a result of an embarrassing accident in the middle of sex, Eureka finds herself confronted with the reality that, thanks to the man’s seed not ending up where it’s supposed to, a potential life has been snuffed out — instead of ending up in the warm, safe place that is Eureka’s womb, what could have, after 9 months, become Eureka’s kid, is ending up in the dark, cold place that is the sewer.

Eureka is anti-abortion (pro-life) in the sense that she acknowledges that what would have ended up in her womb is not just  “a clump of cells.” It is something that, given 9 months, will come out of her as a fully-formed human being.

Image result for ultrasound

So, to answer the question “Is ‘I Have Found It’ an anti-abortion story?” I’ll repeat what I said above:

It is not my intent to tell people “You should see the world like Eureka does.” My intent is to, as best as I can, tell a story about a point a woman is at in her life.

For a moment, on the tip of my finger, was what could have become my kid…
~Chapter 2

Conclusion

Feedback is welcome on this post and any of my other posts.

Thank you for reading.

Have a good day.

“Giving All” And “Getting Some”: How Anime Appeals To The Best – And Worst – In Men

Months ago, I wrote a post defending kawaii — cuteness in the context of Japanese popular culture.

Today, I would like to expand on that.

In Appreciating The Impossible Beauty of Anime Women, I said:

Anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and long, colorful hair, are trying to make a person go “Cute!”

On the other hand:

Anime characters, with their big breasts, perfectly-shaped butts, and slim waists, are trying to get a person aroused.

The reason why I said this is because I believe that anime is trying to appeal to a man’s two strongest desires at the same time. Anime is trying to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some,” and a man’s desire to “give all.”

One reason to enjoy a film like Despicable Me (2010) — which, just for the record, isn’t an anime — is because, in Gru, we see a man “giving all.” We see a man giving up the comfortable, bachelor-esque life of villainhood in order to pursue a higher calling: Fatherhood.

Far from being something that drags him down and breaks him, fatherhood is what allows Gru to live up to his full potential — to be more than he ever imagined.

In anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and youthful bodies…

Image result for eureka eureka seven sword23

…we men see beings that, like Gru’s girls, we instinctively want to protect and respect — beings we instinctively want to “give all” for.

What man wouldn’t want to be Renton, flying off in a giant fighting mecha in order to save the life of the woman he loves?

Image result for renton and eureka kiss

What man wouldn’t want to live in peace with the woman he loves, in the house the two of them bought?

Image result for asuna and kirito house

Gru’s love for his girls is a different kind of love than Renton’s love for Eureka or Kirito’s love for Asuna, but the principle is the same: Love is driving a man to do more, and be more, than he ever imagined.

On a side note:

Another, non-anime example of how love drives a man (0:58 — 1:08):

Regarding how anime tries to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some”:

One example:

Shots, like this one from Sword Art Online, can make a man want to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing:

sword27

Concealment creates secrecy. “A secret,” a man’s body says, “that must be revealed.”

The desire to “reveal the secret” — to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing — can drive a man to do horrible things.

Despair3

In conclusion:

Is kawaii ultimately a good thing or bad thing?

Image result for thinking anime girl

I would say: “It depends.”

On the one hand:

Kawaii can inspire a person to be more than they ever thought possible.

On the other hand:

Kawaii can cause a person to treat others as less than they are.

Celebrating Beauty: Day 1 – Eureka

Inspired by TheOriginalPhoenixThimblerig’s Ark, and Sunshine Lou, every day until Christmas, I’m going to write about one example of beauty that I have found, in order to counter the darkness that I see when I turn on the news.

Day 1, I am celebrating:

Eureka, from the anime series Eureka Seven.

Related image

There is so much I love about Eureka, that one post couldn’t do her justice. So I’ll try and give you the short version:

Eureka exemplifies a lot of the qualities that I admire in others and am working to cultivate in myself.

For example: As Eureka learns what it means to be human, she becomes more open and honest with her feelings. She isn’t afraid to say “I’m scared,” or “I don’t know what to do.”

0:40 — 1:50:

I’ve heard people dismiss this “Please save me!” attitude as weakness. But, I believe that it’s one of Eureka’s greatest sources of strength.

Eureka isn’t afraid to tear down her walls. To leave herself vulnerable in order to better understand herself, and better understand how the people in her life feel about her. That takes courage.

Image result for eureka seven don't you want me

In the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson, a couple are given a button by a stranger and told that, if they press it, a person they don’t know will die and they’ll get $50,000.

Eventually, the wife gives in to the temptation to press the button. Later, she gets a phone call informing her that her husband died in a train crash, and that she is now in possession of his life insurance money.

When the wife confronts the stranger, the stranger replies: “Did you really think you knew your husband?”

My point is this:

If you pressed that button, Eureka wouldn’t be the one to die. Eureka wants to know that you know her.

Eureka’s emotional nakedness is the reason that, today, I am celebrating her.

Image result for eureka seven eureka smiling

To end this post:

Eureka’s words to her adopted son, Maurice, in episode 45, “Don’t You Want Me?”:

“You don’t like your mamma ’cause she looks like this? It’s mamma’s smile. Do you hate it that I smiled after I took the life of your real mamma? I would understand if you did, because even if you decided to hate me forever… mamma loves you, Maurice. That’s why I don’t want you to go through what I had to go through, feeling regret every minute of my life.”

eureka-17