We're watching an awesome anime at anime night with s_c's brother lately called Dear Brother that takes being a high-school freshman in a "sorority" and makes it the! most! dramatic! thing! that ever! happened!!! Which I love. As long as a show is good, then by god, make it as dramatic as you possibly can. Aaaaand, since I was a high-school freshman once, I can attest (as I'd wager most/all of you could, too!) that being a high-school freshman girl really DOES feel that dramatic, so it's kind of ... extra realistic, in that way.

I voted today. Man, voting is so cool. I was disappointed recently to see that my favorite rock star said, or at least used to say, that voting doesn't matter, but damn, if fandom hasn't shown me how much it does. I may not be able to make our show win an online poll or the cover of a magazine ... but I know my fandom can do it, which is all of us doing our part, all of us together, voting. (And I know some of you have individually had a significant impact on certain voting situations where one is allowed to vote as often as one wants!) I say, if you think voting doesn't matter, look at all these people in the highest current and former positions in government, carefully deciding and then announcing their choice. They believe their vote matters. And their vote has exactly the same weight as yours. I fucking love voting, doing my part, learning what's going on in my community and being part of deciding how we go forward. All these people who take democracy for granted. It's not for granted, dammit! It's a precious right. Exercise it.

I think I'm the only person I've seen who liked 12.2 as much as they liked 12.1? I thought it was great. YASSS, Rick Springfield--sexy AND such impressive acting! More of him, please! Sexy sexy Jared in the sexy sexy sex scene. Of course the consent issue is cruel, but I am a bit surprised that a fandom that so loves their dubcon and noncon in fic is so bothered by it in show. Toni is over-the-top evil, which is kind of tiresome (I preferred her now-dead cohort in 12.1--a more interesting character by far), and yeah, Dean could've been happier to see Sam, but I suppose the number of times he's been dragged into a room to see his brother tied up and bloody has worn down his sense of surprise, maybe, and he kind of already had a lot going on what with mom being back in the picture and all. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they're dealing with both boys so desperately needing a mother, Sam's adorable eagerness just to begin to get to know her in that scene at the end, arrrrghhh. THERE'S SO MUCH FIC THERE, in mother and children getting to know each other as adults, having missed all the time in between, but I haven't been able to find a fic in it to write just yet. I want to see where show goes with it first, I guess, hoping they'll do it right and get out of it all that can be got. Mary really is the only thing that could heal either of those boys now, and god, how I want to see that happen! YAY SHOW!!
For my previous February Fandom Fest entry, I wrote about the anime I love so much that I have an icon dedicated to it (my default).

This time, I'm going to write about the other anime I love so much that I made some icons dedicated to it: Darker Than Black.

Like Princess Tutu, Darker Than Black has a small but rabid fanbase, and this is because it is completely awesome. All the anime fans I know with whom I've discussed the show weren't too impressed. Criticisms I've read described it as "bad scifi," to which I say either they watched it in English (the English dub, while well-acted, is so badly written as to have changed script, characters, everything that makes the show great, rendering a wonderfully multi-dimensional show flat, so please please, watch in Japanese!), or they didn't get that there is nothing literal about anything going on; it's entirely allegory. The oracle who reads the stars in poetry might have tipped 'em off about that, but anyway, /rant.

For starters, this show on the surface couldn't be more polar opposite of Princess Tutu. Brutal, bloody (it does a fair job of living up to its name), taking place in a slightly altered modern-day reality of the seedy underbelly of Tokyo, specifically focusing on the employees of a crime syndicate (and, occasionally, the cops who try to stop them, and more commonly, competing crime syndicates or other bad guys involved in bad things), Darker Than Black is a far cry from fairy tales and ballet and romantic intrigue and Mr. Cat. Look a little beneath the surface, though, and you'll get a window into themes I guess I just have a thing for ... and that many of us have a thing for, I'd guess, because it has a lot in common with SPN, as you shall see.

The basic story is that main character Hei (all the main characters in this crime syndicate have Chinese names, and Hei, at least, poses as affable Chinese exchange student "Li") is one of many "contractors" who appeared in Tokyo after a big blast (it turns out Hei was at ground zero but survived) caused all the stars to change. The stars each now represent various contractors, which are people who now have some kind of special ability (which can usually be used as a weapon; Hei's is the power to electrocute), but have to pay for using the ability with some compulsion (some better than others; this person has to sing, that one has to dog-ear pages, but d'oh, one guy has to break his own fingers--did I mention the show is quite brutal?), hence the "contract." When a contractor uses their power, their star shines more brightly, and when they die, their star falls. (Again, people who are trying to make this show into scifi, it's a metaphor!)

Another kind of person was created along with contractors (although they're quite rare; most people stay the same as they ever were, and in fact the government tries to keep people from finding out about contractors): "dolls," who are devoid of emotional response or evident personal will or volition, and have the ability to send their spirits out via various materials (glass in one case, water in another) and thereby "clairvoyantly" see what's happening someplace. This is, naturally, another skill valuable for use by crime syndicates, who regularly hire both dolls and contractors, because people who became contractors also had a big emotional change; basically they're sociopaths, completely self-serving and more or less indifferent to the suffering of others.

But this is all just the brilliant structure that made possible the exploration of all the different facets of the scenario and the wonderful characters at the heart of the story. The first season (of two--24 episodes in the first season, and only 12 in the second--I literally cried when I realized the other discs in my S2 collection were a Blu-Ray version of what I'd already watched and I didn't have a full 24 eps to watch, because the show is THAT GOOD) is carefully constructed in pairs of episodes each dedicated to exploring one of the main characters and their backstory, or some aspect of the plot, some aspect of contractors, etc.

The writing is amazing, the characters are fantastic, the metaphors are rich and deep, the angst and feels are intense.

Gifs and more text under cut. )

... made fascinating and complex as you see a fragile relationship develop between him and beautiful, vulnerable blind doll Yin (also employed by their crime syndicate), who can only see in her clairvoyant spirit form. Female detective Kirihara relentlessly hunts ruthless contractor Hei (he wears a mask when he does his dirty work, so she's never seen his face), but considers sweet Li-kun a good friend. A hapless private investigator (and his anime-lovin assistant who gets the hots for Hei) notices Li at the scene of many of the situations he's hired to investigate, but dismisses it as mere coincidence, thinking he solved the investigation thoroughly, when--just like Sam and Dean are always doing when law enforcement think their own cops took care of it--Hei is really the one getting to the heart of it and bringing it to resolution.

This is that rare show that came up with a brilliant concept and really did everything with it, played out its every facet, all while pursuing a fascinating mystery, in both seasons (and keeping things a little mysterious by the end, because again people, the point is not the science, it's the allegory!!).

So, to sum up, it's got everything: it's dark, it's funny, it's brutal, it's tender, it's realistic, it's metaphorical, it's sexy, it's deep, it's scientific, it's spiritual, it's clever, it's silly. If you're into character and allegory and sexiness and depth, this is your show.
Now that there are actual online tools you can use to make gifs (originally typed "figs"), I've gotten so into making them! Especially icons. Here's today's (gif, not icon), of the wonderful, inimitable, [broken up], MCR. Lyrics from this song.



GIFS!!!

That is all.
The happiest of birthdays to the gal who's a big part of what keeps us going and having fun around here.

We've been talking a lot about music lately, specifically (early) '80s music and our shared love for it. I was there for it, she wasn't.

So I made this playlist for you, Milly. Imagine you and I and [livejournal.com profile] septembers_coda are all hanging around together sometime circa 1985 and it's a really, REALLY good day on MTV. This is what we would watch:



Or, if you'd rather watch it on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0iv-zWyvE9iM-nnQQiafdUr93bjGeJke

A few notes. )

I could literally talk for posts upon posts about each of these songs and everything they meant to me, then and now. So if anyone wants to start up a conversation in the comments on such subjects, by all means, do so! I'd love to hear anyone's memories of MTV or their favorite songs of the era or their favorite videos; anything.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MILLY_GAL! I hope you enjoy your gift.
I can't seem to find words about David Bowie yet. How can you sum up a being and an artist like that?

But I did want to share this with y'all, because DAYUM did the man know how to take a picture.



Article here.
Is it my imagination, or does Omundson get hotter every day?



But the hands, too! Guuhhh ...
Happy, happy birthday to the inestimable [livejournal.com profile] septembers_coda, mod extraordinaire of [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker, best friend, and all-around wonderful human being. I'm so happy I got to go through life with you. <3 <3


Here is Sam, impatiently awaiting an invitation to your birthday party!

Now here are some special birthday pics and gifs I am sure you will enjoy under the cut. )

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
MISHA TOUCHED ME! He touched me. And he squeezed me REEEAAAAL tight.

He touched me.
So, this band I'm completely obsessed with. Once upon a time, they had a very active bandom, lots of fanfic. There's a pair of brothers in the band, so they even have a -cest ship! But the most popular ship is between the singer and the guitarist (both straight and now married--to women), and they're so hot together, and it's SO GREAT because you don't have to invest in one of those expensive tin hats or read a whole lot into it (though just a bit of websurfing showed there are fans who still manage); they just put it all right out there for ya.
No need for subtext; straight-up text will do. )

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