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This week's notes include Saturday Night Live, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and all the Kirk/Spock!Prime fic I could get my grubby paws on.


Project Progress

Bond Movies: 100% (23/23)
Saturday Night Live: 10.5% (4/38)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 22.5% (9/40)

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First things first; new Zelda title is on its way. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Ignore the fact that Link looks a little like Kurt Hummel here and focus on what really matters- cel-shaded Twilight Princess and the fact that Link is wearing pants for once in his many lives. What we know- the titular Skyward Sword turns into the Master Sword, and also turns into a girl every once in a while. (...yeah.) Link also lives above the clouds in a wonderful place called Skyloft, but soon discovers that the world below has gone to hell, so obviously he has to go do the hero thing. (Oh, Link.) I'm tentatively calling this as the first Zelda game in the timeline, since it's the origin of the Master Sword. I actually really hope that it also involves an early Hyrule or the origins of Hyrule, but it probably won't. I'm interested to see what this Zelda will look like, but apparently Aonuma is just starting on character design, so that won't be coming anytime soon. (This is partially why I kind of want it to be an early Hyrule game, because barbarian princess Zelda would be awesome and kind of hilarious.) 

I've also started playing Team Fortress 2, which finally came out for Mac last week. I am terrible, but it's actually tons of fun- I was expecting to be a little discouraged by my constant deaths, but that just means more bullets! (I play a lot of Heavy.) 

I finally ordered the issues of The Unwritten that I'm missing, from Things From Another World and eBay. I also discovered that I possess an extra copy of the thirteenth issue, which I will no doubt hoard. I'm also following American Vampire, which I'm thoroughly enjoying.

And this video made me all warm and fuzzy- a gentleman proposes to his lady via hacking Chrono Trigger.

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Gotham City Sirens 4, 5, and 6 make up a very neat and inventive story by Paul Dini- Harley is targeted by the Joker, who is hiding something. There's the girls working together (and against each other a little), a rather playful appearance by the Carpenter, Jenna Duffy, some honestly funny lines, and all the girls kicking ass. There's a panel in Gotham City Sirens 6 that lets you know that Catwoman is, in fact, the head bitch in charge at all times. Paul Dini is awesome.

But, oh my God, the art is killing me.

Look, I'm very thankful for March being one of the few who makes Harley's costume not look ridiculous- the way he does her jester horns alone makes me happy. (It actually looks like she stuffed her pigtails in there!) There's a scene where Harley, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Jenna Duffy are in the car. A joke is made about Harley and the Joker, and the next panel shows everyone's reactions. Their faces are identical, and it's really, really obvious. It's a wonderful look for Poison Ivy, I find- it's alien and exotic while being traditionally sexy at the same time. But it barely works for Catwoman and definitely doesn't work for Harley, which is a shame.
eralkfang: (mpreg does NOT add an intriguing layer t)
This whole thing is making me uncomfortable.

If you don't know what happened, a man named Christopher Handley was arrested for having lolicon and bestiality in his manga collection. He pleaded guilty to "importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex abuse and bestiality", according to the report.

The comics world- especially the Western comics community- is in an uproar over this. I've seen some claim that it's just like 1984, and that people should just start getting rid of any anime or manga that has anything remotely off-color about it. Others use this case's logic to bizarre extremes, foreseeing a ban on any work that contains rape or serial killers. Neil Gaiman has come out in support of Handley, stating his fears that works like Alan Moore's Lost Girls and his own Sandman series could be interpreted as obscene. I love and adore Neil Gaiman, but I have to disagree with him here.

I'm uncomfortable about this situation, but not angry. I don't think Handley deserves a fifteen year prison sentence for this. I think that's wildly overblown, although I do understand where it is coming from. However, it is not as black and white as the comics world appears to think.

Handley was charged under the 2003 Protect Act. The Protect Act outlaws any "drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that... depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct", or "depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging" in extremely explicit conduct. Okay, fairly black and white so far, right? However, the last qualifier is the most important. In order for a work to be considered illegal under the Protect Act, it must "[lack] serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" (emphasis mine).

Alan Moore's Lost Girls has a whole slew of controversy that I can't properly address, but it does mean Neil Gaiman's Sandman series is safe. So is Nakobov's Lolita, which has been brought up far too many times in comments on the case.

Mr. Handley's collection is a bit different. Lolicon is specifically about the depiction of "underaged or childlike female characters... in an erotic manner", according to Wikipedia. In Japan, porn magaziness picked up stories with young girls after Russell Trainer's The Lolita Complex was released in Japan in the early 1970s. This is a genre of work that is mostly illustrated child porn, and makes absolutely no pretense about it. It's mostly legal in Japan- it's not legal in the United States. (And especially not legal in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the Philippines, and Ireland. There's probably a reason for that, people.)

A lot of commentators are whining that because of the art style, this means all women in anime and manga in remotely sexual acts are fair game. Untrue. Despite the art style, it's usually very easy to tell the difference between a little girl and a grown woman in the manga, and, yes, it's mostly breasts. I find that a great deal of the commentators are thinking of the standard Western dilemma concerning being a minor and being of age- someone who is almost of age of consent and can be mistaken for someone legal ("I swear she said she was eighteen!"). Lolicon is very far from being that finicky.

Even manga involving lolicon elements have been turned down for distribution in North America- one series, Kodomo no Jikan, was canceled by Seven Seas Entertainment because, as the president of the company said, "later volumes in the series can not be considered appropriate for the US market by any reasonable standard."

The bottom line is that lolicon is illustrated child porn. And that's illegal in the United States under the Protect Act. Some commentators are making this case into a free speech issue.

I'm a huge supporter of free speech- I'm a writer, for Pete's sake. I wring my hands over writing e-mails to companies if I find their products offensive. They have the right to produce whatever they wish, of course, so should I write, knowing they will ignore my opinion? But I should, so they know there's opposition to their product. And back and forth, and back and forth. It's a little game of ping-pong. In any case, this case is not about free speech. This is a case about child porn. It's not in a very grey area where it could be construed as obscene, it is obscene. It obviously fails the Miller test of obscenity, which is how the United States determines if material cannot be covered by the First Amendment.

Now, I do agree with commentators that possessing lolicon is different than possessing actual photographs of child pornography, and that the court should take that into account. I just want to make it clear that this is not a case that threatens regular comics or regular manga- it's simply enforcing the law.

Other commentators who share my position are also astounded by this uproar and outrage.  Basically, I can't believe I have to tell people that illustrated child porn is illegal in the United States.
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Ugh, allergies. I love spring, but man, I hate my allergies, which randomly spawned last spring, despite my never having had allergies before- not for the first five years I lived here, or even when I lived in California. My generic allergy meds dry me up, but then my sinuses and throat are irritated. I also hate waking up during allergy season, because I just feel like crap. I'm about to do my yoga, actually, because I couldn't do it right after I woke up.

In other news, I'm excited for the release of Gotham City Sirens come June, because it's going to be awesome and I'm going to have to venture to an actual comic book store. Our local one closed a while ago- I remember attending a "Japanese Day" there just as manga was getting really, really huge Stateside. I ate all their pocky and picked up some Justice League Europe for my brother. I think I'll try the one in Newnan.

I mean, look at Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman. I am irrationally happy that Harley's harlequin... horns? actually look like she has her pigtails stuffed in them. You can see it a little better here, but then you can also see that March has a thing for boobs. Which, I mean, makes sense for Ivy and Harley, to a degree- Ivy's supposed to be all Earth Mother/goddessy, while Harley's a little shorter and curvier (it's more in the hips, but whatever), but I always thought of Catwoman as petite, for some reason. Huh. Also, I am happy Harley's collar doesn't look silly, because sometimes it was just bad in Harley Quinn.


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Eralk Fang

July 2016


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