[Webseries] Flat 3 (2013) SLice of Life, comedy

Really loving the series. The comedy is like socially awkward humor.

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[E-Drama] Once Upon a Time (2014) S04E02 ABC Network

This week in Once Upon a Time we learn Anna has crossed paths with David. Trouble shows up by the name of little Bow Peep the local warlord of the land and tax collector. Anna thinks David should stand up against her and David tells a story about his dad who couldn’t do the impossible.

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[Cartoon] The Legend of Korra (2014) S04E01 After all these Years - Adventure, Fantasy

Just finished watching the first episode this season and wow. After everything that happened to Korra in the last season I could definitely see how it could totally mess her up. I hope that her story arc in this season can really show how she picks herself up to perhaps become the avatar once again or maybe it could go in another direction.

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[Cartoon] The Legend of Korra (2013) Beginnings - Adventure, Fantasy

This story was quite different and interesting from the usual Korra series. The animation is different and there’s a lot of character development for the origin story of Wan the first Avatar. Although interesting, there were many questionable ideas this story perpetuates…

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[E-Drama] Once Upon a Time (2011) ABC Network
This show was a guilty pleasure to watch. Although the drama, magic and a dash of mystery was entertaining, there were a lot of problematic elements including: snow white centric, black and white morality, racism, and messed up relationships. [[MORE]]
The story revolves around the Snow White universe. The evil queen casted a curse transporting fairy tale characters into our non-magical world where they lived with no memory of their former lives. It was prophesied that the saviour would come to break the curse.
The story idea is pretty much the same as the Fables comic book series but catered to the Disney fairy tale universe. I found that the comic does a better job interweaving the plot into a bigger arch while developing many different characters where as OUAT thrives on just character drama around one particular family. Since the first season, the show has resorted to a simple formula: 
[Snow white family member] + [insert tragedy here] => save the person + [Insert Character/romance drama]
I find that when their whole town is at stake, suddenly, it seems like the plot shrinks the population to just Snow White characters and only a few extras despite the claim of a town full of fairy tale characters. 
I find at times that OUAT is too simplistic in terms of good versus evil, or doing the right thing which I find totally idealistic and contradictory for an adult show.  It’s owned by ABC which is owned by Disney so not surprisingly, it still holds on to rigid idealistic tendencies that is tied to the disney franchises; not to mention the company has major issues of diversity and it’s politically charged ideologies to begin with.
People Of Colour
Why is it, that a fantasy fairy tale fusion show cannot create good stories including people of colour? Not only that, the few that appear are subjected to subservient roles or are killed off (with the exception of Regina). The number one reason would be that the show relies heavily on the Disney verse and, well most of the stories they choose to tell are white centric. But that’s no excuse? still doesn’t explain why the small percentage of POC in the stories get the short end of the stick? Still doesn’t explain why in a fantasy world, writers can’t come up with POC characters with stories worth telling?
I also find it unbelievable that the show tries to portray their world without racism but ironically fully imply it with the way it is shown and written.  I’m talking about Mulan’s origin story in the show which took place in a surrealistic/prop/exotic/appropriated Asian fairy tale village. When Mulan’s identity was revealed, it was very noticeable how other characters including the villains do not mention her race or her culture at all. In fact the entire show tries to avoid that conversation. There is a quote that I hear white people say; ”I don’t see race”. That is what this show, ABC, and Disney is saying. In other words because they don’t see race, they don’t talk about it, there is no racism. This is in itself a problematic/deluded stance but in contrast to what the characters are “not saying”, we are seeing something else. Low and behold, the fairy tale world was not all as white as it is always assumed. There was an Asian realm (I think?) and yet apparently, the show stars white people to play substantial characters in the plot; white characters who have the freedom and privilege to quest in such a foreign/exotic/appropriated land unhindered. The setting itself is a throwaway prop. Now what are they saying about race? Maybe that white people/culture in particular are the most important stories to tell? Maybe that they do recognize that there is in fact  different races and culture in which they feel they have the right to include, exclude and appropriate without any proper research, respect, or consequence? Maybe that they do see race and they are blind to the fact that they treat different races unequally compared to white culture?
The show would rather handle gender issues than racial issues by specifically pointing out surface level gender stereotypes (where bell/mulan is underestimated due to their gender) with the conclusion that this is false. This was something positive but, even towards gender issues, the show relies on the idea that if they show strong fighting-capable women then they’ve done their job (which is far from the truth). It feels like the creators just gave these female characters these powers rather than them earning it themselves through character development.
The exclusion and limited opportunities of POC in the show makes it quite obvious that there are still racial/gender inequalities in show business and they are still in denial about it.
Mulan
I am pissed off at how they handled Mulan’s character. They have stripped away her entire personality and agency. They gave her a quote from the original disney movie (which wasn’t even her line): “heed my order and you might survive.” (Shang)
When we are introduced to her, she is following prince Phillip on a mission to rescue Aurora. For some unexplained reason, other than the fact that she is a soldier ergo she must take orders from Phillip (a prince). She helps him on his quest and watches his horrific romantic scenes. As if she didn’t have a life before helping Beauty or  Phillip. Mulan’s only purpose in this show seems to be for supporting the white protagonists. Every opportunity where she could possibly shine, the writers make her screw up, just so the white characters can get the lime light:
When the reaper appeared, it knocked Mulan out of battle in order for Prince Phillip to resume his status as knight in shining armour role alone.
When Phillip was gone… for some reason Mulan decides It is her responsibility to look after Aurora on behalf of him because she is so delicate unlike herself?
When Snow and Emma come along Mulan nominates them to be the leader of their group (WTF?).
When hunting the “Yao Guai” Mulan apparently requires Belle’s self-proclaimed book smarts (in I am assuming Chinese Lit??)(WTH a white person is better at being Chinese than a Chinese person?) to search for the beast.
Belle defeats the the “Yao Guai” because coincidentally, Mulan suffered a minor injury preventing her from doing it herself.
Mulan doesn’t speak much and when she does, she is like a military snob. It is like some sort of misguided attempt to make her a “strong” female figure who is like a gender swapped version of a guy with no emotion.
I am currently in disbelief that Disney created the animated Mulan film.
Regina
She’s evil, no she’s nice, no she’s a desperate mother, no she is a daughter desperate for love. Her character is all over the place and her actions come off as not only a stereotypical irrational “woman” but also a walking racial stereotype.
Regina’s backstory and motivation is ridiculously hinged on her inability to get past the second stage of grief (anger) since her tragedy happened.  I find the show completely lacks in showing how that tragedy completely changed her character of one extreme to the next and this absolute, one dimensional blame towards Snow (even more so than towards her manipulative mother). There were many times where she has a change of heart or shows different emotions but, she continually makes contradictory decisions bringing her right back to the cruel villain archetype mold. Frustrating to watch. 
Snow White
She is like the Captain America of Disney. At times she is the pure hearted, goodie-goodie, annoyingly positive and like a Disney princess. At other times action hero and somewhat preachy and has a smarmy character. I don’t think the show does a great job at reconciling the two personalities.  ugh.
REGINA HENRY SWAN
This has got to be the messed up, dysfunctional love triangle ever. I would say that Henry is a pretty cruel son, and yet the plot places him as the object of affection by both biological and adopted mothers. He goes off finds his real mom and throughout the series, bashes his adopted mom for being evil, saying he hates her, schemes to take her down and eventually abandons his adopted mother and moves in with his biological mother/family. By the second season, Regina is eating out of Henry’s palm in order for him to come to accept and love her. He places conditions for his love for her and holds himself hostage for her compliance. He would rather stay with Emma, for some unexplained reason; the person who abandoned him and who still has no parental rights (yet she still demands her rights to him). Both mothers are abysmal; both being over controlling and possessive but I really pity Regina as the series goes on. Emma keeps on overly/presumptuously asserting her mothership of Henry like she knows what is best for him; stealing him away from Regina who not only raised him but has legal custody. I find it weird that this sounds like a romantic relationship or that Henry is like a possession. Wouldn’t it be weird if Henry turns into a devil instead of the saviour? LOL. This isn’t supernatural right?
Anyway, Lots to talk about!

[E-Drama] Once Upon a Time (2011) ABC Network

This show was a guilty pleasure to watch. Although the drama, magic and a dash of mystery was entertaining, there were a lot of problematic elements including: snow white centric, black and white morality, racism, and messed up relationships. 

Read More

[E-Movie] The Croods (2013) family, comedy, adventure
Okay, so the trailers really mislead me but It was a very good movie with interesting cavemen humour and family wholesome goodness. I loved how the circle of life was used well to display weird yet cute creatures eating each other; the croods included.[[MORE]]
The story centers around a cave people family named the Croods. Their lifestyle is all about surviving and that meant hiding in caves for the most part and staying away from the unknown. Their lives change when the daughter, Eep meets Guy who foresees the calamity of the continents drifting apart. They all eventually go on a journey of discovery.
What mislead me was how the trailers made me believe Eep was the main character because she is the only character shown. She is doing all sorts of stuff, taking risks. I thought wow, to have a true female lead in a big animation movie; yeah, a little disappointed.
I would have to say that the main character in this movie was Grug (the father). The story focuses on him having the most difficulty adapting on this journey. He is not only set in his ways, he also competes for his daughters affection. So really, Eep was more of of a supporting character/plot device to further reshape and massage the father’s ego.

[E-Movie] The Croods (2013) family, comedy, adventure

Okay, so the trailers really mislead me but It was a very good movie with interesting cavemen humour and family wholesome goodness. I loved how the circle of life was used well to display weird yet cute creatures eating each other; the croods included.

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[J-Drama] TV Asahi - Nobunaga no Chef (2013) - cooking, drama
I just finished this drama and wasn’t really impressed. I generally love cooking shows but I found the cooking experience this show offered lacked drama. It doesn’t measure up to shows like “cooking master boy” and the time travelling aspect was not effectively used. [[MORE]]
So the story is about a chef, Ken who mysteriously winds up in the past without any recollection of his past except his expertise in cooking, an image of mysterious woman and a vague Idea that he came from the future. his cooking skills gets noticed by Nobunaga and ends up working for him, overcoming challenges and cooking wondrous food.
The strongest point of the series is that all of the food is made in real life! meaning its not exaggerated fantasy-like food. Hey, maybe even I can make it too…. well anyway, it is fun to see how Ken copes with the limited resources he has in a primitive era like making butter from scratch and stuff.The whole mystery about time travel and character development was rather disappointing. You still won’t know how this time travel thing started in the end.
At the beginning, it is a little odd how Ken jumps into cooking at level 100. Right off the bat he is the best cook there is, simply because of his culinary training from the future and some genius inspirations. I find it very problematic when the main character can solve all of their problems with a thinking face, showing no thinking process. Ken also whips out custom, unique meals every time he cooks and of course makes no mistakes which makes him like, 25 year old genius (too good to be true)?
The actor for Ken doesn’t seem to show much emotion at all (How boring). he has a catch-phrase: “come on, sengoku cuisine!” every time he starts cooking, which I thought weird. 
Nobunaga on the other hand was really likeable. At first he seems all cold but by the end of the series, you can see his fun and kind nature underneath his harsh face. The actor was great! There was a memorable table flipping scene.
Natsu is a female blacksmith that befriends and helps Ken on his journey. She was a legitimate smith! That is interesting enough to create a spin off series but… you know… she’s mostly there to support our chef <3 and the romance plot. I mean how can they just waste this character by having her run errands rather than proving her value with her own trade?! and not to mention it’s a rare line of work for women in that time period. she does get to use her skills to craft a spear for one of the high ranking soldiers but… do we really know if it was because of her awesome skills or because she was the only smith around?
The female ninja… I feel had no impact in the story. she is tough and there is a hint of a tragic backstory and sacrifices she makes to survive this time period. So I guess she is pretty okay in contrast with the two other girls in the show. She doesn’t talk much and wearing unusually eye catching costume (some “liberties” were taken in the adaptation). she’s also kinda falls in love with Ken so… wow, ken has a harem.
Our other female character is Youko, a pastry chef from the future who seems to know Ken. You could say that both Youko and Ken were in the same situation at the beginning in the story however they ended up in vastly different positions in the end. Ken who almost got killed at the beginning, became a respected, autonomous and admired chef of Nobunaga. Youko on the other hand almost got raped, then became a puppet/slave; coerced by the (high status) monk who saved her. She has her skill and knowledge but is such a spineless weakling. Her pastry chef profession is shown to be inferior to Ken’s versatile culinary skills by the contrast of success the characters get (and the fact that ken can pull off pastries as well as said pastry chef). What’s even worse is that there is no development for Youko’s story to support the decisions/actions she makes even if you interpret her actions as either simple minded or manipulative. Heck, she doesn’t even say much at all.
I believe that this story shows how deeply entrenched beliefs about traditional gender roles are in Japan. It sends the message that the women of today, when faced with the same obstacles as a man is: unsuccessful, unable to adapt, incapable, spineless, weak, dependent, and worthless unless to further support a man. It suggests that the view of women from the past is not so much different from the view of modern day women, having common traits of weakness and helplessness. Finally it also sends the message that the stories of heroism and ingenuity only worth telling are male ones.
I would say the message is totally depressing, but I can still enjoy the series. It does manage to at least avoid insulting the female gender unlike other shows out there (I’m talking about those ditzy, klutzy, stupid female side kicks). at least there’s that….

[J-Drama] TV Asahi - Nobunaga no Chef (2013) - cooking, drama

I just finished this drama and wasn’t really impressed. I generally love cooking shows but I found the cooking experience this show offered lacked drama. It doesn’t measure up to shows like “cooking master boy” and the time travelling aspect was not effectively used.

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