So, bored one weekend recently, and forced to social distance and go only to the least-popular attractions in my region, some friends and I decided to travel to one of the most odd spots in the entire world… Jesus’s Grave, in Shingo, Aomori.
You may recall I once went to the Kogarashi Shrine in Shizuoka last year and had a very interesting experience with an odd, out of the way, beautiful location. Well, this one was a pretty similar experience, but for different reasons. It’s… a pretty interesting place. Wikipedia tells all (but so will I later in the article).
Here’s the details of my trip! (Also don’t worry, social distancing measures were taken very seriously.)
Aside from the perfectly-passable-but-weightless Solo, it’s not a tough statement to say that The Rise of Skywalker is the worst (live-action, theatrical) Star Wars film. Maybe Attack of the Clones or The Force Awakens are kinda close, but it’s pretty clear to me that Episode IX is the least artistically accomplished, most flawed of the Skywalker Saga.
But I still love it anyway.
Rewatching the movie in preparation for this article, I was struck by just how overcome with joy I was by so much of this movie. It’s such an exciting and silly experience. Never for a moment do I get bored, even when I’m rolling my eyes at the dumber parts. Honestly, that’s what it was supposed to do, anyway; provide a smashing finale to the greatest epic saga in the history of film. It’s the climax to a nine-part series and thus doesn’t exactly need to be jam packed with new storylines and deeper themes. Even though… that’s kind of what it tried to do…
We live in an era
where Star Wars Episode VII really exists, and it’s hard to imagine
now that, at the beginning of the decade, that wasn’t even a thought
in anyone’s mind that that would ever come to pass.
Okay, maybe the absolute biggest turbo-nerds had kept track of all those offhand comments by Mark Hamill where he said George Lucas once wanted him to play the old man mentor character in a new Star Wars movie decades in the future. But for 99% of the population, Star Wars was a finished franchise, at least until the inevitable remake sometime after Lucas bit the dust.
But it happened. Lucasfilm was sold to Disney. JJ Abrams signed on to direct. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was filmed and released, and not only that but it became the #1 highest-grossing movie in North America by such a wide margin that no film has even come close to breaching it since.
They don’t really do fast food and junk food tie-ins with big blockbuster movies that much anymore. That was very much a product of the 90s and 00s, and after the first Avengers movie in 2012, you hardly saw it outside the inevitable Star Wars brand tie-ins, which are universal constant.
I’ve always wondered why exactly that is, but then I remember how Fant4stic went.
I can’t believe it was a simpler time for politics back in 2012. It felt like there was really something boiling under the lid, something about to spill over and really harm the country. Of course, that feeling ended up proving true in 2016, when the forces under the surface of the prior election cycle became the ultimate symbol of chaos and division for the United States.
The GOP presidential primaries that year were a battle for the soul of the party, where Tea Party demagogues like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum dueled against the big business establishment of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and against the libertarian populism of Ron Paul. A holy war was being waged, and the eventual result, four years later, was that all three of these factions would collide into the socially conservative, big business populist known as, uh, that one guy who became President in 2016.
Nerds of a certain age are highly likely to have seen Super Mario Bros Z. If you liked video games and had internet access between the years of 2006 and 2009, you either watched Super Mario Bros Z, or at the very least heard about it. There is very little on this Earth that exemplifies the late 00s more than a Newgrounds flash animation crossover of Mario and Sonic filled with anime fight scenes and chugga chugga guitar tracks.
isn’t an 00s Retrospective series; this is about the 10s. And the
only relationship with the 10s Super Mario Bros. Z has is that this
was the decade wherein the whole project perished, and the world was
taught a lesson on the folly of fan fiction passion projects.
Super Mario Bros. Z always faced the problem that its entire existence was owed to one man working for free. Alvin Earthworm, the quite talented series creator, did the writing, the direction, the animation, and even most of the custom spritework all by himself, with no chance of compensation. Solo or near-solo efforts on larger projects can work out well (see Stardew Valley and Undertale, whose creators are multi-millionaires now), but for a fan project? It can be a dicey proposition.
Did you know I took the Summer of 2013 off the internet? An internet seclusion, one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in the modern age.
I don’t know why you would know that… It’d be kind of weird if you did. But, and this is extremely weird to say, but after I graduated high school I made the firm decision to avoid the internet for a whole two months because I thought it would help me spend a lot more time with friends and family before I went off to college.
My High School Summers
I spent most of my high school summers doing basically nothing. Eighty percent in front of a Windows XP desktop using the internet; fifteen percent in front of a 40-inch CRT playing Xbox 360,;and five percent watching midnight releases at the local Carmike Cinemas.
I also participated in marching band practice. That took most of July and August away each year, because practice was very rigorous. But that didn’t stop me from making grandiose plans all the time! Big novels, experimental music albums, Homestuck fan comics, the works…
None of it ever worked, though. I just played games and browsed the internet all day.
I hate queer baiting. I hate it even more when good shows do it, and Hibike Euphonium baited like a champion.
What I’ll talk about here has already been covered very well by other authors and summarized quite succinctly in some quite biting memes, so I’ll be somewhat brief about my feelings on Hibike! Euphonium and what its decision to queer bait the audience meant to me.
I think Kyoto Animation is for sure one of the best animation studios in the world today. Even when they make work far below their usual standard, it’s still mediocre at worst. To call them the Pixar of anime is probably only a slight exaggeration. Have they even made a genuinely bad show? I don’t know.
Hibike Euphonium, More Like… Hibigay Euphonigay
My problem with Hibike! Euphonium lies in the fact that it is NOT a subpar show in any way. It was well-written, filled with memorable characters with interesting characters arcs. And it was beautiful, with gorgeous artwork complimenting the lovely music (both in the OST and in the show itself).
I hadn’t seen it since something like 2005, so it was a very odd experience revisiting it for how well I remembered almost every single scene. It played out exactly how I remembered.
Actually, aside from understanding all the sex jokes and making me realize I was not old enough to watch this movie at all, there was nothing new here for me to discover at all… Which is maybe a bad thing overall.
Like, I love all the slapstick comedy and the stupid nonsense jokes that go on way too far. I love all the fourth wall breaks where they skip ahead in the movie to find out plot details. But I didn’t love this as much as I expected I would.
Maybe my sense of nostalgia and knowing that it would hold up well started to override my expectations and make me think this would have so much more to offer when I watched it as an adult? It’s just a juvenile spoof movie with a bunch of good gags. It’s nothing more than that, and that should be okay with me. But it kind of disappointed me a little bit…
Spaceballs is funny, Mel Brooks is a genius, and I’m overthinking all of this by a ton. But this is a weird case where I wanted the movie to be a lot more than it was, but instead it was exactly the same.
This is not a 2010s video. In fact, everything about it reeks 00s—All-American Rejects, Windows Movie Maker, 3D modelling and animation done by a teen in the pre-Gmod, pre-Blender era, and that overall since that a video like this could only ever have been created while George W. Bush presided over the U.S.
Super Mario Dance Bros.,
one of the all-time greatest videos on Youtube, is part of the 2010s
Retrospectives Series not because its own creation because of what it
created in me.
Watch the video
for yourself and watch what happens to the rest of your life: