let's write about media
// last update: 02 JUN '24

okay i just pasted a few txt files in here with minimal work; i gotta check over the text itself more, and then also maybe add dates to places, a navi bar, and a general [rating, link, fav moments, thoughts, is this write-up finished or just notes] area to each entry. will do laterrrrr

midnight swan

okay so i just watched the movie midnight swan, and while it was quite okay, and had some scenes that i really enjoyed (such as the scene in the park, when ichika is first coming out of her shell more, becoming verbal, having fun, lightly insulting nagisa here and there, and they practise dancing, and then the old man comes up to them and claps, calling them "two princesses", but then leaving with an apt metaphor of them both still being "swans" aka not true princesses in the eyes of society), i had a different idea of how the film would go. i think the way the film went was...i mean it was fine, i guess. very heavy on the bury-your-gays etc, but like...and not to infantalise japan, but it is surprisingly complex, despite how "trans people suffer a lot" it is. it's truly not meant to be a happy film, and while i think it's definitely quite overdone, the entire movie focuses on people who "can't be themselves", trans people included. i mean, ichika's buddy pal was buried far before any gay person.


i thought, from the first scene where nagisa was shown dropping a note here and there into her surgery jar, that the movie would be about ways toward self-acceptance. the movie hints at this theme quite a bit, but i thought that it would go a different way.

i think it could have worked if the movie focused on "societal" vs "personal" acceptance of the self, and whose acceptance "matters", and the trade-offs that have to be made for happiness. in a perfect world (or in a happy movie), there needen't be any trade-offs--however, this movie presents a world that is far from perfect for /anyone/, especially trans people (aka japan lol). i thought how it would work would be something like this:

the movie starts the same. nagisa saves more and more for her bottom surgery. perhaps, with this "final step", she would truly feel that her body belongs to her, and beyond that, would be seen as who she truly is in society. the latter part of this is more important to her here. then along comes ichika. she's not seen as who she truly is as well (-lite, as she's a non-trans allegory to make the message span across more easily, as she is in the movie proper), but she is less worried about societal acceptance (and of course, she would be; it

at some point, perhaps, when acting out, ichika steals some money or something from the Big, Overt, Obviously-There money jar. conflicts arise, because it's a step too far, etc.

anyway, nagisa develops an attachment to the girl. she realises why she took the money; realises what she would resort to when without it (the photo scene). she realises that she feels a motherly attachment to her. she realises, that this feeling, makes her feel good. to be seen as a mother, makes her feel a kind of gender euphoria that she had not felt in a long time. yeah, yeah, obvs it's like overdone w/e man cancel me on twitter like. i know lol. anyway. basically, the film somehow ends up with the surgery funds instead being given to ichika for her ballet.

let the film start with a scene of transphobic treatment on the street somewhere, and nagisa going home to a dark, empty house, camera cutting to a brief shot to her expressionless face (tired, used-to-it), before panning nonchalantly around her nice apartment in a general setting-the-scene shot (because the scene is not important here). let the film end with another, similar scene of such treatment (society has not changed, it is slow to change, this is not a happy movie), but nagisa goes home, similar scene, but then sees a letter at her entrance, dropped through the letter-hole. she opens it, not thinking. she pauses. scene brightens. it's from ichika. it's a copy of her acceptance letter, along with a letter. scene pans over to the torn open envelope on the floor (in a mirror of the torn-photo seen). "to my mother". a lingering cut to nagisa's face, now not expressionless. still tired, but this is not a happy movie, so that's to be expected. however, it's not a sad movie, either. it's about where to find acceptance. it's about the ways that life is a struggle, but about why people struggle on anyway. and mostly, it's about my not going "ah okay i see it's gonna be like this cool. overdone but alright i guess" towards the end of the movie.

final fantasy ix

okay lets see if i can rewrite the ending of ffix because i dont MIND the concept of necron and what it represents, but i hate how out of newhere it feels.

maybe it can be like: there are times throughout the story when its mentioned (a slight touch more overtly) something along the lines of "what is the point of even living on; may as well die" etc. its brought up definitely here and there and of course IS a natural concluding point to the theme of mortality, but that specific sentiment is not brought up. the whole stuggling despite the void beckoning is what necron kinda fights against, so maybe here and there you can bring it up.

now this is where the small touches of build up are brought up; all of the small moments where the characters have their back up against the sharp, nail-encrusted wall of despair and choose to live on, even if they wont be able to "live on" forever, and the stuggle is ultimately futile.

so, kuja goes to beat up the cover art crystal or whatever, and then still has passion and all. he, despite everything, has a /reason/, a /desire/ to keep struggling, even if that reason is. to kill everyone. king moment. anyway, you beat him up, and you DO defeat him. or, get close to doing so. he realises that even this tiny goal that kept him alive was ultimately pointless. "if i cannot even go out while leaving the mark of all marks, what IS the point of going on?" music stops. this is still mid battle. float text on top of screen. "...is this all there is to living?" etc what is the point, why AM i doing this etc etc etc and THEN. that black-screen text appears. the same one that has been appearing all game. the tiny "call of the void" that yo thought was just the characters' thoughts. that appears again. this time, not a black screen. this time, it is just text in the centre. more present in reality than before. here, at the life crytal, death is most prominent. it can appear before you.

instantly, zindane and co realise wait something is wrong. at this point it might be that the battle has ended idk anyway. kuja is silent. something is wrong...because of him? or is he making what was always there worse with his extra power that lets him influence reality more? either way, zidane makes his way over. something something makes a speech about "cant give up on life just because it ends" or whatever.

is the speech futile? kuja is still silent. etc etc whatever and THEN necron appears. maybe even he takes kujas body and he starts speaking in centre-screen text like the thoughts of the void thing did earlier. either way. this was id say necron makes a bit more sense. it can literally be the same fight (sick music included) from this point on; i loved the theme and idea of not so much defeating death but defeating the idea of helplessness and giving in to despair but it just came out of nowhere. anyway time to rewrite endwalker next

ffxiv pandaemonium part 2

thought it was good, but i thought it had a few fundamental issues, namely that is it _too rushed_ and _kinda cringe_.

things i liked a lot:

p1-p4 eric tony was cute i love him. still cute in p5-p8 :)

what they did with athena was peak. thank you im in love. rip lahabrea but im different.

of course mr brea's design is pretty peak too. thank you i wanna /slap him (affectionate)

moving on to the "eh" stuff:

alright so let's look at alex, omega, and eden. they each are all super-short relative to msq and everything. (coils doesnt count okay). they are all short, but don't really feel all that rushed. this is because, all in all, they tell super simple stories.

alex: just a story about love and loss, with lore sprinkled in (and also time travel and the best primal dont @ me)

omega: just a story about understanding and finding your place in the world etc

eden: just a story about...also finding your place in the world but this time gay

of couse there are deeper things and there is lore etc, but overall, a simple story, with very few twists (that are all quick to resolve, and blend in to the story: for example, alex being time travel, or gaia being gaia)

however, despite everything, the story is simple, and the main way the depth appears is not from lore (although that's a close second) but from characters. the story is simple, so it just lets the characters slowly grow (as slow as you can in a raid series) without feeling rushed.

from what i've seen in pandaemonium, it feels like they want to tell a story that has a LOT going on, leaving some of the easier, simpler, but not any less interesting, plot points to the wayside a little.

but first, lets talk characters. always a strong point in a raid series, and an easy way to write a good story. the old raid tiers had very few new characters, and few relationships between them. this meant more time per character and more time per relationship, letting them flourish.

alex: mide and roundrox (and her father a bit), quickthinx is there too, and alexander a little bit but this is me just being an alex enjoyer (best primal fr)

omega: alpha and omega

eden: gaia, mitron a little bit

and that's for the whole raid, 1-12. of course there's cid (and yshtola for 2 secs), then cid and nero and midgarsomr and the ironworks people, then thancred and urianger and ryne (:'3 my girl....), but those are established, and the raid series simply gives them a new playground in which to show new sides of themselves (and develop!!! i love ryne!!!!!!)

anyway. for pandaemonium, just for 1-4, there was: mr eric tony, mr bus, and a little claudien et team. claudien maybe doesn't count, so let's leave him to the side, as he doesn't interact with anyone else in the story. this is wonderful! i love these characters! but! we've already hit our "past, known, limit" on how many new characters we can add in just the first tier. and again, that's fine! i think just with this team (and then with maybe a new character in lahabrea in second tier) it could have been super interesting; you can even add more semi-characters here and there (ie hesperos, claudien as mentioned), as long as the story is SIMPLE. otherwise, the characters get thrown COMPLETELY to the wayside; a focus on story is good, but the raid series format is SO SHORT you can really only have one.

when i was an ironically unironic bread enjoyer, to me it was like:

arr-stb: haha what a funny villain man he is a nice change of pace; he does seem to be not completely one note, has moments where he turns after laughing maniacally to say something serious to himself, etc. love him.

shb: oh wow he used to be normal but the ages alone turned him insane. i can kinda see it. love him

p1-p4: oh wow he used to be normal and a father but potentially the ages alone (after having lost his family; more than the other ascians, he is a PARENT who lost a CHILD) turned him insane. i can kinda see it. love him

p5-p8: ah so actually nvm the lahabrea we know (probably) is just one specific "insane part" it wasnt losing himself slowly or whatever he was just like that (i mean hey maybe we'll have a he-absorbs-mr-young but we'll see; have no idea wtf will go down there IS one amazing part about pandaemonium and that CAN only be something that happens by rushing; pandaemonium just. APPEARING in the aetherial sea was actually hella cool and not in JUST a shock value out-of-nowhere way, but in like a "hm is claudien going to be fine? thats sussy" -> "oh this man is in a crystal. oh. oh no.")

maybe instead, the entire raid series could focus on the past specifically; although it SEEMED to set up from the start that claudien was potentially someone important, we can ignore that. dont need it. or maybe can have like a little moment at the end, but thats not the focus. we go, 1-4 is as it is, then 5-8 is JUST mr bread introduced in 5, then the next few raids are him and eric tony fighting etc. here you can slowly drip feed that something isnt right with laha and his urizen (or other way around ig? since it's emotions his cringe part would be v owo), something is fishy with athena, etc. then 9-12, thats where you can have the athena reveal (right at the start; you can even have the warder lady give like a memory crystal with the scene in it, or drop it (NOT APPEARING AS A FORCE GHOST!!! PLEASE NO MORE FORCE GHOSTS I K N O W ITS LORE COMPLIANT BUT ITS CRINGE MAN HELP!) from the tree and elidimis is like "damn whats this? interesting...is this a crystal with information on it?" and lahabrea is like please hand that over >:( and he holds onto it and everyone is like :rolleyes: but hes like if it is important i will use it. but for now we need to clean up *queue final 5-8 hand in quest* and THEN in 6 eric gets kidnapped like right away, and then right away lahabrea is like fine.), then you can have the rest of everything happen, but with more payoff on the laha erich reconciliation, as its been more slow-burn as opposed to being thrown into a volcano. then for the final part, it can be similar to how it happened, where instead of killing mr red laha (how tf spell. hephaestus is all i know idk how the game spells it. percy jackson didnt prepare me for this) he binds him, makes him a little crystal, and then lahabrea is like i will destroy him this time and eric is like but thats also you; like accepting his cringe and his fail. and lahabrea is like yes but if i dont destroy what other option do i have etc etc then basically it comes around to "hm youre right even though you were emotional you still were able to fight on and make the correct decisions, because you have your friends ur buddies supporting you." and then eric and bus can be like "yeah well we can support u :) as long as you have us, you WON'T go omegainsane" and lahabrea is like very well and eats the red candy and the wol reaches out a hand but then freezes and instead looks into the camera and shrugs while the screen circle-zooms to black iris-out style like the end of a tom and jerry episode

the best part of pandaemonium part 2 bar NOTHING was the way the trailer went. it set up events in such an order that watching it you felt like you KNEW what was gonna happen to the point that when mr lahabrea was holding the crystal full-on-trailer-scene-style, you were like "yawn come on seen it before go on break it" like EXPECTING it SO MUCH that when, full silence, no music, he just POCKETS the thing it feels like a whole-ass rug was pulled out from under you. A2 having short hair in the automata trailer to look like 2B style.