Fanfiction & Commentary

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Fanfiction (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind)

The ruffles of the leaves and the harsh breeze of the wind snaps my eyes open, I sat up in a jolt and frantically looking around. My breathing becoming heavier by each passing second.

“Uncle?” I call out.

Sounds of shuffling’s enter my small cottage and a dark shadow appears under the frame of my door, my heart beats in an unusual pace. I thought to myself that they have found me, after years of hiding in the forest they have finally found me. The people of the neighbouring kingdoms.

“Calm down child”

A deep hoarse voice speaks out from the dark shadow, the man removes his hoodie and revealed a familiar face. I let out a breath.

“Oh, it’s just you”

My uncle stepped into our small cottage and removed his cloak and gloves. He sat on the table and placed his bag on the table with a heavy thud. He slowly and gently held a hand to the left side of his face.

“It grows each day” he sighs.

My heart softens, my uncle’s left side of his face was mutilated. It wasn’t terrifying, a beautiful combination of the colours green and blue covers half of his face. With wild little flowers growing from the green and blue surface. Anyone I believe could’ve found it terrifying but I didn’t. I thought it was beautiful. And he was right, the flowers seem to grow more so each day and he can no longer see in his left eye. My uncle found me in the forest as a baby beside my dying mother. She had given birth to me in the toxic jungle and she was without a mask, therefore was in danger of dying from the chemicals that was inhabited in the forest. As I was born in the forest, my body was dependent on the toxins that were the plants in the forest lived off. When uncle Landon found me, his mask was already starting to rip therefore the toxins in the forest started to eat away at his skin.

A loud terrifying sound echoes throughout the forest and my uncle and I immediately surge to our feet. Alarmed.

“What was that?”

I panicked, looking around for my weapon and my uncle stopped me.

“Stay here” he said. “I’ll go outside and have a look, do not let anyone in”

I nodded as my heart thuds uncontrollably in my chest. My uncle stepped out and disappeared in through the dark forest. It was probably a few seconds which felt like long dreading hours. A scream came in from outside and without hesitation I grabbed a lamp and I ran as a fast as I could, praying that it was not Landon. Another scream came and I followed its’ direction. The giant insects hurriedly scurried away from the direction where the scream was coming from. I tumbled through the forest, tripping over big roots and the giant insects. I finally reached the destination and my eyes widened at the sight. My uncle Landon laid still on the dead grass, in a pool of red and purple blood. I screamed as I ran towards him, kneeling beside him I frantically search his injuries. I was panicking.

“Angelica” he said my name so softly and I cried.

“What happened?”

“The Tolmekians” he said. “They attacked the insects and have taken a baby Ohm. I tried to stop them”

I gasped.

“You must travel to Tolmekia to retrieve the baby Ohm”

“Me?” I said in shock.

The Ohm were the gigantic, trilobite-like armoured creatures that inhabited the forest. They are feared by many people of the neighbouring kingdoms, although they are gentle giants, whoever may harm an insect, it will drive the Ohms into a berserk rage.

“The Ohms are asleep and will be for the next two days” my uncle continued.

“What should I do?” I said. “If they wake up and find one of their babies missing then – ”

I stopped myself as I knew exactly what would happen. My uncle shifted and he groaned in pain.

“Come on uncle, I’ll help you get back to the cottage” I said as I tried to help him.

“Angelica no” he said. “You must go Tolmekia and get that baby back before they wake”

“I can’t go by myself” I cried. “They will kill me, an outsider”

“If the Ohms wake up and find one of theirs’ missing then everything we have protected will be destroyed, innocent neighbouring kingdoms will be destroyed”

“But I can’t” I said. “I’m just a girl, I’ve never been outside of the toxic forest”

“You must Angelica, please”

 

******

The clean wind whips through my hair as I make my way to Tolmekia. I stumble and groaned, my annoyance with the sand under my feet slowly growing. I attempt to reach into my backpack but realized that I have finished my bottle of water, I groaned once more. After helping my uncle back to our cottage and tend to his wounds, I immediately left for Tolmekia. I had two days to retrieve the baby Ohm before the giant Ohms wakes up from their sleep.

The clean air intoxicates my lungs and I coughed. My vision blurred with the tears in my eyes and my throat felt as if I had swallowed tiny shards of glass. As I was outside of the toxic forest, my body was not familiar with the clean air outside of the forest. Needles digs into my skull and I squeeze my eyes to push the pain away. I finally made my way in through the gates of the kingdom and immediately was not impressed. The kingdom of Tolmekia was not as beautiful as the forest, the forest was clean and peaceful while the kingdom was dirty and everywhere I turned there was a human. I’ve never been surrounded by humans before, living in the forest all my life.

Someone grabbed me by the arm and threw me into a corner, scraping my palms on to the ground I screamed. A boy about my height, and looked as young as I was placed a finger onto my lips and told me to keep quiet. After a few seconds, he took a look and sighed as if relieved.

“Who are you?” I finally let out.

Without a reply, the boy threw me a bottle filled with liquid. “Drink” he said.

“What is it?” I asked, hesitant.

“It’s water. You look like you’re about to collapse. You need to keep yourself hydrated”

I checked and he was right, and I quickly gulped the whole bottle of water. “Who are you?”

I asked once again.

“My name is Aslad”

“Well thank you for the water Aslad but I need to go” I said as I stood up.

“You’re not going anywhere, not just yet”

“What? Why?” I asked.

“Haven’t you noticed, all eyes have been on you since you entered the gates. It is obvious that you are not from here and that is a problem in Tolmekia. If I hadn’t gotten to you the guards would’ve”

“I am here to save a friend, I will leave when I get him” I said.

“Alright, I will help you find your friend and then leave as soon as you get him” he said.

“Why are you  helping me?” I asked, “You don’t even know me”

“I moved into this kingdom after my parents died from the toxins of the forest, and I’ve always hated it here. The people are cruel, the guards take advantage of the weak and poor”

“I’m sorry”

Aslad gave me a weak smile. “What is your friend doing in Tolmekia?”

And I explained to him everything that has happened, what had happened to my uncle and the baby Ohm that the Tolmekians took from the forest. And what will happen if I do not return the creature safely back home. Aslad chose to help me, he knew his way through the castle, he knew secret passageways and where the Tolmekians keep their prisoners. Luckily, he also knew where they had hidden the baby Ohm. Before we left he handed me a big brown cloak for me to use, covering my head and face we made our way into the castle through secret passageways. I followed him through the dark, passed a number of guards on duty and swiftly made it to a chamber. And chained inside was my little friend the baby Ohm. Tears filled my eyes as I quietly approached the creature. It was covered in deep cuts and whimpers every time I take a step close to him.

“It’s okay little one, I’m here to take you back home”

The baby Ohm was chained to the floor and Aslad and I quickly removed the chains, ripping my cloak to pieces I place it on the baby Ohm’s wounds.

“We should leave before someone finds us” Aslad said.

I sighed in relief as I realized that the passages we came through was big enough to fit the baby Ohm through, and we quickly and quietly stayed underground and made our way outside of the Kingdoms’ gates. We were not entirely out of sight until we enter the forest, however the baby Ohm grew weaker, so with Aslad’s help we pushed the creature through the dessert, it must have taken the whole night but we dared not to stop in fear of getting caught. We were finally a mile away from the toxic forest and Aslad started coughing violently, and blood started forming from the corner of his mouth.

“Oh no” I gasped. “You are too close to the toxins of the forest, and you don’t have a mask”

Aslad continued coughing and covered his mouth, “I’ll be fine, come on keep pushing him” he said. “We’re almost there”.

I proceeded to stop but he would not listen. We were close now and the Ohm’s energy slowly returned as it started to move and attempt to make his way into the forest. Aslad’s coughing became worse and fell onto his knees, his eyes were red and drops of blood came from his mouth.

“Aslad please, we are close enough. You should go now” I pleaded.

“Alright, please be safe”

I helped him onto his feet and hugged him tightly. “Thank you so much for your help” I cried. “I couldn’t have done it without you”. He hugged me back. “It’s alright, just be safe and you know where to find me in Tolmekia” he smiled and turned his back at me and made his way back home.

With that, I turned my attention back to the baby Ohm and walked with it to his nest. When we reached his home in the forest, the adults Ohms were still fast asleep and so I quickly cleaned his wounds once again, said my goodbyes and made my way back to my small cottage. I had finally returned the baby Ohm home to his nest, and prevented countless of innocent lives taken by the giant Ohms. I sighed in relief. My uncle was fast asleep, he seemed to be getting well. Without waking him up, I made my way to my bed and laid my head down. Exhaling loudly once again, a journey I thought would be impossible without my knew friend Aslad.

 

Commentary

My fanfiction is based on the anime “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds”. The anime was released back in 1984 and was based on a manga of the same name (Reeves, 2016). I wrote the fanfic based off the world of the anime, where the Toxic Forest exists and the giant mutated insects live, the giant Ohm is also present in the story. Although I chose an entirely different approach to the anime, I created my own characters and story in this universe. According to Vogler (1998), the mythic structure is introduced through different stages of acts. And I tried to show each act through my fanfic, through Acts 1 and 2, Angelica is pressured to save the world, she refuses at first but is encouraged by her mentor – which is also under Vogler’s (!998) character archetypes – and Angelica went on her journey. She crosses her first threshold which would be the clean air that her body is not used to as well as the people of the kingdom as she is not used to being surrounded by people.

The second act comes when she makes an ally; Aslad who helped her through her journey in saving the Ohm, she crosses a second threshold where she sneaks her way passed multiple guards. Act three comes in when she takes the baby Ohm and makes her way back to the toxic forest which took a whole night. The last point of Vogler’s (1998) Act three of a benefit to the world; this is shown in the story when Angelica returned the baby Ohm safely home, preventing the kingdoms and the forest from being destroyed by the giant Ohms.

Reference:

Vogler, C. (2007). The writer’s journey: Mythic structure for writers (3rd ed.). CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Reeves, D. (2016, January 28). Re: A Rough Analysis of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/applaudience/a-rough-analysis-of-nausicaä-of-the-valley-of-the-wind-816048ea376c

Week 11 – 12 Reality TV

Reality television is program in which documents unscripted, real-life situations. Starring unknown individuals rather than professional actors. Reality TV tends to show confessionals, where contest is being discussed where they reflect on provide context as depicted on screen. Take for example “Cathy come home”, a recording of a homeless person who lives off the streets of British, the show also has a live studio audience who are involved in the production of the reality TV and uses hidden surveillance to capture every moment on camera for the viewers.

Throughout the productions of Reality TV, it has changed over time and some viewers may argue that a particular Reality TV show, shows a lack amount of realism. As it is called “Reality” it stems from what society sees every day and how we as the people deal with different situations in life. This is important however because the viewers/audience decides the fate of any show. If the number of viewers/audience decreases then the show must be stopped and if the numbers increases the show may continuing being on air. Mixing of genres in Reality Tv is also another aspect that can keep a Reality TV show going. For example; Survivor, it is a show where contestants compete in a number of tasks to win the final prize. The show is thrilling because the contestants are given hard tasks to accomplish, it is also adventurous as each season of the show has a different location. Usually the contestants have never been to these locations.

Week 10 Alt History/Sci-fi

What other TV shows or movies can you think of which have sinister doubles in them and which of the above category do you think they belong to?

There are a large number of films and shows that covers the aspect of doppelgangers, shapeshifters, clones. Many of which showcases that the dopplegangers are sinister and are usually the villains that tortures their ‘good’ counterparts. These doubles are shown to be exactly like us, the appearance, features and anything that physically connects us to the doubles. However, when it comes to the subject of personality it is hard to copy. This is where the film Usand the tv show Vampire Diaries indicates this problem with doubles.

Unknown.jpegVampire Diaries is an excellent example of this topic as the main character Elena Gilbert has a doppleganger – Kathrine Pierce. In this show the dopplegangers exist only to balance out the world of the supernatural, these doppelgangers are connected because they are related but born in different eras. The main character Elena Gilbert is your typical high school teenager, popular and beautiful. However, is really kind and caring towards her family and friends. Her doppelganger: Kathrine Pierce although similar to Elena with the appearance, lacks the soul that Elena possesses. Kathrine is introduced in the tv show as manipulative and vindictive, she is jealous of Elena and is willing to do anything to destroy Elena’s happy life.

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Kathrine is five-hundred years older than Elena, therefore the two are born in different centuries. However, Kathrine is desperate to live a normal happy life as Elena’s and undoubtedly tries to steal Elena’s place. This I believe is similar to Mountfort’s (2018) “Quantum Double”, since both doubles exist in parallel universe (different centuries), depending on fringe science. Kathrine is considered as the sinister double of Elena, this is because throughout the series she has replaced or pretended to be Elena to fool everyone around her and in result it is difficult for the audience to watch.

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The film Us is another example that involves the whole idea of doubles, doppelgangers. The film created clones of each person and the clones live underground, the purpose of their creation is so that the government are able to control the people on the surface. Despite their ability to recreate the souls. As a result, the government abandoned the clones and one of the clones “Red” took control. Throughout the film, a family is being hunted by each of their clones to seek revenge.

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This showcases that the clones represent the sinister side of the doubles. They (clones) attempts to take the lives of their doubles and their place in the world. The film also portrays a message to the viewers, that we are our own enemies. Staring into the mirror, we see ourselves but we are afraid to confront our fears. This is why the doubles or doppelgangers are different from the originals, they are similar in appearance but entirely different within the soul. The doubles represent he evil that lurks within us, that we choose to hide.

The two chosen texts both show an excellent use of doppelgangers, the doubles are each introduced in different ways yet results in similar messages that the viewers receive.

Reference:

Joho, J., & Han, A. (2019). 4 Ways of Understanding Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’. Retrieved from: https://mashable.com/article/us-jordan-peele-explainer-themes/

Mountfort, P. (2018). Science Fictional doubles: Technologization of the doppelganger and sinister science in serial science fiction TV. Journal of Science and Popular Culture.1(1), 59–75. doi: 10.1386/jspc.1.1.59_1

 

Week 9 Cosplay

What is a workable definition of cosplay?

Cosplay is a term blended with the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’ (Winge, 2018). It is a performance art in which participants whom which are called cosplayers wears costumes and accessories to represent their favourite character. Cosplayers are joined together through conventions, interacting with each other in which it forms a subculture. When it comes to cosplay, gender as well as identity is a minor aspect as people feel more comfortable in their true self when in cosplay, the term ‘crossplay’ exists in this area as it is a form of art that a person displays him/her self in a character with the opposite gender.

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Many speculate that cosplay originated from Japan, but Winge (2018) suggests that it started back in 1876 with Jules Verne’s masquerade ball where he had asked his guests to dress up as science fiction characters, it continued on for a few years when Takahashi Nobuyuki attended Worldcon and introduced “kospure” or “cosplay” to Japan, terms in which he created to describe the art behind costume and competition.

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A woman cosplaying a strong and powerful character

 

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A female ‘cross-playing’ a male Marvel character

Cosplay can be defined by the individuals who participate in this type of art performance. Through vigorous research of their chosen characters and elaborate costumes and activities, Cosplayers work out fictional identities out of place and time. One of the main benefits behind cosplaying is being able to live behind the fantasy of a cosplayers’ favourite character, this can be defined as an escapism from reality (Winge, 2018).  It is a practice in which fans interact with each other, learning of each other’s true identity and interacting with their chosen narrative and characters and therefore being able to identify themselves (Nichols, 2019). Dressing as a powerful character can provide a sense of power and agency, adopting a costume is used as a disguisethat the Cosplayer may be more confident, adventurous or bolder than without the costumes (Winge, 2018). In Nichol’s article (2019), she states that the different lists of characters played by one woman (characters in which are diverse in age and gender) can be a proof to the freedom and power that women can find behind being part of this performance art

Reference:

Nichols, E. (2019, Jan). Playing with identity: gender, performance and feminine agency in Cosplay. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2019.1569410

Winge, T. (2018).Costuming Cosplay: Dressing the Imagination[DX Reader Version]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/aut/reader.action?docID=5557324

 

 

 

Week 8 Anime

 

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In what ways is Nausicaa intended as a warning and what attitude does it express towards humanity, nature and the future?

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese animated film covering various genres of sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure, it was adapted and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film was inspired by the tragedy of Minamata Bay back in the 1950s and 60s, where there was a severe mercury poisoning to people, dogs, cats, pigs and fishes. This was because the Chisso Corporation’s factory chemical “methylmercury” were continuously being dumped in to Minamata Bay (Tor.Com., 2017). This is reflected in the film, as there was a war “Seven Days of Fire” that destroyed civilization and created the vast Toxic Jungle. Throughout the film, Nausicaa shows compassion towards the insects and creates a bond with the giant Ohms. She is seen in the beginning of the film exploring the toxic jungle and comes across an exoskeleton of a deceased giant Ohm, where she then removed one of its’ dried empty eyes to show to her people. The people’s reaction shows fear but also a sense of courage as they choose to explore this creature’s shell for raw materials that could help with the village’s needs.

Unknown-2.jpegNausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is easily taken as a film which is warning audiences of the danger of climate change. The war was only caused by humans which destroyed the world, the toxins in the jungle are caused by the pollution in the soil. The people of the Valley of the Wind are able to survive living next to the toxic jungle because of the winds which prevents the toxic air from spreading to the village. As the film progresses, we later learn that the insects were protecting the toxic jungle from humans to preserve the jungle beneath it which is free of toxins. This is to show that the insects uphold the humanity that is missing within the kingdoms presented in the film. The people of the Valley of the Wind seems to be the only kingdom who lives peaceful lives because they choose to understand and empathize the jungle and its’ habitants (Reeves, 2016).

Within the film, the Tolmekians invade Nausicaa’s kingdom and kills the King, in result Nausicaa in rage and pain attacks and kills the Tolmekian soldiers and is then stopped by the swords master Lord Yupa, and expresses that violence will not stop violence. This is later shown towards the end of the film where Nausicaa, instead of choosing to fight or use the God Warrior to stop the Ohm stampede, she sacrifices herself to save her village and the people (Reeves, 2016). I believe this can be done in reality where instead of going to extreme measures of living a decent life we must help save and preserve nature through our actions, and these actions can be living a ‘green’ healthy life.

Reference:

Reeves, D. (2016, January 28). Re: A Rough Analysis of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/applaudience/a-rough-analysis-of-nausicaä-of-the-valley-of-the-wind-816048ea376c

Tor.Com. (2017, March 29). Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: A New kind of Action Hero. Retrieved from https://www.tor.com/2017/03/29/nausicaa-of-the-valley-of-the-wind-a-new-kind-of-action-hero/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6 Cult TV

What role does Hill (2004) suggestive fans play in the construction of Cult TV? How is new media central to this?

In the TV industry, fans are one of the most important aspects in the success of a TV show, they not only support the continuous of a TV show but also supports each other in the process. According to Hills (2004) “cult arises ultimately from audience passion for a TV show”. Hills also suggest that cult TV not only depends on the fan’s devotion and support but also defending one’s fans passion, supporting each other means working together under their favorite TV show, resulting in their show being celebrated. Fans are also committed to write about their favorite shows, and in order to work together fans are able to critically analyze and appreciate each other’s favored text. Also, Hills (2004) suggests that cult TV fans depends on the shows because it identifies them as well as their lifestyles. All the fans gather for conventions, they share their interest with one another, it creates a sort of shared opinions through fans, the shows are also supported by the fans through their creativity, through fan fiction, commentaries and episode guides. The appreciation from fans as well as the conventions they set up can give the fandom a good view. The fans of cult TV creates props and other merchandise and is spread around or introduced to other cult TV fans by the web.

Reference:

Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences. The Television Studies Reader. Retrieved from https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz/bbcswebdav/pid-4914230-dt-content-rid-10157821_4/institution/Papers/ENGL602/Publish/Hills%202004.pdf

 

 

Week 5: Cult TV

Wilcox and Lavery (2002) identify 9 defining characteristics of “quality TV” – can you apply ay of these to other television series that you have viewed recently? Are there any other characteristics that you could add to their list?

Television has become an important part of our modern-day lives, it plays a major part in our lives because we are ought to be entertained and engross in a whole different world with various stories and plots and that is television. In my experience, most people choose to watch a particular series based on the quality – the budget and the famous actors being casted, but the majority are more interested in the story behind it, what the show can bring to life, and the morals of the story.

As of Wilcox and Lavery (2002), they have mentioned the 9 characteristics that are involved in a show that can be considered as ‘quality television’. Using the example of Buffy the Vampire Slayereach characteristic is found in the show and through my number of favourite TV shows I believe that some of their 9 characteristics can be found although not all of them. Through their research and their characteristics of quality TV show, Supernatural – one of my favourite shows will be used to apply these characteristics to.

Supernatural is show of dark fantasy genre, created by American writer, director and producer Eric Kripke. The show was first broadcast back in September 2005. It follows the story of two brothers – Sam and Dean Winchester – whose mother was killed by a demon and whose father, forced by his grief to seeking out revenge on any monstrous creature, took Sam and Dean with him to his hunting and taught them everything there is to know about the supernatural world.

First of all, Supernatural has a large number of cast, at the beginning of the show the two main characters are Dean and Sam but as the show progresses and the story continues, more characters are introduced and many fans of the show speculate that there is a rise in the number of maincharacters (“Ranker”, n.d). The second characteristic that is covered in Supernatural, is that quality TV has a memory. This can be applied to Sam and Deans mother who was murdered at the beginning of the show. The character: Mary Winchester (“Supernatural”, n.d). Continues to be mentioned by other characters, the memory of her continues to inspire other characters’ actions and creates an arc in the show.

The third characteristic found in Supernatural, is where the show creates a new genre by mixing old ones. Supernatural was not only written from overarching mythology with its’ season spinning stories and mysteries to be solved that can be categorized under the show Scooby Doo (Foley, 2014).

Reference:

Foley, B (2014, October). Cinapse. How has SUPERNATURAL lasted ten seasons. Retrieved from https://cinapse.co/how-the-hell-has-supernatural-lasted-ten-seasons-f06e0e2f32de

Ranker. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ranker.com/list/all-supernatural-characters/reference

Supernatural. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/Mary_Winchester