I’m working on a Rag & Muffin novelette where much of the action takes place at a formal ball. I was hunting for some information to improve the verisimilitude and came upon this video of the Stanford Viennese Ball Opening Committee performing a dance to the “Morning Paper Waltz” of Johann Strauss Jr.
I wanted to share it not only because it’s a lovely performance, but also because all of the men are wearing what, as far as I can tell, is proper white tie, though I think one fellow’s had his shirttails come out in the back.
I cannot believe it. I cannot freaking believe it.
There’s a popular YouTube channel called Bad Lip Reading, which dubs inexplicably hilarious gibberish over clips from movies and TV shows. In one of their most creative works to date, they produced a Bad Lip Reading of that Star Wars movie that came out sometime back, the one I think was called A Newer Hope: Starring Ensign Mary Sue. In addition to the dubbing, they had added blacked-gloved hands over some scenes of Kylo Ren so that he appears to be threatening Han Solo with finger puppets.
Also, Mark Hamill did the voice of Han Solo.
The video was up this morning, and I watched it. It sounds like something I might have made up, but it was real, as you can see here.
This evening, I meant to share it with you, but the video is now gone. This seems odd, since other videos, including previous Star Wars parodies, are still up on Bad Lip Reading’s channel.
I’ve never heard of that, either, so I found their website. According to the mission statement, Dramatists Play Service “was created to foster national opportunities for playwrights by publishing affordable editions of their plays and handling the performance rights to these works.”
Maybe they quoted a famous play in the video. If they did, I didn’t notice. I’d go look for it except, oh, the video’s gone. Somebody’s got a lawyer and no sense of fun.
At least there’s still this:
Oh, and by the way, we’ll have a special review in time for Easter.
From there I discovered his Board James series, in which he similarly reviews old board games. Over time, the Board James videos become less concerned with actually reviewing the games and more concerned with their own story arc. Rolfe finished the series in 2015 with what was allegedly a review of the game Nightmare, but which quickly turned into an Inception-like head trip with some really creative special effects for a video filmed in a basement (video is NSFW):
I was mostly enjoying Board James (except the Mister Bucket episode; I could have done without that), but I sometimes wished the series would focus more on actually reviewing the good and bad points of the various games rather than on the antics of its characters, but just today I stumbled upon a post-series video in which Rolfe, who’s apparently much calmer and more polite in real life than are his screen personas, explains the “mythology” of the Board James universe and also points out symbolism and hints from the video series that I never would have picked up on, ever.
He kind of blew my mind. I’m posting the video here, but I should warn that it’s a spoiler for the series:
In a parallel universe, Rolfe is probably a moderately successful B-movie actor-director. He’s too cute and goofy to be genuinely scary, but he’s got quite a range of facial expressions that enable him to really chew the scenery as he gradually transforms his series of gaming reviews into a serial slasher horror movie.
Once again, we are obliged to skip ahead in SourcererZZ’s overview of the history of mahou shoujo anime due to copyright. This brings us up to the years 2005 to 2007.
This particular episode is slightly NSFW, about as NSFW as I can put on this blog.
The first title he discusses, UG*Ultimate Girls, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, and it looks awful, a brainless cheesecake show.
Of most interest to me personally in this edition is Powerpuff Girls Z, which is bizarrely unavailable in the U.S. even though it’s based on an American cartoon. Cartoon Network needs to broadcast it as penance for what they did to the franchise in the reboot.
Notice that most of the titles SourcererZZ discusses in this episode are parodies or fanservice or both, with only two exceptions. That’s not a sign of a genre in good health.
(And, as a courtesy, I mention that the language here is Not Safe for Work, though if you have a job where you can read magical girl blogs while you’re working … I want your job. No, seriously, I want your job. Where do you work? If my boss caught me reading magical girl blogs, I’d be out on my ear.)
Since this blog is going full Utena until further notice … no, I’m kidding. Never go full Utena. But since this blog is going very Utena until further notice, I invite you to watch the video “Redundancy Girl Utena” by sudoStef.
It begins as a humor piece in which he mocks the show’s repetitious use of the transformation sequence, also known as “Utena Ascending a Staircase No. 2.” Repetitious transformation sequences in mahou shoujo used to be the norm, back when anime recycled as much animation as possible. More recently, it’s gone out of fashion.
Personally, I disagree with sudoStef. Usually, when a magical girl starts transforming, that’s my cue to get up and get another beer. But I never get tired of Utena’s, probably because I ignore the repetitious animation and just headbang to the music.
At the end of the video, and the reason I’m posting it, he does a fine job of presenting an insightful interpretation, coming at it from an angle I hadn’t thought of. I am mostly interested in Utena‘s Gnostic metaphysics and epistemology, which it acquires from Hesse’s Demian. But sudoStef is interested in what we might call its politics, and he does an excellent job of linking the ambiguous conclusion back to the various characters’ machinations and backstabbing and social climbing.
He even does it without spoilers, though as he admits, that means that unless you’ve seen it yourself, you won’t know what he’s talking about. But for me at least, this gives another way to view it.
Once again, we have to skip a chapter of SourcererZZ’s extensive history of magical girl anime because of copyright claims. This time, Pony Canyon is the culprit. So we pass over the years 2002 to 2003 and head to 2004, a big year for the genre.
As an update on my end, chapter 19 of Jake and the Dynamo is drafted and I’m currently working on chapter 20. I’d like to have five chapters in draft form before I begin posting them again, but we’ll see how that goes.
My schedule is likely to get very busy very soon. I’m likely looking at two jobs plus schooling. I’ll keep writing, but I can promise nothing in regards to speed.