Sunday, March 16, 2014

Revisiting Evangelion

My most recent exposure, before today, to the Evangelion franchise was the third Rebuild film. I'd watched the first two movies the day before, but even still 3.0 struck me as almost certainly intended to frustrate or anger the show's fans.

I thought it was okay, but it felt kind of pointless and meandering, with what little plot it has dedicated to further obfuscating the already-vague mythology.

Last night I got the other to rewatch the TV show - my third viewing ever and the first in six or seven years - and with my wife out of town and no other plans I figured I'd try to blitz all 26 episodes in a day.

Turns out it's not that difficult.

The early episodes, basically everything pre-Asuka, always stuck in my head as being quite dull, but I really enjoyed them this time through - even the one with JetAlone in it. It's easy to forget, with the shows reputation as a trippy, psychotic self-analysis, that the beginning of the show is so normal.

The slide into darker themes is slower than I remembered, and there's also more foreshadowing than I've ever given the series credit for; it actually felt much more coherent than I expected.

I was in two mind on whether to finish with the original ending or switch out to End of Eva, but in the end I stuck with the TV show. I'm glad I did; I was surprised to find that I reinterpreted the finale in a substantially different way than I ever had before. I'd always felt like the "congratulations!" at the end of the series was an obviously different ending than EoE, but now I'm not so sure.

I still prefer the upbeat TV version - EoE is just too dark, especially coming on the back of over an hour of suffering.

It does make me wonder, though - what is the final Rebuild installment going to change?

Monday, March 10, 2014

- - - -

Personal circumstances for two of our regular(ish) RPG group members have changed, and they probably won't be playing with us for a while. The situation sucks for them, and I feel bad that this is my initial reaction: I'm never going to get to run this fucking Fate game.

I've got the rule book, I've got the dice, I bought stuff to use as Fate point counters, I'd got to the point where I felt like I had enough grasp of the mechanics and I had even accepted that I'd have to let go of the story reins enough to actually run a session, and now it looks like I don't have the people to play it with.

There are probably other people I could draft in to fill slots, but I was really looking forward to playing it with this group. I was looking forward to seeing what they'd do, how they'd approach their characters and the world, and how they'd screw up my plans in retaliation for all the times I was difficult or awkward or a pain in the ass when they were running games.

It all feels oddly pointless without them. It's been a few weeks since they were able to make it to our sessions at all, and now that they might not be able to come back (for another while, anyway) I realise that I've missed them quite a lot. I wasn't writing any of this stuff particularly for individuals, but I was writing it for that group.

It would feel oddly like a betrayal to play it with anybody else.

Monday, March 03, 2014

30 years of back story

Reading the first Captain Marvel trade this evening, I think I've finally figured out my problem with Marvel comics.

I've always described it rather flippantly as having to know decades of history about characters, most of which has been tweaked or ignored or retconned several times over that period.

But really the problem is not knowing what bits of the story I'm supposed to already have an understanding of, and which bits will get explained in this book eventually.

If there's an allusion to a character's past in Saga, I know that it'll be explained later if it's important. But in Captain Marvel, I don't know if I'm supposed to know Helen Cobb already. The stuff that happens with her in the book is pretty reliant on you believing the relationship she has with Carol Danvers; I'm not certain this volume self it enough, but maybe there have been other comics previously that build their friendship/rivalry into something bigger.

The back of the volume has a four-page character backstory, but it's given no timeline for context. There's decades of character development with the XMen, SHIELD and the Avengers, and although not much of that is essential to understand what's happening in this story, there's a constant gnawing reminder at the back of my brain that I'm missing something.