Carly Rae Jepsen: Pop Princess, Lyrical Genius

A few weeks ago I was riding on a bus to Chicago on a scholarship trip, listening as I often do to Carly Rae Jepsen’s seminal album “Emotion.” As I was listening to it, I came to a sudden realization about the lyrics of a lot of Carly’s songs. They toe a delicate line between pop and alternative and do a wonderful job at grabbing the positives of both sides.

So I thought it might be fun to take a closer look at these songs to examine just how they manage to pull off this careful balancing act, and why they’re just great songs overall.

Continue reading

Advertisements

What the Ship?!?

When I first started this blog, one of the first ideas I had for a post was a Valentine’s Day post about some of my favorite couples in fiction. However, instead of going through with that post, I spent last year’s Valentine’s Day compiling a massive list of love songs, so I think the time is here to sit down and have fun gushing about our favorite couples in fiction because, really, what else is there to do on this, the love holiday?

(Celebrate actual, real-life love? On my blog? Hah! Who do you think I am, some sort of person who expresses their feelings on the internet? Ridiculous.)

These couples come from all kinds of media, from books to video games to anime, and they’re not necessarily canon couples either. (In some cases, these characters don’t even canonly… know each other. Actually, that’s in only one case but… ah well.) In addition, it should be noted that these couples were mostly selected for their importance to my life. So there’s gonna be some odd ones in there. But I intended this post to be fun, and fun it shall be.

Soul Eater Evans / Maka Albarn (Soul Eater)

soma

When I first thought about this list, there was no iteration of it that didn’t include this pairing. There were ships that came before it, and ships that came after it, but it sticks out in my mind to this day as one of my all-time favorite relationships in a fictional story, romantic or otherwise.

The world of “Soul Eater” sets itself up for some interesting relationships right from the get-go. It’s a world where part of the population can just turn itself into various weapons, and another part of the population gets to wield those weapons. It sounds… odd, I know, but by the time you’ve gotten used to the concept, it’s already quite charming. Important too to the world of “Soul Eater” is the idea of “soul resonance”, or the natural connection between a weapon and its wielder (called a “meister”).

Maka and Soul are the main meister/weapon pair in this anime, and it was always their relationship I cared about the most. In the beginning, Maka is distrustful of Soul (due to her cheating father making her distrust men in general), and Soul is too headstrong to respect Maka much (just because he’s a jerk). But by the end of the series, they’re incredibly tight companions, caring about each other, protecting each other, and knowing each other better than anyone else. Even putting aside the possibility of a romance, just their relationship is key to the progression of the story. You end up rooting for them to work out their differences, and watching their bond grow stronger as they do is probably my favorite part of the series.

Even if they never officially got together in either the manga or the anime, there are strong hints in both that their bond is at least a little romantic. They live together and share in each other’s triumphs and failures throughout the series. And honestly, just the focus on their strong bond and how it changes both of them for the better, making Maka more trusting and Soul more mature, is enough for me to admire this pairing for years to come.

Cynthia / Owain (Fire Emblem: Awakening)

cynthowain

There are a lot of great pairings in Fire Emblem, just as a consequence of how the game works. But I have to give a shoutout to the OG Fire Emblem ship – Owain and Cynthia.

As second generation characters, both Owain and Cynthia have the heavy weight of their doomed future hanging over their characters, an element that makes them such tragic and fascinating characters. But it’s also just as important that they’re both huge, dramatic goofballs who love heroics and theatrics. Faced with adversity, both of them turn to old-school heroics, and though how exactly they display these heroics is a conflict they work through in their support conversations, it’s obvious they’re working for the same goal.

I admit a lot of my love of this pairing comes from headcanon land. They both admire their mothers greatly and lose them in their doomed future, so I always thought it made sense that they would turn to each other in their time of grief and train together. At the same time, I imagine they’d have a lot of fun together, with both of their goofy and fun-loving personalities on full-display. But there’s plenty of great stuff about them in canon too. They’re childhood best friends who drifted apart, brought back together by tragedy and adventure. It’s just a good dynamic. (Even if their S conversation left… something to be desired.)

Vinyl Scratch / Octavia (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

vinyltavia

An odd pick, I know, but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t include this landmark ship for me. If you think shipping two ponies from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is weird, try shipping two background ponies who barely get appearances in the show.

But it’s the aesthetic of it all, really. They first appeared in the same episode, Octavia as a classy cellist for a party and Vinyl as a head-bobbing DJ. Fans immediately noticed both of their designs – Octavia for her unusually muted colors, all in gray and black alongside the usual pastel, and Vinyl because… well, come on, look at her. From there the fanon expanded. Obviously they knew each other, and obviously they had a rivalry because of their conflicting music genres. Several fanarts were drawn, several notable fanfictions were written (my favorite being this one), and it was hard not to see the possibility for an interesting relationship between them, romantic or not.

And now since I’ve stopped watching My Little Pony, they’ve appeared together once more in an actual scene in an actual episode… man, how cool is that. These two are just great. Conceptually, visually, and fandom-ly.

Percy Jackson / Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan)

percabeth

(Fanart Credit: viria)

Another pairing I could possibly skip mentioning when talking about great fictional couples. The “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series was monumental for me – it inspired me to write and it gave me a great leading pairing to root for.

Rick Riordan’s series has been widely loved for a lot of reasons, but his colorful characters are probably the most notable. Percy himself, the voice of the series, oozes personality and boy-hero charm from the get-go. But add on the smart-aleck, cooler-than-everyone-else Annabeth Chase, with whom he shares a ton of chemistry, and you have a slow burn romance for the ages. This pairing, like most of my favorites, is built from a friendship, developed over five books. The vast amount of time the book spends exploring their relationship is one of the reasons that their getting together in the end feels so satisfying for the reader. Annabeth and Percy grow up together throughout the books, taking on insurmountable odds and improving each other along the way. It’s hard not to root for them, snarky and at-odds as they might be at times.

Nora Valkyrie / Lie Ren (RWBY)

boop

It’s probably rather obvious by now, but I tend to fall the hardest for side characters, and even harder for side character romances. And even harder harder for side character romances built on friendships. Thus, Ren and Nora.

RWBY isn’t at first up-front about how these two came to be friends. There’s hints, even an entire song talking about how the two of them have been through a lot together, but just the hints were enough to sell this couple entirely to me. The pink, energetic ball of brutality and her slender, serene companion? Plus the implication that they’ve been looking out for each other for years, and have a bond forged in fire? Say no more, I’m sold.

Mix in the unrequited “oh god I’ve fallen for my best friend” storyline on Nora’s end, as well as the recent seasons finally revealing what actually went down to bring these two together, and I’m a devoted fan.

Wakamatsu Hirotaka / Seo Yuzuki (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun)

wakaseo2

Okay, so, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun is a stupid show. It doesn’t have much of a plot, it’s just a bunch of idiotic high schoolers going about their daily business with a loose motif of manga tying it all together. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love the characters. They’re silly and don’t really get anywhere, development-wise, but it’s so fun to watch them that it doesn’t even matter.

And the best two characters are Wakamatsu and Seo. Wakamatsu is the youngest and tallest of the cast, a basketball player, insomniac, and naive sweetheart. Seo, on the other hand, is terror incarnate. She doesn’t care about anyone around her. She revels in chaos. And she has the singing voice of an angel, the only sound that can cure Waka of his insomnia and get him some sleep. And thus, a strange dance begins to play out between the two of them. Waka is constantly tormented by Seo, but she’s the only one who can bring him peace. He also doesn’t know she’s the one with the voice he relies on, but she knows their connection and loves his ignorance too much to tell him. It’s pure stupid comedy, and yet I still can’t help but root for them to get over their weird hangups and finally just admit they love each other.

Cloudtail / Brightheart (Warriors)

cloudbright

(Fanart credit: JinxBC)

Another oldie, but a goodie. I was capital O obsessed with the “Warriors” books as a kid, and my favorite character was always Brightheart. Her story just spoke to me, an idealistic kid caught in a conflict too big for her and forced to wear the scars from it forever. She’s such a fighter, going through all the terrible things she did, losing one of her best friends, being rejected by her leader, being forced to relearn all her fighting skills… and then there’s Cloudtail.

Cloudtail is… well, he’s a jerk. He’s a spoiled, pampered jerk. And you’d think that a guy like him could never deserve a scrapper like Brightheart, but you’d be wrong. Believe in the redeeming power of love! Because, when Brightheart was in her deepest and darkest point, it was Cloudtail who, unexpectedly, stepped up to the plate to help her out however he could. Their romance developed both of them – teaching Cloudtail how to be humble and Brightheart how to trust others. And then… they stayed together! Through all the crazy stuff the clans went though, Cloudtail and Brightheart are a series constant, always there helping out, being awesome. So obviously they’re the best characters, and deserve the biggest shoutout. They may be cats from an edgy series for middle schoolers, but they’re still relationship goals for sure.

MU / Silas (Fire Emblem: Fates)

corlas

Someday I will do an entire post about how much I love Silas. That day is not today, unfortunately, although now come to think of it that would have made a wonderful Valentine’s Day post as well… but oops. Anyway, Silas is great. He’s the player character’s childhood best friend, whose ill-fated attempt to throw a picnic for them ended in disaster, and his permanent removal from their life. But, ever-devoted to his best friend, Silas dedicated his life to becoming a knight so that he might one day see the player character again.

That’s admirable enough, but then when Silas actually meets up with the player character again, they’ve forgotten all about him. But in lieu of being upset, Silas is willing to rebuild their friendship. And even if the player character chooses to pursue him romantically, it’s revealed that his devotion to the player was always rooted in friendship, and it was only after he met the player character again that he developed romantic feelings for him. Anyway, friends or lovers, this level of devotion is one of the reasons I love this pairing… and Silas.

Nozomi Tojo / Eli Ayase (Love Live)

nozoeli

Ah, Love Live. With your cute singing high schoolers and hinted-at romances. There’s a lot of teasing in this series of certain couples, but no pair gets teased about as much as Nozomi and Eli.

As “mom” and “dad” of Muse, Nozomi and Eli serve as the guiding older figures for the rest of Muse. They also knew each other before they both joined the idol group. Specifically, it was Nozomi who quietly guided Eli toward approving of the idol group. It’s obvious throughout the series that Nozomi cares deeply about Eli and knows her incredibly well, and Eli, though not always wise to Nozomi’s scheming, trusts her the most of all the other girls, confiding in her first, always. Theirs is a quiet and trusting relationship, and adorable as all-get-out.

Not to mention their beautiful duet, “Garden of Glass.” Listen to that and tell me these two aren’t in love. Go on, tell me.

Akihito Kanbara / Mirai Kuriyama (Kyoukai no Kanata)

I'm a wreck

(Sorry for the grainy screencap, but this is the one that always wrecks me)

Perhaps the most aesthetic of all of these relationships, Mirai and Akihito are a textbook OTP. Meet-cute? Yep. Well, if you call Akihito running up to the roof of the school building, worried Mirai was going to jump and instead getting a sword in the gut a meet-cute. But it’s fine, he’s immortal. Tragedy? Plenty. Mirai is a demon-hunter and Akihito is half-demon, you can bet they’ve got all sorts of drama going on. A relationship that builds? Totally. Mirai spends most of her first week of knowing Akihito stalking him in an attempt to kill him, but by the end of the series they’re in love!

Anyway, these two are sweet goofballs who have to withstand a lot of terrifying obstacles together. They look out for each other and defy great odds to be together. Plus, as in every good pairing, they improve each other. Even Akihito’s weird fetish for glasses progresses to the point where he learns to love the girl behind them more than the girl in them (see the several promotional images of him removing her glasses), and I, not being a fan of weird fan service, was very thankful for that.

Anyway, that’s ten couples I love, just in time for the love holiday. I’ve neglected to mention so many more, so there’s a good chance these sort of posts can continue into the future. Either way, have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Pleased to be of Fanservice

So I’ve, regrettably, gotten back into Fire Emblem: Heroes. I swore I wouldn’t play it until they added my beloved husband Silas, but I recently went against my promise due to… jealousy, mainly. I’m now a part of a Fire Emblem themed Discord with a couple of friends and their discussion about the game made me miss it somewhat. So I started playing again.

And it’s been fun! Even though I still can’t play as my husband, I do get to play as a lot of other favorite Fire Emblem characters. I get to pull for them in the gacha, train them up, and even back them in gauntlets. In fact, for the last gauntlet, I was excited to back up Camilla, one of my favorite characters from Fates (see the entire blog post I wrote about her).

That is, until I popped onto tumblr and saw the drama raging around her inclusion (as well as Tharja’s), in the gauntlet, mostly revolving around the fact that, as two of the most sexualized characters, they were automatically incredibly popular and thus shoe-ins for the finale. That’s not exactly what happened, but it still promoted a discussion I, personally, find very interesting.

So how much fan service is too much fan service, anyway?

Continue reading

Confessions of a Former Brony

Growing up in the internet era, I’m pretty sure a vast majority of people my age have one or two fandoms they’re ashamed to admit they were a part of. From Homestuck to Hetalia, from “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” to Danganronpa. There’s something in your past you loved and lost and never want to think about again, I guarentee.

For me… well, actually that could be many fandoms. I did my time in Homestuck, Hetalia, Warriors, and many others. But for today I thought I’d take a look at perhaps one of the most infamous fandoms of them all.

The Brony Fandom.

Continue reading

The Next Best Thing – “Fire Emblem Warriors” Review

There’s a variety of different franchises I would love to see Super Smash Bros-styled fighting games made of. Among these many franchises is the Fire Emblem franchise. With a huge variety of colorful characters, all with associated weapons and fighting types, as well as a dedicated and growing fanbase, it seems like it would be a great fit

And, well, we still don’t have that. But we do have “Fire Emblem Warriors”, and that’s kind of the next best thing.

Continue reading

These Are a Few of My Favorite (2017) Things

Absoludicrous’s very first year of existence is winding down, so I think for the next two weeks it’ll be fun to look back on some of the things that made this year special.

Next week I’ll be going into incredible detail over some of the best songs that came out this year, but I thought it would also be fun to talk about some of the non-music things I loved this year.

Continue reading

Learning the Ropes of Character Tropes

So sometimes I like to watch YouTube videos that make me angry. This usually happens at ungodly hours of the morning/night in a sleepy haze, and I usually regret them the next morning. The variety of these videos changes as time goes on, but recently the genre of video I find myself drifting toward is the “criticize Original Characters/Other People’s Art”-variety.

Continue reading