A Suggestion for Nintendo

Nintendo is arguably the single foremost producer of video games in the world, being both one of the earliest pioneers of the medium and one of the most aggressive in furthering the technology of such. They have reaped the rewards of global success as they have developed several of the most recognizable franchises in the world, drawing inspiration from various cultures to craft stories that not only draw us into individual games, but also stretch across entire franchises, which take decades to be entirely published. And the narratives remain surprisingly coherent, unlike certain MMORPGS I could name, which likewise stretch on for a great deal of time. Nintendo has brought friends and fans together across the world to enjoy the tales of pipe-sliding plumbers and legendary heroes, to race on impossible courses or fly among the stars, to fight in a free-for-all with all our favorite characters, or to just work on a digital farm.

And heck, they just built their first amusement park, taking a page out of Disney’s handbook!

Clearly, they know their trade very well. Certainly they know it better than I ever will!

That being the case, even the best of us need feedback, especially from the customers, that we might always strive to improve whatever product we produce. In that vein, though it may be a bit presumptuous of me, I offer one or two ideas to send in Nintendo’s general direction, and I’d be glad to hear what you, my humble audience, might care to add.

First and foremost, I would love it if Nintendo drew more fully on their own history. By which I mean, they’ve done a couple of good things, and now I’m basically saying, “Yes, do that more!”

It’s clear that there are people at Nintendo who understand how they might use their history to create a more powerful experience for their audience. I can look at both The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Super Mario Odyssey for proof of that.

In Skyward Sword, they took the Zelda franchise back to its origin story. Here, we saw a reincarnated goddess fighting against a powerful demon with the aid of that first hero who became a legend. We saw the forging of the Master Sword out of an even more ancient blade. And we saw the moment that the rest of the series was effectively put into motion, in a rewarding finale that bound the evil of the demon, the blood of the goddess, and the soul of the hero together in a mythical cycle of eternal confrontation. Honestly, it was pretty great.

The Mario franchise has never been nearly so restricted by any form of continuity, and any attempt at such would probably turn out even more convoluted than the triple-forking of the Zelda timeline. However, Odyssey has several nods towards the history of Mario, and of Nintendo in general. There’s the inclusion of the eight-bit portion of the levels, there’s the presentation of Mayor Pauline, who apparently debuted in the first Donkey Kong game as a damsel in distress, and there are several expressions of gratitude from Nintendo to the fans for the decades of fun and success that they have enjoyed together. They’re actively using our nostalgia to improve our experience.

Heck, the Super Smash Bros franchise and Hyrule Warriors demonstrate that someone understands the appeal of drawing characters we like from numerous games we enjoy and throwing them all together.

And yet, Nintendo still seems fairly hesitant to actually dig into their history and brings back the games we love from yester-years and yester-decades.

They *could* make money off of these games *again.*

Oh, they’re doing that a little. They’ve released a couple of packs of their older games, including most of the Mega Man series, and they released three of the previous 3D Mario games (Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy) together for the Switch. And that is what I really want them to be doing! Not only incorporating what we feel about their history into future games, but actually letting us relive it again, this time with our own kids!

I would quickly be all “shut up and take my money” if they duplicated the 3D Mario game idea with their other most recognizable series, The Legend of Zelda. If they released Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker together for the Switch? I would buy that so fast! And the same with other franchises like Super Smash Bros, Star Fox, Mario Kart, that sort of thing!

Even more, as a friend and fellow blogger put it, they should have some part of their organization dedicated to going through their older archives and re-releasing those games for the Switch as well. They did it with Mega Man, why not the Mario games? The Zelda games? Kirby and Bubble-Bobble and Chrono Trigger would all be huge hits again, I am sure! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg which would utterly sink my finances! 😉

Look back, Nintento! Look back and use what you know has already worked! I mean, try new things, of course, but balance that with what you already know works! 🙂

On which note, I have really only one other bit of feedback for Nintendo: there is such a thing as too much personalization.

Really?

See, with any of the other games, any that had any sort of save function, one could take that specific game and use it with any Nintendo console of the right kind. Any game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Super NES, the Game Boy, the 64, and so on… they did not pair the specific game with the specific console.

The Switch, apparently, has taken a step backward in that regard. This, I know through recent experience.

Avoiding most details, I will say that someone I care very much for, and who has been under a great deal of stress for a long time, has found a bit of respite in playing on the Switch. It’s just a little break, a small moment of refreshment, but it works wonders. So, when something went wrong and their Switch stopped working properly, it was a bit unpleasant for them. They had to send it back to Nintendo, and, naturally, I offered to let them use mine. But I had a funny feeling that, against all logic, it might not work out so great.

I could not, and still cannot, think of a single reason why, but the Switch apparently saw that such-and-such game had been used on another Switch. Instead of simply starting the game up, it asked, in effect, if they wanted to delete all the saved data – and there are years‘ worth of saved data on these game cards – in order to start up the game on a new Switch.

The answer, of course, was, “NO.”

In effect, the Switch is so personalized that one apparently can’t keep any saved data if one is using a different Switch from before. Personally, and bluntly, I find that to be stupid. Whose bright idea was that?

I’m hoping that this particular experience is a lesson for the future of Nintendo: “new” is not always “better.” The old ways work quite well.

We love the classic games, and the franchises they launcheed.

This “new” way of saving data is less functional than the old “save” function was.

Heck, I still think they were nuts to depart from the formula of a single, cohesive story when they made Breath of the Wild, making it a huge collection of choose-your-own-adventure side-quests, with cooking and weapon maintenance included. But, as that was apparently a big hit, I’m obviously no great authority on the matter, haha. And at least there’s a story to enjoy in Age of Calamity.

In short, Nintendo: remember what you’ve already done right, and use it more effectively.

We could all do with putting that into practice, I think.

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Girl Meets World Meets Merlin’s Musings

Girl Meets World (Serie TV 2014) - Movieplayer.itThere are times I want to curse YouTube, and times I want to bless YouTube. Introducing me to Girl Meets World counts as one of the latter.

As the direct sequel to the classic Boy Meets World, the story of Girl Meets World picks up about thirteen or so years later, following the adventures of the next generation alongside the protagonists of the previous show. There are a few callbacks to and continuations from Boy Meets World, but Girl Meets World is crafted in such a way that usually doesn’t leave you hanging. By and large, this is its own show, with its own characters who have their own journeys. It’s sort of like the real rising of new generations of the family that way.

The previous show, I gather, followed the everyday adventures and life lessons of Cory Matthews and his friends and family as he passes through grade school, high school, and college. This one follows his daughter, Riley Matthews, in similar fashion, beginning somewhere in junior high. Cory is a history teacher, and he takes the lessons of history and makes them applicable to the lives of his students (sort of like I do more with lessons from stories, but a whole lot better). Among his students, at the beginning of the show, are his daughter, her best friend Maya Hart, their friend (and the son of another Boy Meets World character) Farkle, and the handsome, new kid in school, Lucas. These kids, and a couple of others who become good friends, and the rest of their classmates, they are the next generation, and we proceed to watch them learn and grow. Somewhat parallel are the adventures of Riley’s little brother Auggie, his girlfriend Ava, and his friend, Dewey (he pronounces it “Doy” for some reason), under the eye of Cory’s wife, Riley and Auggie’s mother, a fan favorite girl now grown into a strong woman, Topanga Matthews.

I am just going to say, I… really… enjoyed this show! Amidst all the tumult of life right now, and all the shows and movies and anime that keep trying to go bigger and louder, Girl Meets World felt like a wonderful breath of fresh air! There’s a simple, genuine happiness to it, a joy and humor that, with just a few words, opens our hearts to these characters, by opening the depths of their hearts and souls and minds to us as we see them begin to evolve, making us laugh and cry and think alongside them. It doesn’t hesitate to poke fun at itself, either, for the classic melodrama of overacting on the screen. The many lessons it teaches are heartfelt and important. And, if I may say, it’s absolutely refreshing to see a show that doesn’t hesitate to promote the family, and America, and independent thinking.

Girl Meets World Reviewed: 20 Greatest Meets World Characters: #8. Maya HartMy absolute favorite of the show, however, was Maya, portrayed by Sabrina Carpenter. Riley may have been the lead of the show, but Maya stole that lead quite often. She grew and evolved a lot more visibly than Riley, who tended to remain unchanged from episode to episode, and she was more grounded and relatable, I think, for her troubles, her mannerisms, and her mischievous spirit. Riley was invaluable for her steadfast loyalty and her surprisingly keen insight, but Maya was the one who went through truly difficult ordeals and emerged as a more whole and complete person. I particularly love the bond that formed between her and Cory’s best friend, who became a father figure to Maya even as he and Maya and Maya’s mother all learned to open up to each other, to take risks together and trust each other, and, in time, to love each other with all of their hearts, and with open eyes.

I would say I have only two complaints about the show.

One is how young and absolutely naive Riley is when she starts getting her first boyfriend. I know this isn’t a universal thing, but here, now, today, in our hyper-sexual society, I would say that thirteen years old is simply too young. But, then again, Maya is barely fourteen when she basically calls dibs on another boy, a relative of Riley’s, who is at the latter end of high school (side note: there are some continuity errors with the age difference, but it’s generally accepted that he’s three years older than her). Thing is, Maya is so generally well-grounded, and isn’t always fixated on this boy, and she’s so genuine and actually knows the boy better than anyone thinks she does… well, somehow one ends up rooting for her to get him. But not right then. It handles that subject well too, making it a possibility, albeit one we very much want, for the future, rather than something that is happening right then and there. So, there’s a compare and contrast aspect to these early romantic relationships, and I suppose all the coming-of-age stories have those first experiences with attraction and love. I guess I can’t complain too much.

My second complaint is that the show is too short. Only three seasons. Boy Meets World went for, like, eight or something like that, and Girl Meets World was clearly fixing to go a similar length. But, alas, Disney canceled it. There has never been provided a clear explanation of why. If it were the ratings – which would suck but be fair enough, given how each successive season’s high point matched the low point of the previous season – then one would think that Disney might just say so, but they didn’t. As such, we may never know the why of the show’s cancellation. Alas!

Boy Meets World cast reunites on Girl Meets World set | EW.comUltimately, Girl Meets World is a show that acknowledges what came before, but stands on it’s own feet. It teaches many important lessons, as quality stories do, and it makes us laugh throughout the experience. It has wonderful, lovable characters, and it’s a joy to watch them as they develop. This is one of those shows which I want my nieces and nephews and my theoretical future children to watch, and I will be happy to watch it with them! 🙂

Rating: 9 stars out of 10.

Grade: solid A.

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Sunday’s Wisdom #329: Persevering Love

“What is grief, if not love persevering?”
– The Vision, WandaVision
Episode 8, “Previously On”

This quote comes from a moment where Wanda is mourning a devastating loss. It’s not the first such loss she has suffered, and, unfortunately, it won’t be the last, either. But this one hits her so hard that she doesn’t know if she can ever be happy again, what with all the pain in her heart and soul. Her new friend, the Vision, comes to comfort her and lift her up, however he might, and it’s these words which get through to her, helping her begin to heal. They also help her later, when she is once again hurting with sorrow.

What Vision points out is that these feelings of grief exist because love exists. One who has never felt such grief has never endured any real loss. That can only be if one is very young, that they simply haven’t experienced it yet, or if they somehow have not loved, which, there are fortunately very few souls twisted and barren enough for that. Thus, for a normal person, living a normal life, grief is, in its way, proof that we have known joy. It is proof that we have loved and been loved, and what is life without love?

Some would say that it might be better, easier, for us if we didn’t love anything enough to feel grief over it. They would say it’s empowering to simply enjoy things in the moment, to take and use whatever suits our fancy, and then feel nothing as we discard them. But that is an empty life, just going through certain motions without ever gaining anything lasting for it. One might as well try to quench one’s thirst by going through the motion of drinking from a cup without ever filling it, as try to get anything meaningful out of life while trying to avoid the love the gives life its meaning.

Better to pay the price of pain than to live a life without love.

Let me just mention here that love is also a force of hope. If we have loved and been loved before, then that is proof, we can have that again, no matter how bleak it might sometimes seem for us. Grief can sometimes be overwhelming, as depression bears down on us with its unfathomable weight, pulling us so far under the waves of sorrow that we lose sight of the light above and drown. It is easy to believe that what we have lost, we can never have again. It is natural and easy to want to find some way, any way, to end it. To get some sort of suspension of our pain, some surcease of sorrow, some… final conclusion to it. But the love we lose, the very thing which causes our grief, is also what can heal it.

The end of our grief is not found in shutting down, but in continuing to love despite our loss.

After all, if grief is love persevering, then so is the healing of our pain, at least to the point that we can keep on living, and loving, and laughing.

If grief is love persevering, then it makes all the sense in the world, to me, at least, that it perseveres even through the grief itself.

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Why Not Pay for Premier Access on Disney Plus

Disney Plus: the new online streaming platform for many (not all) of the titles which this multinational multi-billion dollar company owns, including those produced by the other studios it owns, like Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and now Fox. It has something like ninety-five million subscribers, at the most recent news I found. Multiply that by thirty dollars per subscription, and you get just a little short of three billion dollars. Which is the lingo Disney really likes to speak, these days.

Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest movie they’ve made, hits Disney Plus within a day of this post. Their subscribers can pay thirty dollars, or wait something like three months to see it without charge, while others, not subscribing, might be able to find a theater still open somewhere, if they’re lucky. And, as Disney so loved to point out last year, just before they released their live-action Mulan, thirty or thirty-five dollars really is objectively cheaper than buying tickets and treats for the entire family at the theater. And who can argue with the ease of watching it from the comfort of one’s own home living room? (where far too many of us have practically been locked in for about a year now)

However, I have decided not to pay it, and I would like to take a moment to explain why not.

Let me rush to make clear that I am not trying to preach, or to dissuade anyone else from so doing. I merely mean to make myself heard, and maybe, just maybe, someone at Disney will hear me and realize how, somewhere along the way, they lost touch with many of their customers. One would think that they might have learned a little something about that after the absolute failure of Mulan, but apparently not.

Disney knows their reasons why I should, but here are my reasons not to.

This is why not to pay for premier access on Disney Plus.

Too Little Bang for Far Too Much Buck

I do not dispute that Disney has a right and a need to earn money in order to stay in business and profit. Also, I am actually very interested in Raya, as it appears to be about people coming back together in unity after some division in the past. However, I am not nearly so keen on paying thirty bucks for the privilege, just so Disney can pack their wallets full with my hard-earned money.

I already pay for my subscription, and that price is apparently going up in a couple of weeks, too.

I have no particular incentive to compel me that I must watch Raya as soon as possible. All I have to do is wait for a couple of months, and boom, I’ll be able to watch it. I can be patient for that long.

And it’s not as if I’ll actually own the movie that I pay so much for. I buy DVDs all the time, and once I buy it, it is mine. It belongs to me, and no one can legally take it from me. Where is the sense in paying so much just to see something that can just be taken down or vanish or whatnot?

Mind you, I would be far more amenable to the idea of the price was significantly lower. Like, say, four dollars (or three-nintey-nine, whatever). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but multiplying ninety-five million by four still comes out to three hundred and eighty million. That has to still be a huge profit, one which Disney wouldn’t have to split with the dying theaters, and one that is much easier to persuade already-paying customers to provide. Trying to make three billion off of every new movie is just ridiculous to the point of obscenity. It’s flat-out greedy and unreasonable.

Paying thirty bucks just to sit at home and watch something? I do that for free all the time! Why should I pay so much for doing what I already do, especially when I can just wait to watch the same movie for free?

Which, goes into my next reason.

Wanting the Theater Experience

I do not know how anyone at Disney forgot this, but people were never paying so much more just to see their movies. Oh, yes, that was the main event, the draw, the lure. But that wasn’t all we got from it.

Going to the movies, watching them in the theater, it’s not just about the movie. It’s about the experience. It’s about leaving one’s home for something other than going to work, church, or the store. It’s about doing something special.

Even more, it’s about doing so with family and friends. Just like going skating at a rink is about the time spent together, not just the skating itself. Or going camping and fishing with a father or a son is about the father-son bond. So is going to the theater, and paying so much more than Disney is asking, about so much more than just the movie itself, or the treats we get. It’s about all of us being together. Even crowds of perfect strangers can be united as they all react to the movie, let alone close friends and family.

We are social creatures, and as much as I enjoy stories, I have to admit that they would be absolutely worthless without people to share them with. Who could I talk to about how the human condition is reflected even in our cartoons, if there weren’t anyone else there to talk with?

So, no, Disney, it’s not simply the movie that we pay so much for. We pay for the entire theater experience!

Of Disney Politics, Sick and Tired I Am

I do not go to the movies to get preached at. No one does. No one likes to get preached at, and most especially when one just wants to enjoy the movie. But it’s all gotten political now, with the woke, feminist Left running things in Hollywood and at Disney. Oh, they’ll make and tell stories, on the promise of being able to sell them, which speak to the very things they oppose: integrity, selflessness, freedom, the American spirit, and the importance of family. But it gets increasingly difficult for me to give them my dollars when those dollars are just going to be used to promote exactly the opposite.

This, I think, would be a major factor in why Mulan bombed so hard because, like what Hollywood did with the last Charlie’s Angels movie and that Harley Quinn movie with the Birds of Prey, they abandoned even that pretense which has always profited them, and just went full-blown woke-ism and the modern feminism of “man bad, woman good.”

Of course, I can’t be too surprised by it. Disney has long been a vehicle for the politics of the Left, including environmentalism. It was a long process of transformation for me to realize that said environmentalism was a bunch of horse crap, which I’d bought into as a kid specifically because of Disney’s narrative. But after so much of this propaganda, for so long, I find that I tire of it. I don’t want to support it, which makes it more difficult for me to part with my dollars even when I already know that what I’m buying is good. And, not only am I not actually buying any of these movies on premier access, but I don’t know if they’re really any good!

I mean, I was excited about Mulan for quite awhile before its release, and look what Disney did to that!

On which note, I am having concerns about Black Widow, too. Oh, I am very excited for it, but I find my excitement waning with the rise of a trepidation born of knowing what Disney did with Mulan, what Scarlett Johansson did with Lucy and Ghost in the Shell, and even what Marvel did with Captain Marvel, a movie that, the more I think about it, the more disappointed I become.

Oh, and I definitely recall what Disney recently did with Gina Carano, star of their big hit, The Mandalorian. While I never got into that show, it irritates me that they would put such an emphasis on politics that they’d look for the most threadbare, deceptive excuse fire her simply for being conservative, for not toeing their political line. It makes me sick!

And in the midst of all of this, Raya and the Last Dragon seems, according to the trailers, to have some sort of message about a fractured people reuniting in peace. And this, right now, right after the most contested election in our history, instead of right before it. Coincidence? I think not.

In Summary

So, why not pay for premier access on Disney Plus, despite how much of a relatively good deal it is?

Basically: I think it costs too much and benefits me too little; I feel it lacks something which can be found by actually going to the theater; and I am just really sick and tired of Disney’s crap.

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The Honor Harrington Series, by David Weber

Amazon.com: On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Book 1) eBook: Weber, David: Kindle StoreOh, how little did I know about what I was getting into when I read On Basilisk Station, the beginning of the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. I have, thus far, read only the main series of the Honor-verse, but it has been an absolute delight and you better believe I will read all the rest! Indeed, I am very much interested in the whole of Weber’s work at this point.

The series follows its titular protagonist, Honor Harrington, on her storied career in the space-faring navy of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Though there are short stories involving the earliest parts of her career, the main series takes off with her achieving the rank of captain of her own ship. She starts off as a strong, intelligent woman with high morals, and from there she grows all the more so, and more capable. This is partially due to her uncanny ability to be wherever her brilliant expertise, unflagging integrity, and unbreakable resolve are most needed, but also due to her ability to evolve through her experiences. For her, the line between good and evil, right and wrong, is drawn in the sand from the start, and she defends her side of that line with everything she has. And, along the way, her evolution brings her the happiness of a large family, of steady comrades and true friends, and a conglomeration of allies who truly love her, as well they should. There comes a very wide and varied cast of heroes to love and villains to hate, all of them well-rounded, well-developed, and explained such that the audience can understand who they are.

With such diverse subjects as philosophy, politics, government, religion, economics, history, and everything involved in the waging of warfare (and more), Honor’s story is a saga about humanity itself: what it is, what it does, what it means. She faces down the most dangerous elements of the human species, of greed, of hatred, of blind zealotry and sheep-minded mentalities, of inflexible, self-absorbed pride, of the turmoil of love and the overwhelming nature of grief and pain, and, above all, that most sinister desire that some men have to put everyone immovably into their place, with themselves at the top, as “genetic superiors.” Honor faces it all, and emerges from each conflict, even her own defeats and her many, many losses, all the stronger and more capable for having been pushed past her breaking points so many times.

Not that she’s “perfect,” of course. She makes mistakes, and questionable decisions, and she does not remain undefeated. Even her resolve can seem a bit… inflexible, we shall say, at times. It serves her well, and earns her the respect of both friends and the more honorable of her enemies, but if any virtue can become a vice, then Honor’s willingness to stand firm no matter the odds is absolutely the one that just might get her killed. …eventually. And her sense of justice, and of vengeance, comes very close to turning her into a monster more than once.

Actually, my understanding is that Weber has repeatedly put Honor on the chopping block, intending to kill her off, and just wasn’t quite able to do it. Which tells me that he can still do it at any time, and he hasn’t held back at killing off long-standing, well-beloved, important characters thus far. I mean, all things considered, this series could be the basis for a more wholesome, and far less liberal, science fiction answer to Game of Thrones, with so many characters and complexities at work on so many fronts, and so many deaths. (and, speaking personally, I very much prefer Weber’s work to Martin’s) Perhaps the show could be called Manticore or The Star Kingdom or something like that… but I digress.

Honor HarringtonThere is, I think, only one aspect of Weber’s work that annoys me. See, he’s able to conceive of the most realistic wars and battles in space that I have yet encountered. He’s able to do this with a sound understanding of warfare and how it could be waged in space, with fictional technologies involved. He’s able to put all sorts of grounded, well-rounded characters we can care about into these battles and wars, typically on both sides. He’s able to describe the space-bound conflicts that people we like are involved in with great descriptive detail and tension. It is fantastic! …except for the looooong technical info-dumps that come right when someone says, “Fire!” He doesn’t do it all the time, but certainly frequently enough that I have started mentally shouting “WEBER!” out of sheer frustration every time he does it. The climax of anything is the wrong time for info-dumping on the tech involved.

I am also rather amused with how, in such a far-reaching series, the narrative passes between various spies, military officers, heads of state, and so on, all acting at epic, pivotal moments in the history of the universe, and then it goes back to Honor and her family just being family and going about their lives. I mean, I love Honor and her people tremendously, but the dichotomy of that back-and-forth just tickles me for some reason. Here is a president about to lead his people in open rebellions against a massive, oppressive government, and here’s Honor reading bedtime stories to the kids. Heh.

Speaking of, I love how we get to love all of these side-characters so well that we don’t really mind when the story takes several chapters to follow them instead of Honor, and some even get their own novels and their own series on the side. (those are the ones I have yet to read)

Amazon.com: Uncompromising Honor (19) (Honor Harrington) (9781481483506): Weber, David: BooksThere is a lot that can be said about this series. So much more, there is so much more, that I could say. I could wax eloquent about the themes of personal freedom and responsibility, or how no two battles are the same, or how there is still so far for the series to go in dealing with the ultimate threat in the shadows (and therefore how I am mentally staring in Weber’s general direction, whispering to him that he needs to get busy and finish writing it before he dies), but, really, for so much that can be said, it can be summed up as simply an amazing saga, full of twists and turns, with great characters, great action, powerful themes… oh, it is fantastic. I cannot recommend this series strongly enough.

Rating: without hesitation, 9 stars out of 10.

Grade: A-Plus!

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Sunday’s Wisdom #328: The Need for Vigilance

“Villains who twirl their mustaches are easily spotted. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are easily camouflaged. …she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay.”
– Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 21, “The Drumhead”

Last week, I talked about the first link in the chain, and the dangers of allowing even that first link to stand. This week, I want to use another Picard quote, from the same episode, to discuss who forges those chains and why, and what we must do about it.

There is this notion that somehow never goes away that villains are always easy to spot. Good and evil are supposed to be easily distinguished from one another, so villains and heroes ought to stand apart – and stand out – just as much. To this end, small distinctions like political affiliation – and I do count that as a small distinction – become the dividing line between good and evil in many people’s minds, which they defend with rabid ferocity.

This is deliberate, a lie that is carefully cultivated for generations until people become so accustomed to believing it that it becomes a way of life, and nothing is allowed to challenge “the normal.” Any deviation from what “should” be becomes cause for suspicion, for fear, for anger, for righteous judgment, especially when there can be conjured some faceless, monolithic “enemy” which clearly threatens all that is good. Those who do not conform are lumped in with this “enemy” and forgotten as they are destroyed.

And thus do the lying, fear-mongering hypocrites gain power. Those who follow them give them power, while those who would oppose them are wiped away. They talk about everything good, as they hollow out the very husk of the cause they supposedly espouse, and wear it like the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Bite after bite do they take our of the flock, gorging themselves, their power and pride and influence and wealth, always casting blame for it on the unseen wolf, on the sheep themselves, and on the wolfhounds.

The only way to combat those who feed on fear is with vigilance.

Complacence, that feeling of safety because all the lights are on, is a would-be tyrant’s first friend. The moment they can turn the lights off, make people suddenly uncertain and afraid of what’s in the shadows, and promise to turn the lights back on, to let them feel safe again… well, that is what they will do.

But vigilance keeps calm, and keeps one’s eyes open even in the dark, adjusting to any scrap of illuminating light… and reaching for the flashlight one already has prepared, just in case, the better to distinguish, for all to see, which of those voices in the dark are friend or foe.

Vigilance is demanding, and unyielding, but also calm. There is a tremendous gulf between vigilance and paranoia. One keeps the eyes open, the gaze steady, while the other tries to look everywhere at once in a panic, and sees next to nothing.

Vigilance is careful and thorough, and takes its time asking the questions that need to be asked and answered, instead of jumping to conclusions and lashing out. (I have some personal experience there, involving when some “friends” of mine decided to turn off the lights and scare me, and I responded by lashing out… and hurting one of their little sisters, an innocent bystander)

Vigilance is constant, most especially in times of peace, when things are good. No one has their guard down more than when they think they have nothing to worry about.

Vigilance is a price, part of the price of freedom. It is merely a question of what price we would rather pay: to maintain a vigil, or mourn the damage done by disasters which could have been avoided.

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The Stranger Things Book Tag

So, this tag is really old. I was tagged many moons ago, but the obligations of life really took a toll last year. My apologies for the great delay. Better late than never, eh?

I, like both Moya and The Spooky Redhead, haven’t seen an episode of Stranger Things but will do my best to answer all these questions! Thanks a bunch for the tag! 🙂

This tag was created by Sarah Elise and you can watch a video they created about it here!

  1. His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1): Novik, Naomi: 9780345481283: Amazon.com: BooksEpic Intro: The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik. My mother gets great amusement when she tells the story of how a friend of the family recommended this book, the first in Novik’s Temeraire series, and I was so skeptical. And then I began to read and she could see me getting absorbed into it, and not wanting any interruptions. Hey, it was well-written, about an English naval officer finding a dragon egg on Napoleon’s ship. It was a very good hook! 🙂

  1. Dungeons and Dragons: Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.

The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry CorreiaThe world of Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles, set in an alternate history, where magical manipulation of scientific forces is at play, and coming to work in conjunction with science itself.

  1. Squad Goals: When Eleven met Mike, Dustin, and Lucas it was a mostly perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.

The Chronicles of Prydain is the greatest fantasy series ever written - VoxI’m reaching way back to my childhood here, when I read Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. I really loved Taran, a boy who learns to become a man, and Eilonwy, his fierce, ever-so-stubborn lady, along with Gurgi, the loyal friend who was also a bottomless pit, Fflewddur Flam, the bardic king who always loved adding a bit of color to the truth, and Doli, the single grumpiest and gruffest of the Fair Folk, always muttering about something, but a complete softie underneath.

  1. ABC’s and Christmas Lights: Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.

Obliteration, from Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy. Lots of people are unhinged because of trauma, loss, or some external influence altering their mind. Obliteration is unhinged because of some twisted ideals he has, and yet he holds to some sort of Byzantine code. In a way, he’s cool, but, at the same time, he needs to be put down like a rabid dog.

  1. https://merlinsmusings.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/the-rest-of-us-just-live-here.jpg?w=400&h=600The Upside Down: Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness, and not in a good way! I went in expecting something of a young adult urban fantasy as told from the perspective of the typical side characters. I was thinking it would be interesting and fun, but instead it was this snide meta-criticism of the entire genre. It wasn’t really fun or interesting at all. Though there were a few nice quotes.

  1. Brave New World | Landmark BooksellersMad Scientists: Dr Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

I am going to cheat a little with this one, and cite a government from a book that I have not read, but which I know of: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. Most other dystopian governments are slavers, pure and simple, enforcing their will on the bodies and minds of the populations they rule. But not so many convince their subjects to actually like it, and enjoy it, so effectively filling the empty void within with momentary, meaningless pleasure and desire. Now that is terrifying.

  1. Demogorgon: Name a scary bookish creature that you would notwant to come through your walls.

Any of them, really. But, if I have to choose, I will go with… the shoggoth, of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos. I can think of very few creatures that are so impossible to stop, and so horrifyingly painful to be killed by.

  1. Cliff-hanger Ending: Name a book that left you wanting more.

I’m just going to point to each and every novel in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files for this one, especially Changes. I really hope he finishes that series before his mortality eventually gets him. 🙂

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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Hey! Look! It’s a review for a recent game! For once, I am not years late to the party! Yay! 😉

The general premise of most games in The Legend of Zelda franchise is that there is a great evil afoot in the land and the hero plays through the story by questing through various dungeons found on an overall map, beating monsters, finding items, and solving puzzles, with a bit of side-quests and side-missions mixed in.

The premise of Breath of the Wild is to crank way down on quantity and cohesiveness of the story conent while cranking way up on the side-quests, as well as the size and detail of the map, including how the player interacts with it, as the hero tries to undo the tragedy of what has already been done.

The premise of Hyrule Warriors is to throw all the characters together, never mind the problems of time and space and continuity, and have them battle entire armies while also looking to fulfill certain mission objectives.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity mixes all three of these ideas together and sees what happens.

The premise of the story is that at the height of Breath of the Wild‘s backstory, in that scene where the Princess Zelda’s power truly awakens as the Calamity is fully underway, something else awakened as well. It’s a small, unusual Guardian-type creature, one which has some connection to her, and which somehow travels a slight ways back in time to try and thwart the return of Calamity Ganon. Thus, the missions which the player undertakes are done in the context of playing through the events that lead up to the impending tragedy. It bills itself as the backstory, at first, and I was somewhat resigned to getting to know and care about these characters just to have them ripped away by the tragic ending. In that, I was happily surprised, as something most unexpected happens – I am skating around spoilers here – to alter the course of events.

I am just going to say now, if Breath of the Wild had as much story as Age of Calamity, and especially if this had somehow been part of it’s story, like, some parallel or concluding grand finale or something like that, where the future influences the past in an effort to save the Champions and avert the Calamity while also ending it in the later timeline, then I would have been much more eager to play it. I very much liked this one, though leveling up the many characters over the course of just over two dozen levels involved playing through the whole thing a huge number of times.

Because the timeline isn’t confusing enough already, right?

The time traveling aspect actually reminds me of Ocarina of Time, which is the pivotal moment where the paths of time split into the three unique courses of events which follow. Thus, if one can take Age of Calamity to be cannon, it would seem that there is another split, one wherein the Calamity occurred, in all its destructive rampage, and one where we get to fight to nip the Calamity in the bud, so to speak.

In addition to the main story narrative, there is a huge number of challenges that offer numerous rewards which can be most useful. Most of these involve gathering specific materials, but a significant number are unique combat challenges, some of which can be peripheral to the main storyline, and some of which shed all pretense of such.

In terms of gameplay, I have to draw a certain comparison. In Hyrule Warriors, exactly what the characters do may be a bit nuanced, but how one pushes the buttons is basically the same. In contrast, Age of Calamity gives each and every character (even the Divine Beasts) an entirely unique style of button-pushing combat, complete with unique actions and abilities. One must adapt quite a bit from one character to the next, and some of the characters are… well, the later they are introduced, the more ungainly they are to wield, it would seem. Oh, and the styles evolve as new combos and enhancements are unlocked, so one has to adapt a number of times even to use the same characters, especially if they can use entirely different weapons.

One small, personal, particular disappointment in that count: I was looking forward to playing Sooga, but we never got to. Instead, we got the deranged Kohga.

By contrast, the various monsters that one faces are all enhanced in identical ways. There is the basic form of each monster, and most of them are enhanced with elemental magic, or enhanced with an undead version, or enhanced by being a turned into a blue, black, or silver version, or enhanced with the malicious energy of Calamity Ganon. After awhile, it just felt overdone. Especially when I had my characters extremely leveled up but the same old monster types were as trying as ever just because they had a different skin.

And why did they simply erase this outfit from her wardrobe?

I have a particular bone to pick with whoever came up with Lynels, especially, being too fast to properly counter with the required ice wall when they charge, and packing a serious punch as well, in addition to a phenomenal amount of hit points. The things are blasted annoying!

But most of all, I hate how even the slightest graze from an enemy would interrupt whatever you are doing as if you were being hit by a train, yet the monsters’ combos are almost impossible to interrupt even when you’re unleashing an absolute storm of attacks on them. This is most aggravating when one is being hit from all sides and therefore can’t attack, defend, or evade effectively, but could if one were allowed to throw just one enemy off balance with a single, desperate blow, enough to open a window of opportunity to either counterattack or retreat and regroup. But, no, can’t do that. That would be too fair.

Obviously, you won’t hear me calling this game too easy, and I was playing on “Normal” difficulty.

And yet, I had a delightful time, and very much sated my desire to beat down the monsters that beat me down, no matter the overwhelming odds against me. I enjoyed the story and I appreciate the characters, even if some of them are impossible to use as effectively as I prefer. I was able to apply my mind to problems that left me feeling like a headless chicken, and I overcame. It took a great deal of time, effort, rupees, and resources, but I quite nearly finished even the most remote challenges and leveled up nearly half of my characters and their weapons to the max in the meantime.

Oh, and it did something that I have wondered about for a pretty long time: what it would be like to play the hero(es) during the actual apocalyptic battle, with armies of both sides clashing as far as the eye can see! It was quite hectic, especially with all the rules and time limits and such, but it was also glorious! I loved it!

I’m putting it aside to come back to and try and finish up those last details, and finish leveling up my characters, but I very much enjoyed the experience of this game, frustrations notwithstanding. I highly recommend it.

Rating: 8 stars out of 10.

Grade: A-Minus.

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Sunday’s Wisdom #327: The First Link in the Chain

“There are some words I’ve known since I was a schoolboy. ‘With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.’ Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning: the first time any man‘s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.”
– Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 21, “The Drumhead”

When Picard says this, he is quoting the father of the very same woman who is currently engaging in a witch hunt. She has been present for the discovery of a spy amongst the ranks of a ship’s loyal crew members, and she has used lies, half-truths, and insinuations to create a climate of fear that she might feed upon it and exalt herself. She is stepping on the freedoms of others within her own nation, and in so doing she is damaging its very spirit, chaining and choking it from within.

I try to keep politics off my blog, for numerous reasons, especially that I might keep this, my personal haven, free of the vitriol that I so often find everywhere around me. This, however, is something that I simply must say.

All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, and it is short-sighted to the point of practical suicide to actually cheer when another man’s freedom, his rights, are denied him. Chains of metal are more obvious, heavy on the body and visible as they are, but chains of censorship are no less binding. Walls of stone and bars of steel may cage the body, but they are no more restricting and suffocating than barriers of what one is allowed to think, what questions one is allowed to ask, what hopes and desires one is allowed to have. The horrors which inhumane deviants inflict upon the innocent are too obscene to describe here, but it is every bit as horrific, even more so, when “normal” people and “legitimate” authorities visit similar cruelties on those who do not conform to their dictates, as the very bonds which were built for mutual protection – that of community and government – turn upon those who are most in need of protection.

To allow any of these, much less celebrate them, is to eagerly sign up and wait for those chains to be placed on oneself, for those prisons to be filled by oneself, for those vile deeds to be visited on oneself, and even to look forward to the experience. It is utterly warped and perverse.

And we have seen it countless times, both in fiction and in reality.

The first man enslaved in England’s American colonies was owned by a black man. The man’s indentured servant went to court to try and obtain his due freedom, but, for whatever reason, the court ruled that the indentured man could be kept indefinitely. That single instance paved the way for one of the grossest and most vile evils ever committed in human history, which took decades and one of the bloodiest wars in history to finally purge out of America. And that still left decades of racial prejudice and discrimination to clean up. And that has since been revived in the flames of hatred and ignorance. We are still dealing with the fallout from one man’s freedom being denied centuries ago, and it is a bloody mess.

The first time a Nazi was allowed to blame a Jew, to take their guns, to take what belonged to them, thus followed the Holocaust. The first time a communist was allowed to censor a speech or remove a political rival or make someone disappear, thus follows all the atrocities committed in the name of socialism. The first time the fear of Soviet Russia drove Americans to turn on their neighbors, thus began the witch hunts of the Red Scare. The first time a corrupt senator was allowed to thrive in the Senate of ancient Rome, thus ended the Republic and rose an empire that was doomed to decay and fall, over and over. The first time one man was able to make another man bow to him… well, thus followed every tyrant.

Today, there are countless terrible things which all have “first times” to precede them. The first time guns were taken from the law-abiding, thus follows every single shooting spree, and every military massacre of unarmed civilians. The first time the value of a human life was diminished, thus follows godless acts by people who see no wrong in what they are doing. The first time the roles of mother and father were reduced, thus follows countless broken families. The first time an act of infidelity was praised, thus follows an entire way of thinking that promotes the short-sighted pursuit of pleasure and denies personal responsibility, and affection, and loyalty. The first human trafficked… and the first man who looked the other way when they might have stopped it instead.

The first church gathering restricted. The first restaurant shut down. The first pastor assaulted. The first murdering BLM mob. the first politically-motivated “cancelation.” The first bogus lawsuit against a baker of cakes. The first murder of black and white cops together. The first terror attack excused because of the religion of the terrorists.

The first mask worn, the first day of a “two-week shutdown,” the first social distancing… well, just take a look around.

The first time someone good allows something bad, evil rises and destruction follows.

There is, however, an upside to this.

The first chain we allow may bind us all, but the first chain we discard frees us all, too.

The first slave rescued by what became an underground railroad. The first brave white man who stood alongside a black man, even if it was to be hanged. The first march of black and white people together, in peace and equality. The first speech given in spite of fear of censorship. The first stand taken for freedom. The first shot fired in a war for liberty. The first words of negotiation spoken to end a war. The first gun retained instead of forfeited to gun control. The first embrace given to a fellow human being as they suffer. The first abandoned child adopted. The first time one reaches out to reestablish contact with a loved one. The first time we speak up instead of keeping our heads down. The first time we bridge a gap, or forgive a grudge. The first time we choose what is right.

The first ember of light in the dark, illuminates us all in beautiful radiance.

The first crack in one link breaks the entire chain.

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The Roots of Isekai

It can be really inconvenient at times, when one’s thoughts just build on each other forever. When one has a blog to update, however, it can be a pretty decent blessing. 🙂

https://merlinsmusings.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/anime-so-im-a-spider-so-what-trailer.jpeg?w=422&h=600I recently made a few posts which were inspired by or at least involved the taken-to-another-world trope called isekai, and that got me wondering: with so much of it saturating the market, where, exactly, did it come from? My wonderful audience, I have a theory.

As everything in the present is an expansion on the past, especially in our stories, I thought to start with today and work my way backwards.

Right now, there are (of course) several isekai anime airing, including So I’m a Spider, So What? Which is turning out pretty well, I am delighted to say. It follows a number of Japanese high school students who suddenly found themselves reincarnated in a fantasy world, including the lead character, who comes back as a spider. Thus the title.

It is only the latest in an exponential explosion of isekai anime, including Overlord, That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime, The Rising of the Shield Hero, and, a particular favorite of mine, By the Grace of the Gods (I still think of it in my own head as Kamitachi). The explosion of this trend took off especially after the success of such shows as Log Horizon and Sword Art Online, which are spiritual heirs to the classic .hack//Sign, which came out in fairly close proximity to other isekai classics such as InuYasha, Digimon, Monster Rancher, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Spirited Away, all in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

(let me just take a moment to bask in how I’ve apparently been doing this long enough that I can link to reviews for most of the titles I just mentioned… ahhh! …ok, basking done)

Even before these, however, were tales which I am less familiar with, personally, but have heard about for a very long time. Among these are Magic Knight Rayearth, The Twelve Kingdoms, El Hazard, and Fushigi Yugi. There’s an interesting trend among several of these and their most direct successors: the protagonists were girls, or included girls prominently. There’s probably something to be said there about girls getting swept up in adventures in far away worlds of magic wherein they find true love. But, though the trend has moved away from that and more towards boys being taken, given overwhelming power, and showered with gorgeous women who want to give them babies, the earliest isekai manga/anime I could find mention of actually featured a male lead.

It’s called Aura Battler Dunbine, and, alas, I can only speak of it’s reputation, rather than from personally experiencing it. Apparently, it was first published in 1983, making the trope in Japanese media officially older than myself, albeit not by much. It featured a young man who is whisked away from our world to a fantasy world and caught up in the wars raging therein. There was action, warfare, romance, and a lot of death.

Now, here, the trail of published isekai stories departs wildly from Japan and goes into the West, especially to the USA and Great Britain. It makes sense that Western culture would have a sudden and significant influence on Japan in the decades following World War 2. Before, they had been fairly isolated, even after they were forced to open up a bit to the rest of the world, and then, suddenly, they were practically inundated with foreigners – even more, with foreign conquerors – including all the stories they brought with them.

The Phantom Tollbooth, about a boy who travels to another world to promote knowledge and reason, was first published in 1961. Before that, C.S. Lewis, a grandfather of modern fiction and fantasy alongside the likes of JRR Tolkien, published The Chronicles of Narnia in the time spanning 1949 and 1954. But a far more notable culprit, I think, would be none other than Walt Disney himself, whose studio animated the tales of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, both in the early 1950’s.

The original stories of Peter Pan, I had never realized, were published by Scottish author J.M. Barrie way back in 1902. And though I thought Alice first debuted at roughly the same time, it turns out that Lewis Carroll published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland several decades earlier, in 1865. (and my mind exploded for a moment to realize that I might well live to see Alice’s two hundredth birthday, if I can simply last another four decades)

girl poweeeer!

Oh, and then there’s the quintessential isekai classic, published in 1900 on the nose, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Later than Alice’s adventures, more akin to Peter’s time, but definitely still one of the grandfathers of all such stories where the protagonist is taken to another world.

And, again, between these authors, there is a distinct trend of girls featuring heavily as protagonists. Interesting. Even Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, first performed in 1892, follows a young lady to another world and back.

Now, before I delve even further into history and theory, I want to pause in this era of roughly a century in the society of America and England.

It was, among many other things, a time of discovery, realization, and imagination.

Most of the stories we tell, indeed most of the genres of stories we tell, have roots that at least pass through this era and this region. The grandparents of horror were at work in this age, from Shelley to Stokes to Poe to Lovecraft. The same can be said for the grandfathers of political dystopian visions of the future, in forms of Orwell and Huxley. The proto-chicklit stories of Austen, the morality plays of The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible, the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and The Purloined Letter, the adventures of Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, and the tall tales of Pecos Bill, John Henry, Paul Bunyan, and Johnny Appleseed, all of these have shaped the stories and genres we have today. Even superheroes began here, from Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel to the incredible works of Stan Lee. So did science fiction, most notably in the works of Jules Verne, and small wonder with veritable wonders of technology revolutionizing entire lifestyles. Locomotives, light bulbs, records, phones, automobiles, planes, weapons of war, vaccines, satellites and mankind reaching for the stars even while we worked to improve the world around us.

In short, it was the age of wonders which gave rise to our own, where hearts and minds were afire with the possibilities of what might become possible, and we reached out towards other worlds. Is it any wonder we started telling new stories about actually going to strange, new, fantastic worlds of magic as much as of science?

Isekai is, at least partially, the extension of that spirit of discovery and development which did not die even after we explored the New World, the wilds of Africa, the far reaches of the Orient, and the islands of the sea. It is not even satisfied by what we’ve seen among the stars overhead, and it found new expression.

And I think the root of it goes even deeper and further.

In researching this, I found that the earliest example of isekai in Japan actually dates all the way back to the 8th Century. As in, the 700’s. Only three digits. It’s thirteen centuries old, and that’s just what written versions have been found in historical texts. Who can possibly guess just how long it was told orally before then?

The tale has naturally gone through a number of changes over the centuries, but the basic gist is that a young fisherman, by the name of Urashima Taro, rescues a creature of the sea and, as a reward, is taken to a magical undersea kingdom. It is a wondrous time he has there, but he wishes to return home soon enough. Regrettably, when he does, he finds that it has been a full three hundred years since he left. When he opens a magical box that he was counseled not to open, he turns into an old man.

(ADD moment: that moment where I realized that Oda Eichiro drew on a tale that old when creating Fishman Island in One Piece… mind, blown)

Now, that may not necessarily fit what most of us think of when we think of isekai, but it does fit, including a normal human who goes to a supernatural world and comes back.

And it sounds quite familiar.

Rip van Winkle, anyone?

Which is merely an American echo of the tales of Medieval Europe, which were rife with such stories about the fae, those beautiful, dangerous hosts who invited mortals to dance and dance and dance entire lifetimes upon lifetimes away without realizing it until they, too, return to find that centuries have passed.

Our fascination with other worlds, it would seem, includes a rather justifiable fear of them. Indeed, for a very, very long time the smartest thing anyone could think to do when faced with the supernatural was to avoid it, hide from it, and pray for protection from it. Only the bravest, the mightiest, and those chosen for it by higher powers would dare to face the limitless perils and horrors of both the mortal and the supernatural worlds.

Only figures like the mighty Heracles or the crafty Odysseus, both of whom were driven by circumstance, would dare to descend as far as the Underworld, ruled by Hades. Unless one was chosen by the gods, as was Orpheus, and his tale turned out quite tragically. Better to keep one’s head down and get through life and do nothing whatsoever to attract divine attention. Yet, even then, back in Ancient Greece, we could not stop imagining what those otherworldly places would be like, and what it would take to go there and return again.

To go out, to leave home and enter the wide world, to grow and return home laden with treasures and tales.

It’s the Campbellian Monomyth, the Hero’s Journey. The hero leaves, has adventures, does something important, and comes back home. What departure from home is more pointed than going to an entirely new world?

And that is the root of isekai, I think.

It is as basic as human nature and desire to go and do things in the world, especially now that we know we don’t need to fear the bogeyman under the bed or the errant attentions of Zeus and Hera and whatnot. We’ve expanded and expanded into every corner of the planet, quite nearly, and still we want to go further. Until the stars become a bit more accessible, our imaginations are simply taking us to the closest possible worlds: the one’s next door, in alternate dimensions where dragons fly, wizards fight, shining knights make ladies swoon, and apparently gorgeous catgirls galore want to get with the overpowered protagonist.

So, if that is where it truly begins, then the question is: how will this be expressed in the future?

With technology advancing so far and fast, with our fascination with magic, with our desire to expand and grow, with the footsteps of all sorts of heroes lying before us… what will be the next turn that isekai takes? We’ve seen heroic journeys to the underworld, people being lost in the passage of time, mystical transportation, and now reincarnation, including reincarnation into creatures other than human… not to mention we’ve seen everything from pure maidens falling in love in other worlds to boys that have all the power and all the girls that they could possibly want… so…

What’s next?

So Im ASpider So What Kumo Desu Ga Nani Ka GIF - SoImASpiderSoWhat KumoDesuGaNaniKa Kumoko - Discover & Share GIFs

“Any thoughts?”

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