Alternative Media (Part 3): Mediocrity is the Enemy

Yes, as mentioned by a commenter before, fantasies aren’t going to save the country. They are only mostly ideas and, at the end of the day, ideas will not mean anything if no one will stand for them. However, it is often ideas that build people’s character and, without good ideas, how can we hope to develop decency in our citizens when the only thing that’s really available to them are stupidity inducing shows such as teleseryes and noon-time shows? Anyway, here is another line up of good TV shows or other media that one can consume as an alternative to the usual local programming…

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

gurren_lagannWARNING

Okay, okay, before we continue, I’m going to warn you about there being major spoilers ahead. So if you’d rather not find out about the show’s major spoilers, I strongly suggest you skip ahead to the next section. The end of the section will be marked with bold letters.

START

Anyway, Gurren Lagann is certainly one of the more controversial anime shows out there because of the over-the-top manliness of the characters, ubiquitous fanservice, slapstick comedy and the utter audacity found throughout. However, beneath it all, I saw a glimpse of what the ultimate message of what the show was actually about. Take note, this is supposed to be a take on what the Japanese would see as a Saturday Morning Cartoon. If this is the kind of message the Japanese feed to their children’s minds, then it’s of little surprise that they are one of the more forward thinking of people in Asia. Let’s look, shall we:

  • Progress is About Determination: In order for good things to happen, we need to stay focused on what’s important. Yes, the anime is just filled with a lot of over-the-top gags throughout but the more important matters always take priority. The entire cast is composed mostly of goofballs, madmen and misfits but their goals are almost always clear. They may joke, they may laugh and they may get naked for no real reason but they know what they’re fighting for and they will fight for it until the very end. As Kamina (who many fans see as a parallel to Jesus even) said: “People have two eyes in front of their heads so they can see and move forward. If they were on the back of their heads, all they would see is what they’re leaving behind and they would become sad, no longer able to continue.”
  • Choosing What is Right Over What is Easy: Near the end of the show and tying in with the second statement above, the heroes are caught in a world of illusion and are presented with their ideal version of the world. Simon himself is presented with his ideal version of Kamina, one that kept to the sidelines and just did crimes instead of the real Kamina’s open rebellion. I find this similar to the way that the Church bowdlerizes everything, including the fact that Jesus Himself was quite a rebel against organized religion back in His day. The real Kamina shows up and asks a confused Simon which he would choose, the whitewashed Kamina or the real one who, while dangerous, was one who had principle. Thereafter follows awesome moments of ass-kicking.

WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!!!

END

Um, excuse me…

The Green Mile

Renowned horror writer Stephen King comes up with something quite different in this story. Originally a book series that retained some horror elements, it went on to become more of a supernatural drama when it became a film.

Both the book and the movie focus on the lives of guards who work at a prison, specifically in death row and the prisoners they often have to interact with. While I prefer the book over the film because the latter tends to skip over a few details, both were really good for making a realistic and humanizing depiction of death row convicts and the guards who work with them. Instead of just showing crazed murderers vs. good guards or cruel guards vs. innocent prisoners, The Green Mile shows that there are good and bad people on both sides. There are prisoners who are unrepentant scoundrels and there are those who were just overwhelmed by their emotions. While most of the guards are good, there’s no question that there are probably bad ones among them as well.

Overall, the film shows that just because someone has made some mistakes in their life doesn’t mean they’re evil to the core and just because someone is on the side of the law doesn’t mean they have good intentions. In the end, supernatural matters aside, The Green Mile shows that we are all human beings and that being good or evil is more dependent on the choices we make in our lives, not who or what we are. We are all capable of doing both good and bad, but it is what we choose in the end that marks us.

Suikoden V

The Suikoden series out there with and is well-known for having so many characters. In the game proper, you play the role of a prince in a fantastical kingdom. However, the kingdom is ruled by a succession of queens (making it more of a queendom) and males are barred from taking the throne. So instead, you play the role of a diplomat, going from city to city and nation to nation to speak with allies to bring help to your kingdom when it gets into trouble.

With more than 108 characters to meet, this is certainly a must have for those who like both grand strategy games and RPGs. Like Mass Effect, your every decision carries weight and the wrong ones can spell trouble for your kingdom, your family and the rest of the people you hold dear. That is why it is especially important to choose your words and actions carefully in this game as the wrong ones will not bode well for you and your loved ones. Also like the Civilizations games of late, diplomacy takes center stage and choosing how to deal with allies and their troubles is important if you want the best ending.

 

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34 Comments on “Alternative Media (Part 3): Mediocrity is the Enemy”

  1. The anti spirals are the equivalent of oligarchs in real life as they are supressing the human race / masses to achieve evolution.

  2. Nice article although Suikoden II is the best Suikoden game IMO thanks to its plot about friendship and betrayal. You know what game that has a similar situation of our country? Bioshock Infinite. This article explains it: https://dapinoychronicle.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/why-columbia-from-bioshock-infinite-reminds-me-of-the-philippines/
    Another interesting game is Spec Ops: The Line. I compare the main character Walker to pnoy because he suffers from dissociative disorder that he has the illusion of being a hero by saving lots of people in Dubai when in fact he’s only killing not just them but also his comrades.

  3. We are all capable of good and Evil. There are times, when Diplomacy works, and times when going to War is the only alternative. I have not been a Fan of Japanese Anemie Games…
    The Green Mile shows the humanity of every human being…whether, you are a convicted prisoner or not. The Prison guards are people like us. Some are cruel, some are with compassion and humane.

    I prefer computer games, that are sold here in the U.S. Not that they are better, but I live and work in the U.S.

    1. Indeed. That’s the problem with our society as well. While some people can be bad, we must not forget that they are people too.

  4. I watched the whole of Gurren Lagann too, and it’s a great series. Focused mainly on the growth of Shimon and other characters, such as Rosseau and Viral. Obviously, such shows are more for entertainment value. But they put in more credible moral lessons. Not like Filipino shows that emphasize “rich are evil,” “being a weakling is more saintly” and “intelligence is for the heartless.” Although some anime shows do carry some of that, but you know that you shouldn’t take them seriously.

    1. By the way, if you’re into tokusatsu, and you don’t mind the funny fruit theme, Kamen Rider Gaim is pretty good, especially in the characterization swing of Mitsuzane/Micchy. He (sorta spoiler) goes from good to bad then has a redemption at the end. I thought that was among the best storylines of the Kamen Rider series that I watched.

      1. I want to share this:

        Two tokusatsus I enjoyed really good are Jetman and Gokaiger. Jetman members are so flawed and not your hoo-rah type of heroes (Red Falcon is the closest but flawed as well), especially Gai (Black Condor who was an A-hole. But overtime they kept focused and had the one of the most bittersweet ending I’ve ever seen.

        Gokaigers are at first not the official Sentai/heroes and never acted one because they came from various planets. Yes they are the first alien group of Super Sentai not formed on Earth (except 6th Sentai member) before they realized when people of Earth attacked, they found themselves that Earth have a lot of common interest with them after all. So they decided to step in and fight for what was hard and beneficial, yet right.

        Before I see animes recommended by you guys, I will finish Avatar: The Legend of Korra because it becoming less predictable with ambiguous plot and well-developed characters. Even Korra has more flaws than Aang.

        1. Two creators of 2 Avatar series took heavy notes from animes, Eastern philosophy, and old school martial arts.

          And I like all of them.

        2. What happened to Gai in the last episode was a subject of debate. Then you see confirmed in Gokaiger he really did die. And Gokaiger… lots of fan service that makes it fun. hehe

        3. I think local television has really badly flawed characters as in, not the kind you’d want to emulate. Like what I said in my article about not looking up to celebrities, they display weakling or moocher traits in people, promote the wrong values and stuff. They give little impetus to improve, but more of reinforce the idea that the world owes you.

      2. Wow. The great ChinoF is a Kamen Rider fan. Amen! LOL

        But yeah, Gaim is a great series. One thing that I like about it is the story itself, especially when tackling with the concept of “growing up”. Just like at the beginning, when Kouta declared his desire to “transform” into something. And there’s Takatora, your typical adult who’s prepared to get his hands dirty to save the world because he believes that people must acknowledge the dark side of life in order to mature.

        I really like Kouta’s transformation throughout the show: from a silly, idealistic brat to a (spoilers ahead) a god-like figure who’s now responsible over an entirely new civilization.

        This is a must watch, really. Another epic masterpiece from the Urobutcher.

      3. You know, buddy, I can’t get over myself with Gaim. I mean, that was one of the best-written Heisei KR show ever. And yes, I agree with Micchy.

        But my fave characters are Takatora and Kouta. Just like President Emilio stated. Not to mention that he made a decision to side with Kouta when he found out there is another way of saving humanity.

  5. I’m pretty sure this pic will also attract the average Flip just because Gurren Lagann has protruding bewbs and skimpy clothes up to eleven and all other wrong reasons.

    1. My brother watches The Walking Dead
      My other brother seen Vikings, Jojo Bizarre Adventure, and Spartacus
      I’ve seen at least Season 1 of Breaking Bad and cant wait to finish them all.

      Is BB aired in PH? what cable channel then?

  6. Dan & Sheena

    We’ll definitely go watch your suggestions, napag-iiwanan na kami. Haha! We used to rely on what’s available on local channels or what animation my younger sister is forcing us to watch (she has good choices though) and now because of work we have to rely on the internet to watch animés that we missed. We also suggest sports animé especially for people who like sports because we remember, like in Capeta, Initial D, Slam Dunk or Knock Out, you’ll see the dedication, hard work and strength of character of the main guys in the story and they also offer realistic techniques that can be applied in real life. Japanese actually have animation for every occupation and events within their society. It holds such purpose as to teach, challenge and amaze the viewers, not cut alone for entertainment. That’s what’s lacking on our television shows, variety and shows done out of studies and research. Also Japanese are open to everything they can learn outside their premises and are open to Western contributions on learning. They adapted and animate popular and notable children’s stories such as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer, Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs, Frances Burnett’s The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music, Swiss Family Robinson, Cedie, Princess Sarah, A Dog of Flanders, Remi Nobody’s Girl and many others. As a youngster these are the animation we remember watching every morning in our local channels. It’s good for children’s moral development and in using and expanding their imagination. Some of the animé we would suggest are Shigenki no Kyogi, FMA, Last Exile and Detective Conan, and Hayao Miyazaki movies for the youngsters. At present we’re following Parasyte and Death Parade which best thing is its shock factor and it gets more interesting by the episode (my younger sister said that actually). There are too many good Japanese animé to mention, old and new. We hope we can say the same with our teleseryes that we have too many good teleseryes to remember and to choose from since the Philippine TV industry is known in making teleseryes. It’s not too late for them to take a u-turn against, per your word Grimwald, stories focusing on “fatal fantasy” and “over-romanticism”. They should get their head out of their arse and start using their brain.

    1. My bro is in the US Army, but he and sis-in-law are still enamored in TFC (The Fuck Channel) teleserye and movies. I don’t want my 4-year-old nephew and 1-year-old niece get influence by this brain-shrinking shows.

      They even mock my choice of US movies, anime, tokusatsus and dorama because he didn’t understand the language (there are subtitle provided) while missing the hdden messages shown, and I have to elaborate them.

      I guess old habits are hard, no, even harder to break.

      1. Adults are virtually impossible to change unless they realize the problem for themselves. But kids though, they have a chance for change.

        The best thing you can do is expose them first to the media you want them to be influenced by at first.

        Because as a kid, I was exposed to western media (Cartoons and Educational) because they were both entertaining and endearing… I got invested in it. So when my family watches the mindless drivel, I find myself bored. I remember long afternoons where I sit at the TV being bored by the telenovela Valiente waiting for Sesame Street to air.

  7. These are for Filipinos who need their fix of fantasy, there are two I recommend:

    The first again, is Berserk. Despite it being bloody and brutal, it definitely tackles the issues of fate, religion, humanity and rape. The characters here definitely act human as everyone here is concerned for their well being and even those doing horrible things have their own reasons why. It actually helps that the main character has to solve his problems by himself.

    The second one is Shrek. Shrek is an ogre who was happily living on his swamp alone until all of a sudden, fairytale creatures appear and live as squatters on his land. So, out of annoyance, he goes off to the lord that sent them there to sort it out. This show is great as the protagonist handles his problems by himself. That and it helps the movie is hilarious and lovable.

    1. I find it really odd you’d put Berserk and Shrek under the same light especially when the latter is more “masa” friendly.

    1. I say a sense of balance is best. Watching too much dark and serious anime would leave you depresses or even suicidal at worst. There’s nithing wrong with enjoying something as light as Hidamari Sketch or K-ON as long as it’s in moderation.

      To be fair, Filipino dramas aren’t all inherently bad. There are some things you can learn from them as well as oter foreign media. The main problem is the viewing habits of the majority, as if they are only consuming feel good junk foods. You need real sustenance to keep equilibrium.

      1. Heard of Urotsokidoji and School Days. Yeah, they’re the proof that not all anime is that good – or good for all. I still prefer to go back to some good stories that have better moral values.

        1. Oh, God. Not School Days…

          Every anime fan knows that show should never be watched (again).

        2. The TV series of School Days did leave viewers with one pearl of wisdom and that is not to be a manwhore.

  8. You forgot Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). I personally think that anime series/manga is the closest to the dysfunctional Philippines. You don’t need to look twice and see the uncanny resemblance of:

    1. The crapy royal family together with the rich people who wouldn’t think twice of sacrificing the majority of the people on the outer walls just to save their arse from Titan’s attack.

    2. The survey corps reminds me of our military and policemen, and the recent events in the manga reminds me so much of what happened to the SAF 44 and the the police force and military and what their shitty leaders wouldn’t think twice of doing; again sacrificing them on behalf of their own salvation.

    3. The wall reminds me of so many things, but I can compare it to the status quo that seperates the rich from the poor. It also represents the barrier that prevents people from thinking of other things that will save them from their current predicament. For example (sorry for spoilers here), whenever there are people who attempts to invent things that will make them leave the wall, the military under the royal family kills them immediately. If anyone questions anything related to the Wall and the Titans, expect these people to be executed. No one are allowed to ask questions, no one are allowed to think outside of the walls, everyone are only ordered to follow the status quo.

    4.The wall worshippers are the CBCP and the cults/religions in the Philippines who make sure the Filipinos remains dumb and stupid so the rich people continue to abuse them and to help keep the status quo in place.

    5. Eren reminds me of those Filipinos who wants change in their country but the wall, the royal family/rich people who want to uphold the status quo and the Titans are the ones who are preventing them to save their country and their people.

    6. You can even see a hint of semblance of a Titan’s faces on the president of this country, especially whenever he gives his signature ‘nganga’ smile. 😉

    If you can think of any other things comparable to this country and AoT feel free to do so.

  9. In the republic of the mediocrity, genius is dangerous. If you’re in the Failippines, they can make you an enemy of the state.

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