Blogging, drawing and stuff by Jacob Plette.
Finished Psycho-Pass. A Valentine’s Day well spent, I say. I think my earlier thoughts still hold water, even if that mystery-box-Shinya thing got dropped almost immediately after I picked up on it. More thoughts later.
Also, when did Yayoi and Shion become a thing? I did not catch that in the beginning. Can’t fault me for missing it, though; after all, th’only place they’re getting shafted is on SCREENTIME, AMIRITE FELLAS
wait is today valentines day?
I’m working my way through Psycho-Pass atm; I’m on episode 6, so maybe this gets won’t be applicable later. That said, Shinya (pictured) keeps reminding me of Amy (also pictured) of Doctor Who infamy; more specifically, I keep thinking about the DW fandom’s (maybe more accurate to say a subsection of the fandom?) criticism of Moffat’s handling of the character—and others, to be fair; River’s the other biggie that comes to mind, but Amy is arguably more Moffat’s creation than River so I’ll restrict this to what I
kinda know >_>
ANYWAYS- here’s what I’m seeing: Shinya’s not the main character; that’s Akane’s jurisdiction. And as a lead, Akane’s pretty perfunctory so far; she’s a functional audience surrogate as the newbie on the team, has relatable doubts about job performance, and is noted as being exceptionally talented, but that hasn’t been focused on much outside her routine lunches with the gal pals.
No, the focus is on Shinya. The series opens in-medias-res with him fighting some dudes and Akane gives us a voiceover about destiny and its really heavy and “deep” but then after the title card we cut back in time to Akane’s first case where she meets Shinya. And since then the routine seems to be: we accompany Akane and learn about this brave new world with her, and Shinya just kinda hovers in the background until we need some piercing insight and he pipes up with some humanizing, inspirational whatever, or we need a badass. And then he does this to people:
(The watermelon is people in this scenario.)
And when he’s not around, everybody is talking about him. Akane wants to know what his deal is, and since Akane wants to know, the audience wants to know (or, better put, the show wants the audience to want to know), so she’s asking everybody and they’ve all got opinions but the consensus is this dude is a mysterious fallen angel type, so watch out. I mean jeesus I feel like I should be soaking through every article of clothing I own right now.
Ok, so, all that said, lets do a little sifting. As a character, he’s as much a creature of fanservice and wish-fulfillment as he is his own thing; he’s visually striking, iconic in his own right— definitely designed to make a strong, lasting impression. I like him. That’s what he’s built for, after all, to capture interest, and I’m admittedly predisposed to falling hard for these brooding sorts, so to be fair its not as though my liking the guy was ever in question.
I’m not, however, a fan of his characterization. The way the story is being told, they’re beingreally heavy-handed about how much we should be thinking about this guy, pushing that mystery angle. It’s stylishly done, sure, but its hardly subtle, which is a shame because the show otherwise seems like its pretty good at nuanced characterization by way of juxtaposing the label “criminally-inclined” with non-criminal behavior; at least, with that its setting me up to do a lot of thinking without coming out and saying “hey, what is upwith these Enforcer guys? Aren’t they supposed to be potential criminals? I mean, they’re so…normal!” I mean, the show says that like one time, but it doesn’t linger on it the way its lingering on Shinya. And maybe its because we’re still in the introductory stage of the show and the over-arcing conflict hasn’t fully appeared to ushered in the rising action…hmm…
Anyways, I’m getting distracted from my original point. Let’s talk a bit about Amy.
LOTS has been said on the subject of Moffat’s run on DW. We don’t need to rehash it all here. Honestly I’m not even that well versed on DW; the show never really grabbed me so what I know I’ve gotten secondhand from friends and from online commentators whose work I follow. And from what I understand, there’s a considerable amount of discontent within the fan community with regards to Moffat, particularly his handling of female characters. I’ve seen arguments that they’re frequently objectified and stripped of agency for the purpose of enhancing the Doctor’s mystique, and I can see that being the case, as well as the unfortunate relationship this has with long-running trends of sexism and under-representation in popular media. And that all sucks. Super not good stuff. That said, I don’t want to talk about that so much as the method by which all that stuff came about, which is the whole “the girl who waited” puzzle.
That was a pretty sizable part of her characterization, with the Doctor pondering over her significance and the relationship between her and the crack in her wall and blah blah blah we know all that. This method of characterization, like in Psycho Pass, directs the audiences’ attention, and in DW it has a second function of making The Doctor, a character of already stellar reputation, even more reputable. But it comes off as ham-fisted and does crappy things to an otherwise interesting character (Amy). For the sake of mystery. The clunky affect that is so important to all these creators, and yet, now look, everybody’s unhappy. Well, not everybody, but you know, a lot of people. I say this because I don’t know jack about Moffat. Or any of the other writers. I don’t know their politics, I don’t know if they are habitually sexist or not,— all I know is they made a thing. They have made many things, I hear, and they seem fairly well respected for the making of things, and so here they made a thing, it was very popular, but not flawless, and when I try to find a cause for what has everybody talking about its shortcomings, the instigating factor, I think its this mystery thing.
Again, not to say the discussion about sexism and representation isn’t important, it is, and its ongoing, and it needs to be ongoing; that’s not in question. What I am saying is that if the mystery thing hadn’t been pushed to the point of neglecting all these issues that are now being talked about…well, we wouldn’t be talking about them, would we? We’d be talking about other shows that did poorly, or maybe DW would just be better for it. idk.
I don’t know what the consensus is on Psycho-Pass, or what conversations are going on in the fandom. Arguably, whatever they’re talking about, its far less visible a conversation than whats going on with Doctor Who, which I’ve barely watched but am talking about atm.Yet while watching the first six episodes I found myself thinking there might be a connection between the two, like there’s this creative interest in mystery with regards to characterization that is so strong, creators will put other aspects of their show in potential jeopardy for the sake of mysteriousness, whether it be pacing or focus or character agency or the show’s socio-political credibility or whatever. I wonder how widespread that interest is, and specifically what all it entails, because I haven’t even found a way to codify it beyond “it is so mysterious it usually ends up making the work less good at stuff for being there.”
I’m in the process of trying to think of other examples, good and bad. For the time being I’m ending this here, I haven’t had much time to really sort out my thinking, so my apologies that this is as messy as it is. Hopefully I get somewhere more concise in the next few days and can post something better thought out. We’ll see.
Is it weird that when I see those tumblr reblogs with the huge list of questions that are all “pick a number and I’ll answer it”, my impulse isn’t to reblog, but to copy/paste the thread and answer all the questions for myself in a text file and then save them and never show the answers to anyone?