Friday, October 29, 2010

NTT Gets Monstrous

Hey, ya'll!  NTT has pitched in!  He's got a lot to say, so let's get right to it.

Warning: This article contains massive spoilers in the descriptions for the works involved.  If you see a title that you absolutely know you wish to watch or finish in the numbered headings, avert your eyes.

My Favorite Monsters (In descending order):

Putting together a list of my favorite monsters was a much harder task than I had originally presumed.  It doesn’t help that I have through my life consumed a gigantic worth science fiction and fantasy, all of which are dripping with monstrosities from which to choose. I therefore culled my list down to those examples that expound or subvert my definitions of a monster.  These are not the obvious choices but the ones that expanded my horizon of inhumanity to humanity.  Or they’re just freaking cool.  You decide after the list.

4). THE ANGELS from Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV Series, DVD and Movies)

Anyone who has watched Japanese anime knows that there is one series that has generated some of the most controversial arguments in Otaku culture and anime. This is that series.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a work of supreme art and will be forever defined as the series that expanded anime’s reach to beyond entertainment and became an example of what can be achieved in the bounds of creative expression. It is a deconstruction of the “super-robot genre” or “mecha” of Japanese anime that subtly subverts the watcher over the course of the series from believing he is watching a rote action science fiction series to an intense examination of one’s place in humanity and the fragility of the human spirit.  It’s complicated, obtuse, frustrating, subversive and then ultimately rewarding while shattering your expectations of genre fiction. Yes it is that good.

The ANGELS are gigantic, supremely powerful beings of cosmic origin that attack the Earth and humanity, notably Neo-Tokyo.  Neon Genesis starts off like almost every other “super-robot” anime series where the Earth must be defended by a brooding adolescents that must pilot  unique high technology robots of destructive power, the EVANGELIONS, against these beings and threats to the Earth.

Nobody move, I dropped a contact lens

The watcher is dripped subtle clues as to their existence and origin. Why are they called “Angels” and given code words like Sachiel and Ramiel, actual Biblical names? Why do the Angels manifest powers just like the EVANGELIONS piloted by the human defenders? 

    Eventually, it is revealed that the Angels are not working towards the Earth’s destruction but are trying to reunite and rescue Adam and Lilith, the cosmic beings held captive by NERVE, the organization that manufactured the EVANGELION robotic machinery. The conspiracy is that NERVE and other associated factions revealed in the series are using the biological contents of Adam and Lilith in a highly illegal and unethical attempt to change the course of human evolution and to subjugate humanity in their vision. And this is just at the end of the second arc of the series. AND then it just gets crazy. 

    Neon Genesis takes its inspiration from Judeo-Christian sources and frequently uses iconography and themes from Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism and Kabbalism, in the series's examination of religious ideas and themes. The mysterious Angels force humanity to confront its origins and in turn reveal that it is humans that are maybe the monsters, not the Angels.

3) GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) from the videogame Portal

GLaDOS is a mysterious character in the 2007 video game Portal. She is an artificially intelligent computer system in charge of operating the Aperture Science research facility, which is the setting of Portal. She intially appears as a guide to the player in your attempt to escape the facility. Yet, as you progress through the game, GLaDOS increasingly becomes erratic, her voice modulates into something more malicious and she subtly attempts to force the player into actions that either place you in great danger or forces you to make choices that will unnerve your morality.

Equal parts HAL 2000 and the girl from the Bad Seed, GLaDOS is an imperfect creature, prone to temper tantrums, fits of jealousy, wanton destruction and manifests codependency to the player. She also is given to lying and cajoling the player into performing actions for her and then has a vindictive streak when you rebel.

I once had an angry Speak 'n Spell
Your final confrontation with GLaDOS in the game is a reflection of the entire rich game experience itself.  She threatens you, tempts you like Satan, tries to bribe you and manifests clear insanity as she admits to ruthlessly killing all others in the facility before you. Oh and her morality module is missing so she’s a sociopath, awkward! GLaDOS then finally attempts to kill you all the while making jokes and justifying her actions in the name of “Science!” Playing the game and your interaction with GLaDOS is akin to playing the movie the Cube or is like being a mouse in a human maze. You are manipulated and taunted by a robotic, cunning entity that talks like mild mannered nurse with the soul of Hannibal Lecter. Your final confrontation with her is a meeting of powerful anger and vengeance. One of the best characters ever, GLaDOS is truly monstrous.

Youtube LINK


    Priscilla is the main antagonist in the great anime series Claymore, whose main character Clare attempts to confront. The setting of the anime is that demons, termed as Yoma, exist with human beings and use humanity as their prey. Yoma have greater strength, speed, and durability compared to humans. The Claymores are created by the “Organization” to fight the Yoma and protect humanity. By implanting Yoma essence into humans, they are able to create a hybrid that is faster than the source Yoma with their original human combat training and intelligence. Clare, now a fully-trained Claymore and the protagonist, has a tragic and tortured history with Priscilla since her childhood that drives the narrative of the story to its mournful conclusion.

    Priscilla is one of the most powerful of the Yoma; she behaves as almost a demi-god in the series utterly devoid of empathy and a whirlwind of violence. She is so self-absorbed in her alien mind that she simply doesn’t even know what her actions are doing personally to Clare and her world. Humanity is a speck in her eye as she wreaks tragedy wherever she steps.

Yes, I do have an enormous David Bowie collection.  Why?

    The end confrontation between Clare and Priscilla is steeped in nuance and suspense as each character takes her own haunted steps down their spiraling intertwined destiny.



What can be said that has not been said? Godzilla is the best and ultimate monster. Q.E.D.

As a latch-key kid, I remember walking home every day from school and WFAA-TV in Dallas Fort Worth would show “monster week” specials in the afternoon matinee. Here, I was exposed the greatness that is Godzilla, Mecha-Godzilla and King Ghidorah. I was hooked. Godzilla was the god of destruction, equal parts a monster to humanity’s nuclear science hubris and the defender of the Earth. I always thought it was incredibly humorous that Godzilla gets to wreck Tokyo but if aliens tried to invade the Earth, by golly Godzilla wasn’t going to let that happen!!

Although he has been misinterpreted many times, the essence of Godzilla is as intriguing and cool as ever; he is a force of wrath, a metaphor for humanity’s global ambitions and sin, and the vengeance of nature. Most of all, he is the KING OF MONSTERS.

My Least Favorite Monster:

1) EDWARD CULLEN, from the series Twilight Saga

So simmeringly sexy...

Let me see…Bella is seventeen at the beginning of Twilight. Edward is at least one hundred years old, yet he stalks and seduces Bella, isolates her from her family and threatens her with violence. In the name of love. Nevermind the fact that his character is a borrowed amalgamation of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade role-playing game. His creation and Twilight is a monstrosity.


Anonymous said...

Your list is a lie.

Anonymous said...

GLaDOS?? I knew you survived that explosion I set. And where's my cake you promised in the picture!!?


J.S. said...

Everyone loves Godzilla. Clearly we need to have everyone over to The League's place for some sort of Godzilla tribute party at some point (maybe we can fashion some sort of Godzilla either beforehand or at the party).

The League said...

You know who doesn't like Godzilla? Dad. Dad totally told me on the phone last night he never liked the Godzilla movies. I found this shocking.

Also, Jamie and I watched "Final Wars" this week, and it was 30 stories of terrifying fun. I give it seven thumbs up.

rhpt said...

I'm nonplussed about Godzilla.

The League said...

Clearly you aren't getting the genius of Man in Suit.