Search Terms

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Blogging Research Wordle

Kristi­na B via Comp­fight

 In about one month Khaalidah.com will be one year old, so I thought it would be inter­est­ing to review those search terms that have brought peo­ple to my web­site.  As my read­er­ship is fair­ly small, I fig­ured most peo­ple stum­ble upon my site com­plete­ly by mis­take.  I was right to assume that, but I could have nev­er imag­ined just how inter­est­ing this list would turn out to be.  I thought it would be fun to share a few of them.

The top five search terms that trans­port unsus­pect­ing read­ers to my site are:

  • Moribito — I wrote a post about this ani­me sev­er­al months ago.  It remains a favorite in my home because of the strong female pro­tag­o­nist, the refresh­ing lack of fan ser­vice and inu­en­do, and inter­est­ing unique sto­ry­line.
  • Bajo­ran — The Bajo­rans are a race of peo­ple from Star Trek: DS9.  I men­tioned them in a post once when dis­cussing the pres­ence of reli­gion and SF.
  • Fate Zero review — I wrote a some­what lengthy review of Fate Zero a few months ago.  Have you seen the ani­me?  What do you think?
  • pret­ty white girls — While I did write a post by this name, I’m cer­tain that the peo­ple, of which there were many, who typed this into their search engine were not actu­al­ly look­ing or my post.
  • Sir­car­ius Emperor’s Edge — Ah now… For this I have Lind­say Buro­ker to thank.  I caught up with the Emperor’s Edge pod­cast on iTunes over a year ago and became an instant fan.  I went on to read the next two books and become a fast admir­er of Lind­say Buro­ker.  The EE series is fun and smart, steam­punk­ish, and fast paced just like all of Lind­say Buroker’s books.  Let me expound a bit here.  Lind­say Buro­ker is an awe­some author and cyber friend and I believe that I found her book by divine inter­ven­tion.  I’d pub­lished my own nov­el but had done noth­ing to pro­mote or net­work.  I was stuck and didn’t know how to become unstuck.  Lind­say inspired me.  An indie author her­self, Lind­say is fair­ly suc­cess­ful at not only pro­duc­ing qual­i­ty writ­ing but at net­work­ing and sell­ing her work.  In addi­tion, Lind­say is the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sion­al and a love­ly human being.  She agreed to an inter­view about my favorite char­ac­ter in her series named Sir­car­ius, and she gave me an oppor­tu­ni­ty to write a guest post for her site.  Addi­tion­al­ly she has pro­duced a few how-to type pod­casts direct­ed at oth­er indie authors and she keeps up an awe­some web­site with loads of ter­rif­ic infor­ma­tion.  I’m going to send a shout out and many, many thanks to Lind­say Buro­ker.  I’d esti­mate that near­ly 30–35% of the search terms lead­ing to Khaalidah.com are in some form a ref­er­ence to the Emperor’s Edge series or my favorite char­ac­ter Sir­car­ius.  I guess I’m not the only one who loves the tac­i­turn assas­sin.

The most inter­est­ing search terms that have guid­ed peo­ple to my site are:

  • cool ani­me Mus­lim
  • albi­no teenag­er
  • i don’t under­stand ergo proxy
  • how to make a were­wolf
  • too depressed to watch fate zero
  • ful­ly clothed romance
  • nobody knew what Adam had in his suit­case — ?
  • what does take me to your leader mean — ?
  • im ready to take my faith to new lev­els by set­ting my mind on heav­en­ly things — I wish this per­son much suc­cess.
  • light bulb work­er — ?
  • angry white girl cloth­ing — Is there a such thing?
  • har­ry pot­ter and geds scar — I saw imme­di­ate sim­i­lar­i­ties between Har­ry Pot­ter series and The Wiz­ard of Earth­sea.
  • should i let my son watch fate zero — I love that some­one actu­al­ly asked this ques­tion.  As a par­ent I am very cog­nizant about what my chil­dren watch, even though two of them are tech­ni­cal­ly adults.  I take a sin­cere inter­est in the things that inter­est them.  I watch ani­me with them and I play games with them in an effort to know and under­stand the things that inter­est them.  This is awe­some.  My answer to this ques­tion would be, it depends on how old your son is and if you plan to watch Fate Zero with him.

Odd­ly or maybe not so odd­ly, there are sev­er­al search terms to vul­gar or inap­pro­pri­ate to men­tion so I won’t, but it makes me won­der what peo­ple are think­ing, if it can actu­al­ly be labeled think­ing and why they are think­ing that way.  But that would be anoth­er post.  Mov­ing along.

This par­tic­u­lar search term blows my mind a bit:

  •  who is Khaal­i­dah Muham­mad-Ali — I guess this per­son real­ly was look­ing for me.  Heh.  Wow.

To those of you who have stopped by from time to time to read my posts, thank you and I hope to see you back again.

Fate/Zero: A Review

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I recent­ly fin­ished watch­ing Fate/Zero, an ani­me series by Type-Moon.  The series both impressed and depressed me.

I have been con­sid­er­ing how to write this post for the past two or three weeks.  How does one sum up a series of this depth and mag­ni­tude in a post short enough to be rea­son­able?  Even­tu­al­ly I decid­ed that I should spread the wealth over two or three posts.

To sum up the plot, I’ll bor­row from Wikipedia

Plot Sum­ma­ry:

Fate/Zero takes place 10 years pri­or to the events of Fate/stay night, detail­ing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyu­ki City.[2]. The War of the Holy Grail is a con­test in which sev­en mages sum­mon sev­en Hero­ic Spir­its to com­pete to obtain the pow­er of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a mir­a­cle. After three incon­clu­sive wars for the elu­sive Holy Grail, the Fourth War com­mences.

Found­ed by the Einzbern, Makiri, and Tōsa­ka fam­i­lies cen­turies ago, the Einzbern fam­i­ly is deter­mined to achieve suc­cess after three suc­ces­sive fail­ures, no mat­ter the cost. As a result, they have elect­ed to bring the hat­ed magus killer, Kir­it­sugu Emiya, into their ranks, despite his meth­ods and rep­u­ta­tion as a skilled mer­ce­nary and a hit­man who employs what­ev­er he can use to accom­plish his goals. Though Kir­it­sugu had once want­ed to become a hero who could save every­one, he has long since aban­doned this ide­al upon real­iz­ing that sav­ing one per­son comes at the cost of another’s life. For the sake of human­i­ty, he will ruth­less­ly destroy any­thing and any­one who threat­ens the peace of oth­ers.

How­ev­er, Kir­it­sugu finds him­self deeply torn between the love he has found for his new fam­i­ly — his wife Irisviel and their daugh­ter Illya — and what he must do to obtain the Holy Grail. Mean­while, Kiritsugu’s great­est oppo­nent appears in the form of Kirei Kotomine, a priest who can­not find any sense of ful­fill­ment in his life and sets his sights on Kir­it­sugu as the pos­si­ble answer to the empti­ness he feels.

Plot 

As far as plot man­age­ment, Fate/Zero is crisp and tight, which I found refresh­ing.  I’m no otaku, so I’m not exact­ly a com­pendi­um of ani­me knowl­edge, but it has been my expe­ri­ence that many ani­me, while they may start off great, the sto­ry­line fal­ters such that I even­tu­al­ly stop under­stand­ing what’s going on.  I attribute that to, per­haps a lan­guage bar­ri­er, where­in it made sense in Japan­ese but the trans­la­tion is lack­ing, or a cul­tur­al bar­ri­er where­in some things in Japan are con­sid­ered “nor­mal” but to the aver­age west­ern­er it is not, or my absolute igno­rance, or all of the above.  Need­less to say, Fate/Zero obvi­ous­ly has sol­id writ­ing behind it.

Char­ac­ter depth, moti­va­tion and devel­op­ment 

This is some­thing that can make or break an ani­me expe­ri­ence for me.  (Not just ani­me but I feel the same way when it comes to movies and books.)  In Fate/Zero we have sev­en mages all of whom are of dif­fer­ent ages and expe­ri­ences and come from dif­fer­ent walks of life.  The hero­ic spir­its are also unique.  Each mage and spir­it is moti­vat­ed to seek the grail and the pow­er it bestows for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, and each one of them is will­ing to go to cer­tain per­son­al lengths to reach that goal.  Their moti­va­tions as a whole seem rea­son­able, even if sim­plis­tic.  For exam­ple, Rid­er or Iskan­der a.k.a. Alexan­der the Great wants to see the sea.  Appar­ent­ly in his life­time he tried through con­quer­ing to reach the sea but nev­er made it.

We also have Waver Valet who is a teen-ager and stu­dent.  He wants to use the grail to gain recog­ni­tion his gift as a mage.  He becomes the mas­ter of Rid­er after sum­mon­ing him to be his hero­ic spir­it. Waver Valet appears to be a bit of a weak­ling and he has a dif­fi­cult time con­trol­ling Rid­er.  But, Waver isn’t as much of a weak­ling as he ini­tial­ly appears.  He actu­al­ly stole the ancient arti­fact need­ed to sum­mon the hero­ic spir­it that should have nev­er been his in the first place.  This shows real verve and by exten­sion great char­ac­ter depth.  I like that.

Kirei Kotomine is anoth­er mage, who in my opin­ion, is a bit warped.  He is a Catholic priest who works for one of the oth­er mages, Tokio­mi Tohsa­ka, who is also com­pet­ing in the grail war.  Kirei Kotomine is a rather dour char­ac­ter who doesn’t real­ly have a clear under­stand­ing of what he wants in life.  His hero­ic spirit(s) is the Assas­sin, which are actu­al­ly many assas­sins, I expect due to their innate weak­ness.

Don’t mis­take his dour demeanor for weak­ness though.  Archer or Gil­gamesh a.k.a King of Heros, is the hero­ic spir­it belong­ing to Tokio­mi Tohsa­ka.  He is tru­ly an arro­gant, insuf­fer­able, and dis­loy­al piece of work and he reads Kotomine like a book and like a snake whis­pers sedi­tion into Kotomine’s ear.  Kotomine even­tu­al­ly back­stabs (and I say that lit­er­al­ly) his boss and claims Gil­gamesh for him­self.  I guess you can tell that I don’t like Gil­gamesh over much.  I’ll dis­cuss that in anoth­er post.

So, with­out going into grand detail about each char­ac­ter, I’ll sum it up this way.  They’re well and smart­ly devel­oped.

But…there are some weak­ness in my opin­ion.

Weak­ness­es 

As I often do, when watch­ing ani­me, par­tic­u­lar­ly the ones I enjoy, I start ask­ing:

  1. Where are the POC?
  2. Where are the women?

POC 

Some­times there isn’t much of an expec­ta­tion that the POC will be any­thing oth­er than Japan­ese, which is per­fect­ly fine and quite inter­est­ing.  One exam­ple of a full out Japan­ese cast is in my all time favorite ani­me, Moribito.  That said, Fate/Zero takes place in mod­ern day Japan.  Do I real­ly need to elab­o­rate here?  Well…perhaps I do.

I may be show­ing a woe­ful amount of igno­rance here but despite a cast of char­ac­ters ripe with Japan­ese names, few if any of them actu­al­ly look Asian.  And this is the case for the casts of the major­i­ty of ani­me.

Can some­one tell me why most ani­me fea­ture char­ac­ters who, despite hav­ing blue or pink or lime green hair, look dis­tinct­ly Euro­pean?  Okay, nev­er mind.  I know.  But, real­ly?  Okay, mov­ing on.  Let’s for­get the mas­ters and dis­cuss the hero­ic spir­its.

My son and I had a dis­cus­sion a few days ago about the hero­ic spir­its.  A bit of a his­to­ry buff, he point­ed out that Gil­gamesh, who in Fate/Zero is por­trayed as thus:

should, accord­ing to his­tor­i­cal accounts actu­al­ly be brown with Arab or Asian fea­tures.  Hmm…moving on.

Unless I am ter­ri­bly mis­tak­en, all of the hero­ic spir­its, oth­er than Saber a.k.a. King Arthur (who is por­trayed as a woman…I know) and Berserk­er a.k.a. Lancelot, are gen­uine peo­ple from his­to­ry.  So I posed the ques­tion: Are there no inter­est­ing peo­ple from his­to­ry that would fit the sev­en hero­ic spir­it class­es who are also POC?  We start­ed to throw out some pos­si­bil­i­ties.  These are a few of the poten­tial hero­ic spir­its that we came up with:

  1. Atti­la the Hun (Rid­er class)
  2. Sha­ka Zulu (Lancer class)
  3. Han­ni­bal (Rid­er or Archer class)
  4. Crazy Horse (Archer or Rid­er class)

Women 

There are three women in Fate/Zero that I think are wor­thy of men­tion.  Irisviel von Einzbern, Saber a.k.a King Arthur, and Maiya Hisau.  Irisviel is the wife of Kir­it­sugu Emiya.  Saber is the hero­ic spir­it belong­ing to Kir­it­sugu Emiya.  And last and sort of least, Maiya Hisau is the hired mer­ce­nary assis­tant to Kir­it­sugu Emiya.

With the Bechdel Test in mind, I can say that these women fre­quent­ly have con­ver­sa­tions.  These con­ver­sa­tions are fre­quent­ly about things oth­er than men.  I think that the very fact that these three women are not only bound to the same man but are also aligned with his mis­sion (ie. no inde­pen­dent think­ing) nul­li­fies every­thing else.  FAIL.

Lets dis­cuss these women in a more detail.  Irisviel real­ly can’t be con­sid­ered a woman because she is a homuncu­lus, but let’s pre­tend she’s nor­mal.  This is the type of woman that makes me want to puke rocks and glass.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but I have dif­fi­cul­ty stom­ach­ing the kind of ultra-fem­i­nine char­ac­ters that can only be found in ani­me; sim­per­ing, faint­ing, depen­dent sis­sy girls.

Saber or King Arthur…  Okay, I know that there have been some inter­pre­ta­tions where King Arthur has been por­trayed as a woman but…I’m not sure what to think about this one.  Allow me to say that Saber is a strong­ly writ­ten char­ac­ter but not to my per­son­al lik­ing.  She’s a goody two shoes.  I pre­fer my char­ac­ters not be so clear-cut, for their good and evil to be more bal­anced.  But this is a per­son­al pref­er­ence of mine.

Maiya Hisau.  Yeah.  She is a bore.  Total­ly loy­al to the dying end to Emiya.  She nev­er ques­tioned him and her emo­tions and loy­al­ties were com­plete­ly con­crete­ly aligned with his.  She didn’t seem to have a brain of her own.  She was a drone.

So to sum up the women in Fate/Zero: a homuncu­lus, Saber a.k.a. King Arthur who is a woman, and a drone.

My son and I also spec­u­lat­ed about oth­er poten­tial women who could be sum­moned from the past to be hero­ic spir­its.  We got online and start­ed try­ing to scratch up women we thought would be suit­able.  These are a few of the women we came up with:

  1. Joan of Arc (saber, and poten­tial­ly berserk­er or cast­er class)
  2. Ami­na Suk­era (saber or archer class)
  3. Atlanta (archer)
  4. Sekhmet
  5. Oya (cast­er class)

Do you have any idea how dif­fi­cult it is to find women from his­to­ry and leg­end who would qual­i­fy to be a hero­ic spir­it?  We know that they exist but they don’t get as much press or atten­tion as males.  Can some­one please do some­thing about that?

Some­thing Refresh­ing 

I loathe fan ser­vice and the out of con­text weirdo under­age sex­u­al innu­en­do which is present in, is it fair to say?, most ani­me.  It absolute­ly dis­gusts me.  I don’t care how inter­est­ing an ani­me is, once I sense any creepi­ness, I tune out and turn it off, nev­er to return.  Fate/Zero had no fan ser­vice.  Not a sin­gle hint.  None!  I love that.

Art 

The art and ani­ma­tion in Fate/Zero is clean, dark, and mature.  I like it.

The End 

Talk about anti­cli­mac­tic.  I won’t give away the end­ing here but let me just throw this out there: deus ex machi­na and pre­dictabil­i­ty.  It’s fair­ly easy to pre­dict before reach­ing the half-way mark in this series who will win.  Albeit, it doesn’t hap­pen in quite the expect­ed way, but it does hap­pen.  If I can pre­dict the even­tu­al out­come, then what’s the point of hang­ing out until the end?  Right, there isn’t much point.

Fate/Zero gets and over­all score of: 

Check out these oth­er reviews:

  1. Requires Only Hate
  2. The Notaku Blog
  3. Lost In Amer­i­ca — Ani­me and More

 

Fan Service Makes Me Sick

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How do you feel about fan ser­vice?  It makes me sick.

I learned the term “fan ser­vice” from my son, who described what it meant from behind a shy­ish grin.  “They’re just giv­ing the pub­lic what they want to see, and appar­ent­ly that’s half naked women.”

Real­ly?  But most of those half naked women are actu­al­ly girls.  Is that what the pub­lic real­ly wants to see?

I’m sure I’m not the only per­son to have noticed a dis­turb­ing trend in much of ani­me with regards to its treat­ment of women.  Typ­i­cal ani­me women whine and sim­per, wear extreme­ly provoca­tive cloth­ing, and the ones con­sid­ered attrac­tive are pop outs from the same cook­ie cut­ter with ultra thin physics and enor­mous breasts.  Even the most seri­ous female char­ac­ters and the most inno­cent are reduced to objects of sex­u­al fan­ta­sy by the unex­pect­ed up skirt shot, or its equiv­a­lent.

My inter­est in Blue Exor­cist con­clud­ed indef­i­nite­ly at episode 12.  Until then, I tuned in online every week to watch a fan-subbed ver­sion.  I liked the art, the sto­ry line, and the unique pro­gres­sion.  One char­ac­ter named Shieme, a shy and sweet school girl, who up until the pre­vi­ous episode wore the tra­di­tion­al kimono, was sud­den­ly redressed in her school’s uni­form.  In this episode Shieme is sup­posed to meet her class­mates at the local amuse­ment park and is run­ning late.  Shieme breaks into a jog to catch up with her class­mates.  In a tiny pleat­ed skirt and but­ton up top, Shiemi’s wild­ly bounc­ing décol­letage is replaced with the image of a plate of jig­gling gelatin.

The objec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women is dis­turb­ing on many lev­els, but in this case, even more so, because Shieme is a child.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly this isn’t an iso­lat­ed sce­nario.  There are count­less oth­er ani­me that objec­ti­fy girls who are even younger, dress­ing them in provoca­tive cloth­ing and plac­ing them in sit­u­a­tions with not very sub­tle sex­u­al innu­en­do that smacks uncom­fort­ably of child pornog­ra­phy.

Allow me to add that in the same episode, anoth­er char­ac­ter named Shu­ra, revealed that she was not the boy every­one thought her to be in a hood­ie and jeans and that she was not a stu­dent either.  When she unveiled her true iden­ti­ty she also unveiled her bosoms and con­tin­ued the remain­der of the series in a scanty biki­ni top.

This type of wan­ton sex­u­al­iza­tion is enough for me to stop watch­ing an ani­me alto­geth­er.  I’m sure that my unwill­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate hard­ly wor­ries the cre­ators and mar­keters of anime…after all, who am I in the grand scheme of things?  The moth­er of two daugh­ters.

None of this is to say that there aren’t fun, inter­est­ing, and intel­li­gent ani­me avail­able, because there cer­tain­ly are.  My inter­est in this form off art and sto­ry­telling are fair­ly new, so I’m not expert, but I’ve seen a few that I think are great.  My favorites so far are Death Note, Moribito, Mon­ster, and Vex­ille (movie).

What are your favorites?

You might also like:

Moribito: An Ani­me with a Ful­ly Clothed Hero­ine

Have You Watched Ergo Proxy?