Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not Inspired? Try Binge-Watching

It's been an interesting week. For the most part, I've slacked yet again on the writing. The weekend was completely shot - I'll explain why shortly - and I've been keeping myself busy both at work and after. On top of that, both Hubby and me have been feeling a touch under the weather this week.

Even with all of that, though, I am determined to have something for writing group next week. Because of that, and a painfully slow Sunday at work, I did manage to write about 4500 words so far for my Devon/Trish battle story. Still no clue what to title it, but when do I ever?

Over 4000 words sounds impressive, as does the idea of being about half-way to my 10,000 word goal only nine days in. However, the story I've written is only Devon's last-ditch effort to escape Trish, her "killing" him, his escape, and Kira finding him. There's more in there, but I don't want to spoil.

I still have to keep backtracking through Trish and Devon's fight - the part I'm dreading to write; me and fight scenes.... - Devon and Nyssa confronting Trish in the first place, and the letters that convinced Nyssa and Devon to come into the trap in the first place. This might be closer to a half-NaNo at 25,000 words when all is said and done.

Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It's kind of a love-hate relationship. Kind of like Devon and Willow!

On the one hand, I love how it ends. It's perfect for Devon. It really works with his character, and it's a fun way to introduce Kira. I think I hit my stride a bit with it. On the flipside, though, the reason I love it so much, the reason why it fits Devon so well, is that it's playful and a bit goofy. It fits Devon's personality so well. However, the rest of the story is going to be intense, heart in your throat, edge of your seat action - if I do it right - and a dark theme. I mean, Trish is involved. There will be blood. There will be excessive violence. There will be rage. There will be a TON of extreme cursing. To end the story on a playful note just feels like a weird genre hop.

I feel I did it justice though. I feel like it's a gentle flow into this uplifting ending. I think the playfulness brings the reader to a hopeful sigh of relief after an otherwise exhausting emotional ride - again, assuming I do the ideas I have in my head justice.

So, yeah, I don't know. Hopefully I'll have at least the fight scene done by next week so that I can get some input from my group.

Hubby seems to like where I went with it, so maybe I am on the right track.

Now for the reason the weekend was shot. It's kind of another love-hate sort of thing. A distraction that could potentially be a source of inspiration.

I pretty much unintentionally dedicated my entire weekend to a cartoon.

About a year ago - right around when the show was translated from its original French - my feeds were filled with fanart and cosplay of this character Cat Noir. I thought it was in reference to the famous cabaret poster that virtually every college student owns:
Seriously, if you were an American college student
either this was in your room
or you knew someone who did.
The images were of a male superhero dressed as a black cat, though, so I was determined to figure out who the heck this superhero Cat Noir/Chat Noir was. Turned out that he was from the French cartoon "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir" or "Miraculous Ladybug" or tens of other different translation versions of the show's title....
Watching some sample visuals via FMVs, the animation screamed out Disney Channel. Funny enough, although the English translation was picked up by Nickelodeon in The States, over in the UK it was indeed Disney who bought the syndication rights. Either way, it was on a channel I didn't have with my pathetically small service package.

Then, around Valentine's day this year, Netflix bought the airing rights for the show. I had meant for a while to watch it, but it didn't seem like something Hubby would be interested in, so it sat in our queue. Then, Friday, when I was feeling kind of "meh" for whatever reason, I figured I'd finally give the show a chance. Hubby was out, and it was either this or more episodes of "Frasier" while eating dinner. For whatever reason, I decided it was a good time to give the cartoon a shot.

Holy mackerel was this thing over-the-top cheese! The animation gesturing was abrupt and over-exaggerated. One of the reasons I thought it was Disney Channel was because the character design, beautiful graphics, but excessive and abrupt gesturing was about par with the Disney Channel shorts "Wicked World." The villain of Miraculous - Hawk Moth - was about on par with Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers franchise, or, frankly, any Sailor Moon villain. The creators of the show credited Magical Girl anime as an inspiration, and boy could you tell if you know the genre.

Yet, under the cheesiness and cliche Magical Girl tropes, the characters were enduring, and there was a bizarre love.... triangle.... square.... thing going on that I had to know more about. Plus, I still had some dinner left, so I watched the second episode. And just sort of binged from there, now hooked on the weird romance thing going on.

See, the main character is Marinette, a 10th grade girl who transforms into the superhero Ladybug whenever Paris is in danger. While Ladybug, she protects her city with the help of her partner Chat Noir, or just Cat Noir in the American version... because we like the sound of the French word for black but not for cat??? Anyway, Cat Noir is head-over-heels for Ladybug and constantly flirts with her, and it's adorable. Problem is, Ladybug, as Marinette, is already in love with her classmate Adrien. But, Adrien only thinks of Marinette as a dear friend, mostly because he's a 15yr old idiot who can't pick up on her crushing vibes, and also because poor Mari turns into a blubbering idiot whenever around him. So, awkward love triangle there: Cat Noir loves Ladybug who loves Adrien who only thinks of Marinette as a friend. Where does the confusing possible square come from? Well.... Ladybug and Cat Noir promised to keep their identities a secret, even from each other, and Cat Noir happens to be none-other than Adrien. So...... Adrien only likes Mari because he doesn't realize she's actually his love Ladybug, meanwhile Marinette loves Adrien, but since he allows himself to cut loose as Cat Noir, she doesn't realize they're the same guy and actually gets a bit annoyed with her superhero partner!

So. Many. Fanfics! There's even four different shipping pairs based on these two just due to the weird square they find themselves in. But I'll get to that.

The animation grows on you, as anyone who loves the anime One Piece will tell you. The over-the-top corniness of the puns - OH! So many puns between Cat Noir and Hawk Moth! - and the laughable nature of the Villains of the Week become a guilty pleasure. Then you're left with an enduring cast of characters and a curiosity of will they/won't they between Marinette and Adrien/Ladybug and Cat Noir. Plus, the voice acting is actually sooooo good, but what can you expect when such renowned voice actors are involved?

First up is Marinette's voice actress Cristina Valenzuela, or, as she's professionally known, Cristina Vee. This girl is CONSTANTLY popping up in animes and video games that I watch/play. Which reminds me:
Happy 30th Cristina Vee!
Yeah, I feel like I've been hearing this woman's name for ages now, and she's JUST turning 30 today - according to IMDB, at least. So far she's done 182 different projects, again, according to IMDB. Mad props for the great voice acting career while so young!

However, the voice acting that just pulls me in and hooks me is the voice of Adrien: Bryce Papenbrook. I love this man's voice. It's sweet and playful and commanding all at the same time. No wonder he's constantly given roles such as Cat Noir, Eren in "Attack on Titan," Kirito in "Sword Art Online," and the part I love him the most in Meliodas from "Seven Deadly Sins." He's basically been the lead in every anime Hubby and I have watched over the past couple of years. And this man's voice makes me swoon. I love my husband, and my husband's voice makes me melt, but there are a few voice actors that also make me swoon.

In the 90s it was Vince Corazza, mostly for his role as Darien from Sailor Moon, as well as Kevin Conroy's Batman, and Keith David, largely due to his role in Gargoyles. Then, while I could still listen to any of those men read me the phone book, in the early 2000s I added Richard Ian Cox to the mix thanks to InuYasha. Kirby Morrow was a close second from the same show. Fast forward to the past five years or so and the latest add-ons are Yuri Lowenthal because of too many roles for me to list - although Sasuke from Naruto is not one of the reasons... - and good old Bryce Papenbrook.

On top of the great voice actor choice, just the character of Cat Noir is friggen adorable! He's playful, flirty, makes so-bad-they're-kinda-good puns, he's vulnerable, a little cocky, and just has the most squishable face. I want to glomp this kid. How Marinette prefers his more reserved, put-together, slightly bashful Adrien side is beyond me. I totally get all the fanart/cosplaying of Cat Noir last year.

So, circling back to topic, I was hooked on this new guilty pleasure of mine. I spent Friday evening binge watching, and, since Hubby had his own thing all Saturday and I had the house to myself, I continued to binge. I was in kind of a funk emotionally, and the goofiness of the storylines and the sweetness of the crushes between the characters made me laugh, made my heart race a little, and perked me up. It was a needed "me time" procrastination weekend.

I even had insomnia this weekend, and I managed to calm it a bit by getting back out of bed and watching more Miraculous. After finishing the series Sunday morning, I figured I could refocus when I got home from work. Instead, I again attempted to catch up on sleep, which still eluded me, so I spent most of Sunday in bed watching more Miraculous FMVs and reading fancomics.

Then, yesterday, feeling guilty about not reading in a while, instead of trying to push through more of "Atlas Shrugged" I switched over to a Miraculous fanfic I stumbled upon. First, I found a voice actor who practices his craft by dubbing fancomics and posting them on YouTube. The best ones for Miraculous he has grouped together here. From there, I followed more of his channel as well as linked channels to find fancomics I really loved so I could track them back to their artist. From there I stumbled upon this comic by Rchavakiah Melchiori AKA australet789. It's a bit of a spoiler, but it's drawn sooooo well! Anyway, seems the artist drew a comic version of a late chapter to the story "Smoulder" by midnightstarlightwrites. Now that I traced the story all the way to the source, I started reading it. There is some polishing that needs to be done, and a weird subplot that seems out-of-place, but otherwise I'm completely drawn in.

Smoulder is basically a story envisioning Adrien realizing he's falling for Marinette and feeling guilty that if he's true to his constant love confessions to Ladybug, then how the heck could he even BEGIN to fall for another girl? Meanwhile, Marinette is starting to compare Adrien to Cat Noir and realizing that in doing so, she's starting to fall in love with Cat and fears she's just projecting.

So both are torn about their conflicting feelings without realizing that they're just falling for the complete picture of the same person! These poor two.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman Inc
Yeeeeeaaaaaah, so I may have become a bit obsessed with this show and its characters, but the dynamics are so great, and you want to see them unfold. Ladybug and Cat Noir are the strongest superheros within a group called the Miraculous Bearers. The duo represents Ying and Yang and always work as a pair: creation and destruction. There are five other Miraculous, and Hawk Moth has corrupted one of them. The man who secretly gifted Marinette and Adrien their powers has one himself. We still don't know about the other three, but Adrien's dad has one hidden in a safe. So, there are fantheories about the other three bearers. There is an almost-given assumption that Hawk Moth is Adrien's absent father, but speculation that he's a "villain of circumstance" as he tries to get the means to resurrect/find/rescue Adrien's mom who has been simply called "missing" for the past year. Then, there's the speculation of how and why Adrien's mom went MIA, and how it's tied into the Miraculous within the safe. Then the idea of Adrien discovering his father is his arch rival, and/or Marinette discovering it and wrestling with whether or not to tell Adrien. Don't forget the all-important fanfic fodder: Cat Noir and Ladybug discovering each other's secret identities.

As I mentioned a ways before, there are now four different shippings for this pair: 
There's the obvious LadyNoir where Marinette as Ladybug falls for Cat Noir's true boyish charm, giving Adrien the woman of his dreams while being his true self, and Marinette, unknowingly, has the man of her dreams while being her confident self as a Superheroine.

Then there's Ladrien, where Cat Noir's love for Ladybug is expressed via Adrien and Ladybug becoming a couple, which allows Marinette to also keep the confidence she's discovered while hiding behind the mask. This seems to be the least-popular combo, though, even though Ladrien shippers believe this to be the only true win-win. Adrien/Cat Noir wins over his Ladybug, and Marienette/Ladybug gets the man of her dreams: Adrien. Actually, seeing this combo on screen is just adorable.

Anyway, then there's good old Adrienette, where they fall for each other in their everyday lives, proving that it's not necessarily the Superhero Thing that draws one to the other.

The most popular combination, though, is Marichat. A lot of shippers - it seems mostly the Ladrien ones - consider this a full 180 and/or a lose-lose. Cat Noir doesn't get Ladybug, and Marinette doesn't get Adrien. And yet both do at the same time. Adrien notices how amazing Marinette truly is out of costume, and Marinette falls for the "true" Adrien as Cat Noir. I think that's why it's the most popular. Plus, Cat Noir is just too cute.

There's also some other side-character romances as well that could take center-stage. Including one I didn't even think of until I saw it, and now I ship it hard. The Miraculous Bearers get their powers from mythical beings called Kwamis that inhabit jewelry that the bearer wears. When the Kwamis inhabit the jewelry, the bearer transforms into their superhero persona. Well, as I mentioned before, Ladybug and Cat Noir are always a pair representing Ying and Yang. So, now I ship their Kwamis Tikki - for Ladybug - and Plagg - for Cat Noir.
Since Ladybug and Cat Noir don't know who the other is, and they're keeping their identities a secret, their Kwamis must stay hidden. This means Tikki and Plagg can't interact. Even when Cat Noir and Ladybug interact, therefore they both know of the existence of kwamis, so Tikki and Plagg could be exposed, the two creatures still can't see each other because they're in the jewelry powering their chosen bearers. So sad!!!!

Such a gold mine for potential fanfic ideas, and boy am I ever overflowing with possibilities already. But I promised myself that I would finish the Devon/Trish story during Camp NaNo, so I'll have to put the Miraculous stories on pause until at least August. Still, it's great to be so passionate about something again. To be drawn into the characters so much. Yes, I was beyond lazy and gave into mild depression this weekend. Yes, I accomplished nothing for about 72 hours. But it may have inspired me in the long run, so.... win?

Okay, enough fangirling. I need to get on with my day, but I will leave you with another writing practice from a little while ago. A short about a little boy and the garden he planted with his mother.

"The Guardian Giant"

No comments:

Post a Comment