Saturday, February 16, 2008

Presto and the Prinnies

Continuing with the game fanart, here is my Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories rainbow.

(The rest of this post probably won't make much sense to anyone who doesn't play Disgaea, so non-gamers feel free to tune out now.)

You can populate your army with prinnies of every color except for green, so I substituted a green skull to fill in that gap. I'm aware that Kurtis is a green prinny, but since I haven't unlocked the Land of Carnage yet, he's not a playable character for me. And since I never played the first Disgaea game, I have no emotional attachment to Kurtis. As far as I'm concerned, he's just some cranky-looking drifter I sometimes see hanging around Item World.

In my game, Presto was my green skull. (I say "was" because he's now a galaxy skull, which means his costume is bluish gray. Since that wouldn't work for this picture, I used his original coloration.) Excluding captured monsters, Presto is hands-down my most powerful character. Most likely that's because he's my favorite and I always give him first dibs on all the juicy experience points. And, yes, he's named after the Dungeons & Dragons character.

I periodically rename my prinnies. At the time I drew this picture, the red prinny was Cherry Bomb, orange was Kumquat, yellow was John Lemon, blue was Boomer (he was my highest level prinny at 600, which meant he made the biggest explosion when thrown), and purple was Mr. Prinnington. They've been renamed, running with the idea that prinnies are allegedly manufactured from the souls of dead sinners. So now the blue one is Sweeny Todd, and the orange one is his accomplice Mrs. Lovett. The red one is Dr. Sakurazuka, named for the character from Tokyo Babylon and X. The yellow one is Daisy. And the purple one shall always remain Mr. Prinnington. I also have a sixth prinny now: Alastair Gency, inventor of the Mr. Gency Exit. However since tier six prinnies are gray, he was too boring to add to this picture.

Oh, and I'm aware that Rosalin would chew me out for having a "rainbow" without indigo, they same way she went off on the Prism Rangers for only having five of the seven colors. But since the typical gay pride rainbow flag has six stripes, I'm calling six good enough.

The picture is dated 2007 because I drew and inked it back in December. I just didn't get around to coloring it until this week. So many of my markers are going dry that I had a pretty rough time with the color. I think I need to either look into acquiring Photoshop or start doing art only in black and white.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I drew this last night. For those of you who don't play video games, the white creature is a moogle from the Final Fantasy series and the penguin monster is a prinny from the Disgaea series. I think they go well together because they have the same cute little bat wings.

Feel free to send this picture to your Valentine, if you have one. (Me? Alone, of course. And we have a 50% chance of ice pellets today, so that sets the perfect mood for my Valentine's Day.)

Also, check out Hijinks Ensue's most disturbing Star Wars Valentine. And I Can Has Cheezburger? also has an appropriate image this morning.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Earthsea, again

Well, my opinion of Studio Ghibli's Tales from Earthsea has improved. On the second viewing, I liked it much better, perhaps because I was no longer comparing it to its source material but rather viewing it for its own sake.

Why the change of heart? I just finished watching Earthsea, the 2004 live-action movie. I think it's strongly indicative of quality that I can enjoy watching Ghibli's Tales from Earthsea twice and still be willing to watch it a third and possibly fourth time in order to share it with more friends, but I had to break my viewing of the 2004 Earthsea into six separate sessions because I couldn't take the whole thing in one sitting. And it's not just because it was nearly three hours long; I watched the extended versions of all three Lord of the Rings movies back to back in the same day once (treating them as a single twelve-hour film), so I know I can handle long movies.

Whereas Tales from Earthsea drew the majority of its source material from the third and fourth novels of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, the 2004 Earthsea movie covered the first and second books--A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan--overlapping them to form a single blended story, rather than two separate stories set several years apart.

Earthsea used more names, places, and events from Le Guin's books than Tales from Earthsea did, so it bore more superficial resemblance to the books. However, it played so fast and loose with the themes and details that I would not consider it at all faithful to the original. In fact, it's approach to the source material is roughly on par with the Xena: Warrior Princess approach to Greek history.

My first couple sittings with Earthsea, I just cringed. The acting was bad. In fact, the only actor with any talent seemed to be Danny Glover as Ogion. I'm guessing he just needed a paycheck. Desperately. Everyone else laid on the ham and cheese pretty thick. Names were pronounced inconsistently, depending on who was speaking. The special effects were substandard. The dragon looked ungainly, and his voice was almost painful to hear. I'm sure their intent was to make it seem like he was hissing as he spoke, but his lisp was more evocative of a duck with a sore throat.

They also did the same thing Tales from Earthsea did with regards to race. That is, pretty much everyone was white except for Ogion. The actress who played Tenar was kind of sort of Asian looking, yet somehow still kind of sort of white looking. Why the heck can't anyone make a version of Earthsea where Ged and his countrymen are all dark skinned like they're supposed to be?

On later viewing sessions, I started enjoying it more. At first, I thought that perhaps it was getting better in the second half. Then I realized that I had simply lowered my expectations to the point that I was no longer feeling disappointed. Once I decided to watch it with the B-movie mentality, I was fine. The problem is, the packaging bills it, "In the tradition of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter . . ." That just sets the viewer up for an epic letdown. In no way is it even close to the same caliber as either of those movie series. It can not be judged on the same scale. Perhaps it should have said, "In the tradition of Clash of the Titans and Xena: Warrior Princess . . ." Then I would have had the proper mindset from the get-go. I mean, even the soundtrack was highly evocative of Xena, which made me think they might have had the same composer. But no, Earthsea's score was composed by people I've never heard of.

(For the record, I like Xena and Clash of the Titans. But I won't pretend they're "good" in the same sense as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.)

Anyway, watch the 2004 Earthsea with B-movie expectations, and you might enjoy it. Watch the Studio Ghibli Tales from Earthsea with higher expectations, but with the knowledge and acceptance that it is not faithful to the source material. The Ghibli version is a far better film in my estimation, worthy of being judged by normal standards.

Then read the books and understand why Le Guin was unhappy with both adaptations.

This made me think about how I would feel if one of my books (pretending I might someday get published) suffered a bad movie adaptation. I'd probably be upset, too. However, I came to the conclusion that even a bad movie would generate increased book sales. As they say, any publicity is good publicity. I know I rushed to read The Golden Compass after seeing the exciting preview for the movie. The movie turned out to suck irredeemably, but Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy was well written, interesting, and engaging (although I found some of the themes to be quite disturbing). And at the library, every time a movie adaptation of any book comes out, that book, no matter how many years its been collecting dust in the stacks, circulates nonstop for a while. So hopefully Earthsea and Tales from Earthsea will lead people to Le Guin's books.