Tales From Earthsea

Watched 75% of the movie and I still confused what the story is all about. First there’s two dragon killing each other, then some ‘unbalance’ nature in the land happens (being told not shown), then Arren, the edgy prince, kill his father to steal Kings sword for no reason, then he meet Archmage, then he help Therru randomly, then they work a mundane life as farmer, then suddenly come the main villain screw things up and explained her evil plan, which is relatively had little connection with a very beginning the movie because all I get is the story is just about two rivalry wizard. The pacing is all over the place and a lot of magic things happen randomly so the boring plot can progress.

The finale is slightly interesting, even it’s still didn’t explain why Arren can split his shadow? why Arren want his father sword so badly that he must kill his own father? why Ged want to take Arren? what purpose of the True Name of Arren and Therru? why they suddenly know their True Name? why Therru suddenly can transform into freaking dragon out of nowhere? It seems the story only want to convey the message that life is matter and giving life to others is the most important things rather than fear of death so anything, even it’s confusing and super convenient, will happen as long as it’s follow the message.

Whisper of the heart

First half of story kinda dragged too long. The story need ‘that convenient cat’ so Shizuku can meet Seiji properly, which it gets interesting from there. The pinnacle of this story for me is when Shizuku make her own story to understand Seiji attempt to achieve his dream job in Italy. They’re both supporting and respect each other to realize their own dream, even so, I understand that is just some story flavouring because the main point is Shizuku and Seiji confess their love each other. Most drama romance movies I watched is about two potential lover stretching their own unnecessary conflict just to confess each other.

Note : The ‘KOONTRI ROODO’ song in this movie really good.

Princess Mononoke

It begins with the gods curse in Ashitaka, which is the very first reason why the plot progress because it give him the superhuman strength and compassion about the suffer of animals that die in forest because the unending war between human, led by Eboshi, and animals in deer god forest, led by Moro, San, and Okkoto. The curse may seems convenient for Ashitaka to solve his conflict but I think its somewhat ‘balanced’ because the curse itself not only challenge Ashitaka morals to make him became hateful and destructive but also weakening his body. There’s gory scene here and there, which fit the themes because war is ugly. The main plot is about Human greed-animals attack-revenge and the evil circle goes on until final battle between human and the deer god. It’s simple and became more interesting because the faction itself is kinda divided to solve their own war, which give Ashitaka opening to stop the evil circle with his belief that human and animals in forest can coexist together.

The funny thing is, the deer god, atleast to me, seems doesnt care about the war and start giving shit after he lose his head with his omnipower, which is the final conflict in this story. It have the same pattern with Nausicaa of the Valley of the wind story.

I love Ashitaka as character, even though he too idealistic and seems have no flaws, but its acceptable because he sometimes failed. His feeling toward San kinda come too fast, maybe he just a simple guy who easily love a ‘wild’ girl riding big wolf that passes him by, jokes aside, maybe because her kindness to him in forest before.

The message of this story kinda have same vibe with Nausicaa : Hatred and revenge won’t solve anything, which is kinda too naive and cliche for me, but it’s acceptable in some degree because mother nature will ‘clear things up’ if that hatred thingy messes them up. I may look complaint and nitpicking too much in this long-ass-kind-of-review, but for me, this story is very good and give me a great inspiration.

The Wind Rises

The story mainly focus to Jiro attempt to achieve his dream to build airplane, who previously dream to become a pilot but kinda adjusted because he is nearsighted. At first glance, it seems flat, but it’s presented beautifully with imaginative exposition from Jiro perspective so you can understand his way to see world. Despite his geniuses, Jiro mostly failed to build his airplane, disappointing most of every his relative and country expectation. In his crumbling morale, he meets Nahoko at second time, which will be his wife later on because she somewhat elevated his spirit to build plane again. In finale part, Jiro succeed made his first airplane with his team that at that point he regain every hope that his company and his country longing from him. There’s some kind of dramatization in finale when Nahoko, who actually dying because her sickness, decide to leave her medication just to stay side by side to Jiro untill her husband finish his big project. From there, I somewhat already know the tragic ending for Jiro. Despite of mostly realistic things that happen from beginning toward end, Nahoko last action somewhat too romantic, just like an angel who came passes by to Jiro, give him all her love and life so his husband can fulfill his dream again, which to me kinda break the immersion. Lot of technical stuff in air crafting and blend with Japan setting before world war II so you will enjoy it more if you love these kind of things.

The Secret World of Arrietty

About first half in the movie explains the life of Arrietty and her family as borrower, basically a very small sized human, to ‘borrow’ every resource they need to live, like sugar, tissue, biscuit and other things in normal human home, which is a place of Sho, the other main character. I like this part because it focus on Arrietty perspective as small human in a very giant house to them that give me a sense of adventure when she go through it.

The interaction between Arrietty and Sho is very interesting. The very main reason Arrietty and her family to survive give Sho reason to strive and fight his heart disease.

On the second half however, the ‘villain’ come, which is basically want mess Arrietty family because she thinks they thieves, which is true in some degree. I understand the story need some dramatization so Arrietty and Sho belief kinda challenged in some way, but I feel it kinda forced because in the end, even Arrietty family get caught, Sho or his aunt will protect the borrower so the ‘evil woman’ step back. Why? because Sho grandfather already know the borrower existence and create special house for them. They obviously will fight because they believe what their grandfather want to protect.
The story kinda ‘trapped’ to concept that ‘borrower must remain unknown from humans beans’ so every Sho and Arrietty attempt to break that concept is useless because at the end of the story, it remains the status quo. Despite all of that, I still enjoy and like the story.

On the second thought, I think the story can be optimize the fully potential if Sho attempt to open dialogue with Arrietty parents. The ‘dramatization’ will come between the distrust of Arrietty parents towards human generally, which itself give Sho understanding of parents protection towards their son/daughter because Sho kinda hate their parents who leave him because of their work. Soon, the ‘evil woman’ come to catch the Arrietty families but Sho save and protect them, which give them mutual belief and agreement each other so the status quo itself broke….but, hey, it’s just my opinion.

Final Fantasy IX

001-44

Final Fantasy IX
Developer : Square
Director : Hiroyuki Ito
Producer : Hironobu Sakaguchi and Shinji Hashimoto

Final fantasy IX is my very first Role Playing Game I played back there. I remembered played it blindly, without knowing anything about strategy or tactics that commonly used in playing RPG, ended up dead many times and stuck when facing Gizamaluke’s Grotto, which I later on use Gameshark to cheat and beat the game shamelessly.

As the story, it begin with Garland, a man from Terra Planet who become the very last hope to save Terra planet and it’s people soul from destruction. By saving means that he want to find new planet, which is Gaia, so souls of Terra people who dying can find life in there. The consequence of this plan of course he must destroy the Gaia, or eliminate the people of Gaia to be precise. Unfortunately it wasn’t easy for him because Gaia had Eidolon, the summoning monster, to defend the planet.

In order to do his ‘Godly’ mission, Garland send his two ‘angel of death’ to make chaos in Gaia, which is Kuja, the main antagonist, and Zidane, the main protagonist in the game. They both are Genome, the races that contain soul of people Terra but lack of emotion and limited age. Kuja created earlier before Zidane, so he somewhat became ‘lesser’ version of Genome than Zidane which Garland acclaim as the perfect version of Genome.

At the beginning, Kuja succeed destroyed summoner village so Gaia can’t fight back with their Eidolon. But later on, he feel insecure about his imperfection due to his flawed body. He became more agitated because he know Garland want replace him with Zidane, who had more perfect body than him. He still insist to rebel his fate to dying as ‘defect’ Genome by fight Garland even he know Zidane is failed to fulfill Garland expectation because Zidane had amnesia when arrive in Gaia. That’s why he start scheming, manipulate Brahne, the queen of Alexandria by became her Arm Dealer so the Queen had an enormous Black Mage troops that created by mist and Dark Matter to summon the Eidolon.

Knowing Brahne plan to start the war, her step-daughter, Garnet til Alexandros XVI escape from the castle to investigate the key person that make Brahne sudden heart changes. Garnet helped by Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, Eiko, Freya, Quina, and Amarant to stop Brahne main plan to attack Burmecia, Cleyra, and Lindbum. They succeed to know that Kuja is the main reason of Brahne became ambitious. They also managed to destroy Iifa tree, which is the ‘Black Mage Main Factory’ that Kuja used to create Black Mage. Unfortunately, they failed to stop the queen.

Brahne use Kuja Arms with greedy heart. She summon Atomos to crushed Lindbum, emerge Black Mage troops to destroy Burmecia, and summon Odin to annihilate Cleyra completely. She make Alexandria the only kingdom that conquer Mist Continent by Kuja arms. She also start to emerge war to Kuja, by summoning Bahamut, to fight Kuja. But Kuja counter it by using Invincible, Terra Ship that can control Bahamut so instead firing him, the King Dragon fire the queen, made her madness stop.

The death of Brahne made Garnet become Queen of Alexandria. But in the night of Garnet coronation, Kuja order Bahamut attack Alexandria, enforce Garnet and Eiko to summon Alexander, the Eidolon that had enormous wing to protect Alexandria from King Dragon’s flare. Alexander managed to stop Bahamut by countering it’s flare, but alas, Invincible strike again to ‘drain’ Alexander. The different is, Invincible not moved because Kuja, but Garland, who initiate the movement because he didn’t want Kuja rebellious become stronger. Garnet shocked because the destruction of her hometown. Her heart heavily crushed because he failed to protect her people as queen, which made her can’t speak in a mean time.

The presence of Garland in Alexandria make Kuja mad. He emerge his troops to outer continent to chase Garland, which guide Zidane and the party to know that outer continent, Shimmering Island to be precise, is the ‘bridge’ between Terra and Gaia. Kuja, Zidane, and the party arrive in Terra and slowly understand Garland plan to ‘replacing’ Terra people’s soul with Gaia people’s soul by secure the use of Gaia Eidolon. It also explained that The mist in Gaia basically came from Terra which channeled from Iifa tree.

Zidane also remember his origin as Genome, one of Garland’s Angel of Death, which made him mental breakdown because of his existencial crisis. Gladly, his friends save him to empower his confidence. Zidane and the party succeed defeat Garland. But at the same time, Kuja becomes enraged (the game use ‘Trance” as it’s term) and go to the depths of Memoria to find the Crystal, the source of Life. His only mission is to ‘reset’ his dying fate as defect creatures by conquer the Crystal. After defeating Kuja in Memoria, Zidane and the party will face the last boss, Necron, which is embodiment of the Death that Kuja afraid of.

After defeating Necron, Zidane and the party back to Terra where the mist starting engulf and uncontrollable. The party, along with Tartarus, Alexandrian troops, Lindbum Soldier, and Burmecian Dragon Knight start to run from Terra along with the remaining Genomes in there. But Zidane stay still to help Kuja who dying in there. One year later, after the restoration of many destruction that happen in mist Continent in Gaia, Zidane come back safely to Alexandria to meet his lover, Garnet, and his friend. Happy ending as always.

The setting and the music in Final Fantasy IX is very atmospheric with it’s ‘fantasy’, of course, which make you easily immerse with the world that presented in the game. Many races, and it’s each own quirky, made the setting interesting in someway. The basic story is solid, however, there’s some of my nitpicking in this series :

  1. I don’t understand why Garland seems to be hold himself even his mission to conquer Gaia is very important. He know Kuja rebel to him and Zidane fail to fulfill his mission but he seems not care about it. I mean, he had fully control of Invincible who can conquer Eidolon easily from it’s summoner (example : Kuja used it to control Bahamut when Brahne want kill him by using Bahamut). It feels so weird to me when he used the Invincible only to control Alexander. Invincible is overpowered device that can flip every protagonist hope to fight back, which is strange if Garland must send his two ‘Angel of Death’ because Invincible can do all the work. Even Kuja can’t fight back when Garland take over Invincible. It was unfortunate that Garland, who I presume the main antagonist, become weaker, and nicer, forcefully by the plot without redeeming execution so Zidane and Kuja can get their own stage in the story later on.
  2. The story oftentimes tell about how people had value to survive despite their’s limitation. Kuja and Vivi is the primary character who moved by this premises. They both feel insecure about their existence who destined to destroyed or controlled by their ‘master’ in their lifetime. Kuja is the one who resist about it an try to achieve the perfection in himself, while Vivi accept his destiny and try to made value in his short life. Very interesting to take, even I consider Vivi is more interesting main protagonist rather than Zidane, which had me disconnected when Zidane lead the journey because he didn’t had same problem like Vivi. I feel he just there as the charming guy who can solve it all the problem that Kuja make and give Vivi nice pat to get rid his friend’s sorrow. Yes, Zidane had mental breakdown when he realize that he created by Garland to destroy Gaia, but why though? He had amnesia about it and feel nothing before Garland told him about it. I guess it’s happen just for the sake of the drama, to show that Zidane is vulnerable.
  3. There’s a sub-plot in each character when the main plot goes on (self choice themes by Garnet and Steiner when they escaped castle is one of the example) which I considered is pretty good to make character develops or at least introspect with their choice. Too bad this sub-plot somehow drifted away by when the main plot strikes. When Garland strikes, most of character, except Zidane, is just a merely Kuja’s victim of war with a very little emotional relationship between them, which made our investment to each character is irrelevant.
  4. From first to third part, the story feel so atmospheric with it’s fantasy, like races quirk, Zidane’s flirt behaviour to Garnet, Quina desire for only food in his/her live and often times feels comedic (Cid become ogloph and frog is the example). Of course there’s big scene happen when Eidolon start destroy the city which made the tension feel real, but then it somehow passed by because it’s directing to fantasy atmospheric and comedic again later on, except when Garland appears.
  5. In the last part of the story, Genome who still live in Terra migrated to Gaia before Terra itself destroyed after Garland defeated. Later on, it explained that most Genome try to live together with people in Terra. If that can be happen, why Garland bother to destroy Gaia then? The main problem that Garland had to save his own people is his people soul cannot be lived if there’s still people in Gaia. But after Zidane migrated the Terra people to Gaia, that problem seems disappear without any reason.

Despite of my own nitpicking, Final Fantasy IX still enjoyable and playable. In story perspective, most of the time it tries to solid to it’s themes, which sometimes missed but it tends blinded by player. In game play perspective, I enjoy the unique of each character skill and ability binding, but the Trance system too rigid that you can’t depend on it when boss battle (I still prefer Limit break system from FF VII and FF VIII). The character design is cute and funny which appeal to mainstream player, even to the kids, but the side effect of this is made the story feels too childish and tend not to take it seriously.

Capitalism and Inequality

Foreign Affairs Volume 92 Number 2
Capitalism and Inequality : What the Right and Left get Wrong

Journal by : Jerry Z. Muller

FA-Cover-LAM

I may not an expert in this topic because all I know is general things about capitalism and socialism in surface level, which could be wrong interpretation, but I kinda want make this writing for the sake of it because this Journal give adequate and interesting explanation about capitalism, atleast for me.

In the very first part, the Author explain the effect of capitalism in America, which considered to be an economical inequality to it’s people. The people in the ‘left’ said Government must act to, atleast, reduce the inequality by taxing and spending a lot. The people in the ‘right’ said it was not necessary because the ‘market’ will correct the inequality itself later on so they must reduce Government taxing and spending. The author think’s they both wrong because inequality is ‘inherent’ problem as Capitalism implied.

Before the reasoning, the Author marked capitalism as private property use, goods and services distribution and selling based on free individual decision and market system. In capitalism system, only people who can ‘serve’ the market need, in more effective and efficient way, who can be succeed and the others who can’t will fail. That’s why capitalism, somehow, define the equality based on their people capability to answer the market need. The normative of this system pushed people spending their lifetime, creating new, innovative, even strange sometimes, ideas for market purpose so everyone get the benefit.

In advance capitalism countries, as Author explain, lot of barrier reduced so everyone, including woman, minorities, and the poor can participate in capitalism system, work for ‘market need’. The very easy example is role of woman shifting from household to corporate or company, which in this era of technology is allowing they made their own idea or work like other man basically do. The marriage which considered as union of woman and man in their base role (Man work to get money, woman work to take care the children and houses) somehow shifted to ‘partner’ who work together in capitalism system because they can get what they want to consume easily by the money they had in this kind of market.

The author explain in pre-capitalism era, the ‘market need’ marked by special organization or institution who had the right to do so, which may dictate the people live at some point, but at the same time, it can teach what really people need, because they may had capability to detect unnecessary need that people try to make or sell.

There’s always constant dynamism and innovation in capitalism to emerge the most benefit to all people at certain point, which at the same time, create a lot of insecurity to people who participate it because they must role their new idea before other people who had better idea kick them from the market. The left party in american, as the Author explain, mostly push the government to facilitate this insecurity, which may kind of social insurance or securities form.

Back to inequality, the author state that the problem about inequality in this capitalism system is not the lack of opportunity to participate, but because some of people incapable to knowing how to participate. There’s some explanation that Government  enforce children to participate education so they had skill to do so but, as the statistic Author use, there’s only 75% of U.S. high school graduation rate and roughly 40% of young adults are enrolled in college in twentieth century. The argument continued that there’s people, who may didn’t finish high school or college, had higher living standard than the people who graduate from it, which made the education questionable to function as the Government want.

In the end chapter, the Author ‘offers’ some probability thing’s to do for Government to solve the inequality because the capitalism, which is :

  1. Emerge redistribution income, by taxes, to reduce the rising of insecurity and inequality to come, which may had drawbacks because the Taxation must ‘flexible’ at some point to pay the insecurity that comes in period. Even that didn’t solve the underlying problem.

  2. Increasing the facilitation that enable the knowledge, Internet is the big example, so people can learn how to participate in capitalism system.

  3. Push the under-performed people by Government, as Author stated, is worse than cure the diseases because it promoting the under-performed which contradict as capitalism create and promote.

I admit capitalism emerge self-cultivation, self-responsibility and unlimited development which make people in general get the benefit of it. A lot of idea and creative product created by this system. But at the same time, the so called ‘self-cultivation’ tend to produce what market want, which may weird, strange or unnecessary at some point. Yes, they may argue as long as the idea sold then it works, but it not always direct towards good things. In the age of internet, I enjoy my time browsing and searching stuff I need for educational, tips, or entertainment purpose, but at the same time, I feel there’s too many information, or even shitty jokes and stupid debate in there, which made false alleged that as long as it’s popular/viral in media or internet then it’s right to do, even when you think about it just a moment, you know that most popular thingy kinda dumb and unnecessary  at certain degree.

The ‘responsibility’ to control that strange influence shifting from the authorized institutional to ourselves because Capitalism system enforce to reduce that kind of institute, blamed because it barriers the ‘work of free market’. I agree we should be responsible to each own life, but then again, how about people who still not adult and not wise enough to make decision? They can learn anything in Internet lately because the Capitalism open this channel, but they may not know it is unwise thing to do. This is why the role of parenthood in this capitalism is mostly needed, not only to educate their children as ‘capitalism participator’ later on, but also to teach them some virtue in living which may not valued by money or benefit as capitalism forced us to search.