Sunday, 7 October 2012

War on Aquatica

"And so it came about that the Mongs of Matterdom invaded Medusia."

I'm getting ahead of myself. But so does this story, with the Doctor, Sarah Jane and some manny called Professor Vittorio Levi already captured by the "unfeeling Medusians" when the story starts.

We then get a dump of backstory to fill us in, so I don't know why the writer bothered to begin in media res. Maybe he just got the paragraphs in the wrong order? The Doctor, Sarah and Professor Levi* are on the planet Aquatica where there are three "kingdoms" - Medusia, Matterdom and Phyllosia. They have been captured by the Medusians of Medusia who have snakes on their heads.

* Who, we are told, is "a zoologist, botanist, astronomer, anthropologist and amateur space traveller" so naturally he never uses any of these skills in the story and his only contribution (if we don't count speaking in a funny way) is to "bump [a] Medusian smartly on the nose."

Apparently "clever, even inspired, ideas of escaping had fallen flat," so Sarah suggests overpowering the guard that gives them noms and naturally that works so we can maybe get on with some actual plot. This is a bit like joining a Doctor Who TV story (a bad one) at the start of part four.

Someone dressed up like the Doctor, a manny who could be Professor Levi, and another manny who can't possibly be Sarah, run for it through some green.

Despite having only five pages to tell the story, the author takes the time to tell us that the planet Aquatica has a star called Kzul and is near to other planets called Velusia and Qlopth. While Aqauatica has a perfectly reasonable, Nationesque name, I don't know what these other names mean unless Velusia is a planet of velcro.

The Doctor, Sarah and Professor Levi have sleeps in a forest. Later the Doctor is woken up, so he will probably be grumpy like Gamma Longcat if he gets woken up by noises.

"The 'being' standing over him was amazing - like an apparition from a dream. His long silver hair fell like shafts of moonlight to his shoulders, and round the tall body a golden aura shone. His eyes were sapphire-blue, from which rays shone like strobes from a cinema projector. His robe was of rich purple, braided with gold and patterned with stars, circles and triangles.
'Peace! Be calm!' signalled the god-like creature."

This manny is Phyllos, who comes from Phyllosia and is "Master to the Phyllosians." He takes them to a cave where they meet his wife Dyonne.

"She was very beautiful, auraed also, and having silver hair; her eyes were blue and she wore a robe similar to her husband's, which glittered with stars, circles and triangles."

The accompanying picture looks like this:

Well it has been over a page since we last had some exposition, so it's time for Phyllos to explain that the greedy Medusians are stealing "glyt" from "the Mattermonks of Matterdom" and "Lumidolphs" from the Phyllosians. Phyllos and Dyonne, showing the kind of leadership that Captain Kirk would approve of, have themselves come to spy on the Medusians.

I have no idea what is going on in this picture.

They all go to Matterdom to see "King Chympanzo," getting there in less than a page.

"In the palace, King Chympanzo said: 'I am at my wit's end to know what to do!'
'Then why not combat the Medusians by using your pets, the Mongs, Your Cleverness!' Phyllos suggested."

Of course, how obvious. I do like "Your Cleverness" as a title, though, and it is ironic that the King is not clever or he would have already thought about using his Mongs. The King's speech sums up the idiocy of this storyKing Chympanzo:

"It is scarcely moral, Phyllos dear friend, to use them to attack the serpentine Medusians; but then - I suppose war never is. Indeed, even our females are bearing arms, and some of our children! It is a dreadful state of affairs!"

Apparently the Doctor helps Phyllos and Dyonne negotiate the subsequent peace treaty, which seems like a paper-thin attempt at justifying his inclusion in the story at all. This is a terrible Doctor Who story.

I have even less of an idea what is going on in this picture.

War on Aquatica is confusing and random, and not in a good way. The aliens are a mix of terrible cliche and jumbled up letters. The Doctor and Sarah do nothing interesting and who is Professor Levi anyway? It wouldn't make any less sense if it turned out he was really Sergeant Benton in disguise (he isn't, as far as I know).

And as for the pictures: the pictures are disorientating in the way they are suggestive of the story being told without being at all helpful as an aid to picturing all the stupid things happening in the plot. In fact, I haven't been as confused a cat since I saw this:

The most confusing thing I saw before that was a TV series that does "confusing and random" right, and so in that respect is the opposite of War on Aquatica.

Big Gay Longcat reviews Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a TV series that tells the story of Chu Chu, a cheeky monkey who is the familiar and friend of Anthy Himemiya.

Anthy has a handsome brother called Akio, but he is secretly End of the World, the baddy of the series who wants to do... something evil. I'm not sure what, but it doesn't matter as long as it involves him driving very fast in his car with other handsome mannys who sometimes take their shirts off.

Akio also seduces Utena Tenjou, who is the title character and so is, I think, the equivalent of Blake* in Blakes 7. She is a goody who wants to save Anthy from all the duels that other characters have been fighting so that Anthy will be their Rose Bride. Utena does this by fighting duels so that Anthy is her Rose Bride.

* Utena's central moral dilemma is similar to Blake's, in that she must choose between fighting to protect Anthy (being a "Prince") or being passive and letting Akio protect her (being a "Princess"). Blake has to choose between using acts of violence and terrorism to bring down the Federation, or else letting the obvious baddys of the Federation continue to rule. In both cases they choose the first option; the active, aggressive option over the passive, submissive option.

While the ending to Revolutionary Girl Utena is a bit more open to interpretation than that of Blake, I would say the two characters both come to similar ends - Blake is shot by his best friend Avon and dies, Utena is stabbed by her best friend Anthy and... dies?

And both were very close to their best friend before this.

Anthy ends the series by leaving Akio behind and going off with Chu Chu to search for Utena in the outside world, which thwarts Akio's plan because he needs Anthy to be the Rose Bride for his evil plan to work. Somehow. I think.

But what, you may ask, is Chu Chu's actual role in the story? Well, Chu Chu is my friend so here he is to answer this question himself:

Chu. Chu Chu. Chu Chu. Chu.

Thanks for clearing that up, Chu Chu. You are a cheeky monkey.

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