March 2013

Pixels and Panels will be on a short hiatus as I’m leaving for Italy in a few hours. I’m going with a church group and I’ll be gone for a little over a week. I’m pretty excited because I’ve never been to Italy and I love seeing old buildings and churches. We’re also going to be in Rome for Palm Sunday and celebrate the mass at the Vatican, which I think is pretty cool. I imagine it will be pretty packed that day and I will be very far away, but I’m looking forward to seeing the new Pope even if from very far away. I should resume my regular posting schedule by April at the latest. But either way, I wish a Happy Easter to those who also celebrate it! And a great rest of March for everyone else! :)


“Mini Mendacious Moments” is a feature about small moments (a page, an opening sequence, a character design, or something a character said) in manga, anime, or games that simply makes me pause and just wonder why something so silly, bad, demeaning, or pertaining to a double standard was even mentioned or briefly touched upon. Being such a small and blatant moment, in-dept analysis will not be given, rather, this is more for snarky me to share my snarky commentary.

Ah, feminism, the ever misunderstood and misrepresented movement. I don’t know if the translator was trying to be funny here or if this is the word used in the original Japanese, but in Chapter 181 of Flame of Recca, Tokiya, during his fight with the two-faced Mikoto, who admonishes Tokiya for hitting her (a woman), and to which Tokiya replies that he is not a feminist so he has no qualms about hitting women.

FoR chap.181 pg.18 Feminist

Feminism = Treating woman like they are frail glass


Common Game Elements is a feature where I talk about something that reoccurs a lot in video games. It may be something very prevalent or something that I noticed because it has come up a few times in recent memory. Since the last few features have been about characters, I decided to do something different this time. Once again, as primarily someone who plays a lot of RPGs, I’ve noticed that most games in this genre tend to have a legendary city dedicated to either magic or technology. The city is legendary either because it’s highly advanced, the final surviving pocket of an ancient civilization, or the place to go to learn magic or other scholarly pursuits.

This isn’t necessarily a bad trend, in fact, I quite like it because these cities/towns are always something I look forward to seeing and getting absorbed in the magic of the place. It’s also not exclusive to games either. Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, which deals with a group travelling to different worlds, had a world dedicated to the scholarly pursuit of magic as well. One could say this is one of my favourite tropes and if I were to make a general rule about it, it would sound something like this:

“There will be one city renown for its magic or technology.”


  • The magical kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. It is probably the best example of this element.

    Zeal (Chrono Trigger) – The Kingdom of Zeal was a floating island above the clouds that was renown for its magic, scholarly pursuits (3 Wise Sages), and technological advancements (Mammoth Machine, Dark Omen, Blackbird, etc). Its magic was so advanced that individuals on Zeal comment how “weak” your characters own magic is compared to theirs.

  • Lufenia (Final Fantasy) – The city of an ancient technologically advanced people. It is also worth noting that the best magic spells can only be purchased in Lufenia. (more…)

I think now is a good time to publish all the stats on bad story elements I’ve been collecting while doing the Substandard Shoujo Spectacle feature. The story elements have, once again, been organized from most prevalent to least prevalent for easy ranking/comparing (and for elements with the same number of instances, it is alphabetical). Any new element is also in italics. There is also now a total next to how many instances have occurred since the last update (back when the feature started), so you can compared how many times something has occurred in total and just these last 3 chapters. I hope everyone finds this as interesting as I have.

Story Elements Breakdown:

Verbal Abuse/Name Calling {Any instance where the heroine is called stupid, ugly, bitch, etc. by her potential love interest}

– 16 instances; 6 manga // Total-to-Date: 18 instances in 6/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.3], Suki Shite Sadist [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hot Gimmick [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], The Beautiful Skies of Houou High [chap.2], & The Devil Within [chap.2 (x2), chap.3, chap.4 (x2)]

Heroine must be Saved {Heroine is rescued from whatever distressed situation she is in by a man}

– 5 instances; 3 manga // Total-to-Date: 11 instances in 5/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3], & The Devil Within [chap.2] (more…)

juuni kokuki

I’ve been on a sort of re-watching binge lately and one of the series I decided to rewatch was Juuni Kokuki or The Twelve Kingdoms. What struck me while watching the anime again was how well executed the recap episodes were. Often times, I dread the recap episodes because they are boring and don’t really have a purpose beyond saving the anime studio some money. But I didn’t mind the recap episodes in Juuni Kokuki because they were well executed, and they were so well executed precisely because they used the strength’s of Juuni Kokuki to make interesting recap episodes.

Juuni Kokuki is an anime adapted from novels by Fuyumi Ono. The story is best described as a fantasy with a strong current of political intrigue. There is a lot of terminology and concepts throw around in this series, and it can get a bit overwhelming trying to keep track of what means what. The anime studio seemed to realize this, so they centred their recap episodes around the terminology and political structures found in the universe of Juuni Kokuki. The result was recap episodes that were engaging and interesting. Most of the information provided in these episodes was not new, but because there was so much information to take in, this was a very much welcomed repeat. I found it helped me finally sort out all the terminology in the universe of Juuni Kokuki.  Furthermore, while the vast majority of the recap episode did not introduce any new information, there was always a bit of plot progression to be had. For example, the recap that happens while Rakushun and Shoukei are travelling to En establishes that Shoukei has finally understood the lesson everyone was trying to teach her. This makes the recaps feel integral to the overall story rather than superfluous. (more…)