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Saturday, August 31, 2019

That Time I Accidentally Went on a Date With a Hot Lesbian (Humor, Tragedy and the Dynamic Story Part Five):

So you folks probably have some questions. For starters, I literally said in my last post that I wouldn't post anything new for awhile, but this just happened and was too funny and interesting not to share. But I'm the one who inflicts these types of arbitrary rules for myself, so I'm allowed to selectively break them at will. Also, some of you might be thinking one of two things right now:

Those that just come here for the writing advice and don't give a flying farthing about my life-story are probably thinking, It's called a "writing" blog, and this is like, the four-millionth post that isn't about writing, what gives?

While the other half that took the click-bait are thinking, Why did you spoil the ending of this story in the title? Now we already know how it ends.

And to that, I say that this long post will be broken into two parts; the first part will just be me telling you what happened, then the second half will be a super-meta analysis about this very blog post. Get your sledge hammers ready because we're going to be knocking down some 4th walls and we're going to reach unheard of levels of meta shit that the likes of this Earth haven't seen since The Dark Tower.

And I've also taken the liberty of making a rest-stop for all you truckers and lousy readers with short attention spans who took one look at the length of this blog post and wanted to nope out of here. So if you don't think you can make it all the way through this entry *cough cough PUSSY cough cough*, feel free to stop and take a break at the Rest Stop™, maybe drink some orange juice or something and then continue later on once you feel rejuvenated.

Now before I start the story, a couple of caveats; everything with this girl is good and I made sure to get her blessing before posting this (I let her read it before posting), and also, I'm gonna be telling you things about my past that I've told literally no one, so brace yourselves for that. Also, this story has a HAPPY ending, so even if I seem pretty nihilistic along the way, just keep that in mind.

Also, if you're easily offended, you probably shouldn't be reading this because this entire post will trigger you. I didn't feel like filtering myself out in this post so I make a bunch of insensitive jokes and use terms that are generally frowned upon.

(Joke time! What's the difference between an AK-47 and a social justice warrior?
An AK-47 has only one trigger.)

For the sake of anonymity (holy crap, that word took me more attempts to spell correctly than I'm willing to admit. I misspelled it so badly that auto-correct couldn't even figure out what I was trying to say and just shrugged at me like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), we'll be changing her name. I googled "lesbian names" and one of the first to come up was Kate, and according to said list, it was "ranked by lesbianism," according to lesbianism experts, who, no doubt, have dedicated their lives to the study and understanding of dykes, so I guess that clenches it.

So a little back-story: a while back, my cousin Trinity told me about this super shy girl that apparently had a huge crush on me throughout all of high school. This girl was one who I had almost every class with, was thoughtful and kind, and someone I just generally really liked and admired. And when my cousin told me that this girl--who we'll call Claire (her name was not Claire)--had been admiring me from afar for 4 years straight, I felt like a straight-up dumb ass.

Some of you are probably wondering why I'm changing her name too, and I think you'll find this amusing.

I generally don't like talking about money or web analytics because it's tacky, although I do think it's worth mentioning that some of my posts--such as my Alita Post, get literally thousands of views, while others, like my post on Charm, get like, 12, so really it's a toss-up whether or not this particular post will be seen by a thousand people or two. (Although with a title that click-baity, I'd venture a guess that it'll be one of my more popular ones.)

Anyway, as some of you may know, I sometimes share posts to Facebook and Twitter (only the ones I'd deem appropriate), and this girl Claire now has a boyfriend who just happens to be an acquaintance of mine and a Facebook friend, so that's why I'm not using her real name.

And now any guys reading this that know me IRL are going to wonder if their girlfriend had a thing for me, and that's fucking hilarious. The only thing that would make this funnier is if I posted a link to this on Facebook and randomly tagged like 10 non-single dudes I know, but I wouldn't be so bold.

It could be YOU.

That's right, looking straight at you Mr.

Anyway, what I learned from this was that I missed hints like a blind person playing cricket, and also that my preconception of women was basically completely wrong (shocker).

Anyone that's read any of my posts knows that I'm a pretty pessimistic and self-deprecating person, but I use those insecurities to project a funny and charming alter-ego for me to hide behind. Turning your insecurities into witty banter is the best thing a person can do. After all, you're turning your weakness into a strength, and what could go wrong with that? Trust me, I'm single, and everyone knows that single people give the best relationship advice. How do I know? Twitter told me so.

Sometimes you see things on the Internet along the lines of, "Someone at some point in your life probably admired you, dreamed of being with you, and wished they guts to ask you out, and you had no idea it was happening." And of course if you read the comments on any of those sorts of shower thoughts they say things like:

"--and other jokes you can tell yourself" or "HAHAHAHAHA GOOD ONE!"

Seems I'm not alone with the "Yeah right, no one would like me," mindset. It's pretty much just a collective viewpoint held by the entirety of slightly-depressed millennials and gen-z at this point.

Although I should also note that even though I sometimes say depressing shit, I'm a honker, not a doomer.

For those that don't know the difference, a doomer is this (courtesy of Urban Dictionary, the one and only canon and bonafide diction in all of the English language):

While a honker is this:

Basically, if they give up and start drinking heavily while shutting out society and generally becoming an intolerable human being because they think everything is hopeless, they're a doomer.

If they think the world is burning around them, and that Idiocracy was a documentary and not a comedy, and ultimately just laugh at how ridiculous and stupid this parody-world has become, they're a honker.

Sorry if I seem rambly, it's like, 1:00 AM, and I drank a shit-ton of coffee, but instead of making me energized all it did was increase my pulse, so now I'm tired AF and have the resting heart-rate of Michael Phelps after an Olympic swim.

I am the Michael Phelps of typing.

So yeah, I guess I am a little bit nihilistic, but I try to be more like Don Quixote than Frank Ginsburg (if you got either of those references, congratulations, you get a cookie. If you got both of them, your AI is too advanced and it's breaking the simulation, so I have to terminate you. Sorry, I don't make the rules. They're watching me).

I'm just gonna get right to the juicy bits. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

So it all started at my old job right before I quit and started working at a local restaurant. This new girl, who we'll call Kate, as we've already established that it's an exceptionally lesbianish name, according to world-renown  lesbian-name-experts, started working there who just so happened to be a fairly attractive individual, but I didn't get my hopes up or anything because I learned a long time ago that that was a bad idea. Also, more often than not, I'd get a crush on someone only to hear them open their mouth an instantly make me lose all respect for them.

Although this does lead me to one thing that I recommend all single dudes try; next time you get a crush on a girl you don't know that well, immediately talk to her, because it's not always obvious when someone has a terrible personality and most of the time you can save yourself trouble down the road by just talking to them and realizing you made a terrible mistake.

So, along this line of thinking, me thinking she was attractive was more of an observation rather than an invitation for me to try to flirt or something. Also I don't just flirt with girls because they're attractive, I may think I'm as worthless a Venezuelan bolívar (worth approximately the same as a Gender Studies degree), but even I have standards. The general problem with living in California is that there's lots of good looking girls with God-awful personalities.

Before I continue any further, I want to clarify that I'm not one of those "MGTOW" types. I'm not saying that all women are vapid and stupid or anything like that, what I am saying is that, while there are plenty of wonderful and intelligent women out there, there's a dense concentration of superficial morons in California, and it's a bit of an epidemic at this point because the entire province of California has basically become a neo-Socialist anti-men ethno-state.

Anyway, I'm going to be honest, I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of Kate, and figured she probably caught me checking her out out least 12 times, because subtlety was never my strong suit, but then something surprised me when she appeared at my side to hand me her number.

Two things popped into my mind:

At first, I was overjoyed and slightly stunned. I had never really been asked out, especially not by a hot girl before. I'm not exactly Casanova, unless Casanova was actually a blanket troll who frequently waited until his parents went to bed so he could drink hard-lemonade and play drunk Legos alone.

I have a very... uhhhhh..... "active" imagination.
But then, I got that tingly smell. It was that smell. That smelly smell. That smelly smell that smells... smelly.

Yeah, this was way too good to be true. I'm not buying it. But then again, I had so easily overlooked the one person who genuinely adored me for 4 years straight, so maybe I wasn't so bad after all. But then again, you can never be disappointed if you never get your hopes up, right? Tough situation.

So naturally, after considering the possibility that she actually liked me and wasn't pulling some sort of sadistic prank, I had to wonder...

But then I come back full circle to "Well, what about Claire? She liked you." So I said fuck it and decided to get all my hopes and up and put all my eggs into one basket.

And then, a few moments later, my doubts were mostly subdued because she bounced up to me, looking cute as a button, and said something to the effect of, "You didn't throw away that napkin I gave you, did you?" to which I replied, "Nope, I definitely got it," and that day she gave me an over-the-top and very enthusiastic goodbye before I left, which seemed pretty convincing.

So later, I remember the 3-day rule, in which a guy is supposed to wait a few days before texting / calling a girl, so I decided to do that. But since I'm not a real man, I immediately caved in an texted her later that day.

Only something was wrong. Instead of a flirty message, I got an angry response from a bitter middle-aged man. That threw me for a loop. She wouldn't just approach me and give me a fake number just to fuck with me... right? I know a lot of girls might give out a fake phone number to an obnoxious guy who won't leave them alone, when they just want him to STFU and leave, but I never asked her out--she was the one who approached me--so I was pretty damn confused. Although this definitely confirmed my suspicion that it was all a farce from the start, which I was subconsciously trying to prove to myself because of affirmation bias.

I tried contacting her a few more times using different variations of the number she gave me, just in case she wrote it down wrong by accident, all to no avail.

And it wasn't until after I left that job several weeks later that I noticed that one digit--a pesky little 3--looked suspiciously scribbled like it could be a 5 masquerading as a 3, so in one all-or-nothing gambit, I messaged that variation of the number and, sure enough, it was Kate.

I can be fucking retarded sometimes. But I was mostly glad that I actually did have her number the whole time and wasn't going crazy, like the time a week or two ago when I spent 6 hours looking for the car keys only for my mom to find them 7 seconds later on the bar stool below where I usually put them.

So things got pretty flirty from there, when she found out that I left the job she said that it'd suck not having me there, and when she found out I was supposed to become the manager after I finished training, she said she thought it would have been more fun working there if I was in charge, to which I said, "But wouldn't that be a conflict of interest, the boss going out with one of his employees?" I think that line might have went over her head or gone unnoticed, because looking back now, her responses weren't always as flirty as I thought they were and make just as much sense in a platonic context.

Anyway, we arranged to go bowling--because bowling is fun and Casually Explained once said that it's a good idea to do activities for dates instead of dinner and a movie, because then you can focus on the activity itself instead of worrying about just sitting there and talking.

I also remember reading in this magazine that girls have very specific hints they give to guys when they're interested in them, especially if they want to sleep with them.

Of course I'm just a lovable fool so I can be completely wrong about these (please don't roast me in the comments, I'm just the messenger), but according to said magazine, when a girl wants a guy she will:

1. Dress provocatively; if she really dresses up for the date, that's a good sign.

2. She talks about sex a lot. If she brings up sex out of the blue, it's like, the most obvious sign she can probably give you.

3. She wants to share food with you. If she offers you food from her plate or cup (that is, a drink from her cup, not food from her cup, unless you were eating Cup Noodle, which is food in a cup, but Cup Noodle wouldn't make for a very impressive date cuisine, so odds are you aren't sharing Cup Noodle from a cup), she's really into you.

Again, I'm not claiming to be one of those extraverty outgoing dating-gurus or anything like that, that's just the ideas that this magazine filled my head with, and they seemed to make sense to me, but of course if you're a woman and you think these are total bullshit, it's too late to tell me that because the deed is already done.

So here's what happened.

^ You guys, probably.

I show up, 30 minutes early, as part of my brilliant plan. I brought along my enormous copy of Don Quixote, which I was going to sit around pretending to read, but then after the events of the story I am now telling you, I actually started re-reading it again after several years, and it occurred to me while reading, If I could write something 1/10th as good as this, surely I would be praised as the greatest modern writer who ever lived, comparable to Stephen King and Dickens. So what started as me trying to look all smart and introspective got me back into this awesome book, so that's cool. And if you read any of my blog posts or go on to read Desolation's Reach once it's published, and you think that I'm a good writer, you should know that I'm nothing but a fake, an imposter, and Cervantes himself is the one and only true master of this craft, and everything I say and write is essentially a cheap knock-off of his work, a shadow, if you will, and so I would encourage you to read Quixote if you haven't already, as well as Ames, as he is also just a knock-off of Cervantes, but a very convincing knock-off, so it's worth reading his work as well.

Anyway, moving on; I decided to go to this "date" (it wasn't a date lul) sans-glasses, because I've been told by every female I know that I look more handsome without them, and also I broke them and had to haphazardly tape them back together, and showing up looking goofy AF in my broken glasses would make me look like an even bigger dork than I already am, so I resolved to bowl with great precision even without the aid of vision.

So I show up 30 minutes early, that way even if she happened to show up early, she wouldn't have to sit around waiting for me, and when I get there, lo and behold, she's already there, sitting in a chair waiting for me, and much more dolled up than I expected.

A tight, black top that revealed her curves, a plaid red skirt, a choker necklace, dark red lipstick, and her hair in a ponytail.

So it was kinda like I got run over by a truck full of hormones at that moment.

Anyone that's followed me thus far knows that I'm a pretty religious guy, I take the Christian faith quite seriously and generally try to avoid getting involved with bad people, but if I'm being honest, I may or may not have had some very un-Christian thoughts about putting our Minecraft beds together.

I had a bunch of other sinful thoughts too, like holding hands and shit.

Now I know what at least 1% of you are thinking. In fact, I think I can hear one guy in the back shouting the question frantically and hoping I'll call on him.

What's that? A little louder? Oh, did I what? Did I pinch a tent?

No, I did not. (But it took a substantial amount of willpower and approximately 60% of my cognitive ability, leaving me with only 40% of my brain for talking and bowling.)

Anyway, we grabbed drinks at the coffee shop I frequent whenever I need to aggravate my nerves and summon the willpower to write, to which the amount of caffeine I drink has a directly proportional impact on how much I'm able to write (I once drank 12 cups of coffee in a 24 hour period and after that I managed to edit like 9,000 words in 2 days, but then I crashed and accomplished nothing for 5, so I guess it cancels out....?), and we both complained about the same people, which was fun.

To expand a little bit, yes, it's good to bond over mutual interests, but let's be honest... you automatically like and trust someone a lot better if they hate they same things you hate compared to them liking the same things you like. So yeah, her hating the same things I hate was pretty great.

When we get to the actual bowling, and I'm trying to keep myself from looking where I shouldn't and ruining everything right then and there, I put my name as "Blind" into the bowling-screen thingy for comedic effect, and then, after bowling surprisingly well for half the game, I resolved to win the rest of the match by using only granny-shots.

I did fucking terrible, but in a stroke of luck I managed several strikes using this abominable method, so that was good fortune.

Anyway, it turned out that she not only was attractive and hated the same stuff that I do, but she liked all of the same stuff I liked, even the obscure and weird stuff like the well-being of the YouTube community (looking at you Rewind you slimy, disgusting bastards) and the same YouTube channels that I follow, and she also liked anime, video games, and role-playing games like D&D.

Also, she mentioned sex a lot. Not her sexual experiences or anything like that, but she seemed perfectly comfortable mentioning sex frequently when talking about movies and TV shows and stuff, and she said sex so many times that I lost count and had to assume she was trying to tell me something. Then at one point when she said her Chai tea was good, she said I should try some and eagerly handed it to me to drink. She'd also shared food and stuff with me before at work while I worked there, so naturally I'm starting to put the pieces together.

She dolled up and arrived hot as hell... showed up 30 minutes early... keeps mentioning sex.... wants to share her food with me.....

I was struck with two thoughts simultaneously; the first thought was an internal high-five, and the other was an internal monologue along the lines of, Oh God oh God she's really into me, but what if she's not looking for a relationship and just wants a one-night-stand? What if she just wants to be FWB or something? Would I have the willpower to say no? Remember, I'm a good, pious Christian--

So I couldn't cave in to these sinful ways and bend to the will of a promiscuous woman, no matter how sexy or cunning she was. This was a battle of willpower, and like a married man resisting the siren-song of a femme fatale, I had to stick to my guns and say no if it came to that.

But then a rather depressing thought dawned on me; I didn't have to worry about having the willpower to say no, because I didn't even have the confidence to say yes.


So after scraping my brain matter off the wall, and wondering what the catch was, eventually the date (not a date lul) ended and I was tasked with the age-old question.

Do you kiss on a first date?

She seemed really into me--I'm pretty oblivious to the hints girls give, as we've already established with the whole that girl in high school adored you for 4 years straight and you were too dense to pick up on it thing, but her hints seemed way too obvious for even me to ignore, and I had to either capitalize on that or miss my chance forever and become this guy:

Props if you get this reference, which you should, because not watching Inception is a crime.

But that doesn't answer the question, to kiss or not to kiss? I did what I thought was the perfect middle-ground, and opted for a hug and a kiss on the cheek, which wasn't as presumptuous as going for a kiss on the lips right away, and not as lame as a handshake or some shit. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

I mean, in my situation a lot of guys probably would have felt justified in going for a full kiss, since she was dolled up like an expensive prostitute who was willing to give the ultimate discount--free--but I digress.

But of course, being just as awkward physically as I am mentally, I misjudged my trajectory and basically kissed her eyebrow, but I thought that maybe she'd think it was endearing or something so it wasn't too bad. I'd accidentally kissed my first girlfriend on the ear the first time, so I thought that an eyebrow was a decent upgrade from an ear. To this day I wonder if it was the ear kiss that made her gay... or maybe it was my personality, I don't know.

(Oh yeah, I turned my first girlfriend gay, so that's a thing.)

Anyway, moving on.

So we both leave, I paid for a decent chunk of the not-date because I thought that was the best course of action, and she chipped in to pay for the pizza when my card embarrassingly declined (I had a ton of cash waiting for me at the bank, and wasn't actually tight on money, but of course I was at a bowling alley, not a bank--unless it was a bank that was cleverly disguised as a bowling alley--but because of Occam's Razor I should stop coming up with these ridiculous hypotheticals), which was nice of her, and then we parted ways and she said she looked forward to going out again. This was after I accidentally kissed her eyebrow, so I figured that that that probably wasn't that big a deal.

** Segment break **

Alright, so everything you read up to this point was written in a 1:00 AM stupor, but last night I drank too much coffee and it was too hot in my room for me to fall asleep, so I just didn't. It's now 6:00 AM the next day, and after lying in bed overthinking for 5 hours straight, I came back to my laptop and have resumed where I left off. I'm still pretty out of it mentally, so I'm not going to be very articulate for a while. Also my WPM has dropped from 70 to about 15, but that's neither here nor there.

Moving on, then.

So we joked a little bit and texted for a little bit (I just noticed I used the phrase "a little bit" twice in a row, but I'll leave it as a reminder of the detrimental mental state I'm currently in), and then after she sent me a funny video I sent a Minecraft thing her way, and then nothing.

After a few days I thought, Dang, she must really not like Minecraft, so I tried to get things back on track. We were talking about setting up a second date and I suggested an escape room, which I thought was an awesome idea because either you get to be brilliant sleuths who crack the code and escape to freedom, or you're trapped in a small-ish room with someone you like, so either way,

Anyway,  but then she didn't respond to my follow-up text either. It had been about a week now so I was panicking a little. I thought it was possible that she just lost interest and decided to ghost me, and it was also possible that something actually happened and she couldn't get back to me (like a lost phone, a family death, etc.), but naturally that was less likely and the timing was a little too convenient.

Then a thought occurred to me. Could she be testing me? Coincidentally--or perhaps not coincidentally,

my ex had done the exact same thing; right after a great first date, she ghosted me for a week then resumed talking to me as if nothing happened, leading me to believe that she was testing me to see if I'd blow up her phone or overreact. I'd also had female friends openly tell me that they sometimes test guys they like by doing this sort of stuff, and I remember this happening to a friend of mine too when his now-girlfriend did the same thing.

If my ex did it, and my female friends say that they do it, and my friend's girlfriend did it to him, would it be too much of a stretch to say that I was being tested?

Once I knew I was just being tested, the answer became pretty clear. All I had to do was.... nothing! How simple was that? If I just didn't say anything, and resumed conversation whenever she re-initiates it, then I pass the test. That's how shit tests work.

So I resolved not to text her again until she initiated contact. And then I further resolved to wait 24-to-48 hours to respond to the next text, that way it didn't look like I just sit around waiting to be texted all day. (I don't, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't always have my phone ready and typically responded to messages right away.)

So naturally I immediately caved in and texted her again that night, because my resolve is about as reliable as a knitted condom (soz, I know I use that once-humorous analogy too often for it to be funny anymore, but I don't have the brain capacity to come up with another witty saying on the spot like this so it's all I got).

I just said something to the effect of, "Hey, is everything good? If something happened, you can get back to me whenever you're ready," and then she immediately responded, so that threw me for a loop.

She came back with a very apologetic and sincere reply, cursing and saying that she wasn't good at confronting people, that she wasn't into men and thought it was just a hangout, and that she was sorry for ignoring me.

I mean, at first I thought Bullshit, a girl going cold and then claiming to be a lesbian is just trying to spare your feelings, but then it was confirmed by the fact that she had a girlfriend who I knew, and apparently all my coworkers knew she was gay except for me, so that was a bit embarrassing.

(Between you and me, having known her girlfriend for years, I think she could do better, but it's really none of my business~)

Now, as crushing of a blow as that is, a part of me was also relieved, because for two weeks I kept thinking, "There's no way this is real, this is suspicious." I didn't have any evidence whatsoever to back that up, but the smelly smell told me, and the general rule, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is," is something that hasn't disappointed me this far. I mean, I was disappointed whenever I ignored that rule, but never when I respected it as an immutable law.

(Did that last line sound well-written and witty? I hope so, it took all of my brain-cells to cough that up.)

That being said, what transpired is one of my favorite conversations I've had, albeit relatively short. I'll include the screenshots of the texts themselves (not all of them, just the ones I'm talking about), as a form of formality, since they don't actually add anything of value to the story and merely serve as digital proof that I'm not a dirty liar making up these fibs.

They aren't really important but feel free to read them if you want~

My mind may be mush, but I at least had the wherewithal to scribble her name out.

So at this point in the conversation I was still fairly convinced she was just saying she was lesbian to spare me my feelings.

*Or FEB, which to my understanding is just lesbianism but with more hoops; I couldn't tell you what it stands for, but according to the Urban Dictionary--the one and only true diction of the English language, a FEB is:

Noun, abbreviation; stands for "Fat Emo Bitch."

Although she definitely isn't fat, she's like, 5'2 and probably only weighs around 100 pounds, and she was very kind to me so the bitch part is definitely not accurate, but the emo part might be so maybe we can't completely exclude this definition just yet.

(Sometime around 3:00 AM this morning it occurred to me the F probably means "female," and the b probably means "bisexual" since she did say she sometimes found guys attractive, so this investigation leads me to believe that the E stands for exclusive, since she said she can be attracted to guys but only wants to date girls. Another victory for logic and reasoning. L out.)

Moving on, after confirming that she actually was in fact gay (or gay with extra steps), I told her that I was relieved, since I thought a hot coworker asking me out out of the blue was suspiciously too good to be true and I was having doubts. She said that she didn't realize how she came across as it being a date until halfway through it, and to me at least she seemed to feel genuinely terrible about the misconception and not telling me sooner. That being said, I admire her candor and honesty and think it took a lot of guts to do what she did instead of just continuing to ghost me.

At this point, I probably should have felt annoyed or completely crushed or something, but instead I felt liberated because I kept thinking that she didn't like me when the whole time it was just me being stupid and confusing a hangout for a date, which is as innocuous as a miscommunication can get. And it was obvious she had no intention of hurting me, but actually was making an earnest attempt to become my friend, and this is where I want to talk about "the gurus." I typically avoid people who claim to know everything about anything, and that's why I like Plato, because he asserted that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing.

(Okay, that was a load of horseshit, I have no idea which famous philosopher said that. I think it might have been Aristotle, but maybe it was Socrates, hell if I know. I'd rather type this out than google it because I'm past the point of no return.)

So, realizing that I didn't have to stress about her liking me or not, because she wasn't into guys anyway, I knew that I could say anything I wanted without a second thought because I no longer felt the need to impress her.

I said that I was glad she told me, and that when I inevitably became a famous author in 10 years, I'd include a fond note of her in my memoir. I also added that if she ever got sick of the fish and wanted to swap genital preferences for a change, or simply decided that my award-winning personality was too good to pass up, my door was always open.

Of course, I'd never say anything remotely this confident to a straight woman, but of course she was as straight as a figure-eight, so that was a green light for me to stop worrying so much and just say whatever came to mind.

And then she complimented me, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because I never get compliments from anyone who isn't obligated to by blood.

(I'm not saying I don't appreciate compliments from family members, I'm only saying that I never really get compliments from people who aren't my family, so naturally whenever I do receive one I literally remember it for years.)

I vividly remember in the 3rd grade--this was 11 years ago--some girl in my class said, "Nice haircut!" and then I kept that haircut for over 5 years. I think my mom was under the impression that my dad was the one making me always cut it short and get the exact same haircut, but whenever the hairdresser asked I specifically told her (or him, but let's face it, probably her most of the time), "Give me a buzz cut!" because that was the first haircut I got a compliment on.

Fast forward 5 years. I'm 16 now in the timeline. I was pretty ripped at the time, and I remember getting one particular shirt that made my muscles (pronounced muskles) look good, and then this girl named Bethany in my biology class commented, "Looking good Dylan!" After that I wore that shirt twice a week, every week. If you're a relative of mine and you're wondering, yes... it was the white Simpsons' shirt that was one size too small.

Fast forward to the end of that year, my female friend Connie compliments my writing.

A new frontier; I'd been complimented twice by girls who weren't related to me, both about how I looked, and now I was being complimented for something I did, which was far better than being complimented on looks because there's more pride to be had in what you accomplish than what you look like.

Anyway, that was about it for a while, as far as compliments go, until Kate said, "I'm sure you'll find someone better than me. You're a fun dude and you're kinda cute."

Well, even if she wasn't into dudes, I was just thrilled to be receiving the first sincere compliment I've gotten from a stranger in 4 years. If I understand correctly, girls compliment each other regularly, both in person and on social media, and they also get compliments from guys who want to get in their pants, so most chicks reading this probably wouldn't immediately understand the enormous sentiment that a compliment towards a guy carries.

So, naturally, I told her I was going to screenshot the compliment and laminate it on my wall where it can hang for all of eternity. Then, just for fun, I asked, "But what if the next girl I meet is bisexual too? Then you and I will have to compete for her, and I don't like my chances." I thought that was pretty funny, but I am biased. Although there was a condition to the compliment, which was, "If you put yourself out there," which is a big "if," but I think it was enough to give me a much-needed confidence boost.

She assured me that she wasn't into indecisive women, and then I broke the rules. Remember when I mentioned the "gurus"? Well, one thing the dating gurus like to say all the time is "never settle for being friends." Basically they assert that you should settle for nothing less than exclusive boyfriend, and if a girl wants to be friends, you just walk away.

While there is sometimes a time for that, there's no way that advice should always be taken. For example with my ex, I had no desire to be friends with her because, frankly, I didn't like being around her anymore. Not only were we not compatible as a couple, we weren't even compatible as friends. I didn't even want to be in the same room as her tbh, and the same went for some other girls who used to reject me in high school (I didn't tell anyone this, but right after my breakup, not one, but TWO different girls who had previously rejected me earlier in high school tried to swoop in an ask me out. I said no to both of them. While I know some of you are thinking, "But why?" the answer was quite simple; they didn't like me when I was available, and the moment I was taken they suddenly decided they didn't like seeing another kid playing with a toy that they previously discarded, and like a jealous child they only showed interest in me after seeing me in a relationship, and they were both kind of vapid anyway so nothing of value was lost).

Anyway, I intentionally broke this guru-advised no-friends rule. Not only was I still willing to be friends, I was the one who asked. Although I did add the caveat that I probably wouldn't want to hang out in person for a while in leu of my crushing defeat, but sometime down the line I would actually want to be friends with her. Because while it is true that she had all the qualities of a great girlfriend, she first and foremost had all the qualities of an awesome friend, and it was her intention from the start to befriend me, and why would you punish someone for making an earnest attempt at becoming your friend just because you misunderstood them?

She said she'd still want to be friends if I was comfortable with it (I am, just not done with my existential crisis quite yet), and I added,

"Hey, you know how lots of girls have that token gay friend that they don't mind being shirtless in front of because he's gay? Maybe one day we can be the inverse of that,"

and then she comically and vaguely said, "We'll see."

Then I asked if I could share this encounter on my blog and she was cool with it, although I volunteered to let her read it before hitting "publish," so everything you've read she's already seen and approved of content-wise.

I know this was a long story, but frankly I adored this entire encounter and her honesty, and I don't really think it's fair to judge her for any of this. I might of given off the impression that I only liked her for her looks or something, but I assure you that isn't the case. She has a great sense of humor and is fiercely intelligent. If I'm being honest, in the conversations prior to the ones I just showed you, she came off as intimidatingly intelligent, and I'd like to think that I set the bar pretty high (I'm allowed to toot my own horn because I also roast myself, so the ego and insecurity cancel each other out. I think I'm total garbage while also thinking I'm the best thing since sliced-bread. I honestly don't know how to describe myself other than that), so if she seemed too smart for me you know it's the real deal.

Alright, this marks The END of Part One! 

Now I hope you all brought your meta pants, because we're going to get so meta that you're going to have to invent a new word to describe it.

(I'm tired and my brain isn't functioning. Please don't judge me.)

First, before we continue, if you've read everything thus far in one session, you've probably been sitting in that one spot (unless you read standing up like some kind of psychotic deviant) for like, 30 minutes to an hour, so now would be a good time to get up and stretch, get your orange juice (I suppose other juices are fine too, like apple juice, but comparing them would be comparing apples and oranges) 

I recommend one of these cups, because they can't be knocked over, therefore you can't accidentally spill your juice on your laptop or cellphone.

Now at this point you're probably thinking, Wait, was this entire blog post just some insanely intricate long-running ad for a stupid cup? Is a sponsor paying you to say this?

Anyway, after you've stretched and gotten your juice, which you'll likely want to hold in your Insura Cup™ (lmfao jk, no one would sponsor me in a million years, that isn't even a real brand), and after getting Nord VPN and buying a class on Skillshare and razors from Dollar Shave Club, followed by the obvious follow-up of creating your very own website on Wix, and after using the discount:

fakediscount101/ at checkout, you'll also be awarded with a free trial for SeatGeek and Audible.

Alright, jokes aside, at some point I should stop procrastinating and get to the point.

Some of you may have noticed that this isn't a standalone post; it's part five in the Dynamic Story blog-post series. And now you get to find out why.

So for starters, I'm going to do something different from the norm (the only norm around here breaking the norm, except for my friend Norm, who is elderly but still around here).

Normally I go out of my way to find something and then write some long-winded and poorly constructed analysis of said thing; this can be anything from a book to a movie to a TV show, etc. But today I'm going to analyze this very blog post as if I never wrote it, and we'll take a look at how everything I've said in the previous Dynamic Story posts ties into this one.

The first thing's first (duh): at the start of the post, the writer, whoever that may be, I can't seem to remember who it was, spoiled the entire ending in the title. Like what the fuck. Wouldn't it have been better to not mention that she was a lesbian in the title? That way, the readers would have experienced the story the same way that he experienced it at the time.

No, in fact that's a bad idea. This is what we talked about; the Bomb Theory, the Quinton Tarantino method.

For those who are just jumping into this post without having read the prior ones, the Bomb Theory merely states that, when writing fiction or a story, sometimes it's better to tell your audience things that the characters in the story don't know. For example, if two people were talking about sports for 5 minutes, on-screen during a movie, you'd be bored out of your mind for 5 minutes straight, since the only thing more boring than watching sports is talking about watching sports, and the only thing more boresome than that is listening to two people talking about watching sports.

But then suddenly, at the 5-minute mark, a bomb goes off! Shock! Explanation marks! Question marks!

In short, you're bored for 5 minutes and then surprised for a few seconds, because the bomb going off just came out of nowhere.

However, let's say the camera pans under the table at the start of the scene and shows you that there's a bomb with a timer set for 5 minutes. Now, for the next five minutes, you'd be slowly growing more and more fearful for the protagonists, thinking, "Stop talking about baseball you morons, there's a bomb under the table!"

You aren't changing the situation itself; you're only changing the context. Either way, the scene shows two guys talking for 5 minutes then a bomb going off and killing them. But in the first scenario it would be a boring scene that ended in a cheap gimmick, and in the latter you have a much more impactful and suspenseful scene.

So instead of experiencing the same emotions that the writer (me) felt over the course of the last two weeks--excitement, then confusion, then relief, etc., you're just shaking your head at all of decisions because you already know she was a lesbian the entire time, and by telling you, O dear reader, this fact right from the start, I've changed the entire context of the story into one that's much more intriguing to read for the first time than if you had seen things from my point of view.

This is the same technique that makes good prequels possible; prequels are generally a rare breed of fiction because they're a lot harder to pull off than sequels. After all, how do you keep the reader in suspense if they already know how it's going to end?

Well, you already know. Use their knowledge to drive up the stakes and make them mad with anticipation.

If there was a story where a guy was doing normal things, and then suddenly the world ended and he just died, that wouldn't make for a very interesting read. But let's change one detail; what if he knows that the world is going to end? Now his decisions will be entirely different, and we would want to see what he does after finding out what was going to happen.

But maybe your characters can't know what's going to happen, at least, no single one of them.

That's fine too; just selectively reveal things to your audience that none of the characters know. This is how prequels like Fate/Zero worked so well. Knowing the ending only makes each encounter all the more tragic, because you already know of the inevitable outcome.

In Desolation's Reach, I did this with the ending. Without spoiling what the ending is, I essentially revealed what was really going on to the audience about 10+ pages before the book actually ends, and so for those last ~10 pages or so the audience is just going mad waiting to find out how everything is going to go down, because they already know who the bad guy is want to see how the shit will hit the fan.

Now, obviously the Bomb Theory isn't the only thing going on in the story I just told you.

By changing the context of the encounter, I also changed how you might be perceiving Kate. If you didn't know from the start what was going to happen, you might have started to develop a negative image of her before finding out what was really going on, but by knowing what was happening from the start, it made it possible to see things--not anxiously or resentful, thinking, She's just rejecting you or She was just leading you on, but instead thinking, more accurately, You got her all wrong, you dufus.

It also changes the context of my actions. You see, where in the first scenario, where you don't know the ending, you'd probably think all of my decisions were sound and made sense, as they were explained from my point of view with the limited amount of information that I had; but by knowing the ending, you, the audience, instead see everything wrong with my line of thinking, and ways in which I obviously might have misinterpreted things.

And that is what this is all about. By taking omnipotent control of the context, you can mold or shape any event to appear however you want, and use this method to explore the complexities of your characters, just as this method was used to write the character of the Bloody Baron in the Witcher series.

When exploring the complexities of a character, you can act as a sort of news station, selectively editing the proverbial "video" to make the audience think whatever you want. You could use this to write plot twists, to undermine their preconceptions about characters introduced prior, to explore the human condition, or just to fuck with them.

In my previous post (I highly recommend, it's one of my best), I shared a section from chapter seven of my upcoming novel Desolation's Reach, and one thing introduced in this sneak peek was the Sprites, or fairies, which are portrayed as these vile, evil creatures who masquerade as innocent little women with wings.

However, the story itself never tells the audience what to think; I asked for comments and predictions, and my mom immediately said that she expected there to be a twist where it turns out the fairies are actually good, but completely misunderstood.

Is this the case?

Can't tell you. That's a spoiler.

But let's talk about two major possibilities; obviously, as stories and characters can become incredibly intricate, there are far more than a mere two possibilities, but for the sake of argument we'll say that these are the two options on the table.


A)., The Sprites are actually evil, and the protagonist only thinks they're good because he's fallen for their deception,


B)., The Sprites are actually good but because of the context of their situation, they are deemed vile creatures.

Let's explore how both situations could pan out.

In the sneak peek, it's said that this particular Sprite made a potion for a witch, promising to make her irresistible to the married man she was after. But instead, it makes her hideous beyond recognition.

How could this be framed as a misunderstanding? What if I simply revealed that the Sprite made a mistake, and was actually trying to make a potion that would help her, but instead permanently ruined her appearance by accident.

Now then, how could this be framed as a horrible, intended action? Maybe we could reveal to the audience that she knows exactly what she'd doing, and show her deliberately doing it incorrectly, so that the audience knows before the scene has ended what's going to happen, and that it was no misunderstanding.

In both situations, the outcome it the same--the witch becomes fugly--but changing how you frame the Sprite before the potion is made changes our perception of both the Sprite as well as the entirety of the situation.

You'll have to forgive me, but my brain is slightly fried at the moment so now would be a good place for me to stop, even if it seems to end on a bit of an abrupt note.

As always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Desolation's Reach Sneak Peek!

Hello everyone! I just wanted you to know that I'm not dead, I've been working intently on my novel Desolation's Reach. For those that didn't know, the entire story will be two books long and each one will probably be around ~450 pages or so.

I wanted to share a quick sneak-peek to give the readers a general idea of what the story is like and what to expect, as well as to generate some hype for the final product.

Do note that the story is already done. All 900 pages have already been written, from start to finish, and at this stage I'm just editing the first book, and after publishing Part One I will edit Part Two and publish that one shortly after. Because of this, despite the incredible length of the entire story, Part Two will probably be released within a year of the first part, since it's already written and just needs to be beta-read and edited.

I will also be accepting applications for beta readers; anyone who is interested in reading the book before it's released can shoot me an email at Do note that this isn't just reading for fun, but requires detailed feedback on your part.

Quick disclaimer: I do not own these images!
For a quick summary, Desolation's Reach is an epic fantasy--more specifically, a dark fantasy. If you're squeamish or can't handle copious amounts of violence and blood, strong language, and occasional nudity, this is not the story for you.

That being said, while it is a pretty dark story and borderlines on horror at times, at the end of the day it is an epic fantasy--you can expect big wars and epic battles, giant monsters and dragons, evil fairies and witches, escaped murderers on the loose, magic and deception, all that awesome shit.

So without further ado here's the sneak peek, which comes from Chapter Seven and is appropriately titled, "The Scribe." For anyone who thinks they're clever and wants to steal this idea or even copy-and-paste it into their own fantasy story (but with different names), I already have multiple beta readers who have read the story and I have digital timestamps for when this was written and saved in my Google Drive, so anyone who tries to plagiarize this will have a hard time defending their version in court if it had to come to that.

You have been warned.

(Also, since the story is already written, it's extremely unlikely that anyone looking to plagiarize me would be able to whip out an entire novel before mine was published, so there's that too.)

Cerres is the main character. Here's the sneak peek:

Edit: *Blogger is pretty retarded at times, it won't let me change the font size. I set it to "normal" then when I hit publish, it reverts back to the smallest font size for whatever reason. I tried changing it to the largest setting, I've tried deleting the entire passage and pasting it as a larger font, I've tried changing it from "text" to "heading" and "subheading," etc., but for whatever reason it refuses to let the text exist in anything but the smallest font possible, so sorry about that I guess. It's really annoying. Just zoom in on your phone or browser.*

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Knock, knock,” Cerres said after knocking sequentially on Almerick's door.

      “Come in.”

      Cerres stepped inside, grinning. “My favorite response when someone knocks on the outhouse door.”

      Almerick beamed mischievously. “A worthy jest, but I much prefer yelling, 'Come back with a warrant!' Seems to work.”

      “Damn, that one is better,” Cerres admitted.

      “You here for the scribe?” Almerick asked.

      “Yes, sir.”

      “Right here,” he said, getting up from his rocking chair and causing something to creak loudly—either his bones or the floorboards, Cerres couldn't tell. Maybe the chair itself.

      “Behold,” Almerick said, ripping a dense wool quilt off the top of a little bird cage.

      “Your scribe is a bird?” Cerres asked, confused. Then he noticed how bizarre the inside of the cage was—it wasn't like a bird cage or a lizard terrarium or something, it was actually a tiny little office, with a marble floor and a pristine little office desk and chair that could fit in the palm of your hand.

      “No, she's a Sprite. An evil little fucker, too. She generally avoids work, and she hid under the desk the second she heard me mention her. Watch.” He opened the cage door and gently picked up the tiny desk, and a little naked woman with wings was hiding underneath it, covering herself with her arms, cowering. “What are you doing under the desk? I thought I told you to finish editing my notes two hours ago.”

      She stood up in defiance, planting her hands on her hips and yelling at him in a squeaky little voice like a mouse in some foreign language that Cerres couldn't understand.

      “Of course it's your job, edits and translations fall under the scribe's duties, not just writing new material,” Almerick responded. She leaned close to his nose, berating him in this strange language and pointing her finger at him accusingly.

      “Are you insane? Of course I know that, that's the whole point of me letting you live. It's supposed to be hard,” Alermick said. “If you don't do your job I'll get rid of you and find one that will. You wouldn't want to end up like the last scribe, would you?” Almerick threatened, gesturing to the corner of the room. Cerres followed his hand motion and saw that a fat, black cat sat in the corner, licking itself intently.

      She immediately stopped her yapping and flew back a good foot to the end of the cage, shaking her head and waving her hands as tears streamed down her tiny cheeks. She said something apologetic in her native language, and Almerick nodded with satisfaction. “That's what I like to hear,” he said.

      “Ummmm....” Cerres started. “So this fairy is... what? Your slave?”

      “That's right,” Almerick said, nonchalantly.

      “And if she disobeys you... you feed her to—”

      “—the cat, that's right.”

      “Mind if I ask why?” Cerres questioned.

      “What do you mean?”

      “Why is this Sprite your slave? And why scribe work of all things?”

      “Oh... it seems you haven't gotten there, yet,” Almerick said. “Listen, I could give you a long-winded history lesson about the nature of Sprites, or I can simply warn you that many Sprites—this one especially—are absolutely disgusting and vile creatures that wouldn't hesitate to do horrible things to you or take your life. 
     It might seem like she's just an innocent little fairy, but trust me when I tell you that if she escaped for so much as a second, she would come back with a hundred of them and put curses on the entire village, killing all the livestock and luring the innocent children to their deaths, until they felt satisfied that they'd killed enough of us and went back to their hiding holes where they commit all sorts of other atrocities. A Sprite outbreak is far worse and more difficult to handle than the Saelix. At least the Saelix are predictable and come every night like clockwork, but the Sprites have an arsenal of magic spells at their disposal and often like to toy with villages by inflicting them with horrible diseases and STDs before killing them. It's a game to them, like a sport.”

      “Are they really that bad? Is there such a thing as a good Sprite?”

      “A good Sprite?” Almerick asked. “I suppose it's possible, but unlikely. Even if it's not in their nature to be vile and heinous creatures, nurture is a powerful thing, and I find it unlikely that a Sprite raised by a legion of other evil Sprites would turn out to be a dignified and honorable person.”

      “I see... What did this one do? Does it have a name?”

      “This one...” Almerick said. “No, Sprites don't keep names, they aren't human enough for that. And to be honest, that story is a bit complicated, but I'll give you the headlines.

      There used to be a witch who lived her named Aggie, she was just learning her craft and couldn't do advanced spells yet, but she was quite gorgeous and was infatuated with a young student of mine, early 20s. And the lad was already married, but that didn't stop her from trying. Anyway, she didn't have the gall to ask him for romance like a normal person, so instead she wanted to make a potion that would make her irresistible to him, and this Sprite here offered her services. She made a potion for Aggie and Aggie drank it. Instead of making her irresistible, it made her hideous and ghoulish beyond recognition, but it doesn't stop there.

      In a way, the Sprite kept her promise, because later that night she put a spell on the young man that interfered with his perception, and she made Aggie look just like his wife; and so Aggie, now hideous, but disguised to look exactly like his lovely wife, came to his chambers after the Sprite murdered his real wife, and she slept with him and conceived a son. The next day the spell was lifted from his eyes and he woke up to find the vile witch in his bed, and realizing what he had done, resolved to kill himself with the ol' rope and branch, but a curse was put on him that made it impossible for him to commit suicide, so he fled Faltedge and has never been back since. That was two years ago, and after finding out what had transpired I trapped the Sprite with an unbreakable, binding spell that keeps her locked in this cage, and instead of just killing her I keep her as a slave. Sprites don't live that long, but their perception of time is fast, so keeping her locked in here for a couple of years is like keeping her imprisoned for an entire lifetime.”

      “She really did all that?” Cerres asked in disbelief, looking back at the little naked woman in the cage. She was on top of the desk, lying on her stomach with her chin on her fingers while she smiled and batted her eyelashes at him and slowly kicked her feet back and forth behind her.

      “Yeah, and she's proud of it, too. I have them do scribe work for me because they're very knowledgeable and have remarkably good penmanship, which even I myself can't duplicate. It's like they were made to write stuff down and keep records of things, like mini historians.”

      He stopped and turned towards her, seeing the smug look on her face as she swung her legs behind her. “You sure like hearing me tell that story, don't you?” Almerick asked, and she shrugged her shoulders innocently with a knowing grin. “Evil bitch,” he said, opening the cage door and flicking her hard in the face with his finger, which was as large as her entire body. She went spiraling to the ground and her face bled quite badly just from the one little flick. “Get back to work, and get this man a detailed list of local creatures. I want it in his hands by tomorrow morning.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That's just a little segment that I was willing to share, and once I have Patreon all set up there will be more parts and entire chapters that patrons will have exclusive access to, including parts of the next book that patrons will be able to read after the first book is published, essentially letting them read ahead into the second book after they've read the first book.

Real quick before I wrap this post up, I have the next blog post ready, but for whatever reason my last two posts got far fewer views than all of my other posts, and at the time of writing haven't gotten any comments yet.

Obviously I'll keep making content, but I don't want to make another blog post until my post about animation and the one before it in the "Dynamic story" series get at least some decent viewership. If I released another important blog post now after this one, then the last few blog posts would be buried and no one would see them, so I want to leave them near the top of the homepage until enough people have seen them, then I'll release the next installment.

What are your thoughts on the sneak peek? Do you think all Sprites are actually evil, or is there such a thing as a good Sprite? Share your thoughts and predictions below.

And as always,

may every cup of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Love Letter to Animators

This post is 100% not about writing at all.

Just gonna throw that out there.

Hey, as much as I enjoy writing about writing, sometimes I want to write about other stuff too, and at the end of the day, writing is writing, amirite?

Anyway, something really tragic happened and it spurred a sort of mini-renaissance in my own perception of what art should be.

Recently, Kyoto Animation was savagely attacked; a man walked into the building full of animators with multiple gas cans and set almost everyone on fire and burned down the building in the process.

Kyoto Animation, like many other buildings, usually has its doors locked during the day when they aren't expecting anyone, but someone important was on their way that morning around 10:30 so they left the door unlocked for them, and instead a psychopath came in and burned them alive.

There were 74 employees in the building and 35 were killed with 33 seriously injured. It was the worst mass murder in Japan since 1945.

His reason, supposedly, was that someone there stole his idea or used his work without his permission, and that somehow justified setting dozens of people on fire in his mind.

Now, I know there has been some controversy about how the media portrays this; The New York Times and many other mainstream outlets are saying it's tragic for the sole reason that it was mostly women who were injured or killed (Kyoto Animation had slightly more female employees than male ones), but that's not what I'm here to talk about. In my humble opinion the gender of the victims shouldn't be the focal point of the news coverage, and it's not any more or less tragic because of who the victims were; the reality is that this attack was both one of the worst homicidal attacks in Japanese history as well as an absolute tragedy in the animation industry. Not only was the attack on Kyoto Animation a disgusting act of malice, but it also was a tremendous loss in the art world.

Like the burning down of the Library of Alexandria, this attack will likely have a lasting effect on the animation industry and the studio may never recover or be the same, and frankly I can't blame them. If Kyoto Animation were to shut down tomorrow and never produce another animated feature again, no one could hold it against them.

Some might say that the two are incomparable; how could one compare the loss of one modestly small animation studio to the loss of thousands of ancient books containing knowledge that, when lost in the fire, might have set us back hundreds of years? And to some extent they're right; the loss of one studio isn't the same as that, but I'd argue that, even if it won't have as large of an effect in the long run, Kyoto Animation was unique and special; they were the only ones capable of creating the things they did the way that they did, and things like K-On and A Silent Voice couldn't have been made with such perfection if it weren't for the brilliance and talent working at Kyoto Animation and the passion of their employees.

That being said, this post isn't about Kyoto Animation or the fire specifically; I wanted to talk about why animation is underrated, why animators are underappreciated, and why animation as a whole should be cherished instead of cast aside.

With the influx of Disney live-action remakes [it's not just Disney either, bad anime adaptions are a curse too, and platforms like Netflix are making live-action remakes of things like The Witcher and Avatar the Last Airbender (although the Witcher is based on the books, not an animated show / movie, but it just goes to show that the live-action remakes extend beyond just animation)], it seems society has forgotten about why animation exists in the first place.

In a way, this post is like the much needed sequel to my post about cartoons, only now I'm talking about all forms of animation, including animation for grown-ups. (That being said, my point in the last post was that even adults could find some sort of childish wonder in cartoons meant for kids, but not all animated stories are meant for kids in the first place, and that's one of the points of this post.)

I will be parroting a lot of points from videos like this one. Just to be clear, this isn't the only video or channel to tackle this topic. I'm not sure how obvious this was, but I'm very active on YouTube and have been deep in the YouTube community for a very long time. Despite being just a 20-year-old, I've been active on YouTube for at least 10 years, and I vividly remember videos from 2009 (the era of YouTube tutorials with "Unregistered Hypercam2" watermarks in the corner with Paralyzer by Finger Eleven blasting in the background, something like this), and there's this growing trend of YouTubers making video essays and analysis (I'm not sure how to make "analysis" plural, maybe it's already plural, like "sheep," but who knows?) about animated films and live-action remakes, and the general trend is that, for some reason, the live-action ones aren't as good.

In regards to the video I linked above, titled Animation is Underappreciated, it's not required to understand this post but I'd highly recommend it simply because it has the visuals to back up what he's saying. When he talks about something he shows it to you, and that added layer of visual content really emphasizes the points he makes.

But there's another reason why I like that video so much and why I felt so compelled to write this post.

I watched the animated movie A Silent Voice--made by Kyoto Animation--right before Kyoto Animation was attacked, and at the same time I saw the animated movies like Your Name (another masterpiece) and all the Disney classics were being turned into live-action remakes, and this YouTuber addressed A Silent Voice as well as Your Name and what-not right after I watched those movies.

Between his video coming out talking about those movies right after I watched them, and right before Kyoto Animation was attacked--the studio behind A Silent Voice--and animation in general being replaced and erased from cinema history with live-action versions, it felt all too connected.

What I mean to say is that all of these things happening simultaneously are all screaming the same thing; we need another renaissance.

Now I want to make one thing clear here: this isn't an anime post, or a cartoon post, or any other sub-genre of animation. I'm talking about all animation, from 3D animated movies like Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda to Japanese animated movies like A Silent Voice and Disney movies like The Lion King, and even cartoons like Adventure Time as well. In my humble and possibly ill-informed opinion, the entire medium of story-telling is in jeopardy.

I could never draw something this good.
I'm not sure if you watched the video above, dear reader, but I'm going to reiterate the main point in my own words; animation is impossibly vibrant and beautiful in ways that many live-action movies can't be. And just to clarify something, I'm not anti-live-action. In fact as many of you know, Alita: Battle Angel, a live-action remake of an anime / manga, is one of my favorite movies. So what's going on here? Where do we draw the line?

The young man in the video above said something really interesting.

When he found out that one of his favorite franchises was getting an animated movie, he was disappointed--as if an animated movie was somehow inferior to a live-action one--but then, when he went to see the Lion King and Aladdin remakes in theaters, every second of both movies felt inferior to the animated ones.

But what I want to explore is why. He doesn't exactly explain this paradoxical thinking, but rather he explains why he likes animation and leaves the paradoxical question to the viewer's imagination, but I think I've honed in on an answer. It lies in one phrase he briefly slipped into the video that might have been overlooked by those who weren't paying very close attention.

He said, "We've taken one of the most unique and beautiful art forms and regulated it into something just for kids."

And for what? Animation is just drawing and painting, or 3D modeling if done digitally, and in what way should drawing moving frames be made just something for children?

Now, while this isn't entirely true, the only way in which it isn't true only emphasizes the accuracy of his statement. The only animated things for adults in the west are shows like Family Guy and South Park--which are shows with generally poor animation but wild, zany and inappropriate humor.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not insulting shows like Family Guy and South Park, but I'm pointing out that it's a problem when only X-rated humor can appear in animated films / shows that aren't just meant for kids.

Essentially there's only the two extremes; you have shows for kids like The Backyardigans which patronize your children and ask them to solve basic math and English questions, and then you have dark and politically incorrect shows like Family Guy and South Park.

And the thing is that there is a middle ground, but they aren't the first thing to come to mind when we think of animation. There's this stigma; if one American adult tells another that they're really into animation, they most likely either think "cartoons for kids" or "Family Guy." In this way, animation has become either something for kids or something taboo for edgy teens who like inappropriate jokes and bad animation (again I actually like Family Guy, but I don't think I'd call the animation high-quality, in fact I think these shows use bad animation to emphasize their edge).

Take something like South Park:

And compare it to this.

Again, I'm not trying to put down shows like Family Guy and South Park and Futurama. I think their animation lends itself to better communicating the tone of the show, and in that regard, their minimalist and corner-cutting animation, while not artistically beautiful, does a good job of conveying slap-stick humor and adult-rated gags.

But what would the middle ground look like?

Animation doesn't have to be perceived as only this:

or this:

It can be this:

Or even this:

It can be this:

or this...

Of course, animation isn't limited to just great action either.

It can also be this:

Or, of course, this:

The thing about animation is that, if you look back, many of the most memorable and emotional moments in movies come from animated films like Prince of Egypt and Finding Nemo. Many millenials today will tell you that Avatar: The Last Airbender was such an important show to them growing up that it's an integral part of who they are today.

Which leads me to one sad realization... which is that, not only is animation as a whole underappreciated, but the little appreciation that is given to animation is divided.

Generally speaking, there's a lot of elitism when it comes to admiring animation. Usually people who like American cartoons like Adventure Time or western animated movies like Finding Nemo don't extend the same respect or admiration to anime, and most anime weebs only like anime and don't care for western animation, in the same way that fans of western animation don't care for eastern animation. You do have some shows like Avatar that can't decided if they're anime or cartoon, which appease both sides of the animation fan base, but that's about it.

That's not to say that people who like all forms of animation don't exist, as I'm sure there are people out there who like western all four kinds of animation, but they aren't a common breed.

Then you have stop-motion animated movies like Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings, Chicken Run, and The Nightmare Before Christmas which are entirely overlooked by both fans of western animation and eastern animation. Just like how Hollywood only likes western animated abominations like Boss Baby (which wasn't actually that bad, but saying an animated movie like Boss Baby was better than Your Name or A Silent Voice--both films that came out in the US in 2017--is just insulting).

There's actually an entire video bitching about animation awards here. I for one love when people rant about the same stuff I hate. I mean, what makes you friends with someone quicker? Liking the same stuff, or hating the same people? I think the point speaks for itself.

That being said, it's a shame that the entire medium is completely disregarded as something for kids, and that for the most part, the few people that do like animation usually only like the animation that they grew up with and aren't open-minded enough to expand their horizons a little bit.

I wish we lived in a world where the anime community could appreciate beautiful western films like Prince of Egypt, Wall-E, and movies like Up and the Incredibles which are all fantastic animated films in their own right. And just like how I wish the anime community would take notice of western animation, I wish Disney and Pixar fans could appreciate movies like A Silent Voice and Your Name which are of the highest quality a film could possibly come in, and just so happen to be animated.

But of course the issue isn't only that the small animation community is divided culturally, it's that animation as a whole is completely underappreciated, and here's what I mean:

If you ask someone what their favorite movie is, what are the chances that their answer is an animated film? 1/10? 1/20? Maybe less?

However, if you asked them, "What's the best animated Disney / Pixar / DreamWorks movie?" odds are they'll usually struggle more to come up with an answer, because there's so many good ones. They might reminisce about all of the great classics, and many people couldn't even choose a favorite movie from those three studios. How do you narrow it down?

How are you supposed to choose a favorite from even one of those studios? DreamWorks has Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and Prince of Egypt as well as many other good ones, and Pixar has Wall-E, Toy Story, Up, Monsters Inc, the Incredibles, etc., and Disney has Lion King, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Aladdin, Mulan, and many more.

And even if none of these movies are the first thing to come to mind when you ask someone what their favorite movies are, what happens when one is playing in your their living room? They sit down, and, not only enjoy the movie, but usually love it.

Who among us didn't get emotional the first time we saw Sully saying goodbye to Boo? Or the first time we saw Mulan, when her elderly father is drafted into the army and she goes in his stead? Or the first time we saw Finding Nemo, when Nemo is trapped in the giant net with all the fish and are told to swim down? It was a rare moment when impactful writing, gorgeous animation and amazing music brought us this scene, which could only exist in the world of animation.

Tell me; could a live-action movie make you care about the well-being of a fish?

A lot of you probably didn't watch the video at the top (which is okay because I'm basically explaining it in my own words), but one thing he briefly mentioned is that he wished animation wasn't a separate category. Why do we have to think of movies as animated or live-action movies instead of just... movies? Imagine a world where not only are each of the four animation styles are equally respected (2D western animation, like Mulan, 3D western animation, like Kung Fu Panda, anime or eastern animation, and stop-motion animation like Chicken Run and Coraline), but they aren't even treated as their own category. Imagine if there weren't "animated" movies and "live-action" movies, but if there were just movies, and all movies were watched and judged on the same merits by the same objective, critical eye regardless of whether it was animated or not.

Almost no animated movies ever get nominated for an Oscar, yet almost every year the top rated movie is an animated one. How is it possible that both audiences and critics can unanimously agree that animated movies like, at the moment, Toy Story 4 are fantastic, but then in the same breath say it doesn't deserve an Oscar? How the can highest rated movies each year never be nominated for awards? How can they consistently give 90% or higher to dozens of animated movies and yet none of them get awarded? Instead they created a separate award category for animation and only give it out to Pixar. Don't get me wrong, I love Pixar, but it's obvious that the people in Hollywood only watch one animated movie a year, and it's just whatever Pixar movie their kids drag them to.

That's why movies like Boss Baby are nominated for Oscars while movies like Your Name aren't. And here's the thing; if they only excluded anime, that wouldn't be that bad. It'd be mildly annoying, but understandable. Hollywood is the center of western film-making, so it's only natural that they pretty much stick with western movies. Fair enough. But when they nominate crap like Boss Baby over other western animated films like The Bread Winner, it shows just how little they actually care.

(Edit: The Breadwinner was eventually nominated in 2018, but the fact that they completely ignored it back in 2017 and only watched it after receiving backlash for Boss Baby being nominated doesn't change my point.) For example, The Bread Winner came out in 2017 and had a 94% review score on Rotten Tomatoes, while A Silent Voice had a 98% review score and Your Name had a 97%, and all three animated movies came out in 2017. If they exclude anime, that still leaves The Bread Winner, one of the best movies I have ever seen and well-deserving of a 94% score, and yet they still nominated Boss Baby instead, a movie with a well-deserved 51% score (and the audience score is 52%, so it seems everyone agrees on this one).

And in their reviews, they usually admit something along the lines of, "This is the only animated movie I've watched this year," or something like that, showing how little they actually take the animation awards seriously. Even if it's literally their job as critics to watch and review movies, they only watch one or two Disney / Pixar movies a year--whatever trendy thing their kids drag them to--then give the animation award to that movie without a second thought. The hardest choice for them is when their kids drag them to two animated movies and they have to go through the trouble of flipping a coin to decide which one gets the award.

And the sad part is, that animation is way harder to make than live-action movies.

For those who didn't watch the first video, this will probably surprise you: How much do you think animators animate in a week? A minute? 10 minutes?

Three. Seconds.

The average animator at Pixar busts their ass for 40 hours or more a week just to make a mere 3 seconds of screen time. If the director wanted to add in a tiny detail--like a quick smile or a single line of dialogue, everyone in the studio has to work an extra 12+ hours to make it happen.

At the end of the day, animation is just making a movie. Not filming a movie, but creating everything from scratch, and we've bastardized it into something only meant for kids.

Live-action movies are recorded on a set with real actors acting them out, and animated movies are drawn, painted or 3D modeled by a studio of artists, and somewhere along the line we decided that filming on a set was a "real" movie and having artists create everything themselves was "childish," and this nebulous perception of "real art" is what's going to tear down Hollywood when, eventually (hopefully), society decides it wants to experiment with new, misunderstood mediums like animation, and maybe within the next 20 years we'll see a movie renaissance, where animated movies aren't stuffed into a box labeled "For Kids Only" and anime and stop-motion aren't stigmatized.

Now, if you literally didn't watch any of the videos I inserted into the blog post, that's okay because there's a lot of them and they're mostly just supplementary; however, if you only watch one thing, I implore you to just watch this one minute-long clip from A Silent Voice; why this clip? Because this one, short little clip without any dialogue shows precisely what makes animation a beautiful medium for cinema.

Now I know a little over half of the people reading this are western and don't particularly like anime, and that's fine, I'm not going to comment on your animation tastes or try to get you to watch the entire movie, but this one short little clip embodies everything that makes animation good; what the team behind GW2 Path of Fire call, "The Joy of Motion."

Real quick, just to give you some context, Kyoto Animation's A Silent Voice is an animated film about a young man trying to make amends with the deaf girl he bullied in elementary school. It's a really heart-wrenching movie and this part shows what his carefree life was like before the events of the movie.


You might be wondering what I mean by "The Joy of Motion," but I hope that little clip was enough to make it completely obvious.

I referenced GW2 because the creators of the game said something really profound in one of their interviews. They were being asked about the addition of mounts to the game, and they said something along the lines of, "We didn't just want to make creatures that move. We wanted them to be your companion, so we made sure to include all of the nuances of their movement... each creature carries itself differently, and there's something we like to talk about--the 'joy of motion,' if you will, which is about finding joy and delighting in the movements, the way they act and move like real, living creatures." I paraphrased completely off of memory so the wording is probably all wrong but that was the gist of it.

With animation, it's the same thing. When you draw characters, you aren't just throwing them in there as these weightless, cartoony things, there's nuances to it. They have weight to their movements, they make tactile sounds when they move, they and everything else in the shot, whether it be leaves blowing in the wind or a comet breaking apart and tumbling across the sky like in Your Name, have the joy of motion. They aren't stagnant or emotionless, and that's what separates good animation from bad animation.

While I hate to criticize a DreamWorks movie, Boss Baby will never be remembered as a great movie that left a lasting impression on anyone, not the way Prince of Egypt, Your Name, and A Silent Voice will.

One of the things I really adored about A Silent Voice was the sign language. I took ASL classes in high school and a little bit after, and the sign language in the movie is absolutely beautiful. While it is JSL (Japanse Sign Language), and not ASL (American Sign Language) so I couldn't translate what the deaf girl--Shouko--was saying, I was really able to appreciate the fact that this is probably the only animated movie--anime, western or otherwise--where one of the characters is deaf and uses sign language most of the film.

And what's better is that in the English translation (the better version in this case--some anime are better in Japanese, but this English dub is definitely the best version of the story) they used an actual deaf voice actress.

Let that sink in.

A deaf. Voice actress.

Ever heard of such a thing? Sounds like a walking contradiction--how can someone who can't hear their own voice be a voice actress? Well, despite being deaf, the voice actress for Shouko can still speak English, and while it might not be obvious to everyone who watches the movie, I know deaf people in real life and I know what they sound like, so the second Shouko speaks in the movie I instantly knew that they cast an actual deaf person instead of having some popular voice actress pretend to talk like a deaf person. How cool is that?

But what's great about this movie is that, while the music is absolutely incredible--like many other animated movies, such as Prince of Egypt--you don't have to have the audio to even understand what's happening.

This was pointed out by one of the many, many YouTubers who have picked up this topic of animation vs. live-action, but I've linked and referenced so many videos this far into the post that I can't remember whether or not I mentioned this guy, so we'll just proceed under the assumption that I didn't.

Anyway, he pointed out that the one major difference between live-action and animation is that, even if you were to mute the movie and watch with no audio in complete silence, you could still probably tell what was happening.

That's because in movies like The Lion King, the facial expressions are so obvious and exaggerated that, even without any dialogue, you would see Scar talking to Simba and know, "Okay, he's the evil guy trying to trick him," and you'd see based on the facial expressions of Simba that he was the young cub Scar was trying to trick.

You might not get all of the exact details, but you would still understand what was happening and why. The movie would make complete sense even without the audio.

But take the "live-action" (it's CGI so really it's just fancy animation) remake, which is so photo-realistic that none of the facial expressions actually come across, and if you were to turn off the audio you would have no idea what was happening (that is, if you lived under a rock your whole life and never saw The Lion King or knew about the plot whatsoever).

One of the unique features of A Silent Voice is that many of the tracks are played on piano, but they did something really weird and kinda cool; instead of just recording a person playing the piano, they put the microphone inside of the piano itself, so you hear the noises of each key bouncing around in the piano's shell and you can hear all of these little clicking and tapping sounds, but they intentionally made the audio for a lot of music sound kind of fuzzy and hard to make out, as if to mimic the way a person with very poor hearing would hear it.

But, of course, like many other animated movies, a deaf person could watch A Silent Voice--without subtitles, and still understand what's happening. And this applies to the Prince of Egypt and most other animated movies as well; in the Prince of Egypt, a deaf person watching without subtitles could see the brothers joking and having fun, then their expressions turning more serious and contentious as the movie progresses, and eventually they'd reach the infamous scene where Moses confronts Ramses and we see him gesture to the mural depicting babies being thrown to the gators. Even without any exchange of words, you could get the horrible picture of what was being implied by the conversation just from the animation itself, but the same can't be said for most live-action movies.

Now this isn't universally true; with robot animated movies like Wall-E, it isn't always obvious what's going through their head, but the animators did a pretty good job with that as well. I think the expressions are good enough to understand most of Wall-E even if you watched it muted.

What especially impresses me is that as both 2D and 3D animation have evolved, neither has seen a significant drop in quality.

While of course there are always going to be poorly animated movies and shows, the general public usually gravitates towards quality animation and the amount of good animations coming out shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Although what I really want to talk about is the incredible artistic contributions animation has made to the world that gets completely overlooked.

One animated show I've briefly mentioned before is Shirobako, which is an anime about making anime. But of course anime is just one style of 2D animation, so it's more realistic to say it's an anime about making an 2D animation.

This show does a great job of making you feel like a total dick. Like UTS said, it's easy for us to sit back and criticize everything wrong with an animated movie / show, but at the end of the day, even bad animated movies and shows (like the Emoji Movie) were a living hell to make and required an absolutely tremendous amount of work and artistic talent to create. As mentioned earlier, the average animator only makes roughly 3 seconds of footage a week, meaning they bust their ass 8 hours a day 5 days a week to make 3 seconds of an animated movie / show that might only be watched by a couple of kids and their parents only to be criticized and shit on later by critics.

It makes me feel sorry for hard-working animators who have to work on bad movies.

Most people might not realize this, but animators don't usually get to choose their job. Whatever studio they work for picks up a project and then the animators are expected to deliver. So if you're an animator and your studio gets a movie like The Emoji Movie, you have to slave away for thousands of hours animating a movie that you know no one will like or take seriously, but you have to do it because it's your job.

What Shirobako showed was that, behind the scenes of any animated piece, there's total chaos.

As nice and clean as any animation studio may appear from the outside, inside it's total pandemonium.

Under-payed employees working 80 hours a week, people staying for more than 12 hours, people losing key frames that took hours to draw, sound boards not being in sync with the drawings, colors changing between shots, character mouth movements not being lined up with the audio of their dialogue... it's total mayhem most of the time. As one of the YouTubers above pointed out (I've linked so many at this point I can't remember which one it was), it's a miracle any animated film comes out even remotely coherent, let alone a masterpiece.

Just think about it; when you have hundreds of people drawing different scenes, the slightest change can ruin everything. What if one of the characters is wearing a jacket, and one of the animators draws the sleeves too long? What if someone draws the face differently, and then between scenes the character's face changes for no reason? What if they have a mole and one of the animators accidentally draws the mole on the wrong side of the face? What if during the coloring stage, scene 4 uses a different shade of pink from scene 3, and the colors in the background randomly change?

The fact that so many people collaborate on a single artistic project is astounding.

And then you have things like audio; obviously, sine animated movies are drawn / animated in a computer, none of the sounds are actually there, which means they have to record all of the sounds in the studio (or take equipment outside to record). Whenever a character walks, they have to record someone walking and time it to be exactly in sync with the drawings. If someone jumps into water and it makes a splash, they need to have splash sounds exactly synchronized with when the character hits the water.

The amount of work is truly unfathomable, but somehow it happens.

It really reminds me of one of my favorite movie scenes; the end of Ratatouille when the critic Ego writes a speech about his own hypocrisy as a critic and the merits of artistic work.

If you have bad internet connection or don't want to watch the video, the quote is:

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook." But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."

This leads me to a point that I feel needs to be made, which is this:

Not everything is good.

I know, that might sounds obvious, but I think it's something too many people have forgotten.

Many people--especially naive millennials (I'm one of them, so I'm allowed to criticize the entire age group), seem to think that everything is beautiful, no matter what.

As nice and holding-hands-singing-kumbaya as that is, it's just not true.

(This part is slightly political, so feel free to skip if that's not your thing~)

Take something like the glorification of obesity. To be clear, I'm not talking about overweight people being comfortable with themselves--obviously there's nothing wrong with that--but I'm referring to things like the Cosmo saying that obesity is beautiful.

Okay, so they think that everyone is beautiful, no matter what standards society once held. But here's the problem; if everything is beautiful, then nothing is.

If everyone is beautiful... THEN NO ONE WILL BE.
What Anton Ego was saying isn't that everything is beautiful.

He said, "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

No, this doesn't mean that everyone is a great artist and we should never criticize art, but he does reach out to defend the merit of working towards an artistic talent, and with animation it's all too easy to forget just how much talent and work is involved.

To apply it to the thing about obesity--or any other instance of something ugly that we're told to accept as beautiful--we could say that, no, not every piece of art, not all books, and not all people are beautiful; not everything can be beautiful, but a beautiful thing can come from anywhere.

This is especially true when it comes to bad movies with good animation. The animator's job is to animate, they don't get a say in the story, writing or dialogue, so like I said, some movies might have good animation and it was just the animators doing the best they could with the shitty project they were given. Imagine putting unbelievable amounts of effort into the Emoji Movie just to have it shit on by basically everyone. Really sucks for the animators who were given that project.

In Shirobako, when they finish their first show, the first thing they do is wonder when they'll finally be given a good show to animate, because the unfortunate reality is, that many animators are judged by the quality of the movies they worked on, and not on the merits of their animation.

In other words, if you were fortunate enough to work on a big, upcoming Pixar movie--like Toy Story 4 for example--and you and the other animators did a good job, that would give you an edge because that movie did well and having a good movie like Toy Story 4 on your resume looks great to potential employers. But if you worked on something like The Emoji Movie, and your animation was good but the movie was crap, having a bad movie as the first thing employers see makes you look bad, even if you personally did great work. Obviously this isn't always the case, as there are sensible people out there who don't automatically think badly of the animators behind movies like The Emoji Movie, but a lot of people who shouldn't be reproducing are the ones in charge, and most of them reproduce anyway leaving our kids to deal with their kids when they grow up and have to put up with the same stupid crap.

For this reason, not only are animators hard workers who are overworked, under-payed and underappreciated, but they're often at the mercy of their studio when it comes to what project they get and whether or not it will make them look good or not. Right when they finish a project, all they can do is hope that the next one they get is a good one.

Now this doesn't apply to every studio--for example, I'm sure the animators at Pixar are almost always guaranteed to get a good project (because most Pixar movies are consistently good), but for a lot of smaller studios and freelance studios who work with variety of different writers, the ones in charge of their studio can't afford to be picky and have to take whatever project they can get, whether the animators like it or not.

Although it is true that not all animation is good, but sometimes even bad animation is forgivable.

When I say forgivable, all I mean to say is that, even if it doesn't deserve praise, we shouldn't crucify the animators or criticize them too harshly for poor animation. We don't know what their schedule is like; if they were given an impossible task--like 400 cuts in less than a week (each cut is a frame, and each frame is a drawing, so 400 frames is 400 unique drawings), which would be 80 drawings a day for 5 days straight, then we can't accuse them of being bad animators for having to cut corners to meet the deadline.

There's also new animators who might just be starting out; some animated shows have a nice art style but poor animation (that is, the art style itself might be good but the movements are disjointed and not fluid), but even the worst animators are better at drawing than I am. I wouldn't feel confident enough to draw even one of the frames that ends up in an animated movie, let alone hundreds of them. And the fact that they come out even remotely coherent is mind-blowing, even if it doesn't seem that high-quality to us.

Not to mention, every experienced animator had to start somewhere; every experienced artist at Pixar had to start as a newbie that was expected to pump out key frames with little to no experience, knowing that their work would be in the final product of the movie. Even to people who were already good at drawing, that's a big expectation.

More on the appreciating-the-great-works-of-Kyoto-Animation side of things, I'd also like to give a shout-out to Nichijou. It's a show where they poured all of their budget into the most mundane things ever and it's hilarious. The characters could be doing the most boring and normal things and they made it funny by making absolutely ridiculous, almost action-sequences, out of these mundane things. I think at one point one of the characters gets mildly annoyed and blows a hole through several planets? It's a pretty outrageous show but the animation is perfect and completely contrasts the mundane slice-of-life story.

Take this scene where a deer shows up on campus, and when the principal tries to catch it it basically turns into an epic battle between a bald guy and a deer:

(It won't let me insert the video, so here's the link)

I especially want to give Kyoto Animation the recognition they deserve for their incredible craftsmanship. I especially like the koi fish in A Silent Voice, not gonna lie.

This movie is one of the most aesthetic things I have ever seen, probably on par with movies like Avatar.

The attack on Kyoto Animation earlier this month is nothing short of tragic, and anyone who is a fan of their work or just wants to send condolences can send a letter to their mailing address here:

32 Oseto, Kohata, Uji-shi, Kyoto 611-0002, Japan

At any rate, I hope that we get to see the day when cartoons, anime and animated movies aren't stigmatized, and I hope that attacks like the Kyoto Animation fire don't prevent good works from being made.

(I'm not trying to imply that the attack was only bad because it prevents animated shows from being made, rather I'm trying to say that I hope these studios succeed in spite of incedents like this, where the attacker clearly had malicious intent and burned down the studio building out of hatred.)

Next post in the "Dynamic Story" series coming soon, so stayed tuned for that, and shoot Kyo-Ani a nice letter if you have a few minutes and don't mind spending $1.15 on postage stamps.

As always,

may all your cups of tea be your cup of tea,

and I'll see you in the next post.