What’s Happening?

Hey there everyone! Been awhile since I last posted and after my promise to post at least once a month. So what I have been up to? Well when I have not been working at my full-time day job, I have been posting reviews for My Hero Academia Season 2 on Fandom Factory which keeps me busy. Busy enough that I have been neglecting this blog. By this point it may be a hollow promise but I am hoping to have some new posts published soon. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog.

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While We Were Enemies – How Unconditional Love Ultimately Wins

This post is very last minute and considering I did not write a post for March, so I am trying to make up for it by writing one for this month. Since Easter Sunday has already come and gone, I thought it best to reflect on what I have learned through Lent which I decided take an active part in for the first time. For Lent, I decided to give up binge watching Crunchyroll and Funimation as well Netflix (unless I watching it with my Mom) and in turn would give the time over to developing consistency in reading my Bible or other activities that didn’t involve watching a screen. It worked to a degree, however I ended up substituting my craving for video entertainment with Youtube which did have an impact on my intended purpose for Lent. Regardless it still was step in right direction and I learned a few things as I read through my Lent and Easter Reading Plan that I was able to access via BibleGateway.com.

As I read through various scripture passages about the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, I could not help but compare what I had seen in My Hero Academia. There was a scene that stood out to me as I was watching the first season back the summer of last year which involved the main character Izuku Midoriya and his classmate Katsuki Bakugou. It’s shown to the audience that Bakugou has been bullying and belittling Midoriya for years nicknaming him Deku, an alternate reading of his first name which literally means “one who can’t do anything.” We see that he puts down Midoriya every chance he gets and mocks the very idea that he could ever become a professional hero.

This builds to the moment in the second episode where Midoriya sees Bakugou in the clutches of the fluid villain that All Might rescued him from earlier. When he recognizes that his classmate is in danger, Midoriya’s first instinct was to run in and try to save him. In that instant the insults did not matter, the vandalism of his hero observation notebook did not matter, even the years of verbal and emotional abuse did not matter. What mattered was that Katsuki Bakugou’s life was in the balance and that he had to do something. Izuku Midoriya best illustrates this when he says, “Kacchan, I couldn’t just stand there and watch you die.”

Even though  he had every right to hate Bakugou for terrible things that he did, Midoriya did not want to see him die. In the same way God couldn’t just stand by and watch us die in permanent separation from Him, even if we are at fault. Romans 5:6-8 describes this best:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Like Katsuki Bakugou, we think we were powerful and that we can make it on our own. However, the truth is we are powerless because we are trapped by the suffocating power of sin which also makes us enemies with God. Like Izuku Midoriya, Jesus Christ was willing sacrifice himself so we could be saved from the power of sin if we accept the gift of life that He gives us. That is agape, that is unconditional love.

Love & Protect – Even When It Hurts

Now after much debate about what I should write about in the month of love, I decided on a post that I planned to write during November when Thanksgiving was in full swing. The movie I planned to talk about in this post was Homeward Bound, since it’s ending gives the indiction it was Thanksgiving Day and I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the importance of family given the holiday. As it would turn out, time slipped away that point and I did not finish it then. Upon recent reflection I found the topic of love could also apply and that it would something worth considering Valentine’s Day, which has already come and gone.

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Now while I haven’t watched the film recently, I do remember the basic the premise of two dogs and cat going on a journey through the American wilderness in search of their human family. This was spurred by Shadow the Golden Retriever who’s concerned that something might be wrong with his boy Peter. Chance the American Bulldog who had been stray that was adopted from a pound has a hard time understanding Shadow’s display of love and loyalty since he had been hurt before. Through the course of the movie Chance comes to realize that love and family go hand in hand, and love can be difficult but ultimately worth it. When they believed they lost Sassy the Himalayan Cat over the waterfall, there is a conversation in which Shadow explains to Chance of their responsibility to love and protect:

“I had a responsibility to Sassy, to love her and protect her. The same as I have to you and to Peter. And the same as you have to Jamie.”

 

“But we didn’t ask for this job.”

 

“We didn’t have to.”

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When Shadow was close to giving up when he was stuck in a pit at the railroad yard, it was Chance who steps in and encourages him to keep going, remembering everything they went through to get to that point.  It was also in this moment  that Chance says that he loved Shadow and that he would not allow him to give up. In way I think Chance took Shadow’s words from earlier to heart and decided to accept the responsibility to love and protect just like Shadow did for him.

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This leads to reunion with their human family, each of them going one by one starting with Chance, Sassy and finally Shadow. Given the earlier heartbreaking scene at the railroad yard, it is uncertain at first whether Shadow made it, but when he appears over the ridge and comes running towards Peter, tears of sadness turn to tears of joy. Chance’s last lines of the movie sums up Homeward Bound in a nutshell:

As we turned to go inside the house, a strange new feeling came over me: I had a family. And I found out that sacrifice and friendship and even love were more than just the mushy stuff. At last for the first time in my life I was home.

How easy would it have been for Shadow, Chance and Sassy to forget about returning home and just find a new home accessible to their current circumstances. Chance at the beginning of the movie felt that way, but Shadow showed him there is more to life then just himself and he had a responsibility to love those around him and that he should not be so quick to give up on relationships. In the same way, Christians need to understand not only when to let go, but when to hold on. Our society has a tendency to move so far ahead that it demands we dissolve the bonds we have made with family and friends. Granted there are times where separation cannot be helped, whether by distance or death, but we have the choice to remain connected. Hebrews 10:23-25 presents us with this challenge:

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up on meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Let us then take on the responsibility to love and protect the people that God has put in our lives and may we then encourage them to same for others.

Where Have I Been?

Hello everyone! Hard to believe that a month has gone by since I last uploaded a post. It is not for a lack of ideas (I have tons of those) but rather time. While I wish I could produce more content, my full-time job I currently have is the one that is paying the bills, not my blog. Plus it seems that when ever I am occupied with what I need to do inspiration strikes, but when I do have time to sit at the keyboard I can’t find the words. I am sure there are some out there that can relate. I wish I can write every week, but I need to stick with what is manageable for me given the current circumstances. Which is why I am planning to do post at least 1 or 2 times a month. If I can increase it than great, more posts for all to read. If not then at least you get content to look forward to during the month. Hopefully I will be able to post something in February. Thank you for hanging in there.

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Miracle of Christmas

While Christmas Day has past and the New Year is about to begin, I still wanted to convey my thoughts on the iconic Ebenezer Scrooge in my first ever Content of Character post which I teased at earlier in the year. As I was in process of gathering my thoughts about Scrooge’s evolution as a character, a recent post caught from a blog that I had been following for the past couple of months caught my attention. Entitled “Departing from Stoicism: Allowing Ourselves To Feel” fellow blogger, Lance Price, discusses how people mistakenly cut themselves off from feeling pain. He states that,

Some are convinced they have overcome pain with a numbness of heart, but they live in disillusionment; their attitude towards pain weakens their ability to handle the rest of their life adequately, and consequently, they have not overcome pain, but have been submersed in its misery while trying not to blink an eye or shed a tear.

In many ways this is what Scrooge had done for most of his adult life. Dickens himself described in the opening chapter how he would “…edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance…” This is displayed in the way he consistently declined the invitation to come have Christmas dinner with his nephew Fred along with his wife and friends.

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A Christmas Carol (1984)

As the first ghost shows Scrooge his past, we are given insight into not only how he came to detest Christmas but also how he came to adopt his own brand of stoicism. Having been left alone at Christmas for most of childhood, his company was limited to books. The closest relationship that young Ebenezer had was his sister Fan (or Fran as she is sometimes known). Not much information is given about his relationship with his father, but there is indication in the Fan’s conversation with Scrooge that the relationship was strained. As to why is up to debate since Dickens never did explain; however, several adaptations take the approach that it was because his father blamed him for the death of his mother, having died as she gave birth to him. While this is speculation and not based on Dickens’ novel it would explain and parallel Scrooge’s disdain for his nephew since Fan died when giving birth to Fred. The next closest relationship he had was with Belle, his betrothed who broke off their engagement after noticing a change in his spirit. In her reproach, she described what she had seen in Scrooge:

“You fear the world too much…All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you.”

Now this is me theorizing, but I believe that his changed nature was the result of Fan’s death. In order to keep himself from feeling the pain of the loss of his sister, Scrooge completely absorbed himself in his work and in process made him unwilling to interact with anyone in a meaningful way much less developing closer relationships including with the woman that he intended to marry. Just to be clear I am not blaming Belle for leaving him; she gave him a chance by pointing out the unhealthy behavior that he was allowing fester within him. But he made the choice to stay where he was, which led to his transformation into the cold-hearted and unfeeling man we see at the beginning of the story.

As we have seen with Scrooge, stoicism isn’t always beneficial but it is understandable why people are attracted it. The promise it provides of not allowing pain to hurt you, sounds good; however, this is not truly possible. To take another quote from Price’s post,

Like the way we are designed to have desires (i.e. food, relationship, purpose, etc.), we are also designed to feel, and when we choose to pretend that we don’t have feelings, that doesn’t turn them off—we just live in denial—which contradicts the reality that our feelings are being compartmentalized in a place where they aren’t managed properly, where we don’t learn from them or with them, and where their negligence undermines our innate desire to live passionately; the very opposite of a numbness of heart.

Stocism doesn’t fix the problem; it only masks it. It’s like taking a painkiller without fixing a broken leg. You probably won’t feel the pain so it doesn’t bother you but as a result you can’t walk and go anywhere. There needs to be realization that something is broken before the healing process can begin.

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A Christmas Carol (1999)

Isn’t it interesting that when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him the painful memories, Scrooge begs for them to be taken away. However it is only by allowing yourself to feel pain that can you truly appreciate joy. Those painful memories served to open Scrooge’s heart so that he could ultimately accept on the love of Christmas and with it the joy of living in the past, the present and the future. In her book Hearing the Gospel through Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”Rev. Cheryl Anne Kincaid describes Scrooge’s transformation:

Scrooge has learned that his life is not just about himself. His past, present and future have been lived in a community of people. Scrooge had some tough times, but he also had the love of a sister, the encouragement of Mr. Fizzywig and the grace of a fiancé, and the loyalty of his clerk and nephew. (p. 134)

Scrooge was never truly alone. He had support he needed all along the way. All he needed to do was engage.

Stoicism has a tendency to isolate people from the love that family, friends and ultimately God. While stoic philosophy of the ancient Greeks has some merits, the problem is that it places faith in an idea not a relationship. Jules Evans addresses this when he compared Stoicism and Christianity, stating that one of (and I think the most important difference) is that “In Christianity, love is more important than rationality.” He explains,

…this is partly why Christianity is much better at community than Stoicism – because communities need to be grounded in love, not rationality. If a community is grounded in rationality, it immediately leads to a stiff hierarchy of the rational. Love, by contrast, resists hierarchies. Love is gentle, vulnerable, humble, serving.

When Scrooge is free from the burden that he had placed on himself, he was able to demonstrate the love that he had denied to give towards his loyal clerk Bob Cratchit and his faithful nephew Fred.

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A Christmas Carol (1938)

Christmas is a celebration that reminds us of how love led God to take on the form of human baby so that he could restore the broken relationship between humanity and Himself. This makes Fred’s expression of his love for Christmas even more poignant:

“…I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

Thankfully Ebenezer Scrooge came to share the same affection for the season has his nephew did and in the process turned his repressed and dreary into an open and joyful one. So as this year draws to a close, remember to keep Christmas like Scrooge did throughout the new years to come.

Sources:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“Departing from Stoicism: Allowing Ourselves To Feel” by Lance Price

Hearing the Gospel through Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” by Reverend Cheryl Anne Kincaid

“Stoicism and Christianity” by Jules Evans

Childhood Christmas – My Favorite Rankin-Bass Specials

For those are not familiar Rankin-Bass was a movie production company that created animated features. What they are particularly known for is their Christmas Specials, some of which are considered classics even to this day. When I was very young I remember, when December rolled around, we would borrow Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials that my Nana had on VHS tapes. When DVDs became more popular and we were then able to buy our own copies of the Specials. For this list I will be reviewing the Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials that I have watched since I was child since they are the ones I am most familiar with.

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4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The very first Christmas Special that Rankin-Bass ever did and this definitely their most memorable of all their Specials. Inspired by a popular song written in 1949 based off a children’s book that was written 10 years before that, it tells the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed who is picked on for nose’s glowing hue of red and how he ultimately saves Christmas by lighting the way for Santa and the other reindeer on a foggy Christmas Eve. It is a simple story but is effective in its message that one’s unique traits can serve a purpose regardless of how others may view them initially.

 

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3. A Year Without a Santa Claus

Based off of a book by the same title, where an under-the-wheather Santa Claus decides it would be better stay home having lost hope that people even care about what he does to prepare for that Christmas Eve sleigh ride. While Santa’s name is in the title he is in some ways a secondary character with Mrs. Claus acting as narrator and the main driving force for the plot. But who really steals the show are the step-brothers Snow and Heat Meiser who perform their own musical numbers praising the snow and heat respectively. While this Special does have the continuity errors (which I will not go into) it contains important lessons about believe and as well as giving.

 

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2. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

This is Rankin-Bass’ first attempt at the origin story of Santa Claus taking cues from another popular song of the same title. I have yet to see a better origin story for Santa because they create a great story of how Santa initially started out, all the while answering that probably every young child has raised to their parents regarding this Christmas legend. Raised by toymaker elves after being abandoned by his family and even the authorities, Kris Kringle (as he was called then) decides it is his mission to bring joy and play to the children of Sombertown despite the law that forbids toys. Think Robin Hood, except he makes toys. I enjoy Santa Claus as he is portrayed this feature because he is such a joyful man who gives from his heart even when the circumstances seem bleak.

 

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  1. The Drummer Boy

A simple story again that takes inspiration from a popular song by the same name which follows young drummer boy named Aaron. Having developed a distrust of people since the tragic death of his parents Aaron keeps to himself and his animal companions Joshua the camel, Samson the donkey and Baba the lamb. Well that is until a greedy caravan owner Ben Haramed weasels him into performing for the crowds in the hopes of making a quick buck. After some mishaps they encounter the three kings who are following the star which is guiding to the stable in Bethlehem where the newborn Jesus is lying in the manager. I love how this event is viewed from an outside perspective of the traditional Christmas story and how Aaron’s outlook changes from one of distrust and hate to one of faith and love when he encounters the one who become the Savior of the world.

This will be the first Christmas post of the month of December I hope to do a few more leading up to Christmas, so stayed tuned for updates. Thank so much for reading and Merry Christmas.

Count Your Blessings – Adventures in Odyssey Gives Thanks

I went ahead and purchased a year subscription to the Odyssey Adventure Club, I have been able to gain access to all the episodes Adventures in Odyssey. In light of this I will list the top 6 Adventures In Odyssey episodes about thankfulness in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday that is coming up. So without further ado, let’s start the countdown.

 

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6. “Thanksgiving at Home” (Episode 132)

Things are not well in the Barclay household on Thanksgiving morning for Mr. and Mrs. Barclay are sick in bed. Donna and Jimmy take upon themselves to make preparations for their Thanksgiving feast with hilarious results. While it spends most of the time with Donna and Jimmy as they attempt to salvage their Thanksgiving, in end they come to realize how thankful they are for their mom and dad in light of their absence.

 

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5. “A Thanksgiving Carol” (Episode 173)

In an effort to educate people about the significance of the Thanksgiving holiday, Whit and the gang perform a KYDS Radio program entitled “A Thanksgiving Carol” inspired by (you guessed it) Charles Dicken’s classic novel A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Stooge has a cold heart towards everyone, even to his overworked clerk Bob Wretched. It takes the haunting of his late partner Jacob Arley and Terrance Clodbody the ghost of Thanksgiving past, present and future (only one ghost..budget cuts you know) to get him back into the spirit of Thanksgiving. This parody is on par with the others that AiO has done over the years and again is able to demonstrate the importance of thankfulness.

 

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4. “BTV: Thanks” (Episode 383)

Just like “BTV: Compassion” which I mentioned in this post “BTV: Thanks” uses a collection of sketches that illustrate the topic of thankfulness. Among these sketches they tell the story of how one the 10 lepers that were Jesus healed came back to thank him as well the story of King David’s demonstration of thankfulness at the return of the Ark of the Covenant. It is a great anthology of stories that can be humorous as well as meaningful.

 

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3. “A Thankstaking Story” (Episode 675)

The most recent episode on this list and it’s another parody like “A Thanksgiving Carol,” only this time “A Thankstaking Story” is a parody of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas although it also has some inspiration from the Rankin & Bass Christmas specials too. Whit, Connie, Eugene, Wooton, Jay and his Uncle Wally are stuck in Whit’s End on Thanksgiving day due to heavy snow. In order to pass the time, they decide to make up a story about a grump named Srunch and his plans to ruin Thanksgiving for the Muglues. Once again it is a great parody and it much like the story it is parodying it demonstrates how Thanksgiving doesn’t come from a store.

 

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2. “Thank You, God” (Episode 49)

This was the very first Thanksgiving episode that just so happens to tell the story of how Whit accepted Christ. Whit decides to hold Thanksgiving dinner at Whit’s End and has invited Connie Kendall and her mother June along Tom Riley and with his wife Agnes. The Rileys have brought a boy named Rodney who has been staying with them due to family difficulties. When asked what he was thankful for, Rodney expresses that he finds little to be thankful for since his father’s work keeps from spending the holiday with him. In light of this Whit decides to express his thankfulness for his step mother Fionna Donneral who eventually lead him to the Lord.

 

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1.”In All Things Give Thanks” (Episode 41)

While this episode does not take place on Thanksgiving like the others did, it still demonstrates the importance thankfulness especially when life throws a curve ball. Everyone in the Mulligan family is having trouble from angry neighbors, to demeaning teachers and ill-tempered school bullies. But as the Mulligans learn from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, they are to give thanks in the midst of all circumstances whether good or bad because God is the one who ultimately in control and He works all things for good. This episode gives a practical application of thankfulness in everyday life, showing that giving thanks is not limited to just one day a year.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading list and I will see you all next time!

Dungeons & Dragons Review – S1 E2 “The Eye of Beholder”

I decided to continue watching Dungeon and Dragons TV series and needless to say it was an experience just like last time. Again the episode stats with its origin story intro which if they just made it longer would have been a proper pilot episode. Okay, I complained enough about that last time. Time to move on.

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Three writers worked on this…no joke just an observation.

The episode opens with the kids wandering through a desert again and under the light of four suns! Honestly how are they not dehydrated. Then we also figure out that they have not seen Dungeon Master for 2 days. Some guide he turned out to be! He leaves children to wander around in a desert with 4 suns in the sky without giving them directions or water. To make matters worse they come across and a giant scorpion and they all are forced to make a run for it.

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Thank you for saving us us even though we didn’t see you save us.

A rotund knight appears around the same time and ends up being trapped between the scorpion and a blue scaled dragon. But this is a good thing for both creatures become distracted from their prey as they decide to duel each other. The kids come out of cave they were hiding in and mistakingly believe that the knight had saved them, and of course he accepts their praise. After introducing himself as Sir John and exchanging pleasantries the knight goes on his way.

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Eric: “Why would you do that?” Dungeon Master: “I thought it would be funny.”

It is in this moment, Dungeon Master chooses to appear once again, scaring the crap out of Eric in the process. He gives the kids their new mission in which they need to defeat a monster known as the Beholder in order to return the valley it resides in, back to its natural beauty and an extra bonus is that it will open a portal so they can return home to the 1980s. Dungeon Master also explains that “Only beauty can beat the eye of the Beholder.” (Sigh) With a title like “Eye of the Beholder” I should have known where this was going to go.

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Would you please try to do your job?

We then switch focus to Sir John and he faces some unhappy townsfolk. It is confirmed that he is rather cowardly and the town is unsatisfied with his work. He is given one more chance to commit an act of bravery otherwise they will fire him and cast him from the village along with his son. I am guessing the reason for his hesitance to risk his life because he is a single father having to raise his son alone. This would be forgivable if was the first time, but as we are told they have been kicked out of other towns for the same reason. Seriously Sir John if you so bad at being a knight, maybe you should seek a new line of work that doesn’t involve risking your life.

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The image speaks for itself.

We return to our young heroes as they make their way to the Valley of the Beholder, but unfortunately they encounter “Snailmen” creatures who capture them and place them in bags. Uni the unicorn is the only one that escapes and he just so happens to bump into Sir John as he searching for some brave act to commit. Sir John is afraid go further and Uni has to force him to follow him come by snatching away his torch. By sheer luck they encounter the “Snailmen” and Sir John frantically waves his torch which scares them away (it was established before they are sensitive to light). Kids praise Sir John again (much to Uni’s chagrin) and Diana picks a flower and gives it to him as a symbol of their gratitude.

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Uni knows what’s up with Sir John.

The kids then ask him to help them find and face the Beholder, and Sir John of course is hesitant for it would require great bravery. They reply saying that he is the bravest person they have met since they have been in this world, which is ironic since we the audience know he is not. As they reach the valley Sir John decides to volunteer to scout ahead so he can gather his thoughts. Venger appears to him and using his son as leverage forces the knight to lead the kids an ambush so that he could take their magical items.

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Poor kid, to be the son of a secondary character and used as a pawn for the series’ villain to gain the main characters’ magical items of power…
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The Eye of the Beholder…no literally it is the eye of the Beholder.

Eric, who is getting more more suspicious, calls Sir John out when he says he is not joining them in their fight with the Beholder. But the knight still leaves and the kids are captured by the evil one eyed monster. Venger holds his end of bargain and gives Sir John his son back making the comment that his son is braver than him. However Sir John’s son inspires him to go back and save the young heroes. In the process it is discovered that the beauty of the flower that Diana gave to Sir John is the key to defeating the Beholder and at its defeat the portal back to Earth is opened.

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Drat my only weakness…BEAUTY!!!!

Despite being anxious to go back home, Bobby can’t bare to part with Uni. This hesitation is further amplified when Venger comes back to take his revenge on Sir John for betraying him and kids decide to stay behind to come to his aid. To Eric’s credit (being the spoiled prick of the group), he does come and help too even though he could have easily gone back home. In the end Venger retreats and the valley becomes beautiful. Before the episode closes Dungeon Master who is unseen by the kids scares Eric again when he attempts to sit down on a rock only to leap out of his skin at hearing an unexpected honk of a horn.

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Wow, Eric can be heroic if he stops acting like a jerk!
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Dungeon Master…more like Troll Master.

Again like last time this episode still very cheesy, but still not too bad. There was a good lesson about how not judging people by appearances, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There was some humorous moments especially between Eric and Dungeon Master as well Sir John and Uni. Maybe this series is getting to me despite myself. Anyway we’ll see what happens when I review the next episode. Thank you for reading.

Quirks VS Mutants – How My Hero Academia Differs From X-Men

I have written a review for season 1 of My Hero Academia on Fandom Factory, but I also wanted to write the supplementary piece on how the world of My Hero Academia is differs from the world of X-Men. On the surface they appear the same, genetically super-powered individuals that fight to save the world and have special schools to help train the next generation how to use their powers. However there are 2 differences that have a major impact on how the world views these superhumans.

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The first difference is the number of people who have powers. Mutants are in the extreme minority; I mean they are minority of minorities. Time to take a page from MatPat’s Film Theory to show just how few mutants there are in the X-Men universe. While very little is mentioned in the comics, cartoons or movies about their population, I was able to get a rough estimation thanks to the numbers mentioned in Sentinel Massacre of the mutant population of Genosha in Earth 616 which was estimated to be between 16 to 17 million. Since the source stated that more than half of the world known mutant population died in the massacre, I calculated that the mutant population at its height should have been at minimum 32 to 34 million.

While this may seem a big number just remember the population of United States alone as of this year (2016) is about 323 million. And when the calculations are all said and done out of the current world population of 7 billion, the mean of the known mutant population of Earth 616 is five hundredths of a percent (0.05%) when rounded up. In contrast in the very first episode of My Hero Academia we are told that quirk users make up 80% of the world’s population; that means 5 to 6 billion people are quirk users. That is a huge majority, in fact with those statistics it is more likely to be quick user in My Hero Academia than it is to be a mutant in X-Men.

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The second difference involves the average age in which an individual whether mutant or quirk user “receives” their powers. Mutants manifest their power during puberty (starting at age 13 or 14); it also can present at birth especially if their mutation has a physical effect on their bodies. Now there has been the stereotype that teenagers are impulsive and rebellious; combine that with superhuman abilities you have a recipe for prejudice and hatred. Teenagers are going through a lot already since they are transitioning to adulthood, but add superhuman abilities, which they don’t fully understand themselves and people persecuting them out of fear of what they could do, let’s just say they got more than they bargained for. The term mutant itself derives a negative connotation have towards individuals that have inhuman abilities (not to be confused with Marvel’s Inhumans…they are completely different from mutants). Needless to say it is not easy being a teenaged mutant in the world of X-Men.

In My Hero Academia it is a totally different story. The average age that a quirk user manifests their quirk is 4 years old or it can be present at birth like with mutants. People are less likely to view a young child with fear (unless they have paedophobia…trust me it’s a real phobia), plus with an 80% chance of them or someone they know developing a superhuman ability, they are not going to look at anyone as a threat much less themselves. Even the term they use to refer to their powers, quirks, signifies the causal acceptance of these unique traits that just so happen to be superpowers. Plus discovering that ability at such a young age gives more time for them to learn more about their quirks and to control them better by the time they reach adolescence.

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In the end those despite the differences that create a world that rejects superhumans and one that embraces them, both worlds still have discrimination. In X-Men, the prejudice is directed towards mutants because they are different from the norm and are feared because the power they have. This much is obvious and very familiar from the ardent comic book reader to the causal moviegoer. However, in My Hero Academia it is those without a quirk or the quirkless, as they are sometimes called, who are viewed in the negative light.

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Based on my observations from the first season, I gathered the main character Izuku Midoriya was teased and bullied in the classroom of a public Japanese middle school just because he didn’t have quirk. While we see no cases outside of Midoriya, from we do see the bullying he experiences by his classmate Katsuki Bakugou goes unchallenged by the other students and more importantly the teachers. Now this could be an isolated occurrence, but even so it gives the impression that bullying of people who are quirkless is condoned at Midoriya’s middle school. Or it could insecure teenagers picking other insecure teenager but instead of picking on them for their height or braces they’re picked on for not having a quirk.

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Whatever the case maybe, no should be treated any lesser just because they are different. As a Christians we are called to love everyone regardless of their appearance or background and there are a number of passages in the Bible that address this. In James 2:1-5, it explains why no one should exhibit favoritism:

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”

It is so easy to discriminate, whether be it race, gender, status, weight, height…you name it there is a prejudice for it. It’s because as fallen individuals we feel to need to put others down to make ourselves feel better. We judge people from the outside and forget what is inside. But this is not how God sees the world and this thought elaborated in the Old Testament passage in I Samuel 16:7:

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected them. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”

Regardless what’s visible on the outside, what ultimately matters in is our hearts. What do our hearts reflect? Is it hatred towards those who we deem different from us, or is it love towards our fellow human beings?

Star Wars Rebels Reviews!

I was able to follow through on my promise to review Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, however it is not going to be posted on What’s In A Story. Instead it going be released on Fandom Factory who has been gracious enough to me allow to post these reviews on the site. I will also be releasing other content in time so stay tuned. In the meantime go and check out my review on the Season 3 premiere “Steps Into Shadow.”