Sunday, September 13, 2020

We have much to hope from the flowers -- Brand Zero emendation

 I recently finished watching a translated play-through of The Great Ace Attorney: the Adventure of Ryuunosuke Naruhodou, and there is so, so much to say. This will mostly have no spoilers; the spoilery part will be below a cut.

It drew together and clarified so much for me about stories, including a current problem that many have written about: corporate franchises ruining legacy story worlds, such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC, etc., turning them into degenerate, perverted, SJW Marxist sludge. There are Mistakes I made about the matter, there's a Solution that has been overlooked, and there's a looming Villain to be pointed at in accusation and condemnation.

To begin with, this game is in no way a ruining of this story world. Not at all, it is a deepening, and a wonderful one! The cases are fresh, dramatic, and cleverly interwoven; the new gameplay element of Deduction Theatre seemed very fun (sadly I can't comment on gameplay as much as I would like because of the necessity of watching rather than playing); the music is excellent; environments gorgeous and detailed in meaningful ways; and the characters! Never have they engaged emotional investment in new characters so fast! The concept of going back to the ancestors of the characters we know and love is a rich one; it gives the audience a reason to care from the get go; it makes us root for Ryuunosuke not only to triumph in the courtroom, but to find a wife so he can beget Phoenix's grandfather! (Or maybe great-grandfather? I think grandfather makes the most sense) It draws on the deep civilizational principles of parenthood and posterity, tradition and revering the past. Something the spirit of cultural Marxism hungers to destroy.

The wonderful themes of Friendship-Love and the pursuit of Truth, core to Ace Attorney, are strong in this one. And I was pleasantly surprised at a theme of Patriotism too! I'll talk more about these in the spoilery section below the cut, so if my opinion of the quality of this game is all you're interested in, you can stop here, or skip down to there, because next is a very long amount about the current problem with stories that I mentioned, and what this game revealed thereon.

First, the Mistakes I made about the issue of stories ruined by SJWism. This is going to get personal and a bit confessional now. Please forgive me for talking so much about myself.

Those who have known me on Deviantart for at least nine years may remember I absolutely loved the BBC series Sherlock. I wrote ecstatically about how transcendentally great was its expression of the heartbreaking glory of the pursuit of Truth and Friendship-Love. It kicked me out of the worst depressive episode of my life. I regarded it as the best show I had ever seen.

And then, with a Christmas special bloated and vomiting the vile bile of murderous feminism, it ruined itself.

I didn't watch any more after that, but what I've read about subsequent developments sounds likewise horrible. And so I just let it go and tried not to think about it, as I had done with Doctor Who and Legend of Korra when they ruined themselves, and Homestuck when its ruinous nature became undeniable.

Later, I read and witnessed how fandom is an idol for some people; they build their whole identity around it and all their emotional vulnerabilities are centered thereon, giving fandom the parts of one's heart that should be given to real life relationships, or even one's soul, that should be given to God. And I knew, there but for the grace of God would have gone I.

Around this time, I experienced a tiny bit of the incredible strenuousness and sweetness that goes with the mission of marriage/parenthood when I took a trip to help out with my nephews, and I overcorrected. I concluded that fun things like video games, comics, roleplaying, are meant to be for children and adolescents, and the best way for adults to enjoy them is in sharing them with their children. Those who make fandom their identity are misplacing the zeal for make-believe that is meant to enrich the bonds with the children they're not having, unnaturally extending their own mental and emotional adolescence instead.

There's certainly some truth to that, but it's not the whole truth, and then I went on to conclude: So all of us who do not marry should live like ascetic hermits, give all that up and live on prayer and penance alone. But I couldn't bring myself to give it all up, so I made a list of what stories I would still invest in. At the same time I proffered allegiance to independent stories, but that was actually kind of a separate matter. I was conflating the question of what to do about ruined stories with the question of giving up stories as an ascetic sacrifice, while attributing the wrong kind of essential significance to the distinction between corporate and independent, regardless of good or ruined status.

It wasn't selfishness, however, that made me hold onto the ones on the list, especially the first two. Before I'd made this overcorrection, I was given the realization, at Mass, in Lent, during a terrible time under serious attack from multiple fronts, that there was an astonishing piece of Eucharistic imagery in Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle's Mystery-Solving File. That led directly and immediately to my discovery of the devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as "Prisoner of Love." Suffice it to say, this was never a mistake: I know no devotion more wonderful.

That should have tipped me off that stories have purposes in addition to sharing with one's children, but at this point I only felt justified still caring about those stories which had undeniably brought me closer to Christ, while implicitly rejecting all others. I felt vindicated in this when DC Comics, particularly with Young Justice and Batman, went on to make complete its ruination of itself.

Do you see the problem here? It may have been fine if I had kept this to myself, as indeed, a real hermit or contemplative would have! But in publishing this online and telling it to others, I was implying that only the stories that had brought me closer to Christ were capable of doing so at all, to anyone! I was making myself the standard.

I also thought and indicated that stories, once ruined by SJWism, were irredeemable, or at least that at best, you could cut them off at a certain point and keep the past, but that no further new good fruit was possible after the ruination had happened.

I am sorry for these mistakes; I know they hurt at least one person, my sister and best friend, Anna. The Great Ace Attorney showed me my mistakes in this as it pointed to the Solution to ruination of stories.

We return to Sherlock. Obviously, the BBC show is an adaptation and everyone knows the distinction between it and the original Conan Doyle stories.

But there is a question of what is canon and what isn't, which isn't always clear-cut. Sherlock Holmes fans have been an inventive lot from the beginning. One could ask, what is meant when you say, "I love Sherlock Holmes"? Presumably, the Conan Doyle stories, but probably also for many nowadays, the Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. portrayal. Similarly, what is meant when you say, "I love Batman"? Comics, from what era? The Animated Series and the Christopher Nolan movies are likely. The Joel Schumacher movies are unlikely. With things that have many people adding onto a story and making adaptations, some of it is going to be awful and even contrary to what it is that people love when they love that character. Especially when you have SJWs who want to use every franchise as a cudgel to beat straight white Christian men. Then you get the ruination of which I speak.

I submit that what is canon is what is true to the soul of the story. The true soul of the story may not be fully known even to the original author, but the better the author, the more the story conveys it. The soul of the story is its unique reflection and refraction of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Jon Del Arroz pointed out that the ruination of comic book heroes is just as much fanfic as any fujoshi's filthy fantasy, it just has a corporate stamp of approval. It isn't by the original creators and isn't true to the soul of the story, so it isn't canon and should be ignored. But, what do you do when such ruiners have a monopoly on the story you love?

The solution to stories being ruined by SJWism, especially corporate SJWism, is the public domain. That is where fictional worlds and characters belong once the original authors have finished their work with them, earned their due, and gone to their reward. That is what allowed The Great Ace Attorney to reconsecrate Sherlock Holmes to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty after the BBC had desecrated him. No, he wasn't exactly like Conan Doyle's Holmes. But it was an adaptation made with love, not deconstruction or pandering, and was true indeed to the meanings of Love and the pursuit of Truth that are core to Sherlock Holmes, as Sherlock was before they ruined it. More particulars in the spoilery part!

If Star Wars, Marvel, and DC characters were in the public domain, imagine what wonderful, restorative works people who love their true souls would make! Yes, there would be lots of rubbish, but there already is, and the cream will float to the top.

So, I don't know enough to have a firm opinion about how long copyright should last exactly, but I know the current terms in the USA, 90 years for a work owned by an individual, and a repugnantly inequitable 120 years for a work owned by a corporation, is too long.

And you know it's wrong when you look at who is responsible, the Villain that exerted riches and influence upon the very Law of this nation in order to satisfy its verminous greed. The same who has been promoting sodomy in its theme parks for decades. The same who has been sowing self-will and rebellion in little girls from Little Mermaid to Frozen. The same who ruined Star Wars and Marvel. Disney.

The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 expanded copyright to these lengths. Disney was its main pressurer, along with Warner and the Estate of Sonny Bono. It was exactly timed to prevent the entrance into public domain of Mickey Mouse.

The good news is, due to people abandoning Disney's ruins and to the Corona scare, Disney is losing billions upon billions and may collapse.

In light of all this, my new take on what one who loves stories should do is as follows.

- Don't give money to ruiners, but you don't have to lose hope for the ruined.
Because someday, those characters will be freed into the public domain, and a version of them never approved by corporate diversity and inclusion cultists may stand tallest in people's imaginations.

- Pray for the collapse of corporate villains and the extension of public domain, patronize good works including independent ones, and make good fanworks!
I no longer consider myself restricted to the Brand Zero list I earlier espoused, as I did so for mistaken reasons. Neither am I denouncing the Brand Zero movement, but taking another path, hopefully toward the same goal of Good, True, and Beautiful popular culture.

- And if possible, marry, have as many children as feasible, and love and care for them the best you can.
I was wrong in thinking only children and their parents together have a right to share the gift of stories, but it is true that the role of fiction in forming young ideals of heroism is tremendously important!

If you do not marry, still do what you can for the God-ordered benefit of your kin's descendants, whether by active/creative work or contemplative prayer (or best of all, if you don't marry because you have a priestly vocation, sacrificial worship). Let us live Goodness, fight for Truth, and build Beauty, so that someday, they will be inspired by the stories of their great ancestors.

 And now for the spoilery part where I further detail what I loved in this game:

Also contains spoilers for Dual Destinies, Spirit of Justice, and Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle's Mystery-Solving File.

My sister came up with a theory that Great Ace Attorney was not localized because of one character, an explicitly-stated usurer, posing as a philanthropist but spreading corruption in the law and selling national secrets to enemies, a short man with dark curly hair, a large curved nose, and a musical theme reminiscent of Klezmer. Yes, (((Cosney Megundal))). If you know what I mean, I need say no more. And yes of course I know, not all such folk do such things. But the prominent ones who do are not doing any good for those who don't!

Lined up counter to Megundal's perfidy were principles of patriotism that are very vilified now, but making a comeback. The Japanese, Russians, and British therein all clearly had intense love for their nations, even, in the case of the Russians, a heartbroken exiled love because it had been--like the stories I've repeatedly mentioned--ruined by communists! (While Victoria was still queen, whaa?? What year was it supposed to be? Ah well, artistic license!)

One aspect I think is very truthful, contrary to the globalist idea of nationless cosmopolitan travelers, is how in there was a wonder at foreign lands, but also a sense of dread of dying there. This was also present in Labyrinthia in Vs. Professor Layton and Khurain in Spirit of Justice.

And man, Asougi! I did not believe it at first. I guess when they saw how effective Clay's death was, they just kept doing it, with Asougi and then Dhurke. The parallel with Mia was also impactful.

And what gave me the most delight, Sherlock Holmes. He was such a lovable goofball! There is an element of silliness in the original character that was eliminated with the Rathbone portrayal, included sometimes with the Cumberbatch one, and increased tremendously with this one! The way Naruhodou corrects Deduction Theatre actually fulfills a criticism G.K. Chesterton made of the original stories, through the voice of a character in The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown: "I may be silly--in fact, I'm off my head--but I never could believe in that man--what's his name, in those capital stories?--Sherlock Holmes. Every detail points to something, certainly; but generally to the wrong thing. Facts point in all directions, it seems to me, like the thousands of twigs on a tree. It's only the life of the tree that has unity and goes up--only the green blood that springs, like a fountain, at the stars."

And it's great how Sherlock doesn't take offense at being so corrected but is appreciative. Ah, the friendship formed there is so like in the crossover! And what all he did and endured in the final case... to put my whole thesis about story restoration in a far more frivolous way, it is so good to have a crush on Sherlock Holmes once again!

The addition of Iris Watson was so sweet too. Hollywood movies have a whole genre of action-hero actors taking care of children and it's shown as hilariously humiliating and emasculating. Japanese anime and video games have heroic male characters take care of children and it's shown as gloriously heartwarming and ennobling. Which do you think is more truthful, beautiful, and good, and encourages loving and admirable fatherhood? Hmm. Strong parallels with Trucy and Katrielle, who brings me to...

Descendant theories
Okay, it's explicit that Ryuunosuke is Phoenix's ancestor through a male line; I would conclude, his great-grandfather. But I think he's also Apollo's, from a daughter on to Jove. I wonder if the second game will shed any more light on this!

Auchi is obviously the ancestor of the Paynes, and Lord Vortex looks to be of Damon Gant. Did you notice, though, that his theme was plainly the Puzzle music from Unwound Future?!

For as I've said since the crossover, Ace Attorney and Professor Layton is one story! This game emphasizes that heavily with the music, and more implied ancestors: John Garrideb looked like Conner from Mask of Miracles, the telegraphist juror like Miss Primrose from the crossover, the knife-wielding juror like Robbs and Muggs (they must be related), and the surgeon juror like Roland Layton.

And my most exciting descendant theory of all is about Sherlock Holmes. He looks and moves just like Klavier Gavin and speaks about music very similarly. His necktie could be the very same one Kristoph Gavin wears, if it's silk, it could even be passed down. And there's another character whom he more resembles personality-wise, especially during extravagant deductions complete with spinning and digressions about desserts. And this person also has names beginning with K as a family trait. And who could be said to be his heir as the Great Detective of London: Katrielle Layton!

Did she (unknowingly) name that dog after her great-great-grandfather? With the parallel with Iris Watson, and with the surgeon juror, who might very well be named Dr. Layton, having saved Sherlock's life, I think this is a wonderful possibility!

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