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Suvudu’s Cage Match Rant

Who would win in a war between the United Federation of Planets and the Galactic Empire? How about Naruto versus Natsu? What about Suvudu’s homage to March Madness?

I’ve grown to detest these little thought games in recent years. Don’t get me wrong, Suvudu’s Cage Match was great fun in its first year, but it has gotten progressively less interesting with each year. And come on, could Jamie Lannister really beat Cthullu (or even Hermione Granger for that matter)?

Part of my problem is, to be honest, the fact that (as the Cage Match shows) the more popular character wins. Jaime Lannister did not go as far as he did because he could realistically beat any of the characters he faced. He won because he has more fans who voted for him than his opponents.

The root of the problem is, of course, the continual debate over which franchise is better: Star Wars or Star Trek? Often times, the debate degenerates into a question of technological superiority. Who would win a war between whatever factions (like the Federation against the Empire). At the end of the day, this all comes down to sputtering attempts to argue whose favorite Star Blank is better. How exactly perceived technological superiority is supposed to prove anything is beyond me, however.

Even scientists have gotten in on the act. Kaku, in drawing examples from popular culture for his Kardeshev illustration, uses the Federation for Type II and the Empire for Type III (and the Borg, too) civilizations. But is Kaku using the actual source of power or the size of the space polity?

At the end of the day, no matter my own personal level of annoyance, there has to be something valuable for those fans who enjoy participating in these thought games, these crossover wars. Perhaps it is a sense of victory when you, as a fan, can prove why the Empire will crush the Federation, why Ichigo could beat Yuuske, and why whichever character from A Song of Ice and Fire will make a deep run in Suvudu’s tournament this year (like every year).

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Random Musings

The following is a random string of musings, enjoy:

Yu Yu Hakusho: What Happened?

I had been planning for a while to get some of my thoughts on Yu Yu Hakusho posted. I had wanted to wait until I had finished reading the Black Chapter arc. A few days ago, I finished volume seventeen (which concluded the arc). I enjoyed that conclusion very much. But the final arc of the series (as I read volumes eighteen and nineteen too) left a bad taste in my mouth.

I understand that Black Chapter was intended to conclude the series, but the editors wanted to keep the series going for another two volumes (or longer). Unfortunately, the Makai Unification Tournament arc is rushed, ill characterized, and poorly executed. There is a fair amount of excellent art work to be viewed within the concluding volumes, but that does not make up for the fact that the story itself is poorly executed. The whole series ends with a dud whereas the series would have had a better conclusion with Black Chapter (which has even better epilogue chapters, if you ask me).

Anyway, really disappointed with how Yu Yu Hakusho ends.

One Piece

I read the top selling manga lists this morning over at Anime News Network. I am rather shocked and thrilled with some of the results. I am glad that Naruto and Fairy Tail are doing well. I am rather shocked that Bleach is declining (although I’ve heard this is a steady trend since Aizen’s defeat).

What I am shocked about is the immense popularity that One Piece has in Japan. Beating Naruto by twenty million volumes? What? I don’t get it.

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast extolling the virtues of One Piece and remained unconvinced. I had read a few chapters before (and watched the anime years ago) and really did not like it. I just don’t understand the appeal. To each, one’s own taste then.

China Mieville

Coming soon will be a review of China Mieville’s latest novel, Embassytown. And a few weeks later, look for my final Bas-Lag series as I look at Iron Council. Pity there aren’t more Bas-Lag novels. . .