Episode 539 - Schemers

Jul 11, 2021

Schemers can be part of some great stories when they're done well! When they're done badly though they're very annoying! Schemers, plotters and planers have become a super annoying trope in anime: at the end of the first or second episode a person will show up in the shadows and say that they're amused how things are all going as predicted and planned…. They'll appear again at the half way mark of the series and again 3 episodes before the end in the run up to their climactic battle with the protagonist. It's a trope and a formula. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't.

Topics and Show Notes

REAL attempts at schemers can be found in things like Yes Minister, House of Cards, The Usual Suspects, Dune and many more examples where you get to marvel at the plotting, planning and behind the scenes manipulation that leads to results that really ARE exactly as predicted. But how do you show that? The theatrical approach in anime is bad, unless you have the results to really back it up (which they rarely do), Telling us about the scheming after the the fact as in (the movie) Watchman is anticlimactic and unimpressive. Not even letting us in on the scheming and just mainly showing the results as in DUNE also leaves us out of the cleverness of that part of the story.
The best approach seems to be in House of Cards (at least the original, I haven't seen the remake), where Francis Urquhart schemes and plots to destroy his enemies and rise to the top in his own beautiful game of manipulation. We see the setup AND the result.

The king of schemers is seen as the 15th century Italian renaissance man Niccolò Machiavelli because of his famous work “The Prince”, which details all the different ways to govern for a 15th century Prince of a small Italian province. However, if you're looking for the holy bible of evil and deviousness you won't find it there. Machiavelli is actually extremely straight forward and open, even simplistic, but it's worth reading none-the-less.
Who're you favourite schemers?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to The Magister Records: Cool jazz, a quiet, smokey room, calm, a fine groove, warm sounds, relaxed… then utter chaos! Random jazz attack, fire, electricity, interrupting trumpet! Then right back down to the calm grove, smooth sailing into the sunset on a honey coloured ocean.

Topics and shownotes

Links


Tantz's newspost on Intruige and Schemers - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/02/intrigue-and-scheming/

Featured comic:
Quantum Festival - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/05/featured-comic-quantum-festival/

Featured music:
The Magister Records - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Magister_Records/ - by Grotesquerie Queen, rated E.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes

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Episode 538 - Fashion and Trends in Webcomics

Jul 4, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

We chat about the styles and trends in webcomics and what causes them, whether it's people copying stuff they like, working with the limitations of the technology they're using or other reasons.

Episode 536 - #heroesdon'tdothat

Jun 21, 2021

4 likes, 1 comment

There was ALL sorts of kerfuffle on the internet centred around the phrase “Heroes don't do that”. It began with an interview of two people involved in the production of the Harley Quinn TV animated series. According to them there was a sex scene between Batman and Cat Woman, including a scene of cunnalingus. They claim that a representative from DC told them to cut that scene, saying “Heroes don't do that”... But what is the REAL story?

Episode 533 - Can Mary Sues be likeable?

May 30, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

We've done a few Quackcasts about how terrible Mary Sues are… well this is the opposite! Tantz postulated that they can be likable and GOOD for a story and then won us over easily by telling us why during our Patreon video. In the Quackcast Banes and I join in, having been convinced of the idea. We talk about how if the Mary Sue is a likable, good person, genuinely humble or altruistic and helpful then that can mitigate their Mary Sueness. Whereas if they're selfish, take their status for granted, take advantage of others or are just there to be marvelled and worshiped by the astonished onlookers (re: Rey), they can be unpleasant.

Episode 531 - Same Stories From Differnt Perspectives

May 17, 2021

4 likes, 5 comments

The famous film Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa gave its name to the style of a story that has the same scenes told from different perspectives. Many comics and movies have done this, it's a really cool trick to try. Not only can it help you show a different perspective of a scene it can also show your story in a completely different style when you show things through the eyes of a particular character and how they “see” the world. It can even be a great trick for making a sequel- rather than a linear continuation of a story you show a story that happened in parallel to the sequences shown.

Episode 530 - What is SciFi?

May 10, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

So what IS SciFi? Well it's a pretty wide umbrella term and contains a lot of different things. In some senses it's just an imaginative fiction story where science replaces magic. SciFi can simply be a sciencey setting where genre stories take place (romance, adventure, nior, horror). It can be a magical fantasy space opera with a futuristic skin (Star Wars), it can be “hard SciFi” where the story is set in the future but the science is completely plausible, it can be written with strong themes that examine philosophical questions and make interesting points about the nature of humanity, and it can be so many more things too. It's a broad church!

Episode 529 - Time loops!

May 2, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Time loops in stories are a lot of fun, they can be really complicated and interesting. Groundhog day is the most famous version of this trope. Banes tells me it's a “trope codifier”. In a time loop story characters are caught reliving the same events over and over with the main character being the only one who's really aware of it, Sometimes the loop happens only once or a couple of times, or many, many times as in Groundhog Day and Palm Springs. We chat about some of the different time loop stories, their characteristics and why we like them.

Episode 528 - How tall are your characters?

Apr 26, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

Character height is not something we think about too much but it's actually a fairly big deal: in terms of what the height means, what it means contextually, how the character fits into their world, how they relate to others around them, and how it's like to draw them! A character can loom, they can shrink down, they can appear bigger than they are due to force of personality or smaller due to being shy and retiring, Largeness can equal power and strength, stupid docility, threat, potential, or it can be used to highlight the strength of a much smaller character that beats them as in many animes.


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