Logic’s Last Stand

September 18, 2010

The Usability of Menus

Filed under: Gaming, Movies — Zurahn @ 8:49 pm

There’s a concept in software development termed “usability.” The subject of usability focuses on how friendly a given piece of software is for the user. Basically, will people be able to use this and not be frustrated?

The Internet is an incredibly free market, where the slightest inconvenience can easily drive away visitors. The barrier to entry and exit are so low, that it’s crucial. Consequently, it’s a requirement for any substantive web project.

That said, what happens when we apply the principles of usability to other areas? I’m going to focus on videogame and DVD/Blu-Ray menus. If you compare menus in desktop computing software, and the menus in videogames and DVD menus, you’ll see a stark contrast. Software often has a very dry and direct method for navigation, as it’s crucial to make every step perfectly clear. This is completely lacking in our examples. Take the menu from Guilty Gear XX Accent Core

Guilty Gear Character Select [honeycomb layout]

There is a sense out of developers that the interface needs to have extra visual flare, and consequently create non-standard and often unintuitive interfaces. Here we see something of a honeycomb layout where we can’t be sure what will happen is we press a particular direction. Additionally, it’s fairly difficult to differentiate between the different characters.

It’s not uncommon in the genre, as character options get fairly extensive, yet we don’t see much of an effort to categorize or make it easy to find a particular character.

Better, though still not organized in the best way, is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The characters are easy to distinguish, and include the characters’ names along with the icons in a sensible format.

SSBB Character Select

It doesn’t have to be a matter of overcomplicating things, either. Even simple selections can be bungled an even simpler manner if you don’t take the care to make things clear for the user. This example comes from the DVD set for Season 4 of Angel,

Angel DVD Menu [Unlabeled in a square pattern]

Here we see four episodes, but no indication of the order of episodes. You’d expect the top-left to be first, but you still have to think for a second. From there, it’s more confusing — does it go across or down? Clockwise? Counter-clockwise? Merely labelling the episodes with the episode number would have resolved the issue, but it would still be advisable to order the episodes vertically to eliminate any confusion.

A great example of doing DVD menus right is Azumanga Daioh,

Azumanga DVD menu

The selected episode is clearly distinguished, the episode numbers are unmistakable, and your options go immediately to the episode select rather than “Play All” or some variant. Also positive is the handling of language; there are only two options, English and Japanese, and it automatically selects the language that isn’t currently selected, and upon selecting, moves your icon to “Main Menu” to minimize button presses.

Usability doesn’t have to be about confusion, though. As soon as you make the user think, you’re creating a problem. You’re not supposed to think about how things are happening. Let’s take a look at the most critically acclaimed title of all-time, even, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Title Screen

Here we see a title screen. We used to see a lot of splash pages on the web, but those have since gone the way of animated backgrounds and Bonzi Buddy. It’s commonly accepted that these waste user’s time. It’s a self-indulgent process that adds an extra step between the user and the content.

Funnily enough, our counter-example to this is a pioneer,

Super Mario Bros.

You see fundamentally the same screen — gameplay in the background enticing you get started, but have the menu immediately at your fingertips. No meaningless “Press Start to Continue”.

Then we get down the main event, what I figure everyone assumed I’d be ranting about in the first place. The most egregious breach of usability are the advertisements users are subjected to before they’re able to reach the content. This is a deathwish on the web — Youtube has been successful as it doesn’t (for the most part) subject users to advertisements before a video plays, and that’s free content. When it comes to purchased games and DVDs, there’s no excuse.

The most common complaint is the most obnoxious problem, and that’s the matter of unskippable introductions and screens before it takes you to the main menu. In the same vein as splash screens, these waste users’ time.

Merely picking a game at random from my collection, as this is applicable to almost any modern console videogame, take a look at MadWorld

The SEGA logo, the following two slash screens and the logo animation are all unskippable, every time you turn on to play the game.

Similarly, though without a video to show you, The Wire DVD set also includes several unskippable intros that are becoming more common, particularly on Blu-Ray discs.

Who does it right? I honestly don’t know of one. Some are better, some are worse, but all seem to insist on displaying some form of advertisement to the user before actual use.

These aren’t difficult problems to avoid, but they do require some actual concern for the experience of users, and that unfortunately seems to come second.

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July 15, 2010

Some Things Change

Filed under: Computers, Gaming, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy — Zurahn @ 7:31 pm

For a long time now I’ve felt like a living contradiction. Everything I used to think about myself has been inverted, and everything I currently think about myself include both ends of the spectrum. Brilliance and idiocy, joyful and sorrowful, sincere and flippant, superior and inferior. There have been some constants, but those appear to be dying.

The latest to fall is probably for the best. I’ve played up my own negativity on things, as I do tend to focus on what the problems are. I think it plays into programming, as handling exceptions is necessary, so picking apart the little things is part of the job. But in a general sense, I’m so sick of the negativity.

It’s one of the best things we had going for us for a long time at The VG Press — the criticisms may have been legitimate when we had them, but they were in good humour. Yet, nowhere’s perfect; here and moreso the Internet at large is creating a great big bastion of hate. I’ll mention up-front that I’m not referring to factual matters; those who, for example, rally against vaccination are doing enormous harm and deserve to be vehemently shot down. It’s the realm of significant subjectivity. It doesn’t have to be videogames and it doesn’t have to be personal; any area where there’s room for reasonable disagreement, there are plenty to take it as an absolutist position.

If there’s a criticism, it’s not enough to just bring it up in the appropriate context, or if as a reaction, to expand on it. With anything and everything, there are some to try to ruin it for everyone else. It also gets worse, as it does spread to personal attacks by relation. Those who support X are amateurish, or any number of other insults for no other reason than a difference of opinion.

So I’m done. Keep it to yourselves, I don’t want it destroying me from the inside out. If you want to berate people for playing “casual” games, or PHP developers as not real programmers, or country music fans as hicks or any other selfish, outwardly hateful, spiteful and utterly immature positions, that’s your prerogative, but you’re not going to ruin it for the rest of us. You’re not going to ruin it for me.

June 24, 2009

I Didn’t Pay to See a Commercial

Filed under: Computers, Gaming, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics — Tags: , , , — Zurahn @ 12:50 am

An often ignored aspect of the “piracy” issue, at least on the side of strict intellectual copyright laws, is the matter of quality. The traditional concept of “pirated” media is that they’re cheap, low-quality versions. Poor quality and a hassle. Well, perhaps once true, this hardly the case anymore, and the shared versions over the Internet are a significant problem for traditional media because the quality is in fact better.

When you have a better product, it’s easier to charge more. If you have the same product, you can still get the sale based out of guilt and implicit morality. When your product is worse than what’s free, you’re a lost cause.

Put in a DVD and you are treated to a series of advertisements showing off the publisher of the content. Choose to play the content, and you then get the honour of sitting through the warning reminding you that you can get a free version without all this crap, except you shouldn’t. Try and play it in your DVD drive, hopefully the CSS decryption software can manage to work its way past that anti-copying DRM that clearly works so well.

This extends to videogames as well. How long does it take just to get to the title screen? Is it entirely necessary to tell me everytime I put in the game to whom the developer outsourced the cinematics? You’ve already gotten my money for this product; don’t make me less likely to do the same in the future.

The FBI warning is ironically an advertisement unto itself for why it’s beneficial to act against it.

May 24, 2009

This Is My Country

Filed under: Computers, Freeware, Life, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics — Zurahn @ 1:28 am

I live on the border to the United States of America. A place where the people love their country almost as much as they love hearing themselves say as much. It’s one of those indisputable, inarguable truths that would otherwise be unfathomable to be without, equivalent to the love of one’s mother. Well then, what does this lowly, despondent introvert think of his obnoxious, overbearing extroverted nation? While it’s nice to feel in a superior position to the boisterous Americans, I can’t say the need for patriotism is quite so onerous on me. Call it ambivalence, if you like.

But that’s not to say I’m in no way patriotic. At least, not when taken in the spirit of the word, and not necessarily in the direct literal sense of a recognized state. My country is one without borders, without limits. In the truest sense of the word it is by the people and for the people. My country is the Internet.

In every way as one would dictate their emphatic devotion to his community, so can you place that within my own digital world. In the physical world I am very liberal, but in the virtual world I am libertarian bordering on anarchist. The Internet is the last true bastion of freedom the world over, and I won’t–I can’t–give it up without a fight.

And there is a fight. It’s not in the news, it’s not on television. But it is happening. There’s propaganda in the news, yes, but not the real story, because there’s noone there to understand it. The terms net neutrality, piracy and the like are thrown around with no understanding, no actual reporting. Nobody cares.

For the better part of the year what little efforts the Internet community can manage with regard to politics here in Canada has been fighting off the Conservative push for bill C-61, termed the “Canadian DMCA”. A media-lobby push for legislating against their outdated and dying business model. How many members of parliament even know what a byte actually is? How many representatives have any idea what DNS even stands for? Without a basic understanding of how the Internet functions, they’re on a collision course to break one of the greatest achievements in human history.

It’s not just Canada, or the United States. It’s the world over. The Pirate Bay case is currently under review for the judge’s undisclosed membership to copyright lobbies. The judge appointed to review the case? Was removed for the same bias. This is in Sweden.

And no, it’s not just a matter of idiot politicians and lobbies. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have long since monopolized the market and are consequently abusing their power. Usenet support from Rogers was killed under the guise of protecting against child pornography. Bell Canada’s throttling is suffocating resellers as they’re effected as well. You get what you get, because that’s all you’ve got.

Meanwhile society as a whole is as ignorant as those in control. The Conficker worm has affected by rough estimates at least 10 million PCs. This is a worm that is only on Windows XP, transmits primarily via a long-since patched exploit in network sharing–which should be off–that should also just be blocked by Windows Firewall anyway, and would be completely nullified by passing the connection through a NAT router, which you should be doing anyway. There are services such as “Geek Squad” that costs more than buying a new computer, which is convenient since they can then can sell you that too. Your computer is not “broken” you just don’t know what you’re doing.

I’m running Linux as a desktop operating system. I wrote and maintain TheVGPress.com, which runs on the Apache Web Server and is coded in PHP 5 using a MySQL database. All of which have been developed and written over the Internet, are open-source and free for anyone to use. Freedom: It’s more than just a turn of phrase. It has meaning, and you can see it here.

This is my country; this is my world. My entertainment, my hobbies, interests, friends. My hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

All of it. It’s all in danger. In danger of ignorance, of corruption, of greed and profiteering. Morality and law are two entirely different things. While I wrote a series of pieces on the morality of the sharing of copyrighted materials, which in itself wasn’t one-sided, legally standing there is no argument. Arguing that, for example, downloading a song that a recording studio has the rights to is illegal threatens literally everything. You’ve now made the entire structure of the Internet invalid. I’ve gone on long enough; if you don’t understand how that last sentence is true, then that’s exactly the point. You don’t understand. Nobody in any sort of position to make a decision on what is right has any idea what right is.

Some may have a view of my country as a bit weird. What with the grammatically challenged cats, random videos, and a penchant for abhorrently graphic imagery. Well you’re close. We’re out of our damned minds. And that’s just the way we like it.

March 7, 2009

DRM is Obnoxiously Stupid

Filed under: Computers, Freeware, Movies, Philosophy — Tags: , , , — Zurahn @ 9:06 pm

As you should already know, I spend a creepy amount of time on the computer; consequently, my monitor is of much better quality than my television. So after I had recently ordered and received a copy of The Dark Knight on DVD, I decided instead to watch it on my computer.

Another point you should realise is that I run Linux, which isn’t necessarily a friend of the movie industry. Lastly, you must be aware that DVDs contain Digital Rights Management software.

There is a library available in Linux called libcss2 that allows playback of movies with copy-protection. However, The Dark Knight happened to have revamped its encryption and decided to just curl up in a ball and say “nu-uh!” to the person who just legally purchased the film.

Whatever intended purpose there was to this, it was clearly an empty obscene gesture to those who just wanted to watch the movie, because the disc obviously contains the movie, and that being said, it’s not going to be difficult to watch it anyway.

mplayer -sb 2500000 dvd:// -alang en

And it plays just fine. A single command line function to essentially skip the copy-protection.

Instead of trying to stop people from using the items that your customers have purchased, perhaps spend a little more time understanding that by doing so that makes simply downloading the movie a better product.

August 5, 2008

Five Favourite Movie Scenes

Filed under: Movies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Zurahn @ 12:07 am

Obviously given the nature of the list, there are spoilers ahead. So if you don’t want them, stop at the title of the movie.

5. Network – This Tube

To put this in perspective, Network was released in 1976. Over thirty years later, this rant affirms the moniker of “the mad prophet” of Howard Beale. One of the greatest rants ever seen on film, Beale expresses the frustrations and corruption that plague American media to this day.

4. Collateral – Free Ride (5 minutes in)

It’s all in the execution, and the sheer style that is seen throughout Collateral is set in motion by the poignant early scene introducing both Max and Annie. I remain almost mesmerized by the captivation of such a relatively menial encounter.

3. Jackie Chan vs Benny the Jet – Wheels on Meals

Where great writing and subtle delivery may work as a device for good filmmaking, you could also choose to set up a fight between two masterful martial artists. I don’t really need to see every other fight scene to reach the conclusion that this is at least tied for the single best fight scene ever, because it just can’t get any better. The dexterity is almost hypnotic.

2. Princess Mononoke – Wolf Princess infiltrates Iron Town

To use, to a degree, the clash of three different tragic heroes in one scene is quite the feat unto itself. Belaying the action of the scene with such a masterful sense of tension having a situation where there are three characters involved and the viewer is made to want none of them harmed is truly special.

1. Hot Fuzz – Taking back the town
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=6xVmKEycyUg

There is simply one thing that is evident in this climax scene to Hot Fuzz: Its only goal is to be as enjoyable as absolutely possible. It has just about everything packaged in one excellent fight scene, particularly considering it’s also placed in the context of a comedy. Hot Fuzz: It’s not just good–it’s jumping through the air firing two guns good.

July 6, 2008

Top Twenty Favourite Movies

Filed under: Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — Zurahn @ 3:59 am

For the past couple years, I’ve come across a surpring number of movies that I’ve thought very highly of, some of which make this list. This list is that of my 20 favourite movies.

20 – It Could Happen to You
The “true” story of a New York policeman who in lieu of a tip offers half the winnings of a lottery ticket — that turns out to be a four million dollar winner. The movie stars Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda in heartwarming performances. The only downside is the unusual tendency to cheer in favour of adultery. Oh well.

19 – Groundhog Day
The perennial Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day is about what happens when crusty TV weatherman Phil Connors gets stuck in the hell that is Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day in a daily infinite loop, waking up each morning at the start of the same day. The build-up of anger to desperation to personal growth, Groundhog Day manages to be both hilarious and hopeful.

18 – Borat
So, so wrong and yet so so right, Borat is the politically incorrect comedy based on the Sasha Cohen character Borat, an anti-semitic Khazaki reporter as he travels the United States learning about its culture. Crude, crass and offensive, it has only one goal in mind, and that is to make the audience laugh.

17 – The Simpsons Movie
Everyone knew it was coming, and everyone feared that is was coming. TV to movie failures are all too common to the moviegoing public, so to see The Simpsons go to the big screen had fans holding their breath. The all-star cast of writers as found in the longest end credits I’ve ever seen, pulled off a classic. Everything that made The Simpsons a classic show shown through, from crass behaviour in an animated setting, to the emotional reality of family life. We couldn’t have asked for more.

16 – Monty Python & The Holy Grail
Arguably the most quotable movie of all-time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is as about Monty Python as a human can handle per second. From brazen mockery of special effects to… well, brazen mockery of everything actually. Silly in ways that Family Guy can only dream, if you don’t like it, then your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

15 – The Terminator
Have you ever met someone who didn’t like The Terminator? It just may be impossible. A sci-fi film that is uncomparable to any other, The Terminator is by all definitions a classic. It captured the dystopian robot future like none other and pushed it as far as it could go. Real intensity in an unreal world, there’s just nothing else like it.

14 – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Probably not the position of most, but I preferred the second. More action, more intensity. The setting of one Terminator versus another kept the fearful escape of the original, but made it so that it wasn’t a constant chase scene and more cat-and-mouse. Oh, and try to pack in more action, I dare you. And no, Terminator 3 isn’t next or anywhere to be seen on this list — twenty most hated movies, maybe.

13 – Top Gun
Gung-ho American propaganda aside, Top Gun was my first ever “favourite movie” so you could call this a sentimental placement. The fun interaction of the war games with the interpersonal tension gives Top Gun a unique feel.

12 – Grave of the Fireflies
Sometimes it’s hard to define favourite, because it can be difficult to define entertainment. Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies is just the reason why. The film, despite being animation, is a woefully realistic portrayal of Japan during World War II, in which teen boy Seita and his young sister are left homeless after their mother is killed in a firebombing. The fight against time is a heartbreaking struggle that stands as one of the strongest anti-war messages.

11 – Lean on Me
Sometimes you need a feelgood story, and Lean on Me is one of the best. Joe Clark takes over East Side High, a school overrun with violence and drug abuse as he and the faculty make a desperate attempt to get the school up to minimum educational standards in order to avoid having it taken over by the state. This “true” story is a definite pick-me-up.

10 – Contact
Alien lifeforms in science fiction are almost always portrayed as the negative cause of a dystopian future. Contact does an immaculate job at highlighting the search and contact of life without being overly dramatic or going cliché.

9 – Collateral
Collateral is the gritty Michael Mann film about a hitman and his cabbie hostage and what happens throughout the night. Starring Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise and Jada Pinkett Smith in excellent performances, the seeming chemistry between them is almost unmatched.

8 – The Fugitive
Based on the 60’s TV drama, The Fugitive is about the hunt for Fugitive Richard Kimble as he desperately attempts to prove his innocence and find the “one-armed man.” Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones take the lead roles in the unusual circumstanced movie that has you cheering against a good guy.

7 – Hot Fuzz
I didn’t particularly care for the 2004 film from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead, but Hot Fuzz definitely won me over on the duo. About a dedicated by-the-book police office Nicholas Angel who gets transferred from London to the small town Sandford for making the rest of the service look bad, it’s a fine balance of hilarious, mystery and action.

6 – The Shawshank Redemption
Notorious Oscar-snub The Shawshank Redemption is a favourite of many. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman star in a movie about Andy Dufresne, a man wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his wife and his transition into prison life. It’s hard to describe what it is, as The Shawshank Dedemption simply is.

5 – Princess Mononoke
Another from Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke is a masterpiece of character. A struggle based on economics and class, Princess Mononoke manages to almost entirely avoid the need for a battle of good versus evil, only a fight for peace and understanding in a heated debate of economic standing. This is another incredible example of the ability of realistic power of animated film.

4 – The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
When you bring the second most-read fictional book in the world (after the Bible) to the big screen, you had better do it justice. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings did that and so much more. The entire world was fully realized and the characters perfectly cast, from Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf to Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn and everyone inbetween. The Fellowship of the Ring brought everything to life.

3 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
As enjoyable as The Shire was in Fellowship of the Ring, things get more interesting as the plot continues into murky territory. Growing tension between sides and war begins. The moments before the battle of Helm’s Deep is iconic, as is the entire film.

2 – The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
The further the story goes in The Lord of the Rings, the more complicated they become. It was at one time seemingly impossible to pull off not only the special effects for a live-action rendition of the books, but the sheer manpower. Return of the King was an incredible finish to an incredible trilogy of Middle-Earth.

1 – Spirited Away
There’s something about movies that gives off a feeling unique to the medium. A deep sense of upliftment and caring, which in Spirited Away is far and beyond all others. Another from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away is the story of ten year-old Chihiro as she is lost the spirit world as she attempts to save her parents. Another instance where it really isn’t a matter of good versus evil, the sheer unblemished innocense of a girl makes all the difference in the greed filled world.

March 25, 2008

Piracy – Morality and Rationale – Part 5

Filed under: Computers, Movies, Philosophy, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Zurahn @ 4:15 am

“If we don’t get a chance to ask the question, then we really haven’t taken the opportunity that I think the Internet offers. And I think you risk closing off some new possibilities by holding onto an old rule, and the old rule was: Any copy other than the one delivered by the producer is illegitimate–it is pirate. And, in fact, the practice has often been that culture is shared, that we make mixed tapes and we show movies to each other and we make it part of our own lives. That’s in fact been the vitality of pop culture. And so we’d be denying the fact that pop culture, while in some way is owned by its producers, the very reason why it matters is it’s owned by the people who consume it.”
-Tarleton Gillespie, assistant professor, Department of Communication, Cornell University

This is a quote from a recent BBC podcast series about piracy. This is a fundamental reason why, perhaps not why it has begun, but why it will never stop, and why it is so hard to convince people of it being so wrong. The rules aren’t clear because you can’t make them clear, and if you can’t make them clear, you can’t get people to agree with enforcing them. Another issue brought up in the podcast was in reference to books, which is an excellent case-study. How often are books pirated? People sell used books for pennies, people share books, there are public libraries, and nobody seems to read anymore. And yet, through all of that, there is a seemingly endless stream of literature. Why? That’s up to interpretation. The podcast mentioned a drop in price wiping out pirated copies, but I would suggest the product is properly placed in the market. Packaging, quality control and pricing meet the place where it is more reasonable to purchase books you want than to get lesser copies through lesser means for lesser cost. But the option exists, and in fact, helps the market.

What exists now is an environment where everything is free. The Internet is the theory of communism as yet uncorrupted by power, and in a communist society, you can accept that you are all equal, or you can leave. You can’t keep hording things to yourself, and you most certainly will not be tolerated taking things away from everyone else.

When we look at piracy from a logical perception, there are instances where things can certainly get negative, and in a general sense, wrong. Someone did make this, and through their only means, released it as a commercial product. Without their effort, this product would not exist, yet someone is using it without permission.

The problem is the rarity of these instances among the vague strokes of licensing, a culture of sharing, and simple fair usage. Yet my evaluation means nothing. If there’s something to learn from the example of books, it’s that the issue forces change, regardless of authority. If your product is digital, you’re going to have to meet the public, which is on the whole rejecting that very market to which you appeal. So you can be like these digital pioneers,

CBC released it’s television series, “Canada’s Next Prime Minister” for free on bitTorrent
http://torrentfreak.com/cbc-bittorrent-tv-080319/

Radiohead released its latest album ahead of time, online, for free. Oh, and it released as the #1 album.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/arts/music/10radio.html?_r=1&ref=music&oref=slogin

And of course, The Revolution Movie, which released in theatres asking the audience to pay afterwards, whatever they thought it was worth, if even nothing. Did I mention the average viewer paid more than the standard ticket fee?
http://www.revoloutionmovie.com/

I’ve given you the information, and some opinions in there, too, so you can make a fairly well informed decision. My last judgment? Well, while there are some dark spots, and you may want to avoid downloading music if you’re a college student, I wouldn’t worry too much about the morality of it all, because, in time, you simply won’t have to.

March 13, 2008

The Classics

Filed under: Movies, Philosophy — Tags: , , , , — Zurahn @ 12:32 am

You could say I’ve had a history of not exactly embracing “the classics”, in games and more particularly in movies. Whether these be ones I consider among the most intolerable, such as Merry Poppins or Sound of Music, or overwrought stomach churners that are within the realm of watchable, but remain empty, such as Mystic River or the Wizard of Oz.

It’s not, though, a matter of concept, but execution that relies on moral messages that remain core in cheesy dialogue with utter shells of characters there only as a means to an end. It does not have to be this way, as I have found out.

While I have never thought much of Alice in Wonderland or Romeo and Juliet, I have found the utter brilliant executions of the similar premisces in the remarkable Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Where the former rely on little more than concept to make them of value, Miyazaki has done what to many had previously seemed impossible: a movie without good versus evil. Only situations already there, and characters that in your heart of hearts you want to succeed.

Spirited Away shows in every way the true meaning of selflessness and innocence of children. As wonderfully abstract and imaginative as the world is, more incredible is the simple acts of kindness in a dark situation manage to warm the soul in the most real of ways.

Similarly and just as effectively, the land in Princess Mononoke is fairytale, but the realization of its ideals are eloquently fulfilled as a beautiful thesis as to the necessary harmony of man and nature. It’s not a matter of abandonment industry, but an understanding of the ultimate equality of life and death that links us all.

In both, there also lies the love that cannot be, without stretching, whether romantic or otherwise, serves even as an example of its truest form.

The term classic may mean many things to many people. To me, this now means Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.

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