Spider-Man the Animated Series Defines the Franchise

The Spider-Man animated series from the 1990s which aired on Fox was a masterpiece. In fact, Spider-Man the Animated Series defines the franchise, the comic books aside. While Tobey Maguire’s films were not bad per se (save the third film), Maguire never portrayed Spider-Man’s/Peter Parker’s intelligence. He was a typical geek who masqueraded as being smart. While Willem Dafoe and James Franco did a great job of portraying the Osbornes, the script plagued the films and was simply put, hard to watch. Rami’s films were not bad, but they didn’t portray Spider-Man, and more importantly Peter Parker, adequately.

spider-man-2002-green-goblin-willem-dafoe-tobey-maguire

Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films were deeply flawed, but the casting was top-notch, especially with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He had both the boyish charm and was able to portray the intelligence that Maguire lacked. Unfortunately, the films themselves were just okay. The stories were disjointed and despite a stellar cast, the films lacked any kind of clear direction, which is a shame because there was so much potential. I have not seen all of Captain America: Civil War, but from all accounts Tom Holland did a spectacular job and with Marvel’s involvement, Homecoming is sure to please fans.

amazing-spider-man-2

With that being said, Spider-Man the Animated Series defines the franchise in terms of characterization, storytelling, and even acting (albeit voice acting). It’s a shame that so many who didn’t grow up in the 90s weren’t exposed to the show because it was not your typical campy Spider-Man. There was drama, there were tears. It dealt with the real problems Peter Parker experienced as Spider-Man and while it was funny at times, at others it was downright tragic. Death was not allowed, nor actual guns because of rules by the studio, but Spider-Man the Animated Series defines the franchise, save for the comic books, because it took a story for children and told it in a way that both kids and adults could relate to. It incorporated many of Spidey’s classic villains and while Spider-Man didn’t lack his classic whit, there was also a bit of a tragedy to the character. He wasn’t dark like Batman, who aired on the same station, but he constantly lost the ones he loved because of Spider-Man. The narrative was superb and the last four or five episodes or so actually brought me to tears. Spider-Man was portrayed with having real intelligence, something that was severely lacking in the Maguire films, which was my biggest disappointment.

spider-man-civil-war

While Spider-Man the Animated Series defines the franchise, Spider-Man Homecoming has the chance to shine. Tom Holland is an incredible actor and while Peter will be a teenager, as opposed to a college student in the television series, it has the potential to rival this classic cartoon. Spider-Man, X-Men, and Batman, who all aired on Fox in the mid-90s, all define their respective franchises, even though the films (I’m pointing to the Dark Knight Trilogy and some of the X-Men films) were lauded with critical acclaim and were good films. Up to this point though, there hasn’t been any iteration of Spider-Man to top the 90s cartoon series. It simply was that good, as well as the Batman Animated Series. Spider-Man Homecoming may not top the series, but hopefully with Marvel at the helm it will at least do the character justice. It’s a shame Garfield isn’t reprising his role as Peter, as he nailed the character, but they needed a clean slate. The films he was apart of simply put were not very good.

Spider-Man is, in my opinion, the best franchise that Marvel has to offer. If the movie bombs, at least there’s still the cartoon, which nails the essence of the comic book perfectly.

Advertisements

Bioshock Infinite: Constants and Variables

On the precipice of our review of Bioshock The Collection, which includes all three Bioshock titles, we’re taking a step back and looking at one of the most unique entries in the franchise: Bioshock Infinite. Bioshock Infinite is somewhat removed from the rest of the series. It is only due to the DLC that it ties into the original installments. One of the most fascinating aspects of the game is a simple quote: “Constants and Variables.”

Now, where have we heard these quotes before? None other than the popular series LOST, which deals with time travel. Although it does not deal with alternate realities, constants and variables are an important part of the series and a focal point in the time travel aspect of the show. Constants dictate that you cannot change the past, but as one character figured out, variables could hold the key to changing the course of events.

“You can’t change the past, can’t do it, whatever happened, happened. But then, I finally realised. I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, that I forgot about the variables. And do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack? Us. We’re the variables. People. We think, we reason, we make choices, we have free will… we can change our destiny.”

bioshock-infinite-image-4-1024x576

Bioshock Infinite incorporates constants and variables, but in a very different way. There are constants, things that will always happen, such as the coin flip, and variables, which are based on choices the character makes in response to these constants, like Booker. It is not such a different concept than LOST, although much of the talk of constants and variables have to do with quantum theory and complex mathematical equations.

It would be quite interesting to know if the creators of Bioshock Infinite were in fact somehow inspired by LOST. While time travel isn’t necessarily present in Bioshock Infinite, alternate realities are and even a bit of quantum theory. In the end, both games are about choice and the power of human will. The characters in LOST are very much humanists and fought to change their destinies. In Bioshock Infinite, Booker, or at least a version of him, chose to become Comstock and was ruthless. While the stories have a wide array of differences, they do have their similarities and it both ends and begins with constants and variables — constants which cannot be changed, and variables which represent human will.

The Best Musical Moments in Gaming

Music has evolved in gaming from bleeps and bloops to all-out orchestral arrangements. Storytelling has become a pivotal lynchpin in the gaming medium, accompanied by some of the best music there is to offer. There are many moments that stand out as poignant, but these are the cream of the crop and the best musical moments in gaming.

Best Musical Moments in Gaming — 5. Link Draws the Master Sword

The very first moment Link drew the Master Sword in A Link to the Past was majestic. It was not only the first appearance of the legendary blade, but the music that accompanies the drawing of the sword still stands to this day.

Best Musical Moments in Gaming — 4. She’s Coming Back

Xenosaga Episode III is mired in criticism due to its predecessor, but that doesn’t make it a horrible game or lessen the impact of the storytelling. When KOS-MOS returns in “She’s Coming Back”, the music is…let’s just say…breathtaking. There are no words for it; it’s simply stunning. That is why it is placed on this list as one of the best musical moments in gaming.

Best Musical Moments in Gaming — 3. Hero of Winds

Link, the Hero of Winds, is incredibly charming and endearing. When he is named the Hero of Winds by the gods, the music uses a variation of the main Legend of Zelda theme. It gets your heart racing. It’s energetic. The Wind Waker is not a perfect game, but it is a magnificent one and this is the one moment in the game that stands out as one of the best musical moments in gaming.

Best Musical Moments in Gaming — 2. Leaving Earth

Mass Effect 3 is the heartbreaking conclusion of the Mass Effect Trilogy. It starts off with a bang, and there is nothing as emotional in the game as when Shepard leaves Earth, and this is in large part due to the music. The Reapers invade the planet, leaving it decimated, and Commander Shepard, someone who is used to being in control, can only sit and watch. It is one of the most shocking openings of a game and the music is second-to-none.

Best Musical Moments in Gaming — 1. Zanarkand

Final Fantasy X is iconic because of its voice acting, but its music is some of the best in the business. Nobuo Uematsu is one of the best video game composers in the business and he did not disappoint in this iteration of Final Fantasy. As Tidus, Yuna, and the rest of the gang rest upon finally reaching their destination, Zanarkand, they reflect on their future. Uematsu composes this beautiful piece which portrays the inner conflicts of the characters.

Censorship in Game Localization is Nothing New

Censorship in game localization is not a new phenomena. Though the topic has piqued people’s interest as of late with the censorship of Xenoblade Chronicles X and Fire Emblem Fates, the issue isn’t anything new. In fact, censorship in game localization has been going on since before the days of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Although the reasons behind censorship have evolved for the most part, the fact that it is still going on shouldn’t be a surprise. The reason why people are becoming so upset over censorship in game localization now versus 20 years ago is because now we live in an information age, with the internet as our guide. Foreign products are much more readily available thanks to a global economy and if someone has the means and the ability to read and speak (in this case) Japanese, they can bypass the entire censorship issue if they wish.

One of my favorite games, unbeknownst to myself as a child, was in fact censored in North America. Ironically the title wasn’t even accurate. In Japan, it was known as The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods. In North America, it was called The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which really makes no sense. There are many other examples of censorship within the game as well. Agahnim, one of the game’s chief antagonists, is referred to as a “wizard” in the western localization, but in the Japanese version he is in fact called a “priest.” The Loyal Sage within the Sanctuary is also a priest, not a sage. Hexagrams were also removed from dungeons, eliminating any potential religious references in this version of the game. Nintendo of America didn’t stop there though, oddly enough. It also heavily altered the mythology found in the manual for the game and even flat-out created passages which were never there or intended to be there in the first place.

final-fantasy-2

Final Fantasy IV (or II) in America also faced censorship due to religious reasons in the west. Images and references to Christianity were all but removed, including the names of spells such as “holy” and “prayer”. Whereas a Scythe was going to drop on Rosa’s head in the Tower of Zott, the Western version changes this to a large metal ball. The allusion of a sexual relationship between two characters is also omitted and a single frame was removed during a scene while two characters are kissing so that it now appears that they are just “hugging.” The “Tower of Prayers” was actually re-named the “Tower of Wishes”, and direct references to death was removed, although it is clearly rampant throughout the game.

Cid’s altered dialogue in the game (Japanese first):

“I’m going to blow myself up and sacrifice my life to save
you! Yang will be lonely in the afterworld!”

“Oh, I’ll just get off here, hold the bad guys
off, and stay in the underworld a bit longer.”

The two not only convey a completely different sentiment, but ultimately are the words of two completely distinct characters.

Censorship in game localization would begin to change its course though, as technology was moving a long at a startling pace and gaming began to become a viable storytelling medium.

xenosaga-episode-iii

Flash forward to the PlayStation 2 era and the Xenosaga franchise by Tetsuya Takahashi. In the series’ localization efforts, Namco Bandai decided to censor the games several times over. Ironically, the games are filled with religious imagery and references. There are also references to psychology, to the mystics, and heavy philosophy. It is ultimately a story about killing God. Yet now that kind of storytelling material is acceptable. It’s the same basic plot as Xenoblade Chronicles (with the latter stripped down to its basics), and that was left untouched. Xenosaga was much more overt though and both Jesus and Mary Magdalene are actually present in the games (!!!) and playable, in all three, which would have never had happened in the mid-1990s. This was the early-mid 2000s though, and the medium had grown a great deal.

Xenosaga faced censorship, in a large part due to violence. Blood was removed and the entire ending sequence of the series is gutted (no pun intended), looking ridiculous. There is actually a scene where a younger version of the main protagonist of the game watches her mother die and says something to the effect of “the blood, I have to put the blood back.” Regardless, in the localized version this dialogue is still present, but the blood is nowhere to be found, making it very awkward to say the least. Here are a few examples of censorship found in Xenosaga.

Here is an uncensored version of Jin’s last stand in Xenosaga III. While this scene feels empty and hollow in the localized version, with its corrected subtext, the scene gives the emotional resonance that it was meant to.

This was a very different kind of censorship in game localization compared to that found in the past. Violence, while not overly heinous, was being censored in western regions, while religion (at least in this instance), was not. The ability to tell stories was growing and different societies all have a different worldview and set of values. Japan’s attitudes are very different from the rest of the world’s, and this became more and more apparent with regards to the amount of sex and violence they would allow into their games, and even into their anime, which was for children for the most part and heavily influenced storytelling in games.

Now we have entered a period of time where every change that takes place during the localization process is scrutinized. Bravely Default came out in February of 2014 and several pieces of “racy” dialogue and revealing outfits were removed. The characters, who were originally 15 years old, were aged up to 18 years old. It must be noted, that while this game came out on the Nintendo 3DS, the censorship was Square Enix’s decision, as the publisher. Despite the blatant censorship, it didn’t receive the kind of outrage that similar cases are now, over two years later. A sentiment was building within a fringe fanbase hat did not want censorship in game localization of any kind to continue.

bravely-default-censorship

Nintendo became under heavy scrutiny with its decision to censor Xenoblade Chronicles X, which released in December of 2015. In fact, some fans considered boycotting the game altogether because of this. While most were fixated on Lyn’s swimsuit debacle (she was only 13 years old), this is not the only thing that was censored in Xenoblade Chronicles X. Yes, the sexualization of a child is not appropriate in American society and this is an edit that should have been made, but there are a number of edits that were also made. A boob slider for your avatar — taken out!? Honestly, in the west that is one thing we would not be offended by and should never have been removed. We’ve had them in our RPGs for years now. All it does though is show Nintendo is behind the times though, and we knew that. But there are also in-game changes, such as the words that make up the acronym that BLADE stands for.

Beyond the Logos Artificial Destiny Emancipator”

This may seem like an oddly put together string of English words, it actually has a meaning. Logos means “The Word”, which in turn means “God.” What this is saying is go beyond “The Logos Artificial Destiny Emancipator” and find our own futures for ourselves. This would go hand-in-hand with the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles, that the world is one that doesn’t have a need for God or “destiny.” Cutting out religious and Jungian references simply dilutes what essence of what Takahashi’s games are really about. This is a pristine example of censorship in game localization that completely disregards the original intent of the creator. Builders of the Legacy After the Destruction of Earth doesn’t even make sense with the original text. Dolls were changed to Skells. Dolls have a special meaning in Japanese culture, and I can’t go into why this change is so unacceptable because it would spoil one of the biggest surprises in the game. There are some other instances where titles of divisions and classes were changed, but I don’t really see this as censorship wile looking into it for myself and more classify this as making it more accessible towards a western audience.

xenoblade-x-censor-lyn

Censorship in game localization reached a brand new pique with the release of Fire Emblem Fates. While Xenoblade has a niche fan following, Fire Emblem is a storied franchise and once the game was released all eyes within reach were fixated on every little change made to the highly-anticipated game. Fire Emblem Fates had a number of content censored in its western release and fans were livid, as the content censored mostly had to do with characters’ relationships and their interactions with one another. Many of these went against American social conventions which is why they were altered or left by the wayside, write or wrong.

fire-emblem-fates-censorship

Censorship in game localization has a long and rich history. In fact, a much more rich history than we could give any kind of justice to. We picked points we thought were poignant as the gaming medium was evolving alongside censorship in game localization. All eyes are on Nintendo now, for every title they localize. And this is unfortunately only because, as shown in this article, they are not the only culprits (and generally they do a good job), not to mention the all-out censorship in other countries. We have quite the luxury to even be able to have this discussion, right or wrong on both sides. Censorship in game localization is a necessary evil because different societies value different things and have much different word views. That is something that must not be lost here. The whole point of game localization is making a game as accessible as humanly possible in any given territory in order to sell copies and make a profit and expand business.

That’s the bottom line. Localization is needed. And it will continue on, whether people like it or not.

Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade

Western RPGs have seemingly overtaken the RPG genre with titles like Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fallout, and The Witcher 3. Despite this though, there have been a number of incredible Japanese RPGs that have come out in the last decade. The dichotomy between the two halves of the genre is what inspired us to put together a list of the top 5 RPGs of the last decade. Some may surprise you, some may confuse you, some may enrage you, but these are five of the best RPGs of this generation.


Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 5. Bravely Default

bravely-default

Bravely Default was originally intended to be an installment in the Final Fantasy franchise until the development team wanted to do something original, establishing a new brand. The end result is Bravely Default. It is Final Fantasy without the Final Fantasy name and has memorable characters, an intriguing story, wonderful music, an endearing art style, and an extensive job system with turn-based combat. It is filled to the brim with content and will quench any gamer’s RPG cravings.

Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 4. Fallout 4

fallout-4

The Fallout series has become revered as one of the best franchises in recent memory ever since Bethesda took over development of the franchise. While both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas were wonderful additions to the series, Fallout 4 is by far the best. It has a fascinating narrative, the freedom of exploration due to its open-world nature, improved combat from earlier entries in the franchise, and a plethora of content that can keep you busy for hundreds of hours. For Western RPG fans, it’s a dream come true..

Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 3. Final Fantasy XIII-2

final-fantasy-xiii-2-serah

This choice may surprise some people, and it may enrage others. Final Fantasy XIII was a divisive entry in the series due to its linear nature and over-pretentious mythology, half of which you had to read through a codex. Final Fantasy XIII-2 fixed so many of XIII’s problems and was a masterpiece in its own right. From the non-linear nature of the story, the time travel aspect, strong protagonists, and incredible music, Final Fantasy XIII-2 established its own identity with its own set of characters, setting it apart from Final Fantasy XIII and simply being a “sequel.” The combat, while similar to XIII’s, was tweaked and lightning paced, making for a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. All-in-all, it is the best Final Fantasy game since X, and maybe even before that.

Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 2. The Mass Effect Trilogy

mass-effect-3-shepard

Bioware is one of the most successful developers in the business, and when they took on Mass Effect, they created a space opera that would go down in the ages as one of the best series’ of all time. The sheer scope of the mythology and the amount of creativity that went into crafting it is nothing short of astounding. The characters are both likable and memorable, and each entry in the series has its own flavor to it and improves upon the previous game. The ability to shape Shepard’s character through choices was, at the time, revolutionary with regards to how the choices did in fact carry over into the subsequent games. This could only go so far, but it was the first of its kind. While some were upset with the ending, Shepard’s journey was a miraculous adventure full of adventure, sorrow, and ultimately self-sacrifice.

Top 5 RPGs of the Last Decade — 1. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade-Chronicles-X

Although the original Xenoblade Chronicles was an amazing game and would be on this list, it would be a little bit redundant to include both games. While the original had the facade of an open-world game with an incredibly linear narrative, Xenoblade Chronicles X is Tetsuya Takahashi’s masterpiece after almost 20 years and six installments in the Xeno series. The world is larger than Skyrim, Fallout 4, and The Witcher 3 combined. It is completely open-world and gives you the freedom to explore each of the world’s continents from the outset. The story is divided into chapters, while in the interim you can explore, complete requirements to advance the storyline, and take on sidequests and affinity quests. While some criticize the game for its story, the sidequests in the game actually expand on its story and furthers character development. Attack on Titan’s Hiroyuki Sawano composed the game’s music with a diverse score and while some had a disdain for it, Sawano is one of the best in the business. A game like Xenoblade Chronicles X only comes along once every 10 years or so and is a very special experience, which is why it rounds out our list of the top 5 RPGs of the last decade.

Noein – to your other self is the Best Anime You’ve Never Watched

Noein – to your other self came out in 2005. This was before the time of anime streaming, and as a show that wasn’t licensed, I, like so many other people downloaded the series online (I was a pirate, sorry!). Later on, I did support the show by purchasing the DVDs released by Manga Entertainment. Within the past year Funimation acquired the rights to the series. They released a fantastic Blu-Ray set, which I currently own. But all of this is beside the point. As opposed to Eureka Seven, which was released during Noein’s run, Noein was not very well known in the anime community. It was a niche series. The series briefly aired on G4’s anime block, but it was still not widespread. It is a beautiful story that tells the tale of Yuu Gotou and Haruka Kaminogi and their journey of self discovery. Despite Haruka seemingly being the main character, she actually doesn’t develop all that much. In fact it is Yuu who has the most fascinating character arc in the series. An interesting note: Noein means “to observe” in Greek, as Haruka is the absolute observer and makes what she sees a reality with her mysterious powers.

Noein is, at its core, is both a character piece and a science fiction story. Quantum mechanics is a staple of the series, as well as the many-worlds interpretation of Quantum physics. For every choice we make, according to the show and some scientists, the universe branches off into infinity as all possibilities exist. They need an absolute observer though to continue their existence. This is where Haruka comes in. She has mysterious powers and is referred to as the ‘Dragon Torque’ with the ability to alter reality through her power as an observer. Beings suddenly appear though from another space-time to acquire her powers, and one of these individuals is in fact an alternate version of Yuu.

noein-yuu-haruka

Karasu, as he is called, later joins Haruka’s cause to save all worlds from the mysterious Noein, the titular character of the series. He wants to converge all possibilities into a singular world, which is not so different than ideas found in Buddhism. The dichotomy between Yuu and Karasu is quite interesting, as Yuu is an annoying emo kid in the beginning of the series and Karasu is a hardened character with only one goal: protect Haruka, as he wasn’t able to in his dimension.

Throughout the series though, Yuu grows tremendously. He begins to stand up for himself and isn’t filled with self pity any longer. Karasu also grows, as he is not the cold character we are initially introduced to. Haruka seems destined to die in all space-times, but Karasu is hell bent on preventing this. Yuu and Karasu learn to accept each other, and it is interesting to see how the characters compare to one another. There is another player in this dichotomy, but it goes into spoiler territory. In fact, there is so much I could go into, but I don’t want to spoil the series for those who haven’t seen it.

noein-karasu

Noein has science fiction as a backdrop, but at its heart it is a character piece about the struggles of growing up. The music is tremendous and Hikaru Nanase outdid herself with the score. It is both epic in scope and heartwarming when needed. The secondary plot is really the only downfall of this anime, but it can be overlooked because the main plot is so intriguing, including the mystery of Noein. Yuu wants to run away from life and not face reality, which is a struggle that so many people face. People can identify with him and it resonates with viewers. But at the end of the day, Yuu faces his fears and becomes a true hero, inspiring us all.

While Yuu reflects the “light” side of the Yuu character, Karasu is somewhere in between. We later see a character that reflects the dark side of Yuu, and these three characters are the core of the show. There are some truly epic moments in the series, such as episode 20 when Yuu saves Haruka from Noein’s clutches, which has some incredible animation. The music is fits the scene perfectly. The dichotomy between Yuu and his “other selves”, which I believe the series is aptly named for, is the heart of the show. Yuu’s journey is one of the best stories in all of anime.

noein

Noein is not widely known. It is a fascinating tale of a boy facing his fears and continuing to move forward, no matter how painful the future may be and regardless of Haruka’s possible death in the future, which affected his other selves profoundly. The supporting characters are charming and their relationships are a cornerstone of the show. Yuu and Karasu are fantastic characters, although they start out rather slow, as does the series. If you stick with it though, you won’t be disappointed. The show may not be widely known, but Noein is full of a deep mythology which was actually researched pretty well. The animation can be a bit spotty, with different styles being implemented in different episodes, but it actually is cool to see what these talented animators bring to the table, making their mark on the series. It is not perfect by any means, but Noein is a vastly underrated show and should be watched by all.

The Star Wars Prequels Are Better Than You Think

The Star Wars prequels have been lambasted for years. While there are some loyal fans who love the story of Anakin Skywalker, there are others who want to pretend the films never took place. While the aforementioned prequels are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there are so many subtleties hidden throughout the series that are masterful. Whether intentional or not, George Lucas is a genius when it comes to visual storytelling, and this is why the Star Wars prequels are better than you think. Forget the clunky dialogue, forget the “NOOOOOOO” at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and simply focus on the visual aspects of the films. There is also dialogue in the film that resonates and mirrors each other, which is clearly intentional. Although these will only be touched on, it only adds credence to the fact that the Star Wars prequels are better than you think.

Qui-Gon Jinn’s death was tragic. He was, without a doubt, the hero of The Phantom Menace. What’s interesting though is the visual parallel between Qui-Gon’s death and Anakin/Darth Vader’s. Both use a bird’s eye view, and intentional or not, it is a really cool parallel that causes Episode I to rhyme with VI, like a stanza in a poem.

obi-wan-qui-gon

anakin-death-luke

There is also a parallel between Qui-Gonn’s funeral pyre and Anakin’s, as well as a shot at Padme’s funeral. Again, this emphasizes how the three mirror each other, padawan and master, lover and husband.

qui-gon-funeral

darth-vader-funeral

padme-funeral

Count Dooku: I have become more powerful than any Jedi.

Palpatine: I see you becoming the greatest of all the Jedi, Anakin. Even more powerful than Master Yoda.

The Jedi in the prequels are portrayed as heroes, the protectors of justice in the galaxy who live by a strict code . . . when it’s convenient for them. While Anakin’s reasons for turning to the dark side are not entirely justified, one can understand where he’s coming from. He even wants to arrest Palpatine rather than kill him, something the other Jedi are against, breaking the Jedi code. In the scene where he finds out that Palpatine is actually a Sith Lord, Palpatine says this to him:

I can feel your anger. It gives you focus, makes you stronger.

This is almost exactly what Sidious says to Luke in Return of the Jedi.

You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it! Give into your anger! With each passing moment, you make yourself more my servant.

There is even a visual parallel between the two scenes, a close up of Palpatine’s face which is almost the same exact shot.

palpatine-anger

emperor-anger

While it is the Jedi code not to kill, Palpatine encourages Anakin to kill Count Dooku, which he is hesitant to do. Later, he is put in a similar situation with Mace Windu, but the situation is reversed. This time, he tells Windu not to kill Palpatine, but Mace retorts he’s “too dangerous to be left alive.” This directly mirrors what Palpatine said in the beginning of the film. There are also several shots of Yoda, Windu, and Vader all with the same stance, lightsabers in hand, which has to be telling us something about the Sith and the Jedi. Maybe they’re not so different after all?

Palatine: Good, Anakin Good. Kill him. Kill him now.

Anakin: I shouldn’t.

Palatine: Do it.

Palatine: You did well Anakin. He was too dangerous to be kept alive.

Anakin: Yes, but he was an unarmed prisoner. I shouldn’t have done that, it’s not the Jedi way.

These words are later echoed in a confrontation between Mace Windu, Darth Sidious, and Anakin Skywalker.

Mace Windu: I’m going to end this once and for all.

Anakin: You can’t. He must stand trial.

Mace: He has control of the senate and the courts. He’s too dangerous to be left alive.

Anakin: It’s not the jedi way. He must live.

Again, the Star Wars prequels are better you think. These parallels may not matter to some, but the attention to detail is amazing. These next three shots are among my favorites because they are so blatant in comparing the Jedi to the Sith. The Jedi are not necessarily the good guys, not to say that they are on par with the Sith.

mace-lightsaber

yoda-lightsaber

vader-lightsaber

This is a fascinating comparison. It is also worthy to note that in every lightsaber battle, it is always the Jedi who draw their sabers first, not the Sith. Could this be indicative of something?

Not but not least, another reason why the Star Wars prequels are better than you think is the parallel between Luke and Obi-Wan. Luke and Obi-Wan both lost a master. They are, rightfully so, devastated by the loss. Both scream out “No!” during this pivotal moment. The shot is exactly the same. Again, the two rhyme like a stanza in a poem, and Episode I mirrors Episode VI: A New Hope.

obi-wan-qui-gon-death

luke-obi-wan-death

Another parallel shot is when when Anakin is transforming into Darth Vader and Padme is dying. This is a perfect contrast between Padme’s impending death and Anakin’s “metaphorical death” “becoming” Darth Vader. It shows just how much the Star Wars prequels are better than you think. These scenes really do make you view Star Wars in a brand new light.

anakin-death

padme-death

It’s a fact: The Star Wars prequels are better than you think. There are so many other visual parallels I could choose from, but that would take up so much time; the saga is littered with them. The Jedi want Luke to kill Anakin rather than save him, which is clearly against the code. Instead, Luke throws away his saber, casting his power beside, much like traditional heroes do. It is through this act that his father realizes his wrongdoings and puts an end to things once and for all. Anakin is the perfect example of a tragic hero and his journey is pivotal to the series. Like him or not, his arc makes the saga so great and is engrained in film history, and Lucas portrays this visually and has created a masterpiece which will last for generations to come, despite the clunky dialogue and Jar Jar Binks.