Monthly Archives: September 2015

How “Fringe” can Hint to the Future of “Steven Universe”

Two shows. One is a live-action, cult hit, drama-oriented show starring three protagonists and their adventures into the slightly strange along with the occasional drug trip. The second is an ongoing, animated show starring a boy, his three alien mentors, and their adventures in the fantastical along with the occasional song. These two shows, Fringe and Steven Universe, are so different from each other that making parallels or comparisons between the two would be difficult if not nonsensical.

Yet both of them have a strong focus on parenting and in particular, Fringe deals with fatherhood while Steven Universe concentrations on motherhood. I want to dive in to how both of these shows deal with their respective parent and discuss if the now ended Fringe can tell us the future of the still ongoing Steven Universe.

Let’s start with Fringe. Fringe’s attitude and theme towards fatherhood is at first quite subtle. Our main source is Peter and his dad Walter who are two of the three main protagonists of the show. Season One focused greatly on Peter and Walter amending their very rocky relationship which culminated to Peter finding a newfound love and respect for Walter. As the series progressed, new fatherly relationships are expanded on such as Astrid Figglesworth’s uneasy relationship with her dad and Olivia being abused by her step-father when she was a child. The big kicker though comes in the reveal that Peter is from an alternate universe and Walter kidnapped him when he was a child when his Peter died. This catalyzed most of the series’ events including one of the show’s main antagonists, Walternate, or the Walter from the alternate universe, and his quest to get his son back. Super trippy and balls awesome, yes, but it does highlight the lengths both Walters had to go through in order to save their son. Fatherhood was ratcheted up a notch in the final season (and this was when my roommate and I noticed its prevalence) when Peter went to great lengths to avenge his daughter’s death and September was willing to sacrifice his life for his son Michael. It was also the season where Walter sacrificed his life for his son Peter in a very bittersweet ending. This article does a great job summarizing Peter and Water’s relationship and I highly suggest you read it if you are a Fringe fan.

Steven Universe’s themes of motherhood are starkly more apparent than Fringe’s initial dip into fatherhood. First off, Steven basically has three moms and a dad that we only see every four episodes or so. Steven’s own mom also gave up her existence to bare her child and to symbolize her love for Steven’s dad, Greg. Season 2 has also been giving us a lot of great mom episodes involving Connie’s mom, Sadie’s mom, and, of all people, Onion’s mom. Already, we have seen themes of nurturing (Onion’s mom), protection (Connie’s mom), and encouragement (Sadie’s mom) that make up a big part of motherhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more mom episodes in the future from other supporting characters along with a more detailed look at Steven’s mom, Rose Quartz, and her love for Greg.

Okay, so is there a connection between these two, vastly different shows’ approach towards parenthood? Well, there is but both of them handle it differently.   Boiling down plot elements to their purest form, we see a strong sense of sacrifice from both mothers and fathers. As mentioned before, the fathers in Fringe go to great lengths to avenge, protect, or preserve their offspring from harm no matter what the costs. In Steven Universe, Rose Quartz sacrificed her life to bare Steven while the Crystal Gems defend and protect Steven even if they are harmed during the process.

Now granted, Steven Universe is still an ongoing and continuously evolving show so we have yet to witness the full potential of it. This idea of sacrifice may play out more or there may be other themes of motherhood that would be touched on instead (like the aforementioned nurturing, encouragement, and protection). Nonetheless, Fringe could give us a clue into the future of Steven Universe, a future where things aren’t as rosy as they currently are.

As situations will likely become dire, we should expect the characters on Steven Universe to make tough decisions that would ultimately change the current standing of the show. This show is not afraid to challenge familiar tropes and the status quo. Other Cartoon Network shows, mainly Adventure Time and somewhat Regular Show, have done the same thing to their setting and characters and it’s not surprising that Steven Universe is already doing it despite its still young lifespan. Likewise, Fringe is similar in to Steven Universe due to its plot setup, its embracement of the untypical trope situations, and how every season is unique due to dire changes that happened at the end of the previous season. What I’m saying is that Steven Universe is changing and will continue to surprise us in ways we won’t expect, the days of status quo continuity, as seen in Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, are long and forgotten.

First off, if we were to be directly inspired by Fringe, there might be a global invasion of Homeworld Gems. If the Cluster, whatever that is, does not work out. Yellow Diamond may take it upon herself to call a massive invasion onto Earth, and establish a matriarchy on the planet. Steven’s home could be destroyed, his city would be forced into curfew, and Homeworld Soldiers would patrol the streets looking for him and the Crystal Gems. This happened in the final season of Fringe when the Observers took over the protagonists’ universe and basically established a fascist patriarchy. This comparison between the Observers and the Homeworld Gems is not farfetched as they are characterized by their mysterious nature, their power, and their preference towards one particular gender. Both forces were hinted at since near the beginning of their respective shows and we’re only given teases and glimpses into their world as their series continued. And now, it will only be a matter of time before the Homeworld Gems make their true, and world-shattering entrance.

As fan theories go, this one is kind of out there so if you were looking for something easier to swallow I present you with this. Fringe’s final season was intense with emotion, action, and payoff. Steven Universe will likely emulate this on both the positive and negative notes. If sacrifice does come into play in the show’s final moments, we will likely see some of our favorite characters pass away (and not just reborn) for the protection and preservation of Steven.

While Fatherhood, both in Fringe and in general, may be categorized by bravery, morality, and wisdom and Motherhood may be categorized by the aforementioned nurturing, protection, and encouragement, both are ultimately link in self-sacrifice. What lengths would any good Father or Mother go to in order to preserve their child? Fringe knows this and embraces this. Steven Universe will likely go the same path. Pearl loves Rose Quartz and her child Steven. Pearl has sacrificed herself so many times in order to protect Rose. Whose to say that she won’t do it again but this time, end her life permanently by doing so? What effect will this have on Steven’s psyche when that time comes?

Perhaps Steven will become hardened by his loss and take on the role of both a father and a mother figure to the rest of his family and friends. We saw a glimpse of this in the premiere of season 2 when he tried to shut Connie away from his troubles. He wants to protect those he love. If a true tragic loss were to occur, he may go more extreme than this and take on a role similar to Peter when his daughter died in the final Fringe season. If that were to occur, he’ll need Connie, similar to Peter’s significant other Olivia, to pull him back and embrace his true humanity, once again.

Advertisements

This could work: Star Wars KotoR and One Piece mash up

Surprisingly, I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the first time this year after some pressure from my friends and Mary. Despite a few buggy issues, the game was marvelous (even if I was spoiled). The characters are funny, complex, and memorable, and the combat system is neat with a diverse range of upgrade options. This game has convinced me to try out the Mass Effect games sometime in the future as not only does the same company make them but they also have been highly praised as well.

Now with that said, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a KotoR-style game in the One Piece universe? Imagine it, you are a captain of a pirate crew and you travel the world of One Piece while recruiting members, fighting the marines, and establishing yourself as King of the Pirates! Now, you could do a game following the Straw Hat Pirate crew but that can be limiting in terms of story and character development (plus the story is not even done yet). Instead, this game should follow KotoR’s path and establish itself far in the past, free from all the restrictions of Luffy and his crew’s main storyline.

Of course, the immediately clear benefit of this is that all the Devil Fruits are ripe for the eating! All the Paramecian, Zoan, and Logian fruits would be available for yourself, your crew, and the variety of enemies you can fight! Maybe at the beginning of the game, while you are designing your character, gender, and so forth, you can choose (or Hell just forego completely!) a certain selection of Devil Fruits for your captain-to-be. Afterwards, you can name your ship, your crew name, and the design of your flag.

After you pick your character and his fighting style, you can then recruit characters as you sail the four seas and the Grand Line. Maybe certain characters would want to be a great brawler, swordsman, or sniper. As they level up, put skill points on the variety of fighting styles to improve their profession.

Leveling up would also give you noncombat skill points for carpeting, navigation, cooking, music playing, and first-aid. Navigation I think would be especially important as every crew needs a good navigator to get through the seas with their wild and crazy storms. Certain islands would need a navigation skill level, and of course the required log post, in order to reach them. Especially high would be islands in the New World. Likewise, carpeting can improve your ship’s sailing and battling capabilities as well as needed repairs. Carpeting could also improve your ship’s accessibility to treacherous waters that would otherwise capsize or demolish it. Cooking would give you handy healing and morale-boosting items that would otherwise be unavailable during the game while first-aid training would serve as your standard “Healer” role in RPGs. As for musician training, you can do your standard morale-boosting spells but also incorporate music into your attacks, that would be great!

YOHOHOHOHOHOHO

Now your crew members, I think, should already be their own characters in the same vein as Mass Effect and KotoR. They were what made KotoR so great, all the great characters like HK-47 and Jolee really made the game fun to play. Likewise, having kooky characters with a variety of personalities or traits would bestow a real charm to your crew (plus the bickering would be quite amusing).

One important aspect of KotoR that would also be incorporated into this One Piece game would be the moral decision making. Do you choose to be honorable pirates or pirates that do whatever the hell they want or pirates who burn, pillage, and kill anyone and anything in its path? One Piece has certainly given us a variety of pirate crews that vary considerably on this sliding scale of morality. Key scenes such as whether or not to kill some captive marines, stealing a poor town’s treasure, or a simple good deed can reflect your popularity (and notoriety) with citizens, the marines, and other pirate crews. The same could be said with your actions whether it’s finding a little girl’s mom or toppling an island’s ruthless dictatorship. This would be very similar to Red Dead Redemption’s morality and popularity scales.

Speaking of which, bounties in the game can be interesting as depending on your actions, yours and your crew’s bounties could increase over time. The marines are very bias (and corrupt) though so certain actions, like sinking a marine ship, could raise your bounty faster than stealing a town’s gold. I can only imagine how that will affect your performance during the game as what would happen if you got caught or lost a battle? Maybe it will reset to your last save point but I haven’t come up a good way in handling bounties yet in this One Piece RPG.

Something that also could be incorporated into the game is having your own fleet. Once you achieve a certain amount of popularity, you could recruit other pirate crews to be your division commanders and that would be AWESOME. Having a fleet means you can storm guarded bases like Impel Down or Enies Lobby or even topple an entire country! You could have an army of ships, ready at your beck and call and take down any pirate crews who stand in your way!

There are still other potential ideas that I have untouched like bounty hunting, ship customization, and haki training. Aaaaaah. Just writing this article makes me so excited even though this game doesn’t exist. This game should be made, I would play the hell out of it!

Fossil Butte Article for National Fossil Day

Hello everyone, it’s been awhile since my last update but I figure I’ll show you what I’ve been up to.  My assignment here at Fossil Butte National Monument was to write an article about this place for National Fossil Day.  This year, every month, a Cenozoic park is featured on the National Park Service website.  September is Fossil Butte’s month and I wrote the article for it!  Check it out!

https://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/cenozoic_fobu.cfm

Consider this my usual Monday update.  I’ve been busy in the meanwhile working at FOBU doing the standard stuff I mentioned before such as manning the front desk and preparing fossils.  It’s still been fun here and I’ve been enjoying working with my colleagues.  I’ve also been writing some articles for the blog in the future so stay tuned for that.  Until next time!