Saturday, June 23, 2007

Notes about Eastern fiction

I'm not very experienced in Eastern (or Asian, if you prefer the word) literature and/or related fiction. I'm currently reading "The Devil Wives of Li Fong," and in the past I've read a few Eastern-related short stories.

However, I am somewhat versed in Asian films that have made it to the U.S. market. I've seen nearly all of Kurosawa's works, my favorite being "Yojimbo." I've watched a lot of Woo's films, with "The Killer" being my fav, and I much prefer his Hong Kong pictures before he came to Hollywood. In the last decade I've seen a number of horror movies from Asia, "Ringu" and "Battle Royale" tied for my favorites in that genre. And, of course, as a kid and teen I watched all kinds of dubbed kung fu movies.

None of which makes me an expert on Eastern stories or films. I'm sure the literature and movies of Asia cover a much broader spectrum than my limited readings and viewings.

And let me add, to this day I don't get anime or manga; other than "Akira," most of what I've read or seen I didn't care much for.

Maybe it's a lack of relevancy. Maybe it's a difference of cultures. Maybe it's because the Eastern world is somewhat alien to me. Maybe it's because I'm just another dumb, fat American. I don't know. I don't discount Eastern literature or film, because some of what I've experienced I have enjoyed tremendously, but it's just something I don't have a lot of experience with.

All of that being said, the reason I really wrote this long-winded post is because of something I've noticed in Asian stories over the years. What I've noticed is that most Eastern characters don't seem to have much reaction to sudden, major changes in their lives.

A Western example: Bilbo Baggins. Poor Bilbo is pulled out of his nice, cozy Hobbit hole to go on an adventure for a dragon's gold. This quite drastically changes Bilbo's life and character. Throughout "The Hobbit" he bemoans the fact he has been practically forced to become an adventurer, and he misses his old Hobbit hole and a cup of tea quite constantly.

I don't see this fretting in Eastern characters. I don't mean this as a criticism, of the characters or the cultures. It's just something I've noticed. Maybe it's an acceptance of fate? I don't know.

Then again, I'm probably just not experienced enough in Asian fiction.


Howard von Darkmoor said...

You're fat?

Jordan Lapp said...

Of course he's fat. All us writers could stand to lose a few pounds. It's a sedentary lifestyle.

Akira ROCKS!!! A-KI-RA

Try "Howl's Moving Castle", "The Peacock King", Ninja Scroll, and Ghost in the Shell. They all rock.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

I enjoyed the "Howl's Moving Castle" movie. Perhaps I shall move on to the books as well.

The Dark Scribe said...

I've been wanting to read Battle Royale. That's the one that's like "high school survivor with lethal weapons," right? Sounds like a lot of fun :)

Ty said...

Jason: Yes, I'm fat. Not always that way, but currently am.

Jordan: I tried "Ghost in the Shell." It had it's great, flashy moments, but ... I wasn't impressed. Just me. Five billion others can't be wrong.

Dark Scribe: I haven't read Battle Royale yet, but I have seen the movie. It has its funny moments, but overall its dark, borderline grotesque at times. Definitely a disturbing story. But hey, it's lots of fun too!

Anonymous said...

Diana Wynne Jones wrote the book on which "Howl's Moving Castle" is based. She's British.

While I haven't read "Howl," I have read enough of Wynne's books to say the movie fairly closely reflects her story-telling style. So I don't think it will offer a lot of insight into Asian fiction.


cyn said...

you're seen more asian films than i have! so you know more about it than i do. i have noticed many chinese films are so tragic...

i've taken to jumproping while the bubs are napping.