World Communication Systems Blogs- Week 12

Being one of the most diverse regions in the world, Oceania has one of the most interesting media systems to discuss. Oceania is composed of four major sub-regions, each with their own unique history and cultures. These sub-regions are Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia, and Polynesia. These sub-regions combined have over 1,000 spoken languages. This is just an example of the extremity of diversity in the region, and it is reflected in their media systems. However, that doesn’t even begin to cover the impact of external influence, including, but not limited to, European colonization.

Each sub-region of Oceania, and even the individual countries within them, have unique media systems. While some are extremely restricted, such as Tonga, others are beacons of press freedom, such as Fiji. With notable exceptions of Australia and New Zealand, newspapers in the region tend to have very low impact. This is due to high illiteracy rates throughout most of Oceania However, with regards to other mediums, usage is varied, due to the heterogeneity of the region.

The major media hub of Oceania is considered by many to be New Zealand. It has the most immigration from other Oceanic countries, other than Australia. It has the most developed and popular media systems of the region, and is a very popular location in other aspects, such as tourism and governmental systems.

Evidently, the sheer diversity of Oceania leads to inconsistency of media systems in the region. While some are very free, others are extremely restricted. Medium usage also varies greatly between sub-regions and individual nations. External influences, as well as European colonization, still has major impacts on media of the region today. Therefore, it is hard to pin down a single media system standard that defines Oceania.

Sources:

  1. http://education.nationalgeographic.com/encyclopedia/oceania-physical-geography/
  2. http://press.anu.edu.au/ssgm/global_gov/mobile_devices/ch06s05.html
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World Communication Systems Blogs- Week 11

Latin America is a very unstable region with regards to its media system. Firstly, there is inconsistency on a country to country basis, simply based on the different cultures and influences that affect them. However, there is also media instability caused by frequent regime change and historical colonization.

Latin America is a region that many European powers colonized during the Columbian exchange era. These countries have had a massive impact on the region, completely altering their societies as they knew it. Mainly colonized by the British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and French; the indigenous people of the region had their cultures minimized in favor for a dominant, European way of life. The media influences of these European powers can still be seen in Latin American media today.

There is also the issue of political instability in the region. Many countries in Latin America have frequent regime changes. With this governmental chaos of sorts comes a fluctuation in media freedom. Some regimes will allow large amounts of freedom, while others will use extreme propaganda and censorship to prevent the media from operating freely. As discussed, this varies on a country to country and regime to regime basis.

Evidently, Latin America’s media systems are very hard to define due to historical influence, a variety of cultures, and frequent regime changes. However, for the most part, the region has relatively low media freedom today. Therefore, while some beacons of free media do exist in the region, they are rare.

Sources:

http://classroom.synonym.com/european-nations-established-colonies-latin-america-23245.html

https://freedomhouse.org/blog/fragile-state-media-freedom-latin-america

RWBY Vol. 3: Episode 2- Review

This week’s episode of RWBY, though not as intense as the premiere, was still fantastic. I have a feeling the sentence prior will be used to describe almost every episode this season (at least that’s what I can hope for). With only two major plot developments, which I will discuss towards the end of this review, this episode was really more focused on characterization. 

Returning to the animation upgrade I discussed in my review of the volume premiere, there was something I failed to mention. This episode really brought prominence to it, so I thought i’d discuss it here. With the improvement in animation comes major strides in battle animation in particular. The tournament matches of this episode were some of the most enticing, fluid, and all around fun battles i’ve ever seen in animation period. I give the animators props for making battles, which can sometimes be tedious and boring, to be some of the most interesting parts of the episode. However, I don’t think this feat is accomplished by the animators alone.

I believe that the writers are using these tournament battles as a vehicle for characterization. Although we are already familiar with team JNPR, we get to see their battle dynamic in a new light through in-battle dialogue and collaborative choreography. We are also introduced to the final two members of team SSSN. Both Scarlet David and Sage Ayana are very well designed characters, and we really get to know them through their actions in the tournament battle. This instance in particular seems to prove my point. I look forward to seeing what new characters we will meet this way, as well as how these battles will better characterize show veterans.

Finally, the point you have all been waiting for, Qrow. Firstly, from the two scenes showing him drinking at a bar, as well as the extremely clever animation technique used when he walks, it is revealed he is an alcoholic. My personal theory is that his alcoholism is due to the loss of two people he loved and cared about more than anyone else (excluding Taiyang obviously), Summer Rose and Raven Branwen. However, it was also revealed that he is not at Beacon to watch the tournament, but to either rendezvous or intercept with Winter Schnee, who was shown at the end of the episode to be arriving at Beacon.

Speaking of Winter, I was surprised at Weiss’ reaction to Winter’s arrival. I thought it was hinted at in the past that the two had a bad relationship. However, it is clear that they either love each other, or that Weiss idolizes Winter in an unhealthy way. The latter would make an interesting character development for Weiss, so i’m hoping for that. However, Winter’s arrival may have something to do with the dynamic between Weiss and her father. Maybe winter has come to Beacon to convince Weiss to reconcile with her father. However, what we do know from both the opening and Qrow’s dialogue, is that Qrow and Winter will be meeting up sometime very soon.

It’s episodes like these that exemplify why RWBY Volume 3 is the most excited I’ve been for a TV season in a while. Every episode leaves me on the edge of the seat, and has me counting down the days until the next one. I doubt there’s going to be a bad episode this season, so please don’t read these reviews if you don’t want to hear me gushing about how much I love this show.

Rick and Morty: S2 E10- Review

Season 2 of Rick and Morty has come and gone. While it definitely has had its ups and downs, theres no denying that this finale was not only the hands down best episode of the entire series, but one of the best season finales in television history. With major plot developments, character reunions, and the strongest emotional core of a Rick and Morty episode to date; theres no denying that this episode was a masterpiece on every level.

Due to the sheer amount of important content in the episode, this will be a spoiler filled review. Therefore, if you have not already seen this episode, I would highly recommend watching it before reading this review. However, make sure you have seen the rest of the series up until this point before watching, or else you will be very lost.

With the most important episode to the main narrative since season 1’s Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind, it is clear that this was a game changer for Rick and Morty. Rick, Morty, and the rest of the Smith family are invited to the wedding of Birdperson and Tammy on Planet Squanch. Rick, despising weddings due to his own failed marriage, does not want to attend. However, after Jerry is accidentally transported to said wedding, Rick must endure, and suffer through the event.

After intense hesitance, Rick finally decides to open up and enjoy himself after having a deep conversation with Morty. However, the second he does so, Tammy reveals that she was an undercover agent for the Galactic Federation the entire time, and assassinates Birdperson on the spot. The rest of the episode follows the Smith family, and their attempts to find a new home due to the newly forming Galactic Federation presence on Earth.

The episode concludes with what is hands down the strongest character development for Rick in the series to date. This also doubles as the most emotional scene in the show. Rick turns himself in to the Galactic Federation in order ensure the safety of his family. The episode ends with him being imprisoned for life, accompanied by the emotion triggering song Hurt, by Nine Inch Nails.

This episode not only developed Rick to an extent we have never seen before, it revealed a massive amount of previously unknown backstory. We now know that Rick, Birdperson, and Squanchy were part of some sort of failed rebellion against the Galactic Federation during their younger years. This explains why Rick was never there for Beth when she was growing up, and might explain why his wife left him. We also see Rick, an extremely self centered man, sacrifice himself for the safety of his family. Rick has truly changed as a character; this was a major turning point for Rick and Morty.

However, what could be either interpreted as hilarious nonsense, or the single most important scene of the episode, is the post-credits scene. Mr. Poopybutthole is sitting in an apartment of sorts, still healing from the gunshot wound inflicted on him earlier in the season. It is revealed that he is watching the episode we just finished on a TV. Once it ends, he turns to the camera, and explains how much he loved the episode we just watched, and how he is still healing from Beth’s attack. He then assaults a pizza delivery boy attempting to give him his dinner, due to the sheer amount of excitement he has for the episode. Left to twitch on the floor in a pile of pizza, he makes one of the best jokes in the series to date.

This scene could be scene as a random event used just for laughs, in typical Dan and Justin fashion. However, I think it has much larger implications for the series. I believe that Mr. Poopybutthole is some sort of overseeing figure, serving a similar role to the narrative as the Concierge in Bravest Warriors. This could be a major development for the overarching plot, and change the game that is Rick and Morty for good. Although this scene isn’t enough to make any grand conclusions, it is a major hint to the puzzle of deciphering this complex and dense narrative. Take this scene as you will, but I believe it will have major relevance to the end game of the series.

Evidently, this episode was a flawless masterpiece of a finale. I never expected an episode of this caliber, and almost never expect to see one again. It raised the bar for an already almost perfect series. I don’t think I can handle waiting a year and a half for new Rick and Morty content, but it is something I must do. This actually concludes my first completely reviewed TV season on this blog. I loved sharing my opinions of this show with you all, and I look forward to returning to the series in 2016.

RWBY Vol. 3: Episode 1- Review

After over a year long hiatus, RWBY is finally back, and better than ever. With what can be seen on a technical level to be one of the best premieres in online series history; it is clear that this volume s going to be the best yet. As it is nearly impossible to review this episode without giving away content, this will be a spoiler filled review. Therefore, if you have not yet seen the episode, be sure to watch it before reading this.

The episode begins with Ruby talking to her mother at her grave stone. In a way, I saw this scene as an indirect tribute to the passing of the creative mastermind behind the series, Monty Oum. However, we learn a lot about the personalities of both Summer Rose, and Taiyang Xiao Long; whom we get to see for the first time, as he is standing behind Ruby.

This shot in particular brings me to my first major point, background character design. Rather than using black figures, or stock models; the animators decided to use detailed stills. These stills have a differing style from the standard character models, making them extremely unique and detailed. The animators use this mechanic to their advantage throughout the episode, and I look forward to seeing how they handle this skillful technique in the future.

We then cut to the highly anticipated Vytal Tournament itself. Unfortunately, we are treated to an exposition dump with regards to the rules of the tournament. While somewhat jarring to the viewing experience, it wasn’t a large enough flaw to hinder my overall opinion of the episode. In this battle we see some of the best character facial reactions in animation to date, especially coming from Blake, who if you did not know, is my favorite character in the series.

This battle in particular showcases the massive upgrades that Rooster Teeth made to their animation engine. Everything is much more fluid, crisp, and bright; and is a true pleasure for the eye to look at. If you put this action scene side by side with an action scene from early volume 1, you could definitely see a major difference. However, a con of pioneering this animation engine is a slight bug that I noticed on multiple occasions throughout the episode. When characters are standing completely still, they tend to slightly vibrate. This causes a jarring effect that takes me out of the scene immediately. I am very forgiving of this flaw, however, as this is a new technology that they are pioneering with this episode. With time, this bug can easily be fixed.

During a conversation slightly further in the episode between team RWBY and Emerald, it is revealed that the fourth member of Cinder’s team is indeed Neo, wearing a very convincing disguise. It was great to see one of the most intriguing characters in the show for a third time, and this scene definitely got the biggest reaction out of me for this episode. I cant wait to see more Neo this season, and maybe even hear her voice.

Speaking of voices, lets talk about Ren’s new voice actor. If you did not know, Ren was voiced by the late Monty Oum. Therefore, he was re-casted to be played by Monty’s brother Neath. The new voice, although not identical to Monty’s, is perfect for the character. From Ren’s minimal dialogue in this episode, it is clear that Neath is an extremely talented voice actor. I cant wait to see how he handles this character, and I have complete faith that he will do it well.

Further developing Ren’s character was a piece of dialogue from Nora. In a fit of insecurity, Nora reveals that her and Ren do not have any parents. Knowing that the two have been inseparable since an early age, this brings a lot of speculation to their backstory. Were they living on the streets? Were they raised in an orphanage together? I like this ambiguity, but I would like to know a bit more. I have a feeling before the series ends, we will be able to put the puzzle pieces together and figure this mystery out.

Another interesting plot development was Weiss’ relationship with her father. When he tried to call her after her match in the tournament, she declined his call. It is clear that there is some sort of strain in their relationship, but it would be interesting to know what. We later see that he most likely cancelled her credit card, as she could not pay for her team’s ramen. As Weiss’ sister Winter will be coming into the story at some point this volume, I believe we will find out what is going on in this dynamic very soon.

The final plot development I will be discussing is a particular scene involving Mercury, Emerald, and Cinder. Cinder reveals that the three know the outcomes to each match of the tournament. Therefore, it can be inferred that the tournament is rigged in some way. Could it be that Cinder, or one of her unknown higher ups has skewed the tournament in order to fit into their plans? Only time will tell.

Evidently, this was one of the most dense RWBY episodes to date. With massive improvements in storytelling, writing, and animation; it is clear that this was the best premiere of the series yet. If this episode is any indicator, we are in for a great volume.