November 13, 2023

Thoughts on Hardcore (1979) by Schrader: Manic Pixie Dream Girls, thriller vs. action "rescue" movies, and complex / useful vs. simple / superfluous violence and nudity

I wrote another post in the comments section on an unrelated topic, which I'll copy-paste into a new post, because search engines don't see comments, only the main body of posts. In case someone is looking for insights into this movie.

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Hardcore by Paul Schrader has a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in it. A quirky, corporeal, free spirit with an earthly guardian angel role to play vis-a-vis the protagonist, who is a down-on-his-luck sad sack (divorced dad of a daughter who's run away). They form an odd-couple partnership.

She nurses him back to health, keeps him sane, guides him through hell, and keeps him on the right track to achieve his loftiest goals, including winning over or winning back a girl -- not the MPDG herself, who as usual does not end up with him in the end, nor even a romantic interest (i.e. his estranged ex-wife). But *does* help unite him with his daughter.

The movie came out in 1979, during the restless phase of the 15-year excitement cycle ('75-'79 in this case), when the MPDG type proper comes out.

The character, Niki, is played by an actress (Season Hubley) who was born in the manic phase of the cycle (1951, during the '50-'54 manic phase), like most other MPDGs. As shown in her topless scenes, she is a butt girl rather than a boob girl, just like most other MPDGs. Height varies a lot among the type, and she's 5'5 fwiw.

I knew while watching the movie that she'd be born in a manic phase, and I was right!

Sidebar: there's a "doomed MPDG" type in Frenzy by Hitchcock, recalling this post about Michelle from Frantic by Polanski. That post also contains links to earlier entries in my MPDG series, which began in 2019, tying it into my series on the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, which I began in 2017 (and has its own category tag in the blog's sidebar, unlike MPDG's).

Frenzy was made in '72, during the vulnerable phase of '70-'74, like Frantic ('88, during the '85-89 vulnerable phase). So she doesn't quite get to play the full guardian angel role for the down-on-his-luck sad-sack protag.

In fact (spoilers), she winds up getting killed in the process of trying to help the protag realize his lofty goals.

Still, I knew that like Emmanuelle Seigner, she must've been born during a manic phase -- at least that much of this type stays true to the proper MPDG role that comes out during a restless phase. And sure enough, the actress who plays Babs (Anna Massey) was born in 1937, during the '35-39 manic phase.

Niki, the MPDG, is the stand-out character in Hardcore. Still thinking about her the day after viewing, she made a real impression, and without a theatrical or melodramatic performance either.

George C. Scott's character, the father in search of his teenage runaway daughter, is too literally Puritan to give the audience much of an emotional opening to connect and empathize with. He bottles everything up for 99% of the time, and lets it explode during the other 1% -- but unless you're also a Dutch Calvinist Midwesterner, for whom this is normal and expected behavior, it can be hard to connect with.

Contrast with Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, written by Paul Schrader just a few years earlier. His extensive monologue voiceovers open up his mind to the audience, not to mention his more "tell it like it is, nothing held back, no BS" back-East behavior, which lets him pour his thoughts and feelings out even in the presence of other characters, whether socially appropriate or not. It may feel like wincingly tip-toe-ing through a seedy motel entrance, but it's still an opening for the audience to connect with his mind.

That's where the MPDG comes to the rescue in Hardcore. This type is always on a rescue mission of some kind, but here it's not just within the narrative, helping him achieve his goals and rise out of the depths he's currently in -- it's to chip away at his Puritan exterior on behalf of the audience, who can finally see what's really going on inside and connect.

Only the earthy prostitute and occasional porno actress can get him to drop his guard -- her sharing of her good-vibes hippie-dippie Venusian religion prompts him to explain the tenets of his Calvinist religion, in a way that he'd never opened up about before. He and his religion come off more sympathetically after this, since he's not thundering down a sermon to her, just matter-of-factly explaining it to her like he's a Sunday School teacher and she's a new student. She (and we) may not resonate with it, but it's not off-putting either.

Her playful teasing gets him to use sexually profane slang ("sucking off"), contrary to his buttoned-up usual speech.

But most of all, she's the only one whose attentive and nurturing behavior gets him to open up about where his wife is in the whole family picture. (Before he simply lied and said she was dead, not estranged / divorced and living in some God-forsaken place back East.) It's a nice small-scale cathartic moment for him, to have a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, so that he doesn't keep bottling everything up until it explodes in an aimless counter-productive rage.

Nice spin on the typical MPDG formula of coaxing a wary sad sack out of his shell, to liven up his lifestyle. Usually it means the guy leads a boring ho-hum routine, but still in a relatable way and allowing us to empathize with him (the security of routine, can't get hurt if you don't risk much exposure, etc.). But in Hardcore, he's so bottled-up and seething that her coaxing him out of his shell is necessary to make him relatable to the audience.

Great attention to detail in the costume design, too, where she's wearing a t-shirt that simply has the word "SniFF" printed on it. Believable as a novelty t-shirt, but emphasizing that she's an earthy / sensual type, not necessarily a smell fetishist (in which case the shirt would be a deep inhaling "SNIFFFFF") -- just curious and exploring the world through the corporeal senses, rather than intellect and reason and logic and argument. Sniff, sniff, sniff...

Not something a Puritan would have printed on their shirt. The right small detail can go a long way toward cementing their odd-couple relationship, and her corporeality vs. his cerebral / spiritual approach.

Season Hubley gives a nice physical performance in her poses as well. At first, she's shown as a typical stripper / prostitute, casually taking off her top and spreading her legs akimbo, high-heeled shoes kicking right up against the glass partition in the peep-show booth. Meant to be salacious and provocative, like anyone who sells sex for a living -- emotionally checked-out from the situation, not like a trusted confidante.

But by the time they form their unlikely partnership and have bonded somewhat, her pose changes completely. Head bowed somewhat in humility, cocked to the side in curiosity, leg raised on one side while sitting down to convey an air of opened-up, informal relaxation -- the right tone for a confidante to create, if she wants the other side to let their guard down -- rather than stiff, stern judgement that he'd be used to in a setting where he's confessing about what's gone wrong in his life.

More images here.

Reminder that in Taxi Driver, the MPDG is not Jodie Foster's character Iris -- she represents the lofty goal that the down-in-the-dumps protag is striving to reach (saving her from a life on the streets).

And she's not born during a manic phase, but a restless phase, which produces the wild-child type (1962, during the '60-'64 restless phase). True to that type, she comes across as numb and glib about her wild-child teen runaway prostitute lifestyle. She does wear a boho costume, but that just shows that the MPDG is not about costume, but the role she plays in the narrative.

She does provoke the ho-hum protag -- but more for the sake of provocation, shocking a square, to convince herself that she's cool and hip, unlike him. Not to chip away at his exterior, to get him to drop his guard, so she can nurture him and rescue him from the depths, so that he can achieve his goals in life.

Rather, the MPDG is Betsy, played by Cybill Shepherd, who naturally enough was born during a manic phase (1950). She's not a wild-child who provokes for the fun of it all. She views him as an intriguing social-emotional rehab project for her to work on, nurture, and encourage, so that he can walk on his own again and accomplish greater things than what he's currently mired in.

She's the one who the protag literally describes as an angel descending, the one who inspires him to let his guard down, take a chance on opening up and connecting to other people (including women), even if he takes that too far due to his rusty social skills from having been isolated and alienated for so long.

But by the end of the movie, when she rides in his cab again, they clearly have no hard feelings, and in fact smile knowingly at each other, as though she were the one who started him off on his quest toward rescuing Iris and cleaning up the scum from the city in his own humble way. Very tender and endearing final moment, even if (as usual) the MPDG and the protag do not wind up as a couple. Her rehab project has turned out a success, and the guy who recuperated due to her intervention is grateful for her support and encouragement that began the process of rising out of the depths.

And of course Taxi Driver came out during a restless phase, 1976.

Last thought on Niki from Hardcore. Her getting the protag to drop his guard and open up serves a further narrative purpose -- turns out, the daughter ran away and joined the seedy porno world on her own, because she felt her father was too emotionally distant, cold, judgemental, and driving her friends away as potential bad influences. She ran away to find someone who would befriend her, however parasitically.

When he finally tracks her down, she's reluctant to go back to the same family environment that repulsed her in the first place. So the father has to open up, be vulnerable, and show that he's at least aware that his bottled-up Puritan behavior was responsible, while still asking her to understand that he does love her but never felt comfortable showing it.

He's been changed by the MPDG's rehab process, and he's now able to prove that to the girl that represents his lofty goals (rescuing his daughter from the streets at least, ideally bringing her back home). She wouldn't have believed him if he'd shown up thundering a Puritanical sermon against her, or coldly listing the consequences of her actions, etc. That would've been more of the same, and she wouldn't have decided there was anything worth returning to.

But now able to open up, confess in a sympathetic way, ask for forgiveness again in a sympathetic way, showing a positive catharsis -- not merely on a blind revenge mission against the men she hooked up with -- he convinces her that life will be different, more socially and emotionally supportive, connected, and warm back home. So she decides to go back with him after all, thanks to the MPDG's decision to take him as an intriguing rehab project, acting as his earthly guardian angel when institutions (the church, the police, his own family) could not save him.

Heh, Peter Boyle's character in Hardcore is similar to an MPDG, although from the male camaraderie angle, not the female nurturer angle.

He's a bit boho and unconventional himself, earthy and sensory-based (as well as logical, being a P.I.). Opens up, holds nothing back, no-BS, hoping some of that attitude will rub off on the bottled-up Puritan protag, who he refers to as "pilgrim" -- not just referencing his Puritanical religion, but conveying his awareness that the protag is on a kind of quest or journey, and needing a guide such as himself.

And he doesn't take on the father's case just for the money -- it's also to protect the protag, like a surrogate patriarch (whereas the MPDG is more maternal and nurturing). He guides him along the way to achieve his lofty goals, steering him through the hellish depths so he doesn't remain mired there forever.

He plays a similar role toward Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, as the supportive, concerned, and advice-giving Wizard. Not as central in the narrative, nor as helpful, but still in the same mold.

And sure enough, Peter Boyle was born during a manic phase (1935). The suite of traits that females pick up from imprinting on such a phase, are also picked up by their male cohorts -- they just get expressed in a more masculine instead of feminine manner. But still very similar to each other.


Noirish thrillers like Hardcore and Frantic create more narrative tension than action-oriented takes on the "rescue a family member" story like Commando and Taken.

In the action movies, the main theme is revenge, and we know from the outset that the family member will be rescued, in good health, and the rescuer will survive as well. The tension is not put into the narrative, but into the overcoming of various obstacles in the protag's way -- we know he's going to overcome them, but who specifically are they, what settings are they located in, how exactly does he eliminate one or the other threat, the precise way in which he's going to execute the main villain.

In the thriller movies, we don't even know if he's going to find the family member, let alone will they be alive and in good health or want to return with him. We don't know whether their fate remains undisclosed, and if the protag is going to resign himself to losing her after an ultimately fruitless search, maybe taking revenge on the most likely culprits or maybe just calling it quits altogether in order to maintain some sanity. He's not an unstoppable juggernaut, which is more relatable to the audience, whereas the action revenge movies are more about a fantasy of power.

Having to sift through masses of people, rather than quickly narrowing down who the abductors are, adds to the narrative tension, setting up a sense of hopelessness -- and that opens the door to the role of a guide for the protag, which is not really crucial in the action movies, where he's a one-man army. Maybe the guide is a surrogate patriarch, or an MPDG proper, or a doomed MPDG. But some kind of earthly guardian angel to guide the protag through the depths of hell, in order for him to rise above it and achieve his goals.

So it's not just more tension in the plot, but also in the character dynamics, for the thrillers.

Thrillers do feature violence, sex, action, and sometimes vindication or revenge -- but they all serve a purpose for the plot, sense of place, and characterization. Whereas in an action movie, we know roughly how it ends from the beginning, and they strike us as more superfluous and just giving us what we want to indulge in as a guilty pleasure.

For example, there's a totally pointless T&A scene in Commando (it was the '80s), where the protag chases one of the bad guys into a motel, and in their struggle they break into the room of a nude couple that had been bumping uglies, unaware of the plot of the movie.

In Taken, the kidnapped daughter is shown in her underwear and then topless, while she's on display in a white slavery market by the villains. That may anger the audience, but not the protag, who isn't witnessing any of it.

In Hardcore, the porno that the daughter appears in is witnessed by the protag (after being tracked down by the P.I.), causing him to break down, and add to his determination to save his daughter. It makes the nude scene more poignant and gut-wrenching and anti-pornographic, rather than voyeuristic (which is how the scene in Taken comes off).

There are seductive nude scenes in Hardcore, however, like when the protag first converses with Niki in the peep-show booth. Not the most erotic performance of all time, but still titillating and a bit sensual, rather than enraging or depressing and anti-pornographic. It adds to the complexity of tone in a thriller rather than a straightforward action movie.

Hardcore also uses nudity in portraying the making of porno movies, whereby it all comes off as choreographed, orchestrated, mechanical, and therefore artificial, fake, and not sensual and seductive.

It's not enraging or depressing like the ones where the runaway daughter is performing and being witnessed by the father after the fact. Nor is it titillating like Niki's bantering peep-show booth performance. Maybe not *anti*-pornographic -- merely not pornographic. Showing the behind-the-scenes process of shooting the scene, dispelling the fantasy, conveying a tone of hollowness or numbness.

Complex tone.


  1. If Irys considers requests for karaoke, just heard this one that reminds me of something her dad would like, being into the Carpenters, '80s soft ballads like "Koi ni Ochite", and the like. Always love when she sings that one, BTW, and when she mentions how engrained it is on her delicate nephilim brain from her dad blasting it from his room all the time. Such a wholesome memory. ^_^

    "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" by Ronnie Milsap, from 1981. And yes, it's on Karafun!

    Country-pop crossover with a sax solo, a little soul sound in there too. Reminds me a bit of "Slow Hand" by the Pointer Sisters, from the same year (and covered the next year by a country artist, Conway Twitty).

    She can tweak the word "boys" to "girls" and sing it in her own female voice.

    Even if she doesn't perform it, she should at least pass it along to Dadrys so he can add it to his playlist of "sad but uplifting songs my daughter sent me". Awww...

  2. Another appropriate element of the 1970s zeitgeist was George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" (

  3. In case there was any doubt that Irys is the girliest in Hololive, the "getting our nails done" hand cam today proved it.

    No, not the size of her hands -- which are tiny and delicate, but that only means she's short, which we already knew from Mumei giving her a gentle teasing push and sending her off-balance, hehe. Or Watame giving her a gentle butt-bump and also knocking her off-balance.

    I mean the digit ratio, something that has gotten lost in all the other pop physical anthropology these days.

    You compare the pointer finger to the ring finger. Men tend to have longer ring fingers relative to their pointers, women tend to have both even or a longer pointer finger.

    And Irys did not disappoint in the girly department: her pointer finger is nearly as long as her middle finger, and noticeably longer than her ring finger.

    Even among men (or among women), those with more testosterone have longer ring-to-pointer ratios (like moi). It's not just a difference between the sexes, but a difference within each sex as well.

    Irys has low testosterone even compared to other girls, which is why she comes off as the most girly-girl in the room, no matter who she's with. ^_^

    And if anyone's going to have multiple "woman moments" on a single stream, it's going to be her. They don't call her princess for nothing. ^_^

  4. This is further proof that fujoshis are not tomboys, high-testosterone, masculine-identifying, etc. Irys is super-girly, both psychologically and physically, and yet she used to be (still is?) into that kind of pop culture.

    It goes to show that it's not about gender identity, but about surreptiously entering the top secret boys-only clubhouse in a "bros before hoes" culture, in the disguise of a male character who the female reader lives through (but does not identify with on a gender basis).

    We know it wasn't her doting dad who gave her the impression that guys will want nothing to do with interacting with girls. It must've been some real dyed-in-the-wool girl-hater who she had a crush on while growing up, that sent the "bros before hoes" message.

    Hopefully she's interacted with enough guys in her chat / fandom, to convince her that we don't think girls have yucky cooties and that she'd need to disguise herself as a boy if she wanted to join our clubhouse.

    We love Irys for how unabashedly girly she is, she doesn't need to prove she's "just one of the guys".

    But she did pick up some very guy-typical cultural preferences from being a daddy's girl, and liking the same things he liked, in order to bond better.

    What other girly girl asks you to watch RoboCop and Total Recall with her?! She's so cool, and yet so girly, such a rare combination...

  5. Obsession by De Palma could've had an MPDG, since it's from the restless phase of the 15-year cycle (1976). But they miscast the supporting female role to someone born in a vulnerable phase of the 15-year cycle (Genevieve Bujold, born in '42), which makes her a sad girl and gives her character more of a tortured / emo personality.

    But she's supposed to be the one who provides the down-in-the-dumps / bad-luck-with-women (wife & child got kidnapped and killed) protag with the newfound inspiration and motivation to pick himself back up off the ground, find new confidence, and achieve his lofty goals (whether avenging their kidnap-murder, or finding a new woman, finding a better career than the one he doesn't care about and is bored by).

    A brooding, tortured, emo personality doesn't do that, and we're left with only her superficial doppleganger appearance to his deceased wife, as the force that would compel him to pursue her and drop everything for their relationship.

    OK, so he's obsessed with his tragically murdered wife, and someone who superficially reminds him of her, could be reason enough for his initial infatuation. But she has to do something on her end to make him feel newly confident, to encourage him, to nurture him, to rehab him socially and emotionally, so that he doesn't stay mired in futile obsession any longer -- but finds a new love and satisfying relationship, perhaps with someone who reminds him of his wife, and yet who still needs to be won over by a confident man, not someone who relies on pity points for her accepting a relationship with him.

    Maybe pity is her initial reason for taking him on as a rehab project, but he has to be built back up anew, and his new confidence and passion speak for themselves -- she, or perhaps some other woman (since the protag and MPDG rarely end up at the end), enthusiastically enter into a relationship with him due to his newfound confidence and passion.

    Plus her occupation is as an artist's assistant, who spontaneously dropped her secretarial job to do something important and creative. That cries out for a boho MPDG character.

    And it would give her character more depth and complexity -- she isn't a carbon-copy of his wife, she's more spunky, spontaneous, leading him on risky wild adventures, or something like that, where his wife was not awkward or puritanical, but not a spontaneous free spirit.

    It would've also made his character more dynamic -- needing to appeal to her in order to try to tame a free spirit, changing by becoming less depressed and obsessed, or else this flighty fairy will just flit right out of his hands.

  6. Instead, it's more like two tortured souls finding each other, which is too emo for the restless phase, and makes the movie's tone too melodramatic for its own good. It's a good movie, but could've been far better by ditching the emo and going with the MPDG twist on the "distraught widower overcomes his grief and obsession with his tragically missing wife" story. It'd give her character more comic relief as well, and this movie really needs a few moments of it.

    Also, it would've distinguished itself -- and improved upon -- its inspirational source movie, Vertigo by Hitchcock, which *was* made during the vulnerable phase (1958), and whose doomed / tragic tone is more suitable.

    I say "improved upon" cuz Vertigo is far from Hitchcock's best movie, and gets too self-indulgent in its wacky premises, as well as the emo tone (which is apropos of its place in the cycle, but could've still been dialed down to feel more believable). Re-imagining it during a restless phase, with an MPDG instead of a tortured soul, could've made it better, not just different.

    Also, as De Palma himself said later, Cliff Robertson is miscast in the lead role, not able to portray the depths of grief and obsession that were called for. He was born during a manic phase of the cycle ('23), so he's more resilient and less prone to wallowing in sad-boy feels.

    So the birth phases for both characters were switched around -- she should've been born in the first half of the '50s, he from the second half of the '20s. Precisely the cohorts for the male protag and the MPDG in Hardcore, made during the same phase as Obsession, but which succeeds better in the character dynamics department.

  7. Schrader came up with the story, but not the screenplay, for Obsession along with De Palma. He was capable of writing an MPDG character in a movie he did not direct himself (Betsy from Taxi Driver), and another in a movie he did direct (Niki from Hardcore). So if he'd had more of a central role in making Obsession, maybe the Sandra character would've become more of an MPDG and cast accordingly.

  8. But De Palma struggles with the MPDG character, and with actresses born in a manic phase who should have played MPDGs (but whose character did not fit that type).

    Body Double was made during the manic phase (1984), and in that phase the would-be MPDG is more about helping someone out for a little, but finding her own way and seeing to her own needs, becoming more independent. She's done with her rehab projects from the previous restless phase, and needs some time for herself, after her earlier successes.

    There's a character who supposed to be MPDG-esque, Holly Body, the porno actress who helps the down-in-the-dumps protag solve / avenge the murder of a woman he was infatuated with. She's straight-talking, unconventional, etc., guides him through the seedy underworld of the porno industry, much like Niki from Hardcore.

    And she does help him solve the case, avenge the woman's death, and return to his career where he'd been struggling, to achieve new success.

    However, she shows up way too late -- 3rd act -- to have a believable transformative effect on his character development. She's more of an informant than a sidekick or nurse. And she's emotionally restrained and on the numb side, not as bantering, adventuresome, and empathetic as Niki from Hardcore.

    And her actress, Melanie Griffith, is a sad girl born during a vulnerable phase ('57), just like Genevieve Bujold was. And the protag's actor, Craig Wasson, was born during a manic phase ('54), just like Cliff Robertson was. He switched the birth phases of the two again! Wasson comes off as too happy-to-lucky and pleasure-seeking to be really mired in a funk, whether over his career or women.

  9. De Palma did cast a manic-phase-born woman, Nancy Allen, in two roles in the early '80s manic phase, where she should've played an MPDG who was now focused on finding her own satisfaction and independence.

    In Blow Out (1981), she's almost playing an MPDG, but it's more of the doomed type, a la Michelle from Frantic or Babs from Frenzy, both made during vulnerable phases.

    If this movie had been made between '85 and '89, it would've fit with the zeitgeist better and come off more successfully. Instead her doomed ending lands as more bleak and pointlessly depressing, rather than tragic yet sacrificial and redeeming, as with the other two doomed MPDG's.

    Or they could've written the story so that she doesn't end up getting murdered for no greater purpose. It would've changed the narrative completely, but hear me out:

  10. Act 1. The initial mystery about the assassination, the protag witnessing it, tracking down the woman witness who escaped the scene, and both of them solving the mystery. The act ends similarly to the original movie, where she's trapped with the killer in a public parade, the protag feels helpless, but manages to find a cop, point her out to him, and he fires off a round that strikes the killer in the leg, causing him to stagger backward over the ledge, landing to his death on the stone stairs below. The MPDG survives, perhaps with a wound that is no real big deal.

    Act 2. But in her shock and terror before the killer gets shot by the cop, she lets out that same authentic blood-curdling scream that the protag records, and uses in his career as an audio guy in the movie industry. This brings him new fame in his career, and he begins treating her as his creative muse, the ultimate scream queen.

    She has helped him out of the depths he was in before, but now she feels her work has been completed in that regard, and while she does occasional work in the movie industry at his insistence, she wants to go back to her streetwise lifestyle of escorting where she feels comfortable and footloose -- not tied down by contracts, agents, managers, repeated takes, and other tedious tasks she finds too burdensome for her free-spirited nature. She begins itching to get away from the movie industry.

    Enter a rival for the male protag, who's taller, darker, handsomer, and wealthier / higher status. Unbeknownst to the crime-solving pair, he's an agent for the cabal that plotted the assassination from Act 1, where only the assassin himself was caught and treated as the fall guy, the larger conspiracy remaining untouched (much like in The Parallax View).

    His assignment is to woo her, gain her confidence, and find out how much she knows -- only about that assassin, or is she continuing to snoop around with her inquisitive intel-tech protag friend, to see if it goes deeper? He aims to sweep her off her feet, and assuming she isn't on to the greater cabal (in which case he's supposed to kill her right away), to give her a comfy life in a more remote setting, so that she'll never associate with her former partner again, and never worry her pretty little head about the matter again. No more movie industry roles.

    He is thus an antagonist to the protag in three ways: romantic rival, career rival (depriving him of his muse / collaboration partner), and possible murderer (if he suspects the protag is on to the greater cabal).

  11. Act 3. After some hints toward the end of Act 2, both the protag and the MPDG begin to get suspicious about the cabal agent. First him, through his surveillance using his craftsman's tech, as in Act 1. But she thinks he's just being jealous and controlling, and contrasts her streetwise woman's intuition against his male-brained tech autism. She says with as good of a tech wizard as he is, he could've spliced together unrelated clips to make it sound like an incriminating passage, could've tweaked his voice to make him sound more callous and evil, etc. Tech is just a neutral emotionless tool, she says -- could be used by good guys to solve crimes, or jealous controlling male friends to manufacture dirt on their rivals.

    But unable to fully put his evidence out of her mind, she starts to notice some strange behavior, material clues, or slips of the tongue from the cabal agent, and her streetwise woman's intuition leads her to the same suspicions as the protag had, just by different routes.

    The agent learns of her suspicions and plans to kill them both, but she is vulnerable, living a street life, and is easily picked up and kidnapped, to go to a remote location with no witnesses. He's busy in his movie-industry job, never away from the studio, meetings, etc., so the agent figures he came come back for the protag later.

    The remote kidnapping location is a tall building with an open window / door in on the top floor, which opens out onto a narrow walkway around the perimeter, with no railing, below which it plunges several stories to a long stone stairs similar to the ones from the parade setting in Act 1. Ultimately, the climax recapitulates the end of Act 1, but with her as the agent of her own rescue, without the need of the protag, or with only minor assistance from him. It's as much a character transformation for her, as for the male protag.

    Earlier it's been established that she carries a switchblade in case her risky escort job gets dangerous, and she's shown drawing it on an abrasive client, who backs off, and she puts it away. This is paid off in Act 3, when she draws it on the cabal agent during her initial kidnapping. But he's carrying a gun, lets out a snide superior remark about her bringing a knife to a gunfight, making her drop it on the ground, which he then retrieves, and frisks her thoroughly just to make sure she isn't carrying any other weapons, which she is not.

    He is now satisfied that she poses zero threat, and this makes him start to act more cocky and careless, instead of training the gun on her at every moment and barking out orders. In this cocky attitude, he starts divulging aspects of the cabal, to taunt her about things she wasn't smart enough to figure out, or things she knew about but is now powerless to do anything about. This takes place in the top floor of the remote location, when he's settled down from the brief scare she gave him during the kidnapping.

    He starts strutting and pacing around the floor, frequently turning his back to her and not training the gun on her, while indulging in his cocky taunting. But he does then turn back to face her and point the gun at her -- off and on, off and on. She spies the open door and decides to send him through it, but how? And without getting shot first?

  12. Re-enter the protag, who had been using his tech to trail the cabal agent, was too late to stop her speedy kidnapping, but did use a tracking device to follow the agent to the remote location, which he then quietly enters and tiptoes around.

    Earlier, he is shown skillfully maneuvering around a movie set so as to capture the right sounds without creating any intrusive sounds of his own. He barks at other crew members for wearing noisy footwear and lumbering around, then modeling the correct behavior for them on set. This is paid off in the finale, where he enters and moves about the building undetected by the agent.

    He's brought a small pistol along with him, which he desperately begged a friend of his for, hastily explaining that his friend's life is in danger and he may need it. The friend agrees, now the protag is packing heat -- seemingly on the way to rescue the damsel in distress in the tower.

    He winds his way up to the top floor and slips into a smaller side room, catching his breath and steadying his nerves before his expected final confrontation. But while he makes no material signal of his presence, and therefore the cabal agent does not detect, the streetwise woman's intuition leads the MPDG to look back in curiosity, and she spies him peeping around the corner of the door. Her eyebrows raise in shock and disbelief, then fear -- like "Oh my God, he's no SWAT team member, he's going to blow his cover and get us BOTH killed..."

    She submissively asks the cabal agent to let her go relieve herself in that room over there, so she at least won't do so after dying. Spare her of that humiliation, at least. Convinced she poses no risk, he gives her two minutes, and if she's runs out of the room at any time, he'll shoot her on the spot.

  13. Once in the room, she quietly asks what the hell the protag is doing here. He came with a gun, he's going to shoot the bad guy. "Oh man, you watch too many crime movies," she says. He's a professional with a gun, you'll be firing a gun for the first time -- guess who's gonna win the showdown?

    Although temporarily deflated, he then says, "Well what, then, are you gonna use it instead?" She has a flash of realization -- "he's already frisked me and thinks I have no weapons! He's strutting around all cocky-like, he wouldn't suspect I picked up a gun in this random room in the middle of nowhere."

    She takes the gun, hides it in her outer coat pocket, and returns with a full 30 seconds to spare -- further reassuring the agent that she's not a flight risk, but resigned to her grim fate. He throws in another haughty remark about how he was somewhat worried she might try to run, but is pleased to see his favorite pet behaving so obediently.

    He resumes his cocky strut, occasionally turning his back, and is about to pace in front of the open door. While his back is turned, she springs out of her chair, sprints toward him, and draws the gun out of her pocket, intending to get close enough to shoot point-blank -- she has no experience with guns, either, but she can use her woman's deceit skills to get him to lower his guard long enough that she can enjoy the element of surprise.

    He hears her movements, spins around, aims his gun, but is too late since she had the element of surprise. She fires it with a desperate worried look on her face ("will I even hit him???"), her arm is sent back in recoil... but she does manage to hit him in the leg, staggering him. His gun goes off, but he's thrown off-balance so it just fires while pointed upwards, not hitting her. He then drops the gun to the floor, and there's a close-up of it landing impotently on the stone floor, in anticipation of his own imminent plunge out the window and onto the stone stairs below, which is also shown in an echo-ing close-up.

    The protag and the MPDG run to embrace each other, calm their nerves, looking out to make sure he's really dead. Once the tension is over, the begin descending the tower, while re-igniting their banter. He says it's a good thing his technology lead him to her, and that he thought to bring a gun rather than a knife. She reminds him that this tech would've gotten him killed if he tried to use it himself from a distance, like he usually does (as a voyeur, not a frontline participant). It took a woman's cunning intuition, deceit, and psychological savvy to get the agent to drop his guard and not worry him further, gaining the element of surprise.

    They plan to leak the story to the press and expose the greater cabal, but this is not shown, nor are there cop cars showing up at the location either. Just the open-ended plan. It ends more on the note of him changing to be more heroic -- if not the lone wolf vigilante of his movie-addled fantasies -- and her changing to being more independent and seeing to her own needs, less of a nurse and supporter of a down-in-the-dumps sad-sack kind of guy.

    "Yeah, we make a pretty good pair, don't we?" they say, and again their future remains indefinite, it's only clear that they can't get away from collaborating in some way or other, and appreciate each other for helping transform themselves into more capable individuals.

  14. In an alternate ending (I don't know which would work better, both would have to be filmed, and the better scenario chosen), she doesn't even take his gun, insisting that's too risky, just a macho fantasy he picked up from watching too many vigilante movies.

    And lucky for her! The agent decides to frisk her again when she returns, in case she brought something from the side room that could be used against him. She was out of his sight for over a minute, after all. She passes inspection a second time, and both she and the protag are relieved that they didn't go with his plan.

    Before leaving the protag in the room, he asks what's her brilliant plan, then? She says not to worry, I'll use my woman's wiles somehow...

    As an escort, she's a pro at acting seductive, catering to men's fantasies, inflating their egos, faking horiness and libido, etc. So she suggests to the cabal agent: "We always made such amazing lovers, and even though you're going to kill me soon, I never could stay away from the bad boys. Whaddaya say about one final bout of passion, for old time's sake? I want my last meal to be four stars..."

    His ego inflated after already being so cocky, and always DTF with a hot babe who he already has great chemistry with, he grins and chuckles to himself about what a magnetic spell he has on this poor thing who just can't help herself. OK then, he says, and casually and carelessly tosses his coat and other clothes onto the floor, right where they're standing, as they start to get into it.

    She puts on a good act, making horny eye contact, panting, moaning, writhing around, the whole nine yards. But periodically looking over to see exactly where his coat is lying, how many paces it would take to reach it, which pocket he put the gun in, etc. These looks are intercut with her horny performance, to create back-and-forth uncertainty.

    When he's heading down the home stretch, she knees him as hard as she can in the groin -- and that, too, is set up earlier in the movie, where she has to get an abrasive client off of her. He rolls over in pain, giving her just enough time to scramble over to his coat, and pull out the gun. He recovers enough to lunge toward her, but she's gotten the element of surprise, and she's at point-blank distance, so she fires and connects, sending him staggering backwards, and plunging out the door onto the stairs below.

    The MPDG and protag embrace, calm their nerves, descend the tower, etc. But now their banter is more about him appreciating that getting too excited can lead him into rash reckless behavior, in over his head, and it's OK not to play Dirty Harry all the time. Sometimes a cunning, savvy woman's intuition can get the job done.

    But she re-inflates his ego, temporarily shaken by his voyeur-only role during the climax, by complimenting him on what an amazing wizard he is at his techno-job, how far he's going to go in his career, and maybe she doesn't have to retire from her scream queen side-gig after all -- if she will be immortalized by an artistic master like him. Hell, it's the least she can do to repay his heroic efforts during Act 3.

    "Yeah, we make a pretty good pair after all, don't we....?"

  15. Getting back to actual De Palma movies, Nancy Allen also starred in Dressed to Kill (1980), but she's not an MPDG there either, whether a standard type, doomed type, or finding-her-own-way type.

    She's the protag and lead sleuth, and her male partner is more of a sidekick, and 10 years younger than her, just a kid. He is the son of the woman whose murder they're trying to solve. She just chances to walk in on the woman's corpse after her murder, in a public elevator. Her motivation to solve the crime comes from her being a main suspect in the murder -- she was there at the time.

    It is an interesting twist, where a woman is the unjustly persecuted suspect with a male sidekick, whereas it's usually a man who is suspected and a woman helps him to clear his name. But that standard formula works because the woman is his lover / gf / wife / close friend / etc., whereas the male sidekick in this movie has his own interest in helping her find out whodunnit -- to avenge his murdered mother.

    This makes it utilitarian for each party separately to solve the crime, whereas a romance angle or affecionate pairing requires one to have the main reason to solve the crime, and the sidekick is helping out because they want to support their partner, not cuz they benefit directly from solving it.

    Her role *does* make her an independent woman who looks after her own needs, and takes charge of her own fate, rather than play a supporting and supportive role to a male character. But that also prevents her from being an MPDG, which requires her to have first played a supportive role to a down-in-the-dumps male protag, without being the protag herself.

    So she was properly cast, for being a manic-phase birth and playing a role where resilience and resourcefulness and taking the initiative is needed. Just saying that it could've been expanded into an MPDG role, where the protag is the son who wants revenge, and she's the unlikely sidekick after being the first to discover the body.

    But she isn't suspected, has a solid alibi, etc. -- she is distraught at the son's grief, and can't get the image of the murdered woman out of her mind, so she goes along with him on his quest to find out whodunnit. Given the themes of sexual deviance, she's just the right guide for the son to navigate their way through the seedy underworld, as she's a call girl.

    Her arc toward self-realization isn't about clearing her name, or helping to nurse a sad-sack back to health (i.e. by helping the son get closure). It's more about seeing to her own needs, in the form of clearing her guilty conscience -- if only she'd been there a few minutes earlier, she might not have been killed.

    Earlier it's established that she was running late, but decided it wasn't a big deal to indulge some minor vice of hers, the client won't care if she's a few minutes late, right? She's been wracked by guilt the whole time, haunted by flashbacks / nightmares / visions of the murdered woman. Solving the case will help *herself* achieve closure, as well as demonstrate her capability of achieving big goals.

  16. Bringing it back to vtubers somehow, Mumei said she likes "how it's made" technical edutainment videos. Movies from the good ol' days -- well, really just the late '60s, '70s, and early '80s -- used to have vignettes of these technical processes. Like the newspaper printing presses from All the President's Men.

    But there's so much attention to the technical how-it's-done angle in Blow Out, that it's not just a vignette but a major theme of the movie. Ditto for its inspiration movie, Blow-Up by Antonioni from 1966.

    However, it's audio rather than photography that's the focus in Blow Out, which a vtuber who's expected to be her own audio engineer might appreciate more. ^_^

    Don't just watch it by yourself, Moom -- do a watchalong... and make it public! Watchalongs are a form of creating a canon, and the general public should appreciate the movies featured, not just paying subscribers.

    Anything with a conspiracy theme is right up your alley anyway, hehe.

  17. Whispering random trivia ASMR tonight! And wouldn't you know -- smack dab in the middle of the calendar month, like the other two? ^_^

    You're so good to us when you're feeling filled with that mid-month energy, which needs to be channeled and directed toward some kind of productive and creative use...

    An ADHD night owl can't just sit still by herself all day long, and let it stay so bottled up, can she?

    And you don't just tickle any ol' person's brain. It shows how close we've grown, without her having to say so out loud in words. ^_^

    Get ready, lads, somebody feels like getting SILLY tonight! :D

  18. What do you think would be the American equivalent of Spain expelling the Moriscos in 1609-1614 or the Ottomans expelling all the Armenians to the desert in 1915-1917, both done shortly before the empire collapsed?

    1. The American equivalent of Spain expelling the Moriscos is deporting all the Native Americans living in reservations and all the Mexican immigrants to Mexico, and the American equivalent of the Ottomans expelling the Armenians and Greeks is deporting all the Jews to Israel and all the blacks to a newly independent black nation-state in the South.

  19. Those aren't the same thing, and so don't belong to a category that could be applied outside of those two examples.

    There's no abstract distinction between "Us and Them" -- it's a particular Us, and a particular Them, in the case of an expanding empire. Then there are the nebulous other Thems, but not like the Them they have experience with.

    The Moriscos were the descendants of the original meta-ethnic nemesis for the Spanish -- namely, the Moorish Empire. The fact that these invaders were still residing on the land they once conquered, even after the Reconquista, made the high-asabiya Spanish feel uneasy.

    At first they expelled the Jews and the Moors circa 1500 -- leading up to their Golden Age and imperial peak, *not* as a sign of their moribund status or imminent collapse. Even the expulsion of the Moriscos (who had converted to Christianity and somewhat intermarried with the native Iberians) circa 1600 is not a sign of their decline.

    If anything, these expulsions are a sign of the strength of their empire and its high levels of asabiya. They aren't turning away foreigners in general, no empire does that. But sending the empire's meta-ethnic nemesis to their home turf, is natural enough.

    In fact, the Moors and their descendants should consider themselves lucky that the Spanish Empire did not conquer the Maghreb after expelling the Moors from Europe -- like the Romans did to Gaul, after beating back the Gaulish invaders of Italy, or conquering Carthage and all of North Africa, after beating back the Carthaginian invaders of Italy.

    Spain was too preoccupied with its New World colonies, and inter-imperial rivalries throughout Europe, to be concerned with the post-Moorish-Empire Maghreb. Maybe if the Ottomans had conquered Morocco, Spain would've had more reason to worry about that region, but the Ottomans never got that far, so Spain didn't need to occupy Morocco in order to protect the Iberian peninsula.

    The Armenians were just another random ethnic group in the vast cast of characters within the Ottoman Empire. They were not the empire's meta-ethnic nemesis, which was the late-era Byzantine Empire, who were Greek speakers based in western Anatolia and Thrace, not Armenian speakers from eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus.

  20. Having said that, the Armenian genocide *is* a signal of the empire's collapse, not to mention the ethnic cleansing that swept the Greeks into Greece proper and out of Anatolia.

    I don't think that generalizes either, even among the other moribund empires that were cohorts of the Ottomans -- Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Russia (although Russia did last through the 20th C). Or the Persians on the other side of Anatolia.

    Probably more to do with factors unique to the Ottoman Empire -- or certain other empires throughout history, but not to empires in general.

    Certainly the American Empire does not belong to that category -- our imperial elites are dead set on increasing or maintaining ethnic heterogeneity, not decreasing it through population transfers, expulsion, etc.

    The moribund and post-collapse British and French empires continued accepting boatloads of foreigners, whereas the Ottomans did the opposite. It's not about empires per se.

  21. Muuumeiii, any chance of a karaoke this weekend? No backseating on the set list, just thinking it'd be nice to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

    The last one was during your emo two weeks of the cycle, and hard-edged rock is perfectly suited to that mood. But now that you're in the opposite mood -- easy breathy voice, not constricted like on Halloween, giggly and giddy and silly feelings, you could tap into a whole 'nother range of songs during your bubbly and smiley two weeks of the cycle.

    I hope you don't hold it against me to use a phrase like "two weeks of the cycle" -- I'm just trying to explain plainly why this is the right time for certain songs, while another time was right for other songs.

    If you put it off until next weekend, you might no longer be in such a warm & fuzzy mood by then.

    We really don't care about specific songs, you can sing songs we've already heard a million times from you -- they're iconic Moom songs, which is what we keep coming back for! ^_^ Just those that are more fitting and natural for when you're in the kind of mood you're in at the moment.

    You wouldn't *have* to do another set list like this year's Valentine's Day, but... hear me out on the stream title idea -- "Karaoke: I'm in the moom for love", hehe. Whatever you feel resonates with that theme, for how you currently feel, and just run with it!

    I know we've already been blessed by a vocal-heavy performance from you already this week, with the ASMR, which we all hope you will make a recurring format! -- well, as long as you're channeling that mid-month energy. No verbal abuse ASMR -- it's totally against the genre, which you are one of the last defenders of. You can verbally abuse the masochists in your fandom by trolling them with tier lists, angy rants during an FPS, etc. No need to taint an ASMR stream with that.

    Just thinking of a stream idea you could easily squeeze in this weekend, if you want to do something but don't know about which video game to play.

    Plus, doesn't your ADHD mind feed off of doing multiple different stream formats in a short time? ^_^ It'll be a treat for your own owl-brain, as much as the hoomans. :D

  22. Oooh, asset idea! Unrelated to karaoke, although I guess you could use them then as well. Just trying to keep that ADHD brain a-buzzin'. ^_^

    Sunglasses with the lenses being somewhat transparent, not totally opaque. Could be black like typical sunglasses, could be tinted some color, idk whatever you like best.

    Frames could be like your existing casual glasses -- large and rounded, warm & inviting, but this shape would look even more stylish on sunglasses.

    Could be in a special shape, like a star or a heart around each eye, in case you wanted to feel extra silly...

    And in a red frame color. Red is in style, you said, and if you wanted it to match the red of your kimono model, you could do a quick eyedropper tool on the shawl, and presto!

    It would be a neat way to take sunglasses from being a symbol of "cool" (which you are averse to identifying with), to a symbol of "silly", which is a core part of your personality. ^_^

  23. Reversal of cocooning report: more and more groups of unsupervised kids in public outdoor places, using their own transportation (bikes), and at ages that have been unseen in decades (all of them were elementary school kids, not middle or high schoolers).

    First, I saw something else while driving around -- a group of 4 kids raking leaves in their front yard. Until 2023, this was only done by adults (the owner or the foreign slaves hired by the owner). Now it's a big family fun-time event -- getting exercise, getting to horse around, being outside, using tools, having a goal, doing teamwork, etc.

    The dad was present, also raking, but not hovering over the others -- which would've been impossible since there were 4 of them, and at least one was not his (looked totally different, probably a friend of theirs). He was just doing his bit of raking, and seemed to only respond to them when they had a pressing need, rather than hovering.

    This is part of the broader "little kids in return to the front yard" trend.

    Then at the shopping center I parked at, I was immediately greeted by a group of 3 kids roaming around the place on their bikes. Not all of them were siblings -- later on I saw them on the way back to my car, and overheard one of them complain, "Ah man, my dad's *spying* on us..." I don't know how -- maybe he surreptiously parked his car across the lot and was checking on them, and let them know via text message?

    So, not total lack of supervision, but pretty much. And the kid was clearly groaning about it, like it was out of the ordinary and uncalled for, like usually the dad isn't spying on them. He said "my dad" not "Dad" as if they were all related, so some of them were friends from the school or neighborhood.

    Part of the "unrelated kids socializing with each other" trend, reversing the "only other family members to socialize you" trend from the cocooning / helicopter parent era of the '90s through the 2010s.

    Finally, right outside of the bakery I went to, there's a little courtyard with patio seating, and wouldn't you know it? There were 4 boys there just lounging around in the chairs! With their bikes parked on the paved walkway next to them, like they owned the place... and carrying on, talking loudly, joking around, etc., like it was their own living room but in public.

    In all the years I've gone to that place in the cocooning era, I've never seen a group of unsupervised kids there, let alone that young, and socializing and having fun. It was rare to even see parents hovering over their kids there -- helicopter parents kept them away from public spaces altogether.

    There were several groups of adults inside the bakery, so I thought maybe they're the parents of the kids outside -- but when the adult customers left, and I left after them, the kids were still there. Plus, they wouldn't have all ridden their bikes there if their parents were also present -- they would've all taken a car or two.

  24. I suspect parents are using "end of COVID" as their anti-helicopter parenting rationalization. They were bound to change their parenting style circa 2020, but that was put on hold by the external shock to the system known as the COVID hysteria.

    Once the draconian and counter-productive / ineffective lockdowns, masking, and vaccinating hysteria was ended, the parents must have reflected on how much damage their children had taken -- for YEARS, and during such a crucial point in their developmental window.

    Would they ever be able to recognize the facial expressions for basic emotions? Would they never talk to or see another one of their peers, cowering in perpetual fear that "the people near you can kill you, and you are likely to kill your grandparents"?

    The schooling sector was the absolute worst of all society's sectors when it came to brutalizing and collectively punishing vulnerable, innocent people during the lockdowns. Whoever had first-hand experience with that, would be most affected by their removal -- which of course happened, as I said they would, contrary to very retarded right-wingers proclaiming a permanent lib dictatorship once the lockdowns began.

    So now that covie's ovie, the parents are not only resuming their initial restlessness circa 2020 to let their kids go out unsupervised -- now they have the extra feeling of guilt for their children's suffering for years in the most overly supervised, void-in-public-spaces climate that has ever existed.

    They feel like the kids not only deserve to go outside and interact with each other, but that it's necessary to make up for all the social and emotional deprivation they were forced into during the hysteria. Necessary on a material level -- to make up for lost time in their development. But also on a moral level -- we adults put them through so much hell, we owe it to them to give them a kid's paradise now that hell is over.

    "Back to normal" is not good enough, we have to let them go back to the good ol' days of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, which the parents may only know about from TV and movies, but have also heard about during their own growing-up years, how they've been helicopter parented, etc.

    Like I said last time, I wouldn't believe these seismic shifts in the zeitgeist unless I saw them myself. Yes, even after working out the cocooning vs. outgoing / falling-crime vs. rising-crime cycle dynamics back in the early 2010s, and correctly predicting that they'd reverse circa 2020.

    You've gotta see it to believe it, and if you're only online, you're like some poor cloistered housewife from 1962, only living in the world of radio soap operas and TV variety shows, unaware of how outgoing and rising-crime the world around her was already becoming.

  25. And no, it doesn't matter if most parents think the COVID carceralization of their kids was justified in some phony greater good that never materialized. They'll say the hell was sadly necessary, but now that hell is over, we have to make up for lost time in their physical and psychological development, and we owe them a paradise after they had to necessarily suffer in hell for years.

    Vibe shifts are not political or part of a culture war, both conservatives and liberals will be taking part in the anti-helicopter parenting revolution that's already under way. Just like both libs and cons took part in helicopter parenting back when that was the zeitgeist.

    It's about how the social mood responds to crime trends, and neither of those is politically partisan.

  26. Does Australia have same outgoing/cocooning trends as United States?

  27. Too bad the change to an outgoing mood didn't result in kids trick-or-treating on Halloween.

  28. ""Back to normal" is not good enough, we have to let them go back to the good ol' days of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, which the parents may only know about from TV and movies, but have also heard about during their own growing-up years, how they've been helicopter parented, etc.""

    Those days aren't coming back. Best to prepare them for hardship.

  29. The '60s, '70s, and '80s are already coming back, w.r.t. the social mood and crime rate trends -- more and more outgoing, and rising-crime.

    Not w.r.t. irrelevant topics for this post and comments, like imperial expansion vs. contraction, or egalitarian vs. inequality-stricken.

    But for the social mood and crime rate, we're already going back to the '60s.

    And all sorts of seemingly unrelated things, that I covered over the past 10+ years here, like boob focus vs. butt focus -- now it's back to boobs, sadly.

  30. The last cocooning phase was plagued by pharma-chemical dependency, much like the just-ended cocooning phase of the '90s - 2010s.

    Then when the '60s came along, most of that got wiped away, with the backlash making its way into pop culture, like the Rolling Stones' 1966 hit song "Mother's Little Helper" -- referring to Valium, which she used to get herself through her daily routine while being emotionally checked out, and trying not to go crazy.

    There's a link toward the end of that post to an earlier post on the web of mental dysfunction in cocooning times, if you want to explore further. The post above is just about how that manifested in everybody being hooked on psych meds.

    Last year I noted everyone -- every girl, anyway -- has started to go off their meds, at least hormonal birth control:

    Another instance of us going back to the '60s. All of Western civilization is about to get a lot more *un*-medicated.

    Hopefully it removes the SSRI's from circulation, too. There'd been an impotent backlash against them online (mainly Twitter) in the late 2010s, by girl-haters in the right wing. Namely, trolling a girl for having an "SSRI stare" -- it was true, and hurt, but taking an L from right-wing girl-haters didn't alter their behavior.

    But now they've ditched hormonal birth control, largely of their own volition. Girl-hating right-wingers did *not* troll them relentlessly about HBC because they hate female nature, in both its ovulating and menstruating extremes. Girl-haters were totally fine with screwing up your mind and body with unneeded pharma drugs, as long as it turned girls into zombies, making them less noticeable as female-hormone-producers.

    Just as women have ditched HBC all on their own, they'll throw out their SSRI's next -- not due to impotent trolling from girl-haters, but as part of the broader au naturel trend. And because by being more outgoing, instead of isolated and cocooning, much of their mental health problems will go away naturally. Isolation is the worst possible thing for mental health, so as people leave their isolation chambers and interact with others more (at least online, and even IRL), they won't feel the need for any form of mood stabilizers.

    Socializing is a natural mood stabilizer -- anyone who's ever "socialized" with their cat by having it jump on their lap and start purring, knows that. ^_^

    Pretty soon girls will figure out that that trick works with human-to-human interaction as well, hehe.

    1. Did you know that cheerleading never became associated with femaleness until the 1960s:

      I very much miss the "TV babes" that appeared seemingly everywhere between c. 1964 and 1993 (even on game shows). I hope they make a return without being persecuted by the Woke.

    2. I am not a fan of birth control and other endocrine disruptors either. And I share many of the same beliefs as girl-haters. So does that make me a girlhater?

      Although I have long gotten bored of girl-hating. Now I am indifferent.

  31. That was "Friendship Is the Only Meds I Need To Take", we'll be back after the break...

  32. Japanese remake of "Nobody" by Sylvia, but it's "Nanashi" ("no-name", "anonymous" in Japanese).

    The tone of the original is yearning, pining, a little pouting, but also stubborn and determined to win someone over. I think matches Kiara's personality best.

    Naturally Mumei is the third party, Nanashi, of the title.

    Who is Kiara addressing, who is in fact flirting with Mumei on the side?

    Pretty much everyone in Hololive JP has a little crush on Moom... so, whoever also has a cheeky and teasing sense of humor, to reply "Nanashi" when asked about who else she's been flirting with. Marine? Or Goobidiba on the EN side? Something like that.


  33. Of the chuubas I follow that I know that are on meds, they did go cold turkey last year, got rather silly for a bit, and then went back on meds, or got into therapy instead. They did definitely went for alcohol as a medical substitute while off their meds, and while we got some phenomenal drunk streams out of this, deep goncern for their health built up among their respective chats.

    Pre-Holo Goob was notoriously alcoholic, and her audiences that carried over were concernfagging during the holiday drinking season, but as time went on things got better for the Goob, presumably with her improved socializing with the Holo circles and beyond.

    Outside of vtubers, we saw this in the ongoing saga of Nagata Kabi, her alcoholic arc spanned from the 2016 publication of her first book until she had to go cold turkey from a second bout of pancreitis in 2021-22. Her own conclusions are the same as yours, "Socializing is a natural mood stabilizer -- [...] Pretty soon girls will figure out that that trick works with human-to-human interaction as well, hehe.".

    So if I understand your thesis correctly, these girls will be evolving their relationship with meds throughout next year, socializing a bit more, cut back a bit more on the meds, get silly in overcorrection, get back on meds at a tapered dose, and repeat.

  34. Mumei could be the leader of the new unmedicated movement, at least among the vtuber / stream world. Not in the sense of preaching a crusade -- although given her tendency to go on ranting tangents, it could happen that way too.

    Just in the sense of being openly hostile to the medical establishment, which comes from her own lifetime of experience with it being harmful / counterproductive / ineffectual. Other than basic things like dental braces, contact lenses / eyeglasses, etc.

    Given how much she swings on a monthly basis, she's clearly not on HBC.

    She's au naturowl. ^_^

    She said she's got ADHD, but I don't know if she takes anything for it. Hopefully not -- Adderall is just another pharma scam. It's just a stimulant (amphetamine)! Drink some caffeine, it has the same effect. But then the pharma parasites wouldn't reap massive profits, since coffee, tea, and energy drinks are already sold for cheap -- and without a prescription! Any supermarket, gas station, or dedicated coffee shop.

    Extraverts like Moom (even if she wants to brand herself as an introvert due to her emo past) have a low baseline level of brain stimulation -- being hyperactive and swinging your mental camera all over the place constantly, is a way to find novelty and stimulation, to bring up their low baseline to a more comfy level.

    Introverts have a high baseline level of brain stimulation, and seeking out all those stimuli would only overload their brain.

    Moom being stubborn can have its downsides, but one of the positive sides is that she sticks to her guns on being against various institutionalized establishments. When they try to browbeat her into submission, it just makes her feel more justified for doubting their credibility, and makes her double down on not trusting them and ignoring their ineffective bullshit.

  35. I know some fans like to think of her as the menhera GF experience, due to the tangents, "I like to watch", TOWL, etc.

    But she's really the *least* typical of female menhera behavior, which is usually hysterical and depressive, or borderline. She's a lot more mentally and emotionally tough than that. Yeah, she gets lost in her feels once a month, but that's every girl.

    Her mental eccentricities are male-typical -- paranoid, schizo, conspiratorial, etc. One of the few male-typical things about her -- also her being visual rather than verbal, and having atrocious eyesight.

    But these are only a small minority of her mind, the great majority of her psychology is female. And yet these minor exceptions make for quite an interesting variation on the otherwise "girl next door" character type. ^_^

    The girl next door, who blames "actual alien interference" when there's a technical difficulty that delays her stream.

    I know she will never believe us when we say she's lovable, but hopefully by pointing to examples of her adorably quirky personality and behavior like that, she might at least give us the benefit of the doubt.

  36. That's really the only thing keeping her from playing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl role during this restless phase of the excitement cycle. Everything else is there, crucially what phase she was born during (manic, '95-'99).

    But MPDGs, as (earthly) guardian angels, are confident, self-assured, and have healthy self-esteem. She's not a depressive, but she does have social-emotional limiters in place, which we and she managed to loosen up a bit from roughly spring or summer of 2022 up through the early months of this year. But I think they're there to stay, and you either like it or leave it.

    The clearest case of an MPDG in streamer world was obviously the Goobinator. True to the character type, the relationship between her and her male rehab projects was not meant to be long-term, and she flew out of their lives almost as quickly as she had flown into them -- after having coaxed them out of their shells, given them enough encouragement and excitement to breathe a new confidence into their own lives.

    Even if she never returns to being a streamer, that magical topsy-turvy time when she was has already made such a huge positive change in their lives.

  37. I know I said I'd never bring it up again, but to reiterate, I still think the reason she left was becoming a new mommy. Vtuber audiences are a lot more autistic than other parts of online, and they don't understand that when a girl drops off the face of the Earth, it's only when they have a kid. A 50% social withdrawal -- maybe just a BF or husband.

    But totally vanishing? Same part of life (dating, mating, family formation), just further along in the process, i.e. actually getting pregnant and having to mother a newborn child. Nothing else focuses all of a woman's attention and commitments away from everything she was involved with before. She got mommy brain, awwww... ^_^

    Manic Pixie Dream Girls, always wending their way from one adventure to another along the unpredictable path that life has laid out for us all...

    I don't know if it's against corpo policy to state such a reason to her fans for her extended hiatus, but it would be a lot better than a decent chunk of them thinking that she's just ghosting them for no reason.

    If she can, she should just be honest and say she's been away for so long because pregnancy and motherhood of a newborn demand way too much of her time, effort, and attention, to be a regular streamer -- and that if her fans really love her, they'd accept her going on maternity leave for months or even a few years. They can't ask her to put her content above her own child.

    I don't think most of them honestly thought they had a shot at her becoming their literal IRL wife -- she was their imaginary online waifu, but one who was interactive and serving more as a guardian angel, rehab nurse, etc., to help get them back on their feet, so they could find a GF or wife of their own IRL.

    So it wouldn't break their hearts to discover that she's already a mommy (and that they are not the daddy). They'd certainly take it better than not hearing from her at all for months.

    Plus it's easy to get joke-y and meme-y about it, to break the ice and ease the awkwardness.

    Oh nyo, can you just imagine, chumbies? -- TWO GURAS in the same home! It's a wonder this place is holding up at all right now... :3

  38. I just hope for the sake of that household's harmony that the child is not also a mercurial chaotic Gemini. ^_^

  39. But enough about vtubers. Went mini-golfing for the first time in 25 years or longer, with the fam (2 bros and nephew). I was surprised to see how well the place was holding up, after so many iconic American place-types have disappeared, such as the mini-golf course, the bowling alley, the roller rink, the video game arcade, the jungle gym at a park, etc.

    Naturally it was in an unglamorous part of the city. Parasitic strivers kill off these places ASAP cuz they can't cater to their insane Karen demands. Cocooning killed a bunch of them anyway, but it was uneven by class -- the unglamorous parts of town still probably have a mini-golf course, or an arcade with video games or redemption games (as this one did), or a public jungle gym (which this one also did), or a roller rink (which this one did not, but I don't remember those two types of places ever coinciding).

    The mini-golf place with arcade, jungle gym, etc., in the more upscale part of town was closed down and totally demolished a couple years ago.

    Yelp reviews of the place that's still open show a lot of low reviews, but I didn't notice anything bad. It wasn't spotless -- neither was any arcade, mini-golf course, jungle gym, movie theater, bowling alley, nightclub, or apartment building, in the good ol' days. It was totally fine, actually reminded me of being in such a place 30+ years ago.

    Not that having a shoe scuff mark here and there, or the carpets not being vacuumed every hour, is an attraction -- it's just labor-intensive to keep it spotless all day every day, and it's not supposed to be an upscale place like an opera house. If workers had to polish the extensive surface area of both the interiors and exterior, it'd cost the owners a fortune, and we'd have to pay double the prices easily.

    But then, parasitic strivers have gotten free money printed by the trillions from our Central Bank for over a decade (laundered through the banks and the "employers" whose payrolls they fund). So what would they care if their crusade resulted in a spotless kids' entertainment palace, that was so expensive to maintain that only the top 10% could ever take their kids mini-golfing or roller-skating?

    Fuck these parasites and their ill-gotten fake trillions of dollars in disposable income.

  40. Sidebar: no, there was minimal ethnic diversity at the place, despite it being located in an area where there could've easily been a majority of black, Hispanic, and MENA people.

    I heard throughout the 2010s that Chuck E. Cheese's had become overrun by such demos, and that's why white people stopped taking their kids there.

    In reality, *wealthy* striver whites stopped taking their kids there, because it wouldn't enhance their status-striving contest scorecard. It's not glamorous and polished enough.

    That leaves the working-class parents -- and if they're mainly non-white, that means the Chuck E. Cheese's is going to be mostly non-white. But only because in such an area, race and class are correlated -- there are whites with ill-gotten fake wealth financed by the Central Bank's printing presses, and an underclass of non-white, mostly foreign slaves who keep their overlords living a pampered lifestyle (mainly in food service).

    But my city is not such a place -- not that there's no degree of it, but it's not an East Coast shithole like that, with white elites and foreign slaves.

    Striver affluent whites may have pulled out from this mini-golf place, and perhaps mini-golf as a whole. But when the working-class and some lower-middle-class parents continue to take their kids here, they are white themselves!

    And a handful of blacks and Hispanics, of course -- working-class ones, not the Talented Tenth, who would never take their kids here, and would leave a bitchy Karen review on Yelp just like their white class-mates.

  41. My only real gripe was that the running water was not running on the outdoor golf course -- perhaps rationalized as "it's cold outside," but it's not freezing. Waterfalls are such an important part of American landscape art and architecture, we need that running water! One of the first things they shut down in malls to pinch pennys, as well -- the fountains and ponds and waterfalls.

    Other than that, the course was pretty well maintained and fun -- not one of those completely flat, boring mini-golf courses from the early days, but one of the amusement park ride / jungle gym types from the peak of the trend.

    So many places to climb, curving paths to descend, water, bridges, caves, hills / mountains, prop buildings, trees all around, mulch, paths paved with wood and brick and concrete (in the form of irregular stone-looking formations, not rectangular prisms).

    Pretty sweet little survivor from American Eden. :)

    And very glad to see my Zoomer nephew enjoying the experience (no one had their phone out). Yep, in the good ol' days we had plenty of things that could make even today's ADHD teenagers forget about Roblox and smartphones for hours on end.

    And now that the social mood is becoming outgoing again, just maybe this place will get a new lease on life. It languished during cocooning, but it's at least still around to come roaring back to life. The others that were killed off, cannot come back without a completely new construction (cha-ching -- ergo, not happening, not during the collapse of the commercial real estate bubble).

  42. Moderator, well can you help my post this blog?
    See, it's hard to remember her @ when I'm unmedicated
    She's streaming GTA
    With UrDadIsSuperGay
    One guy she shadowbanned but sometimes raided

  43. Nerissa's karaoke was quite the blast from the past, not only because most of the songs were "oldies" (previous millennium). It just felt like a Holo karaoke from the good ol' days -- long duration, all sorts of genres and time periods, melodic (minimal spoken / rap delivery), and above all else, just letting go and allowing the feeling to take you over, letting yourself become a vessel, resonating with whatever the feel of the song is.

    If there'd been a little more country, it would've felt just like a Gura karaoke. ^_^ She really did set the bar for everyone else, and her influence rubbed off on others who may have been thinking about trying something, but didn't have enough confidence to be the first or only one to do it. But if Gooba went first, then it's safe and comfy for others to follow!

    It's not an IDGAF attitude, like only I matter and who cares what others want to hear. It's more like being fearless, eager to take some risks, and if not all of them pan out, that's just the price to pay for those that go crazy.

    Ever since she de facto left, it seems like her influence has been waning among everyone else (not surprisingly). In terms of karaoke, that means country, jazz, older musicals / show tunes, and adult contempo from the '60s and '70s ("A Man Without Love," "Rich Girl," "If You Leave Me Now," "Killing Me Softly," etc.). For a loli, she had quite the mature repertoire -- the sharky chanteuse.

    Then, boom, "Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton out of nowhere tonight! ^_^ I won't make any other suggestions or requests, which would only jinx them into being blacklisted. We just have to hope that the other singers are inspired by Nerissa's set tonight, and start dusting off their favorite '70s songs -- and maybe learning a few new ones, to have some fun with it!

    And aside from the setlist, her attitude of taking the limiters off and just channeling the song's emotions, and feeling them as she's singing, not imposing her own separate personal emotions.

    Goob, if you still lurk here, we LOVED it when you would get weepy from singing a bittersweet song. That's only natural! I know, you didn't want it to get so intense that it prevented your speech sounds from leaving your mouth. That's fine.

    And it's not just "we like seeing girls cry" -- if the song was mischievous, we LOVED hearing your voice get mischievous (like the slow-tempo version of "Toxic"). The point being: singer resonating with the emotions of the song, whatever they are! The Goobinator is the best at that. ^_^

    And the IRL duet, harmonizing -- including Simon & Garfunkel! Fans can request these till we're blue in the face, and singers usually just go with whatever they want. Tonight the RNG popped out one of the central Midcentury harmonizing songs, "Sound of Silence"! ^_^

    Such a fun time tonight!

  44. Still luv this vocal better than the original:

    And this one:

  45. Nerissa's karaoke was also great at de-ironification of songs that have been memed to death, like "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "What's Up?" Singing them straight, with the proper emotional tone, seemingly unaware that they're meme songs now (except when she says afterward, "I'm doing these cuz they're great, not cuz they're meme-y!")

    A strong sign of her being more sincere and into music for its own sake, not just joking around, being sarcastic, smug, and deprecating it through irony.

    A little irony and parody is fine here and there, but our culture is way too irony-poisoned to need more of it -- any return to sincere, fun-loving, don't have to explain it, good times is a breath of fresh air!

  46. Scored a vintage movie poster-board for The Seven-Ups at the thrift store during half-off day -- only $7.50! Not thin paper, but the board kind that's almost half an inch thick. And made using pre-digital tech!

    The Boomer at the cash register got excited when he recognized it -- "The Seven-Ups!" I said yeah, it's one people forget about or overlook cuz there were so many awesome crime thrillers from the '70s, it gets lost.

    But you should totally check it out -- must-see. Not "hall of fame", but must-see for sure. Made by the team behind The French Connection (not the director, Friedkin, though). Anything with Roy Scheider was good.

    Style icon, too. Dark turtleneck, beige button-down shirt on top, then a dark cardigan, and a dark brown leather jacket. Naturally, all of the image search results do not show the entire ensemble, but watch it and see for yourself.

    Everyone remembers Steve McQueen for "detective style", but for me Roy Scheider was more of a '70s "cool cop" style icon.

    And very little that would show up in GQ, in contrast to the James Bond / spy look. More down-to-earth and practical, but also put-together and cool.

  47. On the criminal side, Robert Duvall, from The Killer Elite. Also more down-to-earth and practical, but put-together and cool -- *not* the international jet-setting kingpin of a James Bond movie:

    That jacket -- God damn, everything used to be so structured and architectural! And not for "designer" wear, just for ordinary Americans.

    Yep, that's a multi-colored ascot or cravat underneath the button-down shirt. Even streetwise assassins wanted a little flair back in the good ol' days...

  48. Braless trend report: teen in the supermarket, casually walking around pushing her cart, wearing otherwise super-baggy clothes, like a Zoomer. Baggy sweatpants, huge fluffy pillow-like slippers, and a huge fleece blanket draped over her back, shoulders, and arms. From behind, just looks like the typical "bedwear in public" that lazy young people do.

    Later we were heading toward each other, and at 10-15 away, that's when I noticed -- she's only wearing a tiny crop-top on her upper body, underneath the blanket-as-shawl. Basically a white ribbed cotton sports bra, skin-tight. Not the first Zoomer I've seen who had a shirt / shacket / shawl with the front open showing her bra.

    But as she got a little closer, I could see those B-cup babies bouncing. No bra under the top, no structure to the top. And since she caught sight of random hot guy approaching, she changed her gait to emphasize the bounce.

    How do girls do that? Lift up higher and then land with more of a thud? IDK, but the first teen I saw with no bra / only a bra was walking like that as well. Teens have zero subtlety, a core part of their charm. They can't lie or dissimilate (not convincingly).

    Nice little bit of eye-contact as we passed each other -- she did not have an SSRI stare, didn't look away or down, no device out either. Kinda blank, kinda nervous, curious, but still making the effort to make eye-contact and be friendly. Very sweet and vulnerable gaze. ^_^

    No extra padding built into the top or the bra-as-top either, which Millennials in the 2000s and 2010s would've required, if they'd even dare wear something that revealing in public. No nipples allowed.

    Zoomers are more laid-back and au naturel. Luuuvvv seeing these '60s and '70s trends coming back, now that the social mood has shifted from cocooning to outgoing, after 30 years of increasingly armor-like bras and tops.

    Not a boob man, don't care about them. But do appreciate the openness, trust, and extraversion that the au naturel look conveys to the other participants in our public spaces.

  49. Estimated age: 16, btw, like the first one I saw a couple months ago in a thrift store. Not college student. Even high schoolers are getting in on these trends.

  50. "Baggy sweatpants, huge fluffy pillow-like slippers, and a huge fleece blanket draped over her back, shoulders, and arms."

    Man, you are describing Pipkin Pippa's first outfit in the flesh.

    Her genmate Lia exhibits the armor dropping between her first and second models, with the emphasis of skin showing changing from legs and belly with a jacket covering her shoulders, to a model literally dropping the armor like jacket, exposing her shoulders and upper arms with fishnets exposing the skin color of her boobs, a complete transformation from butt to boob emphasis. As she is among the younger of the legal alcohol drinkers in Phase, she fits in your classification of early 2000s sad girl archetype, which goes well with the sad girl cerebralness of her boob girl transformation.

  51. Didn't know about her new outfit, but I could tell her fans were spiritually gay girl-haters -- and therefore, boob people -- from the description of her split on /vt: "Lia Likers' Secret Clubhouse >NO GIRLS ALLOWED".

    I hope she hasn't been beaten over the head with that "bros before hoes" message and gone full-blown fujo, like another vtuber who recently began a game asking if she can play as a dude, and can dudes seduce other dudes in the dating arc of the game. As much as I luv her otherwise, that made me nope out and not watch the gameplay later (although I did catch the chatting section later).

    If you want to seduce a dude, why not play as a girl -- especially since you are a girl IRL? Cuz she's internalized the message the boys think girls have cooties, and treat the entire male sex as a great big secret clubhouse with a "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" sign hanging outside.

    Therefore, if she wants to get socially and emotionally close to a dude -- not to mention physically -- she has to disguise herself as a dude, in order to infiltrate the clubhouse undetected.

    This fantasy, though, rests on the delusion that more than 1% of dudes are gay. Even if you could infiltrate a secret clubhouse that represented the entire male sex, very damn few of us would reciprocate the come-ons from another guy.

    So it relies on another layer of fantasy -- that there's a secret colony of hot dudes who are all homoerotic toward each other. Forget about infiltrating the male clubhouse in general -- just sneaking into that one community would be sufficient. The community may be unrepresentative, but that only adds to the utopian fantasy appeal for the fujo audience.

    "if only such a place really existed!!!!!"

    It may be too late to reverse the process, by the time she's become a vtuber, though. No matter how much attention, adulation, praise, respect, compliments, etc. she gets from her 95% male audience -- on account of her *girliness*, not disguising herself as a dude or passing herself off as "just one of the guys" -- she may still stay stuck in her fujo rut.

    Very sad to see. Kind of like the effect of growing up in a broken home -- if you're over 20, probably too late. If you got through high school and college age with only the "bros before hoes" message, it's likely stuck in your head for life, and the chances of you fujo-ing in lieu of flirting with actual dudes shoot up a million percent.

  52. Based of Shiori to pick Silence of the Lambs to showcase during the Advent group watchalong. It doesn't matter if the reactions are better or worse than in the other watchalongs -- the most important part of a watchalong is the movie itself. Creating a canon, watching the same movie together as a community.

    Lots of the audience hasn't seen even a fraction of classic, real movies, only shitty fake forgettable crap.

    Nerissa and Fuwamoco both separately did The Shining, another classic.

    And the vtuber queen herself picked mainly classics, whether she'd seen them or not (mostly not). Star Wars, The Thing, Back to the Future, Die Hard, Jaws -- and one of her best streams ever, Night of the Living Dead, which she could play inside her own content window since it's public domain. And for the Halloween season!

    Watching bad movies is an emotional and cultural cop-out, as though you don't want to connect and bond with your audience (which only happens with intense emotions, and smugly snickering at something crappy is not intense enough to forge a lasting bond). And as though you're insecure about your taste levels, and don't want to assume the role of "canon-creator".

    Well, if you've got a zillion viewers, you *are* a canon-creator, whether you like it or not. Whatever you choose for a watchalong will go into a canon, unlike what the mere mortals in chat watch in solitude, with no one aware of what they're watching.

    Big-audience content creators must run with that responsibility, and showcase the classics. They don't have to weigh in on what's classic or not -- just go with one's that are already in the canon.

    Gura also said that if she weren't a streamer, she'd like to be one of the live actresses in a "living history" exhibit, like how the Pilgrims or the Virginia colonists used to live their lives. Preserving the classics!

    Ditto for her karaokes -- running the gamut of classics!

  53. "Kind of like the effect of growing up in a broken home -- if you're over 20, probably too late."

    What kind of effect do you mean? Like not being able to connect with people, not having confidence?

  54. I'm hoping that between all the members of Advent, they can pick up that role in Gura's absence. Nerissa singing a range of classics in karaoke (and maybe TV / movies?), Shiori covering classic movies / TV, Fuwamoco playing classic video games (not simulators), and Bijou on classic memes / online culture.

    Council / Promise has classic online culture covered, but not the higher cultural formats of movies, music, and video games.

    They did pretty well when Gura was still around as an influence, but Irys hasn't played a classic video game in awhile (although maybe Stardew Valley is considered a new classic). Her recent karaoke did include a good range of classics from previous decades and genres, though -- more of these, please!

    Although Gura mostly played 2010s games, she did dedicate several streams totalling more than 10 hours to Super Metroid. Every Hololive Japan streamer plays classic games every once in awhile (or more so, like Korone and Okayu), it should be required. We're already awash in crap, we need them to utilize their role as creators of a cultural canon.

    Moom used to sing a lot of '70s songs, older musicals / Disney classics, and mixed in jazz and country as well. She did re-sing a lot of them during the marathon karaoke this summer, but they should be regular staples. C'mon, Moom -- we know you still love Jim Croce and Fleetwood Mac, no need to hide it from us. We love them too! And we want to bond over our shared love for classic music!

    Fauna played a retro game for over 8 hours until she beat it (Kirby 64), back in summer of '22. Very similar to a Holo JP retro stream, if you don't like committing to many separate streams for one game.

    I'd say among Council / Promise, the most pressure is on Irys, since she already does cool movie watchalongs -- they just need to be public sometimes. And she knows a lot of classic songs, in various genres, in two languages. And she plays classic games more frequently than other EN girls, but I think the last one was Mario World this summer, which she didn't really get into. She could re-start that one and run with it! Or another Mega Man one, like she's been saying.

    Doesn't have to be *everything* the girls do, but it has to be a key part of what they do. With great CCV comes great responsibility. ^_^

  55. The other thing that the queen did was preserving classic formats across all sorts of media, not just movies, music, vidya, and memes.

    She hosted her own game show -- do game shows.

    She cut a commercial to play within that game show -- do commercials.

    You know she wanted to develop that further, and make an entire infomercial! -- do an informercial.

    She either co-hosted or was a guest on talk shows -- do talk shows and podcasts, whether Girls Talk or Chadcast or something new from Advent.

    (Props to Fuwamoco for reviving the classic "short morning show" format, which I catch just about every episode of!)

    She did physical games like Twister with 3D models -- do physical "board" games.

    She did tier lists, meme reviews -- more of these too!

    She did some cooking streams, and even a flower-planting stream -- whatever you can do!

    And of course good ol' "just chatting" streams -- *not* a superchat reading with tangents, although those are welcome too. A one-woman podcast / improv comedy performance / therapy session. Wherever the tangents and the group's energy and collective mind takes you!

    I'm not just getting nostalgic for "a couple years before the current year," I'm trying to highlight just how broad her content was, and what a vast void there has been in her absence. A void that needs to be filled! As best as everyone can, no one expects a single streamer to replicate her individual iconic success.

    And for the love of God, RETVRN to Minecraft already! She played the hell out of that game, it wasn't just meme-y disgust horror from the mid-2010s that made her the focal point of English vtubing or streaming.

    Build or don't build, at least go on some adventures, go sight-seeing (lots to see since the last time most girls played many months ago), get goofy in a collab, whatever! It's vidya streaming 101.

  56. Since everyone is blowing right over Christmas and getting into New Year's mode already, what a better time for these changes!

    A New Year's resolution -- but beginning in December, since apparently that's when everyone declares the year is over and starts getting into the liminal "neither past or future" frame of mind.

    Like any good resolution, it's not just for your own good, it's to benefit and respect others as well. Your audience, as well as honoring your colleague by following her example to some degree, now that she's indefinitely too busy with mommy duties to do all the things she used to do.

  57. And of course Gura didn't do everything. If your forte is ASMR or drawing (which she rarely did), then by all means, do more in those formats, too.

    Just drawing attention to all that's been lost over the past year, and needs to be replaced somehow by someone to some degree.

    All of those things are staples in Holo JP, BTW, so you can also honor your role models on the Japanese side by following their example. ^_^

  58. As far as Halloween goes, I can get on Twitch or youtube and watch cosplayers anytime. There's always someone playing a horror game. You mention the watch alongs of classic movies and most of those seem to be horror. I'm watching Ina's 3D Live 'Birthday' stream now. Appropriately for her, she's singing mostly dark songs. We're getting that kind of content year round now. During October, I got my usual Twitch horror month subscription but ended up barely watching any horror content. And, as always, corporate Christmas interests are pushing Christmas earlier and earlier. I also wonder if the heat wave this year killed people's interest in outdoors Halloween activities.

    Moving on, last year was huge for Gura. I don't think she could have topped it this year. For me, her anniversary karaoke last year felt like a high point. Maybe she's completed that part of her arc. I'm sure you've noticed that EN's songs tend to be about cycles. Putting the past behind you, new beginnings, journeys.


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