Crafting The Perfect Story: The Three Elements of Storytelling

Everyone looks at stories differently.  It’s why people have differing opinions when it comes to stories that we enjoy.  Some of us like anime, manga, or other similar Japanese stories.  Others enjoy the attachment of watching actors on the big screen, or experiencing stories first-hand through a video game.

Stories are universal, but as we all know, every story won’t work for everyone.  Knowing that, I’d like to introduce you today to what I consider my Three Elements of Storytelling–the three factors, that I believe makes a story great, from an objective point of view.

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Attack on Titan Analysis: Eren Jaeger’s Underappreciated Character Development

Eren Jaeger’s received some flak for his depiction in the Attack on Titan anime, for being a simplistic, basic character.  An angry, mindless protagonist who was depicted far better in the manga.

Well.  Frankly speaking, that’s not true.  Especially considering the release of Season Two, Eren’s actually been portrayed just fine in the anime, and I’d like to explain why.

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Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch: The Team-Based FPS Formula

In recent years, a game has been released that helped to redefine and clarify what a “Team-Based First Person Shooter” is.

Overwatch is coming up on its one year anniversary, on May 24th, and since then, it’s made waves in the gaming world.  Tens of millions have played it, and for good reason.  There are many, many aspects that make Overwatch a masterfully crafted game. However, as many people have noted, there was a game that defined the Team-Based FPS far before this: Team Fortress 2.

The two games have enjoyed huge success in their own times, and undoubtedly, will continue to enjoy that success moving forward.  Despite being, at this point, almost a decade old, Team Fortress 2 has an average of 50,000 players a day, even as Overwatch has gradually become more and more of a competitive e-sport, carving out its own niche in the gaming industry.

Now, considering this, what has made the two Team-Based FPS games so successful?  We’re going to delve into this question, and consider some aspects of both games that contribute to their lasting value!

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The Sales, Reception, and Popularity of Pokemon!

Pokemon is one hell of a franchise.

The second-best selling video game franchise of all time, only behind Mario, Pokemon has become a legitimate worldwide phenomenon, known to essentially anyone and everyone.  It’s a huge franchise, released to positive reception with every new title, and one that everyone knows is going strong, but really, how strong is it nowdays?

Well, the trends aren’t exactly surprising, honestly: but they were certainly interesting to look at!  And here’s the results.

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Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood: A Theological Analysis of The Homunculus, Alchemy, and The Truth

Now, now, now, I know what you’re thinking.  Symbolism?  You mean like those cool tattoos the homunculi have?  The seven deadly sins?  Father’s Jesus symbolism?  We’ve seen that before!

No way, that’s simple stuff.  Here on Reading Between, we got bigger fish to fry.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood has received critical acclaim from many sources, myself included.  It is one of the greatest anime of all time, in my humble opinion, and a big part of that was an adventure that perfectly blended action, character development, and thematic strength.  Among its thematic strengths, was the prevalence of knowledge, and the seven evil Homunculi or artificial humans, each named for one of the famous Seven Deadly Sins.  This is common knowledge, however: and what is lost in many a symbolic analysis of the series, is a meaning that is far greater.  What I am talking about is The Dwarf in The Flask, The Homunculus, known as Father.

Father is one of my favorite anime villains of all time, but not for an imposing presence, not for his sheer evil, not even for really being a stereotypical “good” villain throughout the series.  Rather, Father sums up the thematic patterns of Full Metal Alchemist WONDERFULLY, his existence in and of itself so full of symbolism, that I’m surprised people haven’t noticed it.  Yes, Father does fit the “wise old man,” Jesus stereotype, he dresses in white, and his name alludes to God himself, but man, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Just a heads up, this is gonna be LONG and DETAILED.   And is in fact, the LONGEST and MOST DETAILED analysis on Reading Between up to this point, that tackles basically everything about FMA, from the thematics of alchemy, to the symbolism of Father himself, to even what the Truth actually is.  So, hope I can keep it entertaining and educational for ya’ll- let’s get it started.

…Or you could skip to the TL;DR version at the bottom.  It’s cool, you can do that too.  :P

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Mob Psycho 100: A Psychosocial Look at Shigeo Kageyama

Mob Psycho 100 is a fun series.

Centered around the story of Shigeo Kageyama, aka Mob, the overpowered psychic youth who just wants to live his life, Mob Psycho 100 wows its audience in multiple ways.  Animation-wise, it’s fantastic, conceptually, it is intriguing, and its characters are engaging and fun.  That being said, our main character is not quite like most other series.

Mob’s a very interesting main character- he’s not designed to be very attractive, he’s not funny for the most part, and comes off as disinterested, when other main characters are passionate and engaged.  He’s an odd one, and I think, given his odd personality, and very restrained nature, he’d be quite an interesting person to psychoanalyze.

Now, this post is going to be a LONG one.  There is a lot to explain about Mob’s psyche, but that just makes it all the more interesting.  Hope you’ll join me for the ride- let’s get into the psychology of Shigeo Kageyama.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Psycho-Analysis of The Usurper King

Anyone else hype to play the Switch?

Anyways, in honor of the release of the Switch, and of course, The Legend of Zelda, Breath of The Wild, I wanted to take a look at one of the best one-time villains of the series, Zant.

Zant, The King of Shadows, the Usurper King, was featured in the game, Twilight Princess, as seemingly the main villain.  Cold, intimidating, and powerful, Zant was extremely effective at being a dreaded presence for the player to confront, he was an antagonist that had tangible presence throughout the game.  However, come his actual boss battle, the facade drops, and he seems to go wild- throwing child-like tantrums, screeching maniacally, hopping around the battlefield, Zant displays his true nature as a psychotic lunatic.

That all being said, this behavior made me curious- what kind of person is Zant, really?  What caused him to be this way?  And of course, honestly, just what the heck is wrong with him?  Well, that’s what I’ll be exploring today-just what is the psychology of The Usurper King?

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Orange: Kakeru’s Depression, and an Application to Real Life

Warning: With this topic, I write rather honestly and personally on thoughts involving Depression, and as such, makes for a longer, more emotion-driven post.  It shouldn’t be anything too heavy, but if that’s not your thing, just wanted to give you a heads up!

Okay, so, Orange.

Kakeru, the central focus of Orange’s plot, spoke to me a lot.  His depression was depicted in a very real, tough way, that I know resonated with many other people as well.

It’s a great anime, that tackles a tough topic- Depression- but does it do it well?  How accurate is it to real life, and is there truly something to be learned from it?  Well.  That’s what I’d like to talk about today- clinically, psychologically speaking, does Kakeru’s depression in Orange hold any weight?   And what, exactly, can we learn about real-life depression from this example?

This is going to be a bit of rough, long topic, so strap yourself in- let’s get to it!

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A Coming-of-Age Story: Bubbles, and Innocence in Steven Universe!

Steven Universe is a show that starts out strange, odd, completely weird, and grows to become something with ridiculous amounts of depth.  From the story of a young boy who has his powers triggered by Cookie Cat Ice Cream bars, to a complex tale of how the passing of one Rose Quartz has changed the lives of those close to her, Steven Universe has become one of the best series that Western Animation has to offer.  Every character is just so, so good, so well designed, so relatable.  However, it is through the titular character, Steven Universe, where we see the best thematic elements of what the show has to offer.

Steven starts off the series as a young kid, idealistic, always happy, and confident that everything will be alright.  As the series progresses, he never stops hoping for the best, but he’s forced to confront situations that make him rethink his view of the world, and grow dramatically.  The story of the Crystal Gems is ultimately Steven’s Coming-of-Age story, and there’s so much in the series that build it up as such.  There is one supernatural element of the story in particular that I feel epitomizes this growth, and that is the way the series uses bubbles.

There will be sizable spoilers here, as one might expect.  I’m just gonna talk about how bubbles in the series and what they mean in regards of Steven’s growth- analyze just how he grew, and how he might continue to grow. Hopefully, it’ll be pretty interesting!
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Sin, the Book of Genesis, and Playing God: a Death Note Analysis!


WARNING: Religious topics, particularly those discussed in the book of Genesis, will be used in this analysis.  If that’s not your cup of tea, skip the post and move on!

What would YOU do, if you had a book that would kill anyone whose name was written in it?  This is the dilemma presented to one Light Yagami, who chooses then, to become “Kira,” God of the new world.

Death Note has earned a huge following since its release all the way back in 2006, and for good reason.  Providing a very, very unique concept that enthralled the minds of many, the idea of owning a “Death Note,” the series has become an anime legend.  In the series, this concept was supplemented by massive amounts of symbolism, adding huge amounts of depth to the series that made it extremely memorable.  That being said, I would like to take a quick look at just one of many aspects of the symbolism that can be seen in the series- sin, and how Light’s eventual downfall reflects the Fall of Man.

Despite being based at least partially on research and analysis, this is very much an opinion on how Death Note uses religious concepts, so if you do wish to continue reading, you can take whatever opinions I throw out with a grain of salt.  There are many, many ways in which to interpret Death Note, but what’s for certain is that there is certainly meaning to find here.  And of course, it might go without saying, but spoiler alert.  Without further ado, let’s get into the intricacies that Death Note has to offer us!

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