Monday, June 6, 2016

My Little... Millennial?

Okay, call this a weird subject, but let's take a little look into the most recent episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That episode being the eleventh episode of the sixth season, Flutter Brutter.

Episode Synopsis

The episode revolves around Fluttershy's little brother Zephyr Breeze returning home after a failed venture into the world of mane styling, the pony version of hair styling. Zephyr's appearance of having a five o'clock shadow and a "stallion bun" makes him a pretty obvious representation of most millennials, but we'll get into that later. Zephyr plays the role of master manipulator as he moves back in with Mom and Dad despite Fluttershy's objections. A little later in the episode, Zephyr does leave the nest to find a new place to stay, and it unfortunately is Fluttershy's place. Fluttershy tells Zephyr he can stay under one condition, that he finds a job.

Fluttershy sets Zephyr up with a few jobs, working for Rarity by dying fabric, and for Twilight cleaning all the windows in the castle. How well does this work out? Zephyr does jack crap, and has Rarity's cat Opalescence "dye the fabric" and having Spike "teach him how to properly clean those windows." Can you say "Lazy-flank motherbucker?"

Fluttershy gives up on Zephyr after he quits his new job working for Rainbow Dash at Wonderbolts Training Camp, and big sister kicks her quitter brother out. A little later Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash spot Zephyr living in the middle of the woods admitting his failures, and Fluttershy has an idea on how to help Zephyr out, by giving him the help and motivation he needs to try again and complete his mane styling training. The episode ends on Zephyr coming back in graduation garb talking about his accomplishments, and how it helped to actually do all the work needed.

Zephyr the Millennial Pegasus

As stated earlier, one can't help but draw the conclusion that Zephyr is a typical millennial based upon physical characteristics and certain statuses. When we are first introduced to Zephyr, he's seen sporting the equivalent of a man bun and five o'clock shadow, has no job, failed out of his mane styling classes, and living with Mom and Dad as a freeloader. How does this resonate with the millennials that are part of the brony community? Probably not very well, but there hasn't been enough evidence on Tumblr to support this.

The last time there was a "stereotype" of some kind in Friendship is Magic, it was during the season 5 episode "Brotherhooves Social" with Big Mac in a dress pretending to be a female pony to participate in the Sisterhooves Social with Applebloom. I put stereotype in quotations there because there was an unnecessary controversy spun out of a classic animation trope, and that controversy was that Big Mac was being viewed by some as a crude misrepresentation or mockery of transgenders. I'd give my thoughts on that argument, but let's just keep politics out of this blog.

If the man bun sporting millennials, or at least the jobless freeloading millennials, get upset over this episode, then I think they may have missed the point of this episode. It's trying to actually help even the older members of the viewing audience get up and try again by actually putting in the work necessary to achieve their dreams, even if it means taking up a not-so-glamorous job to help them get there. It's rare to see a children's cartoon create a message that can work on a much more universal level than in previous episodes, but for Friendship is Magic this episode could be that kick in the pants we need to change the way millennials think about how to accomplish their life goals and find the job that they love, rather than demanding handouts ala Bernie Sanders (Only political joke I'll throw in here).

Until the next review, have a nice day!
-Napoleon Jonamite

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Videos, Hiatus, and Grief

Well, it's been a while again. Sorry for not updating the blog in forever. This one is an update on things going on with the YouTube channel, future uploads, and a hiatus based on grief and other family issues.

With regards to the channel, I've had some issues with uploads and the wonderful "Where's the Fair Use" situation. I've had to switch my original uploads of my first three reviews to private because of a potential loss that would've been dealt to me by Universal Music Group. When I made a copyright appeal to UMG, they decided to issue a takedown notice on the video I chose to test the appeal with. This forced me to switch the original uploads to private and create reupload versions of the first three reviews I had ever done.

Along with that, I've been in the middle of another copyright claim battle on the My Little Pony review, this time from Sony Music Entertainment because they have the distribution rights to the soundtracks, which they didn't have at the time I worked on the review.

I do have a couple of videos in the works, but it will be a while before they do get uploaded. One review I actually moved up from a proposed Fall release.

I'm also uploading future reviews to DailyMotion while facing these YouTube issues. I will release the reviews to YouTube a week after I upload to DailyMotion.

Now for a subject no YouTuber ever wants to discuss, hiatus. After I released the Senran Kagura review in March, I was waiting for the right time to start recording again. While I had plenty of content recorded for a review I wanted to have done this summer, I had to place editing on hold for quite some time due to a major family emergency. Around the end of April, we had an emergency call come in about my brother-in-law collapsing in his home and being rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately he passed away during the attempts to get his heart started again. This forced me to enter into a hiatus that would then lead to pushing a project up to being the next review to be released this summer. This video will be dedicated to him, even if he had no influence on my videos. There will be an "In loving memory" card placed at the end of the video, something I never thought I would ever include in any of my videos. The grief has been rough, and I'm still not 100% back to my old self, but I know that he would want me to return to working on the things I love.

After I get the next two videos done, I will officially enter into another hiatus as I wait for that moment when I can officially move out of my current residence. I won't go into details about my current living situation, but just know that I will return to videos sometime next year. This will allow me plenty of time to draft up more scripts to work with when the time comes to return.

Until the next review, have a nice day!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Please Rewind Napoleon: Where's the Fair Use?

It's something that many YouTube critics or entertainers are asking. The situation regarding YouTube's current copyright system scares a lot of users, and is currently making me want to not become a partner if this is the case. Oh, I think I am getting way ahead of myself here. Let's start off with the basics of the topic of Fair Use.

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is defined as a legal doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted materials without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, research, and parody. YouTube content creators like Nostalgia Critic, I Hate Everything, Anime America, and even Please Rewind Napoleon are examples of critical and commentary based fair use content, while TeamFourStar and "Weird Al" Yankovic are major examples of parody creators. Whether the release is YouTube or the open market, the content made with use of copyrighted material is protected because some form of transformation was made to what was being used.

Why Are We Talking About This?

Recently, some of the big YouTubers, Nostalgia Critic, I Hate Everything, and TeamFourStar to name a few, have been hit with copyright claims and strikes under the current copyright system being used by YouTube. Many companies or users claiming to "represent these companies" are placing these claims on the users mentioned stating that they own the content being used. With this, any money earned by the YouTuber through ad revenue goes to the copyright claimer, and a potential copyright strike is placed on the user's account.

TeamFourStar makes a parody of the anime series DragonBall Z, which has multiple owners in Funimation, Toei Animation and Fuji TV. The Nostalgia Critic creates critical content on various movies. The former channel was recently terminated due to a large amount of copyright claims made against them, despite their content falling under fair use, while the latter had monetization removed from their channel due to numerous claims made on many of his reviews. These users make their living through the content they produce, and with a lost income, they can't pay their bills or any sort of production crew they may have.

Sometimes, the company that makes these claims aren't even true owners of the content being claimed. Anime America, an anime review channel on YouTube, had many of their videos claimed by an Italian company that claimed to own some of the content that was seen in the video, which even included the users' avatars and commentaries in the videos. This sadly forced them to block their videos, including new uploads, from view in Italy until things get fixed.

How is Please Rewind Napoleon Affected?

Right now, Please Rewind Napoleon is a non-profit, non-YouTube-partnered review series, so it isn't affected at this time. However, this does make me nervous regardless of whether I choose to go into a partnership or not. Prior to my recent revival of the channel, I had claims placed on my earliest reviews. Universal Music Group claimed my videos because of the music used in my original intro, Billy Preston's "Nothing From Nothing." Time Warner claimed my Swat Kats review because Swat Kats was owned by their Cartoon Network Studios. And recently I had to dispute claims made by Viz Media on my Sailor Moon review and deleted joke idea, both of which used footage from the DiC and Cloverway dubs. I won against Viz's claims mostly in part of them not responding to the counter claim, but if I had those videos monetized, then I would've lost any money made during the claim dispute to Viz Media. As for my older videos, Universal made my videos unable to be seen in Germany or on certain platforms, and Warner is placing ads on the Swat Kats review to make money off of my video. I argued fair use to Warner, but lost the counter claim, luckily no strike was given to me. If this is what a creator of content that should be protected by fair use has to go through on a regular basis, why should I either consider a partnership or even create more reviews?

There are some major changes that YouTube needs to make to its current handling of copyright claims. Doug Walker, the man behind the Nostalgia Critic, has suggested that a side account be made for the funds that are being held/seized during a claim dispute, so that money goes to whoever wins the dispute. I'm sure there are other things they could do better, but I'm having a hard time figuring them out right now.

Until the next review, I have just one question. Where's the fair use? #WTFU