Connect with us

Blogs

How ‘Attack on Titan’ revolves around the compromise of freedom and revolution

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed.

Published

on

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed. 

Through one of my major classes, I grasped the role of diplomacy and foreign relations as I slowly began to outgrow prejudices I’ve had with my own country and other countries. When we see our coexistence with the world, we see how we’re not different from the rest. How catastrophic would that be if we chose to resist openness and turn a blind eye to see both the good and ugly realities of the world?

Questioning morality and freedom is perfectly contextualized in the immaculate storytelling of Isayama Hajime’s ‘Attack on Titan’. First released in 2009, the highly-acclaimed fantasy-action shounen manga and anime has drawn many fans on an international scale, living to its hype and success through its consistency in fusing elements of action, fantasy, horror, and thrill. The plot circulates over Eren Yeager, who vowed to save humanity by killing all the Titans, the gigantic humanoid antagonists that have devoured humans, and his mother. However, as the story progresses, its archetypal shounen narrative of simply defeating the Titans shifts towards significant themes of politics, war, philosophy, and history intertwined. 

It tactfully combines emotionally-driven arcs paired with music that enforces ferocity, nationalism, tragedy, and despair. Each frame and panel is gracefully animated with precision, reflecting the artistry and dedication of the creators in cultivating the series’ magnificent world-building. The abundance of subtexts and relevant themes is portrayed through allegories, symbolism, and critiques of humanity’s adverse upbringing. Fair warning: anime spoilers ahead!

*Trigger warning: Mention of violence, human experimentation, and trauma

Historical Revisionism, Racism, and Fascism: The Tragedy of Reiner Braun 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

As we perceived the world through the universe of Paradis, we’ve rooted for the Eldian protagonists left to save the last of humanity within their walls. We were introduced to the Marleyans, who presented themselves as a larger enemy than the Titans. Unbeknownst to the Eldian protagonists, the entire world ostracized them as the “devils of the Earth” after their ancestor, Ymir Fritz, gained the power of the Titan through a deal with the Devil and propagated the grim Titan war. Oppressing nations through the Titans’ blood lineage and ethnic cleansing for decades, the Eldian upheaval was successful when the Marleyans finally conquered the world by obtaining 7 out of 9 Titan shifters the ability to transform into a Titan and a human. 

Due to indoctrination and Marley imperialism, relentless hate and discrimination were spewed primarily against the Eldians within the walls of Paradis. Weaponizing the Titans for world domination, human experimentation, and slavery was a pervasive punishment for the Eldian refugees to atone for their ancestors’ sins. 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

Reiner Braun was an Eldian Titan child soldier that was a victim of the Marleyan propagandistic mission that sent off candidates to infiltrate the Eldians of Paradis (they deemed as the Evil Eldians) to obtain the Founding Titan, the supreme ability to take control over the Titans. In a horrifying betrayal, it was revealed that Reiner and Bertholdt Hoover were the traitorous Titan shifters that nearly annihilated humanity years ago when they breached Wall Maria. Being disguised as a Survey Corps comrade has resulted in Reiner’s split personality, causing him to be torn with guilt between his soldier and warrior persona. After realizing that the Eldians are just normal as them who faced the same human conflict, and not the ‘devils’ the Marleyans made them be, he struggled with being a double-agent. He was just another victim of the fascist propaganda that brainwashed children to bring victory to their nation. Regardless, you want someone to be held accountable after they have slaughtered bloodshed and exterminated irreplaceable lives. If the Eldians would have won the war, would they have made themselves the heroes that have slain the evil as well? If so, which historical narrative is right? Who do we side with? 

As it highlights the damage of the glorification of military and fascism, ‘Attack on Titan’ performs a penetrating and coherent approach in alluding to the complexity of prejudice and war, the importance of history, and understanding different perspectives through Reiner’s narrative. 

Military Censorship, Class Struggle, and Corruption: Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith’s Enigma

Screengrab from Attack on Titan

As the Marleyans thrived in power, domination, and technological advancement, our protagonists faced boundless struggles of gloom and melancholy due to endless casualties and issues within Paradis. The three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina, divided the lower class, upper class, and royalty. While the Survey Corps zealously dedicated their life to saving humanity and protecting the royalty, the Royal Government put a premium on protecting their positions in the class hierarchy while being apathetic towards the lower class and refugees. Here, corruption was rampant as they were gatekeepers of true information on the outside world and resources. Their misuse of funding has resulted in class struggles and the impoverished seeking refuge in the Underground City, a crime-ridden district where Levi Ackerman was initially from. After his mother passed away, his uncle Kenny raised and taught him the essential defense and knife skills. Though he was groomed as a notorious heist member, his skills were put to good use when Commander Erwin Smith recruited him in the Scout Regiment. Levi and Erwin helped overthrow the corrupt regime through a coup d’état and emancipated progressive change with recrowned Queen Historia Reiss when they created an orphanage for the Underground citizens with proper allocation of the Royal Family’s budget. 

Despite their quintessential role as revolutionary soldiers and leaders, the series never fails to humanize their characters, representing their emotional state in the face of powerlessness and helplessness. In Levi’s troubled background, his misdemeanor has transformed into one of the most significant developments of someone who replaces apathy with care and respect by defending the collective masses, pulling the destitute from the rear end of the class hierarchy, and placing his comrades before himself. Even on the brink of death, Erwin zealously places his life on the line in upholding utmost leadership, eradicating military censorship, and practicing dignity in fighting for humanity relentlessly. 

Morality and Freedom: Eren Yeager and the Axiom for Freedom

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

“If we kill our enemies on the other side, will we finally be free?” He asks, aimlessly staring at the ocean. 

The one-dimensional persona of Eren Yeager as the main character was continually challenged from his linear ideals of attaining freedom and revenge to learning the complexity of the world on the other side of the walls. From tormenting events of betrayal, trauma, and dehumanization, his aphorisms of vowing to kill the Titans to save humanity and using the Titans for his extremist ultimatums of freedom have displayed his development as the protagonist and antagonist of the story. His moral ambiguity allows him to accept that he is only special and significant because he has Titan powers. Disappointed by the existence of other humans and civilizations beyond, all he could think about was the enemies on the other side as he reached the ocean he once longed for. The innocent look of a simple boy that gleamed with a hunger for discovery and justice is now a cyclical, manipulative, and mass-murdering enemy, with all the hatred the world has thrown upon him. 

I find it dramatically complex and beautiful when the disruption of loyalties and ideologies are placed on a threshold when former enemies and friends turned their back on him to save the world, while he turned his back on the world to save them. 

Either way, it risks someone’s life and ends in pain, which can be similarly contextualized with the philosophical dilemma of the Trolley problem. Will you push the lever, saving the five and killing the one? Or will you simply watch the train continue on its path, hence killing the five?

Illustration by Jesse Prinz on subcortex.com

Before it surfaced as a meme, Philippa Foot sparked this influential question in 1976 and was commonly raised in moral ethics and psychology. While the majority chose the “greater good”, professors made each prompt more personal and emotion-driven by exemplifying someone we were close to on the tracks. In this sense, Eren chooses to save who he is closest to, in order to be truly free and end the curse of endless chaos, rendering the death of millions. But can we blame him after the whole world celebrated while the Paradis Eldians endured monsters and hell inside the walls and were denounced as the enemies? 

The fallibility of identifying the true heroes and villains leaves the audience with an overwhelmed sense of uncertainty, as different perspectives and layers are presented.  But maybe, that is Isayama’s genius discernment — to make us think. The character’s different upbringings, environments, and ideologies show that there is neither a good nor bad guy. Every act is justifiably done for what they see as the common good in their eyes like two sides of the same coin with a different definition of justice. However, is it too late to change and find the midpoint? 

Although humorous yet unfortunate, the ongoing pandemic made several people compare the Titan serums to the contention of the elite getting the cream of the crop of the COVID-19 vaccines exclusively while the underprivileged get the short end of the stick. Even in the face of the most abhorring adversity, plague, or monsters unleashed from hell, it is the frailty and corruption of our human nature that turns us into our own enemies, winding in a repetitive cycle of chaos — to keep moving forward until our means meet the end. 

From the Game of Thrones to the Walking Dead, we hope that ‘Attack on Titan’ won’t fall into the same hole of critically-acclaimed series that eventually slump into a dissatisfying finale. As anime watchers howl in excitement for every action scene, manga readers anticipate for things to fall into place. Watch Eren’s Declaration of War against the Marleyans and the world in the ongoing season finale! Will he finally achieve freedom or be a slave to the pursuit of freedom?

See you, when this sublime and unmatched tale is engraved in history, 2000 years from now. Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro

Comments

Blogs

Gay-for-play: How Films and Shows Reel In LGBTQ+ Viewers Through “Queerbaiting”

What just happened to that implied queer representation? Why did they put a gay subtext in their show if they will not put actual LGBTQ+ characters on it? The answer is, they’re queerbaiting you.

Published

on

Screengrab from different movies and shows

Imagine this: You’re watching a movie or a show when you notice these two seemingly queer characters. They have this undeniable chemistry with a slight hint of homoerotic attraction. It hurts your tooth watching them be sweet and intimate together, yet never being officially declared as a couple. Suddenly, your hopes came crashing down when you found out that these two characters will never end up together because they’re straight.

What just happened to that implied queer representation? Why did they put a gay subtext in their show if they will not put actual LGBTQ+ characters on it? The answer is, they’re queerbaiting you.

“Queerbaiting” happens when authors, directors, or showrunners market their work to LGBTQ+ viewers through implications of same-sex attraction or relationship between two characters, which they never confirm and sometimes exploit to gain audiences. 

According to Joseph Brennan, editor of “Queerbaiting and Fandom: Teasing Fans through Homoerotic Possibilities,” queerbaiting is a form of “an allegiance to issues of queer visibility without actually delivering on such an allegiance in any tangible way.” 

A good example of this is shown in the show “Supernatural,” especially back in the heydays of Tumblr and the “Superwholock” trifecta in the early-to-mid 2010s.

Screengrab from “Supernatural” (2005)

This CW show about two brothers hunting monsters across the US à la “The X-Files” was accused of queerbaiting its fanbase through fan-favorite characters Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (Misha Collins).

Throughout the 15-year franchise, the relationship between the two is peppered with hints of queerness and attraction, with the actors hinting that they do pay “homage” to the “Destiel” ship. The vague relationship of the two culminated in its final season where Castiel confessed his love for Dean. After that, Castiel died, a clear example of the “bury-your-gays” trope (but that’s a topic of another discussion).

Another show accused of queerbaiting is CW’s Riverdale.

Screengrab from “Riverdale” (2017)

In one of the show’s trailers, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) were seen kissing, seemingly implying a relationship between the two. When the show premiered, it turns out that they did it to get the attention of another character. Surprisingly, they repeated this tactic with Archie (KJ Apa) and Joaquin (Rob Raco).

The show is diverse enough with LGBTQ+ characters on its roster. However, using the straight characters, presenting them in queer situations and marketing it to the audience is plain queerbaiting. 

Other movies and shows accused of queerbaiting include “Beauty and the Beast (2017)”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, “Killing Eve”, “Sherlock”, “Teen Wolf”, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”,  “Xena the Warrior Princess”, and many more.

Baiting an underrepresented community

Queerbaiting affects how the LGBTQ+ community and their relationships are portrayed in the media.

Although there is still no generally accepted estimate number of people who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, it is established that the said community is a minority. In the US alone, only 5.6 percent of adults identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ according to a Gallup study.

However, the LGBTQ+ is not only a minority in real life but also in movies and TV shows.

According to GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report, out of 773 main characters on primetime TV series scheduled to appear on broadcast from 2020 to 2021,  only 70were or 9.1 percent of characters are LGBTQ+. The number of LGBTQ+ characters on cable also decreased from 118 to 81.

GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index report did show an increase of LGBTQ+ inclusive films from 18.2 percent in 2018 to 18.6 percent in 2019. Although, this falls two percent short of GLAAD’s proposed 20 percent of inclusive films in 2021. 

The organization also highlighted that mere portrayal of queer characters is not enough. The representation should be of high quality. This is where queerbaiting enters.

Queerbaiting deprives the LGBTQ+ community of proper representation. It exploits the lack of fictional queer role models and uses it to get attention and money while doing little to address the problems of the community they are marketing to. 

In short, queerbaiting is just a marketing tactic, and people, especially the LGBTQ+ community, should be wary of this ploy.

Reclaiming the narrative

While shows are fishing for views through false representation, there are still many shows which delve into the  LGBTQ+ experience properly. 

One of these shows is FX’s “Pose”, which follows the story of a New York ballroom community and its members in the ’80s and early ’90s. 

Screengrab from “Pose” (2018)

The show does not only explicitly show LGBTQ+ relationships, but also shows its delicate intricacies. It also weaves the story of the community experience and how the characters bond together to face the challenges of their time, which includes hate crimes, lack of family support and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US. In addition to that, the show also has diverse casting, with main characters like Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), Elektra (Dominique Jackson) and Angel (Indya Moore) played by trans individuals.

There are many movies and shows catering to the queer community without resulting in queerbaiting. With the entertainment industry becoming more inclusive in the stories they present, there are more stories to which the community can relate to.

While the specter of queerbaiting still remains, there are many stories where the LGBTQ+ can reclaim their narrative, free from opportunistic portrayals and false hopes. 

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

10 underrated KPOP groups worth listening to

For an industry that capitalizes so much on musicality and presentation, K-pop transcends the stereotypical Western pop we all grew accustomed to. It is more than just a listening experience; K-pop is a breathing culture and lifestyle in a world of its own. And it is no crime to listen to a seemingly uncanny yet surprisingly addicting genre. Music, after all, is a universal language.

Published

on

Photo grabbed from different music videos on Youtube

K-pop is an art we have hugely relied on not only for entertainment but also as a source of consolation that’s there for us regardless of what mood we’re in. This is possibly why a huge rise in fandoms has occurred during this quarantine. Even Miss Saigon Lea Salonga and TikTok’s favorite nanay Mama Lulu have been recruited to the ARMY. 

Idols always nail versatility; whether it’s a girl-crush, rock, cute, dramatic, retro concept, and the like. Unconventional and less formulaic concepts are also a hit now, something rookie girl group aespa and boy group NCT is notably known for. 

There’s a whole universe to discover with emerging concepts and talented rookies that are about to take the K-pop industry by storm. So if you want to diversify your K-pop palate and knowledge, or your music taste in general, we got you covered! 

Here are TomasinoWeb’s picks for underrated groups you might want to stan. 

Girl Groups

1.STAYC

Photo courtesy of High Up Entertainment

STAYC are the talented girls behind ASAP, the tuneful, snappy song that’s been going around locals on Tiktok last May. In 2020, the six-member group was the first group to debut under High Up Entertainment, composed of Sumin, Sieun, Isa, Seeun, Yoon, and J. The group first debuted with EDM, pop song ‘SO BAD’. With a divine melody, memorable choreography, and an equal line distribution, it almost seems too good to be their debut song. 

Their hit single, ASAP, has received large traction and love, entering the “Billboard K-pop 100”. You’d hear the snappy and fun beat in several K-pop compilations and photocard decorating videos. 

If you’re into energetic concepts that explore young love, girlhood, and companionship, check their other amazing B-sides to jazz up your playlist!

2. WEEEKLY

Photo courtesy of PlayM Entertainment

Though most pop songs have hard-hitting beats, we just can’t get enough of bubbly and cute music. WEEEKLY tells us that you can sing your hearts out to teen-crush music regardless of how old you are! They debuted in January 2020 under PlayM Entertainment with their first mini-album, We are, and title track Tag me

 But WEEEKLY isn’t only about cuteness. Skateboarding, gaming, and confessing to your crush after classes? The seven members, Soeun, Zoa, Jaehee, Soojin, Jihan, Jiyoon, and Monday, are able to turn the unexciting aspect of school into something fun with their titular third title track, After School. Who can blame you if you get last song syndrome from this song’s extremely catchy, stompy beat? 

Each performance is refreshingly sung and choreographed with beaming enthusiasm that will surely get you on your feet.

3. Dreamcatcher

Photo courtesy of Happyface Entertainment

Straying away from mainstream concepts, Dreamcatcher gravitates towards the darker and dazzling anime-esque themes. They debuted in 2017 under Happyface Entertainment, consisting of five members: JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Yoohyeon, and Dami. With their debut album Nightmare, the group stands out by juxtaposing punk-rock with lyricism. 

Each song is interestingly tied with a storyline of running away from nightmares. To add, they are also known for their complex choreography by  incorporating imagery. You and I is a hypnotic, punk-rock song that evokes imageries of moons and crabs in their dance composition.  Running from darkness and crushing fears is another nightmare concept they have in PIRI, a nocturnal song that is often paired in anime edits because it perfectly fits as an anime opening! 

Dreamcatcher, being the literary book-like world of K-pop, will be your go-to escapism playlist with these melancholic and mythical songs.

4. LOONA

Photo courtesy of BlockBerry Creative

Whether you want a mood booster or just something to sad twerk to, this next group might interest you. LOONA, stylized as LOOΠΔ, is a 12-member girl group composed of members Hyunjin, Haseul, ViVi, Heejin, Yves, Yeojin, Chuu, Kim Lip, Gowon, Olivia Hye, Jinsoul, and Choerry.

Each member of the group was first introduced with a single of their own before their official debut in 2018. LOONA has it. You might even recognize member Yeojin’s solo in this viral TikTok audio!

Venturing into EDM, synth-pop, contemporary jazz, deep house, and more, LOONA’s experimental music allows them to easily transition from a cute concept like Hi High to a more intense girl crush concept like So What. But besides their diverse sound, LOONA knows how to use numbers to their advantage. With 12 members on board, the group is able to showcase their choreographies as contemporary art. Butterfly is one of their most artistic performances, so much so that it deserves a spot in The Louvre. So, the next time you see a “STAN LOONA” comment, why not do it?

5.Oh My Girl 

Photo courtesy of Soompi

If you’re the type who spends hours on end browsing through TikTok, then you might have come across the da da da da earworm. Behind the viral summer track, Dolphin, is the seven-member girl group OH MY GIRL. Members Hyojung, Mimi, YooA, Seunghee, Jiho, Binnie and Arin have been together since their debut in 2015. 

Despite being marketed as a group with a cute concept, OH MY GIRL injects the right amount of hip-hop and R&B in their music. Their recent comeback with Dun Dun Dance lives up to the standards set by Dolphin and Nonstop. The island pop track is not only cute and refreshing but also includes traces of 1980s disco-pop and hip-hop. More than their visuals, the group also boasts powerful and dreamy vocals in many of their songs like 5th Season (SSWL), Step by Step, and Closer. In this gloomy weather, OH MY GIRL is the warm hug and vitamin boost you need. 

Boy Groups

1.SF9

Photo courtesy of Mnet

Models? No, they’re just SF9—a nine-member boy group that debuted in 2016. SF9, which stands for Sensational Feeling 9, is composed of talented members Youngbin, Inseong, Jaeyoon, Dawon, Ro Woon, Zuho, Yoo Taeyang, Hwiyoung, and Chani.

SF9 is more than just visuals. Member Zuho is credited as a producer in many of their songs such as Echo, Photography, and Go High. Their main dancer, Yoo Taeyang, takes part in the creation of their choreographies like with their recent performances in the survival show Kingdom: Legendary War. For K-Drama fans, you might recognize members Ro Woon in Extraordinary You and She Would Never Know, Chani in Sky Castle, and Dawon in Doom At Your Service

SF9’s growth is slow and steady, which is often overlooked by many K-pop fans. Some of their songs that you should listen to are Good guy, Now or never, Believer, Summer Breeze, and Easy Love. If these convinced you of their talent, then maybe consider supporting their July comeback and you might never know, maybe you’ll even join their fandom called “fantasy” as well. 

2. Astro

Photo courtesy of Fantagio

It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but a certain handsome actor in True Beauty is actually part of a very talented group: Astro. Hear us out, aside from Cha Eun Woo’s gorgeous visuals, one must also notice the immense talents of his fellow members and their accomplished, versatile discography. Astro debuted under Fantagio in 2016 with six members; MJ, Jinjin, Cha Eun-woo, Moon Bin, Rocky, and Yoon San-ha. 

From exploring refreshing concepts, emotional ballads, and sophisticated themes, Astro still doesn’t lose their signature touch in their music. Crazy Sexy Cool perfectly combines retro, suave themes, making it everyone’s era and wrecking our bias list. In All Night, Astro blends their charming visuals and top-notch vocals with a beautifully crafted choreography that we can only describe as ethereal. So, would you want to be their star?

3. The Boyz

Photo courtesy of Cre.Ker Entertainment

11 members, 11 charms. The BOYZ first kicked off in 2017, forming Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, Chanhee, Changmin, Haknyeon, Sunwoo, and Eric. To segue, Juyeon was actually the viral “cute football guy” that trended all over social media because of his stunning boyfriend material look! 

Much like Astro, they can also pull off any concept. Duality and versatility keep their head in the game, whether it’d be a youthful school concept or a dynamic electro-funk impression. In the survival show, Road to Kingdom, the members shined outstandingly with impressive and creative performances—fighting for the crown and twirling in flames were all evocative of Catching Fire from the movie franchise, Hunger Games. In their spy-like concept in The Stealer, they fuse synchronization perfectly with electropop instrumentation. 

Right Here and D.D.D are also some of the many trademarks the boys have created. Its dynamism radiates with zest and a clean, cut chorus that utilizes good melodies fused with the right amount of synergy. If you’re down to seeing iconic films and concepts combined with music and dance, you will not regret stanning The BOYZ.

4. ENHYPEN

Photo courtesy of BELIFT LAB

Hailing from the survival program, I-LAND, is the seven-member group ENHYPEN. Composed of members Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, and Ni-ki, the group is among the very few K-Pop groups without fixed positions except a leader. Despite being a fresh and new group, ENHYPEN has showcased their versatility with their unique concepts and storylines.

If you’re an anime fan, then you might enjoy Given-Taken whose music video is filled with not-so-subtle references from The Promised Neverland. ENHYPEN further elevates dark concepts by incorporating vampires, carnivals, and subtle horror imagery at the backdrop of a college house party in their pop and psychedelic rock-infused track Drunk-Dazed

But, if creepy dolls and blood make you queasy then their reggae-inspired Let Me In and contemporary R&B Fever might be right up your alley. For classic literature nerds, their lyrics and storyline might pique your interest as much of their songwriting and concepts draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s works like Sonnet 11 and Hamlet. To stan or not to stan, that is the question.

5. Day6

Photo courtesy of JYP Entertainment

If mainstream pop isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps Korean band Day6 would fit your palette more. The group is fronted by member Sungjin on lead guitar, with Young K on bass, Jae on guitar, Wonpil on the keyboard, and Dowoon on drums. Formed in 2015, the five-member ensemble brought in a new wave of K-pop with their painfully relatable music. 

Day6 explores a wide array of genres from alternative rock with Congratulations, to full-on pop-rock with Shoot Me and Sweet Chaos, and to a more retro sound with Days Gone By

Instead of eye-catching choreography, the band prides themselves on their songwriting. Not only are their lyrics very poetic, but they also encapsulate emotions and lived experiences of both youth and adults. From I Smile that speaks about the growing pains of young love to Zombie that tackle the nuances of our daily lives, Day6 will leave you nostalgic with their youthful tones and cathartic with their empathetic lyrics.

Bonus: K.A.R.D

Photo courtesy of Musique

K.A.R.D brings the best of both worlds as a co-ed group, a rarity in the K-pop scene. Formed by DSP media in 2017, J. Seph, BM, Somin, and Jiwoo’s talents, variety, and amusing sibling-like relationships subvert the Korean industry’s stereotypes on mixed-gender groups.

From dancehall music, tropical dancing, to cathartic melodies, they truly are the best at playing aces. One of their best works is Trust Me, an impassioned song that tackles melancholy and distance. The harmonization of their voices fit so well together, it’s a trance to keep replaying it. But if you want to feel hyped, Oh Nana employs a jumpy, pop choreography with happy twerking! It is time to reciprocate the same appreciation towards co-ed groups in the industry so we can be blessed with more hidden gems. 

For an industry that capitalizes so much on musicality and presentation, K-pop transcends the stereotypical Western pop we all grew accustomed to. It is more than just a listening experience; K-pop is a breathing culture and lifestyle in a world of its own. And it is no crime to listen to a seemingly uncanny yet surprisingly addicting genre. Music, after all, is a universal language. 

Yet, like western pop, K-pop does not go without fault. There are many incidents that happen behind closed doors that are purposely shielded from the public eye. Indeed, K-pop is a refreshing genre that gives a rush of dopamine and brings comfort. But along with being avid listeners and supporters, we must also be mindful and discerning consumers. 

Comments

Continue Reading

Blogs

8 Filipino Films as Quintessential Romantic Couple Tropes

Undeniably, classic rom-coms curated by our country’s creatives have shapeshifted the romantic genre not only just as microdoses of the romance we can all relate to, but as visual records of how the film has taken under its wing the context of the consensus of love in the society, in the country’s language, and its prevailing cultures.

Published

on

(Artwork by Meghan Castillo/TomasinoWeb)

In a blanket of uncertainty, all we have in our company now is the glaring afternoon heat through the summer season, the promise of Taylor Swift’s re-recordings, and the unending desire to rewatch couple tropes, which romantic comedies (rom-coms) never fail to gladly capitalize on. We can never blame the immortal presence of these tropes in the landscape of rom-coms because they are salient elements to the whole genre — as salient as the chicken skin which Popoy had refused to give to Basha, leading to their well-deserved pedestal in the exes-to- lovers trope in Philippine romcoms. 

We rounded up some of the quintessential romantic couple tropes in films and their classic Filipino counterparts. In doing so, we hope to put into words how these films solidified our love for the familiarity of seeing how Homo sapiens fall in love with each other (or not) in numerous, tried-and-tested patterns. 

 

Best-Friends-to-Lovers: Labs Kita…Okey Ka Lang? (1998) 

 

One of the simplest yet poetically endearing trope dynamics to be created is the best friends-to-lovers trope. The plotline usually revolves around two people who have known each other more than the back of their hand, with one of them gradually seeing the other person in a different light. Suddenly, the air is filled with awkward tension, and we can’t help rooting while simultaneously getting frustrated for two people who have always been in love but are just belatedly realizing it. 

There is no other Filipino rom-com classic that has perfectly encapsulated this trope other than the Jerry Lopez Sineneng film Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang?. Forefronted by the Marvin-Jolina tandem, the story of Bujoy (Jolina Magdangal) and Ned (Marvin Agustin) as best friends trying to navigate these newfound feelings will always resonate even after years of its release. 

 

Enemies-to-Lovers: Got 2 Believe (2002)

 

While this trope may rarely happen in real life, the enemies-to-lovers plot line has always been a perennial favorite not only in films but also as tags in fanfictions. Its ability to placate two people who harbor hate for each other, and then eventually draw an unexpected trajectory makes this couple trope interesting with each storyteller’s take. 

Olivia Lamasan’s Got 2 Believe continues to be among the beautifully rendered rom-coms of this trope as it showcases Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto’s characters — who have opposing views on love — trying and failing to resist the outcome of their compromise. Equally highlighted was their palpable chemistry not only as lovers but also as artisans of the we-banter-like-a-married-couple-but-we-just-don’t-know-it-yet plotline, which had served as the blueprint for most love stories of today’s generation. 

 

Second Chances at Love: My Amnesia Girl (2010) 

 

The weight of the history between two people — who had once been part of each other’s lives and decided to separately go their ways only to find themselves meeting each other again — makes the exes to lovers trope one of the plotlines interjected with an unapologetic amount of angst over memories bearing too much. 

That is not the case with the 2010 rom-com film My Amnesia Girl as ex-lovers Apollo (John Lloyd Cruz) and Irene (Toni Gonzaga) are given a clean slate with the far-fetched excuse of amnesia. Sans the awkward tiptoeing around a hurtful past, the story now gives the two exes a chance to make up for the hurt they have inflicted on each other while unknowingly creating more pitfalls that had them eventually causing more pain. Quirky and peppered with cheesy pickup lines, My Amnesia Girl will always be a go-to amusement for those who masquerade the pain of the past better than anybody else. 

 

Cold Personality Meets a Warm-hearted Person: A Very Special Love (2008)  

 

A timeless element that adds depth to rom-com films is the presence of change especially when integrated into a character who has gone too cold after only surviving the day-to-day motions of life; then comes the warm-hearted character, heralding the sunlight into the other person’s life. Naturally, the stone-cold person will try to resist giving in to their warmth. But by the end of the story, they’ll realize that they’ve never been more alive than when they are filled with the warm-hearted person’s energy. So, they apologize in front of Luneta with a complete band singing “Kailan” by Smokey Mountain. 

Such is the plot of one of the most successful trilogies of the Philippine cinema: Cathy Garcia-Molina’s A Very Special Love starred by the Sarah-John Lloyd tandem. It is a retelling of a fairytale-esque love story carved around the culture of familial ties that made it a staple gateway to other Filipino rom-coms anchoring on the same trope. 

 

Fake Relationships: Till There Was You (2002) 

 

There is always a grain of truth in the optimistic disposition of “fake it ‘til you make it”, and this also apparently applies to relationships forged by either a need to stave off unending questions of the marriage-hungry parents or to make an ex-partner jealous. 

In Till There Was You, however, the farce relationship between Joanna (Judy Ann Santos) and Albert (Piolo Pascual) was to convince Albert’s child that the family she thought she had was not falling apart. Later, they realize that it has never been hard to distinguish what was real and not. This led to them to create the ending they (and we) have always seen coming. The 2003 romantic comedy is highlighted by not just the thrill of fake relationships becoming real, but also by its subtle criticisms of societal issues — from unfair labor practices to custody battles — that grapple the ordinary Filipino family. 

 

READ  Why #JusticeforReinaNasino should still anger you

Soulmates: Hintayan ng Langit (2018) 

 

The idea of each person having someone who has been created to be their other half — whether platonically or romantically — has always contained an inexplicable excitement of its fulfillment because it is a grounding prophecy that we are not always meant to celebrate the journey of life alone. This may be the reason why the soulmate trope — in however way it was written — will always fascinate the most rational person in the room; the same goes for the whimsical ones for it is a type of story that we may always grasp, and yet its entirety can never be fully comprehended. 

This is the premise of Hintayan ng Langit, which is a story about two previous lovers meeting each other again. What is fascinating other than the idea of a failed romance being possibly rekindled in the afterlife is that the story takes its ample time through the course of grieving — not just for those who are left behind but also for the dead. With the masterstrokes of the film’s writer, Juan Miguel Severo, and director, Dan Villegas, Hintayan ng Langit serves as a reminder that even in the afterlife, soulmates will always find their journey being and ending with each other. 

 

Star-Crossed Lovers: Ulan (2019)  

 

Many things can only go so much past the command of the stars; neither of those things is fate because, as one rightfully suspects, the stars cradle the hands of fate. Once in a while, however, the stars failed to consider that certain people are too stubborn to an extent of displacing its design. One may contest that it’s not their fault — they’re just people who found love where it was not meant to exist in the first place. 

Such is the trope of the star-crossed lovers which may be different from the premise of romantic comedies since tragedies frequent the ending of these stories. Irene Villamor’s Ulan is no stranger to this trope. Its story, however, only bears a fraction of the tragedy of star-crossed lovers. More than anything, it traverses through the grit of loving oneself and others in a world that tries to show how harsh the stars may sometimes be. 

 

Unrequited Love: I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017)  

 

Is there a better comic relief than when the story shows a person secretly pining for another person only to find out they don’t feel the same way? The unrequited love trope is widely incorporated in stories transcending genres, and more often the reason is that it supplicates as a shared experience — it speaks a language that most people have known and understood for a long time. 

For Carson (Maja Salvador), it takes her exactly seven years to know she has been suffering under its language, and maybe seven more to shrug off the vocabulary that is Dio (Paulo Avelino). JP Habac’s I’m Drunk, I Love You, although peppered with a charming comedic appeal, veers away from the traditional Filipino rom-coms as it takes on a quiet portrayal of love and all its ugly compared to the usual gimmicky films we have been familiar with. It is the poster child of a film about unrequited love for it prides itself as an anthem to those who clown enough to yearn even without a sliver of assurance — a true epitome of this generation’s rom-com. 

Undeniably, classic rom-coms curated by our country’s creatives have shapeshifted the romantic genre not only just as microdoses of the romance we can all relate to, but as visual records of how the film has taken under its wing the context of the consensus of love in the society, in the country’s language, and its prevailing cultures. Filipino rom-coms are not just stories that desire to entertain but to reside as a manifestation of how their tropes — when taken with a sturdy consciousness — can provide a newly established purpose: an archive of the culture of love across generations. 

Comments

Continue Reading

Trending