Greetings, dear readers, and welcome back to another thrilling episode of Seriously Geeky Sundays, the weekly prompt question piece as cooked up in the mysterious laboratory of Heather, from Just Geeking By. Who knows what unheard-of methods she uses to forge such excellent questions? Not I, dear reader, not I.
Today we continue our tour of planet earth, stopping off in a big old continent known as Asia, a continent so full of fascinating culture and history that we’d be remiss not to go check it out!
Let’s hear the official briefing from Heather, shall we?
Everyone is going to be sick of lovey-dovey stuff today, so you’ll be glad to hear we’re skipping it as we head Around the World to Asia as February 12th was the Chinese New Year!
Question 1 – Who is your favourite female character from this continent?
There are so many kickass, amazing ladies from geekdom who hail from Asia, talk about a hard question to begin with!
I do think, however, that I’ll go with the world of video games’ golden girl herself, master of the helicopter kick and owner of the fighting genre’s most deadly thigh muscles, Chun Li!
This Chinese fighter is something of a legend, part of Street Fighter’s roster since the golden days of the arcade. I always enjoyed playing Chun Li because she’s fast, has cool moves and could double jump off the edges of the screen, which was always a cool move to pull on your unwitting foes!
So here’s to Chun Li, the ultimate Chinese badass!
Question 2 – How about a male character?
Again, so much choice!
I almost went for Sleeping Dogs’ protagonist Wei Shen, the undercover Hong Kong copper who we all know and love, but instead I’m going for an absolute legend over in China, Ip Man, from the movies of the same name and played in the movies by the amazing Donnie Yen.
Ip Man was born in Foshun, China in 1893, and had a young family by the time the Imperial Japanese Army brutally occupied China during the Second World War. The movie chronicles the good deeds he does for the people of Foshun, using his wits, charm, and frankly insane martial arts to defend his people.
And when I say insane martial arts, I mean it! Wing Chun, as the style is called, is absolutely off the chain in terms of speed and skill, just check out this clip of Yen performing it in the movie, say whaaaaat!
Overall, Ip Man was a genuinely fantastic guy, and the movies chronicling his life, however accurate they may be, are awesomely fun to watch.
Question 3 – There are so many talented people in the entertainment industry from this continent, who are your favourites?
Well, the aforementioned Donnie Yen is an amazing martial artist and great actor, so there’s an easy number one!
I also had a lot of time for the late Irfan Khan, an Indian actor who appeared in movies such as Life of Pi and Jurassic World. It’s a real tragedy that the world lost such a great star in him!
Ming Na-Wen is also a fabulous actress, appearing in all sorts from the recent remake of Mulan, Agents of Shield and even playing as my choice for question one, Chun Li, in that so-bad-it’s-good Street Fighter movie from 1993!
Last one for now (I could go all day) is Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, an amazing performer who’s been in movies such as Letters From Iwo Jima, The Last Samurai and the more recent Godzilla movies (famed for its’ let them fight meme, of course!
Question 4 – Since the 16th Century (Gullivers Travels), fictional Asian countries have appeared in fandoms. How many on this list are you familiar with?
Honest answer? Surpringly few!
The Greater Korean Republic – from that bloody awful Homefront game that came out for the Xbox 360 way back when. Played a couple of missions, hated it.
Shangri La – Never actually read Lost Horizon, but who hasn’t heard of lovely Shangri La?
Rook Islands – Ah yes, the picturesque islands full of psychopaths from Far Cry 3. I enjoyed it, but the “white saviour” trope was strong with this one, which was a bit off-putting!
Kamistan – Vaguely remember this appearing in 24 back in the day, though can’t recall much about it in hindsight. I’m sure the nation was single-handedly saved by Jack Bauer, wherever it may be!
And…um… that’s my lot, sorry! Not even read Gulliver’s Travels, for shame!
Question 5 – Asia is home to some stunning locations; what is your favourite location from a fandom?
For this one, I’ll have to go with Final Fantasy VII‘s Japan themed town, Wutai.
Cloud and his gang of misfits can recruit the optional character Yuffie early on in the game, a ninja/thief who hails from Wutai and, later on in the game, steals all of the party’s materia and does a runner to her hometown. The good guys pursue her there and, aftr chasing her across the picturesque little town, rescue her from the slimy Don Corneo atop the Dao Chao mountain, which resembles the Budhha statues as seen in Thailand.
Wutai even has a multi-tiered pagoda, in which resides Yuffie’s father, Godo. It’s possible for Yuffie to fight her way up to him, defeat him and, ultimately, earn his respect at last.
Wutai is beautiful, has a fittingly Japanese-sounding theme and its own sad little story, about how a once proud town was turned into a tourist trap following its defeat in a recent war.
I’d go there on holiday!
Question 6 – From video games to animation and film, Asia has a large presence in the entertainment world. What product/fandom has had the biggest impact on you?
Well I almost mentioned it before, so let’s give it some kudos in the final question: 2012’s Sleeping Dogs, an open world video game released by United Front studios for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (and also ported to the following generation as well).
Sleeping Dogs follows the misadventures of undercover HKPD police officer Wei Shen, who has been deeply embedded into the Chinese Triads in order to bring it down from within. Except, as is the way with many of these stories (see Hong Kong’s own Infernal Affairs, the movie on which The Departed was based) Shen get too involved, developing friendships within the Triad and forcing to choose between his job and his friends, morality and adventure.
Not only did this game have an amazing plot, it also played really well too, in my (probably unpopular) opinion, this game was even better than GTA V, telling a more interesting story in a much less explored locale.
And hey, there we are, having taken a trip around the lovely continent that is Asia! I hope you enjoyed my rambling thoughts, just some of the thoughts about this very subject collected under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag, which I implore you to check out next. As always, thanks to Heather for her powerful mind-thoughts (what other kind even are there?) and I look forward to seeing you all next week!