What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

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What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:17 pm

So back when Super was airing, the channel Totally Not Mark was my shining beacon among the endless wave of shitty Dragon Ball news and analysis channels. Mark's an amiable Irish dude with a squeaky-clean image and he made a lot of fun little videos. He still is, and he still does, but his new main commodity are his "Anatomy of Anime" videos which dissect characters storytelling elements of Dragon Ball and other Japanese media (including games occasionally, despite the title). Seeing Plague of Gripes' response to one of his videos partially inspired me to make this thread.

Now by anime video essay standards, this series is gold. Original artwork, good editing, a consistent style... it's all top notch. However, I've found myself increasingly at odds with the theses of his videos. See, Mark has really taken to an academic style of narrative analysis, which is admirable, and of course with that, he's come down increasingly hard on all the post-Z continuations with more critical pieces. It's good to see his evolution in mindset even though I don't always agree. He even cites sources in his videos. Okay, it's always like the same three sources, but yagotta give him credit for showing his effort.

Although I still like his stuff, I've noticed a lot of circular reasoning in many of his recent vids, i.e. "this is bad because it is", and it feels like the slick editing and source citing are becoming smokescreens to cover for his weak arguments. Take his recent video on Vegeta, where he criticises the show for nostalgia-baiting by recreating iconic moments from his original character arc. It's a good point, but he doesn't provide any constructive alternatives for how Vegeta could have been better handled. He flim-flams around and just concludes that Vegeta in Super is boring. Okay, cool, but why? From the way he describes it, Vegeta is currently conforming to a "flat character arc" since his original one is more or less finished. He had previously discussed that Goku also has a flat arc, but in that video was much more positive and he doesn't explain why a flat arc can work for Goku but not Vegeta. It feels like he's always scratching the surface of an issue but not quite reaching the source.

There's been many others that I feel are just flat-out bad interpretations in my opinion, such as his claims that Goku has never been overconfident. As just one example, there's Goku's decision to crush his Potara earring and fight Kid Buu one-on-one, which proves to be a hugely reckless, arrogant choice.

And generally, you get the feeling that Mark has very "follow the instruction manual" ideas of how stories should be structured and the objective aspects that make a work good or bad. While reading scholars' and accomplished authors' advice guides is obviously crucial, not everything can be distilled into simple recipe guides of archetypes and structures, and not everything needs to. Pretty much all of the later Z arcs by Toriyama completely fly in the face of "good" narrative structuring (not that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing as some would claim, but his style was certainly... unique), yet Mark rarely acknowledges this.

So yeah, I still like Mark, but I feel his recent videos have become a bit... misguided. Fortunately he seems to be a humble guy who always wants to improve, just like a certain manga protagonist. Does anyone else know (or care) what I'm on about?...
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Vijay » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:43 pm

I know this guy....

I watched his vid abt Majin Boo & Android Arc sumtime ago, maybe a year ago. Disagreed most of his points.

Later, I watched some other vids abt GT & Super. Weirdly, I agreed with most stuffs he said.

But as you mentioned, dude uses lotsa references from ancient writers, poets, directors (who I don't even know if they truly existed in the 1st place😂) and seems as if he uses this "strict guideline" to base his opinions. While I agree some might be accurate, i soon realized DragonBall (DB/z/GT/Super) in general is a light-hearted show. Dude sumtime goes microscopic level to scrutinize, sumtimes point-out blatantly explicit stuff from manga, say the iconic SSJ2 Goku vs Majin Vegeta.

End of the day, dude's basically giving his POV. nothin wrong with it. I'd say it's considered crime for the fandom dissect the series done & dusted by it's author almost 30 years ago like PL's, strongest Majin Boo, why Gohan was ditched in Boo Arc, EoZ bla bla bla when the author himself has said on multiple occasions that he doesn't put so much thought into the show & seems content in forgetting it.

So to analyze a YouTuber who over-interprets DragonBall way more that he should is unhealthy trend. I might watch his future vids for entertainment purpose, but nothin substantial is gained from it. Just more over-analyzed info from a series which was never intended to be so in the 1st place 😊

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Matches Malone » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:02 pm

I really like his videos, as he shows there's more to DB than what fans give it credit for. He proves that DB is a thoughtful story that Toriyama put a lot of effort into, it's not just strong guys punching each other as some believe it to be. When I read comments like "DB is just a silly kids show, don't expect much from it", it proves that they don't pay attention to anything but the fights, and are missing a major part of what makes it great.
Vijay wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:43 pm
Just more over-analyzed info from a series which was never intended to be so in the 1st place.
Toriyama always says he didn't overthink things while writing DB, but between Mark's videos and other fans who've analyzed the story, one has to question Toriyama's words, as there's simply too much found in his work for it to be just a simple coincidence. Geekdom101 did a series analyzing DB and Z's themes and there's a lot there as well. I think Toriyama says things like that to be humble.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by SupremeKai25 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:23 pm

Well I'd like to watch his very long and separate video on how the existence of Zamasu does not make sense and how the canon explanation is wrong because "it's too convoluted". That should be fun, I'm assuming he's referring to the whole time shenanigans explained by Toei on their official website.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:29 pm

I agree with Matches that Toriyama's humble "I just wrote by the seat of my pants" act doesn't fly, Toriyama clearly cares much more about the franchise than he lets on in interviews. Otherwise, why would he come back to it after seeing the atrocity that was Dragonball Evolution? Why would he write a 3 hour script for the Super: Broly movie? I think he likes to create this cool image of himself, like he created a timeless work of art without even trying. You hear any behind-the-scenes talk from other creators and it's clear that Toriyama is very passionate about the universe he created and wants it left in the best hands possible.

Incidentally, I'm just watching Mark's review of the Goku Black arc and I've got to the bit where he talks about "stupid Super" Goku forgetting to bring Senzu, and Mark claims that Android arc-era Goku would never make any mistakes regarding Senzu beans... Yes, Mark, Goku has never, EVER made mistakes involving Senzu beans, ever. :clap: I can't-

Seems to be a decent review so far all in all though, but I can't wait for him to get the original Z anime and realise just how much pointless filler was in that beast.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Dbzfan94 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:32 pm

I haven’t seen his stuff in a while, but since you brought it up I gotta agree with what he said about Vegeta in Super being boring and just repeating the same character arcs from Z

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by goku the krump dancer » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:16 pm

SupremeKai25 wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:23 pm
Well I'd like to watch his very long and separate video on how the existence of Zamasu does not make sense and how the canon explanation is wrong because "it's too convoluted". That should be fun, I'm assuming he's referring to the whole time shenanigans explained by Toei on their official website.
He's talking about the existence of Zamasu as he is in Goku's body, which it really doesn't make since. Zamasu claims that he wanted to swap bodies with Goku after they sparred on Gowasu's homeworld, yet the only reason they sparred to begin with was to see if they can find some connection between he (Zamasu) and Black. How on Earth could Zamasu gain the motivation to swap bodies with Goku if they've never met up until the time that they did which was AFTER Goku fought Black the first time in the Present.

That said though, I like his video's a lot, I love that explains Goku being a "Positive Flat Character" in that he doesn't change too much through the course of the series and that part of the narrative is how the people he's around change because of HIM and not the other way around which is typical of many other stories.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by SupremeKai25 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:23 pm

goku the krump dancer wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:16 pm
SupremeKai25 wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:23 pm
Well I'd like to watch his very long and separate video on how the existence of Zamasu does not make sense and how the canon explanation is wrong because "it's too convoluted". That should be fun, I'm assuming he's referring to the whole time shenanigans explained by Toei on their official website.
He's talking about the existence of Zamasu as he is in Goku's body, which it really doesn't make since. Zamasu claims that he wanted to swap bodies with Goku after they sparred on Gowasu's homeworld, yet the only reason they sparred to begin with was to see if they can find some connection between he (Zamasu) and Black. How on Earth could Zamasu gain the motivation to swap bodies with Goku if they've never met up until the time that they did which was AFTER Goku fought Black the first time in the Present.

That said though, I like his video's a lot, I love that explains Goku being a "Positive Flat Character" in that he doesn't change too much through the course of the series and that part of the narrative is how the people he's around change because of HIM and not the other way around which is typical of many other stories.
Oh that? I mean, I just assumed Goku went to Zamasu's planet for another reason... I don't see how it's such a massive plothole deserving of its own video. You can easily fill that gap with headcanon. Maybe Goku learned from Shin that there was a fighting genius Kai and got interested.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Sadala Elite » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:07 am

He's easily the best DB critic on YouTube. He's not perfect nor do I agree with some of his views, but no one else on Youtube does a better literary analysis of the series than him.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Matches Malone » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:06 am

Sadala Elite wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:07 am
He's easily the best DB critic on YouTube. He's not perfect nor do I agree with some of his views, but no one else on Youtube does a better literary analysis of the series than him.
The best thing about his videos is that he puts a big wrench in the whole "DB's just for kids, don't think about it" mentality that's been going on lately.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:21 pm

Sadala Elite wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:07 am
He's easily the best DB critic on YouTube. He's not perfect nor do I agree with some of his views, but no one else on Youtube does a better literary analysis of the series than him.
Unreservedly agree on that.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Metalwario64 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:14 am

Sadala Elite wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:07 am
He's easily the best DB critic on YouTube. He's not perfect nor do I agree with some of his views, but no one else on Youtube does a better literary analysis of the series than him.
MistareFusion/Gaffer Tape of this very forum is better at analyzing and... well... dissecting the series in my eyes. Mark is certainly one of the better ones though. I appreciate his knowledge of the Japanese side of the series as opposed to some other Dragon Ball YouTubers who seem to base all of their knowledge, reviews, and theories on the old dubs.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Kataphrut » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:17 am

I'm mixed, leaning toward positive. He's got incredible production values, he's a great artist and he's done some eye-opening videos. The two that spring to mind for me are the ones on Goku and Freeza as positive flat characters and negative flat characters respectively. It wads a great analysis of two well-rounded yet simple characters and why they work so well.

I haven't been as fond of his recent stuff, the movie, GT and Super dissections. The problem I'm finding is that his analysis is too basic. It's weird to say this about a critic with their own thoughts and values, but I'm not getting anything out of him that I don't already have. Like, what does he think of GT? Sing-along: "Good ideas bad execution." Same with Super. Yes, I know Battle of Gods and Resurrection F are garbage and the Future Trunks is a handful of good ideas held together with pritz-stick that falls apart at the end. Everyone knows that. Give me some deeper insight into what did or didn't work. Don't just recap the plot and say "yep, this sure was good/bad".

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by HimuraBenny » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:41 pm

I dont mean this to be negative, but these are my only opinion on totally not mark. So here is a big disclaimer to my remarks: I have not watched his videos. I am an idiot.

1: I hate his title's, they are so youtube specific as in how they engage the audience.

2: I do not think there are enough solid characters in DB that deserve analysis.

3: And when you analyze a character that has a visual-audio presence, as well as a written source, I do not think there can really be a conclusive analysis. Especially with DB which has had such a disservice done to it in the United States particularly in terms of voice acting. Voice acting can determine so much about a particular character, such as personality nuances and the like.

4: If Totally Not Mark wants to make respectable DB analysis, he has to cover story arcs and only story arcs. Story arcs have clear conclusions, and all of the characters within the arc maintain the same characterizations because, well, its one snapshot of who they are.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Lord Beerus » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:02 pm

I enjoy them for the most part. He certainly put in a hell of a lot effort in putting the videos together.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:39 am

Metalwario64 wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:14 am
MistareFusion/Gaffer Tape of this very forum is better at analyzing and... well... dissecting the series in my eyes. Mark is certainly one of the better ones though. I appreciate his knowledge of the Japanese side of the series as opposed to some other Dragon Ball YouTubers who seem to base all of their knowledge, reviews, and theories on the old dubs.
That's very kind of you to say. Thank you!

I've seen a few of Mark's videos (and I've seen him pop up in the comments of one of mine at least once), and I think he's very good at what he does. He's definitely helping move the bar forward.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:55 pm

Oh yeah, you're one of the other good eggs among dissection channels, Fusion, if you don't mind me saying :) I'd say you and Plague (I know he hates identifying as a DB channel) are my joint faves!

Mark is still a close second despite my light criticisms in this thread. Honestly I still have a soft spot for Qaaman and Blackenfist as well, their analyses may not be remotely deep but I've always liked their down-to-earth presentation style, it's like they're still living in the mid-2000s.
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by DestructoDisc » Sun May 10, 2020 6:58 am

His voice annoys me sometimes, but other than that he makes some pretty good videos. I especially like his video on the Buu saga where he explained a big problem with it.

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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Thu May 21, 2020 9:55 am

One of the best DBTubers out there, his analyses are very insightful and the production values are quite respectable.

As an Irish man myself I must say Mark does me proud :thumbup:
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Re: What do you think of the YouTuber Totally Not Mark's analysis videos?

Post by TheGodfather93 » Fri May 22, 2020 2:32 am

He's alright I guess. I stopped following most DB analysis based channels shortly after Super ended. The only one whose content I still watch regularly is MistareFusion, because DBD is a fantastic series.

Regarding Totally Not Mark, I'm not subscribed to him, but I have seen his movie and Super/GT reviews, as well as his rewrite of the Buu saga. While his reviews were decent enough entertainment, even if I didn't agree with everything he said, I really didn't like his Buu saga rewrite. Those two videos he did on it soured me on his channel as a whole.
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