September 7, 2009

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Filed under: Legend of the Galactic Heroes — Ren @ 6:03 pm

“There is great satisfaction in fighting for the sake of gaining power…
but it’s joyless to fight for the sake of maintaining it.
it was fun when you fought at my side against a great enemy.
But now that I’ve become the supreme ruler…
there are times I’ve wished that I’d strike myself down.
The world should be filled with many great enemies.
If only you were here…
I would understand better what it is that I want.”

Legend of the Galactic Heroes has stolen my soul. At first I was a bit hesitant to start watching a series that’s over 110 episodes, but it came highly recommended, so I had to at least give it a shot. Well, now that I’ve started, I can’t stop watching. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a grand series with an incredible cast of characters. I’m not good at understanding politics at all, so you would think a series like this would be the last thing I’d want to see, but the writing is so fantastic and each of the many, many, many characters so unique and well-developed that I find myself completely captivated. It doesn’t matter that politics aren’t my thing, I’m still able to grasp what’s going on, and I care so much about the characters and what their ultimate fates will be that I just can’t stop.

The above quote was spoken by Reinhard von Lohengramm, the leader of the Galactic Empire. My heart broke for him when he lost one of the most important people in his life, and it continues to break as I see him struggle to overcome his grief and the loss of his sense of purpose ever since that day. Is he continuing down the path he originally chose simply because he feels he has no other choice but to finish what he started, and uphold the promises he made? Does he even want to rule the universe anymore? But if he doesn’t, what other choice could he make? I’ll always have a soft spot for Reinhard because I completely understand being practically crippled by grief. I’m very much enjoying watching his journey and trying to analyze his motivations for the decisions he makes as the series progresses.

I believe he was first motivated by a true desire to rule the galaxy with Kircheis and his sister at his side. Now, it sometimes feels that he’s just going through the motions by continuing on this journey, which offers both a distraction from his grief and a way to honour the best friend he lost by keeping the promise he made to him. The one spark that brings life to him is the worthy rival he sees in Yang Wenli. I think he fluctuates between wanting to defeat Yang so that he can take down the only man in the universe who can be considered his equal, and wanting Yang to defeat him so that he can have a reason to die. I thought this especially strongly during the battles at Rantemario and Vermillion, where it felt like he was practically rushing to his own death.

Of course, he’s only one of many favourite characters for me. Clever, cute, funny, and pension-obsessed Yang will always and forever be high on my list. But yeah, I definitely can’t choose only one! Ahh, I can’t get enough of this show. Now I’m actually glad that it’s so long!

November 18, 2008

What I watched recently

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 6:38 pm

Chaos;Head – 06

Paranoia layered upon more paranoia; the plot thickens.

Who is a friend and who is a foe?

Who can Taku really trust?

What is real and what is a delusion?

Is there more than one reality?

Rimi seems to way too sweet, and Taku’s sudden need to be close to her seems like a trap somehow. Then again, it would almost be too obvious, so I secretly hope she really is on his side. But it might have been a big mistake for him to tell her so much.

Gai-Rei Zero – 5

We get a bit of background regarding Yomi and Noriyuki’s arranged marriage, and hijinks ensue as Kagura and the rest of the gang plot to make Yomi jealous so she and Noriyuki will become closer. We also get a glimpse of a girl named Mei, who by right of blood should technically be the family head, but Yomi’s adopted father wants to hand down the family name to her. Of course, if Yomi were to die, Mei would become the head by default. I’m interested to see if Mei has anything to do with the breakdown in Yomi and Kagura’s relationship that is obviously to come.

Kuroshitsuji – 05

Oh man, Madam Red’s past is so excruciatingly sad… I almost started crying right as I ran on the treadmill. (Which actually wouldn’t be a first).

I love the importance placed on the colour red itself, and how it punctuated every black and white scene as we saw her progress from hatred, acceptance, and then subsequent loathing of the colour itself and all it represented to her.

Nodame Cantabile – Paris Chapter – 06

Chiaki’s agent is a big, fat liar, but at least he’s going to get a chance to lead an orchestra. I assume we’ll spend some time watching as he convinces them to like him, which doesn’t really excite me, but we’ll see where it goes. The dynamics of his relationship with Nodame never fail to intrigue. She’s always been open about her love for him, but will he ever acknowledge his own feelings? It feels like he’s slowly starting to, but he has this huge emotional block that just won’t allow it. Perhaps he’s always used his serious student ways to run away from his own feelings.

November 16, 2008

What I watched recently

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 7:41 pm

Tytania – 05

Laetitia’s husband was the Grand Duke of the Tyrandia System, and after he died, she came into power. But even though Laetitia is faithful to Tytania and even considers them gods, she’s really just a puppet being played, and Tyrandia suddenly refuses to pay tribute to Tytania. So Tytania sends Jouslain to attempt to negotiate a resolution with them since they are an important trading outpost. (Summary taken from Anime History, thank youuuuu. Read the full post, he has excellent thoughts on the series, and I really would be lost without him!)

Honestly, this series might be way over my head. I can’t keep up with all the names and the allegiances and the politics. But for some reason I want to continue, even if I remain clueless until the very end.

Hyakko- 05

Ahhh, awesome. This episode seems to be all about obsession. “Photoshop Yanagi” (hahaha) is obsessed with making money (by taking pictures of girls, of course). Shishimaru is obsessed with Torako. Man, that had me fooled. I completely thought he was after Ayu. Poor girl! I bet he actually loved being pushed out the window by her, though, since he seems to be enchanted by the moment he saw Torako jump out the window in episode 1. That girl whose name escapes me is obsessed with other girls. (>_>) And I think Torako is obsessed with stereotypes. Her afternoon out with Ushio and her refusal to see Ushio as anything other than a delinquent was simply hilarious.

November 15, 2008

What I watched recently

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 7:06 pm

Clannad After Story – 03

Nothing but a web of lies, eh? First the fake girlfriend, and now Okazaki as the fake brother. I’m looking forward to his showdown with Sunohara next episode. It’s nice to have a little break from the usual “Okazaki messing with the twit Sunohara just for the heck of it” plot device, hilarious as it always is. I hope Sunohara’s character will grow from this, but without losing that dynamic between him and Okazaki.

Also, Sanae plays a schoolgirl way too convincingly.

Clannad continues to be the perfect mix of comedy and drama.

Bounen no X’amd – 14

This episode was really sad! Haru is obviously desperate to return to their more innocent days. I didn’t think Furuichi felt the same; I thought he just wanted Haru all to himself, but the scene where he orders the three Ramune drinks says otherwise. And what he chose to do… I didn’t see that coming.

Kind of disappointed in the memory loss plot development, though. That seems so overused…

Nodame Cantabile – Paris Chapter – 05

Best lovers’ quarrel ever.

October 7, 2008

Old and new

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 10:17 am

Though the fall season has begun full-force in Japan, I find myself with an unquenchable thirst for older, “classic” series these days. A drawback to watching currently airing series, at least for me, is that the wait between episodes often leaves me feeling disconnected from the plot and characters. Watching this week’s episode sometimes becomes nothing more than routine, lessening my enjoyment factor and causing me to miss details I otherwise would’ve picked up on. There’s nothing like loading up your playlist with a good 10 episodes of some completed gem, becoming completely absorbed in its world and the people who live in it. Gentle tales slowly unwind their delicate plots without interruption; fast-paced action series explode at breakneck speed, without losing momentum.

I recently became lost in the world of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and I loved every minute of it. I watched all 36 episodes nearly back-to-back over about a week, and was enchanted by the wonderfully fleshed-out characters. Not just the main characters, either. Side characters had backgrounds and delightfully quirky personalities, and even the so-called villains had a story behind them and reasons for what they were trying to do. Their inability to grasp humanity’s culture often led to absolutely hilarious circumstances.

I’m looking forward to this new season immensely, but I think from now on I’m going to always include an older series in the mix. After all, it’ll make the wait for new episodes not seem so bad!

November 17, 2007

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 6:28 pm

Words. Eloquent, exquisite words. Have you ever noticed how some words can feel so sweet on your tongue they’re like honey? Or how a beautifully crafted story can touch your heart and make tears spill like rain down your cheeks?

I have always been a lover of the written word. At times, they are the only things that can stir my often stifled emotions.

As some people already know, I spend a great deal of time working on scripts that have been translated from Japanese into English. The sound of spoken Japanese is like music to my ears. I never get tired of hearing it.

Rie Fu is one of favourite Japanese recording artists. Lately, every time I hear her latest single, Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyu, I feel a lump rise in my throat.

For some reason, I can’t help but think of God whenever I hear this song, and it makes me want to cry.

I’m sure that, as other people aren’t as moved by the Japanese language as I am, this song may not have as much impact on you as it does on me, but I wanted to share it, regardless.

Please have a listen, and read the lyrics that a dear friend of mine translated so masterfully.

yoru ni utaeba yami ni nomarete
I sing in the darkness, surrounded by night,

asa no hikari ga sore wo terasu
when morning’s light begins to shine.

todokanai sou ja nai
It can’t reach me, but I can go towards it.

tobira wa mou hirakareteru
The door has already opened.

aa, fumikomu dake omoi ikiri
I step into the light and my heart soars.

suikomu dake kono shou soukan mo
I breathe that sweet perfume, and feel complete.

anata ga ima koko ni iru no wa
Your very presence next to me

kono amaoto ga shitteru
fills all my senses with joy.

nanimo no negai
I wish for naught,

watashi ni wa nai mono
for I need nothing else to satisfy me,

anata ga motteru hazu
so long as I have you.

aa, fumikomu dake omoi ikiri
You step into the light, and my heart soars.

suikomu dake kono shou soukan mo
You breathe that sweet perfume, and feel complete.

watashi ga ima koko ni iru no wa
I’ll be with you now and forever,

kore kara wo sagashiteru
as we forge ahead into the future.

June 18, 2007

Kekkaishi 21

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 6:00 pm

We’re entering non-episodic plotsville (I think!) and it’s awesome!! Yuri was the first to sense that something is really strange with the new transfer student, which makes me wonder how much of a role she’ll have to play as the series progresses. Up until now she’s been a fairly unimportant side character.

I love how Kekkaishi blends humour and seriousness. I love how Tokine is really starting to take notice of Sumimura’s growth. I love how I was completely fooled by the new transfer student. I thought he was going to be the typically obvious new baddy. Turns out he was sent by Yoshimori’s brother to watch over him. Ah, Asa, you’re not always so bright…

Anyway, we are also introduced to the fruity English teacher, Minou. He seems almost too happy-go-lucky and nice to be true. Maybe he has some connection to the bad guys. Shishio (Mr. Transfer Student) certainly seemed to be disturbed by him. But maybe I’m just being fooled again. >_>

Aggh, there’s just something about Kekkaishi though. I love it! I need more. :3

June 17, 2007

Devil May Cry 01

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 4:28 pm

To be honest, I wasn’t initially interested in DMC, but I make it a habit to check out the first episode of most series that get subbed. I ended up enjoying episode one quite a bit, despite my initial reservations when I saw the cutesy blonde girl. I detest little whiny characters with high-pitched voices who do nothing but scream at their “onii-chans”. Her voice fit the fact that she’s a child, but her acting wasn’t over the top. What a relief…

As for the episode itself, I thought the animation was pretty solid, I liked the character designs, and that there was actual blood when people or demons were killed.

I’m definitely intrigued by the plot and want to see where this series is headed. I think DMC is based off of a game, isn’t it? I have no idea, which means I have no presumptions going into the series. So I’m just going to let it take me on its journey, and hopefully I’ll enjoy the trip.

February 18, 2007

Are episodic series really so bad?

Filed under: Jigoku Shoujo, Misc — Ren @ 1:00 pm

I see a lot of people ragging on series like Jigoku Shoujo because of their episodic nature. I don’t think this is really fair. Don’t get me wrong, I love epic series with rich, continuous storylines as much as the next person. But I also enjoy the occasional episodic series as well.

If the characters are likeable and interesting enough, it’s fun just to watch them do their thing. Then, when something big happens, you feel like you’ve already been through a lot with them and it makes the event even more powerful. An example of this that comes to mind at the moment is Kekkaishi 11. At this point I’d definitely label Kekkaishi as episodic. I’d be pleased if at some point they developed a continuous plot, but I’m also okay if it stays episodic as episode 11’s confrontation absolutely blew me away.

If you still don’t agree with me, think about your childhood. What do you remember about the friends you had when you were growing up? I remember going to the pond, sitting in the long grass and listening to the crickets chirp as we wiled away lazy summer afternoons. I remember how content we were just to be together even if we didn’t speak for hours. Years later, when crisis hit, I was all the more devastated because I felt like something had come along and violated that very peace that encompassed my memories.

I don’t always need big action or flashy effects to be happy. The interactions between the characters are just as likely to give me goosebumps as any grand battle; those small things that you’d probably miss if you weren’t paying close attention. I can still remember the first time Mulder took Scully’s hand and gave it a little squeeze in The X-Files. Nowadays, holding hands isn’t a significant event, but in that moment, for those two, it was huge, and it said more than any passion-filled dialogue could even hope to express.

So that’s why I don’t mind episodic series. Ah, maybe I’m just easy to please…

December 7, 2006

Hellsing Ultimate Contest!

Filed under: Misc — Ren @ 11:25 pm

Oooo, is having its first contest. I’m so excited!!

Of course I think I should win a copy. Now, I’m not going to give you some lengthy dissertation on why I think Maestro should send me free loot because there really isn’t all that much to say besides – Maestro, my main man! I helped create the TOS!

That’s all. XD

*keeps fingers crossed*

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