mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
After a long deliberation, I watched Bakuman and now I wish I didn't.

I do like Satou Takeru and Kamiki Ryuunosuke, who are reasonable actors of their age cohort, and have made some iconic roles very memorable. Kamiki started off a child star but in the last few years he's really challenged himself to break the cast, and despite (or because of) his pretty good-boy image, he plays some interesting villains.

But I digress. Bakuman was probably the last manga series I read from beginning to end, and part of its cleverness was the story-within-a-story. To me, the logistics and competition at Shounen Jump was a curiosity, but the really fascinating bits in the manga came from some very clever story drafts thrown around by the various characters within it.

As you may know, Ohba Tsugumi as a writer and Obata Takeshi as an illustrator have as a combination not only penned this manga, they were also behind the riveting Death Note. There's a lot of speculation as to who Ohba Tsugumi is, but it's not hard to see some parallels between them and "Ashirogi Muto". Even Ashirogi Muto's breakout stories have that streak of cerebral darkness that characterised Death Note.

I don't know where to go with the movie. For a start, Bakuman would have better suited a series than a movie, and the problem is quickly clear as the film had no idea how to judge its pace. At times it's excruciating slow, like a music video with an angsty ballad, as Komatsu swans around in soft focus. At other times it skips ahead in a snap, like it realised it needed to get to the end of an arc by 2 hours.

It focused too much on the drawing as "drawings" rather than the creative process, which is where the real gem lies. The decision to nerf Takagi and make him someone "who isn't good at studying" is bewildering. While it might be a bit unrealistic for someone to be both getting good grades while running a manga circus on the side, the stories that Takagi came up with needed someone who was interested in intellect and psychology, not to mention the strategies he had with improving readership. Mashiro's story is important but also ridiculously fairytale-like, but Takagi's is a much more realistic arc of working hard, failing, improving and succeeding.

I'm not sure why the choice was made to make Mashiro's uncle's story feature so prominently. Yes, Mashiro had two motivations for succeeding - being in the same world as the girl he liked, and also to resolve the regrets his uncle left behind. The movie tried to turn it into some half-hearted unresolved grief and misplaced anger, which nevertheless didn't really play out.

Unsurprisingly it couldn't decide what to do with Eiji's character, who hung menacingly in a darkened room and appeared intermittently to sneer at the main pair. I've never seen Sometani Shota so aggravating.

The movie did no justice to anyone, not to the wit of the series, the energy of the actors, or to the onus of the profession itself. Fitting a good story arc from a 20 volume manga in 2 hours is a hard ask to start with but not necessarily impossible - this was done with reasonable success with Rurouni Kenshin and GANTZ. Unlike the battle-heavy stories of those two, the storyline of Bakuman probably leant itself better to a TV adaptation where there's time and space to build the plot and characters. As last year's Jimi ni Sugoi and Juhan Shuttai have proven, stories based around print media don't necessarily have to be slow and boring. To really bring out the merit of Bakuman though, which was the storytelling within the story, it will need a less literal hand and a cleverer touch.

mayoraasei: (Gintama)
武士道とは一秒後に死ぬ事と見つけたり
「なんも心配いらん
 いつ滅んでもおかしくなかった星が いつ滅ぶかハッキリしただけぜよ」
「武士道とは死ぬ事と見つけたりとはよう言うたもんぜよ」
「喜べ侍ども 我等(わしら)はまだ戦える 悔いなど一片も残らぬまで戦い切る事ができるのだから」

Lesson 630: The art of Bushido is to recognise that death is but a second away.

Souyou: What does he mean that the Earth is about to disappear?

Sakamoto: There's nothing to worry about.
For a planet that could be destroyed at any moment anyway
The only thing that's changed is we now know when
It doesn't change what we need to do

People say that Bushido is to stare death in its face
Even if in one second's time death will be upon us
We will fight to our last breath so that we may leave no regrets
This is what it means to be a samurai
If this one second can last until dawn
Then what have we to sigh about?
Rejoice, samurai
For we can still fight
We can still fight until there is no regret left behind


-- From, every now and then you get some cool lines Gintama
===================================================================

番外:
So I was pilfering the Japanese quotes from a Japanese blog, then I saw the blogger was freaking out because she/he was worried that Katsura looks like he'll do something worrying.
It's okay, he can pull an Athrun and self-detonate a Gundam in there. Worked before =P /不負責任
我覺得桂基本上有保障啦,畢竟歷史上他和齊籐算是比較幸運的兩位,不但活下來了,好像還在新政府下任職了。
空知猩猩要是敢讓桂領便當,我覺得他會收到很多刀片啦。
不過以高杉and真選組的人氣,如果這些人真的符合歷史走向領便當,空知猩猩還是會收到刀片啊……
所以還是犧牲坂本辰馬吧 (喂!)
mayoraasei: (Gintama)
不得不說之一:
福山大神好帥!您可以繼續拖劇沒關係!

不得不說之二:
師父您虐待兒童這種事公開出來真的大丈夫嗎

不得不說之三:
齊籐桑您其實是土方桑假扮的吧

不得不說之四:
因爲齊籐桑被土方魂附體了所以在這兩部才開始抽煙嗎?齊籐桑在第一部裏可沒有叼煙的習慣哎~ 雖然土方也是個煙鬼,但抽煙真的對身體不好啊煙癮上來人容易暴躁啊禁煙令下一菸難求不得不游走星際啊好孩子不要學啊(嗯?好像劇情歪了?)

不得不說之五:
因爲太注意齊籐桑所以突然發現!!某stylish的齊籐桑竟然在打仗正熱鬧的時候跑去換了衣服!!和服不好嘛!俺要看和服牙突啦~~ 話説比起不顯眼的銀灰色制服,還是第一部的黑底黃邊的制服貼身好看!!(屏外聲:只是因爲那套制服長得像真選組的制服吧)

不得不說之六:
相比之下,號稱靈感來自于土方的蒼紫桑,明顯弱氣了哦。追了拔刀齋十年之多竟然十分鐘就被擱倒了,驅使自己不計代價、對同僚狠心下殺手也要追殺此人的執念也被劍心的兩句話就瓦解了。您…………太不堪一擊了 *掩面*

不得不說之七:
有人說神木弟弟崩潰的那一幕很震撼,我怎麽只覺得很惋惜呢……其實神木弟弟演得很傳神,他那張秀氣的娃娃臉很適合宗次郎的角色,雖然他可以笑得再無害點(宗次郎的特點就是他能用笑容把殺氣完美地隱藏起來……神木弟弟是演一十一演慣了呵~)。只是因爲時間的關係,宗次郎的悲劇用了簡簡單單的一句“小時候被家人虐待、後來一邊笑著一邊親手把全家人都殺掉”給帶過。原作中,志志雄不僅是他的劍術師父,他的“強者生、弱者亡”的理念也是志志雄灌輸的。只是這孩子心裏還是那個躲在房子底下沒人要的棄子,雖然用笑容用劍術把自己武裝起來了,他還是那個很害怕很孤獨很迷茫的孩子。在原著中劍心完全是贏在心理上。電影裏的劍心vs宗次郎兩戰固然養眼,但少了這層心理戰朮,才會讓人覺得最後那場崩潰來的很唐突。

不得不說之八:
志志雄的十本刀弱爆了有沒有完全路人了有沒有,便當領得還真痛快。還以爲志志雄大張旗鼓地召集十本刀是準備給他們多點鏡頭呢,結果除了早早被打發去坐牢的龐克頭,其他九個也太沒存在感了吧。十本刀的諸位,你們再弱也不要一看到劍心握刀(還沒拔刀咧)就一個個腿軟吧!!志志雄會哭的!!



Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends form two parts of the Shishio arc. The scope is considerably larger, and it relies people having either read the original manga or seen the first movie, as it wastes no time on re-introducing the original cast.

Before I start, I'm going to make an aside to say that the two fansub versions and the Madman official English translations for the Kenshin franchise have been fairly unreliable, ranging from outright incorrect ("Put up your sword" translated to "I'm not going to draw my sword", and "Unforgivable" translated to "I'll kill him"), to interpretation differences (e.g. use of "kill" instead of "assassinate" - there are some contexts where the difference is important), to omitting things that is deemed too difficult to understand when taken out of the Japanese historical context (e.g. all honorifics and the Shinsengumi).

My Japanese isn't good enough to understand some of the longer prose, which was why I kept being confused as to why Shishio was Kenshin's successor when - supposedly, according to the translations, Shishio succeeded Kenshin after Kenshin hung up his sword at the battle at Toba Fushimi, but Shishio was also "killed" straight after the battle.

It turns out there's a piece of Kenshin history left out here, which probably ties in with the omitted Tomoe story and a lot of the omitted Shinsengumi backstory. During his years, Kenshin's frequent clashes with the Shinsengumi (of which Saitou is a part) blew his cover, so to speak, and he was no longer able to function as a underworld assassin. That was when Shishio took over his job as the assassin.

Once again, the casting has been amazing. Tsuchiya Tao was adorable as the tomboyish Misao, Iseya Yuusuke suitably brooding as Aoshi, Kamiki Ryuunosuke deceptively innocuous as Soujirou, Fujiwara Tatsuya convincingly psychopathic as Shishio, and Fukuyama Masaharu has amazing presence as one would expect from an actor of his stature and calibre.

The action scenes continue to be a highlight, although having previously seen behind the scenes clips, I both admire and feel for poor Takeru having to do a lot of the stunts himself and without wires.



The choreography for the fight sequences has been surprisingly faithful to the original work. The otaku in me squees a little every time the characters do a recognisable stance. Impressively, they've also incorporated details like Aoshi using his swords defensively like a shield, and distinctive differences in the way that Kenshin, Saitou, Aoshi and Soujirou fights.

rkmovies-hitensoryusen
Kenshin getting ready for Souryuusen (雙龍閃)



Now for the complaints (although some of them are sort of repetitions of what I said in Chinese).

Firstly, Saitou. Don't get me wrong, I love Eguchi Yousuke in the role, but he's not any incarnation of Saitou Hajime that I can think of. Apart from the highly recognisable left-handed Gatotsu and the simmering cynicism, he's not quite as single-mindedly fierce as the original, but not quite as reserved and cool-headed as other versions.

rkmovies-saitougatotsu
Saitou's Gatotsu (牙突)

If anything, the situation has gotten more obvious by the 2nd and 3rd movies, where Saitou moves and acts like he's been taken over by Gintama's Hijikata. The fact he decided to take up smoking between the first and the next two movies aside, there's his reluctant respect for the main characters, the dedication to his own men, and the resigned way he approaches his own loyalty with his government.

Which brings me onto the next point. Given that the director did Ryoumaden, I was a little disappointed in the story circling around some of the thoughtful issues only to fizzle away at the end without saying much. 兔死狗烹 - when the hare dies, the hounds are slaughtered. That's a story we know too well and see repeated in every political jurisdiction. When the new government wants to bury the past, they bury everything along with it, including those people who had given up their humanity in order to "usher in the New Age" (it bugs me that they translate Meiji as New Age, but let's not start on that). Hounds like Kenshin and Shishio and Saitou represented what little choice these men had - Kenshin chose to fade out of history, Shishio was brutally murdered, and Saitou had to change his identity and become the new government's pet.

When Kenshin et co risked their lives to board Shishio's ship to confront him, the onshore forces continued to bomb Shishio's ship at the Prime Minister's orders. They wanted to bury Shishio for sure, but who's to say that they didn't also want to bury Kenshin, whose loyalty they could not be sure they had and whose past was so intimately tied with the ugly truths of how that government came into power. When Kenshin returned, the Prime Minister in a move of leniency shifted all of Kenshin's crimes under Shishio's name, but how is that any less hypocritical than everything they had done before? It's an ugly picture and in a way I'm glad they've painted it as thus, but also a little disappointed they didn't do any more with that material.

What really caught my eye in the first movie was how much people struggled to live in "the New Age". It was a step that the country had to take, but the war has done horrors to people, creating lost souls like Saitou and Kenshin and Soujirou. As the country moves on and in a rather typical Oriental way, tries to wipe the slate clean, it commits even more atrocities, and Shishio is only the extreme example. Those who had been pawns in the war had been bred to fight, and as peace came and the sword-ban came down, the bushi (samurais) and the onmitsu (ninja spies) are left without a job and a way of living.

Moving onto Aoshi and Soujirou, two of my favourite characters from the manga, Iseya and Kamiki both did admirable jobs with them. Unfortunately, these two are fan-favourites for a reason - and that is because they had such rich histories and such a tragic background, and just putting them in the movie because they're fan-favourites didn't really quite do justice to their respective stories.

Given that Shishio was Soujirou's mentor, he really had to appear. As I said in the Chinese above, the disappointment about movie Soujirou was that none of his tragedy was mentioned, and so when his smile finally cracked and when his emotions finally surfaced as Kenshin drove him towards defeat, you don't get the impact that you did in the original. The kid was based on Okita, and he was a prodigious athlete just as Kenshin was. He was as fast (if not faster) as Kenshin, and his main weapon was actually his smile, which meant that his opponent was completely unable to read him. Kenshin won - not necessarily because of better sword skills, but because he broke down Soujirou's conviction and cracked that mask - making Soujirou's moves readable and predictable. Kenshin was probably kinder on Soujirou than he was on some of his other enemies because I think he saw himself in Soujirou - the young ideal kid who hadn't had the chance to think for himself, ushered into being a killer because of misplaced morals and loyalty. In the end, Kenshin was able to guide Soujirou onto a path that mirrored his own as Soujirou resolved to embark on a 10 year journey to find his answer. In the movie, for Soujirou to lose first and then drop his mask and then to break down...didn't make sense. The break-down scene is a pivotal part of his character arc, but unfortunately didn't fit into this story.

RK-setasoujirou
Soujirou's deceptive smile

Aoshi's story had some major changes, and not exactly for the better. Remember how I said I was glad in the last movie that they took Aoshi out of the story? Well...I regret it. Aoshi was actually an important presence in the Tokyo/Opium arc, and it was there that he lost his comrades. Moving the sequence to having his comrades being killed by the Meiji government (or whatever it was...I confess my brain froze when all this happened) was consistent with the theme of the movies, but really threw the chronology and Aoshi's motivations into a mess. In the manga Aoshi also worked briefly for Shishio, during which he attacked his old teammates, which might have made him less likeable but would have at least made a lot more sense and certainly would have involved him a lot more in the whole Shishio story. His drive to fight against Kenshin didn't make sense in the movie, and I'm not too sure at this stage if I've missed something or the translation missed something or the plot is missing something.

Back to the original cast - Aoi Yuu finally shows off her range as she completely dominates a scene when she lets rip at the hypocrisy of the police. I like Takeru, I really do, but he still struggles in some scenes where he really should be emoting a little bit more than just looking confident. The only scene where I can happily say he emoted well was when they read out the names of all those people he assassinated, and he actually looked like he was struggling with his guilt and the belief that he needs to stay alive. I've never liked Takei Emi or her character Kaoru, and I'm happy to say that the 2nd movie reinforced my views on both of them... Sano is getting really annoying with his antics. He was funny the first few times, but maybe my patience was running low at the end of a 5 hour marathon. He's the muscle man, sure, but can we please give him a bit more IQ than a giant dog?

They've really saved on the music. Most of the BGM is recognisable from the first OST, sometimes used in quite jarring effect. I was surprised to discover that the OST was written by the composer who wrote for X/1999 anime, which had some amazing tunes. RK's music is atmospheric, certainly, but it doesn't want me to put them on replay.

To finish off this extremely long post, here's the beautiful ending song to the 3rd movie, "Heartache". I actually had "Mighty Long Fall" (2nd movie song) on my iPod for months before realising last week that it was the Rurouni Kenshin ending song...I was also nonplussed to discover that "ONE OK ROCK" is actually pronounced "one o'clock". OH JAPAN.

mayoraasei: (Jdrama)
After spending the last 1.5 hours googling, I've ended up using this picture that I dug up from a post back in 2009...



砂糖的側臉跟小龜還是那微妙的百分之七十相似度,剩下的百分之十像愛拔醬、另百分之十像木村大神、最後的百分之十結合了東亞N名偶像……

佐藤健 --> Satou Takeru --> 佐藤 = 砂糖 (same pronunciation in Japanese)

I first knew Takeru from Bloody Monday (a decent thriller about terrorism and electronic espionage by the way, in the way that only the Japanese can do it) as Miura Haruma's plain but loyal friend. He had some forgettable roles in shoujo adaptations including Mei-chan no Shitsuji (a terrible drama even though it had three of the hottest male Japanese actors of the time) and the pathetic Q ten or whatever its name was. The next most memorable role was as the young pianist prodigy in Mr Brain, who was framed for murder because he was conveniently afflicted by anterograde amnesia. Not much acting was involved. He just had to sit in front of the piano in a blood-drenched white shirt and stare blankly ahead as orchestral music plucked at your heart strings.

Before I get started, let me say that I do like Takeru. As much as I enjoy Japanese dramas, I'd be the first to admit that good actors are hard to come by in J-dora, and Takeru isn't one of them. The verdict, without trying to be kind, would be that he's decent and unoffensive, in that he's never completely ruined a character for me.

Now, let's backtrack a bit to the part where I said good actors are hard to come by. The actors and actresses that lead the Rurouni Kenshin movies are all well-known people, sitting somewhere between A and B-list. Takeru himself aside, Takei Emi (Kaoru) and Aoi Yuu (Takani Megumi) are both amongst the most popular actresses of their generation. Eguchi Yusuke (Saitou Hajime), Fujiwara Tatsuya (Shishio), Kamiki Ryuunosuke (Seta Soujirou), Ayano Gou and Fukuyama Masaharu are all various degrees of famous to really famous. But apart from the heavy weights like Fukuyama and Eguchi, not many of them are...well, excellent actors. Except maybe Kamiki. I have a soft spot for Kamiki's acting but I keep getting distracted by his girly face...

After that long-winded introduction, what I mean to say is that this is a very well-scripted and well-directed movie, with good casting choices for actors who are tonally correct for the characters, and some decently choreographed action and raw stunts.

The Japanese entertainment industry is no stranger to adapting manga, just as Hollywood is now no stranger to adapting superhero comics or teenage novels. The experience is what gives Japan surprisingly watchable adaptations like Gantz and MW (examples chosen not because they're good, but because the source material is difficult/controversial to begin with).

Rurouni Kenshin the manga is given to contrivances and cliches, but boiled down to its essence it's a beautiful tragedy. A child recruited into fighting the unseen side of a civil war - for five years in his teens, Kenshin assassinated his own countrymen in the hopes that it would create peace. As much as I don't like Tomoe, she's an indelible part of Kenshin's existence and conviction. Just as the scars signify, he had destroyed his chance at happiness when he took up that sword as Hitokiri Battousai. He lived in a war, and the only person to walk into his heart had done so out of vengeance - and though she came to reciprocate his love, she died at his hands and as a direct consequence of what "Battousai" means.

To leave that out of the movie did injustice to Tomoe and Kenshin. Satou Takeru is a great deal younger than Kenshin (Kenshin was 28-29 when he first appeared, Satou was 23), and his Kenshin also feels younger, less convinced, and less wise - though I don't think Satou is to blame for it. Satou carries the scenes remarkably well - suitably withdrawn in the ruminative scenes, convincingly fierce in the explosive scenes. The only thing missing is Kenshin's characteristic pretence at being clumsy and dumb. It's probably the part I liked most about manga Kenshin, that he had matured into a man after 10 years of wandering, and he had made enough peace with himself that he can smile and laugh and play like an idiot.

The other part that doesn't gel is his interaction with Kaoru. To start with and for better or worse, Takei's Kaoru is completely unrecognisable from who she is in the manga. It feels like movie Kenshin needed Kaoru's reassurance that his path is correct, which shouldn't be the case. Movie Kaoru doesn't have the original's incredible strength and courage. What she gave Kenshin was innocence - which is an entirely different thing altogether.

To move on to what the movie did do well, though, there was plenty. It took the best from several manga arcs (or rather, several mini-arcs in the Tokyo arc) and condensed it to a lean, entertaining story. It trimmed down excess characters and storylines, and the fighting was less linear and more believable. None of that typical shounen one-on-one fight with long commentary and each chapter ending with a new scary technique that is swiftly defused in the next chapter...finally resulting in a one-hit K.O. after 5 chapters of wasting time. Which, in real world terms, means that you've gone through one fight of a 10-fight boss arc after FIVE WEEKS of waiting for Shounen Jump to publish. Kenshin's winning techniques in the movie are bland but I would rather bland than silly CG effects with glowing lights, which apparently is what Asian martial arts is all about these days *eye roll*.

I liked that it removed some of the character involved. As much as I liked Aoshi, I felt his part was fulfilled equally well by Saitou Hajime. I was especially glad that they forced Yahiko to stay with Kaoru, because I've always been annoyed by having that kid go around with Kenshin on dangerous rescue missions where he just gets in the way. I liked that it was a reflective film, that fighting and suspense wasn't the dominating part of it although there was enough to bring up the pace.

The best way to enjoy this movie is as a standalone - not that you can't appreciate it as a fan of Rurouni Kenshin, but rather that it's a well-written adaptation, not a faithful translation across media. It's tonally very different, but equally poignant in what it says about those who are left to live in the aftermath of war - in particular a war where culture and traditions and values have been torn down. There's good reason why the Meiji era features so prominently in Japanese pop culture, because what happened then defined Japan now, but there's a great sense of sadness for the young men (and occasionally women) who killed each other because they were on opposite sides of a cultural war - who all wanted the same thing, and that was for Japan to be the greatest nation it could be.

And personally, I like Satou's contemplative Kenshin a lot better than the socially bipolar Kenshin of the manga.

gantz

21 Oct 2011 05:46 pm
mayoraasei: (Gundam 00)
Finally got around to watching the first part of the Gantz movies.

I like it better than the impression I got from Another Gantz (the Gantz special that showed on TV just before the second movie screened).

It's pretty obvious that Nino has read the original work and he did quite well during the Buddha arc working through Kurono's reckless heroism. They've moved the main characters to university age (in the original work they were still in high school) and I like how they've used that opportunity to work in Kurono's sense of uselessness and inferiority into why he became cocky during the Buddha arc.

Given the time constraints I'm actually pretty happy with how they've developed Kurono. They've painted him in a far more positive light than the original work when Kurono first started out - they've turned his cynical schadenfraude to a more human uncaring cowardice. In the manga, Kurono laughed at the drunken man who fell onto the rails, in the movie he watched along with everyone else on the platform in detached concern.

Much of what happened in the Buddha arc wasn't simply stupid cockiness. He was intensely jealous at the attention and admiration people gave to Katou, he himself too cynical to have any of Katou's kindness. It was because of this jealous-driven need to wrest attention back from Katou that he ran recklessly into a fight, and in the manga everyone but Kurono was killed. In the movie two other people were left alive. Kurono spent the next arc running terrified, unable to face a fight again. In the movie, he thoughtfully went and found Ayu, Katou's little brother and his anchor to everything that's right.

I think Kurono's very visit characterises everything that's better and perhaps everything that is a flaw about the movie. It is so much more human than the manga, for which any moral message seemed only to be a distant afterthought. The killings were senseless and horrific, without any morals or judgement attached. Death came without discrimination to both the good and the bad. Kindness was not rewarded and wickedness rarely punished. As humans we like to believe our actions can make a difference, and the movie gives us that. The vibe is far more positive and optimistic than the manga.

Of course I'm only talking about the first 80 chapters or so of the manga, which is what the movies cover. Kurono eventually learns the value of kindness and teamwork and leadership, but reading the early chapters it is impossible to waive the niggling suspicion that the lesson was one that the author learned.

I've actually skipped the chapters about Gantz ordering the hunt on Tae, so it should be interesting to see what Gantz 2 gives. Also wonder if Kurono's brother appears. He feels a bit like Zero's brother from Vampire Knight - he makes a cool entrance, snarked around for a bit, and suddenly got killed off for no apparent reason =____=

Shall watch something happy after this Orz
mayoraasei: (Rossaer)
I keep having medically-related dreams with a homocidal twist. Like, this morning I had a dream that some guy fell over near a slicing machine and nipped his carotid and was spurting blood everywhere and had to give pressure on the pumping artery while trying to get emergency surgical attention. And then somehow the dream developed into a gang cornering a guy and trying to knife him and then someone came and kung-fu'ed them into a pile of unconscious bodies.

Huh.

I finished off the Saiunkoku Monogatari side story novel I had bought and begun reading in Taiwan, which is probably what half-prompted me to draw this. I swear my artbook is under metaphorical lock and key now until after exams.


Click for bigger pic + rant


I suppose in a way it's a matching picture to the last one of them dressed in western-styled costume? LOL

I haven't finished a pencil picture in such a long time. Probably since last year O_o

Saiunkoku should really stick to comedy. Her angst is far too prosaic and she leaves gaping holes where there shouldn't be, and her attempts at working her particular brand of comical humour into it makes the tone really awkward. Maybe because the novel I bought was unfortunately entirely depressing, beginning with Seian/Seiran's backstory where he was stripped of his title and exiled, then fallen to become an imprisoned executioner in a group of bandits. It seemed to hint that the second leader of the bandits had some form of physical relationship with him and I am glad it did not go into any more than hinting =___= I'm pretty sure the guy reappeared in one of the current timeline stories but I have no idea what the outcome was.

The novel then continued with Ensei's (燕青) backstory. He's an awesomely funny guy, especially around Seiran, but she somehow made it dark and depressing too. I mean okay, his backstory wasn't all sunshine but if she's going to keep saying he's like the sun she should stop spending so much time painting a picture of his hate-filled vengeance, which didn't turn out to be particularly convincing anyway. She also has a habit of making characters sound far too old for their years. A five year old giving an almost Hamlet-like soliloquy on whether he should live in order to avenge his family just begs disbelief.

The last short story was Shuurei's father during his years as a young assassin, and how he met her mother. She spent so much of it building Shouka and the Rose Princess as two incredibly apathetic and unfazeable people that by the time they met, any chemistry between them was incredibly forced and awkward.

Or maybe I'm just in a mood to be displeased =___=

Her comedies are always so much more entertaining. She spends too much time on lamentations otherwise. Life, humans, politics, society...sometimes she should just get on with the plot.

gantz

25 Jul 2010 09:29 pm
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
Oh man...I'm going to have to blame Nino for this....

After about 8 years of hearing cynical pubescent boys people gush about Gantz I finally got around to reading it.

Am now addicted, even though I told myself that I am way too old for cynical twisted bloodbaths in which everyone gets killed in horrible ways.

It's practically a continuous bloodbath with people being killed, dismembered, disemboweled, lobotomised, etc, along with lots of random half-naked hot chicks prancing around the covers. I am so not into stuff like this.....and yet, I'm up to chapter 80 and I can't tear my eyes away................

I am such a cynical pubescent boy at heart |||||||||Orz

I thought that phase of my life ended with Gundam 00. Sigh.
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
Kimi ni Todoke with MIURA HARUMA??????????? (That's Falcon in Bloody Monday by the way)

AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Don't get me wrong, I'm fond of Haruma, just as I'm fond of Kame, in the sense that I like him without believing for any long periods of time that he can act.

Haruma's really cute to watch in real life but.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TT______________TT

KAZEHAHA. I mean. KAZEHAYA.

Haruma is too tall and looming for Kazehaya DDDDX

I'd probably have been perfectly happy if it was Takeru with nice short hair >0<

SAAAAAAAD. (Takeru is sad you called him short)

Well it's a movie, so I'm probably not going to end up watching it anyway. It will be sad to have all the waffy moments in Kimi ni Todoke cut out. That's what made it so likeable.
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
Went and bought Betsuhana ("it's Bessatsu Hana to Yume" ==;) today and devoured the whole chapter on the train even though it is a massive manga magazine in JAPANESE and I'm always too embarrassed to read manga on trains.

I was disappointed by the ending. I felt cheated of my feelings.

I mean, how can it be possible that NONE, that's right ZERO, of my favourite characters died?!?!

How can it defy the most cardinal rule of all the characters I like, which is that they're always the ones who kick the bucket (or not get the girl, in those stories that does not involve confronting issues of mortality)?

Jokes aside...

Ending spoilers under cut )

In the August issue, there'll be a special chapter that continues the story of Bloodhound. Can't wait~ I actually like the girl in that one. And I hated how she left the story unfinished T-T

Also just to add, this issue also had the penultimate chapter of Rasetsu no Hana. It seems to have gotten over the climax already but =/ I don't know. I want a love-love ending for Rasetsu.

I was aghast to discover that Rasetsu's kanji name is 羅雪. That better got changed somewhere in the middle cos otherwise...I can't believe they changed it for the Taiwanese edition =@

Also, spoiler for Otomen.....we finally get confirmation that mysterious blonde guy who stares at Asuka stalkishly is his dad. Like. As if we didn't guess already 10 chapters ago. That's manga for you XD

WHAT THE

24 Apr 2010 09:48 pm
mayoraasei: (OTZ)
WHAT?!?! Ningyo Kyuutei Gakudan is ending?!?!??! BUT IT JUST STARTED?!??!?!?!?

The final chapter comes out 26th April...maybe I'll go and get the Betsuhana for it (stop wasting money ==;)

The sad thing about Betsuhana is it doesn't have furoku like Hana to Yume and LaLa =/ I like furoku >0<

Daaaaaaammmmnnnnnnnn I really miss Yuki Kaori's long 20 volume epics T__T Even Count Cain was good at 13 volumes. This...oneshots, 3 volume, 5 volume business that she's been doing are such jokes by comparison T-T

One of her major flaws must be that her female characters all tend to be a bit lacklustre =/ Elis/Celeste has the whole secondary character feel to her, and even Rin in Fairy Cube was a bit unnoteworthy.

Then again she (like many popular shoujo mangaka) started off writing yaoi so =__= I guess it's not surprising her male characters are more interesting >___>;;;; Although I doubt you'd spot any yaoi elements in her recent works ==;;;;;

raaaaar

13 Apr 2010 10:39 pm
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
Gintama anime paused ended. I expected something weird and funny for the last episode, but no =__= They didn't even have a proper see-off.

I am so. SICK. Of reading my randomised control trial paper which has different results to the systematic review *tears hair* I am going to be grilled so hard on Thursday T__T "Why did you choose THIS paper?" "Because the other choices were...one that was confusing and another was in Hungarian." ...........Sad.

So recently I went and bought Ningyou Kyuutei Gakutan, which is the sort of horrible name I never remember without Google's help. It's Yuki Kaori's new manga and.....after re-reading the two volumes, I finally realised that it was based on Alice in Wonderland (what, you mean the fact that the main character is called Eles didn't give you a clue?)

But but! He is a she! Whose real name is Celes! O_o;

Anyway, the thing that went "ding!" for me was the appearance of a crazy psychopath (tautology?) in a cat mask. I renew my vow to read Alice in Wonderland but it hasn't really moved up my to-do list.

So therefore:
Eles = Alice
Psycho queen girl/Lucielle's sister = Red Queen
Psycho cat guy = Cheshire Cat
Morion = Red Queen's psycho knight

I'm still undecided about whether Lucille is the Mad Hatter or the White Queen (HAHAHAHAHA). I mean he wears a hat and he goes cuckoo every now and then and if he's the Mad Hatter that would make the other two the dormouse and the hare.......but he's also the Red Queen's pretty-faced brother so.........

Actually, to be honest, the thing I most want to know in the entire manga, about ten times more than anything else, is Lucille's gender |||Orz Or rather, whether his gender still exists.....||||||||||Orz

Well, you know, hermaphrodites aren't exactly non-existant in Yuki-sensei's work, and I wouldn't put it past her to have an eunuch as the main-ish character but..........really? Orz

His gender is such a confusing issue @_@ She keeps saying he looks like a girl and has a voice like a girl but occasionally someone comments that he sings like a guy and Eles says he acts like a guy and then Spinel says they sometimes do "that surgery" to guys to preserve their voice and random people says he was a candidate for the Queen's title.........WHAT?
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
I unburied my only volume of Rurouni Kenshin and...got very confused by different translations of different factions =0=;;;; And I'm still trying to figure out the whole 維新、親皇、親幕、維幕、倒幕、攘夷 alignments and which goes with which |||||Orz

But~ According to the freetalk, Shinomori Aoshi was based on Hijikata Toshizo and Seta Soujirou was based on Okita Souji~~~ They were my two favourite characters in RK~ I guess I'm destined to like them (no, you just end up liking the characters that authors have an obvious bias for, you idiot.)

Both the RK and Gintama mangaka confess to being Hijikata fans, which is probably why Sorachi originally considered setting Hijikata as main character =v=

So in memory of this discovery, I have changed my picture to the great Prince Mayoraa-sama from planet Mayoraa, mayo XDD (Don't blame unrelated people for your whims =0=) Voila~ 夢幻版土方 *被拖去切腹*

His charater design reminds me of Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist...and I don't even watch that so I don't know why I know the guy's name =0=;

Watsuki (RK mangaka) said this about Aoshi:
...Once I decided to use my beloved Shinsengumi as blueprint, Aoshi naturally came to use Shinsengumi's vice captain "Hijikata Toshizo" as blueprint. But even so, in actuality, there are two "Hijikata" that exist within books or novels. (Shinsengumi fans should be well aware of this.)

One "Hijikata" is the "Burn, Sword" version, who indulged his natural warrior instincts until he fought to his death upon the battlefield, the obstinate version of Hijikata (Watsuki is a fan of this Hijikata). The other is a Hijikata who, for the sake of the Shinsengumi, was able to discard personal sentiments, who was cold on the outside, who would only shed tears in his heart, who in particular was able to perfectly conceal all human weaknesses. Aoshi was created upon the basis of the latter.


Ah, so Gintama Hijikata actually had some resemblance to other portrayals of him after all~ (Sorachi: What did you take me for?) Well, you made Okita a prince from planet Sadistic, so what can I say =0=

Gintama Hijikata seems to be more of the first kind, with some qualities of the second.

I nearly had a heart attack when I saw a bubble on my Shinsengumi Douran arc CD (Hijikata being possessed by Tosshi) but fortunately it still works. I'm surprised to discover that Itou actually did exist and did clash with Kondo et co! (Sorachi: ...dakara, what did you take me for!) The Shinsengumi were not such the good guys in the historical event, even though they did kill Itou because they heard that he was plotting Kondo's assassination...Still. It was an ambush and they killed Toudou Heisuke, who didn't appear in Gintama =( I wonder why Sorachi also dropped Yamanami (captain of Shinsengumi) from the story. It would have been good development for Okita.

I watched the Benizakura arc and wasn't half as impressed as I thought I should be >_>; I expected Katsura to be cooler T-T Come to think of it...his first appearance was his coolest and he's been getting steadily less awe-inspiring ever since, even though the short Ramen arc was nice Orz I wish he'd get a serious arc when we get to see him fight properly for a lot longer than 3 minutes...with some impressive Shinsengumi-type speeches, preferably =D
mayoraasei: (Jdrama)
More details here.

Looking at the cast......this could turn out an absolute dud like Cat Street, so I'm not holding my breath. It's late night drama too, so chances are the budget is small.

The main character Asuka will be acted by Osaka Masaki, who was the guy dressed up in Char Aznable's costume in Hanakimi XDDDDDDDDDDD

His acting in Hanakimi wasn't very...remarkable (then again, even SHUN's acting in Hanakimi was blatantly unremarkable). But I guess Asuka walks around without much expression anyway.

It also has that Kimura guy who appears in every second rate production there is...(sorry if anyone likes him).

In other news Takki and Ryou will be in a drama together and it sounds funny. LOL.
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
Dreams
So, right after I did the dreams meme (previous post), that night I had a dream involving a prince who had fallen out of favour was being locked up in a mansion (a sort of modern-looking - at least Georgian era - rather than gothic) while his courtiers planned his "death by accident". They evacuated the entire place and planted a bomb in the estate outside, but one of people who helped with the assassination plan was actually on the prince's side (without the prince realising), and he, or she, can't remember, went in right after the "rebels" had left the place. He bundled up the prince and climbed with him over the tall metal gates, and barely had he gotten over the fence when the bomb went off, in a big cloud of flames and black smoke. It was very high resolution =D

Life
One of my...colleagues (I still find this a pompous-sounding word) said something that really struck me. She said that neurology's pretty depressing because yes, it's fun to figure out what's wrong with the patient, but once you've found the problem, there's often not much you can do after that. It made me remember what my tutor last year said about cardiology...apparently he finds it incredibly boring (this is coming from someone working in boring rheumatology) because there's only so many things that can go wrong with the cardiovascular system. I mean, there's maybe a handful of infections that affect the heart, and the heart practically never gets cancers. Everything else is pretty much mechanical stress. I don't have to start thinking about specialisation for at least another three years, but it's interesting what people perceive of each specialisation.

Manga
I bought Gakuen Alice 15 and Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden 9 yesterday =D The people in GA look so elongated (older) now. Book 15 was the second part of the sports carnival, which managed to be both incredibly cute and somehow also tension-charged because of Luna.

I like reading the author's free notes usually. I wonder what's wrong with Watase Yuu. She's been complaining for two years of really bad back pain and what sounds like carpal tunnel. I mean...I know I read somewhere that lower back pain is like an occupational risk for mangaka (because of their posture), but Watase seems to be having a pretty bitter time with it, taking hiatuses several times to cope. It makes one question why she's doing three projects simultaneously, in three different genres =___=||||| I'm glad that Sakura Gari is ending soon so we can get more chapters of FYGK, which has been put on hiatus until next month.

I wonder how it's going to end. We know already that Tomite and Hikitsu were going to die, but the original series said very little about the final outcome for Uruki and Takiko, apart from that Takiko was supposedly killed by her father to prevent her becoming a live sacrifice for Genbu. We also know that Takiko's tuberculosis looks pretty advanced and she looks like she'd die within a few months anyway ==;;; Watase usually does really good deaths, but I think I'm going to be pretty pissed off if Takiko dies, simply because like 90% of anyone who watched Fushigi Yuugi I hate Miaka and I hate the idea of Miaka being the only Miko being able to get a happy ending. I wonder if Watase Yuu ever looks back on that work and cringes in shame at the oozing Mary-Sue-ness of it all =__=||||

In other news, the first volume of Yuki Kaori's new work (the title of which possesses an incredibly ugly chain of syllables that I can't remember) is released~~~ Still debating if I should collect it...considering she hasn't done anything suitably brilliant since Count Cain. This is what having babies do to people ="=
mayoraasei: (OTZ)
So last night I saw a bunch of four-panel comic/skits in Shounen Jump specially done for Christmas, including some of the most popular works, such as Bleach, Death Note, Shaman King, Naruto, Hunter X Hunter, Black Cat, One Piece...etc.

Most of them were cute (as these four-panel things tend to be). Bleach at least let us revisit characters who haven't appeared for ages =__=;; Death Note was funny, and Gintama was...so incredibly Gintoki LOL.

But the main reason I read it was because I was shocked to see that Togashi deigned to rise out of his unyielding hiatus to draw something.

And my only response after reading it is...

富奸你欠扁!!!!!!!!



The fact that Hunter X Hunter still has fans after such blatant displays of uncaring must say something at least about his creative genius =___=

(I think it's tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless. It's pretty hard to tell!)

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