Thrawn, a Star Wars novel by Timothy Zahn (2017)

With the movie the Return of the Jedi that was released in 1983, the first Star Wars trilogy was finished. And many people at the time thought that would be the end of things. The popularity of the franchise started to wane, and slowly but surely people began to lose interest. But then nine years later Star Wars got noticed again, this time not because of a new movie, but by a novel written by Timothy Zahn called Heir to the Empire. It would be the first of a new trilogy of books that chronicled events that took place after Return of the Jedi. It became a huge succes. Not only was it an amazing story, but it also introduced a couple of new characters that became fan favorites, even though they had never been seen before in a movie. The most notorious of these was Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue skinned alien Chiss, was a military genius that almost brought the New Republic to it’s knees. After this first trilogy a huge range of novels were made that took the story even further. This became known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

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The original cover to the book that introduced Thrawn.

This was all before the Dark Times…before the Empi…erm, Disney. When they took over Lucasfilm, and revealed plans to make a new trilogy of movies taking place after Episode VI, something had to be done about the Expanded Universe. And something was done to it: it was declared non-canon. In other words all the characters, worlds and events created within those books were no longer part of the official Star Wars timeline. A lot of fans, including me, were not very happy with that. But two years ago, something happened that brought a smile to the faces of many people that loved those books: Thrawn was brought back. This time he was reintroduced as a new adversary in the Star Wars cartoonseries Rebels. And just like that Thrawn was canon again. Last year the original creator of Thrawn, writer Timothy Zahn, wrote a new book about the legendary character. It was, needless to say, highly anticipated. But as with most things that you look forward to, it very rarely lives up to all the things you expect.

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Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels. 

This novel explores the origin of Thrawn and tells the tale of his quick rise to power through the ranks of the Empire. Thrawn is first found as a young man, seemingly abandoned by his people. An Imperial team is impressed by his cunning and tactical genius, and decide to give him a chance to prove himself. Thrawn takes on the young ensign Eli Vanto as a translator and together with him, begins his training. But a lot of high ranked people don’t take kindly to having an alien in their ranks and would like to see him fail. Meanwhile on the planet Lothal a ruthless administrator called Arihnda Pryce is also making plans to expand her power. Eventually the two will cross paths. Where Thrawn is skilled in military tactics, Pryce is more than his match on the battlefield of politics. But when threats against the still unstable Empire begin to appear all over the galaxy, Thrawn faces a new adversary that might become his downfall. Especially when this opponent seems to be two steps ahead of him at every turn…..

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Yup….Arihnda Pryce was also featured in Rebels. She doesn’t look very happy about it though. 

Thrawn became a very different novel than I expected it to be. I had hoped for a very tense and exciting book, with an interesting origin story of the Grand Admiral. In part it delivers this, but the other part was well, quite frankly a bit boring. We get a story that focusses a lot on internal politics. As I am not a huge fan of politics in the first place, I felt that these chapters slowed the story down to a crawl. We also get a lot of secondary characters thrown into the mix, that just get introduced but then, at least most of them, don’t really do anything. But what of Thrawn himself? The character that many loved so much in the brilliant original trilogy of books that introduced him feels…different. It’s still Thrawn, that can’t be denied, but at the same time it’s not. Of course Zahn had to reinvent the character and as such has had to make some changes. But still, this is not the same Thrawn that was such an amazing villain. And that is the part that disappointed me the most.

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Yes, he is looking at you. Are you scared yet? 

Still, it is not a bad novel. There is small cameo appearance of a major character that will have most Star Wars fans whopping with joy. I also really liked the backstory of Arihnda Pryce who was at times even more cunning then Thrawn. Whether or not you will like this novel depends on a few things. If you like your Star Wars books to be full of action, big space battles and lots of tension, then I don’t think this is a novel you would enjoy. There are a few scenes like that, but mostly we get a book that focusses more on backstabbing officials and internal politics. As mentioned Thrawn is also not quite the character you are used to, but there are still flashes of his original brilliance throughout the book. Maybe the sequel to this novel, Thrawn: Alliances, that will be published this year, more of those flashes will make an appearance. All in all, Thrawn is an okay novel if you don’t expect too much from it.

I give Thrawn a 7 out of 10 score.

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Let’s All Write a Book |Chapter 1-Paragraph 3!

So remember how a few days ago I promoted a blogger who had just reached 100 followers and did all those push ups to thank his followers? Well, it turns out he had a really fun idea for all of us to start writing a book. And of course it was inevitable that at some point this tag would reach me. Did not expect it to be almost right away though. Thanks Irina….erm I think 😅

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I’m going to turn completely insane from anxiety and nervousness.

So if you want a reminder of what the idea was about, or haven’t even seen it yet, just read Arthifis’ post. I have to be honest the last time I wrote a story was on school about 25 years ago I guess….so yeah, I am getting old now lol. And nervous for making this even remotely interesting to read. Okay, erm…here we go. But first the rules:

Here’s a quick reminder of the rules:

1. Copy the post you’ve been tagged from the rules down (with the links)
2. Go here and read the rules
3. Write your name and link it to one of your posts (The main character is called NoGender and as the name indicates, does not have a gender, so if you want to speak in the third person use the word “it”)
4. Write your paragraph (max 200 words with 100 words margin)
5. Tag someone’s post who wasn’t tagged before and say the following rule in the same phrase “You have 3 days to accept this tag”
6. If the person you tagged doesn’t answer or doesn’t want to participate tag other person       (again, tag a post and not a page)
7. Write the Title “Let’s All Write a Book | Chapter 1 | Paragraph X”, being X your paragraph

Arthifis Chapter 1.1 : It was the same dream again, for a week NoGender was always having the same dream. Drowning… It was funny actually, since “it” had the power of controlling water.

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NoGender woke up breathing heavily as always… Next morning would be the final exam for him to be a full edge water bender, but without having proper sleep for a week, NoGender was getting nervous about it… “Its” concentration was not as good as normal, “It” had found itself almost falling asleep countless times while trying to train its skills the best it could and, at this moment “it” was getting anxious that it would just fall asleep in the middle of the exam. With these kind of thoughts, “It” bended over to the other side and fell asleep again.

NoGender was part of one of the most important schools of the kingdom. It was usual for someone to bend any kind of elemental, however only until a certain point… Having really the power to bend an elemental power to someone’s will was extremely rare. Every kid with age of 5 needed to do the national yearly exam to show their abilities, although simple, the exam was enough to see if the bender had enough capabilities to be a “true” bender or not. In thousands of children only 1%, in average, would be good enough to enter this prestigious school. However, being chosen and being in this school didn’t meant they would be benders all their lives, when these already special children got to 18 years old, their powers could just disappear from night to day, because of that, everyone did the final exam in their 18th birthday day, if they passed they could choose which path they wanted to continue and join one of the specialized schools they prefered.

Irina Chapter 1.2 : It was no good. The worries and anxieties could only be pushed aside so far before they needed to be dealt with.

OK NoGender thought, this is going nowhere. Might as well get this day started so I can get it over with. It figured the library would be a good place to while away the remaining hours before the exam. It was way too nervous to get any actual studying done but at least it could pretend, that’s what **good** students did, right? Fake it till you make it! It was starting to get a sinking feeling that making it was always a bit fake anyways. At least the library was close to the main campus.

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As NoGender distractedly ambled into the stuffy reading room, with the comfy leather chairs, that were now considerably more patchwork than leather, and the assorted desk and floor lamps that all gave off different lights, it noticed that the room was already stuffed with nervous looking students, all seemingly at a loss as to what to do with themselves.

A tall skinny boy with a smile that was the polar opposite of comforting, caught his eye. If NoGender was this anxious, he could only imagine what poor Schickley was going through, that kid had trouble handling the stress of ordering lunch. NoGender worried about him. As their eyes met, it greeted its friend in what it hoped was a reassuring manner:

-Hey Shakes, wanna go get a drink after this?

-Geni, oh good you’re here! Did you hear what happened?

-FIN-

Raistlin Chapter 1.3 : NoGender looked at it’s friend in puzzlement. “Hear what?” it asked. If anything, it seemed Schickley was even more nervous than normal. Which was saying something. Just as Schickley was about to answer, a small tremor rocked the floor of the library. Students began looking up from their books, and just then the tremors started getting worse. People screamed in fright, and small cracks appeared in the marble floors of the library.

A real panic now began to take a hold of the students and everyone started rushing towards the great double doors that formed the exit. Schickley and NoGender got swept up in the crowd and lost sight of each other. Then someone yelled ” The doors are locked!! ” NoGender wasn’t someone that was quick to panic, but it began to creep up on “it”. What was going on? But then the worst tremor yet shook the building.

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Bookcases began to fall over, and great chunks of the ceiling came loose and started falling on students. NoGender dove under a table just in time, as a big block of rubble crashed down on the space where he had just stood. And then a terrible inhuman howling sound started……..

To be continued….

Okay I have to admit: this was a lot of fun! And now for the tag: Shokamoka I choose you!  Sorry about this, but come on, we all know you were asking for it with those comments you left over on Irina’s post. So no pressure. But just a quick reminder “You have three days to accept this tag” Good luck, and looking forward to seeing where you are going to be taking the story.

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Bloggers in the Spotlight: Volume 1

Welcome all, to the first edition of this new feature for my blog. So what is this all about? A lot of you have their own versions of something similar like this. Either you present some cool weekly posts that you noticed, do a reblog, or give new bloggers a way to present themselves. I have always said that one of the things that I love the most about blogging is the interacting with everyone. Yes, I love writing posts. But I also love reading posts from other blogs, and responding/ exchanging comments. For those of you that are maybe scared to leave a comment on a post I can only give this advice: take the plunge. I can really say that I have made a couple of awesome friends by doing this. In this feature I will put a few blogs in the spotlight each month, that you may or may not yet know about. One thing is for sure, all of them are amazing and the person responsible for creating it is beyond cool. As my own blog is focussing on multiple topics it will not be a big surprise I am also going to present different kinds of blogs. This month I will feature blogs from the world of anime, books and movies. If you don’t already know them, check them out and give them a follow! You know you want to. So without further ado, let’s shine a light on them!

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Lina-Tiny Ugly Animal

imageBefore you start accusing me of calling people names, that really is the title of Lina’s blog Tiny ugly animal. But I can tell you that this blog is anything but ugly. I have been following Lina for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been a total joy. So why do I like her blog so much? Well, first off Lina herself is awesome. When you leave a comment she always responds, and I have been really enjoying the discussions we have had through the comments section. Some of these have almost turned into complete chat sessions (lol😂), but that for me has only added to the fun. Not only that, her posts are absolutely amazing. Insights on animeseries, the 30 day anime challenge, her own personal take on things, all of them are simply put wonderful to read. If you don’t take my word for it just read this review (ooops, sorry Lina I called it a review😂), for one of my favorite animeseries: Kids on the slope. It really shows off her amazing writing skills, and while you are there take a look around and ofcourse if you aren’t already doing so, follow her! She has trouble believing she will get to 100 followers, but of course you and I both know, this is going to happen!

Shokamoka-Shokamoka’s Blog of Wonders

imagePoor Shokamoka  has been on the receiving end of awards for quite some time now. In fact there is a certain person who shall remain nameless here (but to give you a hint her name starts with an and ends with rina😂) that made it her personal mission to torture him with those things. But, let’s get one thing pretty much straight here: he deserves each and every one of those awards. Shokamoka is one of the funniest bloggers I have met. He really has a terrific sense of humor (though he probably will deny that himself) and some of his posts and comments are hilarious. But in case you are wondering, that is not the only thing this skillfull guy does well. He is a blogger that works hard and besides reviews, has also written a lot of posts about other subjects such as Twitter, but also music in anime. And you see him pop up everywhere on other blogs providing comments. In short Shokamoka is a blogger that basically you just need to follow without asking any more questions. You are still in doubt? Well let me provide a link to one of his posts that I really enjoyed reading. It is for an anime series called Two Car. This is actually part 1 of a two part series, but it really gives a great insight as to why he is so awesome.

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Samantha-Modern Witch’s Bookshelf

imageI have not yet been following Samantha  for a very long time, but sometimes you just come across a blog and you know pretty from the beginning that you are there to stay. Samantha is a very friendly blogger who is just incredibly nice to talk too. Always thankful and appreciative, she also writes her book reviews in a very different way than most people do. I find this incredibly refreshing. Instead of going into a very lengthty analysis of the novel, her reviews are straight and to the point. They offer a short synopsis of what the book is about together with her insights of why you should (or should not) read it. Her posts also have a very awesome layout. Besides book reviews, there have also been a couple of great tag posts that were really a lot of  fun to read. The only reason that I can think of as to why she currently has less than 100 followers is that probably you just haven’t seen how awesome she and her blog truly are. So visit her blog ASAP, and follow her already. And let me provide a link to one of her terrific posts to get you started.

Aaron-Swords and Spectres

imageThis is a blog that I have been following for a pretty long time now. Aaron is just a really friendly and engaging blogger who I have always enjoyed talking to a lot. His blog has a particular focus on books in the fantasy and science fiction range (gee, I wonder why I like that blog so much😂😂). Seriously though, his posts are amazing to read. The reviews are never too long, but offer just enough to get you interested for a novel, or not of course if the book that is featured isn’t to his liking. I also enjoy the fact that he has reviews on the medium of audiobooks, something that I still have to try out (yep, I know I am sorry Aaron, but I promise I will get to that eventually at some point). The only downside that I can think of is the fact that because of his blog I keep adding books to my to read (and now also to listen to) lists, but I guess he is not the only one to blame for that. So let me provide a link to one of his audiobooks reviews for Alien:River of Pain. Being a huge fan of Alien, I highly enjoyed reading this, and since then he has also had reviews on a few other books of that franchise. In short his blog simply must be followed…nuff said!

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Mr. Bobinsky-Indie Sci-fi 451

imageNow as you all know I love science fiction and Mr. Bobinsky offers a blog that is pretty much dedicated to this fantastic medium. He has a vast knowledge of science fiction, but not only on mainstream science fiction, but also on a few lesser known movies. I have had a couple of great discussions over on his blog with him, and he really is an incredibly kind guy to talk to as well. He also has, what I think a very unique looking blog, that offers a wealth of reviews, augmented reality posts, and also features about the history of aerospace. But one of the things on his blog that I have really come to like the most is the enormous amount of truly awesome posters that he provides for classic science fiction / horror films. I keep wondering where he finds them each time but they are really spectacular to look at. In short, this is a blog that you just get lost in when you visit there. So in other words, head over there now, and take a look around. It is worth your time, and I promise that you will follow him after you have done so. Here is a link to one of those post that features posters, this one for the Robocop movie.

Ml.Bradford-Bradscribe

imageYou know how you sometimes stumble onto a blog and you are wondering how on Earth you did not discover it sooner? This is one of them. Another blog, that I haven’t been following for very long yet, but it’s so far been an absolute delight. I have had a very friendly and quite frankly very welcoming chat with Ml.Bradford in our first online exchange with the topic being Star Wars. That’s where I discovered he was also a huge fan of this wonderful franchise (yes despite my rant for episode VIII I am still a fan). He has written a few amazing posts for these films, but of course that’s not the only movie that is being featured on his blog. The thing I love about his writing style is that it contains a really great sense of humor. Also the posts are very insightful and often contain some great background material as well. I have really been enjoying this blog, and I pretty much know there is much more awesomeness heading our way. Here is a link to one of his most recent posts about Star Wars and by reading it you will get a good impression of what I am talking about. It’s great isn’t it?

 So…..that’s a wrap, for now that is!

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And that brings this first edition of Bloggers in the Spotlight to a close. I plan to make this a monthly feature on my blog and will try to bring out different topics each time, when I can. Next month I will focus on a few bloggers whose blogs don’t really fall into any kind of particular category, but are still very awesome all the same. I hope you have all enjoyed reading this and this helped you discover a few new bloggers as well. Thanks as always for reading, and see you at the next post!

It’s Cold Outside – Time for a Blogwarming

You all remember Irina right? The amazingly talented and incredibly kindhearted blogger that invented the Blogwarming Party? What do you mean you don’t remember her? Well, if you don’t remember her, this is another chance as there is a new edition out for the party! This time it features a blog outside of the WordPress community. It looks amazing from what I have seen of it so far. Go and check it out, and Irina thanks again for this truly amazing opportunity you give new bloggers every time you do this!

I drink and watch anime

Well 2018 started with a BANG, or in my case, an avalanche! Between the rugged weather we’ve been getting up here, the sort of drowsy, frantic scramble everyone has been going through to get back into the swing of things after the holidays both at work and here, I found that there just weren’t enough hours in the day! Ok, so the sun is out for about 6 hours a day where I am so there’s also a quite literal sense to that. I’m part parrot, I never stop talking and I fall asleep as soon as it gets dark….

I’m not sure if you guys have had the same experience. It’s like we all collectively told ourselves – ok! Time to get back to work! But then we started trying to do everything at the same time and ended up getting not much done. That’s how I feel at…

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100 Followers 100 Push-Ups

Okay, I just had to share this. I have seen a lot of absolutely amazing things ever since I started blogging. But this takes it to a whole new level. One of the anime blogs that I am following, Arthifis has recently reached one hundred followers. (110 to be exact) That ofcourse is a truly amazing achievement. But in order to thank each one of his followers he has made a video where he does 110 pushups, to thank each of his followers. Not only that, he also thanks everyone by name. I don’t know about you, but I am completely in awe of this. I just had to share this, and if you are not yet following his blog, do so ASAP. You will not be disappointed !

Arthifis' Place

Hi guys and welcome to my place!!

You read that right!!!! I hit 100 followers!!! And it was in my birthday day! Such a great present to receive really! I don’t have words to express how I feel having 100 people willing to follow and read my broken english reviews (with no that high quality to begin with)!

This way, I wanted to celebrate this milestone with all of you and thank every each one of you for the happyness you gave when you pressed that follow button! This way what I did was… Yeah 1 push-up for each follower I have and proceed to thank you!

But how are you going to see me do push-ups you may ask? Well do not worry! I did a video for your delight! Have to say though… The video ended up to be real long :S sorry about that, but hey it’s…

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Resident Evil:Apocalypse, American movie (2004)

There was a time when I was a very obsessive player of computergames. Just as with movies, I had a particular fondness for games that were set in the horrorgenre. It will probably not be a very big surprise that the infamous Resident Evil series was my favorite. For those that are not familiar with it, shame on you! But of course being the nice guy that I am, I will tell you a little bit of background on it. Resident Evil tells the story of the evil Umbrella corporation, that unknown to the public at large, secretly produces bio weapons. One of their biggest creations was the socalled T-virus, that turns normal people into terrible flesh eating zombies. And of course…at one point something goes terribly wrong, and the virus gets unleashed in the fictional town of Raccoon City. The third game in the series introduced a foe that for me has been the most awesome and most memorable enemy that I have ever faced in a computergame. It was called Nemesis, which was also the title of this third installment. This towering behemoth kept following you throughout the game, and always popped up in unexpected places. Needless to say, it gave me the creeps, but in a very good way.

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I don’t think that I have ever seen cops in my town that look like this.

Hollywood, as we all know, has been making movies about games for years, with mostly very unsatisfactory results. The first Resident Evil movie was a moderate succes, and honestly I quite liked it. It had that B-movie quality to it, but with actress Milla Jovovich in the leadrole as the kick ass lead character Alice, it turned into a fun action/horror film. The sequel was a film that I became very excited for, as not only would it introduce a fan favorite character from the games, it would also feature my old friend Nemesis. Resident Evil: Apocalypse picks up the story right after the events of the first movie. Alice wakes up naked on a table in an unfamiliair laboratory, but manages to escape. Once outside, to her horror she finds herself in the deserted streets of Raccoon City, where it seems all hell has broken loose. And that’s not very far off the mark. The deadly T-Virus has made it’s way to the city, and has turned most of it’s citizens into zombies. While Alice is roaming the streets, she soon teams up with a group of survivors, that include S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine.

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You had better write a good review because else you know what’s going to happen.

All of them are desperately trying to find a way out of the doomed city. But then salvation seems to come from a very unexpected source, namely a Unbrella scientist called doctor Ashford. He promises them a safe way out of the city, and the only thing they have to do for this is find his missing daughter. But this is easier said than done, as the group soon finds out that there are worse things than zombies out there. A thing that is the very stuff of nightmares stalks them….but a thing that is also frighteningly familiar to Alice….Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a movie that sticks closer to the sourcematerial of the games, than the first movie. It’s pretty much a rehash of the story of the third game, and with the inclusion of the characters of Jill Valentine and Nemesis it’s very familiair for fans. But what if you are not a fan, or have never even heard of the games in the first place? Is this film still worth checking out? That’s a bit of a difficult question to answer, and it probably comes down to what your taste in movies is like.

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Looks like somebody forgot to put on some suntan

You see, even more than the first film, this is pretty much a B-movie. Some of the acting in this film is quite bad. The character of Jill Valentine played by actress Sienna Guillory, while looking exactly like her counterpart from the game, comes of the worst. Some of her lines are just very cringeworthy and forced, and just feel like they are read straight from an autocue. The same can be said for actor Oded Fehr, who plays Carlos Olivera a former Umbrella soldier. While I usually like him, he just felt very out of place in this movie and at times seemed like he did not exactly know what he should be doing. Saving grace is once again Milla herself. She is just very comfortable in her role as Alice, and quite frankly is born for playing these type of characters. Some of the best scenes in the movie are her action sequences, especially the ones where she is facing off against Nemesis. And it has to be said, they did a great job in recreating this fearsome monster. He looks exactly the same as he did in the games and this is obviously a treat for fans.

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Don’t drink and drive, because else things like this might happen.

But that pretty much brings me back to my original question, can this film be enjoyed by people who are not familiar with the games? Well, honestly yes. If you don’t mind some of the bad acting and lack of a good script, there is enough action in the movie to keep you entertained. They obviously also had a larger budget for this sequel as well, which means that the look of the film is much better than the first one. Films such as these are made for a specific type of audience and if you don’t like B-movies, I guarantee that this one will not change your opinion on that. But if you are like me, and don’t mind all the aforementioned things, it is still a fun film. I have to admit that I enjoyed the first movie more. But to see Nemesis brought to life in this way, combined with the fact that Milla Jovovich once again redefines the word girlpower, I still quite enjoyed this second installment in the franchise. It won’t redefine this genre of films, but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes you just want an easy movie that isn’t overly complicated, and in that regard this one certainly delivers.

I give Resident Evil: Apocalypse a 7 out of 10 score.

 

 

Huh? What? No way! 1000 followers!

You see that image above this post? That was me on sunday afternoon, when the follower counter for this blog reached a very magical number, namely:

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I honestly still can’t believe this number, and am feeling like I am living in some kind of dream world. In no way had I ever expected to reach so many followers when I started my blog about a year and a half ago. I really had no idea what I was doing when I wrote my first post about a Korean dramaseries called D-day. When I look at that post today, I can’t believe how stupid it looks. It doesn’t even contain pictures (because I had no idea how to add them lol). I did not even have a real plan when I started writing. But for some reason, people began to notice my blog, and now I am truly happy and very humbled to have so many people that read my posts, leave a like and take time to leave a comment.

So…..what now? Not even a thank you?

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Shut up already, and tell us what’s in it for us! 

 

 

This blog would not even exist without the support of all of you, my readers. As much fun as I have writing posts, if nobody would read them, things would become pretty boring rather soon. So, really from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you that have in some way supported my blog over the past year and a half. But I’m not going to leave it with a simple thank you. Keep your eyes on this blog, especially the first week of February. In that week there is going to be a competition for everyone that has been following my blog up until the 22nd of January. As I have a blog that features multiple subjects, there will be a price for the anime, movie and book category. How can you win and what can you win? Well…..I’m going to keep that a secret for now. Yes I know, I am horrible that way.

In the meantime, I still have a few posts that will be heading your way this month, including my new Bloggers in the Spotlight feature that I hope to finish in the weekend. Thank you for being awesome! I hope my blog will continue to entertain you all in the upcoming years!

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Thank you, thank you, thank you 😀😀😀😀

 

Girls und Panzer, Anime tv series (2012)

Have you ever found yourself wanting to write a post, but you just don’t quite know where to start? This is one of them. I always like to start my reviews with an introduction that in some way relates to whatever I am reviewing, but this one……I really am at a loss for words. I have promised to do a review for Girls und Panzer for a very long time, and now that the moment is finally there, I am stalling and buying time. And, not quite succeeding at that either, am I? So why is this so hard? Well….unless I am mistaking I don’t think there currently is a place in the world where the sport of Tankery is being held. What’s that: Raistlin writing a post on a sports anime? What kind of black sorcery is this?  As most of you might know: I absolutely hate sports, of any kind. I don’t practice sports, I don’t watch sports, and Ugh….I am rambling again. Anyways, if I could participate in a game of Tankery though: you can count me in. Phew. Well, I am finally past the starting point. Time to start the review in earnest….now, where do I start? Oh yeah, you would like to know what this show is about right?

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Yes, there really is a pink tank in this picture.

Girls und Panzer takes us to a world where World War II tanks are maintained to be used in the sporting event known as Tankery. In this brutal, but at the same time relatively safe competition, girls from different highschools fight each other on battlefields in order to reach the finals and claim victory. Miho Nishizumi is a girl that comes from a very prestigious family that has been practicing Tankery for many years. But in a previous competition something happened to Miho, that causes her to become traumatised and not wanting to continue practicing the sport. Having transferred to a new Academy school ship that she believes doesn’t have Tankery on their list of activities, Miho tries to pick up her life. On her first day at the new school she has already made some new friends, and really begins to believe that life is good again. But, little does she know that the school has added the sport she fears so much back on the roster. Eventually Miho, as the only one who has had any previous experience with Tankery, is pressured into helping the other school girls. Together with her new friends, Nishiszumi enters the competition where she will face a lot of new challenges. The biggest one being, coming to terms with the life she thought she had left behind….

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Sometimes it can be really hard to find a good parking space. 

There are times when you put on a show and literally after seeing the very first scene it just clicks for you. This is one of those shows. Girls und Panzer is a series that is just pure and simple fun. One of the things I love most about anime is the sometimes completely unique concepts it can come up with. I mean really, think about this for a second. How on Earth do you come up with a plot like this: cute highschool girls driving World War II tanks. But not only does it work, it is one of those animes that you can’t help but smile at. It’s really…well cute. And that’s weird for a series that has brutal tank battles in it. But let me just get that out of the way first. Girls und Panzer is a comedy series. In no way is all of this to be taken seriously. There is no blood, and nor are the girls ever in a real life or death battle. Ofcourse no sporting event comes without it’s risk of injury, and Tankery is no different. And yes people, you read that right, not only am I reviewing a sports anime, but it’s a comedy as well. Really, I must have been hit on the head or something.

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Let’s all join in dancing here! Because really that’s what you do in a battle!

Honestly though this is not a slapstick comedy. There are some really funny scenes, but it’s not the kind of humor that is cringeworthy. And that said, the highlight of this series is most certainly the sport of Tankery itself. The tank battles are seriously awesome to watch. Using computertechniques to bring them to life, they are the absolute highlight of this anime. You would think that at some point battles like that will become very tedious, but let me assure that is not the case. Every event is unique, and just like watching an exciting football match featuring your favorite team, you will really hold your breath each time Miho enters a new battle with her friends. You really want them to win, and when they do you will find yourself raising your fist in the air and shouting at the top of your lungs along with the fictional crowd. Erm, or maybe that is just me. Storywise, there really isn’t much more to it than the girls trying to reach the finals. There are a few subplots here and there, but overall the focus is on Tankery. In other animes that might get quite boring, but this anime never has that problem.

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Yes, military uniforms have certainly come a long way since the war. 

There is something that is a bit of a problem and that is the huge cast this series has. I am not kidding here, but this anime has over 50 different characters. While the focus is definitely on Miho and her friends, all the others make appearances in several episodes as well. It will probably not come as a very huge surprise to you that character development isn’t very high on the agenda. But to it’s credit, despite that fact, each character does have it’s own distinguishing marks. I, however did have some trouble in keeping some of the cast members apart from each other. With a cast this huge everyone will probably have a favorite, and for me that was Mako Reizei. It felt like she was continually sleeping through everything (well, she always had trouble getting up early in the morning), and her voice never gets excited even in the face of danger. This causes some very funny scenes, where for example the rest of the girls are going completely nuts, and she just keeps talking with her monotone voice.

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Some people take the order to fire a bit too literally. 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the soundtrack. The background music at times sounds like the ones you had in old World War II movies, and it fits this anime perfectly. Together with the world that is created in this series, it manages to create a very unique experience. Girls und Panzer is an anime you need to watch when you want to take a break from all the heavy stuff. It is simply put a very charming show, that I pretty much dare you not to be entertained by. What it might lack in terms of storyline and character development, it more than makes up for in the excitement and fun factor. Unless you are a very cynical person that is completely devoid of any emotion, you will be put under it’s spell right from the beginning. Girls und Panzer has been a joy to watch, even though this is certainly a series that is miles away from the shows that I usually see. Panzer vor!

I give Girls und Panzer a 8 out of 10 score.

Solomon’s Perjury, Korean Drama Series (2016)

We live in an age where social media plays a very important part in people’s lives. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever else is out there, nearly everyone seems to have at least one of these, and more often than not, even more than one. It never fails to surprise me how easily some of the younger generation give highly personal glimpses in their day to day routines. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to play a judge here, as I always believe everyone has the right to decide what they wish to share on their own. But it’s the dangers that go along with it, that sometimes really scare me. What if something that you share falls into the wrong hands? Or even worse is used against you in a horrible way? And how about how easily some people’s opinions might be influenced by the power of a certain statement. I don’t think this social behaviour is any more apparent then in high school. Nearly every kid wants to be accepted by the popular ones, and as such belong to the group they hang out with. And usually they pretty much determine what happens in class. These underlying themes form the basics of the Korean dramaseries, Solomon’s Perjury.

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Nothing to see here, we are just hanging out.

On a cold winter morning in December, the lifeless body of highschool student Lee So-woo is found by one of his fellow classmates in front of school. The school and the police are convinced that he took his own life. But then a student comes forward claiming to have been a witness to his murder. The school is in an uproar and wants nothing to do with it, quickly dismissing the claim. Especially seeing as the suspect for the murder, the school bully Choi Woo-hyuk, is the son of a man that has always been very supportive of the school. But not everyone is so easily swayed. Go Seo-yon, the class president, wants to find out exactly what has happened to Lee So-woo and devises an ingenious plan to get to the bottom of things: a schooltrial. She takes on the role of prosecutor and together with a couple of other students she will stop at nothing to make sure justice will be served. But then a young man called Han Ji-hoon, who attends another school, steps up to act as the defense attorney for Choi. Just who is he? And why does he want to defend someone who has been causing so much pain to others? The answers to these questions, and many others, are about to be revealed……

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What are you looking at me for? 

I’m going to be honest: this one hit close to home. In a big way. It brought back some pretty unpleasant memories from my own days as a highschool student. Having been on the receiving end of bullying for a lot of years, I know what it can do to someone’s state of mind. And how much you at certain points would love to take revenge on the people that caused you pain. I am not a hateful person, and always try at least to see the good in people. But there have certainly been points during my schooldays where I wished some very unpleasant things would happen to my tormentors. And that’s what I really liked about this show, as it not only looked at bullying, but also what might drive someone to become a bully. And is it really fair to blame everything on that person? As such this is not an easy series to watch, as it not only deals with that, but also with the equally tough subject of suicide. But why did I continue watching it then? Because it never becomes too heavy and it really is an incredibly good series with some stunning performances.

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Yep, that is a broken window. Looking at their faces it’s almost as if they have never seen one before. 

The storyline for this is quite unique. The idea of a schooltrial is something I have never seen before and you would think that this might just be very laughable. It’s not. It’s every bit as compelling as a real courtroom drama, and the story has some very nice twists and turns. It soon becomes much more than just finding out whether or not Lee So-woo has committed suicide or not. There is a lot more to the story, but of course I’m not going to head into spoiler territory so I will just leave it at that. The acting in this drama is quite impressive, and besides a few moments of overacting by some of the supporting cast, really is one of the other reasons that this series works so well. Kim Hyun-soo plays the role of Go Seo-yon and really is the driving force of this show. She is both charming and very serious at the same time, and is utterly convincing as the prosecutor. She is one of those characters that is determined to find out the truth, and will never give up no matter what.

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Yep that is a door. Wow, these people really haven’t seen anything have they?

But equally impressive is Jang Dong-yoon who plays Han Ji-hoon. As an audience you know more about him than the other characters in the series, but at the same time you don’t quite know exactly what drives him. And it was really interesting to see when the reveal came to see what his real motives were at the end. Overall this show impressed the hell out of me. The overall themes and the way they were executed made this a very compelling watch. Let me be clear that this is not an action series. It really is a legal drama, and while there are certainly some tense moments, this series is more of slow burner. It is driven by the incredible verbal exchanges by the two main leads, and there are moments in the show that you don’t exactly know who to root for. As you want both of them to win. Be aware that the themes in the show can be tough to watch, especially if like me, you might have had similar experiences. But in the end it’s presented in such a great way that I am truly glad that I have watched it. This concludes my review for the third drama for my Korean Dramas theme month. If you want to watch this show you can watch it for free on the legal streaming website Viki.

I give Solomon’s Perjury a 9 out of 10 score.

Blogger Appreciation Award!

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I am at times truly humbled by the amount of appreciation and kind words that I have recieved over the past months, ever since I started blogging. I have always said that the best thing about blogging is being a part of an amazing community where I have met all kinds of wonderful people, and some that have really become very good friends. Take Didi Oviatt for instance. I discovered her blog last year and I am very glad that I did. Not only is she is a truly sweet and very kind person who writes wonderful reviews about books, but she also publishes great and often very inspirational posts. It doesn’t stop there though. She is also an author of some very succesful novels. Even though I have yet to read a full novel by her (I know Didi, I’m ashamed I haven’t yet, but I promise to do that this year), I did read a few excerpts from her novels. And suffice it to say, what I read there has left me thirsting for more. Two weeks ago I got nominated by her for an award that I had never heard of before: The Blogger Appreciation Award. Thank you so much for this great honor Didi, and please all of you who haven’t done so already, go and follow her blog. You won’t regret that.

The Rules of the Award:

The rules are simple.

(1) Thank the blogger who nominated you, link back to their site.

(2) Write a paragraph of something positive about yourself.

(3) Nominate and notify as many bloggers as you wish.

(4) Use the award image.

Something Positive About Myself

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Now…this is really the hardest part of this award, writing something positive about myself. I always dish out a lot of compliments to other people, but when it comes to receiving compliments or being positive about me, I really become very shy or don’t really know what to say. But I guess I don’t really have a choice here for this award, as it’s part of the rules! So erm…here goes. I think that I always try to be helpful and supportive to other people as much as I can. Even at the cost of myself at times. But that’s pretty much a part of me that I really never want to lose. I just really become happy when I can offer my help to people, and in turn manage to put a smile on their faces when that support really helps them out. So I guess that is the most positive thing I can think about right now. Phew! That was really hard. Now onwards to a more fun part: my nominations!

My Nominees:

Well as unique as this award is, it is also unique in the fact that there is no limit on the number of people that I can nominate apparently. But that said, I think I will stick to 25 people that I have come to appreciate a lot over the past few months and that I have interacted with the most since I started blogging. Some are veterans, some have just started out with blogging. But all of them deserve it for being incredibly amazing, each and every one in their own ways. So without further ado the nominees are in no particular order (drumroll please:)

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Touchmyspinebookreviews

By Hook Or By Book

Vinnieh

Theorangutanlibrarian

Theotakujudge

MangatoritsukareruKoto

Blameitonchocolate

Thethingsiveseen

Jonspencerreviews

Idrinkandwatchanime

100wordanime

Kdramakisses

Tinyuglyanimal

TheLilyGarden

Indiescifi451

WeekendOtaku

Soneawrites

Confessionsofamoderndracula

Bookidote

CainSLatrani

Talesofbelle

Brendarochelle’sNeverland

Matt-in-the-Hatt

Wildfiremovies

Mattdoylemedia

As always, there is absolutely no obligation to write a post for this. I know how precious your time is, and lord knows I am running behind on these awards and tags  a lot myself (I promise to catch up this year though). But it really is my way of showing appreciation to you. As always thanks for reading, and see you on the next post!

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